Tea party's one goal starts to fracture the GOP

Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Tea party
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - 12 days and counting to see if the right-wing opposition to the Affordable Care Act will bring about another government shut down.

Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says it's another risky act in the world of high-stakes political theater.

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It seems almost too incredible. The Republican Party here in Michigan and in Washington gauges what it does out of fear of the tea party.

Not because the tea party has so many members, but because it has oodles and oodles of money.

Money it is willing to spend when the least bit offended by a candidate here or there who steps over a line drawn by the tea party.

Remember Senator Tom Casperson? He's the conservative Michigan Republican from the U.P. who finally switched his vote two weeks ago so the State Senate could pass Medicaid expansion.

Well, that extra healthcare is a part of the Affordable Care Act.

That means Obamacare.

As a result, Casperson is already being targeted by the tea party.

Congressman Aaron Schock is a conservative Illinois Republican who two years ago voted to increase the debt ceiling and last year said 'yes' to a last-minute spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

He, too, is being targeted by his friends in the tea party. So are ten of his colleagues.

The tea party is funded by people like Americans For Prosperity,  a Koch Brothers enterprise, and by less transparent groups like the Club For Growth, or the National Liberty Federation, and others, who don't have to tell us where their money comes from.

As noted in the New York Times yesterday, these people—these right-wing conservatives—are now spending more money attacking Republicans than Democrats are. Imagine that!

Forget the fact our economy is still on shaky ground, that our middle class is disappearing, that our educational system stacks up poorly against other wealthy countries, or that we have a host of other problems at our feet.

The tea party has one goal: To repeal or defund Obamacare. Forget the fact there have been more than 40 failed efforts in Congress already to do just that. Each one voted down.

These radical conservatives are therefore prepared, instead,  to shut down the government.

What happens in a shutdown? For starters, Social Security checks would most likely not be mailed.

Non-essential government employees would be furloughed. Parks and embassies would be shut down.

On-going projects would be put on hold. Contractors would not be paid. And it would open the door for concerns about our government defaulting on its bond obligations.

If that happened it would put the United States on a level with the city of Detroit.

The world financial community see us as a sadly out of control joke of a country on the brink of blowing its legs off.

Polls indicate the majority of Americans would blame Republicans in the event of a shutdown.

But the cash-rich tea party is willing to risk that in the name of getting rid of Obamacare, a fools errand if ever there was one.

To begin with, any legislation would have to get the President's signature. And that is simply not going to happen.

This morning, the Wall Street Journal called this wingnut war a kamikaze mission. The conservative National Chamber of Commerce is urging House Republicans to back off. Even Karl Rove said today he thinks the whole defunding effort is self-defeating.

Undaunted, the tea party continues its march toward shutdown.

It appears the only way Americans can shed themselves of this yoke called the tea party is to turn out in huge numbers on election day and quite literally vote against any candidate being supported by them.

And for moderate republicans to stand up for themselves.

The word moderate is not a dirty word.

Its time to tell the tea party and all of its wealthy backers to stop wasting our time.

In this corner, I'm Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on July 01, 2015 07:29 GMT

GREECE-BAILOUT

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- A last-ditch effort to extend the bailout went nowhere and Greece has now failed to repay a loan due to the International Monetary Fund, deepening fears over whether it will be able to remain in the eurozone.

With its failure to repay the roughly 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the IMF, Greece became the first developed country to fall into arrears on payments to the fund. The last country to do so was Zimbabwe in 2001.

In a surprise move late yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis hinted that the government might be open to calling off the popular vote, saying it was a political decision.

With its economy teetering on the brink, Greece suffered its second sovereign downgrade in as many days when the Fitch ratings agency lowered it further into junk status, to just one notch above the level where it considers default inevitable.

Fitch said it now considered a default on privately-held debt "probable."

CHINA-MANUFACTURING

BEIJING (AP) -- China's manufacturing was weak in June and employers cut more jobs in a new sign the world's second-largest economy is struggling to emerge from a slump.

HSBC Corp. said its purchasing managers' index stood at 49.4, largely unchanged from May's 49.2 on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 show activity contracting. A separate index by an industry group, the Chinese Federation for Logistics & Purchasing, was unchanged from May's 50.2 on a similar 100-point scale.

Both surveys showed manufacturing employment declining. HSBC said jobs were cut at the fastest rate since February 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

The Chinese government has cut interest rates four times since November and launched mini-stimulus efforts to shore up economic growth that slowed to 7 percent in the first quarter.

Both surveys found new orders and new export orders increased, suggesting global and domestic Chinese demand were reviving.

JAPAN-ECONOMY

TOKYO (AP) -- The mood among big Japanese corporations is unexpectedly upbeat despite recent data showing the recovery appears to be stalling.

The Bank of Japan's quarterly "tankan" business survey released today shows a reading of 15 in June, up from 12 in March, for large manufacturers. Among large non-manufacturers it was 23, versus 19 in March.

Large companies plan to boost their capital investment by 9.3 percent from a year earlier, revised up from minus 1.2 percent in March.

The survey reflects the number of those responding with a favorable assessment of business conditions minus those with a negative assessment. So it is considered a gauge of confidence about the economy.

Many experts the economy may have contracted or stayed flat in the April-June quarter due to weak demand and faltering exports.

TRUMP FALLOUT

NEW YORK (AP) -- There's continued fallout from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's remarks about Mexican immigrants.

A TV company backed by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim says it's scrapping a project in development with Trump, and Mexico says it won't be sending a contestant to the Miss Universe contest, which Trump partly owns.

The Miss USA pageant, set to take place July 12 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, also lost both its co-hosts Tuesday, with "Dancing with the Stars"' Cheryl Burke and MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts bowing out.

Last week, the hosts of the Univision simulcast, Roselyn Sanchez and Cristian de la Fuente, said they wouldn't take part in the Spanish-language telecast.

PUERTO RICO-ECONOMY

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Puerto Rico's financial future hangs in limbo as economists and officials warn that the U.S. territory could head down Greece's path if it is not allowed to declare bankruptcy as it struggles with $72 billion in public debt.

The island is closing a troubled fiscal year amid intense investor scrutiny, and the first of several multimillion-dollar debt payments is due. It remains unclear whether the government will meet a roughly $400 million obligation due today, obtain yet another extension from creditors, or default.

Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla has said that the overall debt is unpayable and that he will ask for a moratorium on payments, although it is still unknown whether bondholders will agree to that or opt to resolve the issue in court.

NIKE-CHAIRMAN

NEW YORK (AP) -- Nike Chairman Phil Knight plans to step down, and says he wants President and CEO Mark Parker to succeed him.

Knight, who is 77, says he plans to stay involved with the company after he steps down as chairman. Parker has been Nike's president and CEO since 2006.

Nike Inc. says it expects to name a new chairman in 2016, but no specific date was set for Knight's departure.

Phil Knight co-founded Nike and has been a director of the company since 1968. The company also named his son Travis to a spot on the board Tuesday.

Knight also says he will transfer most of his Nike stock to a limited liability company. The directors of that company will be Knight himself, Parker, and Nike directors Alan Graf and John Donahoe. He says the move will help maintain Nike's corporate governance.

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