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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 September 16, 2014 07:30 GMT

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve policymakers begin a two-day meeting to set interest rates today, but today's one major economic report isn't likely to spur them to raise rates.

Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for August this morning. The index rose just 0.1 percent in July, and in the past year, prices at the wholesale level have risen just 1.7 percent, slightly below the Federal Reserve's target.

TRUMP PLAZA CLOSING

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Atlantic City is down to eight casinos today with the closing of Trump Plaza.

The casino at the center of the Boardwalk and the end of the Atlantic City Expressway has been declining for years, performing worse than any of the city's other casinos.

It joins the Atlantic Club, the Showboat and Revel, each of which has closed this year.

And the contraction might not yet be over: Trump Plaza's parent company is threatening to close its sister casino, the Trump Taj Mahal, in November.

The closings are mainly due to growing competition in nearby states in the saturated northeastern U.S. gambling market.

Atlantic City began the year with 12 casinos.

ALIBABA-IPO

NEW YORK (AP) -- Alibaba now plans to raise up to $25.03 billion in its upcoming IPO, making what was expected to be the biggest stock market debut even bigger.

The Chinese e-commerce company says it plans to sell 368.1 million shares at $66 to $68 apiece, according to a regulatory filing. Previously it had set the range for $60 to $66 apiece.

Alibaba has emerged as a hot commodity because of its e-commerce bazaar, a shopping magnet for businesses and consumers alike as China's economy steadily grows. The company's network of sites includes Taobao, Tmall, and AliExpress, as well as Alibaba.

Alibaba has been meeting with potential investors over the past week, and demand spurred the increase. Alibaba is expected to start trading later this week under the ticker `BABA' on the NYSE.

BP ALASKA-LAYOFFS

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) -- BP Alaska, a major player in the state's oil industry, is planning to lay off 275 employees and contractors early next year.

Spokeswoman Dawn Patience says the business in Alaska will be smaller due to the previously announced sale of interests in four North Slope oil fields to Hilcorp.

Patience says the layoffs, combined with the 200 individuals who have accepted jobs with Hilcorp., represents about 17 percent of the total number of BP employees and contractors in the state.

The company's regional president, in announcing the sale in April, said it would allow for BP to focus on maximizing production from Prudhoe Bay and advancing plans for a major liquefied natural gas project. BP is working on the latter with the state, Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips and TransCanada Corp.

UNITED-FLIGHT ATTENDANTS

CHICAGO (AP) -- United Airlines says it will offer flight attendants up to $100,000 in severance if they leave the company.

The lump-sum payments will be offered in order of seniority to some of United's 23,000 flight attendants.

United and the Association of Flight Attendants announced the deal on Monday.

United says the early-outs will help it match staffing to its flight schedule and produce a labor contract with the union.

Airlines and other companies have used early-out bonuses to entice employees to leave voluntarily. If enough employees accept, it can reduce or avoid layoffs and remove senior, more-expensive employees from the payroll.

NLRB-CNN

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The National Labor Relations Board is finding against the CNN cable television network in an 11-year-old labor dispute, ordering the network to rehire or compensate about 300 workers and former workers.

The NLRB agreed with a November 2008 ruling by one of its administrative judges that CNN improperly replaced a unionized subcontractor, Team Video Services (TVS), with in-house non-union staffers, claiming "anti-union" bias.

The board gave CNN 14 days to rehire the former TVS employees for "their former positions or, if those jobs no longer exist, to substantially equivalent positions."

It also told CNN to pay bargaining union employees for any adverse tax consequences that may result from the lump-sum reimbursements.

A CNN statement said the network disagrees with the NLRB decision and is evaluating options.

ALZHEIMER'S DRUGS-SWITCH

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York's attorney general is trying to stop a manufacturer from discontinuing its drug widely used to treat Alzheimer's patients. He argues the manufacturer is illegally driving patients to its newer patented drug to avoid losses from cheaper generic alternatives coming out next year.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (SHNEYE'-dur-muhn) alleges both anti-trust and state law violations in the federal suit filed Monday in Manhattan against Dublin-based Actavis PLC and New York subsidiary Forest Laboratories.

The manufacturer has announced plans to withdraw Namenda, which generates more than $1 billion in annual revenues, and convinced 40 percent of patients and prescribing physicians to switch to newer Namenda XR.

Schneiderman says the company is "manipulating vulnerable patients" to protect profits.

The company says its new drug, taken once daily instead of twice, is better.

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