Has this Republican PAC co-opted the tea party movement?

According to Kenneth Vogel at Politico, the fundraising powerhouse Tea Party Express may actually be a front for a Republican PAC. While others have said as much, the point was reinforced when Politico obtained an internal proposal from GOP media firm Russo Marsh & Rogers — the operation behind the “Express” — that appears to outline a strategy for co-opting the tea party brand.

Of course, this is hardly news to real tea party activists:

“We’ve worked hard to distance ourselves from the Tea Party Express because of their close affiliation with the Republican Party, the Republican establishment and their PAC,” said Debbie Dooley, a national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, a national umbrella group of local activists. The Patriots have supported a strict nonpartisan posture but also have struggled to raise money, and Dooley contends that’s partly because of Tea Party Express.

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“When people donate to Tea Party Express, they think that they are donating to a tea party, because they don’t read the fine print at the bottom of their e-mails that says it is a PAC,” she said. “And that hurts the local grass-roots tea party organizers, since a lot of that is actually taking some money away from them.”

Adds Ned Ryun, president of American Majority, a nonprofit group that trains local tea party organizers: “I’m concerned that they’re using (Tea Party Express) as a marketing gimmick to line the pockets of consultants instead of actually helping the tea party movement. People are already pretty fired up, so enough protesting and rallying — they need to be empowered to go back and organize their communities.”

Let the donor beware.

*          *          *

Calling Art Bell: Two astronomers at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics in England have picked up a strange — and strangely consistent — radio signal emanating from somewhere in the galaxy M82.

It certainly does not fit the pattern of radio emissions from supernovae: they usually get brighter over a few weeks and then fade away over months, with the spectrum of the radiation changing all the while. The new source has hardly changed in brightness over the course of a year, and its spectrum is steady.

Yet it does seem to be moving — and fast: its apparent sideways velocity is four times the speed of light. Such apparent “superluminal” motion has been seen before in high-speed jets of material squirted out by some black holes. The stuff in these jets is moving towards us at a slight angle and travelling at a fair fraction of the speed of light, and the effects of relativity produce a kind of optical illusion that makes the motion appear superluminal.

The researchers are considering several theories — that the source is a black hole, or a microquasar — but have come to no conclusions.


  • Brian Saint-Paul

    Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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