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Epic FAIL: Anti-Tax Tea Party 2009 Roundup

Epic FAIL:  Anti-Tax Tea Party 2009 Roundup

Anti-tax protests have been around as long as there have been taxes, but this last week was special.  At a time when American taxpayers are actually quite content with the amount they are taxed; one cable news network hijacked, actively promoted, and then participated in what was supposed to be the Boston Tea Party, reborn.  The Fox News production of “Tea Party 2009,” had no more impact than any of its predecessors.  It sure was fun to watch, though.

Here are some of the highlights:

Countdown aired a great segment on the eve of the protests.  Subbing for Kieth Olbermann, David Schuster gives his synopsis of the “teabagger” movement and the media’s coverage of it, followed by some scathing commentary from Lawrence O’Donnell:

Also on April 14, Rachel Maddow discussed the GOP’s hijacking of the anti-tax movement with Stephen Gordon, conservative blogger & member of the Ron Paul campaign:

I actually have to tip my hat to Fox News.  They managed to make me feel sympathy for the Libertarians and Ron Paul supporters.  Their respective political philosophies allow for a tax protest to sound legitimate.  Indeed, their outrage over the TARP initiated under George W. Bush, followed by the stimulus package, signed into law by Obama, was to be expected.  The AIG bonus situation, perhaps, made their angst reasonable; but, thanks to Fox, anything resembling a sound anti-tax argument last Tuesday was drowned out by an irrational, misguided Obama hate-fest.

The “tea parties” ended up drawing over 300,000 protesters.  Such numbers might have even been impressive if they weren’t spread accross 2000 cities.  The attendence figures will no doubt be disputed by supporters of the teabaggers, however, their credibility is suspect (see Neil Cavuto caught exaggerating attendence by DailyKosTV).  Objective figures for the rallies may be found at Nate Silver’s 538.com.

Certainly, Fox‘s propaganda effort contributed to the size of the crowds.  It remains questionable, though, whether their promotion accomplished anything for the credibility impaired news network.  Much to the proper anti-taxers’ dismay, Fox News, Freedomworks, Progress for America, and other big money conservative groups destroyed all assertions that the tax day protests represented a “grassroots” uprising.  Paul Krugman offered his assessment in his New York Times, April 12 post:

They’re AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects. In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, and supported by the usual group of right-wing billionaires. And the parties are, of course, being promoted heavily by Fox News.

But that’s nothing new, and AstroTurf has worked well for Republicans in the past. The most notable example was the “spontaneous” riot back in 2000 — actually orchestrated by G.O.P. strategists — that shut down the presidential vote recount in Florida’s Miami-Dade County.

Indeed, Astro Turf has worked for the Republican Party in the past, and Krugman is absolutely correct in warning Democrats and other progressives to resist the urge to ignore the GOP’s efforts to remain relevant.

What do you think?  Does the Democratic Party need to worry about this nonsense?  The GOP surely needs to be watched closely, however, crowds of people holding up signs declaring, “Obama is a Socialist,” won’t bring Republicans back into the majority any time soon.  Additionally, angry protesters shouting, “Obama is a fascist,” is only going to isolate them further.

By the way, I have to ask any wing nuts who happen to be reading this:  Socialist or Fascist, which is it?  Honestly, I’m not sure they know, or care to know, the difference.

Finally I must submit my nomination for best coverage following the anti-tax tea party.  Hands down, the award goes to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. From The Huffington Post:

Unsurprisingly, Jon Stewart explored the tax day tea protests last night. He not only took on Fox News for sponsoring these events, but the people themselves for protesting wasteful spending by buying a million tea bags and wasting them. Stewart also looked at the amazing coincidence in timing that these people decided to go anti-government around two and a half months ago.

View the clip at either of the above links, and I think you’ll agree that the behavior on display at the anti-tax tea parties was nothing more than sour grapes left over from Obama’s victory last November.

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Madison, WI Tea Party image from Flickr User:  cometstarmoon - by way of CreativeCommons.org

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258 comments

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3:00PM PDT on Apr 27, 2009

Bill,
I bet the “Black Helicopters” where flying around also at your rally.
You should have stopped at “The people I met at the rally are generally confused rural people who don't know where to turn.” That is why the Tea Parties where formed.
You look old enough to remember the 1960’s? How was that grassroots’ movement started? Now the culture of the 1960’s is corrupt and run by big media and people are turning to the internet and other sources’ of information. Those who attended the party have stopped watching CNN NBC and those other “News Outlets” to find the truth and ask why.
Do this, write a letter to your congressman and ask how he/she/it stands on TARP and why they “feel” their choice is correct. I bet you get back form letters that will leave you realize your opinion doest matter.
As for 9/11, grow up. The World Trade Center was built to meet normal stresses. Not having a plane crash into it with the fire afterwards. Those ‘expert’ web pages seem to forget about the Pentagon and the difference in construction techniques between the 1930’s and the 1970’s

6:29PM PDT on Apr 26, 2009

The people I met at the rally are generally confused rural people who don't know where to turn. They are not our natural enemies: they are, on the contrary, our potential allies. A good place to learn the truth about the "Tea Party" events is at http://www infowars com/ (put dots in the spaces), and particularly the Prison Planet Forum (available from a link at the infowars startpage). People are coming together across the full political spectrum on the issue of government corruption and treason at the top.

By the way, the picture of the young lady with an "I voted" button that graces this topic is LAUGHABLY PATHETIC. The electoral system in most, if not all, of the States is STILL under the control of the electronic-voting-machine companies, working in the interests of the people who actually control the two official parties.

6:28PM PDT on Apr 26, 2009

The "Tea Party" rally which I attended (taking a Conservative approach with my sign and in conversations, although I come from the broad Left) was a STAGED affair. There were 10 times the media vans that have ever been in evidence for any environmental, human-rights, or anti-war rally. The stage was filled with corporate media personalities in front of a big screen in which they were projected large for the audience. The people I talked with were not knowledgeable about the Paleoconservative and 9/11 Truth movements. Some few WERE authentic Conservatives (of the most unrecant McCarthyite sector of the John Birch Society), and a few sported Ron Paul signs. They were NOT openly racist, but most were bussed in from an outlying county known for its KKK membership and virulent racism (as could be ascertained by the signs on their many busses).

The "Tea Party" I attended was in a State known for its unrecant racists. The Democratic Party here tries to challenge the Republican Party as to which is most trustedly racist, although they both use clothed language. I have heard from people in other Southern States (in blogs) having the same experience as myself. However, I have heard from people (in blogs) in other States having an almost-completely different experience with the attendees. These were mostly where members of We Are Change were in evidence.

6:27PM PDT on Apr 26, 2009

I attended the Tea Party in my locale. The "Tea Party" was an idea originated by the We Are Change http://www wearechange org/ (put dots in the spaces) organization, which has local affiliates across the nation. We Are Change was started by Ron Paul supporters and leaders of the 9/11 Truth movement. See We Are Change's "911 Truth Now" section.

The "Tea Party" idea was CO-OPTED by the CIA-controlled corporate media and the people who actually carried out the attacks of September 11, 2001. Hundreds of leading scientists and architects have come forward in their own names to question the official version of 9/11, but this fact has been kept from the American public by the corporate media. See the recent video interview (with English subtitles) of one of 9 Danish scientists who have published a book on the evidence that explosives, that were planted prior to the airliner crashes, are actually what brought the buildings down, at http://www youtube com/watch?v=8_tf25lx_3o (put dots in the spaces)

12:58PM PDT on Apr 25, 2009

You can find those petitions links at

http://action.democratz.org

12:57PM PDT on Apr 25, 2009

Read and sign these legislative petitions please and get hundreds of people to sign them and they will automatically go to Republican minority leaders Sen. McConnell and Rep. Boehner.

http://www.change.org/actions/view/i_demand_congress_and_the_president_enact_single_payer_universal_health_care

http://www.change.org/actions/view/i_demand_congress_and_the_president_enact_the_employee_free_choice_act

http://www.change.org/actions/view/i_demand_that_the_congress_and_the_president_enact_a_10_an_hour_minimum_wage_into_law

http://www.change.org/actions/view/i_demand_that_norm_coleman_concede_the_senate_race

http://www.change.org/actions/view/i_demand_that_the_congress_and_the_president_enact_the_womens_freedom_of_choice_act_into_law

4:24PM PDT on Apr 24, 2009

funny how the conservative set always uses the share the blame, both parties are to blame, bull argument. the fact is taxes have been cut for 95% of Americans and raised 3% on the top. i have to admit the millionaire and billionaire club have done a great job of making this seem as an "everyman" problem and rallied the empty headed to fall into line. the fact is that Bush and the Republicans have created this mess although blame can go back as far as Reagan with trickle down economics (let me pee on your head and tell you it's raining) the truth is most of you spouting off are too hapless and helpless and flat too lazy to do anything but repeat the wrongheaded ideas that are repeated ad nauseum to you. there's no point in disproving you point by point because you lot have this gang mentality where your side is always right and everybody else is always wrong. the closest you can admit to making mistakes is to blame everybody. i wish you'd all move to Texas and secede. remember, better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

9:06AM PDT on Apr 23, 2009

...without uncomfortable and in some cases devastating cost. It's like the prior captain ran the ship into numerous shoals, reefs, and other vessels, while pretending everything was fine and there was no problem. Stealing and off-loading the gold for the crew, not the deck hands or the country they represented. Not until the ship was ready to capsize any moment and they were forced out of the bridge did the insanity born of absolute greed, stop, however by this time it was too late to prevent the disaster that was unleashed. gO!Bama! and the current Congress is simply the Coast Guard coming in to save us from the mis-used and often unconsitutional power-structures of the previous 8 years.
This is only an opinion however and does not necessarily completely reflect my own views. I am sure there were some things the worst administration in the United States history did right. Or at least, some actions that some of the people who served under that administration regardless of the blatantly fear based, bass-ackwards, misguidance that was dictated by the Republican regimes lead by Cheney, Bush, and their un-named controllers.
Keep in mind this is an opinion and not necessarily all encompassing thinking representative of mine. But as an opinion it remains as valid or invalid as any other train of thought.

9:04AM PDT on Apr 23, 2009

...to "stimulate" the economy like your oh so very popular home boy did last year. This is putting money we didn’t have previously in our pockets on every paycheck.

What don't we get? What we get, what we got, are historically monumental problems the likes of which have never before been encountered in the history of our world, all thanks to the culmination of 8 years of failed policies that are now coming to fruition in the form of wide-spread financial ruin. Smell the coffee- part of the problem is the federal reserve system and other systemic symptoms which showcase the human nature of unbridled greed. Such problems are not the result of the policies being enacted by the current administration. Republicans espouse and promote the ideology of lower taxes and less government, while over the past 8 years the government has grown larger than the Clinton administration ever was, and when the Bush regime took over there was budgetary balance. The GO'Bama! administration is doing all it can as fast as is humanely possible, to try to right the ship that was severely listing and on the verge of sinking, when he took over the helm. The peril was not caused by the mismanagement of the current Congress and Executive branch. For most of the prior 8 years ya'll had carte blanche, an easy majority in both Houses as well as a Repubican crew at the helm. It should realistically require at least 3 years to get the ship level and with a healthy normal draft again, and not

9:01AM PDT on Apr 23, 2009

With regard to "not getting it' and the post with the hyperlink to the TX Youtube video...
Fine TX go ahead and secede LOL. You might have a few issues though: maintaining your overly wide and long roads without Federal funding. You'd have to come up with some money, and where would that come from only State taxes? Sure. No problem. If you think you have enough food, you sure have enough oil? You could sell it to the US but then Venezuela might undercut your prices just to piss ya'll off. And water, right? And the Texas Rangers will protect you from invading forces such as the United States of America's Department of Defense. As well as the drug cartels, sure. We'd love to claim the Dixie Chicks as ours, not yours. Interesting, the most capable state given the prospect of self-sustainability in all areas to include media know how, food, water, and the brains to make it all a wonderful world would be California. Whell heck, may as well throw in Oregon and Washington for the ultimate in progressively forward thinking vision. As well as the sensible utilization and management of certain God given blessings: their natural resources and their humans. Yet, I don't hear much coming from such regions concerning secession.

I understand frustration, I too am frustrated, however the current Administration has lowered taxes already so quickly on the working middle classes and upper middle classes. Not just some here lemme give you 600 dollars to go spend to "stimula

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