tea parties

The "tea party" movement: Page 6

See the summary for this topic on the main The "tea party" movement page.

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Irony deficient Christopher Knight of LAT: "Glenn Beck's '9-12' logo based on communist and socialist designs" - 09/14/09

Christopher Knight of the Los Angeles Times offers "Glenn Beck's '9-12' logo based on communist and socialist designs" (link), a hilarious example of someone - in this case some sort of art critic - just not getting the joke. His shocking news is that the logo used for 9/12's march on Washington was lifted from Communist symbols. That's obvious, and it was intentional. To help Knight understand this, he should refer to the classics.

See this discussion last month about how FreedomWorks controls the "grassroots" movement, specifically the logo:

In that FreedomWorks response, forwarded to the group a few days earlier by Jenny Beth and also obtained by TPMmuckraker, Brendan Steinhauser, an organizer for the corporate-backed group, explained that FreedomWorks would stick with its original logo, which shows raised fists in front of the Capitol building, in part because "the left (Keith Olbermann and Josh Marshall) thinks we don't understand the connotations of the symbol, which we do."

And, while Glenn Beck obviously has connections to the march, it's not his logo: as pointed out at the last link, it's a FreedomWorks invention.

Whatever you do, don't show Christopher Knight this site.

9/12: Tea Party march on Washington DC live coverage (Glenn Beck, Freedomworks) - 09/12/09

Later today, one or two million (maybe less) extreme fiscal conservatives will be marching on Washington DC demanding that the government listens to them and their Randroid concerns. And, we'll be there - virtually speaking - offering coverage of this momentous event featuring millions of people throughout the day. Literally thousands of busloads of true patriots - as opposed to the other, non-patriotic Americans - will be bussed in (at their own expense) by FreedomWorks (run by the corporate lobbyist Dick Armey). Hopefully many will be wearing period costumes and playing fifes, since we know that playing dress-up games is in their DNA.

Will there be a blimp? Wait and see!

To prepare yourself for the Ron Pa Patriotic March By The Only True Patriots In The United States, watch this video of corporate lobbyist Dick Armey supporting illegal immigration, see our coverage of Citizen Journalist Glenn Reynolds, and make sure and see our extensive tea parties coverage. Also, ask yourself why your leaders encouraged you to go to townhall meetings unarmed (intellectually speaking). They just wanted you to act out in public and throw a tantrum; they didn't encourage you to ask questions like these despite how really pressing a politician on that could have quashed Obamacare.

UPDATE: OK, maybe the estimates were a bit high. You can see a traffic cam here and here. CNN has a live feed of the speakers at cnn.com/live, and a live feed looking at the crowd is here. For your dress-up games entertainment, see this.

UPDATE 2: This official page has a list of speakers: 912dc.org/agenda. They include at least three people from FreedomWorks (supports massive immigration), at least one from the Cato Institute (ditto), and Rep. Mike Pence (ditto). The "star" power is provided by a Baldwin brother: Stephen (apparently Mickey Dolenz wasn't available). And, from the libertarian side of things, they've got speakers from Ron Paul's "Campaign for Liberty", the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, and the Free State Project. They've also got speakers from two race-based groups: Mario Lopez of the Hispanic Leadership Fund and Hector Barreto of the Latino Coalition. The latter was a signatory to an infamous letter demanding amnesty for illegal aliens. That and all the rest illustrates the stupidity of these people: they're supporting race-based power and massive immigration and think that by doing that they're going to lower their taxes.

UPDATE 3: The Latino Coalition also signed an anti-HR4437 petition. See the long, long list of far-left groups who also signed that here.

UPDATE 4: Glenn Beck is now ranting about corruption and encouraging his audience to think of the country first instead of thinking of themselves as Democrats and Republicans. The latter I strongly support. Unfortunately, what he appears to want to fill the partisan gap is some pretty extreme libertarian concepts; see the first link in this post and note the speakers from libertarian groups. And, regarding corruption, who exactly does Glenn Beck think he's palling around with? Many of his fellow "patriots", as discussed above, support massive immigration and do so because they're paid off or because they want race-based power.

UPDATE 5: If you aren't sick of this already, Pajamas Media has pictures at pajamasmedia.com/vodkapundit/2009/09/12/they-will-be-heard. Meanwhile, from the George Soros-funded side of things, there are pictures here and here.

UPDATE 6: In a few days, Glenn Beck will be the dinner speaker at a Michigan Chamber of Commerce gathering: michamber.com/mx/futureforum. The opening speaker will be Tom Donohue of the US Chamber of Commerce. The latter group is such a strong supporter of amnesty and massive immigration of any kind that back in 2006, Rep. James Sensenbrenner suggested that they should register as a Registered Foreign Agent. If Beck wants to oppose corruption, the US CofC would be a great place to start.

UPDATE 7: In June, Mario Lopez - one of the speakers at today's event mentioned in the second update above - helped Helen Krieble kick off her "Red Card" massive "guest" worker scheme.

UPDATE 8: The page alan.com/2009/09/12/the-gop-corporate-push-behind-the-912-teabaggers reminds us that, in addition to several others who appear to have a "dog in the hunt" as they say, the "Bronze Co-Sponsors" of FreedomWorks' 912dc.com include the Club for Growth (doesn't care about or supports massive immigration), Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform (whoa nelly: see this and this), and at least two groups linked to the Koch family (the "Kochtopus"): Heartland Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute. If you oppose corruption and support our immigration laws, few of the people and groups listed anywhere in this post are your friends.

UPDATE 9 (9/13/09): The video here shows a group supposedly from ACORN being ejected from the DC rally. They were selling "Don't tread on me flags" and if the description is accurate, they were told to leave by the police. They didn't and someone from the rally followed them and encouraged them to leave, with someone from the supposed ACORN group swiping the tea partier with a flag and pushing his wife. Obviously, they shouldn't have done that, but it would also be interesting to know whether there are rules against vending or what was the original reason they were asked to leave (if they were asked to leave).

And, the tea partiers have a message for the millions of Americans who are unemployed: FU. Glenn Reynolds approvingly links (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/85089) to chicagoboyz.net/archives/9188.html which is happy to point out that - unlike millions of those with whom they supposedly share citizenship - the tea partiers are employed:

Getting hundreds of thousands of kids, the professionally unemployed and government workers to show up isn’t that hard (especially if someone buys the bus tickets). Getting two million middle-class, middle-aged people with jobs, careers, children and businesses is way, way more impressive.

When it comes right down to it, the great majority of tea partiers seem to have little or no concern for their (fellow?) American citizens: they only care about themselves. If anyone disagrees, provide some evidence of tea partiers making proposals that acknowledge there are people other than themselves living here. Even easier: find a non-Southern California tea partier who gives a whoop that what Dick Armey and the rest want would make Southern California's situation even worse. Coming up with "comprehensive" solutions isn't something they're interested in, with the "going Galt" types thinking it's the height of patriotism to turn their backs on the U.S. and run away.

UPDATE 10: ABC News calls out FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe by name (link) for falsely saying on stage at the rally that ABC News was reporting that 1 million to 1.5 million people were in attendance. I don't think even FreedomWorks would do something like that intentionally, and I don't think that ABC would have called a Dem-friendly organizer out by name, but that's now a bit of a story instead of the flowering of Randrian principles that the organizers would have wanted.

UPDATE 11: In reply to the ninth update, in comments Ann says:

This seems to be based on a simple assumption: if you care about other people, you must therefore believe that more government involvement is the best way to help... Most of the tea partiers do not believe in that premise, and would point to a lot of disasterous government programs to back up their point.

Let me put it this way. The Dem solution to U.S. problems would be massive government programs that would - just as a coincidence - give more power to the Dems. The GOP solution would be slightly smaller programs that would - just as a coincidence - give contracts to their contributors. The solution offered by the tea party followers - those who aren't in on the game - is some combination of "what, me worry?", "I've got mine, Jack", and "get bent".

We've got two wars going on, millions of Americans are out of work, millions of foreign citizens are squatting here contrary to our laws taking jobs that Americans could be doing, and the tea partiers are consorting with those who support amnesty and massive guest worker programs and - ultimately - whining about completely self-centered financial matters.

The tea parties, angry townhall ranters didn't have much impact on Obamacare "debate" - 09/08/09

If the tea parties and angry townhall ranters had much of an impact on the "debate" over Obama healthcare, one would expect them to be crowing about it and one wouldn't expect to see things such as a Gallup poll showing the poll numbers of the plan mostly unchanged from the beginning of August to the end.

The tea parties aren't just for extremist libertarian Randroids. Oh, no. Of course not. - 09/06/09

The video at [SEE UPDATE] shows a tea party organizer from Seattle reading a Randroid rant she wrote complaining about redistribution in relation to Obama healthcare. She wants people to be left alone rather than some being "plundered" in order to fund UHC. At root, her argument isn't just with excessive redistribution, with pork, with connected contractors, with the social negatives of redistribution, with the Democrats using it to obtain and maintain power, or all the rest.

Al Franken shows incompetence of Tea Party leaders, how they help Obama - 09/05/09

The attached video shows U.S. Senator Al Franken discussing Obama healthcare with a group of his constituents at the Minnesota State Fair.

More Tea Party brilliance: an answer video to a U-movie actress - 08/26/09

Glenn Reynolds elucidates that one of the tea parties groups has a new site: teaparty.thearenausa.com/insight/home.jsp

While I enjoy :33 to :37 of the video in the upper right corner of that page (attached hereto), I have to wonder:

Demagogues get wish: Jim Moran townhall "descends into chaos" - 08/25/09

From this:

Rep. Jim Moran's town hall meeting descended into chaos Tuesday night as protestors clashed -- in one case violently -- with supporters of a broad federal health care expansion, leading the 8th District Democrat to angrily seek to evict some of the loudest demonstrators.

Moran and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean addressed a crowd of at least 2,500 at South Lakes High School in Reston, weathering hours of catcalls and heckling mixed with shouts from supporters.

Outside, a spillover crowd of protestors and counter-protesters shouted slogans at each other. A man in a Cato Institute T-shirt scuffled with a man wearing an Obama T-shirt, punched him in the face, and was shortly after kicked off the property by police officers.

OK, the last bit's funny. However, the stupidity exhibited by his opponents isn't funny at all. See the video here (unfortunately lacking the Cato v. Obama match) and the local MSM report here.

If, instead of acting like extras from Lord of the Flies they had found a few of their number who were smart and who were experienced with asking questions they could have tried to discredit Moran or Dean in an intellectual fashion. Moran is rumored to not exactly be a rocket scientist and, while Dean is obviously smart enough to be a doctor he's said some phenomenally stupid things and he could be "encouraged" to do it again if someone wound him up correctly. Both are extremely vulnerable to someone - such as a trial lawyer - who knows how to wind people up and ask them tough questions or get them to say self-incriminating things.

Instead of doing that, the tea parties types are cheapening already abysmal debate in the U.S. They aren't trying to undercut the MSM and politicians by asking tough questions. The fault for that lies with their incompetent and demogogic leaders. More on that here and in many other posts.

Note also the Glenn Reynolds post linked from here in which he said:

a reader suggests: "It would seem a great use of the tea party folks would be to become a living nightmare for jim moran who is leaving the welcome mat out for the uighurs - a thousand people at a district meeting would make an impact." I suppose they would.

Looks like Mr. "That crowd vented real good" got his wish.

UPDATE: Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake was at the event. Her description here, video here. The video has anti-abortion activist Randall Terry being ejected from the meeting. Rather than putting on the stunts described at the link, he could have actually done something effective and put Moran, Hamsher, and all their friends on the defensive. Those who want to defend cheap stunts and childish behavior don't seem to realize that by engaging in those, the protesters are helping or at least not hurting the other side. Instead of finding even just one smart person who could "interrogate" Moran, the protesters - and more importantly their incompetent leaders - are allowing Hamsher to write things like this:

You have to go to one of these events to realize how truly antagonistic and pig ignorant the death panel freaks are. While there are plenty of good reasons to object to the health care bills that both the House and the Senate are likely to pass, they don't appear to know any. Moran eventually took questions from the audience, and three--count 'em, three--people came up and asked if the insurance was going to be so good, why wouldn't he pledge to take it himself. Each time Moran said that he would. They appeared to all be hard of hearing, however, because they kept accusing him of not answering the question and asking it again, as if the word "yes" didn't have any meaning on their planet.

"Energy Citizens": tea partiers' love for corporations goes unrequited (FreedomWorks) - 08/23/09

The American Petroleum Institute is starting a new astroturf movement called "Energy Citizens": rallies in "about 20 states" designed to:

"put a human face on the impacts of unsound energy policy and to aim a loud message at those states' U.S. Senators to avoid the mistakes embodied in the House climate bill and the Obama Administration’s tax increases on our industry."

You can download a copy of the API memo here, also discussed here and discussed here in a completely credulous fashion.

If you've been following our tea parties coverage, you're probably thinking: "corporate astroturf? Call in the tea partiers!" And, in fact, FreedomWorks did call them in to the Houston rally. However, those inside the meeting apparently didn't want to rub shoulders with the hoi polloi and turned them away, as you can see on the attached video. Bear in mind that the source is Public Citizen via ThinkProgress [1], so there's the possibility that it was faked up. However, that appears to be slight. While some will no doubt laugh at them for being useful idiots (OK, I admit it), it's mostly just pathetic. If the oil companies (or FreedomWorks' funders, or the Koch family) want a crowd, at the least try to get some money out of it. That's what it's all about, right?

[1] wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2009/08/20/oil-no-patriots

Dick Durbin probably gets a chuckle from the tea parties' ineffective and childish chants - 08/22/09

Glenn Reynolds alerts us (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/83880) that a crowd of protesters (pictured) formed outside Dick Durbin's office in Chicago and were chanting "no more Dick".

Tea partiers reach final stage, get their own blimp (Americans for Prosperity balloon) - 08/19/09

Aside from conducting parades dressed in Colonial garb, one of the cheap stunts that glassy-eyed Ron Paul fans pulled was flying their own blimp. Hey, it beats trying to make an argument.

Starting earlier this year, the tea parties-promoting "grassroots" group Americans for Prosperity (linked to the Koch family [1], which is in the energy business) skipped the dress-up game stage and went straight for the gold: they've been conducting their own "2009 Nationwide Hot Air Tour" featuring a "70-foot-tall hot air balloon" (hotairtour.org, [2]):

"This cap-and-trade scheme is nothing more than a tax on energy- plain and simple," said AFP President Tim Phillips. "We think American families need to know what these proposals will cost them - lost jobs, even higher energy prices, and less freedom."

OMG! Sheila Jackson-Lee uses cell phone during a constituent's worthless rant and before useless question from another - 08/12/09

If this were a worthless cable TV-style site, we'd be all over the video of Sheila Jackson Lee using her cellphone at a townhall while a constituent engages in a rant (video link). So, I'll leave the expected reaction to HotAir [1].

"Operation Embarrass Your Congressman": OK, but better questions please - 08/02/09

Like human ancestors emerging from the primordial ooze, the tea parties might be growing a brain. Someone who appears part of that overall movement has started a new campaign called "Operation Embarrass Your Congressman" (link) which is highly similar to my two-and-a-half year old plan outlined in the question authority summary.

Glenn Reynolds stoops to promoting giving politicians "bunny ears" - 07/12/09

Glenn Reynolds promotes the following picture at pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/81724, and it's difficult to find the words to describe just how pathetic it is. The picture shows someone wearing a Tucson tea party t-shirt standing behind Rep. Raul Grijalva and holding up two fingers in a "bunny ears" sign.

Andrea Nill of ThinkProgress misleads about Joe the Plumber immigration comments at tea party - 07/06/09

The Houston tea party featured an appearance by Joe the Plumber, who said the following:

I believe in making sure our country is safe first. I believe we need to spend a little more on illegal immigrants. Get them the hell out of our damn country and close the borders down. We can do it. We’ve got the greatest military in the world and you’re telling me we can’t close our borders? - That’s just ridiculous.

Tea Parties for July 4th: locations, live coverage for Independence Day - 07/03/09

I'll be offering some live coverage of the July 4th Independence Day tea parties in this post. In the meantime, if you're looking for specific locations where you can protest and wave your loopy signs, see teapartypatriots.org, surgeusa.org/actions/july4.htm, teapartyday.com, or reteaparty.com/teaparties.

But, before you go, please take a look at my extensive tea parties summary. At that page, I lay out all the reasons why those who aren't extreme fiscal conservatives might want to do something more effective instead.

UPDATE: Apparently the most professional "party" this time is the one in Dallas (dallasteaparty.org/2009/06/americasteaparty). It features headliners like Mickey Dolenz from the Monkees and Internet superstar Stephen Crowder. In keeping with their habit of playing dress-up, they've also got a Thomas Paine impersonator. On an ironic note, they've got Michael Cutler from the Center for Immigration Studies, despite the fact that many loony libertarians think there shouldn't be a border at all. Speaking of which, former Bob Barr running mate Wayne Allyn Root will be there, perhaps to try to sell the crowd used cars.

UPDATE 2: I enjoy parts of the last photo here, although I'm too much of a gentleman to try to figure out what sort of message they're trying to send.

UPDATE 3: These might be taken out of context, but here are two pictures from the big Dallas event showing very few people there:
They do have a horse there however.

UPDATE 4: As could be expected, Glenn Reynolds links to some of the events (link). There are more here - including someone apparently promoting Alex Jones' Infowars - and here. Explaining to the loons what's wrong with some of those signs is left as an exercise.

UPDATE 5: Sign from the Austin, Texas party: "Change is what Germany wanted in 1932" (link).

I'm going to start using the tagline "Home of the smart and effective opposition to Obama and the Democrats."

UPDATE 6: First, I misspelled his name "Wayne Allen Root", now corrected.

And, even if I'd known that SNL alumna Victoria Jackson was going to be at the La Canada version I wouldn't have gone. However, Los Angeles Times columnist Chris Erskine did (link). It's not a complete hit piece, but he's obviously not sympathetic to their concerns (nor much am I):

In such a climate, it strikes me as . . . well, almost un-American to be griping so vehemently about helping those less fortunate. Were this a war, we'd all dig a little deeper to buy guns and battleships.

If those at the parties weren't completely selfish, had an interest in their fellow citizens, and had an intellectual basis for their whining, he might not have written that or at least they'd have an answer to it. As it is, he's mostly right even if his implicit solution isn't mostly right.

Also, the Dallas party was projected to get up to 50,000 attendees. Even one of their supporters is forced to say, "[m]any reported upwards of 15,000 in attendance" (link). And, that was apparently the main event.

And, at the Dallas event, John Cornyn was booed; that's the best the partiers can do because actually engaging him in debate and showing all the ways he's wrong is beyond them.

An MSM report summarizing attendance at all the parties isn't available, and Pajamas Media is strangely silent on that issue. I'll be very, very generous and estimate that the attendance for all events combined was 150,000. That represents 0.05% of the U.S. population, and that's a very high estimate.

UPDATE 7: Instapundit scours Google News for MSM reports; apparently the hundreds of PJTV "citizen journalists" failed him (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/81371). In addition to towns I've never heard of, one report he links to is "Genesee TEA Party holds Independence Day tax protest, plans campaign against Hurley millage" (link). "Millage" means property tax, and Hurley refers to a hospital run by the city of Flint. These people are practically carrying the local Democrat over the goal line:

The 0.9-mill countywide millage for Hurley would generate $10 million per year for the next 10 years. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay an extra $45 per year in property taxes if it passes.

Patrick Wardell, CEO and president of Hurley, said the city-owned hospital serves 69 percent of the county's uninsured and underinsured. He added that the services the hospital offers, such as a children's hospital and burn unit, are not money-makers but act as a safety net county-wide.

"Because of the nature of the mission of a place like Hurley, serving the whole county, cost-cutting is simply not enough," he said.

At the TEA Party, some county residents disagreed. Mark Berberich of Flint said Hurley should have to run like a business, and some businesses end up failing if they're not bringing in enough funds.

"I don't want anyone to fail, but some will fail," he said.

If Hurley is mismanaged, they should investigate using public records and then suggest ways to improve their operations. That's not what they're doing.

More tea party stupidity from Jim Geraghty - 07/02/09

Glenn Reynolds links to this further example of tea party stupidity from Jim Geraghty:

But if I may make a recommendation, try to walk away with something of a plan (after attending one of the tea parties). As (Instapundit) and I have noted, chanting and waving signs are great, but if you really want to influence the way government works, you have to put yourself in front of the folks who make the decisions. And those at the lowest levels - city and town councils, mayors, county boards, members of Congress - are rarely used to crowds of people passionately making the case for spending less money.

1. It's good that he's encouraging people to do more than just wave loopy signs, but it's not good that he considers waving loopy signs a valid endeavor.
2. The only extent to which the "partiers" give a whoop about "spending less money" is when it comes to their own pocketbooks. Remember: these are "Taxed Enough Already" parties, not "sound fiscal management" parties.
3. For an example of a "crowd of people passionately" making their case, see this example of intimidation.
4. None of the tea partiers that I've seen so far has made any sort of case, but have simply whined. Making a case involves making a valid argument, and none of the ones I've seen so far have been able to do that. All they've been able to come up with is demands, shouted or printed on loopy signs. For whatever reason, none of them have been able to rise to the level of asking politicians tough questions. And, none of their leaders - including Reynolds, Geraghty, and all the rest - are trying to help them rise to that level.
5. There are things far more important than fiscal, but that's all the partiers and their leaders are concentrating on. Massive immigration will lead to even more spending, yet those pulling the strings on their "movement" support massive immigration and in all except a few cases the partiers aren't even mentioning that. Sonia Sotomayor will affect the U.S. for decades to come, yet that's completely off the partiers' radar. Their leaders are concentrating on issues that, in the greater scheme of things, aren't nearly as important as others.

"Where the Congressman Isn't", or more tea party briliance (Mark Kirk, cap and trade) - 06/30/09

Glenn Reynolds directs our attention [1] to a report [2] from Marathon Pundit. It's one more example of just how clueless the leaders of the tea parties are (bolding added):

Glenn Reynolds, RedState promote anti-intellectualism and intimidation (completely ineffective protest against Tim Bishop, tea parties) - 06/24/09

The attached video shows a group from the "Conservative Society for Action" protesting at a town hall meeting held by Long Island Rep. Tim Bishop. It's difficult to describe just how idiotic it is. Rather than going inside and trying to engage him in debate about his policies, they stand outside waving loopy signs, conducting a sing-a-long, and chanting various slogans. Not only that, but they cluster around the windows of the meeting location, no doubt intimidating those inside. In other words, they're engaging in anti-intellectual actions more often associated with ACORN, CodePink, and other far-left groups.

And, all of that is being promoted by Glenn Reynolds [1] and by Brian Faughnan of RedState [2].

The only appearance on the video by Bishop is as he enters; someone yells at him, asking whether he has something to say to his constituents. The same person then says, "stop spending our money". That's it; they didn't even have a good question that could be shouted at him. Once again: I can't adequately describe just how idiotic this is.

For the intelligent, effective alternative, see the question authority page.

UPDATE: Someone from the tea party side weigh in in comments, indicating that there are videos from inside the meeting hall on Youtube, but without providing a link. They're here and here. One video was uploaded on the day of this post, the other the next day; whether the first was even up there when I posted this isn't known, but neither of those two videos were in the Instapundit and RedState posts discussed in this post. The two videos were added in a comment on the RedState post at 4:21pm EDT today (6/25). And, the user who uploaded the attached video only appears to have one video in his account; the new ones are from someone else. Next time I'll remember to reload RedState every five minutes so I don't miss anything.

And, both RedState and another commenter are crowing about Bishop cancelling a planned meeting. That's a very mild version of this. Bishop should be encouraged to have as many meetings as possible, where those with valid arguments can make them. Crowing about shutting down debate is the way campus far-lefties operate.

More on the videos after I watch them; I'm going to guess that there's little more than ranting but we'll see.

UPDATE 2: I only made it through the first six minutes of the first video; I think I've seen enough. What's there is little more than angry ranting and attempts to shout him down; despite what they say on their post [3], I didn't see any valid questions being asked. That page has a list of the thing he supposedly supports, and the list is obviously false. Does anyone outside of their group think he really supports "the destruction of our private healthcare industry" or wants to "[destroy] the United States economy"? And, at that page, they even admit being an angry mob:

After the meeting was over, Congressman Bishop once again had to run the gauntlet of Tea Party Patriots back to his car. This time he was escorted by Suffolk County police, but he was dogged by a crowd of about two hundred brandishing signs and singing chants of Pelosi, Bishop, No Difference! One wag remarked that the only thing missing from that scene was torches being carried by the crowd!

[1] pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/80760 says: TEA PARTIERS ELSEWHERE TAKE NOTE OF THIS APPROACH: Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) Runs from Constituents. As Jim Geraghty noted, you can make a big impression by showing up in person at things like congressional district meetings.

[2] redstate.com/brianfaughnan/2009/06/24/rep-tim-bishop-d-ny-runs-from-constituents

[3] nygoe.wordpress.com/2009/06/23/

0.005% of Los Angeles' population turns out for massive tea party ("GayPatriot" doesn't approve comment) - 05/18/09

As the world goes to heck, the tea parties continue on whining at a heretofore unseen pace, with a massive protest in Westwood, California momentously occuring yesterday.

Tea parties continue mostly helping Obama at new, relaxed pace - 05/10/09

Remember how all the tea parties forced a sea change in Washington DC as formerly corrupt political hacks - weighed down by the tons of tea bags they'd received - changed their ways? Yeah, me neither. In fact, Obama will probably be into his second term before many of those involved realize just how dumb their leaders are.

* One slight glimmer of non-stupidity comes to us from Buffalo, where the leader of one group - despite indicating several other problems - exhorted people to "Go to the public appearances of your state legislators. Call them out on these issues they have voted on. . . . Embarrass them in public." That's highly similar to my question authority plan, just as long as the idea is to ask them tough questions about policy rather than simply engaging in rants. (link via Glenn Reynolds at pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/78371).

* Returning to standard form, those in Albuquerque 'are planning a “sizzling” welcome' for Obama's visit on May 14. That will consist of forming a "demonstration line" in an attempt to "shut down" their city. They'll also be wearing red shirts. The much smarter thing to do would be to try to get inside the event to ask Obama a tough question, but actually opposing Obama in an effective, non-buffoonish way is beyond their grasp (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/78373/, albuquerqueteaparty.com

* Insty alerts us (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/78331) to:

a report from today’s Clinton, Connecticut Tea Party: "Another Tea party in a deep blue state. About 75 people. But not bad for a very sleepy and may I say wealthy CT shoreline town." I’ll bet there were a lot of Obama donors there last election. Maybe fewer, next time?

High or dumb?, the perennial question. What a tiny fraction of a deep blue district thinks will have absolutely no impact on what that Rep is going to do.

* Continuing, from pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/78319:

a reader suggests: "It would seem a great use of the tea party folks would be to become a living nightmare for jim moran who is leaving the welcome mat out for the uighurs - a thousand people at a district meeting would make an impact." I suppose they would.

Of course, one person engaging Moran in debate about his issues would have a far greater impact, but that would be too intellectual. Better to get out the pitchforks. Certainly, despite the fact that there are over 600,000 people in Moran's district, he might notice if different sets of a 1000 people kept showing up at his meetings. Or, he might just consider them to be the write-off-able fringe. The decisions is his, and he probably wouldn't face a loss just because a few thousand Galt loons who would never vote for him decide to come out to one of his events. Note that the "reader" is echoing the low-wattage plan from Jim Geraghty.

"CodeRed": angry renters, tea partiers descend on Tucson city council meeting (Instapundit misleads) - 05/06/09

Here's what Glenn Reynolds says (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/78071):

MORE LOCAL ACTIVISM: Tucson Tea Party sends 1000 activists to City Council Meeting.

I don't need to tell you that the truth is a bit different:

1. The page he links (tucsonteaparty.org/?p=6) says that more than 1000 turned out, yet the two MSM reports linked only say more than 700. The third doesn't give a number. And, the linked page includes this: The Tucson Tea Party, Arizona Multi-Housing Association, as well as the Tucson Realtors' Association encouraged their members to attend. How many real estate agents were there? I'm going to guess a large number. Not only that, but according to one MSM article, Many speakers were bused in by groups opposing the tax and left when their buses departed.

2. The angry renters [1] decided to be like Code Pink with the difference being that since pink was taken they encouraged their members to wear red. The tea party page says 2/3 wore that color; one MSM report says it was only a third, another just says "many" were so attired.

3. Another MSM article says, "The proposed tax increases have met a substantial amount of resistance in both the city government and the community."

4. Clearly, the tea partiers are glomming on to an unpopular proposal and taking advantage of its unpopularity among more powerful groups (like Realtors) to inflate their impact. Glenn Reynolds is misleading his readers into thinking that all "1000" were tea partiers, when they clearly were not.

5. The tea partiers clearly have no understanding of leverage. They're going to a meeting and asking the City Council - all Dems - to do what they want. The council will probably do what they wanted to do all along, even if they have to change their tactics a bit. The tea partiers only power over the Council is their votes and perhaps the possibility of a recall (the Realtors probably have much more power). Yet, someone with a great deal of power - such as a major contributor to the councilmembers or someone who otherwise can have an impact on their political careers - could more or less tell the council what to do. The partiers can form a PAC to get such power, but they don't have the numbers or the ideological foundation. However, they can also get such power over politicians by asking them discrediting questions on video. That will give them some degree of power over those politicians' political careers, and that's going to have an impact on what policies those politicians push. I'm going to guess that most of those speaking at the event simply whined rather than asking tough questions specifically designed to make the councilmembers look bad. The other groups might be smart enough to pursue such a plan, but clearly the tea partiers are not.

6. The tax increase is apparently to fund non-profits; some of those non-profits might support illegal immigration or have other issues that those smarter than the tea partiers could take advantage of by asking councilmembers why they're funding such groups.

7. In addition to Insty, Jim Geraghty of National Review has given this event his idiot's stamp of approval (link).

[1] Reference to this unrelated Freedomworks astroturf campaign: angryrenter.com

Obama baits tea party protesters; will they be able to figure out what he's doing? (no) - 04/29/09

Earlier today, Barack Obama spoke in St Louis and said among other things:

You see folks waving tea bags around -- let me just remind them I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care cuts over the long term, how we are gong to stabilize social security. Lets not play games.

There's a very strong possibility that Obama wants to keep the tea party magic flowing, because those "parties" serve his interests. The partiers have no stated principles, they wave loopy signs, and there are so few of them (just 0.1 to 0.2% of Americans turned out) that they'll have no electoral impact whatsoever. The "tea parties" give every leader what they want: a small, ineffective, fringe opposition.

This is akin to, say, Bill OReilly baiting CodePink and then sending out a camera crew to take pictures of their loopy signs at their protest against him.

The "tea party" leaders aren't smart enough to figure any of that out and to create a broad-based movement. Instead, they're just giving Obama what he wants.

Tea party hilarity: Randy Barnett promotes Constitutional Convention to repeal federal income tax - 04/24/09

The leaders of the tea parties are more hilarious - and incapable of doing math - than ever, as Randy Barnett takes to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to offer "The Case for a Federalism Amendment/How the Tea Partiers can make Washington pay attention" (link). He proposes a feint involving a Constitutional Convention which would then encourage Congress to do away with the federal income tax:

Article V provides that, "on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states," Congress "shall call a convention for proposing amendments." Before becoming law, any amendments produced by such a convention would then need to be ratified by three-quarters of the states... it is precisely the fear of a runaway convention that states can exploit to bring Congress to heel... Here's how: State legislatures can petition Congress for a convention to propose a specific amendment. Congress can then avert a convention by proposing this amendment to the states, before the number of petitions reaches two-thirds...

The short version of my reply was offered by Monty Python forty years ago: link.

The longer version involves someone sitting down with Barnett to repeat to him over and over: "you don't have the numbers." That same kind, patient person can explain to him that his plan requires a huge amount of support, yet all the tea parties could muster was around 0.2% of the U.S. population. By my count, there are less than 30 red states. He wouldn't get all of those and he almost certainly wouldn't get any blue states. Yet, he'd need 34 states just to get it called and 38 to get anything from it ratified. His feint has absolutely no chance of being taken seriously; all he'd do is waste peoples' time.

In other words, this is in no way, shape or form a realistic plan. Barnett subtitles this a "how" article, but it's more like a "how they could do it in a fantasy world where basic numerical realities no longer apply". He is, in brief, living in a dream world.

On the plus side, he's showing yet again just how clueless those who support the tea parties are.

Jim Geraghty/NRO's idiotic ACORN-style plan (+ his idiotic email reply) - 04/23/09

Last week, Jim Geraghty of National Review's "Campaign Spot" weighed in on where the tea parties should go next and offered the following idiotic, ACORN-style plan (link, bolding added):

If 100-1,000 people show up at a rally, the event may or may not get media coverage, and that coverage may or may not be snarky or dismissive. Congressmen may or may not notice, and the President's spokesman will announce he's not aware of them... But if 100-1,000 people show up at a town council, city council, etc. meeting, in most places, that's an earthquake. It varies widely, but most local government budget meetings are sleepy affairs, and many local lawmakers are used to settling their spending with minimal scrutiny. They've never seen anything like several hundred people showing up with the same message of "don't waste my money."

I sent him an email with a link to this post in which I described how the tea parties are futile and in which I link to my perennial better alternative: question authority.

ReTeaParty.com's righteous Randroid rant - 04/22/09

ReTeaParty.com was involved in the past tea parties in some way and is currently planning a series of "parties" for July 4. At their site, they stress how independent and non-partisan they are. "Non-partisan" in this case apparently means "anyone who isn't reflexively sickened by Randroids", as they offer a video entitled "This is John Galt Speaking | A Montage of Modern History": link.

Intelligent & classy: Congressman heckled, booed at South Carolina tea party - 04/18/09

The attached video shows South Carolina Congressman Gresham Barrett being booed and heckled at a recent tea party. They even had an airhorn. Barrett is a Republican, but the reason for the reception was apparently because he voted for TARP. A few points:

Jan Schakowsky: tea parties are "despicable". Here's how to affect her political career - 04/18/09

A few days ago, Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois said that the tea parties are "despicable" and "shameful." Now, Glenn Reynolds informs us (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/76900) that she'll be making an appearance at the Peoria County Democratic Women's May Day Dinner on May 3 (link), saying:

I WONDER IF ANY “TEA PARTY” PROTESTERS WILL SHOW UP?... There were 3,000 Tea Party protesters in Peoria. They might take exception to her calling them despicable and shameful.

If you'd like to do something about this, there are two basic ways to do it:

1. Stand around outside with signs. However, there are several problems with that approach: some of the signs might be loopy and make your protest look bad. And, you're relying on the local media to cover your protest; they may or may not mention it and even if they do it will only be briefly. And, politicians are used to being protested by small groups. Schakowsky isn't going to be overly concerned.

2. Engage Schakowsky in debate in an attempt to make her look bad and have an impact on her political career. If someone can get video of the exchange, it could be uploaded to video sharing sites where large numbers of potential voters can see it; her opponents in future elections might even use it in their ads.

The second choice is by far the smarter and more effective. Far-left groups like ACORN are only capable of holding street protests; the tea partiers can try to rise above that level and engage politicians in an intellectual debate about what those politicians support. To pursue it, see the basic action plan in the question authority summary.

One of the best questions you can ask is the one in the DREAM Act summary; Schakowsky isn't a co-sponsor of the 2009 version, but she did co-sponsor the 2007 version. If she tries to bluff her way out of it by claiming that there's some difference between the 2009 and 2007 versions, point out that both will have the same impact of allowing those former illegal aliens covered under the bill to take college educations away from U.S. citizens.

Another question would be timely, regarding the fact that on May Day 2006 she spoke at an immigration march that was organized by those linked to the Mexican government.

However, I don't suggest asking her about her comments about the tea parties. All that will do is result in a useless back and forth regarding differing opinions. The tea partiers have one take on the protests, Schakowsky has another, and there's no way to resolve that.

I'll be contacting the local tea party organizers letting them know about this better proposal, and if anyone is in the area or knows those who are please send them this page.

Tea party turnout number: should you trust Pajamas Media or Silver's MSM-based estimate? - 04/18/09

Now, here's a tough one. Who do I trust less: Nate Silver, or Pajamas Media and Glenn Reynolds?

Silver says that a bit more than 300,000 turned out for all the tea parties (link). And, he does that by linking almost 400 events in cities across the nation to local reports with their estimates of the turnout.

On the other hand, pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/76884 links to pajamasmedia.com/blog/pjtvs-crowd-estimates-for-tea-parties-still-climbing:

The estimated number of participants in yesterday’s tea parties - sent in by citizen journalists who signed up to the site to enter attendance data from the event they participated in - currently stands at more than 551,000. More than 850 ordinary Americans signed up to report on their community’s protest. The number of participants will continue to rise as more of our field observers upload their photos and videos of the events and send us their attendance figures.

But, wait, it gets even better, with pjtv.com/?cmd=tea-party headlining "US Turnout: 618,068".

In their quest to be like ACORN in every way, did the party promoters take another leaf from that far-left group's book and just start inventing people? I'll leave deciding that up to you.

Irony meets stupidity: Chicago May 1 immigration rally might have gotten more people than all tea parties - 04/17/09

Media Matters for America offers a clip from Fox News in which Geraldo Rivera says (mediamatters.org/countyfair/200904160042):

"[T]he grand total of all of the tea party demonstrators" was less than the number "at that immigration rally in 2006 in the city of Chicago alone"

Even if the "parties" got a little more than that, Rivera isn't far off. And, that helps illustrate just how pathetic the entire "tea party" concept is.

And, in my case, it's sadly ironic. Back in February 2007, I went to an Obama appearance hoping to ask him a question about the fact that the very same immigration march - the one where he spoke - was organized by those linked to the Mexican government.

At the end of that post, I said, I wasn't able to ask that question, but I strongly urge everyone to go to his future appearances and try to ask it or something similar.

I spent the next 21 months trying to urge people to do just that, with zero success. If at any time during those 21 months, someone had really pressed Obama about that or about the dozens of other legitimate topics they had available to them and had caught the exchange on video, they could have greatly reduced his chances of becoming president.

And, if the question was about immigration, they could have done something about Geraldo, MMFA, and other illegal activity supporters.

Instead, those supposed Obama opponents engaged in a series of worthless and oftentimes counter-productive activities. They lied about his policies, making it easy for the mainstream media to avoid discussing things about him that were true. Or, they constantly pushed topics that clearly weren't going to break through. And, so on.

And, now those same low-wattage leaders are pushing the "tea parties".

HotAir unwittingly shows futility, stupidity, perniciousness of tea parties (Susan Roesgen) - 04/17/09

Allahpundit of HotAir has posted two videos that - completely unwittingly - show just how futile, stupid, and pernicious the tea parties are: link.

Hartford tea party draws 3000; Instapundit thinks that would worry Chris Dodd - 04/15/09

Glenn Reynolds opines (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/76738): "Hartford Courant: Hartford Tea Party Draws Thousands. That can't make Chris Dodd feel any better" and links to the contention that 3,000 turned out at that event (link).

Ed Morrissey makes reasonable albeit unrealistic case for tea parties - 04/15/09

Ed Morrissey of HotAir links to a new Gallup poll called "Views of Income Taxes Among Most Positive Since 1956" (link) and opines [1]:

If 48% believe that their taxes are just right, it might be because that’s the exact same percentage that will pay zero in the near future, according to Barack Obama’s tax policies. With Obama’s emphasis on refundables, 48.7% of Americans will wind up paying no income tax at all. For them, zero is the right amount, and they have no reason to be unhappy... yet ...Unfortunately, in a short period of time, even those people will have to start paying taxes, and not in small amounts...

And that's due to all the spending that Obama is doing now; see this. And, this would definitely be a powerful argument that could swing millions around to opposing Obama's policies, with a couple of caveats:

1. Will the actual long-term impact be as described? Isn't it possible that the experts are wrong, have interests they aren't disclosing, and so on? How would those experts answer their critics? Have their ideas been tested through debate?

2. Morrissey's argument is most definitely not the one that the tea parties are projecting to the world. Rather, their objection is to taxes in general, and in many or most cases not out of ideology but simply out of extreme self-centeredness. Many leftie useful idiots actually want what's best for the U.S., even if what they support would actually be counter-productive. Many or most of those at the "parties" have absolutely no interest in what's best for the U.S. All they care about is what's best for them.

[1] hotair.com/archives/2009/04/15/tax-day-and-tea-parties-the-writing-on-the-wall

Tax Day Tea Party open thread: turnout numbers, pictures, sanity... (UPDATE: "They wanted to be like Code Pink") - 04/15/09

The Tax Day Tea Parties are finally here! All across the U.S., a sub-miniscule fraction of the U.S. population will be standing on street corners holding signs that will make them look bad and ultimately help Barack Obama by giving the false impression that his opposition is "mean-spirited" and weak in numbers.

Pictures and turn-out numbers will follow as this momentous (for them) day progresses...

NOON UPDATE: From the looks of it, the parties will be incredibly lucky to get 100,000 at all events combined, and it will probably be far under that figure.

And, Glenn Reynolds shows exactly where the movement is coming from (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/76692), highlighting this picture from the Cincinnati protest:

4pm UPDATE: Have they realized how dumb this idea was yet? For an example, here's video of one from Eureka in Humboldt County, CA: link. The fact that 1200 to 1500 supposedly turned out in a city with 28,000 people might mean something until you realize that there are around 126,000 people in that county, there are more in surrounding counties, and some people might have come from southern Oregon. And, then you look at the election results for CA's 1st district (link). Out of about 265,000 votes, the American Independent candidate got over 22,000 and the Dem incumbent won with over 181,000 votes or 68%. The GOP contender got almost 62,000 votes, and there really isn't much need for the Dem to worry all that much about 2% of that number.

THE CIRCUS HAS LEFT TOWN UPDATE: Nate Silver estimates that all the parties combined got a little over 250,000 people (link); he says there are some other, probably smaller parties he's not counting. His long list of cities includes links to local estimates, which may or may not be off but he's probably within a good percentage of the total. In comments, someone points out that Obama got 200,000 people to turn out in Berlin, 100,000 in St. Louis (vs. 1000 for the "party"), 80,000 in Denver (vs. 5000 for the "party"), and 75,000 in Portland.

And, taking a break from swearing, ranting, and making illogical statements, Kos tweets (via Politico):

Cons finding out why I generally don't like protests on my side — they bring out the wackos. But they wanted to be like Code Pink.

AT LEAST THEY'RE EFFECTIVE FOR SOMEONE UPDATE: Per Drudge, Fox News' ratings surged due to the "parties", getting 3,390,000 views between 8 and 11pm vs. 1,210,000 for MSNBC. No word on how many t-shirts were sold by various vendors or how the career tracks of those GOP consultants pushing the protests were impacted.

THE BLIMP IS GROWING UPDATE: Silver has revised his estimate to 300,000 (link).

Tea parties have arrived! Paul Krugman does hit piece on them. - 04/13/09

Paul Krugman of the New York Times might have done the tea parties a great big favor by giving them a great big pinata to whack at: the fact that Krugman tries to do a hit piece on them (link). Shortly after engaging in ad hominems and losing his train of thought for a few paragraphs, he says this:

...it turns out that the tea parties don’t represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. 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.

While there's at least one instance of "AstroTurf" (a video produced by the GOP), in the main the parties do represent an outpouring of public sentiment: there are a lot of angry people out there. The problem is that their anger is unfocused and what they're doing is going to be completely ineffective. Rather than "AstroTurf", the word he's looking for is "useful idiot". Those attending the "parties" are more or less simply useful idiots for Beltway insiders like Dick Armey and Grover Norquist as well as for GOP strategists who want to make a name for themselves, t-shirt vendors, Pajamas Media, Fox News, and the Koch family.

If those attending the events wanted to stop being useful idiots and really wanted to do something effective - and something that would be opposed by everyone on that list except the t-shirt vendors - they'd help block amnesty. As a bonus, that would also be opposed by Paul Krugman.

HuffPost, The Atlantic, LGF, Gawker, Sullivan, C&L, & more spread smear video (Glenn Beck, "burn the books") - 04/12/09

The attached video is a local meetup for Glenn Beck's "912 Project" and features someone who's probably genuine giving an anti-Communism and partly paranoid rant. However, near the five minute mark, a lady's voice is heard shouting out "burn the books". She's then challenged by a male attendee who asks her whether she's serious; she replies that yes she is.

Honk three times if you're on the road to Idiocracy: bombastic Bob Basso gives final tea party talk - 04/11/09

Bob Basso - the motivational speaker and actor who's also a Youtube sensation [1] due to dressing up as Tom Paine and pulling a "mad as hell" act - is back with a new video which was shown as part of the Glenn Beck program.

Tea party schism? Will powerful backers try to push amnesty despite wishes of base? - 04/09/09

Dick Armey of FreedomWorks, Grover Norquist, and the Kochtopus are all involved in the tea parties in one way or another. And, all of them support massive immigration and would probably support new amnesty plans.

Instapundit chats with tea party "facilitator" from Koch-linked group - 04/08/09

Over to Glenn Reynolds (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/75986) for the latest on the "grassroots" tea parties:

PJTV: I talk with PubliusPundit - and Tucson Tea Party organizer - Robert Mayer, and with Tea Party facilitators Matt Kibbe of Freedomworks and Chris Bond of Americans for Prosperity about tea parties and where they should go next.

Click their name's link for more on the AFP; at least as of November of last year the chairman of their foundation's board was David Koch of the Koch family and they'd received money from that foundation; do a search for Kochtopus if you aren't familiar with their good works.

It's just a popular movement, dontcha know.

ACORN denies knowledge of "tea parties". Ergo, they must be planning to sabotage them - 04/08/09

As previously discussed, someone claimed without providing any evidence whatsoever that ACORN was planning on infiltrating and sabotaging the tea parties. This rumor has now spread to Neil Cavuto on Fox News; they might have actual sources, or they might have just been relying on the original unsubstantiated claim.

Over to Adam Serwer at TAPPED (link):

I called up ACORN Executive Director Steve Kest and asked him about it. "I saw some mention of this on a blog, I have no idea even what the tea parties are," Kest said. He then asked me to explain to him what the tea parties were having only just heard about them yesterday. When I laughed, Kest said, "Seriously, do you know more about what the deal is here?"

Despite that, ACORN might in fact be doing something. However, it's beyond idiotic to go from one completely unsourced claim to actual accusations, and things like that can and will backfire and make ACORN look if not better at least not as bad as they could look if people would just concentrate on the things about them that are true. This is reminiscent of how some people spread false stories before the election when telling the truth would have been far more effective. We see how that worked out.

Unfortunately, getting through to these people (at least by me) is impossible. Any criticism is met with the accusation that you're on ACORN's side. And, perhaps it would be best if that wing were discredited. Their underlying philosophy is malign: they only care about themselves and have little interest in what's good for the U.S. as a whole. After the tea parties completely fail to have any impact, let them go off and form their own political party in Galt's Gulch or something.