Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Tea Party Leader says movement “in a very disconcerting position”

May 5, 2009

Eric Odom, the web administrator at taxdayteaparty.com, may be wisening up.  After helping to launch several of the tea parties from around the nation, Odom recently has taken a back seat.  Why?  Odom seems to have been disillusioned by the protests themselves.

There are better things to do with a tea bag than throw it into the Potomac River.

There are better things to do with a tea bag than throw it into the Potomac River.

When there are 189,000 people who are fighting President Obama on federal issues, nothing happens.  It is a relatively small group of people when you consider the President’s 70% approval rating.  Odom says that teabaggers need to concentrate on local politics rather than national politics.

This is the Howard Dean approach to politics and worked extraordinarily well for the Democratic Party.  In fact, because of Dean’s decisions as the leader of the DNC, Democrats were able to win several local elections in states as conservative as Texas.  When this happens, people in the community start to get used to the Democratic Party and are more likely to vote them into higher office.

Here is the complete letter released by Odom:

Hi [Name],

If you’re concerned about the direction of the Tea Party effort, it is VERY important that you take a few moments to read and digest this entire email.

I’m writing you because I find the Tea Party effort in a very disconcerting position at the moment. I’ve been on vacation for the past few days, so I’m a little behind on all the news, but from what I’m reading it sounds like there has been a lot of things said internally, within the effort, that probably should not have been said.

For the record… I’m not writing you as a representative of any organization or coalition. I’m not writing you as director of this org or that org; Rather, I’m writing you as Eric Odom. Eric Odom the activist, the tea party organizer, and the concerned American.

I now recognize that I should have written to you about this sooner. I know that many of you are emailing me and calling my cell phone to try and figure out which “group” I am joining or which “coalition” I support, so I thought I would address that question, and follow it up with a full explanation of what I’m personally doing post April 15th.

To give you some quick background… I’m the guy who developed both the site and concept for the February 27th Chicago Tea Party as well as the April 15th Tax Day Tea Party. I’m not in any way suggesting this was all my idea, but I am asserting that I’ve been HEAVILY involved since minute one of everything that has happened in the movement to date.

This has given me a very unique and humble perspective on the Tea Party effort. Unique because I have numbers and data that no one else has. I mean, I know exactly how many visitors we had, what they were searching for, who contacted us, what they were asking, how many contacts we made, and how many media mentions we were privy to (among MANY other things). Humble because I’m the kind of guy who likes to sit behind the scenes and work to facilitate an environment where true grassroots activity can occur, which has provided a much different view of this movement as it unfolded as opposed to what many others have seen happen.

Since day one, I’ve strongly held the opinion that there should never be an “official” coalition or group to “oversee” the Tea Party effort. In fact, my belief is that doing so is impossible.

This caused problems between myself and a couple other national organizers because some of us shared vastly different opinions on how this movement should function.

Yes, we had a website. And yes, our website had sponsors (some of which, by the way, I was not very happy about), but I believe our sponsors did help us get an early nudge that we needed for mass attention, and in turn, mass collaboration.

But to me that should have been the end of it. In my view, our goal should have always been to simply facilitate an environment where local organizers could take the lead in this movement.

Sure, our website had difficulties… but that was a learning process for us and one we learned great lessons from. That said, we did everything possible to stay out of the way of local organizers. We didn’t try and tell organizers what to do or say, we just tried to provide advice and help others share their experiences.

Essentially, our function as a website was solely to market local Tea Parties and help organizers collaborate. That was it!

Now I understand that some out there are saying “there is poor leadership involved within the group who originally started all of this”, but to those folks I would remind them that I never wanted to be THE leader of this effort. Nor did I believe any of us at TaxDayTeaParty.com should try and become THE leader of this effort.

I constantly stated my desire to see all 800+ local organizers take a leadership role at the local level and begin developing local coalitions, taxpayer groups, lobby networks, citizen action groups, etc. It has been and always will be my opinion that a top down model fails every time in the modern day free-market movement.

So why on earth should we try and do it again?

And as a side note, we at some point need to understand the VITAL importance of regaining control of our LOCAL government. I get that fighting Federal battles is sexy and everyone is doing it, but I also get that we’re losing our asses in our own back yards!

So I cringe when I see people claiming to be “leaders” in this movement make statements about the Federal government and how that is where all of our energy needs to be spent.

Here’s a memo for you… the current administration as well as the current congress are doing a fantastic job of defeating themselves. Not to say we just ignore them, but if we devote all of our time to the Federal fight yet lose our states… we do so at our own peril.

I think this is why I have always gotten along so well with Stacy Mott of Smart Girl Politics and Ned Ryun over at American Majority. They get it. They’re a part of a group of free-market movement folks who understand the value in fighting out-of-control government at the local level and how it in turn affects government at the federal level.

So, I think a part of what I’m trying to say here is that I never personally left the Tea Party Movement. In fact, I would suggest quite the opposite. I would, however, admit that I lost interest in being a part of a national “brand” that centers around planned protests in a top down format.

Also, I was never once a fan of trying to brand the free-market movement as the “Tea Party Movement.” The DontGo Movement already learned a hard lesson from trying to do just that (http://dontgomovement.com). Last August we had a HUGE groundswell of action related to the energy debate, and through Twitter our campaign was branded “DontGo.” The reason for that word is because our message is that we were paying extremely high gas prices and congress needed to stay in session to find a solution to the problem BEFORE going on vacation.

Just like with the Tea Party effort, many media outlets and political pundits put pen to paper claiming the “DontGo” campaign was officially a movement. This is what became the DontGo Movement.

The problem, however, is that there was an error in the way DontGo was viewed. DontGo was not a movement; Rather, it was a campaign within a movement. The real movement is much larger… the real movement is the nationwide free-market movement. DontGo shouldnt have been branded as a movement. Instead, it should have been branded as a national grassroots campaign within the movement.

I believe this should be the case for the Tea Party effort as well. The movement already existed, we just needed to be called into action. The Tea Party effort is not the movement… the Tea Party effort is a campaign we launched within the movement.

So what are we up to now?

I’m currently working with a coalition of folks that have opted to take a quieter, more strategic approach to the energy surrounding the Tea Party effort. We’re developing a two pronged plan for long term political activity within the free-market movement, and I want to invite you to be a part of this effort.

1) Federal
At the Federal level, we believe we’re looking at three very significant fights coming up that our coalitions and networks should be heavily involved in. It is our opinion that these are fights that we can not only play a major role in, but we think we can actually influence the outcome.

–Socialized Healthcare
–Internet Taxation
–Union Card Check
(and a few other free-market related issues as well)

2) Local/State
Our goals at the local level are as follows (not limited to):
–Revitalize and strengthen the initiative & referandum process
–Heavily support and push through Term Limit legislation
–Identify candiates for school board, city council, county boards, state legislatures and state constitutional offices… and arm them with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed at running for office
–Develop a large scale fifty state network of independently operated grassroots networks/coalitions that can effectively combat extreme local taxation
–Identify potential leaders and groups within the movement and provide them with the tools needed to expand and become politically successful

3) Long term planning for a large scale 50 state Capital protest on tax day of 2010

We hope to kick this effort off on June 1st, 2009, and we would love to have you as a part of the team.

Consider this a special invitation to a private, national strategic planning conference call that will take place on Tuesday, May 12th, 2009. In order to accept the invitation, you MUST send an email to info@taxdayteaparty.com and tell me why you desire to be a part of this conference call.

We’ll reply with call credentials once we’ve reviewed your response and approve you as a participant (sorry for the long process… trying to block those who simply wish to disrupt what we’re doing).

In the meantime, in regards to the Tea Party effort… keep doing what you do. We need lots more of it and I think we’ll get it. But let’s not lose focus on the bigger picture, and let’s make sure we’re thinking about the entire movement as we head into an important 2010 election cycle.

We the People have the power to take back our country. We need to get back on track and do the work that needs to be done to fix this broken system.

Best Regards,
-Eric Odom

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Michelle Bachmann returns to idiocy, angry at disinvitation to government orgies

May 4, 2009

With all the innuendo in the following video, you’d think that Michelle Bachmann was gunning for the lead role in Milf Fuckers 39 instead of reelection in Minnesota’s 6th district.  On Saturday, Bachmann and Governor Tim Pawlenty gave speeches at a tax day tea party.

Bachmann is angry that the government is having an orgy without her and that it has already “spent its wad.”  To be fair, Bachmann simply wasn’t the prettiest girl at the party and the government just couldn’t hold out when they heard this speech by North Carolina congresswoman Virginia Foxx.

We need some real opposition in this country.  Not some fire and brimstone, good versus evil nutjob that believes the second coming of Christ will happen the second we have single-payer healthcare in this country.  The ideas are so archaic that you have to go back to 18th century, Salem Witch Trials logic in order to wrap your head around the idiocy.

For the love of Nathaniel Hawthorne and all reasonable people, get Bachmann the hell out of Congress.

RWP Rating: Strange

The Top 8 Dumbest Things about the Republican Party

May 1, 2009

This feature is part one of a two-part series centered on the two major political parties in the United States.  For The 8 Dumbest Things about the Democratic Party, click here.

Is the Republican party going to be ok?

Is the Republican party going to be ok?

8.  Republicans believe that The War on Drugs can be solved if we throw everyone into prison.

Republicans get to take credit for the first recorded usage of the term “War on Drugs.”  It was used by Richard Nixon in 1969 as a way to fire up the base of the party against the counter-culture hippies that despised the Vietnam War.

Thanks to the War on Drugs, our prisons are overfilled.  The cost is so high to run some of these prisons that they have to be sold to private companies.  The legislature of California actually considered selling San Quentin prison this year because of the terrible financial shape that the state is in.

And drug cartels love the illegality of drugs more than Republicans do.  Drug demand in the United States will continue and the cartels increasingly find clever ways of evading the DEA.  In fact, cartels are now building semi-submergable vessels that can avoid RADAR and infra-red in Costa Rica.  They pack these boats with up to seven tons of cocaine and park it on a deserted beach in the United States. If they can get seven tons of cocaine to the coast of the United States without being detected, they can get seven tons of anything into our country.

Legalize drugs.  Pull the rug out from under the black market.  Levy taxes on the drugs and use that money to educate kids and help addicts get help.  This is exactly what happened during prohibition.  Legalizing drugs will help to stop the violence and the kidnappings in Mexico and in the southwest.

7.  Republicans demonize higher education.

From discounting professors in their “ivory towers” to laughing in the face of modern economic theory, Republicans love to rally their base on the premise of their shared mediocrity.  Ann Coulter believes that American teachers are “inculcating students in the precepts of the Socialist Party of America—as understood by retarded people.” (link)

There are intellectuals in the party, but you’ll find few conservatives that know them by name.  For every David Brooks, there is a Carrie Prejean.  For every George Will, there is a Joe the Plumber.

This isn’t to say that there are plenty of idiots in the Democratic Party as well.  The difference is that Janeane Garafalo doesn’t get microphone time at the Democratic Convention, while Joe the Plumber, a moron, is viewed as some everyman harbinger of truth in the Republican Party.  The problem with this outlook is that it eventually permeates into the politicians themselves.  The Palin phenomenon.  A folksy former sportscaster that bounced around from college to college without any sense of history or moder political theory is voted into the governorship of Alaska.  Same thing happened with Michelle Bachmann.

The hard right tarnishes the image of the Republican Party just like the Taliban tarnishes the image of Islam.

6.  Republicans believe that corporations are more trustworthy than the government.

Let’s get this out of the way quickly.  The government has done some shitty thingsBut they have also done plenty of good things.   Let’s look at the current financial crisis as a microcosm for the shittyness of government versus the shittyness of corporations.

The government allowed for corporations to create the derivatives market as well as offer subprime mortgages to people that couldn’t afford them.  That’s shitty.

The corporations took these allowances and had a field day.  Not only did they offer subprimes to the people that couldn’t pay them, but they bundled the mortgages into a security and bet on the outcome of the security.

Johnny thinks Group A of subprime mortgage holders will only pay back 40% of the loan while Philp believes that Group A will pay back 80%.  Johnny decides to bet $32,000 on the outcome even though he only has $1,000 in the bank.  Philip bets $28,000 even though he only has $900.  Group A only pays back 40%.  Johnny wins.  Now how the fuck is Philip supposed to pay him?

5.  Republicans believe that the government doesn’t belong in your pocketbook, but it does belong in your ovaries and in your bedroom.

It seems that every time the Republican party is asked about fiscal policy, the only two words on their lips are “tax cuts.”  We’re in a war?  We Need Tax Relief.  We’re in an economic booming period?  More tax cuts.  We’re in a recession?  Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.

People used to be offended if one was yellow and one was dark brown.

People used to be offended if one was yellow and one was dark brown.

Republicans believe that the best judge for whether you should carry your child is the federal government.  In fact, they believe that your Church should have no say in the matter.  They believe that a marriage between gay people somehow infringe on their rights.  There are going to be gay people that your children are going to be exposed to whether they are allowed to marry or not.  What difference does a certificate matter to you?

4.  Republicans believe that the Second Amendment of the Constitution is the only important one.

Not a peep came from the Republican party when George W. Bush all but suspended the Fourth Amendment with the warrantless wiretapping program.  Hell, even after he left office and we discovered that John Yoo had readied an additional memo that would have limited the First Amendment, there was no significant backlash at the Drudge Report and Red State.

But when anyone says that you probably shouldn’t be able to carry an assault weapon capable of shooting 30 times in 10 seconds, Republicans go apeshit.

Here is my compromise.  You can buy any gun you want.  However, that gun is only allowed to fire three bullets before you reload.  Gun manufacturers must make it so that a reload takes more than thirty seconds.  Military and police guns do not have to follow these regulations.

Many Republicans will say that that inhibits their ability to protect their family in case the government comes to get them.  But that’s idiotic.  The government has nuclear weapons, genius.  If they want a police state, then they’re going to get one.  Until then, three shots is all you get.

3.  Republicans say they reject big government when they are out of power, but balloon government when they are in power.

I don’t know how much longer Republicans will fall for this nonsense.  During the reigns of Reagan, Bush, and W. Bush, government grew on a massive scale.  Hell, George W. Bush added the entire Department of Homeland Security.  Government spending went through the roof with all three GOP presidents.  None of them ever balanced a budget or saw a surplus.

fiscal-conservative

It wasn’t until Bill Clinton balanced the budget late in his second term that many Americans finally realized that “fiscal responsiblity” did not belong on the Republican party platform.  Of course, the minute W took office, he squandared the surplus by adding significant tax cuts for the wealthy.  Most republicans don’t realize that the government has to PAY for tax cuts.  It is a signficant loss in revenue.  I’ll allow you to argue supply-side economic theory when a Republican balances the budget.  Until then, Bill Clinton’s “socialistic” 3% tax hike for wealthy people balanced it just fine.

2.  Republicans have shitty sources.

I don’t give a damn what some politician “believes” about global warming or Evolution.  If I want to hear about global warming, I’ll talk to chemists, geologists, and climatologists.  If I want to hear about Evolution, I’ll talk to a biological anthropologist or primatologist. There is no “big science” lobby.  These people do not get paid anywhere close to the bullshit experts from the oil lobbying firms.  They are scientists whose reputation is contingent upon their adherence to the scientific method.

Many, many scientists would like nothing more than to disprove global warming or Evolution.  They would be instant celebrities in the scientific world and they would be written about in textbooks for centuries.    But that doesn’t happen.

1. The people that vote for Republicans

On April 15, 2009 an estimated 189,000 people across the United States participated in Tax Day Tea Parties.  While simultaneously calling for an increase in defense spending, tea partiers were enraged at the 3% increase in taxes for people who make over a quarter of a million dollars a year.  Only 5% of working families in the United States will see a tax hike.

But don’t tell that to the teabaggers.

Sure, you get freedom of speech.  You just dont get to dictate policy when your guys lost.

Sure, you get freedom of speech. You just don't get to dictate policy when your guys lost.

If you asked them, taxes were through the roof on everything.  Even though the protests were sponsored by Fox News as well as two of the biggest lobbying firms in Washington, the majority of tea-party goers swallowed the kool-aid that this was a grassroots movement.

To be fair, the most vocal people on Fox and CPAC do not represent Republican voters collectively.  After all, the most moderate candidate in the Republican primaries John McCain won the 2008 Presidential nomination.  I suppose the proof of where the party is headed won’t be known until 2012.  If a Jindal, Palin, Romney, or Gingrich is selected, then they’re going in the wrong direction.  But if Jon Huntsman Jr.  is able to secure the nod, we may see a more reasonable, more intelligent Republican party.

All that and I didn’t even mention getting us into crazy wars, justifying torture, and the annual gay sex scandals.

List of Democratic Senators that are in the back pocket of the banking industry

April 30, 2009

I call on Americans everywhere to raise holy war on the following Democrats.  After their “Nay” votes on the banking reform bill Thursday, it is clear that they have been heavily influenced by lobbyists in Washington D.C.   Here is the list:

  • Max Baucus (MT)
  • Robert Byrd (WV)
  • Tom Carper (DE)
  • Jon Tester (MT)
  • Mary Landrieu (LA)
  • Ben Nelson (NE)
  • Blanche Lincoln (AR)
  • Arlen Specter (PA)
  • Michael Bennett (CO)
  • Tim Johnson (SD)
  • Byron Dorgan (ND)

    Primary opponents as well as a middle finger should be readied for all of these Senators.

    Fuckers.

    Fuckers.

    The bill on the floor would have saved millions of homeowners from foreclosure by renegotiating their home loans.  A powerful lobbyist group called the Mortgage Bankers Association ended up winning in the end.  Bankers celebrated the defeat of the bill.

    Earlier in the week, when the vote looked grim, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin made headlines by saying that “the banking industry owns this place.”

    I don’t understand the pressure from the banks.  If these houses go into foreclosure, they will not get their money back anyway.  In fact, the entire housing market will continue to fall and they will lose even more mortgages in the long run.  Get ready for more foreclosure signs.  Once again, Washington proves who they really represent.

    Of course, Republican Senators voted with the banks.

    The full story, along with how much money each Senator received from banks for favorable treatment, is available here.

    Quick Link: Eric Cantor giddy for high-speed rail after ridiculing it

    April 28, 2009

    Flippity-Floppity.  House Minority Whip Eric Cantor was against the high speed rail before he was for it.

    Full Story: Huffington Post

    Tennessee Senators bring flame war to Twitter

    April 23, 2009

    State Senators Jim Kyle and Mark Norris of Tennessee didn’t leave it all out on the floor of the legislature.  Rather than have a conversation about policies that may help the economy of their state, they decided to tweet it all out in 140 characters or less.

    Here it is:

    mark-norris

    jim-kyle

    The problem is that Mark Norris is treading in dangerous water if his statement isn’t true.  If it is bullshit, then Jim Kyle or other lawmakers from Shelby county should nail him for defamation.

    Imagine the 2012 presidential election for a second.  It is entirely possibly that attack tweets from one side will be replied to by the other side.  We could actually end up watching an internet flame war rather than a television flame war.   Crazy.

    RWP Rating: Unusual

    “I feel like someone just shot Santa Claus in the face.”

    April 22, 2009

    Anschutz Company has sold the Ski Train and local lobbyist Benjamin Waters feels “like someone just shot Santa Claus in the face.”   The Ski Train is a train that takes skiers from Denver’s Union Station to Winter Park, a ski resort favored by locals 56 miles from the city.

    SOLD!

    SOLD!

    Anschutz Company spokesman Jim Monaghan said that the train had operated at a loss for the last 21 years.

    Now I realize that this is an odd thing for me to blog about considering that the Ski Train was owned by a private company, but just for a second we realize that lobbyists around the nation are real people.  Sometimes they are the scapegoats for political expediency, but sometimes they just really care about a local tradition.

    RWP Rating: Normal

    Full Story: Denver Business Journal

    Treasury to covertly nationalize troubled banks?

    April 20, 2009

    A big damn smile may have just crossed Paul Krugman’s fuzzy face.  After weeks of lamenting the poor decisions of the Obama Treasury Department, new information from the New York Times suggests that the money used to shore up the banking giants during the bailout may soon be converted to common stocks.

    Fuzzy Wuzzy.

    Fuzzy Wuzzy.

    The effect of such an action is consequential for anyone tired of giving free public money to private banks.  Essentially, this course will nationalize several of the banks because the United States government (taxpayers) will become the majority shareholder.   Apparently, the U.S. government has already arranged this type of relationship with Citibank.

    Before this decision was made, a great number of tax dollars were given to the troubled banks without any strings attached.  Instead of buying up all the troubled assets (securities that can be difficult to value) of each bank, we would get common stock in the company.

    This could be good news and could be bad.  If the stock price absolutely tanks (which the government could actually be anticipating), then the tax payers could end up suffering.  However, as a majority shareholder, the government will be on the board of directors for the company and will be able to influence decisions that are made regarding our investments.  We already know that the troubled assets are next to worthless, so if we can get a decent deal with the stock conversion plan, we may end up getting a lot of our money back.

    When the credit lines open up again, we can expect the United States government to sell taxpayer shares in each bank.  Hell, we could even make money on this.

    Expect this to be a rallying cry for the “Obama = Socialist” crowd.  But it’s a hell of a lot better than handing your federal taxes to the nearest AIG executive and expecting nothing in return.

    RWP Rating: Bizarre

    Full Story: New York Times

    Georgia threatens to secede, dismantle United States

    April 16, 2009

    Whatever happened to the patriotism of the right wing?  Only love your country when you’re in power?  The Georgia Senate passed a measure on April 1 that says that if a bill is passed banning assault rifles, then Georgia has the right to supersede federal law, effectively seceding from the national government.

    You may want to stock up on peaches before they get duty taxed.

    You may want to stock up on peaches before they get duty taxed.

    Senate Bill 632 says that the federal government has no jurisdiction in Georgia except for crimes involving piracy, treason, and slavery.   They may want to rethink that treason bit.   The bill dictates that if the state determines that a federal law exceeds the reach of the national government, the state maintains the right to secede from the Union.   Bill 632 passed with a whopping 43-1 vote.

    You may already know my stance on this one.  Go ahead, Georgia.  With your crumbling schools and $2 billion deficit, how do you think you’ll fare without the United States government?  Once again, stupid posturing from lawmakers at the state level to attempt to appease Becktards everywhere.

    RWP Rating: Bizarre

    Full Story: AJC

    Lazy conservatives hold Tea Party on Second Life

    April 16, 2009

    These motherfuckers really aren’t used to protesting.  After 8 years of quietly attempting to defend their vote for the worst President in the modern era, conservatives are only slowly regaining their ability to defy authority.   In this spirit, hundreds of conservatives virtually gathered on Second Life and held their own Tax Day Tea Party.

    Fraud Paine!

    Fraud Paine!

    Baby steps?  More like fetus steps with this one.   Check out all the pictures on Wonkette.

    RWP Rating: Strange

    Full Story: Wonkette