Posts Tagged ‘Tax Day’

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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Republican Congress members attending Tax Day Tea Parties

April 15, 2009

Digg It!

Never missing an opportunity for some fake populism, several Republican Congress members are planning to attend Tea Parties today.  No Democrats are currently slated to show.

Dont get screwed by the IRS.  Vote for the people who invented the offshore tax haven.

Don't get screwed by the IRS. Vote for the people who invented the offshore tax haven.

House minority leader John Boehner (R-OH) will attend a Tea Party in Bakersville, CA.  Apparently he needs to work on his killer tan.  House Budget Committee Chair and writer of the idiotic alternate Republican budget Paul Ryan will attend a Tea Party in Madison, WI.  Madison, known for it’s hippies, gays, atheists, environmentalists, feminists, stoners, and out-of-control Halloween parties will let out a proverbial fart in his general direction.

Former Speaker of the House and newly baptized Newt Gingrich will head up to New York for an event.  No word yet on when he will be divorcing his third wife.  We’re pulling for sometime next Thursday immediately after she is diagnosed with incurable and heavily-mutated tuberculosis.  That seems to be his style.

RWP Rating: Unusual

Full Story: The Hill

Preparing for the Tea Party Revolution – What you can do

April 14, 2009

“Remember, Remember the Fifteenth of April.”

No, it just doesn’t quite work as well, which is ultimately the story of the Tea Party Revolution.   Smoke and mirrors and idiots that don’t quite know why they are mad will be taking to the streets in disappointing numbers to protest tomorrow.

The problem is that none of them know what the hell they are yelling about.  But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt for now and go into a little history.

You will not see this tomorrow.  You will see overweight white people.

You will not see this tomorrow. You will see overweight white people.

Why the Tea Party Revolution?

There isn’t really a good answer for this one.  The original Boston Tea Party occurred on December 16, 1773 in opposition to a 10% additional duty on tea imported into the United States.  Sam Adams, of delicious beer fame, organized a mass dumping of 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor.  The key motto during the Boston Tea Party was “No taxation without representation.”  Colonists were pissed that they did not have any representation in Britain and could not have an impact on legislation.

Fast forward to now.   The Republican party is damn close to irrelevancy and is becoming more and more fringe.  They lost seats in 2006, 2008, and will more than likely lose additional seats in 2010 if the latest polls from Gallup (left-leaning) and Rasmussen (right-leaning) are considered.

Tomorrow, when thousands of people wake up and take to the streets for the Tea Party Revolution, every single one of them has three representatives in Congress.  This is not the Boston Tea Party.  Every single one of the people tomorrow are represented by two democratically-elected Senators and a Representative.  If they are unhappy with the way things are going in their district/state, they can vote that person to the curb.  Hell, if it is the people’s will, then people like Ron Paul could have been elected to the presidency in 2008 and we could have cut all kinds of taxes.

But that isn’t what the people want.

The Tea Party Credo

If you sign up to attend one of the Tea Party events, you will be asked to print out two documents to share with people who see the protest.  One is an elected officials checklist (what does your Rep, Senator, etc. think about a variety of issues) and the other is 12 American Solutions for Jobs and Prosperity.

Because the checklist can vary (and it’s really easy for Republican representatives to say what they want when they don’t have any power to set the budget/agenda), let’s look at the “Solutions” handout.

Whosoever has the gold, shall make the rules.

Whosoever has the gold, shall make the rules.

12 American Solutions for Jobs and Prosperity

  1. Payroll Tax Stimulus. With a temporary new tax credit to offset 50% of the payroll tax, every small business would have more money, and all Americans would take home more of what they earn.
  2. Real Middle-Income Tax Relief. Reduce the marginal tax rate of 25% down to 15%, in effect establishing a flat-rate tax of 15% for close to 9 out of 10 American workers.
  3. Reduce the Business Tax Rate. Match Ireland’s rate of 12.5% to keep more jobs in America.
  4. Homeowner’s Assistance. Provide tax credit incentives to responsible home buyers so they can keep their homes.
  5. Control Spending So We Can Move to a Balanced Budget. This begins with eliminating Congressional earmarks and wasteful pork-barrel spending.
  6. No State Aid Without Protection From Fraud. Require state governments to adopt anti-fraud and anti-theft policies before giving them more money.
  7. More American Energy Now. Explore for more American oil and gas and invest in affordable energy for the future, including clean coal, ethanol, nuclear power and renewable fuels.
  8. Abolish Taxes on Capital Gains. Match China, Singapore and many other competitors. More investment in America means more jobs in America.
  9. Protect the Rights of American Workers. We must protect a worker’s right to decide by secret ballot whether to join a union, and a worker’s right to negotiate freely. Forced unionism will kill jobs at a time when we can’t afford to lose them.
  10. Replace Sarbanes-Oxley. This failed law is crippling entrepreneurial startups. Replace it with affordable rules that help create jobs, not destroy them.
  11. Abolish the Death Tax. Americans should work for their families, not for Washington.
  12. Invest in Energy and Transportation Infrastructure. This includes a new, expanded electric power grid and a 21st century air traffic control system that will reduce delays in air travel and save passengers, employees and airlines billions of dollars per year.

Besides being a Who’s Who of failed John McCain campaign economic tactics, this list should be ridiculed for its complete lack of rational thought.  Most of the steps reduce taxes, yet step five brazenly maintains that they want to balance the budget.  How the hell are you supposed to balance the budget when you cut all of these taxes?

Pork spending is a small fraction of the budget in Washington and seven out of the ten biggest piggies this year were Republicans.  Many of these ideas sound like they will help the average worker, but this proposal really helps billionaires.  With no capital gains taxes, billionaires will have a heyday on Wall Street.   So why are they trying to help the rich, when the middle class is seeing record unemployment?

Who funds the Tea Party Revolution

Even though Fox News will have you believe that the Tea Party Revolution is a spontaneous reaction from “The People,” it really was started by FreedomWorks, the conservative version of MoveOn.  Along with Dick Armey, FreedomWorks is organizing and funding many of the larger Tea Parties.  In other words, protesters are going to be paid tomorrow to protest.   It has nothing to do with outrage over the bailouts (which should cause protests), it has everything to do with a bunch of billionaires that don’t want to pay higher taxes under Obama.

Dick Armey wishes he still had power.

Dick Armey wishes he still had power.

The FreedomWorks web page is a joke.  Any rational person that peruses it will find more lies than an OJ Simpson trial.  Armey says that Obama is going to cap all executive pay…which isn’t true at all.  Obama is capping how much money can go to executives that receive money from tax payers.  Do you want your federal income tax money going to buy a 12th home for some asshole AIG executive?  If Microsoft wants to pay their executives millions a year then I have no problem with that.  They haven’t accepted any bailout money at all.  Obama is saying the exact same thing.  That doesn’t stop the BS from flowing from Fox News and CNBC with comedic consistency.

What you can do

  1. Find a Tea Party near you.  You can find them by visiting the FreedomWorks website or by visiting www.taxdayteaparty.com
  2. Go to the Tea Party and take pictures of signs.  Count the number of protesters.
  3. Interview people participating in the Tea Party.  Ask them if they have heard of FreedomWorks.  Ask them who organized the party and attempt to speak with the person in charge.  If you are able to, ask them if they are being compensated for their work.
  4. Write up your impressions of the protest.  Whether positive or negative, we will give you a voice on Real Weird Politics.  You can comment with a link to your blog, youtube videos, or photos.
  5. Real Weird Politics will have stories all day tomorrow with impressions from demonstrations around the country.

We’re already ready with one delightful video from The Young Turks.  One protester at a Tea Party Revolution event started spouting off about how the Communists had infiltrated America in a plan hatched during the 1950s.  He wants you to take your kids out of college and stop paying your taxes.  A woman in the crowd thinks you should burn all your books.  Sounds like a great way to succeed!  Here is the video:

Have fun tomorrow!