Thursday, April 16, 2009

Old fat rich white guys on parade

I think someone forgot to tell all those "TeaBagging" nits yesterday that, unlike their 1773 compatriots, they DID get to vote on the representatives that are taxing them and that most Americans aren't complaining about their tax bill.

Here is some footage of a TeaBagging event held here in Cleveland on Feb. 27, 2009. People, I apologize in advance for this, but I guess I've got to own up to them. After all, I'm in Cleveland, they're in Cleveland. And just like George Bush was my President for eight years, these are my people whether I like it or not.

A couple of notes:

Whatever you do, check the first woman interviewed (about 30 seconds in). She doesn't have to say one word. Her face belies everything about her. And is it just me, or--speaking of birth locations--was the guy at the 2:20 mark even born on Planet Earth?


Clueless, clueless, clueless. From beginning to end and all points in between.


Shaina said...

that is just so incredibly incredibly sad. i want to smack some of those people. i mean, do they really think that our government would allow one of the most fundamental rules of presidency to be broken? apparently. grarrrrrrrrr.

John Ettorre said...

They don't look too rich to me, Erin. But they speak for a not-insignificant portion (and with this economy, probably a growing portion) of the American population, by all accounts, so it behooves us to pay attention.

Tony said...

American History is obviously not taught in our schools any longer. We are becoming a nation of self serving slogans

jonas said...

This strikes me as a fairly well-reasoned argument:
CNN CommentaryIf they want patriotism, perhaps demanding the 100's of millions in corporate taxes that are NOT paid every year because they exist as off-shore entities be returned might be a good start.

Just a thought...

Erin O'Brien said...

Yes my post is flippant and yes these protesters have every right to protest. But I stand by what I've written here just the same.

I'm short on time, so excuse the lack of links, but this is not a grassroots movement, it is a fabrication courtesy of Fox News. Part of my point is that it's not even a very well thought out fabrication, but one fashioned after what Fox and Co. thought would appeal to their base. The whole thing sets off my Bullshit Detector.

Fact is, the righties are having a dickens of a time demonizing Obama. So what do they do? Make up the "tea party" concept. It's tripe.

philbilly said...

"We're going to party like it's 1789."

Didn't see anybody here that would have made it through the winter of 1789.

deangc said...

Made up, yes. And yet everybody is talking about it. Y'all have got some weirdass politics down there.

The Fool said...

The Anchorage Tea Party was a vile display of hatred, bigotry, and racism. For products one and all. And I had always thought that Alaskans were a bit more open-minded and tolerant in their take on things (that does not include our elected officials...a breed unto themselves...who, for good reason, we house in Juneau - a city with no roads to it). I came up here over thirty years ago to get away from such asinine behavior. Where can I turn to now? We are as tainted as anywhere. It's a sad day. The "Tea Parties" were little more than a gathering of the vicious as an excuse to spew their demented inner torments.

Meagan said...

This wes too depressing to be even entertaining, though I was amused by the girl who voted "for Sarah Palin." I would have liked to have heard from guy who didn't think birth was an issue since he was the only one who passed the first idiot test.

Anonymous said...

"It’s amazing, literally amazing to me, that it wasn’t until Obama pushed through a package containing a massive public works package and significant homeowner aid that conservatives took to the streets. In other words, it wasn’t until taxes turned into construction jobs and mortgage relief that working and middle-class Americans decided to protest. I didn’t see anyone on the street when we forked over billions of dollars to help JP Morgan Chase buy Bear Stearns. And I didn’t see anyone on the street when Hank Paulson forked over $45 more billion to help Bank of America buy Merrill Lynch, a company run at the time by one of the world’s biggest assholes, John Thain. Moreover I didn’t see any street protests when the government agreed to soak up hundreds of billions in “troubled assets” from Citigroup, a company that just months later would lend out a jet furnished with pillows upholstered with Hermes scarves to former chief Sandy Weill so that he could vacation in Mexico over Christmas.

In other words teabaggers don’t mind paying taxes to fund the salaries of Bolivian miners, Lou Gertsner’s stock options, deliveries of “sailboat fuel,” the Hermes scarves on Sandy Weill’s jet pillows, or even the export of their own goddamn jobs. But they do hate it when someone tries to re-asphalt their roads, or help bail their slob neighbor out of foreclosure. And God forbid someone propose a health care program, or increased financial aid for college. Hell, that’s like offering to share your turkey with the other Pilgrims! That’s not what America is all about! America is every Pilgrim for himself, dammit! Raise your own motherfucking turkey!

The really irritating thing about these morons is that, guaranteed, not one of them has ever taken a serious look at the federal budget. Not one has ever bothered to read an actual detailed study of what their taxes pay for. All they do is listen to one-liners doled out by tawdry Murdoch-hired mouthpieces like Michelle Malkin and then repeat them as if they’re their own opinions five seconds later. That’s what passes for political thought in this country. Teabag on, you fools."

-Matt Taibbi


Kirk Jusko said...

I agree with you that this isn't a genuine "grass-roots" event, but that doesn't mean genuine grass-roots people won't show up. As I just explained to somebody on Facebook, I was watching one of these events on TV, and saw someone hold up a sign that read END NAFTA. Leaving aside the pros and cons of that particular sentiment, I don't think that's exactly what the multinational corporations had in mind when they decided to fund these tea parties.

Rodger Jacobs said...

Terrific comments here, hard to refute most of them. These fools are flinging words like "fascist" and "socialism" without even knowing their meaning. This was not a grassroots movement, it was a cynical media event concocted by Fox News to prop up lagging market share. If this dance of fools grew out of an underground movement, then why was there so little coverage from the three media outlets I consult several times a day: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle (oh, never mind, those are all "liberal elite" rags).

I thought this recession and the end of the ownership society as we have known it would have humbled people but instead the Entitlement Age continues unabated. Take away their Twitter accounts, iPods, My Space and Facebook pages, and let's see how these backwoods corndogs fit into the fucking social fabric.

Hal said...

I had a busy day yesterday, but I managed to stop by a rally in Glendale, CA, where I live. It was a good sized crowd, and I saw no "birthers" (as the "obama is not a citizen" gang has come to be known), or New Word Order/black helicopter loons, or any moonbats of that sort.

What I also did not see were any people with a skin pigment darker than mine (I thought I was the quintessential white boy, but I guess I need to get out more) It was so white I almost got snow blindness, and I was wearing sunglasses. And I would say about 90% were my age (46) and above, and best as I could tell, they all seemed like pretty decent folks. There were larger rallies elsewhere in Socal (especially Santa Monica), so maybe that's where the moonbats went, if they showed up at all.

With all that said, this article goes into some detail of what you brought up here.

garrett said...

Hi Erin.

I don't know what "grassroots" means, but I know there were literally hundreds of tax protest events held all over the country. Yes, some of them were financed/organized by FoxNews.

And that is a shame, frankly, because now you (and Jon Stewart @ The Daily Show, by the way - decent company for you to be in) have either ignored tried to marginalize ordinary folks who were out in significant numbers.

By the way, I'm white, and I'm mad, but I am definitely not clueless.

You're painting with a broad brush here, and I think understand why, but I don't think it's appropriate.

There are plenty of people who were publicly disgusted with Bush 43 and are thus, in continuing their protests, presenting an intellectually consistent argument to the Obama administration.

(Again, this is why the FoxNews involvement is unfortunate; most of those guys were total shills for Bush.)

Love you!

P.S. I also think it's hilarious that "tea bag" is being used so often as a verb here in recent weeks.

Zen Wizard said...

The parts of the stimulus package and the TARP bill that I agree with are "needed spending" I guess and the stupid stuff--like swamp rats in California, safe wooden arrows for kids, ad nauseum--is "pork."

The vantage point changes dramatically, of course, when your business cards say, "Wooden Arrow Manufacturer."

By "pork barrel," I think we mean something that outside its provincial realm, was used to "bribe" a congressman to vote for the rest of the bill.

It is a disgusting system--why should we have to pay a public servant to do the right thing?

It is healthy that citizens are taking a hard look at these coded earmarks at the end of legislation. Hopefully, it will either reduce this type of spending, or hold those accountable who voted for it or wrote it.

Having said all of that, by my layman/noneconomist eyes, the Stimulus Package appears to be "working."

It is going to take a long time for the economy to heal. There were some really stupid mistakes made--and I was part of the problem, if I am very honest with myself.

Hopefully we have all learned something and we can all pull together and help each other out.

Rodger Jacobs said...

There are plenty of people who were publicly disgusted with Bush 43 and are thus, in continuing their protests, presenting an intellectually consistent argument to the Obama administration.What intellectually consistent argument, Garrett? Bush 43 had eight years at the helm, Obama has been in office for four months. Under Bush's leadership we were given 9/11, the Afghanistan war, the war in Iraq, greater and greater deregulation on Wall Street, the housing bubble crash, Guantanamo Bay, offshore torture pens, and the crisis in Juarez and Baja, Mexico, just to name a few debacles. Give Obama a chance to actually screw up in a way that makes Bush's errors look marginal by comparison and maybe then you can tell us how you're just carrying through the work of the Bush protesters. You are beyond disingenuous.

philbilly said...

Ah, fellow Independents, our time is nigh.

What will save our collective asses is millions upon millions of citizens rising up in the am to go to new jobs, created by smaller, leaner, greener businesses. Businesses that know how to blend conventional, proven practices, plus traditional, old school ethics with the power of digital and web platforms and technologies.

The gummint just needs to pave the goddam streets, recycle our prodigious American shit, pay the teachers, cops and soldiers and then stay the fuck out of our way.

If you place your hopes in the hands of politicos, you are doomed. DIY, baby.

Everything is a deduction when you seize your destiny from the IRS.

Rodger Jacobs said...

You got it, Philbilly, that's the goddamn ticket right there.

garrett said...

Hey Rodger, I had in mind people (like me) who believe ordinary people suffer more and prosper less when the federal/central government resembles its current condition. People who believe the welfare-warfare state is a bad thing. People who believe in liberty and freedom.

I have always been and continue to be opposed to the policies which led to the debacles you listed in your response. I've been blogging on these topics for years.

I also believe Obama is continuing or expanding many of those same policies, and that is why I say that there are people like me who are presenting intellectually consistent arguments against Bush 43 during his reign and now against Obama as he is just beginning his.

I don't understand your use of the word "disingenuous." What do you think "disingenuous" means? Maybe we're having a "You think teabag means something different from what I think it means" problem (paraphrasing Jon Stewart for levity).

The Fool said...

I just showed this video to my he is certain that adults are very stupid people. Thanks. He'll be another in the clan suffering from Peter Pan Syndrome...

Rodger Jacobs said...

People who believe in liberty and freedomDefine that for me, Garrett.

VideoDude said...

First, To have an opinion is on thing. Most of the people I have seen on this and other reports just mouth what they heard Rush or FOX News say.

The real problem is these people can't say Obama that damn n----- and it pisses them Even their own party (RNC) says Obama was born in Hawaii.

It is one thing to disagree with your government and policies. That is what elections are for. OBAMA WON!!!! The Republicans have failed. Get Over It!

Harry Finch said...

Why do we view the government as an alien being?

We are the government.

VideoDude said...

Okay, "WE" voted this new goverment in. What the Conservatives can't stand is: Their policies were wrong and they lost the election. Has anyone noticed, the very Tax problems they are complaining about are George Bush's!?!

Harry Finch said...

I'd say we voted in a new administration. There isn't a new government. It's still us.

What I'm driving at is that I'd like to see us take responsibility for our country's actions, regardless of how we voted.

I didn't vote for George Bush but he was my president. I did not support the war in Iraq but I considered it my war. I am horrified by our policy of torture and yet I hold myself accountable for that policy.

I ask that the Republicans, the "Outs," take that same responsibility now. Which is not suggest they simply go along with whatever Obama offers. Not many cliches have much worth, but one that still holds water is the term Loyal Opposition.

Focusing on Obama's place of birth is not responsible. Saying he is a Commie one day and a Fascist the next is not responsible.

Erin O'Brien said...

"I ask that the Republicans, the "Outs," take that same responsibility now. Which is not suggest they simply go along with whatever Obama offers. Not many cliches have much worth, but one that still holds water is the term Loyal Opposition."

Finch, I swear that is uncanny. The Goat and I were talking about exactly this topic yesterday. I agree with you completely.

I'm an American. Sometimes you've got to swallow that whole. No matter how I detested the last administration, Bush was my President and Iraq was my war.

Zen Wizard said...

Another old white guy and I were talking about this the other day, and his point was that the reason Goldwater got his ass kicked so resoundingly, he said, was that there used to be "Rockefeller Republicans" who were "East Coast Liberals"--at least, they were "economically interventionist" in the sense that that is "liberal."

My point on why Goldwater got his ass kicked is that Wallace "flanked" him on the Right. Goldwater was so far right he was almost a "Libertarian"--so he had nowhere to tap into for votes, since both flanks of his party were taken.


For evidence of "Rockefeller-'Liberal'-Republicans," I would cite Nixon's wage and price freezes.

I mean, PRICE CONTROLS--how's that for superseding the Contracts Clause??

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

"No matter how I detested the last administration, Bush was my President and Iraq was my war."


Was he, and was it? If I recall correctly, while you supported our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen (and thank you and others for that), you were nowhere near in support of our government's actions in Iraq. Correct me if I'm wrong. As I recall, you termed our actions there "illegal, immoral, etc."

You never let an opportunity to excoriate George Bush and his fellow Republicans pass, if I recall correctly. Again, if I'm wrong, please correct me.

As to the Tea Parties ...

It was OK for the "left" to criticize George Bush, Republicans etc. while they were in power. Now that some Americans are organizing "Tea Parties" to protest taxation, bailouts, and God only knows what else under the Obama Administration they're assholes, stupid, uniformed, ignorant, etc. From where I sit, it's a double standard.

I must say I was reluctant to respond here. As a Republican, I feel, on this blog whatever I say will be met with (in some cases) disdain (and in most other cases) skepticism to say the least.

This being said, I'm glad you let a "dissenting" voice such as mine exercise carte blanche on your blog.


Erin O'Brien said...

Al, All voices are welcome here.

Think of it this way: I imagine a civilian in Iraq or Afghanistan who has lost someone they love to American fire as "collateral damage."
Could I say to that person, "Hey, sorry man but I didn't vote for Bush. I don't support this. Don't blame me," and have any credulity?

Hell no. I live here. I enjoy the benefits of the United States and when this country spills blood, it's on my hands no matter how I voted.

I ALWAYS felt responsible for the war even though I was against it.

Bush was my president. I felt he misrepresented me, but that sure as hell didn't relieve me of my duty to my country.

You know what? I emphatically support the Draft. I think we are all responsible for the security of the country and we'd all take it one hell of a lot more seriously if we were mandated to sign on the dotted line.

Just to mix it up, THAT is what the 2nd Amendment is all about to me. People needed guns in order to fight off enemies of the state as part of a voluntary militia: "The British are coming, get ye muskets!"

But that's another discussion.

Al the Retired Army Guy said...

"Think of it this way: I imagine a civilian in Iraq or Afghanistan who has lost someone they love to American fire as "collateral damage."
Could I say to that person, "Hey, sorry man but I didn't vote for Bush. I don't support this. Don't blame me," and have any credulity?"

No, but what you would most likely say is "in'shallah." God Willing. This is how much of the thinking is in that part of the world.

There is also the concept of a "blood debt," e.g., if you lose a family member, the offending party who caused it owes you money or other compensation. Our government has routinely paid this "debt" - not that the loss of a loved one can ever be remunerated in terms of dollars. But this is a common thing in the Middle East.

Is this kind of thinking foreign to us? Yes. But in the Middle East it's all part of doing business. Trust me.

The reality is in the Middle East, they will blame just about anyone. Again, go to the blood debt culture. If you've been wronged, you'll look for just about anyone to blame in order to restore your honor (honor is a huge thing in the Arab world, trust me). If it's George Bush, that's who you blame. If it's the American military, well, that's who you blame. If it's a suicide bomber, that's who you blame. The bottom line is you blame whoever it is that will give you the clearest path to restoring your honor, for yourself and your family. It's easy to blame everything on the Americans, but trust me it isn't as clear cut as that.

As a former professional military officer, I do not support a draft. Sure, we'd get some folks who want to serve, but the bulk would be folks who didn't. I'd rather surround myself with folks who want to be there (volunteers) than folks who weren't given a choice (draftees). I base this on 20 years, 2 months, and 19 days of serving in our volunteer military.


Erin O'Brien said...

Whatever the cultural implications are in the Middle East, it matters not to me. I still think the Bush administration declared war for false reasons (WMD) and kept changing the target once we were in it.

Al, you're my age and neither of us ever experienced the active draft as adults. Had it still been in effect during your career, how much of your career might have included working with draftees, assuming they're mostly called up during wartime?

Had the draft been in effect, do you honestly believe Bush would have declared war on Iraq?

The draft is an important check/balance to me. It was abandoned in order to shut up protests against unpopular wars (Vietnam). How much protesting was there during WWII?

If there is a serious threat to the security of the country, I'm pretty sure garnering support won't be an issue. What happened to enlistment numbers in the Armed Forces after 911?

garrett said...

Two quick notes ...

FIRST: More evidence that libertarians are disgusted by the Tea Parties.

SECOND: Erin, what is your view on a draft? Is a "draft" good or bad or need to be decided on a case-by-case evaluation? Something else?

(Fair warning ... I'm asking this as a prelude to either complaining about the "Universal Service" concept Rahm Emanuel has talked about or strongly encouraging you to complain about it.)


P.S. RodgerJacobs, I'm ignoring your last question on purpose because I can't tell from your comments whether you are open to having a rational, dispassionate discussion. I am, but I don't see that your last question trends in that direction...

Al The Retired Army Guy said...


I'll respond one paragraph at a time.

"Whatever the cultural implications are in the Middle East, it matters not to me. I still think the Bush administration declared war for false reasons (WMD) and kept changing the target once we were in it."

It should matter to you what the cultural implications are. I've stated previously elsewhere that Bush went to war based on best intelligence we (and the British) had at the time. It was subsequently proved false. There was no way for him (or anyone else, you and I included) to know it was false until we got on the ground and saw things for ourselves. Again, it's not the first time in our nation's history that our intelligence estimates (with emphasis on the word "estimates") failed us.

Did Bush "change targets" as you say? In my view yes. As I've said, I was never convinced of the rationale to invade based on Colin Powell's testimony at the UN in the run up to war.

"Al, you're my age and neither of us ever experienced the active draft as adults. Had it still been in effect during your career, how much of your career might have included working with draftees, assuming they're mostly called up during wartime?"

Actually, I'm three years older than you ... ;-(

Had the draft been in effect during my career, it would have included working with draftees for about 7.5 years of my career (Gulf War and post-9-11). As I've said before, no professional military officer wants a draft. We saw what we got in Vietnam, and it wasn't pretty. We had a draft during World War I and World War II, but the folks we got back then had a different view of the world. It worked out in the end, but suffice to say, as a professional military officer, I'd rather work with a volunteer who wants to be there than with a draftee who'd rather be somewhere else. When it's my ass on the line (and my fellow soldiers') I'd rather have someone who's serious, focused, and gives a shit. You can't guarantee that with a draftee. With a volunteer that is most certainly the case.

How do I know this? From experience. I went to Airborne school in August, 1986. In my stick (paratroopers are organized into "sticks" for the purposes of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane) every NCO and officer quit on the first day of training. Why? They didn't want to be there. Professionals, on the other hand do. I became the de-facto stick leader because as a cadet (I was in college at the time) I outranked the remainder of the stick, which were all enlisted men. I wanted to be there - I wanted to jump out of airplanes, and was committed to learning to do so, as was the remainder of my stick. I'd rather surround myself with like individuals than a bunch of guys/gals who were plucked from civilian life against their will and told to do things they don't necessarily agree with or like.

"The draft is an important check/balance to me. It was abandoned in order to shut up protests against unpopular wars (Vietnam). How much protesting was there during WWII?"

The draft was abandoned because we learned in Vietnam that war is too serious a business to be left to amateurs. It had nothing to do with protests against "unpopular wars" as you assert. Again, every commander who served there would agree that while there were draftees who performed well (including those who won the Medal of Honor), far too many didn't.

There wasn't much protesting during WWII for any number of reasons. It was clear that our country had been attacked by surprise (Pearl Harbor) and that Germany had declared war on us (on December 8, 1941) without us doing the same. The attack on Pearl Harbor did enough to unite us - Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and Militaristic Japan were all part of the Tri-Partite Pact, better known to us as the Axis Powers. They were committed to establishing Militarism, Fascism, and Nazism within their spheres of influence in Europe, Africa, and Asia (and beyond). It didn't take a lot for Americans back then to realize this, and hence the lack of protests, particularly given the barbarous nature of the regimes in these countries.

"If there is a serious threat to the security of the country, I'm pretty sure garnering support won't be an issue. What happened to enlistment numbers in the Armed Forces after 911?"

I don't have enlistment numbers for post 9-11. I do know that re-enlistments after 9-11 (and particularly amongst Iraq-Afghanistan veterans) are high. Our in-service recruiters have no problem meeting their recruiting goals (I know this personally at the battalion level and beyond within the U.S. Army active duty PSYOP community). In other words, our Soldiers believe in what they're doing, and want to be where they are - defending our country against all enemies, foreign and domestic.


Erin O'Brien said...

Garret, I support the draft for the reasons I listed above.

Al, I still support the draft for the reasons I listed above. You think Vietnam exposed the draft as the mandatory enlistment of unwilling soldiers, I think the draft exposed a war that did not have public support for good reason.

I don't have the time to research it, but I'm pretty sure you could find commentary on both sides of the fence.

I just flat-out believe Americans (and subsequently our elected officials) would take war one hell of a lot more seriously if John Q. Public was obliged to fight in it.

dick said...


You are misrepresenting what Bush and the war were about. The WMD was only what the media reported. Then the media changed to another reason and you claim that Bush did. If you go back to the time that the war started, Bush listed 23 different reasons for the war. He never changed from those reasons. What changed was the reporting and most of the liberals changed along with the reporting rather
that what Bush actually said.

On the economy, go back and listen to the Democrats and the reporting in the media. Bush asked 37 times for Congress to tighten up on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Right after he started doing this, and that was back in 2001, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd told us all how strong Fannie and Freddie were and there was no problem and again that was what the media reported. You bought that rather than checking because it fit your belief system. Even McCain tried to get the tightening up of these agencies but Barney was right there. Check out the hearings on it with Howell Raines and Congress. If you watched it at the time you saw the whole thing. If you didn't you were at the mercy of the media with what they reported and that was whatever Barney Frank said, nobody else. The sad thing is that this little man who said every thing was rosy is not taxed with fixing up the mess that is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The good thing is that his buddy is not longer there so maybe he will really do something about it.

As to the draft I agree with Garret on that one and so do most of the military. As soon as we would have a draft then the protests would start over again. Revisiting the 1960's and that is not a good thing at all. Some of the results of the 1960's are positive but most of them not. The Great Society as an example has been an almost unmitigated disaster. We are still paying the price for that one. The depiction of the war in VN and why we ended up in that mess owes much to a couple of people who are now almost considered saints. Remember JFK and RFK? There's the problem with the war in VN. Study the history of it. We went there initiatially to save the French and then we provided advisors to South VN. They were not there to fight, they were there to provide training and advice and that was all. There were only 1500 of them. Then Saint JFK decided to make his mark and we started messing in and LBJ, the man who under Bill Moyer's direction called Goldwater a warmonger, built up to the point where we were doing the fighting. At the same time he and Moyer and RFK started wiretapping everything that moved. You really need to take a good look at the history of the time. It was very different from what is taught now.

I do not want to go back to the draft at all. I remember what it was like when we did have a draft and we did get into a war. Starting it over would just bring all that back. I also do not want this Americorps to be required. The idea that drafting the youth to force them to paint houses and do other things is a losing proposition. You get terrible work, lackadaisical work habits, yet more of the usual public employees attitude (think DMV) and huge resentment. Not a good idea and will definitely not make people more involved.

Erin O'Brien said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Dick, and for visiting/reading my pages.