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A Tax Day Tea Party cheat sheet: How it all started

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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 15, 2009 08:14 AM

It’s here!

For the Johnny-Come-Latelys in the MSM who will be dispatched by their editors to file obligatory stories about the hundreds of Tax Day Tea Party protests across the country today, here is a cheat sheet to get you up to speed.

Feb. 15: Keli Carender, who blogs as “Liberty Belle” spread the word about a grass-roots protest she was organizing in Seattle to raise her voice against the passage of the trillion-dollar stimulus/porkulus/Generational Theft Act of 2009. It’s the first time she had ever jumped into political organizing of any kind. She is not affiliated with any “corporate lobbyist” or think tank or national taxpayers’ organization. She’s a young conservative mom who blogs. Amazingly, she turned around the event in a few days all on her own by reaching out on the Internet, to her local talk station, and to anyone who would listen.

Feb. 16: An energetic crowd of about 100 people came downtown to lambaste the Chicken Little process and the lard-up of the stimulus bill:


(American Typo)

Here’s Keli with the yummy lunch. Yeah, big-money conspiracy! I pitched in a few hundred bucks to buy some pulled pork for the Seattle protesters:

Word of the Seattle protest spread across the blogosphere. Readers suggested there should be a Denver protest on Feb. 17 to greet President Obama for the porkulus signing. Separately, the local chapter of Americans for Prosperity was already working to put something together on the fly. I met the head of the state AFP for the first time on the steps of the Capitol. No conspiracy here, tinfoil hatters. It was a union of like minds in an impromptu show of outrage against the legislation-without-deliberation process in Washington. Also there: Jon Caldara of the libertarian Independence Institute on one end of the spectrum and Tom Tancredo on the strict immigration enforcement end (hundreds of the protesters were mad about the absence of E-Verify standards for the stimulus funding):


(Photo via People’s Press Collective)

More big-money conspiracy! I promised to bring a roasted pig. Paid for out of pocket. No corporate lobbyist pitched in. Tasted great and worth every penny:

Speaking of pigs, you can’t leave out the tax-and-spend revolt campaign against Chuck Schumer in response to his arrogant statement that only the “chattering classes” cared about the “teeny, tiny” pork amendments in the Generational Theft Act. Local radio host Leland Conway in Kentucky called on listeners to send Schumer pork rinds. A mountain of 1,500 bags poured into the station on Feb. 16 and was shipped to Schumer:

On Feb. 18, 500 fed-up taxpayers showed up in Mesa, AZ to oppose President Obama’s campaign for massive expansions of the government mortgage entitlement and to mock what SC Gov. Mark Sanford rightly called savior-based economics. No top-down organization. Just the effort of local talk radio station KFYI. No Beltway GOP involvement. Zero national media coverage. But reader Al Swanson shared his photos with us here:

On Feb. 19, reader Amanda Grosserode e-mailed that she was organizing a tax revolt protest in Overland Park, KS the following weekend. More than 400 people showed up in freezing weather to protest Rep. Dennis Moore’s vote for the bill. Glenn Reynolds did the reporting the MSM didn’t do.

Here’s Amanda:

On Feb. 19, CNBC’s Rick Santelli issued his now-famous “Tea Party” call — prompted, many people forget, by Obama’s mortgage entitlement expansion plans (proposals I’ve protested whether from Democrats or moron Republicans):

David Hogberg of Investor’s Business Daily was the first MSM reporter to cover the burgeoning tax revolt protests. Here’s an excerpt of what Hogberg wrote on Feb. 20:

To be sure, the protest sizes so far are a far cry from the left’s anti-globalization and anti-war demonstrations of the past decade. But they appear to have grass-roots origins. The organizer of the Kansas protest, Amanda Grosserode, calls herself a home-schooling mom who is “fed up” with the spending in Washington. She has been a member of Fair Tax Kansas City since last fall.

“My husband and I were feeling frustrated that the stimulus had passed with very little debate and no one had read it,” she told IBD. “I said, ‘We need to do something.’”

She began contacting family and friends, and eventually received attention via Fair Tax Kansas City and local talk radio.

…Liberal supporters of the stimulus don’t see the demonstrations having much impact.

“These protests are probably ideological rather than practical,” said Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future.

He wishes.

On Feb. 21, the grass-roots Internet group, Top Conservatives on Twitter, founded by Michael Patrick Leahy and powered by Rob Neppell, announced “simultaneous local tea parties around the country, beginning in Chicago, and including Washington DC, Fayetteville NC, San Diego CA, Omaha Nebraska, and dozens of other locations” on Feb. 27. Patrik Jonsson of the Christian Science Monitor was one of the rare national MSM reporters who attended one of the tea parties (Atlanta) and provided a fair and balanced look at protesters mad at both parties:

To be sure, the federal spending package includes tax cuts for most Americans, and Obama has promised to eventually halve a US deficit the Democrats have largely blamed on the Bush administration.

But protesters like Kevin Tanner of South Dakota said deficit spending by both parties has unnerved Americans. “The Republicans have their own problems because we elected them and they didn’t do what we wanted,” says Mr. Tanner.

Many protesters expressed a sense that basic American freedoms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are threatened by new Washington policies seen by many as more socialistic than capitalistic. The proposed taxpayer bailout of homeowners who may have inflated their earnings in order to secure mortgages is one example, says Jeff Crawford, a protester from Dacula, Ga.

“The first year after the Mayflower arrived, the colonists tried a communal method of storing and sharing food and it failed miserably,” says Mr. Crawford. “Why are things any different now?”
Eighteenth-century symbolism was rife at the Atlanta event as speakers drew comparisons with the Boston patriots who dumped the King’s tea in Boston Harbor to protest taxation without representation, an act that began the American Revolution and the founding of the United States.

Some kids at the Atlanta protest wore tri-cornered hats, and one held a sign that said, “When I grow up I want to be free.”

In Tampa, two dozen protesters held handwritten signs with slogans like “Keep Your Bailout; I’ll Keep My Freedom.” About 300 people showed up in 25-degree weather in Wichita, Kansas, and someone brought a pig.

In St. Louis, local media expected about 50 people to show up while actual turnout surged to over 1,000 people.

An Internet-based coalition spearheaded by TCOT, Smart Girl Politics, and the DontGoMovement formed to coordinate today’s Tax Day Tea Party. It is a totally unprecedented phenomenon that no Beltway GOP guru or elected leader can claim credit for. The grass-roots coalition has held open planning meetings on BlogTalkRadio every week and maintained the transparency that Washington abandoned during TARP/porkulus/budget process. They’ve spent weeks helping first-time political activists get connected, obtain permits, and learn the ropes.

Along the way, many different taxpayers’ groups, talk show hosts, individuals, and websites have stepped up to the plate to pitch in.

And along the way, detractors have fumbled and bumbled over how to discredit the Tea Party organizers — first blaming a cabal tied to CNBC, then jeering at the amateurishness of the participants before crying “astroturf,” then claiming the events were “financed by Fox News” or (fill-in-the-blank) conservative conspiracy, then smearing the protesters as crazed gun nuts (FNC’s Bob Beckel) and racists (FNC’s Geraldo Rivera).

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if MSM coverage refrained from parroting all the lazy, groundless, uninformed canards and reported the simple truth?

***

The good news is there’s no need to rely on the drive-by media. Live Tax Day Tea Party video coverage at the Bcast. You can upload your Tea Party statement on C-SPAN’s website here.

Instapundit will be all over the story. And, of course, stay tuned right here, where I’ll be blogging/reporting from Sacramento and on FNC/FBN with Neil Cavuto’s live broadcasts.

More here.

Keep sending your vids, pics, and reports. I’ll post as many of them as humanly possible.

Party on!

***

Great idea: Several readers e-mail that they are holding food drives at their Tea Parties. Reader SG writes:

TOP TEN ITEMS NEEDED:
Canned meats/fish/poultry
Canned/Packaged Meals
Peanut Butter
Cereal
Soups
Canned Vegetables
Canned Fruits
100% Juices
Pasta and Pasta Sauces
Diapers

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