Author Archives: Stephen Gordon

It’s time to replace Janet Napolitano with Andrew Napolitano

Over at the Examiner, I’ve written an article which calls for DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to be fired and replaced by Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano.  Here’s why Janet should pack her bags:

Considering the timing of the actual release of the report, it seems that law enforcement was being provided a message from the White House to be on lookout for hundreds of thousands of Americans participating in Tea Parties across the nation on April 15th.  While national political journalist Robert Stacy McCain may have been the first to the note the connection between Tea Parties and the Homeland Security Document, other local bloggers have recognized the coincidence as well.

Here’s why Andrew is more than qualifed for the new job:

If I had to make a pick about which Napolitano serves as Attorney General, I’d choose the one who is equally critical of both political parties, the one who chooses constitutionality over partisanship, and the one who favors civil liberties over politics as normal in DC.

Read the whole article here.

It’s time for libertarians to start taking Federal Reserve issues seriously

For years, a lot of libertarians and paleoconservatives have focused a lot of attention on the Federal Reserve.  Some have gone overboard, blaming the Fed on virtually every lost freedom in America.  Others have focused too hard at the wrong time; I remember one person speaking at a gun show looking pretty foolish because he was talking about Fed issues while everyone in the audience was concerned about the upcoming passage of Clinton’s Assault Weapons Ban.

On the other side of the coin, our recent economic situation has raised a lot of issues about the role of the Federal Reserve, what alternatives there are to it, and how the system really works in practice.  Ron Paul supporters are particularly well-versed on these issues and the general public is becoming more interested in them, as well.

On February 26, Ron Paul introduced legislation to audit  “the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks” before the end of 2010.  While bills introduced by Paul are often disregarded by the rest of Congress, this one is starting to show some legs. According to Paul’s website, the bill now has 71 co-sponsors.

I’ve taken a lot of heat over the years for trying to protect the movement from being disregarded by mainstream Americans because of our internal kook factors.  When Ron Paul can obtain 71 sponsors for a bill, it’s time for hesitant libertarians to jump on board the Federal Reserve bandwagon.  You might start by contacting your Representative today.

UPDATE: Just received the following on Twitter:

If you don’t think the Federal Reserve issue is too arcane, then I’m up for it! Heard it for a while-can’t pretend I understand it. Freedom!

Alan Keyes teams up with Prison Planet to start new conspiracy theory

In a match made in heaven, Prison Planet has joined with former Ambassador and presidential candidate Alan Keyes to suggest that President Barrack Obama plans to “stage terror attacks, declare martial law and cancel the 2012 elections.”

While I’m certainly no Obama fan, that’s a very serious allegation to be tossing about in such a “well-respected” publication.  It’s also “surprising” that they pay attention to anyone who would throw his daughter out of the house, stop “speaking to her and refuse to pay for college because she is gay.”  The last time I checked, gay rights weren’t on the agenda at any recent CFR or Bilderberger meetings.

Libertarian, conservative and liberal nutballs have been suggesting that 9/11 was caused by President George W. Bush acting with the same intentions.  I’ve heard these same folks say Dubya was going to declare martial law and cancel presidential elections.  I’ve also heard people say that Bill Clinton was going to the same.  I heard similar fantasies during the George H.W. Bush years.  I heard them during the Reagan and Carter years, as well.  While I’m not old enough to remember earlier examples, I’m sure such rumors have existed since the founding of the Republic.

Guess what?  As many years as I’ve been hearing these reports, it ain’t happened yet.

Similar to his predecessor, the list of valid grievances against President Obama grows on a daily basis. My advice to Dr. Keyes is to get back on his medications and attack Obama for offenses committed on this planet.

UPDATE: I just had a call from the media on this, but lost the interview when I made a certain fact known.  For some reason, the interest was lost when they found out that I helped break the DHS story targeting most libertarians and conservatives in the country.

A sincere warning to big-government Republicans politicians

Last night, I published an article at The Next Right aimed at Republicans currently holding public office. Afterwards, I recalled that it wasn’t all that long ago that many elected Republicans thought the Internets are a long series of tubes. Lately, it seems that some Republican office holders have learned to tweet, but I’m not sure how many of them are ready for a full-sized blog posting. Although Glenn Reynolds, Robert Stacy McCain, Memeorandum, PoliGazette, BeltwayBlips, Jason Pye and SC Hotline managed to find the story, I’m not sure how many Republican governors and congresscritters did.

I’ve never met a Hill staffer who didn’t monitor Google News alerts on his or her boss.  As this site generates Google News alerts and The Next Right doesn’t, I thought I’d repost the article over here, adding the name of each current Republican Representitive, Senator and Governor at the end.   Hopefully the staffer who reads this will also inform his or her boss that the stage props used at this large Tea Party were really quite simple: A Gadsden Flag and a pitchfork.

A few offices will certainly have a good chuckle over this, as folks like Mark Sanford, Ron Paul and Jeff Flake have little to fear from their constituents.  The rest of them might benefit from reading the article below.  Enjoy!


Shortly after I wrote this quick piece for the Alabama Republican Liberty Caucus website, I was called by someone in another state who tracked down my cell number from a press release.

I had posted the now-going-viral video below of South Carolina Congressman Gresham Barrett (R) being booed, told to go home, and having people turn their backs on him when he spoke at the Greenville, SC Tea Party.

Calling out a Republican from my state congressional delegation for a bad vote on an amendment to the budget bill was my initial intention, but it’s starting to turn into more than this now.

My caller liked the idea so much, he’s beginning to quietly organize his folks to show at a scheduled event for one of his local “RINOs in DC.”  They plan to boo, turn their backs, and video the entire encounter.  They also plan to quietly alert the media in advance.

From the perspective of someone who helped organize a large 2003 Tea Party event to begin the process to kill Alabama Governor Riley’s proposed tax increase, I know how angry fiscal conservatives can feel about folks who have betrayed them.  More recently, we even dissed a Republican Secretary of State who demanded to speak at one of the April 15th Tea Parties I helped organize.

Pondering all of this, I contacted a few Tea Party organizers I’d been in contact with see what they thought of the general idea.

“Hell, yeah!” was the immediate response from one person I’ve never heard use that word before.

“We should do it even for one bad floor vote,” wrote one organizer about a specific Senator in his state.  “This way, he’ll get the message that we’ll be watching every minor move he makes.”

To wrap this all up, it’s better that I don’t identify any states or congressional districts already targeted.  This way, every last Republican with a bad fiscal conscience (or desire to be re-elected) who currently holds public office should be having nightmares about who might show at his or her next campaign rally or public speaking event. A healthy dose of paranoia can sometimes be a good thing.

Even little ol’ me can turn out a few thousand on fairly short notice in my state.

If you haven’t seen the video yet, it’s worth your time to watch it.  And if you are a Republican holding public office, think about how embarrassed you will feel losing to some unknown challenger come next primary election night. Only those with guilt in their hearts have to fear being next on the list.  If you think you might be on the list, I’d start with a call to my favorite spin-meister to come up with either the first or the best mea culpa that money can buy.

H/T to the good folks at the John Locke Foundation.

» Read more

Worth requoting

Are Republicans going Galt?

Maybe you see a pattern there and maybe you don’t. But of the roughly four different pathways the Republicans could take in the post-Obama universe — toward Ron Paulesque libertarianism, toward Sarah Palinesque cultural populism, toward Mike Huckabeesque big-government conservatism, or toward Olympia Snowesque moderation/ good-governmentism — the libertarian side would seem to have had the best go of things in the First 100 Days.

My initial response is that Republicans tend to be better supporters of small government when they aren’t clutching the keys to power.  They are also a lot friendlier to libertarians when they don’t have long lines of lobbyists paying for their lunches.  But let them resume power again and watch what happens…

This said, I find Nate Silver’s observation to be a good description of what’s happening in the GOP right now.

Today’s Winners and Losers

With the exception of “pure” libertarians, everyone gets it right sometimes and everyone gets it wrong sometimes.

Lately, I’ve been praising Robert Stacy McCain while being a mildly critical of Andrew Sullivan regarding Tea Parties.  Today, Sullivan makes up for it by bringing our attention to a post made by McCain regarding waterboarding.  McCain writes:

Who could possibly give a crap about the “rights” of terrorist scumbags like Abu Zubahdah and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed? Their “rights” would not have been infringed if they had gotten a 9mm slug through their skulls the day they were captured…

…Everybody would get their turn, one whack at a time, until there was nothing left of Abu and Khalid except a bloody stain. The $20 per ticket is a nominal fee. The real money would be in the pay-per-view royalties.

Hell, I hate the 9/11 hijackers as much as any red-blooded American can.  However, I’m a member of something which someone as bright as McCain must have heard: Western civilization. We’ve hundreds of years of tradition in providing legal rights to those accused of even the most heinous crimes.  I hate to go Godwin here, but we even tried folks like Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer in Nürnberg.  Serial killers generally receive fair trails before they are executed.

McCain may be wrong on torture, but he’s smart enough to realize the blowback resulting from the creation of new and powerful government institutions with the power to disregard other civil liberties. “Don’t Like Being Labeled a ‘Rightwing Extremist’? Blame Bush!” is how McCain just entitled a Hot Air piece covering this statement made by Alabama Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman Scott Boykin. “Keep this in mind next time someone tries to tell you that all Republicans are brainwashed Bushbot lapdogs,” notes McCain.

On the winners side today is the ACLU.  While the right hates and loathes the organization, the ACLU has been bold enough to defend the rights of even the right.  Now if the ACLU would only spend a bit more time protecting our Second Amendment rights…

Over at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, former prominent Republican Congressman Bob Barr aimed his arrows at the current House GOP leadership, stating that the Republicans are still leaderless in Congress.

“On issue after issue, [House Minority Leader John] Boehner’s responses to Stephanopoulos’ jabs were disjointed, vague and rambling,” wrote Barr. “There were virtually no specifics put forward by Boehner, despite numerous openings provided by Stephanopoulos for the Republican leader to provide a counterpoint to the Obama Administration’s liberal agendas on matters such as healthcare, climate change, and energy policy.”

Speaking of McCain and torture, Robert Stacy’s “crazy Uncle John” McCain stepped on it today on the only key issue where he’s been right.  Think Progress reports that the enemy of both waterboarding and the First Amendment is also a partisan hack who wants to protect GOP interests by calling it “a ‘serious mistake’ for the Obama administration to release the torture memos. The release of these memos helps no one, doesn’t help America’s image, does not help us address the issue.”  Au contraire, mon frère.

I should add as a disclaimer that (R. S.) McCain and I had drinks and cigars with Barr in Atlanta over the weekend.  However, this won’t stop me for praising my friends when they are right — or keep me from calling them out when they are wrong.

You might be a right-wing extremist if…

…via the Lady Godiva of the Tax Day Tea Party and the big pimp daddy of blogwhoredom, I’ve posted video of the speech Robert Stacy McCain delivered at the Birmingham/Shelby Country Tea Party in Alabama.

Additionally, I should take this time to do a little blogwhoring of my own.  As I’ve noticed that site traffic increases around here when McCain shoots us some linky-love, it would be nice to receive such connubial bliss on a more regular basis. Considering that McCain has an ego-wall on his sidebar, I thought I’d throw some flattery his way in exchange for a permalink on it:

“Like Ronald Reagan, Robert Stacy McCain is a former Democrat turned into an eloquent fiscal conservative with a mile-wide streak of libertarianism.”

Now here’s the video.  Enjoy!

Two Quotes of the Day

Sometime one has to get up early to get the quote-of-the-day post on this site.  Not being a morning person, I simply waited until after midnight.  Blogging is more fun while sucking down a beer than drinking the first cup of morning coffee, anyway.  Since I rarely provide the QOTD here, I thought it was time for twofers.

While at the Birmingham Tea Party, quite a few Republicans thanked me for my role in bringing the Department of Homeland Security document to the light of day.  One was even shedding real tears of gratitude.  Every since the report was released, I’ve been amazed by the amount of site traffic and major media attention this issue has received.  And also very, very confused.

Thoreau, via Mark Thompson, explains my confusion very well:

WE FVCKING TOLD YOU SO!!!!!  WE TOLD YOU THIS EVERY G*DD@MN DAY FOR 8 G*DD@MN YEARS!!!!!

He adds:

Anyway, I, for one, welcome my new rightwing fellow travelers.  All I ask is that they try to remember that a red boot can stomp on a human face as much as a blue boot.

He expressed my feelings so well that I’m at a loss for words.  And that’s a very difficult accomplishment, indeed.

Trying to teach newbie fiscally conservative Republicans a few speaking points

The Hill reports:

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) blasted “tea party” protests yesterday, labeling the activities “despicable” and shameful.”

“The ‘tea parties’ being held today by groups of right-wing activists, and fueled by FOX News Channel, are an effort to mislead the public about the Obama economic plan that cuts taxes for 95 percent of Americans and creates 3.5 million jobs,” Schakowsky said in a statement.

“It’s despicable that right-wing Republicans would attempt to cheapen a significant, honorable moment of American history with a shameful political stunt,” she added. “Not a single American household or business will be taxed at a higher rate this year. Made to look like a grassroots uprising, this is an Obama bashing party promoted by corporate interests, as well as Republican lobbyists and politicians.”

Here’s a response from the guy who alerted a significant amount of Americans that they are considered right-wing extremists:  I’ll be happy to trade my miniscule tax decrease for repayment of my share, as well as that of my children and their children, of all deficit spending which has occurred since President Obama took office.

I’m sure a lot of you can think of additional appropriate responses.

I’ve a more than a handful of libertarian friends who used to work for Ronald Reagan.  The GOP might wish to think about hiring some of us again.

Rush Limbaugh and Fox News too damned cheap to pay for their own bandwidth

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Screenshot of Limbaugh's website as of 4PM EST today

Being as they obviously can’t afford to serve their own Internet files, both Rush Limbaugh and Fox News have been hotlinking the now-infamous Department of Homeland Security report this site recently released. Since the report was published, we’ve experienced a tremendous burst of traffic, and been working overtime (special kudos to Brad) merely to keep this site operational. Hotlinking is a no-no in the Internet community. If you are new to the Internet, here’s a good explanation as to why it’s so frowned upon. It would be difficult to characterize Limbaugh or Fox as being an Internet newbies, however.

We’d take to take time to offer a special thank you to Michelle Malkin for going out of her way to serve a copy of the report on her own site.

I first learned that Rush had hotlinked us last night. The “talent on loan from God” webteam still doesn’t seem to be aware of what their readers see when clicking on the link.  Here’s what people coming from hotlinked sources will find.

In the meantime, if you came here to read the report, here’s a copy of the .pdf file.

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Blowup of the Rush's frontpage hotlink

MD and AL: Two Tea Party items of interest

Maryland

It’s being reported that the Maryland National Guard issued an alert to be on the lookout for numerous entities which “have formed recently to express displeasure/anger over recent federal/state government actions: more taxes, increased spending, higher deficits, a surge of borrowing to pay for it all, bailout of the financial institutions.”

“This movement can be identified by different variations of “TEA Party” or “Tea Party.” Past “TEA Party” events have been peaceful. There was a “Tea party” event at Solomons, Maryland, on March 22, 2009. “TEA” stands for “Taxed Enough Already,”the report continues.

Following the Missouri Information Analysis Center report and the one issued by the Department of Homeland Security, this is beginning to look like a most disturbing trend.

Alabama

The following blog comment (from a source I personally know) illustrates that the Birmingham/Shelby County Tea Party stuck to their activist guns:

The highlight of the event in Birmingham was Beth Chapman, our Secretary of State.

Unbeknowst to most people, she showed up unannounced at the back of the stage and demanded to speak. Apparently she wasn’t there when I announced that no elected officials would be speaking and that at this rally politicians would listen to we the people.

As a matter of fact, she wasn’t there when the Rainy Day Patriots (25 in number) stood on 280 in the middle of a tornado warning with their protest signs. She wasn’t there during our organizational meetings. She wasn’t there during setup of the event. And she certainly wasn’t there during cleanup.

Needless to say, she wasn’t a very happy camper when she was told “NO”. I guess politicians are not used to being told no because she lingered for another 30 minutes quibling for a speaking spot.

It was a great day in Alabama when a group of citizens can grow their numbers from 25 to 7000 in a couple of weeks and tell our politicians “NO!”

Chapman is Alabama’s Republican Secretary of State. Commenter Marcelo Munoz is a local Campaign for Liberty organizer.

Alabama Tea Party Report

tea-party-photos-rpRobert Stacy McCain and I just got back from our second Tea Party of the day. First, we went to Tuscaloosa for the rally being held at the University of Alabama. McCain was the first speaker, and considering that he’s a DC-based Alabama football fan, he probably couldn’t have messed up his speech, even if he tried. There were about 500 people there. As we had to be in Hoover right after his speech, I can’t report very much about the rest of the event. I did grab some pictures, and here’s one of two Ron Paul supporters holding their signs.

We raced to the Birmingham event, and made good time until we hit a major traffic jam.  While I expected a good crowd, I wasn’t expecting nearly the amount of people who showed up.  McCain was insisting that it was Tea Party traffic, while I figured there was an accident ahead.  As this may be the only time he ever sees these words coming from my keyboard, he may wish to savor them a bit: Yo, McCain — you were right and I was wrong.

I’d estimate that around 7,000 people (there was another Birmingham area event held earlier in the day with around 1,000 people reported in attendence) were there.  As people were coming and going throughout the event, total attendance was even higher.

tea-party-photos-crowdIt was tough obtaining any photo which accurately depicted the amount of people in attendence.  Hopefully, when the Fox (or local television) video hits YouTube, it will provide a better indication of the crowd size than this picture on the right.

I’ve not seen any Birmingham News (the dominant local paper) coverage of the latter event, yet, but here’s one early report from a reporter who obviously left early.  McCain tells a bit more:

Famous Alabama radio personalities Rick and Bubba were doing a live TV remote with Sean Hannity. Alabama gubernatorial candidate Tim James spoke; leading Republican observers in the state say he’s the man to watch for 2010.

Next up was Birmingham talk-radio host Lee Davis, who did a James Brown hardest-working-man-in-show-business performance. By this time, I’d found my Samoan lawyer buddy Bert, who lives in Birmingham and joined me backstage. The lady came to tell me I was next up after Davis — a tough act to follow.

But hey, I’m Mack the Knife. I killed. I told ‘em how my buddy Stephen Gordon broke the story about the DHS report about “right-wing extremists,” and then:

Since I work in Washington, I contacted my source at the Department of Homeland Security and asked him what I should be on the lookout for. And I’ve got my notes from that interview with me. You might be a right-wing extremist if . . .
. . . you refuse to bow to Saudi royalty.
. . . you think the only good pirate is a dead pirate.
. . . you don’t think it’s a good idea for politicians in Washington to borrow another trillion dollars you grandchildren will have to repay.
. . . you think you know how to run your life better than a bunch of ‘experts’ in Washington.
. . . you believe in God, but don’t think that Obama is the Messiah.
. . . you believe the only reason you have First Amendment Rights is because of your Second Amendment rights.

That may not seem too funny just reading it on a blog, but the magic was in the delivery. It went over very well with a big fired-up crowd. Alabama people are the finest people on the planet.

After the rally, went to the Five Points Grill for a celebratory dinner with friends, where various right-wing conspiracies political plans were discussed. Between Gordo and his buddies, I’m pretty sure they’ve got the whole dang state locked up for the foreseeable future.

McCain was correct when he stated the the lines went over well.  The noise from crowd at both events provided the evidence.  He’s pictured here reading from the list of traits of right-wing extremists he acquired from his imaginary friend at DHS.  His shoes were likely muddied in our rush to get to the latter event on time.

tea-party-photos-rsm

It seems that everyone (while I was there, at least) followed the advice I offered about sticking to a fiscally conservative message.  Several people there told me that they had read and appreciated that blog posting.  It was appropriate, as there was a wide mix of conservatives, libertarians and Campaign for Liberty folks.   Of the speakers I observed, McCain deviated from the fiscally conservative role more than anyone else when giving the “You might be a right-wing extremist if…” portion of his speech, and I’m the one who suggested the God/Messiah line to him.

Obviously, there were a lot of fairly typical Republicans in attendance.  I recognized plenty of LP members, people I knew from the previous Alabama Tea Party, people from the Ron Paul campaign, and a few people that I think (note to self: follow up on this one) are Democrats.

I met quite a few people, including this conservative blogger with a blog title that’s almost as cute as she is in person.  Unfortunately, she didn’t keep her promise of becoming The Official Lady Godiva of the Tax Day Tea Party.

Quite a few people thanked me for my role in delivering the DHS report to the Internet, one nice lady literally shedding tears of gratitude.

Unlike some of the Internet responses I’ve received from some Republicans, people congratulated me for tackling what could have been a difficult television interview well.  One person thanked me for informing him that Mike Huckabee likes tax increases as much as Bob Riley does.  Some either didn’t seem to get the Alan Keyes point I made — or don’t care.

Some of the feedback from the Atlanta rally I’ve received so far was mixed, but I’m sure Jason Pye will fill us in when he gets the chance.  There were an estimated 15,000 people at the event and this article reports (not sure what the reporter meant at the end of the first sentence) the following:

Although they did take part in the tax protest, some Georgia Libertarians said they have no use for Sean Hannity, who they call a Republican “lackey”, for either the Republican or Democratic Parties.

“I’m no fan of Barack Obama by any means,” said Libertarian Christopher Barber, “but Bush grew government. The entrenched Republicans grow government.”

I did hear that libertarian radio personality Eric von Haessler delivered a great speech in Hotlanta.

From an activist point of view, the Birmingham event was clearly a success.  There was no astroturfing, despite the Sean Hannity media presence.  There were no big-government Republican speakers, unlike what I hear about other events.  I’m sort of confused about why folks in Columbia, SC invited Tax Hike Mike to speak at their tax rally.  Isn’t that the same as inviting Satan to be the guest preacher at church?

Today may go down in the history books as the day America reversed course on fiscal policy.  Alternately, today could be remembered as a day with good rallies, but nothing changed afterwards.  What this movement does in the future is still to be determined.

UPDATE: As to be expected, the Birmingham News under-reported participation. “At Hoover’s Veterans Park, police directed traffic as several hundred people gathered for one of more than a dozen rallies in Alabama and more than 500 around the country,” they wrote.

Later, they updated their report to say: Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos estimates the “Tea Party” rally at Veterans Park drew at least 5,000 people on Wednesday.

Petelos said he stopped by the rally about 8:30 p.m. after church. He noticed cars packed in Spain Park parking lot, lined on Valleydale Road and in the parking lot of a nearby Jefferson State Community College satellite campus.

Petelos said one resident told him it took him an hour and a half to get from the Interstate 65 exit at Valleydale Road to Veterans Park.

Petelos said attendance estimates were based on the number of cars the parking lot could handle. “I’d say there were 3,000 cars with two people to a car that’s about 6,000,” he said. “I feel very safe saying there were about 5,000 people.”

I’ll still stand by the 7,000 number I used, as there were a lot people both arriving and leaving throughout the event. Combined with the mechanism used by Petelos to estimate attendance and the amount of people coming and going I observed, this makes sense. Other organizers felt pretty comfortable with the 7,000 number, as well.

UPDATE II: Here’s a great photo I found on Flickr of two protesters.

UPDATE III: Local Campaign for Liberty leader reports in a blog comment:

The highlight of the event in Birmingham was Beth Chapman, our Secretary of State.

Unbeknowst to most people, she showed up unannounced at the back of the stage and demanded to speak. Apparently she wasn’t there when I announced that no elected officials would be speaking and that at this rally politicians would listen to we the people.

As a matter of fact, she wasn’t there when the Rainy Day Patriots (25 in number) stood on 280 in the middle of a tornado warning with their protest signs. She wasn’t there during our organizational meetings. She wasn’t there during setup of the event. And she certainly wasn’t there during cleanup.

Needless to say, she wasn’t a very happy camper when she was told “NO”. I guess politicians are not used to being told no because she lingered for another 30 minutes quibling for a speaking spot.

It was a great day in Alabama when a group of citizens can grow their numbers from 25 to 7000 in a couple of weeks and tell our politicians “NO!”

UPDATE IV: This local blogger provides a lot of pictures from earlier in the day while we were in Tuscaloosa or stuck in traffic. She also notes what she thinks the tea party was about:

To sum up the rally, I think most of us were there because we want something to change in Washington:

* Taxes are too high
* Government is TOO big
* Spending money like there’s no tomorrow
* Our future as a great nation is at risk
* Get back to our Constitution that was founded by our forefathers

UPDATE V: TheRightRant provides more photos and adds: “Ayn Rand signs were every where. The people see where America is headed and they don’t like it.”

UPDATE VI: The AmericanConservativeDaily reports:

Birmingham- 5,000
Huntsville- 2,500
Montgomery- 2,300-2,500
Mobile- 1000
Trussville- 1,000

There were other, smaller events in Alabama, as well. 300 participants were reported in Hueytown.

UPDATE VII: WYDE has some photos here. Shana Kluck provides more details from Alabama events here.

It appears that the Tea Parties held in Alabama yesterday were a rousing success.  It’s reported by ABC News (and my friend and attendee Shirrell Roberts) that the Montgomery Tea Party held at noon on the Capital steps had about 1,000 people.  Great job, Matt Givens and Cindy Wright, in organzing and promoting this event!  This is what Shirrell said after the event-

It really fired me up just seeing common everyday folks give a rip about the direction this country is headed.  Sometimes it is easy to become cynical. Yesterday restored my faith in the people of this country.

In Tuscaloosa, David Steele, Wells Robinson and Jeff Galle (law students at UA and bloggers at SquareWon.org) organized the Tea Party on the Quad at the University of Alabama.  There was a crowd of at least 300 people there by the time the first speaker, Robert Stacy McCain, was finishing up, and it looked like more were on their way in.

Immediately following Stacy’s speech, we headed over to the Birmingham Tea Party, where Stacy would be addressing the crowd there as well.  Traffic to the event was backed up for miles and it was no surprise to hear it announced from stage that the crowds were estimated to be around 7,000.  Stacy wowed the crowd again with his ‘You might be a right-wing extremist’ routine.  My favorite quote?

You might be a right-wing extremist if you believe in God, but don’t believe that Obama is the Messiah.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James also spoke about fiscal responsibility and the necessity for Alabamians to hold DC to a higher standard.  The crowd was obviously receptive, excited, positive and hoping for better things for the future.

UPDATE VIII: Doug Mataconis wants to know what government spending Tea Partiers would like to see cut.  Let’s give him a big list.

UPDATE IX: The Tuscaloosa News covered our earlier, smaller protest of the the day.  According to a local friend who called, the picture of McCain covers most of the front page — both above and below the fold.  They also provided this video footage, with a quick interview of McCain at the end.  His two-part message: Organize! Roll Tide!

UPDATE X: McCain and I just spent an hour on the air with Birmingham 101.1FM talk show host Lee Davis.

UPDATE XI: Here’s video of McCain’s speech.

Funniest Tea Party poster I’ve seen so far…

There is a long trail of trackbacks to credit on this one.  Starting with Mark Thompson, we move to Andrew Sullivan and then Wonkette to reach our final destination at Creative Loafing. Thomas Wheatley explains:

Turns out Hannity and some of the various dignitaries who’ve signed on for the event might not get the warmest of welcomes. A tipster tells us that some members of the state Libertarian Party — have they gone rogue?!? — have printed more than 600 signs that scold the talk show host and politicians for turning their heads during Bush-era bank bailouts and excessive spending. (Even if you disagree with their policies, Libertarians have an incredible sense of humor. The Allen Buckley radio ads during the U.S. Senate race gave that grueling contest a much-needed jolt of excitement.)

(UPDATE: Just spoke with Daniel Adams, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Georgia. He wanted to stress that these signs were made by individual party members and not endorsed or approved by the party. Adams says the state party is co-sponsoring Atlanta’s April 15 protest to show support for the grassroots movement that’s organized these events. He says the website listed on the signs is a mirrored site belonging to the national party, not that of the state’s.)

Here’s one their posters. Others here.

shitsandwich1

Speaking of Tea Parties, Robert Stacy McCain hanging out with me and speaking at two Alabama Tea Party events on the 15th and then we’ll be heading over to Atlanta to speak at the Georgia Libertarian Party Convention on the 18th —  where we’ll be hanging out with Dan Adams and The Liberty Paper‘s very own Jason Pye.

The White House responds to DHS report

Every since we provided a .pdf document of a Department of Homeland Security report (subsequently verified by Michelle Malkin) which paints pretty much anyone opposed to big government as a potential terrorist threat, our server has been hiccupping a bit.  Not as bad as the the Washington Times site, though.  After twenty or so tries, I was finally able to obtain the White House response to allegations that the DHS report is politically motivated:

The White House has distanced itself from the analysis. When asked for comment on its contents, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said, “The President is focused not on politics but rather taking the steps necessary to protect all Americans from the threat of violence and terrorism regardless of its origins. He also believes those who serve represent the best of this country, and he will continue to ensure that our veterans receive the respect and benefits they have earned.”

If the president isn’t focused on politics, would he please be so kind as to cease taking from my children and grandchildren money they haven’t yet earned.

One left-wing response which links to this site is entitled “Because Payback Is A Bitch.” The writer ranted:

Cry me a fucking river you bunch of hypocrites. This is America – love it or leave it. Our side of the debate was told that repeatedly for the past eight years and now that the tide has turned, the right has got their panties in a bunch.

First of all, this is a libertarian site and not a Bush-loving Republican one.  If the writer will recall, libertarians were screaming about the Patriot Act while a good chunk of Democrats were voting for it.  We also protested Bush, albeit with a different flair than the left:  Considering the First Amendment our permit, we didn’t obtain permission from the government to stage our “unauthorized” event.

The right of political dissent trancends party lines or any artificial left-right ideological continuum.

DHS Report: “…has likely spurred African Americans—as well as law-abiding Americans…”

My friend Dave Weigel seems to be less upset with about the DHS reported entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Environment Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” than pretty much everyone else in the blogosphere.  He notes:

Seriously, though, I struggle to find anything wrong in a close — not a willfully obtuse — reading of the report. I’m nine days out of a huge machine gun show in Kentucky. I know that all of the gun stuff in this report is true. For example:

Open source reporting of wartime ammunition shortages has likely spurred rightwing extremists—as well as law-abiding Americans—to make bulk purchases of ammunition.  These shortages have increased the cost of ammunition, further exacerbating rightwing extremist paranoia and leading to further stockpiling activity.  Both rightwing extremists and law-abiding citizens share a belief that rising crime rates attributed to a slumping economy make the purchase of legitimate firearms a wise move at this time.

I’ve agreed with Weigel (specifically about the gun show to which he refers, even) about how bad the more extreme folks who tend to show at gun shows can make the movement appear.  However, there is a major distinction between making a movement look bad and breaking a law.

To help Dave find what’s wrong with the report, I’ll suggest a little mental exercise.  Let’s break down one little piece of the report he provided: “…has likely spurred rightwing extremists—as well as law-abiding Americans…”

What would the public reaction be if I had written “…has likely spurred African Americans—as well as law-abiding Americans…”?

The implication is obvious.  Had I written this, I would have suggested that African Americans are not law-abiding Americans.  The same logic applies with “rightwing extremists,”  who are defined elsewhere in the report with such a broad brush that it includes pretty much any believer in small government.

UPDATE: Dave graciously notes that I’ve whacked him upside the head and agrees with me, in part.  He also adds, “I don’t think the political correctness in short government reports is as big a problem as, say, people shooting cops.”

Shooting cops is certainly immediately worse.  However, when the government begins to define lawful political dissent, the slipperly slope begins — one which certainly could lead to catastrophic consequences.

Addressing some Tea Party concerns

Believe me, I certainly understand the reluctance of libertarians and some fiscal conservatives to become involved in Tea Parties.  Legitimate concerns abound regarding big-government Republicans astroturfing the movement and about other issues and players being added to the agenda.   I’ve written a lot about these issues, and likely will in the future.  I’d like to approach a different group of concerns right now.  For those of you sympathetic with small-government ideals but concerned about “the futility of protesting” or that they will be “ineffective“, consider the following.

In promoting one of the Alabama Tea Party events, I sent out an e-mail which began like this:

On December 16, 1773, a group of colonists boarded ships and dumped tea into the Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party was the symbolic start of our battle against British tyranny and taxation. On Saturday, August 9, 2003, the Alabama Tea Party was the symbolic beginning of our overwhelming defeat of the largest planned tax increase in Alabama’s history.

On April 15, we’ll be throwing another Tea Party – this one to begin the overthrow of the greatest expansion of federal spending in our nation’s history. In conjunction with other Tea Parties to be held across the nation on April 15, the Birmingham and Shelby County Tea Parties have merged in order for Alabamians to provide the most incredibly successful event possible.

It’s important that as many people as possible attend so we can ensure that our elected representatives in Washington hear our demand for limited government and a return to our constitutional roots. We’ll be holding a family-friendly rally starting at 6:30PM on Wednesday, April 15th. It will take place at Veteran’s (Spain) Park on Valleydale Road in Hoover. Additionally, Sean Hannity will be running a live stream from Tea Parties across the country and the Birmingham Tea Party will be one of them…

While driving to Birmingham to meet with a candidate for an upcoming city council race I’ll be working, I heard WYDE’s Lee Davis repeat the same general reason I provided above.  Davis is perhaps the biggest GOP cheerleader in Alabama radio and obviously I’m not.  However, Davis will be speaking at the same event I was promoting. While we may disagree on much, we certainly agree about this.

Tonight, 2010 GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim James sent out his Tea Party email.  I should note that James has been a consistent fiscal conservative.  His note states:

People are fed up with out-of-control government spending, regulations and taxes. It’s time to stand up and be counted. Support your local tea party and send a message to the politicians in Montgomery and Washington DC that you’re fed up with irresponsible spending and taxation.

WAPI’s Matt Murphy will be speaking, as well.  He was so upset with John McCain and the Republican Party that he endorsed Bob Barr on the air last Election Day.  Another Barr supporter, Robert Stacy McCain, will be leaving D.C. for my house tomorrow.  He’ll be speaking in Birmingham, as well.

Sorry for all of the background, but I needed it to make three points.

For the skeptics out there, most Tea Parties haven’t been taken over by the big-government Republican machine.  Some have.  Most are grassroots-driven activities with a broad spectrum of conservative and libertarian participation.  As I’ve noted before, even GOP Chairman Michael Steele couldn’t bully his way into a speaking slot at the upcoming highly publicized Chicago rally.

The second point is that while the left may deservedly take jabs at some crackpots on the right and the media coverage may not be as great as some people desire, the political impact of a successful Tea Party may indeed provide something more important: A date for the history books marking the beginning of the overthrow excessive taxation and spending.  Both with the original Tea Party and with the 2003 Alabama Tea Party, I’ll suggest that those dates above were pivotal moments in our history.

My final message is for organizers and speakers.  Mark Thompson writes:

To them, the Tea Parties aren’t just an outlet for expressing frustration over the recent orgy of government spending, they are an opportunity to complain about gay marriage, affirmative action programs in government hiring policies, and just about everything else that movement conservatives oppose even more vehemently now that they’ve been beaten – badly – in consecutive national elections.  Never mind that the original point of the Tea Parties, so far as I can tell, was completely libertarian in nature and was to be as much a protest of the Republicans as it was of the Democrats.

The successful Tea Party in Alabama was the rallying point which turned into a major defeat of the largest tax hike (proposed by a Republican, no less) in our state’s history.  Some organizers tried to hold similar events in later years.  However, the rallying cries became more about issues like abortion and especially immigration.  Not surprisingly, the movement fell apart.

If you are an event organizer or speaker, keep in mind that pretty much everyone will agree with your fiscally conservative message.  The Second Amendment is probably pretty safe turf, but not necessary for the purpose of this coalition.  Conservatives or libertarians wandering off into territory such as abortion, gay rights, immigration, medical marijuana, and the Iraq War will be creating unnecessarily divisive issues.

As Brad Warbiany writes: “The art of politics is knowing where coalitions can be formed, and making use of them.”

If you are reading this, you may well be a terrorist

Last night, I uploaded a document I had received by e-mail and wrote the following:

According to this new Homeland Security report, all it takes to fit the terrorist profile is to have general anti-government feelings or prefer local/state government to federal control over everything.

The federal Homeland Security Department document entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Environment Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” contains the following definition:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.  It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

Also targeted in the report are veterans, folks anticipating additional restrictions to their Second Amendment rights, and those concerned about the loss of U.S. sovereignty.

This report implies that one harboring these sorts of views is a racist as well as a potential terrorism suspect.

Michelle Malkin has followed through and verified that the Department of Homeland Security takes credit for the report:

The “report” was one of the most embarrassingly shoddy pieces of propaganda I’d ever read out of DHS. I couldn’t believe it was real.

I spent the day chasing down DHS spokespeople, who have been tied up preparing for a very important homeland security event later today: The First Lady is coming to visit their Washington office. Priorities, you know.

Well, the press office got back to me and verified that the document is indeed for real.

They were very defensive — preemptively so — in asserting that it was not a politicized document and that DHS had done reports on “leftwing extremism” in the past.

As Malkin suggests in her posting, it’s time to make a few last minute signs for April 15th Tea Parties.

UPDATE: The White House responds:

The White House has distanced itself from the analysis. When asked for comment on its contents, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said, “The President is focused not on politics but rather taking the steps necessary to protect all Americans from the threat of violence and terrorism regardless of its origins. He also believes those who serve represent the best of this country, and he will continue to ensure that our veterans receive the respect and benefits they have earned.”

Astroturfing Republican of the Day Award

Big-government Republican hypocricy knows no limits, it seems.  Here’s the latest tweet from Mike Huckabee:

Pls support HPAC today, my 3 reasons for $3: rising taxes, deficits, massive exp. of govt http://tinyurl.com/cwpy6t Plse RT #tcot

Let’s see if I understand this correctly: Tax Hike Mike wants us to give money to the Huck PAC because of taxes, deficits and expansion of government?

I seem to recall the Club for Growth setting the record straight on just how big Tax Hike Mike would really like the government to be.  Huckabee’s response was to call the organization the Club for Greed.

I also recall Huckabee lambasting libertarians. There’s this sentence from his book.

The real threat to the Republican Party is something we saw a lot of this past election cycle: libertarianism masked as conservatism.

There is also this quote from a HuffPo interview:

The greatest threat to classic Republicanism is not liberalism; it’s this new brand of libertarianism, which is social liberalism and economic conservatism, but it’s a heartless, callous, soulless type of economic conservatism because it says “look, we want to cut taxes and eliminate government. If it means that elderly people don’t get their Medicare drugs, so be it. If it means little kids go without education and healthcare, so be it.”

Huck PAC will be going without my $3, as I certainly don’t want it to be used to expand the size, scope and expense of government.

Here’s the response back to Huckabee from my Twitter account:

@GovMikeHuckabee Astroturfing Tax-Hike-Mike asking for $ to fight taxes & spending http://tinyurl.com/c3wwuo #tcot #tlot

UPDATE: The retweets begin

Homeland Security document targets most conservatives and libertarians in the country

Thousands of racists and terrorists rally at Cincinatti Tea Party

Thousands of racists and terrorists rally at Cincinnati Tea Party

Remember that now-retracted Missouri Information Analysis Center report which stated that small-government types (specifically Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin supporters) were potential terrorist threats? According to this new Homeland Security report, all it takes to fit the terrorist profile is to have general anti-government feelings or prefer local/state government to federal control over everything.

The federal Homeland Security Department document entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Environment Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” contains the following definition:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.  It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

Also targeted in the report are veterans, folks anticipating additional restrictions to their Second Amendment rights, and those concerned about the loss of U.S. sovereignty.

This report implies that one harboring these sorts of views is a racist as well as a potential terrorism suspect.

UPDATE: Sorry for the delay in responding to questions about the authenticity of the DHS report.  We had a freakish storm last night which blew down a lot of very large oak trees in my neighborhood.  At the moment, we are cooking on propane and charcoal, are running a 3000 watt generator to keep food from spoiling, etc.  I just rerouted all of the home networking equipment and moved it so it can be powered by the generator, so I finally have Internet access again.

With respect to the report, I have no absolute proof it is legit, but I searched around the Internet and couldn’t find any site debunking it.  It came to me from a reasonably reliable source by e-mail.  It looks authentic and passes the sniff test of someone who has read far more than his share of government reports.

I figure that if this ends up being a hoax, it’s such a clever one that it is newsworthy in and of itself.  It’s probably legit, though.  Sometimes a blogger has to go out on a limb until such things can be absolutely verified.  That’s what’s so great about the Internet — we have an open source forum to investigate matters such as this.

If someone finds anything which verifies the authenticity of this document or indicates that it’s a clever hoax, please let me know.

UPDATE II: The AmSpecBlog has picked this up, as well as RedState, PoliGazette, Homeland Security Watch, The Other McCain, Independent Political Report, Moe Lane and Cold Fury.

UPDATE III: Michelle Malkin verifies the document here.  RedState’s Moe Lane writes in an e-mail: “Heh.  I figured that document was for real after I got shunted to the fourth office at DHS.  If it was fake they would have just said so.”

UPDATE IV: The White House responds:

The White House has distanced itself from the analysis. When asked for comment on its contents, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said, “The President is focused not on politics but rather taking the steps necessary to protect all Americans from the threat of violence and terrorism regardless of its origins. He also believes those who serve represent the best of this country, and he will continue to ensure that our veterans receive the respect and benefits they have earned.”

UPDATE V: A similar report seems to have been distributed by the Maryland National Guard.  This one specifically mentions Tea Party participants.

UPDATE VI by Brad Warbiany: We were getting quite a bit of hotlinking of the original PDF report (Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, etc), and I have redirected that link to the main post.

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