Archive for the ‘ Tea Party ’ Category

New political brews: coffee, tea, or cocoa parties

Tea Party meeting sign in rural Texas

The Tea Party movement celebrated its one-year anniversary at the end of February. In 2009, the grassroots surge of conservative-minded voters had brewed up a political tempest in their tea pot by staging hundreds of “tax day” tea parties on April 15th across the country. From then until now, the upstart movement has managed to influence several major political elections and events, call the mainstream media into account for anti-conservative biases, and establish itself as an almost daily fixture in the national news cycle; no mean feat for any grassroots effort let alone a staunchly conservative one.

But maybe the biggest sign of the Tea Party movement’s success and effectiveness at stirring things up across the political landscape is the current burst of wannabe, beverage-oriented “movements” bubbling up through the social media. First came the Coffee Party Movement, which started to percolate online around the time the tea party movements were celebrating their first anniversary. Coffee Party USA founder, Annabel Park, called it an alternative to the Tea Party movement, claiming the group was designed to be “a grassroots online Facebook network which advocates cooperation among elected representatives and promotes civil public discourse.”

The most obvious implication of Park’s mission statement is her view that the Tea Party does not promote “civil” public discourse nor advocate “cooperation” among elected representatives. These contra-conservative overtones have continued throughout Park’s public appearances. Her YouTube video – Coffee Party: How We Began – clearly aims to characterize tea partiers as divisive and “obstructionist.” This begs the question of whether the Coffee Party Movement would be “obstructive” toward conservative legislation they oppose.

Park, who appears to be Asian, also takes aim at what she sees as the tea partiers’ lack of ethnic diversity. She stops short of actually playing the race card but the YouTube video makes it clear this is another one of Park’s talking points about the Tea Party movement.

Watch the video here:

More egregious to tea partiers about coffee partiers, however, might be the mainstream media omissions about the founder of the Coffee Party movement. Newsbusters’ Matthew Balan reported on CNN’s bias toward Park ( According to Balan, “John Roberts and Kiran Chetry omitted mentioning that Annabel Park, the founder of the so-called Coffee Party, worked as a volunteer for President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, during an interview on Wednesday’s American Morning. The anchors also didn’t mention Park’s past work for the liberal New York Times.”

Read more here:

Also read William Jacobson on his Legal Insurrection blog – as reported by the Media Research Center (MRC) – where he “cited some of Park’s posts on her Twitter account, including this charming appeal to sweet reason posted by Park on January 26, where Park sounds far less measured…

‘we need to re-engage the grassroots movemnt that got Obama elected. we need to get busy. cannot give it away to tea baggers.'”

The MRC story goes on to report that “Jacobson also uncovered Park’s support for the Obama campaign…Jacobson found that Park was ‘one of the organizers and operators of the United for Obama video channel at YouTube.'”

Read the MRC story here:

Now there’s the “Cocoa Party” movement, also founded on Facebook, which puts forth a mission “…to forge a culture of ludicrous propaganda that is entirely blame-oriented.”

The FB page can be found at:

So what’s next? The latte party? The chai movement? Suffice it to say that the days of two-party political rhetoric are definitely over. Time to brew up a cuppa whatever you’re drinking, log on and enjoy the show.

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FreemanSpeaks also writes for The Austin Capital Times online:  Follow on Twitter: @ATXCapTimes


Suicide Pilot a Personal Tragedy, Not Tea Party Terrorism

Below is my breaking news story published on Follow The Austin Capital Times on Twitter: @ATXCapTimes.  Follow me on Twitter: @FreemanTweets

Online speculations took flight this afternoon over the motivation for Joseph Stacks’ suicidal piloting of a small plane into a building that houses IRS offices this morning in Austin, TX. Despite a Marxist-laden rant left behind online by Stack- in which he rails against the IRS, the Catholic Church, and his wife, among others – rumors of Stacks’ affiliation with the Tea Party movement were running rampant by day’s end.

“He’s not one of ours,” Austin Tea Party co-founder Greg Holloway told The Austin Capital Times. “We’ve heard that some media outlets are trying to make an association between Mr. Stack and the tea parties. We’ve checked our records and we don’t have anyone named Joseph Stack.”

Stack’s final “manifesto” posted online reveals a personally troubled man who also seemed to have had trouble paying his taxes. The post-mortem characterization of Stack as “anti-tax” may be what pointed some left-wing pundits toward associating him with the Tea Party due to the movement’s well-known tactic of staging “tax day” demonstrations to protest big government.

Holloway says Stack’s act of extreme violence is the biggest clue that he was not a tea partier. “Violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer,”  wrote Stack before slamming his plane into an office building where as many as 200 federal tax employees worked.

“He took the law into his own hands,” Holloway said. “We’re against that. We will never use violence to force our agenda.”

That agenda, according to Holloway, is centered around five core principles: smaller government, personal responsibility, fiscal responsibility, the rule of law, and national sovreignty. Holloway cites the rule of law as another key to recognizing that Joseph Stack was not affiliated with the Tea Party movement or its ideals.

“Once a law is appropriately passed into legislation, people need to adhere to it or we slip into anarchy, and that’s never been good for any society,” said Holloway, adding, “I’m sorry for him, his family, and for anyone else hurt in the attack this morning.”

When asked what local Tea Party organizers would do if anyone espousing views like Stark’s showed up at a rally or meeting, Holloway said they would be asked to either tone it down, or leave. “There’s a difference between being disgruntled and being willing to work within the parameters of an ordered society.”

Holloway estimates current membership in the Austin Tea Party at between 2-4,000. The movement here was started in February, 2009, by Holloway’s wife, Judy, after the infamous “Santelli Rant” on CNBC. The local group’s first event was a “Tax Day” protest on April 15th, that drew more than 5,000 demonstrators.

Could Joseph Stark have been among them?

“No one I know has ever met him,” Holloway responded. “He could have gone to the grocery store, to play golf, or to a tea party rally. Who knows? We don’t know everyone that comes to rallies but we do know they’re well-behaved and unified around our common goals. We don’t know Joseph Stark, and he wasn’t involved in the development or fulfillment of our goals.”

A Super Sunday for Perry-Palin 2010

Faces of the New Right

16-year old Jonathan Keener and mom, Gwen, wait to see Sarah Palin and Gov. Rick Perry

Super Sunday Rally, Berry Center, Houston, TX, 2-7-10

Perry-Palin supporters on line in Houston

There was one pre-game show on Super Sunday that didn’t take place on a football field in Florida. It happened in Texas, where thousands of political fans of the re-energized right streamed into the 10,000 seat Berry Center to see and hear two of their political heroes; Governor Rick Perry of Texas, and the ubiquitous former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.

“We’re here to get a fresh feel for their platforms,” said Alex Cestero while waiting in line with his wife, Erin. “This is our first event like this. We haven’t been involved with the Tea Parties or anything. But it’s a critical year for conservatives on every level – state and national – so here we are.”

Nicole Ho and Steven Teoh, both from the Willowbrook area of Houston, said they are registered voters who came out to support Governor Perry.

“We want to know what Perry has to say about the future of Texas. We haven’t made up our minds yet about Sarah Palin.”

Others were already fans of Palin.

“I love Sarah Palin,” said 17-year old Lauren, also from Houston. “She’s very cool and stands for everything I agree with.”

Sixteen year old Jonathan Keener, an African-American homeschooled student, liked Palin’s principles and hoped to get her autograph on his copy of her book. But he said he supports Governor Perry as well. Keener likes the governor’s fiscal policies, position on immigration, and anti-Washington attitude. Adds Jonathan’s mother, Gwen, “We don’t vote color. We vote principles.”

Perry-Palin Super Sunday Rally, Houston, TX, 2-7-10

Aggies William Lucas, Michael Kinzer, Travis Campbell rally for Perry-Palin

Giving an Aggie “whoop” for Perry, Texas A&M students Michael Kinzer, Travis Campbell, and William Lucas said they support Perry as an Aggie and as a conservative. They like Palin, too (“hottest grandma ever”), and see both Perry and Palin as “refreshing new faces for modern conservatism.” Michael Kinzer said they came out to the Super Sunday rally to see a “rededication of Texas politics to conservative values.”

Young and old, black and white, hispanic and asian, aggies and longhorns, they came, ready for a good time but seriously sincere in their determination to make the right side of Texas seen and heard.

Needless to say, the event was what it was intended to be – a red, white and blue “booh-ya” from supporters and from Sarah Palin for Texas A&M cheerleader-turned-Governor Rick Perry – delivered in full patriotic pep rally fashion. Following the solemn presentation of colors (eagle scouts), pledge of allegiance (hispanic state supreme court justice), and opening prayer (black pastor), rally-goers whooped and hollered and stomped their feet in true Texas football season style in anticipation of welcoming their governor and his famous friend from Alaska. But first, legendary (old) rocker Ted Nugent warmed up the crowd with a souped-up Star Bangled Banner guitar solo after announcing his unique affection for Governor Perry and all things Texas.

Star Spangled Banner solo at Super Sunday rally

Ted Nugent rocks the Star Spangled Banner

“I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as soon as I could,” hollered Nugent – wearing a plaid flannel hunter’s shirt topped by a battered cowboy hat and bringing a cheering crowd on its feet. “I was in a deer stand hunting this morning and I don’t come out of a deer stand for nobody. But I came today for Governor Rick Perry. I’m here because I believe the governor is steering the Good Ship Texas toward the Promised Land.”

Other patriotic warm-ups  included state senator Dan Patrick as emcee, and a country tribute to soldiers in Iraq. All were received with enthusiastic cheers.

State senator Dan Patrick and Eagle Scouts

State senator Dan Patrick emcees

But the crowd didn’t reach its full potential until Perry and Palin were announced and in the house. It certainly sounded like a Super Sunday for the powerhouse political pair. The crowd’s reception rivaled the fan fury for any winning sports team. And neither governor disappointed. Perry was absolutely in his element and, with the republican primary a few weeks away  and early voting just days away, he hit all the right conservative Texas notes on education (student accountability), a balanced budget (curb taxes and government spending), and abortion (unapologetically pro-life). Then the governor wasted no time in taking dead aim at DC.

“The answer (to every problem in this country) is less Washington and more Texas,” boasted Perry, adding, “America would be better off if Washington did things the Texas way. The Sarah Palin way would be pretty good, too.”

Obviously enjoying himself, the governor playfully diss’d the mainstream media as he introduced his former gubernatorial colleague amidst hoots and hollers.

“If Keith Olbermann were here for the rousing welcome you’re about to give Sarah Palin, his head would explode.”

Instead, the crowd exploded with their appreciation for the shot at a favorite MSNBC target, as much as for the governor’s guest from Alaska. Palin, who was not paid to speak at the event, responded to the enthusiastic welcome with a characteristically cheeky labeling of Texas as Alaska’s “little sister state,” and then connected the conservative dots between the two big states.

“Alaskans & Texans want the same things. We will proudly cling to our guns and our religion.”

Palin kept the crowd mostly on its feet throughout her 12-minute stump for Perry, fulfilling that responsibility by citing the Lone Star state’s continued prosperity and prescribing a Texas cure for what ails Washington, and the nation.

“Governor Rick Perry is a common sense conservative leading the way for Washington, which is broken.”

Perry responded by making Palin an honorary Texan onstage. No surprise there. Now the question is whether a Perry-Palin ticket in 2012 would come as any real surprise. Or would that be a Palin-Perry ticket? Either way, the two politicians certainly sounded presidential in spots and took every opportunity to up their game to the national level for the Berry Center crowd. After seeing and hearing the two guvs together today, I think the real fun will be in seeing which one would get top billing if such a ticket were to emerge.

When asked about a Perry-Palin/Palin-Perry ticket in 2012, Super Sunday rally goers were enthusiastic at the prospect but divided about which candidate would make a more viable presidential nominee. Everyone acknowledged that both seem favored by the Tea Party movement and thought that could have some influence on potential GOP nominations.

Rural TX Tea Party sign alongside highway

Grassroots Tea Party in rural Texas

But that’s another blog for another day. For now, on Super Sunday 2010, Perry and Palin put on a crowd pleasing pre-game show. Their fans will just have to stay tuned to see whether they’ll team up for the Super Bowl of politics in 2012.

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