Thursday, April 16, 2009

The ongoing saga of the teabaggers

Today's the last day you'll hear about teabagging from me. (Well, now that I think about it... John Fugelsang will be on the show with me, so there may be a few jokes left dangling...) For the most part, though, I'm done with it.

On Tuesday, the day before the big events, I reached out to Freedom Works, one of the groups that has been actively promoting the planned protests, and helping people organize their rallies. I have no problem with that! In fact, I say it regularly... get out and get active! Speak up for what you believe in. And I don't really care if some right wing groups help organize the things. After all, I know that helps people on my side of the fence organize many of their activities. No harm in that.

However, when they pretend that this started on the grassroots level, and insist on painting it in that light, when the Fox "News" Network is running promos ad-nauseum urging people to get out and protest, you can't call that grass roots. Hypocrisy is more like it.

So, on Tuesday, I interviews Max Pappas, the VP of Public Policy for Freedom Works, who started out the interview by claiming that theirs is a non-partisan organization working for lower taxes and less government. Hear the interview for yourself by clicking here.

I thought it was a pretty good interview. I exposed what Freedom Works is about... though I've since found out more. For example, we knew that Freedom Works is run by former GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey. What I didn't know then was that Armey represented three of the financial behemoths that brought the economy to its knees, necessitating such a widespread government response in the first place. In just the last year, Armey’s firm, DLA Piper, has represented, AIG, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch. So much for non-partisan, huh?

Yesterday was the big day. But the oddest thing happened. I started getting an inordinate number of emails from right-wingers. Not only that, but most of the messages weren't only addressed to me.... Mine was one of five email addresses these messages were sent to. They went to Paul Krugman at the NY Times, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and David Shuster at MSNBC, and little ole me.

After the initial shock, I realized that some entity -- probably one of the same ones who implored the regular folks to get out and protest the Obama regime -- told these people to write to the five of us, because we had the gall to suggest that the idea for all of them to take to the street wasn't a grassroots uprising.

So, I guess we were to surmise that each of these people who sent the following messages came up with the idea to do so on their own as well!

Here's a sample of some of the best I received:

From Greg with the subject line "I Agree"

From Enrique Daubin:
This e-mail is a fake, just like all those fake tea parties that occurred yesterday throughout the nation. Don’t try replying, because I actually don’t exist (I am fake too).

Taxed Enough Already,

Enrique Daubin
Greensboro, NC

PS – The ‘Silent Majority’ has been awakened. Stay tuned…

From Michael Day:

I am a real taxpayer, who attended a real tea party yesterday, with real opposition to being ignored by my government.

and from Robert:

I think the lot of you are extremely immature. The fact that there are Americans out there - regardless of the number of them - that oppose outrageous, unnecessary, and socialistic government spending - should not cause "intellectuals" such as yourselves to get into such a tizzy. Why does it bother you so much that there are people in this country who disagree passionately with the way the country is now headed? Since when did patriotic, sincere dissent become such an object of irrational, frenzied, crude, and sophomoric ridicule? Are you adults, or are you pre-pubescent twelve-year-olds? If the tea party protests of yesterday were truly as insignificant as you claim they were, why spend so much time and waste so much oxygen denigrating them? My only answer is that you are either spoiled little children who can't get it through their thick skulls that people might actually disagree with the current administration, or you are scared witless about it. Either way, the time you've spent trying desperately to marginalize conservatives and libertarians opposed to big government has only helped the cause and has made more people aware of the dangers that we face. So, I suppose I should be thanking you. I'll leave you in peace now to go back to your moronic blathering.

Robert Weber
Lancaster, PA

Those were only a few of the couple of dozen of emails I received that were addressed to me, Rachel, Keith, David and Paul Krugman. I emailed most of them back, and asked why I was included in such esteemed company, and most ignored my question.

The writer of the last letter I included above, Robert, did reply to my producer, Sean Kensing's request that he join me on the air.

And Max Pappas of Freedom Works agreed to come back on the air with me as well. (Right before we went on the air, I found the source of the emails... a post on the Freedom Works homepage "Email and Twitter Addresses of Left-Wing Media Saying Tea Partiers Are Fake" which listed the five of us. Again, I'm flattered to be put in such an esteemed group!

Click here to listen to the segment with email author Robert and Max Pappas of Freedom Works.

Now on to another topic... sort of. I'm able to call these people hypocrites because they stood by and supported GW Bush as he spent us to the verge of bankrupting the nation, yet they will criticize Obama no matter what he does.

I believe in speaking truth to power, no matter what party the power is from. And I don't hold back on criticizing President Obama. I did it yesterday when I interviewed Glenn Greenwald of about how this administration is trying expand on the abusive powers that Bush seized for himself.

Today I turned to Robert Greenwald (no relation to Glenn, as I found out today) of BraveNewFilms, about his latest piece... the third installment of "Rethinking Afghanistan" this one focusing on The Cost of War. Watch it here... then listen to our interview by clicking here.

Tomorrow, we'll wrap up the week with a look back at the week with actor/comedian John Fugelsang... and more. I hope you'll listen noon-3 ET on Air America radio.