Author Archive

Tea Party Demographics

March 14, 2010

A poll by CNN:

According to the survey, roughly 11 percent of all Americans say they have actively supported the Tea Party movement, either by donating money, attending a rally, or taking some other active step to support the movement. Of this core group of Tea Party activists, 6 of 10 are male and half live in rural areas.

Nearly three quarters of Tea Party activists attended college, compared to 54 percent of all Americans, and more than three in four call themselves conservatives.

“Keep in mind that this is a pretty small sample of Tea Party activists,” notes Holland. “But even taking that into account, the demographic gaps that the poll finds between those activists and the general public on gender, education, income, ideology, and voting behavior appear to be significant differences.”

The poll indicates that about 24 percent of the public generally favors the Tea Party movement but has not taken any actions such as donating money or attending a rally. Adding in the 11 percent who say they are active, a total of 35 percent could be described as Tea Party supporters. That larger group is also predominantly male, higher-income, and conservative.

Some 45 percent of all Americans say they don’t know enough about the Tea Party to have a view of the movement; one in five say they oppose the Tea Party.

According to the survey, most Tea Party activists describe themselves as Independents.

The full report can be downloaded from the CNN site.


Domestic Terrorism

March 14, 2010

Part 1

SPLC story on their own report (i.e., the short version)

A key paragraph:

The Patriot movement has made significant inroads into the conservative political scene, according to the new report. “The ‘tea parties’ and similar groups that have sprung up in recent months cannot fairly be considered extremist groups, but they are shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism,” the report says.

SPLC story Rage on the Right (i.e., the longer version)

Interesting paragraphs:

As the movement has exploded, so has the reach of its ideas, aided and abetted by commentators and politicians in the ostensible mainstream. While in the 1990s, the movement got good reviews from a few lawmakers and talk-radio hosts, some of its central ideas today are being plugged by people with far larger audiences like FOX News’ Glenn Beck and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn). Beck, for instance, re-popularized a key Patriot conspiracy theory — the charge that FEMA is secretly running concentration camps — before finally “debunking” it.

Last year also experienced levels of cross-pollination between different sectors of the radical right not seen in years. Nativist activists increasingly adopted the ideas of the Patriots; racist rants against Obama and others coursed through the Patriot movement; and conspiracy theories involving the government appeared in all kinds of right-wing venues. A good example is the upcoming Second Amendment March in Washington, D.C. The website promoting the march is topped by a picture of a colonial militiaman, and key supporters include Larry Pratt, a long-time militia enthusiast with connections to white supremacists, and Richard Mack, a conspiracy-mongering former sheriff associated with the Patriot group Oath Keepers.

SPLC map of hate groups in Oklahoma

Part 2

2002 FBI report on Eco-terrorism

During the past decade we have witnessed dramatic changes in the nature of the terrorist threat. In the 1990s, right-wing extremism overtook left-wing terrorism as the most dangerous domestic terrorist threat to the country. During the past several years, special interest extremism, as characterized by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), has emerged as a serious terrorist threat. Generally, extremist groups engage in much activity that is protected by constitutional guarantees of free speech and assembly. Law enforcement becomes involved when the volatile talk of these groups transgresses into unlawful action. The FBI estimates that the ALF/ELF have committed more than 600 criminal acts in the United States since 1996, resulting in damages in excess of 43 million dollars.

Wikipedia article on ELF

Part 3

SPLC lists the Nation of Islam as a Black Separatist organization

A leading example of a black separatist group is the Nation of Islam led by Louis Farrakhan. In 1997, and in less explicit ways since then, Farrakhan made clear that he had renounced none of the anti-white, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic and anti-gay views of the previous Nation leader, Elijah Mohammed. Those beliefs include the view that Yacub, a renegade black “scientist,” created whites 6,600 years ago as an inherently evil and ungodly people — “blue-eyed devils.” Farrakhan has described Catholics and Jews, who he said practice a “gutter religion,” as preying on blacks. He regrets the “tone” of a former principal subordinate who called for slaughtering white South Africans, but agreed with the message. He called for racial separatism and inveighed against interracial relationships.

Washington Post (2008): Obama’s Farrakhan Test

Barack Obama is a member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. Its minister, and Obama’s spiritual adviser, is the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982, the church launched Trumpet Newsmagazine; Wright’s daughters serve as publisher and executive editor. Every year, the magazine makes awards in various categories. Last year, it gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said “truly epitomized greatness.” That man is Louis Farrakhan.

NRO’s Stanley Kurtz on links between former terrorist Bill Ayers and Obama

According to, a supposedly non-partisan organization, “There’s…no evidence of a deep or strong friendship with Ayers.” In fact, Obama and Ayers had a significant political partnership. We saw it at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, where Obama ran a board that was responsible for channeling hundreds of thousands of dollars to Bill Ayers’ education projects. We saw it during the fight over the juvenile justice bill in Illinois in 1997-98, when Obama and Ayers appeared on a panel designed to undermine a very reasonable juvenile crime bill, and when Obama plugged Ayers’ book on juvenile justice in the Chicago Tribune. We also have considerable evidence that the Obama camp has not been fully forthcoming about possible additional connections between Ayers and Obama.

For articles the Minnesota press can refer to if it wants to develop a more genuine “fact-check” on the Obama-Ayers relationship, see here, here, here, here, and here.

Wikipedia article on Bill Ayers

Wikipedia article on Weather Underground, Ayers old terrorist outfit.

Quick Financial Disaster Update

October 17, 2009

The GAO has released a report on fiscal year 2009 with projections for the future that indicate mandatory spending (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the national debt) by itself may exceed total government revenue by around the year 2020.  At that point, all other government spending – military, education, transportation, etc. – will require borrowing.

If that doesn’t depress/anger you enough, here’s a lovely animation on employment gains and losses over the last five years.

Update: If you need a little cheering up, here’s a nice little article on a recent economics Nobel laureate whose research shows how local solutions are usually better than national or international ones. Interviews Richard Viguerie

September 21, 2009

Al, Christina and I attended Richard Viguerie’s seminar on 9/11 in DC.  He had a lot of good advice for us rabble rousers.  Here is a recent interview of Viguerie where he repeats a few of the things we heard on 9/11.

Happy Constitution Day!

September 17, 2009
First Page of the US Constitution

First Page of the US Constitution

The Message

September 15, 2009

Nobody knew what was going to happen at the Taxpayer March on Washington.  The Capitol Police didn’t know, the media didn’t know, politicians didn’t know, conservative pundits didn’t know, the organizers didn’t know, and the participants themselves had no idea.  Many who weren’t part of it still haven’t a clue what happened.

Three of us from the Sooner Tea Party left our Alexandria hotel early, under rain clouds, to meet up with the busload that would arrive from OKC around nine.  For the whole drive in I wondered how many people would be there, and I hoped it would be at least ten or twenty thousand.  I worried that it wouldn’t be.  Numbers send a message, and we had one for some people here in the capitol, I thought.

When the fifty or so of us Sooners walked away from Union Station we quickly joined a stream of groups and individuals flowing toward Freedom Plaza, the beginning point of the march.  When I reached 13th Street and the plaza came into full view I was shocked.  From the Ronald Reagan building north of Pennsylvania to the Starbucks south of the plaza there was a mass of people with flags and handmade signs of all different sizes, colors and messages: “If you aren’t outraged, you aren’t paying taxes,” “I’ll keep my fingers, Bible, guns, and freedom – you keep the change,” “How will my children pay for all of this?”  “Clean sweep: Vote them all out.”

There seemed nowhere left for us to stand.  Rising above the assembly was the statue of the Continental Army general, Casimir Pulaski, astride his stallion, ready to lead another charge.  Someone was giving a speech I couldn’t make out and a cheer broke out, then another.  I looked around at others who were just arriving.  From the moment the streams of incoming demonstrators saw that bright and lively multitude, quizzical smiles appeared.  They relaxed, and despite the gloom of a few of the signs and the dark clouds, it became festive.

I entered the crowd saying “Excuse me,” and people made way.  We smiled and nodded in passing.  I climbed to the highest platform I could reach.  How far back did this go?  As far as I could see.  There were speakers like Kenneth Gladney and some music, but that wasn’t why I came.  I snapped photos and began talking to people.  “Where are you from?”  “Sacramento,” one couple said.  “Virginia” “North Carolina” “New Jersey” “Pennsylvania” “Ohio” and the list went on.  When I replied “Oklahoma” to that question I often got a surprised look and “Thanks for coming so far!” and I would thank them back.  In each meeting we made eye contact and there again was that quizzical look, a question expressed in a smile: “Is this really happening?  I thought I was alone, me and my family,” or “Me and twenty or a hundred friends, we thought this was our last stand.”  Then we marched down Pennsylvania to the US Capitol, singing and chanting, smiling and wondering as the clouds broke before us.

We sent a message, but it wasn’t the one we thought we had come to send.  It wasn’t a message to Capitol Hill, or to Obama, or the media, the left, or even the people back home, though some of them may have overheard a bit.  The real message became clear when we walked up to strangers and started talking. Five minutes later we had friends from some other part of the country, email addresses, new websites to check out, and ideas, crazy ideas about changing things that every ex-stranger seemed to share, and it didn’t matter how many we met.  There were always hundreds of thousands more.

The day came to a close and I began to see a new look in strangers’ eyes.  Our group kept talking to more people, briefly now, as we walked back to Union Station.  As darkness slipped across us there wasn’t much smiling, just faces like engineers and carpenters, mothers and veterans wear.  We strangers in the Capitol began saying: “It’s going to be a hard slog.”  “There’s a lot of work to do.”  “This is just the shot heard ’round the world.  Get ready for a fight.”


This story has been cross-posted at Tea Party Gazette.

Al Gerhart on CNN

September 14, 2009

CNN interviewed Al right after the Taxpayer March on Washington ended.  Here’s the video:

General Pulaski Smiles

September 12, 2009
Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski, Continental Army

Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski, Continental Army

(Why this photo?)

The March Begins

The March Begins

Sooner Tea Party in DC for 9/11

September 11, 2009
Brigadier General Casamir Pulaski

Brigadier General Casamir Pulaski, Freedom Plaza

Born into a noble family in Poland, Casamir Pulaski was so inspired by the American struggle for liberty that he immigrated and joined the Continental Army in 1777.  An experienced cavalry officer who had fought the Russians for Polish liberty, during his short career he was appointed Brigadier General and eventually put in command of all American cavalry forces.  He led his troops in a number of battles before being mortally wounded in combat at Savannah, Georgia, in 1779.

A number of STP members spent a great day in our nation’s capitol.  Al, Christina and I took most of the morning and early afternoon to attend a grassroots organizing seminar put on by Viguerie Marketing Institute.  There was a lot of good information, and Richard Viguerie was inspiring to hear.  Ben Hart and Diana Banister also spoke about key aspects of grassroots activism.  We learned a lot and will be bringing that knowledge back to the STP.

Al asks a question of the panel.

Al asks a question of the panel.

Then it was off to visit Congressional offices with Ethel, a fellow Tea Partier here from Massachusetts.  Al and Christina had visited the Oklahoma offices yesterday, so today we went by Joe Wilson’s to offer some encouragement, and then to Olympia Snowe’s, to tell her representatives that we hoped she would vote against Obamacare.

Later we met up with a number of other STP members for dinner.  Afterward, group of us went to the front gate of Walter Reed Army Medical Center to participate in the demonstration to show support for our wounded veterans.  My guesstimate is 150-200 showed up for it (Update: Al thinks more like 500), many carrying flags and signs of support for our troops.  Drivers passing by honked and waved.  This ongoing rally is a response to anti-war demonstrators who used to protest at the front gate of the hospital.  About 20 anti-war demonstrators had their own rally some distance away.

After that we drove back to our hotel, but even then couldn’t get away from the Tea Party — there were two busloads of patriots from the Great State of Indiana at the hotel!  There’s a lot of pretty excited Americans here tonight.

Tomorrow’s the big march!  We’ll be up early to meet our busload of spirited fellow protesters from Oklahoma and then rally with fellow patriots from around the country at Freedom Plaza.  From there, the spirit of General Pulaski will set us off on our march to restore the freedoms he and many others died for.

Are 35% of Democrats Truthers?

September 9, 2009

Jane Hamsher, founder of the wildly popular leftwing blog, Firedoglake, thinks so:

I first met Van Jones when he was honored last year by the Campaign for America’s Future at their gala dinner.  He was being swarmed by all of the liberal institutional elite, who just could not be more full of praise for the impressive environmental leader and prison reform organizer.  Everybody wanted Van Jones on their board.  Everyone wanted him at their fundraisers.  Everyone wanted a piece of his formidable limelight.

Now he’s been thrown under the bus by the White House for signing his name to a petition expressing something that 35% of all Democrats believed as of 2007 — that George Bush knew in advance about the attacks of 9/11.  Well, that and calling Republicans “assholes.”

The really funny part for me is that, of the comments I could actually stand to wade through, most acted as if calling Republicans ‘assholes’ was the main reason Jones felt forced to resign.

Hat tip to Tom Maguire, who calls it No Loony Lefty Left Behind.

David Corn, a left-wing writer, has penned an excellent article for the left on this.  Here’s a taste:

As far as I can tell, the only thing the so-called 9/11 Truth movement has accomplished is this: it’s caused the Obama administration to lose its most prominent expert on green jobs. So well done, Truthers. Thanks to you, the federal government will now be spending about $80 billion on green economy initiatives without the guiding hand of one of the most knowledgeable experts in this field.

Let’s walk through some of the reasons the 9/11 theory is out of sync with reality.

They’re Not That Evil. Okay, this may be hard for some Bush and Cheney critics to swallow. But are these guys so diabolical that they would actually kill thousands of their fellow citizens, just eight months after taking office, to consolidate their political power? …

They’re Not That Ballsy. Anyone who tried to pull off such a caper would realize that exposure was a possibility. Not matter how hard you might try to keep this a secret, you’d have to recognize there was a chance that somehow the public would find out. …

They’re Not That Competent. It’s far easier to imagine a government conspiracy than to organize one. Coordinating various agencies and branches of the military for a specific mission–particularly one that has to remain secret and that entails the murder of thousands of Americans–is not simple. …

When I pointed all this out years ago, I discovered that 9/11 Truthers were not capable of being convinced they had gone off the rails. I received angry emails. I was accosted at public events. I was accused of being a CIA operative. There was just no stopping this train.

That’s beautiful.

Then, John McWhorter, a lefty writer, claims Trutherism is just fine*:

After all, we are faced here not with serious charges. There are no modern-day Whittaker Chambers in this crowd. The Republican smears against Obama of late are nonsense, pure and simple.

Jones was wrong, actually, in disavowing his support for 9/11 conspiracy theory. He signed the document, which can only mean that he supports the idea that 9/11 was planned, or that the Bushies knew something more than they have said, or at least that the charge is plausible enough to require investigation.

But support for that idea is hardly unknown among people of the left – and often gestural in its own way; look one of these types in the eye and ask “Do you really think George Bush and his cabinet engineered the murder of thousands and have kept the secret for eight years?” and watch the nervous pause and the look off into the distance. Speculations in this vein hardly meant that Jones was not sincerely committed to working within the government to do good.

Just how far does this paranoid mindset go in the left?

(Hat tip for the McWhorter article to Jonah Goldberg.)

*Update: I had forgotten to insert the link earlier.