News & Politics

Teabagging & Fake Grassroots: Fury Over Conservative Con-Job Allegations

A recent article showing the ties of right-wing funders to tea parties brought out the right-wing trolls.

Last Wednesday, angry conservatives took to the streets to protest taxes by draping themselves in tea bags and wielding a variety of terrifying (some borderline racist) signs.

The so-called tea parties were packaged as an outpouring of populist rage. But, as many liberal writers delighted in pointing out (almost as much as they enjoyed making teabagging jokes), the ostensibly grassroots, spontanous demonstrations were in fact launched by the conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks, nurtured by Republican operatives, then blasted out through the Fox News propaganda machine.

In an article recently published on AlterNet, Mark Ames, Yasha Levine and Alexander Zaitchik note that the tea parties are mere Astroturf -- fake grassroots. They go on to highlight the real movement growing against corporate greed and government malfeasance.

Not so, argued a bunch of conservative trolls who came onto AlterNet’s comment boards to argue about the article.

Sports Warrior Casey Jones starts the comment boards troll party on a violent note:

 ... gun control must be ABOLISHED COMPLETELY!  Because you see, Big Brother is gonna be fucking with us all. Better to have a shotgun ready to shoot those motherfucking drones down.

Further proving that they should be heavily armed, Sports Warriorgoes on to argue:

What's wrong with a TeaBag Party? Better yet, us NRA members would be happy to join the crowds! Because you know what? We're gonna need our guns when we're done getting our asses robbed by the fuckers in Washington!

only_me also has some alarming findings to share:

The same people that are for Obama have no idea what the real agenda is. I'm sure half the people have no idea that mass graves are being dug up, FEMA camps are being built and a "bird flu" epidemic is on the horizon.

snowhound, though not going so far as to accuse the Obama administration of digging mass graves, is also concerned about the so-called attack on American liberties represented by our government's sinister plan to continue our system of taxation:

The main role of the federal government is to preserve liberty. The current liberal ideology of social programs is unsustainable. The current conservative ideology of the imperial empire is unsustainable. This will all end in the economic collapse of our nation because we didn't follow our founders written document, the Constitution.

But AlterNet commentor Bliss Doubtresponded:

"... no idea of the definition of Liberty." 

I've been reading about the protest movement that will take place today.

The participants' definition of liberty includes privatizing Social Security and privatizing the Internet. It includes nothing about repealing the Patriot Act, you know, that law that turned our Constitution into toilet paper and turned the great legacy of our nation's founders into an antiquated notion. To me it just looks like more support of corporate welfare at the expense of the working class.

It would seem that the word liberty is open to wide ranging interpretation.

Ky Lake Dave also presents a strange version of "liberty":

Finally, at the age of 47, I am getting to do the hippie thing and protest against our unfair government and President Obama. Obama is attempting to toss out the Constitution. He is firing private citizens. Taking over the banking industry. Taking over the auto industry. He wants to take over the health care. The Democrats are pursuing a "Fairness Doctrine" to censor the press and opposing views. President Obama and this unfair government attempting to toss aside capitalism in favor of socialism. He is spending my great-grandchildren's money! This presidency after less than 100 days is inching closer and closer to a dictatorship.

...

I wonder what we should wear?

I don't fit in my bell bottoms anymore.

2010 we will rein him in. I like that. Maybe that will be on my sign.

Anyone else like the ring of that?

Isnamther responds, pointing to the hypocrisy of conservative anti-government sentiment:

I am also 47 years old, and if this is the first time you've found something to protest your government about, with all of the shit that has gone down in this country over the past 30 years, it speaks volumes about where your head is. Endless wars, no problem; U.S. Empire, no problem; racial inequalities, no problem; gender inequalities, no problem; ruination of the environment, no problem; But a stimulus package trying to bail out this country's economic crisis, thoroughly caused by right-wing policies (including Clinton's right-wing policies); BIG PROBLEM .. for right-wingers who are NO LONGER IN POWER.

Derek Maddoxargues that the tea parties do in fact have a populist feel, regardless of their origins:

There may have been a few "rich goons" in the crowd, but they were far outnumbered by the ordinary, middle class, working men and women. Regular citizens who are sick and tired of government taking over private industry by throwing them a few dollars and then making up silly rules.

While Derek Maddox's point did not have the fevered, paranoid feel of other conservative trolls' posts, AlterNet commenters nevertheless stripped down his assumption -- and that of other conservatives in the comments -- that taxation is an infringement of liberty.

Seazen takes on all teabaggers, pointing out that few would willingly give up the services paid for by taxes:

While you are out there with your self-righteous, narrow-minded, "Patriots," why don't you get them to really stand up for what they believe. Print the following Teabaggers Pledge and have them all sign it!!

Because Obama is turning the country into a Socialist State with the most recent Stimulus package, I hereby pledge that neither I, nor any member of my family, will ever accept any of the money or benefits contained within the stimulus package to include, but not limited to:

1. Extended unemployment benefits

2. Tuition benefits

3. Jobs associated with the package

4. Tax reductions or other benefits included therein

5. Other Socialist programs, including public school education, police and fire protection, Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, VA benefits, etc.

6. Any other benefits not listed

Purple Girl agrees:

What are you willing to do or give up to avoid taxes? Chase down armed bank robbers? Go into burning buildings to look for trapped people? Serve in the mandatory military? Repair roads and bridges on weekends? Learn advanced physics and calculus so your kids can be taught?

What part of civilization are you willing to give up? Because one way or another -- you will be paying for it ... No such Thing as a Free Lunch.

Tax cuts is the mantra of the self-aborbed and greedy. Let's be honest, given a tax cut most will not be buying books for the schools -- they'll be out buying a big-screen TV -- hell of an investment in your children's ability to compete in the future (long after that flat screen goes black).

So, all those screaming about tax cuts are actually the ones committing generational theft. They've been doing this for decades -- reason why gym and music is no longer taught in schools (unless you pay privately). Reason the Minnesota bridge collapsed & [New Orleans] levies broke (no $$ for inspectors or refortification).

Instead of screaming about tax cuts, scream about profit margins. Why not be yelling about the skyrocketing cost of food? Why not be outraged by Exxon's $45 BILLION profits when we were paying $4 a gallon? Taxes aren't killing us or robbing us blind -- it's profit margins, which don't save or create jobs, invest in innovation or safety, or contribute to the community in any real way. What corporation is paying your police department? Oh they'll kick down for a ballpark -- but not for a school.

rare points out that the teabaggers -- concerned as they are with personal liberty -- were oddly missing the past eight years:

So your protest is about "the steady encroachment of the federal government into our daily lives?"

Did you protest over the last eight years? You know, when the previous administration decided to illegally spy on us?

How about when he [President Bush] lied us into a war? Didn't that encroach on us by spending our tax dollars and killing our troops?

How about when they said Bush was above the Constitution? Did you march in the streets then?

How about when Bush pushed through the first TARP and refused to allow any legislation that would have called for the corporations to be held accountable and that it all had to be done transparently? Did you protest then?

Did you protest when Bush gave corporations HUGE tax breaks by allowing them to bring in all their offshore money at a 5 percent tax rate? Did you go to D.C. and tell him that you were tired of the corporations paying a lower tax rate than you do?

Did you organize the masses when BushCo continued to give HUGE tax breaks to the oil companies all while they were making record-setting profits?

You people are so disengenuous. This has nothing to do with what is going on at this moment and everything to do with your party not being in power. You're afraid of Democrats for irrational reasons and are afraid of trying anything new (look up the definition of conservative), so you feel helpless and now see bogeymen around every corner. That, and being you're so uninformed that you think that the big corporations behind your "teabagging" parties actually give a crap about you.

They don't, and you are being used.

Tana Ganeva is an assistant editor at AlterNet.