LANSING, Mich. — Thousands of people descended on the Michigan Capitol earlier today as part of a national movement of “tea parties” to protest high taxes and what they argue is an encroachment of socialism into American government and society.
Addressing the rally was Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, commonly known as “Joe the Plumber,” who became a household name during the 2008 presidential race when Republican presidential candidate John McCain referred to the Ohio resident as “Joe the Plumber,” and used him as a walking metaphor for the American middle class.
“I’m here for one reason and one reason only: It’s ‘I love America,’” Wurzelbacher told the crowd. “Mainstream media wants to paint us as a bunch of extremists, right? We’re in search of liberty and our freedoms. What’s so extreme about that?”
“I’m just regurgitating,” Wurzelbacher said. “I believe in common sense.”
Wurzelbacher went on to lambaste what he said was a rising tide of “socialism” across the country and laid the blame on the U.S. government.
“Let me give you another extremist view, ‘In God We Trust,’” he said to wild applause. “Say that too loud in some parts of America and you will be shot. It’s terrible.”
Hoisting signs with slogans like “Hitler gave speeches too,” “I am only 4 and I am in debt,” and “Revolution or death,” the crowd filled the lawn of the Capitol and listened to other speakers like Scott Hagerstrom of Americans for Prosperity of Michigan; Leon Drolet of the Michigan Taxpayers’ Alliance; and Wendy Day of the Howell school board.
“Take out your cell phones, we’re going to make a call,” Drolet told the crowd. “I’m going to give you a phone number, then we are all going to hit send at the same time.”
Drolet had the crowd call the congressional switchboard, which he said would be flooded by the calls. Then he had the crowd chant: “Are you crazy? Wasting Money? People are suffering? Cut your spending!” Hundreds of cell phones were in the air.
“Let this be just the beginning of a movement. Today they heard us, but we need them to feel us,” Drolet said. “And they feel us when you make a difference in the field of the political arena. When some of the politicians lose their jobs. A recession is when your neighbor losses their job. A depression is when you lose your job and a recovery is when a politician loses their job.”
A selection of signs from the rally:
Image has not been found. URL: http://michiganmessenger.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/former-state-rep-jack-hoogendyk.jpgFormer State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk (R-Texas Corners) listens intently to speakers on the steps of the Capitol.
Image has not been found. URL: http://michiganmessenger.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/congressman-mike-rogers.jpgRepublican U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers of Brighton listens contemplatively to speakers while standing on the steps of the state Capitol.
Image has not been found. URL: http://michiganmessenger.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/can-you-hear-me-now.jpgCrowd participants dial the congressional switchboard to send a message to Congress about taxes.
"Let your gun be your constant companion"
Image has not been found. URL: http://michiganmessenger.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/gm1.jpg
Image has not been found. URL: http://michiganmessenger.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/hate-speech.jpg
Image has not been found. URL: http://michiganmessenger.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/hitler.jpg
Image has not been found. URL: http://michiganmessenger.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/new-world-order.jpg
Image has not been found. URL: http://michiganmessenger.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/obama.jpg
Image has not been found. URL: http://michiganmessenger.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/prescription.jpg
Image has not been found. URL: http://michiganmessenger.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/revolution-or-die.jpg
Image has not been found. URL: http://michiganmessenger.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/slavery.jpg
Image has not been found. URL: http://michiganmessenger.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/stupid-question.jpg
Todd Heywood is a reporter for TWI’s sister site, The Michigan Messenger.
E-Verify Mandate Begins Today
The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm
EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management
At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from
EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules
The EPA seal (Pic via sentryjournal.com) The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.
EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.
EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’
In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work
EPA Analysis Says Climate Bill’s Cost for Households Would Be ‘Modest’
All the attention on the energy front today is going to the BP spill, but the Environmental Protection Agency quietly released its long-anticipated analysis of
EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria
The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards
EPA biologist says fracking may be partly to blame for West Virginia fish kill
New documents obtained by an environmental news service show that an EPA analyst believes that wastewater from fracking may be partly responsible for a fish kill in a West Virginia river. Scientific American reports : U.S
EPA: BP Has 24 Hours to Find a Less Toxic Chemical Dispersant
Thought the massive quantities of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico were the only major threat to the country’s southeast coastal waters right now? Think
EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some