Produced by HuffPost's Eyes & Ears Citizen Journalism Unit
The Tea Party movement is gearing up its membership for a major nationwide action in several weeks, an initiative that they claim will demonstrate the seriousness of their cause. Their tactic: Doing nothing.
On Jan. 20, 2010, Tea Partiers hope to bring America to a screeching halt. According to the inaugural blog post by the National Strike's Operations Director Allen Hardage, succinctly titled "National Strike-We The People Strike Back against an out of control government":
"We The People will strike at the life blood of that parasitic congress by denying them the tax revenue for one day. We will not work. We will not shop, or buy anything that is taxed. We will not renew any licenses, tags, file any government filings and we will not remain silent. On This day we will fire a shot across the bow of Congress that we rule them not the other way around.
Hardage is a Republican strategist who is currently running a campaign "for his long time friend Stephen Northington," according to Hardage's LinkedIn profile. Northington is running for Georgia Insurance Commissioner and is described as "the only licensed Insurance Professional in the race for the Republican nomination." Hardage's directorship of the National Strike was announced on the strike's Ning group by the Strike 120 group's creator, Ken Cook.
Cook is a senior mortgage lender at mortgage broker AmericaHomeKey and worked from 2001-2009 at Novation Mortgage, where he specialized in "start-up real estate investors, commercial funding, super jumbo (luxury homes), and people just like you," he writes on his LinkedIn profile. In 2002, Novation, then called NovaStar Home Mortgage -- and two other lenders -- was hit with a $46 million judgment on charges of making false mortgage rate postings on the website Bankrate.com. Cook was NovaStar's Director of Operations at the time. Alongside his Tea Party duties, Cook also currently acts as National Vice Chairman for the Patriot Caucus, a conference scheduled in April to immediately follow the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party protests in Washington D.C.
Eric Odom, co-organizer of the Patriot Caucus, is executive director of American Liberty Alliance, which is a host of the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party along with FreedomWorks, a purportedly grassroots organization run by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey. FreedomWorks spent the summer working alongside American Liberty Alliance in opposing everything from the economic stimulus to health care reform. Cook is on American Liberty Alliance's Georgia Leadership Team.
On August 15 CNN's Don Lemon criticized Hardage for using the term "real Americans" to describe town hall protesters (Hardage has a series of online videos called "Real Americans with Allen Hardage"):
LEMON: Where was the outrage five years ago, ten years ago, 15 years ago? Why all of a sudden this outrage now? At least the president is trying to reform health care, so where did the outrage suddenly come from?
HARDAGE: Don, this is the second town hall he's done in the last week that I actually saw real Americans get up and ask questions. It wasn't a pre-selected group or a --
LEMON: But hang on, before you do that. Real Americans, that's another term that really sets people off.
HARDAGE: Well, let me tell you what I mean by that.
LEMON: We're all real Americans. Everybody.
HARDAGE: Where anybody can get in and anybody can ask a question. And you have seen a completely different tenor in -- in the town hall he held on Tuesday and today, than town halls we have been seeing so far in this debate. That's what I mean by real Americans.
LEMON: OK. Or maybe you know what, the whole real American thing -- can we lose that real Americans?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure.
LEMON: Because everybody in this country, who is a citizen...
LEMON: ...we're all real Americans.
LEMON: And that is part of the issue that really sets people off and divides people. So let's get rid of that real Americans. We're all -- I'm real American. You're real American. Conservatives, liberals, independents, we're all poor or rich real Americans.
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