The "Tea Party" protests are like a month old and have no point. So there's your little explainer piece, for today. But they do have an awesome theme song! No, but seriously folks...

This is what the Tea Party thing is about: a bunch of think tanks and marketing firms are convincing a couple thousand unemployed right wing cranks to get together to protest literally everything (but mostly they are protesting still-imaginary future tax increases that have been proposed by no one), and they are protesting by mailing Lipton tea bags to members of congress, along with cryptic, nonsensical notes. (We are angry in Maine!)

This all started back in February, when a bunch of hilariously "spontaneous" simultaneous protests went down in a couple cities, with a massive crowd of 300 people demonstrating outside the White House and groups of around that size (up to about 1,000) in various other cities across the nation.

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This was a grassroots movement of the people, and by that we mean "it was a coordinated political PR campaign orchestrated by rich corporate-sponsored lobbying groups and think tanks like the Heartland Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, the Institute for Liberty, the Coalition for a Conservative Majority and the Young Conservatives Coalition."

Oh and the amusingly named activism/marketing company "Strategic Activism LLC" is planning this big ol' Tax Day demonstration in a city near you! Stop by to see how the right does grassroots movements.

So what do they want? Ostensibly they represent the demand of real Americans that the government shrink and die so no one has to pay taxes. What they really want is to create the impression that there is actual huge independent populist opposition to Barack Obama. That is the point. See repeated claims by organizers with direct ties to conservative groups that "we're not anti-Obama" or "anti-Democrat" but anti-, uh... anti-freedom getting stolen! They're being aided in this misrepresentation of the same old campaign bullshit by the usual suspects.

So there you have it. A bunch of groups looking to get Republicans elected and slash taxes are getting all the nuts to show up with the incoherent message that an imaginary tax hike theoretically levied by a democratically elected president and congress is just like how American colonists were forced to pay taxes levied by people they didn't elect.

Of course the original Tea Party was a bunch of bullshit too, so whatever, go nuts, guys.

And get excited for this Tax Day party!

Estimates of cities involved in next Wednesday's nationally coordinated but locally organized protests range from 500 to more than 1,500, and some protest backers — like Michael Patrick Leahy of Top Conservatives on Twitter — hope the combined protests will break a Guinness Book of World Records record for the largest multi-city demonstration in American history.

Hah. If the national attendance is estimated by non-friendly sources at half the size of the February 2003 Iraq protests we will dump a box of Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Vanilla in the Gowanus Canal, just for you.

All modern protests are politically incoherent, but no one should take seriously this attempt to mask 2010 campaigning with a collective rebellion against TARP and, uh, the stimulus, and the budget, and taxes, etc. etc..