Texas’ 22nd District Congressman had an unexpected surprise at his town hall Saturday morning in Pearland, when his 90-minute monologue dubbed a town hall meeting was overrun with angry Texans, shouting things like,
“The Bush tax cuts doubled the unemployment rate! Trickle-down isn’t working!”
“Why did you vote to cut NASA jobs from your own district?”
“We want jobs, not cuts!”
“End corporate welfare!”
“Tax the rich!”
Olson’s Q&A session was done by requiring all questions to be written out on paper and delivered beforehand, and not answered until after he prefaced the town hall with a 15-question multiple-choice quiz, full of loaded questions and misleading answers, all carefully arranged in a specific order. At the end of the questionnaire, the implication was heavy that the rich are being taxed too much because poor and middle class moochers want more government. His staff sifted through the questions before handing them to Olson.
It wasn’t long before the crowd had had enough of Olson’s platitudes and trite answers.
Olson attempted to control the crowd several times, shushing the crowd over the microphone, comparing those in the crowd with questions to his 14 year-old daughter, and shouting bumper-sticker slogans at the end of sentences in hopes of drowning the dissenters out. The tea partiers had all but dissipated by the end of the town hall, as Olson stood away from the microphone, reading hurriedly and incoherently through constituents’ questions he didn’t agree with.
The crowd grew bolder as the town hall continued on. Some of the questions they submitted included-
“Why is it the harder I work and put in, the harder it is to get by in this country?”
“Why are you for raising the payroll tax, while protecting trillions in tax handouts to billionaires, big oil and corporate jet owners?”
“When are you going to tax corporations?”
“Did you vote for Paul Ryan’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system?”
Olson danced around each question after reading it haphazardly, spouting off one-liner platitudes like “We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem,” or the classic “We can’t raise taxes on our job creators in a recession.” With each new falsehood he uttered, the crowd corrected his facts from the audience. He shushed the crowd, and the crowd in return, booed him. By the end of the town hall, the noise in the high school auditorium was deafening. Olson couldn’t wait to leave.
The Center for American Progress (thinkprogress.org) picked up on our latest action at Rep. Culberson’s office. Read the full story below!
(sourced from http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/08/23/302188/mock-jobs-funeral/)
Staffers at the Houston office of GOP Rep. John Culberson (R) must have gotten quite a surprise on Thursday when they looked outside to see more than 100 constituents gathered for a funeral. But this wasn’t a typical funeral — these Texans were gathered to mourn the loss of good, high-wage jobs in their state.
Mourners circled around a mock casket for “Good Jobs,” and Taps played in the background while Rev. Louis Dorsey eulogized. “I used to be middle class!” one woman cried out during the ceremony. Constituents also chanted “Hey, hey, what do you say? How many jobs have you killed today?”
DORSEY: My brothers and my sisters, we are assembled here today to mourn the passing of the jobs in Texas. Jobs died because of a steady influx of minimum wage jobs, tax breaks for corporations and the super-rich, and the policies of politicians like Rep. John Culberson.
Dorsey went on to say, “Good jobs were much loved and appreciated by all here today. This loss is tragic because it is the result of reckless greed on Wall Street and in Congress. While the grief we endure for the loss of Good Jobs is great, we must not let this tragedy continue to happen.” A longer version of the video is available here.
The rally was organized by Good Jobs = Great Houston, and was intended to illustrate “how politicians like Culberson are deliberately pursuing policies that are killing jobs across Texas.” The constituents at Culberson’s office included unemployed workers who want the congressman to start prioritizing their needs over corporate balance sheets.
According to the organization, they seek to hold Culberson accountable “for voting for legislation that could kill 1.8 million jobs nationwide and over 200,000 in Texas.” Texas is currently tied with Mississippi for the highest percentage of minimum wage jobs in the nation, while “the median hourly earnings for all Texas workers was $11.20 per hour in 2010, compared to the national median of $12.50 per hour.”
Think Progress, Aug 23, 2011
Thursday August 18th, over one hundred Houstonians held a mock funeral for good jobs at Rep. John Culberson’s Houston office to show how politicians like Culberson are deliberately pursuing policies that are killing jobs across Texas. They sought to hold him accountable for voting for legislation that could kill 1.8 million jobs nationwide and over 200,000 in Texas.
During the event, unemployed workers and community members mourned the good jobs Rep. Culberson has killed through his votes for corporate balance sheets instead of investing in the American people.
In front of a mock casket for ‘Good Jobs’ and while Taps played in the background, Rev. Louis Dorsey eulogized, “Good Jobs were much loved and appreciated by all here today. This loss is tragic because it is the result of reckless greed on Wall Street and in Congress.” Rev. Dorsey also expressed participants’ demand that Rep. Culberson start to focus on good jobs. He ended his eulogy by saying, “While the grief we endure for the loss of Good Jobs is great, we must not let this tragedy continue to happen.”
Around 200 unemployed and underemployed Texans took part in what a local blogger called a “strong protest” on Thursday outside the Houston office of Senator John Cornyn. The group accused Cornyn of putting the middle class on life support, and asked him to sign a “Prescription to Revive the Middle Class.”
Unemployed iron worker Thaddeus Cooks was interviewed by multiple media outlets about the struggles of everyday Houstonians. “Over the past year or so, I’ve only worked sparingly. And I have many people in my field, brothers in my field, who work just as sparingly as I have, and it’s barely enough to take care of our families and make ends meet. The middle class is just on life support. All you have to do is look at what’s happening in Texas for proof that cutting budgets and protecting tax loopholes for the rich doesn’t create jobs — it just makes people poorer. In this state where so many have so little, we need our politicians to stop injecting the poison that is killing the middle class. That’s why we presented Senator Cornyn with a “Prescription to Revive the Middle Class,”
While half million Texans work for minimum wage, corporate profits are at a record high and Wall Street banks have made over $100 billion in profits since taxpayers bailed them out. Protesters want Congress to end tax breaks and loopholes for CEOs, hedge fund managers and others, and make big, profitable corporations pay their fair share of taxes so America can invest in creating quality jobs here at home.
Local news outlets were on hand to cover the protest. You can find the coverage of Fox 26 here and NPR – KUHF here.Houstonians turn up the August Heat on Sen. Cornyn