Should Progressives Confront Up-Coming Tea Party Rally?

by on February 17, 2010 · 96 comments

in Election, Organizing, Popular, San Diego, War and Peace

Tea Party 01

Should San Diego progressives hold a counter-demonstration at the up-coming Tea Party rally?  This is the question for San Diegans with a conscience.

Local Tea Baggers will be staging an event on Saturday, February 27th.  Local right-wing radio pundit, former felon and mayor, Roger Hedgecock will be the keynote speaker. The rally will be held from 11 am to 1 pm, just north of the Star of India along Harbor Drive.

San Diego Tea Party members held a similar demonstration in October. Only a handful of counter-demonstrators gathered at that rally, and were vastly outnumbered. This time the event is billed as their “first anniversary.”

Personally, I’m tired of giving Tea Baggers a pass.  They represent a dangerous, divisive, and openly racist movement in this country.  Tea Party organizers are capitalizing on genuine anger among American citizens about the state of the nation, and are attempting to kidnap that anger and channel it in authoritarian, violent and prejudiced directions.

Many Tea Baggers don’t accept the results of the 2008 Presidential election.  They consider President Barack Obama as a socialist, Muslim, communist, fascist, marxist, Kenyan … or whatever else they can summon up as part of their fear mongering.  Of course, Obama is none of these things. He certainly is not a socialist – he’s not even a progressive.

Yet, the Tea Party movement is something that cannot be ignored – despite many progressives’ acts and beliefs of denial and avoidance. That movement, with its corporate funding, its FOX news and other mainstream media support, its penchant for just-below-the-surface threats of violence, its harboring of leaders such as Glen Beck, Sarah  Palin, and locally of Congressman Darrel Issa and radioheads Rick Roberts and Hedgecock, daily stoking peoples’ fears and prejudices, it’s blatant signs of open racism – all point to an American brand of fascism.

Not that every individual attending these Tea Bag events is necessarily an American brownshirt, their leaders certainly are.

Hey, don’t tell the Tea Party activists, but their use of the tea bag symbol is totally upside down. American patriots stormed those English ships in Boston harbor and threw the tea overboard.  They would be aghast if they knew modern-day citizens were using the tea bag as a positive icon. The tea was thrown overboard, and that’s when American colonists turned to coffee.

To counter the Tea Baggers, progressives need to start a “coffee grounds” movement.

Yet, Progressives in San Diego – and elsewhere, need to consider what our stance is towards the Tea Party movement.

If you think we should have a counter-demonstration, we need at least one hundred good progressives to stand up, and at least play witness to the local movement when it rallies.

The call is out – please let us know what you think … should we stand idly by? should we stand as witnesses with black tape over our mouths? Should we co-mingle and try to convince our fellow citizens of their folly? Should we simply ignore them?

What do we do?

{ 95 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Frank Gormlie February 17, 2010 at 3:42 pm

If you can commit to being one of the “one hundred” either make a comment here with a genuine email address in the non-comment section – only we can see it – or email me via our usual email address: obragblog@gmail.com

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avatar Stephanie February 18, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I’m in! Please give more details! These morons need more information!

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 19, 2010 at 8:55 am

Stephanie – as we near our target of one hundred counter demonstrators, I will get more info.

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avatar annagrace February 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm

What are the Tea Party folks up to? The Tea Party rally will feature the following topics: “Citizen Power Campaign to free ourselves from the dominance of SEIU leadership and that of other power-mongering union-based elites…”; “Part Time California Legislation- they can’t make more economy-killing/liberty crushing regulations if they aren’t in session”; “Repeal AB-32, California’s version of Cap and Trade…”

Evil unions…liberty crushing legislators…global warming believers/job killers. Oh my! Do you think they are talking about us?????? Guess I need to go there on the 27th and find out.

One down, ninety-nine to go.

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avatar jon February 17, 2010 at 4:04 pm

I’m so bummed I will be in Tucson (where I’m sure there are plenty of TP’s) from the 24th thru the 1st of March. Good luck ragsters!

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avatar annagrace February 17, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Jon- you can be our foreign correspondent in AZ and report back on the talk in the street about the senate race. Looks like McCain isn’t able to pass the “purity” test.

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avatar Shane Finneran February 18, 2010 at 9:18 am

I’m definitely down for helping bring some progressive perspective to the tea party. Looking forward to it!

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 18, 2010 at 9:36 am

As of 9:30 am on Thursday, we have solid commitments from 20 people. Need 80 more. And interestingly enough, those 20 are mostly women. Hmmmm

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avatar Abby February 18, 2010 at 9:26 am

Can we bring red pens and correct the spelling errors on their protest signs? :-)

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 18, 2010 at 9:36 am

You caught me in a loud guffaw!

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avatar Obdada February 18, 2010 at 10:39 am

PeaCe & FreedOM

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avatar Smuffy February 18, 2010 at 10:54 am

What to do? To stand and have a mud slinger fest is to be a copy cat tea bagger of another color and adds to the negative fire. What they are doing is a form of performance art. Their performance is angry, belittling, and hateful. What could we do? What performance or act could we do as a group that would be intelligent, respectful, emotionally moving, and a loving stand for the well being of our country? Does anyone know the Misc. Heathens? They are street performers. I wonder if they would like to participate in a meaningful performance for social well being. Step aside Gaga.

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avatar Shane Finneran February 18, 2010 at 11:50 am

I went to last October’s tea party with a performance group called the Billionaires for Wealth Care. We pulled up in a rented limo and then made the rounds in our formalwear, thanking tea party attendees for protecting our outsized wealth by opposing health care reform. For a quick video of the experience, which gives you a great idea of what kind of crowd to expect at the Feb 27 event, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_okVt2UdKZI

This time around, I’m down to join another organized performance. But if that doesn’t come together, I think I’m fine with the plan of crafting some simple signs and circulating among the tea party, helping people realize that Republican politicians have done much worse than Democratic politicians when it comes to mismanaging taxpayer money, a fact missed by most tea party attendees. I’ve got lots of good sign ideas that help make this case, so if anyone is looking for sign suggestions, let me know.

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avatar Smuffy February 18, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Thanks for the history. You folks are fun.

I’ve been thinking abut this for a few hours. I don’t want to be just another complainer on the pile. I’d rather be a hermit. I was also thinking about how OB is wanting to offer homeless services and what came to mind is 100 people sitting in chairs all lined up with an empty chair in front of them. A sign hangs on the back of every empty chairs that says “Teabag Anger Management Councilor” or something that implies we are level headed, got your back when you’re down, sitting here being the calm in the storm. Everyone would bring their own chairs and sign. What would be meaningful and truly representing caring about our country? If we keep acting the same grumpy way we will keep having the same grumpy life. Or, maybe we have an arts and crafts area to administer some arts therapy. When ya’ll are raging over something, how do you get yourself feeling better? What if we had signs with lists of things we love about our country? Who ever has that? I love that beautiful harbor by the Star of India. I am looking forward to taking some great photos. I like a well thought out plan that serves every one that wants to be a part of it. How to sooth that anger element. Meaningful. Impactful. Emotionally moving.

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 18, 2010 at 11:01 am

Somebody suggested that since at the original tea party, the Sons of Liberty were dressed as Indians, that maybe we should all dress as Indians. The suggestion came from a Peruvian Indian.

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avatar Ernie McCray February 18, 2010 at 11:33 am

I can’t make it due to a performance but I hope everybody has fun and brings a different tone and energy to the event than the hateful environment the tb’s will surely create.

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avatar Terry Huston February 18, 2010 at 11:56 am

Yeah, I’ll be there. We should try to bring posters with creative “clever” statements. “Sound bites” which expose the all white, neo-con idiots. Sarah Palin should definately be a subject. “How can you take ANYONE seriously who thinks an uninformed dimwit should be president?” “I demand to see Sarah Palin’s high school diploma.”

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 18, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Good one, Terry. And thanks.

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avatar Jeeni Criscenzo February 18, 2010 at 1:03 pm

I was there in October and it made me sick to read their signs. How can people be so brainwashed to finally get off their butts to demonstrate and to do it for something that’s clearly against their own best interests and to slam the people who are trying to help them. They are all one bump in the road away from going over the cliff and they snub their noses at those who have fallen over and scream “Do away with the saftey nets!” OK – it could put me in a bad mood for days, but I’ll join you on the 27th. Maybe this would be a good opportunity to bring a bunch of homeless people – we could carry big “safety nets” with holes in them – maybe put tea bags falling through them? Llet’s be creative. How do we let them know we understand their frustration and turn them around so they can see who’s actually causing their pain.

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avatar Goatskull February 18, 2010 at 7:18 pm

While I don’t know what is going through the minds of all or most tea baggers, one of the more extreme of them that I know personally (I work with him) actually LIKES the fact that the less fortunate are suffering in is OK with people dying from lack of affordable health care. I would can only hope that most of the baggers are not as extreme as him. I don’t even know if he knows about this upcoming rally. He’s not the brightest bulb in the package. Though in all fairness i’m not sure what the purpose of this particular rally is about.

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avatar doug porter February 18, 2010 at 1:38 pm

i love billionaires for wealthcare! if i had a tux i’d join.

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avatar barbara c February 19, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Most of us got our finery,including top hat at thrift store. Let Frank know if you’d like to do it with us next time.

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avatar Marjorie February 18, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Can we be the “Tang Party?” They wave tea bags; we wave plastic bottles of TANG.

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avatar Goatskull February 18, 2010 at 6:44 pm

I guess my question is: What is this particular rally about?

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avatar Shane Finneran February 18, 2010 at 9:29 pm

The rally is in favor of less taxation and smaller government. From what I gather, the chief organizer is the “Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition.”

Issues targeted by the organizers include California’s proposed cap-and-trade regulations and California’s plans for state-level health care reform. Headline speakers include long-time local conservative crusaders Roger Hedgecock and Richard Rider.

So the main messages are “taxes should be lower” and “regulation should be lighter.” Of course, the crowd and speakers will likely touch on a wide range of other issues, too – some of the issues arguably relevant, some of them certifiably loony. Also expect performances from one of the oddest of musical niches, right-wing American folk music.

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avatar JPinSD February 19, 2010 at 7:22 am

What’s wrong with lower taxes and especially a smaller government? I definitely would like to hear more about a state level health care system then that joke of a system on the national level.

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avatar Shane Finneran February 19, 2010 at 8:46 am

JP, here’s what’s wrong with lower taxes and smaller government: without a reasonably-sized government, which requires reasonably-sized taxes to function, life starts to suck really bad.

So the Tea Party’s main idea – that taxes could always be lower, and government could always be smaller – is a farce. And it’s especially ridiculous at this moment in US history, when tens of millions of people of limited resources are feeling the strain of reductions in essential services while the wealthy are enjoying tax rates that are practically as low as they’ve ever been.

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avatar Ian Rammelkamp February 19, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Shane,

As you (should) know, in the US we have a tiered government system. Local, State, and Federal. The problem with the path we are on now is that the power is being shifted away from the lower local distributed tiers to the higher centralized Federal tier.

Bush, and now Obama & Co., are furthering this shift in power. This gives big business, big unions, and their lobbies easier centralized access to the political and economic advantages that government can grant. If the power (and money) was distributed and decentralized like the founding fathers designed it to be, it would be much more difficult for these giant groups and their lobbies to gain favor and advantage from the government. When more of the power (and money) is grated to the local governments the access to this power (and money) is closer to the people who it is supposed to serve.

Even though most of the masses in the populist tea-party movement, don’t understand this distinction, it is the idea that the movement is founded on, not just the simpleton rhetoric of “smaller government, and less taxes”.

So called “progressives” don’t recognize the unintended consequences of their desire to centralize power in the Federal tier of the government.

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 19, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Ian, it is a false premise to equate large behemoth corporations with unions.

Progressives also understand this centralization of power. We witnessed huge steps being taken under George W Bush. So, where was this populist anguish under Bush?

Bush lied to get us into Iraq. His lies killed many. Did you protest his lies?

A lot of what the “populist” tea party movement is founded on is an inability to accept the 2008 presidential election – and why is that? Does it have anything to do with the fact that America elected its first African-American president?

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avatar Ian Rammelkamp February 19, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Frank, big business and big unions, have one very important thing in common, which is a negative for the small individual, which is they both suck off of the tit of big Federal Government. My argument, and that of Tea Party (what I understand of it), is that the consolidation and centralization of power at the Federal level breeds big business and big unions, which lobby the government for unfair advantages that put the individual at a disadvantage. With a limited central government, the power and money is distributed and decentralized (on the state, and even better local level) where it can more effectively serve the people.

I was against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I have never been to the Tea Party rallies, but if you look at their websites they say nothing about any of fringe rhetoric that you and the liberal media want to focus on.

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 19, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I thank you for your opposition to the wars. And we both agree on the evil of the consolidation and centralization of big money, big media, big corporations. But then to throw in unions is to ignore the huge differences between them and big corporations. The differences are so great, that any similarity is lost.

Unions have had to grow in order to counter the over-whelming power of the companies they face off with. Yet, over-all, unions are falling to the sidelines. The proportion of working people unionized has drastically fallen. One of the areas where unions have grown is in the public sector. Unions like SEIU. And SEIU is one of the big targets of the Tea baggers. I’m happy that you’re checking out the Tea Party people as eventually you’ll see who funds them and what they stand for, hopefully.

And what liberal media? This is one of the big lies the right-wing has been promoting in this country for years. The media is owned stock and barrel by right-wing Republicans. Go check on that as well.

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avatar Ian Rammelkamp February 19, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Tell me about the differences between big unions and big corporations…

There is lots of liberal media, actually this website could be considered liberal media. There is biased media coming from all directions, maybe you are just so far out on the fringe that it all looks like the right to you.

I guess a fish doesn’t know the water it swims in.

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 19, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Wow, hey thanks, for including our little blog in the big liberal media conspiracy to destroy America.

It has been well documented – whether you want to believe it or not – that the big media is owned and controlled by right-wingers. This is one of the Big Lies that the right has pushed for years that the media is controlled by liberals.

Here is an example: during George Bush’s big push to invade Iraq and that Saddam had WMD, all that liberal media just bought his lies hook. line and sinker. This is one of the key reasons that blogs burst onto the political scene – to counter all that liberal media BS.

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avatar Ian Rammelkamp February 19, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Frank, there is no such thing as unbiased media. All media is biased, some to a higher degree than others.

There is plenty of liberal media. There are a few liberal cable news channels (MSNBC, to a lesser extent CNN). There are liberal leaning news papers (New York Times), there liberal blogs. The same goes for their conservative counterparts (Fox News, Wall Street Journal, etc.).

To claim that the media as a whole is controlled by the right is as ludicrous as claiming that it is controlled by the left.

Trying to attribute the media’s (incorrect) support of Bush after 9-11 didn’t have to do with conservative bias in the media, it had to do with the great emotion and fear that the events of that day created.

avatar Cat310 February 19, 2010 at 4:18 pm

You are correct. Frank, unions are far worse. Unions are one of the reasons why we pay those big property tax bills and get nothing in return except crappy roads and failing infrastrucure.

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 19, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Let’s look at that kool-aid you’ve been drinking, Cat.

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avatar Shane Finneran February 19, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Thank you for clarifying, Ian. I think the comments on this page show that it’s hard to get a feel for exactly what the Tea Party movement is about, so it’s good to get your perspective.

Personally, I agree with a lot of the Tea Party platform that you describe. I think big money definitely has way too much power at the federal level, and that the two major parties both put the agendas of their big donors before the interests of typical Americans and the country as a whole.

I guess one difference is I think big money has just as much influence, if not more, at the state and local level. So I think the solution goes further than just decentralizing power from federal to state to local. I think we need to totally revamp the way private money fuels the campaign process at all three levels – local, state, and federal. I think a lot of Tea Party folks will agree with me on this when I mention it at the rally.

I’ll also mention that the Tea Party loses a lot of credibility among potential recruits like me because it ignores the fact that federal government can do great things. When the resources of hundreds of millions of Americans are working together at the federal level, we benefit from some amazingly valuable efficiencies. Local power can be ideal for many issues – but at the same time, for other issues, Americans are best served when we all stand together versus when we stand in 50 or 50,000 separate groups.

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avatar Ian Rammelkamp February 19, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Shane, I am not a part of the Tea Party movement, although we share similar views about limited government, it’s advantages, and the unintended consequences of collectivism.

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avatar Lorilu February 25, 2010 at 8:27 pm

I bet if these tens of millions of people had jobs that wouldn’t have limited resources! Just a thought.

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avatar Sarah February 19, 2010 at 9:19 am

http://www.denverpost.com/portal/news/ci_14303473?_loopback=1

I think this article gives an interesting glance at what life may look like with “lower taxes and smaller government”.

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avatar Chris Moore February 19, 2010 at 9:35 am

Well, there’s also Dickens.

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avatar Shane Finneran February 19, 2010 at 10:31 am

Wow, that article is a sobering dose of reality – many basic government services being abandoned in Colorado Springs.

And what Colorado Springs is going through isn’t very different from what most other parts of the country soon will be experiencing, if they aren’t already. Like Chief Wiggum said when he got his tie caught in Apu’s hot dog roaster, “This is going to get worse before it gets better.”

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avatar Cat310 February 19, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Sarah,
I think JPs point can be expounded upon by saying that when you pay your property tax bill for San Diego county and look at the services they provide, it’s pretty hard to imagine it getting any worse. SD County doesn’t provide the sunshine or ocean that we all enjoy, and they don’ provide much of anything else either. These are difficult times for all communities but this is an ongoing saga in S.D. and CA.

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avatar Abby February 19, 2010 at 7:20 am

I think that’s a big part of their problem. They don’t really know what they are protesting. They just know that they are scared.

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avatar Obdada February 19, 2010 at 10:39 am

“The OPtimisT procLaims thaT we Live iN tHe beSt oF aLL possibLe worLds; aNd thE peSSimiSt feaRs thiS iS tRue.”
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~ ~ ~
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((i’Ve aLwaYs haD a PLaCe iN mY HearT foR ‘HiPPie’\ “”‘graSS”””rooTs….}]
+ `PLeeZe ForgiVe mY procLiviTy foR randOM CaPs…`
“liVe aNd LeT LiVe”
‘LeT iT Be”,,,,,,
PeaCe …

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 19, 2010 at 11:03 am

Obdada – Please, your random caps make your comments nearly impossible to read. Please refrain or we’ll have to pass your comment into the twilight zone.

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avatar Jeeni Criscenzo February 19, 2010 at 12:29 pm

If you want to understand where the tea baggers are coming from, you need to know what I went through this morning:

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avatar Sandy February 19, 2010 at 12:36 pm

How about writing messages on our hands a la Sarah Palin?

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avatar Abby February 19, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Perhaps we should avoid letting the “notes on hand” become the liberal version of Obama’s teleprompter.

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avatar barbara c February 19, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Explain to me the obsession with the teleprompter? They have used them for decades!

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avatar Ron February 19, 2010 at 1:44 pm

If the Klan was staging a rally downtown, would we sit back at let it happen? Does any conscious person seriously believe the Tea Baggers is not the modern, dressed-up-for-prime-time version of the Klan? Does anybody believe large numbers of the Tea Baggers are NOT ready to get down to Klan style violence (oh, they wanna keep that away from the TV cameras, but they are lusting for it).

Would we mock a Klan rally? I think we need to have more serious conversation about HOW to counter-demonstrate against this. One thing is that the Tea Baggers are the ground troops, and our main response ought to focus on the extreme reactionary corporate money behind them. Protest in front of KUSI? Fox News? Blue Cross? etc?

Is the goal of this particular counter-demonstration to create counter news images? If so, then one main concern ought to be to produce our own footage, and do our own distribution of it. We cannot expect the corporate news organizations to help provide the public with any “balanced” report.

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avatar Ian Rammelkamp February 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm

It sounds like you have been watching a little too much Kieth Olbermann and MSNBC.

The vast majority of the people who are against the siphoning of power from local governments to the Federal level, are not racist or KKK sympathizers.

Even though your favorite media pundits want to paint that picture, it is not the case. And to take the actions of a few and attribute them to the group as a whole, as Frank has done in his article, isn’t very “progressive”.

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avatar Cat310 February 19, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Thanks Ian. You are correct, it’s not necessary to make such accusations that impune the reputation of others in such a derogatory fashion. The only thing you can say about Franks comments in this article is they do more to discredit his views then support them and I believe he is really a better man than that. We all are part of “the system” and going down to the Star to voice an opinion pro or con is an right we all thankfully have the freedom to exercise. Make posters, voice an opinion, but don’t drag such an horrific and offensive lie into the discussion.

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Cat – Uh, sorry, what was the “lie” ? That Tea Party organizers are racists? I’ve been observing the tea baggers since last summer and attended three different “town hall” meetings. I saw them first hand, Cat. The signs that called the president a “socialist” with mock white face, that called for him to be deported, go back to Kenya, that asked where his birth certificate was blah blah blah.

These are folks who cannot accept the 2008 election because America elected a Black man. The Birthers, the deniers, the corporate and big media supporters. What it seems is that you cannot accept that your fellow travelers are racist.

Not only are they racist as a group, they incite violence and aggression, and have made it popular to have a public racist movement. They are authoritarian, they are manipulative (remember Sara Palin’s “death squads”?), they lie openly and blatantly. Wrap all this up together and you have an American version of fascism. By definition.

And like Hitler years ago, the leaders are trying to channel a populist anger into these directions.

We are the Constitutionalists, ironically. We are the ones who must defend the Constitution and the popular election of 2008.

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avatar Cat310 February 19, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Let me check the agenda and see if Harry Reid is going to be a guest speaker for the Tea Party. You know his opinions about our President being a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” I believe that is about as fair of a generalization as you just made Frank.

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 19, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Don’t get your point. Do you think I love Harry Reid because he is a Democrat? During the recent Presidential campaign, many mainstream Democrats didn’t accept Barack Obama or believe he could win the nomination. The popular groundswell that emerged to support him contradicted all pundits and backroom dealers of both parties.

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avatar Shane Finneran February 19, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I think Ian and Cat310 make an important point – not everyone in the Tea Party movement is racist or a conspiracy theorist or even a fan of Sarah Palin. The movement includes many reasonable people who are genuinely concerned about the well-being of their country and themselves.

Unfortunately, racists and conspiracy theorists and Palin fans are a part of the movement — often the loudest part of the movement — and so it can be hard to move past their ridiculousness and get on with constructive debate.

As for MSNBC and Olbermann versus Fox and Rush…those folks are entertainers, not educators. Their blathering is designed to stir up controversy, not solve problems. We all need to turn off our radios and our cable news, and get back to figuring things out for ourselves.

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 19, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I said : Tea Party organizers are racists, I never said everyone there is one. But the movement as a whole harbors racists and condones racist signs, slogans, speeches – I could go on.

I also agree that there is genuine anger “out there” but that the Tea Party racists are channeling that anger into an opposition that does not accept the 2008 election. I have not heard either from Ian or Cat on this point.

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avatar Ian Rammelkamp February 19, 2010 at 4:04 pm

If you go to their website and read their mission statement it says nothing about the rhetoric that you and the liberal media pundits want to focus on.

It is people like you and Kieth Olbermann who want to focus on the fringe in an attempt to discredit those of us who espouse the beliefs that are described in the link above. It is a classic example of attributing the actions of a few to the group as a whole, with is the antithesis of what I think you mean by “progressive”.

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avatar Shane Finneran February 19, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Ian, based on the San Diego tea party I attended back in October, I’d estimate that the calm, rational thinkers, like the person who wrote the webpage you provided, are heavily outnumbered by the ones who you and me and Frank would agree are misinformed and/or wacko. Definitely check out the Feb 27 event before spending too much energy defending the movement.

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avatar Ian Rammelkamp February 19, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Shane, I think that same could be said for both of the major political parties, and any of the sizable smaller ones in this country.

Wacko’s come in all colors, and political variation.

My point is that the opposition wants to focus on the fringe in an attempt to discredit the true values and mission of the movement.

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Okay Ian, I went to that website: Here is a little dozzie that I copied:

” The Left is out to destroy all that is America. Behind closed doors, in secret meetings, they use our money to bribe and intimidate our legislators into voting in favor of overwhelmingly unpopular and unconstitutional bills. They create and invent crises as a means of forcing their agenda, they seize control of our industries at every opportunity, they betray our allies and give advantage to our enemies, they spend our economy into obliteration, they intend to force us to buy rationed health care which will be directed by new federal bureaucracies with the power of life and death and the goal of cutting cost, and they intend to give us a Death Tax. ”

So much for not having that fringy rhetoric.

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avatar Ian Rammelkamp February 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I said that the fringy rhetoric was not the core of the movement, as you and MSNBC want to portray it.

Which part of the site is that quote from?

The funny part is, if you take the first 2/3 and change one word it looks like what the “progressives” used to say 2 years ago:

“The Right is out to destroy all that is America. Behind closed doors, in secret meetings, they use our money to bribe and intimidate our legislators into voting in favor of overwhelmingly unpopular and unconstitutional bills. They create and invent crises as a means of forcing their agenda, they seize control of our industries at every opportunity, they betray our allies and give advantage to our enemies, they spend our economy into obliteration…”

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avatar Monty Kroopkin February 19, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Actually, it is a very good idea for progressives to read the utter garbage that is posted on the Pee Party websites.

“The impetus for the Tea Party movement is excessive government spending and taxation.”

They begin with an outright lie. They have no conern at all for excessive government spending. If they did, they would immediately zero in on the fact that the U.S. military empire budget is more money flushed down the economic toilet each year than the combined military budgets of the rest of the world’s countries. They would scream to shut down hundreds of imperial U.S. military bases in over 40 countries, and they would see that the only purpose of these military bases is to provide ‘security guards’ for justifiably unpopular corporations and puppet governments of our empire, worldwide. Do they ever say a word about this spending? No.

Excessive taxation? They talk as though we all pay too much taxes. They never talk about fair, progressive taxation. The same tax on a loaf of bread is a much bigger hit on your pocket if you make minimum wage, than it is if you make a multi-million dollar bonus each year. They don’t discuss the idea that higher income people are paying TOO LITTLE taxes and the rest of us paying too big of a share.

“Free Markets” wow, now we are getting down to the twilight zone stuff. There is no such thing as, and NEVER has been any such thing as, “free markets”. The term is just plan raw propaganda to whip up popular support against democratic decisions being made by society to set rules and standards for how our economic lives together are conducted.

Anybody with a decent education and grasp of history could pick apart every line of their writings. What is so dangerous about them now is the money that is “selling” this snakeoil, and the fact that for decades, the public education system in this country has been starved (purposely starved) to the point where many people do NOT have a decent education, and CANNOT tell a fact from a lie.

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avatar Monty Kroopkin February 19, 2010 at 6:11 pm

correction: The term is just plain raw….

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avatar barbara c February 19, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Monty, what an awesome response! You are so right on all counts!

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avatar Ian Rammelkamp February 19, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Monty, you are wrong. Ron Paul and many Libertarians are against the military industrial complex, and have been for a long time.

With regard to excess taxation, we are overly taxed on the federal level. If we were taxed less there we could be taxed more on the local level, rather than relying on pork and earmarks.

When you are taxed you are taxed a percentage of your income. Higher income people are taxed more than lower income people. If your concern is the loopholes then you would be in great company with the “tea baggers”.

As with most ideas, there are many interpretations of the concept of “free markets”. One thing they are not is “anarchy”, a misrepresentation that liberals like to make quite often. In my interpretation free markets mean lack of price fixing. Furthermore, the “freeness” of markets is not a simple dichotomy, or binary. Some markets are more free than others, and the goal is to make the markets as “free” as possible. It is true that we haven’t had very free markets in the recent past, but that doesn’t stop most liberals from arguing that it was the “free markets” that caused the recent financial crisis.

It looks to me like you should educate yourself a bit more before you start condemning people for their lack on education. BTW, upwards of 70% of the state budget in CA is spent on public education. How is that for starved?

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 19, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Sounds like you’ve been watching too much FOX news. And the radio racists like Rick Roberts and Roger Hedgecock.

Finally the left has somebody on the tube that can speak truth to power. The media in this country is owned by right-wingers and republicans. And that is certainly being concentrated.

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avatar Ian Rammelkamp February 19, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I watch Fox News occasionally for the same reason I check MSNBC, is to see what my fellow Americans are being brain washed by.

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avatar Cat310 February 19, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Ian,
Do you ever tune in to the lefty loosey talk on NPR – “Nancy Pelosi Radio”?

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avatar barbara c February 19, 2010 at 5:52 pm

As you know I have never met a protest I didn’t like. I just drove all the way to Yuma to do Billionaires.

I have very mixed feelings about this tea bag event. Most of them are bigoted asshat racists who never cared about deficit spending until a Black man was doing it. They are ineducable. They are violent and abusive. They say they are not racist but their ligns say otherwise. They have no sense of humor. The ones who are sincere (albeit misguided) could maybe have a civil conversation with you in a private place but not with the reinforcements there. Had a conversation today with a contractor working on my house. He told me about his church and all the good it was doing. Then he said he hated Obama for giving 700 billion to bail out the banks. I told him it was bush who did that and he vehemently insisted it was Obama. I asked him if bush was blameless and he said yes b/c bush was not a true conservative.

I am completely against the senate health care bill. I think Diane Feinstein and the others now voicing support for a public option are using us to get their shitty bill passed. I was against the bank bailouts and feel there is not much oversight on the stimulus money. TARP is a mess. Obama has helped wall street much more than main street. His foreclosure program does not exist. Reforms are not going to happen.

So I just don’t know what my sign would say. If there are 3,000 of them and 100 of us as there were before, what would be the point? Billionaires for Wealthcare went to the tea party send off in OCT. We were pushed, shoved, cursed, hit, spit at and more. I have no desire to defend Obama yet find I am doing it just to correct blatant misinformation.

An old HS friend said tome the other day, I don’t care what your facts are, my beliefs matter more than your facts and I believe the people at Fox.

Street theater is a great idea but so far on one I know who does it is interested.

As Rachel Maddow would say, can you talk me down?

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avatar justmy2cents February 19, 2010 at 10:01 pm

What a pissing contest this is………….

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avatar Joe Ryan February 20, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I lived for years in OB and I didn’t realize it was full of so many hateful people. The left or the right don’t control the media, the globalist do. They love to divide us, so they have dupes like Beck and Olberman stir up the hate. For those who mock ‘conspiracy theorist’ I would say; do you thing the interaction between AIG, Freddie and Fannie, and Goldman Sachs is all some type of elaborate coincidence. Is it too ‘crazy’ to believe that ‘universal health care’ was always a sham? Could it be that the Democrats – who are controlled by big globalist coin – would actually sell us out with a sham-plan? Could it be? Or is such a thought too mind boggling to consider? One day I hope extremist on both the left and the right are being used by the globalist, to advance the globalist agenda. You don’t have to be a racist to have a clue about what NY firm runs the white house. The left and right have so much in common that the globalist are going to keep paying people to show up with white-face posters to keep people from OB from actually talking to them like fellow humans. The garbage about them being KKK and all is juvenile. It’s a group of individuals. Start walking the walk if you believe in peace. The wars and bailouts are NOT sponsored by either party acting alone. Both parties do the globalist bidding, and the globalist demand war and bailouts! Bush and Obama just throw a few bones to their base while they work full time for the gang that owns both parties. We do face a conspiracy, and those that deny its existence, and deny that both major parties back the conspiring billionaires, shouldn’t be allowed to operate heavy machinery. Frank, you are a divider, plain and simple. I’m sure you are dividing for free, but really you should be paid for doing such fine work for the globalist.

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avatar barbara c February 20, 2010 at 2:11 pm

There is very little separation between the parties, by that I mean the leadership of the parties. The people IN the parties is another matter. No one is paying these people to come out with their racist hateful signs. They are making the signs and meaning the message. They are mean spirited and hateful because they listen to Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh all day long. We, those who call ourselves democrats or independents blog all the time, oh if only we could talk to these people. The minute they get a whiff you are not a ditto head, end of conversation. period! They are not informed about history or world affairs. 99% of them could not even find Iraq or Iran on a map. George Bush himself, did not know the difference between Sunni and Shiite in Iraq. Had no goddam clue. The tea bag people didn’t just become aware of deficits and off budget spending, it was only after the BLACK guy was elected. You can prattle on about globalism all day long but these people do not have a clue. I agree with you that Obama NEVER supported single payer and that the leadership was too cowardly to press for the major necessary overhaul.

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avatar Lorilu February 25, 2010 at 8:40 pm

A lot of those “tea baggers” weren’t so happy with the WHITE guy before Obama. They probably wanted an improvement over Bush – so far, I am not sure that is going to happen with Obama.

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 25, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Why do you say that? These weren’t the folks who demonstrated against Bush and his war for 7 yrs, are they?

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avatar barbara c February 26, 2010 at 6:20 am

That is true in context. You’re talking about the Ron Paul Libertarians, who were the first tea bag people. Toward the end of the bush years we noticed them showing up at antiwar rally’s. They were not for Obama, though, or mccain. Those tea baggers were involved since Ron Paul came out against the war. Then the tea bag phenomenon was stolen from them by fat cat republicans who knew a good thing. They brought on board the neanderthal, racist, uninformed masses who are today’s tea party. As a matter of fact, the tea party now is working AGAINST RON PAUL in Texas. I asked a tea bag guy the other day as he (wrongly) blamed Obama for TARP, losing his retirement (happened in 2007-8) if Bush was blameless. He hemmed and hawed and said well, Bush was never one of us, never a true conservative. Finished by saying, I stuck by him because he was a republican and any republican is better than a democrat. The rewrite of what really happened began before bush even left office and their icons like Roger Hedgecock reinforce those lies every single day.

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avatar Byron February 20, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Frank,
I’ll be available for 2/27/10.
There is only one thing that will kill the Tea Bag movement-that is the truth.
Byron

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avatar EDClemons February 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Good luck with the effort. As I am in Las Vegas and can’t get away I will be with you in spirit. The important thing is to be a voice of dissent without being made to look like the same horses ass as the baggers.
Stay foucused, do not SHOUT back at the morons. Ply them with composure and intellegence, they won’t know how to react to civility.
Street theatre is excellent. Keep looking for that sort of venue with a punch.

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avatar Carl Manaster February 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm

The most effective counterprotest activity I have witnessed or participated in is laughter. The Billionaires elicit it brilliantly, but I have also seen it exercised in a lower-key fashion. You just get your people together and have them all start laughing at the other side. With a little practice, the laughs turn real. So I would encourage us to employ this tool in our non-violent arsenal.

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avatar Smuffy February 23, 2010 at 7:17 am

Is that not using laughter in a derogatory manner? Looks like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I like the idea of presenting a solid front that represents the best we have to offer. Even if I don’t agree with some people and some ideas, I don’t want to demean or belittle them. They matter. Everyone matters. How meaningful is being a ridiculous complainer? No matter who is doing it or how much they believe they are justified. I want to know what do people want; not what do they have to complain about, what do they want, what do you want, what do I want? I want to see meaningful interaction with each other even when some aspect or person seems crazy. We have a choice to complain or offer a meaningful option. A simple table with pencils and paper with a question what do you want? What matters to you? Not what do you want someone else to do for you or who’s fault is it or who do you hate. Also, what are you/me/we going to do? What are you/me/we doing to make life respectable and well organized? We have so many examples of smooth talkers pushing their great ideas with no workable plan to support the great idea. Everyone thinks their ideas are good, but who has a solid workable plan? AND who is staying on plan? Look at the Broadway Pier; the developers changing the plan on the Port District. That’s not cool. We got to keep our word to each other. What simple act would rise above the twirling disorganization of this sideshow?

Mr. Manaster I do agree with your idea of presenting a solid front. What would a respectful, honorable, dignified, community loving front look like?

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avatar Carl Manaster February 23, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Hi, Smuffy,

Yes, I propose laughing at the teabaggers derogatorily and derisively. I don’t know what you mean regarding the wolf in sheep’s clothing; they and their ideas are abundantly deserving of derision. What on earth is wrong with demeaning and belittling terrible hateful ideas? I am not – we are not – ridiculous; our complaints are well-founded.

What do they want? They want to stop paying taxes. They want white people in charge. They want the halcyon days of the 1950s back – days that never were. They want Glenn Miller and their old La Salle. They want an orderly, predictable, hierarchical world, where blacks and women and gays and immigrants know their place and stay out of the way. And I am not joking.

We do not need more understanding of these stupid hateful backwards people; we understand them just fine. We need to show that their preposterous beliefs are not shared by thinking people; we need to expose their stupidity, rather than legitimizing it as “just another point of view”. It’s not just another point of view; it’s untenable, internally inconsistent, dishonest, and destructive.

You ask what a respectful, honorable, dignified, community loving front would look like – I don’t know what you mean. I wonder if you do. Respect is not given, willy-nilly; it is earned. The teabaggers and their ideas are not worthy of respect. Their sideshow attracts media, which tries to treat them as if they are saying something meaningful. Because the media are there, we must be there, too – but not to legitimize the stupid people and the stupid ideas on the other side; rather to discredit them, because the media is substantially incapable of doing so without our help.

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avatar barbara c February 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Hi Carl

I agree with you that these tea bag people do not deserve respect and they are obviously not wanting civil discourse. So where are we, then? Do you think a small number is better than just ignoring them? I am inclined to ignore. BILLIONAIRES is perfect but there is no appetite for it this time.

It’s interesting that they are following our discussion so closely. This is what we do. What they do is drool like Pavlov’s dogs, get a big flag and march around. I would bet that at least half of them still believe we were attacked by Saddam Hussein. sigh

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avatar Carl Manaster February 23, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Hi, Barbara!

No, I think a small number is not enough; if we can’t get the 100 Frank has established as a threshold, I’m on board with skipping it.

Peace,
–Carl

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm

See Frank’s comment – we have 66 and I’m certain we’ll reach our goal.

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avatar barbara c February 23, 2010 at 9:25 am

I agree with Carl but it works much better with the many laughing at the few. I’ve been to several tea bag events where there were thousands of them and only a few of us. BILLIONAIRES works well but you’ve got to have all the trimmings including the limo. Shane loves to mingle and talk facts, I don’t have his skill an d personality to do that. My experience has been that they cannot process facts and information, sound bites is as much as they can handle. Like IMPEACH, ARREST BUSH. They have a thing with czars as if Obama invented them. My signs would be

FIRST CZAR MOST CZARS
REAGAN BUSH 37

I will commit to being there but would like a unified message if possible. My problem is as I stated earlier, they want to KILL THE BILL and as it now stands, especially with the 25% increase in mandatory fines proposed by Obama yesterday, so do I.

Another thing they have done is to conflate the TARP with the STIMULUS and Obama is taking the heat for both. Doesn’t help that he kept the bush financial team on but whatever…

In OCT it was 8 of us against 3-4 thousand of them. It was frightening and dangerous.

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 23, 2010 at 1:38 pm

I want to announce that as of mid-day Tuesday we have reached two-thirds of our goal of one hundred progressives to stand witness to the Tea Party rally on the 27th. 65 brave and patriotic progressives have committed to spending a couple of hours – 11 am to 1 pm – probably some of that in the rain – next Saturday next to the Star of India along Harbor Drive. Please, if you have considered joining us, commit to it now.

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avatar Eugenia February 24, 2010 at 12:58 am

I will be there, though it makes me sick. It was really a difficult thing seeing them, their posters and listening to them. I know it’s hard to contain myself and not get into a fight, but I also know it’s useless, and that what will matter is OUR PRESENCE!

Your discussion is interesting, but also disappointing, I don’t see how we can present ourselves as a united progressive front.

We should learn from the tea-partiers about organization and action! They and the conservatives are being heard while we stand by in silence, or with very little noise, and certainly, no strong message.

I hope we can organize some clear and dignified posters and messages. Let’s TRY to present a united front, can we?

Pleae let me know how you want to do it!

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avatar JPinSD February 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm

My girl and I should be there. We share ideas from both sides, so this should be entertaining!

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avatar Elmer R. Seevers February 24, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Weather and health might prevent me from witnessing the small minded Tea Baggers blabbering… My intent is to be at the Star of India on Saturday mornine…. e

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avatar joe smith February 27, 2010 at 8:28 am

Oh, today at 11? Thanks for the info progressives

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avatar Norm of the Liberator underground April 7, 2010 at 11:02 am

This tea party thing is , or would be of Alace in etc. were it not that it smells like the nazi american bunt of the late 20 s & early 30s or the neo fasciest peace party Etc!

To be watched as to it’s contributors & movers & shakers behind the smoke screen candate

put forward to bamboozle the Am public. They like A Hitler before ar on the march & like

him will attempet to overthrow this republic thru legal means Watch &be on guard at all times!!

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avatar barbara c February 19, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Even though CNN was owned by Ted Turner, it was considered the “Gold Standard” of unbiased news for years. I lived abroad and everyone liked nad more to th epoint tursted CNN. It has changed since Jon Klein took over. His speech on day one stated that he wanted that Fox audience and would do what he could to get t hem. CNN is not liberal today. MSNBC has Joe Scarborough who is certainly not liberal. The fact remains, the corporations who own the major networks are all vested in the defense industries, all contribute heavily to conservatives. That’s a fact. Washington Post has 3 neocons with regular columns. The antiwar marches in DC were ignored even though there were over 500,000 at the first 2. The tea bag march, 70,000 was covered that Saturday by all 3 networks from start to finish. Liberal media is a joke.

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avatar nunya February 23, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Ian sez

“Frank, there is no such thing as unbiased media. All media is biased, some to a higher degree than others. ”

So is the CA bar exam, buddy. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0914850/

Reading your comments brings a sly, knowing smile to my face.

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avatar Ian Rammelkamp February 19, 2010 at 8:45 pm

What the thinker thinks, the prover proves.

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