Tag Archives: tea party

Occupy Boston: The roots of peaceful protest

Video of interviews taken on September 30, 2011

On October 9. 2011, this picture-perfect Boston day, I took a walk over to a part of Boston called Dewey Square. On September 30, 2011, this little section of Boston located between the Federal Reserve Building and the Financial District became the home of a protest movement called Occupy Boston. This movement is associated but separate from the one in NYC known as Occupy Wall Street.

My only exposure to this movement was only through some press coverage in the Boston area. The interpretation that I was left with from the press is that these were a bunch of people that didn’t know how to organize of have a real agenda. I decided to find out for myself.

As you approach this meridian patch of land nestled between two main roads, it looks like the local EMS is having an outdoor tent sale. As you get closer the people come in focus, then the signs. It really is a hodgepodge of both people and messages on the signs. As I approached this urban campsite, there were spectators, “residents” and skateboarders in the mix. I was struck by hand made signs that adorned different tents. “Library”, “Sacred Space”, “Students” and of course an “Info” were the first tents I saw.

Once entering this dense collection of tents, I was struck by how organized it actually felt. There was a main path with tents and a swarm of meanderers on either side of me. I passed the food tent that was offering free food to anyone that asked. I then made my way to the “Media” tent and spoke to a few people there. It was amazing to see how connected this media tent was. Computers with social media publishing tools, some video being watched and some sound equipment accented the hum of organized chaos. You could feel the energy that people had. They were part of something bigger than themselves and they were all in!

I continued my own walkabout to discover a fair amount of young adults that dressed and smelled like many of the people that followed the Grateful Dead. While I never toured with the Grateful Dead, I did have my share of Grateful Dead experiences. However, there was one distinct smell that made it unlike a Grateful Dead show, or should I say the lack of one… pot. There was no Mary Jane adding to the experience here. Bravo for to the organizers for taking that out of the mix. Clearly some things have changed since the time of the Dead shows.

As I walked to the other entrance/exit of this mini tent city, I saw a motorcycle with a Ron Paul sticker. A young man who looked to be about 20 was holding a sign that said “End the Federal Reserve”. To be fair, he was clearly part of the Ron Paul folks there. You gotta love the Ron Paul movement, they leverage any opportunity to get their message across. Having not done a podcast with Jeff in over two months, I was itching for a good political debate. Now was my chance. End the Fed, I thought, putty in my hands.

I approached this young adult with a smile and a question “Why do you want to end the Federal Reserve?”. His answer was filled with passion, if not anything else. “Because they caused all the problems with this economy,” he said. I responded, “Can you give me an example of how they have caused this economic downturn?” Clearly struggling with an answer, he grabs his friend next to him and says, “This guy wants to know why we should end the Fed.” His friend laughs and says, “It’s all you man. You are holding that sign, not me.” While I was disappointed that I was not going to get my debate, it did emphasize something that struck me about the Occupy movement in general, they are a protest, not a solution.

This is where the press does the movement a dis-service. They are treated harshly because they don’t have a 50 pont plan to solve the economy. They are taken lightly that they can’t articulate the specific causes for the economic turmoil that we face. However, they don’t need to. At least not now. The movement needs only to maintain the vigil. This allows the conversation to be changed. It allows the conversation to not be about the wars. It need not be about how taxes can’t be raised under any condition. It IS about how people are hurting, how they are frustrated and how they feel left out of the American Dream.

I am one who prefers to debate the issues with facts and come to a conclusion on what direction we should go. This, however, is a peaceful protest that has social media savvy. As these disparate Occupy groups come together using the very social media tools that have a business model of high revenues and low numbers of employees, they also empower themselves with one of the most powerful and efficient ways to organize people and disseminate a message. If successful, these groups can tap into a generation that now finds itself in a world far less embracing than the virtual one they grew up with on XBox. If this generation mobilizes, it can have an unprecedented impact on both our political and economic environments. This could be the movement that dumps a different kind of TEA back into Boston Harbor.

Budget Control Act of 2011

It’s hard to not be cynical on this plan. Instead of putting my spin on this plan, it is now your turn. We have great thinkers who read this blog. Let’s here from you. Here is the .pdf legislative language (all 74 pages). Have a read, tell us who is the big loser politically is and give us your comments.

The Common Sense Party’s First Ad

Warning.  This is one of those posts where you might say – “damn you guest blogger Jeff, you are just too partisan”.  Or one that you might say “rock-on guest blogger Jeff”.

This ad has been in my head for months.  Had I been a political consultant or ad-man, it would have been on the air over the summer.  But since I am neither – it was not.  But now it is.

Most of you are going to react passionately to this ad.  You will think it is skewed either toward your view, or negatively partisan.

But in the end, the beauty of this ad is that is encapsulates the fundamental message of the Tea Party in completely non-partisan, common-sense terms, that are not only factually accurate, but completely appropriate and relevant for the national debate.

While it simplifies the issues around our national debt, it does so without extorting or extrapolating reality.

Enjoy! And for disclosure purposes, the funders are clearly right wing oriented.  Check out the website here.

– Guest Blogger Jeff

Kentucky Senate Debate

Rand Paul at Kentucky Senate Debate

Candidates Jack Conway (D) and Rand Paul (R) meet in Louisville for another debate. Jack Conway is the state’s Attorney General and was first elected in 2007. Rand Paul, son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), is supported by the Tea Party.


Republicans haven’t been for much of anything over the last couple of years. In fact, it seems they have enjoyed using their filibuster power at record levels, simply delaying or denying things based on arcane procedure, and not letting a simple majority rule. Okay, it’s their right…But after leading us into The Great Recession through their own fiscal irresponsibility when they were in control of the White House and Congress, they now return to their well-worn, tired ideas to offer up the one thing they are for: more tax cuts. Hey, that’s great — let’s cut everyone’s taxes, hand out sugar plumbs and go live on La La Land, where the air is sweet and the people are grand. Back in the world I live in, these same Republicans were against renewing unemployment benefits, against most of the things Democrats have been trying to do, because of the negative impact the policies would have on the deficit. Their mantra? If you want it, find a way to pay for it. So now, in a campaign season, they make an issue out of extending the Bush tax cuts, but do they offer up a way to pay for them? No. They pay for themselves, their argument goes. I’m willing to take an unpopular position: while tax cuts are great ideas when running for office, we can’t afford them right now. Pandering will get you everywhere politically, but it will run the country into a deeper hole. I know people don’t want to hear it, but if you eat cake and ice cream all day long, it sure does taste good, but it’s going to make you fat. Period. And the only way to work it off is discipline, hard work and cutting the fat.

How stupid do they think we are? Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us.  We need to hold everyone to the same standard. These cowardly hypocrites need to be held accountable. This is complete and total hypocricy that should not be tolerated during serious times. Where’s the outrage from the Tea Party now? Where are the fiscal conservatives calling this irresponsible?  I applaud David Stockman, the architect of Ronald Reagan’s fiscal policies, for calling this proposal absurd, but are there any prominent Republicans from, say, the last 20 years who have the guts to call the Republicans on this? How about you, Glenn Beck?  John McCain? Sarah Palin, do you have the cajones to speak out, or does your half-term as Governor not give you the requisite experience to speak intelligently on such matters without someone whispering in your ear or writing on your hand?

The Republicans are a mockery to the very notion of an opposition party. You get what you deserve, America.

– Jeff Kimball


Episode 86 – Tea Party Politics, Republican Stances & Term Limits

In this very special episode, the PoliTalk boys bring on Guest Blogger Jeff and Contributing Editor to the Washington Monthly Zachary Roth. PoliTalk takes on the issues that others just skim over. In this episode, Jeff & Glenn get great perspective from Zachary on the Tea Party and its roots. They then delve into the role of the Tea Party in elections and specifically discuss the recent Nevada Republican Senate Candidate Sharron Angle. Guest Blogger Jeff makes a passionate plea for term limits as the only way to get out of the mess we are in. Zachary and Co-host Jeff beg to differ saying that term limits only places the power with non-elected staffers. The show then pivots into Republican stances on unemployment benefits and Wall Street Reform. Finishing up the show, Host Jeff calls an audible on Supreme Court Justice Nominee Elena Kagan.

PoliTalk: Best Friends. Vast Political Experience. Refreshing political discussion…without the fighting…and with a few laughs. Hosted by Glenn Gaudet and Jeff Kimball.

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On the Eve of April 15th, In Defense of Taxes

Keeping with my nature, I am going to take a stand that I know is universally abhorred, but I am comfortable in the resolve of my opinion. It is a political no-brainer, and just plain easy, to rant against taxes. People are easily mobilized by their hatred of taxes, and drawn to any conversation on conservative AM stations on the subject.  Glenn Beck has even called some taxes “racist.” Most people make a good living laying into the tax man. I’m not one of those people.

My grandfather was a dairy and potato farmer in Maine, a descendent of the pilgrims who crossed the Atlantic to settle into a new land. My grandmother was the daughter of Polish immigrants, who came here in the early 1900s to find a better life. Neither was wealthy. Each had to struggle against enormous odds to make it through the Great Depression. But from each I learned the nobility, the honor, the obligation, to reach beyond ourselves in support of others — friends, town folk, the “community,” fellow countrymen.  I am blessed to lead the life I live, but have seen so much taken away so quickly — families wiped out financially by chronic illness, once promising careers lost to economic forces. We are no different than any other family, and that’s my point. There but for the Grace of God go each of us.

The tax system is dysfunctional, outdated, and in dire need of reform. Too many pay a disproportionate share of their income in taxes, and many others, through the use of loopholes, tax shelters or schemes, have the means to pay their share, but pay significantly less. That’s not fair. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the average family gives 9% of its earnings to the government in taxes. Former Republican Congressman Dick Armey conceded that “the federal tax rate right now is at a good level.” A good level for the very wealthy. Do you realize that over the last 50 years taxes have dropped most significantly for the top 1% of earners?

We just did a show on an alternative tax method — the Fair Tax (see Episode 75 to right). While they can’t register me on a list of supporters, I love the principles of simplicity and transparency.  I’m not sure I can find anyone that can explain the current tax system to me now in a simple way, other than to say: unfair, burdensome.  I would like to see a system whereby Americans are encouraged to make money, live the American dream, but share fairly and more equally in meeting our financial obligations.

The place where those taxes go, that’s another story. Congress wastes a lot of money, funding pork projects and earmarks, creating or sustaining programs for which funding is lacking, and for which we deficit spend to meet our needs. I get all that, and I, like many others, would gladly take a meat cleaver to the Country’s budget. We have a responsibility to live within our means while also meeting our obligations. But I stand solidly in the corner that we have obligations to each other, and this is an ethic not only shared by my grandparents, but by the colonists who settled our country. One of the first acts in coming to the new country was to establish a tax in support of the destitute, a tradition carried over from England were “poor laws” were in existence since 1601.

But too many vilify the system and its participants — those who work in government — and spew hatred that leaves us on the brink of violence (which has sadly manifested itself at times, like in Oklahoma City or more recently in Texas). So I write today to stand in defense of the defenseless. Many people I know speak in terms of “us and them,” of those in Washington taking our money away, of what we don’t have, what’s being taken from us. The anger is legitimate, but so is the sacrifice of those who work on our behalf. Some, like Sarah how’s-that-rhetorical-gun-metaphor-writing-notes-on-your-hand-thingy-going Palin, speak of tax revolts, tea parties, and taking over the system. I watched in horror recently as a man with Parkinson’s Disease lay on the ground while someone from an anti-tax society ridiculed him, angrily tossing dollar bills on him, satirically saying “here’s your government handout.” My grandparents wouldn’t recognize that kind of person. I fear my generation is filled with too many of them, and will be remembered more for its selfishness and greed than its contributions to humanity.

When my grandfather was alive, I was told he’d take his surplus food and give it to his neighbors, without being asked, but knowing they needed help. My grandmother used to tell me that she was proud to pay her tax bill, because it confirmed her status as an American citizen, something that she was so proud to be. There isn’t a day when we aren’t all the beneficiaries of government programs — programs that are so much a part of the fabric of our lives that we don’t even recognize them — our military and intelligence services keeping the country safe; police and fire fighters, teachers, postal workers.  It’s easy to vilify taxes, but I urge you instead of reacting instinctively this April 15, to recognize that you are in some way doing a greater good, and you should feel a measure of pride in helping your fellow man. I, for one, appreciate your support.

— Jeff Kimball