Teabaggers vs. Wall Street protestors – a contrast.
Think Progress points out how little the Koch-manufactured Tea Party has in common with the real thing, and how the Occupy Wall Street movement embodies the real spirit:
1.) The Original Boston Tea Party Was A Civil Disobedience Action Against A Private Corporation. In 1773, agitators blocked the importation of tea by East India Trading Company ships across the country. In Boston harbor, a band of protesters led by Samuel Adams boarded the corporation’s ships and dumped the tea into the harbor. No East India Trading Company employees were harmed, but the destruction of the company’s tea is estimated to be worth up to $2 million in today’s money. The Occupy Wall Street protests have targetedbig banks like Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, as well as multinational corporations like GE with sit-ins and peaceful rallies.
2.) The Original Boston Tea Party Feared That Corporate Greed Would Destroy America. As Professor Benjamin Carp has argued, colonists perceived the East India Trading Company as a “fearsome monopolistic company that was going to rob them blind and pave the way maybe for their enslavement.” A popular pamphlet called The Alarm agitated for a revolt against the East India Trading Company by warning that the British corporation would devastate America just as it had devastated South Asian colonies: “Their Conduct in Asia, for some Years past, has given simple Proof, how little they regard the Laws of Nations, the Rights, Liberties, or Lives of Men. […] And these not being sufficient to glut their Avarice, they have, by the most unparalleled Barbarities, Extortions, and Monopolies, stripped the miserable Inhabitants of their Property, and reduced whole Provinces to Indigence and Ruin.”
3.) The Original Boston Tea Party Believed Government Necessary To Protect Against Corporate Excess. Smithsonian historian Barbara Smith has noted that Samuel Adams believed that oppression could occur when governments are too weak. As Adams explained in a Boston newspaper, government should exist “to protect the people and promote their prosperity.” Patriots behind the Tea Party revolt believed “rough economic equality was necessary to maintaining liberty,” says Smith. Occupy Wall Street protesters demand a country that invests in education, infrastructure, and jobs.
4.) The Original Boston Tea Party Was Sparked By A Corporate Tax Cut For A British Corporation. The Tea Act, a law by the British Parliament exempting tea imported by the East India Trading Company from taxes and allowing the corporation to directly ship its tea to the colonies for sale, is credited with setting off the Boston Tea Party. The law was perceived as an effort by the British to bailout the East India Trading Company by shutting off competition from American shippers. George R.T. Hewes, one of the patriots who boarded the East India Trading Company ships and dumped the tea, told a biographer that the East India Trading Company had twisted the laws so “it was no longer the small vessels of private merchants, who went to vend tea for their own account in the ports of the colonies, but, on the contrary, ships of an enormous burthen, that transported immense quantities of this commodity.” Occupy Wall Street demands the end of corporate tax loopholes as well as the enactment of higher taxes on billionaires and millionaires.
5.) The Original Boston Tea Party Wanted A Stronger Democracy. There is a common misconception that the Boston Tea Party was simply a revolt against taxation. The truth is much more nuanced, and there were many factors behind the opposition to the East India Company and the British government. Although the colonists resented taxes levied by a distant British Parliament, in the years preceding the Tea Party, the Massachusetts colony had levied taxes several times to pay for local services. The issue at hand was representation and government accountable to the needs of the American people. Patrick Henry and other patriots organized the revolutionary effort by claiming that legitimate laws and taxes could only be passed by legislatures elected by Americans. According to historian Benjamin Carp, the protesters in Boston perceived that the British government’s actions were set by the East India Trading Company. “As Americans learned more about the provisions of the new East India Company laws, they realized that Parliament would sooner lend a hand to the Company than the colonies,” wrote Carp.
Ezra Klein on the death of President Obama’s jobs bill:
As my colleague Brad Plumer reported yesterday, Congress hasn’t adopted the administration’s infrastructure package, but they’re moving closer to it. And as we reach the end of the year, are Republicans really going to refuse to extend and expand the payroll tax and unemployment benefits?
The other question is whether, in the absence of clear Republican cooperation on the major elements of their jobs package, the administration will let their jobs program die with a whimper. They can still refuse to sign anything the supercommittee produces if it doesn’t include a job agenda of similar size, and thus effectively use the trigger as leverage for a jobs plan. But as of yet, they have shown little interest in doing so. They have given a speech, but unlike the Republicans on the debt ceiling and the government shutdown, they have refused to use their procedural leverage.
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A huge turnout last night in Philadelphia to plan Occupy Philly’s sit-in in City Hall’s courtyard, and attendees decided it will begin at 9am this Thursday. I’m so thrilled that this is finally happening in the city that was the birthplace of our nation – and I’m pretty sure they’re going to need pizza:
“This is what democracy looks like.”
That was the thunderous chant of about 1,000 protesters who packed the Arch Street United Methodist Church Tuesday night as they voted to begin Occupy Philadelphia at City Hall at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Supporters young and old turned out for the meeting to plan the next steps for Philadelphia’s extension of New York City’s Occupy Wall Street protests. Some said they foresee the movement catching on across the nation.
“This is the first time in my adult life I feel there’s some hope,” said Carol Finkle, 69, of Philadelphia. “This will grow. Watch what’s gonna happen, in [young people’s] lifetime and in mine.”
Like some of New York’s protesters, many of Philadelphia’s plan to occupy City Hall 24/7 for its duration, pitching tents and camping there.
Here’s an interview with Justin Harrison, an Occupy Philly organizer who works at Verizon as a splicing technician, and is a unit secretary for Communications Workers of America (CWA), Local 1300:
In New York, they’re occupying Wall Street. In DC, they plan to occupy the the infamously lobbyist-ridden K Street. Will Occupy Philly be Philadelphian in some particular way?
[…] I think that Philly vs. New York, Philly is overwhelmingly a working class town. There’s been a strong consciousness to reach out into the communities. North, south, east, west, it’s the same stuff: jobs, housing, food and education. We don’t have Wall Street to occupy, but Philadelphia has a special flavor of its own.
Is Occupy Wall Street a progressive response to the right-wing Tea Party? Or is it something completely different?
I think that Occupy Wall Street is filling a vacuum that could have and should have been filled by the left. For example, the AFL-CIO. A lot of us feel that they dropped the ball in Wisconsin this spring [when there were weeks of mass protests against Governor Scott Walker’s attack on collective bargaining rights]. People came out in the streets and occupied the capitol, but AFL-CIO put it into the Democratic Party and elections.
I’ve been saying look, we need to pay attention to this. They’re doing stuff that we could have been doing and should have been doing. And we should help out, and we can learn from it.
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What a joke. A one-time fee no matter how much revenue produced, or how much damage caused by each well? Chump change. A mere $120 million in a year? I suppose the Koch boys wrote this “compromise” for Governor Corbett:
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett proposed a fee on natural-gas drilling of as much as $160,000 a well in an effort to find a middle ground between public support for assessing drillers in the booming Marcellus Shale basin and a campaign pledge not to impose taxes.
If passed by the state legislature, the recommendation would generate an estimated $120 million in the first year, most of which would be kept at the local level to help pay the cost to regulate drilling and to repair roads and bridges. Every other gas-drilling state already imposes a fee on wells or a tax on the value of gas that is extracted.
The governor’s proposal also includes new requirements that would keep wells farther from streams and water wells. Environmentalists are concerned that the process of extracting shale gas, which involves pumping water and chemicals underground at high pressure, could contaminate surface and drinking water.
“As the number of wells grows, so will the revenue,” said Mr. Corbett, a Republican, who linked the industry’s growth to the state’s economic future. “We are going to do this safely, and we’re going to do it right, because energy equals jobs.”
Under the governor’s plan, about one-quarter of the well fees would go to state agencies like the Department of Environmental Protection and the rest to local communities. Some state lawmakers suggested they may push for higher fees or for more of the money to go to the state.
Democrat Jay Costa, the state Senate minority leader, said the governor’s recommendations “fall woefully short” in terms of revenue and the amount that is going to the state. Some Republicans, who have a majority in both the Senate and House, are also pushing for more drilling revenue. GOP state Rep. Thomas Murt plans to introduce a bill Tuesday that includes a 4.9% tax on the gross value of the gas at the wellhead, rather than a fee. His bill would dedicate 29% of revenue to local governments, 27% to state environmental programs and 44% to state programs including drug rehabilitation.
Friedman is the corporate media’s foremost cheerleader for the brave new world of downsizing, outsourcing, off-shoring and clusterfucking that has decimated the American workforce, and he thinks this is a good thing. More here.