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Unlikely Bedfellows: Occupy San Diego And The Tea Party

Above: A large crowd marches as part of 'Occupy San Diego' in downtown San Diego on Oct. 7, 2011.

Aired 10/17/11 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Rhonda Deniston Oceanside Regional Director of Stop Taxing Us, a tax-payer advocacy and tea party group.


For more, watch Monday's show.

Evening Edition airs weekdays at 5 PM and 6:30 PM on KPBS TV.

The Tea Party movement, with their small government message and tri-cornered hats might not seem a perfect partner to the younger, more progressive Occupy San Diego movement.

But there are areas where the two seem to overlap.

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Avatar for user 'dialyn'

dialyn | October 17, 2011 at 12:17 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Term limits haven't's just given us politicians that are running for another office with no commitment to the people they represent. I have yet to see one ounce of evidence term limits have improved our government.I hate to see the Tea Party trying to take over the Occupy group. I will never vote for a Tea Party bought-and-paid-for candidate...that would be like voting for Murdoch and the Kohn brothers yet again.

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Avatar for user 'Cytelica'

Cytelica | October 17, 2011 at 1:19 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

As much as I love Maureen C. her interview of this local “Tea Party” leader (Deniston) was typical of what PBS and KPBS now offer as “news/information”. Very slanted toward the Right because they think more Republican listeners will donate. Republicans do NOT seek middle ground nor independent/informed thinking. Fraught with irascible contempt for the welfare of others, Republican Tea Party acolytes continue to “Rough the Ref” to get their fraudulent propaganda ingrained into the American psyche. Remember how they disrupted Democratic town halls and have been urging their members to smash windows of Democratic officials!

The Republican “Tea Party” is NOT a party! It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican party. All “Tea Party” candidates run as Republicans. They are funded by billionaire extremist Republicans like the Koch brothers who desire to oppress the American middle class. What better way to live in America than to have a desperate and dependent servant class and a small professional class to cater to the whims and coffers of these "gilded age" selfish billionaires. Republican "Tea Party'ers" will rejoice at this 'opportunity'.

And Deniston’s claim that our political process will be put right by more term limits is short sighted and propagandistic. Politicians are subject to term limits each time they must run for re-election. Forcing out experienced politicians only gives business and corporations more control over our government. Businesses then write the legislation and can write off much of their lobbying expenses but we humans cannot. The 'Occupy Movement' is about restoring the middle class and democratic bottom up rule/opportunity.

There is nothing democratic about a business or corporation. And contrary to Deniston’s Republican talking point that unions are equally bad, they are democratic organizations providing their membership with complete voting rights. Unions look out for their members while corporations/businesses amorally seek to maximize profits.

So KPBS, please stop trying to confuse listeners into believing that the jack booted hard core Republican "Tea Party" is a separate entity offering anything other than selfish disinformation and nihilism.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | October 17, 2011 at 3:32 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

An interesting slant Cytelica, but try another POV on for size:
Corporations are fundamentally democratic. Their very survival depends on producing a good enough product at a good enough value that people will 'vote' for their offering over one from a similar company by buying their product.
Unions are fundamentally monopolistic. They seek to corner the market for labor in a specific sector and artificially raise the price of that labor.

You don't want businesses and corporations to make profits? Really? I find it difficult to believe you'd want them to go out of business and let all their employees go, but then I can't see a third option.
You may not believe that the tea party is about restoring fiscal responsibility to government, but they themselves do. You may consider looking at large groups of people with an open enough mind to accept that they may have some bad actors among them without the entire group being corrupt.

As for the last bit, how is it one would equate fiscal conservatism with nihilism? I'll assume the jack boot comment was simply hysterical hyperbole, since by the hundreds of pictures available of tea party protests it is clear that most of them do not wear jack boots.

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Avatar for user 'Cytelica'

Cytelica | October 17, 2011 at 6:06 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Selling a product is not a democratic action. Far to often conservatives confuse democracy with capitalism. A buyer does express a preference when buying a product, but there are absolutely no “free” votes between competing products. More importantly, corporations are allowed to covertly charge the consumer a fee hidden within the product cost with which businesses can and do use to gain preferential tax treatment and legal impunity of all sorts. They write off their costs of lobbying/attorney’s fee’s whenever pursuing their preferential legislation/tax treatment/tax amnesty. Thus much of the cost for their self promotion is transferred onto the backs of tax payers.

Business need to make a profit but not at the expense of the overall economy and economic stability of America. Unlike the “Take Over” rally, Republican ‘Tea Partiers’ accept their corporate overlords and the financial backing they offer. Many conservatives believe that workers should simply be impoverished supplicants too cowed to even grovel for another lump of coal on the fire. The Dickensian approach to mean spirited and selfish corporatocracy is shortsighted and offensive to anyone who cares about social justice or sustainable society. With a quick glance around examples of billionaire/corporate greed and their anguish against paying a living wage can be seen.

Conservatives by and large are insentient nihilists. Are we to have forgotten the Republican led brinkmanship over the debt ceiling crisis? Are we to overlook how the Republican “Tea Party” members gloat at the prospect of an American economic failure? Should we not observe Herman Cains onerous contention that a woman must give birth to a fetus in all circumstances, even when that would cost the mother her life? His very regressive 9-9-9 plan is dedicated to enriching the wealthy elite. Are we to forget all of the rancid lies they told about the Affordable Health Care Act or the Republican’s historic over use of the filibuster and holds. Are we to ignore the Republicans agenda to under fund the government no matter what the devastation? Republicans insist on displaying the American flag stars upside down to make their point! And must we deny the rabid froth emanating from such conservative luminaries as Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, or the smarmy O’Reilly. They are not “a few bad actors” but the gods of conservative hate radio. Clearly these highlights point to a conservative nihilistic dogma who’s authoritarian oppression of others is an insatiable driving force in their nightmarish quagmire.

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Avatar for user 'Cytelica'

Cytelica | October 17, 2011 at 6:06 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Unions are not fundamentally monopolistic, corporations and businesses are. They implement “barriers to competition” and offer no democratic process of control as do labor organizations. Unions are voted in and just as easily the membership can vote them out, change representation, form their own independent association, vote up and down their dues, and vote in their representatives. Unions due try to raise the price of their work, which is absolutely no different that a business trying to maximize profits. And why shouldn’t workers receive a fair share of the profits from their labor? Any one who does not believe in being paid for the work they do, or that believes that other workers should be marginalized through impoverishing wages should always demand to work for minimum wages or acknowledge their own duplicity.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | October 17, 2011 at 10:45 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Love those disinformation rightwing hosts on AM Hate Radio, like Todd Schnidt (KOGO), trying to lump the American Nazi Party with the Occupiers. Ha ha! Nice try Todd! They're on YOUR side of the aisle, despite you being in denial about it.

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Avatar for user 'dialyn'

dialyn | October 18, 2011 at 6:01 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Time magazine has an article about why the Tea Party and Occupy movement are distinctly different -- worth taking a look at:

I don't know if the Occupy movement will last or not..I've lived long enough to see protests appear and disappear because they didn't have the deep corporate pockets that fund the Tea Party. My brother and I often discussed why people weren't angrier at the financial situation in the United States, and it seems like that the complacency has been replaced with a reality check. Why does a CEO that makes $21 million dollars a year get a bonus for losing money for his or her company, and then gets to pay little or no taxes on that money? Is that equity? People who do none productive work (by which I mean, pushing money from one side of a balance sheet to another) are getting big bucks, while people who provide services and goods are told they don't deserve health benefits or living wages. Is that equity? As long as we have a government run by lobbyists (and, really, that's all the Tea Party is--a lobbyist group for Murdock, the Kohn brothers and other conservative billionaires), we will have no equity. I believe in the government. I believe in the right to make money. But I also believe people should be treated with fairness and respect no matter what level they work at. Demonizing government workers and putting them out of work is not the answer. Coming up with slick sounding but empty phrases is not the answer. Not running like lemmings after the next new thing but thinking through what politicians say and compare it to their actions and who they are taking money from would be a good thing. Harder to do, but we deserve what we get if we give up voting because a bully screamed at us, or a religious zealot declares their religion to be the one and only. As a country, we're better than that.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | October 18, 2011 at 8:18 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

You have a very interesting outlook C, but one I have difficulty taking seriously. Phrases like "Conservatives by and large are insentient nihilists." make me wonder if you bothered to look up the words you use.
You point out that both sellers of goods and sellers of labor attempt to control the price of their offering then go on to point to one as laudable and demonize the other. Certainly, the specific actions of corporations and unions are different, but they have similar goals, maximizing the profit of their stakeholders. Also, are you seriously suggesting that a union picket line is not a barrier to competition e.g. non-union work? Do you assume that all labor is equally productive and equally worthwhile? There are a lot of professional workers who will disagree with an assertion like that. They expect to be paid more than others with less valuable skills. In fact, that was probably one of their motivations for expending the effort to develop those skills in the first place. We are NOT all in this together. Some of us are going to succeed and others are going to fail. This is the nature of competition. I try to do the best I can, don't stab others in the back to get ahead and have been pretty successful. It CAN be done, but it isn't always easy. Or, to put it more bluntly as my grandfather did 'hard work will take you a lot farther than whining'.

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | October 18, 2011 at 8:36 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Some excellent comments here by Cytelica and dialyn - I may not agree completely with you on all points but I'd say you've done your homework. The Republican party these days does present itself as a group that simply cannot be negotiated with, which is unfortunate, because that is what we need - a government that actually works for the people.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | October 18, 2011 at 3:38 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

I find this piece from the article dialyn reference to be interesting
"We will not suffer any more so that we can make the rich, even richer. We do not authorise any of the politicians, who failed so spectacularly, to borrow any more money in our name. We do not trust you or the people that are lending it. We want a completely new set of accountable people at the helm, untainted by the fiascos of the past. You have run out of ideas."
Except for the first sentence it actually sounds a lot like the pre-coopted Tea Party, who are also against excessive borrowing and mistrust those who are spending it. In fact, that seems to be the central message of fiscal conservatism, which is the unifying focus of the Tea Party.

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