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The Tea Party System

In the first Boston tea party, the colonists dumped the British tea into Boston Harbor because of taxation without representation.

The tea-baggers, today, are making a fracas because they want corporation representation without taxation.

Michelle Bachman, Congresswoman from Minnesota, also known as the “Crazy Lady”, is leading the tea-bag movement against the health care reform bill right into the arms of the health insurance industry.

“It was Thomas Jefferson who said a revolution every now and then is a good thing,” she says, as she slams a two-foot stack of paper representing the bill.

The main-stream media, as is its wont, is picking up the oligarchy’s propaganda beat. The issue they’re beating around the bush about now is the pubic option. Another issue is more de-troupes for Afghanistan.

The oligarchy is pushing the pundits, and the punditry is bringing out their big guns—David Gergel and Wolf Donner Blitzen. They have panels, too, with Leslie Stalled, Lucrezia Borgia and her sister Gloria, Keith Globerman and Rachel Rachel. They can talk a hatful.

AC-DC 360, Gloria Vanderbilt’s son, has a firm grip on the teats of the cash cow at CNN. They know, over at Ted Turner’s barnyard, that if you put an hour’s worth of programming together, you can snowball that into a 24-hour news cycle on a cable-grable channel.

Over at 13th Century Fox, you’ve got Bill O’Piggy and his piglets, Insanity Hannity, Glen Beckish and Crispy Wallace under the aegis of Rupert In-The-Dock Murderock and Roger Beerandailes.

Now, Barney Obama, with his chief henchman, David Axelgrease, have an important decision to make and they’re not making it. Will they, won’t they, will they, won’t they, will they send the troops?

You’ve got twenty four hours of prime time chawed right there. The military pundits, chief among them Armchair General Barry McCaffrey, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for NBC and MSNBC, are having their crack at it, too.

The profusion of talk about the pubic option coming up for a vote maybe next week or maybe not, is almost as good as Michael Jackson dying but comes nowhere close to the O.J. Simpson romp.

There were times when we used to have third parties kicking around; most recently, Monkey Wrench, Ralph Nader and his raiders. He kept running for president (of the United States, that is) and getting about 0.02% of the vote, giving the Democrats the perfect excuse for losing the election.

We had Texas business man Ross Perot, candidate for president in 1992 and 1996, the second time under the banner of the Reform Party, which got him absolutely nowhere, not even on the platform with the tea party candidates in the presidential debates.

In 1955, the Communist Party (CPUSA) finally dissolved because its membership consisted solely of FBI agents.

Ah, but there was a time when Third Parties struck!

Wikipedia says, “Labor Party was the name or partial name of a number of United States political parties which were organized during the 1870s and 1880s.

The Social Democratic Workingmen’s Party of North America was formed in 1874. By 1877 the party changed its name to the Socialist Labor Party of North America, and continues under that name.

In 1877, the racist Workingman’s Party was formed in California, led by Dennis Kearney; by 1879 it was powerful enough to help re-write the state constitution of California, inserting provisions intended to curb the powers of capital and to abolish Chinese contract labor.

In 1878, the Greenback Party, under the influence of leaders of organized labor, changed its name to the Greenback Labor Party, and continued to operate in some states, electing a congressman as late as 1886; but by 1888 had dissipated. In 1886, a United Labor Party was organized in Chicago under the leadership of that city’s Central Labor Union; It drew over 20,000 votes for its county ticket in the fall of 1886, and in the following spring elections garnered 28,000 votes for its candidate for Mayor; but by 1888 it had merged with the Democratic Party in that city.

Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party split the Republican Party in 1912, long before Sarah Palin got around to it.

So, you see, there is still hope for America!

STEPHEN FLEISCHMAN, writer-producer-director of documentaries, spent thirty years in Network News at CBS and ABC. His memoir is now in print. See www.amahchewahwah.com, e-mail stevefl@ca.rr.com

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Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

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