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The Tea Party is a political movement; Occupy is about protest

AP Photo/The Enterprise, Wayne Tilcock

In this Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, photo University of California, Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad Friday in Davis, Calif. Two University of California, Davis police officers involved in pepper spraying seated protesters were placed on administrative leave Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011, as the chancellor of the school accelerates the investigation into the incident.

Just a quick comment on this segment from this morning's Airtalk broadcast. The issue is whether the Tea Party is getting media treatment equal to the Occupy Movement. 

I'd have to say probably not. But then again, this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. The Tea Party is a political movement: it's an evolution of the Republican Party's libertarian element, which has been a factor, albeit a minor one, for decades. Occupy is a protest movement: it's not running anyone for office but rather complaining about the way the U.S. has allowed equality to stagnate under pressure from a global financial system run amok.

Both groups are angry about the current state of affairs. But their plans of action, strategies, and execution are different in trajectory. The Tea Party wanted to elect candidates and enter the mainstream political conversation. Occupy aimed to...take up space and provide a physical representation of what was really a fairly inchoate sense that something has gone horribly wrong with the nation. 

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Why the Occupy Movement is getting kicked out — and why it doesn't matter

Occupy Wall Street Camp In Zuccotti Park Cleared By NYPD Over Night

Mario Tama/Getty Images

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Occupy Wall Street protesters and police stand outside Zuccotti Park after police removed the protesters from the park early in the morning on November 15, 2011 in New York City. Hundreds of protesters, who rallied against inequality in America, have slept in tents and under tarps since September 17 in Zuccotti Park, which has since become the epicenter of the global Occupy movement. The raid in New York City follows recent similar moves in Oakland, California, and Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

UPDATE: KPCC is reporting that Occupy LA — which hasn't yet been shut down and is actually right across the street from police headquarters — may become a kind of "oasis" for Occupy movements that have been forced out of public sites. It would be quite a trek for Occupy Wall Streeters. But you never know. It's getting cold in New York...

In the very early hours of Tuesday morning, New York City police descended on Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, the site of the original Occupy Wall Street movement, and cleared the site of protestors. Almost 200 people who refused to go quietly were arrested. 

Tensions are mounting at other Occupy sites around the country. In Oakland, protestors have been particularly aggressive. In Los Angeles, they're been mostly peaceful. But it's becoming increasingly clear that, despite a high level of political support in many cities, local governments are losing patience with 24/7 demonstrations at public sites. 

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Econ 474: Why does the Tea Party think Ben Bernanke is a traitor?

This week's Republican candidates debate, presented by CNN and sponsored by the Tea Party, featured a moment when Texas Gov. Rick Perry was cheered for restating his rather negative views of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. This is from Talking Points Memo:

[H]ost Wolf Blitzer brought up Gov. Rick Perry’s comments that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s emergency economic policies “almost treasonous.” Perry stood by the comment…“I am not a fan of the current chairman allowing that Federal Reserve to be used to cover up bad fiscal policy by this administration,” Perry said. “And that, I will suggest to you, is what we have seen.”

Perry continued:

“It is a travesty that young people in America are seeing their dollars devalued in what…we don’t know if it was political or not because of the transparency issue,” Perry said. “But I stand behind this: we need to have a Fed that’s working towards sound monetary policy, that creates a strong dollar in America, and we do not have that today.”

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