Tag Archives: Coffee Party

We are the many not the few — or so always goes the argument

We are the many not the few – if you don’t think too hard about this song it could represent almost any political philosophy.

Makana, the singer, if he wasn’t wearing a Greek fishing cap and short goatee a la Pete Seeger, then this could be a Tea Party anthem just as well as an OWS theme.

Themes without details are always the road to chaos. Thinking about themes often does lead to great ideas. Yet at some point all of those ideas must make it into writing and the bookkeepers brought in to do a reality check.

We are the many not the few is a very good song. The graphics are relevant and appropriate.

We have been here before.

Details matter. The Tea Party flunked them, the Coffee Party often gets wrapped around the axle about the ones that they like and ignores those that it doesn’t, the Beer Party doesn’t really care because it only exists for the fun of it all (meaningful discussion is optional), and Occupy Wall Street runs great risk of repeating 1968 all over again: big thoughts drove a generation to protest and then they all became doctors, lawyers, bankers and used car salesmen within five years. (I’m thinking of you Abby Hoffman!)

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One Year Later — I’m not Satan, and you ain’t Lucifer … even though you drink coffee, tea and/or koolaid.

One year ago today on a very cold, snowy Saturday I got up and went to the national kickoff of the Coffee Party, here in Prince William, Virginia.

Later that day I sat down and wrote my observations in “I’m not Satan, and you ain’t Lucifer … even though you drink coffee, tea and/or koolaid.”

I also explored the TEA Party, even becoming a local chapter founder and coordinator.

Have since gone inactive with both TEA and Coffee. But along the way I met some of the most amazing people.

The Prince William Coffee Party had a very short life. Stuff happens. However, I have made a number of lasting relationships with these folks. And I look forward to working with them for years to come.

As an independent-minded American I have questions. Am looking for answers. Life is complex. I want more than simplistic answers.


I’m not Satan, and you ain’t Lucifer … even though you drink coffee, tea and/or koolaid.
— 2010.03.13

OK, so I did it. I went to the local Coffee Party on Saturday, March 13th.

I’m conservative with a long track record of supporting whatever walks the right side of the street. Although born a Democrat, back in 1972 I even joined the ‘Democrats for Nixon’ campaign as a highschooler — in Florida there were no Republicans elected to state office until 1978. None. Long story short: I have never identified with liberal or Democratic groups, even though I was born a Democrat — registering as a Republican only when that other former Democrat ‘God bless Ronald Reagan’ ran for president.

Bottomline: I wasn’t sure how these Coffee folks would take to someone with an NRA ballcap, who openly describes themself as conservative, or how they would deal with someone willing to discuss issues from a more conservative perspective. Certainly I have seen how more liberal-minded people were treated by the opposing view in my community — not a pretty sight.

There were a few things said by fellow attendees that made my ears twitch. At one point a group moderator even pointed me out and said “OK, so you smiling. So why the smile?” Blink. Blink. “Oh, crap” thought I. “She mistaked my smirk for a smile.” Time to put up or to shut up. So I did. Blink. Blink. “OK, well that’s a helpful perspective to understand a different view”, said she … and on we moved in the conversation. Hmmm …

Our group conversation focused on issues that we all individually believe should be of interest and worthy of group investigation. The issues added up: 15, 20, 25 … perhaps 30 different issues got listed. Then each participant got two votes to select two issues that they personally would like the group to focus on. Issues with the most votes were rolled into four study groups.

Hmmm … so the rumors that I heard beforehand that this was just a disguised group pimping for liberal causes or the Democratic party were … they were … bogus. Solidly bogus.

By the day’s end I found myself in the ‘Financial Oversight’ issue study group responsible for issues such as taxation, banking regulation, etc.

Boom! So now we would get our agenda if it were ever to happen. Someone would surely guide the study groups to what breadcrumbs should be followed. Nope. Didn’t happen.

We six group members decided what topics we wanted to study, set our own agenda for meeting, created a Facebook page to exchange info and to build whitepapers that can be used within the group and for approaching our legislators. The Coffee leadership didn’t even get involved in asking what we had decided upon. They’ll find out when we report back later in the month.

I’m not Satan, and you ain’t Lucifer … even though you drink coffee, tea and/or koolaid.

America stands at a crossroads. We are always arriving at some crossroad but the issues today are huge and imminently in front of us. The outcome will directly affect our children and grandchildren, leaving them incredible debt. We owe trillions to foreign countries and investors (and to Americans, too) — almost $2 trillion is due in October 2010 to pay back money borrowed in the early 2000s.

We have major healthcare issues that are at an impasse; our system is one of the best medicine that people can buy. Yet we rank just ahead of Cuba in the general health of our population. Obamacare to me is an abomination that will bankrupt the country and yet the alternative is “personal responsibility” — even though healthcare insurers are a monopolistic industry and some recently announced hikes of 25-36% in annual premiums.

Enough of labels. Enough of political party hacks and support groups — both the Democratic and Republican parties are focused on the next election. Neither can be trusted to hold real discussions and to make hard decisions. Each put party before country.

As for all the liberals, moderates, conservatives and wingers of every stripe: I’m not Satan, and you ain’t Lucifer … even though you drink coffee, tea and/or koolaid.

If you want to sit down with me and discuss issues then good. Check your name calling and label machines at the door — I don’t have time for you or that if that is what you are about.

Here is what I am about: God bless the U.S. Constitution, the 10th Amendment has real meaning, don’t put your hands in my pockets to pay for programs — unless we are both paying the same, and we should pay as we go. I don’t believe that “cut taxes” is the answer to everything, but taxes should be minimal and government intrusion into our lives should also be. But be assured “we” includes both you and me. We are both Americans — and I’ll drink any beer that you buy me. … :^)

I’ll meet with you any time and any place — except Sunday afternoons when I’m either enjoying my Second Amendment rights or playing soccer, or doing both.

BTW – I drink both tea and coffee. Both are OK with me.

This post by Bill Golden, aka Bill4DogCatcher.com, an independent observer of American political life, economics, and workforce issues.

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Dogs, Cats, the Left, the Right and Election 2010

by Bill Golden

E. J. Donne, Jr., editorialized in the Washington Post: “The left needs a right brain“.

As E. J. Donne sees the Democratic challenge, which he has no problem identifying as the Left:

“On the one hand, independent voters are turning on them. Democratic House candidates enjoyed a 51 percent to 43 percent advantage over Republicans in 2008. This time, the polls show independents tilting Republican by substantial margins.”

“But Democrats are also suffering from a lack of enthusiasm among their own supporters. Poll after poll has shown that while Republicans are eager to cast ballots, many Democrats seem inclined to sit out this election.”

“The dilemma is that arguments that might motivate partisans could further alienate the less-ideological independents. The classic formulation holds that the party can either move left to excite its base or move to the center to win back independents.”

As I see it:  The Left are cats and the Right are dogs.

Cats refuse to cooperate unless they feel like it. They have no sense of common bonding, and they are nice to you only when they want something. Disagreements happen. Kick a cat and it will leave the room or scratch you … maybe never to come back. They don’t handle rough treatment well. When bored they create mischief among themselves.

Dogs crave togetherness. They easily follow a pack leader. Bonding is what they do — just because you are another dog or seem friendly to dogs. Kick a dog and he may growl and bite but it will remain with the pack. Abuse happens … but dogs have short memories. Dogs know that disagreement can sometimes be rough. They react accordingly but do not run away.

The Left are cats. The Right are dogs.

The Left seldom rallies around an idea, only issues. The Right may be dogmatic but some central core tenets of belief unite. A few choice words are enough to equate to the secret hand shake that calls forth unity.

The Left unites only for a cause celebre and then drifts away. There are no tenets of faith or belief on the Left — loyalty is to self and not to group.

The energized few can overwhelm the disengaged majority. Like them or not, the Tea Party has focused on staying energized and on building a sense of community.

I am an independent. I vote for the person and not the party. Voted Bush in 2000 and voted Kerry in 2004, then McCain in 2008. I voted for the Democrat as my governor and the Republican as my senator. I am an independent.

As an independent I see little to like on either side at the moment. But most definitely I see absolutely no change that I can believe in.

The Democrat’s core challenge: I can vote blind for a Republican and I feel 80% assured that I know what the candidate will do once elected. A dog is a dog. The Democrats represent no core philosophy. I would never pull the lever for a Democrat ‘just because’. Future demographics are working against the mostly aged and caucasian Republican party. Yet the Democrats cannot seem to master even a simple message that they themselves believe in — that is the real challenge of Election 2010 for the Left, aka the Democrats.


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Tea Party Demographics – Wealthy And Well-Educated … But Is There A Plan?

I recently cofounded a unique beast in Prince William County, Virginia: Prince William’s Future, which is both a Tea Party and Coffee Party chapter.

OK, so maybe I’m a little crazy at times. Maybe crazy like a fox or just plain crazy. History will judge me. I’m ignoring all judgments prior to history’s final opinion.

What I can tell you is that the Tea Party will make itself felt as a political power between now and the 2012 election. What happens after that I have a hunch about … but will save that for another blog item.

Per a recent New York Times/CBS Poll: Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public … the 18% of Americans who identify as Tea Party tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45 … they are more conservative than Republicans in general and responded to the  CBS/NY Times poll as more “angry” than “dissatisfied” … and the majority do NOT want Sarah Palin for president.

This NY Times/CBS poll is actually a very good demographic description of the Tea Party Movement, and is the first ever attempt to investigate and to present a picture of what the Tea Party is comprised of within its support base.

The level of support in the belief system of Tea Party supporters is very stark:

  • 90%+ of Tea Party supporters think the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared with about 60 percent of the general public.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 disapprove of the job Mr. Obama is doing over all, and about the same percentage fault his handling of major issues: health care, the economy and the federal budget deficit.
  • 92% believe Mr. Obama is moving the country toward socialism, an opinion shared by more than half of the general public.

Bill4DogCatcher thinks:

— The country is indeed headed in the wrong direction, but it was well on its way before President Obama arrived. President Obama has also done good, too.

— On policy, President Obama gets a solid ‘C’. On health care he did what he said he would, his economic policies are a continuation of Bush’s policies almost without any modification, and on the federal budget deficit: it is only some amount of time before the U.S. government and we as a nation will be forced to declare bankruptcy. Our economic problems are not all due to Obama, probably most are NOT … but recent trends (financial collapse, bailouts, stimulus spending, the health care bill from hell) led Federal Reserve Chief Bernanke to warn last week that just our ANNUAL interest payments on the national debt/deficit could easily hit $1 Trillion by 2020. (Tim Geithner acknowledges that it is a possible scenario, but doesn’t believe it probable … probably with his fingers crossed.)

— Leading the country to socialism? No. President Obama is a traditional liberal. That doesn’t make him a socialist. But if he were a socialist what would it matter in a democracy where socialists can be voted out of office — socialists are democratic, too.

My greatest disappointment in President Obama is that he failed to deliver on open and transparent government. He could probably have allayed many of the concerns that Americans have about him if he had started off just delivering that simple promise.

As for Tea Partyers, I am also disappointed in the Tea Party. There is too much focus on emotional appeals ‘to save the nation’ and a distinct lack of intellectual honesty when it comes to critique of President Obama.

In my book, many Tea Partyers are angry because they gambled that Obama could be defeated. And they lost. They gambled that health care reform could be torpedoed and they lost.

To my fellow Tea Partyers: take a deep breath and consider: by looking the other way and not taking care of business from 2000-2008 made the election of President Obama possible.

I was very vocal on the national debt in 2004 and 2005 — when President Bush’s own numbers showed that we had lost the ability to maintain, much less tame, national debt. But my voice was a very lonely voice, except for the Concord Coalition.

Continued refusal to think a little deeper about how we got here will probably create a situation where we end up Bill Clinton II — after he and the Democrats were neutered in 1994, Clinton went on to achieve some impressive things in his second term because he had the power of the veto pen. Once Republicans took Congress they had to act like they were in power — and to do that they had to get past that veto pen.

We all should take a deep breath: wealthy or poor, well educated or otherwise. Let’s drop the name calling and try working together. We cannot do this alone. And certainly 18% of America is enough folks to make life miserable for our political opponents, but it is not a future without a rational plan — someone does have a plan, right?


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What You Believe Is Not As Important As …

What you believe is not as important as why you believe what you do.

I would challenge you: if you cannot make a good argument from the opposing view’s perspective then you have not spent much time thinking about why you believe what you do.

In an age where information is just a google away, it is not uncommon for us to find some information source or personality that reinforces what we want to believe.

Challenge authority! Whether you are conservative or liberal or just looking for some different approach, look beyond the talking points. Ditto for everyone else. Do not be a tool. Do not let people create and then attempt to channel your anger or frustration.

Seldom is there a good answer. Life and issues are complex. Simplistic answers seldom are right.

Reach out. Find someone that honestly disagrees with your perspective and ask why? Who do you believe? How do you know? What would you do?

America will be a better place if we all asked why and challenged authority.

This blog item by William Golden, aka Bill4DogCatcher.com and JeffersonConservative.com — possibly the only TEA and Coffee party website on the internet.


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We are all Americans

Let cooler heads prevail.

Country before party.

Factchecking before hyperbole.

Supporting public programs is not socialism. Supporting personal responsibility is not being a grinch.

We are all Americans, no matter what part of the belief spectrum we live in.

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You want good government? Or do you want the government that you deserve?

Want good government? Then don’t make excuses for bad government.

Want responsive government? Always question party-line votes. Political parties that put their survival and success first are major dragons among us.

Want others to be good, civil citizens? Then be one yourself, and find the courage to call out your fellow believers when they cross the line — and you know it happens across the political spectrum. No excuses.

Yes, there is always a lunatic fringe. Every group has them. The difference between a mob and a group is that groups have leaders that speak up. Does your group have leaders or just people pointing the way?

Great kudos goes to the The Hampton Roads (Virginia) Tea Party which has taken a very public stand for good citizenship: “The Hampton Roads Tea Party does not condone nor will it tolerate racism, sexism, or religious intolerance or bigotry in any form within the ranks of its membership or at any of its sanctioned events. Such beliefs, attitudes, and activities are contrary to the basic rights of all humankind as outlined in the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence.”
— Hampton Roads Tea Party Board

We can argue about whether government is too large or not large enough. We could debate about how interest groups influence government in the wrong way — mostly your groups, not mine. But why?

I believe that the best course of action is to be agnostic about government. If the processes are in place to create a responsible and accountable government then the issues will work themselves out at the polling booth.

Where folks go a bit off the edge is when government patronizes them. Pandering may be an art form but it is not an acceptable process.

In discussing this, let us remember that sometimes we get the government that we deserve. If we work hard to make sure that our side wins and the other side loses — whether through procedure, issue manipulation, smoke and mirrors, whatever — then we will always have unresponsive government.

Let’s Slay Dragons Together

Bill4DogCatcher.com has a new project: I would like to see a coalition of the willing, those willing to focus on what brings us together, not pushes us apart.

I’m calling my new project — please don’t laugh or throw rotten stuff — the Coffee Party & Tea Party Coalition – a Bill4DogCatcher.com Project. Am exploring what can bring us together at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=102925266411916 (does anyone know how to point someone to a Facebook group with a better looking URL?).

The dragons that I want to slay are process-focused.

At the end of the day our anger and frustration comes not so much from knowing that the other side doesn’t appreciate our position on issues — of course, it’s not like you or I pay much attention to the what the other side is actually saying so why pretend?! — our anger and frustration comes from believing that the system is fixed! The outcome is almost preordained so why make the effort to be civil and logical? But we must try … we really, really must.

The Dragons That We Must Slay

Areas that I would like to see Coffee and Tea work together on — because the self-perpetuating political parties won’t:

  • A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment
  • A Term Limits Constitutional Amendment
  • A Taxation Transparency Act – up front accounting of categories of spending and who is getting what from whom.
  • Political Campaign Funding Transparency — Any contribution over $50-100 should have publicly available names attached.
  • Political Action Committee (PAC) Contribution Transparency — Do not make me wait and scramble to read various political candidate reports and match the numbers up. PAC contributions need to be publicly available records within 30 days of giving money to a candidate. We should be able to see that ABC Persuaders, Inc. gave $X to A, B and to Z.
  • Keep ’em Honest Promise Trackers – regardless of what party or part of the spectrum politicians live, are they keeping their ‘promises’? We have lots of ways to determine how liberal or conservative or libertarian or whatever someone is … but we have no common way of tracking how honest to their stated intentions they are.

There are many ways we can have more responsive government, but we must be willing to lay aside our issue differences to get to where we all want to be. Let’s avoid discussing issues. Let’s focus on creating processes that keeps government honest and moving forward.

So how would you slay dragons? Send your thoughts to Bill@Bill4DogCatcher.com or please visit the Coffee Party & Tea Party Coalition – a Bill4DogCatcher.com Project at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=102925266411916

This blog article originally appeared on 2010.03.23 as ‘Listerine Won’t Keep Dragons From Ruining Your Day. Time To Take On The Dragons!’ … Cute name but it violated a reality of journalism: what is your topic about. So … if you think you’ve read this article already then it ain’t deja vu at work.

Bill Golden is an independent observer of economics, politics and human resource management issues. Politically conservative but considers himself to be both Coffee & Tea. Solutions come from dealing with reality, not emotional responses.

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