June 10, 2009

Gaspee Tea Party

Justin Katz

As ought to have been expected, the crowd is a bit smaller today than it was for the initial tea party — about, truth to tell — what I expected last time, probably a little south of 1,000, although I offer the usual disclaimers about being terrible with on-site estimating:

Some pictures of signage:

Helen Glover just estimated the crowd at about 1,000 or more, making the point that others will try to talk it down and ignore the fact that taxpayers don't have paid organizers in the mold of unions and other special interests.

5:17 p.m.

I'd say the crowd is probably over 1,000, at this point, which much exceeds what I'd expected, given the fact that this is sort of a second bite at the apple and is focused entirely on state-level issues. Speaker Aram Garabedian just declared that the biggest union in RI is the group of taxpayers.

Arlene Violet is making a great statement about endemic corruption and elected representatives' giving away tax money to preferred friends and preferred interests.

5:33 p.m.

A surprise visit from Governor Don Carcieri. "Are you ready to pay more taxes? [Crowd: No!] Good, because I'm not either." He mentioned that he just got back from Washington, where he's trying to get more funding for our children.

Ummm... I think the point is that we don't want more government money.

5:51 p.m.

Commenter Hank Bradley suggests that 1,000 people is more than double what the pictures suggest. Well, that's why I post them, because I'm not claiming any competence at crowd estimation. 1,000 may be a bit high, but 500 is considerably low. Given the shape of the crowd (spilling up the stairs, for instance), it's difficult to capture in a picture. I'd still be happy with the turnout even if it's 700-800.

6:07 p.m.

I'm currently in line to go through the metal detector to storm the statehouse. Gotta see the humor...

6:19 p.m.

I will say that if you ever have to wait in a protest line, being in front of John DePetro and his bullhorn is a humorous place to be.


I'm hearing that the legislators all left for the day. And why not? It's not as if there's anything for them to do these days.

6:28 p.m.

Still coming...

6:31 p.m.

... and coming...

And I hear the cry of "no more taxes" echoing through the building. Would that it were legislators.

6:34 p.m.

And coming...

6:38 p.m.

The most patient people at the rally...

6:45 p.m.

I've only been the statehouse a couple of times, and I've never looked at the ceiling. Now that I have, I have to say that taxes are not the true injustice; sexism is. Notice that all of the abstract principles are represented as women. Perhaps if there was gender equity in the paintings, legislators would more faithfully adhere to the principles.

But I see that the world that the General Assembly ordered has arrived:

And now on to Ri-Ra.

6:53 p.m.

Before I close the computer down, though, here are two pictures that Andrew took of Governor Carcieri:

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Unless the majority of the crowd is not in front of the speaker's platform, the estimate of 1,000 people is more than double the number of countable humans in the above photos.

Posted by: Hank Bradley at June 10, 2009 5:40 PM

If you need to explain what a Tea Party event is to people from the left side of the fence, just say that it is Community Organizing for Tax Payers.


Posted by: LED at June 10, 2009 6:11 PM

This is an excellent idea! A bunch of Galt loons waving loopy signs a al ACORN, whining about taxes while millions of their fellow Americans are out of work. Instead of promoting the best policies for the U.S. as a whole, all they care about is themselves. Plus, their numbers are small enough that no politician will care what they think, and sheer numbers is all they have to offer because they aren't smart enough to think up a better way to do things. Excellent job! Maybe one day the group's organizers will get a medal from Obama or something!

Meanwhile, if there are any smart, non-selfish, non-Randroid people out there who care about good policy, here's a much smarter way to do things:


Your leaders are too dumb to think up such a plan, but that doesn't mean you have to be as dumb as they are.

Posted by: 24AheadDotCom at June 10, 2009 6:40 PM


Sigh, where to begin. I know this more than likely won't make it through your left wing indoctrination, but lowering taxes improves the economy, and also increases tax revenues to the government! Lowering Taxes is EXACTLY what we need right now to help us out of this economy. The selfish ones are people like you advocating stealing money from the productive for gimme programs for left wing activist groups.

Posted by: Dark Eden at June 10, 2009 7:28 PM

Actually the number of people concerned about losing their self-determination as individuals in America is an astronomical number.

Similar comments to the last one made(above) were made about the first "porkulus protest" in Seattle on February 16th.

Since that time, 100's of thousands of Americans, from every state, have become organized and are pressuring the status quo!

Good work Gaspee Tea Party!

Posted by: Dave at June 10, 2009 7:31 PM

Unlike the April tea party, everyone arrived by 5 that was going to attend. Don't know if there were 1,000 but there was AT LEAST 500. I'd guess around 700-800. Hard to tell with everyone spread out that you couldn't see them all in one view unless you were above on the legislators balconey

I noticed a much larger prescence of 20 something and 30 something people at this rally, than the one in April. I guess they are realizing how bleak the politicians has made their future.

Now, Projo spread the counter protest of 300 people last week all over the front of the website and newspaper, with tons of coverage, photos of the counter protestors but nary a peep or photos about the April protest of 3000. No doubt they will ignore this and film their clip infront of an empty statehouse lawn showing no protesters at all-just like they did for the April Tea Party

Gee, Providence Journal is the ONLY major newspaper in the entire state and they are circling the toilet bowl. No in-state competition and they are on the edge of closing down any day and still they push their liberal garbage and bias-that is when they aren't flat out ignoring reporting stories.The media's role is to keep people in the dark by not even acknowledging the daily goings on. Approval ratings can't go down if your kept uninformed of the events going on

Posted by: Sue at June 10, 2009 8:11 PM

Very happy to see so many people at this local event. I'm thinking this time, the movement for change might be real.

I have some pictures at my site as well, assignedreading.org

Posted by: mikeinri at June 10, 2009 9:56 PM

To see some of the reasons why Dark Eden is an idiot, spend some time perusing my site. As for his/her claim that the protesters really care about lowering taxes, the only thing they really care about is having their own taxes lowered. They don't give a flip about anyone else or what the best policies are.

As for the other comment, let me repeat it again: no politician needs to listen to you. You don't have enough people to influence an election. You don't have a large base of followers and you've already topped out. Only 0.1% or so of Americans showed up for an event that was held on a weekend and endlessly promoted by Fox News. You people are as delusional as Ron Paul followers who somehow think flying a blimp was going to get him elected.

Posted by: 24AheadDotCom at June 10, 2009 11:01 PM

While you're defending high taxes, 24, why not go whole hog and defend everything else wrong with this state:

Roads and bridges some of the worst in the country; education results in the bottom 20%; one of the worst unfunded public pension liabilities; up until last year, some of the most generous social programs using up dollars that should have gone to the pension fund.

I've waited a long time to hear some - any - justification for the decades of (in)action on the part of the G.A. leadership that has facilitated these conditions. You sound like just the person to supply it.

Posted by: Monique at June 11, 2009 12:12 AM

It would be really nice if the people who attended today took action to vote out the legislators in their home districts. But too many point the finger elsewhere, while insisting that their own corrupt legislator isn't the problem.
Unless people are willing to look at their own legislators critically, this will remain just a bunch of empty rhetoric.

Posted by: rhody at June 11, 2009 12:22 AM

they do and did vote against these people. But there were more ignorant of the facts citizens that just voted for the same name year in and out. What would really be nice if the people that couldn't be bothered getting off their fat rearend, voted these people out as well. We protestors can't do it alone. Who do you think cast the votes for the legislators opponents?

Tell us rhody, did you attend the protest?

Posted by: Tom at June 11, 2009 12:35 AM


All of the photos that you have published here (so far) were taken before the speakers started speaking. I have a bunch of photos which show it as its occurring, if you do not. Anyway, thanks for blogging the event. I did send a photo your way on Facebook.

Posted by: Will at June 11, 2009 1:03 AM

I posted a few Gaspee Tea Party photos on The Ocean State Republican:


And for those who know me on Facebook, I posted about 3 dozen more photos.

Posted by: Will at June 11, 2009 2:16 AM

Just as expected the Providence Journal had a very short story on the protest, buried down the page on their website, with 1 photo of 2 protestors wjhen there were 700. That stayed up on the website about 6 hrs. Today, the article is all the way at the bottom with no phot and just a link.Completely buried and hidden so you can't even find the story

Contrast that with the 300 liberal counter-protesters to gay marriage that had photo and entire coverage on their website, front page top for 3 days straight. Lots more than 1 article and a poll on the topic

The Journal can't go down the toilet fast enough. I will cheer when this bias rag finally goes belly up- they are just about there now

Posted by: Sue at June 11, 2009 2:48 PM

As a matter of fact, Tom, I did see some of the action (it was pretty crowded up there between the rally and a high school commencement at the VMA).
I think a major problem, though, is that some of the Republicans who run against these people (including one I voted for) too often get trashed as RINOs because they're not with the conservative program on social issues. A lot of people who could've helped these candidates didn't get off their tuckuses to do it, yet complain about the clowns they've essentially given a pass to.

Posted by: rhody at June 11, 2009 4:09 PM

i always hear about the protest after the fact. how can i hear about it before and attend?

Posted by: kirby at June 12, 2009 8:30 AM

wow - if you ever wanted to just put together a group of stupid people, just look at these pictures. They're all in one place.

Posted by: steve at June 12, 2009 11:52 AM

Don't imply the people at that rally sat on their butt. No current legislator won without a single vote cast against them. I find it very curious that you are running down people that are actually doing something. It's all those that sit on their butt with an "I don't care" attitude that needs to change. They are the same ones that couldn't be bothered showing support at the rally

And FYI, I am a life long Democrat that voted Republican in 2008 and will do so again

Posted by: Tom at June 12, 2009 4:36 PM
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