The Rockford Files

Tea Bags: A Cautionary Tale

It almost seems like a dream, after all these years.  Long before Barack Obama nationalized General Motors and enrolled the American people in involuntary servitude to Big Insurance and Big Pharma; before George W. Bush bankrupted the United States in a quixotic attempt to stamp out all evil and to secure the existence of the state of Israel in perpetuity; even before Bill Clinton repealed the most important parts of the Glass-Steagall Act and signed into law the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, sending the American economy hurtling downhill like a snowball headed for Hell, a doughty band of activists in Rockford, Illinois, held a tax protest, complete with the tea bags that have become a national symbol of discontent today.

There was even a tea party, organized by R.E.A.CH (Rockford Educating All Children), in which tea bags were dropped off a bridge downtown into the Rock River.  Though I was, for a time, a member of the board of directors of R.E.A.CH, I wasn’t present at the tea party, and I don’t recall ever wearing a tea bag as a protest symbol.  I was more fond of the pins that we at The Rockford Institute had made, sporting a decaying wooden sign, surrounded by weeds, on which were written the words, “Welcome to Occupied Rockford.  P. Michael Mahoney, Presiding.”

Magistrate Mahoney was the federal judicial dictator who controlled Rockford’s public schools and the wallets of anyone who...

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