Sunday, April 11, 2010


(UPDATE: This may not have been my best post ever, but it's certainly generated the most absurd comments section ever.)

I keep hearing that I don't really understand the tea partiers -- they're not Astroturf creations of big lobbying firms, and they're not really dangerous. So I was curious to read a story called "Our Very Own Tea Party?" in a local paper published in the Catskills, near Woodstock, New York (PDF only, alas).

And, well, the group described sounds very, very local and homegrown:

[A] Shandaken/Olive/Woodstock Tea Party chapter is being initiated with a first introductory meeting set for the Phoenicia Rod & Gun Club along Route 28 next Wednesday evening, April 14, starting at 7:00 PM.

I met recently with the key organizers of the effort ... Mitchell Langbert
and Glenda McGee....

But before long the author of the article, Paul Smart, brings up comparisons to crazy paranoids of the past:

I mention parallels I've been noticing between today's political atmosphere ... and regional upheavals during the post-midterm election Clinton years, when a local application to have the Catskills declared a United Nations' World Biosphere region was met with underground meetings, town and county-okayed memorializing resolutions. Eventually, the outcry drew the attention of then-Congressman Gerald Solomon, who convened a Congressional Hearing on property rights matters at the Hunter-Tannersville High School that included appearances by some of the farthest right members of congress at the time, including Don Young, Richard Pombo and Helen Chenoweth, as well as still-incumbent Maurice Hinchey.

Those events mirrored a time when U.N. takeover conspiracies and militia talk were rife within the region...

And, instead of bristing at the comparison, these Catskills teabaggers embrace it, and crank it up a notch:

"It's happening again," McGee replies. She notes how a doctor friend involved in Tea Party activities in Oklahoma alerted her to U.N. Agenda 21, which another teacher acquaintance from the city dubbed, "the sort of thing you file away in the 'too bad to be true' category."

What she's referring to is the sustainable development protocol that's been an agenda-item of the United Nations since its 1992 Conference on Environment and Development (the "Earth Summit") held in Rio de Janeiro....

McGee lumps the initiative in with new pushes to link major population centers with high speed rail lines as a means of "herding people into concentrated population centers," and grimaces as she then mentions the idea of "Cap and Trade" energy policies and their champion, Al Gore. "The whole concept of sustainable development... If it's wet the UN wants it..."

So the sinister UN apparently wants control of all watersheds, and it's connected to Obama's proposal for high-speed rail, which is meant to forcibly relocate rural people because ... er, I'm not sure.

(Oh, and Agenda 21 is actually so sinister that governments like that of Australia have been duped into backing it, thinking it's perfectly innocent. Yikes! We're doomed!)

The article notes that McGee co-teabagger, Mitchell Langbert, has a blog. It's true. Here's part of the most recent post, an open letter to Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center:

... I am writing now to say that I profoundly disagree with your attacks on the Tea Party and urge you to consider that you have congratulated state violence while attacking those who would defend themselves from it....

Socialism is inherently violent, as is all government. Government is by definition organized violence. Any extension of government is inherently violent. The claim that because government is the most powerful perpetrator of violence its violence is legitimate is nonsensical mysticism. It is not necessarily the case that respect for government minimizes violence. In the case of the Soviet Union, communist China and Cuba, public acceptance and cowardice in the face of state violence permitted the extent of violence to greatly exceed what would have occurred had there been a Lockean revolution that replaced the violent socialist state with a limited state.

The US government has reached the tipping point, and Barack Obama is pushing it there. You may disagree, but your disagreement does not make you non-violent. It simply means that you accept and welcome state violence. It means that you are advocates of violence.

There is more. Barack Obama has associated with violent felons such as William Ayers, who planted a bomb in Chicago. Thus, President Obama himself has associated with violence. This is in contrast to the non-violent Tea Parties. The factual data does not trouble you....

Just one random tea party local. Think it's fringier than the typical local tea party group? Me either.

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