Tea Party

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Top 10 Things for Sarah Palin to do in Boise

Posted By on Wed, May 19, 2010 at 3:07 PM

What's a Tea Partier to do?

First the Tea Party Express endorses Democrat Walt Minnick in the First Congressional District, for standing by his word and voting conservatively. Then Tea Party Boise settles some internal dispute and decides to make one endorsement in the First CD: Republican Raul Labrador.

And on Friday, Tea Party mascot Sarah Palin is coming to Boise to stump for First Congressional District candidate Vaughn Ward. Oh, it's so confusing. And why is Harley Brown not getting any Tea Love?

Well, Citydesk does not want Palin to be confused. She is, after all, an Idaho native. And luckily, Friday is a busy summer day in Boise. So here are 10 things Palin should do while she's in town:

Rammells Dino
  • Rammell's Dino
1. Ride Rex Rammell's dinosaur. (Alternately, there is always the mechanical bull at Dirty Little Roddy's.)
2. Picket the Boise Bike Week Block Party with "Drill, Baby, Drill" placard.
3. Try to get 50 free Idaho potato pins from the Idaho Potato Commission (technically only current Idaho residents are eligible for the pins, but maybe they'll grandfather her in).
4. Go see Starfucker at Neurolux ($10 at the door).
5. Buy a 2010 Idaho Sportsman's Package and a wolf tag from Fish and Game ... just in case there is a wolf at the Starfucker show.
6. Go to Cabela's and look at a big, stuffed moose.
7. Update her Facebook page with something like "Sarah Palin likes Boise Weekly's Top 10 Things to do in Boise list. I'm going to do them all!"
8. Go tubing on the Boise River. (We know it's freezing, but she doesn't.)
9. Discuss with Vaughn Ward which GOP Young Guns have the best talking points and what kind of pen is best for writing crib notes on palms.
10. Wink.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Oklahoma City, Closer than you Think

Posted By on Mon, Apr 19, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing. The anniversary is also marked by surges in anti-government activity verging on the type of militancy that spurred the bombing, and a new poll showing that a majority of Americans, not just the lunatic fringe, distrust government to some extent.

As a member of far-right militia movements, and an avid fan of The Turner Diaries, a book in which a second American revolution is fought against the federal government, Oklahoma City bombing perpetrator Timothy McVeigh was known for taking part in protests similar to those happening in Washington and Idaho.

In the clip below, Portland State University sociologist Dr. Randy Blazak, an expert on far-right groups, explains more about how the Oklahoma City Bombing had its roots in movements closely related to what has been playing out on the streets in recent weeks.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Welcome to the Tea Party Comrade Minnick

Posted By on Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 5:26 PM

Yesterday was Tax Day, now the venue for an annual tea party protest in Boise and elsewhere, for the second year running.

While we noted in January that the fire and brimstone was gone from the tea partiers, at least locally, others have noted the same of yesterday's events, including Tea Party Boise events lead Russ Smerz, who told citydesk the march and rally this year was much more organized and structured this year, if somewhat less well-attended.

Smerz accepted a crowd estimate of about 2,000, a visibly smaller crowd than last year. He also agreed that describing the rally as "anti-Obama" was a fair characterization:

"I think if there was a focal point it was anti-socialism, and really tying Obama into that as well," Smerz said.

Prior to the march, a national group that hitched its wagon to the tea party train—The Tea Party Express—released a list of congressional targets and heroes. Idaho Rep. Walt Minnick made the list of tea party heroes, an announcement met with surprise (then incredulity, mockery and incomprehension) from multiple corners, starting with the Minnick campaign itself.

"Um, sure," Minnick spokesman John Foster replied when the a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/15/walt-minnick-tea-party-en_n_538837.html">Huffington Post asked if the campaign was accepting the Tea Party's backing. "Walt is not in the habit of turning down support," Foster continued.

Minnick accepted the endorsement, appearing on CNN Friday morning to describe the tea partiers as “just ordinary folks that think the government ought to balance it’s budget.”

"You’ve got some fringe within the group, that’s for sure," Foster acknowledged to citydesk this afternoon.
"You’ve got to base your views on people based on your interactions with them"

Foster said Minnick has some rapport with local tea party activists. He also said he spoke with a representative of the Tea Party Express today who told him they'd looked at all the Blue Dog Democrats and decided that Minnick was the only one worth endorsing, particularly for his anti-earmark stance.

“It’s for the most part a group of people who are frustrated by spending in Washington,” Foster characterized the tea partiers.

That's not exactly how Smerz, who said he resents the "government takeover of everything," (not to mention the "socialist" bomb above) characterizes it.

“They just seem to have their hands on everything and I don’t think it’s necessary, we should do it ourselves,” Smerz told citydesk.

Moreover, the national Tea Party Express, which is run by establishment GOP operatives, never asked the local tea partiers their opinion on Minnick.

"We at Tea Party Boise were not consulted or given the opp for giving our input to Tea Party Express," Smerz said. The local "party" has not endorsed any candidates, though they will publish candidate surveys on April 24. Smerz was listed as an Ada County campaign chair for GOP candidate Vaughn Ward, who is running in the May 25 primary for a chance to challenge Minnick.

He said he dropped his affiliation with the campaign when he took on more Tea Party responsibilities.

Ward said he's running for the tea party vote too.

“I think that any candidate in Idaho would be foolish not to look at them as a strong voting block,” Ward told citydesk.

Ward said he shares many tea party stances including limited government, accountability and the fact the "the Constitution does matter."

Raul Labrador, a state legislator who is also running in the GOP primary for the First Congressional District, had not returned our calls by press time (the time we press the button to publish the blog). Candidate Harley Brown, who stopped by BW last week, had just come from a meeting with local tea partiers who he described as "my kind of guys."

Here's some photos of Minnick's ordinary folks, as they marched up Capitol yesterday.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Marvel Editor Apologizes for Tea Bagger Ref

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada told a Comic Book blogger that any references to the Tea Party movement in the current Captain America book were a mistake.

The recent issue portrays an anti-tax protest in Boise that is an obvious reference to Tea.

I heard the Marvel apology on Le Show this weekend, during Harry Shearer's weekly apologies segment. You can read the original apology from Quesada here:

Where Mr. Houston is correct is in our accidently [sic] identifying in one of the held up signs, the group as being a part of the Tea Party instead of a generic protest group. That’s something that we need to apologize for and own up to, because it’s just one of those stupid mistakes that happened through a series of stupid incidents.

The interview goes on to ask how the comic books handle political allegory, which has been integral to story lines for 60 years. Quesada goes on:

Our books are no one’s soapbox. I have always made it a point never to publicly talk about my own political beliefs as I don’t feel it’s my place to do so and use Marvel as a bully pulpit. Our readers come in many shapes and sizes, and we need to be respectful of that. Yes, we have characters that have certain attributes built into them, like political beliefs and religious affiliations, but we try to handle those as carefully as possible, and when we present one side of a coin, I encourage my editors and creators to fairly show the other side. Do we always succeed? No, sometimes things slip through the cracks.

I feel like I should sum this up somehow, but I don't really want to use the Boise Weekly as a bully pulpit.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Boise Tea Bagger Cameo in Captain America Comic

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 4:05 PM

The March 2010 issue of Captain America, called "Two Americas," starts out with a police raid on a Boise Foothills home, where an impostor Captain America is gathering up an underground army of Tea Party-like anti-government forces.

Marvel Comics 602: A house in the Boise Foothills
  • Captain America 602: A house in the Boise Foothills

William Burnside, who in the 1950s became obsessed with the New Deal American Hero, to the point of impersonating him, returns to find his childhood home in Boise replaced by a vacant strip mall.

"And now he was finally home ... but not to a hero's welcome," the strip reads. "No, this country had turned its back on him long ago."

Burnside, posing as the Captain, gathers groups of angry white truckers and returned soldiers in his compound. "Honest, hard-working Americans ... ready and able to rise up and fight back," as the strip describes. They march on downtown Boise (depicted below) and throw an African American secret agent posing as the Tax Man out of a bar, calling him Obama (with some degree of agent provocateur meddling from an undercover REAL Captain America).

Marvel Comics 602
  • March on Boise: Look familiar?

Find the best sign (hint Medicare is government health care)
  • Find the best sign (hint Medicare is government health care)

They even have the real undercover Captain posing as a Tea bagger refuse free beer (no handouts, no charity, man) after throwing the faux tax collector out of the bar:

I dont want your free beer. What?
  • I don't want your free beer ... What?

The strip acknowledges that Idaho ain't DC, but implies that the hinterlands are fraught with anti-government forces bent on insurrection. The cliffhanger ending leaves open the possibility that the real American patriot, Captain America himself, may swoop in and hand these impostor patriots a large can of whoop ass.

It's enough to make a guy want to read the comics again.

You can get the book at:

Captain Comics
710 S Vista Ave

Paper Back Place
7011 W Fairview Ave

Outpost 12
3890 W. State

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tea Party Inspired by Racial Fears

Posted By on Sun, Sep 13, 2009 at 11:44 AM

When the majority of American voters selected Barack Obama as President of the United States of America last year, we caught a brief glimpse of post-racial America.

It lasted a few weeks, at least.

But the racial tension that has accompanied each major period of American history is again emerging under a new guise: The Tea Party/9-12 Project/Continental Congress '09 marches this weekend represent the new racist vanguard in America, uniting the anti-Muslim sentiments which followed the 9-11 attacks, Joe Wilson's singular obsession with undocumented immigrants receiving health care, and though in some ways subconsciously, a reaction to the nation's first black president.

Kid Birthers?
  • BW
  • Kid Birthers?

These Tea Party groups are only months old, and yet they have attracted an intense following, spurred by AM talk radio and the John Birch Society, which has been race baiting for decades and had literature for sale in two merch tents in Boise's Capitol Park on Saturday. A few common themes unite the Tea Partiers, as far as I can tell: some evolving form of Christian patriotism, an aversion to paying taxes, fear of police with an equal and contradictory adoration of the law and the military, and a personal reading of the Constitution and Founding Fathers that borders on idolatry.

There are some fringe elements too: Birthers who continue to question Obama's citizenship, some 9-11 conspiracy theorists, vaccine skeptics, gun nuts and, yes, organic food nazis (at this point I use the term generously).

  • BW
  • Really?

But the vague demands of the mob—we're mad, don't tax us, give us our country back, follow the Constitution—belie its true motivation.

The casual and ignorant use of socialism and Communism and Marxism at these rally's have strong historical precedents, including the official red baiting of Martin Luther King, Jr., spurred some 50 years ago by the same Birchers.

This man demanded to see an ID from a reporter. A reporter declined with thanks.
  • BW
  • This man demanded to see an ID from a reporter. A reporter declined with thanks.

Maureen Dowd has made a strong argument this morning that the rabid opposition to Obama is in fact race-based and not, as it pretends, policy based. You can easily write off the racist signs—Obama in white face as the Joker, show us the birth certificate, free ticket back to Kenya—as outliers. But their acceptance at these rallies is widespread and welcomed, including by elected officials like Emmet Rep. Steve Thayn, Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna who stopped by on his way to a ground breaking for a federal stimulus-funded school project in Wilder.

Here's how Dowd puts it:

"I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer — the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids — had much to do with race.

I tended to agree with some Obama advisers that Democratic presidents typically have provoked a frothing response from paranoids — from Father Coughlin against F.D.R. to Joe McCarthy against Truman to the John Birchers against J.F.K. and the vast right-wing conspiracy against Bill Clinton.

But Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president — no Democrat ever shouted “liar” at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq — convinced me: Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it."

I am not saying that each marcher on Saturday in Boise is a racist. But whether they realize it or not, the leaders of this national protest movement are using race and immigration and terrorism to fire up a specific base of working class Christians, even when it is against their personal interest to march. Expanding socialized medicine, lowering middle class taxes and opening up vast new channels of communication with their government will benefit the largely working class attendees at the Tea Party rallies, yet they prefer to find unity in their collective fear or who is in charge.

Silent counter protestors at Saturdays 9-12 Project march.
  • BW
  • Silent counter protestors at Saturday's 9-12 Project march.

A small counter protest moved about in their midst on Saturday morning. Some 50 people dressed in black and sang the National Anthem, but otherwise listened silently, holding signs supporting the presidency, health care reform and reiterating Obama's arguments in his Wednesday night address to Congress that American values include compassion, which complements, rather that contradicts our rugged individualism.

There is no solution to this fault line in American society. But let's stop pretending that these are just "angry tax payers" or "Constitutionalists" and get to the root of the divide. And perhaps, after four years of moderate reforms that may include lowering their insurance premiums and giving them more charter schools, the mobs will be able to see past skin color.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Politicos weigh in on tea bagging

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2009 at 3:17 PM

While Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch sent boastful letters to Idaho Tea Partiers this week, and Rep. Mike Simpson sent good tidings as well, Idaho Democrats had a a message for the throngs as well.

The Idaho Democratic Party released the following statement on the “tea parties,” laying blame for deficits and corporate malfeasance on the Bush Administration and praising Rep. Walt Minnick's leadership:
"Idahoans agree that we must take aggressive action to get our country out of the current recession. Americans are frustrated that eight years of irresponsible policies pursued by the Bush administration have left the economy in a shambles with record deficits, record unemployment and record home foreclosures...

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Boise Tea Baggers rally

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2009 at 5:18 PM

National media outlets may continue to debate whether or not Tea Party day was an authentic or manufactured phenomenon.

But here in Boise, there is no doubt that the 2,500 marchers that crammed into Capitol Park at lunch time Wednesday, represent a real, if somewhat confused and confusing constituency.

I spent about three hours trying to sort that out, but one Idaho lawmaker, known for speaking her mind, summed up the fringe ideologies that made up this crowd quite well.

Prior to Rep. Lenore Barrett’s speech (see below, I'll get to it), I had spent the morning trying to figure out the precise ideology that linked the Boise State student who complained about the national debt in the same breath that she lamented having to put herself through school to the guy who let his little dog crap in the path of the marchers and remarked that there was probably a government program to take care of it.

I caught up to the Boise group as marchers entered Julia Davis Park and assembled at the Gene Harris band shell.

Led by Boise theocrat Bryan Fischer, an accomplished emcee and master of Astroturf manipulation, the crowd cheered lines about "legalized plunder" and government assistance weakening the character of those who receive it.

Fischer introduced an objectivist who quoted at length from Atlas Shrugged and argued that the original Boston Tea Party was all about individual rights.

I later asked Greg “Who is John Galt?” Perkins, a local jazz saxophonist, how opposing taxation without representation relates to individual freedom—weren’t the colonists asking for their own representative government to tax them instead?—and he handed me a flier about Ayn Rand.

“Atlas Shrugged could be considered the second Declaration of Independence,” Perkins said.

Then Idaho ex-congressman Bill Sali took the stage for an adoring crowd at Julia Davis Park. It was possibly his first public appearance since his non-concession speech on the day after the November election, which he lost to Democrat Walt Minnick.

“How many of you think that government spending is the answer to our problems?” Sali asked, rhetorically.

The answer should be business and free enterprise, Sali continued.

The crowd then marched down Capitol Boulevard toward the Idaho Statehouse where a roast pig and a gaggle of Idaho legislators awaited the tea baggers, and the meat of the rally.

That was when Rep. Lenore Barrett, a Republican from Challis, in a short speech delivered from the bed of a pickup truck, summed up the reasons for the gathering in a 10-point list worth repeating:

1. Congress wouldn’t recognize the Constitution “if it fell in their lap and called them daddy.”
2. The lack of a gold standard.
3. Global warming, which is a decoy designed to create a global panic.
4. Stop apologizing for the Judeo-Christian heritage of the country.
5. American sovereignty and withdrawal from the UN.
6. State sovereignty.
7. Bailouts and stimulus is just buying votes.
8. Keep your hands off my kids, abolish the secretary of education position.
9. My kids were the product of a “traditional marriage” from the moment of conception.
10. Secure our borders and, finally, “Come get your killer wolves.”

So there you have it. As one politically astute observer in the crowd, an acquaintance of mine, put it, the Tea Baggers were linked by one thing: folks who have been left behind as American society progresses.

If they keep marching, they may just catch up.

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