Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reverse Engineering the Tea Party

Don’t you just love it when some outspoken sanctimonious political hack pours gasoline over his head and then proceeds to strike a match?

Especially when it’s some smug holier-than-thou douchebag?

Little amuses me more than to see yet another one of these hateful idiots engaged in self immolation.

Yesterday, Republican candidate for Tennessee Governor, Tea Party Conservative and current state Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey did exactly that.  During a campaign stop in Chattanooga, he opined that the US Constitutional guarantees of free speech and freedom of religion may not apply to Muslims.

The logic being, in Ramsey’s words, that Islam is “a cult.”

Don’t take my word for it, listen to Ramsey:

(Note: it’s not a mosque, it’s a religious family center and it already exists – it was just applying for an expansion)

(Note: There is NO community in the United States that is under Sharia law. None. Period. Sharia law has absolutely no legal status in the United States. Now if US Muslims choose to live under Sharia restrictions, say like Catholics live under restrictions imposed by the Vatican, well you know that’s their business)

(Note: Did you see which Constitutional Amendments mattered to Ron Ramsey? Tea Party right down the middle)

(Note the number of people of color in the room. Note the number of anybody who wasn’t old, white, and scared shitless of some big “Invasion.” These are the kind of fucking assholes who brought you McCarthyism and the Red Scare)


As I’m sure you know, in America freedom of religion doesn’t apply to just any belief system. You’re perfectly free to practice your beliefs, just as long as you’re a Christian, only then are you protected under the Constitution. To these Tea Party Conservatives, Freedom of Religion means freedom to worship Jesus. Period.

That’s their real vision for America – the rights and privileges of the land, along with the law, shall only apply to those we approve of, everybody else will just have to go hang.

According to Ramsey, Islam is more of a “way of life” or a “nationality” than what you’d call an actual religion, he’s not really sure. You can tell because a real religion comes complete with The One True God™, a prophet or two, a Holy Book, threats of damnation and eternal torment unless you toe the line, arcane rituals, a guy in a pointy hat, and some arbitrary dietary requirements that probably made some kind of sense back when people slept with the goats and got hoof and mouth disease as a form of entertainment but nowadays are mostly just irritating the piss out of the rest of us.  Unlike Christianity, Islam has none of those things. Also, unlike Christianity in American, Islam keeps trying to get involved in politics and the schools and people’s sex lives and the rewriting of history. And there’s the sharia, Islamic Law, Christianity would never, ever, ever, ever, try to poke its nose into American law. Never.  And, of course, Islam is violent – it keeps shooting abortion doctors, beating up gays and illegal immigrants, and demanding that we declare war on Iran. 

Yes, yes, I know, it’s killing you. Go ahead, do it, make the facepalm and quit rolling your eyes and snorting repressed guffaws of derision through your nose. Go on, get it out of your system.

Every major media outlet from USA Today to CBS News jumped on Ramsey’s statement – which, of course, they should have.  It’s pretty obvious that this guy is just another Tea Party tool and he certainly should be called out on it, just like Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle and the rest of these creeps. There’s not much I could add to those articles, other than the appropriate pointing and laughing. 

Why then mention it? (not that pointing and laughing isn’t a good enough reason)

Well, see, the reason I bring it up is because there is something about those articles themselves that amuses and confounds me.  Read this Huffington Post piece, see if you can figure it out.  I’ll wait.



Did you spot it?

No? OK, I’ll tell you.

It’s the subtle undercurrent of outrage and rebuke that twines through the fabric of these articles like a glistening  thread of righteousness. 

For some bizarre reason, people still act surprised when Tea Party Conservatives exhibit blatant intolerance, racism, homophobia, sexism, bigotry, warhawk nationalism, and a fundamental ignorance of anything not having to do with guns, God, tractor pulls, and beer brewed in Milwaukee. 

This is exactly how these people think.  This is precisely the message Palin tweets to her drooling mouth breathing fans every single day. This is the message Sharron Angle is delivering.  This is the message that Michael Steele put out to the RNC with his little loyalty pledge. This is exactly what George H.W. Bush meant when he said he didn’t think atheists could be patriots or should even be considered Americans.  This is the message Bill Donohue preaches from his pulpit at the Catholic League every single day. 

And this is the message that runs through every tea party rally, meeting, and convention. 

These people want to retake America for Americans – but what they always fail to mention out loud is that in their version of America, they get to define what an American is.  There’s nothing new here, this is exactly how selfishness and self-centeredness and bigotry and hate and racism and intolerance work.  This is exactly how you justify it.

No, of course you can’t own people in America, that’s just silly talk - too damned bad you negroes aren’t people, eh? Now go pick the fucking cotton.

Certainly we would never experiment on people without their consent, that’s Nazi shit right there – but of course, soldiers aren’t like real people, and neither are blacks as we’ve already established. Besides it’s important to find out how syphilis ravages the body or LSD destroys the mind, you know, so that we can fix help real people.

Of course we believe that you should be free to marry whoever you want, we’re not like those filthy 3rd World countries with their arranged marriages and honor killings and that kind of thing. As long as you love each other, that’s what matters – too bad fags can’t really love each other, not like actual people do.

Certainly Jesus commanded us to help poor people – and we would if we could find any but fortunately for us hunger and AIDs and disease and poverty and war only seem to afflict sub-humans, not real people. Praise God.

Why yes, I live a Christian life – but that’s different from Islam as a lifestyle, because Muslims, you see, aren’t really what you could call actual people.

Oh yes, yes, America is a Christian nation, yes it is – but that too is different from Islam being a nationality.  Yep.

Sure we’ve got freedom of religion here, we’re not like those horrible intolerant Muslim countries, no siree – too bad your beliefs aren’t an actual religion.

And that’s how it works, you just declare the other person invalid. You declare them not human.  You just declare them not Americans.  It’s simple really.  You simply deny them membership in the human race.

Ever since Reagan’s second term, the Right has been moving the political centerline, pulling it further and further over to their side of the court.  If you don’t like it, they say, well then you can just get the fuck out of America, and you can hear it implicit in the words – not our America, my America. Mine. That’s their answer to everything, you’re either with us or against us.  No compromise.  No we won’t work with you, we’ll throw you off the island instead. 

First they got rid of the Reagan democrats and the Centrists like me, once Reagan was reelected they no longer needed us. Then the Clinton and Bush years let the GOP flush out the Progressives and turned “Moderate” into a sneering curse equivalent in the Conservative lexicon to “Liberal.” Barack Obama’s election gave rise to the Tea Party and the line surged right, and right again.  And now, the GOP is an increasingly concentrated solution of high molar extremism.  And yet, the media still manages to sound surprised when a Tea Party Conservative like Palin, Angle, Paul, or Ramsey matter-of-factly blurts out  distilled extremism without a shred of self-consciousness just exactly the way a Klansman used to talk about the inferiority of blacks in the segregationist South.

It amuses me, watching the Tea Party vigorously protest being labeled racist by the NAACP (especially since the Tea Party’s response consists mostly of, “I know you are, but what am I?!”).  I find the irony of this hysterically funny.

The Tea Party is racist. The Tea Party is a bunch of bigots. The Tea Party is a bunch of homophobes.  The Tea Party is a bunch of sexists.  The Tea Party is, in short, a bunch of nationalistic rightwing religious fanatics.

Allow me to demonstrate:

There’s a process in intelligence work called reverse engineering. When you’re trying to figure out what’s going inside of a black box, you look first at the goesintoes and the goesoutofs, i.e. the inputs and the outputs. You observe the device’s behavior. You measure changes in temperature and its amperage draw.  This technique often tells you everything you need to know about what’s happening inside that box without having to pry open the lid – in short, if it walk, talks, and quacks like a duck, it’s damned unlikely to be a flux capacitor.

You do the same thing with encrypted messages. You usually don’t even need to crack the encipherment, you can often tell everything you need to know about the message from analysis of its externals, the frequency and mode of transmission, the bandwidth and encryption technique and the direction it came from, who sent it and who it was aimed at.

Reverse engineering and signals analysis works pretty good for organizations like the Tea Party too. To wit:

It wasn’t until a black man was elected president that these so-called patriots finally got enraged enough to get off their fat asses and start yelling about the government. Sixteen years of Reagan and Bush and Bush again wiping their conservative asses all over the Constitution, the Patriot Act and its secret provisions, being shook down in the airports, secret police, a recession, hell 9/11, couldn’t get them to turn off the WWF and Star Search and pay attention. Clinton didn’t send them swarming into the streets.  But put a black man in the White House and boy howdy see if that didn’t wake them the fuck up.

They couldn’t be bothered when Clinton put his wife in charge of healthcare reform, but let a black man talk about access to healthcare for all Americans and they got fired right up and started talking about seceding from the Union and taking their guns to Washington, didn’t they?

Reagan sold illegal weapons in Central America to finance an illegal war in the Middle East, or maybe it was that he sold illegal weapons in the Middle East to finance an illegal war in Central America, I forget, none of these people gave a shit – hell, they think Ollie North is some kind of hero.  Bush Lite started a full blown war under false pretext and they were singing God Bless America as their children marched to their deaths.  A black man talked about ending the war and bringing their kids home – and they decried him as a traitor.

They put on their little Halloween costumes and painted up some signs with Obama with a Hitler moustache and a bone through his nose and they marched on down to City Hall then, didn’t they? 

And it wasn’t until a bunch of black people at the NAACP called them racists that they got all indignant about bigotry and decided they better do something about it.

For the last two years these toads have croaked fear and hatred from every street corner and vigorously denied the blatantly obvious bigotry in their own ranks. They point to one token brown face in a sea of thousands of white ones - and proclaim they represent all Americans, but of course you know what they mean when they say real Americans.  They point to one yellow-dog democrat lost in rank upon rank of right-wing fanatics - and proclaim they hold the center.  There are no Muslims in their ranks, are there? Few, if any, atheists and vanishingly few Jews - almost no non-Christians in fact. There no Liberals. Maybe a token Latino or two. No Asians of any significance.  You don’t need two hands to count the number of Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, and Transgendered folks in the Tea Party ranks.  And so it goes. When asked about this, the Tea Party spokesbigots simply shrug dismissively and claim that they represent the true American people – and the implication is obvious, they simply regard anybody outside their ranks as unAmerican and not worth consideration.

Go back and read that USA Today link, did you catch the part about Dove World Outreach Center? A fine bunch of patriotic conservatives they are. Go read their blog, hell just read the titles of the posts and you’ll see a striking similarity to that bandied about by the Tea Party (Note: I wrote to Dr. Terry Jones to ask him Dove World’s official position on the Tea Party, so far I’ve gotten nada in return). These people make you proud to be Americans, don’t they? They’ve started something called International Burn A Quran Day, which they’ve decreed shall take place during Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic feast day of Ramadan (and let me be the first to declare International Burn the Fucking Bible Day, takes place on Easter Morning. Have fun and remember, kids, the best part is after the campfire – it’s the Jesus piñata!). This is exactly the type of freedom of religion Ramsey is talking about, right here and no mistake.

Birthers and Truthers and Ayn Rand Libertarians. Gun nuts. Creationists. LaRouchies. Anti-Federalists.  You can visit any Tea Party rally and see haters of every stripe, but you’d be hard pressed to find more than half a dozen non-Christian, non-whites, non-conservatives, pro-government folks among them.

The Tea Party claims they have no leaders, yet who do they follow? Palin? Beck? Limbaugh? Bachman? What’s the message there again? Exclusion. America for Americans. Liberals are destroying our country. War on this, war on that. You’re either with us or against us.  God, guns, and English only. And then there are the candidates. Without fail, every candidate backed by Tea Party Conservatives spews the same kind of nonsense as Ron Ramsey.

And that’s the truly ironic part, right there.

See the Tea Party got all soggy and hard to light when the NAACP called them a bunch of bigots, and they missed the fact that at least the NAACP had the guts to call out the Tea Party to its leathery white face.  But Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, Angle, Ramsey, Brewer, Bachman, and all the rest of these cowardly scumbags simply make bigoted statements and assume the Tea Party will come along for the ride. Why? Well, because it does.  Politicians backed by the Tea Party say this kind of thing because they themselves think the Tea Party is a bunch of racists and bigots and sexists and homophobes, that condemnation is explicit in their own words. They say it, because they know that’s exactly what the Tea Party wants to hear. That’s right. Notice not one of those people in the Ramsey video corrected him. Not one. These politicians are shrewd and they’re greedy and they lust after power and they’ll whore themselves out in any degrading manner necessary to get those votes. They damned well know their audience. And when they say things like “Islam is a cult” and shouldn’t be afforded protection under Constitutional Freedom of Religion it’s because they damned well expect to get away with it.

And they do.

After all, it wasn’t the Tea Party who condemned Ramsey’s remarks, was it?

The teabaggers can protest the label of racism and bigotry all they like.

But in the end, the proof is in the engineering.


  1. Nick from the O.C.July 28, 2010 at 1:08 AM

    Well, of course you're right, Jim.

    I don't have any pithy comment to make.

    But I did like the reference to Star Search....

  2. Probably like you, I've been watching Williams' attempts to stuff his foot further down his throat until he chokes on his own kneecap with some amusement, but one quote from an intervew kind of stuck with me:

    "I defend the idea behind it. I certainly am upset with my sloppy execution of it. But when a group that calls itself colored people says it's against freedom and emancipation and it's against self-determination, the first thing that pops into my mind is those colored people must be speaking for some bizarre group of people that I'm not familiar with... "

    Nowhere in the NAACP's request that the Tea Party condemn racism in its ranks is there anything that says they object to freedom or self-determination, and I kept trying to figure out what kind of twisted logic path he was following to get there until it hit me.

    Williams, like probably a /lot/ of the Tea Party, doesn't actually inhabit the same reality we do. In his view of the world, the Tea Party is this shining, perfect ideal beacon of freedom and liberty and mom's apple pie, and there is no - can be no - single particle of it that is anything less than perfect. So anyone criticizing any aspect of it must be some heinous fiend that hates freedom and America.

    Come to think of it, that probably also explains why, every /single/ time we call them out on being hideously offensive in their failed attempts at humor, they're so surprised how many idiots completely miss the point of the joke...

    preted: Television shows predating the advent of the Father Ted television show.

  3. I'm trying to think of something to add, but I think you pretty damn well covered it, Jim. Thank you.

  4. I'll try to leave you some next time, Eric

  5. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

    Racism and "Jesus/America, Fuck Yeah" patriotism is a lot like pr0n, in my book. Boring, and I know it when I see it.

    micacks = what ignorant teabaggers call people of Indian descent.

  6. This is generally a good post, but I do remember back to the Clinton years. Back then, there were a number of people and groups screaming about "black helicopters" and other weirdness.

  7. Oh yes, absolutely. And impeachment and so on up to an increase in militia groups - but you never saw Tea Party level of hatred and furor.

    Now, I don't think it is entirely due to Obama's race, but I do think a large part of it is. I also think it will be a long, long time before we are over the paranoia and mind numbing fear of the GWB years.

  8. ...soggy and hard to light...


    TEA - another group who I hope has a collective 'spines fall through their assholes and break necks' moment.

    wait, do they have spines?

  9. And what gets to me the most is the simple fact that some of these dicks are still going to get elected. "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups." They represent that which is disgusting to most of those with a mental capacity greater then that of a donut but they still a constituency. The future is not friendly...

  10. And people think that Mike Judge's 'Idiocracy' wasn't a documentary.

  11. Grondzilla, I agree totally with you, these Tea Partiers look just like the people from that movie, I think I have a legitimate reason to be scared.

  12. I think I love you! Mr. Jim, you use yer keyboard purtier n' a TWENTY DOLLAR... well, you know the rest...

  13. And six years later we still cannot wash the tea stains out of our gov'ment. I remember thinking it was some crazy fad, some ineffective uprising...boy was I wrong.

    The biggest hope I hold out is that the Internet (if they don't succeed in limiting our access to it) will keep the lines of dissent open. Because looking around here in Tennessee, these guys are only getting stronger.

    If you thought one election of "Obummer" brought these morons out from under their rocks, it's hard to describe what his reelection has inspired. Truly a difficult time to be a liberal in the Hot Red South. These guys are organized and heavily funded with their pecan pie sticky fingers reaching deep onto our local politics. Any dissent labels you a traitorous commie lovin' libtard tree-hugging Jesus hatin' Mooslim.

    The damage they have inflicted on America might take generations to undo at this point. Longer if any of them succeed in their presidential bids. I mean, really, what does it say about our country when I'm starting to think a third Bush in the highest office would be the lesser evil?

    I hope to read your insight on the Dem side of things soon. It's shaping up to be a big open-faced hot mess samwich, for sure.

    Ps. The Ramsey YouTube link is dead, but not to worry. He continues to shamefully open his mouth in public so there is no shortage of vile TeaSpeak from which to choose. Additionally, if you're bored, there is a not-shocking Republican sex scandal and cover-up currently taking up our elected state official's precious time. I'm happy to paint a target on the TN state legislature for the beautiful ridicule it should rightfully inspire.


Comments on this blog are moderated. Each will be reviewed before being allowed to post. This may take a while. I don't allow personal attacks, trolling, or obnoxious stupidity. If you post anonymously and hide behind an IP blocker, I'm a lot more likely to consider you a troll. Be sure to read the commenting rules before you start typing. Really.