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Members of a Tea Party event attended by Republican Congressional candidate Ed Martin

Tea Partiers Call Obama A Marxist And A Dictator … Get Promoted On GOPer’s Site

TPM Muckraker

Zachary Roth | March 1, 2010, 11:47AM

As the Republican Party becomes increasingly dominated by an implacably anti-Obama far-right fringe, it’s becoming difficult for even mainstream GOPers to avoid endorsing the loonier rhetoric of the Tea Party wing.

Consider Ed Martin, a former chief of staff to Missouri governor Matt Blunt, who’s mounted a strong bid to challenge Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) in the fall. This weekend, Martin campaigned at a Tea Party rally at the Arch in St. Louis, and his campaign posted photographs of the event on his official website. Most of the pictures are unremarkable. But a few show people expressing sentiments that — though perhaps not so unusual for a Tea Party event — might raise some eyebrows when they’re being promoted by a serious candidate for Congress.

In one photo, which you can see here, a man holds a sign captioned “Presidential Advisors.” Along with President Obama himself, the image depicts Josef Stalin, Karl Marx, Fidel Castro, and Mao. Next to the man, a woman holds another sign, which shows Obama speaking in front of an American flag — but the stars on the flag have been replaced by a Soviet-style hammer and sickle.

In the other photo — viewable here — an angry-looking woman holds a sign that condemns “Obama’s Marxist Way,” which is said to involve “dictatorship,” “suppression,” “disenfranchisement,” and, oddly, “sheep.” This is contrasted with the “American Way,” which is said to involve “God and the individual,” “personal humility and dignity,” “principles,” and other good things.

(The woman may be on to something in claiming that sheep don’t represent the American Way: According to U.N. figures, the U.S. is the world’s largest producer of cattle meat, but only the 18th-largest producer of sheep meat, behind such countries as Kazakhstan, Syria, Sudan, and Morocco.)

Martin is no fringe candidate. Politico reported recently that he started the year with nearly as much money as the incumbent Carnahan. It added that the respected analyst Charlie Cook recently moved the seat, once held by Dick Gephardt, from safely Democratic to “likely Democratic.”

Martin’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the he endorses the sentiments in the photos.

H/t Fired Up Missouri, which asks, “is this the ‘new normal’ for Republican candidates?”

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Former AK Gov. Sarah Palin

‘Warning: Tea Party In Danger’: Leader Slams Palin As ‘Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’

TPM Muckraker

Zachary Roth | February 12, 2010, 9:59AM

A prominent Tea Party leader from Texas is warning that the movement “is becoming nothing more than a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party,” and slamming Sarah Palin as representing “a growing insider’s attack to the heart of the Tea Party.”

Dale Robertson, the founder of TeaParty.org, is just the latest Tea Partier to express concern that the movement is being hijacked by the GOP.

In a lengthy statement — entitled “Warning: Tea Party In Danger” — posted yesterday on the TeaParty.org homepage, Robertson instructs his felllow Tea Partiers to “[b]e alert to turncoats and deceivers being herded into the Tea Party by usurpers from the weakened Republican Party for the sole purpose of capturing our populist movement.”

Robertson continues:

[W]hat I am witnessing is an attempted defilement of the concept of what the Tea Party’s purposes are and where we are going. The bastardization of our message I find bilious and disingenuous on its face.Tea Party members are being eyed as just another piece of voting meat. Tea Party members are targeted for filling the rank and file of minion laden political operations, most of which are lead (sic) by failed Republican hacks.

As for Palin, whose appearance last week at a controversial Tea Party convention appears to have given her a claim to be the de facto leader of the Tea Party movement, Robertson derides her “neo-con flippant viewpoint” and calls her “a duck out of water among true constitutional conservatives.”

He adds:

She represents a growing insider’s attack to the heart of the Tea Party. Very much like a wolf in sheep’s clothing entering in at the gate as an ally, but for all intents and purposes there to seize and capture, not only one or two stray sheep, but the whole flock!

The Houston-based Robertson rose to prominence in the movement last year when he helped organize local rallies and founded Teaparty.org, a for-profit conservative activist site. But his influence within Tea Party circles is open to question. The Houston Tea Party Patriots distanced themselves from him after a photograph emerged of him holding a sign that compared taxpayers to “niggars.”

Robertson’s animus toward the GOP also appears to have developed only recently Last month, he complained to a reporter that he had been trying to contact the RNC to discuss working together, but hadn’t received a call back.

Still, Robertson is hardly alone in warning that Republicans are trying to hijack the Tea Party movement. Several grassroots Tea Partiers have sounded similar alarms — some to TPMmuckraker — partly in reference to the convention at which Palin spoke.

You can read Robertson’s full statement here.

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Sal Russo

CNN On Tea Party Infighting (VIDEO)

TPM Muckraker

Zachary Roth | February 3, 2010, 5:52PM

CNN has a lengthy (for TV) report on the infighting that, as we’ve detailed, is besetting the Tea Party movement.

The high-note comes when CNN gets on camera the GOP consultants who run the Tea Party Express to answer charges that their “grassroots” Tea Party group is little more than a front for the Republican Party.

Says Joe Wierzbicki of Russo, Marsh:

I think what you’ll find is, at Tea Party rallies, a lot of the people who are mad at the Republican Party, many of them are Republicans themselves.

We’d asked similar questions of Russo, Marsh, which is run by California Republican political operative Sal Russo, but never gotten a response.

The whole CNN report is worth watching:

Over the weekend, Tea Party Express sent out an email designed to push back against what it called “false and malicious attacks” by TPMmuckraker and others.

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Lloyd Marcus

In Damage Control Mode, Tea Party Express Slams ‘Smears’

TPM Muckraker

Zachary Roth | February 1, 2010, 9:52AM

In an aggressive damage control effort launched in the wake of a barrage of negative publicity, a leading Tea Party group created by a Republican consulting firm is pushing back against what it calls “false and malicious attacks.”

The Tea Party Express (TPE) yesterday sent an email to supporters slamming “attack hit pieces” by TPMmuckraker and other outlets. The recent stories, writes TPE’s Lloyd Marcus under the TPE banner, amount to “a range of rumors, accusations, allegations, smears and mischaracterizations of what we at the Tea Party Express are supposedly about.” Marcus, the African-American country singer who has become a prominent TPE spokesman, promises another email soon that will “debunk” the “smears.”

In fact, much of the recent criticism of TPE, which was launched by Russo, Marsh, a well-connected Republican consulting firm, has come from other members of the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party Patriots have accused TPE of being a GOP front group at odds with the grassroots Tea Party ethos, and have suggested that Russo, Marsh intends to profit financially from the venture. TPMmuckraker reported in December that the majority of spending by the PAC that controls TPE went to Russo, Marsh, which is led by the veteran California Republican operative Sal Russo.

Before withdrawing last week citing scheduling issues, TPE had planned to attend the upcoming National Tea Party Convention, which itself has suffered a barrage of attacks by grassroots Tea Partiers who see it as an effort to hijack the movement for profit.

In yesterday’s email — oddly titled, “I have some juicy dirt about Tea Party Express” — Marcus writes that he sees the criticism as evidence of success. “You know [Tea Party Express] has become a powerful force when people take shots at you,” he writes.

Marcus includes video footage from TPE rallies across the country. “This is our record of who we are, and we’re proud of it,” he writes, “and I can tell you that I won’t let anyone even try to rewrite this history!”

An excerpt from the email follows:

MORE HERE

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Tea Party Nation Speaks Out: ‘We Never Did This To Be Rich And Famous’

TPM Muckraker

Christina Bellantoni | January 30, 2010, 5:49PM

Tea Party Nation organizers today issued a long defense of their unraveling convention, lambasting former members they say are trying to harm the movement and outlining for the first time in great detail their event’s sponsorships and problems.

We’ve been following the travails of the upcoming Tea Party Nation convention for weeks, with key speakers withdrawing and the Tea Party Express group backing out as well thanks to feuds over the cost and expected profits of the convention.

Sherry Phillips wrote a long email to members of the Tea Party Nation mailing list titled “Setting The Record Straight.”

Phillips said organizers were encouraged to speak out against the “intense media scrutiny and attacks by former members” but she stayed silent so as not to further divisions “that are already hurting this movement.”

“We will stay silent no longer,” she wrote.

She goes into detail about convention sponsors American Liberty Alliance, American Majority and Campaign for Liberty, and said the Tea Party Express only withdrew because of their push to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada.

She calls out “former Tea Party Nation members” for “discussing their association with liberal media outlets” and “conspiring” to harm TPN and the convention.

MORE HERE

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Crooks and Liars- By David Neiwert Friday Jan 29, 2010 3:00pm

Sarah Palin confirmed on Greta Van Susteren’s show last night that she’s very much planning to show up and speak at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, despite the distinct odor of Scam the whole affair is giving off.

Palin: Oh, you betcha I’m going to be there. I’m going to speak there because there are people traveling from many miles away to hear what that Tea Party movement is all about and what that message is that should be received by our politicians in Washington. I’m honored to get to be there.

This, even as some of her fellow wingnuts are catching the same whiff — namely, Reps. Michele Bachmann and Marsha Blackburn, who have pulled out of the event:

In separate statements, released by their congressional offices, the lawmakers said that appearing at the convention might conflict with House ethics rules. But they also said they are concerned about how money raised from the event will be spent.

Palin last night had no such concerns — and said no one should be concerned about that big wad of cash the convention organizers are paying her:

Palin: The speaker’s fee will go right back into the cause. I’ll be able to donate it to people and those events, those things that I believe in, that will help perpetuate the message, the message being: Government, you have constitutional limits. You better start abiding by them.

Hmmmmm. It sounds like we’re going to have to rely on Sarah’s say-so when it comes to how she actually spends the money. Smells even more like Scam, doesn’t it?

Of course, the whole scenario, as David Corn explored with Keith Olbermann last night, is developing into quite a fiasco — mainly because Tea Partier and Birther J.D. Hayworth has decided to challenge Palin’s former running mate, John McCain, in the Arizona Senate primary.

Palin is staying loyal to McCain. This has outraged the Tea Partiers, as Alan Colmes points out:

She has now chose to align herself with several bad actors. What should this be called, the Rinoization of Sarah Palin. [...]

She is certainly entitled to write a book and make money for her and her family, but other than what has she has done to support Republican and patriotic candidates. … Perhaps, Sarah was too busy talking to her agent about her Fox deal. Where the hell was Sarah?

This is what you get when you build a movement around paranoid right-wingers. There is probably no faction more historically famous for viciously turning on each other in struggles over money and power than right-wing populists.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

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Charles Alan Dyer

Former Marine With Ties To Right-Wing Movements Charged With Child Rape, Possessing Grenade Launcher

TPM Muckraker

Zachary Roth | January 22, 2010, 11:16AM

An ex-military man with ties to the Tea Party and militia movements has been charged in separate complaints with raping a minor and with possessing an unregistered grenade launcher.

Charles Dyer, a former U.S. Marine who served in Iraq, was arrested January 12 in Oklahoma on the rape charge. A child had told sexual-abuse experts about a January 2nd incident at Dyer’s home.

But while sheriff’s deputies were at Dyer’s home making the arrest, according to court documents, they found several firearms and what they believed to be a Colt M-203, 40-millimeter grenade launcher.

When they searched a national crime database, the deputies found that the grenade launcher was one of three stolen from a military base at Fort Irwin, Calif., in 2006. According to an affidavit, Dyer told law enforcement that he had received the grenade launcher “from his best friend who gave it to him while Dyer was stationed in California with the Marine Corps.”

It’s not clear what Dyer might want with a grenade launcher. But he has declared himself a proud member of Oath Keepers, an organization that aims to enlist ex-military and law enforcement personnel, and has stoked fears that the federal government may try to seize Americans’ guns and round people up into concentration camps.

In this video, Dyer appears at a Tea Party event to promote the Oath Keepers and to rail against what the group — perhaps uniquely — sees as the federal government’s overzealous response to Hurricane Katrina.

And in another video, filmed during a militia training exercise, Dyer frankly declares his intention to become a domestic terrorist, and taunts the federal government.

MORE HERE

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Tea Party Protester

Key Sponsor Pulls Out Of Tea Party Convention

TPM Muckraker

Zachary Roth | January 13, 2010, 10:01AM

One of the key co-sponsors of the National Tea Party Convention has pulled out of the event, citing concerns over the financial arrangements of Tea Party Nation, the group organizing the confab.

Eric Odom of American Liberty Alliance is seen by many as one of the founders of the Tea Party movement. His group had been listed as a “gold” co-sponsor of the convention, and in an interview Friday with TPMmuckraker, Odom sounded bullish about it. But today he writes that his group “will sit out” the event:

[T]he controversy surrounding the event involves conversations about the infrastructure of the Tea Party Nation and the way its finances are channeled through private bank accounts and paypal accounts.To be clear, the for-profit model has its place in the movement. Many, MANY groups in the movement operate this way. But these groups should always have boards and oversight, and should never, ever process donations through personal paypal accounts.

In this particular case, it’s entirely possible that those involved are operating in a fair way. But when we look at the $500 price tag for the event and the fact that many of the original leaders in the group left over similar issues, it’s hard for us not to assume the worst.

As we’ve reported, some activists have raised concerns over the $549 price tag for the event, and have suggested that the prime organizer, Nashville attorney Judson Phillips, is seeking to profit financially from it. And RedState founder Erick Erickson has written that the convention “smells scammy.”

Odom’s decision may have been prompted in part by a lengthy and detailed blog post, which appeared yesterday, from a Nashville activist, who had worked with Phillips on Tea Party events last year. Among numerous allegations leveled by Kevin Smith against Phillips is the claim that Phillips said he had to set up Tea Party Nation as a for-profit corporation because Barack Obama planned to ban non-profits. Smith also described Phillips as “the kind of attorney who would regularly use his status as a legal professional to threaten and intimidate people into giving him what he wanted.”

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Tea Partier’s Site Shows Photoshopped Image Of Racist Sign

TPM Muckraker

Zachary Roth | January 11, 2010, 12:05PM

When you’re a Tea Party activist and you’ve been caught holding a racist sign that refers to taxpayers as the “n” word, maybe it’s better to just leave the whole subject alone.

Dale Robertson seems to disagree. Over the weekend, the Houston-based Tea Party leader posted a picture of himself at a rally last year that you can see opposite.

Notice something strange about the words on that sign Robertson is holding? That’s because it’s a (very poorly) photoshopped image. In the real photo, below, Robertson’s sign bears a very different message:

Robertson took heat for that sign when it was posted recently by the Washington Independent, and the Houston Tea Party group has disassociated itself from him.

Strange that he would risk bringing the subject back up by posting the photo, even in altered form.

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A gun-bearing protester in Alamogordo, New Mexico Saturday.

New Mexican Tea Partiers Bring Guns To Anti-Obama Rally

TPM Muckraker

Justin Elliott | January 4, 2010, 10:21AM

A group of tea partiers and Second Amendment activists in New Mexico decided to kick off the new decade with a show of arms at a demonstration protesting President Obama’s “socialist” policies, according to local media reports via Think Progress.

Over three hundred people attended the protest in Alamogordo in southern New Mexico, which was organized by the Otero Tea Party Patriots and a group called the Second Amendment Task Force.

The Alamogordo Daily News got a picture of one man with a rifle and a sign that says, “No To Obama Care / No To Congess (sic) Spending / No To Stimulus / Replace Comunist (sic) in DC”.

The AP reports that there were “plenty of handguns and rifles displayed … but no violence.”

The Daily News has lots of color from the event, including this description of an assault rifle-bearing husband and wife:

Orie Adcock and his wife, Juli, both of Roswell, came with identical scoped AR-15s slung over their shoulder.

“I heard about it through the grapevine and decided to come over to see what it’s all about,” Orie said. “We also wanted to express our First Amendment rights, as well as our Second Amendment rights.”

Then Orie started to explain how his AR-15 functions.

“It’s much like the ones that kids start out hunting rabbits and quail with,” he said. “According to the liberals, it’s one of those evil black rifles. I don’t discriminate. Black rifles are just fine with me.”

Here’s a video report on the event via the New Mexico Independent:

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