Washington DC-Approximately 1000 people gathered in Upper Senate Park for the first Independence Day for the Obama presidency to protest what they are claiming as government corruption and wasteful spending. A good portion of the crowd were local from the MD-VA area, but almost half were from out of town, with Texas, Florida and South Carolina fielding sizable contingents.
Branded as a Tea Party, they listened to speakers extolling the virtues of free market economics and an elimination of all taxation. Frequent targets of criticism included Obama’s proposed health care reforms, Obama’s new tax plans and a decline in national morals (aka “Christian Values”), all spurred by what they see as “growing socialism.”
The crowd, which was about 99% white and over half over the age of fifty, cheered loudest for rhetoric that complained the current administration had “socialist tendencies”.
One speaker, Tito Munoz, originally from Colombia, stated that he “had seen these kinds of things before in latin America,” equating the current american political landscape with that of Venezuela just after the rise to power of Hugo Chavez. Rhetoric that targeted republicans as well as democrats did not fare as well as rhetoric that solely targeted democrats.
Sitting at a table drapped with a flag showing a picture of an M16 assault rifle bearing the quote “Come And Take It” and littered with Ron Paul literature and tin foil hat conspiracist Alex Jones schwag, was event coordinator northern Virginia insurance agent: Lisa Miller.
Miller, who also serves as treasurer for the local Alexandria, VA GOP committee, though, despite her affiliation with more moderate and mainstream Republican politics Miller’s ties with more “right wing populist” politics are apparent with her membership to the Republican Liberty Caucus, a more radical John Birch Society/Ayn Rand branch of the conservative mainstream.
Scheduled on the speaker list was included Michael Johns – National Tea Party leader, former White House speechwriter and Heritage Foundation policy analyst, Andrew Langer – Institute For Liberty, Michelle Minton – Competitive Enterprise Institute, Kevin McCullough Nationally Syndicated Talk Show Host/Columnist, Best-Selling Author, FoxNews/Townhall Contributor, Andrew Moylan – National Taxpayer’s Union, Leslie Carbone – Author of “Slaying Leviathan, The Moral Case for Tax Reform, Brenden Steinhauser – FreedomWorks, Ned Ryun – American Majority, Patrick Beck – Chairman, March For Liberty Coalition, Adam Bitely – Americans for Limited Government
Yet, the most notable and questionable presence was that of controversial patriot/militia rock band Pokerface. Described by the ADL as an “anti-government, anti-immigrant, conspiracy-promoting rock music band, helmed by “virulent anti-semite: Paul Topete”
Pokerface members not only played music for the crowd, but they also managed the sound system, provided the event’s security and assisted event coordinator Lisa Miller with the general organization of the DC event. What makes their presence even more suspicious is that in all promotional website posts or materials for the day’s event there was no mention of Pokerface’s involvement anywhere.
In the past, Pokerface had been a staple of Ron Paul rallies and enjoys a healthy following from the survivalist and white nationalist communities. Lead singer: Paul Topete was a frequent poster on the white nationalist website VNNforum.
Last year, public pressure about Topete’s racism was brought to the attention of Ron Paul’s campaign and Pokerface was dropped from a RP event in Michigan. But, to no avail Poker Face continued to play at several Ron Paul rallies, including in the Washington DC since then.
Poker Face has also performed at a benefit for Willis Carto’s anti-semitic newspaper American Free Press and has endorsed the notorious Barnes Review, both outlets of longtime white supremacist Carto.
During this very July 4th Tea Party event, in a conversation with anti-racist journalist Daryle Lamont Jenkins of One People’s Project, Topete stated that “jews were responsible for 60% of all unreported crime in the United States”, while further claiming in this same recent conversation that “only 97,000 jews died in the Holocaust”. Paul went on to say that his libertarian views make him support anyone who has been imprisoned for simply speaking; he specifically noted holocaust denier and revisionist Ernst Zundel as an example. Other “interesting” quotes from Topete can be found in his interview with Mathaba:
This kind of racism is nothing new when both Ron Paul and the Tea Parties are the throwing political events.
As of late many watchdog organizations and journalists have been throwing red flags on this third positionist politician and growing right wing militant movement.
Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign turned futile after his racist and homophobic writings were revealed in his 1990’s newsletter The Ron Paul Report was exposed to the public.
His then damaged campaign for president was reformed into the “Campaign for Liberty” and suspicions speculate how the millions of dollars raised for Ron Paul presidential run is now being used.
Campaign for Liberty, is one of the major backers of the Tea Parties as is Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey’s organization Freedom Works among a few other groups: American Majority, Americans for Limited Government, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Institute for Liberty, March for Liberty Coalition, National Taxpayer’s Union, and others.
Interesting, but not surprising given the fringe affiliated risks, there were very few political campaigns joining in on the show, a day often seen as a big opportunity for candidates to out reach.
The one political candidate who had a contingent hanging out with Poker Face and their Tea Party event was Virginia Attorney General GOP nominee Ken Cuccinelli.
UPDATE! We have been contacted by a very nice politically conservative person from Texas. He has written up his own personal disturbing account of going to the Houston Tea Party as a supporter, but when he got there he was pretty appalled.
David Ross’s : Houston, Tea Has A Problem
And Also, thanks to Mr. Ross, there is an interesting article from the Houston Press
And a little tidbit more about the Houston rally, because it appears that Stormfront members were there (warning white power neo-nazi site)
UPDATE!!! Mike Flugennock has graced us with his brand new cartoon “The Teabaggers are coming”