Guilty!

Phoenix NewTimes

There is breaking news this afternoon in the criminal contempt case of former Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Jose Arpaio. He was found guilty by federal District Judge Susan Bolton. Bolton issued the ruling today.

The criminal contempt charges were the result of Arpaio  willfully disobeying a 2011 order from Judge Murray Snow in the Melendres v Arpaio civil case. The order forbade the MCSO from stopping people without cause based on mere appearance in an attempt to round up undocumented aliens. Snow found that Arpaio had ignored his order and referred him for criminal contempt prosecution by the US Justice Department. The case was randomly assigned to Judge Bolton. Since the charges were for misdemeanor contempt Arpaio was not entitled to a jury trial.

This is from Judge Snow’s order in 2011:

MCSO and all of its officers are hereby enjoined from detaining any person based only on knowledge or reasonable belief, without more, that the person is unlawfully present within the United States, because as a matter of law such knowledge does not amount to reasonable belief that the person either violated or conspired to violate the Arizona smuggling statute, or any other state or federal law.

Arpaio’s attorneys had argued that Snow’s order was confusing and that Arpaio had not meant to violate it. Judge Bolton disagreed:

The Court concludes that Judge Snow’s order was clear and definite. This conclusion does not require looking beyond the plain words of the order, but even considering the relief sought by the plaintiffs in Melendres, the conduct Defendant and the MCSO had been accused of, and what Judge Snow was seeking to prevent, there is no doubt that the order prohibited the MCSO from conducting detentions in violation of plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. The Melendres plaintiffs complained that MCSO violated their constitutional rights by detaining them without state charges solely for violating civil immigration law and Judge Snow’s order expressly prohibited the MCSO from continuing that conduct.…

It is clear that Defendant had knowledge of the Order. Mr. Casey testified that on December 23, 2011 he made a phone call to Defendant informing him that Judge Snow had issued an order regarding the Melendres plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and that a preliminary injunction had been issued. . . . . The evidence also shows that Mr. MacIntyre, an MCSO employee, lawyer and frequent legal advisor to Defendant, read a portion of the preliminary injunction aloud twice to Defendant and others at an MCSO Executive Cabinet meeting in January 2012.

A few weeks ago former Cold Case Posse lead Mike Zullo and his friend Carl Gallups tried to make the same argument that the order was not clear. Zullo appeared on Gallups “Freedom Friday” radio show on July 7 to discuss the contempt trial. Sharon Rondeau an ardent supporter of both Arpaio and Zullo wrote:

Both Gallups and Zullo said that Arpaio’s previous actions to enforce immigration laws were a manifestation of a conflict between state and federal statutes.  Moreover, Zullo said that some of the prosecution’s witnesses, in his view, aided Arpaio’s cause to prove himself innocent of the charge.

“My understanding is the witnesses called by the DOJ to testify against Arpaio actually helped Arpaio,” Zullo said.  “Not one of those witnesses ever said that Arpaio told them to disregard that order…”

At issue is whether or not Arpaio willfully violated Snow’s order.  “When this thing finally gets adjudicated…then we’re going to make arrangements to have his attorney on your show…” Zullo told Gallups.

That Zullo and Gallups got everything about the case completely wrong should come as no surprise. It’s what they do. (Apologies to GEICO)

We look forward to hearing Arpaio’s attorneys discuss the conviction.

Bolton said the order was “crystal clear” and directly addressed the contention that Arpaio had delegated compliance of the order to his subordinates:

Defendant argues that he has not willfully violated the preliminary injunction order because he delegated enforcement of the order to his subordinates. (Ex. 3A, 478:23-479:2, 482:22-25; Ex. 3F 2527:5-10.) However, willful ignorance of a court order  which a person has knowledge of and a duty to fulfill does not excuse non-compliance therewith. United States v. Hoffman , 13 F.2d 269, 277 (N.D. Ill. 1925), aff’d , 13 F.2d 278 (7th Cir. 1926), and aff’d sub nom. Westbrook v. United States, 13 F.2d 280 (7th Cir. 1926)
The evidence shows a flagrant disregard for Judge Snow’s order. Credible Judge Snow’s order. Credible testimony shows that Defendant knew of the order and what the order meant in regards to the MCSO’s policy of detaining persons who did not  have state charges for turnover to ICE for civil immigration violations. Despite this knowledge, Defendant broadcast to the world and to his subordinates that he would and they should continue “what he had always been doing.” The Court concludes that there is no doubt that Defendant knew or should have known that his conduct violated the preliminary injunction order. Greyhound, 508 F.2d at 541. The Court finds Defendant’s violation of the order willful.
Bolton scheduled Arpaio’s sentencing for October 5, 2017 at 10:00 AM MST. The full text of the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law attached here:

Bolton Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Arpaio said he would appeal the conviction and again ask for a jury trial.

Advertisements
Posted in Birthers, Joe Arpaio, Mike Zullo | Tagged , , , , | 22 Comments

The Post & Email–Fake news site and Birtherism’s last bastion–Part 1

The Post & Email is a blog run by a Connecticut resident named Sharon Rondeau. She describes her blog as an “electronic newspaper”.  The blog was founded during Birtherism’s glory days by a mysterious character named John Charlton in August 2009. Not much is known about Charlton, who is still listed as the founder of the P&E on the about page.

Mr. Charlton is a natural born American Citizen and devout Christian who founded The Post & Email as an act of faith in Christ Jesus in order to give the common man a vehicle to report the news in his own words to the world. He believes that our country belongs to the people, and that the best natural protection for it is that the people be given a voice in the public forum.  Mr. Charlton is not a registered member of any political party, though he is a staunch opponent of Communism and Fascism.  He started The Post & Email as a blog in August 2009 and converted it to an electronic newspaper in December of that year.

This is the first in a multi-part series about the Post & Email. In future articles I will cover who runs it, how it distorts the news, and the seamy cast of characters it supports and attracts.

Anti-birther, attorney, and author of the book Bulllspotting, Loren Collins determined that Charlton was a pseudonym for a person named John Bugnolo. Loren didn’t use any fancy investigative techniques. He merely sent the P&E a small donation and waited to see who endorsed the check. Although the Post & Email was incorporated in Wyoming Bugnolo (Charlton) appears to live in Massachusetts. I was able to find that The Post & Email, Inc. was originally incorporated on January 28, 2010 in Wyoming with John  C. Bugnolo listed as the sole officer. The filing listed an address of 2710 Thomes Ave. in Cheyenne, WY.

This address turns up as a small house pictured below:

2710 Thomes ave

Looks can be deceiving however. It turns out the the same address is home to 2000 Wyoming corporations including Wyoming Corporate Services, Inc. who registers all these corporations to help hide their true identity. This operation was the subject of an article published by Reuters titled Special Report: A little house of secrets on the Great Plains published in 2011. The authors Kelly Carr and Brian Grow wrote:

The secretive business havens of Cyprus and the Cayman Islands face a potent rival: Cheyenne, Wyoming.

At a single address in this sleepy city of 60,000 people, more than 2,000 companies are registered. The building, 2710 Thomes Avenue, isn’t a shimmering skyscraper filled with A-list corporations. It’s a 1,700-square-foot brick house with a manicured lawn, a few blocks from the State Capitol.

Neighbors say they see little activity there besides regular mail deliveries and a woman who steps outside for smoke breaks. Inside, however, the walls of the main room are covered floor to ceiling with numbered mailboxes labeled as corporate “suites.” A bulky copy machine sits in the kitchen. In the living room, a woman in a headset answers calls and sorts bushels of mail.

A Reuters investigation has found the house at 2710 Thomes Avenue serves as a little Cayman Island on the Great Plains. It is the headquarters for Wyoming Corporate Services, a business-incorporation specialist that establishes firms which can be used as “shell” companies, paper entities able to hide assets.

Other filings show that in March 2010 Sharon Rondeau was added as the Director and President of The Post & Email, Inc. with a business address at 2710 Thomes Ave. in Cheyenne, WY. By the end of 2010 the annual report no longer listed Bugnolo as an officer but listed Sharon Rondeau as President and Director and Gerald Rondeau as Treasurer and Director.

In September 2011 Sharon Rondeau filed to dissolve the Wyoming corporation. All the corporate public documents can be found at the Wyoming Secretary of State web page. I searched the Connecticut Secretary of State’s web site but could find no indication that the Post & Email incorporated in Rondeau’s state of residence.

I searched for information on John Bugnolo. I could only find a few hits. There is a John Bugnolo on Facebook who lives in Massachusetts, and that matches an address given on some of the P&E corporate documents.   I am pretty sure this is John Charlton. He certainly matches Charlton’s political leanings. His Facebook page features hatred of Islam and has all sorts of right wing nutbaggery. However, there is no mention of the Post & Email or any association with it or Sharon Rondeau.

This is an example of Bugnolo’s venom:

Worthless Canadian Trash Justin Trudeau…to bad they don’t have the second admendent [sic] as in the USA. This piece of Socialist Garbage would be 7 feet under already!

Oddly enough, John and his brother Dimitri have formed a company to market board games that is called Bison Games, Inc.

Bison Games, Inc. was registered in Wyoming in 2015 under a different address and a different registering agent than the P&E. This time Bugnolo used United States Corporations, Inc. This appears to be another corporate registration mill in Wyoming consisting of one person.

In upcoming articles we will address questions like who is Sharon Rondeau and what passes for news at the Post & Email.

Posted in Birth Certificate, Birthers | Tagged , , , , , | 485 Comments

Apuzzo loses again: Vermont Supreme Court rules unanimously against Brooke Paige

H. Brooke Paige, Photo: JESS ALOE/FREE PRESS)

On Friday the Vermont Supreme Court ruled 5-0 that an appeal of a district court dismissal of case filed by H. Brooke Paige was moot because the election is over and there is nothing within the court’s power and jurisdiction that it could do to grant relief to Mr. Paige since the election is over. Mr. Paige with the assistance of Birther attorney had filed the action against the Vermont Secretary of State James Condos, Attorney General William Sorrel, candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Paige wanted Cruz and Rubio’s names removed from the 2016 primary ballot because he claimed they were not “natural born citizens” of the Untied States and therefore ineligible to serve as president.

Paige (with help from his legal advisor Mario Apuzzo) argued that his appeal was not moot and that the court should issue an advisory opinion as to whether or not Cruz and Rubio were natural born citizens because they were likely to run again 2020. The court found that the appeal was moot because the election was over and neither Cruz nor Rubio had been elected. The court also found that Paige’s claim that he could be harmed again if Cruz or Rubio ran in 2020 was speculative. On this point two of the five judges did not agree that the legal standard for capable of repetition had not been met. All five judges agreed on the dismissal however.

I believe this may be the last of the 2016 “Birther” cases. Paige and Apuzzo could of course file an appeal to SCTOUS, which would almost certainly not be heard. If anyone knows of an active case please leave a comment.

This brings Mr. Apuzzo’s record in Birther court actions to a perfect 0 for 16. I updated the scorecard on Apuzzo’s cases to reflect the current loss.

This is the full decision:

Posted in Ballot Challenge, Birther Cases, Mario Apuzzo | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Carl Gallups “Obot Challenge”

GallupsOn his PPSimmons Facebook page Carl Gallups issued the following challenge:

CHALLENGE TO OBAMABOTS – AGAIN …
(Obamabots silent as crickets on this one)

How is it that Trump is LYING about Russia (when no evidence exists that he is lying) but Obama is NOT lying about his fake BC when tons of forensic evidence exists to the contrary – complete with a 5-year criminal investigation by America’s 4th largest sheriff’s office and verified by two international document expert entities?

Now – just HOW does THAT work?

Where to start?

It’s amazing that someone who presents himself as a “man of God” could continue to tell such blatant lies. Gallups is a young earth creationist who doesn’t believe in evolution and regularly parades conspiracy nuts on his show and YouTube channel. These include the disgusting and kooky guy who goes by the moniker “Barry Soetoro Esquire” who is a Sandy Hooker Truther. Gallups let BSE peddle his disgusting views that no children died in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT since they were all actors in a staged event. Gallups didn’t contradict a single point. He just let BSE spew his filth. Gallups runs something called the “PPSIMMONS network”,which is actually nothing more than a collection of a web page, a YouTube channel, and a Facebook page. He has a weekly radio program on a small right wing station in Milton, FL in the panhandle that might reach into rural Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia on a good day. Gallups likes to make believe he runs a huge media empire.

First, what exactly does “lying about Russia” suppose to mean?  The Russian issue for the Trump campaign and Trump presidency is a complex and ever evolving scandal. That scandal has grown to such a proportion that committees in both the House and Senate are conducting hearings and Trumps own Deputy Attorney General has appointed a Special Counsel to look into the various scandals involving Russia and the Trump administration. We know that Trump appointees and surrogates have lied about their ties to Russia. Michael Flynn was fired as Trump’s national security advisor for failing to disclose his ties to Russia. Both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and even Trumps own son in law failed to disclose contacts with Russian officials. Multiple intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia tried to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election on the side of Donald Trump.

Putin:

If Gallups is claiming Trump never lied in any claim concerning his association with Putin and Russia that is easy to disprove. Trump claimed during the presidential campaign in 2016 that he had never met Vladimir Putin and no association with him. Trumps own words belie that claim. This article by Michael Isakoff and linked videos show Trump lied about his contacts with Putin. Trump also has lied various times about his financial dealings with Russia.

Tape shows Trump contradicting himself (again) on Putin meeting

Russian Business Ties:

In an interview in October 2016 Trump said:

“The reason they blame Russia is they are trying to tarnish me with Russia. I know about Russia, but not about the inner workings. I have no business there and no loans from Russia. I have a great balance sheet.”

Yet we know that Trump moved the Miss Universe beauty pageant to Moscow and in 2008 and Trump’s own son Donald Trump, Jr. said at a real estate conference “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” and “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,”.

Politico: Yes, there is evidence Trump does business with Russians

So there are two easily documented lies that Trump repeated about his connections with Putin and Russia. Anyone can find these on Google in a matter of minutes. Apparently Gallups’ research skills are lacking however. Dare we say willful ignorance?

Obama Birth Certificate:

Gallups tried to manufacture an equivalence of the Trump Russian scandals to the Obama birth certificate controversy. He references the investigation conducted by Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse led by commander Mike Zullo. This is absurd. On this blog I have documented repeatedly the many issues with Mike Zullo’s investigation and conclusion that President Obama’s birth certificate is fraudulent. Gallups cites two “international document entities”. First even that short statement is incorrect since one of these “entities” is Reed Hayes from Hawaii. Last time I looked Hawaii was one of the 50 states of the USA.

Let’s look at what those “international entities” did for Zullo and actually said. Zullo went through hundreds of document forensic examiners before finding these two. He said he had contacted 212 examiners before finding graphologist Reed Hayes. Hayes was willing to hire himself out to Zullo and examine the PDF file posted on the White House web site. He never examined the original document. He apparently didn’t even verify that the PDF file given to him by Zullo was actually the same as the one posted at the White House web site.He said he examined a PDF file given to him by Zullo.

We don’t know how many more examiners Zullo had to contact before finding the Italian firm FORLAB. Zullo has never released either report and has only selectively quoted from them. Neither firm stated with certainty that President Obama’s Birth certificate was fraudulent. Both Reed Hayes and FORLAB admitted all they examined was a PDF file given to them by Mike Zullo. Reed Hayes put up a page at his blog to counter some of the false claims about his work made by Birthers like Carl Gallups. Hayes writes:

Under normal circumstances, document examiners who are investigating allegedly altered material work only with original documentation.  In cases where official documents are in question, other similar official documents of the same time period are required for examination and comparison.  Any statements of opinion that I have given are therefore contingent upon examination of the original paper document allegedly in the hands of the State of Hawaii Department of Health.

In short, my examination does not prove that President Obama’s valid Certificate of Live Birth does or does not exist at the State of Hawaii Department of Health.  If the certificate is in fact at the Department of Health, my examination still does not prove that that document is valid.  Again, I have not examined the original and can therefore not be certain as to the authenticity of the COLB.

Hayes also discusses how his credentials have been misrepresented:

I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be, “the nation’s foremost document examiner” as some are touting. …

I have never stated in any of my cases that I am “100 percent certain” of anything.  Some have indicated that my report to Mr. Zullo concludes with the statement that “I have never seen a document that is so seriously questionable in so many respects” and “the birth certificate posted on the Whitehouse website on April 27, 2011 is entirely fabricated.”  However, as stated previously and also clarified in my report, I have no knowledge if in fact that document represents the birth certificate in possession of the State of Hawaii.  My report also makes it clear that I suspect the document released by the White House may be a fabricated document intended to bring down President Obama.

Some have erroneously publicized that I work for the Perkins Coie law firm in Seattle.  Others have stated that I have been retained by attorneys at Perkins Coie to render testimony.  Still others claim that I am an expert witness for the firm.  Perkins Coie appears on my list of clients because I worked one (count them—one) questioned handwriting case for the firm in the early ‘90s.  The matter settled out of court and I did not render testimony at deposition, hearing, or trial.  I am not an expert witness for Perkins Coie nor am I associated with them in any way aside from that lone case from years ago.  It amazes me how people can make something out of nothing in order to lend support to their agenda.

I have not seen any public statement by FORLAB on their report and analysis so all we know is what was recounted by Mike Zullo at the December 15, 2016 [not a] press conference and what he has said in subsequent interviews. Apparently FORLAB confirmed what blogger NBC and I claimed: that the origin of the PDF file posted at WhiteHouse.gov in 2011 was a Xerox model 7655 scanner/copier/printer. Zullo admitted this in an interview on the Hagmann Report. I discussed this in a previous article Mike Zullo admits the Obots were correct all along

The bottom line:

What neither Gallups nor Zullo will tell you is one undeniable fact. Under the US Constitution there is a single and ultimate authority who can determine whether Barack Obama’s birth certificate is fraudulent. It isn’t Mike Zullo. It isn’t Joe Arpaio, the MCSO or even the state of Arizona. It is the state of Hawaii. Hawaii has verified that they supplied a representative for Barack Obama with two certified copies of his “long form” birth certificate and that the information on the copy posted at the White House web site in 2011. This makes any discussion about layers, kerning, certificate numbers, smiley face optical illusions, typography, or any other Hawaii birth certificate pointless and superfluous.  Of course Zullo has spent time trying to slander and libel the state of Hawaii. He has made the false claim that Hawaii has loose record keeping or is prone to issuing false documents. He has presented no evidence to support that claim, none whatsoever. He has not identified any person who might have been involved in an forgery despite claiming several times they had a “person of interest”. Do you wonder why? It is because he would have been opening himself and Arpaio to a libel charge.

If a law enforcement agency or a legal party needed to verify a vital statistics record there is exactly one place to go. It isn’t a graphologist in Hawaii or a forensic laboratory in Italy. It would be the governmental authority who issued the document. That is what two secretaries of state did when they relented to Birther pressure in 2012 and asked for forfication of Barack Obama’s place of birth. They asked Hawaii and Hawaii verified the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Hawaii has issued certified birth certificates twice and verified them twice. No birth in history is as well documented as Barack Obama’s birth in Hawaii.

The most Reverend Gallups is welcome to supply any rebuttal he wishes and I will post it here without editing. That’s something he is afraid to do on his own Facebook page. When a commenter even mildly challenged the brave pastor he deleted the entire discussion.

Posted in Barack Obama, Birth Certificate, Birther Radio, Birthers, Mike Zullo, Trump | Tagged , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Oral Argument in Paige v State of Vermont, et. al.

Thanks to a reader named William Rawle who provided an audio file of the oral arguments in Paige v State of Vermont, et. al. before the Vermont Supreme Court that were conducted on November 30, 2016. Vermont resident H. Brooke Paige had challenged the eligibility of Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and two other candidates in the Vermont 2016 presidential primary. Paige unsuccessfully challenged President Barack Obama with a similar lawsuit filed during the 2012 election cycle.

Posted in Ballot Challenge, Birthers | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

A Typical Day in the Life of President Trump

donald-trump-spars-with-univision-journalist-jorge-ramosI was catching up on the news while sipping my morning coffee a few hours ago. I had just finished a breakfast of homemade corned beef hash that Mrs. RC had made using some left over corned beef from our traditional St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage. Believe me I will never go back to the stuff in a can again.

Anyway, back to the news…

The first three stories I ran across all uniquely show what an unqualified and pathetic human being this loser Trump is. First there was Trump himself still trying to defend his bald faced lie that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. He was taking questions from a few members of the press following an embarrassing meeting with German Prime Minister Angela Merkel. Trump tried to joke that he and Merkel were both spied on by Obama.

Meanwhile his mouthpiece Sean Spicer continued to defend the claim citing previously  discredited news articles. Leaders on the House Intelligence Committee held a press conference to say that there is exactly zero evidence to support Trump’s claim. Another article said the White House had issued an apology to the British government for repeating claims the a British spy agency had worked with President Obama to spy on Trump. However, when German reporter asked Trump about the story he denied they had apologized. He said they had merely repeated a story run on Fox. Trump often uses this excuse when caught in a lie. He never takes responsibility for vetting anything he reads or hears about.

In the second article I read that Trump was holding a meeting this weekend with some wealthy hospital CEO buds at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida to discuss veterans health. However, he apparently failed to invite his Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Here is a video of Trump asking VA head David Shulkin if he is attended the meeting. (Shulkin awkwardly shakes his head no when Trump asks if he is going).

Later in the evening after Trump arrived in Florida the meeting was abruptly cancelled. What a clusterf*ck!!

Finally, there was an article about Trump’s reclusive Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tillerson is on a trip to Asia and was attending an event in South Korea. Yesterday reports circulated that Tillerson had skipped events like dinner with South Korean officials due to fatigue. However, Tilelrson later denied those reports claiming that he was not invited. Tillerson had been criticized for taking the unprecedented step of excluding the press from his Asian trip. Instead the State Department decided only to take reporter Erin McPike from the Independent Journal Review, a four-year-old conservative news site. And McPike is not acting as a pool reporter for other news services.

So we don’t really what’s going on with Tillerson. Either he skipped out due to fatigue or the South Koreans snubbed him. Apparently, Tillerson doesn’t think we need to know how or Secretary of State is representing our interests. He can hardly hide his distaste for the media.

So that was all in one day. I didn’t even mention TrumpCare, the train wreck of a health care bill working its way through the House that will never pass in the Senate. Nor, did I mention the second failed executive order on immigration that has been stayed by at least two courts.

In a normal world any one of these stories would merit would headlines about the incompetence of the administration. However, we live in the world of Trump where these this is just a typical day. SNAFU* I believe is the term the military uses to describe situations like this.

I still have to wonder what the people who voted for this idiot were thinking? Any rational person could see he was a fake, a petty loser, and was unfit to serve. What the hell were they thinking?

*SNAFU = Situation Normal All F*cked Up
Posted in Barack Obama, Trump | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Have groups like the Tea Party soiled the word “Patriot” beyond repair?

we-need-an-actual-teabagger-emoticon-someone-please-fix-this-one-for-submission-to-hans-3130I think it is legitimate to ask this question. Conservative groups like the Tea Party “Patriots” and the Sov Cit “Patriot” movement love to use the word to refer to themselves. Some of the first Tea Party demonstrators in 2009 even wore tri-corner hats adorned with tea bags hanging from them. (Some called themselves teabaggers but dropped the term when they learned it had another meaning.) [See COMALiteJ’s comment below. It seems at least some in the movement knew the raunchy meaning of the term and used it to describe what they were going to do to some politicians and liberals.]

So just what is a patriot? Merriam Webster tells us the word “patriot” is derived from the Medieval French patriote for “compatriot”, Latin patriota, and ultimately from the Greek term patria from pater or patr- meaning father or male lineage. It defines patriot as “one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests“.

During the American war for independence the term Patriot came to be used to refer to the colonists who rebelled against Great Britain. They were first referred to as Whigs or Patriot Whigs because they politically aligned with the Whig Party in England. This was as opposed to the Loyalists or Tories who favored remaining under British rule.

Thus “patriot” and “patriotism” acquired a somewhat uniquely American meaning over the years. It referred to pride and support for America and its democratic values. Patriotism was strongest when America and our freedoms were under threat. No one would dispute that patriotism was at a peak during World War I and even more so during Word War II. These were times we put away our petty differences and got behind our country as one. Everyone was willing to sacrifice. Hundreds of thousands paid the ultimate sacrifice.

So what happened to patriotism and how did the word “patriot” get hijacked by  conservative right wing political ideologues? Walter Rodgers wrote about this in his 2010 article in the Christian Science Monitor entitled The right wing’s perversion of patriotism.

Rodgers wrote:

It once was a given that you did not discuss religion or politics in polite company. To this list, I would add “patriotism.” It has become the new secular American religion, so mercurial that we cannot even agree about what it is.

It is regrettable that a once healthy American patriotism has morphed into intolerant jingoism. Love of country has been hijacked.

It once was a given that you did not discuss religion or politics in polite company. To this list, I would add “patriotism.” It has become the new secular American religion, so mercurial that we cannot even agree about what it is.

It is regrettable that a once healthy American patriotism has morphed into intolerant jingoism. Love of country has been hijacked. …

How did a quiet “love of country” morph into an aggressive right-wing, warlike chauvinism?

Indeed.

I think the hijacking of the term “patriot” can be traced to the 1960’s and the Vietnam era. America found itself involved in the most unpopular war in history and a young generation of baby boomers went to the streets to protest. Their parents, who came from the World War II generation, reacted in horror as the younger generation rejected the notion of “my country right or wrong” and openly questioned authority on many fronts.

As it turned out we know the younger generation was right about the war in Vietnam. Their government was lying to them and knew it was unwinnable. No matter though. The backlash to the anti-war movement provided a winning strategy for the Republican party beginning with Nixon and continuing to this day. They hijacked patriotism and the symbols if patriotism as their own. If you were against them you were somehow unpatriotic.

I can remember one particularly gaudy display of this strategy during the 1988 campaign when then Vice President Bush held a campaign rally at a flag factory in New Jersey. Talk about “wrapping yourself in the flag”.

In 2009 following the inauguration of President Obama something called the Tea Party movement arose. There is now a good bit of evidence the Tea Party movement was not a grass roots movement as it portrayed itself but instead was an AstroTurf movement funded in part by the Koch brothers.

Many Tea Party groups began calling themselves Tea Party Patriots. There web pages were full of references to the American Patriots from the revolutionary war days. Of course the name they chose referred to the Boston Tea Party of 1773, which was a reaction to the Tea Act. The modern Tea Party members adopted the name because they saw themselves as “anti-tax” like those who dumped 342 crates of tea from three ships into Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773.

However, like many things the modern Tea Party would get it wrong. The original tea party protesters were in effect protesting corporate welfare. The Tea Act that they were protesting against gave a huge tax break to the failing East India Tea Company (probably the original “too big to fail” corporate entity). This tax advantage was opposed by American tea merchants and smugglers like John Hancock who helped start the revolt. None other than George Washington opposed the Boston Tea Party and other “tea parties” that were subsequently carried out.

It was not the tea party but the British [over] reaction to the tea party that subsequently drove some of the colonists to take up arms against the Crown. Parliament passed a series of laws that the colonists referred to as the Intolerable Acts, which reduced or removed the power of self government in Massachusetts in reaction to the tea party vandalism. Thus the first tea party movement was more about self government than taxes.

So who are these Tea Party “Patriots” and are they really more patriotic than all the rest of us? The Tea Party has never been distinguishable from the right wing of the Republican Party. It is an amorphous movement with no central leadership other than the commonality of a handful of conservative groups funding them. They are primarily white middle and upper class Republicans who want lower taxes and small government. They hated Barack Obama and the diversity in American politics that he represented. As a matter of fact many of them were Obama Birthers. They despise the less fortunate, especially minorities. They are largely conservative Christians and believe in the Biblical view of creation over science.

In general they are anti-science and anti intellectual. The don’t believe climate change is real. They think that left to their own designs corporations will protect the environment. They think that universities are teaching their children to be liberals. They are anti-immigration and especially against immigration from non-western European countries. They believe the economy is much worse than it really is. They believe in conspiracy theories like Birtherism even when not supported by any facts at all.

They form the core group of Donald Trump’s support. They were the first block of Republicans to back Trump. They overlook or even applaud his ties with Russia because they think Putin is a strong leader. They support Trump’s attack on the press and the First Amendment because they think the media is corrupt. They ignore the fact that the reality is that most of the media is right leaning and had a great deal to do with destroying Hillary Clinton for imagined crimes and permitting Donald Trump to squeak through in the electoral college while losing the popular vote.

They believe women should be subservient to men because that is how they interpret the Bible.  That is why they put up with Trump’s debasing statements about women. They strongly oppose women’s rights and probably secretly admire Trump’s use of women as objects of pleasure.

They claim to believe in small government but believe the state has a right to control a woman’s reproductive system and prevent gun manufacturers from being sued.

So are these folks more patriotic than the rest of us? I think the answer is obvious. They have hijacked and dirtied the term to the point that it may be beyond salvation. I think it is worth trying though. A good start is pointing out that the Tea Partiers are not patriots. They are political hacks.

[Edit: I meant to close with this thought. A good rule to follow is that if someone has to call themselves a patriots over and over it is a good bet they are not. ]

Posted in Barack Obama, Birthers, Donald Trump | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments