Archive for East Mountain Tea Party
by John Weckerle
With the election safely over, we turned to some of our local favorites to see what sort of high-fiving might be going on – and surprisingly found essentially none among our normal haunts. After apparently selling its trademark to the fossil fuel industry (the site essentially became a re-posting venue for screeds by petroleum industry-funded fossil fuel advocate Marita Noon), the Sandia Tea Party site appears to have gone “dark” in October. As expected (and hoped), the East Mountain Tea Party remains silent, but a little searching revealed that its former denizens Therese Cooper and Char Tierney are alive and kicking on the internet, dispensing their version of reality via Facebook. We don’t want to be raising the relevance scores on their accounts, so we won’t link directly, but on Facebook they are therese.cooper.9 and char.tierney.9, respectively, the latter having recently changed her Facebook account from CharTierney. Both accounts are reminiscent of what we saw on the East Mountain Tea Party site and sites associated with the Table of the Remnant and Operation Jesus Pictures. Silvana Lupetti is also apparently on Facebook (SilvanaLupetti). Unfortunately, we didn’t find anything particularly worth commenting on, but we’ll keep an eye out just in case.
We do, however, occasionally receive e-mails from readers containing what might be described in the current vernacular as “fake news,” and we thought we’d share a little of that with you today. We recently received an e-mail containing the following:
by John Weckerle
Or something to that effect.
On January 4, 2013, the East Mountain Tea Party announced its dissolution. No doubt some were relieved, and others disappointed (not the least of whom were those of us who enjoyed commenting on their commentary). As it turns out, the East Mountain Tea Party is back, and may never really have gone anywhere in the first place.
A recent Internet search led us to a Facebook page* upon which the first post, written on April 4, 2010, provides convincing (to us, at least) evidence that the owners of this Facebook account are likely the same people responsible for the posts that gave us all so much to discuss some years ago. The fact that the cell phone number associated with the page (505-269-5617) is the same as that used for the previous web site perhaps supports that conclusion. The commentary continued at a reduced pace, with a meager nine posts in 2013 and just one in 2014. Now, however, we see two posts less than a week apart in March 2015, and one of them contains an all-too-familiar combination of religious intolerance and inaccuracy, referring to President Barack Obama as a “Marxist, Muslim man-boy,” all of which is clearly intended to be derogatory. And of course, there is the signature anonymity – no name, just the pseudonym “East Mountain Tea Party.”
Is the East Mountain Tea Party back, or are these just a couple of posts before the page goes silent again? We’ll see – because we’ll be watching!
* We’re not providing them with a link, but if you search Facebook for “East Mountain Tea Party,” you’ll find them right away.
by John Weckerle
In the November 1, 2012 edition of the Mountainview Telegraph, Edgewood resident and Tea Party organizer Bob Steiner provides a letter to the editor titled “Property Rights and Edgewood.” In the letter, Mr. Steiner opens with a lament with respect to the multiplicity of jurisdictions to be encountered near the borders of a small town located near the borders of three counties. These focus on the multiple jurisdictions as they apply to emergency services and animal control, and the duplication of services. About halfway through the letter, Mr. Steiner gets to the main point: that Santa Fe County has proposed a Sustainable Land Development Code (SLDC) and “that may really hurt some county residents.” Mr. Steiner, after stating vaguely that the ordinance “will force land owners to strictly adhere to severe new restrictions that limit where they could erect housing and industrial buildings,” declares that “It also dictates that some multi-family housing (apartments) must be built.”
A sentence or two further on, after suggesting that the County has assembled a sort of ideological goon squad to market the ordinance, Mr. Steiner states: “According to another local press source, this “simple” ordinance has some 350 pages and has still to be vetted by legal authority.” This would, on the face of it, seem to suggest that Mr. Steiner had not actually seen the ordinance, and we figured that we should take a look. Employing more of the advanced research techniques that are available to us and not the Tea Party – the County web site, Adobe Reader, and the CTRL and F keys – we were able to isolate all uses of “multi” in the document (there are 75), and determine that there is absolutely nowhere in the document where the use of “multi” involves a requirement to build anything. Neither do references to “apartments” (7 instances).
There is, however, a requirement that a certain percentage of housing be affordable, which might be part of the confusion, as such requirements tend to cause some heartburn in certain circles – especially circles that have gone on record with the opinion that sustainability is some sort of international socialist conspiracy. This section of the ordinance – Chapter 13 – also causes some indigestion here, although for different reasons. Chapter 13 contains references to terms not defined or used in any other place in the ordinance (for example, Major Project and Minor Project). The ordinance requires the Affordable Housing Administrator to “recommend and present to the Board proposed Affordable Housing Regulations” and appropriate amendments. The affordable housing requirements in the ordinance rely on income ranges “specified in the affordable housing regulations,” which of course would appear not to have been passed, at least based on the wording of the ordinance. Proper definitions and regulatory references are vital to any ordinance and, based on this and a quick perusal of other parts of the ordinance, we find it difficult to argue against Mr. Steiner’s suggestion that it has not benefited from a thorough legal review – which we think should happen before, and not after, release to the public.
While we agree that the County should proceed slowly, it is not because of unspecified, probably fictitious, egregious requirements but because the ordinance as currently worded simply does not appear to pass muster as a well-organized and enforceable document. Because we are staunch supporters of sustainability (which probably brands us as socialist conspirators from Planet Ten), we’d like to suggest that the County engage their attorneys and other specialists in developing sustainable development codes, rework the document to a greater degree of completion, and reissue it for public review.
In case Edgewood residents are concerned about where they fall in all this: we feel it important to point out that this ordinance specifically applies, as pointed out in Section 1.8, to the unincorporated portion of the County, which does not include Edgewood.
by John Weckerle
Those of our readers who are still tuned in most likely noticed that there was a nearly two-month hiatus in our coverage of – well, everything. This is probably the longest break in our commentary since we started up, and we’re still not sure just how often we’ll be posting, although we’re pretty sure it will be more often than once every couple of months.
There are two major reasons for our absence. First, your editor has experienced a reconfiguration of professional activities, and this change, while a very good one, has included both a great deal of being very busy and an unavailability of access to the blog. Second, quite simply, we got tired of being angry.
Let’s face it; when you’re spending a substantial amount of time investigating corruption and debunking politically motivated falsehoods, bigotry, and other nastiness, you run the risk of having it get to you. It can be very labor-intensive, especially for those of us who actually try to research and fact-check the things we produce, and the risk of doing so is that it typically involves immersing oneself in a rather unpleasant stew of unsavory material. Indignation, anger, and similar emotions can be a drain on one’s energies.
During a trip to Washington, D.C. last week, I had a discussion touching on this with a colleague. We both probably fall within the “more or less centrist” realm, although we are likely on different sides of the theoretical political mean. One of the many things we agreed upon was that the fringe groups are co-opting the political discourse, and in a destructive manner. The problem is that a lot of the rest of us appear to be either falling for it or bowing out, and the result has been a prolonged economic downturn, the appearance of a negative national attitude, and a dubious future. We’re stuck with a legislature that cannot seem to make progress on what should be sensible national priorities because it is mired in ideological conflict, and hardly a half-year goes by without Congress flirting with national financial disaster over some dearly held, all-or-nothing political position that is probably not held as an absolute necessity by most of us.
It is time for line-in-the-sand politics to come to an end. The nation faces serious problems that need attention and action, and opportunities that should be seized. If we turn our attention to what works rather than what we believe (as opposed to what we can demonstrate), we can make headway and not only bring our economy back from the brink, but set it on a course to reach new heights that include opportunities for all – and we can do it without destroying the environment or leaving people behind. To accomplish this, however, we’re going to have to take the spotlight off the fringes, get it on center stage, and let the bitter, anti-government extremists wail alone in the darkness.
At this point, we’ve pointed out enough dishonesty and prejudice on the part of the fringes to make it clear that these are the hallmarks of their efforts. At this point, anybody who’s still taking them seriously is probably going to continue to do so, regardless of what we demonstrate concerning their credibility, and we’re tired of sounding like a broken record. We’ll probably take aim once in a while, but likely with far less frequency. Instead, we may wish to bring out information that will shine a light under the rocks, so to speak, and counter the disinformation being circulated by special interests masquerading as grass-roots movements with actual information that has at least some support from the world of facts and real analysis.
In short – it’s time for us to move on – and by “us,” we don’t just mean those of us at New Mexico Central headquarters, but all of us who can. Let those of us who can come together do so, and let the others remain apart if they must.
by John Weckerle
It was with some amusement that we read about the formation of a new local Tea Party chapter, the Sandia Tea Party, at Gadabout-Blogalot.com. We’re wondering whether there will be turf wars; there’s already an East Mountain Tea Party, and the Sandias are, after all, part of the East Mountains.
We decided to look the new group up, and found their web site. Some parts of the site are still apparently being worked out, but we were interested to see that the Contact Us page listed the president of the chapter: John Doe.
This is just what we needed – another shadowy organization run by anonymous “patriots” championing their version of “conservative” ideology. At what point did we arrive at the conclusion that there’s something wrong with having our names associated with that in which we believe? Whether we agree with the positions of an organization or not, we assign essentially zero credibility to the opinions and positions of those who speak in combative terms but lack the fortitude to put their names where their mouths are. We’ll be watching, and turning over rocks where we can find them.
Editor’s Note: We regret that we do not have time to do an April Fool’s article, as many other publications do on this particular date. Time does not permit at present.
by John Weckerle
Some time back, we came across some interesting information on the East Mountain Tea Party, set it aside for future use, and – embarrassingly – forgot about it. A recent statement on the EMTP web site – that there is no affiliation between the East Mountain Tea Party and the First Baptist Church in Moriarty, at which their recent event was held – jogged our memory, and we decided to take a look. We found no evidence of a direct link between the Church and the EMTP; however, our previous research (including some reported in earlier articles [click on the Tea Party-gate category for a list]) does provide some insight into the East Mountain Tea Party’s relationships, both sectarian and commercial.
In our earlier articles, we demonstrated a certain “commonality of leadership” between the East Mountain Tea Party and a group called The Table of The Remnant, now Operation Jesus Pictures. We located a web page bearing the EMTP logo, references to the web site, and a list of business supporters. Listed are the following:
by John Weckerle
The East Mountain Tea Party has a web site and an anonymous internet spokesperson – a shadowy figure known as “teapartynm.” It holds rallies and meetings, and stages protests. It writes letters to elected officials, and conducts candidate forums. It lobbies. It has ties to a local religious organization that repudiates Islam (see our previous article, East Mountain Tea Party Officials and Islam) and believes that the United States should declare war on Russia and China. But does the East Mountain Tea Party actually exist?
Our research tends to suggest that it does not, at least in any official sense. We took some time to search the State of New Mexico corporations database, the database of nonprofit organizations at Guidestar.org, and the IRS database of tax-exempt organizations for the East Mountain Tea Party – and found no reference to the group. We find this puzzling, as the organization seems to fit nicely into the “527” category and actively solicits donations on its web site. This raises some questions as to whether the receipt of the donations is being accomplished in compliance with State and Federal tax laws. This an issue that has haunted several organizations in our area, including the Edgewood and Moriarty Chambers of Commerce, and those providing donations to the East Mountain Tea Party should consider this along with other factors in making decisions regarding donations.
Editor’s note: We consider it important to state at the outset of this article that it is in no way our intent to denigrate or disrespect anyone’s religious beliefs, in this article or elsewhere; in fact, it was the issue of religious intolerance that sent us down the path that led us to this piece. We’ve provided links to full articles where appropriate to provide our readers with the full context of the quotes; we have saved the key references in both PDF and PNG screen grab formats, so if any of the links in this story should become inoperative in the future, please let us know and we’ll do what we can to repair them.
Update 1/4/11: Our original article on the East Mountain Tea Party’s apparent anti-Islamic bias can be found here.
by John Weckerle
As many of our readers may remember, we took issue some time back with what we considered to be anti-Islam positions officially expressed on the East Mountain Tea Party (EMTP) web site (our articles on the subject, along with others, are now collected under the category “Tea Party-gate.”). The EMTP post informed readers that key members of the EMTP (Therese Cooper, Char Tierney, Silvana Lupetti, and Felicia Wilson), including at least two of its co-founders, had submitted a letter to Congressman Martin Heinrich’s demanding that he state his position with respect to a Muslim community center proposed for downtown New York. We objected to the anonymously-posted EMTP article, and received a surprisingly vitriolic response indicating a clear anti-Muslim bias. We had a little fun trying to track down the identity of the anonymous poster, who in our view is the EMTP’s official internet spokesperson – and after a while, partially lost interest in that aspect, but we continued to research the issue of religious discrimination, because we were frankly dumbfounded by the strong anti-Islamic sentiment that came across in “teapartynm’s” response.
by John Weckerle
As our readers might imagine, it is with a great deal of interest that we have observed the developing story of the East Mountain Tea Party’s (EMTP’s) latest brouhaha, this time involving the Moriarty Lions Club and Wildlife West Nature Park. Both organizations recently discontinued the practice of leasing space to the EMTP. As reported by some, reasons given were public perception issues, threatened loss of donations, and potential concerns with respect to the groups’ status as charitable organizations in the context of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) policies. The latter is the official position given by both organizations.
In reality, we can see where there is likely a combination of these three factors at work. Let’s face it: the Tea Party in general, and the EMTP in particular, can be rather pugilistic in their approach to activism, and this has gained them a reputation for divisiveness and combativeness. Some of the positions they have taken have elicited concerns, including some expressed here, regarding bigotry. Both on the national and local front, the movement has indulged in a great deal of name-calling and denigration, excoriating those with whom they do not agree and insinuating that those with opposing viewpoints are somehow less American than those on the “right” side of the fence. Somehow, those affiliated with the Tea Party have taken the position that they are the (self-appointed) heirs to the Founding Fathers, the Sons of Liberty, and so on in terms of patriotism and American values. One need only read through some of the articles on the EMTP’s web site or read last week’s letter from Sylvia Bokor to the Mountain View Telegraph (or the much nastier diatribe on her blog) to get a feel for the tone of the “dialogue.” There are a substantial number of Americans who likely find this kind of invective extremely offensive, and probably a great deal more who are simply tired of hearing it. In short, while the EMTP and other similar organizations are very enthusiastic about their cause, they have expressed that enthusiasm in such a manner as to turn off a large number of people, some of whom are likely donors to the organizations in question.
by John Weckerle
Okay, we admit it, this is not about creeping socialists; it’s a recipe. Ever since your editor read that phrase on the East Mountain Tea Party web site, though, it keeps popping into his head and cracking him up. We want to be clear: this is is one of the most ridiculously paranoid combinations of words we’ve run across in a while, but it’s so ridiculous that it’s kind of funny, and we can imagine that the ghost of Vladimir Lenin is slapping George Soros’s knee over it, too. I guess you could say that the zucchini and yellow squash represent the ultra-left-wing vegetarian peril lurking beneath the veneer of American “sausage,” pepper and onion patriotism – and then take it a step further and take the that the “sausage” is also some cynical, unauthentic, Socialist-Marxist exploitation of our meat heritage. And don’t get me started on the liberal cheddar cheese conspiracy.
At any rate, Sunday found us not wanting any of the food we had ready to eat, and a bunch of summer squash with which to deal, so your editor decided to go off the map and do something unusual. Here’s how it went:
by John Weckerle
Rats. We had what could have been a great article in mind for this morning on the identity of the mysterious East Mountain Tea Party (EMTP) spokesperson “teapartynm.” Based on writing styles and one particular hint from the web site, we were all ready to provide an exhaustive (and, now that we think of it, probably boring to most people) account of why we thought a particular person was the man behind the “nom de plume,” as it were. Or, as it turns out, as it is. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the Damage Control Subcommittee of the EMTP’s Public Relations Committee (okay, we’re being just a bit facetious there) appears to have gotten ahead of us and made a policy change requiring “teapartynm” to put his name on his articles – and after our most recent article on the subject, we might add.
by John Weckerle
In recent weeks, we’ve taken issue (here and here) with the anonymity of an official spokesperson for the East Mountain Tea Party (EMTP) who posts articles on the EMTP site and has posted comments here, including some that we consider to be anti-Muslim and equating Islam with al Qaeda. We initially almost-but-not-quite concluded that the person, who goes by the moniker “teapartynm” on the EMTP site and “East Mountain Tea Party” here, was one Emily Cooper. However, Gadabout-blogalot.com editor and EMTP supporter Chuck Ring asserted that Ms. Cooper was not the domain contact any longer, and was in fact no longer participating in Tea Party activities. Mr. Ring declined to clarify: “I don’t see that knowing the name will add anything to the issue at this juncture.” We disagree; as we stated in the original article, we consider equating Islam with al Qaeda to be bigotry, and while we think that while outright, Terry Jones-style bigotry is ugly, we believe that anonymous bigotry is worse, if somewhat less effective.
Now, it is a rule that domain contact information must be kept current, and with that in mind, we filed a complaint with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). This is the organization that administers domains at the highest level, and makes the rules for using them. Registrars (for example, Network Solutions or GoDaddy) then process requests for domain names. Now, the way this process works is that, upon reciept of the complaint, ICANN sends a request for validation or update to the the registrar – in this case, GoDaddy – which then sends a notification to the administrative contact e-mail, and the recipient logs on and confirms the contact information. Yesterday, we got a response that told us:
by John Weckerle
Editor’s note/update: Gadabout-blogalot.com editor Chuck Ring has challenged us on our forensics in this article, stating that “you have used resources to mis-identify people who have nothing to do with the email address you are dogging.” We beg to differ, and offer the registration information as support:
A few days ago, we published an article on the proposed Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan that was a response to an article on the East Mountain Tea Party web site, and had an exchange with someone calling themselves “East Mountain Tea Party.” This person’s comment was also posted on the East Mountain Tea Party site under the name “teapartynm.” We challenged the person to identify himself or herself, and thus far, there has been no such identification. Neither is that person identified on the East Mountain Tea Party site; rather, the pseudonym “teapartynm” is used.
We fully support people’s right to state their opinions. However, it’s important to realize that, while the Constitution may guarantee the right to do so, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee the right to do so anonymously, and given the rather controversial views expressed, we decided to do a little digging and see what we could find out. Actually, we found out quite a bit, but we will for now stick to just trying to identify the person who posted the original article on the East Mountain Tea Party site and commented on ours.
Update 1/4/11: Additional discussion of the potential basis for the East Mountain Tea Party’s apparent bias against Islam can be found in our article East Mountain Tea Party Officials and Islam.
by John Weckerle
We had initially thought not to address the construction of a Muslim community center in downtown Manhattan (the Park51 Project, or Cordova House, commonly but mistakenly called the “Ground Zero Mosque), but since the East Mountain Tea Party has apparently decided to make this an election issue, we’ve decided to add some thoughts to the debate.
We’d like to begin, though, with a caution regarding a particular set of practices of discussion that seem to have become popular in certain quarters. The first is the device by which those who disagree with a particular position attempt to turn the argument back on the originator as some sort of personal critique. In spoken conversation, we often refer to this as the “I know you are, but what am I?” method, and have little use for it. The second is to just outright attack the person originating the position or those who agree with it in general. We’re not big on that one, either. We invite our readers to post whatever comments they like, but be aware that we will probably ignore these two literary devices where responding to comments is concerned.
We also have something to say to the nebulous “teapartynm” who posted the article: We don’t think you should have to put your money where your mouth is, but you should certainly put your name there if you truly believe in what you’re saying. To twist a line from the movie “Beetlejuice:” “Never trust the unidentified.”