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home >> global news >> articles >> Ode To the Tea Party Patriots

Ode To the Tea Party Patriots
December 17, 2010

by Peter Dale Scott print version
print version (graphics)
A Berkeley Professor Says Hello!

And you from the rural states

who object to the Wall Street bailouts

and flood my inbox with complaints

about private banks under cover

of the so-called Federal Reserve

being given the right to create money

which they then lend to the government

at interest,


I recall a long friendly conversation

about restoring American values

with people much like you

at a Birch Society table surrounded

by exhibits of pickled tomatoes

and blossoms made from old nylons and copper wire            


at the Nevada County Fair

where each year on Constitution Day

to the music of the Ophir Prison Marching Kazoo Band

they reenact with authentic uniforms

and noisy puffs of cannon smoke

Civil War battles.       


Your placards call for "LIMITED GOVERNMENT"

which could not be more timely  --

there is a bill in Congress                                                                           

to censor the Internet

that will probably pass.                                                    

Here is a common agenda

for freedom-loving Americans --

let us all preserve the First Amendment

so you can keep the Second --



exactly my frustration

when it comes to our twin afflictions

of Wall Street dominance and Asian wars,

so like you I invoke

Madison in the Federalist Papers

against the accumulation of all power

in the same hands                                                     


I have just read The Ruling Class

carefully designed to be your handbook

by Angelo Codevilla

guest of the Mother Lode Tea Party

and late of the Hoover Institution,

the brains trust for the millionaires

who meet each summer in the Bohemian Grove.

It is published by The American Spectator

published by billionaires like Richard Mellon Scaife.


It attacks The Ruling Class

blaming them as do you and I

for  the collusion of both parties

in financing the bailout of Goldman Sachs,                                     

and the apparently endless series of wars

in which our Ruling Class has embroiled America,                          

and it defends as would you and I

the right of families to home schooling                                     

and of localities to control their schools,                                    


but whereas for me the rulers

are those top-level millionaires

who have paid for both political parties

while seeing their own incomes

rise almost fivefold in thirty years,                                   

for Codevilla the Ruling Class

consists not of the wealthy

but of those bureaucrats

who would tax them

and indeed of all those with

as David Frum puts it

more education than money,                                                                                                                         

who oppress the Country Class --

Americans like yourselves

who think it is just

to spend the money they earn

to satisfy their private desires                                                        


It seems that I

because I believe in evolution                                                      

am part of the Ruling Class

along with trade unions

and those who believe in global warming                                     


while the Country Class

includes not just you

but corporations and banks

forced by politicians to make loans for houses                               

and even Fox News                                                                         

(owned by the mogul Rupert Murdoch

whose personal wealth in 2007

was estimated at over $340 million).                                


Attributing to progressives

a ridiculous and hateful ideology

(such people cannot believe

that a Christian might be

their intellectual and moral equal)                                                 

Codevilla seeks to deflect your anger


on to people like me

which is perhaps what we should expect

from a fellow of the Hoover Institution

and the Claremont Institute

funded by the usual

millionaires’ foundations

like that of Sarah Scaife.


You are out in the streets

as members of what are billed

as spontaneous tea parties

but are you aware

that an Internet domain name

was registered in August 2008                                        

long before the convening

of any of your grass-roots events?


As for your being grass roots,

do you know that you were organized

under umbrellas called "Samspheres"

by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation                                  

which meticulously hid                                                     

its links to the ultra-rich

Koch brothers                                                                   

worth a combined $32 billion

as owners of the largest

private oil company in America                                      

with good reason

to dislike government scrutiny?


For which Keith Olbermann on MSNBC

has called you an Astroturf party,                                   

the way Glenn Beck on Fox News

has sneered at America’s progressives

both ignoring the real pain

we all share at our loss of freedom

and our politics gone awry.


Why does the Tea Party invite

a speaker like Ken Timmerman

to attack Big Government

at the same time he advocates

a US blockade of Iran?                                                                 


Or John Yoo who denounces

the supersized executive

while still defending his memos

on enhanced interrogation

(or what most would call torture)

which even the Bush Administration

in the end found incorrect

or highly questionable?                                             


All this makes you the heirs

of the Moral Majority

a movement designed by six men

(one of whom was launched

with money from Sun Myung Moon)          

and funded by the Coors family


which raised a fuss about abortion

in order to split the democratic vote

elect Reagan

and thus maintain the global US system

of 761 military bases

at the cost of the budget deficit

you are now so worried about.


You want what all of us should want

a more limited government.

Will you then help force Congress

to do what the law requires  -- namely

review the state of emergency

we have had since 9/11

which has restricted habeas corpus,

suspended the Posse Comitatus Acts,

introduced permanent military surveillance,

and provided for warrantless detention?


From Barney Frank, on the left,

to Ron Paul, on the right

there is a growing belief

that unrestrained military spending

is a danger to the budget.                                                                         


In a land of barren ridges

while I was writing this

a small detachment of US troops

took fire from all four directions

on their way back from a village

whose radioed request for help

in digging a canal

turned out to have been only

a set-up for an ambush                                            

in a land where we are not welcome,


while General Petraeus has said

tacitly correcting his Commander-in-Chief,

This is the kind of fight we're in

for the rest of our lives

and probably our kids' lives.                                             


So while it is right to declare

that America is in crisis

and in need of a people’s politics

let us not be guided

by those who are profiting from

our loss of freedoms

and wars our country cannot afford.


Above all as we turn

to America’s most urgent priority

the defense of the constitution

let us be certain

as Confucius advised millennia ago

to call things

by their right names.


Peter Dale Scott's latest book of poems, Mosaic Orpheus, appeared in 2009 from McGill-Queen's University Press. It can be ordered from Amazon.comHis other chief poetry books are the three volumes of his trilogy Seculum: Coming to Jakarta: A Poem About Terror (1989), Listening to the Candle: A Poem on Impulse (1992), and Minding the Darkness: A Poem for the Year 2000. In addition he has published Crossing Borders: Selected Shorter Poems (1994), published in Canada as Murmur of the Stars. In November 2002 he was awarded the Lannan Poetry Award.  


Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. He was born in Montreal in 1929, the only son of the poet F.R. Scott and the painter Marian Scott. He is married to Ronna Kabatznick; and he has three children, Cassie, Mika, and John, by a previous marriage to Maylie Marshall.

His prose books include The War Conspiracy (1972), The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond (in collaboration, 1976), Crime and Cover-Up: The CIA, the Mafia, and the Dallas-Watergate Connection (1977), The Iran-Contra Connection (in collaboration, 1987), Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (in collaboration, 1991, 1998), Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993, 1996), Deep Politics Two (from JFKLancer, 1995), and Drugs Oil and War (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, March 2003)

An anti-war speaker during the Vietnam and Gulf Wars, he was a co-founder of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at UC Berkeley, and of the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA).                                    


Rick Ames and Yasha Levine, “Exposing The Rightwing PR Machine: Is CNBC's Rick Santelli Sucking Koch, The Exiled, February 27, 2009,

Rick Ames and Yasha Levine, “Tea Party Flacks Are Drill, Baby, Drill Messengers Too,” Alternet, June 11, 2010,,_baby,_drill_messengers_too/

Jim Bovard, “Tea Party: Pro-Torture, Pro-War, Pro-Freedom?” Christian Science Monitor, April 23, 2010

Angelo Codevilla, The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do about It, An American Spectator Book (New York: Beaufort Books, 2010)

David Frum, “How the Elites Became Tea Party Enemy #1,” FrumForum, September 19, 2010,

Dan Gillmor, “Hollywood wants to censor the Internet, and Congress is on board,” Salon, September 28, 2010,

Joshua Green, “Cut the Military Budget,” Atlantic, June 2010,

Jane Mayer, “Covert Operations,” New Yorker, August 30, 2010

Kate Phillips, “The Sam Adams Project,” New York Times Caucus Blog,

Peter Dale Scott, American War Machine (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010)

Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007)

Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy (Ipswich, MA: Mary Ferrell Foundation, 2008)

Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010)

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