| April 17, 2011 | 10:38am
The Fort Lauderdale Tea Party rally on Friday at the Fireman's Benevolent Hall was full of hot air.
And most of it, surprisingly, wasn't coming from the mouths of the raging Republi-cons inside the building. The hall was a steaming 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and the attendees, who had led a sparsely attended protest earlier that day at the federal courthouse, had to wait for hours for their darling, Congressman Allen West, to get back from D.C. and give them a much-needed pep talk.
It was a sweaty, miserable affair. The air conditioner in the hall didn't seem to be working. Or as Fort Lauderdale Tea Party leader Gabriel Jose Carrera put it, the air conditioner "kept shutting off mysteriously."
Oh yeah, there was another conspiracy theory at work here -- and it had nothing to do with Barack Obama's place of birth. This was sabotage! Inside, find out who the culprit was.
Carrera and his Tea Party cohorts suspected the firefighters themselves.
Rumors grew that the union members were falsely told that the Tea Party had a website "trashing" the firefighters, Carrera wrote on his website
. "It was also alleged that the after party to be held after the Tax Day Protest was really an anti-union rally."
We may never know if the firefighters had some fun with climate control at the expense of the Tea Party, but it was clear that the union had no love for the group of extremists in their room. As Carrera wrote, the union took down Tea Party signs "so as not to associate themselves with Tea Party attendees," canceled their own karaoke event, and shut down the back bar that night.
Of course they did. While Carrera kept trying to rebuke "rumors," he and his ilk certainly have no legs to stand on when it comes to police, firefighters, or anyone else who belongs to a union.
The Tea Party showed what it thinks of unions up in Wisconsin. The Tea Party wants to crush unions. It hates unions. Even in an emailed invite to the union hall party, Tea Partiers cited the need to fight the unions.
"Unions are pushing legislators to 'break the bank' with their demands," the invite read.
(It also boasted that Sheriff Al Lamberti was going to attend. Not sure if Lamberti, who has his own problems with unions, showed up or not, but I never really thought of him as a Tea Party type.)
So if the Tea Party hates unions, what does it love? Why, arrogant billionaires, of course.
The next day, the Tea Party hosted Donald Trump (and Allen West) in Boca Raton in an event that was seen as his first stump speech in a GOP presidential run.
So fitting. The Tea Party pretends to be a populist movement -- but it's always really been about the Trumps of the world. It wants to protect the ultrarich like Trump and the Tea Party-funding Koch brothers from paying taxes. At the same time, it wants to cut spending on schools, health care, and transportation. Cut the massive fraud and waste that goes on in defense spending?
Tea Party members claim to love America as the only true "patriots"? The fact that they want to decimate the country's infrastructure, gut public education, and force more people to do without health care indicates they don't love America -- or Americans -- at all. They love obscene wealth, guns, and their own scant dollars and penny-ante gold investments (the ignorant folk in the Tea Party rarely have any real money themselves).
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