There is a tendency amongst some in Northern Ireland, and certainly on its fringes, to view the happenings in our wee pravince as utterly central to the existence of the universe.

First it’s dissident ‘republicans’ attempting to strike a blow against the twin evils of free-flowing traffic and gainful employment by screwing with decent people’s morning commutes and firebombing shops. Then it’s the ever embarrassing ‘civil rights’ camp currently eroding Protestant property prices in north Belfast and attracting trouble to an otherwise respectable area. Either way the participants quite clearly believe themselves to be at the forefront of planet Earth’s affairs.

This is untrue of course. Political extremists the world over suffer from the kind of delusions that would otherwise lead to a robust mental health intervention: jihadist dickheads in the Middle East; Ugandan sodomy obsessives; those Golden Shower tits in Greece. Each exhibits an unrivalled level of narcissistic belief in the righteousness of their fucked-up cause.

Yet, for all their biblical twittery, they persist with the mewling refrain that they - rather than the people whose lives they’re trying to destroy - are the true victims. They’re only standing up for themselves and what they believe in.

It’s a theme that was all too evident in the past month as America’s know-nothing, far-right obstructionist fringe attempted to strangle the American economy and with it the economic well-being of the rest of the Western world.

The Teabaggers represent a hugely annoying, gleefully destructive barrier to the march of civilisation. Given the centrality of US fiscal health to global economics, these morons signify a very real threat to financial progress.

Aaron Sorkin’s takedown of the Tea Party might be to liberals what a Chinese buffet is to a fat chap, but he’s fairly on point - and mercifully concise - when he describes them as the ‘American Taliban’. While on the subject of Sorkin, his classic riposte to those who hide their preoccupation with homosexuality behind scripture (topical, perhaps, in light of Edwin Poots’s recent profligacy with the public purse) has yet to grow old.

But let’s be honest, all this talk of international finance and stuff is a bit highfalutin considering the below normal intelli attention span of your generic Tea Partier.

In coming, finally, to the point, one dedicating even a moderate level of attention to the madness stateside could not have failed to notice the striking similarities between the angry, slavering crowds proudly endorsing the dismantlement of a country they claim to love and Ulster’s own besieged patriot, the humble Flegger.
Yes indeed, the Teabaggers are amongst us here in Norn Iron. Like most things in this part of the world of course they are a milder, watered-down version of a higher grade equivalent. Like a Opel cars. Or a United shirt purchased at a Thai market stall.

You may work with a Flegger. You might play football with another. Perhaps one services your car or cuts your hair. You may even have a crowd of them camping in your back garden, staging a protest against the nefariously green hue of your grass.

Whatever guise they make take, paranoid, recalcitrant, disruptive dumbasses are something of a national product here in the 6/9ths. Think Yellowman. Only worse.

Admittedly, Tea Partier and Flegger are not entirely analogous. In spite of the Ulster-Scots origins of the American hillbilly (one of Teabaggerism’s constituent parts) there is little common social or cultural ground. Geographically there is nothing to bind them and some of their core outlooks diverge wildly. Teabaggers hate socialism even while relying almost entirely on the fruits of such a system: Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, free education… (well, maybe not). Fleggers don’t like socialist principles either apart from the ones they do like, those that give them (and everyone else) stuff for nothing.

Tea Partiers love the shit out of guns. The bigger the better, the more the merrier. Fleggers on the other hand, in spite of their apparent eagerness to ‘kill all taigs’, have yet to resort to that strain of balls-to-the-wall lunacy.

On the other hand, while the Tea Party is “vaguely threatening but incoherent” [Rachel Maddow] Fleggers have proved quick to anger and are prone to outbursts of genuine violence. They whinge constantly about the victimisation suffered at the hands of the police yet commit blatant public order offences in full view of the authorities, later bragging about them on social media. It’s almost as if they believe the rules don’t apply to them…
There remains, however, commonality between the two groups - and, by extension, extremist fools everywhere.

Bill Maher has often spoken of ‘the bubble' in which the American hard-right exists with impunity. In this echo chamber their toxic brew of misinformation, ignorance and fevered bigotry bounces around with wild abandon. Rumour becomes fact, obvious fiction is immovable reality.
One only needs to scan the virtual open sewer that is the Flegosphere to discern just how divorced from reality and sense the Fleggers truly are. And it is in this hothouse that the seeds of their misbehaviour in the real world take root.

That much of what is pumped out in this particular version of ‘the bubble’ is repellent should be taken as read. It is, however, fairly exhausting and beyond the motivation of this writer to look at it in detail. Other entities, most notably the champions of normality over at LAD, have done a superior job in subverting the poison many seem to regard as their birthright.

Suffice to say that hypocrisy and a startling level of inconsistency are elements neither Teabagger nor Flegger appear to be uncomfortable with.

While he was attempting to wreck the full faith and credit of the United States, Tea Partier-in-chief Senator Ted Cruz (Republican, obv. Of Texas, natch) attended the Value Voters Summit, one of American conservatism’s biggest dates, to promote his ongoing campaign. While not strictly a Teabagger event, it is undoubtedly coming from the evangelical, pray-away-the-gay corner of the same cesspool and is comprised of more than enough batshit crazy, paranoid babbling to put it on a par with your average Tea Party cookout.
In taking his victory lap Cruz, who appears to believe that providing poor people with affordable healthcare will induce the Apocalypse, received 42% of the votes in the presidential straw poll.

Fair enough. Cruz may be dick but he’s just as entitled for consideration as anyone else right?

What’s that you say? He was born in Canada? To an American mother? This must be a lie, a clever fabrication by the 'lamestream media' to discredit a doyen of the right.

Sure, if Cruz was born in Canada then that means he’d be ineligible for a presidential run - going by the same standard every Tea Partier, ‘values voter’ and sundry other racist crackpots have been applying to Barack Obama. If, as they claim, Obama was born in Kenya to an American mother, how then does Cruz qualify given that his real story is exactly the same as Obama’s fictional one? On a single note of fairness to the distinguished gentleman from Texas, he has been fairly silent on the non-issue of Obama’s heritage, considering the obvious similarities of that particular fairytale to his own background.

It is a quandary alright. Plus, you know what Canada has don’t you? Socialised medicine. And snow. Fucking Soviets.
The Fleggers too have their own issues with saying one thing while doing the other.

They rightly jump up and down about republicans glorifying their dead and trampling on the memories of those they murdered. Yet, before you know it, rank and file loyalism is proudly parading in honour of some other dead murderer, most recently on the Shankill in memory of Brian Robinson. Robinson’s bravery peaked the moment he killed the first Catholic he came across. Minutes later he’d be gunned down himself by agents of a state to which he was, presumably, ‘loyal’ up to that point.

Fleggers react to every occurrence of dissident activity like it’s a newly discovered solar system, stunning new proof that ‘themuns’ have no interest in a shared future that they don’t want either. The fact that dissident republicanism has never been on a ceasefire, has never subscribed to the majority desire for a quiet life and is responsible for bombing Omagh 15 years ago, appears to matter little.

In this alternate universe you have to have balls to get ahead and nobody can accuse the Tea Party of lacking cojones. Invoking and then co-opting the legacy of the civil rights movement - while at the same time being fuelled in their anger by the freedoms and privileges it facilitated - reveals a mendacious cynicism, quite stunning to behold.

There was a chord of familiarity, however, when one of the Tea Party’s many ‘founders’ rocked up at the World War II memorial in Washington D.C. to protest about the fact that the site had been closed in a government shutdown caused by Cruz (smugly in attendance) and supported by, amongst others, the queen of knows-nothing-about-nothing obstructionism Sarah Palin (also there).
Larry Klayman’s call to practice 'civil disobedience' in the face of a progressive government plan was laughable. It reeked of the melodrama and complete lack of perspective exhibited so consistently by NI's own Teabaggers; Teafleggers if you will.

These magic words echoed those of faceless Orangeman William Mawhinney as he addressed the ‘civil rights’ squat at Twaddell and Woodvale. That’s right, a section of the community once vehemently opposed to the goals of an actual civil rights movement is now resurrecting the tactics - if not the spirit - of that era because it is no longer allowed to parade and offend to its heart’s content.

And then they start comparing themselves to Jews during the Holocaust… Irony, at least, is not a burden these poor people have to bear.
It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. 

Perhaps most insidious is the tone-deaf insistence of each group that they represent something other than simple extremism. The Tea Party ignores the hefty electoral mandates twice handed to their anti-Christ Obama and claims to speak for an American populace that neither polls nor elections can ever properly locate. They wax lyrical about ‘America’ and ‘real Americans’; code for gullible, frightened white people living outside of California, the east coast and big cities. In short, the only people who truly count.

Equally, Fleggers never tire of the refrain that ‘We Are The People’ (whatever that means). By ‘people’ they really refer to likeminded loyalists, inhabitants of estates, towns and villages throughout the country where flegs, bonfires and parades are the only thing worthy of respect and deference. Everything else is foreign, dangerous and unwanted.

Yeah, they’ll put on a show every now and again, rolling out the ‘P’ and the ‘U’ to go with the ‘L’, presuming to speak on behalf of a community as varied as it is large. Yet they know, deep down, that most unionists, most Protestants and, maddeningly, their fellow Britons on ‘the mainland’ despise them and want nothing to do with their bizarre adherence to violence, hatred and victimhood.
To be honest all extremists are capable of functioning in the face of opposition, of keeping their shit together, if it is only they who form part of the equation, if they exist in a vacuum. What makes them cut loose from this dimension entirely, however, is the perceived advancement of those they hate, those whose existence defines their own: blacks, liberals, gays, foreigners, socialists, Catholics. It is here that they let their slips show.

The Tea Party claims to have been present in American politics prior to the Obama presidency though nobody seems to remember them, funnily enough. Considering the composition of the average Teabagger convention it isn’t difficult to discern the reasons for the increased noise since January 2009. On more than one occasion, Maher has mused, with no little sarcasm: “What is it about Obama that makes them so crazy? I don’t know. I just can’t put put my finger on it…”
As Chris Matthews so lucidly suggests the efforts of the Tea Party right, from birtherism to the near biblical opposition to Obama’s agenda, represent a determined crusade to relegate this guy’s tenure to an asterisk.

Most recently one prick turned up at the White House, following the World War II memorial event, bearing a confederate flag. A redneck waving the Stars and Bars outside an African-American family’s house. Nice.
In assuming that a zero-sum game is afoot (‘Usuns: naffin. Themuns: every hing’ in Northern Irish) the extremist will find justification for increased hostility towards those perceived as the enemy. Witness, for instance, the scattergun approach of Fleggerism’s leading brain in a jar Jamie Bryson whose only response to encountering Catholics in positions of authority - inconceivable up to that point apparently - was to label them republicans and imply all sorts of underhandedness. Naturally.

To people like Bryson and others like him - in a Northern Ireland context at least - Catholics, for the most part, live in Ardoyne, the Falls, Short Strand or the Bogside. They are invariably republican (or nationalist depending on how fond you are of conflating the two), terrorist-loving wastrels intent on tearing down everything British and Pradesant. Their elevation to powerful posts can be explained only by wild-eyed theories and grubby innuendo. It most certainly has nothing to do with that community’s long-standing attitude to education and self-improvement.

Yep, sounds legit alright.

While these idiots have their political representatives bent over the table, feet apart, there is little chance that they’ll piss off any time soon. Congressional Republicans will continue to act like morons while the threat of a primary challenge from some Tea Party-backed lunatic exists. They hate their government but not the generous government salary their elected position affords them. Obama has another three years on his term and his plan to remain black during that time is unchanged.

Closer to home, the sectarian-based, consociationalist hive mind up at ‘Stormount’ ensures that both sides - unionists most conspicuously - will continue to appeal to their core voting block, or at least those who can be bothered to turn up at the polling station.

Jim Allister might be the Fleggers’ favourite currently but a whiff of compromise, a hint of impurity and they’ll be casting about for another blowhard to lead them further into the abyss.
With the first anniversary of Belfast’s transition to the status of ‘most other UK cities’ only a few weeks away, the civilised people will no doubt be exposed once more to the epic levels of stupidity lurking beneath the surface of our society. If the Fleggers have their way, Christmas will once again be hassle for shoppers and ruined for traders. The drain on public expenditure will continue unabated.

The cost of policing this 12 month loyalist tantrum is jaw-dropping. The perpetrators are, for some reason, quick to equate their own behaviour with dissident violence, something which requires an entirely different security response. The silliness of this argument aside, one wonders why they are so keen to add to the waste of time and treasure.

This naive attitude to the taxpayer’s money has a distinct smell of tea about it.

With the sinister and increased meddling of dissident ‘republicans’ disrupting daily life in Northern Ireland, the threat to normality and decency appears grave.

Fortunately, we are well used to tolerating and ignoring the fuckwits. 

originally posted here and used with permission