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NYT: Tea Party goes international with defense of Asian business

What does the Declaration of Independence have to do with giant Asian firms? Ask the Tea Party
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Andrew Langer, head of the Tea Party-affiliated Institute for Liberty, holds a copy of the Declaration of Independence at Boston's harbor. (YouTube)

This YouTube appeal to founding fathers' values, filmed by a Tea Party advocacy group, is heavy on heartstrings-tugging patriotic rhetoric.

For one, it's filmed at Boston's harbor. Secondly, the speaker pulls out a copy of the Declaration of Independence out of his jacket. ("Everyone should have their handy copy… I know I have mine.")

Thirdly, there's rhetoric like this: "As you'll recall, the early portions of our dissent against Mother England were all over economic liberty issues."

It hardly inspires viewers to conjure the injustices that activists and unions have perpetrated against massive Asian paper firms. But if you follow the speaker's suggestion, and check out the group's "Empires of Collusion" Web site, you'll realize that's exactly what it's about.

The New York Times reports that the Tea Party group, Institute for Liberty, is campaigning for the interests of Asian Pulp & Paper, a massive pulp operation based in China, Singapore and Indonesia.

The company is accused by Greenpeace of illegal logging and other misdeeds. The Tea Party institute says Greenpeace is colluding with U.S. interests to block cheaper imports, harm developing countries and drive up prices for everyday Americans.

American shouldn't allow the government to "hold hostage the rights of folks abroad to grow their economies and lift themselves out of poverty," says Andrew Langer, the group's president, in the YouTube video.

Who's paying his group to push the cause of large Asian paper firms?

Langer won't say, according to the Times.