Posts Tagged ‘Operation Steadfast’

Dear Readers: I have an update from my “Operation Steadfast” series. Sadly, it seems that the Board of the national organization, Tea Party Patriots, recently fired Dawn Wildman (co-founder of San Diego’s SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition and hard-working citizen activist). Even more upsetting to me is that the reason for this firing stems from the fact Dawn was working hard to course-correct a group that seems intent on heading into the super-massive-black-hole of destructive Beltway insider politics. However, what really infuriates me is this:


There is only one word that adequately defines this tactic:

Tea Party Patriots doesn’t pay any of the California Tea Party coordinators one damn dime for the HUNDREDS and THOUSANDS of man- and woman-hours spent trying to promote ballot initiatives and citizen activism in this state. Dawn and Brad Roltgen have invested a lot of blood, sweat and tears both creating and sustaining a “California Citizen’s Network” that has achieved many tea-party-inspired successes (Stop SB810, Defeating Prop 1A).

We have achieved these wins without a whole lot of help from any national organization, including Tea Party Patriots.

So, I ask Jenny Beth Martin (President of TPP), Debbie Dooley, and the rest of the TPP Board: What gives YOU the right to come in and dictate who volunteers and how they volunteer? Because, quite frankly, you only have the power WE choose to give you — and none of us have chosen YOU to decide who can volunteer with us and who can’t.

In an attempt to see if other Tea Party Coordinators were thinking along the same lines as Sarah Bond or myself (the other SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition Co-founders), I talked to two outstanding and effective Tea Party volunteers: Marc Harris of the Tea Party of North Orange County and Terry Crumpley (who has been with Tea Party in the Hills in Placerville for almost three years and am now co-founding a new group, Sierra Foothills Tea Party: Citizens in Action, in Cameron Park). Both organizers indicated they do not intend to lose focus on the goal: Fixing the Golden State.

“We don’t have time for these distractions,” said Terry. “Local politics is the most important; policies that impact your own backyard. Dawn’s been there since the beginning. She has been working really hard. I am planning to work with her or anyone else who is working for a better future in California”.

Marc concurs: “We have got a lot to accomplish by November. We need to focus on what we need to do, and how to fix what is broken. I am going to work with anyone who helps me fight against the common enemy — big government.”

Marc noted that his group is promoting STOP SPECIAL INTEREST MONEY NOW (a ballot measure that will decouple union dues from the political donation process and the ELECTION INTEGRITY PROJECT (the California equivalent of True-the-Vote, fighting the toxic effects of voter fraud on our democracy). Terry is working on a wide variety of rural-based matters, including fighting-back on Agenda 21 (The government directing all land use, which even some Democrats find objectionable).

Marc is deeply concerned that his worst fears about the national-level Tea Party group has been realized: It has been infiltrated with Beltway insiders who serve their own ambitions and those big-money interests who ultimately pay them. “The moment you start taking money from special interest groups is the very moment you stop listening to your grassroots constituency. This time, we grassroots aren’t going to stick around and take it silently.”

Marc explained that he tried to arrange for a private meeting with Jenny Beth Martin, the National Coordinator of Tea Party Patriots. He wanted to express his personal concerns about the direction the group was heading. It seems that Jenny Beth is A-OK meeting with well-connected establishment elites now heavily involved with TPP (Scot Crockett, Ernest Istook and Ken Campbell) privately. However, she wouldn’t meet with Marc, despite the fact he has been a citizen organizer since the very beginning of this movement in 2009 and has personally known her for nearly as long.

(MUT Note: Reading up on Istook a bit, I wanted to share a CRONY CAPITALISM WARNING — Istook received $29,000 in campaign contributions from Abramoff and some of his clients. Istook wrote letters urging the Bush administration to reject a casino proposal that Abramoff’s clients opposed. On January 9, 2006, Istook announced he would give $23,000 in Abramoff-related money that was donated to his re-election campaign or his PAC to the Boy Scouts of America. Also, this gem on Crockett: A long-time beltway political hack who has played both sides of the fence at the DCI Group, one of Washington’s oldest political-advisory-to-the-highest-bidder firms in DC. )

You know, if these political poo-bahs were so HOT, then why is this country is such trouble?

At the present time, I am given to understand that National Tea Party Patriots intends to undermine Dawn at every turn — despite the fact she is volunteering to help maintain a network that has benefited our state tremendously and will continue to be a force though the 2012 election season. Though I am not at liberty to disclose all that is happening at this point, if I were a member of Tea Party Patriots, I would seriously consider not donating any more money until I saw the group demonstrate substantially more respect for the local grassroots organization.

And, please stop by the Shrine for regular updates, which I will provide as I get them.

Until then:

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Dear Readers: Continuing with a review of Tea Party (past, present, and future), I offer the next installment of my Operation Steadfast series. Before I begin – a big thanks to Mark Meckler for his kind mention of one of my earlier series entries (Thinking about Tea Party Progress)!

As a reminder, the basis of this series is a discussion I had with Shrine friend, Patriot76. Inspired by KT of the Scratching Post, I offer this as my theme graphic of today:


Patriot76: So the Tea Party organizers became the leaders because they organized the event?

It was a combination of factors: The experience organizing, the time they volunteered, their natural charisma, their ability to do media well. The more they could organize, the more of a leadership role they played.

However, there is only one true Tea Party Leader.

I kid. The real answer resides in “The Starfish and the Spider”: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations. There is none, if a group is honest and fully non-partisan. Essentially, a tea party group naturally coalesces around issues that are important to them and candidates who express their values. There do not need to be issued policy statements.

Patriot76: And then local TP organizations gravitated toward one another to form larger TP groups?

Yes and no. I think the first year, people were inspired to go big, like the Washington DC Tea Party. But, over time, I think individual Tea Party groups are returning to state and local focus – and I personally think this is better and more sustainable.

But I fear a lot of Americans are returning to the pre-Tea Party days: Donate a few dollars to a national group, write a few comments on a favorite blog site, and be done. If we want working Constitutional Republic, we all have to pitch in and become more involved.

Interestingly, Newt Gingrich’s win in South Carolina has alleviated some of my concerns. With the conclusion of 3 primaries with 3 different victors, I sense each state and local region is vetting and assessing each candidate based on their concerns — and they are not heeding the top-down policy dictates of the Washington DC crowd.

I also like the fact that the primary season will be extended, so that Team Obama can’t target one specific person for the full media Monty. As a former Obama campaign staffer is currently under arrest for the identity theft of a Republican Secretary of State, hoping to undermine the GOP’s hold in this office, there is no level too low for Team Obama to stoop. For a walk down memory lane for further proof, check HillBuzz and Hillary is 44.

As I said: I have no dog in this GOP primary fight. I also think that whoever is nominated by the GOP will have a real battle ahead, and that Tea Party members will often be more jazzed when supporting House and Senate candidates during Operation Counterweight. It is because all of the candidates from both sides suffer from an elite perspective. A great essay I came across explains this further: The New American Divide by Charles Murray.

People are starting to notice the great divide. The tea party sees the aloofness in a political elite that thinks it knows best and orders the rest of America to fall in line. The Occupy movement sees it in an economic elite that lives in mansions and flies on private jets. Each is right about an aspect of the problem, but that problem is more pervasive than either political or economic inequality. What we now face is a problem of cultural inequality.

One last thing to note: Local Democrat Congressman Bob Filner has been busy killing American energy independence. How? He is part of a team of Democrats proposing ‘Reasonable Profits Board’ to control oil company profits. Considering that a gallon of beer costs more than a gallon of gas, the fact that there are many more kinds of businesses (e.g., film industry) that have higher levels of profits, and the outcry of the public regarding the killing of the Keystone project, I am wondering exactly what level of profits will be deemed reasonable and how this policy would be implemented.

Here is a little something for Beers with Demo (from flowingdata.com):

I must admit, I am open to changing my mind. If Filner proposes this Windfall Profits punishment for Hollywood, the music business, and the fashion industry, I could get in board with this scheme.

Perhaps Filner and his buddies should get back to working on their primary task: Creating a budget for this country.

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Dear Readers: A continuation of my Operation Steadfast series, which takes a look at the history of Tea Party development, provides a look at current state of national organizations, and offers direction for future citizen activism.

Here is the continuing dialog between myself and Patriot76, which is the platform for this review:


Patriot76: And people just kind of gravitated to the Tea Party events without really knowing the organizers?

Yes. And the networking that occurred at those events during the first year has fueled life-long friendships and continues to develop interpersonal connections. Americans have a love of community
and freedom that bring them together during hardship. And most of us have had hardships because of the failure of the big government approach and elite bureau-tocracy.

Our blogging group, the San Diego Local Order of Bloggers (SLOBs), stems from the friendships made during rallies and in the quest to promote news and share information on San Diego and California issues. In fact, here are some of us at our first “Beer Summit”, a meeting of minds that we now hold regularly to discuss and debate current events.

This type of thing is occurring throughout the country, as explained in this excellent piece on the current state of the Tea Party: Special report: Tea Party grassroots army readies for battle

Now, instead of rallies, citizens are being elected into local and state offices or are otherwise working to promote specific candidates or agenda items. This is the true Tea Party legacy. However, we do have some special rally plans for October 2012 — focused on the plethora of tax-raising initiatives that Brown plans to offer us.

Reviewing the history, the only logical conclusion one can draw is: A national Tea Party organization should promoting NETWORKS not POLICY.

For example, that means that a Californian like myself would like to donate to a Missouri candidate for a national position in a close race. I would trust my Missouri friends to know if their citizen candidate is worthy. So, instead of squandering my money on a losing fight in my state, I can help turn the tide in another – helping the entire country.

Speaking of networking, I want to draw your attention to two websites I want to promote this week. Mark Meckler, one of my favorite citizen activists, and a friend of the Shrine, has a great blog: Across the Fence with Mark Meckler. He has got a new post out, which caught my eye: U.S. Gun Sales Continue at Record Pace I am thinking to buy a shotgun, so I hope to chat with him regarding tips, tricks, and the adventures of gun ownership.

I want to also give a big shout out to Chris Reed’s site: Calwhine. Chris was gracious enough to have me opine regularly on his excellent radio show. As I try to follow California matters closely, this is going to be my go-to spot. Here is a gem from Chris’ collection: Sacramento pundits think voters are chumps, chapter 237.

Hat-Tip: Chris Reed's Calwhine.com

I am going to conclude with a ratings-generation experiment proposed by fellow SLOB Beers with Demo: Featuring a photo and mention of a big name celebrity. As I have the day off from work, and the Young Prince is with his grandmother, I am going to get in touch with my horror-movie loving Romanian roots. I am going to go to watch The Underworld with Kate Beckinsale as a Vampire Warrior.

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Dear Readers: I wanted to give you a heads-up that I begged Dawn Wildman to do the interview with LaDona Harvey regarding the California budget insanity yesterday. She did an amazing job, and is worthwhile hearing if you didn’t catch the original broadcast. (Click HERE to listen; her segment begins around minute 30).

And this is a helpful segue in how to recognize quality citizen leadership among various tea party groups. That is, people in a group should ask if their spokespeople are more interested in presenting the groups’ messages, or if they are there to promote themselves.

As a freelance journalist, I have directly seen the consequences of regular people exposed to a tremendous amount of media in a short period of time. If those people are well grounded and circumspect, then the experience is not detrimental to their character. On the other hand… well just take a look at Megan McCain and shudder:

So, continuing my Operation Steadfast series, here is the next segment of dialog between Patriot76 and myself:

Patriot76: Weren’t most of these organizations [i.e., tea party local, state, and national groups] initiated and organized by normal people?

Yes. Most still are. However, as Tammy Bruce notes, people exposed to sudden media attention can get publicity addiction. It occurs when a person begins using any and all occasions to get in front of a camera or reporter in order to become news.

Publicity addiction is, tragically, a common occurrence. For example, it makes people do things, such as convince themselves they can be the next Fox News Pundit after a gentle interview by one of the Fox News anchors. In one instance, media addiction convinced an activist he could be the next Governor of California with no political experience.

I became Catholic, in part, to focus on the having the humility necessary to avoid publicity addiction. I think I am mostly successful, though I really love going on Fox Business Network.

However, I will admit to one addiction. My name is Leslie Eastman and I am an Instalink addict. I love those spikes in page view. The adrenaline rush of realizing my punditry is going to be seen by millions of informed people around the world is thrilling. As Glenn Reynolds is an independent thinker, genius opiner, and one of the Internet’s most famous trailblazers, getting a link from him is an amazing experience.

I try to control it; so, I don’t email Professor Reynolds all my platinum punditry. Just most of it. 🙂 And I am totally emailing him this.

I would like to note I also suffer from link-addiction to the Anchoress, Legal Insurrection, The Other Mccain, HillBuzz, and the members of the San Diego Local Order of bloggers. I would also like to send a special shout-out to LaDona Harvey and Tammy Bruce for indulging some of this addiction as it relates to radio and podcasts.

I want to conclude with a compare and contrast to highlight my point. A while back, I was invited to do segments on Top Story with Chris Reed. It was a great honor to be asked. The theme was the local Tea Party views on the 2012 Presidential Primary.

Mindful that the SLOBs have a wide array of preferred candidates, I would confer with all of them to get a feel for what they were thinking. THEN I would mention the diversity of opinion.

On the other hand, it seems that Amy Kremer is going to go top-down in support of Rick Santorum. Santorum is not my cup of tea, and I am amazed any Tea Party national group would be so tone-deaf as to try and do a top-down endorsement of anyone from the current field. There is a vast diversity of opinion as to “electability”. Vast.

I wouldn’t do it. Then again, I am content being a happy asteroid in the galaxy of media rather than trying to be a mega-star. It usually doesn’t work out too well.

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