Who’s Your Daddy?
Alright folks, you just can’t make up anything more bizarre than what actually occurs at the capitol. The perennially pregnant Representative Skye McNiel recently gave birth to the latest member of the clan which in itself is hardly breaking news. But what was funny about the birth announcement was that it wasn’t done by the mother or her family, it wasn’t done by the father or his family, the birth announcement was done by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kris Steele:
From: Kris Steele
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 4:08 PM
Subject: Rep. Skye McNiel
House Members and Staff:
Please join me in congratulating Rep. Skye McNiel on the birth of her daughter, Sami Steele McNiel. Rep. McNiel and her husband, Pecos, welcomed their baby girl into the world Monday morning. She weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. Mom and daughter are doing great.
Congratulations to the McNiel family!
But it gets even weirder, perhaps even more than a little creepy, approaching appalling in my opinion. The parents named the baby after Speaker Steele… as in Sami Steele McNiel. Did the baby, God forbid, have a bad leg or something? Is she now destined to be shot with a Daisy BB gun by one of her friends resulting in a six figure settlement? Perhaps Speaker Steele might reconsider those caps on legal damages if his namesake might have to walk, uh, hobble in his footsteps.
Another thing about this whole name thing. Sami Steele McNiel. Really? If this was a boy child I could guarantee he would learn to fight at an early age or at least learn how to take a beating. Sami Steele McNiel sounds like the noms de guerre for a super hero or a porn star. And if the poor thing has to go through life with a gimpy leg as a result of being named after Kris Steele, outrunning bullies isn’t going to be an option. Note to self Representative Skye McNiel, if you are running out of names for the kids, you might want to figure out exactly what is causing your constant fecund condition.
But after some thought, this whole Steele middle name is beginning to make perfect sense. When I don’t understand something, I go back to some sage advice I heard long ago, “words mean things”. Naming little Sami Steele McNiel might have been a deliberate act. Noms de guerre is French for “war name” and came from a sixteenth century custom where French soldiers were required to adopt a nickname that was usually linked to their home town or to a specific physical or psychological trait. So either the McNiel family decided to name their child after a small potatoes Oklahoma politician so that the child would to have to fight a lot, or perhaps even more nauseous, perhaps the child looks like Speaker Steele?
Okay, okay… finish reading the newsletter before you send us hate mail. You really didn’t think we would pick on the Oklahoma Octomom without a good reason did you? Besides the term "Who's your daddy" came from the 1968 song "Time of the Season" by The Zomvies.
"What's your name? Who's your daddy? Is he rich like me?"
Click on this link
and you can listen to "Time of the Season" while you read the newslettter.
The term "Who's your daddy?" is commonly used as a boastful claim of dominance over the intended listener. In this case we are using the term to show Speaker Steele's need for dominance even over something as obscure as one of his lieutenants having a child. But since Speaker Steele brought Representative McNiel to our attention, let's take a look at her voting record and whether or not she is representing her constituents.
Representative Skye McNiel is known as the Speaker that would never be. She represents House District 29
, which runs roughly in a rectangle from Oilton to Manford to Kellyville to Bristow, and it is a thoroughly rural district. That would mean she would be focused on agriculture, farming and ranching issues, right? Wrong… Representative McNiel’s puppet strings are pulled by one Kell Kelly, the head of Spirit Bank. Just to set the scene here, Spirit Bank pulled in $30,000,000 in bailout funds
, they even brag about it on their website.
Todd Hiett, former Speaker of the House
Representative McNiel was former Speaker Todd Hiett’s protégé so McNiel was supposed to be the next Speaker of the House after Kris Steele had termed out. Why? Because before he left Todd Hiett had engineered the Kris Steele speakership, that unholy 2010 alliance between Tulsa legislators, rural legislators, and a segment of the conservative legislative block.
Tulsa has had their share of speakers recently, first Hiett (from Kellyville, suburb of Tulsa), followed by the short lived Lance Cargill (Oklahoma City), then Chris Benge (Tulsa), then Kris Steele (Shawnee), and then a failed attempt to bring the Speaker post back to rural leadership with the Jeff Hickman (Woodward). But what happened to Skye McNiel’s shot at being speaker?
The Speakership had gone Tulsa, OKC, Tulsa, Shawnee, then the position was supposed to go back to Tulsa/Kellyville with McNiel. Why did the Speaker Steele’s unholy alliance cause Skye McNiel to be skipped over and why did the RINOs try to throw the Speakership to Rep Hickman from Woodward?
The answer is twofold:
A: Kris Steele’s actions immediately after he gained the Speakership
B: The true nature of what drives many rural legislators.
Immediately after being elected Speaker, Kris Steele’s first act was to turn on the conservative legislators that helped ensure his election. Everyone remembers Speaker Steele’s comments in the Oklahoman where he spoke of not pursuing “social issues”, a code word for conservative issues like pro life, family values, and gun rights. Instead, Speaker Steele said he would focus on economic development and tort reform. The small town, pro life pastor forgot all about abortion and stem cell research banns and went to work restoring tax credits for corporate welfare programs, ramming Obama Care/Fallin Care Health Insurance Exchanges through, and gutting the 7th Amendment right to have a jury of one’s peers decide the outcome of lawsuits.
If someone betrays you once then it is their fault;
If they betray you twice, it is your fault.
Speaker Steele declared war on his former conservative allies, going after Sally Kern, Mike Reynolds, and Randy Terrill with reprimands and worse. Almost all of the conservative legislators had their bills killed before committee while it was Black Friday for the State Chamber of Commerce. Representative Ritze and others were even stripped of certain committee assignments to ensure they were where they could do no harm to his agenda. Speaker Steele’s betrayal of the conservative faction was deliberate and purposeful, no doubt mindful of the Machiavellian rule that when you turn on allies to never allow your victim’s kin to survive but to stamp out his entire lineage to prevent future retaliation.
Another part of the primary reason that Representative McNiel was kicked out of the Speaker lineup was Speaker Steele’s need to mend fences with the rural legislators after turning on the conservatives. Think about it, if you are in a triangular alliance and you see the head of the alliance turn on one third of your allies, it stands to reason that you will be next. By kicking one of Tulsa’s legislators to the curb and attempting to bring in another rural legislator as the next Speaker, Kris Steele paid penance for his dirty deed against the conservatives.
The second reason why Skye McNiel was thrown under the bus was the true nature of what drives many rural legislators. One would think that farming and ranching interests dominate the rural legislator’s supporters but that would be far from the truth. Rural areas have small town Chamber of Commerce organizations and they are the drivers of rural venture tax credit schemes and economic development schemes like Quartz Mountain and the Bank of Altus scandal which are nothing more than wealth re distribution, taking taxes that large cities generate which are then given to the smaller towns and rural districts.
That means working hand in hand with the State Chamber of Commerce on things like stopping illegal immigration reform, voting for transvestite birth certificate changes, and forcing Obama Care/Fallin Care down the throats of Oklahomans. It also means stopping any 10th Amendment issues or 2nd Amendment issues to prevent Oklahoma from looking “backward’. Do they also have a pro gay agenda? You betcha sailor!
Now Speaker Steele didn’t completely screw over Representative McNiel. He had left open the option of having McNiel as the next Speaker after Hickman. Take a look at McNiel’s legislation, mostly economic development projects and tax credit schemes; they have her carrying water for the State Chamber of Commerce and repaying political favors. She has paid her dues and Speaker Steele will find a way to compensate her this session.
Okay, still with me here? I know this stuff is boring but you need to know what is going down at the capitol and why. Once you know how they operate, they won't be able to lie to you any longer. And you know what? I think we need to add treats to the newsletter as rewards for reading it. That "Time of the Seasons" song addition was a good idea. Here is another for you "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress
", not intended to reflect on Representative McNiel. It should open up another window for you, crank it up while you read.
Here are the bills that Representative McNiel ran last session:
The shortening of the moratorium on the income tax credit for the reimbursement of tuition and compensation of aerospace engineers will result in an estimated direct revenue loss of $5.9 million in fiscal year 2012, as estimated by the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Look at the votes,
conservative legislators allied with Democrats on one side, RINOs on the other.
Venture Capital Formation Tax Incentive Modification Act of 2011
Enough said there, eh?
A tax on composting facilities of $1.25 per ton.
I would think that the more you tax something, the less of it you get. Why would they want to hinder companies diverting waste streams from landfills?
Increased authorization to enforce size and weight requirements at stationary and permanent scale facilities.
Can you say “More fees!”
creating the Oklahoma Quick Action Closing Fund, the new Mary Fallin slush fund to bribe companies to relocate to Oklahoma or to pay them to stay. Look at the votes
, the usual good legislators on one side, the usual bad legislators on the other.
Eliminates some sales taxes on oil refining equipment
A special interest bill that cost the state $42,000 in lost taxes, a paltry sum considering the work and effort it takes to make a special law.
Authorizing utilities to enter into long-term gas supply agreements. There is one clause that doesn’t seem kosher:
“Additionally, the measure stipulates that the approval of a long-term gas supply agreement is not to be reversed by the Commission, even if the agreement price is higher than a future market price of natural gas.”
Sounds like an invitation to steal from consumers.
A bill concerning opening of new roads or highways.
The intended purpose seemed to be to allow expanding businesses to open up new roads on their property, and since the law required an investment of ten million dollars and 25 new jobs, it appears that the idea was to have the new road paid for by the taxpayers. Likely a bill filed to benefit an existing business deal.
Concerns limits on pig farms, three miles from a recreation area or camp with over 2,000 visitors per year and one mile from those private recreation areas or camps with less than 2,000 visitors per year.
I suppose that people that go to the smaller church camps don’t have as a acute sense of smell.
Ah, this is an important one. No wonder there wasn’t any time for conservative bills last session! HCR 1005 creates “Water Appreciation Day” at the Oklahoma State Capitol and urges all Oklahoma citizens to respect the value and significance of the water resources in Oklahoma.
So Representative McNiel had one bill that was rural in nature, the pig farm set back bill. The rest of her ten bills were tax and fee increases, special interest bills, and the slush fund for Governor Fallin bill. Representative McNiel has certainly carried her share of water for the State Chamber so it must be galling for her to watch Representative Shannon’s rise to the 2013 Speaker slot. And the appropriately nick named Representative McNiel will now live up to the nick name of the Speaker that would never be.
Okay, you've been good, you are still here. Here is another treat "Bad Moon Rising
" and this one is appropriate for ending Representative McNiel's article and starting the next.
Obama Care/Fallin Care Health Insurance Exchange meeting December 8th
Below is an announcement sent out by House leadership on the Obama Care/Fallin Care Health Insurance Exchanges which are the first required step of implementing Obama Care in Oklahoma:
There will be a presentation at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 8th in Room 419C of the Oklahoma Capitol to cover Health Insurance Exchanges under the Affordable Care Act: State-run vs. federally facilitated. This overview will include federal requirements for a compliant state-run health insurance exchange; Oklahoma's readiness to enact such an insurance exchange; recent developments/predictions about legislative/executive action at the state-level on exchanges; and updates on other federal/state health policy partnerships.
The presenter, Kate Richey of the Oklahoma Policy Institute, has a degree in International Business from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Masters degree in Political Science from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is currently a PhD Candidate in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma and works as a Policy Analyst for the Oklahoma Policy Institute specializing in health care, immigration, and anti-poverty issues.
I would encourage people to attend and to voice your opposition to any sort of government involvement in personal health care. One would think that the presenter, Kate Richey, would understand that Oklahomans do not want any part of this, a fact that must be less obvious to doctoral candidates of Political Science.
Now take a break while Bad Moon finishes playing
This one is for Laura for all her hard work on the Ron Paul campaign.
Ron Paul Activist Social Set for December 11th
The Ron Paul Activists are hosting an event called “A Season of Liberty” on Sunday December 11th at 6:00 p.m. The event includes a Holiday Social and Silent Auction with Cocktails & Hors d'oeuvres and will be at the Ron Paul Headquarters at 106 East Main in Norman Ok. Ron Paul types tend to be younger than the average conservative but very libertarian minded and constitutional minded so they are an interesting bunch to interact with.
We all need to remember who knocked down the Defense bill Thursday night, the bill that would have allowed indefinite detainment of American citizens without court review. Reports stated that something as innocuous as having a missing finger or storing more than seven days worth of food were grounds for investigation as a potential terrorist. The bill had already passed the House and would have passed the Senate on a voice vote. But Senator Rand Paul, Ron Paul’s son, demanded a voice vote, causing the Senate bill to be defeated. If that doesn’t make up your mind to support Ron Paul then nothing else will. The man has walked and talked the constitution and limited government for two decades and has obviously taught his son the same principles.
If you wish to attend the Ron Paul Holiday Social, please R.S.V.P Laura at 310-3362 or email to RonPaulNorman@gmail.com
House Ethics Committee or
This treat is for those that supported Speaker Steele
on this new "ethics" committee
The term "Star Chamber" fits this story because it comes from an English secret court that originally was formed to punish those so powerful that normal courts couldn't touch them. Eventually the Star Chamber began being used on ordinary Englishmen where the secrecy and lack of transparency allowed it to be used against political enemies.
Last legislative session was a battleground for conservatives after House leadership turned on them after the Speaker election. Representative Randy Terrill got in trouble for talking tough after he became frustrated over one of the Speaker’s little deceptions. The fact that the comments occurred in a private office were of little concern to the Speaker, he felt he had been disrespected so he was out for payback.
We saw Representative Sally Kern reprimanded for comments made during a House debate, for making a comment that some women found offensive. Now is it just me or don’t we usually carve out exceptions for “minority” groups on such things? The black community uses a particular slur on each other and no one objects. Bill Cosby was allowed to say things that would have gotten a white person hounded off the public stage. There have always been exemptions for politically incorrect speech as long as it comes from within the affected community. So why was Sally Kern singled out? Oh yeah, she was a conservative.
We saw Representative Mike Reynolds reprimanded after he objected to a preacher haranguing the House instead of giving the expected opening prayer.
Then Representative Randy Terrill received a second dose of attention from House leadership after he was charged with alleged campaign violations in the Leftwich scandal.
The Leftwich case developed into a $168,000 House investigation of the Leftwich scandal and focused on Representative Terrill but the investigating committee not only returned a recommendation of not reprimanding Representative Terrill, they did so in the first phase of the process. Looking at the list of members of that committee finds few conservatives if any, compounded by the fact that Terrill refused to participate, leaving one to understand that there simply wasn’t enough evidence to discipline anyone.
Even more instructive is that the committee reported back to Speaker Steele at the end of the first meeting that there simply was nothing there but Speaker Steele ordered the committee to continue to meet in order to save face for Speaker Steele. After all, it was Speaker Steele that ordered the investigation, to come up with nothing meant that the investigation was intended as punishment for a member that was refusing to toe the line. In a crude attempt to salvage both his pride and his reputation, Speaker Steele quietly ordered the investigative committee leaders to recommend a permanent Ethics Committee be established.
Okay, Okay, there was more to it than that, you caught me. Speaker Steele's cronies were hired as oustide House Counsel for the investigating committee. Dang, that was a twofer, bash your enemies and enrich your buddies with one deal.
Ready for another treat? This one fits the rest of this story to a tee. "Paint it Black
The idea of a permanent Ethics Committee in itself is not a bad decision. Article 5 Section 30 of the Oklahoma Constitution gives the legislature ability to discipline members:
Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.
Note that the constitution says “legislature” not the leaders of the legislature. The constitution doesn’t lay out specifics of the management of the House or Senate so when our state government started the members of the legislatures addressed this by formulating specific House and Senate rules that are submitted from a special committee and voted upon during the opening day of each legislative session. Indeed the legislature is prohibited from doing any other work until the rules are established.
The rules are expected to clear, setting out rules of conduct so that everyone knows where the lines are drawn, and those rules included having the entire House or Senate vote on individual cases where disciplining members was warranted. That satisfied the Constitutional requirement that each “House” may determine the rules, not “House leaders” may determine the rules.
So if we are a nation of laws, one would expect that the legislature itself be governed by the laws they enact. The current set of House rules
covers decorum only in section 4.4 other than in section 1.3 where the Speaker of the House is allowed to preserve the order and decorum of the House:
1.3 – Preservation of Order and Decorum
(a) The Speaker shall preserve order and decorum. In case of any disturbance or disorderly conduct in the Hall of the House of Representatives or in other areas of the Capitol assigned to the House, the Speaker shall have the power to order the same to be cleared or direct any other action necessary to preserve order and decorum.
(b) Appearances or presentations by school or other groups shall not be permitted on the floor of the House during the four (4) legislative days immediately preceding sine die adjournment as the Speaker may designate.
Nowhere in the current House rules are there any rules allowing a House member to be chastised for the particular words used in debate or for conversations in private offices that doesn’t affect order or decorum. If an argument occurs in a public space at the House portion of the Capitol to the point where the behavior becomes unseemly or disruptive then Speaker Steele could get involved. If you look up the definition of decorum, it means “dignified propriety of behavior or speech”. I submit that none of the three House members reprimanded in the 2011 legislative session were involved in undignified behavior, they were reprimanded for speaking their mind.
If the Speaker were concerned about decorum he would have reprimanded former Representative Dan Sullivan when Sullivan got caught having sex on a desk with a House staff member (Well, he did have to marry her so perhaps he was punished), or Representative Don Armes for screaming at two women in the lobby of the House chamber during the closing days of the 2011 legislative session, or Representative Sue Tibbs when she screamed at 2nd Amendment supporters in the House lobby, or Representative Dank for calling Representatives Ritze and Reynolds childish names on the House floor.
Now the House rules are by no means perfect, indeed they were rammed down the throats of Republicans and Democrats alike when they were adopted. Members were not allowed to debate the rules that a small group of House leaders developed in secret, nor were amendments allowed to be filed in advance. As a matter of fact, sources told us that only six House leaders had a copy of the rules prior to the opening vote on February 7th 2011.
Normally the minority party is allowed to offer amendments that are negotiated before the rules are subjected to a vote of the House. This year though, Speaker Steele reportedly refused to allow the Democrats any input, breaking a long standing custom. Capitol sources claim that Speaker Steele allegedly said "I don't give a sh*t what they think" when asked about House rules ammendments from the Democratic Caucus.
The new rules increased the number of votes required to record how individual House members voted, making it difficult to hold Representative accountable for their votes. It also restricted legislators from asking that various meetings and committee conferences be recorded by the House media organization or even asking for a recorded vote unless prior notification had been requested.
Speaker Steele set up this new Ethics Commission simply to keep House members in line, to keep them on the plantation so to speak. By bypassing the Constitutional authority of Article 5 Section 30 and the current House rules that specifically lay out what is permitted and what is prohibited, Speaker Steele is violating the law. Think about this for a second, if Speaker Steele gets to appoint those on the committee and remove them at will, then he can pretty much stack the deck against any Representative that dares to stand against his agenda. Is there any doubt on who will be targeted?
Treat! This time for Speaker Steele himself. "Bad to the Bone
" Not that he has been good but it was too funny on too many levels to pass up. Speaker Steele doesn't stutter by any chance does he?
Speaker Steele created this unaccountable Star Chamber with the power to make their own rules and procedures without input from other members of the legislature. If the 2011 legislative session is any indicator, Speaker Steele will use this new Ethics Committee to harass, intimidate, and impugn any dissidents or holdouts to his progressive/liberal agenda. His purpose is to turn House members away from representing the interests of the House District that elected them and have them become House leadership serfs.
The new Lords of the Star Chamber will meet this coming Monday, December 5th, at 10:00 A.M. at the Skylab III Room at the Gordon Cooper Technology Center, 4801 N. Harrison St, Shawnee Ok. This meeting should be open to the public so please attend and sign up to comment on the proceedings if so allowed.
Please call your Representative today and leave him a message on his answering machine and send him an email through his House email system asking him or her to force a caucus vote on this unconstitutional bypass of existing law. The entire legislature should be involved in disciplining House members not a handful of Speaker Steele’s political cronies.
The House Ethics Committee members are:
Rep. Gary W. Banz, Chairman, Rep. Jabar Shumate, Vice Chairman, Rep. Dennis Casey, Rep. Ann Coody, Rep. Danny Morgan, Rep. R.C. Pruett, Rep. Wade Rousselot, Rep. Todd Russ, Rep. David Brumbaugh (Alternate), and Rep. Rebecca Hamilton (Alternate).
Please call your Senator and Repesentative even if they are Democrat and ask them to stand up to House leadership's bully tactics.
House Caucus meeting Monday December 5th
The final Republican Caucus meeting for 2011 is scheduled in Shawnee and once again the entire event will be dominated by the State Chamber of Commerce. One of House leadership’s excuses is that taxpayer money is stretched by allowing the Chamber to subsidize the costs and that would be true but it allows the Chamber to wine and dine legislators outside the regular ethics reporting system.
Conservatives have reached out and offered to host the event. I spoke to the leader of one group on Friday that had made a public offer to personally pay for the costs of this December Republican Caucus Dinner on Monday night. Speaker Steele told him ; “We couldn’t allow you to be the exclusive dinner host but you conservatives could participate and be represented”. (Note the "you conservatives"?) That promise was never fulfilled by Speaker Steele. Instead the Pottawatomie County Development Authority and the State Chamber have exclusive access to the legislators.
Below is the agenda for the Shawnee Republican Caucus Retreat. The highlight is the Monday night dinner hosted by State Chamber interests and the State Chamber's main lobbyist groujp, CMA Strategies, who is scheduled to give a "polling update”. CMA Strategies brags about their influence over Oklahoma legislators:
“ …our relationships with many influential legislators are deeper than a typical lobbyist relationship.”
What will House and Senate leadership be focusing on at this Republican retreat? Well, the rest of the State Chamber agenda that wasn’t fulfilled this session, including taxing internet purchases to recover lost sales taxes, transfer payments from metropolitan areas to rural areas, and repaying the political debts or outgoing House and Senate members.
As a extra bonus, they hope to inoculate the House and Senate members against conservative legislation being demanded by their constituents, legislation that would make the voters happy but that would set back the big business agenda in the state.
An excellent example is how this works is this session when Speaker Steele refused to allow a stem cell research ban bill to come to a vote in the House in the last legislative session. Now on a personal level I am not on one side or the other of the stem cell research debate, however, Speaker Steele is a Christian pastor and supposedly pro life/anti abortion. Why would Speaker Steele stand in the way of an issue that his constituents and the members of his church would want?
Because Speaker Steele has his own exit strategy lined up, a nice job just waiting for him at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation after he term limits out this year, he isn't worried about the results of his agenda. Speaker Steele will benefit from keeping legislators out of touch with the predominantly conservative issues, he has cut his deal with the bureaucracy and the State Chamber at the expense of the freshmen legislators, pulled the wool over their eyes most of last session and if he can continue to confuse them a big payday is his reward.
Last legislative session I told the freshmen legislators that House leadership would fight to the last drop of their blood while keeping their skirts clean. Their strategy depended on freshmen legislators wanting to believe that veteran House leaders had the best interests in mind of the average Oklahoman and would do nothing to harm the political viability of rank and file House members.
The majority of freshmen legislators rebelled in April over the repeated attempts to ram Obama Care/Fallin Care through the house when they banded together and sent out the press release where they publically stood against House leadership. That along with pressure from the Sooner Tea Party and other grass roots organizations lead to Governor Mary Fallin returning the 53 million in Federal funds for implementing Obama Care/Fallin Care Health Insurance Exchanges.
But if you look at the State Chambers list of political demands
, they continue to push for Obama Care and increases in state government health insurance programs like Insure Oklahoma. Why? Because they want health care costs off their payrolls and onto the back of taxpaying Oklahomans.
Please call your legislators and demand that they refuse to attend the special interest events at the Shawnee Republican Caucus Retreat. Tell them to let House leadership know that they will not go along with the internet sales tax scheme or any of the State Chamber agenda schemes but will represent their constituents and look out for the public’s interests.
Here is the agenda that was sent out for the Shawnee retreat:
2011 Republican Caucus Retreat
Monday, December 5th and Tuesday, December 6th
Monday, December 5th
· There are two events to choose from:
1. Golf – House members only
o 12:30pm-1:15pm – Lunch
o 1:30pm – Tee off
2. Tours – House members and/or Spouses
o 12:30pm-1:15pm – Lunch
o 1:30pm-2:30pm – Tour
o 3:00pm-4:00pm – Tour
o 4:00-5:30 – Helicopter Rides
o Casual attire
- 6:30pm – Dinner at the Oklahoma Baptist University Geiger Center – 500 W. University St., Shawnee, 74804, click here for a printable map of the campus
- Spouses welcome
- Business causal attire
- Performance by Bison Glee Club
- Introduction of Guest Speaker – Lt. Governor Todd Lamb
- Keynote Address – Governor Mary Fallin
Tuesday, December 6th
Our Caucus Meeting will be held in the Mabee-Gerrer (pronounced ‘geer’) Museum of Art at St. Gregory’s University, 1900 W. MacArthur Street, Shawnee, OK 74804.
The McCarville Report Article,
an Attack or a Compliment?
Welcome one of our newest readers to the Sooner Tea Party Newsletter, Mike McCarville who is the author of the McCarville Report which is self described as the “gold standard” of political blogs. Now this is one long article but it is filled with the history of the Tea Party movement here in Oklahoma, details about the powerful but short lived OCA umbrella group, and it reveals the character of some of the leaders of the conservative movement.
McCarville must have done his usual through and exhaustive research before writing his article as he misspelled my name throughout the article, so it is not surprising that he botched much of the rest of the article as well. However he did get some things correct so we thought we would show public appreciation for the increased awareness in credibility he gave us by attacking. Let’s go over what McCarville got right in the article before addressing the inaccuracies.
Here is a treat for those that get discoraged when conservatives turn on their own "Believe
First off McCarville did a good job of painting the Sooner Tea Party as combative and uncompromising on the issues, and he mentioned our weekly newsletter, one of the only state newsletters that is read by the entire political establishment, all of the House and Senate, many of the elected state officials, and the resistance alike. He did a great job promoting our article on the flaws in the 2011 Conservative Index and the fact that we laid the blame at Charlie Meadow’s feet. However he didn't link to the newsletter, showing that he didn't want his readers to consider the merits of our article. Pretty cowardly Mike, don't you have faith in your readers?
McCarville also correctly reported that the Sooner Tea Party will not hesitate to go after a Tea Party leader or other conservative that refuses to act or acts in a hypocritical manner. Friday at the High Noon Club I repeatedly heard how we must hold our elected officials accountable. We must also hold our conservative group leaders accountable. Far too many grassroots groups either start out as controlled opposition groups with the purpose of defusing public outrage on an issue or become taken over and corrupted into inaction.
The gist of the McCarville Report article is our last newsletter article where we pointed out the problems with the 2011 Conservative Index while pointing out that Charlie Meadows of OCPAC was responsible for handling the voting on the index, Charlie’s refusal to listen to conservative legislators on the bills included in the index, and Charlie’s lack of due diligence in missing five major bills that were the most obvious bills to be used to separate conservative legislators from liberal/progressive legislators. Those bills were HB1397 transvestite birth certificate vote, HB 2130 Obama Care/Fallin Care vote, HB1446 illegal immigration, HB 1647 Open Carry, and the Charles Key amendment to HR 1008 (all bills get heard in committee).
To show just how widespread the support is for the issues that were left out of the 2011 Conservative Index, at the High Noon Club this last Friday we were treated to an audio clip of Pastor Dan Fisher berating Speaker Kris Steele on April 8th when Speaker Steele spoke at the High Noon club.
In the audio clip, Pastor Fisher asked about HB 1446 (the illegal immigration bill), HB1647 (John Bennett’s Open Carry bill), HB 2130 (Obama Care/Fallin Care), and the Sharia law bill that was killed in the Senate. I tried to ask the High Noon Club a question during the discussion afterward which was this: Were any of those four issues in the 2011 Conservative Index? The answer would have be a resounding “NO!”
The High Noon Club has been labeled as a religious right group, which is a little unfair as the group is unusually tolerant of various opinions as long as they are generally supportive of most conservative issues, but Pastor Fisher is definitely a good representation of the OCPAC crowd so my follow up question would have been: Pastor Fisher, during the OCPAC debate on the 2011 Conservative Index bills, why didn’t you press for the inclusion of Open Carry, Obama Care/Fallin Care, and the illegal immigration bills? There were a lot of hands up during that discussion though and I never got to ask my questions.
The major flaw in the McCarville Report was that McCarville failed to address the facts of the issue at hand and he painted Charlie Meadows as the enemy of all RINOs. We believe that Charlie has either been co opted or has softened his stance to the point where he refuses to criticize any Republican that does ill. Back in the day when Republicans were not in control of both houses of the legislature and didn’t control the Governor’s office, Charlie’s tactics might have been solid. Now we conservatives supposedly own the state government, so why aren’t conservative issues being addressed and good laws passed as Pastor Fisher asked in April?
Charlie Meadows an attacker of RINOs? More like an apologist for many of them! Charlie is more of an attacker of Democrats and liberals, indeed they do not support any Democratic candidates as they are a Republican organization.
The most crucial bit of political advice I’ve ever heard was to always ask how it benefits the politician if we believe what he is telling us. In the case of Mike McCarville attacking the Sooner Tea Party for daring to criticize the 2011 Conservative Index we need to understand what is motivating McCarville to attack. After all, regular readers of this newsletter know that this isn’t the first time we publically spanked Charlie Meadows or mentioned our dismay at the 2011 Conservative Index.
This latest attack is simply McCarville’s attempts to ignite a feud between other Oklahoma conservative groups and the Sooner Tea Party while attacking me personally with half truths and outright inaccuracies in several instances. At the same time McCarville has nothing but left hand praise for Charlie and OCPAC. Are you seeing the picture here? They would much rather have to deal with Charlie than the Sooner Tea Party...
Rather than addressing the motivation of McCarville let’s first look at some of the points he got wrong and we will write an entire article on the motivations of Mike McCarville in a future issue.
As we have already mentioned, this isn’t the first time we have bashed Charlie Meadows and on several occasions Charlie backed down after we took him to task. The time that Sykes killed Sally Kern’s bill on Sharia Law comes to mind, and Sykes was the Senate author of the bill! Charlie initially defended Sykes but backed down a few weeks later and issued a public apology.
Meadows backtracked on Ken Miller during the 2010 election, acting as an apologist for Miller after the OCA umbrella group pointed out that Ken Miller was outright lying about his voting record!
Charlie also backed down on the Obama Care/Fallin Care issue after his own OCPAC members excoriated him for his pro State Chamber stance. This was the second time in a few months that Charlie was forced to issue a retraction and an apology! You gotta admire a man that can say he is wrong, but Charlie has been doing an awful lot of it in the last year. That is evidence that he has lost touch with his own supporters or they are growing away from his tactic of refusing to hold Republicans accountable.
McCarville correctly pointed out that I was registered as an Independent prior to 2009 but he neglected to mention that I had been a Republican until the first Bush presidency when the promise “Read my lips, no new taxes” was uttered and then betrayed by Bush senior. The Republican Party still got my vote as the lesser of evils for the major races but other than that I was like the vast majority of the Tea Party folks, unengaged politically and unaware.
When Jim Inhofe asked the Sooner Tea Party to meet with him in Washington D.C. in September of 2009, Inhofe asked where we had been all these years. Our reply was that we had been asleep, raising our families and trusting the government to do the right thing but we were awake now and were here to help. That meeting was partially taped by both CNN and the Tea Party movie crew, with the meeting getting around one minute in the final movie. I think I can speak for the majority of the Tea Party members in that we had no idea how fast things could turn bad but we answered the call when we woke up.
McCarville next blamed Charlie Meadows for striking the spark that set the Sooner Tea Party off. Charlie did write about the Tea Party in his November 22nd newsletter but that was months after we had discussed the problems with the 2011 Conservative Index, had rightly blamed Charlie for his part in the problem, and had started researching where the Index went wrong and what was needed to set it right.
Meadows wrote more about the OKC Tea Party which has all but evaporated due to its lack of action. While holding rallies and meetings appeals to a good many people, those that are truly interested in change leave after it becomes obvious that the group refuses to take action.
Treat! This one is for the Sooner Tea Party fans out there, it is our theme song " I Won't Back Down
Charlie’s Tea Party article neglected to mention that the Sooner Tea Party has attacked bad legislators nonstop starting with the formation of the OCA in 2009. Charlie also neglects to mention his role in destroying the 35 conservative group umbrella organization in early 2010 or the short life and complete inaction of the group that Charlie promoted to replace the OCA, LibertyForge.us, which started with the core of the OCA groups and dwindled into an online forum ghost town. Indeed the vast majority posts consist of threads with the author’s original post and no replies.
I am always supportive of anyone willing to try to get a group kick started but Charlie Meadows destroyed a thriving 35 organization umbrella group that kicked butt at the Capitol in 2010 and left the replacement organization to wither away.
Charlie did give a nod in his article to the election of John Bennett in 2010 and the OCA involvement without naming who was responsible. Other than that, the article was about the disappearance of the Tea Party movement in the large cities with the exception of the Sooner Tea Party although Charlie dared not credit us for our work.
Next McCarville resorts to outright misrepresentation to damage the Sooner Tea Party by making this statement:
“Unlike Gearhart, Meadows doesn't label virtually every Republican legislator a RINO. Gearhart puts about three-fourths of GOP legislators in that category, targeting some for special scorn.”
Geeze, the dude reads our newsletters… how could he not understand that we reserve the term RINO for a select group of Republican House members. We rarely deal with the Senate as they are the more responsible of the two houses for the most part, not without fault by a long shot, but they have tended to learn from the beatings we have administered over on the House side.
Currently we label 32 Republican Representatives as RINOs, the infamous Dirty Thirty-Two that voted for Representative Hickman in the Speaker Designate race in October with Representative George Faught added due to his refusal to support illegal immigration laws or sign the HR 1004 discharge petition (Open government, all bills get heard in committee).
McCarville then quotes anonymous "experts" claiming that we are fighting with Charlie over “power”, then goes on to attempt to drive a wedge between the Oklahoma Constitution, the owner of the Conservative Index, and the Sooner Tea Party.
First off, I actually turned down an offer to run for State Senate District 43 when asked to do so during a conference call initiated by several Republican leaders. My reasoning was that I could only vote once as a Senator but I could hold 149 legislators accountable as an activist. I have no intentions of running for elected office and I'm not sure if I would like doing the job if I did run.
Second, we were contacted by the editor of the Oklahoma Constitution after we first mentioned the unusual departure from the usually solid values of the Conservative Index, had an extremely civil and informative email exchange where I laid out the problems and asked that the issue be addressed.
What I have been told about the editor of the Oklahoma Constitution is that he is a solid patriot with integrity, so much so that this issue will lay heavy on his shoulders until things are straightened out. I gathered as much in our email exchange but I wondered if the editor of the Okahoma Constitution can find the political clout to stand up to Charlie Meadows and ask that the Index be set right?
Continuing on in the same vein, McCarville talks of “arch-conservatives” fighting to be the leader of the “ultra-conservative” movement not understanding perhaps that the Sooner Tea Party embraces the Republican Party Platform as the dream blueprint for restoring our country and our liberties. At the 2011 Oklahoma State GOP Convention I stood before the entire crowd and said that exact thing during the debate on requiring elected Republicans to follow the State GOP Platform.
Charlie Meadows is a John Bircher, not me. Our standards were developed using the Oklahoma Republican Party Platform. If they are “radical” then perhaps we are as well. I’ll leave it to others as to whether or not the John Birch Society is considered radical or not.
McCarville publishes his second outright inaccuracy about the Sooner Tea Party in this portion of his article:
“This isn't Gearhart's first public battle. His penchant for promoting a militia through the Tea Party and attacking then-GOP Chairman Gary Jones....”
What an utter lack of research or a worse possible option, what an utter lack of integrity. If McCarville had any real sources left in the conservative movement he would have known that the militia controversy was started by two Tulsa conservatives. Actually all they did was talk about asking the legislature to find a new commander for the Oklahoma State Guard. That entire episode was a manufactured controversy used to attack Governor candidate Randy Brogdon and to try to use the Tea Party as the vehicle.
At one point both Tulsa activists wanted my support on the issue as the leader of the OCA but I refused to even discuss the idea other than to say that it would be a distraction to what we needed to accomplish and that it would be used against the conservative movement were they to attempt it. One of the activists was J.W. Berry of OkforTea and yes, Berry did pour gasoline on the fire in that Associated Press interview.
My contribution to the entire article was to say:
“Is it scary? It sure is,” Tea Party leader Al Gerhart told the AP. “But when do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?”
The other activist that was involved in the Oklahoma State Guard issue was a board member of the Tulsa County Republican Party. How radical can he be if he is a GOP board member? He isn't but the explanation of why he was targeted will be given in a bit.
The Sooner Tea Party never discussed anything related to the Oklahoma State Guard or any sort of militia prior to the Associated Press article nor did anyone or any group bring up the Oklahoma State Guard or any other sort of militia during any OCA meeting or on the OCA email list. So exactly how did all of this militia nonsense get started? Several reports laid the beginning of the controversy at the feet of Gary Jones, the former Oklahoma State Chairman.
Gary Jones first came on the Sooner Tea Party Radar in early 2010 when he attacked the OCA during a radio show on KFAQ Talk Radio out of Tulsa. Jones had a long running feud with the Tulsa County Republican party over their conservative values. I do remember that the first time we set up OCA Republican Party activist training the event had to be moved because Gary Jones objected to the use of the Tulsa County Republican office being used to train conservatives. The Tulsa GOP procured another venue for the training to try to mollify Gary Jones. Shortly after that erupted, Jones traveled to Tulsa for a confrontation with the Tulsa County Republican board but left with the seat of his britches ripped out and his you know what bloody.
So when Jones attacked the OCA (the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance), the conservative umbrella group that was formed in 2009, the listeners of KFAQ in Tulsa lit up the phone lines during his interview and ripped Jones to pieces. I never said a word publically other than discussing the problem with several legislators. Eventually a few Representatives and Senators pressured Jones to meet with me and iron out any differences.
Jones and I met at a GOP function in OKC a few weeks later and I let him talk for the better part of five minutes before I asked him “Gary, why in the h*ll did you say those things on KFAQ?” Jones stammered something to the effect of he didn’t know how he managed to say those things but that they didn’t help anyone or anything.
I forgave him for his indiscretion and made my point that the Tea Party was going to be involved in Oklahoma politics, that we believed in their party platform, and that he needed to either welcome us or get ready to fight us. Jones admitted that our values were the same and that we would work together toward better government.
So no one was shocked more than I when the manufactured militia story hit and there was Gary Jones, speaking on behalf of the Oklahoma GOP, attacking the OCA, the Sooner Tea Party, and me personally on the militia controversy. Now the timing was no coincidence because a few days later was the second annual Tea Party rally at the Capitol and it was there that I spoke of Gary Jones’s attacks on the Tea Party movement and said “Gary, we are coming for you.”
What most people didn’t know was that we were privy to the number of county chairmen that were lining up against Gary Jones, fed up with his leadership or lack of leadership, and his lack of support for conservative values. Few knew that the State GOP was broke and barely able to pay its bills, that Jones had missed paychecks during 2009, or that their donor base was in tatters after conservatives saw the Republicans take control of both houses of the Capitol and then refuse to implement the Oklahoma GOP Party Platform agenda.
To borrow a phrase from McCarville, “several sources” claimed that Gary Jones was the Associated Press source of the story of the two Tulsa activists discussing the idea of asking the legislature to find a replacement head of the Oklahoma State Guard. It makes sense, Jones was angry at the Tulsa GOP group, he didn’t want the Tea Party interfering with Republican politics, he could take out the leaders of both groups in one hit.
Another important thing that McCarville left out was that Jones asked to stay on as State GOP Chair during his run for the Auditor’s office but was refused. Gary Jones knew weeks before going into that June 26th meeting in 2010 that he was out of a job on that day. Another thing that McCarville neglected to mention was that Matt Pinell replaced Gary Jones and Matt Pinell had been working to help train Oklahoma Tea Party activists. I forget which group Matt was working for, maybe American Majority or the John Hanncock Group, both are 501C non profit groups that focus on training activists. Matt and another person in the organization had been visitors in my office long before June 2010.
The bottom line was that Gary Jones was booted out of GOP leadership and a Tea Party friendly leader took over. Jones badly wanted to keep his Chairman job so as to have a paycheck but the majority of County GOP Chairmen had had enough.
Another canard trotted out by McCarville was this jewel:
“Gearhart's been described by some as a bully using the Tea Party label to further his personal agenda.”
Originally I went to Tea Party rallies as a participant, stood in the freezing rain in March of 2009, and donated money when I could. I never dreamed that I would be involved past that until the day that Margie Drescher of the OKC Tea Party canceled the July 4th 2009 Tea party.
No one knew why she did it at the time but it turned out that it was so she could consolidate her control over the OKC Tea party, incorporate the group, copyright the name, and finish kicking out around 9 of the original 13 founders many of which eventually joined the Sooner Tea Party leadership team. All I knew was that this ray of hope, the OKC Tea Party, was refusing to move forward and could utter not a single valid reason for canceling the July 4th rally.
So I googled “Tea Party Oklahoma” and found a small group on an OKC 912 forum talking about having a picnic or going to bricktown to hand out flyers. I signed up as a member and made a short post to the effect of “Heck no, we are going to the capitol permit or not.” A leader of the Moore/Norman 912 group offered to allow his next meeting to be taken over for planning the July 4th rally.
Once we got there I raised a few eyebrows when I lit into a Cleveland County Republican leader for attempting to take over the meeting. My point was that we were where we were as a result of the Republicans and the Democrats and I was in no mood to follow either.
We knew that someone had pulled a permit for July 4th, and when a lady stood up at the initial meeting and said “I have the permit”, I pointed at her and said “There is the leader.” That was Patty McCallister, who served as our first leader until illness took her out of the fray. It was true that I called for the July 4th rally and was the impetus for the first meeting but Patty had gotten the permit, showed enourmous inititive, and rather than lead I prefered to ride to the sound of the guns.
The point of all this is to show that I became a reluctant leader. At 53 years of age I understand that all one can possibly control is himself and that there is no glory involved in leading a group, you just become the targets of yahoos like McCarville that will spread inaccurate information in order to damage anyone that stands against special interests and for good government.
McCarville goes on to attack our attempt to salvage the 2011 Conservative Index. He didn’t find fault with our reasoning for discarding six of the ten bills in the Index, indeed he compliments our knowledge the of bills by claiming that we had members of the legislature helping us, saying it was obvious we had inside information. Well Mr. McCarville, if you just take the time to read the bills and watch who votes for what it all becomes clear. We did run our choice of bills past some House members, we do have plenty of sources inside from both parties and from both sides of the Capitol, in a lot of state agencies, and scattered all across the state.
To finish up his rant, McCarville mentions that we excoriated Rep George Faught without pointing out a single inaccuracy in our article on Representative Faught's voting record. He mentions that we worked George’s boy over, Jamison Faught, without mentioning that Jamison Faught was renowned for his attacks on the OCA, the Sooner Tea Party, and me personally. One can get a hint of Jamison Faught’s politics by reading the one single email he ever made in the months that he was part of the OCA. What caused Jamison to join in? An email criticizing a RINO House leader on the OCA email list. Other than that the boy never made a single suggestion, never replied to a single topic, never attended a single meeting of the 35 group umbrella organization.
Leaving aside the motivations for Mike McCarville to attack a grassroots group like the Sooner Tea Party for another newsletter, let’s explore why McCarville chose to attack now.
Is it a coincidence that we are approaching the Republican Caucus Retreat, a little over one year after last year’s retreat that was picketed by grassroots groups?
Is it a coincidence that we are close to the legislative session of 2012 and that history is repeating itself in the attacks on conservative groups?
Is it not obvious then that McCarvill is serving as a proxy for the State Chamber and House leadership?
The bottom line is that the McCarville Report was nothing more than an attempt to stir up a fight between conservative groups in Oklahoma, to get us to fight among ourselves rather than presenting a united front against House leadership. In a future newsletter we will expose the motivation for Mike McCarville to attack and provide absolute proof of who is behind him.