The “Agenda” and conspiracy
As we chronicled in Lord of the RLC #8: Flotsam and Jetsam, the run-up to the State Convention was dominated, first by Clayton Strang’s prosecution of Ron Paul’s Life principle, opposed notably and with great effort by Matt Dubin. That Facebook debate was quickly attended by the expression of considerable back-channel consternation by Sandi Belzer Brendale, who very clearly wanted Clayton (not Matt) to shut up and the debate to disappear. That created serious doubts about whether Sandi would attempt Sotelo/Young/Esser/Wilbur-style means of accomplishing her aims through parliamentary skullduggery.
We took these to be symptoms of her inexperience and perhaps unnecessary panic. But we were increasingly concerned as she kept suggesting an Agenda that would prevent Clayton’s proposal indirectly, by setting an arbitrary adjournment time to constrain the assembly.
Sandi sent us the draft documents for the Convention: a set of prospective RLCWA bylaws she wanted the body to adopt and a printed (proposed) Agenda. Sure enough, there in the AGENDA was the stipulation that “Resolutions may be presented if we are ready to adjourn before 5… [emphasis added]” For veterans of all the ancient battles against the corrupt GOP Establishment (and recent veterans from the 41st LD, 37th LD, Snohomish and Clark Counties), the phrase was like a siren going off. This is the kind of tactic against which the Liberty Movement has been fighting for more than thirty years. Confronted directly, Sandi assured us that the arbitrary adjournment time would be removed in the final document (while stating she intended to retain her “fine print.”)
Simultaneously, Doug was preparing a proposal to commit vast quantities of his (and he believed all his political allies’) experience, time, energy, and resources to R3VOLUTION through the venues of the RLCWA. It was, in his estimation, a perfect fit: of the RLCWA’s need for program with an extensively developed program he knew he could provide, along with the infrastructure to get it done. It was an amendment to the bylaws that would have allowed the RLCWA to engage in political campaigns even if “National” withheld their blessing.
Doug explains his proposal this way, emphasizing that this was not the expression of ambition:
- I did not want to do this if it were not supposed to happen.
- For me to be willing to make the scope of this commitment, the opportunity had to be created “without hands.”
- I did not want to “tip the scales,” to lift a finger organizing to get the proposal approved.
- I refused to “recruit” friends to attend the Convention to vote for the proposal, actually telling more than one that it was NOT crucial to be there and
- I didn’t even tell most of them what I was about to do, to avoid any sense that they owed it to me personally to come and support me in the endeavor. (Although we knew that well less than half of all the eligible delegates had made arrangements to go to the Convention.)
- Most of all, I refused to do any of it without the full support of Sandi Belzer Brendale (who, by this time, was not only talking like, but seemed to actually be the “Lord” of the RLC, making most relevant decisions unilaterally, in the absence of any bylaws.) Sandi told me she liked it, had shared it with “key” people, and that there was excitement about it.
We printed simple flyers to explain the proposal creating the office to the convention delegates and prepared a speech to outline the proposed operations. Simple motions, simply presented. But they could have had radical results.
The morning of the Convention, as Doug traveled to the Convention breakfast in Yakima, he received cell communication from Michelle McIntyre and Clayton Strang, who wanted to confirm, by discussion, the proper parliamentary strategy for whatever circumstances the Convention might present. Everyone agreed to register and try to talk at breakfast.
Convention fees included breakfast. Registration coughed up one of our darker suspicions. The proposed “AGENDA” in the registration packet did not say “proposed” and INCLUDED the set times Sandi had told us it would NOT, as well as the manipulative phrase (the “fine print” as she expressed it) she had been warned against repeatedly:
All the specific times for election of officers, board members, national delegates and adjournment on the document were contrived and improper, but even as we were handed the physical proof we did NOT conclude any real nefarious intent on Sandi’s part, just naivete and inexperience. There are proper and improper ways to get things done, but no one knows everything. Nevertheless, were the printed agenda not amended, Sandi would have settled the purposes of the convention without notice or debate. She appeared adamant that “her” meeting would complete the work she had unilaterally predetermined was its primary business.
As soon as we moved into the convention/breakfast hall, Doug’s “Sotelo security team,” introduced themselves. As is now well-known, Doug Parris is under a protection order obtained by King County GOP Chair Lori Sotelo (through lawless judges and multiple perjuries) the sole purpose of which is to restrict his political activities. (Matt Dubin had welcomed Sotelo to RLC membership, and we had to be prepared should she attend in order to support her friends in RLC leadership). We had asked if Sotelo was registered for the convention and were told she had not. But on the chance that she might show up on the morning of the convention, we asked Sandi if there might be local people she could recommend who would be willing to act as a perimeter force to prevent Sotelo attempts to breach the 10-foot “buffer” specified in the order, or misrepresent herself to police, as she has done repeatedly, to get Doug thrown out. Sandi assured us she knew just the people to ask. We emphasized that nothing need be arranged other than to know if a couple of local people were willing to help out if we determined the need. Sandi offered that while she could not do anything about Sotelo’s membership and right to attend the convention, she would not tolerate anyone disrupting her (Sandi’s) meeting and if Sotelo attempted to remove Doug from the convention Lori would have Sandi to deal with because it was “Sandi’s meeting.” (Sotelo later declared on facebook that she had intended to be there to vote for Matt Dubin, but had the flu.)
We did not expect this security team, but were grateful for their willingness to help. We were shown a corner table protected by two walls that Anthony and Brian had chosen, but assured “you can sit wherever you want, we just thought this allowed us to make sure Sotelo can’t surprise us.”
When it became clear Lori was not going to show up, the security team asked our permission to maintain their detail. They were very professional throughout, thinking ahead, maintaining a mobile lookout, looking down corridors to make sure there were no surprise encounters. At breakfast, recognizing that Doug was struggling to hear across the table, they arranged for a separate, quiet meeting space, to which what was later characterized as the “team” adjourned.
The night before… in fact, the morning of – the convention, no one who met in that “quiet space” had any expectation of being part of a “team” but in the space of literally a few minutes nine people and two “bodyguards,” by simply engaging in discussion, became the force that shattered the clay feet of RLCWA “without hands.”
We agreed to propose the exact same “Agenda” but without the improper “set” times (except for non-business items, like meals) and to distinguish ours for the purposes of the motion, we printed it on colored paper – as is standard convention practice to clearly recognize alternatives for the body’s consideration.
Everything we did was easy. From acquiring the room through the planning meeting to the paper and printing… it fell together almost effortlessly as though planned by an unseen force, like we were all individual members of a single body.
Tamara said, “God is with you. He opened doors for me to be here, miraculously, in one night.”
But all that we were being given was the power to have the Life debate… and dark clouds were forming.
During the entire time we met, Sandi Belzer Brendale lurked outside the door, pacing, fidgeting nervously. Had she requested, we would have seated her at the table (our original intent had been to have our discussion openly in the common dining room).
Neither Doug’s motion to amend the bylaws, nor his plans surrounding them were even discussed. Most of the “team” knew nothing about it. No other strategic objectives were proposed or considered. We only wanted to determine whether this organization would stand for the fundamental principles of Liberty and we wanted that to be determined by vote of the Washington Charter, not the National organization. We just wanted the Convention to decide.
But when the convention opened, Matt Dubin, who sat in the row in front of Doug, turned 180° to stare for a long time at him and the companions seated nearby… and later, after the alternative (colored) “Agenda” was proposed and overwhelmingly passed, Dubin confronted Doug’s friend, Dr. Robert Neff, who had later proposed an amendment to the “mission statement” (also never discussed in the “quiet room”) with the pointed question, “What is your AGENDA?!?” He was obviously convinced there was some sort of conspiracy afoot… and he obviously began to conspire against it.
Throughout the day, Matt and his close associate (and Kirby Wilbur agent) Dani Bolyard consulted frequently and consistently opposed anything that was proposed or supported by anyone who had been in the “quiet room,” and everything that hinted at independence from the National organization.
But there was more to it than paranoia.
There were deep ideological differences. And all of it would come out.
Previously in this series: