Three months after the bedlam of a botched Republican presidential caucus (a.k.a., the “St. Patrick’s Day Massacre”) took place inside and then outside a St. Charles County, Mo., high school gymnasium, Ron Paul Republican Brent Stafford will plead “not guilty” to charges of criminal trespassing during an appearance Tuesday morning at the City of St. Peters (Mo.) Justice Center.
Though I attended the gathering and offered several reports related to it, the outdoor “fireworks” took place after I had departed. According to the news release, however, Stafford and his attorney, David Roland of the Freedom Center of Missouri, contend the following took place during the impromptu outdoor portion of that oh-so-raucus caucus:
On the morning of March 17, 2012, Brent Stafford expected to be elected as the chairman of the St. Charles County Republican Caucus. Instead, Stafford’s political rivals ignored parliamentary procedure, blocking his election and improperly adjourning the caucus. Intent on following proper procedure, Stafford started to reorganize the caucus outside the Francis Howell North High School gymnasium. As he was giving instructions to a peaceful assembly of citizens, police officers placed Stafford under arrest, although they did not at that time tell him why he was being arrested.
The police eventually claimed that Stafford had been “trespassing,” although the gathering took place on school grounds that were open to the public and the police did not arrest any of the scores of other people gathered outside of the school.
Stafford and Roland will meet with reporters at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Northeast Corner of the building located at 1020 Grand Teton Drive in St. Peters. They will answer questions about the charges and explain why the charges threaten all citizens’ constitutional freedoms. It could get very interesting!
UPDATE 7/23/12 at 12:03 p.m. Central: Tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. Central, the City of St. Peters, Mo., will put Brent Stafford on trial in St. Peters Municipal Court, seeking to have him convicted of trespassing, according to a message I received from Dave Roland at the Freedom Center of Missouri. More details here and here.
UPDATE 8/01/12 at 4:10 p.m. Central: Last night Judge Donald Kohl did not even need to hear witnesses testify in favor of Brent Stafford before ruling him not guilty of the criminal trespassing charges with which the City of St. Peters had charged him. Stafford, a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, had been arrested on March 17, 2012, because he was speaking to a peaceful crowd of several dozen people on the grounds of Francis Howell North High School in the wake of the aborted St. Charles County Republican Caucus. More details here.
UPDATE 4/16/2013 at 8:39 a.m. Central: According to a local newspaper report, Brent Stafford has filed suit against the City of St. Peters and at least one of the police officers involved in his arrest at the caucus.
In a letter dated March 26, 2012, and addressed to five Missouri Republican Party officials, three individuals challenged the seating of delegates “allegedly elected at the caucus,” contending that “serious and prejudicial misconduct at the caucus — amounting to voter suppression — requires that the delegates allegedly elected at this caucus not be seated at the Second, Third and Eighth Congressional District Conventions on April 21, 2012, and at the State Convention on June 1-2, 2012. If the conduct that occurred at the Jefferson County Caucus is condoned, the Party will only be inviting such tactics in the future.”
The challenge letter, a copy of which I received via email today, featured the signature of Kathryn Biber, general counsel for Romney for President, Inc., and had as-yet-unsigned signature blocks for Dimitri Kesari, deputy campaign manager for the Ron Paul presidential campaign, and Cody Baker, a Romney campaign volunteer and caucus participant from Festus, Mo. I was told by the person who forwarded the letter to me that all three signed separate copies of the letter.
The list of Republican officials to whom the letter was addressed included David Cole, Missouri Republican Party chair, as well as the following representatives of GOP congressional district committees: Richard Magee, 2nd CD chair; Janet Engelbach, 3rd CD chair; Eddy Justice, 8th CD chair; and Ramona Wilkinson, identified in the letter as being on 3rd CD Committee but identified on the Missouri GOP website as secretary of the 9th CD Committee.
The summary of the allegations upon which the caucus outcome is being contested reads as follows:
Several Jefferson County Republican Central Committee Members, who were also supporters of Rick Santorum, forced a multiple-hour delay in the caucus by intentionally removing the registration rolls and credentialing information from the caucus site and thereby preventing any business (including the election of delegates) from being conducted. The intentional removal of registration rolls and credentialing information occurred after a vote for permanent chair that made clear that the Santorum supporters would be out-voted by a combination of Romney and Paul supporters. It was only after a substantial portion of the caucus attendees left in frustration, changing the make-up of the electorate, that the registration rolls and credentialing information were returned and pro-Santorum slates of delegates elected.
The authors of the letter were not finished as the letter continued by outlining the impact of the actions alleged to have taken place and demanding a new caucus be held:
The intentional removal of the rolls and credentialing information by Santorum supporters abridged the collective rights of hundreds of faithful and loyal Republican attendees to elect delegates of their choice. These acts of voter suppression should not and cannot be condoned. The only fair result in this case is to recognize that the intentional removal of the registration rolls and credentialing information caused a de-facto adjournment of the caucus. No business conducted after that point, including the election of delegates, can be considered valid.
It will be interesting to see whether or not the allegations contained in this letter result in a do-over caucus in Jefferson County.
As I walked into Francis Howell North High School in St. Peters, Mo., to attend the 2012 St. Charles County Republican Presidential Caucus March 17, I did not expect fireworks and had no plans to provide anything but cursory coverage of the event. During the week that followed, my plans changed.
I found myself writing eightnine posts — including this one — about the event. Soon after, I find myself flooded with documents and videos purporting to show evidence of political skulduggery at county caucuses across Missouri. So what is one to do with the information, including the photo (above) of the ominous sign that greeted GOP caucus-goers in Jefferson County, Mo?
Rather than pursue the story which wasn’t even on my radar prior to the caucus, I’m going to share a few videos which, according to those who sent them, corroborate some of the claims made in the aforementioned DB article.
The video (above) was shot at the Boone County, Mo., GOP caucus held at Kemper Arena in Columbia. It appeared to show an orderly process taking place, but there is more to the story. On Friday, I was informed by caucus attendees in Boone County that an individual close to the county GOP’s central committee — but not a member of that committee — tried to make a deal with a caucus official who, at this point, asked not to be identified. This wannabe dealmaker, when asked for a specific piece of information by the caucus official, told the caucus official that she would provide that information in exchange for 50 percent — instead of only five — of the delegates.
The next video (above) shows some of what took place at the Jefferson County, Mo., GOP caucus at the Hillsboro R-3 Intermediate School. As was the case in Boone County, allegations of attempted dealmaking surfaced there, too. The change agent, again, was said to be someone close to, but not on, the county’s central committee — perhaps, to offer central committee members plausible deniability. Other allegations surround the alleged theft of caucus rolls. FYI: Since receiving this information from one source, I’ve read elsewhere that the official who allegedly tried to make the deal vehemently denies the accusation.
The third and final video (above) comes from the Christian County, Mo., GOP caucus held at the high school in Ozark. It shows how some attendees at that GOP caucus believe it was rife with fraud. As with the previous videos, I say, “You be the judge.”
I’m told reporters — and others — are investigating these alleged improprieties; therefore, I will hold off on offering any definitive conclusions or pin names to the allegations until more solid details surface.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE THIS PAGE, PLEASE READ THIS EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’re inclined to want to paint me as some kind of loyal Ron Paul follower (a.k.a., a “Paulbot”) rather than someone who merely favors transparency and rules, you need to do some background research first. When you read a number of posts I’ve written about Paul since 2006 (links below) as well as the comments section accompanying each, you’ll find only sporadic support of the Texas congressman:
If the posts linked above — and their related comments — don’t convince you, contact Bryce Steinhoff, one of the top Paul supporters in Missouri and a man with whom I’ve had a long-running dialogue about all things political. He will attest to the fact that I’ve never agreed to go all the way to what I often refer to as the “dark side” of the Republican Party.
UPDATE 3/27/12 at 5 p.m. Central: Though someone forwarded to me an audiotape of a conversation between a Ron Paul supporter and Jefferson County GOP Chair Janet Engelbach about the alleged disappearance of caucus rolls at the JeffCo GOP caucus, I’ll hold off sharing that audio and point readers to a St. Louis Post-Dispatcharticle published this afternoon. It will be interested to see if Missouri GOP officials take any actions in JeffCo.
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last night did not make one single mention of inflation, when it is the belief of the National Inflation Association that massive price inflation (especially food inflation) will become America’s top crisis by the end of this calendar year. Obama’s speech also failed to mention the Federal Reserve, the Federal Funds Rate being held near 0% for over two years, and the Fed’s latest round of $600 billion in quantitative easing. Unless Obama addresses our nation’s fiat currency system, nothing else he says has any meaning at all.
After the U.S. lost 8.36 million jobs over a two-year period from December of 2007 through December of 2009, our economy has recovered 1.12 million jobs as a result of the Federal Reserve and U.S. government spending $4.6 trillion on bailouts and stimulus programs. That is over $4 million spent for each job created. Instead of bailing out Wall Street and allowing non-productive bankers to receive record bonuses, the U.S. could have sent a check for $550,000 to each middle-class American who lost their job.
When a central bank prints trillions of dollars out of thin air, you are going to see some type of a nominal uptick in economic statistics. Obama can brag all he wants about over 1 million jobs being created, but he continues to ignore what the ultimate cost of it will be. When a government has an annual cash budget deficit of over $1 trillion that cannot possibly be balanced by raising taxes, massive inflation is the inevitable outcome. Our real budget deficit, once you include increases in our unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, is already north of $5 trillion. NIA believes the U.S. is now at serious risk of experiencing hyperinflation by the year 2015.
Obama proposed in his speech that “we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years” saying it “would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.” The truth is, Obama’s proposals, if successfully implemented, would not reduce the deficit by $400 billion over the next decade. They would only cut $400 billion from proposed spending increases. NIA doesn’t understand why Obama would even waste his breath talking about reducing the deficit by $400 billion over the next decade, when the Federal Reserve is creating $600 billion in monetary inflation over a period of just eight months. Americans who listened to Obama speak last night wasted over an hour of their time, because until the Federal Reserve raises interest rates and stops printing money, it will be impossible for the U.S. economy to truly recover and become healthy.
Even if the U.S. government cut all discretionary spending down to zero, we would still have a budget deficit from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid alone. Surprisingly, Obama admitted that most of the cuts he proposed “only address annual domestic spending, which represents a little more than 12% of our budget.” When referring to the Deficit Commission’s proposed spending cuts, Obama said “their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it”. In what was Obama’s most shocking statement of the night, he went on to say, “This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit.”
This is the closest Obama has ever come to admitting that major cuts to Medicare and Medicaid are necessary, if we want to have any hope of ever balancing our budget. However, NIA is taking Obama’s comments with a grain of salt. He immediately changed the subject in the very next sentence, claiming his health care reform law that was enacted last year “will slow these rising costs”. He then continued to defend the law saying, “repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit.”
One week ago, the new Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted 245-189 to repeal Obama’s health care reform law. The House’s vote to repeal it is meaningless because it would never pass the U.S. Senate and even if it did, Obama would simply veto it. NIA believes the law should be repealed because it is impossible for government legislation to bring down health care costs. Only the free market can bring down health care costs and the health care reform law will impede the free market more than any piece of legislation has ever impeded the free market in any industry or sector in history. In our opinion, the new health care law is guaranteed to add trillions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade and there is absolutely no chance of Obama ever making the necessary dramatic cuts to Medicare and Medicaid until the U.S. is already in the middle of an outbreak of hyperinflation.
When it comes to Social Security, Obama said we need a “bipartisan solution to strengthen” it and “we must do it without putting at risk current retirees” and “without slashing benefits for future generations”. In other words, nobody in Washington is even going to bring up the possibility of cutting or eliminating Social Security, because it would be political suicide for them. We need more honest representatives in Washington like Ron Paul who aren’t afraid to speak the truth about the need to cut entitlement programs and inform the American public to the consequences of our government’s deficit spending.
Most Americans think they don’t have to worry about our country’s national debt because our grandchildren are the ones who will ultimately be responsible to pay it off. Unfortunately, it won’t just be our grandchildren who feel the pain of our deficit spending and monetary inflation. All Americans with incomes and savings in U.S. dollars along with all foreigners holding dollar-denominated assets will begin to feel the pain of our government’s destructive actions in the very near future through massive price inflation and the U.S. dollar losing nearly all of its purchasing power.
One thing from last night’s State of the Union address is very clear, Obama is not serious about cutting spending and nobody in Washington has any expectation of the U.S. ever returning to a balanced budget. NIA believes that this past week’s dip in the prices of gold and silver is an unbelievable buying opportunity for Americans who already own precious metals as well as those wishing to buy precious metals for the first time. Sure, both gold and silver could dip lower in the short-term, but we can’t try to time short-term fluctuations and we need to stay focused on the long-term destruction of the U.S. dollar. In future State of the Union addresses to come in another year or two down the road, the entire focus of the President’s speech will likely be on inflation and the collapsing U.S. dollar. When that time comes and mainstream America becomes aware of what NIA members have known for years, we could easily see $5,000 per ounce gold and $500 per ounce silver, and everybody will regret not loading up as much as possible at these levels.
FYI:If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!
I like to describe this blog as offering a mix of humor, politics, culture and capitalism. In reviewing this blog’s Top 10 posts of 2009, I found humor attracted the most page views. Topping this year’s Top 10 list was a July 2 post, Evian Water Babies Commercial — Wow!, which featured the incredible video below:
It’s no surprise to me that a post about the militia movement finished fifth. On March 18, I wrote, Yikes, I Might Be Part of the Militia Movement! The inspiration for this post came after I learned of a Missouri Fusion Center document (pdf) that seemed to describe me to a “T”. Soon after publishing it, I was interviewed by Fox News Channel for a piece about the uproar this news caused.
Finishing sixth was the post, Army Major Played Role in Presidential Transition, about the role alleged Fort Hood shooter Army Maj. Malik Nidal Hasan played as a member of the Homeland Security Policy Institute’s presidential transition task force.
Amidst fears of an H1N1 flu pandemic, I delved into the National Archives to find a letter written by a nurse to a friend in 1918. Letter Reveals Much About 1918 Flu Pandemic, published May 1, finished seventh in 2009.
On Jan. 29, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh told his audience that President Obama and his cohorts were using ‘Rules for Radicals’. Obviously hitting a nerve, my piece about his discussion of Saul Alinsky’s teachings finished eighth most-popular post of the year.
Perhaps most surprising among my findings today is the fact that a UAW-General Motors entity is listed here alongside Ford and a few other organizations as a sponsor of the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl (formerly known as the Motor City Bowl) to be played at Ford Field in Detroit Dec. 26.
This sponsorship deal makes me wonder how many football fans of the matchup between Marshall University and Ohio University will spend halftime visiting this sponsor’s exciting web site (right).
The Eagle Bank Bowl is set for Dec. 29 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and appears to be back stronger than ever in 2009. The bowl’s “strength”– not found in the battle between UCLA and Temple — could be due to the fact that it’s title sponsor, Bethesda, Md.-based Eagle Bancorp Inc., received $38.2 million via the Troubled Asset Relief Program, according to a Wall Street Journalreport early this year. [Editor's Note: From the strange-but-true department, the name of the bank's chairman and chief executive officer is -- drumroll, please -- Ron Paul.]
Judging by its web site, it appears no one but the federal government — which provided $3.55 billion in bailout funds to Capitol One — is helping the title sponsor of the Jan. 1 Capitol One Bowl pitting LSU against Penn State in Orlando. The good news: Over the summer, the bank paid back more than it received, according to this report.
The Detroit News reported last week that Motor City-based GMAC Inc., sponsor of the GMAC Bowl, could benefit from a bailout extension. To date, according to the newspaper, the company has received $13.5 billion in government support and has been in talks with the White House about an additional infusion of up to $5.6 billion. What might happen if an extension falls through before the Jan. 6 game between Troy and Central Michigan? Not much, I suspect.
Finally, after receiving a whopping $20 $25 billion in TARP funds, according to the aforementioned Journalreport, Citigroup officials promised yesterday (see this article) they’re going to pay back $20 billion soon. Good for them!
As the title sponsor of both the Rose Bowl(Jan. 1) and the BCS National Championship (Jan. 7) in Pasadena, Citi should be expected to spare no expense when it comes to putting on a good show. At a minimum, they should buy the Oregon Ducks some decent-looking uniforms to wear as they take on Ohio State in the “granddaddy” of bowl games and give the Texas cheerleaders gold-plated shovels to clean up Bevo’s mess after he sees how many points Alabama has pasted on his Longhorns after 60 minutes.
On Oct. 2, Catherine Bleish was one of a handful of speakers who revved up a crowd of 2,000 at the St. Charles (Mo.) Tea Party. Ten days later, she found herself in jail in the South St. Louis city of Maplewood.
“I was standing in line outside,” the 25-year-old told me Monday afternoon during an interview on the porch of her South St. Louis home where she lives with her two Rottweilers, Harley Davidson and Ed Norton.
In this case, “outside” is the area just outside the Maplewood (Mo.) Police Station/Traffic Court where approximately 45 to 50 people — most of whom had been summoned as a result of traffic citations — waited to make appearances.
Why was Bleish, a 2005 communications graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, in that line in the first place? She said she was accompanying her boyfriend, Josh Carter — a man mentioned in a post I published March 29 — who had come to deal with the matter of expired license plates for his car. According to Bleish, Carter refuses to pay taxes on his state-issued license plate and believes such a tax is un-Constitutional.
The weather was getting colder at the thrice-monthly Monday night event, Bleish explained, and, according to National Weather Service data found here, the temperature around 7 p.m. — the midway point of the 2-hour event — was in the mid- to upper-40s with winds below 10 miles per hour.
People were starting to get a little frustrated, she explained, but remained in good spirits.
“We were joking about it, but everyone was talking,” she said, adding, “When you’re standing in line that long, you start to communicate with people around you.
Catherine Bleish looks at the bag used by police to hold her personal items.
“The next thing we know, an officer comes out and lets about 15 people in,” she explained. That prompted the remaining 30 or so people to crowd up closer to the door an under an overhead light not far from a security camera capturing video images above and around the entrance. But it didn’t last long.
“We’re just kind of talking and the officer comes back out and starts demanding that we all line up against the wall.
“I turned to the girl who was standing next to me — I later found out her name was Kymberly — and I made the comment, ‘Get in line. Show your papers. Give us your money. Welcome to the New America.”
Should the officer have taken a more tactful approach to dealing with those assembled outside? I’m sure Bleish thought he should have.
“The officer heard me say that, and he did not like it,” Bleish continued. “He looked over a couple of people’s heads and said, ‘What did you say?’ So I repeated myself. Then, she said, he came “storming up to me, saying, ‘Do you want to go to jail tonight? Do you want to go to jail tonight?’
Instead of defusing the situation, however, she responded to the officer’s question by saying, “Why? I haven’t done anything.”
Perhaps, the assertive former Ron Paul campaigner felt emboldened by the Gadsden Flag (a.k.a., “Don’t Tread On Me”) image emblazoned on her hoodie. More likely, though, her reaction was fueled — at least in part — by her familiarity with Constitutional rights and state sovereignty issues she deals with regularly as founder and executive director of the nonprofit Liberty Restoration Project.
Next, she said, the officer did something that was, if nothing else, unexpected.
“He turns to the crowd and says, ‘Does anyone have a leash? If so, put it on her?’”
Immediately, Bleish said, the girl standing next to her asked the officer if he was calling Bleish a “b_ _ _ _?”
Several times, according to Bleish, the officer repeated his question, “Do you want to go to jail?” and Bleish responded by saying, “I have a right to be here sir. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m not breaking any laws.”
The officer responded, she said, by telling her, “I will make something up to put you in jail.” After casting a verbal threat toward Kymberly and saying, “I’ve got something for you,” the officer walked inside and Bleish began thinking ahead and got out a piece of paper.
She said she wrote down words to the effect of, “I was just told that an officer would make up a reason to arrest me,” and handed it to her boyfriend with the instructions for him to have people sign it if that happens as a means of collecting contact information of people who witnessed events that had transpired.
Eight people — all with 314 area codes in their phone numbers — wrote their names and numbers on the paper. A handful of others, perhaps only wanting to appear as if they were willing to help, wrote down names only.
Within minutes, the officer came back out and told Bleish she had two minutes to leave or she would be arrested. Not surprisingly, the woman one witness described as “five foot tall and a hundred pounds” didn’t take kindly to the threat.
Why didn’t she leave at that point and avoid further confrontation? Apparently, she was willing to fall on her ideological sword.
“I said, ‘Sir, you just told everyone here you would make up reasons to arrest me; why do I have to leave?’” she said, explained that without a legitimate reason, “I have every right to be here.”
Apparently, the officer disagreed.
“He turned around, went back inside and the next thing I knew there were three officers coming out,” she explained, using hand gestures and body movements to animate her description of events. “They grabbed me by my arms and literally lifted me off of my feet and pinned me up against the guard rail and started cuffing me.”
Seeing Bleish in trouble prompted Kymberly to raise concerns such as “Why are you being so rough with her?” and “Don’t hurt her!” Bleish recalled, adding that her just-made friend tried to get in between her and the officer putting on the cuffs, but that effort yielded nothing good.
“She ended up having a taser pointed right at her chest,” Bleish said, noting that the threat of electric shock was enough to convince Kymberly to depart the property.
Bleish concluded her description of events by saying she was never told why she was arrested until after she was bailed out by friends — at a cost of $750. The charge: Failure to comply, an ordinance violation that, in the overall scheme of things, is a pretty minor violation.
Bear in mind, this wasn’t the first time Bleish has had an ideological run-in with the law. She said she was once “thrown out” out of the Missouri governor’s office by members of the Missouri Highway Patrol — the agency that provides security for the state’s highest office holder — “for trying to schedule a meeting with him.”
In addition, she is known by many in statewide political and law enforcement circles as a staunch opponent of the Department of Homeland Security-funded “Fusion Centers” which entered the public discourse in March. It was then that the Missouri Information Analysis Center issued to members of the Missouri law enforcement community what one writer described as “chilling instructions” about how to identify members of the “modern militia movement.” (For more details, see Yikes! I Might Be Part of the Militia Movement, a piece that earned me an interview by Fox News.).
Using phone contact information they provided Bleish, I contacted others in the line who witnessed the events of that evening. By and large, they corroborated Bleish’s recollection of events with little variance — even the part about officers handling the petite woman in a rough manner.
At the other end of the spectrum, sources close to the department spoke to a reliable friend of this blog under conditions of anonymity, since the matter is under investigation. They told him Bleish — and, probably, the officer himself — could have prevented events of that night from escalating to the level they did simply by using a little discretion and common sense.
Because Bleish has filed a complaint with the police department and the matter — including security camera footage of the incident — is under investigation, no one in Chief Stephen Kruse’s department could comment at this time.
FYI: If anything surprising results from the investigation, I will report it here. Meanwhile, you might want to take a look at the video of my interview of Bleich below to better appreciate the person on one side of the equation.