Oklahoma Election 2012: May 2012 Archives

How was my Saturday at the Oklahoma Republican State Convention, you ask? It was about like this:

UPDATE: This was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek placeholder for my own detailed account of what happened, but I am still playing catch up with my offline responsibilities. Here are accounts by others of the 2012 Oklahoma Republican State Convention.

David Tackett, a delegate from Wagoner County and the Republican nominee for State House District 12, wrote from the perspective of someone who worked the registration desk and served on the credentials committee and someone who has often been on the outs with the party establishment. Tackett writes that "both sides messed up":

I was one of the volunteers who helped check in people. So I can answer exactly what the problem was.... new software, delegates who pre-registered incorrectly (we had several who registered as guests or typed their name differently than what was provided by their County Chair), and volunteers who entered in data wrong during the check-in (entering people as guests instead of delegates).

It was, frankly, insulting to hear people from the RP clan suggest fraud was committed by the credential volunteers. (I.e. badges weren't secured, etc.) I know each and every single one of the volunteers who helped with the process and not one has EVER done anything unethical....

Now let's hit another issue... It was clear from the first test vote that the voting came down 60/40 (about a 500 delegate difference) each and every vote... be it voice vote (hey, let me give the RP people credit for having some MASSIVE lungs!), standing vote, or secret ballot.

It wasn't close, the RP faction was in the minority. And so whether it was standing vote or ballot, the state committee's slate would have been approved. But, I know why all these motions and point of orders were happening... because I was told by several of the RP delegates that this was their plan... to drag out the process until everyone else left then they could redo the vote and get their slate in.

Read the whole thing.

Liam Ferguson is a newcomer to the convention process and he also posted a detailed account:

And, while Paul received about nine percent of the vote in Oklahoma, somewhere between 25 and 30 percent of the voting delegates present were Paul supporters.

But, that wasn't enough because it wasn't a majority and what the Paul supporters didn't have was a realistic understanding of politics. They seemed to truly believe that having zeal, having a command of parliamentary procedure and being "right" would carry the day. What they failed to understand is that, while it sometimes takes awhile, a committed majority always wins. Not only because they have the votes, but because any dispute involving the rules always gets referred to the convention where, you guessed it, the majority rules--just as it will at the national convention. Colonel Robert never proposed his rules to guarantee that truth, justice and the American way would prevail. He simply proposed them as a way of expressing the majority will in an orderly fashion. Which is why the "point of order" and "point of information" aren't acting as magical force fields to stop the Romney nomination the way Paul's supporters seemed to be hoping they would.

David Byte, who developed the registration software used at the convention, has written An Open Letter to Ron Paul Supporters.

Where we differ in what we are doing today is this. While you are trying to win on technicalities of rules and disproprtional representation in precinct meetings and conventions, we are out working and winning at the local level. We are hammering away at our candidates trying to ensure that we are getting conservatives into office and hold them accountable for their actions. This is an area where the RP support team has been vastly silent. So silent in fact, that it is a generally accepted idea that we won't see most of you again until 2016 once this convention cycle is over.

What this creates is a general lack of acceptance within conservative republican ranks for the RP supporters as it is felt (often rightly so) that you are coming in to hijack a process that we have been working with for months and years to ensure inclusion for conservatives and the spread of the conservative message. Now, I know you will say that not all county parties are like that and I will agree. But if you want to change that, you have to show up and volunteer. Do you know how many RP supporters have been present at the events our county party participates in since the last election cycle (3 festivals per year, multiple parades, and other events)?

What's your guess? Ten?, Six? two? How about zero! That's right, not a single one! ...

By working in the mid-term cycle in conjunction with groups like the Tea Party and 912ers, the RP support team would be able to greatly influence a turn back towards conservative ideals that is necessary for the survival of our Republic. Don't expect to come into the party and win leadership positions, rather come in and volunteer and stay involved and the leaders among you will float to the top and end up in postions where you are able to help direct America towards a brighter future.

And finally, Ron Paul supporter Suriyah Fish, a delegate from Cherokee County, captured some of the real convention and nearly all of the Ron Paul parking lot convention on her Ustream channel.

There's something creepy going on with email in the race to be Oklahoma's next Republican National Committeeman.

If you're a delegate to the 2012 Oklahoma Republican State Convention, you've been getting a barrage of emails from Richard Engle, candidate for Republican National Committeeman, announcing endorsements from a surprising mixture of people, including disgraced former Speaker Lance Cargill.

What's especially odd about these Engle emails is that they have no substantive text. If you have automatic loading of remote images turned off in your email program -- and you should, for your own Internet safety -- you won't see anything in these Engle emails but a blank space where the image would be and a link labeled, "Is this email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser."

Now, it's not unusual for a mailing list to include a remotely hosted image -- a logo perhaps, or a large photo. A link uses less disk space and bandwidth than embedding the image into the message. But good email etiquette and politeness to the blind demand that you put in an alternative text for the image -- e.g., the name of the company in text form as an alternative to the logo. Typically in these cases, the bulk of the message is plain text, readable even if you choose not to load the remote image.

In Soviet Russia, email reads you!But Richard Engle's emails are different. He's embedded the text of the message in a big image which is located on a remote server. The image is not attached to the email. You can't read it unless you allow remotely hosted images to load, or unless you click the "View it in your browser" link. Among other things, this means you can't cut and paste the text of the message, you can't make the text bigger, and you can't use text-to-voice software to read it to you aloud (more disadvantage for those with limited vision).

And when you load remote images or click the "view it in your browser" link, the server that hosts the endorsement image logs your Internet Protocol (IP address) with a URL that looks like gibberish but actually is a unique identifier tied to your email address. Engle will be able to know which of the endorsement messages you have looked at and which messages you've ignored. More importantly, he will have the IP address of the computer from which you opened his email, and it would be possible to match it with other internet activity.

For most residential users, your IP address, which changes from time to time, only reveals, for example, that you're a Cox or AT&T customer. This email-based data-gathering system makes it possible for someone to pinpoint that a given address is likely to be yours. With multiple emails, you might open some at home, some at work, some at your favorite coffeehouse. Engle would be able to tie your email address to each of these IP addresses and might have enough information to establish a pattern of internet usage. The internet server logs would also let him know what operating system you're running on each of those computers and what web browser or email client you're using.

As Yakov Smirnoff might say, "In Soviet Russia, email reads you!"

Engle could use this feature to build a database of thousands of Oklahoma Republican activists, matching name to email address to one or more IP addresses. Win or lose the RNC position, Engle would have an asset with economic and political value.

Why would someone want to do this? The person sending the email could use this setup to determine who is posting unfavorable anonymous comments on a message board or sending unfavorable anonymous emails. The mailer could sell the database to website owners, who might use it to track an activist's internet activity for commercial or political advantage.

With this database, one could set up a trap: send an email to the same list from a fake "From" address, advertising some illicit website. The database may be able to pinpoint which individuals clicked that nasty link, and suddenly, "You've got blackmail!"

This odd way of sending email has absolutely no advantages to those receiving the email, but it could be very advantageous to the sender.

Is it possible that Engle is doing this innocently? Sure. But this is such an unnatural way to send an email, I have to believe it was done deliberately by someone (perhaps Engle, perhaps someone else). You have to take some time and care to arrange a huge block of text in an image file, rather than just typing the message into an email. That turtle didn't get on that fencepost all by itself.

For the rest of us: Set your email client not to load remote images automatically. Look at carefully at any link in an email before you click it. If there's a lot of incomprehensible code at the end of a URL, it's likely that the sender's email system can track your click to your email address to your IP address and report that information to the sender.


How Thunderbird (Mozilla's email program) protects your privacy by not automatically loading remote images

About.com: How Reading an Email Can Compromise Your Privacy: How this privacy attack works and what countermeasures can be used.

Last week, on April 26, when State Rep. Mike Reynolds tried in vain to appeal the ruling of the speaker pro tempore, so that the Personhood bill (SB 1433) would be heard, only 15 other state representatives were willing to stand with him. This in spite of the fact that SB 1433 had passed the Senate by a wide margin (34-8) and was given a "do pass" recommendation by the House public health committee (7-4). But House Speaker Kris Steele had killed the bill, claiming that it was in response to a caucus vote not to allow it to move forward.

An appeal of the speaker's ruling requires 15 seconds. The speaker pro tem, Hickman, seemed not to see Reynolds's appeal or the seconders. Here, according to Charlie Meadows of OCPAC, are the 18 that demonstrated a willingness to give this bill a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote:

Mike Reynolds (R) *
Gus Blackwell (R) *
Paul Wesselhoft (R) *
Mike Christian (R)
Aaron Stiles (R)
Lewis Moore (R) *
John Bennett (R) *
Sean Roberts (R)
Charles Key (R)
Jason Murphey (R)
George Faught (R) *
Sally Kern (R) *
John Trebilcock (R)
Mike Ritze (R) *
Randy Terrill (R)
Rebecca Hamilton (D) *
R.C. Pruitt (D)
Richard Morrissette (D)

Those with stars after their names also appeared at a news conference last week in support of SB 1433. In addition to those listed above, Josh Cockroft (R), Ralph Shortey (R), and two candidates, Paul Blair (challenging Sen. Clark Jolley in the Republican primary) and Dan Fisher (running for an open House seat), spoke at the the news conference. Meadows notes that Hamilton is a genuine supporter of the sanctity of human life, but questions whether Morrissette's motive was to "stir controversy among Republicans."


Here is video, posted by Personhood USA, of what took place, as Rep. Reynolds sought to suspend the rule, to bypass the floor leader, so that the bill could be heard over the objection of the Majority Floor Leader (Dale DeWitt, R-Braman). Rep. Randy Terrill (R-Moore) points out that Hickman's ruling creates a Catch-22, where there is no way that even a supermajority of the House could move legislation that the Floor Leader seeks to block. This goes well beyond the pros and cons of this particular bill and raises the question: Is the State House a legislative body, or an elected dictatorship?

As you see the end of that video, Hickman claims that there were not 15 standing seconds. But State Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, captured video from his seat showing Hickman improperly ignoring Reynolds' appeal and those who stood with Reynolds.

The video shows the list of representatives who then voted to adjourn. This vote may have appeared nothing more than procedural, but it halted Rep. Reynolds' attempts to be recognized for the purpose of overruling the chair and suspending the rules so that the personhood bill could be heard. April 26 was the last day Senate bills could be heard on the House floor, so anyone voting aye for adjournment voted to pierce the personhood bill's head, vacuum its brains out, and collapse its metaphorical skull for ease of disposal.

I would be very interested in hearing from those avowed pro-life Republicans -- many of whom have moved important pro-life bills in the past, even in this session -- who refused to give their public support to ensure that this bill was brought to a vote, and why they instead supported killing it in utero, as it were, by their silence.

georgefaughtlogo.pngMORE: I received an pseudonymous email on Thursday (probably from a campaign operative for one of the District 2 carpetbagger candidates -- no way to know for sure, can't prove it, but the motive is there), claiming that George Faught did not speak in support of the personhood bill in caucus, and that Faught's public statement in support of SB 1433 cost him the endorsements of State Reps. Steve Martin and David Derby. I'm not sure how this operative knew what went on behind the caucus's closed doors, but it doesn't matter. Faught spoke in support of SB 1433 publicly and stood for it when it counted. Martin and Derby did not, and that they would withdraw support from Faught because of his statement suggests that they care more for caucus politics than the sanctity of human life. Derby and Martin are welcome to try to convince me that my assessment of their wobble is wrong, but it will take some very solid reasoning and facts to convince me. (UPDATE: David Derby responds, noting that he voted against adjournment and supported the bill on each caucus whip count.)

Here's the key to the 2nd Congressional District: There's the carpet cleaner -- George Faught, long-time resident of Muskogee, who runs a successful carpet cleaning business in addition to his service to the legislature -- and then you have some carpetbaggers, people who recently moved into the district after living outside the district for decades. District 2 has been represented by "newly arrived residents" since Brad Carson moved to Claremore from midtown Tulsa and won the open seat in 2000. Vote for the carpet cleaner and send the carpetbaggers packing.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Oklahoma Election 2012 category from May 2012.

Oklahoma Election 2012: April 2012 is the previous archive.

Oklahoma Election 2012: June 2012 is the next archive.

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