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Rebellious Arizona — the Perfect Venue for Next Week’s Tea Party Summit

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Arizona — with its battles over immigration and its liberal gun laws — has become something of a poster child for the anti-government movement.

Which is why the Tea Party Patriots, the largest tea party group in the country, will hold their American Policy Summit at the Phoenix Convention Center Feb. 25-27.

The Tea Party Patriots, which claim more than 3,000 locally organized chapters and more than 15 million supporters nationwide, state on their summit website that they picked Phoenix because the state’s tea party invited them and also to support Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s immigration reforms, which have been challenged by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

“Arizonans have been under a lot of pressure this past year in regards to their immigration reforms,” the website says. “When surveyed, you said you support the changes that Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona legislature implemented. Going to Arizona for this American Policy Summit is a way to show support to those who implemented these changes.”
Arizona’s Wild West rebellion shows no signs of letting up.

On Monday, a proposal was being heard in the Arizona Legislature that would require hospitals to confirm whether patients are in the country legally. No other state has such legislation.

Earlier this month, Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce introduced a bill in the Legislature that would allow a 12-person committee to vote on when federal law applies to Arizona. It includes “federal statutes, mandates, and executive orders.”

If the panel made a recommendation, the Legislature would then take a vote. If majority voted so, then nullification of the law could occur, according to bill sponsors.

The summit will focus on “Five Pathways to Liberty” — education, politics, courts, economics and culture, which will include repealing federal legislation, reforming health care, debating Fair Tax versus Flat Tax and gun rights.

The group’s Facebook page, with over 500,000 followers, has been focused on an array of topics, including making sure “FORMER Speaker Pelosi’s ‘Green the Capitol’ initiative doesn’t destroy America’s free market!”

On the summit’s website, Sarah Palin, who isn’t confirmed as a speaker, says in a promotional blurb for the event: “This summit offers a terrific opportunity for true American Patriots to hear from experts on issues like lowering taxes, balancing the budget and repealing Obamacare.”
Coincidentally, Palin’s daughter, Bristol, recently bought a house in a Phoenix suburb.

Who’s on the agenda? CPAC straw poll winner Rep. Ron Paul, media publisher Andrew Breitbart, 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain, a host of conservative pundits such as Dick Morris, and a handful of Republican congressmen, including Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and Georgia Rep. Rob Woodall.

Arizona Democrats say the state is a predictable locale for the convention considering the current political environment there.

“The Tea Party Summit will find plenty of camaraderie at Arizona’s state Capitol, where Senate President Russell Pearce has dubbed his own chamber the ‘Tea Party Senate,'” says Jennifer Johnson, communication director for the Arizona Democratic Party. “Unfortunately, as Arizona’s economy sinks further, the Russell Pearce Republicans are busy introducing birther bills, federal nullification bills and 14th Amendment bills that undermine the idea that any child born in America is as American as anyone else. Today in Arizona, Democrats represent Arizona’s mainstream, while the Russell Pearce Republicans represent only the extreme.”

The Arizona Republican Party could not be reached for comment, nor could organizers for the Tea Party Summit, which is not listed on the GOP calendar of events, although plenty of tea party meetings are.

The summit comes at a time when a battle rages between parties for voters, especially in light of last week’s announcement by Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl that he would not seek re-election.

No party registration is required in Arizona, and the state is essentially divided into thirds – one-third Republican, one-third Democrats and the other third independents. Democrats say the only Democrats who can survive politically in Arizona are strong centrists like Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who served as the state’s governor for six years.

With success in the 2010 midterms, the tea party now finds itself in a place other political groups, such as the Know Nothing Party of the 1800s, have in the past – charting a future that stays relevant in 2012.

“The tea party of today must do as good of a job organizing its internal rank and file as it has in organizing protest rallies,” says Dr. Ravi K. Perry, Ph.D., director of Race and Ethnic Relations Concentration at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

Perry says that the party will have to have leadership that rebukes the fringe elements of the party. “The tea party will want to frame their agenda not solely about 2012 or anti-liberal policies or anti-Obama,” Perry says. “To create a lasting purpose, one that may truly make the group earn the status of a movement, a broader agenda must be sought.”

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Written by suziparker1313

March 10, 2011 at 3:49 am

Top Five Celebrity Activists: Lady Gaga and a Palin, Too

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Star power goes a long way.

Celebrities can often shed light, or make a big impact, on a cause or an issue in ways that even the best public relations campaign simply cannot.

During World War II, Hollywood stars promoted war bonds, rationing and Victory gardens. These days, they take to social media and television to get their points across on myriad issues affecting the world.

Five celebrities who made a difference this year:

Lady Gaga: The pop superstar dipped her toe into celebrity activism in 2009 when she appeared at the National Equality March in Washington. But in 2010, Lady Gaga chose full-body immersion. She took on “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” and encouraged her “Little Monster” fans to make a ruckus by calling elected officials and asking them to repeal the law. For many Millennials, Lady Gaga’s call to action was the first time they realized that they could even call a senator.

The fashion diva, who took heat from PETA for a costume made from meat, also lambasted Arizona’s immigration law and took on the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church when the hate group protested her St. Louis concert. Her solution: Embrace them with love and peace.

How did she motivate her fans to action? Via Facebook and Twitter. Lady Gaga rules social media with more followers and fans than any politician, including President Barack Obama.

Expect the 25-year-old Lady Gaga to continue her fight for GLBT rights in 2011 as her third studio album will be called “Born This Way.”

Sean Penn: Academy Award-winner Sean Penn went beyond the extra charitable mile in 2010. When Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake in January, Penn didn’t just write a check to a relief agency. Instead, he started his own organization and ventured to the ravaged country.

And he decided to stay.

Penn became a camp manager for the International Organization of Migration at Petionville, one of the most complex temporary camps in Haiti. The IOM is the United Nations agency responsible for camp management and coordination. He also traveled to Washington to testify at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on rebuilding Haiti.

In December, Penn, 50, even skipped out of a fancy Dubai film festival where he was to receive a lifetime achievement award to return to Haiti because of concerns regarding the safety of his staff. He received the “Hollywood Humanitarian Award” at the Hollywood Awards for his “selfless” efforts.

Penn continues to stress the importance of medical supplies and doctors as the country battles cholera. He’s not going anywhere, he says. In fact, Penn has recently vowed to spend years in Haiti until the country is stable.

Michelle Obama: Like first ladies before her, Michelle Obama has a cause — childhood obesity. Sure, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Bill Clinton were pushing the issue long before Obama got on the scene, but she took the issue to a new level. She launched “Let’s Move,” a program to “raise a healthier generation of kids.”

She has called obesity a “national security threat” and an epidemic. Last year, she created a White House garden to show how easy it is to raise healthy food. She kicked off 2010 by speaking to the U.S. Conference of Mayors about the issue. This month, Obama celebrated a win when her husband signed into the law the child nutrition bill for which she strongly lobbied. The first lady isn’t above showing her hula-hooping skills or practicing with NFL teams to show kids how to exercise and get outside.

Her obesity campaign recently got Sarah Palin’s attention.

On her TLC reality television show, Palin said, “Where are the s’mores ingredients? This is in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert.” In fact, Obama said, “The problem is when things get out of balance, when dessert is practically a food group.”

In turn, Huckabee, a former overweight diabetic who wrote a book about his weight battle, came to Obama’s defense. Don’t expect Michelle Obama to back down on the issue. She plans to make the battle against childhood obesity her White House legacy.

Bristol Palin: She tangoed her way into the consciousness of just about every American household this year on “Dancing With The Stars.” But she also did her fair share of advocacy against teen pregnancy. Palin was 17 and unmarried when she became pregnant.

In May, Palin appeared in a public service announcement for The Candie’s Foundation, an offshoot of the clothing brand that promotes awareness of teen pregnancy. In 2009, she was named an ambassador for the foundation.

During her “DWTS” appearance, Palin filmed another PSA promoting safe sex for the foundation with Jersey Shore star and fellow DWTS contestant, The Situation. He promotes condoms, Palin promotes abstinence.

In December, Keith Olbermann called Bristol Palin “the worst person in the world” because she preaches abstinence to teens even though she was an unwed teenager when she became a mom.
Palin pulled a Lady Gaga and took to her Facebook page to defend herself. She wrote: “In order to have credibility as a spokesperson, it sometimes takes a person who has made mistakes. Parents warn their children about the mistakes they made so they are not repeated. Former gang members travel to schools to educate teenagers about the risks of gang life.”

Palin graduated out of her teens this year but is likely to continue her abstinence message into her 20s. That is unless she finds a new cause.

Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder, Natalie Maines and Patti Smith: Collectively, these four kindred spirits came together in of all places, Little Rock, Ark., to shed light on the West Memphis Three – Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley, Jr.

While teenagers, the three were charged with the murders of three 8-year-old boys, whose bodies were found in 1993 naked and bound in West Memphis, Ark. For the last 17 years, the three have been trying to get the Arkansas courts to retry the case. Echols sits on Arkansas Death Row. The other two men are serving life sentences.

Vedder and Depp have long been supporters of the West Memphis Three. Only this year, however, did Depp decide to become more vocal publicly about the case. Depp appeared on “48 Hours” to plead for a new trial and pulled his friend, punk goddess Patti Smith, into the project.

In August, Vedder, along with Arkansas Take Action advocates, led the charge to organize a concert to shed light on the need for new hearings in the case. Depp, Maines and Smith appeared. Depp read poems written by Echols and also sang and played guitar. Maines, too, performed, and Smith closed the evening with her classics.

The celeb firepower may have just worked.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled in November to allow new evidentiary hearings for the West Memphis Three.

Princess Diana and Sarah Palin: Mirror Images?

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Sarah Palin is the political Princess Diana.

That’s what one GOP source told me recently. “Let’s be honest. If she didn’t have looks, we wouldn’t be talking about her. You wouldn’t be covering her. She’s like Princess Diana.”

Shallow? Yes. But isn’t there truth there?

Princess Diana captured hearts at age 19 when Prince Charles selected her as a bride. Sarah Palin hit the scene when Sen. John McCain picked her as his running mate, although she’d already had a spread in Vogue as Alaska’s governor.

Princess Diana, for the most part, was a celebrity who used her power for good. Sure, she visited the White House and danced with John Travolta. She engaged in charity work, especially in the areas of AIDS and leprosy. She wore stunning clothes but gave very few interviews. She seemed unapproachable, like a China doll to be admired but not touched, even in the last year of her life when she lobbied in a high-profile crusade against land mines.

Palin was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, but then gave up her governorship to spend more time in the lower 48 states. Palin’s charity work comes in the form of SarahPAC. She shows up, and candidates raise a lot of money for their campaigns. Many politicos agree that Palin hasn’t done much as far as resume building, say like Hillary Clinton, who served eight years in the Senate, for a White House run.

Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican consultant, said this week that Palin is “a media star and a great curiosity” but is lacking on political credentials. Rollins said on CNN, “You were plucked out of political obscurity because of the whim of presidential contender John McCain, who didn’t know you and made you into an overnight sensation. You performed well for three weeks in the campaign, did better than expected against Joe Biden in the debate, and then you self-destructed.”

Rollins may have gone a little far by using “self-destruct” to describe Palin. If anything, she has reinvented herself much in the vein that Diana did after her divorce from Prince Charles. Palin has carved a path in Republican politics using SarahPAC and social media. If Diana were alive in the 21st century, she might very well give Palin or Lady Gaga a run for their tweets by engaging with her fans online.

Diana made headlines just for crossing a street or wearing a designer gown — or even a pair of blue jeans — with paparazzi in tow. In this modern age of microscopic details, Palin gets attention every time she tweets, posts a Facebook note, signs a book or appears on a radio or television show. It doesn’t matter if she is commenting on WikiLeaks, North Korea, Alaska or her daughter Bristol’s recent appearance on “Dancing With the Stars.” Women want Palin’s upswept hairstyle and her glasses.

Trendsetting aside, Palin shares with Diana a must-have job skill to catapult to the celebrity stratosphere — working the media — including, these days, social media.

It may seem like Palin talks a lot, but, in fact, she doesn’t. Like Diana and the royal family, Palin tightly controls her own message with the help of Rebecca Mansour, a mystery woman who is communications director for SarahPAC. Mansour allegedly tweets and posts Facebook notes for Palin in the former vice-presidential candidate’s unyielding, and at times snarky, tone. Palin has even created her own show about Alaska to further enhance an image of a Mama Grizzly who takes no prisoners or animals. Or fish!

Palin only appears on television shows that are “Sarah friendly,” which don’t play hardball or ask her questions she doesn’t want to answer. Diana often did the same thing.

As some outlets reported at the time of her death, Diana indulged in a passive-aggressive love affair with the media. She favored reporters who helped create her image of a golden goddess in a “loveless marriage.” She, along with a press secretary (a royal version of Mansour) and later solo, used the media to sculpt her image through favored media contacts.

As PBS’ “Frontline” reported in 1997, one editor invited Diana to lunch at The Sun. Diana let him know she knew all about him. She teased him with “I hear you are a friend of Camilla’s.” As the “Frontline” story says, “The truth is that the princess had been colluding in her own coverage at least since March 1991.”

Sound familiar? Palin coined the term “lamestream media” to call out those who don’t play her game.

It only helps that, like Diana, Palin has great hair, a marathoner’s body and a telegenic face. The Learning Channel isn’t exactly rushing to sign Sharron Angle for a show about Nevada.

Even after Diana’s death, the royal spotlight shone on the royal family. Diana’s son, Prince William, and his impending wedding to Kate Middleton will keep all eyes on all things royal for months to come. Palin, in the same vein, is using her family to keep herself in the news.Through her reality television show, Palin introduces audiences on her own terms to her immediate family, as well as nieces and nephews.

It’s as if Palin is creating her own royal family since America doesn’t have one.

Diana wanted to seem more like a commoner after her failed marriage. Palin, a political commoner, wants to show the world that she isn’t a blue-blood living in a mansion — while making the money so she could. So far, she’s doing very well at the game.

Sarah Palin’s Parental Role Models: Bill and Hillary Clinton

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Summer weddings are all the rage among the most politically fascinating — and polar opposite — families. The Clintons and the Palins.

Rumors concerning every detail — the wedding dress, the guest list, the ceremony — swirl around the July 31 wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky at the extravagant Astor Courts in Rhinebeck, N.Y., above the Hudson River. It promises to be a glamorous A-list affair. Mother of the bride and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said repeatedly, whenever given the chance, that Chelsea’s wedding is the most important thing in her life.

Sarah Palin, well, is a different story. It’s rumored that Sarah may not be attending daughter Bristol’s August wedding to her off-again, on-again baby’s daddy Levi Johnston. Gasp! No, no, no. Even Miss Manners has a word to say about this.

While Judith Martin, aka “Miss Manners,” declines to discuss individuals “because it would be rude,” she does have a few thoughts about parents who boycott their children’s wedding, she told Politics Daily’s Annie Groer.

“It is a very serious statement that people sometimes live to regret,” said Martin, the author of “Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding” written with daughter Jacobina Martin. “The regret stems from the fact that it makes the children very angry because it’s a very public form of disapproval. It’s one thing sitting around moaning that your daughter could have done better, but another to make clear to everyone in your entire circle that you think so.”

It’s not entirely shocking if the boycott rumor becomes truth. In the past, Sarah has been less than kind to Levi, who burnished his black sheep credentials when he posed nude for “Playgirl.” He further frosted the family air by stating that Sarah called her son, Trig, who has Down’s syndrome, retarded.

Palin retorted, “Consider the source of the most recent attention-getting lies. Those who would sell their body for money reflect a desperate need for attention and are likely to say and do anything for even more attention.”

Just last week, in a statement to “Good Morning America,” Sarah gave her blessing to her daughter’s union. But it wasn’t exactly endearing. “As parents, we obviously want what is best for our children, but Bristol is ultimately in charge of determining what is best for her and her beautiful son. Bristol believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle to put in practice in our daily lives. We pray that, as a couple, Bristol and Levi’s relationship matures into one that will allow Tripp to grow up graced with two loving parents in his life.”

Chelsea was once in the middle — literally — between Bill and Hillary during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. But perhaps because of the love for their daughter, the high-powered political couple worked through their problems and remained married. Happy faces will abound at the wedding.

It’s been made clear that invitees to Chelsea’s wedding must personally know the couple, and they should not leak information. The private twosome tend to eschew the spotlight and have not been spotted all over Manhattan buying china and wedding favors.

Bristol and Levi live in a vastly different universe than Chelsea and Marc. They can’t seem to get enough attention. Even Bristol’s recent ex-boyfriend and Levi’s former hockey teammate, Ben Barber, has gotten into the mix, dishing dirt on his former girlfriend.

Bristol and Levi may be in negotiations for a reality show around their impending nuptials in Alaska and life with their 2-year-old son, Tripp, although a rep for Bristol Palin has denied that. Networks don’t seem interested at the moment, but stranger things have aired on television. Remember Tori Spelling?

It’s easy to imagine the reception chatter at Chelsea’s wedding. Think Washington cocktail party with a wedding cake. FOBs like Terry McAuliffe will likely toast the couple and tell everyone who will listen that the Democrats will win the midterms. There will be plenty of wistful White House story telling over expensive champagne.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall at Bristol and Levi’s celebration. With or without Sarah, it’s sure to be an affair for Alaskans to remember. One family member told the media that the event was Alaska’s equivalent to Princess Diana’s wedding. Maybe with some extra-added caribou in the mix. It’s not so far fetched to think that the wedding, like many celebrity nuptials these days, may be underwritten by a tabloid in exchange for the exclusive pics.

Bristol, 19, could take a lesson from Chelsea, 30.

Chelsea could have opted for a wild party-girl lifestyle in New York or Hollywood. She didn’t exactly have a picture-perfect childhood even in the White House. The media shamefully — and unfairly — joked about her teen awkwardness even as her parents tried their best to shield her from scrutiny. Her father had an impeachment scandal triggered by his liaison with Monica Lewinsky. But Chelsea stayed on track and didn’t take the predictable “fall from grace” path.

Instead, she graduated from Stanford, earned a master’s degree from Oxford, and worked at a New York consulting firm followed by a job at a hedge fund. She serves on the board of the School for American Ballet. She is studying health policy and management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

By contrast, Bristol has had a rough-go thus far in her young life. She endured an unplanned teen pregnancy and a hailstorm of sordid true-and-untrue allegations while her mother ran as Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential pick. Her husband-to-be has feuded bitterly and publicly with his future mother-in-law. Family holidays likely won’t resemble a Currier & Ives postcard.

Both women have one thing in common — fathers who care about them. Reports say that Todd Palin will escort Bristol down the aisle regardless of whether Sarah attends. There’s no question about Bill Clinton. He’ll be there, and he’s losing 15 pounds for the big event.

If Sarah doesn’t attend, the focus will be on her absence and not the couple as they try to make their way into what will surely be a married life with plenty of baggage from the start. Hopefully, the rumors aren’t true and Sarah will attend. If not, she, too, needs to take lesson from Miss Manners — and the Clintons — and be there for her daughter.

Written by suziparker1313

March 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm