Support From The Wisconsin 9/12 Group – Standing For The 1st Amendment

Here is an email I received from Kirsten Lombard of the Wisconsin 9/12 Project In Madison.  We thank them for their support and applaud them for their courage and understanding of this issue.  We may have differences on some issues, but this is a principle everyone in our movement should understand!

FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS: The Wisconsin 9/12 Project Stands with the Rock River Patriots


I find Mr. Belling’s refusal simply to issue a correction more than regrettable. I’m also bothered by his assumption that local grassroots groups do not have a right to inform the voters about what they find in relationship to candidate vetting. You’re precisely right in pointing out to Mr. Belling that he is advocating–or at least indicating his preference for–a curtailment of your 1st Amendment rights. I wonder how he’d like it if someone told him that as a radio host, he should only speak about certain things in sanctioned ways. That day may be closer than he thinks, so perhaps we’ll find out.

In any event, when followed to its natural conclusion, Mr. Belling’s argument shakes out thus:

As a radio host with a bully pulpit, he has the right to say whatever he wants about issues, candidates, or whatever. We, on the other hand, as Tea Party groups, are useful only for certain purposes and should therefore keep our mouths shut unless the topics about which we decide to communicate meet with the approval of…whom exactly? Himself? The Republican Party of Wisconsin?

I’m not sure how he would fill in the blank. But Mr. Belling is not the only conservative (I will resist the urge to put that word in quotes) radio host to make similar ridiculous statements. In fact, there seem to be a few shared and rather pernicious talking points. As organizer of the Wisconsin 9/12 Project, I, too, have been specifically targeted by local talk radio–and my words and actions shamefully misrepresented. I have shrugged it off with no comment. But I do find it odd and ironic that the very people who accuse liberal progressives of bending the truth and trying to silence people…regularly do the same when it suits their particular purposes.

Based on the comments I have seen and heard from certain hosts, I have no doubt whatsoever that if the Rock River Patriots were preaching the strengths/merits of Mr. Johnson–rather than what was certainly quite a measured expression of concern about some noteworthy weaknesses of which voters should be aware–that would be just fine with Mr. Belling, and he would not have gone after you. The hypocrisy is wildly apparent, and NONE OF US should be cowed by what is, frankly, straight up bullying on the part of people who should know better.

BIG NEWS: When you further a party position and start telling those who differ from it in any way that they should shut up or start slandering them as something they aren’t, that not only makes you a hypocrite on the 1st Amendment, it reveals you as a shill. How embarrassing for Mr. Belling…and others. As I mentioned, he’s not alone.

Last time I checked, conservative talk-radio hosts–however great a service they generally do the community–were not the arbiters of free speech.

I’m very glad, Dan, that you and your group are as forthright and committed to the Constitution as you are–and that you are standing your ground, insisting that you be represented properly, and refusing to bend to the nonsense.

As for the Wisconsin 9/12 Project, it will continue to exercise its natural right to free speech as it sees fit. I support the Rock River Patriots wholeheartedly in doing precisely the same. While these two groups may not agree on everything, we agree on much, and I am personally grateful for your friendship.

I have no doubt that the above comments will come back to me in the form of more criticism from certain corners.

So be it.

Bring it on.


Rock River Patriots Response To Mark Belling’s LIES Part 2

from BELLING, MARK C. <>

to Rock River Patriots <>

date Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 1:54 PM

subject RE: Rock River Patriots Response To Mark Belling’s LIE about us


Did your group comment on Ron Johnson or not? My point is that nobody should speak for the “Tea Party” and organized groups with leaders is anathema to the movement. It is my contention your group should offer no comments on anything but should merely be a forum for citizens to express their own grievances. It is remarkably arrogant for one group to attempt to co-op a movement, particularly when that group appears to be very liberal on a number of issues, including the war on terrorism. Most tea party attendees support the anti-terror effort, the Patriot Act and strongly defend Israel.

from Rock River Patriots <>

date Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 7:37 AM

subject Re: Rock River Patriots Response To Mark Belling’s LIE about us



You are not addressing the reason for the email in the first place. You LIED about our group saying we “are trying to speak for the whole movement” and “running around trying to endorse candidates and pass judgement.” I will ask you again to correct these LIES. I already included the link to the Wisconsin State Journal article in which we are quoted stating that we do not endorse candidates. I have already stated we only speak for the Rock River Patriots, not the other groups.

Now let me address your other concerns.

On Ron Johnson…We had a candidate forum with Ron much like we have with many other candidates. We were especially interested since Ron came out of no where to receive the Republican Party endorsement. Almost no one had even heard he was a candidate and now he had the state GOP endorsement. We asked some fundamental constitutional questions that are very important and relevant to being a U.S. Senator. After the session, many of us were not satisfied with many of the responses offered. I was asked what OUR group thought of the session, and responded. Here is the link to our site that contains the Milwaukee Journal story link and our response:

The whole reason the Rock River Patriots joined together is because both parties were not doing their job representing “We The People”. Many people in other TEA Party groups have told me the same thing. Government has grown as much under Republicans as it has under Democrats. When government grows, our freedom shrinks and vice versa. We have been tired of voting for the lesser of two “evils”. Maybe what you really want to say is “only be critical of the other guy?” You have always been critical of both conservatives and liberals in the past, so this is a little surprising.

Is it really “arrogant” for a group of people to exercise their 1st Amendment rights, band together, and speak out about: holding our elected officials accountable? following the Constitution? the unsustainable path our country is on?

We should “offer no comments on anything, but should merely be a forum for citizens to express their own grievances?” This is a huge contradiction! We are the forum that members of our group use to express their grievences. With that in mind, waving signs is just one aspect of what we do. The other aspect is to do something about it.

Finally, you want to claim we are “liberal” on a number of issues including the war on terrorism. You also mention the Patriot Act, and defending Israel. I don’t think we have ever commented on Israel at all. Israel has a right to exist, defend itself, and we should support them in their efforts.

That brings us to you calling us “liberal” because of our opposition to the Patriot Act and of our skepticism regarding the war on terror. Let me ask you this: Do you believe the Constitution is a living, breathing document? Do you believe we should follow the Constitution at all? Based on your past commentary, I assume that you take an originalist position meaning we should interpret the Constitution is as it is written. The fundamental problem with the growth of the federal government is that much of it is unconstitutional. We need to educate people about that. Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution enumerates these powers.

The Patriot Act is a violation of the 4th Amendment. Warrant-less searches and indefinite detention of Americans if they are labeled a terror suspect? Where is the opportunity for due process if everything is secret? The government has already started to play with the definition of who is a terrorist. Read the Missouri Intelligence Analysis Center (MIAC) report that lists returning war veterans, Ron Paul supporters, Tea Party and Pro-2nd Amendment groups specifically as possible domestic terrorists. Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox news has talked at length about how the Patriot Act is a violation of our rights.

Regarding the war on terror…I think you are stating the Republican Party position, not necessarily the thoughts of TEA Party groups. Many of us are skeptical when we have virtually open borders, but yet are defending the borders in other countries. How is that protecting us? It is estimated approximately 3% of the people (that we know of) entering the U.S. through the southern border are labeled as being “other than Mexican.” It has been documented that many of these people are from terror sponsoring countries. This has happened under both the Bush and Obama. We have two wars with undefined missions, and no end in sight. Our country is bankrupt, and were are fighting for people who hate us. It makes no sense.

From Mark Belling – “Why Are We Vetting Anyone?”

In response to Mark Belling’s comments on his show yesterday about the Rock River Patriots, Nathan Friedl from our group, also responded.  Mark’s response is very intriguing:  “Why is your group vetting anyone?”  Nathan Friedl responded.  Below is the email exchange.

From: Nate Friedl

Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 7:51 PM


Subject: Rock River Patriots

Mark, my name is Nathan friedl with the Rock River Patriots in Jefferson County WI.

I personally have not heard you mention us on your program but a number of people have told us you have made reference to us including on your show this afternoon (Wednesday July 14).

Forgive me if my information is not correct but we were told you stated our group was one of those Tea Party groups who are endorsing candidates.

That is absolutely false. We have never and have no intention of ever endorsing anyone. We have a vetting process for candidates and ask the same or very similar questions to each one.

Obviously, you can make any statements you like on your program, it’s your program. Having said that, please make certain your facts are accurate if you chose to talk about our group.

Please feel free to visit our web site or you, or one of your staff, contact us if you would like to know where we stand on an issue before you state where we stand on an issue.


Nate Friedl


Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2010 1:55 PM

To: Nate Friedl

Subject: RE: Rock River Patriots

Why is your group “vetting” anyone?

From: Nate Friedl

Sent: Thu 7/15/10 3:22 PM


The same reason any one of the over 70 Tea Party groups across the State are doing the same thing!

Is this a new revelation for you? Many groups across the State have been doing this for more than six months Mark.

Many of the candidates are running for local office, some for State, and some Federal.

Each group asks questions important to the group to give each group a better understanding of what the candidate believes. We do not care who the Democrats or Republicans endorse. We would like to understand where they stand on Constitutional issues.

Are you suggesting the Tea Party groups should not invite candidates to come and answer questions related to the issues important to each group?

Not one group in the coalition presumes to speak for the others, including the Rock River Patriots. Never once have we even suggested such a thing. EVER!

We would appreciate you correcting the record about our group.

We DO NOT speak for the other groups. The Coalition does that. I don’t remember seeing you at the Coalition meeting in June when we decided these things.

You stated we are passing judgment. On what or whom Mark? Please provide one specific example of that. At least before you pass false information to your audience about us.

You stated we are NOT the real Tea Party movement. Why do you assume the right to pass that judgment without even so much as speaking with us?

Not the real Tea Party movement? Please provide the Coalition with your approved list of Tea Party group members so we know who to tell who can start their own grass roots group and who can’t and which of the over 70 groups are legitimate in your eyes and which are not.

Mark, does this have to do with Ron Johnson’s question and answer (vetting) session with us?

If not, why have you all of a sudden begun to mention our group after that event? Why not anytime in the last year when we had two other candidates for US Senate come in, not to mention many local candidates?

Did you watch his session with us? If so I believe you will see we were courteous and respectful. I must admit, we were shocked at his complete lack of knowledge regarding the constitution.

That may not matter to the Republican Party but it matters to our group.

We are not looking for publicity. In fact, we would be very happy if you were to correct the record about our group on air and never mention us again.

If you would like to know where the Tea Party stands in Wisconsin please contact the Coalition and stop singling out one of their member groups. (You will in fact find that not all the groups agree on every issue).

Once again to your question. Is it your position that the Tea Party groups should stop inviting candidates to their meetings to ask questions and find out where they stand on issues important to the groups?

Maybe we should just trust our futures and our children’s futures to what either of the two parties and or talk show hosts tell us and not take responsibility for getting involved in a real way.

I have heard you often promote the idea of an informed electorate, of people taking responsibility for themselves, of becoming more than sound bite voters. Have you changed your position regarding those things?

I have listened to your program, when time allows, for many years and would be shocked if you had a problem with that. Unless your loyalty is to a specific party rather than the principled positions important to the many groups throughout the State then I can not understand your personal interest in mentioning our group specifically on your program and stating things that have zero basis in fact about us.


Nathan Friedl

Rock River Patriots Letter To Mark Belling

Below is the letter I sent out to Milwaukee talk radio show host Mark Belling regarding his comments on his show about our group.  I will attempt to post the audio soon.

Mark stated the we ” trying to speak for the whole movement”  and “are running around trying to endorse candidates and pass judgement”.  I am not certain where this is coming from.  I can only speculate we have angered some in the Republican Party establishment with our Ron Johnson vetting session.  Shortly after the video was posted, I started hearing the same type of rhetoric.  Again, this is only speculation.

I will say the same thing again.  We will not “carry water” for anyone.  It is the job of the people to ask tough questions of candidates no matter who they are or what endorsements they have.

Here is the letter:


In Hour 2 Part 1 of your show today (07/14/10), you completely LIED about about our position regarding the endorsement of candidates. We have repeatedly stated that we DO NOT endorse candidates because the Tea Party is about an ideology, not a particular person. Long before your rant today, we were quoted in the Wisconsin State Journal where I stated the same thing.

Here is the link to that article:Wisconsin tea parties face a difficult choice as their convention approaches

We have also repeatedly stated we do not speak for anyone other than our own group. However, it seems that you want to paint us as just the opposite. We are members of the Coalition of WI TEA Party Groups, but never once claimed to speak on their behalf. That is the beauty of this movement, we work together but retain our own group identity.

You may not like our positions on certain issues (which we believe are in accordance with the Constitution), but that doesn’t mean you can completely distort who we are or what we believe. We request that you correct this error. If you have questions about our positions, please feel free to contact us or visit our website.

We look forward to hearing from you.