Monday, 12 April 2010

Shelly Mandell and Elaine Lafferty: Delegates at the last national NOW conference - An inside view

In the last three posts about NOW we explored the colorful and profitable relations of Shelly Mandell and Elaine Lafferty to the McCain-Palin campaign and SarahPAC (see all posts
HERE). We also learned that the "Democrats" Mandell and Lafferty were very vocal in their support for Sarah Palin.

Furthermore, we discovered that during the last national conference of NOW, which took part in Indiana from June 19-21, 2009, the "pro-Palin feminists" gained the majority - reportedly with a very slim margin of only eight votes!

Meanwhile, we have received more background information regarding what happened at the last national NOW conference.

Palingates has obtained the complete set of so-called "On-Site Credentials" for the last annual NOW conference in Indiana 2009. With these documents and other background conversations, it's possible for us to understand how the system worked - and we were also able to establish with these documents without any doubt that both Shelly Mandell and Elaine Lafferty were delegates at the last annual NOW conference in June 2009.

At this point in time, Elaine Lafferty had already received more than $ 53,000 from the McCain/Palin campaign and had written several pro-Palin articles. In addition, Elaine Lafferty had received more than $ 12,000 from SarahPAC, the checks of which had been sent to Shelly Mandell's home address.

This is the screenshot of the form for Shelly Mandell:

Shelly Mandell - delegate designation

This is the form for Elaine Lafferty:

Elaine Lafferty - delegate designation

Shelly Mandell received her designation to become a delegate from Bonita Edmon, President of Oakland County Chapter, and Elaine Lafferty received it from Caroline Nelson, President of the Long Island Chapter.

The system works in general as follows: Each local Chapter President of NOW can give a so-called "on-site credential" to members of her choice. A specific number of delegates is allocated to each Chapter. This system seems to be open for manipulation, because what you need is to get the Chapter President "on your side" - and then the Chapter President needs to nominate the "right" delegates.

However, we have been told that the way the nominees are chosen varies from case to case. Some chapters of NOW elect their delegates in advance during their local conferences which precede the national conference. Other Chapter Presidents are in contrast given a "free hand" in giving out the credentials.

What is also needed is to be able to fill all the delegate spaces which are allocated to each Chapter - and this seems to have been one of the problems last year for the "anti-Palin delegates". A feminist blog wrote about the results in detail and reported:

"The Sarah Palin supporters swung this election. The election was certainly close enough - less than 10 votes separated the two slates. Then again, if Latifa's supporters had been able to bring just a handful of additional supporters, we'd have an entirely different picture to discuss. The Palin people out organized us, plain and simple.


The 2009 election report is as follows:

* 404 total ballots
* 72 ballots not used (meaning ballots printed but not used)
* 1 ballot voided
* 203 votes needed to elect slate
* 198 for NOW is the Times slate
* 206 for Feminist Leadership NOW slate"

Therefore, it seems to me that there could have been 72 more delegates, because these ballots were printed and not used. However, I cannot confirm myself whether these numbers are 100% accurate. Still, it is my understanding from the information given on this blog that many more delegates could have participated in the vote.

Through conversations via long-distance phone calls, we were able to establish more details about what happened at the national NOW conference in 2009.

First of all, there was a dispute whether Shelly Mandell had the power to give credentials to her L.A. delegates. Why is that? Originally, Shelly came to the conference as the President of the L.A. Chapter. For this Chapter, she had the astonishing number of 29 delegates at her disposal, due to the large size of the LA Chapter.

However, there was an open protest on the conference floor regarding whether Shelly Mandell had the right to represent the LA Chapter - because her term as a President had already expired on January 1, 2008, and no new elections had been called yet, contrary to the by-laws of NOW.

The conference then decided in an open vote that Shelly Mandell didn't have the right to give out the credentials to her delegates - and as a consequence, the 29 delegates from LA couldn't represent LA any more, but had to be "disbursed" to other Chapters. That's why Shelly finally got her "on-site credential" from Oakland County, Michigan. Naturally, this unusual system easily opens the way for manipulations.

The conflict regarding Shelly Mandell's Presidency continues. Formally, she is not the President of the LA Chapter any more. Technically, however, as we were told, she still has the Chapter under her control.

That is because no new elections for the LA Chapter have been called - despite having the Presidency vacant since January 1, 2008! This is interesting, because Terry O'Neill, the national NOW President, has already been formerly instructed after a successful "grievance procedure" in January 2010 to call new elections in LA. However, up until today, Terry O'Neill has made no move to call elections in LA, which means that LA will have no delegates for the upcoming national NOW convention in July 2010 -and it's now too late for her to do so. This most likely means that 29 delegates will be missing. Delegates, which could have very well have been anti-Palin delegates!

We have also been told that the "money trail" to Shelly Mandell and Elaine Lafferty which Palingates revealed is particularly relevant for many NOW members. That is because in the past, Shelly Mandell has persistently denied to have any "formal" connection to Sarah Palin. The fact that two large checks from SarahPAC were sent to Shelly's home address was an eye-opener for many NOW members.

During the last national NOW conference, a big issue was the question whether pro-life members should be allowed to play a role within NOW which is traditionally a pro-choice organization. A good example of the opinion of a pro-choice feminist can be found in the blog I cited above:

One of the grievances I heard about was how to address the inclusion of pro-life feminists in NOW. *big ass sigh* If pro-life feminists want to be in NOW, I welcome them. Yes, I welcome them. I welcome them and say, "Join NOW. Join us in our fight to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Join us in pushing for single-payer health insurance so that women don't worry that even if they wanted to be a mom, they couldn't afford to take their baby to well-baby appointments or the immunizations. Join us in winning paid family leave so women can recover from birth and bond with their newborns. Join us crafting a system where college students can be moms and students with affordable infant care on campus. Join us on making choice a real choice. You don't have to escort at clinics, you just need to help us make everything else better."

However, there are signs that these "pro-life feminists" (meaning: anti-abortion feminists...) are not as "altruistic" as they should be, but that they are in reality trying to move NOW forcefully in their direction, which is "strictly anti-abortion".


In addition, we were alerted to another organization which deserves closer scrutiny. It's "The New Agenda", which was founded in August 2008. The New Agenda is "a 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls by bringing about systemic change in the media, at the workplace, at school and at home."

In this organization, we meet a number of familar faces:

1) One of the co-founders was Elaine Lafferty. We were told this directly, but the proof can also be found in a press release from December 2008 in which Elaine Lafferty is explicitly mentioned as a co-founder:

“Recent polls show that a majority of American women are disappointed about how women fared in the election. Gov. Paterson has an opportunity to marry hope and history in New York by appointing a qualified woman to carry on Hillary Clinton’s legacy,” said Elaine Lafferty, co-founder The New Agenda.

3) On the current homepage of the New Agenda we meet another familar face: Obama-basher and Sarah Palin supporter Lynn Forester de Rothschild:

Rothschild - New Agenda evening

4) In the "Benefit Committee" for this event we find Lynette Long - who also was a delegate at the last national NOW convention and was, as we were told, "in the same camp" as Shelly Mandell and Elaine Lafferty.

5) There are more NOW-connections. It was widely reported in the media in 2008 that Linda Klinge, at the time the Vice President of NOW Oregon, campaigned for Sarah Palin - together with Shelly Mandell, Lynn Forester de Rothschild and Elaine Lafferty.

Well, Linda Klinge is not an official of NOW in Oregon any more - and we have been told that the Chapter of NOW Oregon even was dissolved under Klinge's leadership, still waiting to be resurrected up until today. But Linda Klinge found a comfortable new position. She is now the Treasurer of the "New Agenda".

It does seem that the "pro-Palin feminists" are not passive - and surely they are waiting to strike at the next given opportunity.



Here are some these new right-wing feminists, who were publicly regarded as "Democrats", on stage with Sarah Palin. This clip is also a good example what their general line of argumentation is - if you are against Sarah Palin, you are AGAINST WOMEN. Simple, isn't it?

(h/t ilovepoodles)

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