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Courtney Kreider Responds to Sagging Popularity of Red, White & Blueprint/Carlos Zapata, as Alt-Right Freedom Coalition Gains Ground

Early in 2021, the Red, White and Blueprint media company was hot. In addition to posting docuseries episodes and podcasts, RW&B was known for widely spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and stirring up trouble with Shasta County politics, while supporting the now-faltering movement to recall three Shasta County supervisors. 

The first docuseries episode, published in March, attracted more than 53,000 views. Episode 6, however, released in October, garnered just 2,700 views.

The podcasts, which consist of roundtable discussions between RW&B co-owners Carlos Zapata and producer Jon Knight, along with regulars Woody Clendenen and Lani Bangay and different guests, has faced the same fate of declining numbers.

A few months ago, the podcasts’ viewership numbers surpassed 1,000, but the most recent one, which went live on November 1, has less than 200 views and just 2 comments since it aired to a peak live viewership of around 25 people.

It is no secret that Red, White and Blueprint has gone cold and is in search of a post-Shasta-County-recall-attempt identity and a fresh cash flow as the recall movement barely gathered enough signatures to recall one of the three targeted supervisors, Leonard Moty, former Redding police chief and District 2 Supervisor.

Like Red, White and Blueprint, Zapata’s popularity may also be on the skids. He was initially ultra-popular among many right-wing circles when he threatened the Shasta County Board of Supervisors with violence in the streets if they continued to go along with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pandemic mandates, despite the fact that few businesses in the county closed, and none were fined.

But now Zapata possesses a misdemeanor charge for disturbing the peace while fighting for his role in the May 4 attack on vocal recall opponent Nathan Pinkney. He’s on probation and must attend court-ordered anger-management classes.

Courtney Kreider on Red, White and Blueprint: Too much ego, not enough facts

Some sources privy to internal RW&B happenings, who asked to remain anonymous, have characterized Zapata as an “egotistical megalomaniac”. This observation leaves others speculating that Zapata’s notable personality issues are in part what chased homegrown news reporter Courtney Kreider away from RW&B, even after Zapata allegedly lured her from a promising broadcast news job in Nebraska with the promise to be RW&B’s front-line media representative.

Other anonymous RW&B insiders have also said that Kreider, who broke ties with Red, White and Blueprint in May, no longer views Zapata in a positive light.

Upon being contacted for this article, although Kreider did not specifically mention Zapata, she did respond in writing that there were “very good people involved” in the Red, White and Blueprint “with good hearts.”

Regarding the Red, White and Blueprint movement, Kreider said that for some, “It turned into a public battle driven by ego, and unfortunately not always facts.”

Kreider’s statement begs the question about whether one of the egos in question may belong to Zapata. 

Although Kreider agreed that Red, White and Blueprint “does appear to be losing steam,” she also spoke of a continued, common interest.

“One thing RW&B and I will always share is the disgust with government overreach and those who feed at the altar of liberal media.”

Regarding COVID-19, Kreider believes that the mainstream news is wrong to encourage people to be afraid of the disease. She also said that as someone who does not have children, she has not had to change her lifestyle because of COVID-19.

For example, Kreider said that her gym has remained opened, and she continued getting together with her friends and family.

“I lived my life the same way I presented on the news, without fear” she said.

During happier times for RW&B last March, Woody Clendenen, Congressman Doug LaMalfa, Courtney Kreider, Carlos Zapata and Jeremy Edwardson attend the Red, White and Blueprint premier for Episode 1.

Top photo: Carlos Zapata and Courtney Kreider on stage in April at RW&B’s first fundraiser at the Harmon Ranch in Palo Cedro. Bottom left: Kreider poses with Woody Clendenen and Carlos Zapata at the event. Bottom Right: Kreider poses with an American flag as she prepares to go on stage with Zapata.

Will North Staters exchange Zapata & friends for a drama-free holiday season?

Early on in the RW&B movement, Zapata was admired and well-received by a number of alt-right North State citizens as he exploited the fears and anxieties surrounding COVID-19. However, as the holiday season approaches, it appears that supporters may be moving on, away from Zapata and his agendas. Some former followers may be weary of the Zapata drama, and look forward to hanging out with their families for a “normal” holiday season, shopping for turkeys and hosting holiday meals. Others may be readying themselves for Black Friday deals and are excited about putting up Christmas trees.

What exactly has Carlos Zapata & Red, White & Blueprint done for Shasta County?

While lately Zapata has complained on social media about the North State, and has even threatened to move to Texas, many Shasta County residents  continue to face real struggles and serious challenges. 

The cost of living has increased dramatically, leaving many rural folks in dire financial straits. Many working- and middle-class people who worked on the front lines as “essential employees” through the COVID-19 pandemic are tired. Some have lost their jobs. All the while, Red, White and Blueprint has offered them nothing in the form of tangible help. 

While Zapata rambles on about “freedom, liberty and tyranny” using many of the the same buzz words he spoke at the Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting in late August of 2020, and just as he did on InfoWars while being interviewed by Alex Jones, and just as he has done in several Red, White and Blueprint productions, the question remains: What is Carlos Zapata really doing for Shasta County?

Many people just want to get through the holiday season without drama, and Carlos Zapata is drama personified.

Still, Zapata seems oblivious. In his most recent podcast, Zapata started the show by saying, “It’s funny, like the deeper you get into this fight, the faster that things tend to happen.”

While he was clearly referring to the recall movement, he could have just as easily been describing his own increasing irrelevance.

We’re a different breed up here’

Mike Cendejas appeared as the guest on the most recent Red, White and Blueprint podcast. Last summer, he appeared in a Red, White and Blueprint merchandise advertisement with Jon Knight, Woody Clendenen, and a few other men and women carrying guns and assault rifles.

Left photo: Mike Cendejas carries an assault rifle while appearing in a Red, White & Blueprint advertisement for merchandise. Images shared by Carlos Zapata on Instagram.

Top, from left, Carlos Zapata and Woody Clendenen. Bottom, from left, Jon Knight, Mike Cendejas and Lani Bangay.

In his Facebook profile picture, Cendejas sports a Red, White and Blueprint shirt emblazoned with “DYOS (Drain Your Own Swap)” as well as a hat imprinted with the RW&B logo.

When tyranny becomes law, resistance becomes duty” are the words written around Cendejas’s Facebook profile picture. In one photo he shows off a large tattoo that stretches across his back that features the preamble to the United States Constitution, atop a large bald eagle carrying the Liberty Bell.

Top Left and Right: Mike Cendejas Facebook profile pictures. Bottom Left: Cendejas as guest on a recent Red, White & Blueprint podcast.

Cendejas is an anti-masker, and is against requiring people to take the COVID-19 vaccine. During the podcast he described how he grew up in the San Gabriel Valley and moved to the North State in 2005 because of its natural beauty, and because he liked country music and had some friends in high school who barrel raced. Despite growing up in greater Los Angeles, Cendejas, who appears to be in his late 30s to early 40s, spoke during the podcast with somewhat of a Southern drawl.

Like Cendejas, Zapata also lived in Southern California as a kid before his family moved to Sonoma County, long before his arrival to Palo Cedro.

After briefly discussing the region’s natural beauty, the group quickly transitioned to speaking about “the people” in Northern California.

“The people really are different,” Zapata said, adding, “We’re a different breed up here.”

Not to say that there’s not people like us down south; there is,” Zapata said. “It’s just that there’s a lot more of us up here.”

Zapata also claimed that “the people” in Northern California value family and freedom.

Unsurprisingly, the group agreed with Zapata’s divisive and ignorant anti-urban rhetoric.

Cendejas jumped into the conversation by noting that people in Northern California are, “more willing to be a person to a person, as opposed to trying to get ahead on someone else” and, “You can shake a man’s hand and realize that deal is gonna be what they say it is.”

A good stand-up Christian man’

As the podcast progressed, Cendejas said he planned to attend a future school board meeting in Cottonwood, explaining, “It’s always been the mom’s deal to go to these things,” while he worked and made the money, and that he wanted to be a “good stand-up Christian man and show my boys that when it comes time to stand for something no matter who’s in your way or what the obstacle is, you gotta stand for it.”

Zapata chimed in and said it was important for “regular men” like Cendejas to stand up and attend school board meetings, illuminating yet again, how the Red, White and Blueprint podcast discussions are often drenched in gendered, and often sexist and toxically masculine language.

We’re the last of a dying breed,” Cendejas said, adding that his current anger is a result of state mask and vaccine requirements.

Zapata: COVID-19 vaccine will kill children

Needless to say, the men on the podcast agreed with Cendejas’s take on masks and the vaccine. Zapata went as far to state, “I don’t think you have the freedom, in my book, you know, to give your kid the shot.”

Zapata has done his research, and, as he stated, even reads too much sometimes, and his conclusion is that the vaccine is killing children. Zapata also claimed that the vaccine may lead to a new wave of childhood strokes.

The ‘Freedom Coalition’

As the discussion turned to the nonexistent threat of Marxism, the men spoke about the “Freedom Coalition” meeting held a few days before the podcast on Oct. 28 at the Faith Community Church in Redding. The “Freedom Coalition” has been around since at least early 2021.

The Freedom Coalition’s goal is to unite all of the far-right factions in the North State into one Christian-based alliance. The coalition contains seven committees (church, government, education, business, media, family, and arts and entertainment). Each committee is led by a different person, and the public is invited to join any one they wish.

In this region, Woody Clendenen, who has been involved with the coalition since at least March of 2021, is the head of the government committee.

Like, Red, White and Blueprint, the goal of the Freedom Coalition is to make change, county by county, and, as one of its spokespersons, Patty Plumb, cited at the meeting, wage a fight against so-called Marxism. Plumb, who is also the leader of the secessionist movement known as New California State Shasta, spoke for about 45 minutes on Oct. 28 as she outlined the different committees, yet she failed to provide any examples of the threat of Marxism.

Plumb also reminded the audience that “the Second Amendment is available if the First Amendment has not been fully exhausted.”

Patty Plumb at “Freedom Coalition” meeting and slides from her PowerPoint presentation.

We sit on our patio and we clean our guns’

After sharing that she and her husband have obtained their concealed weapons permits (CCW), Plumb quipped, “I’m a really good shot, I have to say.”

The crowd sitting inside the church responded with laughter as Plumb stood before her Power Point presentation projected on a screen and a large crucifix.

The CCW thing was so fun because my husband and I have birthdays that are two weeks apart, so for my birthday, he got me a handgun,” Plumb said. “For his birthday, I got him patio furniture.”

Plumb paused as the crowd laughed yet again, as she concluded her story with, “So we sit on our patio and we clean our guns.”

Patty Plumb and Thomas Fox discuss guns at the “Freedom Coalition.”

Thomas Fox, a Weaverville-based lawyer who dabbles in far-right politics, later took the stage and added his own statements, including those about firearms.

“I believe in the Second Amendment so much you can’t even see my gun right now. You can see my phone,” Fox said, in reference to the phone strapped to his belt. “If you don’t believe me I’m going to show you the other side.”

He never showed the other side.

The talk of guns was reminiscent of a March 2021 Freedom Coalition meeting in Live Oak, approximately100 miles south of Redding, during which Church of Glad Tidings pastor Dave Bryan showed off his belt buckle pistol.

Freedom Coalition rises as Red, White and Blueprint falls

The Freedom Coalition is gaining momentum precisely as the recall movement and Red, White and Blueprint flounders on the brink of failure.

Like the leaders of the Red, White and Blueprint, the Freedom Coalition leaders have expressed zero interest in mobilizing against the high poverty rate in Shasta County, or homelessness, or citizens’ food insecurities, or a wide range of real working- and middle-class problems as the holiday season approaches. Both organizations, after all, are run by privileged, mostly white, middle- and upper-class individuals who have the luxury of free time to protest against masks and a vaccine designed to save lives.

As many know, COVID-19 is the real enemy, not Karl Marx, and deaths from it are hitting rural Republican spaces harder than anywhere else as the gap widens between counties won by Biden and Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Just yesterday in Shasta County the public health department released information that reported seven more deaths due to the virus Monday, bringing the death count to 27 in seven days. 

The Freedom Coalition plans to meet every Thursday night at the Faith Community Church in Redding. These meetings are ideal for those wishing to gather with the same old minority of far-right wingers and aging Tea Partiers who have acted as a squeaky wheel in Shasta County politics over the last few years; now re-branded under a new name.

Freedom Coalition poster.

We’re way more inclusive than they are’

Back to the latest RW&B podcast, where, after the group talked about the Freedom Coalition, and the so-called threat of Marxism, Zapata led the men into a discussion about how he and his kind are actually an incredibly “inclusive” bunch.

Zapata said that while people on the outside accuse his State of Jefferson, militia-friendly gun-toting anti-vaxxer community of “Let’s Go Brandon” -shouting homophobic North Staters of being divisive, Zapata believes otherwise.

“We’re actually really inclusive,” Zapata said, “way more inclusive than they are.”

By “they” Zapata means liberals and leftists.

Zapata also claimed he is willing to “meet in the middle” with people. However, this claim, which he has stated before, rings hollow when measured against his past words and behavior.

This Carlos Zapata Instagram post was among evidence submitted by Nolan Weber, Shasta County Deputy District Attorney, during the trial that found Carlos Zapata, Elizabeth Bailey and Christopher Meagher guilty on four of five charges regarding their assault upon comic Nathan Pinkney.

Carlos Zapata’s social media posts address the 2nd Amendment.

Carlos Zapata offered positive words on social media about the Proud Boys after they showed up to support him during his court arraignment.

After the group discussed a hodgepodge of topics that ranged from gender and sex education in schools to the importance of attending school board meetings, they joked around for a few minutes.

Clendenen joked that he, as a member of the militia, has his eyes on the FBI. Jon Knight joked that he was on the “government list,” probably because he is known to have attended the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C. Zapata joked that he, too, was on “the list” for “spilling some water on some piece of shit kid at a bar” and that he was happy for getting kicked off Facebook and Instagram.

Court order be damned, Zapata goes after Pinkney, yet again

Zapata’s court case and conviction for disturbing the peace while fighting for his role in the attack on Nathan Pinkney last May was the group’s final podcast topic.

Zapata started the discussion with an announcement, “making it publicly known” that he planned to attend the Shasta County Board of Supervisor meeting the following day on Nov. 2. This statement came across as if he were proactively claiming the space before Nathan Pinkney, since part of Zapata’s trial sentencing requires he stays 100 yards away from Pinkney. Despite that legal fact with real legal consequences, Zapata said if Pinkney showed up at the meeting, Zapata expected someone to remove Pinkney from the board chambers.

What actually occurred the following day was far different from Zapata’s boastful prediction. Prior to the meeting’s start, Pinkney was seated in the front row of the board chambers. Zapata entered the chambers momentarily with his son, but ended up leaving without incident after being quietly spoken to by a Shasta County marshal. 

As an aside, this new marshal has been stationed inside the board chambers since the departure of the former deputy Greg Walker, who ceased working as a Shasta County Sheriff Deputy shortly after a series of stories appeared about him here on A News Cafe.

After he was no doubt asked to leave the board chambers, Zapata was seen talking on his phone and pacing outside the Shasta County Administrative Center. He never returned to the chambers, even after Pinkney later left before the meeting’s end. 

One of the last points Zapata made in the podcast about the trial was that it felt good to be finished with it, although Zapata said he was “was not ecstatic” about the way it all went down, adding that the justice system is, “out to get yah.”

Zapata opined that people are guilty until proven innocent, and that the Shasta County District Attorney took the case against him — a so-called productive member of society who has never been in trouble — instead of going after real criminals.

Is walking up on somebody a crime?’

Is walking up to somebody a crime?” asked Zapata in reference to the video of him, Christopher Meagher and Elizabeth Bailey approaching Pinkney at the back door of Pinkney’s place of employment before the two latter individuals — Zapata’s friends — viciously assaulted Pinkney as he retreated inside the restaurant. Meagher and Bailey were convicted of disturbing the peace while fighting and battery. Meagher received jail time for punching Pinkney.

Zapata claimed that he, Meagher and Bailey approached Pinkney because he’d sent Zapata text messages.

However, if, as he claimed, Zapata was walking up to Pinkney to talk, why did Bailey grab Pinkney and rip his shirt as he walked away, just before Meagher punched him?

Despite the jury’s decision to find the three co-defendants guilty on four of the District Attorney’s five charges, Zapata said during the podcast that, “The jury knew what a piece of shit he [Pinkney] is.”

Zapata also said that the community now knows what a “piece of garbage” Pinkney is. Zapata expounded upon that thought.

“I don’t care what I say anymore, he’s a piece of shit,” Zapata said. “If he’s working right now in this town, it’s only for a little bit, you know, until we find out where he works, and they fire him because people need to know that that’s not the kind of person we want in this community.”

Carlos Zapata, Christopher Meagher, & Elizabeth Bailey walking up abruptly on Pinkney and Meagher’s assault.

You’re not going to be in this community much longer’

Without citing any examples, Zapata claimed that Pinkney “terrorizes people,” gets businesses shut down, wants to be a “pain in people’s asses” before threatening Pinkney publicly on his podcast by saying that Pinkney was “not going to be in this community much longer.”

Zapata then named where Pinkney had been working, the Airpark Café in Redding, as the group joked they should show up at his workplace.

Pinkney turns the tables on Zapata

Pinkney recently revealed through his social media accounts that he worked at the Airpark Café, but the joke was on Zapata and the others during the podcast discussion as Pinkney had not worked there for some time, something he revealed only after the podcast.

In a video shared by Pinkney on Facebook in which he responded to some of Zapata’s podcast remarks, Pinkney minced no words, starting by referring to Pinkney’s potential future civil lawsuit against Zapata. 

“Keep giving me shit to use in court because I’m going to own your fucking restaurant one day and I’m going to turn it into a socialist fucking soup kitchen called Biden’s,” Pinkney said in his social media video.

You have no idea how many people that are not on my side politically, at all, tell me, ‘Hey, I don’t agree with your politics entirely, but fuck that Zapata guy.’ ” 

Who’s the victim now?

Toward the end of the podcast, Zapata criticized the victim mentality he perceives to exist in society.

“It’s all about, how can I feel really badly about myself, and how can I make myself a victim, and how can I make myself blame somebody for me being a victim, and that’s what the socialist mentality is,” Zapata said, adding that he hates it when people ask what he doesn’t like about socialism.

To Zapata, socialism is all about the victim mentality. Pot meet the Red, White and Blueprint kettle.

It is hard to say what the future holds for the Red, White and Blueprint. Will they succeed in creating four more docuseries episodes? Probably.

Will those docuseries be packed with convincing evidence? Probably not.

Should Red, White and Blueprint be taken out behind the shed at Zapata’s ranchette and put out of its misery?

You betcha.

 

Shawn Schwaller

Shawn Schwaller grew up in Red Bluff, California. He teaches for the Departments of History and Multicultural and Gender Studies at California State University, Chico, and has a Ph.D. in history. His research interests include the study of race and ethnic relations and identity politics in the contemporary history of California. Shawn can be reached at sschwaller@csuchico.edu

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