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WE'VE MOVED! Click here: http://www.hartwilliams.com/blog/blogger.html

Thursday, September 01, 2005
WHAT, ME WORRY?
or, MY PET GOAT REDUX


My friend Mac tells the story of when he was working at the Post Office in Philadelphia. He was working a swing shift in the sorting area, and, as a result, his crew went to lunch at an odd time. There was one employee, an old-timer, who wasn't on the same schedule, even though his shift overlapped.

On the day in question, the old-timer pointed out an envelope that clearly contained cash. It was marked, and the old-timer explained that it was obviously "bait" by the postal inspectors, looking for employees who were stealing mail. Mac and the rest of the crew went to lunch.

When they got back, the old-timer was gone. The postal inspectors had arrested him for stealing mail, and had found a dozen or so letters stuffed into his clothing.

And the question was, if he KNEW they were looking for employees stealing mail, how had he been so stupid as to go ahead and keep stealing mail anyway? Wasn't mail theft almost impossible to catch?

A postal inspector explained it. Stealing one letter was almost impossible to detect. The way that they caught mail thieves was that, sooner or later, they created a pattern that tripped them up. It was too easy to commit the 'perfect' crime. Those letters with cash in them were too tempting. And the pattern became firmly and irrevocably set.

They couldn't stop themselves, and so, they kept on doing it. In this case, even KNOWING that a sting was underway, the old-timer couldn't stop himself, and that was what tripped him up.

In the case of Mr. Bush, he doesn't seem to be able to help himself either. Between 9-11, the Tsunami, and now the devastation of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the pattern has become clear: when faced with a crisis, Bush dithers. Bush waffles. Bush reads "My Pet Goat" and comes up with lame excuses for his "deer in the headlights" behavior later.

It is the pattern that finally emerges.

This is an administration that does not know how to govern; it only knows how to campaign.

When Cindy Sheehan's brave protest came to the gates of his no-crop, no-livestock, no horses "ranch" last month, Bush hid. Bush dithered. Bush waffled and wiffled and did nothing.

And then they came up with a "campaign." He would give speeches. There would be "events." He would speak to "friendly" hand-picked audiences of a VFW convention in Utah, National Guard families in Idaho, and naval personnel in San Diego, California. They would launch a sub-rosa anti-Sheehan "grass roots" tour to negate the protesters with "counter-protesters" (all, like the Swift Boat Veterans, supposedly with no connection to the White House).

In short, rather than address the policy issues that were sparking the protest, and failing to take action as the national attention of a usually compliant press corps ramped up the necessity of action, the Bush/Rove Axis of Evil dithered, waffled, and finally came up with ... a campaign.

And thence, Georgie took to the road (he'd been helicoptering in and out of the "ranch" to avoid having to see the protesters through tinted glass and armored doors), and they found a military mom for him to hug in Idaho.

It was symbolic, it was propagandistic, it was a blatant attempt to re-assert control over the media, and it failed miserably.

And while he was in the middle of that campaign -- his sweep through Arizona and Southern California, the hurricane struck, and struck again.

It was not a surprise. No one didn't know that it was coming. It had already killed several people in Florida. But Bush was in the middle of a campaign, and could not easily be retasked, evidently. He was in Arizona to try to resurrect the Social Security and/or Medicare debate; and he was in San Diego to try and tell us what great progress we were making in Iraq, now that a disastrous "constitutional" process had sundered the fragile unity of post-Saddam Iraq.

They MUST have known about the hurricane, because Bush inserted a brief statement into his speech to the captive audience of sailors about Hurricane Katrina (that rare storm with its own competing logos, theme music and animated graphics).

But what was the Bush approach?

Well, first he stole a quick final night in Crawford.

Now, it could be argued that he easily could have set up a "situation room" command post in Houston, Texas (probably within helicopter distance of his Crawford "ranch"). After all, as the former governor of Texas, he ought to be intimately familiar with the territory, and, since New Orleans had already become the most immediate and pressing emergency in a vast terrain of devastation, and Houston is both close to New Orleans, and the natural staging area for massive aid and relief efforts.

That's certainly what I would have done.

After all, as President -- though not legitimately so -- there is an inherent power in the office that can be used in times of crisis to bring, say, the elected officials and emergency officials together to coordinate a relief plan. And Houston is just as good a place to coordinate that as Washington, D.C.

Indeed, it is arguably a BETTER place, especially given Bush's Texas roots.

But, instead of governing, the Bushies dithered and wiffled and frantically cooked up another campaign.

He would "cut short his vacation." (Ooooh. What a sacrifice -- considering that his fear of one dead soldier's mother had already cut short that vacation!)

He would fly back to Washington, D.C. and they would do what they always do: they would hold a photo op. They would combat the hurricane with a blizzard of press releases. They would unleash another campaign.

While flying, they had the brilliant idea of flying low over the devastated area, and, manipulating technological marvels as per usual, a photograph of Bush staring out the window of Air Force One was already widely distributed to the media even before the jet touched down.
And, with his cabinet behind him, carefully arranged to show the "diversity" of the photo op administration, Bush spoke to the nation:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/08/20050831-3.html

5:11 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: I've just received an update from Secretary Chertoff and other Cabinet Secretaries involved on the latest developments in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. As we flew here today, I also asked the pilot to fly over the Gulf Coast region so I could see firsthand the scope and magnitude of the devastation.

The vast majority of New Orleans, Louisiana is under water. Tens of thousands of homes and businesses are beyond repair. A lot of the Mississippi Gulf Coast has been completely destroyed. Mobile is flooded. We are dealing with one of the worst natural disasters in our nation's history.

And that's why I've called the Cabinet together. The people in the affected regions expect the federal government to work with the state government and local government with an effective response. I have directed Secretary of Homeland Security Mike Chertoff to chair a Cabinet-level task force to coordinate all our assistance from Washington. FEMA Director Mike Brown is in charge of all federal response and recovery efforts in the field. I've instructed them to work closely with state and local officials, as well as with the private sector, to ensure that we're helping, not hindering, recovery efforts. This recovery will take a long time. This recovery will take years.
He has his employees there to back him up. He is going to appoint a "task force." (I wonder if they even remember what the original "task force" was: a naval flotilla of coordinated ships to either oppose an enemy fleet, or to invade an enemy stronghold.)

And, significantly, he defined the task as open-ended (like the war on terror): "This recovery will take a long time. This recovery will take years."

Which is, of course, a seed planted so that the Administration can use the tragedy for political barter when it suits them. "WE will define the problem. WE will tell you how it's going. WE will keep you safe."

This is a page ripped out of the 9-11 playbook -- just as the tardy and hesitant response was a frightening deja vu to 9-11. They do not know how to govern. They only know how to campaign. And, like the "old-timer" in the post office, they cannot break the pattern, even when they know that it's crazy to keep doing the same things that have led them to this historic low level of public support.

I am certain that almost before the disaster itself was apprehended, the political calculus had already begun: how can we turn this to our own political advantage? How can we use this to deflect attention from the anti-war movement? How can we use this to deflect attention from the rapidly deteriorating Iraq occupation?

They cannot break their patterns, even when they know that the postal inspectors are on their way.

So, they followed the 9-11 pattern: dither and then photo op. And they followed the Tsunami pattern: dither and then appoint former presidents Bush and Clinton to be the front men. But the patterns and responses have remained the same. Only the crisis changes.

If you will go to the White House webpage, the day's "front page" is significant. Headline:

"President Outlines Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts." A postage-stamp sized photo of Bush and six of his closest friends (all of differing gender and ethnic backgrounds) that you can click to "play video." Caption:

"President Bush on Wednesday said, 'Our efforts are now focused on three priorities: Our first priority is to save lives. ... Our second priority is to sustain lives by ensuring adequate food, water, shelter and medical supplies for survivors and ... dislocated citizens. ... Our third priority is executing a comprehensive recovery effort.' FULL STORY

[Note that this is obviously platitudinous: there is nothing in them that is not obligatory nor obvious.]

Two bullet point underneath: 1) In focus: Hurricane relief and 2) Fact Sheet: Federal Relief for the Victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Two words are inappropriately capitalized -- in appropriate grammatically, perhaps, but not so propagandistically -- "Victims" and "Relief."

Beneath that, the obligatory photo-in-front-of-the-flag of the reptilian Michael Chertoff, our anonymous Secretary of Homeland Security. Why? Because evidently HE is in charge": FEMA and the Coast Guard were subsumed by the Blob-like new cabinet position (which also now runs the Secret Service).

"Discuss Hurricane Relief -- Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, will discuss federal efforts to assist those affected by Hurricane Katrina Today at 4 pm (ET). Click here to ask a question," it says.

To the right of the main column, the largest photo, of a serially collapsed causeway, white dominoes shining in blue water, the following caption: "Structural bridge damage caused by Hurricane Katrina can be seen from aboard Air Force One Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005, as President George W. Bush surveyed the area during his return flight to Washington D.C. from Crawford, Texas. White House photo by Paul Morse"

In other words, "THIS IS WHAT BUSH SAW!" The subtle message of the "campaign" again, that Bush PERSONALLY assessed the damage, and while his personal photographer was taking artfully composed shots of the devastation, somehow the great moral leadership of our Great Moral Leader was deeply involved and engrossed in Leading us Great People Morally.

Us, the U.S.

Quoth Bush in his speech: "There's a lot of work we're going to have to do. In my flyover, I saw a lot of destruction on major infrastructure. Repairing the infrastructure, of course, is going to be a key priority." (In other words, he saw THINGS. He did not see people.)

And, shamefully, beneath Chertoff's scaly visage in the first column, an artifact of the last Campaign:

President Commemorates 60th Anniversary of V-J Day
President Bush on Tuesday said, "I'm also proud to stand with those whose achievements we commemorate today, the military veterans of World War II. In war, America called you from your farms and your schools and your factories to defeat two of the most ruthless armies the world has known. ... And in a lasting peace that has been your greatest legacy, America confirmed the power of freedom to transform the bitterest of enemies into the closest of friends."
In Focus: Veterans

President Discusses Medicare, New Prescription Drug Benefits
President Bush on Monday said, "There's preventive medicine involved with Medicare now, and that's important. But the big change is going to come when it comes to prescription drug coverage. Seniors with no drug coverage or average drug expenses will see your drug costs cut in half. ... If you're a low-income senior, the federal government will pick up at least 95 percent of your prescription drug coverage. There will be no gaps in your coverage."
In Focus: Medicare
Fact Sheet: New Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit to Include Low-Cost Options

Medicare Discussed
Leslie Norwalk, Deputy Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), discussed Medicare and the new prescription drug benefit Monday. Read the full transcript.
These, you might recall, were the "campaigns" that Bush was engaged in to deflect attention from Cindy Sheehan's protest, WHILE the hurricane was devastating the Gulf Coast.

Welcome to Gulf War III: The Gulf of Mexico.

What is most shameful, finally, is that his "60th Anniversary of V-J Day Commemoration" came nearly two weeks late. And, it can be easily argued, the ONLY reason for the attention was to resell his war by clothing it in the blood of the patriots of World War II.

You know, the Pacific veterans of World War II always felt that they got the brown end of the schtick. They were at the bottom of the barrel when it came to supplies during the war, and for six decades, they've been at the back of the line in our commemorations of the heroism of our World War II vets.

Bush managed to not merely reinforce that shameful practice, but even added the gratuitous fillip that, had he not been besieged by a grieving mother at his bogus "ranch," they might not have been remembered at all. The remembrance was a sick, self-aggrandizing sham, pushing his poisonous policies at the expense of our "Greatest Generation," to borrow Tom Brokaw's pandering phrase.

And thence to the next campaign.

The NEW YORK TIMES editorial today notes:

Waiting for a Leader
Published: September 1, 2005

George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end.

We will, of course, endure, and the city of New Orleans must come back.
So, finally, we are left at the post office, as old-timer Baby Bush continues to stuff envelopes filled with cash into his shirt and pants, not realizing that the postal inspectors are on to you, Mr. Bush.

Too bad that, while we have a (mis)administration without precedent in the annals of American corruption, we have an administration without President, as well.

Courage.
.
NOTE: In the time it took to write this, the White House page has changed, and now, a PHOTO of Bush's back with his "Task Force" of twenty around a mahogany table in a wide angle shot of a golden-hued room. The caption reads: "President George W. Bush speaks to members of the White House Task Force on Hurricane Katrina Recovery Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005, shortly after returning to the White House from Crawford, Texas. The President took the opportunity aboard Air Force One to survey first-hand the devastation of the Gulf Coast. White House photo by Krisanne Johnson"
.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
THE SWIFTBOATING OF CINDY SHEEHAN

For those coming over from CounterPunch (and thanks to Jeffrey St. Clair for the link), the three parter is a little confusing read backwards. Click on the link on the right that says:

"NEW! Virtual Reprint of "Swift Boat Moms in Winnebagos" (by request)" (or just click here)

for the complete article with photos -- courtesy of the Lone Star Iconoclast, which has been providing amazing coverage of Cindy Sheehan's stand in Crawford, Texas. They are linked on the page . Go ahead. Click now.

Thanks

The Management of Skiing Uphill
.
.
WE GET MAIL
or, IS THAT ACTUALLY AN OFFICIAL CRAYOLA COLOR?


One of the inevitable side effects of blogging is that one receives a variety of responses to one's postings. Having spent 44 manuscript pages covering the monumental media manipulation involved in the "You don't speak for me Cindy!" tour, I received the following:
At 12:12 PM 8/30/2005, *** wrote:

I CAN NOT AND WILL NOT RESPECT SOME ASSHOLE WHO CALLS THE PRESIDENT A BASTARD SON
To which I respond:

Jesus H. Christ.

Not only is this illiterate taking two (out of three) words in a phrase (in an essay of 10,894 words) as the totality of his "brilliant" analysis (kind of like how the Righties have smeared Cindy Sheehan over semantic trivialities), BUT ...

I made clear that I was referring to a SONG (By the Mothers of Invention) that amplified a specific concept. T'was a metaphor. (And Frank Zappa's metaphor at that.)

It was NOT a "BASTARD SON," it was an "IDIOT BASTARD SON." A nuance that our humiliated correspondent seems incapable of apprehending.

But, as narrow-mindedness generally walks hand-in-hand with "stupid," I suppose, I shouldn't be surprised.

So, for the edification of our Critical Charlie, here's the source, all looked up for him (since he probably got crayons stuck in his keyboard and can't use his browser):
The Idiot Bastard Son
- Frank Zappa (From the Mothers album "We're Only In it for the Money")

(THE FATHER'S A NAZI IN CONGRESS TODAY
THE MOTHER'S A HOOKER SOMEWHERE IN L.A.)
The idiot bastard son

(ABANDONED TO PERISH IN BACK OF A CAR
KENNY WILL STASH HIM AWAY IN A JAR)
THE IDIOT BOY!

(all the time he would spend at the church he'd attend...
warming his pew)
Kenny will feed him & Ronnie will watch
THE CHILD WILL THRIVE & GROW
And enter the world
Of liars & cheaters & people like you
Who smile & think you know
What this is about

(YOU THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING... maybe so)
The song we sing, DO YOU KNOW?
We're listening...
THE IDIOT BOY!

(all the time he would spend all the colors he'd blend...)
And, to Mr. "Analysis" (as if his "opinion" carried any weight after such a callow and imbecilic cavil), I dedicate this lyric from the same album:
What's The Ugliest Part of Your Body?
Frank Zappa

What's the ugliest
Part of your body?
What's the ugliest
Part of your body?
Some say your nose
Some say your toes

But I think it's your mind...
I think it's your mind
Courage
.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
SWIFT BOAT MOMS IN WINNEBAGOS
or, WALPURGISNACHT (Part III, The Conclusion)


"We have long since lost count of all the historic turning points and fast-evaporating victories hyped by this president. The toppling of Saddam's statue, "Mission Accomplished," the transfer of sovereignty and the purple fingers all blur into a hallucinatory loop of delusion."

-- Frank Rich, THE NEW YORK TIMES, August 28, 2005
In the end, it didn't amount to much: the "ten thousand" counter-demonstrators didn't show up, the media didn't pay much attention, the pro-war crowd showed themselves to be either thugs, buffoons, or both; the ever-compliant Angela K. Brown of the Associated Press mindlessly equivalenced the whole thing as "dueling demonstrations" -- a brain-dead idiot observation that was rapidly adopted as the "hook" by most of the rest of the MSM. Aand talk-show host Melanie Morgan was reduced to yelling about numbers on today's Sean Hannity show.

Most media reported about fifteen hundred "counter-demonstrators" or "pro-war" demonstrators at the pep rally at Crawford, Texas' (pop. 700) appropriately named "Pirate field."

That's right, campers, the Crawford high school mascot is the pirate. No wonder the Idiot Bastard Son feels at home there. (cf. Frank Zappa, "We're Only In It For the Money.")

The actual California "caravan" group (and its joiners along the way) only comprised twelve or fifteen vehicles, with additional troops bused in. According to reports, several chartered buses were cancelled when no riders could be found to ride on them. The Move Forward America spin machine originally claimed 3,000 pro-war warriors, but, by this afternoon, Melanie Morgan -- the oh-so-self-promoting KSFO hate jock who doubles as the Move Forward America co-chair -- was claiming 4,000.

And, in an eerie bit of synchronicity, CNN radio, notable for its invariable choice of the most right-wing sound bite, or the one that upholds the Administration's point of view, decided to run Deborah Johns' mischaracterization of Cindy Sheehan's statements along with her moral high dudgeon. This vile bit of Straw Man fallacy would have passed right off of MY radar ... except I happened to be working on this piece, and had in front of me, the exact transcript of her sound bite -- give to hate radio talk jock Mark Williams on KBFK in Sacramento a week earlier.

Here 'tis: "Cindy Sheehan made the comment that our military men and women that carry a gun are nothing more than terrorists, and that the true freedom fighters are the ones that are fighting against our men and women over there in Iraq," Johns said. "That's a pretty twisted statement to make."

Well, it matches her "boots on the ground" statement. MFA managed to get an AP story out of it, and something over 600 papers, blogs and TV stations picked up on it: "It absolutely mushroomed, but that's our liberal media*," said Johns. "They continue to like to hear the negative and not the positive that's going on."

(*Note the code use of the phony term "liberal media." Having turned "liberal" into a dirty word, the following campaign is to add "media" to it, so that the snivelization of the neocon slandery can thus emerge triumphant. Thus far, they are succeeding.)

Which is the whole purpose of the PR campaign: create a false "counter-movement," push the patriotic button, find shills to scream that Cindy Sheehan "doesn't speak for me," scream that their son's name is on one of the crosses in Crawford ... WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION!!

Funny. I don't note any of these "patriots" minding that the Bush Administration is slapping ITS PR logo on the graves of the fallen:


Troops' Gravestones Have Pentagon Slogans
Associated Press; August 24, 2005

ARLINGTON, Va. - Unlike earlier wars, nearly all Arlington National Cemetery gravestones for troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are inscribed with the slogan-like operation names the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts.

Families of fallen soldiers and Marines are being told they have the option to have the government-furnished headstones engraved with "Operation Enduring Freedom" or "Operation Iraqi Freedom" at no extra charge, whether they are buried in Arlington or elsewhere. A mock-up shown to many families includes the operation names.

The vast majority of military gravestones from other eras are inscribed with just the basic, required information: name, rank, military branch, date of death and, if applicable, the war and foreign country in which the person served.

Families are supposed to have final approval over what goes on the tombstones. That hasn't always happened ...."
This is public relations gone mad: smearing a mother for asking why her son was killed, after a phony PR campaign to sell a phony war; slapping their PR slogan on the graves of the dead; hiding the actual casualty numbers (you have to have DIED in action to be counted. Dying in the ambulance doesn't count); hiding the caskets, and, finally, hiding from Cindy Sheehan behind the fence -- helicoptering in and out of the ranch (at enormous public expense) so that Mad King George won't be troubled by having to look at the protesters through armored doors and tinted, bullet-proof glass.

Where, I would submit, is the reality principle here? Hell, the counter-protester site at Camp Casey I -- demonstrably almost never visited -- has the Orwellian moniker "Camp Reality." What?

You might note that one of the hallmarks of the modern political PR campaign (and never found in actual human beings) is the repetition of simple slogans; the endless reiteration of soundbites.

All of which only reinforces the conclusion that Deborah Johns was recruited (probably through Mike Williams of KBFK, Sacramento, the "birthplace" of Rush Limbaugh) for this Russo Marsh and Rogers counter-attack.

And make no mistake: this IS a counter-attack. CAPITOL HILL BLUE reports (and, while apocryphal, it seems too true to deny, given Bush's VIRTUALLY UNREPORTED flipping off the press last month!):

http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_4636.shtml


Bush's Erratic Behavior Worries White House Aides
By DOUG THOMPSON
Jun 4, 2004, 02:17

President George W. Bush's increasingly erratic behavior and wide mood swings has the halls of the West Wing buzzing lately as aides privately express growing concern over their leader's state of mind.

In meetings with top aides and administration officials, the President goes from quoting the Bible in one breath to obscene tantrums against the media, Democrats and others that he classifies as "enemies of the state."

Worried White House aides paint a portrait of a man on the edge, increasingly wary of those who disagree with him and paranoid of a public that no longer trusts his policies in Iraq or at home.

"It reminds me of the Nixon days," says a longtime GOP political consultant with contacts in the White House. "Everybody is an enemy; everybody is out to get him. That's the mood over there."
AND

http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_7267.shtml


Bush's Obscene Tirades Rattle White House Aides
By DOUG THOMPSON
Aug 25, 2005, 06:19

While President George W. Bush travels around the country in a last-ditch effort to sell his Iraq war, White House aides scramble frantically behind the scenes to hide the dark mood of an increasingly angry leader who unleashes obscenity-filled outbursts at anyone who dares disagree with him.

"I'm not meeting again with that goddamned bitch," Bush screamed at aides who suggested he meet again with Cindy Sheehan, the war-protesting mother whose son died in Iraq. "She can go to hell as far as I'm concerned!"

Bush flashes the bird, something aides say he does often and has been doing since his days as governor of Texas.
Bush, administration aides confide, frequently explodes into tirades over those who protest the war, calling them "motherfucking traitors." He reportedly was so upset over Veterans of Foreign Wars members who wore "bullshit protectors" over their ears during his speech to their annual convention that he told aides to "tell those VFW assholes that I'll never speak to them again if they can't keep their members under control."

White House insiders say Bush is growing increasingly bitter over mounting opposition to his war in Iraq. Polls show a vast majority of Americans now believe the war was a mistake and most doubt the President's honesty.

"Who gives a flying fuck what the polls say," he screamed at a recent strategy meeting. "I'm the President and I'll do whatever I goddamned please. They don't know shit."

Bush, while setting up for a photo op for signing the recent CAFTA bill, flipped an extended middle finger to reporters. Aides say the President often "flips the bird" to show his displeasure and tells aides who disagree with him to "go to hell" or to "go fuck yourself." His habit of giving people the finger goes back to his days as Texas governor, aides admit, and videos of him doing so before press conferences were widely circulated among TV stations during those days. A recent video showing him shooting the finger to reporters while walking also recently surfaced.
So, don't doubt for a minute that the RM&R "Move America Forward" campaign is anything OTHER than revenge and counter-attack. Bush cut short his vacation to "tour" Idaho and Utah (and Arizona and San Diego today while the hurricane devastated "Bush Country") because one mother asking one simple question has completely unmanned him.

Mr. "Guts" and "Noble Purpose," right?

And his harridan is Deborah Johns.

Lord knows, she's had some practice. Here's one of those amazing documents that puts all the perpetrators at the scene of the crime, hands locked, arms linked, and I'll let you figure out how intimate the connections run:

From [Melanie Morgan's] KSFO webpages:
http://ksfo.fimc.net/viewentry.asp?ID=324304&PT=hosts
Sacramento Bee story on anti-war protest


Anti-war display a flash point
Outrage at Land Park pair's use of uniform may stifle dialogue.

By Carrie Peyton Dahlberg -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PST Tuesday, February 15, 2005

An American soldier's uniform has become a lightning rod for anger and anguish after a Land Park couple posted it on their house, accompanied by anti-war signs.

Talk radio has jumped aboard. TV crews filmed it reportedly being torn down. Cable news and Internet bloggers have given it a national audience. Military family supporters are planning a candlelight vigil.

[...]

It makes a crucial point, though, said one of the pair, Stephen Pearcy.

"It's a message of dissent over the war in Iraq. ... The soldiers are being left out to hang" under misguided American policy paid for with U.S. tax dollars, he said.

"We are decent people. We do have reasonable views," said his wife, Virginia Pearcy.

The Pearcys, both attorneys, have placed uniform displays outside their home twice -- and twice they were torn down, most recently on Monday. Stephen Pearcy said they'll keep on mounting displays to provoke important discussion.

[...]

Still, Deborah Johns of Roseville, co-founder of Marine Moms and Military Families, has asked police to investigate the Pearcy display as a hate crime.

"My son wears that uniform every day. It's an insult to hang it up like that."

Johns said she has never heard an anti-war message that strikes her as truly respectful and kind.

All she wants is to have someone say they respect what her son believes in and is trying to do -- before they tell her they're against the war, or even against all wars and all military forces.

[...]

The Sacramento County District Attorney's Office is reviewing the hate crime allegation and expects to have a decision in a few days.

A man identified by police as Bryan Mathew O'Malley went to authorities with his lawyer Monday to discuss last week's removal of the Pearcys' display, and his name will be forwarded to prosecutors with a vandalism report, said Sacramento Police Sgt. Justin Risley. Police are looking into the second removal.

A Sacramento-based group called Move America Forward, which describes itself as a national movement to support U.S. troops, has called for a candlelight vigil outside the home in the 2700 block of Marty Way at 7 p.m. today to send its own message of dismay. "We believe this family has the right to free speech ... but speaking freely does not mean all sentiments should be warmly embraced," said Siobhan Guiney, executive director.

The Pearcys say they'll be there and hope their friends and allies will be, too.

And Mark Williams, a Sacramento talk radio host whose "Night Talk Live" show airs on KFBK (1530 AM), is offering a $100 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the vandals -- while still deploring what he considers an attack on America's military, perpetrated by those who hate America.
And, just for fun, here's Mark Williams on Fox News talking about Cindy Sheehan (while hyping Deborah John's anti-anti-war tour):

From the August 24 edition of Fox News Live:


WILLIAMS: Cindy Sheehan is on a mission to figuratively urinate on her son's grave and make his death stand for nothing. She represents and symbolizes all those who would cut the legs out from the men and women who are fighting now as we speak, to defend us and to build a new country in Iraq. Cindy Sheehan's not interested in the memory of her son. She's only interested in using her son as a prop to advance her own hatred for the American troops. I've got to tell you something: Since we started our "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" tour caravan to Crawford -- I'll be speaking there, at the Crawford community center Saturday -- I've received hundreds, hundreds of death threats from Cindy Sheehan's supporters because I dare to speak out and support our troops. My dog is getting death threats, for God's sakes. These people aren't peaceful. These people aren't anti-war. These people are creeps who hate this country and everything it stands for.

[...]

WILLIAMS: Cindy Sheehan has been at every pro-America, pro-troop rally that I've staged for the past year to demonstrate against those concepts. She's one of our local whack-jobs here. She's -- I'm sure she misses her son -- but he's far more valuable to her as a propaganda tool for she [sic] and her friends, and you're right, the president met with her on June 24, 2004. She didn't have enough nice things to say about him when she came out of that meeting. It's only as she's become more radicalized that she's adopted her son's death as some sort of cause celebre.
Source: MediaMatters.org

The Mike Williams/Deborah Johns connection is a strong one, and more than casual:

Let's start out with a seemingly "innocent" connection, www.caseyskids.org .

I know. It's a "cute" little dog that's asking for money to give stuff to Iraqi kids. Innocent, right? Read on:


"Welcome to CASEY'S KIDS-TO-KIDS!

My name is Holly Williams. When my husband, KFBK Sacramento, CA radio talk show host, Mark Williams, and I, traveled to Iraq with a group of other talk show hosts and documentarians for a week in July 2005, we got to see first-hand the country and the people. We were able to visit our troops and see the good works that they are accomplishing over there.
Oh, and this at the bottom:


And so on behalf of myself, Deborah Johns, co-founder of Northern California Marine Moms and Siobhan Guiney, of Voices of Soldiers 2005, please help us and Casey help the children of Iraq. Please donate whatever amount you can give to help us get these essential supplies to the children of Iraq.

Please send a check to "CASEY'S KIDS-TO-KIDS," 4120 Douglas Blvd. #306-442, Granite Bay, CA 95746 or please click on the "Donate Here" tab on the menu to the upper left.

Thank you!
Holly Williams

Thank you for your generosity and please keep visiting our website where you can see how CASEY'S KIDS-TO-KIDS is helping the Iraqi children.

Sincerely,

Holly Williams, CEO

Deborah Johns, CFO

Siobhan Guiney, Secretary

CASEY - Once lost, Forever found.
Yeah. THAT Deborah Johns. Oh, and "Casey"? He's SUPPOSED to be a dog they found. But what are the odds that it's a coincidence, given the long enmity towards Cindy Sheehan, whose son, Casey, was killed in Iraq? Either way, Mark Williams and Deborah Johns are MORE than just close pals. But it's an "innocent" endeavor, right?

Well, not so innocent. First, the domain was "Created On: 02-Aug-2005 21:16:42 UTC" according to domain registrar easyDNS Technologies' whois.

And the fellow who registered it?

According to SOURCEWATCH:


Douglas Lorenz is the Advisory Board Director of the Republican Liberty Caucus, which describes itself on its website as 'The conscience of the Republican Party'.

Lorenz started out in 1990 as the principal in his San Francisco based computer consulting firm, Lorenz Technologies. According to a biographical note he then returned to college where he "created the first online presence for the California College Republicans" as well as completing a Bachelor of Arts degree at California State University Sacramento in Public Relations, with a minor in Economics.

"Douglas came to the political consulting firm Russo Marsh and Rogers in 2000, and developed the company's current information technologies capabilities. Subsequently, during Bill Simon's campaign for Governor of California, Douglas served as the campaign's Director of Information Technologies...," his biographical note states. [1] (http://www.rlc.org/?p=Bios )

Lorenz was also head of the advisory board of the Recall Gray Davis campaign [2] (http://www.recallgraydavis.com/QA.asp).
Hmmm. Wasn't Howard Kahoolian the HEAD of Recall Gray Davis? And wasn't Sol Russo (of Russo, Marsh & Rogers) the advisor and PR agent of Recall Gray Davis? And isn't Lorenz their (and, therefore MFA's) computer database guy?

Gee, these coincidences sure are getting thick.

And Lorenz is a piece of work, kiddies. Here's from a right-wing blog thread: The Washington Note: Comment on Move America Forward's Tally Supporting Bolton 216 (99%) to 2 (1%) :


Hey, just passing by to see how this line of discussion is going and I thought I'd throw in some info...

Some people earlier were discussing the issue of anti-semitism and political ideology. When I was working with Move America Forward a while back on the Michael Moore thing, we received the following email:

[snip]

I've cut and pasted the message over completely. If you want to write the woman who wrote that message, I have included the email address that she sent her hate from, which appears to be a law firm in Los Angeles...

Remember, if you want to find a group of people who are well and truly anti-semitic, you need look no further than the United Nations. They have a long history of coddling nations who are less than subtle about their desires to eliminate Israel as a nation and kill every Jew they can find.

Do you really believe that the nations which the U.N. represents are working in the best interests of the American public? And if they aren't, then why should we be giving them our money? Even hard-core liberals should be able to find a lot better things to spend this money on...

My two cents...

Posted by Douglas Lorenz at March 23, 2005 03:27 PM
OK. You get the point. I have more "hits" showing the Mark Williams/Deborah Johns connection: Mark Williams posts on one of the Sacramento blogs that he and Deborah Johns are friends and work closely together. That he's writing a check to Johns' send stuff to the Marines charity, etc. That they worked on the "Yellow Ribbon Campaign" to get a "Yellow Ribbon Day" through the California Legislature (there are lovely pictures of a triumphal Deborah Johns holding the typically overwrought California proclamation of same in the Capitol building), etc.

(Don't doubt that Ms. Deborah Johns is planning a political career.)

But the Swift Boat Mothers in Winnebagos tour was a bust. Melanie Morgan's little stab at becoming a National Figure kind of fell short -- not that it will stop her. She got on Hannity (FreeRepublic reports that "Hannity almost came on" the "Truth Tour") http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1434416/posts :

After a post from Melanie Morgan and Howard Kahoolian on the "Truth Tour" to Iraq last month stating, in part:


"In addition to live shows broadcast by the radio talk show hosts in attendance, we will also be providing special reports and segments to Sean Hannity's nationally syndicated show,"
a Freeper seemingly in-the-know (self-named Impeach98) posted this:


"Sean Hannity almost came on the trip - and in fact if all goes according to plan Melanie will be calling into the radio show. Not sure what the deal with the TV show is... Melanie's working on this angle."
(For a recitation of the lies that came out of that "Truth" tour, go to: http://mediamatters.org/items/200508240013 )

Ain't that sweet?

Casey's Kids. Sean Hannity. Recall Gray Davis. The Free Republic dot Com. And the Department of Defense. Let's not forget them:

This was reported by Marie Therese (among others cited)
on Newshounds
http://www.newshounds.us/2005/07/06/
press_junket_to_happy_iraq_journalism_or_propaganda.php
July 06, 2005

... According to Media Matters:

"Joining [Kaloogian] on the trip will be Melanie Morgan (KSFO, San Francisco), Mark Williams (KFBK, Sacramento), Lt. Col. (USAF-Ret.) Buzz Patterson, Martha Zoller (WDUN, Gainesville/Atlanta), Michael Graham (WMAL, Washington, D.C.), two reporters from David Horowitz's FrontPage Magazine and Center for the Study of Popular Culture.

Billboard Radio Monitor reported on July 5th:

"The Department of Defense has stepped up the number of sponsored media tours it is bringing into Iraq and Central Asia. The latest trip kicks off this Friday (July 8) and is sponsored, in part, by DoD's office of Central Command, which is based in Tampa, Fla., and is responsible for all military operations in the area that includes Iraq and other parts of Central Asia."

The tour kicks off on Friday July 8th with a big "Thank You BBQ" at CENTCOM HQ in Tampa, Florida. FOX News host Sean Hannity's Radio Show, among others, will be carrying the "live from" broadcasts.

DoD's Office of Media Outreach already sponsored a similar junket in April, also reported by Billboard Radio Monitor:

"Seven talk show hosts and one classic-rock radio personality are in Iraq, courtesy of the Department of Defense, as part of a new initiative by the DoD's Office of Media Outreach. In some cases, the hosts are broadcasting live back to the U.S. or blogging or taping for later broadcast. Virtually all expenses are being picked up by the U.S. government, with the exception of broadcasters providing their own means of broadcasting or delivering their content."
So, Howard Kahoolian and Melanie Morgan and "Move Forward America" are taking free junkets at taxpayer expense to help move the war effort forward for the Pentagon. And it was evidently a successful junket at some level.

But, as I said, the next project, the Winnebago Swift Boat Moms, didn't go as well.

The ever-compliant media merely characterized it as "dueling protests" and missed the entire point.

No one could properly figure out what the role of protesting the protesters was, and several embarrassing and thuggish incidents took place.

Face it: these are Bush's Brownshirts. As the Nazis took Germany by intimidation, the attempt here was to intimidate the protesters away from Incurious George's front gate.

I know that the last two postings and this one have been tough going, but bear with me just a little bit longer.

The Sydney [Australia] Morning Herald reported Saturday's protests as:
"... Hundreds of protesters on both sides descended on Crawford, Texas, on Saturday for the most openly hostile exchange since Ms. Sheehan arrived early this month.

"Ranged against her are conservative activists and military families, including the "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy!" tour, which began in Ms. Sheehan's home town of Vacaville, California, and was due to arrive in Crawford yesterday.

"Its figurehead is Deborah Johns, the mother of a marine serving in Iraq." [sic: Her son is currently rotated back to the US, in either California or Florida - depending on the source.]
[from story Anti-war vigil draws protesters; August 29, 2005]

And The Independent (UK) reported:
There could have been no starker symbol of the political divisions vexing George Bush's America this weekend than the railroad track running right through the heart of Crawford, home to the president's summer holiday ranch in the scorched plains of central Texas.
[Story: Across the tracks at Crawford, Texas, a divided nation bares its pain and fury, By Andrew Gumbel in Crawford, Texas; Published: 29 August 2005]

It's no surprise that Fresno's own Howard Kaloogian got his soundbites at the Saturday anti-protest protest (the MFA stooges are currently screaming that the liberal media has tarnished them with the stamp "pro-war." Well, hell, if the jackboot fits, wear it, guys.)

CBS News reported:
Several thousand people descended on President George W. Bush's adopted hometown Saturday, most in a cross-country caravan for a pro-Bush rally and others to support an anti-war demonstration led by grieving mother Cindy Sheehan.

Bush supporters gathered for an event marking the culmination of the "You don't speak for me, Cindy!" tour, which started last week in California. The crowd of about 1,500 chanted, "Cindy, go home!"

"You are giving hope and encouragement to the enemies of America," said former California Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian, a Republican who co-founded the group that coordinated the rally.
[story: Voices Collide In Bush's Backyard, CRAWFORD, Texas, August 27, 2005]

Kaloogian also got his sound bite in the AP story: "You are giving hope and encouragement to the enemies of America," said former California Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian, a Republican who co-founded the group that coordinated the rally." Weird how it's EXACTLY what CBS claims it reported, but hey. Must have been THE oratorical flourish of the afternoon, right?

But, really, MOST reported were two incidents in which the pro-war idiots managed to shoot themselves in the collective foot. In one, a Freeper showed up with a sign that called Cindy Sheehan a "ditch bitch" (a reference to her accommodations in camping out to wait for Bush) and "how to ruin a marriage in 30 days" -- ostensibly referring to the divorce papers that Sheehan's husband filed. The MFA coordinators didn't appreciate the Freeper's exercise of his First Amendment rights (other signs were equally hateful), and a brouhaha ensued when he was asked to take it down, resulting in the Freeper's arrest.

Ouch, if you're into "P.R."

The other incident was one in which a couple fellows showed up with signs that were too clever by half for the general intellect of the gathered Pro-War demonstrators. The AP story continues:
"There also were some heated moments at the pro-Bush rally when Bush supporters mistakenly identified two people as war protesters. The two walked in with a sign that read "Say No to War -- Unless a Democrat is President."

"Many Bush supporters only saw the top of the sign and believed the men were war protesters, so they began shouting and chasing the pair out. One man tore up their signs.

"When Will Marean of Minneapolis kept repeating that he was on the Bush side, one Bush supporter shook his hand and apologized."
There were other vicious little anecdotes, but the bottom line was this: the "Pro War" caravan was a monumental bust by PR standards. By Sunday, the usual suspects were grousing about the biased liberal media, and coming up with every possible rationalization to explain why the outcome of the Battle of Crawford had been a rout on the level of First and Second Manassas, and for the same reason:

The Anti-War protesters had steadfastly refused to fight. The Pro-War protesters were unable to maintain discipline, and made jackasses of themselves.

And THAT was what made the front pages and the phosphor tubes, and plasma screens.

So, Deborah Johns and her slimy backers might as well have stayed home.

Well, you've read this far. You might as well know what she claims her motivation was (as the mother of a living soldier) for attacking the mother of a dead one.
Trip to support troops -- Roseville military mom leading 'You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy' caravan to Crawford, Texas
By: Sherri L. Shaulis, The [Roseville, California] Press-Tribune Friday, August 19, 2005 2:53 PM PDT

... [Roseville's Deborah] Johns said she understands Sheehan's grief at losing her son, but feels Sheehan's message is not representative of most military families.

"I would like to know exactly how Cindy Sheehan has supported our troops since her son was killed," Johns said. "I don't see it. What she is doing is just destructive behavior."
... Johns noted she's received phones calls and e-mails of support from through the country, including some from Sheehan's family members. But the most important support Johns said she's received comes from her own soldier.

"Just the other day I was able to speak with my son," who is now attending dive school in Florida through the Marines, Johns said. "He asked me, 'Mom? Have you seen that woman on TV? When is someone going to do something about her?' When I told him what I was doing, he just said, 'Way to go, Mom.' "
And that, Nancy Stapp, is my long-winded answer to your radio question on what I thought about the "Truth Tour" of Melanie Morgan and her right wing cronies.

Ain't you sorry you asked?

Courage.
.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
PLEASE STAND BY

Am tracking the Category 5 hurricane bearing down on New Orleans.

We will return shortly, after these fine apocalyptic messages.

Courage.
.
hart williams
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