January 23, 2012
At the March for Life 2012
I went to the 39th annual March for Life today with the good people of St John's church of Leesburg VA. I went three years ago and have been looking forward to returning since. The date marks 39 years since the Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade which legalized abortion in the United States. From the website of March for Life:
On January 22, 1974, the first March for Life was held on the West Steps of the Capitol. An estimated 20,000 committed prolife Americans rallied that day on behalf of our preborn brothers and sisters.
In 1974, the March for Life was incorporated as a non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian organization.
News reports have only mentioned figures of "tens of thousands," understandably reluctant to try and nail down a precise figure. The March for Life site says approximately have 200,000 attended each march since 2002. Whatever the figure, I can tell you that an awful lot of people were there today. From my vantage it was impossible to really get a picture that conveyed the size of the crowd.
There were the obligatory aborted fetus pictures, both on a billboard here and also on a giant-screen TV. There is a bit of controversy within the pro-life about using these photos. I am of the opinion that they do our cause more harm than good as they make us look like a bunch of nutty extremists to people who might otherwise by sympathetic to us. Sonogram videos, yes. Aborted baby pictures, no.
There was a preponderance of Catholic church groups at the march, as was the case three years ago when I last went. I saw a few protestant church groups, but they were far and few between. I'm not sure if it's always been this way, but my hat is off to the Catholics for their unbending commitment to the pro-life cause. As such, it was hardly surprising to see EWTN there.
"Byzantine Catholic" means "Eastern Orthodox" or "Eastern Catholic." They broke away from the Roman church in 1054
The March starts with a rally on the Capitol Mall, where from noon until about 1:30 a variety of speakers address the crowd. At 1:30 people start marching down Constitution Avenue past the Capitol Building, then turn right and end up at the Supreme Court, which is across the street from the Capitol. This year we didn't get there until 1:30, so we missed the speeches and the march had just started. It would have been good to get there a bit sooner, but no matter.
Turning around, here then is the U.S. Capitol
Previous: March For Life 2009
November 20, 2011
A Partial List of Occupy Wall Street Criminality
There's just so much out there that no one list could be complete. Follow the link for the source link to each incident.
Occupy Wall Street Blotter
November 18, 2011 11:30 A.M.
By Nathaniel Botwinick
11/17/11: 275 Arrested at Occupy Wall Street
Two hundred and seventy five protesters were arrested for attempting to storm Wall Street to shut down the stock exchange and for blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. Seven police officers were injured, including one who was slashed with broken glass.
11/17/11: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Threaten Children
Occupy Wall Street protesters threatened small children, some as young as four, as they attempted to get to school. The children were forced to walk a gauntlet in between screaming protesters and the police as they attempted to reach their school. Some of the protesters yelled, "Follow those kids," and attempted to frighten their parents.
11/17/11: Police Evict Occupy Dallas Eighteen protesters were arrested as police evicted Occupy Dallas's encampment. Dallas authorities said the situation had become "untenable" after "the arrests of almost two dozen demonstrators for blocking the entrance to a bank, arrest of a participant charged with failing to register as a sex offender and sexual assault of a child after being accused of having sex with a 14-year-old runaway at the camp, arrests for assault and public intoxication and a 9-month-old child taken into protective custody after the parents were living the campsite with the child."
11/17/11: 14 Arrested for Blocking Bridge at Occupy St. Louis
Fourteen protesters were arrested at the entrance to the Martin Luther King Bridge in St. Louis. They were protesting in solidarity with other movements across the country. Uniformed members of the SEIU helped direct the protest. The protesters were joined by the Teamsters, United Autoworkers, American Postal Workers, and other union members.
11/16/11: 16 Arrested at Occupy Cincinnati Following Visit by Jesse Jackson
Sixteen protesters were arrested at Occupy Cincinnati following a visit by Rev. Jesse Jackson. Fifteen protesters were arrested for criminal trespassing, while two were also charged with resisting arrest. Lloyd Jordan, 36, of Clifton, Illinois, was charged with disorderly conduct while intoxicated and obstructing official business after he photographed a covert police vehicle, including the license plate. The second half of Jackson's speech was repeated by the crowd line by line: "It's not about a place . . . it's about a state of mind. We fight for jobs. . . . We fight for health care . . . We are determined . . .We are not going away. Move our tents . . . but not our spirit."
11/15/11: Police Shoot Gunman at Occupy Cal
Police shot a gunman who infiltrated Berkeley's Haas School of Business during major demonstrations at UC Berkeley. He was seen carrying a gun by a staff member in an elevator at the business school after 2 p.m. The police arrived at 2:19 p.m., and searched for the suspect in the building. Officers found the gunman in a third-floor computer room where there were at least four students. The suspect raised the gun and was shot by an officer. The protesters from Occupy Cal deny any affiliation with the man; there have been no statements from the police or the suspect so far regarding his views.
11/15/11: 5 Arrested at Occupy LA (Including for Assault and Masturbation)
Five people from the Occupy LA movement were charged on Tuesday with a variety of crimes. Farid Ahntab, 24, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest for wielding a knife and as he tried to burn a food vendor. Robert Holland, Jr., 31, was charged with threatening someone with a knife and resisting arrest. Angele Chaidez, 21, has been charged with lewd conduct for allegedly masturbating on the steps of City Hall last week and exposing himself in public. Zachary Isaac, 21, was charged with battery for allegedly punching a woman in the face in her tent. Finally, Michael Howard Thomson, 51, was charged with two counts of battery and one count of resisting arrest. He tried to take a two-year-old from its parent and is accused of punching a mediator. Afterwards, he fought the officers who arrested him.
11/15/11: NYPD Clears Zuccotti Park, 200 Arrested
The New York Police Department moved in early this morning and cleared out the protesters from Occupy Wall Street. The protesters will be allowed to return to the park, but will not be allowed to bring tents or sleeping bags. The protesters fought with police officers for several hours, and there were injuries reported amongst both the police and the protesters.
11/13/11: Man Threatens Woman with Arson at Occupy Portland
Occupy Portland protester threatens to burn down the house of a woman who disagrees with him.
11/13/11: Three Men Arrested With Explosives in Connection to Occupy Portland
Three men from Occupy Portland were arrested during a traffic stop after officers suspected they had marijuana in their possession. Upon searching the vehicle, the drugs were discovered. The officers also found within the car firecrackers and two commercially made mortars inside glass canning jars. The three men "told authorities that they knew the canning jar would explode, causing glass shrapnel to fly and possibly cause injury."
11/12/11: Woman Raped at Occupy Philadelphia
A woman was raped at the Occupy Philadelphia encampment by a man who had traveled from Michigan to join the protest. The suspect had been arrested previously for involvement in armed robberies in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
11/10/11: "Send in the Clowns," Two Dressed as Clowns Arrested at Occupy Wall Street
Hannah Morgan and Louis Jargow were arrested for climbing the barricades surrounding the statue of the bull at Wall Street. They then performed a variety of antics before their arrest for disorderly behavior.
11/10/11: Occupy Atlanta Shelter Tests Positive for Tuberculosis
Several people at the Atlanta shelter have contracted tuberculosis. At least one of those infected has contracted the more dangerous, drug-resistant form of TB. The shelter is one of the largest encampments at Occupy Atlanta.
11/10/11: Six more arrests at Occupy Fresno
Six people were arrested last night in Fresno for failure to disperse. This brings the weekly total of arrests at Occupy Fresno to 55.
11/10/11: Sotheby's Also Targeted by Occupy Wall Street, 8 Arrested
Eight protesters were arrested for attempting to storm Sotheby's during its final sale of the fall season. They were there in support of the Teamsters union, which is currently engaged in a labor dispute with Sotheby's.
11/10/11: Man Shot to Death at Occupy Oakland
A young man was shot fatally in the head outside the Occupy Oakland gathering Thursday evening. There are still no suspects or leads in the case.
11/9/11: 39 Arrests at Berkeley
Thirty-nine people were arrested at Berkeley as part of OccupyCal. Protesters set up tents despite Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's request that they refrain. Thirty-two students and one faculty member were among those arrested. The majority of the arrests were for obstruction of justice or unlawful assembly. Two arrests were for assault and battery.
11/9/11: Occupy Wall Street Protester Assaults EMT
An EMT was injured at Occupy Wall Street. Joshua Ehrenberg, 20, of Rochester, NY, was arrested for felony assault and obstructing governmental administration for attacking the EMT. The EMT was injured when Mr. Ehrenberg's friends, in an attempt to prevent NYPD officers from assisting the EMT, fell on either a barricade or a ladder, which trapped the EMT underneath. The EMT suffered injuries to his ankle and knee.
11/9/11: Occupy Wall Street Protester Arrested for Public Lewdness
Xavier Maslowsky, 25, was arrested for exposing himself to others at Zuccotti Park.
11/9/11: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Arrested for Blocking Sidewalk with Square-Dance Lesson
A group of 50 protesters staged a square dance on the sidewalk around the plaza at Liberty and Cedar. The revelers were told repeatedly to disperse. Zachary Kamul, 25, was given two summonses for disorderly conduct and possession of a weapon when he refused to disperse. Sebastian Posada, 24, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest when he attempted to run from police into the middle of Broadway.
11/5/11: Man Arrested at Occupy Wall Street for Urinating on an NYPD van
Edgar Rivera, 26, was arrested for relieving himself at 1:20 a.m. on an NYPD van. He attempted to escape, but was captured a half a block away. He was charged with disorderly conduct.
11/5/11: 19 Arrested at Occupy Atlanta
Protesters gathered in support of police pressure on Occupy Atlanta were subjected to arrests. Two were arrested for failing to leave Woodruff Park after the 11 p.m. close and 17 were arrested for obstructing traffic after leaving the park.
11/5/11: 20 Arrested at Occupy Wall Street
Most of the protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct, though three were arrested for assaulting a police officer. The incidents occurred at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, near the New York State Court of Appeals. According to witnesses, police had asked the protesters to refrain from blocking the sidewalks and the stairs to the courthouse.
11/5/11: Woman arrested at Occupy LA for setting another person's clothes on fire
She was charged with suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.
11/5/11: Woman arrested at Occupy LA for striking a man with a tent pole
She was charged with suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.
11/4/11: Occupy Fort Carson Protester Arrested for $10 Million Arson
Benjamin Gilmore, 29, was arrested on suspicion of arson, burglary, and criminal mischief in connection to a fire on October 24 in a construction site.
11/4/11: Occupy Wall Street protester arrested for violence in McDonald's
Fisika Bezabeh rioted inside the McDonald's by Wall Street at 2 a.m., when workers refused to give him free food. He tore a credit card reader from the counter and threw it at employees. Mr. Bezabeh has been charged with criminal mischief.
11/4/11: Bronx Teacher Arrested for Assaulting Police
David Suker of Bronx Regional High School was arrested for knocking a police officer off his scooter using a shopping cart. He is charged with attempted assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and obstructing governmental administration. This is his second arrest; he was previously arrested during the October 1 march across the Brooklyn Bridge.
11/4/11: Occupy DC Attacks Americans for Prosperity event
Protesters attempted to storm the building where the AFP was holding a conference. Afterwards, they assaulted two elderly women, sending them to the hospital, and blockaded the streets surrounding the building.
11/3/11: 15 Arrested Outside Goldman Sachs
Fifteen protesters were arrested outside Goldman Sachs, including Christopher Hedges of The Nation Institute and Reverend Billy of the Church of Earthalajuh. The protesters staged a trial of Goldman Sachs executives and were arrested when they proceeded to sit and block the entrance to Goldman Sachs.
11/3/11: Occupy Oakland Riots
Riot police used tear gas and other methods to disperse Occupy Oakland rioters. The protesters lit barricades on fire, hurled rocks, explosives, and other projectiles at police. Massive acts of vandalism were committed against several banks. Several dozen were eventually arrested.
11/2/11: Occupy Philadelphia takes over Comcast Headquarters
Occupy Philadelphia protesters sat in Comcast's lobby and demanded repayment of its tax abatement. Nine were arrested for trespass.
11/2/11: Tonye Ikebutosin Arrested for Rape at Occupy Wall Street
A 26-year-old man from Crown Heights was arrested for the sexual assault and rape of a fellow Occupy Wall Street protester. He raped the 18-year-old woman after sharing a tent with her. He is also accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old woman after helping her set up her tent. Iketubosin has been working in the Occupy Wall Street kitchen.
10/27/11: 14 Arrested in NYC for March in Support of Occupy Oakland
Protesters took over the streets and marched through lower Manhattan, resulting in arrests for disorderly conduct, rioting, and resisting arrest.
10/25/11: 53 Arrests at Occupy Atlanta
Fifty-three people were arrested at Occupy Atlanta. Among those arrested was State Senator Vincent Fort. This was a reversal from the previous acceptance of Occupy Atlanta by Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed. Mayor Reed explained his decision by saying, "Occupy Atlanta protesters attempted to hold an unsanctioned concert over the weekend ... Last week, demonstrators inserted wire hangers into electrical sockets to create additional power sources ... [There has been] a persistent and dangerous disregard for public safety."
10/25/11: 75 Arrested During Attempted Clearing of Occupy Oakland
Police arrested 75 people while attempting to disperse the Occupy Oakland encampment.
10/23/11: David Park, serial sexual assaulter, arrested
David Park, who attempted to rape several women, was finally arrested by the NYPD. The women declined to press charges, but the NYPD held him on an open-container violation.
10/22/11: NYPD arrests 30 in OWS March in Harlem
Police arrested 30 protesters, including Cornel West, for blocking the entrance to the Harlem police precinct. The protesters were demonstrating against the NYPD's "stop and frisk" procedures.
10/14/11: 14 Arrested by NYPD in Marches Connected with Park Cleaning
Fourteen protesters arrested despite Mayor Bloomberg's decision to halt the cleaning of the park.
10/1/11: 700 Arrested for March Across the Brooklyn Bridge
Seven hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct and blocking vehicular traffic when they proceeded to block the roadway on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Thieves preying on fellow protesters
New York Post
By Larry Celona, Laura Italiano, Rebecca Harshbarger, Frank Rosario, and Jamie Schram
Last Updated: 9:35 AM, October 18, 2011
Posted: 2:43 AM, October 18, 2011
Occupy Wall Street protesters said yesterday that packs of brazen crooks within their ranks have been robbing their fellow demonstrators blind, making off with pricey cameras, phones and laptops -- and even a hefty bundle of donated cash and food.
"Stealing is our biggest problem at the moment," said Nan Terrie, 18, a kitchen and legal-team volunteer from Fort Lauderdale.
"I had my Mac stolen -- that was like $5,500. Every night, something else is gone. Last night, our entire [kitchen] budget for the day was stolen, so the first thing I had to do was . . . get the message out to our supporters that we needed food!"
Crafty cat burglars sneaked into the makeshift kitchen at Zuccotti Park overnight and swiped as much as $2,500 in donated greenbacks from right under the noses of volunteers who'd fallen asleep after a long day whipping up meals for the hundreds of hungry protesters, the volunteers said.
Security volunteer Harry Wyman, 22, of Brooklyn was furious about the thievery -- and vowed to get tough with the predatory perps.
OWS defenders will no doubt point to the existence of a security volunteer, and to be sure it is laudable that some are trying. But any honest assessment would have to conclude that criminality is rampant because this movement attracts that type of person.
This said, as I pointed out a few days ago, the entire "occupy" part of OWS is criminal because you simply cannot "occupy" public or private property.
November 17, 2011
Occupy Wall Street, Protesting, and Civil Disobedience
The days news is filled with the saga of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has declared a "day of action," which marks the two month anniversary of the movement. The purpose of this day of action is to "shut down wall street" and "take back our democracy," whatever that means.
Protesting is not a theoretical to me, nor is is something I have just seen on TV or on the Internet. Between 2005 and 2009 I went to over a dozen major protests and rallies in downtown Washington DC, and over a hundred smaller ones outside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The ones in Washington DC were of two types. One was large anti-war protests by leftist groups such as International ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice. I went uptown to join conservative groups such as Free Republic who were counter-protesting just off to the side. The second type was when there were "dueling rallies;" right-wing groups such as Gathering of Eagles staged major rallies of their own which equaled or exceeded the size of a major anti-war protest that was going on at the same time nearby. The issue at hand was primarily the war in Iraq.
See "Rallies and Protests" and "Walter Reed" under "Categories" at right for details.
I also went to one major Tea Party rally on September 9, 2009, which was also in Washington DC.
All of these events, protests, rallies, whatever you want to call them, shared several characteristics
- All groups got permits from the US Park Police well before the event date
- During the event(s) the Park Police and Washington DC Metropolitan Police were out with riot gear and sometimes mounted police. They positioned themselves between opposing groups but generally took no other action than to act as a buffer.
- Each side respected the police
- There was a defined beginning and end time
- Each group had defined leaders who "policed" their group
- There was no violence (or nothing significant to speak of) and people generally felt safe
- Each side had relatively well-defined political goals that were easy to understand
At any large gathering of people you will have exceptions to generally good behavior. But my experience is that "out of control" people were few and far between at these events.
There comes a certain point where if enough people are doing something then it becomes a characteristic of the entire group. Reasonable people can disagree when that point comes but it does exist. Attempts to paint the Tea Party as racist do not fly because racist individuals in that movement are very few and far between. Attempts to paint the International ANSWER protests as violent fail for the same reason.
All this said, I am not saying that there were no difference between the right-wing and left-wing groups during this time period. There were. Leftists dressed up in all manner of wild costumes and their signs were often vulgar and uncouth. Conservatives rarely wore anything but standard casual clothes and their (our) signs were of the standard "we're for" or "we're against" this or that variety.
What characterizes this Occupy Wall Street Movement that makes it so different?
- Occupying a public space 24 x 7 in violation of the posted hours (whether physically posted or as part of the legal code)
- Participants staying 24 x 7, or close to it
- Not obtaining permits from the relevant authorities
- A significant number of participants engaging in common criminal activity such as rapes and robberies
- Besides today's "Day of Action," OWS members directly engage in riotous behavior; criminal tresspass, interfering with road and pedestrian travel in a direct attempt to stop normal activity
- No coherent political platform or goals.
Don't believe on the rampant criminal behavior of the OWS crowd? The website OWS Exposed has the good on them.
Most of this is reminiscent of what happened in February of this year in Madison, Wisconsin. There, we had labor unions sponsoring and/or egging on people to illegally occupy the statehouse 24 x 7 in direct violation of the law. Their presence, and I believe intent, was to physically intimidate Republican lawmakers.
The bottom line is that you cannot occupy public space such as a park or building 24 x 7. A public space is just that; a place meant for the public to enjoy. Everyone has to be able to have access to it. Any one group taking it over denies others the ability to access it. This isn't democracy, it's criminality. Mob action.
Say what you will about the political goals of the Tea Party movement, but the overwhelming bulk of reports and my personal involvement show that it is a peaceful movement whose members obey they law. That the left has had to resort to their old favorite charge of "racism" (of course without evidence) shows that they have nothing on the movement.
The First Amendment to the Constitution protects "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." I'm no scholar, but I am safe in saying that it has been interpreted to mean that groups can obtain permits to use public space for protests, demonstrations, and/or rallies as long as they are peaceful and the event has a defined start and finish time. Not that the police should not be liberal and let protesters start earlier and go on longer, for they should.
I'm also no historian, but I do know that our Founders were worried about mob rule about as much as they worried about tyranny. They wanted a government that would have enough authority to prevent mob rule yet weak enough and with enough checks and balances so as to prevent tyranny.
If Democrats and liberals want to ally themselves with the OWS crowd they are going to regret it. Perhaps they already are.
October 19, 2011
Obama On Occupy Wall Street: "We are on their side"
When President Obama speaks about the Occupy Wall Street crowd he is "on their side:"
"The most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side, and that we want to set up a system in which hard work, responsibility, doing what you're supposed to do, is rewarded," Obama tells ABC News. "And that people who are irresponsible, who are reckless, who don't feel a sense of obligation to their communities and their companies and their workers that those folks aren't rewarded."
Ok then, now that he's gone on record as supporting them, what are they all about?
Polling the Occupy Wall Street Crowd
In interviews, protesters show that they are leftists out of step with most American voters. Yet Democrats are embracing them anyway.
The Wall Street Journal
October 18, 2011
By DOUGLAS SCHOEN
President Obama and the Democratic leadership are making a critical error in embracing the Occupy Wall Street movement--and it may cost them the 2012 election.
Last week, senior White House adviser David Plouffe said that "the protests you're seeing are the same conversations people are having in living rooms and kitchens all across America. . . . People are frustrated by an economy that does not reward hard work and responsibility, where Wall Street and Main Street don't seem to play by the same set of rules." Nancy Pelosi and others have echoed the message.
Yet the Occupy Wall Street movement reflects values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people--and particularly with swing voters who are largely independent and have been trending away from the president since the debate over health-care reform.
The protesters have a distinct ideology and are bound by a deep commitment to radical left-wing policies. On Oct. 10 and 11, Arielle Alter Confino, a senior researcher at my polling firm, interviewed nearly 200 protesters in New York's Zuccotti Park. Our findings probably represent the first systematic random sample of Occupy Wall Street opinion.
Our research shows clearly that the movement doesn't represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence. Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before, virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda.
The vast majority of demonstrators are actually employed, and the proportion of protesters unemployed (15%) is within single digits of the national unemployment rate (9.1%).
An overwhelming majority of demonstrators supported Barack Obama in 2008. Now 51% disapprove of the president while 44% approve, and only 48% say they will vote to re-elect him in 2012, while at least a quarter won't vote.
Fewer than one in three (32%) call themselves Democrats, while roughly the same proportion (33%) say they aren't represented by any political party.
What binds a large majority of the protesters together--regardless of age, socioeconomic status or education--is a deep commitment to left-wing policies: opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth, intense regulation of the private sector, and protectionist policies to keep American jobs from going overseas.
Sixty-five percent say that government has a moral responsibility to guarantee all citizens access to affordable health care, a college education, and a secure retirement--no matter the cost. By a large margin (77%-22%), they support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, but 58% oppose raising taxes for everybody, with only 36% in favor. And by a close margin, protesters are divided on whether the bank bailouts were necessary (49%) or unnecessary (51%).
Thus Occupy Wall Street is a group of engaged progressives who are disillusioned with the capitalist system and have a distinct activist orientation. Among the general public, by contrast, 41% of Americans self-identify as conservative, 36% as moderate, and only 21% as liberal. That's why the Obama-Pelosi embrace of the movement could prove catastrophic for their party.
In 1970, aligning too closely with the antiwar movement hurt Democrats in the midterm election, when many middle-class and working-class Americans ended up supporting hawkish candidates who condemned student disruptions. While that 1970 election should have been a sweep against the first-term Nixon administration, it was instead one of only four midterm elections since 1938 when the president's party didn't lose seats.
With the Democratic Party on the defensive throughout the 1970 campaign, liberal Democrats were only able to win on Election Day by distancing themselves from the student protest movement. So Adlai Stevenson III pinned an American flag to his lapel, appointed Chicago Seven prosecutor Thomas Foran chairman of his Citizen's Committee, and emphasized "law and order"--a tactic then employed by Ted Kennedy, who denounced the student protesters as "campus commandos" who must be repudiated, "especially by those who may share their goals."
Today, having abandoned any effort to work with the congressional super committee to craft a bipartisan agreement on deficit reduction, President Obama has thrown in with those who support his desire to tax oil companies and the rich, rather than appeal to independent and self-described moderate swing voters who want smaller government and lower taxes, not additional stimulus or interference in the private sector.
Rather than embracing huge new spending programs and tax increases, plus increasingly radical and potentially violent activists, the Democrats should instead build a bridge to the much more numerous independents and moderates in the center by opposing bailouts and broad-based tax increases.
Put simply, Democrats need to say they are with voters in the middle who want cooperation, conciliation and lower taxes. And they should work particularly hard to contrast their rhetoric with the extremes advocated by the Occupy Wall Street crowd.
Mr. Schoen, who served as a pollster for President Bill Clinton, is author of "Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What It Means for 2012 and Beyond," forthcoming from Rowman and Littlefield.
There are five possibilities: One, President Obama is woefully ignorant of the OWS movement. Two, he makes off-the-cuff statements without thinking through the implications. Three, that he actually agrees with them. Four, he knows he is losing the left and is pandering to them. Five, that the reporter just happened to interview the very few radicals in the crowd and somehow missed that the vast majority are normal middle class suburbanites who just want a better life for them and their children.
Ok that last one was a joke. My guess is that it's a combination of the first three. Either way, he looks bad.
For what it's worth I've been to a few dozen right-wing and left-wing rallies and protests in and around Washington DC. See "Rallies and Protests" and "Walter Reed" under Categories at right. My observation is that right-wingers are a lot better behaved, do not carry signs with vulgar messages, clean up after themselves,and dress as normal people dress. The leftists are the opposite in every regard.
September 12, 2009
Tea Party 9-12-09 March on Washington DC
Are you Taxed Enough Already?
If not, just wait, because Obama will Tax You More!
Yes, yours truly was downtown Washington DC today for the March on Washington
Starting at 9am, people gathered at Freedom Plaza, which is about two blocks east of the White House, and marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol building. Pennsylvania runs straight so you can see the beautiful dome of the Capitol building the entire route. Freedom Plaza was chosen as the start because is very close to two metro stops, and so people could just get right off the metro and then start walking down Pennsylvania Ave until they got the the Capitol. I forgot to note the time but think we got downtown at about 10:30.
Here is the scene down Pennsylvania Avenue
Yes, it was mobbed. You know, that dastardly right-wing "mob" that Nancy Pelosi and the others do dislike.
For anyone who needs it, here is a short explanation of the Tea Party Movement from Matt Kibbe, the President of FreedomWorks.org
The Tea Party Movement
April 15th was a historic day for those who love freedom. Hundreds of thousands of Americans came out to protest the massive government spending that is burdening our country with huge debt and future tax increases. From main streets in small towns, to county courthouses and state capitols, your voice was heard loud and clear. The sight of over 15,000 freedom-loving Americans protesting in downtown Atlanta was incredible. I was thrilled to be a guest at that "tea party" and was inspired by the local organizers who put it together.
People came out of their homes and into the streets to stand together and say "Enough!" But the liberal media and some pundits would have you believe only a few people showed up, and that those who did were not representative of the American people. Of course you and I know the truth and we know that April 15th, 2009 was just the beginning of something huge.
We must keep our momentum going, and keep the pressure on our elected officials as they vote on how much more of our money they will spend, and how much more of our money they will confiscate. Congress in session and the champions of big government will be working to pass a massive budget, a new national energy tax, government-run health care, and other policies that would cripple our economy even further.
Many of you have been discussing the next steps for the "tea party" movement. I've heard some great ideas about how to follow up on our historic day. I'd like to share some of those with you, and ask you to save the date for another big day: 9-12-2009.
FreedomWorks will be partnering with other like-minded grassroots organizations and local organizers to plan a massive, historic March on Washington on September 12, 2009 at the U.S. Capitol. Please sign up today, and keep checking our website for updates and travel information for the March on Washington. We have been inspired by your involvement in this cause, and we believe that we can work together to send a message to the politicians in Washington that we've had enough of the wasteful spending, trillion dollar deficits, bailouts, and taxes.
Together, we can write our own history as a people, and take our country back.
On Friday John Hood had an excellent post over at National Review's The Corner on the background of some of the organizations behind the Tea Parties.
Here are some more scenes of us marching down Pennsylvania Avenue
In this photo you can see the Capitol dome in the distance
Turning 180 degrees, here's the view back along the march
This sign summed up much of the sentiment behind the rally, and was no doubt widely shared by all participants
Although of course everyone at the event was on the right politically and would describe themselves as conservatives, many would tell you they are disgusted with both parties. This doesn't mean that they'll vote Democrat, far from it, but that they're not going to give their time or money to the Republicans until they earn their support. I saw not a small number of Ron Paul shirts and slogans in support of his point of view, so there was not universal agreement on all things foreign policy, for example.
After arriving at the area in front of the Capitol, marchers spread out to find a place to stand or sit. Many sat around the Capitol reflecting pool or stayed back on the mall field, while others gathered around base of the Capitol building itself where a stage was set up.
Here are some folks at the reflecting pool, which is just out of view in this first photo to the right
Here you can see the reflecting pool clearly
We walked around the pool a few times. Here are some photos of the stage in front of the Capitol
Formerly of National Review, Byron York of the Washington Examiner was there
I briefly said hi to him and thanked him for his work. Very cool.
Update - here's his piece in the Examiner: Inside the 9/12 protest
And here are some other photos from around the event
During all this I was even interviewed by Japanese Public Television, if you can believe it. If I'd have been thinking I'd had handed my camera to one of my friends to photograph it, but of course that's the type of thing you only think of later. He asked me why I was there and I said because it was to send a message to President Obama that he needed to change his policies, most specifically on healthcare. The interviewer asked me a series of questions and in honesty I had the facts well in hand and so gave convincing, knowledgeable answers. Which means I won't be the guy they use when it gets broadcast.
Left v Right at Rallies/Protests
Having been to a dozen or so major rallies/protests in Washington DC (see Rallies and Protests under Categories at right) I think I can make some comments regarding similarities and differences.
The biggest similarity is that all are largely peaceful. If you don't make an effort to get in someone's face you can wear an opposing Tee shirt and walk amongst the other side mostly unmolested. I've done it among the most hard-core leftists and came out unscathed.
The biggest difference is in family-friendlyness. There are of course exceptions, but you simply do not see vulgarity on the right , whereas it is endemic on the left. The left loves curse words and sexual innuendos, which you see none of on the right. A very few of the signs that I saw today (and have seen at other conservative events) went too far, but they are a drop in the bucket compared to what you see on the left.
The other difference is that all of the signs that I saw today were originals made by their owners. At protests organized by some leftist group like International ANSWER they will have hundreds if not thousands of signs pre-made that marchers pick up at the event. Often their marches are a sea of the same signs. The reason they do it, I am sure, is to control the message.
We also said the Pledge of Allegiance today. Everyone I saw had their hand over their heart and was reciting it. You certainly won't see that at a leftist event.
As stated above, I saw none of the vulgarity that is a regular feature of leftist protests. Not one F-word or sexual innuendo on a sign. I saw one sign that had a Hitler-mustache on Obama but that was it. There were several calling him a communist, and one placing him in company with Soviet leaders, but even these were few and far between.
The overwhelming majority of the signs were simply protests against Obama and the his programs. Few were inappropriate and attempts to say otherwise are just plain wrong.
How Many People?
Allahpundit over at Hot Air has surveyed some news reports and thinks it was at around 60 - 75,000, which sounds about right based on what I saw. That said, he is also surely right when he concludes that
I think using protest size as a gauge of popular sentiment is stupid -- witness the huge turnouts against the war in early 2003 when public support was in the neighborhood of 65 percent -- but it's a fun talking point, so let's have fun.
Update - There was a mistaken report by ABC News that there were 2 million people in attendance in Washington DC. This was quickly corrected, but unfortunately seems to have been taken as gospel by some on the right.
I'm also now thinking that were were more than 75,000 there based on some photos. In the end though the numbers at the rally don't mean so much as what is done afterwards. Which leads me to my next topic...
What Does It all Mean?
Following up on Allahpundit's comment above, this and other Tea Parties won't mean much if all the participants do afterward is go home and watch TV and listen to talk radio.
Get out of the house and get active in local politics, people!
Yes I know many of you have children who consume huge amounts of your time, and correctly so. And so not everyone can be terribly active. I do know lots of people though with children who still find time to do some volunteer work for their favorite candidate.
If you live in Virginia or New Jersey, please contact the candidates or the Republican Party in your state and volunteer some time or send some money.
Going back to that message from Matt Kibbe, here's some of what I left out above:
While you plan for the March on Washington on 9-12-2009, you should also remain active in this movement in your own community. Here are some ideas to do just that:
1. Stay active and organized. Don't let the momentum fade away by becoming dormant. Keep the fire lit with regular meetings, and regular online communications.
2. Get some political training. Take advantage of institutions like FreedomWorks and The Leadership Institute that offer grassroots leadership training. Read books about organizing, and apply the best practices to your own group.
3. Recruit new people to the cause. Take advantage of the national media attention and find people that want to get involved in the movement. Focus on getting all of your volunteers to bring new people to each meeting, and motivate the new members to get involved in specific activities right away.
To which I would add
1. Find a candidate for public office you can support and contact him or her 2. Find your local Republican organization and contact them
Don't complain about your politicians or the GOP unless you are involved in trying to change things.
Marching is all fine and good, but unless you go out and campaign, try and persuade others that your cause and candidates are right, the Tea Parties will have little effect.
All of my Photos for that day are on my Photobucket site. Feel free to use with attribution.
May as well post some of the videos and pics that have been going around the Internet for the record here
This is the time-lapse
And this is from the corner of 14th and E St NW
January 22, 2009
March for Life 2009
For years I'd always heard about the March for Life in Washington DC the day before it happened, or read about it the day after in the newspaper. As such, I'd always missed it. Last year I decided to solve the problem by going to their website and signing up for their email alert. That way, I'd get reminder and would be able to schedule for it.
This year our new president gave us an extra reason for concern. On his campaign website he promised to sign the horrible Freedom of Choice Act if elected. He was, and I think he will. Here he is making the pledge:
Without going into details, suffice it to day that FOCA would dramatically expand abortions and federal funding for them in this country. It's bad enough to have virtually unlimited abortion, but we shouldn't have to pay for them. And our laws are far more liberal than in Western Europe, to which we often hear we should turn to for guidance.
But my purpose here is not to rehash the issues surrounding abortion, but rather to report on the March for Life 2009. All photos can be seen on my photobucket site, but here are a few along with the notes I took today.
Here we are assembled at about noon in front of the stage when the event kicked off. The idea was to listen to speakers for maybe 2 hours then march around the Capitol building to the Supreme Court where the march would end.
I have no idea how many people there were, but having been to many rallies and such on the Mall I can tell you that the crowd was very large. A story in this morning's Washington Times said today that past events had drawn about 250,000 each year since 2003.
It was hard to get a wide enough angle shot from a high vantage point to give an idea of the size of the crowd, but I got a pretty good flavor of events, I think.
It was a veritable sea of people
99.9% of the crowd dressed normally and maybe wore a pro-life sticker or button. Many had signs, most of which were pre-made. All, even the homemade ones, that I saw were in good taste. The worst thing you can do at these things is come across like a nut. Then people just laugh at you or shake their heads.
There's always one dope in the crowd, though. This was COMPLETELY unnecessary:
Don't get me wrong; I'm all for showing pictures of aborted babies if it is done right and to make the point. But if you dress up in a stupid costume and wear a chain of bloodied dolls no one is going to take you seriously. The point is to change minds, and this sort of nonsense does not achieve that goal. Besides, it is all too reminiscent of what I've seen the leftists do at their anti-war rallies.
Speakers and More
We started out by singing the national anthem, followed by a benediction, and then took the pledge of allegiance. They're 0 for 3 on those at ant-war rallies. I ought to know, since I've been to many of them as a counterprotester, or just to mingle with the lefties and get photos. Go under Categories at right and look down to Rallies and Protests.
March for Life founder and chief organizer ("president"? chairman? not sure on title) Nellie Gray was MC and started out with a brief talk. She then introduced a whole host of congressmen and one senator. It was impressive that so many showed up. I took notes and I think I got most of them:
Rep Jim Sensenbrenner WI
Rep. Mike Pence IN
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett MD
Rep. Todd Aiken MO
Rep. Jean Schmidt OH
Rep. Dr. Paul Brown GA
Rep. Steve King IA
Rep. E. Scott Garrett NJ (not sure if I heard this one right)
missed a name
Rep. Henry Brown SC
Rep. Robert Aderholt AL
Rep. Mary Fallon OK
missed a name
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry NB
Rep. Dave Bitter LA
Rep. Jack Kingston GA
Rep. Bob Latta OH
Rep. Bob Inglis SC
Rep. GT Thompson PA
Rep. Pete Olson TX
Rep. Todd Tiahrt KIS
Rep. Michelle Bachmann MN
Rep. Trent Franks AZ
Rep. Chris Smith NJ
Sen. Sam Brownback KS
Quite a list! Fortunately each only spoke for a minute or two. Nevertheless they all spoke well and I am appreciative that they took the time to come.
Senator Brownback got the crowd fired up and led us in a few changes
Are you ready to say Yes to Life?
Are you ready to say No to FOCA?
Then who spoke but "B-1" Bob Dornan! Dornan, a former Navy A-7 Corsair pilot, was a representative to Congress from California from 1977-1983 and again from 1985-1997. Among other things he quoted 1 Corinthians 13:11, the one about "when I became a man, I put away childish things." but my note taking wasn't good enough to get the context. No matter. With his raspy voice he delivered a firebreather for 3-4 minutes that got the crown roaring with approval.
There were also a number of pastors and priests who spoke. More on them tomorrow.
There were a lot of teenagers and what seemed their parents. This in contrast to anti-war protests in which you see mostly 20-somethings and aging hippies. At pro-troop/pro-war rallies you see mostly 20-somethings and Vietnam veterans. An interesting contrast.
From the various signs i it was an obviously very Christian audience. Many churches had their own banners and signs, and the vast majority with Catholic. I saw one "Lutherans for Life" but that's it. No evangelical presence that I could see at all. I wasn't surprised not to see the mainstream protestant denominations, since many of them, like the PCUSA (Presbyterian Church USA ) is very left wing. No Southern Babtists or black churches either (that I saw, anyway). While I'm happy that the Catholics are so active in this particular pro-life activity, I'm disappointed that others are not.
As such, there were a lot of Catholic church groups. EWTN was there filming the march. I saw many priests and some nuns and monks (or friars? they had a friar's habit on. I'm not familiar with Catholicism).
At no point did I hear even a single boo when a speaker mentioned President Obama. Many speakers, in fact, lauded his achievement of being our first black president. It was a very respectful crowd, not angry or bitter.
Back to the Rally
Here's a good photo of the stage with the Capitol in the background. I do have to say that the dome is absolutely beautiful when the sun shines on it.
Here's a pretty typical banner from one of the Catholic churches
After B-1 Bob spoke, Nellie Gray came back on to deliver her address. Here are some of her points:
- No compromise on abortion
- No killings
- Abortion is not therapy
- There is no moderate position on abortion. No middle ground between killing and not killing
- No exceptions
- She addressed President Obama. Quoted his statement that if one of his daughters became pregnant he didn't want her "punished with a baby." She challenged him on this
- Live begins at fertilization by any means
- There is an abortion site within walking distance of the White House
- Abortion is the commercial equivalent of Dachau and Auschwitz
- We want you, President Obama, to stop abortion
- We can overturn Roe v Wade. Abortion must be made illegal at the federal level. It is not good enough to simply turn it back to the states
Later we heard from Bobby Schindler, Terri Schaivo's brother. He pointed out that Terri's case and abortion are all part of the same battle for life. We must battle the pro-euthanasia just as we must battle the abortionists as they're all part of the same philosophy.
I think he's right. National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru wrote a book on this called The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life. Although I haven't read it, I have read Ponnuru often enough in the magazine to get a pretty good idea of his thesis (and you can read the editorial reviews at Amazon) and I think he's pretty much got it right.
A Brief Comment
Obviously the message from March for Life, as it is with most pro-life groups, is completely to the right side of the spectrum. No abortion at any time unless it is truly to save the mother's life. The pro-choice folks are completely to the left; any abortion for any reason at any time.
The logic of each side is pretty straight, and it all depends on when you think human life begins. If life does begin at conception, then even an exception for rape and incest is wrong. If life begins at birth, then no restriction makes much sense.
Political reality being what it is, though, the battle is fought in the middle. Our laws are more restrictive than some, but less so than in western Europe. Right now I think we're way too far off to the pro-choice side, and unfortunately the situation is only going to get worse.
Sometimes conservatives get the objection that we're supposedly hypocrites because we tend to support the death penalty. Without arguing the case, I'll simply point out that ">Death Penalty Information Center 1.37 million abortions. If hypocrisy is really the issue then let's trade; no death penalty, no abortions.
Some years ago the message of the Pro-Life movement was essentially "you stupid woman don't have that abortion! You are killing your own baby now stop it!"
As you can imagine it wasn't terribly well received.
The movement has thankfully changed it's tune.
Now it's seen as a tragedy for women, as a painful terrible experience that is foisted on them by predatory males and a culture that pressures them into "getting rid of their problem."
It's now more all about finding women, young and old, who are pregnant and scared or don't know what do so, and supporting them. It's about finding a way for them to have the baby or put it up for adoption; so that the baby lives in a loving household.
This was made clear by the speakers today.
At around 2:00 the events on stage seemed to be wrapping up, so I headed for the front left corner of the field where the march would start. Unfortunately, either there were just too many people trying to cram into too small a space, or the thing wasn't that well set up, but it took over an hour to where I was actually walking on the street in anything like a march. No matter, the weather was nice and it was a great crowd to be in among.
Note - due to technical issues I used photobucket up until now and the rest are posted locally. If you care why the posting looks a bit different from here on out.
At the Supreme Court
The whole thing ended up at the Supreme Court, which is behind the Capitol building if you go back to the photo at top. The reason, of course, is that this is where Roe v Wade was decided in 1973. In my opinion, along with Dred Scott and Plessy v Fersuson, it is one of the wost decisions that have ever been issued.
The organizers set up a small stage with sound system, and some 200 women (I heard) gave their testimony as to why they regretted having their abortion. I even heard one man talk about how, when he was younger, his girlfriend had "got rid of their problem" through an abortion and how horrible he now felt. I can say that it is only through the grace of God that I was not in his shoes.
Does it Matter?
The CNN story below makes pretty clear that President Obama doesn't care about the pro-life agenda. He is the most radical pro-abortion (not pro-choice (a copout anyway. Was any one ever pro-choice on slavery), but pro-abortion) president we've ever had.
But despite what the First Amendment right to "petition the Government for redress of grievances," we know that the purpose of these things is not to directly speak to anyone in government. The purpose, as I see it anyway, is to fire up the troops into local action. And that is something that I am all about.
Note - I will add to this post tomorrow or Saturday but it's late and that's enough for tonight. Come back for more!
National Review - Kathryn Jean Lopez
National Review's The Corner - Mark Hemingway
February 16, 2008
Silver Spring MD Recruiting Station - Countering the Leftists
Yesterday, February 15, about a dozen or so hard-core leftists gathered outside of the Armed Forces Recruiting Station at 8202 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring MD, from 4-6pm. There to counter them and support the troops was Free Republic.
World Can't Wait staged a series of protests at 6 military recruitment centers across the US.
Here's the background on this group from David Horowitz' Discover The Networks website
Founded in June 2005 by Charles Clark Kissinger, a longtime leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, World Can't Wait (WCW) is a direct action movement seeking to organize "people living in the United States to take responsibility to stop the whole disastrous course led by the Bush administration." The organization asserts that removing President Bush from office "will be like removing a forty-pound tumor from your gut." WCW vows "to send Bush, Cheney and the rest of those fascists packing. ... After that, there are people in 'World Can't Wait' who are working for everything from reforming the Democratic party, to building a 3rd party, to revolution."
Also present were a few members of Code Pink, including Desiree Anita Ali-Fairooz, the woman who attacked Secretary of State Rice last October 24 as she prepared to testify before Congress. Here she is on that day
And here she was yesterday, trying to explain to an Army recruiter (just out of the picture) why the war in Iraq was evil etc. Needless to say, he wasn't buying.
The protesters gathered at the corner of the parking lot maybe a 100 feet away from the recruiting center. In this photo, Georgia Avenue is to the left, and the parking center and recruiting center are to the right. On the opposite end of the parking lot was Free Republic, which you can see in the background. One of our members had a large Amercan and US Marine Corps flag, which you can see waving proudly in the breeze.
One leftist had on a Palestinian kuffiyeh "support" scarf. You might recognize that his sign is recycled from previous protests. I saw it last Sept 15 at GOE III and GOE I, at the International ANSWER protests in Washington DC.
This is the flyer that they were handing out to passers by
Here's the view from behind the FReepers. At the end of the sidewalk are the leftists
And here we are. As the cars would slow for a traffic light, motorists could observe the scene. We got many honks, friendly waves, and thumbs up from them.
Here's Desiree Anita Ali-Fairooz with a typical Code Pink sign
Throughout most of this the military recruiters stayed in their office, windows shuttered and door locked. In good military fashion they prepared for the worst, fearing a repeat of the seige of the US Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Berkeley, California. No doubt they were monitoring the situation from inside. After some time, though, one of the recruiters came outside and stood in the parking lot where he could observe the protesters better. There was a Montgomery County police officer in the parking lot, but he left after awhile and we were never sure if he was there to monitor the protest or if he was just there by accident.
The Leftists Ratchet Up their Protest
Eventually growing bored with standing at the street corner, shortly after 5:00 some of the Pinkos decided to head over to entrance of the recruiting station and entertain themselves by chanting slogans. By this point two of the recruiters were out front, engaged in debate with the leftists
Here's the scene
One of our number decided that he wasn't going to let the leftists have it all to themselves. The big orange sign says "Hey! Recruiter Leave our Kids Alone!
The leftists started chanting and unfortunately I didn't have a recorder or notepad, so I didn't get their exact words, but it was something to the effect of "No More Rape, No More Torture, No More War"; standard leftist fare. Yawn. This group was a pale imitation of their brethren in Berkeley and elsewhere. They didn't attempt any vandalism or try to force their way inside the recruiting center. They drew some slogans on the parking lot with chalk but that's it.
After chanting for maybe 10 or 15 minutes they grew bored, and some returned to their street corner. Others stayed to try and debate the recruiters and a few of us. We heard all of the usual stuff; that we are "bombing Iraq" (apparently at random), doing nothing but "killing women and children" (no terrorists ever die in their world), that 1.2 million Iraqis had died since the invasion (no doubt referencing the hightly questionable Lancet Study, and when the terrorist kill people it's still our fault), and the "how would you like it if the Chinese invaded the United States and imposed their system here" (the logical fallacy of moral equivalence). As debating them is pointless, I mostly just stood and observed. Here's the scene
The two recruiters handled the situation with grace. They patiently explained to the leftists why the war was justified, what we were trying to do, and that in fact the surge was succeeding. They were quite knowledgeable and overcame the leftist's objections one by one. Each had served in Iraq.
Around 6:00 the leftists decided they'd made their point and stared to pack up. We thanked the recruiters for their service and were sorry that they had to put up with a bunch of idiot protesters. They in turn expressed their appreciation that we were there to show support.
You can see all of my photos on my Photobucket site.
Here are additional photographs taken by fellow FReeper "Mrs Trooprally."
Leftists physically attacked and vandalized the Armed Forces Recruiting Center at 14th and L Streets in Washington DC that same day. From Indymedia, which apparently approves of this sort of activity:
At the peak of the second"Funk the War" dance party/protest, the entire group swarmed the military recruiter at 14th st, with about half the group getting inside and the rest securing the entry and plastering windows with stickers.
After many previous protests had found the 14th st recruiter "closed" at 5PM, Funk the War found them open, and the door unlocked at nearer to 6Pm and promptly exploited the situation by demonstrating to them first hand how an occupying force behaves.
After a loud commotion inside while outnumbered cops watched, recruiters finally managed to get protesters to leave-but not before literature and full-body length cardboard displays in the street window area were destroyed. In addition, hundreds more "Funk the War" stickers were plastered all over just about everything that would take them. By the time everyone was out it looked like a tornado had swept through the lobby.
One recruiter tried to grab an activist but found himself overpowered by SDS's superior strength and numbers and had no choice but to give up!
This came on the heels of the whole group marching in K st and Connecticut Ave at the height of rush hour, closing War Profiteer's Row to cars fro quite a while. The group closed out by going after DC GOP headquarters, but that door was locked and there were too many cops around to break it down.
If conservatives did this they'd call us terrorists.
September 15, 2007
Gathering of Eagles III - The Fight for Victory Tour and Counter to A.N.S.W.E.R.
Today I was fortunate enough to be able to be at the Gathering of Eagles III in downtown Washington DC, it was the culmination of Melanie Morgan's Fight for Victory tour across the USA.
Several groups, of course, participated in making today's Gathering of Eagles possible. Among them Morgan's Move America Forward, Protest Warriors, and Free Republic. For a full list and details see my post on the run-up to today.
Of course, in addition to us International ANSWER held their protest as well. If by some chance you're not familiar with exactly who they are please see their profile David Horowitz' DiscoverTheNetwork. Wikpedia also has a decent entry.
Order of Events
To provide a structure and get things started, today's events can be broken into three parts:
1) Morning - The Gathering of Eagles held a rally on the Mall, and at the same time ANSWER held a rally near the White House
2) Early-to-mid afternoon - ANSWER (finally) marched down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the Capitol building, and on both sides of the street Eagles showed them that they were not the only one's in town that day.
3) ANSWER staged their "die in" on the lawn and steps leading up to the west side of the U.S. Capitol. Some Eagles went to watch, I was among them.
Part I - The Gathering of Eagles
I got uptown just before 10, made my way to the Gathering of Eagles. Here are some views of the crowd
This one gets you an idea of crowd size
Two of my heroes, Bryan Preston and Michelle Malkin were there. They also came to Friday night's FReep outside of Walter Reed. Their post on Walter Reed is here, and here's their initial report on today's GOE III. I'm sure they'll have more up later, and I'll link to it when I see it. I'll also link to the Free Republic After Action Report on Friday when that's up.
While all this was going on I ran into one of my favorite bloggers, Tantor of Conservative Propaganda. I didn't get his photo as I'm not sure he would want it published. As of this writing I don't see that he has his post up about today yet, but be sure to visit his site over the next few days. He told me that after spending some time atGOE III he was going right up to the White House and do an infiltration of the moonbat crowd. He'll have an excellent photo essay sometime in the next day or so I'm sure.
Here's a sign that would no doubt infuriate the moonbats later on
Many Vietnam veterans of Rolling Thunder where there. I got a chance to speak briefly with some throughout the day, and shook their hands and said "thank you for your service."
My general impression is that they come to counter the war protesters not because they necessarily believe lock stock and barrel in what the Bush Administration is doing, but because they remember having to come home to the anti-war hippies themselves and have said "never again". They have a great distain for anti-war types, believe you me.
Here are three from the front and back
Kristinn Taylor of Free Republic was emcee, and as always did a masterful job of keeping things on track. We started off with the pledge of allegiance and a prayer, something I'm sure the ANSWER people didn't do.
Taylor and Morgan had secured a very impressive list of speakers for the event. Some were more inspirational, like Lt Col Robert "Buzz" Patterson, and others were Gold Star mothers and fathers who of course had more somber and emotional presentations. One father recounted the last phone call he received from his son, which was quite moving.
Here is audio of part of Melanie Mortan's speech
Then we had a surprise speaker; presidential candidate Rep Duncan Hunter (R-CA). I am a fan of Hunter, and wish he was doing better in the polls. I think he'd do well against any of the democrats, and would probably vote for him in a primary if I could.
My little camera doesn't have much of a zoom, so here's the my best photo of him
I walked around to the side after the rally, and he was good enough to speak for a few minutes with me and some others. He shook our hands and I wished him well.
We finished right on time at 12 Noon, with Kristinn dismissing the crowd and giving everyone directions to Pennsylvania Avenue. Everyone slowly filed out and made our way a few blocks away to where we would spend the next 3 or 4 hours.
Part II - The March and the Counter
We gathered up and down both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, taking up several blocks on each side. All this was part of a pre-arranged plan; the organizers of GOE III (as well as ANSWER) having negotiated with the DC government over permit areas for weeks if not months before this event.
And we waited
If you're not reading ThreatsWatch...
...you're not fully informed.
During what seemed an interminable wait, I finally got to meet my good friend Marvin Hutchins, who was in town with blog partner Steve Schippert. Marvin is the creator of ThreatsWatch, and Steve is a contributor. Steve also contributes to National Review Online, where you can find his posts on The Corner and The Tank.
They were in town attending some security conference, and as they would be here over the weekend of course wanted to drop by and see real life moonbats in action. They weren't disappointed.
FINALLY, at 2:45 they showed, a good 2 1/2 hours behind schedule. Here they are: Moonbats on parade!
It was, as always, a circus freakshow that would have made P.T. Barnum proud. I'll never figure out what it is about lefties where they think they have to dress up in costumes and carry all manner of vulgar signs. This one wasn't actually as bad as some I've seen in the past (see "Rallies and Protests" under "Categories" at right), but was a show nevertheless. Many of them carried preprinted ANSWER signs that their
masters leaders had given to them.
Here's a good wide-angle shot so you can see that at times the street was thick with them
I think I've seen this contraption at other ANSWER demonstrations
Iraq for Iraqis, U.S. Out Now!
Bush Never Served! Bush Never Served!
Strengh Through Peace!
Apparently flying F-102 Delta Daggers for 2 years doesn't count, but none of these people would know an F-102 if it hit them on the heard.
One of our number, a FReeper who calls himself "Dr Raoul" was shouting at the moonbats with his megaphone
End the Occupation, Commies Out of DC!
There was shouting on each side, and some folks let their emotions get the better of them, and occasionally tempers flared. I've learned to remain calm in the face of provocation, but it's something you have to prepare for.
A few marchers wore bandanas over their faces. I think this is the so-called "Black bloc" of anarchists, but am not sure. I'll do some research tomorrow.
Many Eagles would holler at them to uncover their face, calling them cowards. Sometimes they did, making my wonder why, if they gave in so easily, why them covered themselves in the first place.
Pardon the vulgarity but these people need to be exposed. You'll never see this photo in the MSM
They are a creative bunch, I'll give them that. Too bad they don't put it towards something useful
I'm not sure but I think this is supposed to be Hillary
There were your Palestinian sympathizers, who of course insisted that they just wanted "justice for the Palestinian people".
And no leftist demonstration these days is complete without the 9-11 Truthers
The whole thing was over by 3:30. Huh? I looked at my watch in disbelief. Past demonstrations had gone on for a few hours. If I have it right (and I'll check my recorder tomorrow) this bunch went past us in just under an hour.
Many of us made our way to the US Capitol, only a few blocks away, to see this "die-in", that ANSWER had been advertising on their website.
Part III - The Moonbat "Die-In"
At the Capitol both groups got somewhat mixed up. GOE didn't have a permit area establised, so we wandered around in small groups, trying to figure out where the moonbats were going to do this die-in.
Here you can see the yellow ANSWER signs in the background by the Capitol
Not being quite sure what to do, our group walked around to the right. We headed up a path to the Capitol, but ended up on the wrong side of where they were doing this "die-in". One of our number told me that the moonbats were on the other side. Since the people I was with seemed content to stay where they were, this left me with a decision.
Hanging with the Moonbats
I took the plunge, and with flag in hand (I was carrying an American flag on a 10' pole), as well as with a American flag shirt, and a "Surge to Success" button, I waded into a veritable sea of leftists over to the other side of the gathering.
Ok, so I wasn't really "hanging out" with the leftists, but there was no way they could mistake me for anyone on their side of the political spectrum.
Sure enough, after a hundred yards or so I came upon a bunch of them lying down. I asked if this was the die-in and they said yes.
Most didn't exactly look dead. And of course the girl in this photo has a vulgar sign on her back. What is with them that they can't put forth their message in a civil manner?
A guy with a bullhorn was trying to get more to lie down, but most just milled about. Why, I wondered, didn't they just all lay down? That was why they were here, wasn't it?
A hundred feet or so past this spectacle was more of them laying on the other path up to the Capitol. Again a guy with a bullhorn was urging them to lay down in this play-dead thing, but most seemed more interested in watching. The guy with the bullhorn here had on a Che Guevara shirt. But of course.
Despite the fact that my appearance put me very out of place in this crowd, no one bothered me a bit. I got some odd looks, but that was about it. I think at this point everyone was pretty tired anyway, having spent their emotions at the morning rallies and afternoon march. I know by this point I was pretty spent, and I could see it in the people around me too. Nevertheless, I wanted to get a few more photos and wanted to see if anything really interesting happened, so I hung out for a bit.
This woman brought her little girl to the die-in. Wonderful.
Finally, as I was leaving, I met this sweetheart.
Just the sort of girl you want to bring home to mom.
Several thousand anti-war demonstrators marched through downtown Washington on Saturday, clashing with police at the foot of the Capitol steps where more than 190 protesters were arrested. ...
The arrests came after protesters lay down on the Capitol lawn in what they called a "die in" - with signs on top of their bodies to represent soldiers killed in Iraq. When police took no action, some of the protesters started climbing over a barricade at the foot of the Capitol steps.
Many were arrested without a struggle after they jumped over the waist-high barrier. But some grew angry as police with shields and riot gear attempted to push them back. At least two people were showered with chemical spray. Protesters responded by throwing signs and chanting: "Shame on you."
Idiots. Looks like all this went on farther up towards the Capiol than where I was. I don't know if it happened when I was there or not, as I was aways down and couldn't tell what was happenening up closer to the Capitol.
Do I even have to say that no Eagles were arrested?
ANSWER has a list of those arrested on their website
Among the arrested were Adam Kokesh, Liam Madden, Jeff Millard, and Garrett Reppenhagen of Iraq Veterans Against the War; Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism); Ann Wright, former U.S. Army Colonel; Michael Prysner, Iraq war veteran and ANSWER activist in Florida; union president Gloria La Riva; and Eugene Puryear, Howard University student and National Coordinator of Youth & Student ANSWER.
Imagine, a former US Army Colonel degrading herself by hanging out with these loons, and then getting herself arrested in a war protest. If you want to say the war is wrong, fine, but don't hang out with this bunch.
All Photos for Today
You can see all of the photos that I took today on my Photobucket site.
Age of Hooper as usual has great photos and video
Michelle Malkin has an Us vs Them photoblog up, and has seen fit to include one of my photos. Thank you, Michelle!
This Ain't Hell was in Lafayette Park (which is by the White House) with the Moonbats in the morning and has excellent photos and commentary also.
Victory Caucus has tons of photos. Be sure and check them out.
Washington Post: "Dueling Protests"
Washington Times: "Protesters Slam War"
Fox News: "Thousands March in D.C. War Protest"
New York Times: "Anti-War Protest Ends with Dozens of Arrests"
At the risk of making this post too big, here are two videos of the Moonbats at the Capitol Building.
The first is by the Hot Air team of Michelle Malkin and Bryan Preston. At the end they use my photo of the girl with the "F#@% War" shirt.