August 26, 2006

Keeping Walter Reed Pinko-Free

Once again last night I was at the main entrance to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC, helping to encourage and greet our troops as well as keep Code Pink as far away as possible.

I didn't get a count, but we must have had 35-40 people on our side, taking up positions on all four corners outside the main entrance. Code Pink had maybe 10-15 at most, halfway down the street. Our pro-troop rally is sponsored by FreeRepublic, and any true supporter of the troops who wants to join us is welcome! We call ourselves "FReepers", and the event is a "FReep", so now you know the lingo.

Last night also marks my one-year anniversary for Walter Reed. Click on Rallies and Protests at right under Categories for a complete history of my activities in support of the troops at Walter Reed and elsewhere. How we got to this situation between FreeRepublic and Code Pink would take some time to explain, so follow the link and scroll down, and at the beginning of several of the posts I review the history of the event.

We gather at 6;30 or so, and bring a large assortment of flags, banners, and signs. Sometime after 9:00, a bus with wounded troops returns to the hospital from a restaurant in Washington DC. Every Friday night a busload of the troops are treated to an evening at an upscale restaurant, courtesy of various charities. They used to go to a restaurant called Fran O'Briens, but since the lost their lease some months ago they rotate it around other restaurants in the area.

When the bus arrives we wave and holler and the troops and their families on the bus wave back. From talking to them about it later I know for a fact that it's a morale booster. But more on that later.

Here's the corner on which we have our largest banner. It is directly opposite the entrance to Walter Reed.

IM000527.JPG

But what I wanted to get to in this post was that most often some of the troops come out to meet us. Last night we met three of them.

I didn't get a chance to speak with them in detail, but did get that one of them was wounded in Iraq and another in Afghanistan. Fortunately, none of their injuries were as bad as many I've seen, and they were all able to get around without any trouble. But what they really wanted was to go see the Pinkos. Unlike some troopers, who want to "give them a piece of my mind", these guys seemed to view them more as a curiousity than anything else. They wanted an argument, but I could tell they wouldn't let it get out of hand.

So several of us walked with them a few hundred feet down to where the Pinkos were gathered. We usually maintain a sort of "block" three-quarters of then way down the sidewalk between us and them, and sometimes one of our number brings his boombox and a recording of Rush Limbaugh on his iPod to play to them. Anything to annoy the Pinkos. But no Rush tonight.

Here you can see two of the soldiers, at right in the photo, have gone down to talk to the Pinkos. Notice also that all of the Pinkos save one are ignoring them. For a group who's signs typically say "Support the Troops, Oppose the War", they sure didn't seem to want to meet any actual soldiers.

IM000532.JPG

Shortly thereafter, a Pinko we call "Bruce" did go talk to the soldiers. Another Pinko we call "large Marge", took up a position inbetween them and us, holding a sign that said "Love the Troops, Hate the War". In this photo she is flanked by two others. For some reason she seemed to think it important that she block our view of the conversation between the soldiers and Bruce.

IM000534.JPG

Here we are, maybe 30 feet from the Pinkos. Shortly after I took this, the soldier on the crutches joined his buddies in their debate.

IM000536.JPG

Later, we asked them what the Pinkos said. They told us that their main argument was along the lines that various terrorist groups were only making threats against the US, and that we were overreacting. "They were only threats, not actions", was what they said according to the troops. It's an argument so dumb I'm not going to waste space refuting it. From what I heard, the troops did quite well in taking care of the Pinkos.

The highlight of the evening, and the reason we're all there - here comes the bus!

IM000524.JPG

(the photo above is actually from last week, I didn't get a good shot last night. But no matter)

An Amazing Bunch

In the year that I've done this, I've met quite a few of the wounded warriors and their families, and they are an amazing bunch.

There was the double amputee who, on a Segway, happened along our counter-protest of the big A.N.S.W.E.R.-sponsored anti-war protest last September 24. Leaning over the fence which separated us from the anti-war hippies, he took off one of his legs and waved it at them, daring them to say anything to him. They didn't.

There were the two wives who brought us hot chocolate and donuts late one night last winter, "to show our appreciation for what you're doing". Although we graciously accepted, it was somewhat embarassing. We were there for them, and there they were thanking us.

There is Mike Sparling(at right in this photo), father of Joshua Sparling, the soldier at Walter Reed who received the "hate mail" letter which sparked national attention. In the aftermath of the incident, Joshua received hundreds of letters from around the country. Mike wanted to send thank-you's to the people who sent them, but couldn't do so himself. He came out of the hospital one night and asked us if we could help him, and of course we said yes. Each of us took maybe 40-50 letters and sent a return thank you for each of them.

The Motorists

As we stand there during the hours before the bus arrives, we wave at the motorists passing by, which prompts lots of friendly waving and horn-blowing from them. All this has generated some discussion among our group.

First, we can establish absolutely no profile to determine who might wave and honk and who won't. It cuts across all age, racial and sex lines. You can never tell.

Second, as Washington DC is a majority black city, the vast majority of motorists passing by are also black. We get a honk or a wave from as many as 1 in 5 motorists or one of their passengers. Yet all surveys show that the vast majority of them neither voted for George W Bush or support the war. What gives?

My guess is that they honk or wave for one or more of several reasons. First, our signs are pretty non-partisan. They mostly say something like "Support the Troops" with maybe a "and the mission too", but at bottom. Our large banner (called the MOAB; Mother Of All Banners) simply says "God Bless Our Troops: Defenders of Freedom: American Heroes". Who but a Pinko could disagree with that?

Second, they wave because we wave at them. I've noticed that it's somewhat of a natural tendancy for people to wave back in these circumstances.

Also, many of the honks are done by motorists "because that's what they want", and they know that when they do it they'll get more waves and shouted "Thank you!'s from us. Once one car does it, others follow suit. It becomes "the thing to do".

In addition, given that we've been doing this for well over a year, and most people drive the same route every day coming home from work or whatever, it's gotten to the point where most of these motorists expect us. They've gotten used to us, and know the drill. It's all kind a festive event at this point.

Every now and then someone will stop and shout insults at us. Everyone responds differently to this sort of provocation. Some of us will just say "Have a nice day!" Others get animated themselves and shout insults back. Myself, I just holler something like "LOSER!" and point at them. Whatever works.

Regulars and Visitors

As you may suspect, most of us are regulars who do this every week. As time goes on, we add more to our number. Some come for a few months, and then drift off.

We also get many who just come by once or twice. These might be people on vacation, who during their visit to Washington DC decide to make our FReep one of their stops. One time we got a bunch of Young Republicans who were in town for a series of training meetings. We 've had people from a whole variety of conservative groups stop by while they were in town.

In addition, some people drive down from various places on the east coast just to participate. Earlier this summer some friends of mine drove down from New Jersey to be with us.

SMASH was here: These past few weeks we have been honored to have blogger SMASH join us for several nights outside Walter Reed. He interviewed several of us, and more importantly, several of the Pinkos. Visit his posts here, here, and, here, for pictures, audio, and transcripts.

Bottom line: If there's any way you can join us we'd love to have you! Send me email if you want more information.

Lastly, you can go here for a list of all Walter Reed after-action reports posted on the Free Republic site.

Posted by Tom at 8:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 8, 2006

Confrontation with Code Pink at Walter Reed

As readers of this blog know, every Friday night members of FreeRepublic.com and other patriots assemble outside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in northwest Washington DC to wave patriotic signs and keep the leftists of Code Pink away from the hospital entrance.

Walter Reed is one of the main hospitals in the United States where our wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan go for rehabilitation. Most stay for months, and over the course of time I've come to meet and know many of them and their families. Dozens of times I and others have gone inside the hospital to meet with our troops and bring them what we can, from books and food treats to coloring books for their kids, you name it.

Last Friday marked the 64th straight week that we have held our rally at Walter Reed. I have attended since last August, so am almost at my one-year mark. Due to time and distance from my house I attend every other Friday. A complete history of our rallies and face-offs with Code Pink can be found on The Redhunter here.

Now that the Pinkos have lost their permit for the corners directly at the entrance they hold their "vigils" halfway down the street, where they are largely out of sight and out of mind. We don't pay much attention to them anymore, nor do the passing motorists. We spend out time waving pro-troops signs, banners, and flags. Lots of people honk their horns for us and/or wave. Our presence at the hospital entrance is to keep them away from the entrance and to provide a general show of true support for our troops.

Due to the holiday, I suppose, we had more people that usual show up on our side last night, maybe 30+ people. I estimate the pinkos had about 20+. Here's a photo of our largest banner. This corner is directly across the street from the entrance to the hospital.

IM000410.JPG

Here's a photo of the corner caddycorner to the one above. The pinkos are a few hundred feet down the street from this corner. It's the one the pinko leaders were to visit (although I took this photo after the confrontation)

IM000415.JPG

The Pinkos Visit

So last night Code Pink founders Medea Benjamin and Gael Murphy decided to pay a visit to one of our corners. I'm still not sure why they did it, although I heard vague reference to them wanting to have a "discussion" or some such matter.

At any rate, they were quickly surrounded by Freepers and the others on our side and a "vigorous" discussion ensued (in the ensuing melee I forgot to turn on the red-eye feature of my camera).

Here two of our people challenge Medea and Gael. Medea is the one in the pink shirt. Gael has the glasses on

IM000398.JPG


Gael (at left) and Medea are engaged by our side in a forceful debate

IM000403.JPG

The guy at right in this next photo is a solder back from Iraq who is at Walter Reed. Later he told me that although the pinkos may be deceived by anecdotal stories of soldiers who oppose the war, in his opinion the "vast majority" support our efforts and despise groups like Code Pink

IM000397.JPG

I didn't hear much of what was said, as there were maybe 20 or 30 people engaged here, with much loud talking and carrying on. I did hear Gael say that they were just trying to "raise awareness" of the war. I shouted at her something like "oh please, everyone knows there's a war on, and how many American's have lost their lives" but so many people were confronting here that she didn't hear or respond to me.

A handful of Pinkos came up to join in the fray, but they were vastly outnumbered. One came up to me, and although I forget how the conversation started, I pretty quickly called her a communist sympathizer (or something pretty similar). "Why?" she asked. "Because you hang out with people who like Fidel Castro, and who supported the Sandinistas in the 1980s." "Why do you say communism is bad?" she asked. I mentioned Robert Conquest's books, and the Black Book of Communism, but she wasn't impressed. After a few minutes she went on her way and I resumed taking photographs.

This Pinko tried to shake hands with Kristinn Taylor, the president of the DC chapter of FreeRepublic.com, but Kristinn declined. Let's be clear; these are not liberal Democrats, Code Pink is a bunch of communist sympathizers who side with the insurgents in Iraq (at least their leaders do), and hate this country.

IM000406.JPG

After about 10 or 15 minutes Medea and Gael decided enough was enough and beat a retreat, rejoining their comrades down the street. We chanted "swim ... to ... Cuba!" after them. Code Pink had planned on spending this past New Year's eve in Cuba, but cancelled the trip when the State Department sent them letters informing them that it was against the law to visit Cuba and threatening fines and penalties.

IM000408.JPG


The Troops Arrive!

Sometime between 9:15 and 9:45 the troop bus arrives at the hospital entrance, carrying wounded warriors who have been treated to a gourmet meal at an upscale DC restaurant. The bus caught me by surprise last night and this was the best photo I got

IM000418.JPG

As usual, the pinkos are gone by the time the troop bus arrives. Despite their claim that they are simply "supporting the troops" and "raising awareness of the war's costs", they show no sign of actually wanting to meet or interact with real soldiers and Marines. Some time ago, when Code Pink still had the corners directly at the hospital entrance, there was an incident in which troops on the bus gave the one-finger salute to the pinkos on the corner. From that evening on, the leaders made sure that they had disbanded their people before the bus arrived.

Who are Medea Benjamin and Gael Murphy?

As I mentioned, Medea and Gael are two of the founders of Code Pink, Women for Peace. Although Gael shows up occasionally at their Walter Reed "vigils", this is the first time any of us had seen Medea here. Perhaps it was Medea who wanted to come up and see for herself who we were.

Medea Benjamin's bio on the Code Pink website.

Gael Murphy's bio on the Code Pink website.

Medea Benjamin's bio on David Horowitz' DiscoverTheNetworks.org database site of leftist groups and people.

The Case Against Code Pink

According to the description of the group on DiscoverTheNetworks.org the term "code pink" was choosen to mock the Bush Administration's color-coded alert system.

Besides their general leftist wackiness there are by my count at least three main pieces of evidence against Code Pink:

"The World Tribunal"

On June 24, 25, and 26 of 2005, a group called Democracy Now! sponsored a "World Tribunal on Iraq" whereby the United States and President Bush were placed on trial for crimes against humanity. They were - surprise - found guilty. Code Pink is listed as one of the endorsers of the event.

Ok, that's weird enough, but if that's all there was to it we could write it off as another convention of moonbats.

However, the tribunal issued a "Declaration of Jury of Conscience" where in section I paragraph 11 you find this

11. There is widespread opposition to the occupation. Political, social, and civil resistance through peaceful means is subjected to repression by the occupying forces. It is the occupation and its brutality that has provoked a strong armed resistance and certain acts of desperation. By the principles embodied in the UN Charter and in international law, the popular national resistance to the occupation is legitimate and justified. It deserves the support of people everywhere who care for justice and freedom.
(emphasis added)

In other words, it is ok to kill American troops. There's no other way to read that paragraph.

The "Beirut Communique"

Gael Murphy represented Code Pink at, and was asignatory to, the "Beirut Communique", which was arrived at during a strategy meeting anti-war and anti-globalization types in Beirut, Lebanon September 17-19 of 2004.

Here is a partial list of demands that the participants of the Communique drew up:

* We support the right of the people of Iraq and Palestine to resist the occupations.

* We call for the unconditional withdrawal and "coalition" forces from Iraq.

* We demand the end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine

* We demand the Right of Return be fulfilled....

* We ask for the release of all Palestinian and Iraqi political prisoners.

In another section, the express their "support for efforts by Iraqis to build a united national front against the occupation."

Although they claim that they "oppose war in all forms", there is not a single word in the communique condemning, or even mentioning, Palestinian, Iraqi, or al-Qaeda terrorism.

If all this is not a statement of support for the insurgent terrorists plaguing Iraq, then nothing is. And in case your not familiar, the "right of return" is a Palestinian plan to flood Israel with their people, so as to vote the nation out of existence in it's own elections.

Aid to Terrorists?

Perhaps the most damming allegation is that Medea Benjamin gave aid and money to the terrorists themselves. From DiscoverTheNetwork.org:

During the last week of December 2004, Medea Benjamin announced in Amman, Jordan that Code Pink, Global Exchange, and Families for Peace would be donating a combined $600,000 in medical supplies and cash to the terrorist insurgents who were fighting American troops in Fallujah, Iraq.
The news was first reported by Agence France Press, and stories were run by the Turkish Press and Space War. There is even a mention of the incident on the Code Pink website
We traveled to Amman, Jordan, with medical supplies, blankets, heaters and water purifiers for the refugees in the camps outside Falluja. Global Exchange received donations of medications from a large pharmaceutical company as well as small donations of supplies and cash valued at $600,000.
Who is right? David Horowitz' site says that they gave the aid and money to the insurgent terrorists, Code Pink says that they gave it to refugees.

In the Turkish Press article cited above, Medea says that she gave aid to "...families of the 'other side'". At the very least, by "other side", she at least means families of those fighting our troops. If someone had given aid and comfort to German or Japanese families during World War II, they would have been guilty of treason.

Examining the matter in some detail in an article on FrontpageMag(also a David Horowitz site), Ben Johnson concludes that "Medea Benjamin has the motive, and her allies have actively comforted our enemies before. And some in her recent Iraqi caravan have personal ties to terrorism."

My guess is that they gave the aid to people who in turn gave some or most of it to the terrorists, or maybe they gave it to people who were terrorists themselves but represented themselves as "refugee workers". Either way, Medea knew the terrorists would get some, part, or most of the aid, and intended this to happen, but also wanted "plausible deniability".

Either way, Code Pink is a disgraceful outfit, and I figure it's the least I can do to help keep them away from the hospital entrance. If you're even in Washington DC over a weekend, stop by and give us a hand. I can't promise any confrontations with the leftists, but can promise lots of friendly waves and honks from motorists, and a lot of thankful troops.

Update

Check out PleaDeal's post on the face-off with Code Pink over at FreeRepublic.com. Notice the salute one of the peace-loving Pinkos gave to one of our soldiers currently being treated at Walter Reed.

Posted by Tom at 7:49 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 1, 2006

Stories from Walter Reed

For security reasons this post was not published until October of 2012. At the time we were concerned that leftist groups like Code Pink would infiltrate into Mologne House at Walter Reed and cause trouble if they knew about our activities there.

Something I haven't really shared with my readers is that I and some others visit the troops recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on a regular basis. The group goes once a week, and while I did this for a few months, time, distance, and gas prices have conspired to cut back my participation to every other week. We bring them things, from cookies and candy to books and videos, to toys and stuffed animals for their children.

Walter Reed, located in Washington DC, is a rehabilitation center, so the troops can be there for many months. Their families often come and stay with them during their recovery, some staying a few days, some longer. Often there are children, who, like kids everywhere, get bored. We do what we can can to make their stay easier.

What I wanted to do is to share with you some of their stories. I have heard many, but these are the ones that stand out.

Rarely are they shy about talking about their experiences in Iraq or Afghanistan, and everyone has a different story. They are all unique.

None of the names below are the real names of the troops involved. I am terrible at remembering names, and wouldn't print them anyway.

Tony - lost part of his leg at Tal Afar last year. "There were some real tough terrorists/insurgents(I forget the word he used) there. A few tried to escape, even dressing as women. It was a hard battle", he told me. "We killed thousands of them." We were sitting down when he was telling me his story, and a wife of another solder walked by. She stepped on his artificial foot and he pretended that it hurt....

John - he had both his legs, but the lower half of one was terribly swolen and was surrounded by one of those cage contraptions. It all looked like something out of a movie. "Shrapnel from an IED", he explained. "But you know, they(the press) don't publish the good things that we're doing."

Larry - is missing both of his arms above the elbows. He has a prosthetic for each, and is pretty adept at using them. I haven't spoken with him yet, my excuse is that there hasn't been an opportunity but in reality I've been stalling. You see, he looks so terribly young, and he has a wife and child.

Doug - looked fine, but was obviously a patient there. He explained that he had a back injury, two ruptured disks. I don't remember the full story, but he and some other soldiers were in a crowd situation, and an Iraqi who he described as "a terrorist" came up behind him. He twisted his body and hit the guy with his rifle butt. With all that momentum, his body armor and gear kept twisting after he had stopped, and the effect he said was to damage his back. He said it didn't bother him much at the time, but after awhile he realized something was seriously wrong with his back. The last time I saw him his leg was shaking uncontrolbly, something about nerve damage, he explained.

Kahn - is an Afghan national. He looks 55, but is probably 40. He is an interpreter for the US Army. He told us a wild story about how he was in some Afghan city with some of our Special Forces guys, and they were attacked by terrorists. Some of our guys were wounded, as was Kahn. Nevertheless, he threw our soldiers into his vehicle and sped them back to base so they could all be treated. We couldn't win without guys like him.

Bill - had no obvious wounds. Big strapping guy, the type you want on your side when things get rough. "Heart attack", he explained. "Can you believe it? I'm only 35. They say it was stress."

Mary - he son might lose his leg. "He was hit with one of our own guns" she explained. "One of the big ones, bigger than the M-60." "A .50 cal?" I suggested. "Yes, that's it", she said. I cringed inwardly. She didn't express any bitterness or resentment about it, and in fact offered to take me on a tour of the facility, to some places I hadn't seen yet. I took her up on it.

Misha - didn't speak much English. He is from Ukraine (or some similar country). Wheelchair bound, he had both his legs but they're pretty bashed up. From what we can tell, he was in a convoy when it was ambushed. We're not sure, but he may have been the only survivor.

Hank - is from Illinois, and comes ever few weeks to see his son, who is a soldier in the hospital. "Damn Army review boards! They should have had him out of here months ago. We wouldn't have to put up with this back home." Every now and then I hear similar gripes from a parent. Like anything else, it's impossible to know the truth of the matter unless you hear both sides. All I can do is nod sympathetically.

Dave - is lively and likes the stuffed animals that we bring for the kids. He always makes jokes and livens things up. He was there for blood clots in his legs. Not directly related to combat, he said, but it laid him up nonetheless.

Joe - was in a wheelchair, missing both his legs above the knee. But something was wrong; he was at least 55 years old and had hair longer than any soldier. We asked how he came to be there. "Vietnam vet", he explained. "I'm in go get new legs. They're making them much better now than they used to." He told us all about how he was wounded in Vietnam. He also told us that he tried to be a mentor to the soldiers at the hospital. "I take them out on kayaking trips, we play basketball, things like that. I show them that just because you've lost something doesn't mean you can't lead a full life." Wow. We asked if he'd run into any war protesters when he got back from 'Nam. "No", he said, "When I got back I enrolled at the University of Arizona and I guess there weren't many of them down there. But if I had I would have given them a piece of my mind."

I tell you all these things not to tout my experiences, or what I do, but because I think their stories need to be told. I also hope that this encourages you to take action to help them out yourself. There may not be a VA hospital where you live, but though the magic of the Internet there are many organizations dedicated to helping our brave men and women.

Maybe you are already taking action, so this does not apply to you. But if not, read on.

There are dozens, hundreds, I suppose, of organizations dedicated to helping the troops. One in which I participate is Adopt-a-Platoon. Despite the name, no you don't have to adopt an entire platoon of soldiers or marines. They have many different levels of participation, so you can choose the one that suits you. I chose the individual soldier support level, so once a week I write a letter, and into the envelope I stuff the comics, sports section, or some editorial for them to read. Occasionally I hear back, but not often.

So do what you can, but I encourage everyone to do something.

Posted by Tom at 9:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 22, 2006

Fran O'Briens Getting the Boot

Readers of the page will recall that at the end of my posts on our Friday night pro-troops rallies at Walter Reed, I mention that we greet a bus full of troops at the entrance to the hospital. The troops are returning from a dinner at Fran O'Briens Stadium Steakhouse, a popular restaurant in Washington DC.

The restaurant is located in the Capital Hilton Hotel.

The cost of the dinners is substantial. According to an editorial in today's Washington Times, they "...cost $3,500-$4,000 each to serve anywhere from 30-60 people. At least the cost is covered partly by a charity, the Aleethia Foundation. But clearly Fran O'Brien's started this tradition at considerable cost to itself."

Two weeks ago, the Hilton gave Fran's the boot. Their lease was not renewed and they have to be out by May 1.

The problem is 1) the suspected reason for the eviction, and 2) the utter lack of compassion their way of doing business shows for the wounded veterans who go there every Friday night.

Shoshana Bryen, writing in National Review, suspects that the eviction is for one of two reasons. The first is that the stairwell leading down to the restaurant is not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant, and they either do not want to comply or are worried about a lawsuit if one of the soldiers is injured. Right now, they have to be carried up and down the stairs if they cannot walk, and there have been a few spills.

The other possibility is that the Hilton is simply uncomfortable with having so many amputees come through their lobby every Friday evening. Walter Reed Army Medical Center is the primary rehabilitation center for service members from all branches who have serious injuries such as loss of limb.

The Hilton denies all this, or rather doesn't address it head on. A statement on their website reads

For strictly business reasons related solely to the inability to reach a new lease agreement, the Capital Hilton has elected to terminate the lease with the operator of Fran O’Brien’s restaurant at the hotel. This decision was not at all related to the Friday night dinners for disabled veterans but rather a result of lease negotiations that failed.

Whatever the truth, it is certainly bad publicity for the hotel. As perceptions are reality when it comes to business, I would think that they would realize their mistake and reopen negotiations with Fran's. But apparently this is not going to happen.

For more information

Smash the Indepundit:

BUZZ PATTERSON sends:

I just had a long chat with Hal Koster. Our worst fears are not only well founded but grossly understated. It's a complete and thorough cluster @#$%. (Sorry, my words not his). I haven't been this pissed about anything in a very long time.

...Kelleher's(General Manager of the Capitol Hilton) responses to our questions were blatant lies. Despite what Kelleher says, Hilton has done nothing to support the dinners... never met a bus, never contributed a cent, never negotiated for changes to bring the restaurant into ADA compliance, never advertised the restaurant or the dinners within their own hotel, never provided logistical support... in a word, they've done absolutely zip. In fact, Kelleher hides out in his office and has had no contact with Fran's owner

Save Frans is a website dedicated to saving the restaurant. Kelleher, take notice.

Andi at Andi's World has several great posts

It's not about Fran O'Briens, the Hilton, or property rights. It's about the troops

The Hilton responds to the Fran O'Briens matter

Andi Speaks with Brian Kelleher and gets the Hilton's side of the story

The Washington Times weighs in today

According to co-proprietor Hal Koster, the trouble began earlier this year when lease negotiations with Hilton broke down over the installment of a lift for wheelchair-bound veterans to enter the premises, which are at basement level. "We compromised on just about everything else, but we said, 'You have to do the lift,' " Mr. Koster recounted in a phone interview with The Washington Times. But Hilton balked because the costs would be higher than anticipated.

About a month ago Mr. Koster and business partner Marty O'Brien, son of the late Redskins tackle and restaurant namesake, received an eviction notice. "They haven't said anything to us" beyond the official notice, Mr. Koster reports. But to his mind, it was clear enough that Hilton evicted him because it didn't want to pay for the lift.
...

In the immediate future, a rival has stepped in to be the goodwill enterprise that Hilton apparently isn't. Mr. Koster reports that rival Crown Plaza Hotel has agreed to host the dinners temporarily.

However, the Times notes that this is at best a temporary solution, and that the owners of Frans have not found a permanent location downtown yet.

The Bottom Line

Send an email to the Capital Hilton. Let them know what you think. If none of the addresses on their website work, try this one hhonors@hilton.com , or any of the others listed here.

Update

The email I sent to Hhonors@hilton.com generated an autoreply with a generic message. The other email I sent to the individuals listed on the Save Fran's website bounced, whether due to volume or their being turned off I cannot say.

Posted by Tom at 12:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 1, 2006

Friends at Walter Reed

This past Friday night we were honored by the addition of some friends of mine from New Jersey who came down to be with us at our weekly pro-troops rally outside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Northwest Washington DC.

Background

As regular readers of this blog know, the folks at FreeRepublic have been organizing these rallies for almost a year now. I joined last August. We do this every Friday night from 6:30 to 9:30. The radical pro-Castro group Code Pink used to hang out on opposite streetcorners from us, but two months ago we got the permit for all four corners, so the pinkos are relegated to holding their anti-war protest a half block down the street where noone can see them. For the full story of these events outside Walter Reed go to "Categories" at right and select "Rallies and Protests".

A Great Rally

Linda and her husband Kieran, and their two children Haley and Michael, drove down from their home in New Jersey to join our rally. I met Linda over a year ago at a GOPUSA Issues and Action Conference in Washington DC. Without further ado, here are Linda and Kieran

IM000127.JPG

Sorry for the blurryness, as my camera doesn't always do so well at night. Also, for some reason my camera resets the date whenever I change batteries, and I always forget to reset it. So no, you're not caught in a time warp.

The weather was beautiful, in the mid 60s. Quite a nice break from the freezing temperatures that we've endured these past several months. If you go through my last few Walter Reed posts you'll see we're dressed as if for a blizzard. However, it was still too windy to deploy the MOAB - Mother Of All Banners, so we just put up our usual half-dozen flags

IM000144.JPG

Here are a few more photos of some of the patriots who turned out to support the troops. These two held down one of the corners beside the main entrance, opposite to the folks in the photo above.

IM000141.JPG

Here are the folks on another corner

IM000130.JPG

Here are my friends from New Jersey again. Kieran is in the foreground, with daughter Haley and son Michael beside him. Linda is hidden behind our many signs

IM000115.JPG

Throughout all this we always get lots of honks and waves from people in their cars. Last night it seemed like we got more than we usually got, the warm weather probably being the biggest factor. Every now and then someone will shout "bring them home!" or something like that but they are few and don't matter. But I also have to think that since we've been doing this so long that most of the drivers recognize us and are ready with their honks and waves.

Messing with Code Pink

Now that the pinkos are halfway down the street we usually just ignore them. But since I had the camera out anyway I decided to head down there and take some photos.

My first trip down there was on the opposite side of the street to where they were. Although there was no light to stop cars, I thought if I took enough time and timed it right I might get in a decent shot or so. Since it was dark the shutter has to stay open a bit longer than usual, and there's a delay anyway with digital cameras, so night shots are always a challenge.

Wouldn't you know it though, no sooner had I gotten my tripod set up with one of their leaders jaywalks across the street to confront me.

"You can't come down this far!" she says when she gets to my side.

"Really?" I said as aimed my camera at the pinkos across the street.

"We have an agreement with your leaders that you aren't to come down this far" she continued

"Well, call the cops" I replied. "None of you are on this side anyway, so what do you care?" I have no idea if she was telling the truth or not about any "arrangement", and I didn't care. She didn't produce a permit and never called the police. I did get a nice shot of her, though.

"Smile!" I said

IM000119.JPG

She didn't.

Then she tried to block my view of her group, but didn't do a very good job

IM000124.JPG

Enough was enough. I got the photo, so headed back.

However, a few minutes later I saw one of our party heading down on the other side of the street to photo the pinkos. I decided to join her.

Wouldn't you know but we were serenaded by their hippie guitar player. He played "America the Beautiful" I think.

IM000132.JPG

What it's Really All About

Enough about Code Pink. They're irrelevant now that we've chased them off.

The troops in the hospital know full well what goes on outside every Friday night. I know this because I've spoken with enough of them, as in addition to this I and some others pay regular visits to the hospital where we bring them treats and things like books, videos, and the like.

Further, every Friday a busload of the recovering troops is taken to an upscale Washington DC restaurant called Fran O'Briens at 9:30ish. We wave and shout and they wave back at us. It's a tough situation they're in, and most seem so young. But we've all got to do our part, and this is the least I can do.

Last night the bus came before I had my camera ready, so here's a photo from a previous night

IM000516.JPG

Posted by Tom at 7:38 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 28, 2006

Code Pink Kept Away from Walter Reed

Once again patriotic Americans occupied all four corners outside the main entrance to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. Code Pink was kept away for another week, left to lick their wounds asome distance away down the street.

Our brave men and women in uniform no longer have to look at a bunch of left-wing extremists every Friday evening as they enter and exit the hospital.

For months Code Pink held anti-war protests, disguised as vigils, on the two corners right beside the main entrance to the hospital every Friday evening. Once discovered, organizers at Free Republic and Protest Warriors countered them by holding a pro-troops/anti-Code Pink rally on the opposite two corners. This has been going on for about 10 months. I got involved last August when all of this became a national news story after Marc Morano of CNSNews published a story about it. My previous posts on the subject are here, here, here, here, and here.

As I related last Saturday, the Pinkos forgot to renew their permits, and ConcreteBob of the Washington DC chapter of the Protest Warriors seized the initiative and got permits for "their" corners.

Perhaps it was the news of this victory, which was picked up by Michelle Malkin and Little Green Footballs, or maybe it was just word of mouth among the local chapters of the Protest Warriors and Free Republic, but we had great attendance last night, easily presenting a formidable presence on all four corners.

That said, now is not the time to let up! I urge anyone who is within driving distance of Washington DC to please consider attending next Friday evening. We are there from approximately 6:30 to 9:30, though of course please do as your schedule allows. If you need directions or anything else please do not hestitate to contact me, please use the email address at the upper right of this blog.

I believe that if we can keep up the pressure for a few more weeks we might be able to drive a stake through Code Pink once and for all. Our entire objective in this campaign is simply to make them take their anti-war protests someplace else. A military hospital is not the appropriate place for such activities. There are plenty of locations in Washington DC outside the White House and Capitol Building where protests are allowed.

This first photo shows us at the corner opposite the entrance to the hospital. I took it early in the evening, before all of our members had arrived.

IM000022.JPG

Here's the corner by the main entrance, where Code Pink used to set up shop.

IM000031.JPG

And here were are at another of our corners

IM000015_1.JPG

Where was Code Pink?

What Pinkos showed up were a few hundred feet down the street, where nobody could really see them.

IM000020.JPG

BOOO HOOOO!

Update I

Once again, please check out GunnNutt for her excellent post on last night. As always, she's got great pics and commentary.

Update II

One of our number, tgslTakoma, went down the street to take some pictures of the Pinkos as the sad bunch congregated.

Apparently, however, this was too much for the Pinkos to take, so they threw a temper tantrum. Here's tgslTakoma's account posted at FreeRepublic

There I was, across the street, a six lane street. Just me. And my little camera.

I stood quietly on the empty sidewalk taking pictures of the Code Pink protest at Walter Reed. The one that used to be at the main entrance to the hospital, until they forgot to renew their permit for that location.

Now, they've taken to infesting a location down the street, in front of a small sidewalk park, but still in front of the hospital.

I had gone down alone, with my camera and tripod to document their little public protest.

I had less than a minute's peace to take photos before Allison Yorra and Ann Wilcox of Code Pink came across and told me that I would have to leave the empty sidewalk, across the street from their protest, because they had a permit for where I was standing.

I told them I wasn't disrupting their protest across the street, and that I was holding no signs but simply taking photos. They told me that I was not allowed to be there, and that the police would remove me. I encouraged them to call the police, because I wasn't demonstrating in their protest area, just taking photos, in their protest area where they weren't protesting. They initially declined to call the police, preferring to "handle it themselves."

By now, "Princess", Weasel and some guy with a black beret had joined Allison and Ann around me. They began to block my camera, which was focused on their public protest across the street. No matter which way I turned, there was Allison and her bully-boys.

So I stepped off the sidewalk and into the curb lane of the street, where MPDC does not issue permits unless the road is closed. Allison and the bullies quickly followed. I'd move. They'd move in front of me. I'd move again. They'd again block my view.

What a bunch of losers. Next time I'll make sure tgslTakoma has company when she goes down to photograph them.

tgslTakoma also has great photos, so be sure and follow the link.

Update III

Also covering last night's events are Doll at Freedom Watch and Landry Fan at Landry's Life. It was "Doll"s first Friday, and we look forward to seeing her again! Both Doll and Landry have photos and, of course, their own story to tell. Don't miss either one.

Posted by Tom at 11:34 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 21, 2006

The Pinkos Sound the Retreat!

Last night outside the main entrance to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC, the anti-war leftists of Code Pink were forced into an ignominious retreat! They were obliged to abandon their protest corners and seek refuge a block away, where they licked their wounds. For at least one evening, the wounded troopers in the hospital, some of whom can see the entrance where all this takes place from their windows, did not have to see the Pinkos who mock them with their fake vigils.

The battle was not won with bombs or bullets, or even with force of numbers. We simply outmaneuvered them by getting a permit for "their" corner before they had a chance to file. So we had permits for all four corners and they had none. You snooze you lose.

If you are not familiar with the situation see my previous posts on the subject here, here, here, here, and here.

The short version is that a radical pro-Castro group called Code Pink Women for Peace holds an anti-war rally outside of the hospital every Friday night between 7 and 9pm. Code Pink is perhaps most notorious for having given $600,000 to the terrorists in Fallujah in December of 2004. They have been holding these protests at Walter Reed for almost 10 months now.

Word got out quickly that the Pinkos were outside the hospital, and the folks at Free Republic started holding counter-demonstrations/pro-troop rallies at opposite corners to where the Pinkos stood.

Last August the face-off made national news when CNS News reported what was going on. After hearing about it on talk radio and Fox News, I decided to go downtown and see what was happening for myself. Even since that night I have been at Walter Reed more Fridays than not.

Seizing Their Corner

As soon as I got there I knew that something was different.

I arrived shortly before 7pm, and as I drove up, I saw quite a few people on what are normally the Pinko's two corners. Odd, I thought, as they usually didn't arrive in numbers until 7:30 or 8. After I parked and walked to one of our corners, I noticed to my great surprise that those were our people across the street.

This is what I saw.

IM000991.JPG


Something's up, I thought. Those are mostly our prople, with one or two Pinkos mixed in. What's going on? Usually we stay on our side of the street and they on theirs.

I asked one of our members standing nearby and that's when I learned that one of our number, "Concrete Bob", had secured permits this week for the Pinkos two corners. They had been laggard in renewing their permits and Bob seized the opportunity.

Yes!

As you might imagine, as soon as the light changed I went over to our "new" corner to join my compatriots and see what was up. I knew that the Pinko leaders would arrive shortly and wanted to make sure we had adeqate numbers in place.

We were mixed in with a few Pinkos, but one of our number decided to make sure that passers by knew who was who:

IM000996.JPG


The Pinkos Arrive

Somewhat perplexed, they're carrying their signs and such from their cars and putting by the fence as they normally do. Somewhat annoyed, the guy pictured here, Bruce, asked me ifr we really had to take so many photographs of them. "Yes!" I chearfully answered. Odd, but my answer didn't seem to satisfy him.

IM000999.JPG

Their guitarist showed up, getting ready to play his Pete Seeger 60ish leftie songs.

IM001000.JPG

At this point the Pinkos were informed that they did not have a permit for this corner and that so sorry, but they would have to leave. They got on their cell phones (whatever did we do before we had them?) and said that they were going to "straighten things out". But after a few minutes they gave up and beat a hasty retreat down the steet to lick their wounds.

IM000003.JPG

The corner resume activities, this time under new, non-commie management:

IM000008.JPG

And for once I remembered to have someone take my picture:

IM000010.JPG

Crossing the Line

Many Americans oppose the war in Iraq. Most of them still genuinely support the troops. But many do not, among them Code Pink. I'm not going to go into my case against them here, interested readers can check out the links posted above.

Suffice it to say that if you're hanging out with pro-Fidel Castro people like Code Pink, you're not "supporting the troops".

Congressman John Murtha has crossed the line of decency.

From the Code Pink Website, here he is, hanging out with Code Pink co-founder Gael Murphy and DC coordinator Allison Yorra.

Home_murtha_flowers.gif


Now I know what some of you are going to say; "oh how childish all this is".
Well....on one level yes, but not so on another. Understand that the troops in the hospital know full well what is going on outside. I know this because I've spoken with enough of them, as in addition to this I pay visits to the hospital where we bring them things. And, as I've pointed out in previous posts, when the troops come back from Fran O'Briens at 9:15 or so on the bus they flip off any Pinkos who are still hanging around. Yes yes, I know there are a few troops who are anti-war and all that, so please don't post links on that subject("In any large organization..."). Everyone knows full well that most troops support the war and hate groups like Code Pink. Believe you me if you don't think that chasing off the Pinkos wasn't a morale booster for the troops inside Walter Reed you're kidding yourself.

According to the Pinkos website:

We presented him with our pink badge of courage and pink flowers sent by CODEPINK members nationwide. Rep Murtha was very appreciative of these gestures as he has been receiving many responses to his public denouncement of the war.

Either Murtha agrees with the Code Pink agenda or he's a useful idiot. Take your pick.

Update

Make sure you check out GunnNutt's excellent post on Friday night. She has excellent photos you won't want to miss.

Update II

Thank you to Kat for her kind words at her blog, The Middle Ground. And if you haven't bookmarked her site, do so now.

Posted by Tom at 2:00 PM | Comments (31) | TrackBack

December 8, 2005

Getting Chilly at Walter Reed

Last Friday, Dec 2, was the first really cold night in front of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC.

But although temperatures were low and the wind blowing, spirits were high among the Freepers who showed up to counter the Pinkos.

If you're not familiar with the situation read this post of mine which explains everything

In summary, a pro-Castro group called Code Pink holds an anti-war protest outside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC every Friday night. They lie and call it a "vigil", but we've got the goods on them.

Countering them is a real pro-troops rally right across held on opposite street corners from the Pinkos. It is organized by the good people of Free Republic. Wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are taken out to dinner every Friday night on a luxury bus, and return to the hospital at about 9:30 They reenter the hosipital right where the Pinkos hold their protest. We want the troops to see a pro-troop rally, and not just the Pinkos. As it is, the Pinkos have been packing up and going home at 9pm, we suspect so that they won't have to look at the troops on the buss flipping them off, which they have done.

My apologies if my photos of last Friday aren't as good as usual, but my hands freeze up pretty quick once I take my gloves off. Tomorrow night I'll wear light gloves under mittens and see how that works.

Here we are, all bundled up.

IM000775.JPG

IM000781.JPG

Here are the Pinkos across the street from us. We counted maybe 11 of them, versus about 26 I believe for us. We've outnumbered them every time I've been there.

IM000777.JPG


I took this photo from behind some of our people, looking across the street from the Pinkos. In order to get some distance, I shut off the flash. While keeping the shutter open longer gets you more distance at night, you also get blurryness if there's too much movement.

IM000787.JPG

As I mentioned earlier, the Pinkos pack up and go home promptly at 9pm. As soon as they do, we rush over and seize their corners.

More on Code Pink

I'm not going to write in detail about Code Pink, because I've done that before. You can find all posts about them by going to the Categories section at right and selecting "Rallys and Protests"

The best single source of information about any leftist individual or group is David Horowitz' excellent database DiscoverTheNetwork.org You can find his entry on Code Pink here. Among other fun facts you'll learn that they gave $600,000 in cash and aid to the terrorists in Fallujah before our forces liberated that city.


Michelle Malkin
has an excellent post relating how the Pinkos support Hugo Chavez, the wannap-be dictator of Venezuela and Fidel Castro protege.

If you thought I exaggerated earlier by calling Code Pink a "pro-Castro group", consider that they had planned on traveling to Cuba at the end of this month to celebrate the New Years.

Travel to Cuba by Americans is illegal. But the leaders of that noxious group think they're above the law. Some of their members, however, are not so sure. The latest from their website:

Dear Friends,

We have some bad news to relay about the Cuba trip. We knew that this trip was a challenge to the Bush administration’s restrictions on travel to the island.

However, we had anticipated that, as in the past, the government would either let us come and go without incident, or would send us a letter after we returned. Instead, we—CODEPINK, Global Exchange, and some of the participants—have already received ominous letters from the Treasury Department, calling on us to “cease and desist” our plans for the trip, demanding the names of all the people who had signed up, and threatening us with a million dollar fine and ten years in jail.

When some individual participants received these letters, they canceled their plans—leaving us without the “safety in numbers.” And while our organizations are willing to fight the government on this (Global Exchange has been fighting the travel restrictions for 15 years!), we feel that right we are too overloaded with other efforts, such as stopping the war in Iraq, to take on a prolonged legal battle right now.

We have therefore, with deep regret, decided to cancel the trip and will be returning your deposits in the mail. We are very sorry for any inconvenience we have caused you—to say nothing of the disappointment of not spending the New Years together with our friends in Cuba!

BRRRRRHHHHAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

"our friends in Cuba" need any more evidence?

If you can stand to read it, here's the Code Pink post on their protest (er, "Vigil") outside of Walter Reed.

Unless someting intervenes, I'll be there tomorrow night too. Dressed more warmly, this time!


Posted by Tom at 9:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 13, 2005

Pinkos Update: Two More Nights at Walter Reed

Last Friday night marked 30 straight Fridays of counter-protest and pro-troops demonstrating by true American patriots outside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC.

If you haven't been following my posts on this, Walter Reed Army Medical Center is the main hospital in the US where soldiers are sent for rehabilitation. A radical leftist group called Code Pink Women for Peace started staging anti-war protests outside the main entrance to the hospital every Friday night in March of 2005. They chose that day because every Friday a busload of wounded troops leaves the hospital for an upscale Washington DC restaurant, and arrives back at the hospital at 9:15-30. This, of course, is a huge treat for them. When pulling into the hospital, the bus drives right by Code Pink and sees them and their signs. When they first started doing this they had several quite terrible one, including one that said "Maimed for a Lie". Word got out, and the good people at FreeRepublic.com ("Freepers") started staging counter-protests/Pro-Troop rallies on the two corners opposite the hospital entrance. From then on, every Friday night, the two sides face off. And every night that I've been there, we outnumber the Pinkos.

You can read all about the Pinkos early antics in this CNS news story. Due to media exposure, and the efforts of FreeRepublic and other blogger to expose them, Code Pink has since "toned down" their signs. No matter. We know who they really are.

I've only been attending since August 27, the week the story hit the national news. Since then I've beem able to make it most, but not all, Fridays.

You can read all of my posts on Walter Reed as well as other rallys and demonstrations by clicking on "Rallys and Protests" at left.

In this post are photos of the "Freeps" on October 29 and November 11.

Am Amazing Story

But before I get to photos, I want to relate an amazing story that I heard from an Iraqi Kurd at the demonstration November 11. I may not have quite all of the details right, but the outline is clear.

I'd first saw him amongst us at our counter to the anti-war protests in Washington DC this past Sept 24. We didn't have much of a conversation then, so when I met him Friday night I decided to ask him about his story, about how he came to be here in America. He looked about college age, which turned out to be exactly right.

He told me that he was rescued by American forces in 1988 during Saddam's brutal "Anfal" campaign in northern Iraq against the Kurds. He was 4 years old, and his family lived on a farm just outside of one of the villages Saddam attacked with chemical weapons. I think he said he became separated from his family (I'm not clear on this point), and that some American forces (Special Ops, I'm sure) came upon him and a young girl, all alone in this horror. He said they realized they just couldn't leave such young children, so they put them on their helicopter and took them to their base in Turkey. Eventually they got him and the girl to the US, where for awhile they lived on American bases. Eventually the paperwork got worked out, and they were adopted (separately, I think, although I didn't get details). Obviously our guys have been "checking things out" in Iraq long before the Gulf War. You gotta love that.

He is now going to school at (I believe) George Washington University. He said that a few months(?) ago he was reunited with the soldiers who saved him, they had some sort of get-together. He had made contact with relatives back in Iraq, and had plans to visit them next year. However, he stressed that "I'm an American now" so this was his new homeland.

Wow.

Walter Reed October 29

Mother Sheehan herself showed up for a few brief moments. She didn't stay long, maybe because there were no TV cameras. In fact, she came and went before I could even get any photos of here. No biggie, though, because she had her coat collar turned up and hat on, and was across the street. My 3x telephoto wound't have gotten much of a photo. Go to the FreeRepublic post to see their much better photos.

Although I didn't get a photo of her, I did get some of her stupid bus. It kept driving up and down the street, mainly to annoy us on the partiotic side, I think.

IM000709.JPG

(Warning - lots of pictures below, so you'll either need broadband lots of time before viewing the rest of the post!)

The big excitement that night came when they parked their bus illegally on the street and we called the cops. The police didn't come, and eventally one of leaders, kristinn, decided to go sit in front of it to block it in until they arrived.


IM000714.JPG


This created a big fracas, as "the benches emptied", with both Freepers and Pinkos converging on the spot in front of the bus where Kristin was sitting (My apologies for the blurry photo. I had turned off the flash for a long-range night shot and forgot to turn it back on)


IM000717.JPG


I took this opportunity to ask various anti-war types some questions about Code Pink's upcoming trip to Cuba:

- Are you going with Code Pink to Cuba for New Years?
- It's on their website, so I'm not making it up
- Will you be stopping at any of Fidel's prisons?
- You know Fidel imprisons gays just because they're gay, right?

None of them responded to me directly, but the Pinko organizers were obviously very unhappy with me.

Sorry, this photo's better. I had the flash back on.


IM000724.JPG


The police showed up not long after all this, and with that each side hurried back to their respective positions. This was just what we wanted, as our objective the whole time had been to get the police out there to make them move their bus. The cops spoke to us and the Pinkos, and although I couldn't hear the conversations from my vantage point, it was clear that they were saying "we're not going to do anything this time, but let's not have that again, ok?"


November 11

Here is our largest banner, which we call the "MOAB" - Mother Of All Banners, and is about 10 times larger than anything the Pinkos have ever displayed. Kristinn and his wife bring it every Friday night. I've shown it before, but it's worth posting every time because it tells it like it is.

IM000759.JPG

Beautiful, no?

It serves several purposes. One, an "in your face" to the Pinkos, two, the troops in the hospital can see it from their windows, and three, when the busload of soldiers drives by at 9:15-30, they can certainly see it (more on them below).

Here are a few photographs of personal signs that we have on our side. The signs shown below are typical of the many that we have every Friday night:


IM000747.JPG


IM000751.JPG


The Pinkos, on the other hand, have pretty pathetic signs. I thought lefties were supposed to be good at protesting, but this one sorry bunch. We outdo them every time in signage and in spirit. This one was absolutey unreadable

IM000757.JPG

Well, that's what you get when you try to be artsy.

In this photo, the sign at left reads "WHY ISN'T A WAR CRIME", which of course makes no grammatical sense.

IM000753.JPG

What It's All About

As I've mentioned, the bus carrying the wounded heros arrives back at Walter Reed at sometime between 9:15 and 9:30.

And every single night, the Pinkos pack up and leave at 9:00 sharp.

Why? They claim they're there for a "vigil", on behalf of the wounded troops.

Our best guess is that the Code Pink organizers know that the troops on the bus will flip them off, and they do not want their useful idiot followers to see this.

But no matter what their reason, it's fine by me that they leave. I want the troops to see us, not them. So immediately after the Pinkos abandon a corner, a bunch of us rush over to seize it. Oddly, it almost feels like we've capturued enemy territory, which in a way I suppose we have.

Anyway, when the busload of wounded heros shows up they get to see four corners of pro-America, pro-troop people, holding up partiotic signs.

IM000762.JPG


And there it is, another Friday night outside of Walter Reed.

God Bless America

Free Republic Posts

Freep 28 October 28

Freep 29 November 4

Freep 30 November 11

Freep 31 November 18

Freep 32 November 25

Posted by Tom at 9:30 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 25, 2005

Photos and Report from the Protests in Washington DC

You want photos? I've got photos. I hope you have broadband.

As promised, I attended the protests in Washington DC on Saturday, September 24

The short version; it was a freakshow.

But it was also an awful lot of fun, in a weird sort of way, and I advise anyone with such events taking place near then to do likewise and attend them. Heck, we had people on our side fly in from all around the country just to attend our counter-demonstration.

Although I've lived near Washington DC for over thirty-five years, I've never gone uptown for a protest or rally before. It's not that I'm any more political than I was, I think it's just the idea of being able to do a report and post photos on the Internet that makes it all more exciting and worthwhile. Because going without food, water, a bathroom, and trucking around on the DC metro all day surrounded by moonbats is not normally my idea of an exciting day. And C-Span does an excellent job of covering these events. But now of course the Internet has changed everything, so here goes.

An Overview

I was with the counter-protesters all day, of course. From 10 - 1 we held a rally in front of the Navy Memorial. We had a little ceremony, a US Navy color guard came out and raised the flag, we did the pledge of allegiance (nowadays everyone shouts the "under god" part), and sang the Star Spangled Banner. Funny, but I rather doubt the lefties did those things during their opening ceremony.

IM000602.JPG


Here are some of the signs we had ready for the lefties. I especially like the one on the right. It about says it all.

IM000605.JPG

The first Batch of Protesters

As we were holding forth, several bunches of anti-war protesters came up from the Navy Memorial Subway stop. We were ready for them with our own signs:

IM000607.JPG

Among, them, however, was an infiltrator: a protest warrior:

IM000595.JPG

He explained to me that their tactics were to march alongside or even with the anti-war protesters with signs of the sort you see above. If you don't read it carefully you might think he was one of them. I asked him if they ever caught on. "The hippies never get it" he said with a smile. He then marched off right with them. Now that's gutsie.

We had maybe 150 or so people come to our rally and counter-demonstration, as I think I got a count from one of the folks at FreeRepublic.com I'll check their site later for their post

Then we walked a block to the FBI building, where we also had a permit for the day. We had maybe a 100 yards or of space on the sidwalk beside the street, with maybe 50 feet or so between the street and the building. About 10 feet in from the street the city had erected a short fence as a barrier There was then a line of cops between the barrier and the street, where the leftie protesters marched by. The police were decked out in riot gear, just in case, and I swear all looked like NFL linebackers. Nobody was going to cross that line. After it was all over I made a point of walking up to each group and thanking them, which they seemed to appreciate.

The protest march got to us at about 2:30 or so and lasted until after 5.

Getting Ready

Just to be sure the protesters knew that they were going to face people with an opposing opinion, we had a little greeting for them:

IM000619.JPG

The reference, of course, is to one of the organizers of the march, International ANSWER, or Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. ANSWER is a front group for the outright communist Workers World Party, and if you don't believe me just take a look at their web page. Brian Becker, a member of both ANSWER and the WWP, is profiled on David Horowitz' DiscoverTheNetwork.org In addition to the sign, one of our people was stationed up front by these signs asking the protesters if they knew who organized their march, and explaining it in pretty clear terms just to be sure they got the picture.

Here's a better shot of the orange MOAB (Mother Of All Banners, which is what we tend to all call of these large ones) when we had it up over by the Navy Memorial. The moonbats were not pleased when they saw it. It 's pretty in-your-face, but they needed it. And as you can tell, I liked giving it to them.

IM000589.JPG

Here we are, getting ready. I was standing about half-way down our section.

IM000615.JPG

I forget where these two flew in from, but I really liked their signs.

IM000614.JPG

Here I am, flag and sign in hand. I didn't carry the sign most of the day, but handed it off to someone else.

IM000613.JPG

Marching Moonbats

Well, we thought these guys were moonbats. Turned out, this first group were the ProtestWarriors.

IM000624.JPG

Now here come the moonbats!

IM000625.JPG

This was probably the strangest group to come by all day. They did a little dance for our benefit, and chanted something I couldn't understand.

IM000649.JPG

The first of many Che Guevara and Socialist/Communist signs that I saw

IM000660.JPG

The first of many Palestinian flags that I saw

IM000663.JPG

This is about as thick as they got. They obviously had several thousands there, but nowhere near 100,000 people came by us.

IM000671.JPG

This next one, of which I saw plenty also, is apparently the flag of Iraq. It's the old flag of Saddam, and as I recall the new government tied to come out with a new one but there were so many objections they went back to the old one. The embassy here in DC shows the old one (I think) on their site. Here in a day or so I'll do more research, but in the meantime if someone can enlighten me I'd be indebted.

IM000665.JPG

After seeing the same old stuff for awhile, it was easy to look bored, as the one guy does in the foreground of this photo. But notice the bullhorn a few people down

IM000654.JPG

This is where the fun began.

The moonbats would shout at us, and we'd shout at them. They never seemed to understand that you can't outshout a bullhorn. I have to say that bringing them was genuis, probably born of experience.

We taunted them several ways; whenever they held up the "V" peace sign with their fingers, we'd do the same and all shout "Victory in Iraq! Victory in Iraq!", of course using the bullhorns to amplify the message. The protesters did not like this coopting their symbol and usually put their hands down.

Of course we saw a lot of "impeach Bush" signs. Whenever we did, we'd say something like "Here comes another President Cheney supporter!" or some such. They really did not like this also.

We also liked to say that we worked for Halliburton, or owned Halliburton stock and it went up today, or some such similar thing.

Other things we'd should is "Saddam thanks you!" or "Al Jazeera thanks you!"

One thing they'd say is "did you serve?" "or "So will you sign up to fight?" We did have many veterans among us, so you can imagine what they said. As for me, who has never served, I responded by asking if they would then support the war if I did. When they answered no, I said "well then it doesn't really matter, does it?" To which they usually had no response.

(for any of you who actually think the "chickenhawk" argument is anything but completely specious, here's one of the best responses)

I know, I know, you can say it's all somewhat juvenile. But who cares, it was fun and they deserved it.

And speaking of cheerleaders with a bullhorn, this guy was #1 on our side:

IM000635.JPG

He's got on a "Commies aren't Cool" T-shirt. He was a riot, and happy as can be. One of his taunts was "gee, I thought you guys were all about peace, love, and understanding, but you look so angry!" And they did. Me? I laughed throughout most of the whole thing. It was just impossible to take these moonbats seriously (more on all that later)

Most of their signs were so stupid and predictable that you couldn't take them seriously. This one, however, kind of got on my nerves. Who the hell did these people think were were doing in Iraq? We do what we do just so the Iraqis can have their country back from a genocidal maniac. Oh, but they think we're there to steal their oil. Have they checked gas prices recently? Grrrrr

IM000673.JPG

The Ride Home

I took the metrorail, and as you may suspect was pretty out numbered most of the time. Many people, of course, were just going about their daily business, probably wondering what in the world was going on. We had several tourists come by during the day, and asked us what it was all about. "Now you're got a real Washington DC story to take home with you!" I'd say after explaining what was going on.

On the subway it was pretty obvious that I was in town to take part in the counter-demonstration, as virtually none of the lefties had American flags, and there I was, carrying a 6 foot flag, a "Freedom isn't Free" and "Keep the Promise to Iraq" button on my shirt. But altough I got some mean looks almost no one said anything.

Except for one guy.

I was on the escallator going down at one of the stations where you change lines, and there was a 20 something guy in front of me who had long hair and let's just say didn't exactly look like your stereotypical conservative.

"Were you at the protest?" he asked.

"Sort of" I cautiously answered, not volunteering more. I had made a decision that I was not going to get into a debate or discussion with any of the anti-war protesters.

"You were at the counter-protest?" he continued.

"Yes"

"Good!" he said, and put out his hand to shake mine. "I'm glad. And you know, there are a lot more of us on your side than you think." (I paraphrase from memory)

That'll teach me not to stereotype.

And I should know better by now. I've had enough experience with this in life that I've encountered people many times who are exactly the opposite of the stereotype of how someone "should" look. On our side at the Saturday rally, and in fact with us every Friday night outside of Walter Reed, are guys with long hair, beards, etc.

In my defense I can say that I was very much "on guard", and all that. Nevertheless, it was an important reminder

Final Thoughts

While the lefties were marching by, a newspaper reporter from the Afro American Newspapers asked me if I'd speak with him. I said sure, and he asked very straight questions so I obliged him for about 5-10 minutes. I'll tell you what I told him.

No I do not think that the leftie moonbat marchers, or the organizers, represent the majority of Americans who oppose this war (At least, I hope they don't, but the Democrats are drifting more and more leftward, but that's another post).

A reasonable case could be made for opposing the war in Iraq. A reasonable case can be made the the Bush Administration et all has screwed up some of the occupation. I disagree with them, but that's not the point here. The people in this march, and their organizers, are the kook fringe, and need to be exposed as such. Newspapers such as the Washington Post almost never mention the true politics of ANSWER or Code Pink. So someone has to do it, and bloggers like me are going to shame the msm into reporting it.

He asked me about WMD, and I told him look, almost everyone thought there was WMD in Iraq. The debate before the war was not over whether there was WMD, but what to do about it. To say that "Bush Lied!" puts you on the kook fringe.

There you have it, at least the brief version. You can read my complete thoughts on the matter here, if you care.

Update

I added a photo, so go back up and find "Thank You For Protesting My Freedom". It about says it all, I think.

The Political Teen has video of Cindy Sheehan's speech earlier that day. Watch for two things; who is standing beside her desperately trying to stay relevant, and listen to the crowd's reaction after she says what other countries should not do.

Global Cop has some good photos of the protest march and the pro-America rally where I was at.

Instapundit has more links. But you knew that already.

Do the Organizers Matter?

I actually saw a few people marching who had half-reasonable signs. One guy in particular I remember, he had a very wordy sign that said in effect "I am a moderate, I don't oppose all wars, just this one". I called to him and got his attention.

I asked, "you seem like a reasonable guy. Why are you marching with this crowd? Do you know who organized this march?"

He indicated that yes, he knew who the organizers were. I forget his exact words, but they were to the effect that it did not matter to him who sponsored it. He went on his way.

While his intentions may have been good, he is morally confused on this issue. It does matter who organizes and sponsors events. If you don't believe me, consider this; if you learned that the organizers of a "pro-troops" (or similar) rally were secretly members of the KKK, would you attend?

I didn't think so.

Update II

United for Peace and Justice was one of the sponsors of the "anti-war March. UPJ is an umbrella group made up of many organizations. If you go to the Members section of their web page here are some of the groups that they have listed and/or have links to:

Communist Party - Maryland (MD) Communist Party - New York (NY) Communist Party- Central Indiana (IN) Communist Party USA

Al-Awda, Palestine Right to Return Coalition-CT Chapter (CT ("Right of return" is a call for the destruction of Israel)

Young Communist League, USA (NY)

Communist Party of Vietnam (Vietnam)

Just so we're clear on who these people are who organize these "anti-war" protests.

Posted by Tom at 10:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 17, 2005

Pinkos Update

I thought everone might enjoy some new photo's of our Friday night face-offs with Code Pink, the left-wing outfit notorious for giving some $600,000 to the terrorists (er, "citizens") of Fallujah.

As I discussed a few posts ago, last spring Code Pink decided to hold Friday night anti-war protests outside the main entrance to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. Their signs included such beauties as "Maimed for a Lie". The probable reason they chose Friday evenings is because on that night the hospital sends a busload of the recovering troops to a restaurant in the city. The bus re-enters the hospital grounds at this very entrance between 9 and 9:30. The troops were unable to miss the Code Pink people on the corner right beside the entrance.

Word got out about this, and the people who manage FreeRepublic.com, known as "Freepers", decided that this was intolerable. They organized their own "support the troops" demonstrations on the opposite streetcorners, and have done so every Friday night since. This way the troops on the bus would have have a pro-troops rally to bolster them instead of having to look at a bunch of neo-Marxists. The whole thing was under the media radar until an August 30 CNSnews story attracted national attention.

Yours truely has been there to help counter the Pinkos a total of three times now, with last night being the latest episode. I published my first account a few weeks ago, and below are photos of Sept 9 and Sept 16.

Photos

This is the corner where we maintained our largest presence, where the Freepers put our "MOAB", or Mother Of All Banners". All "pro-troops" signs and banners are on this corner too.

IM000541.JPG

Here is our other corner, on which all anti-Pinko signs and banners are placed. As you can see, the massive banner here is only slightly smaller than the MOB. Both of our corners are across the street from the main entrance.

IM000511.JPG

(I took both of the above photos from one of Code Pink's corners after they had left)


Here are the Pinkos, on the corner where they maintain their largest presence. Their permit gives them two corners (the ones right beside the entrance), and ours does the same for us. As you can see, their largest sign is, ahem, somewhat smaller than either of ours. All of which is somewhat amusing that they can't manage anthing better.

IM000520.JPG

Here is their secondary corner.

IM000501.JPG

Here I am, letting passing motorists know who the people across the street are. This sign, like many of the others, were made by the Freepers. They had an abundance of them for anyone on our side to hold.

IM000533.JPG

The guy in the purple shirt is who I call the "angry bicyclist". He stopped by our corner Sept 9 and wanted to argue with everyone. He kept shouting that he'd done a lot of reading and knew the facts, and who here would debate him, all that. He wanted to get into Security Council resolution 1441 and everything. He was so irate the last thing any of us were going to do is engage him in any type of serious conversation. After a few minutes of back-and-forth we ignored him and he went over to the Pinko's corner.

IM000495.JPG

Here is what it is all about, the troops, returning from the restaurant. In the past few weeks the Pinkos have packed up and gone home promptly at 9pm before the busload of troops arrives. It is my belief that they do this so as to maintain the falsehood that there's is a "vigil", in support of the troops. As I said at the earlier, when they stated this several months ago they had no problem in showing the busload of troops their protest signs.

IM000516.JPG

You can find a lot more at the FreeRepublic.com website.

In this post, the Freepers show a copy of a Code Pink flyer that they say was being handed out to neighborhood residents just last week. The flyer urges residents to call the police on "counter protesters who have been appearing to yell at us Friday nights."

The Pinkos claim is that far from being against the troops, they are fighting for the troops. They say that they are simply holding a "vigil" in support of the troops who are in the hospital. One of their signs says "quite zone", despite the fact that each night they play one or more guitars and sing leftie anti-war songs. Other signs say things like "Full Finding for VA Benefits". Essentially, they are running from who they really are. They are trying to present the image of a benign group that simply does not think our troops should be in Iraq. In reality, they are a dangerous bunch of anti-American fanatics who have given aid and comfort to the enemy.

Here are the FreeRepublic posts with many good pictures and even video and audio files from Sept 2 and Sept 9. Make sure you go to these posts, because in addition to the great photos, you'll want to read about the "drive by fruiting" of Sept 9!

Next Weekend

Next weekend is either "Support the Troops" or "Protest the War (and the IMF, the World Bank, and support Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea)" depending on whose side you're on. The lefties plan on being out in force, and the Freepers, Protest Warriors, and others on the right will be in D.C. also so that hopefully the left does not get all the media attention. I plan on being downtown that Saturday, and will do a post on the goings-on shortly thereafter. Stay tuned.

Posted by Tom at 2:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 27, 2005

At the Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Faceoff with Code Pink

That's right, your intrepid blogger was at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center last night to face off against the Code Pink whackos!

As most of you probably know, a story broke this week that members of a far-left group called "Code Pink Women for Peace" have been holding a weekly protest outside of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which is located in Washington DC.

The story erupted on Thursday when Marc Morano of CNS News published this story and video on the protests that have been held, unnoticed by the mainstream media, outside of the main gates of the Walter Reed hospital complex.

The anti-war demonstrators, who obtain their protest permits from the Washington, D.C., police department, position themselves directly in front of the main entrance to the Army Medical Center, which is located in northwest D.C., about five miles from the White House.

Among the props used by the protesters are mock caskets, lined up on the sidewalk to represent the death toll in Iraq.

Code Pink Women for Peace, one of the groups backing anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan's vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford Texas, organizes the protests at Walter Reed as well.

Once word of their presence got out, a counter-protests organized by the conservative group FreeRepublic.com started. Every Friday night, both groups hold forth on opposite street corners. They start shortly after 6pm, and the "main event" is the arrival by bus of soldiers which occurs sometime around 9:00. I believe that these are newly arrived wounded soldiers just flown in from the front but will have to investigate further.

The Code Pinkos would hold up signs saying things like "Maimed for Lies" and "Enlist here and die for Halliburton", all the usual stuff you'd expect from the far-left. One soldier told the CNS News reporter that one day when they drve by they saw "...a bunch of flag-draped coffins laid out on the sidewalk." The wounded troops could see all this, mind you. Nice, eh?

Location, Location, Location

The problem that I and other conservatives have with Code Pink is that they are staging their protests outside the military hospital where wounded troops are brought from the front to recover. If they want to protest in front of the White House or Capitol building, fine. But not here. And let's be clear; they have been doing this as an "in your face" to the troops.

Code Pink, of course, claims otherwise;

The anti-war protesters claim their presence at the hospital is necessary to publicize the arrivals of newly wounded soldiers from Iraq, who the protesters allege are being smuggled in at night by the Pentagon to avoid media scrutiny. The protesters also argue that the military hospital is the most appropriate place for the demonstrations and that the vigils are designed to ultimately help the wounded veterans.

"If I went to war and lost a leg and then found out from my hospital bed that I had been lied to, that the weapons I was sent to search for never existed, that the person who sent me to war had no plan but to exploit me, exploit the country I was sent to, I would be pretty angry," Luke told Cybercast News Service.

Indeed, Code Pink is now claiming that they are not even protests at all. From their website:
These are vigils, not protests, and participants have included Washington, DC-based members of Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, and DC Labor Against the War, who all want more support for veterans.

"Since we started these vigils, we feel we have helped put the spotlight on the needs of the soldiers and helped achieve positive results, such as greater VA funding and a rollback of attempts to make soldiers pay for their own meals, phone calls, daily hospitalization fees and increased co-payments,” said CODEPINK’s Gael Murphy, one of the vigil’s organizers.

But this is not true. We've got the goods on them.

A New Code Pink Spin

Since the publicity hit last week spokeswomen for Code Pink have has been spinning like tops. Whenever interviewed on the radio or TV they've tried to claim that "oh no, we're not against the troops, we're doing this in support of the troops!" and "We just want them to have the best health care possible!"

Yeah right.

But FreeRepublic has the goods on them. Check out these photographs of past Code Pink signs on their website.

Who is Code Pink?

Code Pink is just about as bad as you think they are. Check out their website, they're a typical leftie group. David Horowitz, as usual, has the goods on them. From his invaluable Discover the Network website, a database of left-wing groups, is this:

Mocking the Bush Administration's color-coded security alerts, the "Code Pink Alert" warns that this administration poses "extreme danger to all the values of nurturing, caring, and compassion that women and loving men have held." Proclaiming that "women have been the guardians of life . . . because the men have busied themselves making war," Code Pink calls on "women around the world to rise up and oppose the war in Iraq. We call on mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters . . . and every ordinary outraged woman willing to be outrageous for peace." During one Code Pink demonstration in Washington, D.C., participants marched up the steps of the Capitol, unfurled their slogan-bearing banners, and stripped down to the dove-adorned bras and panties they wore beneath their clothes. "We're putting our bodies on the line," they shouted. "You Congress people better get some spine. We say 'Stand back, don't attack - innocent children in Iraq!'"
But wait, it gets worse span style="font-style: italic;">
During the last week of December 2004, Medea Benjamin announced in Amman, Jordan that Code Pink, Global Exchange, and Families for Peace would be donating a combined $600,000 in medical supplies and cash to the terrorist insurgents who were fighting American troops in Fallujah, Iraq.
That's right; this group gave $600,000 to the other side.

"Peace group" my foot. They want us to lose.

The News

So all of this hit the news this week, and was all over the radio. As I think I mentioned in a previous post, my job allows me to listen to the radio most of the day, and it doesn't take much brains to figure out who I tune in to; Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michael Reagan... ok I occasionally listen to music but that's mostly at night.

Anyway, it all allows me to stay on top of things. So they all started talking about this on Thursday, with Marc Morano of CNS being just about the most-interviewed man on the planet, and it didn't take me long to figure out what I was going to do come Friday night.

I live in the Washington DC area. I wasn't going to miss this for the world.

Friday, August 26

After work I hurried to Walter Reed, arriving shortly after 7pm.

The main entrance to the hospital complex is on a main street, with four lanes of traffic. Across from the entrance another street runs perpendicular to it, forming a four corner intersection (I hope this is clear. I did't think to take any "big picture" photos).

The Code Pink protesters on one corner, one of those by the entrance (to the left if you're looking at the entrance). We were on the other three corners. They had a maximum of 22 people (a FreeRepublic person kept count), whereby we had maybe 75 or so. So we outnumbered them by at least 3 to 1, and probably more, but I'll be conservative.


Here are some of our people outside the entrance

IM000464.JPG


This was our largest sign. You just gotta love it!

IM000467.JPG


I just had to pay the Code Pink folks a little visit. Nothing nasty, mind you, I was on my best behavior. So I walked over to their corner and asked "Can I take a photo?" Without really waiting I took a few.

"What are you protesting?" I politely asked.

One of their party looked a bit confused and looked at another for assistance. "It's not a protest, it's a vigil" one of them said.

"What's it a vigil for?" I asked.

No response.

At that point they'd had enough of me. "You're in front of my sign. Go back to your own corner."

Deciding that enough was enough, I retreated, taking this photo of them as I left

IM000472.JPG


Here's your intrepid reporter, holding a sign that the FreeRepublic people made. They kept a bunch handy for people who showed up.

IM000474.JPG


The Code Pink people were silent all night. No chanting or singing, nothing.

We, on the other hand, were somewhat vocal, and more so as the evening went on:

"Move your protests to the White House!"

"Code Pink gave $600,000 to the terrorists in Fallujah!"

"Where are your old signs!"

At around 9pm the troop bus arrived. I couldn't get my camera out fast enough to got a photo as they drove past us, so this one is as it enters the complex.

But when it came past our corner, the driver turned the lights on in the bus so that we could see the troops. They all smiled and waved to us. I couldn't see their reaction to the Code Pink folks, but have heard that they've been known to give them the one-finger-salute.

IM000476.JPG


The Code Pink people broke camp and went home shortly after the bus arrived. They'd made their point, I guess. But so had we.

Update

Cam Edwards was there, and has some photos and even video of the event on his website. I actually saw him there, and said "that guy looks familiar", but couldn't place him. Now I remember that I've seen him in my NRA magazines.

Update II

Check out the the FreeRepublic.com post on the goings-on that night. They've got lots of photos and great reporting on what went on. They were nice enough to give us a plug, too. Thank you, guys!

Posted by Tom at 11:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack