Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Daily Headliners--Bush's "Vietnam" speech, McCain's new Straight Talk bus, Police using provocateurs to incite violence,

I've been a little busy the last couple of days trying to catch up on the news, and still there is even more crazy news going on today. So let's get into the Daily Headliners....

Bush's Iraq speech to hit on Vietnam: I saw part of President Bush's speech comparing Iraq with Vietnam on MSNBC today, and even I couldn't believe the delusions of this incompetent fool. Bush tried to compare Iraq with the Second World War, Korea, Vietnam--did he include Grenada? I'm going to go through the speech later tonight, and perhaps post some more on it. But with this USA Today story, I found something interesting:

With Congress in recess for the summer, the debate over Iraq policy has moved from the Capitol to the airwaves with direct appeals to the public through multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns.

Freedom's Watch, a conservative group, plans to launch a $15 million advertising campaign in 20 states today. The group's spokesman, former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, says the goal is to tell people that the buildup of U.S. troops in Iraq is working.

"We want to get the message to both Democrats and Republicans: Don't cut and run, fully fund the troops, and victory is the only objective," Fleischer says.

This is especially interesting here. We've got a conservative group, whose spokesman was a former Bush administration press secretary, that is targeting Republican congressmen with a $15 million ad campaign to keep these congressmen continuing to goose-step behind this administration.

Now The Politico has some interesting details regarding Freedom's Watch:

A new group, Freedom’s Watch, is launching Wednesday with a $15 million, five-week campaign of TV, radio and Web ads featuring military veterans that is aimed at retaining support in Congress for President Bush’s “surge” policy on Iraq.

"For those who believe in peace through strength, the cavalry is coming," said former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, who is a founding board member of the group.

The big ad buy, funded by high-profile Republicans who were aides and supporters of President Bush, reflects a furious public relations battle that will unfold as Congress debates the crucial progress report by Gen. David Petraeus, which is due Sept. 15.

“There was a large vacuum on the conservative side,” said Bradley A. Blakeman, who is president and chief executive officer of Freedom’s Watch. “People decided that the time has come to fight back. This is a grass-roots campaign aimed at ensuring that Congress continues to fully fund the troops with the ultimate goal of victory in the war on terror.”


Organizers said the ads will run on Fox News Channel, CNN and elsewhere, with radio versions airing nationally during the conservative talk shows of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.


Freedom's Watch aims to do for the GOP what the MoveOn political action organizations have done for Democrats. Blakeman, who was a member the White House senior staff in Bush’s first term, said Freedom’s Watch is designed as “a never-ending campaign – a stable, credible voice of reason on generational issues that won’t rise and fall with election cycles.”

The board consists of Blakeman; Fleischer; Mel Sembler, a Florida Republican who was Bush’s ambassador to Italy; William P. Weidner, president and chief operating officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corp.; and Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

The donors include Sembler; Anthony Gioia, a Buffalo businessman who was Bush’s ambassador to Malta; Kevin Moley, who was Bush’s ambassador to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva; Howard Leach, a former Republican National Committee finance chairman who was Bush’s ambassador to France; Dr. John Templeton of Pennsylvania, chairman and president of the John Templeton Foundation; Ed Snider, chairman of Comcast Spectacor, the huge Philadelphia sports and entertainment firm; Sheldon Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. and ranked by Forbes magazine as the third-wealthiest American; and Richard Fox, who is chairman of the Jewish Policy Center and was Pennsylvania State Chairman of the Reagan/Bush campaign in 1980.

This is fascinating. We've got a conservative political organization that is trying to emulate, with a supposed grass-roots PR-campaign here. But the problem with Freedom's Watch is that it is not a grass-roots political organization. This is a top-down political organization, founded and funded, by former Bush White House staffers. These Bush staffers are using this organization to conduct a PR-campaign in supporting the Bush administration's war in Iraq. This is completely opposite of the grass-roots organization of

So what does this all mean? We know that the American public wants the U.S. out of Iraq, as seen by the public opinion polls. We can see that the American public isn't really listening to the Bush administration's PR-campaign in continuing the Iraq war, which can also be seen indirectly through job approval ratings on President Bush. This is really where Freedom's Watch is going to be in trouble here with their own PR-campaign. This organization is taking a top-down, pro-war side with the Bush administration on Iraq, even as the American public is overwhelmingly against the war. What is more, Freedom's Watch is targeting Democratic congressmen, but Republican Congressmen. "There was a large vacuum on the conservative side....People decided that the time has come to fight back. This is a grass-roots campaign aimed at ensuring that Congress continues to fully fund the troops with the ultimate goal of victory in the war on terror." This is what Freedom's Watch president Bradley Blakeman said in the Politico article. Blakeman is correct that there is a vacuum on the conservative side here. But that vacuum has occurred among the conservatives because of the contradiction between the news reports showing the deteriorating situation in Iraq and the Bush administration's happy PR-talk of the U.S winning the war in Iraq, or holding the position on Iraq, or stabilizing, or needing to stabilize, or any other White House talking point in order to keep the war going until after Bush leaves office in January 2009. The only people who have decided that the time has come to fight are former Bush White House staffers and supporters, who have created this top-down, MoveOn-wannabe in order to pressure GOP congressmen to continue supporting this Bush war even at the expense of their own political careers.

The new McCain gang still paying bills: I found this New York News and Features article through Carpetbagger, and I just had to smile a little. According to the New York News, McCain's campaign manager Ricky Davis feels that the current Straight Talk Express bus doesn't "jibe with McCain’s image as a frugal-minded maverick." The bus has such frugal amenities as 'flat-screen televisions and elaborate "art wrap"—the cellophane-y stuff that’s used to cover the bus with an image.' So Davis is in the market for a cheaper Staight Talk Express bus--one that Davis calls “A piece of shit.” Gee, Mr. Davis--would this be an appropriate replacement bus for the Straight Talk Express?

Is this John McCain's New Straight Talk Express?

Police accused of using provocateurs at summit: I found this strange story through Shakesville, and I'm not sure what to say. Now according to the Canadian paper The Star:

OTTAWA – Protesters are accusing police of using undercover agents to provoke violent confrontations at the North American leaders' summit in Montebello, Que.

Such accusations have been made before after similar demonstrations but this time the alleged "agents provocateurs" have been caught on camera.

A video, posted on YouTube, shows three young men, their faces masked by bandannas, mingling Monday with protesters in front of a line of police in riot gear. At least one of the masked men is holding a rock in his hand.

The three are confronted by protest organizer Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. Coles makes it clear the masked men are not welcome among his group of protesters, whom he describes as mainly grandparents. He urges them to leave and find their own protest location.

Coles also demands that they put down their rocks. Other protesters begin to chime in that the three are really police agents. Several try to snatch the bandanas from their faces.

Rather than leave, the three actually start edging closer to the police line, where they appear to engage in discussions. They eventually push their way past an officer, whereupon other police shove them to the ground and handcuff them.

Late Tuesday, photographs taken by another protester surfaced, showing the trio lying prone on the ground. The photos show the soles of their boots adorned by yellow triangles. A police officer kneeling beside the men has an identical yellow triangle on the sole of his boot.

Kevin Skerrett, a protester with the group Nowar-Paix, said the photos and video together present powerful evidence that the men were actually undercover police officers.

"I think the circumstantial evidence is very powerful," he said.

The three do not appear to have been arrested or charged with any offence.

Here is the YouTube video. I'm just posting this as is:

This Canadian news broadcast has a little more details, saying that the three individuals may have been undercover officers.

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