Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Making The Minute Tick

On the evening of May 15, 2006, the President made a very interesting speech. In fact I believe it was the first time I actually saw him take any kind of firm stand on the immigration issue.

Yes, the immigration issue, which has taken this country by the throat and has brought out concerns for our border security as well as becoming a growing political wedge issue , not to mention bringing racially based individuals out of the woodwork.

One of the groups who have taken up the immigration issue is the Minuteman Project. The Minuteman Project was started by Jim Gilchrist and Chris Simcox of California out of border and illegal immigrant concerns, yet, there has been much controversy on whether they are racist based or just an issue based organization.

(Chris Simcox below and Jim Gilchrist in photo on right)

They claim there is no racist based motivation for starting the group, yet they have had a tremendous struggle weeding out racists who have been attracted to volunteering for their movement.

So, with facing trouble from both racists and anti-racists, last spring, Simcox and Gilchrist had decided that they needed extra professional help with public relations, fundraising and the Gilchrist congressional campaign, so they signed on with the management group Diener Consulting, which is headed by Mr. Philip Louis Sheldon, Jr., the son of the Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition.

(Bill White, in Nazi uniform, crashes Minuteman Rally in DC)

Now, for those of you with a good memory, Phil Sheldon also operates Responseunlimited.net, which is an ideologically conservative mailing list service.

If this still does not ring a bell, let me remind you of the Terri Schiavo extravaganza, Diener and “Response Unlimited” with Phil Sheldon were the handlers of the public relations, the rallies, and the fund raising and in return have all the names and information of individuals who supported and gave to the Schindlers.

Much to their credit, Diener did help the Minutemen by giving the group a good professional polish. They hired and placed some experienced people from the DC area to handle some of their concerns and to help organize their rallies, lists and fundraising.

But, what people might not realize, as they were not aware of with the Terri Schiavo situation, is that when they signed up for the Minutemen they were also handing their personal information to be sold and used for profit by thousands upon thousands of conservative and Republican organizations and campaigns for bucks in the pockets of Mr. Phil Sheldon.

Now, really, this isn’t unusual in the political world, but, the public should be aware that when they sign up for a cause they feel passionate about, where is their information and money going and how it is going to be used at a later time.
On the 15th of December 2005, due to some heated disagreements about using Diener as their public relations firm, Gilchrist and Simcox split up and parted ways.

Simcox is still signed with Diener and runs a Minuteman group called “Minuteman HQ/ Minuteman Civil Defense Corps”, while Gilchrist with his own group which is called “The Minuteman Project”.

Well, hope this has helped inform the public on the behind the scenes of this odd world of grassroot politics.

Until next post

Peace OUT!


Monday, May 08, 2006

How the Military is Marketing to Kids.

I was strolling through a small town USA fair/festival. It was a pretty normal and standard family fun day, the air thick with funnel cakes and burnt sugar.

Crafts, face painting, games tempting with the latest in TV icons hanging from booth ceilings.

But, one thing I noticed that I had never seen before was a booth and a simulated ride from our very own United States Army.

Now, I was a little curious, so I tried to get a better look, and from what I could gather, it was a big painted up truck set up like a fun house, and inside was some sort of flight simulator show. It was all free, it required no money or ticket to climb up the stairs, take a look at some cool graphics and walk out the other end impressed.

But, there was one requirment and that was for all the teenagers who were interested in this high stimulation for a few minutes, and that was to fill out forms providing the military personel running the booth with all of their personal information.
Now, I'm a mom of a teen and nobody knows as much as I do how great it is to drop a group of high energy teens off at a town fair, where we all assume they will be safe, and let them run around and get those "ya-yas" out with as little worry to us as possible. But, while I watched in awe how many of these kids were just handing over their names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mails and who knows what other info to complete strangers in total trust to most likely be put on a government military contact list without their parents even being aware.

Now, with that, I want to make it clear that this is not an anti-military article, what my goal it to bring awareness to parents everywhere that this is happening and in the most innocent of places, where we least expect it, and if you are a parent who would object to the United States military having all of your child's personal information, it might be time to sit down and have a little chat with your trusting teen.

>>>>Heros Armed with Hardware *and* Software.<<<<

The military is extremly glamourous. Everything from military helicopters to tanks, to missile launchers were on display on the mall in Washington, DC from May 1st to the 7th in a Dept of Defense sponsored event called "Public Recognition Day".

The goal of the event was explained to me as a way to show the public what the military is doing, using for combat as well as put a friendly face on the American soldier.
I really sort of am embarassed to admit that I had a great time while I was there. I thought the whole event was kinda cool. I got to climb on tanks look at big powerful guns up close, and there were a lot of give aways, not to mention some VERY good looking soldiers. But, as some of the camo smoke screen was lifting and my hormones got somewhat in check, I noticed that it was pretty obvious that the event and the freebies were geared to marketing the military to kids.
Screen savers, video games, and posters were handed out showing kids very high tech graphics and slick images. The big friendly soldiers were available playmates and it was an arsonal playground. As an overgrown tomboy, I remember playing soldier, I had toy cap guns and threw many a water balloon grenade. But, in reality is it fair to our children to show live and up close that military hardware and wartime action is a game? As fun as it is to play on this large and powerful equiptment, in other parts of the world there are children who are facing military hardware in an atmosphere of terror, death and fear. Is it so wrong to also show our children and keep them informed of the gruesome visions of the piles of bodies and survivors of wartime with missing limbs and broken lives? I saw no mention or images of that side of war reality.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>The Dress Up Fantasy<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Dressing up is loads of fun. When you are a kid, your imagination can go boundless and there is that precious magical world of make believe and for hours you can be whatever you want.
I decided to strike up a conversation with one of the children playing. I asked him how he feels about the military and the war at present. He seemed very positive and supportive about all of it. I asked him if he would go to war when he grows up and he answered with a very enthusiastic "yes". I then asked him if he would be willing to die in a war, he again, nodded a yes. I then asked him if he mother was aware of this, and he just smiled and shrugged. As we are showing our children the impressive bravery our soldiers are facing, and giving them the honour they deserve, we also have a responsibility to let them know that war is not a game, a fantasy and a playground. As parents we have the power to keep abreast what Washington is marketing to the trusting minds of our offspring. It does not matter how your family feels about the military, or if you agree or disagree with this war, these are our children, they are being raised by us, not the Federal Govnerment and it has become apparent to me that we must all keep a close eye on the fact that the military is keeping a closer eye out on them.

Well, I hope I have brought some awareness to an age old situation. Yes, I know the military has always appealed to kids, but, there are now some new ways that you might or might not know about. Keep your eyes open and keep yourself informed.

Until next time!

Peace OUT