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"Vets for Freedom" Offers Frats Cash to Demonstrate for War at VP Debate

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo http://tinyurl.com/47cwmc by Sam Stein stein@huffingtonpost.com | HuffPost
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2008
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      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      by Sam Stein
      stein@... | HuffPost Reporting From DC
      Pro-War Group Offering Cash For Frats To Demonstrate At VP Debate
      October 1, 2008 11:19 AM

      In hopes of organizing a robust demonstration for the vice presidential
      debate this Thursday in St. Louis, the pro-Iraq War (and ostensibly
      pro-McCain) organization, Vets for Freedom, is resorting to offering
      local college fraternities hundreds of dollars if their members come and
      hold signs.

      In an email obtained by the Huffington Post, Vets for Freedom field
      staffer Laura Meyer offered a fraternity at St. Louis University a
      "sizable donation" -- plus free lunch -- if it could use their pledges
      to demonstrate outside the VP debate.

      "I was emailing you today," wrote Meyer, "because I am trying to find
      people who would be willing to hold up signs for a few hours in the
      afternoon this Thursday outside the VP debate site. It's only for a few
      hours and you can gain a lot from it.... first off, lunch for any guys
      who agree to volunteer will be on me. Secondly, they will get lots of
      media attention! My organization did a similar thing in Mississippi last
      week and a ton of them were on TV. Meaning, the guys could wear their
      [REDACTED] gear while holding up our signs and get attention for their
      frat. Also, they will get to hang out with a bunch of really cool Iraq
      and Afghanistan war veterans.

      "Lastly, and here's the kicker.... if you guys can get us at least 20
      volunteers for those few hours, my organization will make a sizable
      donation to your fraternity. If you use pledges you could look at it as
      'free money and free publicity'. If this sounds like something you may
      be willing to help us out with, please let me know ASAP!"

      Reached by phone, Meyer said the total amount of cash the frat could
      earn was between $200 and $250 for organizing 20-plus members. She also
      noted that the program was a success in generating publicity during last
      Friday's presidential debate.

      Judy Mayka, a spokesperson for the national chapter, said that the
      practice of paying for demonstrators had been going on without their
      knowledge and would subsequently end.

      "Obviously this was not a direction from national and we have contacted
      the Missouri staffers and volunteers and told them it is not appropriate
      in our policy," she said. "And those who choose to attend the vice
      presidential debate should not be compensated."

      As for the payments made for volunteers during the Mississippi
      presidential debate, Mayka added: "We will be looking into that."

      The practice of paying volunteers is perfectly legal, and having scores
      of rowdy pro-war supporters cheering on the backdrop of TV sets can be
      an effective way for Vets for Freedom to disseminate its message.

      But keep in mind, some of the people demonstrating outside the VP debate
      had a choice to make: take the money from Vets for Freedom or subject
      themselves to a night of hazing and binge drinking. On Thursday, we will
      see how many chose the former.

      Dan Clore

      My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord We├┐rdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Skipper: Professor, will you tell these people who is
      in charge on this island?
      Professor: Why, no one.
      Skipper: No one?
      Thurston Howell III: No one? Good heavens, this is anarchy!
      -- _Gilligan's Island_, episode #6, "President Gilligan"
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