[Photo credit: Ed Marg, a fellow Cold War radarsite vet]
Susan Duclos's Exclusive Interview With Melanie Morgan
Cross posted from Wake up America
The interview was conducted via phone, email and follow up questions after recordings of the original council meeting and video of Code Pink physically stopping people from entering the Marine recruitment office with the police standing there allowing them to do so, became available.
This interview deals with the recent situation in Berkeley, CA. where the Berkeley City Council set off a firestorm by passing a resolution calling the Marine Recruiters in Berkeley "uninvited and unwelcome intruders".
This interview with Ms. Morgan discusses the immediate media, internet and political reactions as well as Ms. Morgan's groups, Move America Forward planned event at the next Berkeley city council meeting on February 12, 2008, where she will be attending, participating, broadcasting and reporting on it the next morning on her radio show at KFSO.
The wording of the resolution (PDF file) that was passed by the council in a 6 to 3 vote is:
From: Peace and Justice Commission
1. Direct the City Attorney to investigate and report back to Council within 60 days on City options for enforcing Chapter 13.28 of the Berkeley Municipal Code, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, with respect to military recruiting offices in Berkeley;
2. Direct the City Manager to send letters to the Marine Corps Recruiting Station at 64 Shattuck Avenue and to General James T. Conway, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, advising them that the Marine recruiting office is not welcome in our city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders;
3. Encourage all people to avoid cooperation with the Marine Corps recruiting station, and applaud residents and organizations such as Code Pink, that may volunteer to impede, passively or actively, by nonviolent means, the work of any military recruiting office located in the City of Berkeley.
Melanie Morgan's Bio:
Chairman of Move America Forward.
Melanie Morgan has established herself as one of the leading conservative voices in the nation. Every morning Morgan shows off her intellect and wit as the co-host of one of San Francisco’s top-rated drive time radio shows, “The Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan Show” on KSFO 560 AM.
In July 2005 Morgan led a delegation of talk radio hosts to Iraq to interview U.S. troops and allow them to tell their stories live to the American people. These interviews were broadcast live to the nation - unedited and unfiltered. Melanie Morgan won the Associated Press award for “Best Special Program – Voices of Soldiers” during her two-week trip to Iraq in 2005.
In October 2006, Morgan co-authored the Amazon.com bestselling book, American Mourning, which told the story of two American heroes who had paid the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terrorism.
SD: #1. Please tell the readers that are newer, about you, your day job with KFSO, Move America Forward and your best selling book, "America Mourning".
Melanie Morgan: I have been co-hosting the Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan show (with Officer Vic for a splash of outrageous humor) for about a dozen years now.
We are the top-rated morning drive talk show in San Francisco, which is amusing to many people who can't believe that a conservative radio station with an activist co-host like myself (and Brian Sussman) can generate a large listening audience.
It is MORE amusing when lefty TV talk show host Keith Olbermann of MSNBC regularly attacks me as the "Worst Person in the World" on his cable show, as we have more listeners locked in my closet than watch his pathetically unfunny program. (Gratuitous shot? Yes, I am happy to take it!)
Daily, I work with Move America Forward from my home in Marin County, and our offices in Sacramento. I co-founded the organization in 2004 with former Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian, and became Chairman in 2005.
We are the largest pro-troops organization in the country with over a million members. We work with other pro-troops groups like Vets for Freedom, Freedom's Watch, Gathering of Eagles, EaglesUp and Families United.
Our loose-knit coalition has helped to turn public opinion that was against the war in Iraq, from the time we started communicating with each other last July.
Polling shows a 20 point jump in approval for 'the surge' engineered by General David Petraeus, and the numbers are continuing to climb.
Move America Forward's mission statement is to support the troops AND their mission. We regard it as a patriotic duty to watch the backs of our troops at home while they fight for us abroad.
I take my job at Move America Forward very, very seriously.
I do hope that people will have a chance to pick-up "American Mourning: The Intimate Story of Two Families Joined by War, Torn by Beliefs" by Catherine Moy and myself.
We put our heart and soul into writing a book about how Cindy Sheehan has exploited the death of her heroic son Casey Sheehan for her own political purposes. We wrote the book in a neutral voice, so that people can judge for themselves what happened during a critical period of time when the left was on the march.
We also contrasted, in rather dramatic form, the death of Casey's best friend from his military training at Fort Hood, Texas Justin Johnson.
The story of how Johnson's family reacted to their grievous hurt is stunning -- at the age of 46, Joe Johnson enlisted in the military as a private to avenge his son's death, and those of other families who lost their sons and daughters.
But it doesn't turn out quite like anybody thinks.
SD: What was your first reaction to the Berkeley City Council passing a resolution calling the marine recruiters in Berkeley, "uninvited and unwelcome intruders"?
Melanie Morgan: Shock. Disgust. Antipathy.
This story first became public news after Code Pink's Medea Benjamin (co-founder of the far left-wing organization funded by George Soros, MoveOn.org and other anti-American organizations) challenged me to debate her in front of the Marine Recruiting Center in Berkeley 10 days ago. I accepted with some important provisos (neutral moderator, acceptable location, Marine participation) which never happened. Of course, Code Pink sent out a press release stating I would participate, which was a flat-out lie.
Rather than accept the public falsehood, we got busy researching the latest antics of Code Pink, and stumbled upon the buried story in the Daily Californian about the resolution denouncing our beloved Marines, put out a press release, and from there the Blogosphere led by Michelle Malkin, took off with righteous indignation. It was also fueled by the leadership of Republican Senator Jim DeMint's proposed legislation to strip the City of Berkeley of its pork barrel spending.
True to its hateful conduct towards our troops, CodePink blockaded the Marine Recruiting office a few days later, forcing police to cut the chains.
Adding insult to injury, CodePink has now begun using the photo of murdered pregnant Marine Maria Lauterback in an evil effort to politically exploit a victim of a heinous crime.
These people have earned a ticket to hell.
SD: Where can our readers find the Neil Cavuto video of your interview with him discussing this Berkeley situation?
SD: Senator Jim DeMint is proposing legislation that would strip over 2 million dollars of earmarks and federal funding from Berkeley, do you support that legislation?
Melanie Morgan: Senator DeMint has shown that he is a great national leader who has the right instincts and inspires people.
I applaud the Senator for stepping in immediately with an pro-active response that has appeared to scare the bejabbers out of the Berkeley City Council.
Senator DeMint's office has been working with Move America Forward behind the scenes to coordinate our assault on the treasonous behavior of the City Council.
SD: Being a popular conservative radio show host for KFSO what kind of feedback are you getting from your listeners in San Francisco about the city council of Berkeley? Letters? Callers?
Melanie Morgan: We have been receiving a tsunami of support for our troops, and literally thousands of e-mails, phone calls, and :cc's of letters sent to the City Council.
In fact, between my radio show, the blogs, Move America Forward's e-mail list with over a million members, the support of the other pro-troops groups, we were able to crash the server of the Berkeley City Council. We did find some back door addresses, and thousands more letters denouncing their efforts to strip our Marines of their free speech rights has back-fired.
SD: What do you think about The American Legions press release regarding Berkeley where they said "The Marines are not your enemy"?
Melanie Morgan: The American Legion is unafraid to take a bold stand, engage the veterans in the issue, and I'm deeply appreciative.
Here's the direct quote.
" Osama bin Laden couldn't have said it better," American Legion National Commander Marty Conatser said of the Berkeley City Council Resolution, which tells the Marines that they are not welcome there. "Disgraceful, disloyal, ungrateful. These words are too kind in describing the actions of the public officials in Berkeley, who voted for this disgrace. Nonetheless, our Marines continue to bravely serve and in so doing, allow Americans to spout such foolishness. The American Legion not only strongly condemns this action by the City Council but also believes that a sincere apology is in order to all Marines, past and present."
I was so impressed with the concise, direct comparison made by Marty Conaster that I am quoting him back with many interviews that I have done involving this issue.
He sums up how American Legion veterans, and all patriotic Americans feel right now.
SD: I saw that Move America Forward has also started a petition, which I will show and link to, at the bottom of this interview as well as the photo you have kindly given me permission to use.
What is that for and will it be hand delivered?
Melanie Morgan: There are a number of petitions circulating right now on the blogosphere registering outrage and disgust. I celebrate that so many are taking the steps to get people aware and engaged by our efforts.
But I want to make this distinction: Move America Forward's petition is the ONLY one that is going to be delivered personally to the Berkeley City Council next Tuesday night.
The more folks who sign, the more we shove it back in the face of the Mayor and his minions.
SD: Tell us about Move America Forwards protest/rally you are organizing for February 12, 2008?
Melanie Morgan: We are beginning next Tuesday morning at o'dark hundred with staffers from Move America Forward in front of the Berkeley City Council offices.
For those of you who are not in the military, that translates to 5:00 A.M.
One of the things that I have noticed as an activist is that the morning television shows love to show up hours before a scheduled event, turn the cameras around on an empty arena, and say that our side isn't there.
We will be there, for every news cycle until the actual meeting at 7:00 p.m. in order to show our disgust. The meeting time for people with real jobs is 5:00 p.m. two hours before the Council begins it's deliberations.
Instructions on how to get to Berkeley by trains, planes and automobiles are available at our website.
I will be broadcasting from the Council meetings, testifying before the Council, and reporting the Council's actions the next morning on KSFO radio.
We have bloggers who will be posting and who are planning to come.
Most importantly, we have dozens of groups who have committed to bring members, as well as citizens who have friends, relatives, neighbors and acquaintances of people who do the hard work for Freedom.
SD: Pete Hegseth, executive Director of Vets For Freedom said "The man or woman who puts on the uniform of a United States Marine, Soldier, Sailor or Airman swears an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Clearly, the elected officials of Berkeley, California see the Constitution as a mere roadblock in their radical left-wing agenda. What these fanatics fail to realize is that the fantasy world that they live in exists under the very cloak of freedom provided by the sacrifices of the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces."
Do you agree with that?
Melanie Morgan: Pete Hegseth is one of the true shining lights to focus America's attention on the necessity to fight and win in Iraq.
He is a war hero, a veteran with terrific speaking and writing skills, who is dedicating his life now to making sure that his fellow troop members are not forgotten, and this war doesn't fall into the propaganda ash-heap.
His organization is beginning a national tour of Iraq war Heroes that will criss-cross the country, ending in Washington, D.C. where Move America Forward is planning a big parade and celebration of General David Petreaus' successful counter-insurgency efforts (some call it the surge.)
SD: I see you have listed at your site, melaniemorgan.com letters sent to you by businesses that are planning to take their business elsewhere and not do any business with Berkeley.
Melanie Morgan: I am not a huge fan of business boycotts, because it hurts some of the same people who actually support our troops. But this outrage has grown exponentially, and I posted some of the Berkeley boycotters to send a shot across the bow at the crazed leftists who populate the Berkeley City Council.
And it's working.
So, for all those who wrote to me, I wanted to report their efforts.
People are taking action, as Mayor Tom Bates, to his dismay, has now figured out.
SD: Mayor Bates of Berkeley offered to help the Marines leave, which they politely declined and has stated along with other council members that they wish to "reword" that resolution?
Melanie Morgan: Where there is heat, there is light. That's an old political axiom, and now the smelly hippy, tree-hugging, environmental nut-jobs who do NOT support our troops, and HATE their mission are seeing a searing truth.
SD: Do you think that will make any difference at this point?
Melanie Morgan: Oh yes I do! And the fact that Master Bates is 'softening ' his rhetoric proves it. But in the next breath, the Mayor turned around and offered to 'broker a deal' to release the Marines from its lease on Shattuck Avenue. Can you say TWO-FACED LIAR?
It trips right off MY tongue.
SD: Your reaction to city council member, Linda Maio, saying "I don't think any of us paid enough attention to it, and people want to rewrite it to more accurately portray our sentiments. We really do have a great deal of concern for the people in our military, and we don't want to be critical of the sacrifices they are making."
Melanie Morgan: It enrages me all the more. Linda Maio is supposed to read all the damn legislation that comes before the Council. It's her job. But this is just a cheap attempt to escape responsibility for punishing the Marines for daring to intrude into Berkeley's limousine liberal land.
NOT . GONNA. WORK.
SD: Do you think there is going to be even more backlash against the city of Berkeley or will it pass and be forgotten?
Melanie Morgan: This is just the beginning.
We know that CodePink, MoveOn.org, and international A.N.S.W.E.R got crushed this summer when they couldn't organize the millions of people they bragged would take to the streets with their white hot hatred of our efforts to bring freedom in Iraq and establish a beach-head to stop Islamic terrorists.
They have also lost every single piece of legislation sponsored by the cut-and-run crowd for a premature pull-out in Iraq.
So they have changed strategy.
The new goal is to force/persuade local governments to vote on all kinds of anti-war resolutions that hurt our military.
SD: Melanie, is there anything else you would like to add to the end of this interview?
Melanie Morgan: I visited Iraq in 2005 when the situation wasn't as positive as it is now. And that's not to disparage the re-building, and the super-human fighting efforts of our troops. But when I returned to the region over the Christmas holidays, there is no denying now that the American military has turned a vital corner.
If you doubt that, listen to the silence from the Democrat candidates about the surge success.
But we have vital work that must be done in fighting the leftist ideology that permeates certain segments of our society who are promulgating defeat in a part of the world where we have to succeed. The consequences of failure are unthinkable.
We have NOT failed in Iraq. We WILL not fail in Iraq. We will NOT let insane people who hate our troops to undermine our troops in Iraq.
Join us in this effort.
If you don't speak up now -- then when?
SD: Melanie Morgan, thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to do this interview.
I know how busy you have been because I report on your organization frequently, your group, Move America Forward just returned from Iraq, you had an amazingly successful drive for cards and letters to the troops abroad during the holidays and you have had two( I believe) cross country tours focused on supporting our troops, so I would like to thank you for taking this time to spend with me and answer these questions.
Please continue to keep me informed of the events you are planning.
End of Interview.
Melanie Morgan's interview on the Neil Cavuto show, found here.
Recording of portions of the original city council meeting before the resolution was passed can be found here.
Video of Code Pink physically stopped people from entering the Marine recruiting office in Berkeley, Ca., found here.
Senator Jim DeMint's statement found here.
The American Legion's full statement found here.
Executive Director of Vets for Freedom, Pete Hegseth's, statement found here.
A sample of letters from businesses that are threatening to take all their business from Berkeley because of the resolution can be found at Ms. Morgan's website, here and here.
The Move America Forward Petition to be hand delivered on February 12, 2008, at the next Berkeley City Council meeting, found here. (Text of petition below)
The picture Move America Forward created for that petition, used with full permission from Move America Forward's Chairman, Melanie Morgan.
To: The City Council, Mayor and City Manager of Berkeley, California
We, the undersigned, do register our complete outrage with the City of Berkeley for the recent resolutions that criticized our Marines, as part of an effort to harass the Marine Recruiting Center and chase all vestiges of the United States military outside of the city of Berkeley, California.
We take particular umbrage with the instructions given to the City Manager of Berkeley to tell the United States Marines that they are, "uninvited and unwelcome intruders."
It is shameful for you to attack our military men and women who nobly and bravely serve this nation to protect our security and defend our freedoms and liberties. Those liberties include the right to Freedom of Speech, which you seem to believe should not be afforded to the members of the United States Marine Corps and service personnel in other branches of the Armed Forces.
I call upon you to immediately revoke the resolutions passed that defamed and insulted our U.S. Marines and issue a public apology to this nation, and in particular, the honorable and heroic men and women of the United States military.
You can find out more about Move America Forward and their members on their About Us page.
All previous Wake up America articles about the disgusting Berkeley city council resolution can be found here on one page.
[Update] Before I hit publish on this, Melanie emailed me an update:
Assemblyman Guy Houston of Livermore is sponsoring a bill in the state legislature to strip Berkeley of STATE transportation funding in light of it's outrageous stand against the Marines.
Houston's office says the measure will deny Berkeley $3.3 million dollars of transportation bond money due to the fact the Council voted to give taxpayers dollars for a parking right-of-way to Code Pink.
Houston will join us at 7:35 a.m. Friday morning on Hottalk 560 KSFO to discuss this new measure.
(Note to Berkeley- This isn't going away)