Monday, January 21, 2008

Mitch Attacks Another 12-year-old

UPDATE II - Video!

S-CHIP defender Graeme Frost had it easy: all Mitch McConnell did to him was unleash attack-bloggers to defame and humiliate his family.

Heaven Ryan dared to demand why Mitch wants her active-duty Daddy to die in Iraq. So Mitch is extorting the city of Paducah, Kentucky, into firing Heaven's Mommy.

In the immortal words of Dave Barry, I am not making this up.

It started January 15, with what Heaven's mother Heather Ryan describes as "the most bizarre political day of my life."

As I promised my 12 year old, Heaven, that she could join me on the day's adventures if she scored 100% on last week's spelling test, she was in tow for a day of work and a quick protest of Senator Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign swing through our fair city of Paducah. There's something about that kid, she just loves a good protest.

Mitch arrives, ignores the freezing but determined DitchMitch protesters, ducks indoors to deliver speech to fatcat supporters. Protesters get it on videotape, and Heather returns to work as executive director of the Maiden Alley Cinema, an independent movie theater.

As we pulled up, we ran into fate - also known as the Executive Director of the River Heritage Museum, Julie Harris. The River Heritage Museum, The Maiden Alley Cinema and the Seaman's Church share a beautiful, historic building in downtown Paducah. We have a little collective use agreement which allows all of our non-profit organizations to use the lobby and movie theater during different times of the day/week/year. Julie then informs me that a certain Senator will be paying a visit to her fine establishment in just a little bit and that I should thank my lucky stars for such a fabulous Senator since his pork projects are what built the theater (gag - that's so not true!). This was a revelation to me. When did they schedule this visit and why was I not informed?

My mind was racing a mile a minute. What would I say to the Senate Minority Leader should the chance present itself? Should I remain in my professional capacity as an Executive Director most assuredly should? Or, should I speak my mind and find out why the hell he still backs this cluster f*ck war and president? So much to contemplate, with such little time. What to do, what to say, would I lose my job, would I look unprofessional, would his security people tackle me and torture me by sucking up spit streams from their mouths just to let them dangle millimeters from my lips and sucking them back up again? The possibilities were endless. Then, it dawned on me - I didn't have to do anything, I could simply put the kid up to the dirty work. Hell, that's why we have kids - to make them do all the crap to which we are too cowardly to own up. I could have her ask the Senator what was on her mind, then if he dogs her, not only is he an asshole for dissing a 12 year old, but I could get it on camera! SCORE!

(More after the jump.)

Read the whole thing for a rollicking account of Heather's and Heaven's action-movie chase-down of Mitch, but eventually:

Finally, our opportunity! "Senator, I want to talk to you about the war in Iraq. It will just take a minute of your time". Heaven's screaming, "Do you want my dad to die? Should I start training for war?" Holy crap, my heart is going to come out of my chest! The goon security man yells at my daughter, "We won't have any of that!" to which I replied, "What are you going to do? This is free speech!” Then we resume asking the Senator for a minute of his time. Vrrrrooooommm - his rented SUV halls ass out of my alley - presumably for the first and last time. I doubt he will frequent our fine independent movies after this encounter. Damn - I just lost the theater $6.50 for an adult admission! Oh wait, I also just pissed off Senator Mitch McConnell and his security goons because I wanted to talk about the war in Iraq. Although Heaven didn't get an answer to her question, "Would you care if my dad died in the war?" (her dad is active duty Navy, I'm a vet), and I never did get that one minute of the Senator's time (I don't have $250.00 for the fund-raiser to which he was rushing), it was a good damned day!

Need I point out that there are wealthy and powerful "Democrats" in this country who cannot summon the courage and ovaries to do what Heaven and Heather Ryan did that day?

No, the third-most-powerful Republican in the nation is not afraid of his Senate colleagues. He is, however, terrified of one pink-haired 12-year-old and her Navy veteran mother. Heather reports the next day:

Within the past 24 hours, tens of millions of dollars in funding for all programs previously promised from the Federal Government to our fair city's River Front Revitalization Program have suddenly been moved into the "uncertain column"; at least until the city fathers can prove that crazy rabble rouser "Heather Ryan" is not associated with their programs/organizations. That's right ladies and gentlemen, in no uncertain terms, I've been informed that my little "escapade" in videotaping the Senate Minority Leader has suddenly put Paducah Pork on the chopping block in Mr. McConnell's book should me and my silly little girl remain in the forefront of Paducah Politics. Last night, at a dinner attended by my superior, myself, my husband, and my daughter Heaven, I was informed that if I did not cease my political activities in Paducah I would LOSE MY JOB.


I'm Speechless folks. A first for me, indeed. Speechless and sadly, most likely, soon to be Jobless. I hope you understand the gravity of this matter. The most powerful Republican in the world is effectively attempting to destroy the lives of a veteran mother and her family because she was bold enough to ask the question we all want to know, "What are you hiding Mitch?". I can tell you what I will be hiding, the original video tape. And I’ll tell you what I won’t be hiding. The copies.

On Friday night the 18th, Heather appeared as summoned before her Board of Directors.

Apparently, during those many conversations Senator McConnell and his staff shared with his wealthy donors as well as the business and political leaders of the city, he elaborated on what seems to be an entirely different scene from what Heaven and I experienced. Senator McConnell and his big, burly security entourage were terrified of this 5'3" handycam toting mother and her 70 pound pre-teen. According to numerous accounts, they insist that we were wielding antagonistic signs, pounding on the theater's windows, attempting to ruin the filming of his re-election campaign commercial, harassing his security personnel, banging on the SUV which was chauffeuring around the Senator and (this is my personal favorite) screaming, "I hope you die" to the Senator.

Now people, I know that we have been through seven rough years of idiocy in the White House, but work with me here. Let's put aside the moron mentality which our leaders desire we use and put to practice some common sense. If you have peeked your head out the door for any portion of the past seven years, you realize that you simply CANNOT make "Terroristic Threats" toward ANYONE in government, let alone the Senior Senator in the Republican Party! Come On! If this were even remotely true, don't you think Heaven and I would be spending a little time visiting our friends in the "Bed and Breakfast" run by the McCracken County Sheriff? These claims are OUTRAGEOUS and make me look like a complete nut case - which is apparently what Senator McConnell intended.

His Chief of Staff actually called some of the power players in Paducah from Washington, D.C., the following day, to let them know how "disturbed" both he and the Senator were by our actions (see previous update regarding cutting funding to Paducah pork programs if the nut case [me] remains affiliated with the city). Then, certain members of my board were told to "take care of the situation" - as if they are supposed to channel Tony Soprano. So, that's how we found ourselves in a 6:00 PM emergency meeting of the Board of Directors.

After vehemently denying all of these crazy assertions, we simply popped "exhibit A" into the VCR, which was dragged into the conference room especially for this occasion. Oh look, there we were, in front of the theater, filming McConnell, just as I said we did. Hmmm, oddly enough, we weren't banging on the windows, acting like morons, screaming about our desire for the Senator's demise - we were simply expressing our First Amendment Right to ask the Senator about the War in Iraq. Crazy as it may seem, the tape also showed his overly ambitious, middle management security staff being complete assholes, just as I said they were, and the Senator arrogantly blowing us off, just as I said he did. Needless to say, the meeting broke up shortly thereafter, with some expressions of disgust about being misled, because there is simply no evidence that I was the stark raving lunatic to which Senator McConnell and his staff insisted.

Remember how Mitch's attack-bloggers lied about Graeme Frost's family, and then WHAS-11's Mark Hebert caught Mitch on tape lying about the fact that he sicced his attack-bloggers on the Frosts? Apparently, that's the only tactic he knows. MediaCzeck of BlueGrassRoots, which has been documenting this travesty, notes:

... a particularly disgusting trend on Mitch McConnell's de facto attack blog, EITB.

EITB, which receives its talking points directly from the offices of Senator McConnell, recently mimicked his private dishonest talking points regarding Heather and Heaven Ryan, who confronted Mitch on videotape last week in Paducah.

EITB falsely claims (as Mitch did in exact words to Ryan's employers) that they were screaming "I hope you die" to Senator McConnell. This is before McConnell's false claim was public knowledge. But as Ryan's video showed in her meeting with her employers yesterday, the video clearly shows that no such thing happened. It was completely invented by Mitch McConnell's people, and his mouthpiece at EITB printed it before that false smear was presented to her by her employers.

It remains to be seen if McConnell's threats overcome truth, beauty and the American Way in Paducah, but Heather promises to keep us informed.

Many thanks to Brian Smith for posting Heather's emails to BlueGrassRoots.

UPDATE, 5:49 p.m.: I am sad and furious to report that Heather Ryan has, indeed, been fired. As Andy in comments saw, DitchMitchKY has the details.

And as MediaCzech at BlueGrassRoots vows, this isn't over.

UPDATE II, Jan. 22, 5:03 a.m. - Video!

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.