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Friday, April 27, 2007

Gathering of Eagles update...27APR07

You know, I wonder if Gathering of Eagles would get FLACK like this if they had come out as a Leftinistra organization? Somehow, I very, VERY seriously doubt it...

The Final Word on GOE Finances

Posted: 26 Apr 2007 07:30 PM CDT

I am here, as part of the Gathering of Eagles leadership, to address–again–some underhanded and false accusations about the integrity of Gathering of Eagles as an organization, as well as the personal honor of its leaders.

Gathering of Eagles began as an event, a single stand by thousands who wanted to be heard. Early on, thousands of emails came in, literally begging us to never lose the momentum. Eagles themselves asked us how we could think of simply going home after the rally, back to our lives—back to silence. Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq cried out for continued support, even as they cheered our event. There was no way we could possibly say no.

As you know, there have been accusations leveled almost continuously since the rally. Men like Jere Beery and Gene Simes claim that Larry Bailey is somehow “anti-vet” because he chose not to involve GOE in a controversial political issue. What’s worse, Beery claims that we “helped ourselves” to the funds so generously donated to GOE by Americans all over the world.

“…[T]he ‘new’ GOE cut them selves’ in on the charity money,” claimed Jere Beery in an email to me yesterday. “Theoretically, any funds you are taking in NOW could be considered surplus to the expense of GOE-1 and rightfully belongs to charity. Apparently, someone at your end determined it would be OK to use the funds earmarked for charity to build the GOE. I take exception to that.” This statement is false and ridiculous, but I’ll deal with that in a minute.

Beery also says it should have taken us only $10,000 to pay for GOE 1.

“If I allow $10,000 for the stage, sound system, bleachers, extra tent, permits, clean up, and porta potties, that leaves $50,000,” he pontificates. “Can you provide me with a hint to where this money went? And at what point did GOE decide to change the ground rules and not send the entire surplus of funds raised to a charity as pledged?”

I realize that when Beery and Simes put on events, no one actually shows up, but to think that an event could be put on for 30,000 people on a $10,000 budget is insane. In fact, I’ll answer his first question now: Where did the money go? Exactly where we said it did.

All told, we raised a little over $62,000 and some change between when we first started taking donations and about 2 weeks ago, before the latest funds appeal. We had a little over $51,500 in expenses–almost $40,000 of that went to the rally itself. The rest was for online presence, press conferences, inventory in the GOE store, etc. We set aside all donations that have come in after the first event, to be put toward the second event and ongoing efforts, about $10,000. Once all bills were paid, that left us with a surplus of slightly over $200.

Now, I’ll answer his second question: “[A]t what point did GOE decide to change the ground rules and not send the entire surplus of funds raised to a charity as pledged?”

Here’s the simple answer: Never. We never “changed any rules.” We are excited about donating to Sew Much Comfort; so much so, in fact, that we will be making a $1000 donation in the next few days, in the name of Gathering of Eagles.

The facts don’t matter to Jere Beery, of course. A few moments ago, I received this email:

“I’m certain Sew Much Comfort is a great organization. And I know they are just blown away with the $201 donation. That equals out to less than 1/3 of 1 percent of 60,000 in DONATED funds. WOW! LUCKY THEM! You guys really went all out! Supporting your troops…?”

Like I said: facts don’t matter.

Mr. Beery claims that we had no right to apply donated funds to setting up the organization—that it all should have gone to the rally event or to charity. I disagree, and I stand by the GOE’s leadership decision to become more than a one-time flash in the pan, even though there were those who told us it couldn’t be done—and those who said GOE should stay as a single moment, instead of beginning a new age. Some even said we wouldn’t be needed after March 17th.

They were all wrong. It can be done, and it is being done, in cities and towns all over the country. In two short months we have become a force to be reckoned with, a vocal part of the majority of Americans who support our men and women in uniform. We have hundreds of volunteers, working in their own communities to bring back pride in our military and belief in what makes our nation great. We are answering people like Cindy Sheehan, matching her appearances and ensuring that she does not appear in public without her treason being answered. We are growing, and making it impossible for the media to continue to ignore the truth—that a large section of Americans support the troops AND their mission.

There is still so much to be done. Senators claim openly that the war is lost, Army deserters are being hailed as heroes by a cowardly and anti-American Left, recruiters are being banned from school after school, and our troops are being prosecuted for killing the enemy. There has never been in our history such a need for GOE to exist.

My having to defend accusations from disgruntled veterans like Jere Beery and Gene Simes is wrong. It is wrong because there are men dying in Iraq and Afghanistan as we speak, and there is a greater threat to our nation than the personal attacks these men have chosen to level against me and against Captain Bailey. It is wrong because there was no misconduct to answer for. There was no “fleecing,” there were no “illegal” tactics employed to raise money, and there was no misleading of the American people. In fact, the people involved with Gathering of Eagles are some of the most honorable, most open, most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. They love their country above all else, and they would never dream of mishandling or “stealing” funds, as Mr. Beery and Mr. Simes have so gleefully insinuated, all the while claiming, of course, that they’re “just asking the hard questions.” The Eagles I work with also wouldn’t engage in the type of sexual remarks and inappropriate questioning that I’ve seen addressed to me, and about me, from Jere Beery.

We did the best we could with the funds for GOE 1, and we did it proudly and honestly. The people who give so valiantly of their time, their careers, their money, and their lives to ensure that Gathering of Eagles is a viable and effective organization did—and do—so at great disadvantage to themselves. I am proud of myself for the work I have done, and I am even more proud of my countrymen, who continue to answer the desperate call of sanity and patriotism every day in their communities as “Eagles,” a breed of American much needed in our time.

I will no longer answer questions about our finances, or about my integrity. Neither of them needs defending, and it only detracts from the mission at hand. I will, however, keep my word, and appear on Stardust Radio next week to answer, one last time, the “hard questions” that Mr. Beery and Mr. Simes have demanded that I address. Hopefully none of those will be about my anatomy or sex life.

Thank you for your continued support and for your faith in us. We will not let you down.

Can I GET an amen?

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man