LA citizen’s arrest of Karl Rove!

Posted by Jodie -

Wed, Feb 4, 2009

Local News, Local Updates

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Guest-blogger Patricia Foulkrod, an acclaimed director and producer based in Los Angeles, describes her experience last night attempting a citzens’ arrest of former Bush chief of staff Karl Rove at Loyola Marymount University. Her most recent documentary, “The Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends,” follows Iraq soldiers from recruitment to basic training, from battlefield orders to postwar support for wounds, both physical and emotional.

Friends of mine in CODEPINK LA emailed me that Karl Rove would be speaking at Los Angeles’ Loyola Marymount University as part of the school’s annual First Amendment Week.  I then learned Rove would reportedly receive $30,000 by LMU for this 6 p.m  Happy Hour.  How many community college students could study the U.S. Constitution and the workings of Rove with his fee?  A question perhaps for future SAT tests.

I got another CODEPINK email, casually asking if I would be willing to attend, and at some point, handcuff him.  I knew they were not joking;  CODEPINK in San Francisco had tried last fall to handcuff Rove when he spoke at a conference there, surprising him and the press for a much more interesting day. Still,  I looked at their video clip and decided I’d fake the flu — I am a claustrophobic filmmaker. I like filming that does not involve jail, and going home after to feed my dog Bella before she eats the rest of the couch.  Jodie Evans, CODEPINK co-founder, tried to seduce me with one word  — elegant – she could count on me to dress up and handcuff Rove with style and elegance.  We both knew she was asking Forest Grump to step in for Pittsburg Steeler’s Santonia Holmes.   So I emailed back I was not a Republican-handcuffing kind of girl.

Then one of the Iraq veterans featured in my documentary, “The Ground Truth,” gave me a call. His Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is recklessly ROVING across his brain, he said, his heart, his marriage. He can’t work, hardly leaves the house, and has an appointment with Veteran’s Affairs sometime in the vague future.  He voted for Obama but the hope and change jingle did not get past his intrusive thoughts.

I hung up and remembered beneath my irrational fear of very tight spaces is an even greater fear of Karl Rove being in the same room with the First Amendment.  I put on my long black velvet coat, my red high heels, and picked up a ten dollar pair of silver handcuffs CODEPINK left for me – just in case.

The first thing I heard outside Loyola’s lecture hall were wonderful very loud protesting voices – the Obama victory has not seduced these students into forgiveness.  ” Bush’s Brain …Down the Drain.”  Dozens of them were chanting and marching alongside a handful of adults, perhaps faculty members playing hookey.  I convinced a very nice LMU public relations person I was with a progressive online news show. Oh well.  She had seats left in the section next to a local reporter who agreed to take a photo of whatever I did.

<br />

As part of Loyola’s First Amendment Week tradition, Rove was given five questions. First question: did he think the First Amendment was too far reaching and too broad?  “No,” he replied, and went on for ten minutes to explain to us surfer heads why it had been so important for the White House to give no access, no leaks and no transparency for eight long years on anything except George W. Bush’s swallowing the pretzel.  Rove explained how “grave” were possible breaches of trust by explaining how many Congress members came into Rove’s office complaining about Bush and his policies, and then walked into Bush’s office and sucked up to him.  He said we would not want some wayward comment or criticism by a member of Congress to end up on the front page of The New York Times.  “It would prevent people from telling the truth.”  I was surrounded by nodding Republicans quietly discussing their hope that Michael Lewis could do for them what Emanuel did for Obama — “he cast Republican looking Democrats to run for office.”   A fun-house feeling tingled underneath my velvet. The students in the back were not buying it.

The crowd asked question after question about Rove’s subpoenas from Congress.  Two political science students quoted his testimony before Congress, chapter and verse.  I wanted to write their parents a thank you note.

I finally got my turn and stood up several feet away from the podium. “You have talked about the fact that the people behind the scenes, the invisible ones, are actually more powerful and more dangerous in the liberal press – you specifically said producers and editors.  Are you not describing yourself.  You have been the man behind the curtain for eight years and everything Bush did is tied to you.  But I am here to bring you a present…” (I raised my arms, and all the security people around him moved a few steps towards me.)

<br />

“I have interviewed over a 100 soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars – including many Republicans – and out of that 100 only maybe two have said that they felt the Iraq War has been a just and noble cause and a war worth fighting for…many are sick and wounded and they would like you to have these…” (I held up my handcuffs high), “AND THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE YOU LOCKED UP IN THEM!”

The capacity filled room of 700 people exploded with mostly loud cheers and applause. Rove stopped and stared at me and came back with, “That has not been my experience,” but because of the cheering, he had to wait before speaking.

He said he knew he was suppose to take another question but instead wanted to tell two stories, realizing the questions could get worse.  He spoke of a family who has lost a son another one in Iraq, and the father who is a doctor has now also enlisted in honor of his son. (I know this PR story as it has been reported more than once).  Rove went on to tell the story of a very disfigured soldier who keeps a plaque on his door – which Rove insisted reads, “Do not feel sorry for me, I did what I did for the people I love and my country.”

By the end of the night, Rove was $30,000 richer, and both wars live on, with the Afghanistan occupation about to grow more deadly.

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  • Tom Sanchez

    Bravo, for a job very well done! If only he could’ve worn those handcuffs but his brain could not be made to realize what his fascism has done to the United States. That, and a war crimes trial of him, Bush, Chaney, Rumsfeld, et. al. would be healing from the last eight years.

  • Juli Leeds

    THANK YOU Patricia! I wish I could’ve seen the look on Rove’s face when you held up the cuffs. I bet you looked great in those red shoes girl!

  • Stehphanie Winnard

    You are my hero! Thank you for confronting Rove. I’m so disappointed that LMU would let a war criminal speak at their school. At least the students protested.

  • http://www.wakeupandsaveyourcountry.com Sheri Myers

    Your courage and honesty and elegance have inspired me. Thank you a million times, for standing up and speaking out and giving it to that detestable lump of lies and deceit Karl Rove. You have made my day.
    Before the election, I made two short films for You Tube viewing, about Rove’s efforts to steal our elections. (www.wakeupandsaveyourcountry.com) He did not succeed this time, because the margin was too wide, but that doesn’t mean he will give up.
    He belongs in prison. Unfortunately, that doesn’t feel like enough punishment for what he has done to our countrymen, our constitution, our democracy.
    Again, my deepest thanks to you and Code PInk, who are the standard for courage.

  • http://www.erama.etsy.com Amber Johnson

    I was among the many chanting that evening at LMU. My favorite quoe, “Rove is whack, take the money back.” I am so grateful for your work, your life, and your presence! Continue working towards realizing peace. He may be 30K richer and the wars still prevail, but I guarantee you he won’t forget your gesture or the few hundred onlookers cheering you on!

  • Wenshu Lee

    After emailing Codepink twice on behalf of my department (Communication Studies) about the Rove event, I was not sure if there would be action from your end. Among my colleagues and students, we chanted and protested “Bush’s Brain down the Drain” before the event started (see the coverage in the online version of Loyola Marymount University newspaper coverage, Loyolan, http://www.laloyolan.com/news/students_and_faculty_protest_karl_rove_on_campus-1.1354951). Amber Johnson, who wrote to you earlier, was in the front page picture of Loyolan. A few minutes into the Q&A, I had to walk out of the unholy union between Rove and First Amendment because the untruth from Rove became singularly unbearable. Truly sorry that I missed your elegant and courageous act to arrest Rove. But many of us will be forever inspired to do more in the days to come. Thank you and in solidarity

  • Ruthann Miller

    Thank You Patricia,
    My husband ,brother, daughter and son-in-law all went to Loyola L.A.
    and I am shocked to think the same university that led us down to
    Nicaragua when the Reagan backed Contras were killing citizens there
    would have Rove the criminal speak at any time there. I’m sure Bob Bensen as well as all the other progressive people at Loyola must have turned their heads in shame. Thank you again and for all you had to say and your work with the vets.
    Ruthann Brandon Miller

  • Mara Schoner

    thank you for doing this and representing so many of us.

  • victoria shorr


    I know the difference between wanting to confront power and confronting power–in this case, Karl Rove–and it is all the difference in the world.

    What you did, and do, takes guts and strength of character, and your handcuffs can take their place next to that Iraqi shoe that meant so much to so many. Let’s fight on. Let’s get him at least in front of Congress.

    Best and thanks.

  • Caroline

    Dearest Patricia,
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. You were brave and I admire you so much for doing what you did. When I think of the bravery that it takes to put yourself in a position where you might spend time behind bars for practicing your 1st amendment rights, I’m in awe that some people put themselves there. CODEPINK ladies have my admiration and my thanks. I’ve attended dozens of anti-war, anti-Bush marches and vigils but never had the courage to do something this brave.
    I also thank the Loyola protestors. I’m glad you had support.

  • http://www.gatewaymortgageforveterans.com Dacey

    These tend to be so complicated.

  • gary witherspoon

    Bipartisan congressional allegiance to the obstructions of justice of the Bush Administration continue with war in Afghanistan and the ensuing economic war waged against Americans during the Bush Administration.

    Under the authority given by their oath to office the House and Senate Committees on the Judiciary have a legal obligation to prosecute Bush Administration top officials on charges of obstruction of justice leading to war crimes, murder and torture and the economic war against Americans currently continuing.

    George W. Bush and his entire Cabinet of Advisors are fugitives from justice. DO NOT ALLOW THEM SANCTUARY IN THE UNITED STATES!

  • gary witherspoon

    There has never been any majority American support for the financial and military support of two bogus Bush Governments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Arrest and prosecute George W. Bush and his entire Cabinet of Advisors.

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