The Republican Police State is Here

The Police, in riot gear and carrying semi automatic weapons, raided houses on a purely political basis.  This was done at the behest of the federal government.

They blamed “anarchists”.  No, seriously.  These raids were carried out for thought crime.

Ian Welsh is right in observing that the bleeding silence from the media and political class is enough to convict (emphasis mine):

It’s notable that as of this writing, at midnight, I see nothing on the NY Times front page or on their US page about the RNC harassment, arrests and snatch squads. I see nothing on the Washington Post’s front page, or its Politics page. As best I am aware no major Democratic politician has made a statement that warrants should be required before busting down doors, or that protesters have a right to protest, or that people even have a right to see a warrant.

Why is that? Is it that there’s a bipartisan consensus that civil liberties are just for talk, but when the handcuffs get slapped on people who have done nothing, when people are punished for crimes they haven’t commited, that it’s no big deal as long as they aren’t anyone important? Is it that Democrats stirring words about civil liberties were as sincere as many of their promises to vote against warrantless wiretapping?

I can only assume it is. But I’d certainly love to be proved wrong. So, perhaps a major newspaper might act interested in mass violations of basic constitutional rights like the right to free speech, the right to assembly and the right to be secure in ones own home and possessions and for the government to not be able to search and seize without a warrant. They covered the exact same sort of harassment by the Chinese government in Beijing against activists and journalists, but they don’t cover it when it’s the US government. Wonder why?

Because they have the same boss.  Complacency is complicity.  This is why members of the Accountability Now PAC are going against politicians from any party that tramble on our fundamental rights.

Further reading on slashdot, crooks and liars, and the huffington post.

To be fair, the media has some coverage.  The AP has some tepid coverage here.  The San Francisco Chronicle has more:

Activists planning protests around the Republican National Convention say they are being targeted in a heavy-handed attempt to chill dissent after police arrested five people, detained dozens of others, and seized computers and protest guides in raids Friday night and Saturday on private homes and the major meeting center.

Google News probably would have been a better place to check.  It isn’t that these events were not covered.  Direct censorship is easily noticed and countered.  Soft censorship, that is to say covering an event a little but not promoting it, is a far more effective way to keep most people (the kind who would not think to search for “RNC Protest” on a news site) in the dark.

I hate to be brutal, but the 2008 election is about making a choice.  The constitution is in tatters on the ground.  We’ve got to choose between the man with the bloody knife and the man with a single band-aid.  Perhaps I am being unfair, but Obama really needs to make a big stink about this.  Its about as close to an easy win opening as the campaign is going to get.  He needs to be the man between the constitution and the guy with the knife.  And if I were him, I’d be armed too.  Because the guy with the knife is just getting started.  At least the Democrats didn’t have anything like this at their convention.  Can’t wait to see what the Republicans do next.


Sarcastic Quip Sums up Right Wing Paranoia

My friend Adam emailed this gem to me from Fox New’s comments section:

Comment by ethan

August 28th, 2008 at 11:58 pm

i heard Barack fathered a black child. i cant vote for him. also.. i heard 25 years ago..a hot dog vendor sold Barack a hot dog. then that vendor went on to say that Blacks should take over all white economic power structures in a huge bloody revolution. that street vendor said that on a bar stool in a now demolished dive bar. i cant vote for someone who associates with counter culture revolutionaries. also Barack wants to take my money and give it to welfare queens who get their nails and hair done while getting abortions. also..i dont believe in global warming. i think its a hoax. the 35,000 pages of scientific evidence is wrong. intellectuals are dumb.
p.s. we’re winning the war on terror. iraq children were putting fluoride in our water supplies. its the part of 9/11 the liberal media doesnt tell you about.

That nails a lot of the right wing Fear Uncertainty and Doubt being pushed on Obama.  Well played ethan.  Dig the nod to Dr. Strangelove at the end.

Will McCain Leave His Wife for Younger VP Candidate?

My friend Masroor suggested it over lunch.  Its a funny thought.  But the answer is no, Cindy McCain isn’t crippled.

Still this AP article has the unfortunate title McCain taps Alaska governor for VP.

Riverdaughter: Desperation and Comment Fraud

How desperate do you have to be when you edit your user’s comments to fraudulently make it appear they support your position?  Riverdaughter has sunk to a depressing low.

My edited comment:

Dan (Fitness), on August 29th, 2008 at 12:52 am Said:

Are you happy? I am.

(Edited for the amusement of the Site Administrator)

My original comment asked how she could support writing Hillary Clinton in, when the NY Senator is not running, and in fact endorsed Barack Obama to continue fighting for their shared political positions.  I asked how PUMA could support John McCain, when he is pro-war, anti-choice, and stands against expanding health care (once Hillary Clinton’s signature issue).

The little disclaimer slipped in there leaves much to the imagination.  Is this Dan (Fitness) guy a Hillary supporter?  Did he leave spam or abusive comments?  No.  I just left a comment that ripped apart the flimsy rationale behind PUMA’s existence, and she couldn’t take the criticism.

Here is my latest comment:

Dan (Fitness), on August 29th, 2008 at 1:15 am Said:

I can’t believe you’d stoop to editing my text to make it appear I support you.
I’m surprised and disappointed.

I wonder if she’ll respond to it, alter it to put words in my mouth, or just wipe it entirely.

UPDATE: It appears she’s content to leave the new comment and censor the traceback from this post.

The Audacity of Bravery

When you consider the risks Barack Obama is taking, just by being Black and running for President, and further by taking progressive political stands, it puts his earnestness front and center.  There is a reason people feel they can trust this man.

My friend Brad, (who when pressed is full of insightful yet cuttingly cynical remarks about politics), is not someone I’d consider johnny Democratic volunteer.  I haven’t really given Obama’s speech a critical once through yet, but I’m heading into it impressed through the eyes of my friends.  Brad’s impressions foremost among them.

In the face of eliminationist rhetoric against Barack Obama escalating into actual assasination attempts, a lot of the political culture Obama is running in becomes easier to comprehend.  Right wingers are desperately trying to pin white supremacy on liberals (see the comment thread for examples).  Conservatives love their crazies when they vote, and do their best to either distance themselves from or ignore the crazies who act out.

In spite of all of this, Barack Obama is running to be president.

When looking at opposition candidates in third world countries, its hard to image how devastatingly difficult it is to run in the face of life ending violence.  While our own government is thankfully not corrupt enough to kill politicians, some of our citizens are murderous and hateful enough to try and take our vote away from us by force.  There are people out there seething at the possibility of a black president.  I think all the talk in the various supremacist and neonazi forums about wanting a black president so he can fail is bullshit.  Not simply because Obama (who has been surrounding himself with some increasingly impressive allies) is geared to succeed (and he will).  But because the kind of psuedo-intellectual urine soaked cowardice that drives racists cannot stand the fact that their hated enemy will hold a position of incredible symbolic power.  As definitely as their paranoia extends to additional worries beyond Obama’s victory in November, they are surely worrying that his victory will represent a powerful blow to the cause of white supremacy.  They’d be right there.  When Barack Obama shatters the glass ceiling, the symbolism of a black statesman on JFK’s level showering the oval office with the alien sensation of competency will drive a nail into the coffin of racial inferiority in such a public way it knocks the coffin into the ground and buries it all at once.

The focal point is Barack’s sheer skill.  He literally lifted himself onto the national stage with a speech at a convention most reporters and politicians routinely mock as a mere informercial for the parties.  His speeches aren’t simply articulate or effective, they are electric.  He’s what Cicero had in mind when he wrote “On the Ideal Orator”.  The laughable criticism of Obama as a “rock star” is an incredible boost:  The man is a rock star because of his oratory.  He’s not a rock star like Prince or Nickleback.  He’s a rock star in the sense of Bob Dylan or Pete Seeger.  You cannot energize and uplift a crowd with empty words.  That’s why his supporters know in both brain and gut that the weak attacks on his “lack of substance” are innately pathetic.  You can’t make that argument in good faith having actually listened to his speeches.

This is why the violent underbelly of American culture, racism, is a source of violence aimed at the Democratic presidential nominee.  Because at their core white supremacists, nazis, and racists run on fear.  And they fear being shown completely wrong their twisted take on humanity is.  If they could only let go of that fear, they’d find the world a much more loving place than they imagine.

Barack Obama is an embodiment of the America Martin Luther King Jr had the audacity to hope for, and the bravery to work for.  The Senator shares that hope and bravery in the face of a boiling undercurrent of hate and violence.  It is a deep honor to support and believe in such a person.

Slavery is OK: Republican 527 Attacks Obama

Context is a weak excuse.  Under what context is slavery ethical?  Under what context is stoning someone to death moral?  In a clip that drives home Obama’s fortitude standing up to theocrats who’d eagerly switch the bible for the constitution, Republican political consultant Stephen Marks accuses Obama of arrogantly mocking the bible:

The narrator intones:

You then condescendingly stated that, quote ‘Folks haven’t been reading their bible” unquote, as if the American people do not know what’s in there.  The real question is, do you know what’s in there Senator?

Actually Stephen, the question is why should a political candidate have to know what’s in the bible?

The thing is, Barack Obama clearly has a much better grasp of the bible than the narrator.  Stephen’s arguments lose their cogency as soon as you skip the pacing and tone and get to the content:

And did you not know Senator Obama, that the book of Deuteronomy, which you also arrogantly mock and ridicule, is what gave us the ten commandments?

That’s his response to Obama’s argument.  Seriously.  Well, let’s take a look at the passage, in context, that Obama was criticizing (King James):

18If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

19Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

20And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

21And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

That’s right.  Disobey your parents and you should be murdered by “all the men” of your city.  This is the nature of Marks’ attack: utterly inane.

Did you not know that most Christians and historians agree, that the Sermon on the Mount contains the most spiritually inspiring words ever uttered by Jesus Christ or any other religious leader.

Who’s arrogant Mr Marks?  Who is holding their personal faith up as the measure of who should lead this country?  This 527 ad is spit in the face of separation of Church and State.  It is a clingy example of corporate rhetoric, with repetitions on the theme of arrogance and smugness reinforced by to with a backdrop of an informercial soundtrack.

And in all that, PH For America, Stephen Marks’ organization, leaves out one crucial counterpoint.  The Bible condones slavery.  Telling for a group that holds the exposed liars “Swiftboat Veterans for Truth” as their role models.

Still this ad may find some play with Americans who think shoving their personal faith down America’s constitution is their God given task in life.  But we can hope that more people will recognize the hollowness of PH For America’s underhanded attacks, and support a candidate on the merits of his politics, his insight and his character.

Obama Official, PUMA Implodes

Riverdaughter sums up the dysfunctional logic of the thwarted PUMA crowd perfectly (emphasis mine):

There will be no love train.  I’m not onboard.  I will never be onboard.

You didn’t listen to us during the primaries.

You didn’t listen to us during the convention.

You are going to hear from us in November.

Barack Obama will NEVER get my vote.  I don’t owe the party anything.

And if you want to find someone to blame, look no further than the superdelegates.

Backlash is comin’.  We will make the powers that be the powers that were.

Let the DNC and your State Attorney General know how you feel about having your vote stolen by faithless delegates and a party who asks for your taxdollars to run a primary and then does what the hell it wants.

No riverdaughter, you don’t owe the party anything.  You owe it to yourself to vote for the candidate who stands for what Hillary Clinton still stands for.  You are using Hillary Clinton’s name, yes, but you are going against her own wishes, her own politics, and everything she fought so hard for.  You are screaming about the glass ceiling while standing with John McCain as he tries vainly to keep Barack Obama from breaking through.

I won’t let another Republican get into the oval office and damage this country like Bush has.  PUMA can add “my ass” every time I say party unity, but as November gets closer, the call for unity will drown their snide and selfish whine out with the roar of progress.

(image source)