How Clinton’s most avid supporters can help get her elected now & prevent a 2020 election shit-show recap


blind_chanceThere’s an amazing film by the brilliant Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski called BLIND CHANCE. BLIND CHANCE was the film that inspired the lesser-but-still-interesting film, SLIDING DOORS. The difference between the two was that Kieślowski’s cinematic meditation focused on political ideals and personal happiness and how they might change based on different sets of experiences. BLIND CHANCE explored several different possibilities of one man’s life when chance alterations are introduced, the different paths and belief systems that unfold and are adopted, ways of seeing and interpreting the world, that can be contained in the same person based not just on choice, but on chance.

There but for the grace of god, some might say.

For me, a threat to both our country and our world even greater than Donald Trump is that of intolerance and limited perspective in any form. From wherever it derives and however it manifests. Bigotry, rage, fear, shaming, demonizing, condescension, devaluing, blaming. These are greater threats for me because I believe they are the very things that serve to create and legitimize men who think and act like Donald Trump and the people who respond positively to him. I would add to that horrible picture a political system that favors and rewards corporations over people and places financial success and gain over humanitarian causes and concerns. Trump is not an aberration. He is a culmination.

I, like many liberals, want to see Hillary Clinton win this election so that Donald Trump doesn’t become our next president. Unlike some, I do not share many of Clinton’s voting choices or her approach to governing. I cannot see into her heart, but I am able to give her the benefit of the doubt that she does come from a good place and a desire to make life better for most people. It’s not her motivation that concerns me most. It’s that I believe she is mired in a style of politicking – the one she and her husband helped solidify into the Democratic Party – that favors a particular relationship with corporations, conglomerates and banks, the big-moneyed powers in our country. This is matched by an equal and active cynicism of the kind of Progressive approaches that I deeply believe are not only possible, but crucial to changing not just the course, but the mindset of this country. Continue reading “How Clinton’s most avid supporters can help get her elected now & prevent a 2020 election shit-show recap”

How Clinton’s most avid supporters can help get her elected now & prevent a 2020 election shit-show recap

A Challenge to Democrats to be more Democratic


gavel and the US Flag

One of the more unfortunate accusations that I’ve been hearing lately is that Bernie Sanders supporters are tearing apart the Democratic Party. That Sanders needs to “back down” so we can unite. But Sanders supporters are fighting for the Democratic party to be more democratic. The media and others, however, have done a bang-up job framing real political challenges from the people (which Sanders represents) as “selfish” and “hurtful.” And a good number of Democrats are taking up those pitchforks and torches and joining the chorus without truly understanding what it is they are attempting to self-righteously snuff out.

John Nichols’ article in The Nation, A Contested Convention Is Exactly What the Democratic Party Needs, (an article widely forwarded by Bill Moyers) speaks directly to why it is so very crucial to continue to challenge not just Hillary Clinton, but the entire Democratic Party. THIS is what Democracy is all about! This is our job description! But so many people have lost sight of that – or never really knew what they could or should do beyond just casting a vote – or what the Democratic Party used to be, its history, and so they don’t recognize what it has the potential to do right now. Hillary might be the nominee in the end (though that’s STILL not a guarantee), but there’s more to be done and more to be gained by continuing to challenge her and those she surrounds herself with. At the very least to the Convention. Hopefully, a lot farther.

John Nichols:

“Prospective nominees tend to favor weaker platforms; Harry Truman would have preferred milder civil-rights commitments than were made in his party’s 1948 platform, and it took steady pressure from unions, liberals and Ted Kennedy to get Jimmy Carter to finally embrace spending on jobs programs. It will take similar pressure to get Clinton and her inner circle to accept a Democratic platform that Sanders says must include “a $15-an-hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health-care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition-free, and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change.” Clinton stalwarts may want to keep things vague, but look for the Sanders team to demand specifics, such as an explicit endorsement of a national $15 minimum wage instead of the $12 proposal that Clinton initially offered, and an unequivocal rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that President Obama supports and that Clinton once championed but now criticizes.”

Continue reading “A Challenge to Democrats to be more Democratic”

A Challenge to Democrats to be more Democratic

New RNC “Terrorist” Flyer & The Goldwaters Endorse Barack


With less than 2 weeks before election day, McCain’s campaign continues to slip deeper and deeper into the muck. Now understand, McCain and his advisors are hyper-aware that Republicans are leaving him en masse and endorsing Barack Obama instead. And two of the top reasons are 1). The belief that Sarah Palin is not qualified to be Vice President or President and is a worrisome reflection on Mr. McCain’s decision-making abilities and 2). McCain’s vile smear campaign against Barack Obama, especially those that suggest he’s a terrorist. But even in the face of this, McCain and the RNC continue to self-destruct and prove that they are truly incapable of listening to the public or learning from their mistakes. Not meaning to sound like a campaign ad myself, but are these the qualities we want from a President and his advisors?

The Republican National Committee is distributing a mail piece that says “Terrorists” on the front and opens to a big picture of Barack saying “Not Who You Think He Is.”

CBS’ Early Show anchor Harry Smith interviewed Barack Obama yesterday and asked him about McCain’s negative ad campaign:

Harry Smith: The rancorous tone of this campaign – I was with John McCain on Monday, and I said, ‘Our poll data shows that it’s actually hurting you.’ He says, ‘I wouldn’t be doing it if he weren’t doing it.’

Barack Obama (laughing): Well, look. I – I mean – politics is tough. … But I will say this: I don’t think there’s any equivalence between what we’ve been doing and what John McCain’s been doing. … Witness some of the comments that have been made just over the last several months, his last several weeks, ‘Socialistic.’ You know, ‘Pals around with terrorists.’ I mean, just – the kinds of stuff that – that I can’t imagine saying about an opponent of mine. 

So let me get this straight… Sen. McCain suggested that, even though he’s aware these ads are hurting him and his campaign, his excuse for continuing them is basically “He started it”? And this is a man running for President of the United States? It seems to me the more Sen. McCain tries to separate himself from President Bush, the more he seems to embrace Mr. Bush’s fear-based approach to getting what he wants, despite the fact that it seems clearer with each passing day that the majority of Americans are fed up and even downright resentful of this hateful strategy. Mr. McCain has dug himself a hole. And the only solution he’s come up with so far is to continue digging. What’s worse, he seems to believe Americans will follow. But it seems to me they’re scrambling to get out.

Today Barry “Mr. Conservative” Goldwater’s granddaughter, CC Goldwater, added her name to the long list of Republicans coming out publicly against John McCain:

Being Barry Goldwater’s granddaughter and living in Arizona, one would assume that I would be voting for our state’s senator, John McCain. I am still struck by certain ‘dyed in the wool’ Republicans who are on the fence this election, as it seems like a no-brainer to me.

Myself, along with my siblings and a few cousins, will not be supporting the Republican presidential candidates this year. We believe strongly in what our grandfather stood for: honesty, integrity, and personal freedom, free from political maneuvering and fear tactics…

…the Republican brand has been tarnished in a shameless effort to gain votes and appeal to the lowest emotion, fear. Nothing about McCain, except for maybe a uniform, compares to the same ideology of what Goldwater stood for as a politician. The McCain/Palin plan is to appear diverse and inclusive, using women and minorities to push an agenda that makes us all financially vulnerable, fearful, and less safe.

When you see the candidate’s in political ads, you can’t help but be reminded of the 1964 presidential campaign of Johnson/Goldwater, the ‘origin of spin’, that twists the truth and obscures what really matters. Nothing about the Republican ticket offers the hope America needs to regain it’s standing in the world, that’s why we’re going to support Barack Obama. I think that Obama has shown his ability and integrity.

After the last eight years, there’s a lot of clean up do. Roll up your sleeves, Senators Obama and Biden, and we Goldwaters will roll ours up with you.

‘Nuff said.

New RNC “Terrorist” Flyer & The Goldwaters Endorse Barack

DEMOCRACY NOW! Producer Nicole Salazar Arrest Footage


If I told you police in Russia were arresting journalists while they were reporting on anti-government protests, would you be surprised? If I told you American police were arresting journalists while they were reporting on anti-government protests, what would you say then?

Here’s a bit of the scene of the “crime” as Democracy Now! producer, Nicole Salazar, was arrested while covering the RNC. As it appears in the footage, Nicole is asking the police where she should go when she is thrown to the ground in what appears to be a pretty violent manner. As Salazar told fellow Democracy Now! reporter, Amy Goodman, who was later arrested when she tried to find out what happened to her producers:

“Nicole told me that as they moved in on three sides, she asked them ‘How do I get away from this?’ and they jumped on her.”

The video seems to confirm this.

Democracy Now! is asking that you make your voice heard in the the Ramsey County Attorney and St. Paul City Attorney offices. Demand that they drop all pending and current charges against journalists arrested while reporting on protests outside the Republican National Conventions.

To read more about the arrests, and to make up your own mind as to whether or not you want to support this cause, I’ve placed a few links below to help you gather information, including the following video of Amy Goodman explaining her point of view of what happened. 

Washington Post‘Democracy Now! Host and Producers Arrested at Republican Convention’

Los Angeles Times‘Amy Goodman, One of Four Journalists Arrested At An Anti-RNC Protest, Tells Her Story’

Pioneer Press‘Journalist Amy Goodman Confronts Police Chief Over Her Arrest’

Star Tribune‘Democracy Now! Host Back At Work Day After Arrest’

Committee To Protect Journalists‘Four Arrested Covering Protest at GOP Convention’

Associated Press‘AP Photog Arrested While Covering Anti-War protest’

The Nation‘Amy Goodman, Others Detained Outside RNC’

Huffington Post‘Amy Goodman Arrested At RNC’

Salon.com‘Scenes from St. Paul—Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman Arrested’

Fox9‘Democracy Now Journalists, AP Photog Released After Protest Arrests’

Denver Post‘Arrests of journalists questioned’

Hartford Courant‘Amy Goodman Arrested’

Editor and Publisher‘RNC Arrests Slammed as Goodman Arrest Video is Seen 500,000-Plus Times’

The Real News‘On Amy Goodman’s arrest’

St. Petersburg Times‘Reporters’ arrest hurts democracy ’

Philadelphia Daily News‘For journalists & photogs, it’s a rough convention’

PRESS TV‘Arrested journalists at RNC protest freed’

DEMOCRACY NOW! Producer Nicole Salazar Arrest Footage

Hypocrisy 101


I’m all for Republicans backing Sarah Palin. She’s their nominee for VP and McCain’s pick. Sure, there are some questionable things going on in her life, both personally and professionally, that bring up certain unavoidable questions, but we all must stand behind the party we believe to be the best suited to run this country. 

However, what I find to be astoundingly hypocritical are the folks calling any criticisms of Palin “sexist” and unfair.

A coterie of Republican women sought to curtail what they said was inappropriate criticism of Sarah Palin’s record as governor, her past political affiliations, and her family life, lambasting the news media for what they said were sexist attacks on the vice-presidential nominee. –reported by Guardian.co.uk

Now that’s different in my mind from Obama asking the press to “back off” on public probes into Palin’s family life. Assume for a moment that it was Joe Biden’s daughter who was 17, unmarried and pregnant. Now you tell me what the response would be from the GOP and the religious right. Do you think it would be live and let live? Or what if it was Obama’s daughter? Would the GOP refrain from making comments and judgments? Of course not. They would be ravenous. Bloodthirsty. They would be screaming at the top of their lungs that if either of these men couldn’t control their own families, how could they then be trusted to run a country. And the religious right would be denouncing both of these men and their families as representing all that is wrong with “liberal” thinking and an example of failed morals. Add to the equation that Sarah Palin is vehemently anti-sex-ed and an active supporter of abstinence-only programs, and we have more than enough legitimate reasons to ask some questions that may be of concern to some of us. It’s not a judgement of Palin’s daughter, or even of Palin’s family, but of Palin’s ability to make choices and support programs that work. It’s a question of Palin’s ability to comprehend the realities of the world around her. Especially if she’s going to be making decisions that effect each and every American life. 

And let’s not forget how quickly Republicans rushed to impeach Bill Clinton on his infidelity and then his perjury, while more recently denouncing Democrats for talking about doing the same to a President and Vice President who have ignored the constitution, broken dozens of laws–many resulting in the loss and endangerment of American lives–been accused of war crimes, have lied to Congress and are guilty of gross–and many would say criminal–neglect while New Orleans drowned. This is the height of hypocrisy. The only difference I see is that Democrats haven’t the balls (with the exception of Kucinich) to actually go through with impeachment proceedings.

The Guardian article continues by quoting Carly Fiorina, a former technology company executive and top advisor to the McCain campaign:

“I find all of this conversation about whether or not she is qualified, which I think initially emanated from the Obama campaign, quite stunning,” Fiorina said. “People are trying to portray her as a show horse, not a work horse.”

Am I really reading this correctly? Should we call the GOP’s questioning of Obama’s experience racist? And wasn’t it McCain who just weeks ago took out ads suggesting that Obama was nothing more than a big celebrity and compared him to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears? Talk about portraying someone as a show horse, not a work horse! Experience or inexperience is something that needs to be questioned. Of ANY candidate. And Palin’s limited experience is certainly a real-world concern, as is Obama’s. But trying to get people to refrain from asking the questions by yelling “Sexist!” is nothing more than ugly politics and the pinnacle of hypocrisy. 

It’s a shame to me that at the Olympic games, we expect the competitors to play fairly and honestly, while during the race for the Presidency of the United States Of America, all bets are off. Integrity, honesty, decency are all thrown aside. And I think both sides are guilty. However I will say that it seems to me that Republicans are a bit more bloodthirsty with a take-no-prisoners attitude and will cross lines many Democrats won’t (or simply don’t seem to be able to) cross. 

As for the comments being asked about Sarah Palin’s experience… Back in 2004, in an interview with the Washington Times (July 15), Mitt Romney said this about Sen. John Edwards, John Kerry’s pick as running mate: The North Carolina freshman senator is too inexperienced to be vice president – let alone only an incident away from the presidency.

The Washington Times (July 8, 2004) reported this on President Bush’s stand on Edwards: 

President Bush yesterday criticized Sen. John Edwards for blocking his judicial nominations and bluntly dismissed the one-term North Carolina Democrat as too inexperienced to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Asked by a reporter how the 51-year-old senator would “stack up” against Vice President Dick Cheney – a five-term congressman who served under three presidents and was secretary of defense during the 1991 Persian Gulf War – Mr. Bush replied: “Dick Cheney can be president. Next.”

That same year, the AP (July 7, 2004) wrote this about the RNC:

The Republican National Committee (RNC) dispensed with niceties and unveiled a lengthy report on Senator Edwards highlighting his lack of political and national security experience.

Contrast that with…

In today’s Boston Herald, Mitt Romney was quoted as saying about Sarah Palin:

“She’s a Washington outsider with a commitment to the conservative principles that will make our nation stronger. I look forward to campaigning for Senator McCain, Governor Palin and Republicans all across the country.”

President Bush had this to say about Palin:

“Gov. Palin is a proven reformer who is a wise steward of taxpayer dollars and champion for accountability in government. Gov. Palin’s success is due to her dedication to principle and her roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic and serves as a wonderful example of the spirit of America. By selecting a working mother with a track record of getting things done, Sen. McCain has once again demonstrated his commitment to reforming Washington.”

RNC Chairman Robert M. “Mike” Duncan is quoted as saying

“I applaud John McCain’s selection of Governor Sarah Palin, whose commitment to reform and record of bipartisanship is exactly what our country needs. I am confident that this team will continue to keep America safe and make our nation more prosperous.”

Now, anyone doing their homework would discover that Mr. Edwards had far more experience back in 2004 (six years in the United States Senate) than Mrs. Palin does now. And John Kerry, the presidential nominee, was young and healthy, not the oldest man who would ever be elected President and a three time cancer survivor like McCain. So, when Democrats and the media question Palin’s experience and her preparedness to be Vice President and, quite possibly President, is that really sexism? Does anyone believe that the same questions would not be asked of a white man (yes, I’m looking at you GOP)?

Now understand, in the culture we live in, issues of sexism and race are realities. We’re not fully grown, as a people or as a nation. The good news is, we’re at a place where there are many people in America who recognize sexism and bigotry as dangerous and offensive and aren’t afraid to speak out. But using these weaknesses in the American psyche as fighting tools is almost equally as offensive. And certainly just as dangerous.

Pile on top of all this, McCain’s announcement yesterday that he’s hired South Carolina political consultant Tucker Eskew. According to Pensito Review:

Eskew, along with Warren Tompkins and Neal Rhodes, were key members of then-Gov. George W. Bush’s South Carolina team during the 2000 primaries. McCain and his team long held Bush, Tompkins, Rhodes and Eskew responsible for the various smears against McCain and his family in the Palmetto state during that contentious contest.

Eskew will help Palin prepare for her Wednesday night acceptance speech at the GOP convention and for her stump speech as she hits the road, brief her on policy matters, and help her handle the media scrutiny a lifetime in Alaska does not necessarily prepare one for.

The tactics used against McCain by Bush and his allies in South Carolina left a deep scar on both McCain and his wife Cindy.

When then-Gov. Bush called upon Eskew, Tompkins and Rhodes to help him during the Florida recount, a senior McCain adviser told me that “when the going gets tough for Governor Bush, he turns to the darker side of our party. We saw that in South Carolina, and we see that today.”

And of course, just for fun, I’ll point out that McCain has voted with George W. Bush 90% of the time. He is, quite literally, intending to continue the policies of the Bush Administration if elected President. Even if it means turning to the “darker side” of his party.

Like everything I’ve mentioned above suggests, the GOP vehemently condemn and call “foul” on others for doing exactly the same things they do. And not just on smaller scales as when House Speaker-Elect Bob Livingston, a man at the forefront of the attempted impeachment of Bill Clinton due to issues surrounding marital infidelity, resigned from the House due to the “outing” of his own marital infidelities. Or House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s later confession that he was having an extramarital affair while he was leading the charge against Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. No, the hypocrisy reaches even larger, more global scales. Take United States Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Mamozy Khalilzad‘s comments at a recent news conference:

“We want to make sure our Russian colleagues understand, that the days of overthrowing leaders by military means in Europe — those days are gone.” 

As political comedian John Stewart puts it:

“It’s amazing how adding the phrase ‘in Europe’ makes our actions [in Iraq] more palatable.”

Hypocrisy continues. And at the moment, it seems to be an American way of life. And along with sexism and bigotry, I hope we one day grow out of it and allow ourselves to become a nation that leads by example.

Maybe then we will truly be The Home of the Brave.

Hypocrisy 101

DEMOCRACY NOW! Journalist Amy Goodman Arrested at RNC


For those who don’t know Amy Goodman, she is a political journalist and host of Pacifica Radio’s DEMOCRACY NOW! Amy was arrested this evening outside the RNC. The Huffington Post reports:

Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfuly detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Here is a quick video of Ms. Goodman speaking in Portland Oregon back in 2005 about the state of media in America. It is followed below by video footage of her arrest:

Amy’s arrest:

Amy Goodman and the Dalai Lama on ethics and world crisis:

Update: 

According to democracynow.org:

Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar have all been released from police custody in St. Paul following their illegal arrest by Minneapolis Police on Monday afternoon.

Abdel Kouddous was slammed against a wall and the ground, leaving his arms scraped and bloodied. He sustained other injuries to his chest and back. Salazar’s violent arrest by baton-wielding officers, during which she was slammed to the ground while yelling, “I’m Press! Press!,” resulted in her nose bleeding, as well as causing facial pain. 

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were arrested on suspicion of rioting, a felony. While the three have been released, they all still face charges stemming from their unlawful arrest. Kouddous and Salazar face pending charges of suspicion of felony riot, while Goodman has been officially charged with obstruction of a legal process and interference with a “peace officer.”

During the demonstration in which the Democracy Now! team was arrested, law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force against protesters and journalists. Several dozen demonstrators were also arrested during this action, including a photographer for the Associated Press.

DEMOCRACY NOW! Journalist Amy Goodman Arrested at RNC

The Federal Gov’t. The RNC. Your Civil Liberties: One Of These Is Not Like The Others


Like all nations around the world, history has shown us that we must pay close attention to the actions of our government to ensure that the freedoms we hold so dear and have fought so hard to maintain, are not taken away from us while we’re busy looking elsewhere or simply coming up with excuses why it could never happen here. America a fascist state? Well, maybe not yet. But it is imperative that we not ignore the telltale signs of the possibility that we could end up far down that road before we even realize it.

I’m sure many folks remember the last RNC in New York back in 2004. People were rounded up, put in large cage-like holding pens and kept there until the RNC was over. Most were not charged, not allowed to make phone calls, or even told exactly why they were there. And we’re talking about thousands of people. 

So what’s happening now as a lead-up to this next RNC? Let’s take a look:

Glenn Greenwald, previously a constitutional lawyer and civil rights litigator, has been writing an ongoing series of articles for Salon.com on a slate of recent federal government raids on potential protesters in Minnesota, the home of the upcoming RNC. In his August 30th article, Greenwald writes:

Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city… In the house that had just been raided, those inside described how a team of roughly 25 officers had barged into their homes with masks and black swat gear, holding large semi-automatic rifles, and ordered them to lie on the floor, where they were handcuffed and ordered not to move. The officers refused to state why they were there and, until the very end, refused to show whether they had a search warrant. They were forced to remain on the floor for 45 minutes while the officers took away the laptops, computers, individual journals, and political materials kept in the house. One of the individuals renting the house, an 18-year-old woman, was extremely shaken [watch video here] as she and others described how the officers were deliberately making intimidating statements such as “Do you have Terminator ready?” as they lay on the floor in handcuffs. 

Several of those who were arrested are being represented by Bruce Nestor, the President of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild. Nestor said that last night’s raid involved a meeting of a group calling itself the “RNC Welcoming Committee”, and that this morning’s raids appeared to target members of “Food Not Bombs,” which he described as an anti-war, anti-authoritarian protest group. There was not a single act of violence or illegality that has taken place, Nestor said. Instead, the raids were purely anticipatory in nature, and clearly designed to frighten people contemplating taking part in any unauthorized protests.

Nestor indicated that only 2 or 3 of the 50 individuals who were handcuffed this morning at the 2 houses were actually arrested and charged with a crime, and the crime they were charged with is “conspiracy to commit riot.” Nestor, who has practiced law in Minnesota for many years, said that he had never before heard of that statute being used for anything, and that its parameters are so self-evidently vague, designed to allow preemptive arrests of those who are peacefully protesting, that it is almost certainly unconstitutional, though because it had never been invoked (until now), its constitutionality had not been tested.

Targeting people with automatic-weapons-carrying SWAT teams and mass raids in their homes, who are suspected of nothing more than planning dissident political protests at a political convention and who have engaged in no illegal activity whatsoever, is about as redolent of the worst tactics of a police state as can be imagined.

In his August 31st article, Greenwald continues:

Today’s Star Tribune added that the raids were specifically “aided by informants planted in protest groups.” Back in May, Marcy Wheeler presciently noted that the Minneapolis Joint Terrorist Task Force — an inter-agency group of federal, state and local law enforcement led by the FBI — was actively recruiting Minneapolis residents to serve as plants, to infiltrate “vegan groups” and other left-wing activist groups and report back to the Task Force about what they were doing. There seems to be little doubt that it was this domestic spying by the Federal Government that led to the excessive and truly despicable home assaults by the police yesterday.

So here we have a massive assault led by Federal Government law enforcement agencies on left-wing dissidents and protesters who have committed no acts of violence or illegality whatsoever, preceded by months-long espionage efforts to track what they do. And as extraordinary as that conduct is, more extraordinary is the fact that they have received virtually no attention from the national media and little outcry from anyone. And it’s not difficult to see why. As the recent “overhaul” of the 30-year-old FISA law illustrated — preceded by the endless expansion of surveillance state powers, justified first by the War on Drugs and then the War on Terror — we’ve essentially decided that we want our Government to spy on us without limits. There is literally no police power that the state can exercise that will cause much protest from the political and media class and, therefore, from the citizenry.

All of this is hauntingly familiar to many of the tactics used by the Chinese government to keep anyone from protesting at the recent Olympic Games in Beijing. Those tactics were largely criticized by the media here in the States, however I’m guessing you’ll have to do some truly ambitious digging to find much mainstream media coverage on similar activities by our own government happening mere weeks after the Olympic Games.

Check out this recent blog by Eileen Clancy, one of the founders of I-Witness Video, a NYC-based video collective that’s in St. Paul to document the policing of the protests around this week’s Republican National Convention. Clancy started blogging as the house she was staying in was surrounded by police and FBI. 

The house where I-Witness Video is staying in St. Paul has been surrounded by police. We have locked all the doors. We have been told that if we leave we will be detained. One of our people who was caught outside is being detained in handcuffs in front of the house. The police say that they are waiting to get a search warrant. More than a dozen police are wielding firearms, including one St. Paul officer with a long gun, which someone told me is an M-16.

We are suffering a preemptive video arrest. For those that don’t know, I-Witness Video was remarkably successful in exposing police misconduct and outright perjury by police during the 2004 RNC. Out of 1800 arrests, at least 400 were overturned based solely on video evidence which contradicted sworn statements which were fabricated by police officers. It seems that the house arrest we are now under and the possible threat of the seizure of our computers and video cameras is a result of the 2004 success.

Do your homework, pay attention. There is a fine line between freedom and fascism and that shift could happen before anyone notices just how far it’s gone or just how much freedom has been lost. If we truly are in Iraq and elsewhere fighting for freedom and Democracy, then we damned well better be sure that the examples we’re setting and the rules we’re living by are what we want to put out there. Otherwise, we’re just uncontrolled bullies looking to control more people and more land. America has always held great promise, but it is not immune to the very same problems that have destroyed other potentially great nations. If you genuinely believe in America, then don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions that true freedom demands. 

The Federal Gov’t. The RNC. Your Civil Liberties: One Of These Is Not Like The Others