Sunday, August 31, 2008

Just for Laughs, Redux

I'm beyond articulation after reading this over at Greenwald's site:
"Massive police raids on suspected protestors in Minneapolis

Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets. Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than "fire code violations," and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying.

... There was not a single act of violence or illegality that has taken place,(President of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers' Guild Bruce) 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 pre-emptive 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."

Thank God we have government pre-cogs to keep us safe from crimethink. Okay, so we don't have a First Amendment anymore...but at least they let us keep our guns. We can't let them take those away, because nothing can protect our rights as citizens like a couple semi-assault rifles up against a Pentagon bunker buster.

What Do Liberals Stand For?

Thinking about things since the Democratic Convention broke up, made me re-visit my old post on the 5 Basic Principles of Liberalism.

Just for Laughs

If you haven't yet been to the wake for murder victims Peaceable Assembly and the Right to Petition for Redress of Grievances, you'd better hurry. Services will be held soon with the burial immediately following:
"They had been persuaded...(to) conclude their protest in what the event organizers called the Free Speech Zone. This was a cage between the security zone and the public zone in which protesters were invited to demonstrate their concerns to the gathered delegates of the Democratic Party.

... I ended up standing next to a lanky, graying reporter whose security badge indicated he was from USA Today. I asked him if anyone had ever used the Free Speech Zone. He didn’t think so. But he had heard that the final location of the Zone was the result of considerable wrangling. The original location was almost completely inaccessible, and local activists had managed to ensure that the new location would be at least somewhat more visible.

This may have been the case, but the new location did not seem to be much of an improvement. I asked several volunteers if they knew where it was located, and none of them did. I finally found it myself by following some riot police to the edge of the security zone.

The Free Speech Zone, it turned out, looked liked the caged-in playground of a 1970’s-era housing project. It was made of the same kind of mesh barriers as the rest of the perimeter, only the barriers were much taller—maybe ten feet—and they had been doubled into parallel walls about four feet apart, like the twin battlements atop a medieval castle. To the right of this cage, which was about the size of three tennis courts, was a large gate, currently sealed. On one side were two dozen riot police, quite relaxed. On the other, just barely in view, the marchers. No one was in the cage. I asked one of the officers what was going on, and he said they refused to enter.

... A volunteer driving a trash cart paused to consider the situation. His youth and shaggy demeanor suggested that he might be on the side of anarchy and/or peace, but in fact he was disdainful. He looked at the meandering crowd and said, “All of them should go out and try making some money and then do something.” Then he drove off.

The protesters, for their part, seemed completely defeated. Someone had set up a microphone at a podium inside the cage and the protesters were invited inside to make speeches. I tried to listen, but I was kept so far back by the police that I couldn’t make out any of the words. The tone of the speeches became rambling, though, and at one point someone launched into a poor take on “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.”

Things were falling apart."
Yes, as they have been ever since the Southern Strategy turned the nation into a loosely-affiliated motley of tribes smug and secure in their new, improved, "color-blind" segregationism.

Now some people will say that this is only social evolution, that this is the age of the internet, and that marching thing is SO 1960s. But even a half million e-mails will never have the power of a half million warm bodies showing up to demand accountability from the Geezer-in-Chief. If you don't think Martin Luther King's people didn't have Nixon shaking in his shoes, you weren't there.


Until we can get pissed enough to get off our asses, we will continue to be herded into cattle pens miles from any potentially embarrassing encounter with the assholes who run our lives into the ground. Samuel Johnson wrote: "Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." Does this mean we must continue to watch things spiral down into disaster until our situation becomes sufficiently dire to concentrate our minds? We are a nation of grasshoppers, not ants--and we seldom do anything until its already too late. So laugh at the protesters, if you think they're hopeless, naieve, simple. Go ahead, why not? The creatures who circumscribe your lives are laughing at you, too, and their laughter puts poison in your water and takes the future away from your children. It's a fine joke.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Let's Define the Meaning of Life, Shall We?

The Old Gray Mare's Seelye today begins a fairly meaningless piece on Ye Olde Mavericke with this charming dissonance in the GOP platform:
"ST. PAUL — The Republican Party platform this year will reassert the party’s opposition to abortion. And again it will not allow for exceptions in the cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, even though Senator John McCain, the presumptive presidential nominee, has long called for such exceptions."

I will say that, to her credit, she avoids using the loathesome Orwellism "pro-life", and leaves it to one of the Ministry of Truthiness harpies to trot it out:
"Connie Mackey, a lobbyist for the Family Research Council, said: “It is out of the platform. We were told early on that the platform is going to be pro-life and that any differences the senator has with it are his own.”"

Tell me, Connie, how does killing the mother AND the fetus just to keep the woman from having an abortion add up to being on the side of life? Or is it that "life", as utilized by social reactionaries, references some sort of carbon-based creature the rest of us can't see?

And speaking of the Ministry of Truth, I wonder how things are going over there.