"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Sunday, August 31, 2008

What was it that Kucinich was shouting at the top of his lungs at the DNC? Wake up America? Police State In Republican Convention City And Elsewhere?

The Sunday Town Crier: “Sunday Morning And All Is… Well Gone To Hell!”

For months, people most would describe as tinfoil hat wearers have been predicting the cancellation of the November 4th election. And gun ownership supporters have been fighting for their right to bear arms to protect themselves from a police state. Are they crazy?

There's something coming down in Minneapolis-St. Paul that looks very menacing-- real "Can't Happen Here" fascist, gestapo tactics that look they are coordinate from on high-- with FBI and Homeland Security participation.

Preventive strike forces by police have invaded homes of people planning protests, or even planning to protect protesters by video-taping police. The victims of these raids have been forced to lie face down on the floor, have been handcuffed and then, their computers, records and some money has been taken from them. This frightening abuse of constitutional rights has been done using vague claims that the police are preventing riots. Here's what Glen Greenwald reports:

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.

Jane Hamsher and I were at two of those homes this morning -- one which had just been raided and one which was in the process of being raided. Each of the raided houses is known by neighbors as a "hippie house," where 5-10 college-aged individuals live in a communal setting, and everyone we spoke with said that there had never been any problems of any kind in those houses, that they were filled with "peaceful kids" who are politically active but entirely unthreatening and friendly.

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 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.

The 10 or so individuals in the house all said that though they found the experience very jarring, they still intended to protest against the GOP Convention, and several said that being subjected to raids of that sort made them more emboldened than ever to do so.

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."

Greenwald updates his report, describing what a Democracy Now reported:

...she was present at a meeting of a group called "I-Witness" -- which videotaped police behavior at the 2004 GOP Convention in New York and helped get charges dismissed against hundreds of protesters who were arrested.

The police surrounded the St. Paul house where they were meeting even though they had no warrant, told them that anyone who exited the house would be arrested, and then -- even though they finally, after several hours, obtained a warrant only for the house next door -- basically broke into the house, pointed weapons at everyone inside, handcuffed them, searched the house, and then left.

Here is the press report released by a victim of the police gestapo tactics:

Live from the I-Witness Video Residence

This is 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.

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.

We are asking the public to contact the office of St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman at 651-266-8510 to stop this house arrest, this gross intimidation by police officers, and the detention of media activists and reporters.

That report was followed by this one:

Some Other Interesting Places To Visit:

Truth In Journalism…Novel Idea!

Western Bullshit Vs Russia

Here We Go Again

Gov. Palin was FOR the Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere BEFORE She Was ...By noreply@blogger.com (Vox Populi) Today, for the second time, I heard Alaskan governor and McCain VP pick Sarah Palin say that she said "no thanks" to the federal funding of the infamous "bridge to nowhere." REALLY? Then what did she mean by this? ...Powhatan Democrats Blog - http://powhatandemocrats.blogspot.com/

Nixon, Agnew, Quayle, Cheney--and Now Palin?Why are the Republicans so cavalier in their selection of Vice Presidential nominees? A historical look, with some quotations from the Republicans at the National Review.
In comments designed to inflame tensions between the two countries, Putin told CNN: "The suspicion arises that someone in the United States especially created this conflict with the aim of making the situation more tense and creating a competitive advantage for one of the candidates fighting for the post of US president." The White House dismissed Putin's suggestion it had orchestrated the conflict as "not rational".
If future historians look back on this month as opening a new era of confrontation between Russia and the West, Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia's youthful, headstrong president, will achieve immortality. This impulsive, charismatic lawyer will go down as the founding father of the Second Cold War.
In an interview with Germany's ARD television Friday, Mr. Putin called on the 27-nation bloc to take what he called a rational and objective stance on the Georgian conflict. He blamed Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili for starting the conflict, and he criticized the United States for supporting the Georgian leadership.
59% of undecideds say Palin unready to be president. 69% say she is conservative, not moderate.
McCain's veep pick is a proud member of Feminists for Life, which tries to convince young women that choice means giving up the right to 'choose'. Founded in 1972, one year before the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the historic Roe vs. Wade decision, they aim for college-age young women.
The 85,000 Democrats leaving Invesco Field on Thursday night loved their coach. In a speech that rose beyond the occasion, Sen. Barack Obama changed the dynamics of the presidential campaign. With fire in his eyes and politeness thankfully forgotten, he finally put Sen. John McCain on the defensive, most notably mocking the Republican’s claim that he’s best suited to be commander in chief.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that enemies do not wish to see Iran and Russia are powerful. He said presence of the US and some of its allies in the region and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan have provoked extremism and tension in the region.
Asked in an interview with CNN if the Georgia row could hurt U.S.- Russian cooperation on Iran , Putin said: "If nobody wants to talk with us on these issues and cooperation with Russia is not needed, then for God's sake, do it yourself." Russia says it does not want Iran to have atomic weapons, but that the Islamic republic is entitled to a peaceful nuclear programme.
$3.8 billion: The initial Help America Vote Act allocation that California Secretary of State Deborah Bowen said "pushed many counties into buying electronic systems that were not properly reviewed or tested." Fadiman's no-frills documentary touches on voters being purged from rolls in Florida in 2000 (the single greatest threat to the 2008 election) and suspiciously insufficient distribution of voting machines in Ohio in '04.
Unlike the athletes, the neocons, unfortunately, represented the US public, the real losers. The neocon strategy, the use of --or threat of-- military power to create a US dominated world order, has left its legacy: wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a stumbling, debt ridden US economy. They have left the country weaker and more pessimistic.
The US has begun five-day military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf, claiming it is preparing for a 'potential confrontation' in the region. The joint war games led by Britain's Royal Navy Commodore Peter Hudson have also brought together vessels from Britain and Bahrain and started Sunday. Earlier in August, a large armada of US and European naval vessels were deployed to the Persian Gulf to reinforce the US strike force.
For months, supporters of H.Con.Res. 362 have defended themselves against critics who argue that the bill poses a serious risk of escalating the conflict between the US and Iran. several cosponsors (four of whom have since withdrawn their cosponsorship) have openly stated that the resolution's blockade language must be removed in order for them to support it. Other cosponsors have lobbied House Speaker not to allow a vote.
Watching television coverage of the convention, with the relentless focus on what the Democrats should do, whether they did it well enough, what they didn't do but should have, and how people would react to it, it often seemed that many journalists don't really have much interest in journalism; they'd rather play armchair campaign manager.
Gov. Palin may be the second woman vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket, but she is not the right woman. Sadly, she is a woman who opposes women's rights, just like John McCain.
There is nothing criminal about refusing to honor a supposed commitment to serve as contract killers for the world's largest source of preventable criminal violence.
Perhaps Messrs Lieberman and Guttman's article will prove enlightening to those who do not believe that a certain small tail is wagging a rather large dog....
I've had a good run. In 1955, when I started as a reporter, newspaper city rooms were full of tobacco smoke, alcoholics, gluepots, steel rulers, copy pencils and typewriters. There was a lot of profanity and an occasional fistfight. Editors excelled in sarcasm. But they taught me how to write clear sentences. My goal has always been to stimulate, provoke people into thinking for themselves. I wish you all a fond farewell.
When Chemung County bought new electronic voting machines, they expected them to make voting easier. But, they aren't working as well as expected. In fact, the county is having trouble just getting them up and running in time for an upcomming election. Mary O'Dell of the Board of Elections reported, "Almost every time you do something with them, something funny happens."
Yes, America's economy is a war economy. Not a "manufacturing" economy. Not an "agricultural" economy. Nor a "service" economy. Not even a "consumer" economy.
Is an imperial presidency destroying what America stands for? Bill Moyers sits down with history and international relations expert and former US Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich who identifies three major problems facing our democracy: the crises of economy, government and militarism, and calls for a redefinition of the American way of life. Bacevich will be on the Rob Kall Radio Show Wednesday night at 9 PM EST
Leonard Peltier writes to Obama: "Your election as president of the United States, where slaves and Indians were long considered less than human under the law, will undoubtedly constitute a historic moment in race relations in the United States. Yet symbolism alone will not bring about change..."
Rachel Maddow reported to Keith Olbermann that Palin expressed her intention to support the project. This goes much further.
INFOWARS: The biggest Newspaper in the Netherlands today devotes its front page to news that the Dutch intelligence agency has helped the CIA prepare for an air attack on Iran which it now believes is imminent. AIVD, Holland's military intelligence service, has pulled back from operations it was carrying out inside Iran as it believes an American led attack will go ahead within weeks according to De Telegraaf's sources.
Tucked deep into a recent proposal from the Bush administration is a provision that has received almost no public attention, yet in many ways captures one of President Bush’s defining legacies: an affirmation that the United States is still at war with Al Qaeda.
Now what? After the US warned Britain that release of "torture" info would "strain US/British relations"...The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has failed to persuade the High Court that evidence which could help prove the innocence of a British resident held in Guantanamo Bay must remain secret.
Britain has failed in its duty to stop the U.S. from committing “shameful acts” in the treatment of suspects detained during the war on terror, one of America’s most respected intellectuals warned Saturday. Professor Noam Chomsky calls on the Government to use its special relationship with Washington America to secure the closure of Guantanamo Bay.
If Palin's only on the ticket to try to get disaffected Clinton supporters to cross over, it’s a bad choice. Joe Biden may already be practicing his drop-dead line for the vice-presidential debate: “I know Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a friend of mine, and governor, you’re no Hillary Clinton.”
Vice President Dick Cheney in his first visit to Tbilisi next week will assure Georgia that the United States stands firmly with its ally which is reeling from a decisive military defeat at Russian hands.
In an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace to air Sunday morning, John McCain indicated that the GOP convention could be suspended because of Hurricane Gustav. "It wouldn't be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented in the form of a natural disaster," McCain told Wallace.
The directors of two major veterans’ groups say the Pentagon’s personnel chief has intentionally withheld benefits from wounded service members. The 2007 Walter Reed scandal, which resulted mostly from poor oversight and inadequate leadership, pales in comparison to what we view as the deliberate manipulation of the law” by David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and his deputies.
The Obama-Biden campaign has endorsed the very foundations of the Bush administration's foreign policy agenda: "Go after Osama bin Laden, "take him out". The Democrats have endorsed the "Big Lie". The fact that bin Laden is US sponsored intelligence asset, created and sustained by the CIA, is never mentioned.
VERO BEACH, FLA. A system error in Sequoia's optical scanner resulted in doubling the number of votes counted in 40 of 54 precincts in Tuesday's election.
Sarah Palin InvestigationThis is amazing. McCain's pick for VP is being touted as a "reformer," yet she is under investigation. Appropriate for a member of the "Keating 5," whose economic plan is written by a foreign bank lobbyist, and whose foreign policy plan is written by a lobbyist for Georgia.
Denver through the eyes of now-Denverite David Sirota. Yesterday he posted that Obama's speech included "rise up" referring to his book, "The Uprising." Quote: The progressive movement is on the ascent, overtaking the business-backed triangulators that have been running the Democratic Party--and the country--into the ground.
John Nichols provides background on McCain's VP pick."young enough to be his daughter" & "transparency and accountability" Article Quote: But she's currently the subject of an investigation of whether she used her position to try force the firing of an Alaska State Trooper, who was been involved in a divorce and child custody battle with the governor's sister.
Israel's leadership resolved, in top-level strategic discussions three months ago, to do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from having nuclear bombs. Maariv's veteran political reporter Ben Caspit stops short of detailing the precise solution Israel will implement to put an end to Iran's nuclear program, but writes, "Preparations for an Israeli military option intended to stop Iran's nuclear program are underway."
Many innocent individuals will be flagged, scrutinized, investigated, placed on watch lists, interrogated or arrested, and possibly suffer irreparable harm to their reputation, all because of a hidden machinery of data brokers, information aggregators and computer algorithms.
Krugman: Feeling No PainMy first reaction to Bill Clinton’s convention speech was sheer professional jealousy: nobody, but nobody, has his ability to translate economic wonkery into plain, forceful English. Clinton, famously, felt our pain. Republicans, manifestly, don’t. And it’s hard to fix a problem if you don’t even think it exists.
Vladimir V. Putin, the country’s paramount leader, lashed out at the United States on Thursday, contending that the White House may have orchestrated the conflict to benefit one of the candidates in the American presidential election. Putin also said Russian defense officials believed that United States citizens were in the conflict area supporting the Georgian military when it attacked the separatist region of South Ossetia.
"We have presidential elections as a substitute for serious democratic politics"– that's what Andrew Bacevich says. We shouldn't blame George Bush for the underlying assumptions of the global war on terror, Bacevich argues. "Really it was Bill Clinton who more than anybody else made armed intervention a routine aspect of American political life."
Massive market manipulation: That such obscenities are allowed to continue – UNREPORTED by the mainstream financial press – is, in itself, a condemnation of not only how warped, twisted and connived our capital markets are, but how COMPLETELY BROKEN and complicit our system of free speech and irresponsible our media have become.
There is a remarkable and palpable fear abroad in this land- not a fear of terrorism, but a fear of speaking up, a fear of being labeled as "different" or as a "troublemaker." People will lean over and whisper their opinions, if they think they are anti-Establishment, as though someone might be listening. It's time for all of us to put a stop to this creeping usurpation of our liberties.
Updated August 29, 2008, to emphasize the point that this is NOT just about "electronic voting machines", undisclosed software or paper ballots, as some have suggested. It's about Election Management Systems, software bugs (disclosed or otherwise), checks and balances, and good old common sense.
A nonprofit lobbying organization aimed at strengthening Israel's image in the media quietly ran ads during the Democratic National Convention in which Boulder, Colorado launches missile attacks on Denver, in an attempt to bolster support for Israeli action against Iran. Israel remains the top recipient of US foreign aid.
rapture, speaking in tongues, anti-science, creationism... just lovely
The author of this critique points out some potentially fatal flaws with NIST's latest propaganda piece.
When Gorbachev pulled Russian troops out of East Germany in 1990 his only condition was that NATO did not station troops in East Germany. The promise was given, but soon forgotten, and Russia has been treated like the Cold War loser ever since.