Tag Archives: politics

we did it!

obama is our president — our first african american president.
i’m finally proud to be a white person in america.


agreement

nicked this from admnaismith

Obama
You preferred Obama’s statements 100% of the time

Voting purely on the issues you should vote Obama

Who would you vote for if you voted on the issues?

Find out now!


RNC protests/police brutality update

and i keep wondering…where’s the media coverage?

from Starhawk:

Hey friends, here’s some quick updates on the various legal issues, including our bus, our friends in jail, and more.

Thanks for all your calls and emails—they have been tremendously effective, as you’ll see below!

My full accounts of the actions can be found at http://www.starhawk.org.

UPDATE: First, the good news: Elliot Hughes, who was badly beaten, tasered and maced in jail, is out now, with all charges dropped. He’s with our Pagan Cluster, getting lots of healing, good food and a bath, and this morning will go to a hospital for a CT scan as he has head injuries. His spirit is amazingly strong, and it’s really good to have him back and see him smiling and laughing.

Riyanna is also out of jail, with all charges dropped, and back with us. She’s unharmed and doing well.

Jason Scarecrow is still in jail, still as far as we know has not received medical treatment for his wounds, including a gash in his foot and remaining bits of copper from the taser in his hip, but sounds in good spirits and we hope to see him get out today. He was tasered seven times by the police in the street when he was not resisting their unprovoked arrest, and beaten up badly for no evident reason.

Over a hundred activists were released uncharged throughout the night. Police were driving them far away from the jail and their waiting supporters and dropping them off in lonely places with no phone access.

UPDATE ON THE BUS:

The City Attorney’s office in Minneapolis has now said that seizing the bus was “a regrettable misusnderstanding”. The bus will be released today, and while the Wilsons will still have to have it towed from the lot beause of some clauses in the city’s insurance policies, they are free to drive it, do workshops and trainings from it, and stay in the state of Minnesota as long as they like. One of the National Lawyers’ Guild lawyers is a former truck driver and has offered to help them fix the mechanical issues with the bus that were found in the inspections. So the PermiBus may soon be on the road again. Thanks so much for all the support, and thanks to all of you who have donated money. Any funds left after they pay for towing, impound, and repairs will go to help pay for gas and food for the crew as they carry on their journey of teaching and training the skills we need for survival and change. Oh yeah—and for starting a lawsuit that will help deter the authorities from doing this sort of thing again.

See their blogs and journals at permibus.livejournal.com.

Information on Earth Activist Trainings can be found at http://www.earthactivisttraining.org.

BAD NEWS:

Eight members of the RNC Welcoming Committee have been charged with criminal conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism, under the Minnesota version of the Patriot Act. The Welcoming Committee organized the food, logistics, housing, and meeting spaces for protestors coming to the Twin Cities. No actual acts of violence were committed or alleged to be committed by any of them. No weapons or physical evidence of any conspiracy were found. The entire case against them is built on the testimony of three paid informants who infiltrated meetings. Such testimony has been proven, over and over again, to be notoriously unreliable—as the informants have a vested interest in fabricating plots and plans that can justify their pay and a disproportionate police response, which we have seen.

This is exactly what we’ve always feared the various anti-terrorist laws would be used for: not to stop another September 11, but to target dissent.

I’ll have more information later on this—a press conference is scheduled for this morning. But let’s just be clear—when people can be charged with ‘conspiracy’ for things they have not actually done, we are all at risk. Almost all the protestors arrested in this last week were charged with ‘conspiracy’: ‘conspiracy to riot’, Riyanna was charged with ‘conspiracy to use poisonous substances’ (???) although no evidence of any poisonous substances were found anywhere on or around her. (Those charges were dropped.) When we can be arrested, tasered, beaten, have our property seized and illegally searched on no evidence that we’ve actually done something but only on suspicion that we might have thought about or spoken about the possibility of doing something or be somehow associated with a group that someone else thinks might be thinking of doing something—whoa, no one is safe.


RNC- not the age of dissent

so, you think you live in a free country? you think we have the freedom to assemble? think again. and i’ll be very surprised if any of us hear about this from mainstream media outlets.
———-

RNC2—Raid on the Convergence Center

By Starhawk

It’s Friday night. Our Pagan Cluster is sitting on the bluff of the Mississippi having our first real meeting, when Lisa gets a call. The cops are raiding the Convergence Center, where we’re organizing meetings and trainings for the protests against the Republican National Convention. It’s not a role play, the caller says. It’s real.

Instantly, we jump up and hurry back the six or eight blocks to the old theater we are using for meetings, trainings and social gatherings. I ‘ve spent the last two days doing magical activism trainings, teaching people how to stay calm and grounded in emergency situations and when things get chaotic. Now it’s time to put the training into practice. Aaron, a tall, red-headed young man who could be one of my nephews strides along beside me. “Are you grounded?” I ask him. He nods, and runs ahead.

Nobody can keep up with Lisa, who speeds ahead like an arrow, walking, not running, but still covering the ground quickly. Andy and I trail behind. We’re often street buddies, because we’re both big, slow, and supremely calm and stubborn, willing to wade into almost any situation and become the immovable object.

We’re stopped by a line of cops just before we reach the building. They refuse to let us through, or to move their van which is blocking Scarecrow’s car. There’s an investigation underway, they say, and won’t say more.

Brush, our dear friend, is inside, having gone to a jail solidarity meeting, ironically enough. So are two very young people who had just joined our cluster that night. I try calling Brush’s cell phone, but get no reply.

We wait. That’s what you do when the cops have guns trained on kids inside a building. You wait, and witness, and make phone calls, and try to think of useful things to do.

We call lawyers. We call politicians. We try to call media. We call friends who might know politicians and media.

Through the kitchen door, we cansee young kids sitting on the floor, handcuffed. We walk across the street, back, made more phone calls. An ambulance is parked in front, and the paramedics head into the building, leaving a gurney ready. Susu, from her car around the corner, reports that the cops have been grabbing pedestrians from the street, forcing them down to the ground, handcuffing them.

Song, one of the local organizers, calls her City Council member. She wants to call the Mayor, Chris Coleman, who has promised that St. Paul will be as welcoming to protestors as to delegates, but no one has his home number.

What I have forgotten to tell people at the training is how much of an action is just this: tense, boring waiting, with a knot of anxiety in your stomach and your feet starting to hurt. Song talks to a helpful neighbor, who’s come over to find out what’s happening. He knows where the mayor lives, says it’s just a few blocks away, and draws us a map.

We decide to go and call on the Mayor, who could call off the cops. About five of us troop down there, through the soft night and a neighborhood of comfortable homes and wide lawns on the bluffs above the Mississippi. The Mayor’s house is a comfortable Dutch Colonial, and lights were on inside. We decide that just a few of us will go to the door, so as not to look intimidating. Song is a round, soft-bodied middle-aged woman with a sweet face. Ellen is a tiny brunette with a gap-toothed smile, and Lisa, formidable organizer though she is, looks slight and unthreatening. The rest of us hang back. Someone opens the door. Our friends have a conversation with the mayors’ wife, who is not pleased to be visited by constituents late at night, and who tells us we should call the office. The Mayor, she says, is asleep, and she will not wake him up.

We think a mayor who was doing his job would get up and go see what’s going on. Nonetheless, we head back to the convergence space.

A protestor has been released from the building. A small crowd has gathered across the street, and Fox News has arrived. They interview Song, who does her first ever Fox media spot. She tells them the truth—that people were in there watching movies—a documentary about Meridel Le Seuer. Meridel would be proud, and I’m glad she is with us in some form.

One by one, protestor’s trickle out. Now we get more pieces of the story. The cops burst in, with no warning. They pulled drew their guns on everyone—including a five year old child who was there with his mother, forced everyone down on the floor. It was terrifying.

They had a warrant, apparently, from the county, not the city, to search for ‘bomb making materials.’ They were searching everyone in the building, then one by one releasing them as they found nothing.

They continue to find nothing, as we wait through long hours. Meanwhile, more and more media arrives. These cops are not as creative as the DC cops during our first mobilization there against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Those cops confiscated the lunchtime soup—which included onions and chili powder, claiming they were materials for home made pepper spray.

We wait until the last person gets out. He’s a twenty year old who the cops have accused of stealing his own backpack—but apparently they relented.

And now it’s morning. I wake up to the news that cops have been raiding houses where activists are staying, bursting in with the same bogus warrant and arresting people, including a four year old child. They’ve arrested people at the Food Not Bombs house—a group dedicated to feeding protestors and the homeless. They’ve arrested others, presumably just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Poor Peoples’ Campaign, which had set up camp at Harriet Island, a park in the middle of the Mississippi, has also been harassed, its participants ordered to disperse and its organizers arrested.

Let me be perfectly clear here—all of us here are planning nonviolent protests against an administration which is responsible for immense violence, bombs that have destroyed whole countries, and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

This is the America that eight years of the Bush administration have brought us, a place where dissent is no longer tolerated, where pre-emptive strikes have become the strategy of choice for those who hold power, where any group can be accused of ‘bombmaking’ or ‘terrorism’ on no evidence whatsoever in order to deter dissent.

Please stand with us. Because it could be your home they are raiding, next.

Call the Mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Tell them you are outraged by these attacks on dissent. Urge them to let Poor People encamp and to let dissent be heard.

FLOOD THE MAYORS’ OFFICES ASAP

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman

651-266-8510

Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak

(612) 673-2100

(612) 673-3000 outside Minneapolis


they shoots polar bears, don’t they?

I guess I should weigh-in on the Palin for VP news. It’s just, well, it took me this long to stop laughing. Ok…here’s what’s obvious:

* Appease the fanatical religious right: yes, she does this, and quite nicely. It’s scary how perfect she is for them.

* Energy/environment: she wants drills and pipelines everywhere, and add to that she shoots polar bears and is all for aerial hunting of wolves. Even Bush would be proud. McCain has (had?) some reasonable stances on the environment, but with Palin at his side, I think things will become very dim and grim for the planet.

* The Hillary vote: ain’t gonna happen. Just because Palin has breasts does not mean that women will leave the Clinton camp and go running to support a McCain/Palin ticket. Palin is against everything that Clinton supporters hold dear. No, those who support Clinton are not just looking to make history by putting a woman in the white house. It has to be the *right* woman, and Palin is not her.

So, my take on it? Things have become surprisingly amusing.

******
eta: I finally found the quote from Palin that I was looking for. From the NYTimes:

As recently as last month, Ms. Palin appeared to dismiss the importance of the vice presidency in an interview with Larry Kudlow of CNBC, who asked her about her prospects for the job.

“I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me, what is it exactly that the V.P. does every day?” Ms. Palin told Mr. Kudlow. “I’m used to being very productive and working real hard.”

I guess she finally got her hands on the job description. yeah…she’s really ready to assume the position.


poliSpeak -or- you thought they meant REAL change?

You know, I do try to not be so cynical. I really do want to believe that somebody, somewhere, someday will speak plainly and truthfully. These little glimmers and sparks of hope are very hard to keep shiny in the face of reality. Columnist Michael Kinsley seems to feel much the same. Here’s the first bit of his Op-Ed piece in the NYTimes.

THE purpose of a party platform is pandering, but it is pandering of a particular sort. The Democratic Party’s platform committee has produced its 2008 edition, and now this draft awaits approval at the Democratic National Convention later this month. Like all platforms, it is not an outreach document. It is aimed at the faithful, under the assumption that only they will read it.

The platform is Democrats’ assurance that the party still loves them, their reward for supporting a candidate who may not have been their first choice and their consolation for betrayals yet to come. Much of it is written in code, lest it fall into the wrong hands.

Translating the document is no simple task. First, an alarmist note. Democrats favor “tough, practical and humane immigration reform.” And, “We will provide immediate relief to working people who have lost their jobs, families who have lost their homes and people who have lost their way.” It’s not clear what that third item refers to. Tax credits for G.P.S. devices? Presumably, “people who have lost their way” doesn’t mean illegal immigrants trying to find the border.

As a general rule, platforms of both parties avoid the word “people” in favor of “the American people” or “families” or “American families.” And platforms traditionally follow the rhetorical rule that there are three of everything. This year, though (in a development that will, I fear, reinforce prejudices about liberal profligacy), the Democrats have replaced the Rule of Threes with a Rule of Fours: “policies that are smart and right and fair and good for America,” or “a government as decent, candid, purposeful and compassionate as the American people themselves.” Or sometimes even Fives or Sixes (I’ll spare you).

He goes on and it’s worth the short read. The rest can be read at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/opinion/10kinsley.html?ex=1376020800&en=30470925f0e2e13c&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink


ahhh, randy

Brni and I were driving home from walking Loki at the local walking/biking path when a music reviewer for NPR came on to talk about Randy Newman’s new CD, Harps and Angels. As background, my dears, Randy Newman is my all-time, most favorite singer/songwriter/composer ever on the planet and beyond. Yes, yes, yes.

The reviewer, sharing my appreciation for Mr. Newman’s genius, made mentioned of the one song he was less than pleased with which was “A Few Words in Defense of Our Country.” Now, he wasn’t disappointed with the lyrics or sentiment of the song, but rather the version redone for the album. Apparently, Randy put out a YouTube video of the song before the album came out. The reviewer pointed out that the version on the album was reworked in a country/western style, losing much of its cutting political edge.

After we got home, Brni turned around and went out to buy the CD. We listened. It’s wonderful. I then searched out the YouTube vid and yes, the reviewer was dead on. The album is great. The song better as first presented.

so, here it is…

you can leave your hat on.


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