Archive for August, 2008

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Amy Goodman Jumps Fence To Question Cops

August 31, 2008

More from http://www.theuptake.org. Sat. Aug 30, 2008. Saint Paul, MN Police Department raids a home at 591 Iglehart Avenue at gunpoint. The journalists include a contributing photojournalist with “Democracy Now”, whose host Amy Goodman appears in this clip jumping a fence to question police officers.

This is part of a series of police actions on the eve of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

After several hours, all those detained were released. No arrests. No property was seized as result of the search warrant. The clip ends with an interview with homeowner Mike Whalen. At the start of the clip, a neighbor shouts to the media and onlookers that we could all come into her backyard to see the detained people held in the adjacent backyard.

Video by Chuck Tomlinson

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Federal government involved in raids on protesters

August 31, 2008

From Glen Greenwald

As the police attacks on protesters in Minnesota continue — see this videoof the police swarming a bus transporting members of Earth Justice, seizing the bus and leaving the group members stranded on the side of the highway — it appears increasingly clear that it is the Federal Government that is directing this intimidation campaign. Minnesota Public Radioreported yesterday that “the searches were led by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office. Deputies coordinated searches with the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

Today’s Star Tribune added that the raids were specifically “aided by informants planted in protest groups.” Back in May, Marcy Wheelerpresciently 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.

Beyond that, there is a widespread sense that the targets of these raids deserve what they get, even if nothing they’ve done is remotely illegal. We love to proclaim how much we cherish our “freedoms” in the abstract, but we despise those who actually exercise them. The Constitution, right in the very First Amendment, protects free speech and free assembly precisely because those liberties are central to a healthy republic — but we’ve decided that anyone who would actually express truly dissident views or do anything other than sit meekly and quietly in their homes are dirty trouble-makers up to no good, and it’s therefore probably for the best if our Government keeps them in check, spies on them, even gets a little rough with them.

After all, if you don’t want the FBI spying on you, or the Police surrounding and then invading your home with rifles and seizing your computers, there’s a very simple solution: don’t protest the Government. Just sit quietly in your house and mind your own business. That way, the Government will have no reason to monitor what you say and feel the need to intimidate you by invading your home. Anyone who decides to protest — especially with something as unruly and disrespectful as anunauthorized street march — gets what they deserve.

Isn’t it that mentality which very clearly is the cause of virtually everyone turning away as these police raids escalate against citizens — including lawyers, journalists and activists — who have broken no laws and whose only crime is that they intend vocally to protest what the Government is doing? Add to that the fact that many good establishment liberals are embarrassed by leftist protesters of this sort and wish that they would remain invisible, and there arises a widespread consensus that these Government attacks are perfectly tolerable if not desirable.

During the Olympics just weeks ago, there was endless hand-wringing over the efforts by the Chinese Government to squelch dissent and incarcerate protesters. On August 21, The Washington Post fretted:

Six Americans detained by police this week could be held for 10 days, according to Chinese authorities, who appear to be intensifying their efforts to shut down any public demonstrations during the final days of the Olympic Games. . . . 

Chinese Olympic officials announced last month that Beijing would set up zones where people could protest during the Games, as long as they had received permission. None of the 77 applications submitted was approved, however, and several other would-be protesters were stopped from even applying.

On August 2, The Post gravely warned:

Behind the gray walls and barbed wire of the prison here, eight Chinese farmers with a grievance against the government have been consigned to Olympic limbo. 

Their indefinite detainment, relatives and neighbors said, is the price they are paying for stirring up troubleas China prepares to host the Beijing Games. Trouble, the Communist Party has made clear, will not be permitted.

Would The Washington Post ever use such dark and accusatory tones to describe what the U.S. Government does? Of course it wouldn’t. Yet how is our own Government’s behavior in Minnesota any different than what the Chinese did to its protesters during the Olympics (other than the fact that we actually have a Constitution that prohibits such behavior)? And where are all the self-righteous Freedom Crusaders in our nation’s establishment organs who were so flamboyantly criticizing the actions of a Government on the other side of the globe as our own Government engages in the same tyrannical, protest-squelching conduct with exactly the same motives? 

Just review what happened yesterday and today. Homes of college-aid protesters were raided by rifle-wielding police forces. Journalists were forcibly detained at gun point. Lawyers on the scene to represent the detainees were handcuffed. Computers, laptops, journals, diaries, and political pamphlets were seized from people’s homes. And all of this occurred against U.S. citizens, without a single act of violence having taken place, and nothing more serious than traffic blockage even alleged by authorities to have been planned.

A man whose sister was one of those arrested at one of the raided houses in Minneapolis yesterday emailed me a photograph of her and her friend who was also arrested — Monica Bicking (r.) and Eryn Trimme — and he wrote this:

They are still in custody. I’ve been told that the police have 36 hours to charge her, and that 36 hours starts after the labor day holiday, so they only have to charge her sometime Wednesday. It seems unlikely that they’d do anything to expedite her or Eryn’s release. 

They were then planning to actually board up her house for unspecified “code violations”, but apparently her neighbors were very vocal, and the police ended up agreeing not to do anything so long as the front door was fixed by 6pm (the front door they’d busted in).

Heres is the extraordinary blog item I linked to yesterday from Eileen Clancy, one of the founders of I-Witness Video — a NYC-based video collective which is in St. Paul to document the policing of the protests around this week’s Republican National Convention, just as they did at the 2004 GOP Convention in New York. Clancy wrote this as a plea for help, as the Police surrounded her house and (before they had a search warrant) told everyone inside that they’d be arrested if they exited the home:

This is Eileen Clancy . . . 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 sounds like what it was: a cry for help from a hostage. Hours later, the Police finally obtained a search warrant — for the wrong house, one adjacent to the house where they were being detained — and nonetheless broke in, pointing guns, forced them to lay on the floor and handcuffed everyone inside (and handcuffed a National Lawyers Guild attorney outside). They searched the house, arrested nobody, and then left. 

Any rational person planning to protest the GOP Convention would, in light of this Government spying and these police raids, think twice — at least — about whether to do so. That is the point of the raids — to announce to citizens that they best stay in their homes and be good, quiet, meek, compliant people unless they want their homes to be invaded, their property seized, and have rifles pointed at them, too. The fact that this behavior is producing so little outcry only ensures, for obvious reasons, that it will continue in the future. We love our Surveillance State for keeping us safe and maintaining nice, quiet order.

UPDATE: A Professor at the University of Minnesota who lives in the neighborhood where one of the homes was raided yesterday sent photographs he took which rather conclusively demonstrate federal involvement in these raids:

And Feministing has the video — here — of the scene yesterday where journalists were detained, along with an interview with the homeowner whose house was raided.

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We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For

August 31, 2008

From PUPPETGOV.COM

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DNC Super Rally: Ralph Nader

August 31, 2008

Ralph Nader at the Open the Debates Rally, Aug 27 2008, Denver, CO.
Coverage generously provided by Free Speech TV www.freespeech.org

Visit VOTENADER.ORG

PART 1

PART 2

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Theocratic Sect Prays for Real Armageddon

August 31, 2008

 

By Casey Sanchez, Southern Poverty Law Center- repost from ALTERNET

LAKELAND, Fla. — Todd Bentley has a long night ahead of him, resurrecting the dead, healing the blind, and exploding cancerous tumors. Since April 3, the 32-year-old, heavily tattooed, body-pierced, shaved-head Canadian preacher has been leading a continuous “supernatural healing revival” in central Florida. To contain the 10,000-plus crowds flocking from around the globe, Bentley has rented baseball stadiums, arenas and airport hangars at a cost of up to $15,000 a day. Many in attendance are church pastors themselves who believe Bentley to be a prophet and don’t bat an eye when he tells them he’s seen King David and spoken with the Apostle Paul in heaven. “He was looking very Jewish,” Bentley notes.

Tattooed across his sternum are military dog tags that read “Joel’s Army.” They’re evidence of Bentley’s generalship in a rapidly growing apocalyptic movement that’s gone largely unnoticed by watchdogs of the theocratic right. According to Bentley and a handful of other “hyper-charismatic” preachers advancing the same agenda, Joel’s Army is prophesied to become an Armageddon-ready military force of young people with a divine mandate to physically impose Christian “dominion” on non-believers. Read the rest of this entry ?

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God Only SEEMS Nonexistent!

August 30, 2008

From Edward Current Our Lord goes to extraordinary lengths to create the illusion that he does nothing. Why? Because he can do anything!

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Nader and the Democrats

August 29, 2008

From THE REAL NEWS

See also: McCain-Obama Challenge    The Hermit    OI: Political ads    For Hire    Gear

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Race, Poverty & Obama

August 29, 2008

From THE REAL NEWS NETWORK– with Danny Glover, Joanne St Lewis, Bill Fletcher, Tom Morris

See also: McCain-Obama Challenge    The Hermit    OI: Political ads    For Hire    Gear

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Help Obama Girl Change the World

August 29, 2008

An Operation Itch proposal:

See also: McCain-Obama Challenge    The Hermit    OI: Political ads    For Hire    Gear

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A Moment in History

August 29, 2008

As critical as we at Operation Itch are and will continue to be of Obama’s plattform, last night was historic. We will take the gloves off got on day, and let him enjoy it.

But just for one day.. – DT/OI
A Moment in History    By Eugene Robinson – originally posted @ TRUTHDIG 

DENVER—“I cried on Monday when Michelle spoke,” Rep. John Lewis told me Wednesday at the Pepsi Center, “and I know that on Thursday night at the stadium I’ll cry again.”

Lewis, as every schoolchild should know, is one of the few lions of the civil rights movement still with us. As a Freedom Rider, he was pummeled by white Alabama mobs in 1961. As chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, he spoke alongside Martin Luther King Jr. at the March on Washington in 1963. His pate is scarred from a brutal beating administered by Alabama state troopers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge during the first Selma-to-Montgomery march, in 1965. Lewis has earned the right to shed tears of amazement and joy.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Colbert: Repo Man Success Story

August 29, 2008

Thank goodness the economy is good for some people:

See also: McCain-Obama Challenge    The Hermit    OI: Political ads    For Hire    Gear

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Police Slam Code Pink Protester to the Ground

August 28, 2008

Brace up for the RNC.

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Police Seize Journalists Notes About RNC Protest Plans

August 27, 2008

more at http://www.theuptake.org
A trio of journalists who have a track record of documenting police abuse at political conventions were stopped and searched during the early morning hours in Minneapolis. Police took their video equipment, cell phones, hard drive and notes about protests planned for next week’s Republican National Convention.

No charges have been filed against the three, according to Mineapolis police spokesman Sgt. William Palmer.

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An Open letter to Obama Supporters:

August 27, 2008
See also: McCain-Obama Challenge    The Hermit    OI: Political ads    For Hire    Gear
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GET A SHOVEL

August 27, 2008

Depending on which poll you believe, team McCain has caught up. Why- Obama has abandoned the left, and is fighting for the center. How did that strategy work in 2000? In 04? This just further highlights the pickele that progressives find themselves in. Naomi Klein does a great job describing this.

See also:  McCain-Obama Challenge     The Hermit     OI: Political ads      For Hire      Gear 

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Katrina Pain Index: Three Years Later

August 27, 2008

by: Bill Quigley, originally published @ t r u t h o u t | Perspective


Trumpeter Marlin Jordan (left) leads a memorial procession up the Claiborne Bridge in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana in 2007. As the three-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches this week, the city ranks No. 1 in the nation in percentage of housing vacant or ruined. (Photo: Reuters)

Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast three years ago this week. The president promised to do whatever it took to rebuild. But the nation is trying to fight wars in several countries and is dealing with economic crisis. The attention of the president wandered away. As a result, this is what New Orleans looks like today.

0. Number of renters in Louisiana who have received financial assistance from the $10 billion federal post-Katrina rebuilding program Road Home Community Development Block Grant – compared to 116,708 homeowners.

0. Number of apartments currently being built to replace the 963 public housing apartments formerly occupied and now demolished at the St. Bernard Housing Development.

0. Amount of data available to evaluate performance of publicly financed, privately run charter schools in New Orleans in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 school years.

.008. Percentage of rental homes that were supposed to be repaired and occupied by August 2008 which were actually completed and occupied – a total of 82 finished out of 10,000 projected. Read the rest of this entry ?

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WAKE UP AMERICA!

August 27, 2008

A great speech from my former boss, but what, exactly, are the democrats asking us to wake up to? Kucinich outlines the problems we face, and plays the good Democratic Soldier here for Obama, but how will Obama differ from McCain on the issues that matter most? – DT/OI

See also:  McCain-Obama Challenge     The Hermit     OI: Political ads      For Hire      Gear 
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Biden rehearsing Speech with Obama

August 27, 2008

Allowing Biden to be the VEEP is like allowing Anthony to speak at Caesar’s funeral

See also:  McCain-Obama Challenge     The Hermit     OI: Political ads      For Hire      Gear 
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Naomi Klein on Obama

August 26, 2008

From The REAL NEWS

Klein speaks about Obama and the intellectual and political integrity of the progressive movement. The “movement” is caught in a bind. What do you do? Do you, as a progressive, “shut up” for a while?

Naomi disses Move On- which is why OPERATION ITCH EXISTS in the first place.

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Primary Obligations: Why the Democrats Should Fix the Nominating System

August 26, 2008

 

By David Greenberg- originally published @ DISSENT MAGAZINE

SUPPORTERS of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, for all their differences, have in the course of this emotional primary season come to view the Democratic Party’s nominating process as seriously flawed. To be sure, Obama’s enthusiasts would seem to have little reason to complain, while Clinton’s own errors, tactical and strategic, wounded her at least as much as any kinks in the system. Yet, it became apparent this past spring that in such a tight race, with the candidates effectively tied, various procedural injustices that might otherwise be waved off—the length of the season, the (theoretical) king-making power of the superdelegates, the decisive influence of caucuses and open primaries, the effective disfranchisement of two elector-rich swing states—influenced and perhaps altered the race’s outcome. Even if the candidates muster the obligatory shows of unity this summer, at this writing (May) it seems that the party will have to address the procedural pitfalls exposed this year. Read the rest of this entry ?