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Tyranny on Display at the Republican Convention

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Posted on Sep 8, 2008
AP photo / Matt Rourke

Police use pepper spray on a woman as she approaches them with a flower during a rally at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

By Chris Hedges

St. Paul is a window into our future. It is a future where, as one protester told me by phone, “people have been pepper-gassed, thrown on the ground by police who had drawn their weapons, had their documents seized and their tattoos photographed before being taken away to jail.” It is a future where illegal house raids are carried out. It is a future where vans containing heavily armed paramilitary units circle and film protesters. It is a future where, as the protester said, “people have been pulled from cars because their license plates were on a database and handcuffed, thrown in the back of a squad car and then watched as their vehicles were ransacked and their personal possessions from computers to literature seized.” It is a future where constitutional rights mean nothing and where lawful dissent is branded a form of terrorism. 

The rise of the corporate state means the rise of the surveillance state. The Janus-like face of America swings from packaged and canned spectacles, from nationalist slogans, from seas of flags and Christian crosses, from professions of faith and patriotism, to widespread surveillance, illegal mass detentions, informants, provocateurs and crude acts of repression and violence. We barrel toward a world filled with stupendous lies and blood. 

What difference is there between the crowds of flag-waving Republicans and the apparatchiks I covered as a reporter in the old East German Communist Party? These Republican delegates, like the fat and compromised party functionaries in East Berlin, all fawned on cue over an inept and corrupt party hierarchy. They all purported to champion workers’ rights and freedom while they systematically fleeced, disempowered and impoverished the workers they lauded. They all celebrated the virtue of a state that was morally bankrupt. And while they played this con game, one that gave them special privileges, power and wealth, they unleashed their goons and thugs on all who dared to challenge them. We are not East Germany, but we are well on our way. An economic meltdown, another catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil, a war with Iran, and we could easily swing into an authoritarian model that would look very familiar to anyone who lived in the former communist East Bloc.

A few of those arrested in St. Paul, including eight leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee—one of the groups organizing protests at the GOP convention in St. Paul—now face terrorism-related charges. Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald and Max Spector could get up to seven and a half years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge, which allows for a 50 percent increase in the maximum penalty. This is the first time criminal charges have been filed under the 2002 Minnesota version of the federal Patriot Act. 

The Patriot Act, which was put in place as much to silence domestic opposition as to ferret out real terrorists, has largely lain dormant. It has authorized the government to monitor our phone conversations, e-mails, meetings and political opinions. It has authorized the government to shut down anti-war groups and lock up innocents as terrorists. It has abolished habeas corpus. But until now we have not grasped its full implications for our open society. We catch glimpses, as in St. Paul or in our offshore penal colonies where we torture detainees, of its awful destructive power. 

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The commercial media told us that what was important in St. Paul was happening inside the convention hall. The vapid interviews, the ridiculous soap opera sagas about Sarah Palin’s daughter and the debate about whether John McCain or Barack Obama has proprietary rights to “Change” divert us from the truth of who we have become. You had to search out “Democracy Now!,” TheUptake.org, Twin Cities Indymedia, I-Witness, along with a few other independent outlets, to see, hear or read real journalism from St. Paul.   

It does not matter that the RNC Welcoming Committee describes itself as an “anarchist/anti-authoritarian” organization. We don’t have to embrace a political agenda to protect the right to be heard. Shut down free speech and radicals only burrow deeper underground, splitting ossified political systems into fractured extremes. We may well end up with the Christian right on one side, with politicians like Sarah Palin providing an ideological veneer to a Christian fascism, and embittered leftist radicals who turn to violence on the other. 

St. Paul was not ultimately about selecting a presidential candidate. It was about the power of the corporate state to carry out pre-emptive searches, seizures and arrests. It was about squads of police in high-tech riot gear, many with drawn semiautomatic weapons, bursting into houses. It was about seized computers, journals and political literature. It was about shutting down independent journalism, even at gunpoint. It was about charging protesters with “conspiracy to commit riot,” a rarely used statute that criminalizes legal dissent. It was about 500 people held in open-air detention centers. It was about the rising Orwellian state that has hollowed out the insides of America, cast away all that was good and vital, and donned its skin to shackle us all.


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By Alan, September 8, 2008 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now look’ee here, ya gotta vote for Barack, see,
because he is the lesser of two weevils.  Now,
don’t get all upset, just do your duty, shape up
and get with the program and you all know what
that is, right!, more right!, far right!
The conventions, heck that don’t mean spit.
This thang was all settled some time back.
This here is a empire in decline, y’all know
that it pains a empire mightily when it is in
decline, it’s like a mad rattler that ain’t
eaten a rat in ten months!

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By AG, September 8, 2008 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” — John F. Kennedy


“If there is no struggle, there is no progress,” declared Frederick Douglass in 1857, in response to those who suggested that the great abolitionist was pushing too hard for an end to human bondage. “Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

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By Big B, September 8, 2008 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

Ahh, cops beating the shit out of protesting hippies, just like the Waffen SS did to the jews, homos, and other “undesirables”.
You know we could draw paralels between modern america and nazi germany all night.
That’s the problem. We could probably do it all night.
Do you think Cheney is in the white house basement, trying to conjure up the ghost of col. Heidrich?
Naw, Cheney can handle his final solution by himself.

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By felicity, September 8, 2008 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

re: Gmost

“They” are very afraid of the potential power of the people - sometimes to the point of being somewhat ridiculous. Nixon used to go ballistic, pace the floor of the OO screaming at his flunkies to ‘get rid’ of those damn protesters standing just outside the fence surrounding the WH.

The protesters were seldom more than 10 or 20 people quietly standing, their signs protesting the Nam War held above fence level so Nixon could see them, and they drove Nixon nuttier than he already was.

As long as people power stays potential, however, it means nothing.

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By yellowbird2525, September 8, 2008 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

speaking of Hitler & the Nazi’s; our Gov brought over top Nazi’s to study what & how they did what they did; ESP how they were able to kill so many without being overpowered by the sheer numbers of people; (and you THOUGHT our Gov was GOOD??????) all of these are in place today folks; that’s why you have floride in your water; Hitler’s trick: poisoning the people; far easier to “handle” sick folks; that’s the reason you are having the news “propaganda’d into you”; when enough outcry is over the # of babies dying due to the chemicals being used: http://www.abcnews.com does a news item on it; pointing the direction however to poor prenatal health care and AWAY from the reality of the chemicals being used; http://www.naturalnews.com has extremely interesting articles folks; including one that says that 19 out of 20 CHILDREN tested have over 3 xs the amount of chemicals in their bodies (just 1 kind here folks) that their parents do; the plan for globalization is the same as it was in Hitler’s day: total world domination by the Corps & the American Gov; following THEIR plan cuz as long as folks THINK they have a CHOICE: they will discuss that endlessly rather than the SIN of THINKING for themselves! NY has had numerous outrageous tyranical behavior by cops folks: get to some independent media to learn what the heck is going on! And yes, there are millions of “disappearing” Americans; it’s part of the “agenda”;

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By felicity, September 8, 2008 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

re: shelle smythe

Pertinent observation.  My (our) arrest in LA in the early ‘80’s was covered, in fact, the footage of our being led to the waiting police van led the local news for five nights running.

Like Jefferson said, freedom of the press is our most valuable and viable freedom. The fact that the media, apparently, made the decision not to air their footage mainstream might indicate that the government controls the media?  So long, free press.

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By Gmonst, September 8, 2008 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

This sort of thing is not really anything new and not the most extreme by any means.  Remember that they actually shot people at Kent State.  Ghandi’s supporters were bashed on the head with clubs one after another without resistance. It usually seems to me like the cops are more amped to riot than anyone else. Anarchist seems to be the new buzzword to label protesters so they can be arrested and the cops can start their own version of rioting.  I have serious doubts as to who exactly threw rocks or destroyed property.  I would not at all be surprised if certain individuals (moles) do this behavior just to make protesters look bad and give credence to the tear gas and cop rioting.  I am really not so sure that this can ever really change and I certainly don’t know how to change it.  I guess it could be considered very slow progress, tasers and tear gas are better than bullets and cracked skulls.  The bottom line is non-violent protest or not, the cops come to riot and they get their way.  What we can learn from people like Martin Luther King jr. and Ghandi is to not let them make us afraid.  They are the ones who are afraid because if the collective “we” ever actually realized our power they would be out of power.

To those who have suggested the Democrats/Obama campaign are complicit because they haven’t spoken out.  You don’t understand the dog and pony show very well. Obama speaking out on behalf of anti-government anarchist rioters (alleged or not) would be hammered upon by the GOP to no end and it would work.  People are scared of chaos and nothing says chaos like an anarchist.

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By Big B, September 8, 2008 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Erica!

Did you also know that the Nazi party claimed that a “terrorist” from one of those sub-human eastern European countries did it, and rode that paranoia to victory in the next national election? And subsequently used that new found power to lead the nation of Germany into a war of conquest? Thus causing the death of 80 million people, and the destruction of much of Europe?
This story sound familier? It should, cause we’re in the middle of the remake.

Just remember this, Hitler was elected!

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By troublesum, September 8, 2008 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

In our local weekly paper there is a story this week filed by a reporter for the paper who went to St Paul to cover the convention.  He was standing on the sidelines away from the protesters with his camara.  He had press credentials on a cord around his neck.  As he was standing there (he hadn’t even started taking pictures he said) he noticed one of the police coming towards him and he didn’t understand why.  He was clearly not part of the protest.  He said he held up his press credentials and said “press.”  When he heard him say that the cop pulled out a can of whatever kind of gas they were spraying people with, held it right up to the guy’s face and sprayed.  He fell to the ground blinded and in shock and pain.
Clearly, the facists storm troopers from Blackwater employed by the republican party were attacking innocent bystanders and in particular, anyone with press credentials other than those from Fox News.

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By ender, September 8, 2008 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

Sorry Mill, but you are a liar.  No one has been arrested for acts of violence.  An empty CocaCola bottle that could have been made into a Molotov Cocktail will not fly,,,,bad pun,,,, in court. All charges will be dropped, as they have been in every recent past protest where the Homeland Security goons have been brought in to disrupt protest.  It was the same in Miami.  Arrest were made for conspiracy to riot, heads were cracked, and everyone was released soon after the event was over.

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By Shirley Bianchi, September 8, 2008 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

Not having the time to read all of the comments, this may have been mentioned already.  W, et al, have already set up the mechanisms to suspend the Constitution and declare martial law.  For confirmation, look up the Executive Orders and pertinent legislation (Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act…) passed since the neo-cons have taken office.  If Obama/Biden win, I doubt they will take office.  These times remind me of the Yiddish curse, “May you live in interesting times!”

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By noen, September 8, 2008 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges kind of conveniently neglects to mention that the “RNC Welcoming Committee” openly states they wanted to disrupt the convention. They planned to do this through violence, civil disobedience and the deliberate provoking of police. The preemptive arrests were wrong but so is the violence they planned on doing.

Throwing bricks, feces, and bags of urine doesn’t earn you any respect as far as I am concerned. Smashing windows, attacking the police, starting fires, starting riots, none of these kinds of actions have ever resulted in better conditions for the poor and the disadvantaged. We in Minn. will thank you to stay away next time. Perhaps the extremist Left should work out their unresolved Oedipal conflicts somewhere else.

I’m a Democrat and I don’t want to live under a dictatorship of the Left any more than one of the Right.

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By mill, September 8, 2008 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

The RNC Welcoming Committee went beyond their right of peaceable assembly .... they acted to disrupt and destroy rather than inform and protest.

Weapons were found in their possession.  These are not heros of free speech - they’re undisciplined brats.

If all the protestors who were arrested, sprayed, raided in St. Paul had followed Gandhi’s model of non-violence, they may have been arrested but they’d enjoy more credibility. Some peaceful protestors were abused, but too many protestors were simply disruptive and illegally so.

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By libertarian, September 8, 2008 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks Chris Hedges. In times like these, Democrats ought to take at least a quick look at libertarian approaches to guarding the Constitution. One source, cato.org, offers wide and often conflicting views from many authors, views dealing first with preserving our freedoms and secondly with approaches to government. The underlying theme is that public officials, top to bottom, are bound by law and by oath to protect our Constitutional freedoms. No matter your political leanings, government is there to serve.

I’m not a member of Cato but I did suggest to Truthdig last year that a link to the organization be included along with so many others on the Truthdig blogroll, but no response.
If one listens to Pat Buchanan, Rachel Maddow and Ralph Nader, he/she will find a common thread.. resistance to intrusive government and rule by the chronically stupid.

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By shelle smythe, September 8, 2008 at 11:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

remember the 60’s and 70’s?  in THOSE days, there would have been tapes of the protestors and even interviews with them. NOW the media/rulers make it not have happened with little or no coverage.  “if it aint on TV it didn’t really happen.”  is there NO video of this on the ‘net, which is the only place to get the story?  it was said that there were going to be 50,000 protesters, but the media claimed 2,000 or something like that. i don’t know about YOU but i would rather have more marjuana if we could get more true media coverage.

by the way, the idea that there are prisons in alaska to hold 2,200,000 dissenters is a REALLY scary thing. REALLY SCARY.

DOWN WITH MCCAIN AND PALIN—NEO-FACSISTS BOTH!!

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By Erika Rogala, September 8, 2008 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Please be advised that the Nazis burned the Reichstag in Berlin. This was the building where the German parliament met. Thanks for listening, Erika

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By purplewolf, September 8, 2008 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

Ender: most of our real military is stationed in these oil wars countries for the big corps, so chances are very good that these goons are from other countries.The war to control the oil fields in Iraq was mentioned briefly on the news, yet I heard no protest from the Repugs followers. It was implemented, by I believe Cheney several years ago that American soldiers and or police might have a problem killing other Americans on government orders, so they have gone to other counties and hired these paid killers who would have no problem killing American people. So much for loyalty and patriotism our stolen election officials show America.

Jim Yell: who thinks they are really going to waltz out of office, hell, they probably will refuse to leave and are setting things into motion to assure it.

youraveragejoe: go back to Truthdig and read Amy Goodman’s article: Why We Were Falsely Arrested (under reports)posted Sept.3,2008 and also read:Over 300 Arrested At RNC, posted Sept.3,2008 (under ear to ground). Yes, in every crowd are the jerks, but many secret service authorized reporters were attacked and arrested along with other taking pictures of the violence. Speaks volumes as to the length the RNC will go to to hide their true changes for America.

Well, it looks like they will be using those 600+ FEMA relocation centers built since 9-11 by the shadow government. Perhaps they should take all the Republican supporters into them first, as they are the ones who obviously approve of this type of thing in America, you know, torture, concentration camps, loss of all your rights etc., since they keep supporting more of the same they have earned that right to be captured first. Then, maybe they will wake up, but then it is too late.

Well this might be one way to keep the illegals at bay. Bush claims that these camps, the biggest in Alaska, of course (can hold 2.2 million dissenters)were build to house illegals making a mass exodus from America. That makes as much sense as pigs flying.

G.W. learned his bedtime stories from Preston Bush very well as a little type. He grew up to be a total socialpath, bully and liar, who cares nothing for other living beings. Well it looks like his wish to become dictator of America that he has harped about since the middle 1990’s, just as long as he is the dictator is coming true.

Now that a very scary thought.

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By TAO Walker, September 8, 2008 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

Greetings all, from Indian Country….where everything decried here (and much more and worse) has been field-tested for over five hundred years.  This old Savage has seen, heard, smelled, and tasted it all (and felt most of it), and is here to tell you every suggested response to this monster’s escalating depradations has already been factored into its owner/operators’ calculations.  Not only will they put-down all resistance of the kinds called-for here, they are all set to profit immensely by it….marketing the applicable soft-, hard-, and wet-ware to entities private and public that will buy it with funds effectively extorted from the very virtual “individuals” it will be used against.

What they CANNOT “manage” and exploit are living Human communities….what the Lakotas call Tiyoshpayes.  Free wild Human Beings grounded in the integrity of their natural organic form and function enjoy (Take it from one who does every day.) effective immunity from the discord and confusion sown by the fear-mongering agents of the wannabe destroyers of the Earth.  There is no institutional, ideological, electro-mechanical, or “individual” remedy for the near-terminal condition the domesticated peoples world-wide are in today.  Only the Living Way of Life Herownself offers something we might all go on together living-with, as our long-time tormentors pull-out all the stops, finally, in their desperate but doomed-to-be-futile attempt to keep us all from slipping here at the end from their greed-driven grasp.

It isn’t The Tishpaye Way or “the highway,” Amigos.  It’s The Tiyoshpaye Way or no way at all.

HokaHey!

   

Your tormentors have you by both the short-hairs and the throat now, tame Two-legged sisters and Brothers, and mean to squeeze what’s left of your miserable half-lives from you before they’re through.

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By yellowbird2525, September 8, 2008 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

They own the land and will state HOW it will be used: what used to be 2 home lots, they are putting in 6; toll payments for every road that there is; and water rights given to Monstanto (??) the biggest & most evil company on the planet so they work so well with our Gov; Iodized salt: turns to poison 15 minutes after entering system: causing all kinds of med problems; high blood pressures, hardening of arteries etc: USE organic sea salt; doesn’t matter if you are pro choice or not: reality is: more deaths of babies here than in any other country: cuz they put hormone growth in infants formulas along with other nasty chemicals in a specially laden chemical container: putting formaldehyde in Baby shampoos, & it goes on & on & on. They are going to KILL them anyway folks! GET A GRIP on REALITY! Quit LISTENING to the deceivers! Now they are trying HARD to force this SAME poisoning the people to get more $ for Pharma’s to themselves round robin & hey, want to go to the financial part where they are robbing you blind?

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By yellowbird2525, September 8, 2008 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

the big CHANGE that’s coming down: to “rebuild and renew” the USA: here’s how it works folks: claiming a “national” emergency that they cannot let the citizens know about; they swear folks to secrecy for “classified information”; and it comes from Gov who all the plan & have for years: to the Counties (who again have been in it for years) to the cities and yes, they also many of them been in on it for years: we have THIS democracy (which they claim is freedom) or THIS communism: in reality this nation has been run by crooks & criminals for years; no need for Mafia: they learned it well; CONSIDER this: brand new tasers for all; cops lying under oath; changing (by deleting)_clips from videos to “substaniate” THERE false claims: done every where folks; I witness can testify repeatedly: and THEY were told “someone” had called them & claimed they were holding hostages: give me a BREAK! so they “had to leave”; brand new cop cars everywhere; Corps like Absolut falsely showing map of Mexico owing most of USA; cuz while they are so “broke” they cannot pay vets disability: they are giving $ to illegals; cars, trucks, monies, and uniting them to march in demonstations etc; and everyone served in Iraq while their mothers were here illegally; NOW Kohl’s is trying hard to do a love revolution we need a new constitution! like the 60’s hippie movement; all psychologically geared AGAINST the people of the USA; in every single way from financial to giving jobs to immigrants, etc;

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By yellowbird2525, September 8, 2008 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

the activists & marchs & rallies have been KEPT from the public: which is illegal but in the “proclaimed” nation of law the lawmakers have been acting outside of the law for years; claiming you are “free”****“free? really? Were you aware that every other nation on the face of the earth SEES you as being enslaved to Corps? Cuz here is how it works folks: TAKE your blinders off & SEE: our nation was set up for all taxes to be paid for by profits from Big Business; NEVER were the people to be taxed; Reagon let it slip that the Corps should not have to pay taxes in his day that was the long range goal & TA DA to day they are NOT; he also said you seen one redwood tree you’ve seen them all; cut them all down, and BUILD! That is NOW the plan: while “claiming” cuz you are so incredibly BLIND to reality: that “we are broke” while in reality they have been living high off the hog on the people’s taxes for years; even laundering $ back: the SAME wealthy folks who owned the large plantations went & bought & paid for politicians years ago; they agressively poison you: google formaldehyde & Donald Rumsfeld: yep, he was the one behind putting formaldehyde in asparteme & getting it passed; one of the most deadly toxins to humans, it is agressively used in almost everything now: for 1 purpose: to make $ for their sister Corp the Pharma; the Drs are PAID to meet prescription quotas & make bigger bucks by pushing pill of the month: read statins now for children; cuz they TELL you to “listen” to THEM; they are the “experts”; yep, at lying, deceiving, keeping you sick, ill & killing you. WHO, Christians: is it who comes to KILL, STEAL, & DESTROY? Iraqi’s: thought you came to FREE us: instead, the “insurgents” are folks FIGHTING a DICTATORSHIP that is thousands of times WORSE than under Saddam Hussain: Bush says “we prefer to be known as dysfunctional”; cuz the SAME corps with the SAME set up HERE is there now; oh, the PEOPLE have NOTHING: the Corps & “political elites” have millions & so do their friends, and families: while gas is in long lines via the 70’s here & now $1.43 a gallon instead of 5 cent a gallon & in abundance as it should be. THEY are fighting slavery; WE are being told “we are liberating” them: no they are NOT. They are ENSLAVING them to Corps the same as we are & have been.

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By felicity, September 8, 2008 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

re:  Wallybray


“What would Gandhi and Martin Luther King do.”  They wouldn’t throw rocks for one thing because that only gives the authorities an excuse to use violence.  A goal of any protest is to encourage others to participate when there’s a next time and a scene of violence and lawlessness, on both sides, only deters others from joining a ‘next time.’  Because there is power in numbers, it’s numbers that are needed to make a difference.

The difference all around between when I was arrested and jailed for protesting in the early ‘80’s and the recent ‘scene’ and outcome in St. Paul is alarming.  My experience took place in a free state:  The entire incident in St. Paul took place in a fascist state.

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By sven, September 8, 2008 at 10:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Left wing websites like this are no different than any other agenda driven group. You present 25% of the real story and spin it to suit your politics. 

Luckily the most unbaised news came from the local Twin Cities non-political media. The truth of the matter is that thousands marched peacefully on Monday until a few “Ninja” looking anarchists armed with steel posts, bandanas, gas masks, medic first aid kits ran wild.  The police had NOT done anything until that point.  Until the smashing of cars, store windows, and the attacks on delegate buses had ocurred there was mostly no trouble. Obviously the anarchist thugs came looking for trouble. 

One of the anarchist groups raided Sunday had many homemade shields made from stolen plastic traffic barrels and had Molotov cocktails. These are not peaceful people. They ARE being charged. 

Yes, there were innocent people caught up in the arrests as there always are in things like this.  Local TV camermen were arrested, not just left wing media people like Amy Goodman.  There are lots of pictures and video of all this, so if the left wing is correct it will come out, right? So where is your evidence?  Present your evidence guys, not just grandstand on these websites. 

To me it’s just amazing how stupid the left wing and right wing blogs really look these days. All you bloggers do is post each other’s smug blog entires and make smug comments on a few MSM articles.  All the while you bloggers sit in a dark computer room 1500 miles from St. Paul.

And you think you are journalists?

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By ender, September 8, 2008 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

youraveragejoe(ker)

Please provide sources for your claim of violent protest.

You can’t.  Those claims are complete bullshit and lies.  The police claimed to have confiscated things that could make fire bombs, but so far have charged no one.  In the past, weapons are only brought by Homeland Security plants, not the demonstrators.

You sad fks don’t see nor care that $100 million was spent to stop free speach, and not one act of violence occurred, other than those by ‘police’ who were for the most part Federal Agents and rent a pig mercenaries.

Please show me the evidence of violent actions by protesters or stfu.

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By Big B, September 8, 2008 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

beerdoc

You bring up an interesting point with the “throwing a stone thru Macy’s window” story.
I have often wondered how the LA riots that followed the Rodney King verdict would have been handled by the “man” if, instead of rampaging thru their own niehborhood, the angry(mostly) black mob would have raped and plundered beverly hills and rodeo dr instead. Do you think the police would have cordoned off the area and let them burn it, or would they have called in the national guard with gunships to mow down the unruly crowd?
What kind of affect would that have had on capitalism? or america?
It’s hard to say. But I do know that over 150 years ago Federick Douglass wrote the mantra for anyone displeased with any ruling class, “Power concedes nothing without a demand, it never did, and it never will!”
Unfortunatly, the anarchists have learned a valuable lesson from our ruling class and our military, and that is, if you disagree with someone, or some institution, you burn it down. After all, GW says it worked in Iraq.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, September 8, 2008 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

One might look back and say the motion was set when we were told “impeachment is off the table”. Integrity and accountability is off the table for we have seen the destruction of our Constitution with out a whimper. Liberty is gone and France should take back the symbol of Lady Liberty in New York.

Propaganda, religion and corporate control will guide us to more of the same and into the new world order, with more control.

What war?

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, September 8, 2008 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

“Silence implies consent” so true!!

reminds me of the old Act Up slogan:

“Silence = Death”

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By Folktruther, September 8, 2008 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

The election is over.  The War on Terrorism has won.  Whether the Gop neocons or the Dem neolibs win, they both support war abroad and a police state at home.

The most important aspect of this targeting of journalists and protesters is the silence of the Dem leaders in permitting it.  Silence implies consent. There is no real opposition within the American power system to neocon-lib strategies: preemtive war abroad and preemptive attacks on the population at home.  Whether “Change is Coming” or “Change You Can Believe In” wins the election, the basic miitaristic policies will remain the same, and these lead the economic and social policies.

As Hedges says, the preemptive police attack on the journlaists and protesters was a window into the future.  The War on Terrorism will continue and the American population, their actists, leaders and truthers, we ourselves, are the Terrorists. Both the
Gops and their complicit enablers, the Dems, are attacking us, and we must mobilize to resist.

we have to understand this, frigntening as it is, if we are to mobilize against it.  It is necessary to oppose BOTH the Gop neocons and the Dem neolibs. And this cannot be done until we accept that they are following the same despotic policies.  As Fahrenheit said, only by acknowledging reality can we see a way into the future.

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By jake3988, September 8, 2008 at 8:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You see the democratic convention with the bloody cages for protestors?  I’m not sure which convention was worse, but both are frightening me.

Dissent will soon be prosecuted.  Just you wait.

Our descent into a police state has already begun.

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By Fahrenheit 451, September 8, 2008 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

@ Leefeller;

On this I’d love to be wrong, but the preponderance of evidence would would deny that.

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By Leefeller, September 8, 2008 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

Fahrenheit 451,

You may be right, this could be the last election and you are also correct, we are out of touch with the morons who vote using sound bites and propaganda to select from.

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By thebeerdoctor, September 8, 2008 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

Is any of this really new, other than the fact it has become high tech?
American History has shown, time and again the brutal actions of government to curtail the dissatisfaction of the governed. Ever hear of the Palmer raids? Or how about the loyalty oath?
Point of order Mr. Hedges. Maybe the fascination with being tattooed wasn’t such a smart idea after all.
What happened in St. Paul was terrible, but not out of the ordinary. Violation of legal rights happens every day in this country, it is called Not Having Any Money.
As for the so-called anarchists, they are romantic fools. If someone thinks throwing a rock through a Macy’s storefront window is a blow against the capitalist empire; you are sillier than you’ll ever know.

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By Big B, September 8, 2008 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

re; youraveragejoe

When they come for you, will there be anybody left to speak up for you? ahh, you know the rest.
I hope for your sake, that you never accidentally click on a website pushing Islamofacism or kiddie porn, because that knock on your door is, aw who am I kidding, they won’t knock! Then as your sitting in a dark cell wearing only handcuffs, listening to your guards laugh at your cries for a phonecall, think about when you could have stood up and said something.
Remember, todays pig is tommorrows bacon! And the fat is in the fire.

Fahrenheit,

we already had our reichstadt fire, because as those buildings collapsed to the ground, so did our “inherant” freedoms.
Let the war with Eurasia begin!

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By Fahrenheit 451, September 8, 2008 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

@ wallybray;
You may be on to something.  But, my experience is; it ain’t going to happen.  Mass activism in America is dead…6 feet under!!!  Dead I say!!!

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By wallybray, September 8, 2008 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

If we can no longer protest peacefully in the streets and the corporate media refuses to cover these stories then it’s time to protest peacefully with our pocketbooks. Hit the corporate media where it maters most. Affect their bottom line. Boycott Cable and Satellite service. Do it now and watch their stocks dive. Ask yourselves, “What would Gandhi and Martin Luther King do.”

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By jleman, September 8, 2008 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

Doesn’t anyone understand that “our” elected officials stood by and let this happen in our state? Pawlenty, “the bridges will fall down”, thought it all went well. The “sheriffs” and chiefs of police actively participated.
The mindset is already in place, it just had to play itself out. The voters need to reject this behavior in the form of recalls or impeachment. Not doing so sends the wrong message. We can’t “punish” the feds so let’s work on those locally. The next time something like this happens here, the local leaders will know they will end their careers if they go along with it!

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By youraveragejoe, September 8, 2008 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

As if St. Paul, Minnesota, and the police are all Republicans. Far from it, of course.  Obviously, the author missed the videos of these same people trashing public and private property.  And spare me comments about their being peaceful, innocent victims of fascist police behavior.  These people, by and large were anarchists, not peaceful people just exercising their rights. They weren’t mostly peaceful war protestors, etc., or even protesting Republicans and their policies.

Of course they have rights, but they had crossed obvious lines.  And the police showed amazing restraint.

I can’t believe we see the same things, and come to such opposite conclusions.

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By Jim Yell, September 8, 2008 at 5:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It has been apparent from the start of the Bush/Cheney Administration that the Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights was being targeted by the Republican Party and their ambition is to destroy both.

Why it is taking so many so long to figure this out is a wonder. It is for this very reason that Bush and Cheney and others in this administration should be charged with the crimes they have committed and bragged about. Letting them waltz out of office without payment for their crimes is to validate their gangster behavior.

They aren’t just an embarressment, they are a crime.

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By Fahrenheit 451, September 8, 2008 at 5:14 am Link to this comment

Addendum;
Everything seems to be on schedule; only two things missing; Krystallnacht and the burning of Reichstadt.  Lets see, 4 months left, so coming soon me thinks.

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By ender, September 8, 2008 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

Sorry to go on so, but the organized and illegal interferrence with free speech scares me as much as anything the Fascist in the Offal Office are doing now.

Do you see badges on any of these SS “police”?  I don’t, and I didn’t in Miami.  They are acting anonymously, and their only symbol of authority is a nightstick, handgun and Terminator Body Armor.

Investigation will probably show that a large percentage are rent a pigs from Wackenhut, trained for one thing only, violent control of nonviolent protesters.

This is how dictators increase fear, stifle dissent, and maintain control.

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By Kenny, September 8, 2008 at 5:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I actually wrote about this on my blog earlier, its really outrageous, and we talk about China when we have tyranny occurring at home.

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By writeon, September 8, 2008 at 5:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The RNC is just a glimpse behind the veil that obscures the kind of society we are rushing towards, one major terrorist attack from open totalitarianism and probably marshall law in all but name.

I think one has to drop the pretense that we really live in an open, free and democratic society, and begin organzing and thinking about ways and means to resist fascism, and hopefully, someday re-establish democracy. But I think this’ll happen after the ‘fascist’ elements have pushed the country over the edge into some kind of catastrophe; war, economic meltdown, environmental degredation.

I realize this sounds dramatic, hysterical, fatalistic… but I just don’t see us breaking the two-party monopoly on ‘democracy’ this side of something so distruptive that people will be forced to wake up, look around and see what’s really happening. Something comparable to the defeat in Vietnam which shook a lot of things up for a while.

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By ender, September 8, 2008 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

I have participated in several anti-war rallies, but the heaviest handed gov’t preparation was at the CAFTA rally in Miami.

The Federal Gov’t through a dept of Homeland security spent 10s of $millions and 6 months preparing for the event.

They used spies, misinformation and instigators to create any possible cause to arrest protesters.  During the main rally they used undercover operators to direct participants away from the arena where the permit was issued for the stationary demsonstration.  They used undercovers to start a fight at the entrance and used that as an excuse to block entry.  I saw them pat the two ‘combatants’ on the ass and send them on their way after it was over with.  They then used the excuse that since the participants weren’t in the arena, they had to disperse.  Probably half of the attempted participants were turned away by hook and crook and made unable to join a legal protest.  During the march, they had over 5000 Wakenhut rent a pigs in full body armor with weapons lining most of the route.  They brought out armored vehicles with heavy caliber machine guns for extra intimmidation.

This is where your homeland security funding is going btw.  What does the RNC add up to?  $60-70 million or more?

All to block legal free speech.

BTW my congratulation to the anarchist at the CAFTA convention.  They were well enough organized to get into several of the closed events and make sure participants from other nation knew that Americans were not united behind the CAFTA rape of their resources and labor force.  CAFTA did not pass at that convention.

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By ender, September 8, 2008 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

Sorry if these are all repeats, but they bare repeating.

look at convention security in St. Paul
By The Associated Press – Aug 20, 2008

St. Paul — by the numbers:

_The Xcel Energy Center can seat 20,000 people in the enclosed arena.

_90 state and local agencies will provide about 3,500 officers to secure the event.

_$34 million will be used to pay law enforcement officers overtime.

_$16 million will be used to train officers on how to work in large crowds and to purchase motorcycles, bicycles, radios, fuel, helmets, first aid kits and other emergency supplies.

_50,000 protesters are expected.

_About 2,100 Army and Air guardsmen will help to secure facilities and be ready to respond to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents. This includes a 500-man team, whose members look like riot police and carry batons, as well as another 500-man team with bio-suits in case there’s a report about suspicious chemicals, for instance. Thousands of other guardsmen are available if necessary.

_About 50 Transportation Security Officers (airport screeners) will help the Secret Service with screening at the convention center. In addition, special TSA strike teams comprised of air marshals, transportation security inspectors and officers, behavior detection officers and bomb-sniffing dogs, will conduct security sweeps before and during the convention.

_The Secret Service established 17 working groups for each convention that include officials from other federal, state and local agencies. The groups include, air security, counterterrorism, public affairs, credentialing, crisis management and consequence management.

St. Paul — who is doing what:

_The U.S. Coast Guard’s Deployable Operations Group (DOG) will provide maritime security, including boarding small boats, and air support.

_The Federal Aviation Administration has restricted area airspace around Minneapolis-St. Paul and designated that space “National Defense Airspace.”

_Special gamma-imaging machines used at ports will be at the convention to inspect vehicles and packages 24 hours before the event starts.

_Analysts from I&A;Homeland Security’s Intelligence directorate will be in St. Paul.

_Customs and Border Protection will help in securing airspace around the convention sites.

_The National Nuclear Security Administration will do a sweep of the venues for nuclear material, and undercover officials will walk around during the conventions with radiation detection equipment.

_Biggest security concern: “Any agency or any city that hosts an event of this size is placed in a position of trying to balance First Amendment and free expression with safety and security,” said city spokesman Tom Walsh.

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By Fahrenheit 451, September 8, 2008 at 4:48 am Link to this comment

Hedges last paragraph pretty well sums it up. 
The more I see and hear; the more I realize I don’t know.  That we here, blogging @ TD, mostly commiserate about the horrible state of affairs; increasingly leads me to realize “we” are the ones who don’t get it.  It doesn’t mean we’re wrong; it just means we have lost touch with the mainstream citizens thinking.  50.1% of the voters will decide the next president.  49.9% of us will be very unhappy whichever way it goes.  This may be the last election of any merit; even if Obama wins, which is looking doubtful.  This, the last election to pull us back from the abyss.  If we could get the two houses to act then whomever the president is, won’t matter so much.  But, that has been a dismal failure to this point. 
Only by acknowledging reality will we see a way to the future.

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By Rick, September 8, 2008 at 4:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The future is here, Mr. Hedges. Since my first history lessons, I’ve wondered what it feels like to live with people who are duped into becoming like the Germans of the 1930’s. I wonder no more. I’m watching it happen, live and in color. The corporate/fascist state is evolving in slow motion, just like it always will when the wealthy consolidate their power, guaranteeing they will never lose it.
What I wonder now is how long it will take to reach me out here in the hinterlands.

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By Paul_GA, September 8, 2008 at 4:04 am Link to this comment

As we libertarians have said all along, this is what big, powerful government leads to—tyranny.

Oh, and by the way—don’t expect the Demos to dismantle what the Repubs have wrought; if they get into the White House, they’ll want to wield that power themselves, to further their own agenda.

And if any “freedoms” are left, expect that one can enjoy them only if one is proven “loyal” to the Empire—and the smallest deviation from whatever the faction in power deems politically correct will result in their being stripped away permanently.

Ben Franklin did say we had a republic—*if* we could keep it ...

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