S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Home for the Holiday

At home today -- It is going to be hard work for a lot of people, no holiday. It will not be a day of rest for everyone. We will be treating is as normal day here at our home. Perhaps hot dogs and potato salad will be the extent of our minimalist celebration. And I do not feel particularly “at home” this day. I feel unsettled and watchful, carried along by outside events. There is a surreal tone to the day, as if I am in a theater watching a cheap movie. It is partly because of stuff like this on John McCain's homes: HT to Jon (8/30/08): "ABC News: Political Radar -- Cindy McCain tells Stephanopoulos that Obama Offended Her." To quote:

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos reports: Democrats' attacks on her family's wealth are unfair and offensive, Cindy McCain said today in an interview airing tomorrow on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

For nearly two weeks, Democrats have repeatedly hit Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for saying he is unaware of how many houses he owns, calling the presumptive Republican presidential nominee out of touch with everyday Americans. In his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention on Thursday, Democratic nominee Barack Obama turned up the heat on McCain, saying he "doesn't know" about the lives of middle-class Americans.

"I'm offended by Barack Obama saying that about my husband," said McCain's wife Cindy.

When asked if Obama went too far in his criticism of McCain, Cindy responded, "I do. I do. I really do."

Homes in the Gulf empty out – The uninvited guest, Hurricane Gustav is currently at Category 3. Three years ago about now, a bigger Hurricane, Category 5 Katrina, came ashore in New Orleans, Louisiana and a long nightmare began for the entire Gulf Coast region. It is reported that 95% of the population heeded the evacuation orders of officials this weekend. A number of them had just gotten back into their repaired homes after waiting years to do so. Many had been living in our region, the diaspora from other hurricanes. Now they are back.

Not where expected -- Many others of us around the nation will not be in our usual places today. This Labor Day was to have been the day when the Republicans convened in Minneapolis to nominate their candidates for President and Vice-President. That event will be scaled back to the minimum required under election law, because of the impending hurricane. The presumptive Republican candidates will be out and about, however, looking properly concerned and self-sacrificing for the occasion. We can assume they are relieved that our current president (OCP) and his Veep will not be attending. At the same time OCP and his officials have seen to it that a number of protesters are neither at home nor in the streets, according to Glenn Greenwald's Sunday post. This is no cheap movie (see *videos referenced below). They have been rounded up and put in the Minneapolis jail without being charged, probably until Wednesday.

Hosting the police state? -- The "question of the day" was asked by my blog friend "betmo:" How much truth can we handle? Her own personal answer is pretty gloomy. An earlier Glenn Greenwald post at has chilling implications for the possibility of things to come. Titled, "Massive police raids on suspected protesters in Minneapolis," Saturday Aug. 30, 2008. The story begins with this:

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.

Targeting citizen homes -- "BREAKING: FBI, ATF, and St. Paul Police Massing at 1162 Juliet Ave." This is the Sunday midnight headline from Lindsay Beyerstein for The Campaign Silo and Firedoglake. This same writer also has the raid story on Saturday: "Inside an RNC Raid," by Lindsay Beyerstein, August 30, 2008. It begins and ends with these mind-bending facts:

Thanks to the miracle of cellular technology, I was able to talk to a homeowner while his home was surrounded by police conducting an RNC-related raid. At approximately two-thirty this afternoon, I reached Mike Whelan, a waiter and army veteran, at his duplex at 951 Iglehart Ave. in St. Paul, Minnesota. Whelan said he'd invited independent observers from the group LegalWatch stay in one half of his side-by-side duplex while they monitored RNC protests.

Whelan described himself as a supporter of the RNC demonstrations, but said he is not affiliated with any particular group. "I want to build a country that's based on good social values," he explained. . . Whelan said it was especially perplexing that the police would target his home.

"There's nothing here," he said, "These are the "checking" people. They're not even going to be in the demonstration. Some are lawyers."

Whelan was watching a large crowd of legal observers gathering across the street, many wearing red or green hats. The police officers he could identify were from St. Paul, but he thought there might be other forces on the scene as well. The officers were wearing black uniforms. Their vehicles were "non-descript" vans, not police cruisers. TV cameras were also on the scene. Whelan couldn't be sure because a tree was blocking his view, but he thought City Council member Melvin Carter had arrived. Whelan called him when the raid started. (Talk about constituent service.)

"You figure this would be going on in South Africa, or Russia, not in St Paul," Whelan said, marveling at the incongruity of it all,"St. Paul is nice."

Is this homeland security? In May of this year I posted about the FBI and its plan to infiltrate the Minneapolis groups. Marcy Wheeler adds current perspective to this bizarre story. "This Is What Happens When You Use Terrorism Laws to Investigate Hippies." By: emptywheel Sunday August 31, 2008. To quote her conclusion:

. . . all the more reason to find out the precise role of the JTTF in these raids. If the Bush DOJ approved the use of terrorism techniques to prepare for the convention--in spite of the fact that such an approval would violate DOJ guidelines--we'd have a crystal clear example of why it is inappropriate to interpret terrorism as broadly as the Bush Administration has been pushing to do.

Two of my blog friends left home for the Veterans for Peace march in Minneapolis. "Spadoman" did not have far to go, but "Kitchen Window Woman" traveled all the way from California, saying, " Today we are on our way to the Veterans For Peace Convention in Minneapolis and are real excited." By some stroke of luck they met in person there. Spadoman tells the story:

I am currently working as a volunteer for the Veterans For Peace National Convention right here in my backyard. The turnout is great. The lineup of speakers is fantastic. I had the pleasure to meet a member of The American Patriot Institute as well, none other than Kitchen Window Woman and her husband. I am looking forward to speaking with her more.


View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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