Trig Paxson Van Palin-Less Than a Day Old and Already a Celebrity

The date is April 18, 2008. Palin’s premature baby is less than one day old.

When you look at the photos below, remember, this baby was born just hours earlier, and is 1 month premature – with Down Syndrome. Where’s the surgical gowns, the masks, the incubator? Does this look like a premature baby born that same day?

By the way, this one-month premature baby was scheduled to be released from the hospital the very next day.

Evacuation rules got it right this time

When Katrina struck three years ago, part of the awful news to follow had to do with people’s pets. People being evacuated or stuffed into the stadium were prevented from bringing along their pets. Thousands chose to stay behind rather than abandon their animals, and many thousand more pets died in the flooding that followed the hurricane. Thousands of animals did survive and were eventually rescued; many of those found homes around the country. My own friends, who barely made it out of the city in time, had to leave their cats behind. One of the cats survived in the attic of their house, but it was a skinny animal they retrieved when they could get back into the city.

This time around, none of this should happen.

Authorities evacuating residents from New Orleans ahead of Hurricane Gustav are making amends with four-legged friends after thousands of pets perished in Hurricane Katrina three years ago.

Animal welfare groups tried to make sure that evacuees had their pets with them, while shelters away from the Gulf Coast accommodated animals this time around.

The group stacked up boxes for residents who planned to carry their small pets with them as part of an evacuation on buses and trains through the Union Passenger terminal.

Pet owners stood in line to register their furry friends. Then they were given a machine readable band to tag on to their pet, in case they became separated.

Republicans Asked to Change Their Hats for Gustav

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In light of the massive Hurricane Gustav bearing down on New Orleans, and wishing to spare his party the embarrassment of appearing unconcerned while hundreds die and a major American port city drowns (again),

A mighty fine American hat

A mighty fine American hat

Senator John McCain announced that activities at the Republican Party Convention would be scaled down. The Senator said that this was a time for his fellow Republicans to “take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats.” For me, this begs the question, “Don’t the Republicans wear their ‘American hats’ all the time? Or does this support the contention that Republicans put party before country on a routine basis?”

Three years ago the President blew it big time and a lot of good people died as a result. They have pledged to do better this time, but we’ll only know for sure once the damage has been done and the hurricane has passed. May whatever Gods our people believe in have mercy on all their souls. Good luck to our fellow citizens in the path of this hurricane (and, possibly, the one right after it.)

Crescent City Stories

by Harry Shearer

This week Harry Shearer launches a series of videos from New Orleans – his part-time home town. In today’s episode, Harry introduces us to four determined people who will share their deeply personal stories of just how hard life has been in The Big Easy since Hurricane Katrina.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Crescent City Stories by Harry Schearer“, posted with vodpod

This is a 6-part series (continued below the fold).

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Silence From The Press About RNC Police Raids and From The Politicians

I was under the misguided delusion that all of these raids, police harassment, snatch squads, and arrests made in St. Paul would cause a media blitz to descend upon the Twin Cities.  Oh, there was a blitz, but it wasn’t by the media.  It came from concerned bloggers and journalists that don’t work for the MSM.

So I checked the front page stories from all the newspapers today; to see what they deemed important for you to know.  This is what I found.  NYT’s has “Thousands Stream From New Orleans Ahead of the Storm”, good start but “Troops Surge Took Place Amid Doubt and Debate” could have been buried on page two.  How about USA Today, maybe they thought is was noteworthy, no it didn’t appear there either.  “Bush, Cheney skip GOP Convention” made it.  Wall Street Journal headlined Gustav, Bush Cancels Convention Speech and the Highlight of the Day “Night Runner”.  You ask “Night Runner”??  Is about McCain VP pick Gov. Sarah Palin discusses her unusual workout and fitness routine.  Do I care about the workout habits of Sarah Palin??  OMG, since when did a government official’s fitness training become of National Importance.

Robert Kennedy Jr., in his speech, notes that the decline of our media could be traced to the 1988 repel of a Federal Communications Commission regulation known as the Fairness Doctrine, which Reagan threw out the window.

I agree with that view to a certain point, the rest of it IMHO is the 5 or 6 men that run all the media outlets.  The Rupert Murdoch’s of the world have killed any fair and balance reporting that most of us remember.  It is not in their best interest for you to know about  civil rights violations that are happening around the country.  If you did, you would probably write your congressman, email the government, or even protest on the White House front lawn.  That is not a problem Bush and his cronies want to deal with. So to protect them, media giants like Murdoch squash any chance of you hearing the truth.  That the US is under siege, in a manner of speaking, that you could just disappear or have policemen break down your door with automatic weapons in hand, cuff you and take you to jail.  Your crime, you thought about, or were going to protest a corrupt government, and you asked to see a warrant.

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Op-Ed’s Nationwide Take on Palin

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The following was written by Boyd Reed at Talking Points Memo. He did such a fantastic job of collecting various Opinion pieces from around the country, I just had to repost it in full. As a note, I am quite surprised by the sheer number of negative Op-Ed’s on Palin as McCain’s selection for Veep.

I haven’t changed a word of Mr. Reeds outstanding read, but I did change the order in which he listed them so that a couple of key Op-Ed’s (ABC, AP and NYT are above the fold). In total, Boyd lists a whopping 27 negative Op-Ed pieces.

So, McCain made his ground-shaking pick, and the media jumped all over it, as was presumably his design. McCain won his news cycle – but now, these MSM outlets have had time to fully digest the pick and its ramifications – and are finding all sorts of odds and ends while unleashing its vetting grinder on Palin. If these editorials are representative of the campaign’s new meme, McCain lost the election in the bargain.

Here’s a collection of various op-eds around the country that are, on the whole, not very flattering to the first-term Alaska governor.

I believe this media reaction will be critical to the Obama campaign’s strategy. They can just quote all this beautiful stuff here, and not have to get involved in hitting Palin directly.

Senator Straight Talk’s judgment is being bashed in these, too. It’s really beautiful when the media actually does its job and reports the truth, you know?

Happy reading!

ABC News (Jake Tapper – yes, THAT Jake Tapper!):

Palin doesn’t exactly scream “experience,” which is McCain’s main argument against Obama. For a decade she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, which has a population of approximately 8,471, which the Obama campaign says is less than 1/20th the size of his former state senate district. Palin has been governor for two years. Some might argue that in terms of experience she makes Obama look like Robert Byrd. In July, Palin told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow that “as for that VP talk all the time, I tell ya, I still can’t answer that question until, until somebody answers for me ‘What it is exactly that the vice president does every day?”

AP (Ron Fournier – yes, THAT Ron Fournier!):

She is younger and less experienced than the first-term Illinois senator, and brings an ethical shadow to the ticket. Just 20 months ago, she was mayor of Wasia, Alaska, a town of 6,500 where the biggest issue is controlling growth and the biggest annual worry is whether there will be enough snow for the Iditarod dog-mushing race… Palin’s lack of experience flies in the face of GOP charges that Obama is not ready to be commander in chief. McCain himself has said he was determined to avoid a pick like Dan Quayle, the little-known Indiana senator George H.W. Bush put on his ticket in 1988 in a choice that proved embarrassing…But, as McCain suggested himself, his 72nd birthday is a reminder that age and experience matter.

New York Times:

Governor Palin’s lack of experience, especially in national security and foreign affairs, raises immediate questions about how prepared she is to potentially succeed to the presidency. That really is the only criteria for judging a candidate for vice president.

There is much, much more below the fold.
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Will McCain turn RNC into telethon for hurricane victims?

Raw Story

A top aide in the McCain campaign said officials may turn the Republican National Convention into a service event to aid possible victims of a hurricane headed towards the Gulf Coast, CNN reported Saturday.

Convention officials are discussing several ways of changing plans so that Republicans are not seen celebrating in the wake of category 4 Hurricane Gustav, which could cause serious damage to New Orleans.

“He wants to do something service-oriented if and when the storm hits and it’s as bad as its expected to be now,” the McCain source said.

What a party of hypocrites..

Its been three years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. What have they done for the people who needed help desperately, and have continued to need help over the last three years? Not much. Who has benefited? Developers and corporations. Oh, and we can’t forget Blackwater. Blackwater is gearing up to go to New Orleans once again..

Business will be booming..

Amy Goodman from DemocracyNOW asks investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill how Blackwater profited off Hurricane Katrina. H/T: Crooks & Liars

And health care for these people.. If they were really concerned about the health and well-being of these people of New Orleans post-Katrina, then why haven’t they done something before now to get their hospitals going again that serve the needy? Watch Broken Levees, Broken Lives.

Refresh yourselves with the facts:

Katrina Pain Index: New Orleans Three Years Later.
Just a tiny excerpt from a VERY long list:

1.9 billion. FEMA dollars scheduled to be available to metro New Orleans for Katrina damages that have not yet been delivered.

2.6 billion. FEMA dollars scheduled to be available to State of Louisiana for Katrina damages that have not yet been delivered.

This is what the Republicans have brought you so far when it comes to hurricane tragedy and real peoples’ broken lives. A telethon? Too little too late. This RNC “telethon” is nothing but a total ‘show’ for political advantage. Theater. Nothing more. If they were genuinely concerned for the well being of these people, and truly wanted to help the victims of a major hurricane, then they had their chance three years ago and did nothing.

There is a very good post on this today from Bob Geiger:
McCain Has Long Used The Troops — Now It’s On To New Orleans

He references a post by Martin Bosworth:
From Katrina to Gustav, You’re Still “On Your Own”

To use this impending tragedy for political gain, and just to make themselves look good, is reprehensible, it’s hypocritical, it’s manipulative, it’s misleading, it’s dishonest, disingenuous, and it’s slimey politics.

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    (a) Use of the Armed Forces Authorized-
      (1) IN GENERAL- Section 333 of title 10, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
`Sec. 333. Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law

`(a) Use of Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies-

(1) The President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to–

    `(A) restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that–


    `(i) domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authoritiesof the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order; and


    `(ii) such violence results in a condition described in paragraph (2); or
      `(A) restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that–


      `(B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such insurrection, violation, combination, or conspiracy results in a condition described in paragraph (2).
      `(A) so hinders the execution of the laws of a State or possession, as applicable,of the United States within that State or possession, that any part or class
      `(B) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.
  • `(2) A condition described in this paragraph is a condition that
      `(A) so hinders the execution of the laws of a State or possession, as applicable, andof the United States within that State or possession, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authoritiesof that State or possession are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or
      `(B) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.

Let’s take a look at how this may be employed by the Imperial President:

The President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service to suppress, in a State, any conspiracy if such conspiracy results in a hinderance of the execution of the laws of a State so that any part of its people is deprived of a right or privilege or protection named in the Constitution.

Note that the Imperial President may assume command of the State’s National Guard and implement the provisions of this Law, based on his determination alone. There is no provision for judicial review. Once the Imperial President implements this Law, there is no Constitutional Government.

Now, to put this into context. Below is a story about how law enforcement is arresting journalists and others in the Twin Cities who are planning on protesting the RNC convention. It is not too much of a stretch to say they are conspiring, and the effect of their conspiracy will be to hinder the freedom of assembly of the RNC convention, and will involve many minor infractions of the law – disturbing the peace, obstructing traffic, that sort of thing.

Under the provisions of Law, the Imperial President may send in the armed forces to arrest and hold all such “conspirators” indefinitely. Indeed, once the provisions of this law have been implemented, each detainee may be considered an “unlawful enemy combatant.” If they fail to provide proof of citizenship, they could be held as an “unlawful alien enemy combatant” and be subjected to the provisions of the Military Commissions Act.

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Republican Sunday on the Tubes

Every Sunday, Crooks and Liars lists who will be the Talking Heads du jour for the morning talk circuit. I always read the list of Who’s Who and wait for the end of the day results and commentary, also provided by C&L.

The round-up of Talking Heads is usually somewhat balanced with relatively equal numbers of Democrats to Republicans (Blue Dogs aside), but today’s roundup of moving mouths are almost exclusively Republican.

ABC’s “This Week” – Cindy McCain, wife of Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain; Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and John Kerry, D-Mass.

CBS’ “Face the Nation” – Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, R-N.Y.; Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.; Carly Fiorina, adviser to the McCain campaign.

NBC’s “Meet the Press” – Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn., and Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian.

CNN’s “Late Edition” – Govs. Charlie Crist, R-Fla., Mark Sanford, R-S.C., and Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn.; former Sens. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., and Tom Daschle, D-S.D.; Reps. John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Eric Cantor, R-Va.; Nancy Pfotenhauer, adviser to McCain; Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn.; R. David Paulison, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Fox News Sunday” – John McCain, Cindy McCain; Mike Miller, director of operations for the Republican National Convention.

“Chris Matthews Show” – Panel: Norah O’Donnell, Clarence Page, Elisabeth Bumiller, Howard Fineman. Topic Questions: As the fall campaign begins, who has the edge: Obama-Biden or McCain-Palin? Will Palin help McCain turn out conservative voters? Meter Questions: Is Gov. Sarah Palin a smart pick for John McCain? YES: 6 NO: 6 Would McCain meet stiff opposition from Democrats in Congress? YES: 11 No: 1

I don’t expect much from Fox, but look at Face The Nation. This is going to be a half-hour campaign stump under the guise of reporting. And while CNN and ABC are the only networks offering a Democrat a say, ABC is offering a 2-1 GOP/Dem discussion while CNN is offering 7-2 in favor of the Republican points of view. Wow. Just wow.

At least 60 Minutes will have Obama and Biden on together for their first joint appearance.

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From across the pond – Palin and more..

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What am I to say. I was absolutely flabbergasted by McCain’s choice. My thoughts meandered from “Maybe he’s a genius and I didn’t notice.” to “He’s making fun of all of us.” back to “They won’t vote for someone like her, will they?”. The thought of Sarah Palin jumping into the fray if anything should happen to the oldest first term US-President ever is so outlandish I am really at a loss what to say. It is telling, however, that the Republican leaning part of Larry King’s panel yesterday did not seem too happy, either. They went out of their way to avoid the focus on McCain’s age and the possibility that Sarah Palin could be US President in a hurry.

As usual I give you the quotes of some of the British and European newspapers, so you can get an impression what the “old world” thinks about your politics. Today’s Sunday papers have more than the usual number of really good articles, so enjoy reading.

Murdoch’s The Times points out, that all’s not well within the Republican Party about this:

The Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, was facing a backlash from his party last night over the appointment of Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, as his running mate after it emerged that he had met her only once before offering her the job.

His choice of Palin, a 44-year-old, gun-toting, moose-burger-eating mother-of-five, confirmed his maverick reputation but also caused some leading Republicans to question his judgment. (read more)

What a contrast to Obama.  Simon Jenkins explains why the Presidential Elections in the US are so closely watched all over the world and how Obama would put an end to stupidity in US government. Mind, this is still The Times:

Every American voter casts a de facto proxy vote for the disenfranchised millions who consume America’s foreign and military policy abroad, from Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and Burma to benighted Palestine. For tens of thousands of them, an American president is the difference between life and death. Millions more depend on the presidential election as beneficiaries of US aid, or as victims of US hostility and sanctions. Billions of Iranians, Pakistanis, Russians and Chinese have an interest as nations which American governments criticise and threaten. Obama’s global popularity lead over McCain is thus more than a beauty contest. Were he to be elected, his country would unquestionably experience an immediate and dramatic surge in popularity. (read more)

The Guardian focusses on the female vote:

Never before have women voters been so much the focus of concerted political attention. Clinton’s sprawling, dramatic battle with Obama has put the female vote firmly in the headlines. By the end of the fight, Clinton had moulded herself into the unabashed champion of women, demanding that their voice be heard. Now Obama is scrambling to make sure those voters stay in his coalition. The surprise factor is that the Republicans have joined the chase and are aggressively pursuing the same target. McCain is heaping praise on Clinton and her achievements. Now he has picked a mother of five from Alaska as his running mate. Battle has been joined. The war for the women’s vote could define the final two months of the election. (read more)

The campaign, will be a vicious one, however, they predict and point out who and what to watch out for:

Democrats do launch attack ads and campaign negatively but no one does it like the Republican party. Under a succession of dark geniuses, the party has perfected the black art of negative campaigning. It has created the most effective attack machine in the Western world, with the sole purpose of destroying opponents and winning elections. For opponents it is a source of shock, misery and more than a little envy. Its tentacles stretch from the McCain campaign into the murky corners of talk radio, the internet and shadowy groups willing to use any outlandish smear. (read more)

The Independent compares the Presidential race to a horse race and warns that all is not over yet:

The thrill of politics, at its simplest, is that of the horse race. In this country, most of us have forgotten what a close race looks like. Our last truly competitive general election was in 1992. Last summer, until Gordon Brown shied at the fence, we were briefly returned to the urgency and the drama of the daily battle for advantage. But America has provided two consecutive two-horse races since the primaries began at the start of the year. This is politics at its most compelling, when the winner is the one who makes the fewest mistakes. (read more)

John Rentoul takes on Sarah Palin, too and has something to say about her as America’s “Iron Lady”.

The Telegraph points to the cloak and daggers-style process around Sarah Palins nomination:

Later that night she held talks with top McCain aides Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter in a “safe house” – the home of a friend of the Republican candidate.

The next morning, Mrs Palin was driven to the McCain ranch in nearby Sedona. There she first met Mrs McCain before her husband formally offered the vice-presidential slot as they sat and chatted on the deck. It was just their second meeting in person.

Mrs Palin and her aide flew later on Thursday with the two McCain lieutenants to Ohio, where they checked in to a hotel as the “Upton family”, while Mr McCain made his way publicly to the key battleground state. (read more)

The risk in choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate goes beyond her inexperience, there’s always “Troopergate”:

What started as a family dispute in the suburbs of Anchorage could yet determine who governs the world’s most powerful nation for the next four years as Alaskan politics finds itself as the unprecedented focus of a billion-dollar election battle. (read more)

The Economist points out the risks of this nomination as well and, again, praises Obama:

But the risks of choosing such an unknown quantity are enormous. An important aspect in selecting a vice-president is to reassure the electorate that should anything happen to the man in the Oval Office there is a competent and trustworthy stand-in ready to take over. John McCain’s age (he is 72) is an underlying factor with voters. Although Ms Palin’s youthfulness, she is 44, is an eye-catching contrast to the top of the ticket, questions will be raised about her ability to run the country if Mr McCain should ever be incapacitated.

And the tenures of both Al Gore and Dick Cheney as vice-president have raised the profile of the office. Vice-presidents were once expected to be solid and reliable but mostly boring. Messrs Gore and Cheney took on policy portfolios, such as government reform or preparing for war with Iraq. Barack Obama’s pick of Joe Biden for the role now seems all the more wise. (read more)

Der Spiegel revisits the race issue:

Now, though, it’s McCain against Obama, Republican against Democrat, old against young — and, more than anything else, white against black. McCain, of course, hasn’t broached the race issue directly. But indirectly, the argument goes like this: To be white means to be like John McCain — patriotic, bedecked with medals and honors, self-sacrificing and a hero. To be black means to be like Barack Obama — eager for the spotlight, similar to a Hollywood actor, egocentric, flippant and lacking truly American values. White America is — subtly and adroitly — being mobilized against black America. (read more)

But Obama has left his mark on the Democratic Party, too, a good thing in Der Spiegel‘s eyes:

One test of a presidential candidate’s strength, and often his best shot at winning, is how much he can mold his party in his image and rally it around a powerful argument for his election. Barack Obama left Denver having made significant progress on both fronts.

The Democratic Party today is different from the one that lost the last two presidential elections. It is bigger, younger and less visibly linked to traditional Democratic interest groups. (read more)

Finally, Die Welt another conservative newspaper puts it’s finger on McCain’s age

Vice presidential choices seldom have much effect on the presidential election. But McCain’s choice received extra scrutiny because of his age and bouts with skin cancer. He turned 72 on Friday and would be the oldest, first-term president in U.S. history. If he dies or is incapacitated in office, Palin would succeed him – a point stressed by Obama’s campaign in pointing to her resume. She is only two years into her first term in governor, and her previous experience was as a small town mayor.

and worries:

Palin has no international affairs experience and, in little more than a month, will be in a nationally televised debate with Biden, one of his party’s leading voices on foreign policy and a quick witted, sharp-tongued public speaker. She is three years younger than Obama and a generation younger than Biden. (read more)

It’s a good thing today is a Sunday, this is an awful lot to read and each one of the sites linked to has much more to offer. So, grab a cup of coffee and see for yourselves. Have a nice and peaceful Sunday!


As the Republican Party prepares to party in the Twin Cities, God is preparing a not-to-subtle reminder of their ineptitude. Gustav is strengthening to hurricane strength, and the center of its projected path is New Orleans.

August 29, 2008…5:59 am:

Gustav is predicted to make landfall during RNC Party

Gustav is predicted to make landfall during RNC Party

UPDATE: Gustav approaching Catagory 5 and moving:

Gustav strengthens, passes Cuba

Gustav strengthens, passes Cuba

UPDATE 8/31:


For a real-time map, see here.
(HT: Willyloman)

Once again, will McCain and Bush be eating cake while Americans suffer through a natural disaster?


New Orleans still hasn’t recovered from Katrina, but workers are working to finish replacing lost housing a memorial to the 1,600 victims of Bush’s ineptitude in the face of disaster.

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Massive Police Raids-Squashing the Right to Protest and Assembly

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I posted yesterday about one raid in St. Paul, unfortunately there were many other similar raids across the city.  Here is an excerpt from Glenn Greenwald with some details about these police raids.


“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 Glenn Greenwald went to two of the homes –one had just been raided and the other one was in the process of being raided.  They give us a chilling look and description of what these people went through.


“In the house that had just been raided, those inside described how a team of roughly 25 officers had barged into their homes with masks and black swat gear, holding large semi-automatic rifles, and ordered them to lie on the floor, where they were handcuffed and ordered not to move. The officers refused to state why they were there and, until the very end, refused to show whether they had a search warrant. They were forced to remain on the floor for 45 minutes while the officers took away the laptops, computers, individual journals, and political materials kept in the house. One of the individuals renting the house, an 18-year-old woman, was extremely shaken as she and others described how the officers were deliberately making intimidating statements such as “Do you have Terminator ready?” as they lay on the floor in handcuffs. The 10 or so individuals in the house all said that though they found the experience very jarring, they still intended to protest against the GOP Convention, and several said that being subjected to raids of that sort made them more emboldened than ever to do so.”


Twin Cities Indymedia posted this yesterday: RNC Welcoming Committee Organizers Seek Sanctuary From Illegal Arrests.


“Today two members of the RNC Welcoming Committee sought sanctuary from illegal disappearances carried out by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office at the Twin Cities Friends Meeting in St. Paul. Andy Fahlstrom, 27, and Betsy Raasch-Gilman, 56, appealed to the meeting for sanctuary following the arrests of five other Welcoming Committee members on Saturday, August 30. Warrants for the “search” of two other members have been made public – others have been “searched” and then arrested and held without bail for “probable cause.” Many have been snatched on the street by plainclothes officers.

“In the past two days we have seen numerous instances of police harassment and arrest of Bushville campers on Harriett Island, independent journalists, and now the arrest on false pretenses of activists who have worked for over two years, in the open, to provide support for public dissent this week,” said Raasch-Gilman.

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Food for Thought on the Palin-Baby Story

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “I don’t know where she’s traveled to…But it’s not meeting people that matters. You know, President Bush met President Putin. And I don’t think it matters just meeting people. You look at people’s judgment.”

If the “official story” about Palin and her baby is true, then I question her judgment.

Her water breaks while she is in Texas. She chooses not to get medical attention, but to stay and give a speech. (Did anyone mop up after her?)

Then she gets on a commercial aircraft for a several-hour flight, without telling the flight attendants that her water had broken earlier that day. (How did she keep her seat dry?)

This was a premature delivery, and she did not seek medical attention for several hours, and endangered her baby by getting on board an aircraft where there would be no emergency facilities available for hours (or she would have forced an emergency landing enroute).

For someone “pro-life” she certainly showed a callous disregard for the health and safety of her baby.

Song of the Times

The Beach Boys circa `1963

The Beach Boys circa `1963

During last week’s Democratic National Convention, we were treated to Jennifer Hudson giving a brilliant rendition of our national anthem. Following that was Sheryl Crow, Will.I.Am and John Legend, and the ever popular wonder boy of our time Stevie Wonder.

CNN reports that the Republican National Convention will have, amongst others, Charlie Daniels and The Beach Boys will be their headliner.

If there was any question whether the DNC is the party of the future and the RNC is the party of the past, there is no longer.  Well, besides offering America the-oldest-ever-to-possibly-be-sworn-in-first-time President of the United States (along with possibly the least qualified Vice Presidential presumptive nominee in our lifetime).  That is the biggest question of all.

Breaking News: Inside an RNC Raid


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.

When I spoke to him, Whelan was waiting in one half of the duplex with his roommates, Dan and Julian. The three were afraid to go outside because the police were still there. Whelan said he thought that the police were inside the opposite side of the duplex, where the legal observers were staying. “I think they are detaining people,” he added.

Whelan, who seemed remarkably calm for a guy whose flower garden had just been trampled by police with drawn automatic weapons, said he’d just returned from a morning of garage sale shopping when the commotion started. That would have been about one o’clock local time. He described what happened:

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The Real Governor Palin

Sarah as Miss Wasilla

Call me a feminist but I never thought that the road to the White House involved beauty pageants. I’ve told my daughter who wants to go into politics that the best way is to attend law school like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden all did. She asked if she could be a political science major, a subject she really likes. But I said law school is the best way. I said there were things about the history of this country and about the Constitution she might not understand if she didn’t study it in law school. In fact, I felt that some of the problems with President Bush and John McCain were created by the fact that they didn’t understand that we are a country of laws and what that really meant.

Well, my face is red now. Because all over the MSM and the blogs today I am hearing that this woman is more qualified that Barack Obama because she has more “executive experience”. Her story says that she went to college on the money she won as a runner up in the Miss Alaska competition. So I guess the road to the White House is not to be a top student and get into the best schools through scholarships and loans. No, beauty pageants are the answer.

If I’d only known I’d have started my child in Little Miss Sunshine competitions years ago. Now she has started high school and she doesn’t have one crown under her belt. I feel like such a failure.

Bush quietly seeks to make war powers permanent, by declaring indefinite state of war

Raw Story

As the nation focuses on Sen. John McCain’s choice of running mate, President Bush has quietly moved to expand the reach of presidential power by ensuring that America remains in a state of permanent war.

Buried in a recent proposal by the Administration is a sentence that has received scant attention — and was buried itself in the very newspaper that exposed it Saturday. It is an affirmation that the United States remains at war with al Qaeda, the Taliban and “associated organizations.”

Part of a proposal for Guantanamo Bay legal detainees, the provision before Congress seeks to “acknowledge again and explicitly that this nation remains engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated organizations, who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us and who are dedicated to the slaughter of Americans.”

The New York Times page 8 placement of the article in its Saturday edition seems to downplay its importance. Such a re-affirmation of war carries broad legal implications that could imperil Americans’ civil liberties and the rights of foreign nationals for decades to come.

It was under the guise of war that President Bush claimed a legal mandate for his warrantless wiretapping program, giving the National Security Agency power to intercept calls Americans made abroad. More of this program has emerged in recent years, and it includes the surveillance of Americans’ information and exchanges online.

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DNC Drew 40 Million People- Try to Top that GOP

Barack Obama’s audience for his acceptance speech likely topped 40 million people, and the Democratic gathering that nominated him was a more popular television event than any other political convention in history.

To give you a comparison of other highly rated shows.  More people watched Obama speak from a packed stadium in Denver on Thursday than watched the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, the final “American Idol” or the Academy Awards this year, Nielsen Media Research said Friday. (Four playoff football games, including the Super Bowl between the Giants and Patriots, were seen by more than 40 million people.)

A little nostalgia look back when we were all hoping Kerry would beat Bush.  The amount of people who watched John Kerry accept the Democratic nomination to run against President Bush, was seen by a little more than 20 million people.  Bush’s acceptance speech to GOP delegates had 27.6 million viewers.

I have to disagree with MSM about the people that are still on the fence.  It looks to me like quite a few jumped off and picked Obama’s side.  Phoenix Woman over at took the words right out of my mouth.  “In this age of the fractured audience, of literally hundreds of TV channels spread over our broadcast, cable and satellite networks, it’s amazing to get that many people to watch one single thing. Yet it happened.

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A little perspective…

Wasilla, Alaska

Wasilla, Alaska

Here’s some interesting — and local — insight into Gov Sarah Palin by Mudflats:

“Is this a joke?”  That seemed to be the question du jour when my phone started ringing off the hook at 6:45am here in Alaska.  I mean, we’re sort of excited that our humble state has gotten some kind of national ‘nod’….but seriously?  Sarah Palin for Vice President?  Yes, she’s a popular governor.  Her all time high approval rating hovered around 90% at one point.  But bear in mind that the 90% approval rating came from one of the most conservative, and reddest-of-the-red states out there.  And that approval rating came before a series of events that have lead many Alaskans to question the governor’s once pristine image.

There is no doubt in my mind that many Alaskans are feeling pretty excited about this.  But we live in our own little bubble up here, and most of the attention we get is because of The Bridge to Nowhere, polar bears, the indictment of Ted Stevens, and the ongoing investigation and conviction of the string of legislators and oil executives who literally called themselves “The Corrupt Bastards Club”.

So seeing our governor out there in the national spotlight accepting the nomination for Vice Presidential candidate is just downright surreal.  Just months ago, when rumors surfaced that she was on the long version of the short list, she was questioned if she’d be interested in the position.  She said she couldn’t answer  “until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day. I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here….”

There is no doubt that Palin has fierce territorial loyalties.  When elected governor there was much concern because she came right out and said she would favor her own home town of Wasilla (where she was mayor) and its surrounding environs collectively known as “the Valley” while leading the state.  And it’s obvious from her statement that Alaska was on her mind when accepting the VP nod (see my emphasis above).

So what is it that we’re “trying to accomplish up here”?

Go read the rest of this post here.  Very enlightening…