Friday, September 5, 2008

d is for democracy

normally I don't blog when I'm on a trip, however, this trip I'm not 'on vacation,' I'm just hanging at one of my other 'homes' - no, it's not a home I own - unlike mr. mcsame (or is it mr. mcnasty?), some of us don't even own one home, let alone seven! currently, I'm in metro DC visiting my folks. their house will always remain 'home' even if I haven't lived here since 1973!

in addition to d being for democracy (more on this in a sec), d is for also for the district of columbia and for dad. since I'm off on a d-tract, I could address democracy and the district, but I'll leave that issue to my dc blogging buds.

anyhow, my dad is getting up there - some days are good, some days not so good. when one is 86, I say each day you are not in the dirt is a good day - especially if you have love and your mind. fortunately, my dad has both! I wish I was closer, but I'm not. I come as often as I can and hope my presence is a desired distraction, delight, and diversion. today I helped my mom deal with some of the detritus of forty some years in the same house (evidence - photo right). well see what the next few days bring.... I'm all set to get down and dirty!

okay, I said I'd get back to d is for democracy- today I received an email from anne. I admit I've been in a bit of a twist lately (if not a full scale rant) - really since thursday when mcnasty said he was going to announce his vp pick on friday morning, I get disgusted with political sheninigans. I thought mcsame's timing was extremely tacky and nasty - however, considering the momentum and spirit of hope that obama and the democratic convention set off, I guess it wasn't that surprising. and I don't call mcsame mcnasty for nothing. and then there's the pick! oh my god - I'd say palin is the reincarnation of phyllis schlafly - but schlafly isn't dead! palin was picked because she's a darling of the right wing and then of course she's a looker - no plain janes for mcsame (it's such a shame with what happened with the first mrs. m).

well, anne's dispatch had me despondent and dejected! but the piece fit right in with my 'd is for democracy' post! the best way of doing the article justice is to share it in total. so here it is -by the way, amy goodman of democracy now! wrote this. amy tells it how it is - no one can dismiss amy's creds....
St. Paul, Minnesota - Government crackdowns on journalists are a true threat to democracy. As the Republican National Convention meets in St. Paul, Minn., this week, police are systematically targeting journalists. I was arrested with my two colleagues, "Democracy Now!" producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, while reporting on the first day of the RNC. I have been wrongly charged with a misdemeanor. My co-workers, who were simply reporting, may be charged with felony riot.
The Democratic and Republican national conventions have become very expensive and protracted acts of political theater, essentially four-day-long advertisements for the major presidential candidates. Outside the fences, they have become major gatherings for grass-roots movements-for people to come, amidst the banners, bunting, flags and confetti, to express the rights enumerated in the Constitution's First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Behind all the patriotic hyperbole that accompanies the conventions, and the thousands of journalists and media workers who arrive to cover the staged events, there are serious violations of the basic right of freedom of the press. Here on the streets of St. Paul, the press is free to report on the official proceedings of the RNC, but not to report on the police violence and mass arrests directed at those who have come to petition their government, to protest.
It was Labor Day, and there was an anti-war march, with a huge turnout, with local families, students, veterans and people from around the country gathered to oppose the war. The protesters greatly outnumbered the Republican delegates.
There was a positive, festive feeling, coupled with a growing anxiety about the course that Hurricane Gustav was taking, and whether New Orleans would be devastated anew. Later in the day, there was a splinter march. The police-clad in full body armor, with helmets, face shields, batons and canisters of pepper spray-charged. They forced marchers, onlookers and working journalists into a nearby parking lot, then surrounded the people and began handcuffing them.
Nicole was videotaping. Her tape of her own violent arrest is chilling. Police in riot gear charged her, yelling, "Get down on your face." You hear her voice, clearly and repeatedly announcing "Press! Press! Where are we supposed to go?" She was trapped between parked cars. The camera drops to the pavement amidst Nicole's screams of pain. Her face was smashed into the pavement, and she was bleeding from the nose, with the heavy officer with a boot or knee on her back. Another officer was pulling on her leg. Sharif was thrown up against the wall and kicked in the chest, and he was bleeding from his arm.
I was at the Xcel Center on the convention floor, interviewing delegates. I had just made it to the Minnesota delegation when I got a call on my cell phone with news that Sharif and Nicole were being bloody arrested, in every sense. Filmmaker Rick Rowley of Big Noise Films and I raced on foot to the scene. Out of breath, we arrived at the parking lot. I went up to the line of riot police and asked to speak to a commanding officer, saying that they had arrested accredited journalists.
Within seconds, they grabbed me, pulled me behind the police line and forcibly twisted my arms behind my back and handcuffed me, the rigid plastic cuffs digging into my wrists. I saw Sharif, his arm bloody, his credentials hanging from his neck. I repeated we were accredited journalists, whereupon a Secret Service agent came over and ripped my convention credential from my neck. I was taken to the St. Paul police garage where cages were set up for protesters. I was charged with obstruction of a peace officer. Nicole and Sharif were taken to jail, facing riot charges.
The attack on and arrest of me and the "Democracy Now!" producers was not an isolated event. A video group called I-Witness Video was raided two days earlier. Another video documentary group, the Glass Bead Collective, was detained, with its computers and video cameras confiscated. On Wednesday, I-Witness Video was again raided, forced out of its office location. When I asked St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington how reporters are to operate in this atmosphere, he suggested, "By embedding reporters in our mobile field force."
On Monday night, hours after we were arrested, after much public outcry, Nicole, Sharif and I were released. That was our Labor Day. It's all in a day's work.

to read more about the assault on democracy, the freedom of speech, and the freedom of the press, start here and follow the links....

now for a slightly different take on american democracy, perhaps my favorite song from west side story:


photo: premble to the constitution by mike wilkins, national museum of american art and national portrait gallery. washington dc, 2007.

18 comments:

tut-tut said...

This is just despicable. That woman is an outrage, and the comments giuliani made are beyond the pale. I can't help but think where we are headed if true change is not implemented.

D.C. Confidential said...

Hey! I know where you took that picture: outside the gift shop in the National Portrait Gallery. Isn't that a fun collection of license plates? Did you get upstairs in the American Art Museum and see the neon map of America?

As for McCain-Palin, their convention this week has 120% solidified for me who I'm voting for in November. (Not that I need any persuasion, but I do try to be fair and objective in my politics.) McCain is so much an ingrained part of the problems he claims he's going to fix, it makes me laugh.

Okay, rant over. Hope you're having a good time in D.C. If you'd like to meet a fellow photo blogger, shoot me an email and we'll go on a photo safari!

Merle Sneed said...

I just love Washington, DC, despite the politicians.

R.L. Bourges said...

petite souris: first of all, thanks for the West Side Story pick - also one of my faves.

I read the news report with a heavy heart and terrible sense of "déjà vu". We've seen that kind of behavior both here in Europe and in America during periods of heavy-duty repression. Using the blogosphere to get the information out is crucial, thanks for doing your share.

I thought you and your readers might like to have a look at what Brian Browne Walker posted on September 2nd under the heading "I CAN" GETS VEEP JOB. It's a compendium of talking points for people who want to have more than plain disgust as an argument against these people. And besides, that website is fabulous and just up your alley, I think.

Best to you and your family and good luck with the housecleaning

amitiés

RLB

http://brianbrownewalker.blogspot.com/

edward said...

my neighbors love palin and of course mccain -- do i have your condolences for having these people next door and across the street?

tut-tut said...

I just realized that you read the license plates to get the Declaration of Independence. Duh!

lettuce said...

thats a great piece of art! it took me a while...

as for the report - when i read something like this i don't know if the facts/story are the worst thing, or the way in which it seems all too unsurprising


i hope you have a great visit with your mum and dad

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

That is a seriously scary piece of non-democracy. Deeply disturbing.

Each time I channel surf, I've taken to making a point of bypassing CNN - because mcsame's face seems to be up there all the time. As for his choice of VP running mate - the mind just boggles.

Hope you have a great visit with your mom and dad.

Steve said...

I love those license plates!

Palin is a nightmare. And people keep saying she and her family are so attractive, but I just don't see it. I just see a bunch of mean people.

Barbara said...

This sounds more like Beijing than St. Paul! I hope and pray Obama-Biden win this election. I don't think I could take another 4/8 years...

Colette Amelia said...

and I was so trying to have a positive, hopeful the world is not going to hell in a hand cart day.

I guess there is no sense in sticking our head in the sand and trying to forget everything is ok.

Megan said...

I like the alphabet theme.

I don't like Palin.

I wish Rita Moreno lived next door to me.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

tut - the thought of an administration with mcnasty and ms. pain running the country is too much - even though I don't have the time, I just signed up to go to a health clinic one afternoon and evening a week to register voters.

dc - thanks for dropping in at the mouse. great 'chatting' with you via email. look forward to meeting you at some point in the (possibly near) future!

merle = my sentiments exactly! and I'd go so far as to add "it's a great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live here"

rlb - merci! thanks for brian's link will check it out.

eddy - you have my condolences. I'll 'pray' for their conversion and if that doesn't work perhaps they won't vote...

let - the visit is going very well. we are being productive little bees!

av - I am so curious as to who really came up with the pick of ms. pain (my new name - for many reasons, first of all the thought of her as v.p. causes me such pain & since I like to avoid pain I will do all I can do to make sure that doesn't happen!). mcsame got the word from somewhere...I'm wondering how involved karl rove is in the mcsame campaign - seems like a rove move to me.

steve - what is it about some people and how they will value looks over all else. yikes, I'm with you...

barbara - well put.

ca - it's just a test....there is still hope and WE CAN

megan - rita moreno would be a wonderful neighbor. I love it when I'm watching something and she's in it ... she was great as the nun in the hbo tv show 'oz' and she had some recurring role in something else I watch .... think it was law and order....know it wasn't monk!

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

The hoopla around Palin is amazing. It's frightening to see that some polls say she's more popular than McCain or Obama at the moment. There is something about her that is appealing in the way that any scrappy, strong character is, but that does not make her a leader.

alicesg said...

Hi Kim, you might like some moon cakes in my blog to chase away Monday blues. It is monday for me now. :)

dennis said...

Dennis says hey wait a Darn minute...D is for Dennis!

Mortina said...

I agree with tut-tut. We must put out there every single positive thought we can to implement change.

WAT said...

86! BRAVO! Your old man is up there and a little struggling here and there is very understandable. I wish him only the best.

McNasty and that VP witch! She is appalling! GOD! And the horror of those who are buying into their garbage-filled rhetoric!