Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Yes, Happy Hour’s late today. I’ve had to wade through ten metric tons of Sara Palin bullshit to get to the actual news. I’d hoped the shine would’ve worn off by now, but no such luck.

She’s a fucking disaster. She’s a cynical political ploy. She’s a shiny object thrown on the tracks to derail us. Can we just fucking move on now?

Let’s talk about the RNC and the flourishing police state:

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.

Denver had its bad moments when the police forgot who they’re actually meant to “protect and serve” part and started shoving reporters out in the street so they could then arrest them for obstructing traffic, but we saw nothing quite like this. There seems to be a qualitative difference between the way Democratic conventions handle security and the way Republicon conventions do. Dems don’t let police agencies too far off the leash. Rethugs, on the other hand, are more than happy to let the dogs loose:

When word first hit about the raids committed by uniformed officers against various sites in Minneapolis and St. Paul, it was really bizarre and confusing. Why were the cops staging raids against people like Food Not Bombs? Why did they shut down the RNC Convergence Center and take all their computer gear? What the hell were Ramsey County sheriff’s department people doing invading houses in Hennepin-fricking-County?

That last question, as it turns out, helps to answer some of the others.

Bob Fletcher is the sheriff of Ramsey County. Bob Fletcher is a Republican from the formerly lily-white St. Paul suburb of Maplewood, which has for decades had an uneasy relationship with its southern neighbor. Bob Fletcher is also on the verge of losing his job, as a long-standing FBI corruption probe that has already taken out two of his buddies is drawing its net around him; he may well feel that he has nothing to lose and everything to gain by using extralegal methods to please his RNC pals.

Maybe he’s hoping that if he silences enough dirty hippies, his grateful buddies the Rethuglicons will muzzle the FBI. Just saying.

So, we’ve got police brutality and extralegal raids. What else isn’t new in the Bush regime? Let’s see what’s hiding behind Shiny Object Palin:

But more importantly, critical and substantive things are going on that we need to be paying attention to. Eric Lichtblau in the NYT reminds us of a huge one this morning:

Tucked deep into a recent proposal from the Bush administration is a provision that has received almost no public attention, yet in many ways captures one of President Bush’s defining legacies: an affirmation that the United States is still at war with Al Qaeda.

The language, part of a proposal for hearing legal appeals from detainees at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, goes beyond political symbolism. Echoing a measure that Congress passed just days after the Sept. 11 attacks, it carries significant legal and public policy implications for Mr. Bush, and potentially his successor, to claim the imprimatur of Congress to use the tools of war, including detention, interrogation and surveillance, against the enemy, legal and political analysts say.

The proposal is also the latest step that the administration, in its waning months, has taken to make permanent important aspects of its “long war” against terrorism. From a new wiretapping law approved by Congress to a rewriting of intelligence procedures and F.B.I. investigative techniques, the administration is moving to institutionalize by law, regulation or order a wide variety of antiterrorism tactics. (Emphasis added)

In all the flurry and bustle of the conventions and Palin, not to mention back to school and Labor Day weekend for the nation, this could be lost in the flow. It must not be. This provision has all the potential implications, problems, and potential for abuse that the Authorization For Military Force (AUMF) had in 2001. And with a Cheney/Bush Administration still in power, and with their known predilection for abuse, this simply cannot be allowed.

This is but another callous and cynical play by the Administration to manipulate timing and political posture for craven gain. Cheney, Bush and the GOP enablers are going to parry this against the Democrats during election season and try to fearmonger them into approving it.

Joyous. Another Bush play for power, one guaranteed to be parlayed into “Dems are weak on national security!” b.s. Just in time to help John “Hey Ladies, My Runningmate Has a Vagina!” McLame overcome his spectacular lack of sense, sanity and reason, and steal the election with the help of fear and election fraud. What a coinky-dink.

See why I’m saying Palin is too expensive a distraction to focus on? They’ll use her novelty to sneak shite like this through, and once it’s done, there’s no a godsdamned thing we can do about it. The time to raise a stink is now. Before that shit gets passed. Before it’s far too late and we’ve let the Republicons get their hands on a sapping tool. Let your congresscritter know we expect them to stiffen their knees this time.

Is there any sign of hope amidst the endless fuckery? A glimmer. Just that, but it’s put a sparkle in my eye today:

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted a focus group in the swing state of Nevada with undecided voters or weak supporters of either candidate who watched Sen. Barack Obama’s speech last night.

Key findings:

After viewing the speech, more than 1-in-4 of these swing voters moved from undecided to supporting Barack Obama or from supporting John McCain to undecided.

That’s gold, that is. The more people we can siphon off from McCain, the better. I think I’ve got my father convinced: he knows that if he votes for McCain, I’ll never speak to him again, and he doesn’t love McCain more than he loves me. It’s great if we win folks for Obama. It’s fine if we just convince McCain supporters to sit this one out. Tell your conservative friends and family who might be fence-sitting: watch Obama’s speech, and if that doesn’t sway you, then at the very least just don’t fucking vote for McCain.

Enough of us voting Obama will ensure that even voter suppression and hinky Diebold machines can’t win this one for the Republicons. Not that they won’t be trying, especially in Florida, where open season on voters is off to a rousing start:

Republicans still run the state, so if there are any “discrepancies” in November, they will have the levers of power. Again:

Florida often is the butt of election jokes, and Indian River County unknowingly played a contributing role Tuesday when the Supervisor of Elections reported 5,189 more votes than were actually cast.

It doesn’t exactly instill confidence in the system.

No fucking shit, Sherlock.

And if you want something that’ll really curl your hair (right before it falls out from the stress), go have a gander at the other article Digby links after the one by Captain Obvious. If you’ve ever wanted to know, exactly, how far Republicons will go to win, you’ll get your answer there.

20,763 dead American soldiers is the number that struck me. I’m sure they counted it a small enough price for victory. It certainly hasn’t changed their behavior.

If you forget everything else, remember one thing: these are the cons who will sell you all the snake oil you’ll buy. They’re the ones who think they can completely redefine reality. There are the raving fucking hypocrites like Rove, whose criticism of Dems is praise of Republicons:

Earlier this month, Karl Rove repeatedly argued that Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) would not be “capable” of being Vice President. He complained that “he’s been a governor for three years” and said Kaine was mayor of only the “the 105th largest city in America,” referring to Kaine’s tenure as mayor of Richmond, VA. “It’s not a big town,” he quipped.

Yesterday, however, Rove argued just the opposite with regard to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R). He explained on Fox News that Palin was a good choice as McCain’s vice presidential nominee because she was “mayor of the second largest city in Alaska…”

Not. Even. Close. Karl.

But little things like facts don’t stop him. One of the smallest towns in Alaska will now be the second largest, Richmond’s demoted to Podunksville, Buttfuckofnowhere County, VA, and being a mayor is no accomplishment unless you’re Sara Palin, in which case it makes you total VP material.

Oh, and while the people of New Orleans flee Gustav, capitalize on their misery. Natch.

America: consider yourself warned. If you vote these outrageous fucktards into office yet again, I will never, ever speak to you again as long as I live.

Happy Hour Discurso