Notes from the RNC, Post 1

I overheard some writers from the Daily Show talking about how great it is that Hurricane Gustav has been downgraded: now they can write some jokes about it, they said.

That kind of practicality is pretty much the attitude shared by the rest of the convention. The hurricane itself is treated not so much as a reality here as it is a political device, part of the strange tableau that began at the DNC when the Clintons delivered so magnificently. The overriding sentiment (at least in the Reuters camp) is that this is a good thing, news-wise. Will the Republican Party use this opportunity to distance itself from Bush’s divisive legacy, promising a new era marked by restraint and candor? Or will the toned-down convention be a let-down – a sparse preview that leaves Americans bored? Either way, the news will be interesting. Way to go, hurricane.
Of course, the big upset for me is that Bobby Jindal is a definite no-show. He didn’t send in a speech like some of the other governors who aren’t here, which is…well…commendable, considering he really should be focusing on his home state right now. So in that sense, at least all is in perspective.

The other big news here is today’s anti-war protest-turned-melee. The National Guard was called out to deal with the more than 150 “violent” protestors, who pushed a flaming Dumpster into an occupied cop car, threw rocks at police officers, and were eventually pepper sprayed by the cops (many of the self-proclaimed “anarchist” protestors were wearing gas masks). Only one officer was signicantly injured by the mob – punched in the back, according to St. Paul’s police chief. The National Guard was called out, but that was all part of the police force’s “initial” plan for this week, Chief Harrington told us at a press briefing. The word “initial” was an interesting choice – makes me think the NG was thought of at the very beginning of the brain-storming process and then ditched. The St. Paul police force knew all this would happen – over the weekend they burst into homes and confiscated barrels of urine (the contents of which would have been used as bombs??? –>straight from the Police Chief’s mouth). How’d the police have such uncanny foresight? They attended the planning meetings advertised online by the anarchists.

(V. organized anarchists.)

Word on the street here is that McCain will definitely show, but we’ll see. For now, at least, what we know for sure is that hundreds of red, white and blue balloons are sure to be dropped. And that too, in front of a computerized red, white and blue screen. Pretty snazzy stuff.

38 thoughts on “Notes from the RNC, Post 1

  1. The National Guard was called out to deal with the more than 150 “violent” protestors, who pushed a flaming Dumpster into an occupied cop car, let loose pepper spray (themselves hidden behind gas masks) and threw rocks at police officers. Only one officer was signicantly injured by the mob – punched in the back, according to St. Paul’s police chief. The National Guard was called out, but that was all part of the police force’s “initial” plan for this week, Chief Harrington told us at a press briefing. The word “initial” was an interesting choice – makes me think the NG was thought of at the very beginning of the brain-storming process and then ditched.

    I’m curious about your sources. Did you see somebody push a flaming dumpster into a cop car? Did you see protesters wearing gas masks spraying pepper spray and throwing rocks at police? O are you getting this all from the police press conference?

    Your hunch is correct–the feds have been in on this from the get go and you’ve neglected to mention the “preemptive raids” for thought crimes that have been going on since Friday. Here is how they treat real journalists and documenters of police brutality in St. Paul.

    I love it when a public that takes it all in stride as we wage an illegal war, torture and detain innocent people for years on end, illegally spy on our own compatriots, litter the world with depleted uranium, use illegal chemical weapons (white phosphorus in Falluja), etc, etc, etc, gets all bent out of shape about a broken Macy’s window and a popped limousine tire. THE HORROR!!! At least we’ve got our national priorities straight.

    [Note: I wasn't there, either, so I'm not offering some sort of blanket defense for the macho black bloc dingbats who I'm sure were present, but I also know that cops lie, cops are the biggest "macho" gang in any given town, and cops in riot gear have a real need to justify their bloated budget or they won't get it next year.]

    Citations, please.

  2. 2 · Humphrey said

    Aren’t you a reporter somewhere?

    Is Sepia Mutiny your preferred newspaper of record?

    Newsflash: Blogs are usually opinion, not news.

  3. 3 · grey lady said

    Newsflash: Blogs are usually opinion, not news.

    Newsflash: She’s working towards a masters degree in journalism.

    Hey Mallika, if you’re going to update/edit your entry after you’ve already published it and people have started responding, could you please highlight or differentiate those changes somehow? The first “draft” of this article didn’t have the police chief spewing urine from his mouth, for example.

    And what does “(V. organized anarchists.)” mean? Is that a citation or an attempt at that lame joke my undergrads like to make that goes something like, “Are you a member of an anarchist group? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Hahahaha, I’m so funny!”

    Whycome you sometimes put “anarchists” in quotes and other times you refer to “them” as “self-proclaimed anarchists” and elsewhere seem to conflate “them” with “more than 150 ‘violent’ protesters?” I’m not trying to be the grammar Nazi here, but you seem to be throwing these terms around very loosely, conflating and muddying any distinctions, and some of “them” are my people you’re talking about. If 10 squad cars pulled me over for no reason with shotguns cocked, I’d be pretty psyched about taking a cheap shot back when I got the chance, too.

    Regardless, I seriously doubt that any skinny vegan kid “signicantly [sic] injured” a Kevlar-clad storm trooper with a punch to the back.

    They’re calling this a terrorist training video. Yet another batch of faulty intelligence, I suppose.

  4. You are being sarcastic with the comment “pretty snazzy stuff,” right? I mean, you seem like a pretty cool chick, so I can’t wrap my head around the fact that you might possibly think a 72 year old man in front of balloons could be considered snazzy. But, I digress.

    I find the attention on the protesters in this post interesting. I was very curious to find out how Republicans felt about Mac’s Veep choice at the convention. I guess, however, like your post, they’re hoping the deafening roars of hurricane winds will surround her in a shroud of silence. Or, perhaps, if you don’t talk about it, nobody will notice?

    Please, please, don’t bore us with stories of protesters and urine when we really want to hear about what people inside the stadium are thinking.

  5. 5 · Harbeer said

    Regardless, I seriously doubt that any skinny vegan kid “signicantly [sic] injured” a Kevlar-clad storm trooper with a punch to the back. They’re calling this a terrorist training video. Yet another batch of faulty intelligence, I suppose.

    yes, the poor undernourished (intentionally!) protest kid represents the greatest possible threat to the RNC. If they just put up a merch tent for a shitty indy band in front of the convention center this protest could’ve been preemptively nixed.

    [Note: I wasn't there, either, so I'm not offering some sort of blanket defense for the macho black bloc dingbats who I'm sure were present, but I also know that cops lie, cops are the biggest "macho" gang in any given town, and cops in riot gear have a real need to justify their bloated budget or they won't get it next year.]

    at this point I should probably ask you for citations substantiating that the minny PD handling security for the convention is running in the red and will lose riot gear funding without a show of force (actually it’s more like they’ll get the funding regardless of whether riots happen or not).

    The broken glass doesn’t doesn’t always belong to some big bad corporation–when it belongs to someone who has to dig into their own pocket to fix it, it becomes less an acceptable first-amendment tax and more an example of stupid louts who’ll swing brown-shirt as long as someone’s supplying the raw ideological fuel. I’d approve of any bruises suffered by said louts (whether they come via police in riot gear or simply a combination of excess PBR and the pavement). The classical progressive lack of respect for property rights anchors this line of thought.

  6. so I can’t wrap my head around the fact that you might possibly think a 72 year old man in front of balloons could be considered snazzy.

    Why not, after all he’s a maverick.

  7. ossibly think a 72 year old man in front of balloons could be considered snazzy

    Please spare me the ageist muck. Would making fun of Obama’s race or that of Hillary’s gender been OK with you? Grow up and get a ( long ) life.

  8. The National Guard was called out to deal with the more than 150 “violent” protestors, who pushed a flaming Dumpster into an occupied cop car, threw rocks at police officers, and were eventually pepper sprayed by the cops (many of the self-proclaimed “anarchist” protestors were wearing gas masks).

    Why the “quotes”? or is there a doubt on whether pushing a flaming Dumpster into an occupied cop car is peaceful or violent?

  9. Right. The quotes were to distinguish words that were used by others, not by me. So: “violent,” “anarchists,” and “initial” all fell under that category. I will highlight my changes next time. I don’t think divisive is much of an opinion. Bush was a divisive president. He divided the country. Check out his ratings. People here are very muted even about the Palin issue, because they are more focused on whether or not the convention will even happen in any significant way. The few delegates I’ve spoken with say her daughter’s baby doesn’t change the way they feel at all. And my St. Paul-bred driver said the same. My goal was to give a sense of what’s actually happening at the convention , not what the MSNBC/CNN heads are talking about to the outside world. So Hurricane first, Palin, a distant second.

  10. Also, why do so many Sepia readers assume I’m republican (and therefore trying to “shroud” the Sarah Palin issue behind hurricane musings) just because I’m at this convention? It’s very strange.

  11. Also, why do so many Sepia readers assume I’m republican
    And my St. Paul-bred driver said the same

    Well, for one you have your own chauffeur. Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?

  12. My goal was to give a sense of what’s actually happening at the convention , not what the MSNBC/CNN heads are talking about to the outside world.

    Some quotes or interviews or…content might help with that a bit. Ravi isn’t at this convention also by any chance, is he?

  13. 7 · Nayagan said

    at this point I should probably ask you for citations substantiating that the minny PD handling security for the convention is running in the red and will lose riot gear funding without a show of force

    I saw something like that on The Wire once.

    The broken glass doesn’t doesn’t always belong to some big bad corporation–when it belongs to someone who has to dig into their own pocket to fix it, it becomes less an acceptable first-amendment tax…The classical progressive lack of respect for property rights anchors this line of thought.

    Except that yesterday, from what I know, it was a Macy’s store window and police car that was “attacked.” Again, I wasn’t there so I’m not going to try to justify what did (or didn’t) happen, but law enforcement started cracking down with force on people who’d done nothing wrong as early as Friday. Start taking away people’s positive rights and all that’s left is the negative…

    11 · dizzydesi said

    is there a doubt on whether pushing a flaming Dumpster into an occupied cop car is peaceful or violent?

    I’d want to hear a credible first-hand account before I called it anything (I might, depending on the circumstances, call it “self defense”), but some people might also distinguish between property damage and attacks on persons when determining its relative “violence.” I’m not saying that pushing a flaming dumpster anywhere is smart or effective (if your stated aim is to “win hearts and minds”) but I’ve been at the wrong end of a police baton and charging horse too many times to swallow the police chief’s statements wholesale.

    (I attended the 1992 GOP convention as an Asian Young Republican, the 2000 DNC and RNC as a journalist, and the 2004 RNC as a pissed off American. The real action–i.e. negotiations and decision-making–occurs during the platform committee meetings a week before the conventions officially begin.)

  14. I bet if there had been some sort of protest at the DNC, it would’ve gotten spun as racism.

    When Obama came to my University, and we wanted to take pictures the Cops wouldn’t let students within 400ft and yelled at us when we even tried to take a picture. I could’ve pointed out that they made an exception of me whilst playing “one of these things is not like the other” and yelled racism against the black cop – but guess how much media that would get…

    So please spare me this crap about how the RNC should allow itself to be a target of cheap protests, that can instead wait until election time – but then again most of these people will be too busy tokin’ up to go out and vote.

    If you want a wide and sweeping demographical generalization, it is more likely that protesters at an RNC are going to indulge in violence than ones at the DNC. A McCain Presidency is an ominous sign for several of the “Freedom in the Middle East” types, whereas an Obama Presidency will mean a 4 yr off period where they can stock up and restructure – gee I wonder who is at more risk.

  15. 18 · RahulD said

    A McCain Presidency is an ominous sign for several of the “Freedom in the Middle East” types, whereas an Obama Presidency will mean a 4 yr off period where they can stock up and restructure – gee I wonder who is at more risk.

    yes, hamas endorses obama. oh my god, the terrorists want to elect the dems!!!!

    no, i am not fear mongering, just being fair and balanced.

  16. I was trying to make generalizations…just like someone else was…

    Now, those are isolated incidents that did not get any mainstream coverage…the DNC/Democrats were not portrayed as Freedom Grabbing Nazis…which is exactly what the RNC protestor’s arrest is beign spun as…

    And besides, how can you tell me that what happened to me was not fact?

  17. 21 · RahulD said

    those are isolated incidents that did not get any mainstream coverage

    Maybe because there was an actual convention to cover in Denver.

    I don’t dispute your perception of what happened to you. I was referring more to your first paragraph (there were indeed protests at the Denver DNC and they were not spun as being racist), your third paragraph (The British East India Company did not allow the Boston Tea Party, and a good contingent of people voicing their opposition to the Republican agenda do in fact vote and don’t, in fact, “toke up”) and your final paragraph–I don’t even know where to start with that completely baseless conjecture.

  18. 18 · RahulD said

    it is more likely that protesters at an RNC are going to indulge in violence than ones at the DNC

    See, if you had any idea what you were talking about, you’d know that in most cases the protesters at the RNC are the same people as the protesters at the DNC, or at least from the same communities.

  19. 23 · Harbeer said

    I don’t even know where to start with that completely baseless conjectur

    Initially, I was being facetious regarding that and most of the other things I said…I was trying to make the point of using the (lack of ) logic that Republican/McCain/Palin criticism here is using…gee

    But since you are able to point out so many loopholes, whilst being so dismissive…let us get to it then.

    Obama’s campaign, HAS taken advantage of the fact that he is black…denying that is ridiculous. The attendance, the viewership, the additional votes he will get, are all because of his race…but any Republican reference to the same is cited as their racism. That is what I was referring to and if there was any larger scale protest than teenagers scribbling chalk on the sidewalk, then it would’ve been spun as such. The irrelevant incidents you cited, were not even picked up by Malkin who latches onto any slights against social Conservatives , real or percieved.

    Someone on lgf touched on how this could’ve been different if Obama had a daughter the same age as Bristol and she had gotten pregnant, I can see both sides of it – but not many seem to.

    These unrequited smears that Palin is a target of are hardly any different from the one’s Obama had – and the way the Democrats are promoting them is disgusting. It isn’t like her pastor provided them with material to question her patriotism (Alaskan separatism…yea right!) nor did her friends try to kill civilians and cops. Refences to McCain as McSame, making fun of his age…yes these are hardly offensive…

    I do know what I’m talking about and concede my argument when I’m wrong, not in this case. But I’m done commenting on this, you made me defend something that I meant only in flippancy…what next? the RNC include the quote from the Democrat, who termed Gustav as an act of God against the Republicans, in their next ad?

  20. 18 · RahulD said

    So please spare me this crap about how the RNC should allow itself to be a target of cheap protests, that can instead wait until election time – but then again most of these people will be too busy tokin’ up to go out and vote.

    that’s not really the objection, unless you think this is kewl/Glenn Greenwald is as much an irresponsible fabulist as Judith Miller was.

  21. 25 · RahulD said

    Obama’s campaign, HAS taken advantage of the fact that he is black…denying that is ridiculous. The attendance, the viewership, the additional votes he will get, are all because of his race…but any Republican reference to the same is cited as their racism.

    Yes, just like Donovan McNabb was coddled by the librul media because he is black.

    and the way the Democrats are promoting them is disgusting. It isn’t like her pastor provided them with material to question her patriotism (Alaskan separatism…yea right!) nor did her friends try to kill civilians and cops.
    1. Substantiate: where did a Democratic spokesperson/official/Obama campain employee promote a smear?

    2. The AIP is actually for real and she was a member (not that I care).

    3. I assume you’re talking about Bill Ayers. This is perhaps the stupidest guilt by association conservative talking point i’ve seen in quite a while. If your standard is the Annenberg board, then you’d need to similarly tar/feather 4 Republican donors who are also listed on their 1998 990 form. If your standard is UC faculty you’d have to tar/feather a few brilliant Posners as well (alack a day!)

    4. You often don’t know what you’re talking about. This is because you’re young and haven’t yet learned to fact-check your favorite sources of partisan/ideological rhetoric as rigorously as those sources do AP/Reuters/MSM etc. Simply reading ‘the other side’ doesn’t work. Knowing both sets of talking points doesn’t work. Knowing the facts, however difficult to find, does work.

  22. 17 · Harbeer said

    some people might also distinguish between property damage and attacks on persons when determining its relative “violence.” I’m not saying that pushing a flaming dumpster anywhere is smart or effective (if your stated aim is to “win hearts and minds”) but I’ve been at the wrong end of a police baton and charging horse too many times to swallow the police chief’s statements wholesale.

    Thank you!! I don’t know when it was done or who did it, but the way that attacks on property and attacks on people are equated in the popular mind and in the press is absolutely ridiculous. They’re not the same thing, regardless of whether you think either is justified in a particular instance.

  23. So please spare me this crap about how the RNC should allow itself to be a target of cheap protests, that can instead wait until election time – but then again most of these people will be too busy tokin’ up to go out and vote.

    I’m all for updating the constitution, but until you do so, freedom of association and freedom of speech are still in there. So, honestly, stfu.

  24. 29 · Dr Amnonymous said

    So, honestly, stfu.

    I guess that is a good way to get across a point…But what I’ve realized is that when my criticism, of Obama and his campaign, paralleled the language and logic used on here by those critical of McCain…It has elicited outright condemnation and a precis precious STFU.

    Thanks

  25. @Harbeer: Ageism? Ok, I can see how you took it that way. Let me rephrase. “You couldn’t possibly think that a man standing in front of balloons…etc” Still, I’d like to point out that mentioning someone’s demographic distinctions doesn’t equate to discrimination. If I had said Obama was a “black man standing at a podium” that wouldn’t mean I’m a racist.

  26. 30 · RahulD said

    I guess that is a good way to get across a point…But what I’ve realized is that when my criticism, of Obama and his campaign, paralleled the language and logic used on here by those critical of McCain…It has elicited outright condemnation and a precis precious STFU. Thanks

    I’m (sincerely) sorry I knee-jerked out of anger. Here is why I did, though: You ever been to an unpermitted demonstration or otherwise clashed with the police? I’ve only minimally done so in my life, and it galls me to no end that someone would argue that somehow an allegedly liberal political party holding a political event in an allegedly liberal state has the right to pen in and round off political protesters, and the police and city should collaborate with them in doing so. This applies to Democrats, it applies to Republicans, it applies to Bush, to Nader, to Kerry. Your point was offensive from the vantage point of someone who has been handcuffed, searched, and other things, on more than one occasion, for doing really no harm. It is a populist sentiment, not a partisan one.

    Hence you got the stfu from me :)

    As for why ideological diversity is not tolerated on the Internet – well I can only write one masters dissertation at a time :)

  27. 15 · Manju said

    Also, why do so many Sepia readers assume I’m republican
    And my St. Paul-bred driver said the same
    Well, for one you have your own chauffeur. Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?

    No, no, Manju – you got the stereotypes all wrong. I’m the pretentious, well-connected liberal (educated at a fancy private, liberal arts school, of course) with a salt-of-the-earth Republican, real Minnesotan (flat o) driver who is forced to contract such gigs from Reuters because his real job got outsourced to India (from whence I am so glamorously descended.). Next time you insult me, please – check your facts.

  28. 33 · Mallika said

    No, no, Manju – you got the stereotypes all wrong. I’m the pretentious, well-connected liberal (educated at a fancy private, liberal arts school, of course) with a salt-of-the-earth Republican, real Minnesotan (flat o) driver who is forced to contract such gigs from Reuters because his real job got outsourced to India (from whence I am so glamorously descended.). Next time you insult me, please – check your facts.

    he was joking–manju is often tarred by newish commentators as an archetypal filet-belching, limbaugh-swallowing, disregard for the likkle people conservative…I would’ve added a ‘heh’ but it seemed unnecessary.

  29. I read it as support for another mutineer who’s been jumped by the proggies for no good reason. Perhaps I am wrong.

  30. 31 · Faiqa said

    @Harbeer: Ageism? Ok, I can see how you took it that way. Let me rephrase. “You couldn’t possibly think that a man standing in front of balloons…etc” Still, I’d like to point out that mentioning someone’s demographic distinctions doesn’t equate to discrimination. If I had said Obama was a “black man standing at a podium” that wouldn’t mean I’m a racist.

    Are you sure you’re directing this at the right person? I can’t find anywhere in this thread where I mentioned anybody’s age.

  31. 35 · Nayagan said

    I read it as support for another mutineer who’s been jumped by the proggies for no good reason. Perhaps I am wrong.

    Aha. Damn text. Confusing.