Conventional Theatre

Some snapshots of the shindig in Denver. Roberto Lovato@ Of América

Today’s pre-Convention events here in Denver included a heavy dose of what has, since before 9-11, become a staple of coneventioneering: cops, paramilitaries and other displays of state power. I took the picture above while dining at Sam’s Diner downtown because it offers us a view into the cultural side of domestic militarism, how normal it is to sit within feet of several heavily-armed people in uniform.

I was especially taken at how the officer in the center of the picture looks like a little girl jumping out of her seat as the smiling waitress shows her a plate full of deserts. She might’ve jumped higher were it not for the weight of her thick revolver, her batons, her mace and other weapons she and others from among the thousands of police, secret service, FBI and other security agents attending the Convention wore. And though they weren’t wearing any of the ubiquitous red, white and blue plastic badges plastering chests all over this place, those wearing silver badges and paramilitary get-ups got VIP treatment as when those of us standing in line at Sam’s watched them cut in front of us on their way to eating cake.

Immigration: Too Hot for DNC?– Outside of the Pepsi Convention Center are hundreds of immigrant rights groups planning a major mobilization this Thursday – the day of Obama’s acceptance speech. They will protest what they believe is the unwillingness of Democrats and their Washington-based immigrant rights allies to seriously support what the press release of the March 25th Coalition calls “human legalization and a moratorium on raids and deportations.”

And ABC moaning about other corporations, so they must be different, hmmm-

abc news– Not even the emotionally charged speech by Sen. Ted Kennedy kept corporate lobbyists from carrying out their multi-million dollar campaign to wine and dine and influence Democratic lawmakers at a series of lavish parties last night in Denver. Nor did the speech by Sen. Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle. Dozens of private corporate parties continued through the convention hours, ABC News found. At one large party thrown by large financial institutions, including CitiGroup, Merrill Lynch and UBS, television monitors showed the speeches, but the audio was drowned out by a live jazz band.

Glenn Greenwald– Being in Denver has meant that I’ve been in the proximity of the herds of establishment media figures for the first time, to actually hear what they say and how they conduct themselves off camera, and it’s all exactly the same. The only topics they’re capable of thinking about are the same ones they chatter about on the TV — is Obama Making a Mistake by speaking in the stadium because the heartland Americans (who they know and understand so well) will think he’s too big for his britches? What Must Hillary Do? How will Michelle Play in the Bowling Alleys? To say it’s bereft of substance is to understate the case dramatically.

Ethan Persoff Boing Boing– My excuse for not having a photo is because just as I hit the shutter I swallowed in a gulp of pepper spray that misted through the air forcing me to recoil and lose the shot. But I’ll happily go in a court of law to say I saw a guy with no weapons run at a bunch of police, immediately get shot with rubber bullets, and then receive what looked very much like a pistol whipping. The sound of clattering metal billyclubs on the pavement, indicating missed shots, is something I don’t think I’ll ever forget either.

But there is an importance to this-

Nezua– Perhaps it is just the mood of the city’s residents anyway, or maybe it’s the day. But looking around at the people of color on the bus as well as those proudly sporting Obama buttons or hawking Obama t-shirts, I experience a sudden feeling of… hope. And happiness. And it has nothing to do with the Democratic Presidential Candidate’s placards or slogans. They are laughing with each other and the mood here is noticeably charged with joy. It’s probably my imagination, but I imagine It has to do with knowing that finally, people of color in this society can see themselves represented as something other than in positions of serving, savagery, or stupidity. Those of us who are not “white” — be it black, Asian, Latino, Native American and so on — suddenly feel our own positions shift, as the cultural map shifts.

How to Make NeoCons’ Heads Explode

Iran has played a crucial role in the success of the so-called Surge. The Iraqi army fought poorly against the militiamen of the Mehdi Army in March and April. It was Iran that mediated a ceasefire on the Baghdad government’s terms. It was Iran which pressured the Mehdi Army leader Muqtada al-Sadr to call his men off the streets. A prime reason why Iraq is not going to disintegrate is that Iran does not want it to. – Patrick Cockburn

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If they had not been white and were after Bush, would it be played down as ‘knuckleheads‘?

Inside his rental pickup truck, police found two rifles, including one with a scope; a bulletproof vest; boxes of ammunition; walkie-talkies; and suspected narcotics. Authorities then went to a local hotel to arrest an associate of Gartrell named Shawn Robert Adolf. Police arrested him after he jumped out of a sixth floor hotel window trying to avoid capture. Sources said Adolf was wearing a swastika and is thought to have ties to white supremacist organizations.


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Oh Shit

Russia are doing the Kossova shuffle and recognising Ossetia and Abkhazia, and McCain is using Georgia in his campaign, this is not good. Lots of people in the break away regions seem to be pretty pleased but I wouldn’t bet on them staying that way. But culturally I find it appalling that the old guard cold warriors are seeing the chance to do it all over again. Even today there is evidence of the military industrial power that demands it’s pre-eminent entitlement to public wealth-– Britain risks losing its influence abroad unless it makes defence a bigger priority, according to Mike Turner, BAE Systems’ chief executive. Mr Turner also warned that his company could be forced to consider leaving the UK if military spending ever declined below a “reasonable level”.

The chief executive, who retires on Friday after 42 years with BAE, told the Financial Times in a final interview that what he would miss least was “the bloody allegations”, a reference to the corruption claims surrounding the multibillion-pound contract to sell arms to Saudi Arabia that have dogged the company for the past four years and which BAE has consistently denied.

“They are annoying and I know it’s wrong; wrong for the company, for my employees and for the country,” Mr Turner said.

The 60-year-old, who has been chief executive of BAE, Britain’s largest defence contractor, for the past 6½ years, said Britain needed to give greater priority to defence or risk losing its “say in the world”.

“I’m very concerned that the politicians, and it’s up to the politicians to decide, are not giving the priority to defence that is needed,” he said.

“It’s right for the country to keep the Armed Forces strong, you get listened to in the world . . . It’s also good for jobs, for skills, for technology and for exports,” he said.

What was lacking, he said, was investment in future programmes, which was needed if the UK wanted to continue to “have say in the world”.

(ht2 Chicken Yoghurt)

There is a market incentive towards war, cold or otherwise, and as ‘free’ market capitalism dominates the planet woohoo, the future is going to be just fucking great. And please- ‘defence’, fuck that newspeak bullshit, it’s fucking arms & war spending you murderous kleptomaniacs. D’you think maybe late at night in this guys house (one of many) the walls run with blood and the moans of the dead and dying echo down the halls. But he doesn’t wake, a smile crosses his lips, his cock gets hard and he turns over and sleeps like a fucking baby.

Honduras Joins ALBA

Honduras is a member of a free trade pact between Central America and the United States. But President Manuel Zelaya, a logging magnate seen as a moderate liberal, has been drifting toward closer ties with Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, a U.S. foe. On Monday, Honduras joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or ALBA, which is based on complementary trade and cooperation instead of free-market competition.

Venezuela has used the pact and its oil wealth to expand its influence in the impoverished region. “All the energy that they need … in Honduras is assured for the next 100 years,” Chavez told a cheering crowd of about 50,000 people in the Honduran capital.

I guess the death squads and torture and Negroponte’s importance in the Bush regime didn’t endear the ‘backyard’ to their masters no more. If they hate Chavez’s influence they only have themselves to blame. Zelaya might only be in it for his own aggrandisement but the net result is once again the rightists who installed the torture regimes of the past who now also run in the Bush regime are being rejected. Good.

(ht2 BoRev)

Stupid People Use Lawyers

Phil @ A Very Public Sociologist is dead right about this-

Personally, I have very little time for the politics peddled on HP. Warmed over social democracy plus humanitarian imperialism plus trenchant Zionism do not suit my radical palate. But they have as much right to push their rubbish politics as any other blogger, regardless of how distasteful they can be at times. So down with the complaints, the writs and the threats of court action, and away with those of censorious intent. If you’re stupid enough to make the kind of mistake Jenna Delich did, then you should take the blowback on the chin, not scrabble around for a lawyer’s latter.

As far as I can see Ms. Delich used/passed on a link to David Duke’s site, his name was in the url! I am not a fan of the Israel right or wrong position but if your opposition to the policies of the state of Israel encompass neo-Nazi scumbag retards then you need to ask yourself some very hard questions about personal anti-Semitism. Even as a simple mistake it really doesn’t pass muster, to even bother reading those sites suggests a lack of awareness of the white supremacist movement and that really is dreadful ignorance at best, at worst, well that kind of opposition is worthless as it is based in prejudice. Principled opposition to Israel’s policies involve in part opposition to racism and that anti-racism applies just as equally to racists who hate Jews but clothe it in objections to Israel. Every person who is critical of Israel has to be keenly aware that others might base that criticism in bigotry and so a due diligence is necessary to make sure those racists have absolutely no part in your politics. You can’t fight one kind of racism with another.

I’m sure Harry’s Place were gleefully making hay from the link, but it is something to justifiably make note of, having them shut down is wrong. After all a handful of witless buffoons will have to find something to fill their pointless lives with while it is down, innocent members of the public risk being accosted by an HP reader in need of idiot conversation, no one deserves that. Won’t someone think of the children!

Remember It’s ‘Counter Terrorism’ NOT Propaganda!

I love that they call it a ‘brand’-

A Whitehall counter-terrorism unit is targeting the BBC and other media organisations as part of a new global propaganda push designed to “taint the al-Qaida brand”, according to a secret Home Office paper seen by the Guardian.

The document also shows that Whitehall counter-terrorism experts intend to exploit new media websites and outlets with a proposal to “channel messages through volunteers in internet forums” as part of their campaign.

The strategy is being conducted by the research, information and communication unit, [RICU] which was set up last year by the then home secretary, John Reid, to counter al-Qaida propaganda at home and overseas. It is staffed by officials from several government departments.

The report, headed, Challenging violent extremist ideology through communications, says: “We are pushing this material to UK media channels, eg a BBC radio programme exposing tensions between AQ leadership and supporters. And a restricted working group will communicate niche messages through media and non-media.”

The disclosure that a Whitehall counter-terrorism propaganda operation is promoting material to the BBC and other media will raise fresh concerns about official news management in a highly sensitive area.

The government campaign is based upon the premise that al-Qaida is waning worldwide and can appear vulnerable on issues such as declining popularity; its rejection by credible figures, especially religious ones, and details of atrocities.

The Whitehall propaganda unit is collecting material to target these vulnerabilities under three themes. They are that al-Qaida is losing support; “they are not heroes and don’t have answers; and that they harm you, your country and your livelihood”.

The RICU guidance, dated July 21 2008, says that the material is primarily aimed at “overseas communicators” in embassies and consulates around the world, confirming the global scale of the Whitehall counter-terrorist propaganda effort now underway.

But it also says that other partners should be encouraged to integrate this work into their communications at home as well: “It is aimed primarily (but not exclusively) at those working with overseas influencers and opinion formers.”


The RICU guidance note says the dossier has been drafted with support from Whitehall press officers “on how best to tailor such material for media engagements, presenting information to ministers, or to other stakeholders. It is in a separate, unclassified format to make it the sort of product that a minister or a press officer could use before an interview; or that could be given as a crib sheet for trusted contacts,” says the classified document.

And ‘trusted contacts’, not shills or anything like that, guaranteed first in the queue is Con ‘man’ Coughlin.  I wonder what they will classify as eveel terrorist propaganda they have to counter, with their record I’m sure they can be trusted… he was wearing a bulky jacket, the wars are not a factor in domestic bombings, they were Taliban not a wedding party, BAE must not be prosecuted, he had WMD’s! Also -exploit new media websites and outlets with a proposal to “channel messages through volunteers in internet forums- govt sponsored trolls? So the report from last week where the common factor was ‘low grade‘ jobs, nah sod that, let’s spend more money on spin, holiday villas don’t buy themselves people! Here’s the rub ‘details of atrocities.’ they must use propaganda and marketing because they do not intend on stopping their atrocities, they have nothing to fall back on but shifty persuasion like used car dealers because the example they lead by is far bloodier than the disparate franchise bogeyman AQ have ever managed. And then -In a section headed “AQ has suffered military defeat in …” it adds “use advisedly – avoid suggesting that AQ is no longer a threat. We are not claiming victory over AQ. We are stressing their declining support”.- Yep, the bogeyman that keeps on giving.