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It’s been several days since McCain made what should have been one of the biggest speeches of his career, and I’m still not sure what to say.

When you’ve got someone lying and bloviating in his speechifying like that, where do you start?

Well, that, and I had a hard time staying awake for the entire speech. I felt like a little kid trying to behave in church or something – I knew I should be paying attention, but it was soooo boring, and the couch was so comfy, and my eyes were kind of tired anyway and…well, you get the idea.

I agree with SilentPatriot’s assessment over at Crooks and Liars:

Not only was the speech poorly delivered and mind-numbingly boring, it was without substance. Obama’s speech was a generational call to arms to disaffected Americans who are sick and tired of the paralyzing partisanship and unacceptable status quo. Mccain’s was boilerplate

There was one thing I found a bit disturbing, though.

Well, no, actually, there were a bunch of things I found a bit disturbing. But this is an aspect I haven’t seen commented on in the blogs or news sites I read, so I thought I ought to mention it.

About eight minutes into the speech, McCain speaks directly to Barack Obama:

And finally, a word to Senator Obama and his supporters. We’ll go at it, we’ll go at it over the next two months, you know that’s the nature of this business. And there are big differences between us. But you have my respect, and my admiration. Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, and that’s an association that means more to me than any other. We’re dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal, and endowed by our creator with inalienable rights. No country, no country ever had a greater cause than that. And I wouldn’t be an American worthy of the name, if I didn’t honor Senator Obama and his supporters for their achievement.

All well and good. He doesn’t congratulate Obama outright on being the first African American to win a major political party’s nomination for president, but the allusion to both the Declaration of Independence (“all men are created equal, and endowed by our creator with unalienable rights”) and Lincoln’s Gettysburg address (“dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”) make it clear enough that this is what he is speaking of. And of course, honoring Obama on his historic achievement is an appropriate, honorable, and classy thing to do.
But then he looks at the audience of Republican convention delegates and party bigwigs — the overwhelmingly, disproportionately, almost unbelievably white audience — and says:

But let there be no doubt my friends, we’re going to win this election. We’re going to win.

Emphasis as in the original.

Yes, he really emphasized the “we’re” both times. Immediately after the sentence about honoring Obama and his supporters for their achievement.

And all I can think, is that he means, “We, the rich white people, are going to win.”

Maybe I’m reading too much into things. I’ve been known to do that on occasion. It may be that McCain didn’t mean “we rich white people,” but instead merely meant “we Republicans (most of whom happen to be white).” Maybe he even just meant, “we Republicans.”

I’ve watched this portion of the speech several times over the past few days, trying to figure out if I was just imagining it, or if he really had emphasized the words in a way that would suggest that he meant my first interpretation of his words.

And I still kinda think he meant it that way.

So I guess I need a reality check. I’m including a YouTube video of the speech below. Use the slider bar to fast-forward to about 8:22 into the speech, watch it for yourself, and tell me what you think:

Am I reading too much into it?

jane doe

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I missed this from the Denver Post last week because I don’t subscribe to any Colorado newspapers (I have no bird cages and thus no use for the local news), but I saw a post about it in my new favorite blog, No Blood for Hubris (another Buddhist blogger – yay! plus, gotta love the title). It’s the account of a protester who was arrested last week by the Denver PD for exercising his first amendment rights. A quick exerpt:

“The first thing I really noticed was at Civic Center Park when I was in the ‘Food Not Bombs’ area. The police seemed to be ready for conflict. They walked through the ‘Food Not Bombs’ crowd, which was a peaceful group, holding their weapons out and looking at people, really intensely, trying to intimidate everyone. It made us all a little worried.

“I was planning to march with the group that night. We all had different reasons for being there. I was marching to make people aware that they should be worried about our civil rights being stripped systematically right now, and show people that habeas corpus is six feet under. I just think the time we live in has so many deep-rooted problems that I don’t understand how people can NOT protest. I’d never been arrested before, and I have no criminal record or significant run-ins with the law.

“Everything happened really fast. We knew there were police behind us, and that presence was growing larger, with more police, but then suddenly there were police in front of us at the other end of the block. Shortly after that, the police encircled us. A lot of people were able to escape before they closed the circle, but the rest of us were inside, along with a journalist from Brooklyn, and a woman who started writing on her laptop about what was happening, and some photographers. There were many people who weren’t protesters, just citizens, who were in the encircled group.

“We moved to the sidewalk – a few people stayed in the street – because we didn’t want a confrontation, but it didn’t matter.

“People started pleading: ‘Let me go,’ ‘I want to go home.’ The police started using the pepper spray. Some of the police on horses were whacking people with their batons. I was told later that the police were telling us to disperse, but I didn’t hear them say that. And where would we go? The police were all around us, not letting us leave.

So it’s not just the St. Paul police, though obviously the SPPD have been much more…what’s the word I’m looking for…brownshirt-ish?

It’s a curious thing, though.

In St. Paul, the police seem to be sweeping up everyone who looks at them cross-eyed, without regard for group affiliation, and it looks like the Denver PD had its moments with the lefty-leaning protesters, as well.

But both days that I was in downtown Denver during the convention, I saw groups protesting against gays (and the whole GLBT spectrum) and against abortion, right on the sidewalks where people were trying to walk. These protesters were a little intimidating and in-your-face (because, after all, they were telling everybody else on the street that they were going to burn in hell).

And all the Denver PD did was keep people out of the street. That’s it. No arrests. No intimidation tactics. No hassling the right-wing protesters.

Who do they go after?

Not the anti-abortion people, in spite of the violent tactics often associated with their movement. Not the people preaching hatred and intolerance.

They went after the peace activists. The journalists. The bloggers. The people calling for health care reform. The people calling for economic reform. The people who usually make a point of being non-violent in their protests. Sure, they’re uncooperative, but they are not violent or destructive.

And yet the police are treating them as if they were throwing bricks and molotov cocktails.

America is getting scary.

Make no mistake about it, my friends. We are now living in a police state.

And the worst of it is that the people who are running the show don’t seem to understand that they are creating the conditions that are more likely to lead to open revolt against the status quo.

If you allow people to protest, they tend to think, “Okay, things are fucked up, but at least we can still say that they’re fucked up, and protest, and march, because we have our constitutional rights to free speech and assembly. We can work with this.”

But when you stifle dissent…well…

In a way, society is like a pressure cooker. You need a way to vent pressure when it starts to build up to dangerous levels. Right now, certain factions within our society are trying to tighten the lid on the cooker, to prevent that venting from occurring. Protests are the steam valve that allows some of the pressure to bleed off.

Oppression breeds subversion. Rebellion.

Revolution.

Just sayin’…

jane doe

Update: I edited this post to give the source for the quoted text (the Denver Post).


As this is the 231st anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the document that started our removal of a tyrant from power over the United States, I thought I would go through that grand old document and catalog which of the crimes of England’s King George have been committed by our own current (in his own mind, anyway) King George. I was only going to include the applicable ones in this post, but since that turned out to be the majority of them, anyway, I just left in all of them. Happy reading!

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

The first Iraq financing bill this year, which would have set real benchmarks and started the process of bringing our troops home. Stem cell research. There probably would have been more, but since he had a rubberstamp congress for much of his administration, there have been relatively few vetoes.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

Not really. Though should we consider his “signing statements” a failure to pass laws, in that he is denying the laws should apply to him, the answer to this one could change.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

No, though prior to the current term of Congress, members of the Republican party forced their opposition to hold hearings that were unfavorable to his administration (to the extent they could hold them at all) in a cramped basement room rather than a regular hearing room.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

Not yet. Give him time. For now, he just ignores them.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

See above. Also, consider his use of “temporary” appointments of U.S. Attorneys in the wake of the firings last December, to avoid having to seek Senate confirmation of same. Not strictly on point, but more or less the functional equivalent.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

Well, not exactly, but heaven knows immigration is a mess at the moment.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

No, but he has of course endeavored to stack federal courts, and particularly the U.S. Supreme Court, with justices favorable to his point of view, and then whined that the Democratic Party was being obstructionist on those few occasions when they attempted to block his less qualified or more appalling nominations.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

No, but change judges to United States Attorneys and you would have something here. Clearly, he has tried to subvert the ability of courts to hear matters within their purview – e.g., by gutting habeas corpus.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

Department of Homeland Security, NSA (okay, that’s not really new), TSA, anyone? Also, let us not forget his (often successful) attempts to politicize the ways that various agencies carry out their duties and/or use those agencies to further the election of Republican Party candidates, in blatant violation of the Hatch Act.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

Well, he hasn’t done this here, since obviously we have consented to the maintenance of a standing military, but I imagine people in other parts of the world might have something to say about this one.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

Hello, Military Commissions Act, goodbye, habeas corpus.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

Some might point to the WTO, though that predates Bush. So, no, not really. However, he has repeatedly subverted provisions of our Constitution and our laws, so I think that counts as a practical equivalent.

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

Well, this is more a complaint among the various countries we are occupying…still, he hasn’t done this here.

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

Okay, this doesn’t involve troops, and there was a real trial by jury, but I would argue that his commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence is the moral equivalent of this.

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

How about destroying our country’s reputation in all parts of the world – does that count?

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

Does running up a huge national debt that we will eventually have to pay off through our taxes in order to pay for the war he lied to get us into count? I’d call that one close enough.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

Hello, we have a winner! See the Military Commissions Act, and Guantanamo.

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

What do you think happened in the case of most of those people locked up in Guantanamo – it now appears that the vast majority of them didn’t really do anything that would justify locking them up for five years without trial, then creating some sort of mockery of a judicial process to avoid having them tried in U.S. courts where there are procedural safeguards.

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

Um, well, okay, this one he hasn’t done yet. Though he has gone a country with a functioning if oppressive government – a country which we now know and should then have known was not a threat to us – and overthrown that government and introduced a system of chaos, death and destruction. I think that’s probably close enough on the whole scale of moral wrongs.

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

I think the gradual destruction of our civil rights under the U.S. Constitution, as well as his expansion of presidential authority outside the bounds of Constitutional authority, his hobbling of congressional oversight capabilities, and his institution of the infamous “signing statements” that purport to excuse him from violations of the laws passed by Congress all qualify under this grievance, don’t you?

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

Again, I would say the signing statements amount to a presidential grab of Congressional authority.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

Not quite, but I would argue that his repeated violations of the civil rights of American citizens qualifies as the substantive equivalent to waging a covert war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

Hmm – plundered our seas? Check. Ravaged our coasts? Katrina is close enough – he ravaged New Orleans by inaction (and recent reports suggest he and his buddies are getting set to ravage its ruins for oil). Burnt our towns? No, he did that to the Iraqis. Destroyed the lives of our people? Hmm, how many U.S. Soldiers dead in Iraq as of today? Also, if destroying the livelihoods counts, then consider the whole Valerie Plame fiasco which has happened on his watch.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

Ding ding ding! We have another winner! Well, foreign to the Iraqis, anyway. Can you say, Blackwater?

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

Um, give me a few minutes, I’m sure I can think of something here…okay, maybe not.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

No, all the insurrections he has incited against him are foreign in nature…so far. Though of course the Iraq war has increased the terrorist threat against us beyond what it was at the time of 9/11, so we’ll call this one a “yes”, too, shall we? And let’s also not forget his party’s tactic of accusing anyone who disagrees with Bush of treason, whipping up hatred against Democrats and liberals.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Ding ding ding! We have another winner!

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.

Replace “British” with “White House” and you have another winner, see the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the parade of civil rights violations at the White House’s direction, and various other high crimes and misdemeanors.

For all these reasons, and for others perhaps not stated herein, I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Do something really patriotic: go out and protest this administration’s actions!

jane doe

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