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Well, my friends, I was unable to get myself to St. Paul for the Republican National Convention this week. It just wasn’t in the cards, financially.

I don’t know whether to be bummed or relieved.

See, the blogger/activist side of me really wants to be there with cameras rolling, documenting what’s happening outside the convention. Because there is a lot of shit happening that really ought to be documented. More on that in a minute.

Then there is the self-preservation side of me, that wants to remain unbruised, unhandcuffed, unpeppersprayed, and un-arrested-on-ridiculous-trumped-up-charges.

Though you can’t tell it from the coverage in the mainstream media, the St. Paul police (and, according to at least some of the reports, the FBI) have been totally out of control for the past few days, trying to round up anyone who might have an opinion before the Republican convention gets started.

They’re not just arresting the activists. They’re also arresting journalists – they got Amy Goodman Monday afternoon, and also AP photographer Matt Rourke. And anyone who might be trying to document the police behavior. I read one report that said one or more of the lawyers who have shown up to represent activists have also been arrested.

Sorry, I can’t remember where I saw that one. I’ve been reading blog coverage – since the mainstream media has been totally fucking ignoring this – more or less continuously since I saw subMedia’s early Saturday morning report about the first police raid Friday evening. They’ve done two more since then, and both are must see. Lots of other people have been writing and posting videos about what’s going on in St. Paul. Here’s a few worth checking out.

Here’s the thing that’s got me nervous:

Regular readers of this blog may remember that back in early July, I had a pretty severe attack of paranoia. I was expecting some sort of faked terrorist attack (or a foiled fake terrorist attack) around the Fourth of July.

My understanding of terror management theory (see more that I’ve written on this subject here) and my beliefs about certain corporate and ultra-right-wing interests had me quite concerned about one or the other scenarios happening, because frankly, the Republicans actually need a terrorist attack at this point if they hope to win this thing using their fear tactic (since obviously Mr. Get-Off-My-Lawn-You-Damn-Kids’ charm isn’t doing the trick).

Well, my paranoia’s back, and lately it’s all centered around the city of St. Paul.

Let’s see what we have:

  • A Republican convention that most of the Republican “all-stars” (Bush, Cheney, Schwarzenegger, etc.) have backed out of due, allegedly, to hurricane Gustav
  • A Republican candidate with all the charm of Oscar the Grouch – one whose Senate colleagues think is too hot-tempered to be trusted in the Oval Office
  • A Vice-Presidential candidate who is already under investigation and an embarrassment to her party due to her family, um, situation

Plus, a whole lot of liberal/left-wing activists who would serve very nicely as scapegoats if anything…unfortunate…were to happen during the convention.

Am I being overly cynical if I say that somewhere out there is someone with enough money (and no moral compass), someone whose interests would be adversely affected if the Democrats take control next year, or even maybe someone who just wants to help Jesus come back to earth now — and that that someone may try to take a bunch of lemons and make lemonade for himself?

Now, once again, I want to emphasize that I am not accusing Republican leadership of planning a terrorist attack on American soil. I really believe that most Republicans who hold public office honestly believe that what they are doing is best for the country, even though it is really only what is best for their country club buddies.

But their there (jeez, jane, proofread once in a while, will you?) are some sharks out there who lack all conscience, and have a kill or be killed mentality, who would think nothing of a little “collateral damage” if it served their bottom line.

I hope I’m wrong.

I’m probably wrong.

But I’m not going to stop worrying until the current bastards are literally out of the Oval Office and back on the ranch in Crawford.

Or better yet, cooling off in a nice federal penitentiary for their various high crimes and misdemeanors.

But that’s probably too much to hope for, isn’t it?

jane doe

P.S. I still wish I had managed to find a way to get to St. Paul.

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So it turns out that McCain’s vice presidential pick – you know, Sarah Palin, the one who’s supposedly all big with the Christian values and teaching abstinence instead of birth control (which she opposes) – well, her unmarried 17-year-old daughter is apparently pregnant. Like, five months pregnant. According to the New York Times article, the girl (Bristol) will be keeping the baby and plans to marry the baby’s father.

Oopsie.

To Palin’s credit, she is being a supportive mom for her daughter.

To McCain’s credit, he is not throwing Palin under a bus. And at least one account I’ve seen says he knew about the impending joyous event when he chose Palin as his VP candidate.

Of course, I have nothing but good wishes for Bristol and her pending bundle of joy. Good for you, kiddo, if you’re doing what you want to do.

But next time – you might want to look into some of that birth control that your mom is so opposed to. Because seriously, you’re seventeen – do you really want to have to become a grown-up this fast?

jane doe

NB: There were already rumors circulating that in fact Palin’s youngest child is not hers, but her daughter’s – delivered when Bristol was sixteen. According to witnesses, Palin did not look pregnant even on the day she claims to have delivered the child – indeed, she flew from Dallas to Seattle to Alaska while she was allegedly in labor, something no sane pregnant woman would ever do. So why did she do it? Because, the story goes, she wasn’t having a baby, and she needed to be in the city where the baby was being born on the day of the delivery if she was going to claim that the child was hers and not her daughter’s.


Mr. Emanuel –

Today, you posted an article at the Huffington Post lamenting the fact that the cable news networks are covering the Democratic National Convention as if it were a sporting event. “This is Real News,” moans your headline, “Don’t Cover it Like a Sport.”

I’m sorry, but where did you get the idea that either of the party conventions are real news?

Did anything unpredictable happen? Will the convention settle anything that wasn’t settled back when the Obama camp announced that it had enough votes to secure the nomination?

No, to both.

Frankly, watching the conventions is a bit like watching a televised awards show, but with longer speeches.

Meanwhile, the Denver police are pepper spraying and using their batons on peaceful protesters. Wars rage on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush and Cheney want to start another war with Iran. The economy is in the toilet. Gas prices are so high they’ve finally done what all the screaming and yelling about global warming hasn’t been able to do so far – get Americans to drive less. High energy costs are driving up the cost of everything else, further harming the people at the bottom of the economic ladder. Political corruption is rampant. Companies like Blackwater and Halliburton are getting risk rich on our task dollars, at the cost of countless Iraqi lives, due to a war we never should have started in the first place. Our health care system is a mess. No Child Left Behind is wrecking our public schools. Our constitutional rights and any semblance of the personal privacy that was once considered our birthright as Americans are now in tatters. We seem on the verge of becoming that which we all profess to loathe – a fascist state. And nobody in the Bush administration has been impeached yet, despite numerous high crimes and misdemeanors.

To be perfectly honest, I think the cable news shows are giving the conventions about the level of respect they deserve. The only actual newsworthy event inside the Pepsi Center so far (that I’m aware of) has been Hillary’s speech, and that’s only because some of her fangirls just can’t let go and accept that she isn’t going to be the president come January 1, 2009.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that the ultimate outcome of the elections come November is vitally important.

I’m just saying that most of what’s been happening inside the Pepsi Center for the past two days isn’t.

Best wishes,

jane doe


On July 5th, I posted one plausible reason why the Democratic leadership in Washington has been so reluctant to institute impeachment proceedings against a clearly corrupt White House. Basically, I suggested that they were waiting until Bush was out of office to begin any prosecutory action in order to avoid any attempts by the alleged president to pardon his minions for their criminal wrongdoing.

I’d like to retract that post, along with anything nice I may ever have said about the Democratic congressional leadership.

The always excellent Glenn Greenwald certainly shot my theory down yesterday. (Not that he was actually taking aim at it or anything. I’m sure he has far better things to do with his time than read my humble little blog.)

In his column at Salon.com (which I strongly encourage reading in full), Greenwald very neatly summarizes the evidence that in fact the principal reason for the Democrats’ inaction is that key members of the Democratic leadership (including Nancy Pelosi) were briefed early on about two of the biggest scandals to come out of this administration: the torturing of detainees in Gitmo and elsewhere, and the illegal wiretapping program that our Democratic-controlled Congress so graciously granted Bush and the telecoms immunity for last week.

Suddenly, the reason for their willingness to roll over on these issues becomes clear: because any investigation in conjunction with impeachment proceedings (or any other prosecution) will inevitably reveal that these key Democrats knew what was going on, and yet said and did nothing to stop it.

Can we just impeach all of them? Now, please? Do we really have to wait until November to throw these people out of office?

jane doe


This evening, I had originally planned to post a nice review of War, Inc., which I finally got to see when I was in Chicago last weekend. It really is wickedly funny, and all the more topical given yesterday’s announcement about certain American and British oil companies going back to work in Iraq on no-bid contracts (read about that here). I’ll have to write that review tomorrow, though. Sorry.

The simple fact of the matter is, I’m too angry at the moment to write a good review.

The House Democrats sold us out today, folks. There’s no other way to describe it. And in doing so, they’ve pushed us a bit closer to that blurry, indistinct line that separates our democracy from fascism.

That’s assuming we haven’t crossed that line already. I’m really not completely sure, since it’s never been precisely clear to me what the defining characteristics of fascism are. There certainly seems to be a lot of debate about that on the internet. And it’s not like any modern government or political party will announce that it is hoping to institute a fascist form of government anymore, not since World War II. Still, we’ve seen the Bush White House use a lot of tactics that seem to come out of the Hitler playbook. Yes, I know that remark is likely to bring comments about Godwin’s Law — or it would if any of you, my dear non-existent readers, ever left comments, anyway. I don’t care. Sometimes, the Hitler analogy is appropriate from a historical perspective, and it has been increasingly so as this administration’s tenure has progressed.

But I digress.

The Democrats have a controlling majority in the House of Representatives. It’s not like the Senate, where they can only claim to have a majority because Joe Lieberman is still caucusing with them (even if he doesn’t vote with them on anything). So they didn’t have to cave.

They didn’t have to give in on the so-called compromise FISA measure. which grants the president expansive powers to spy on us without warrants — our phone calls, our e-mails, our internet surfing habits.

They certainly didn’t have to give the telecoms immunity. How the fuck does that make us any more secure, I ask you?

Yet this is precisely what they have done today. In doing this, they are giving us government not of the people, by the people, and for the people, but of, by, and for the major corporations. And for Big Brother.

In doing this, they betrayed us. The American people.

And it’s leaving me wondering what to do now?

See, here’s the thing. I used to be this corporate attorney. Big law firm, big business deals, big money. Well, big money for the number of years I was out of law school, anyway — lots of people were making a lot more money than me. I wore designer suits, I ate in nice restaurants, and I had a lovely office in…well, you don’t need to know which city, and I don’t want to make it too easy to identify me, for reasons I’ve already discussed elsewhere in this blog.

At first, the work was real easy to rationalize. Most of the clients I did work for were non-profit corporations performing essential services. So there I was, on the side of the angels, right? But the reality was, they were in competition with for-profit corporations, and in order to continue their operations, they had to engage in some of the same practices that the for-profits did just to remain financially viable.

This was very disturbing to me.

I tried going in-house at an organization that I believed then and still believe now to be very ethically run, but the business aspects were still getting to me. And when I have trouble believing in what I’m doing, I do not perform at my best.

Seven years out of law school, I was completely burnt-out.

I decided to go back to grad school to re-tool for a new career. I figured I would get my PhD, and then I could start working with certain organizations to educate legislators at the state and federal level about what scientific research was telling us about the field, and what the implications of that were for making policy applicable to that field.

Seems like a good fit, right? See, I already speak lawyerspeak, and politicianspeak and bureaucratspeak are both really just dialects of that language. So I thought I could help translate the scientific research (another language of its own) for the people making the policy, so that we don’t end up with policy that is so at odds with what all the research is telling us about certain things. (And yes, I’m dancing around the field I’m studying in, as well as the field I concentrated on in law. I’m trying to remain anonymous, remember.)

But then I watch things like what happened today, with the Democrats caving in to the President and the telecoms, instead of upholding the constitution. And I think about how the Democratic leadership has made it clear that impeachment is off the table. And I look at all the ways that the Democrats could have stood up for us since the 2006 election — on the Iraq war, on the economy, on our civil rights, on health issues, on torture and habeas corpus and corruption and no-bid contracts and the use of the Department of Justice for political ends and… the list just goes on and on and on.

And I wonder, am I fighting the wrong fight?

Should I be working within the system to bring about change?

Or should I be trying to change the fucking system?

I just don’t know anymore.

Any suggestions?

jane doe


Okay, this is not exactly a movie review, I guess, since I haven’t seen it yet.

Please. Like I have those kinds of contacts.

Still, it’s a movie that I’m really looking forward to, assuming it ever makes it here to Redstatesville. Which it may not. It is opening May 23rd in a few theaters in New York and L.A. Wider release presumably (hopefully) to follow.

The movie, War, Inc., is by all accounts a mish-mash of genres and a wicked satire of the highest order. John Cusack (who also co-wrote and produced the picture) stars as hitman Brand Hauser (NB: not the same character as the hitman Cusack plays in Grosse Pointe Blank, another wonderful movie he co-wrote, produced and starred in), who is hired by the management of a Halliburton/Blackwater-style corporation called Tamerlane to assassinate the head of a rival company. The story involves the first ever entirely corporate-managed foreign war in a country called Turaqistan, and is clearly based on the Iraq war fiasco, while exploring themes similar to those found in the documentary Iraq for Sale and Naomi Klein’s wonderful book on disaster capitalism, The Shock Doctrine.

[Side note: if you haven’t read Klein’s book yet, you ought to pick up a copy at your earliest opportunity. Like now. Really. It’s that good (and disturbing), and it will change the way you look at a lot of major events you see reported in the news. Seriously, head over to Amazon.com or (better yet) your favorite independent bookstore and pick up a copy NOW. This blog will still be here when you get back, I promise.]

I’ve always thought that Grosse Pointe Blank – Cusack’s 1997 movie about a hitman in existential crisis who attends his ten-year high school reunion – ought to be required viewing for anyone thinking about becoming a corporate attorney (they call them hired guns for a reason, folks!). Martin Blank’s recurring assertion that “It’s not me” in that movie goes to the heart of a lot of business dealings that are too easily rationalized as “It’s just business, nothing personal.”

War, Inc., looks even better in that regard, from what I’ve heard, and the early buzz I’ve heard is very positive.

So why am I writing about a movie that I haven’t seen yet? A movie that, in fact, may not open here in Redstatesville where I live?

Because this thing really looks brilliant. Don’t believe me? Check out the clips and blurbs on Cusack’s MySpace page.

Also, because I am hoping that one of you, my dear nonexistent readers, has seen it (it was apparently showing in Toronto last week) or will see it soon (as noted, it opens in NY and LA on May 23rd). So I’m putting out a call here: if anyone reading this little blog sees it (either opening weekend or before then) and wants to post a proper review (or even an improper review) here, please contact me directly at janedoe [at] inbox.com.

Worst case scenario, I will post a review myself if/when it opens here in Redstatesville (or somewhere within relatively easy driving distance of here).

In the mean time, of course, I still think Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe

Follow-up: minor formatting corrections. Sorry for the multiple posts, RSS subscribers.


Actual quote from a White House press briefing about the whole mess in Pakistan (h/t to Jason Linkins at HuffPo):

Reporter: Is it ever reasonable to restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism?

Dana Perino: In our opinion, no.

Wow. That’s all I can say. Just, wow. That is some really impressive Doublethink on the part of Ms. Perino, there. Frankly, I’m in awe. To see someone who is an integral part of an administration that has done more to restrict our constitutional freedoms than any other in recent memory state that it is never reasonable to restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism — the mind boggles. Pardon me while I go pound my head against a brick wall for a few minutes.

Which ultimately just provides one more reason why I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe


Sorry for the tired metaphor, but Gonzo is gone! That’s the happy news I woke up to this morning. According to the New York Times, Gonzales submitted his resignation to the president by telephone on Friday, thus saving Congress the effort of impeaching his sorry ass (though of course they remain free to consider criminal charges given his apparent perjury in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year).

I’m going to be all smiles at work this morning. The guy who thinks that spying on Americans without a warrant is okay and that the Geneva Conventions are “quaint” and who apparently can’t remember anything but his own name is leaving the Department of Justice! Have a great day everyone!

And of course, it goes without saying that I still think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe

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