Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Monday, October 24, 2016

Ah, it’s almost August — time for another quadrennial flowering of America’s glorious democratic process, otherwise known as the presidential nominating conventions!

This grand testimonial of our citizens’ rights and liberties will begin with the Republicans in Tampa, Fla. Flags are being mounted, majestic music is arranged, uplifting speeches are being scripted — and, as has now become normal for these spectacles of democracy-in-action, heavily armed police repression of our cherished First Amendment rights is being ordered.

Of course, the delegates, candidates, lobbyists and billionaire funders inside the GOP’s convention bunker will be perfectly free (as they should be) to gild the promises and lies that will frame their presidential campaign. They will not be bothered by the riot-geared police authorities deployed around Tampa. However, any citizens who come to practice the hallowed freedoms of public assembly and speech can expect to be welcomed by a thoroughly un-American, weeklong police state.

In May, at the behest of national Republican officials, Tampa’s mayor and council passed a temporary ordinance to suspend our First Amendment and authorize a crackdown on protestors. Warning ominously that a few vandals might get out of control, the ordinance tries to force all citizen demonstrations into a few restricted parade routes and what amounts to “protest pens.” Pre-emptive detainments, indiscriminate mass arrests and police infiltrations of peaceful protest groups can be expected. Ironically, that’s the kind of autocratic excess that led to the American Revolution itself.

The city’s top lawyer recently barked that “troublemakers … will not be tolerated.” But the real troublemakers are those inside the hall — and inside a police system that’s being used to stomp on the very freedoms that America is supposed to embrace and encourage.

  • 13observer

    Really? After the shooting spree in Colorado, Gabby Giffords and the like…and the Dems are worried about organization of logistics regarding a safe and orderly convention. Are you kidding me? Like most on the left…probably hoping for another shooting to push further gun control efforts…at the expense of EXPLOITING the victims……just thinking out loud.

    • frivolous01

      Just like most on the right, totally willing to give away all of our freedoms for the illusion of security.

    • sigrid28

      If the Republican Party supports the NRA and all of its objectives, including universal gun ownership and liberal access to gun paraphernalia and gun registration lite, why all the fuss? Situations like the Aurora massacre are anomalies in NRA speak, the result of a crazed individual. A convention packed with happy gun owners inside and surrounded by like-minded citizens exercising Second Amendment rights, ready to “stand their ground,” outside, should suit the Republican Party, especially Tea Bag voters, to a T. Having shouted to the rooftops that they love these liberties more (apparently) than life itself, they should richly enjoy their success. What could possibly go wrong?

    • DukeDacat

      HEY 13observer, “Like most on the left…probably hoping for another shooting to push further gun control efforts…at the expense of EXPLOITING the victims……just thinking out loud.”

      Are you serious, you call the above quote “THINKING”

      What kind of a person says such a thing, let alone “THINK” such thoughts???

    • highpckts

      Well stop “thinking” so much, you’ll hurt yourself! Everbody already knows that the GOP and the NRA want everyone armed so we can all be “safe”!! What a lot of hogwash!!

  • 13observer

    Who did you want policing the area…Blackwater? Perhaps no security at all?

  • I guess practicing the First Amendment means you’re a trouble-maker unless you’re a Radical Rightie.

    • tokoloshi27

      If in doing so you happen to break laws, then yes you are a troublemaker. There are acceptable ways to protest – you’re doing one now.

      • phantomoftheopera

        ah, but what if laws are made to limit your right of free speech? this appears to have happened in tampa. just try it with the tea party and they’ll scream their heads off.

        • Unfortunately millions of Americans either do not have a computer, do not have access to the internet, do not know there are newsletters and online newspapers to protest in. 75% of rural areas and communities do not have affordable internet providers or any internet providers serving their areas. At least public protest draws news reporters who provide live feeds so that those who cannot protest on the internet can still get an alternating opinion. And DO NOT EVEN THINK that there not any republican backed newspapers, blogs, etc., either. My oldest daughter and her second husband for instance, live in a small town and they pay $99 per month for limited internet that does not even work every time there is a storm in summer or winter. And this is why we have the first amendment in the constitution, and that written by our founding fathers. So that people like my daughter can read about the protests, etc. in the rural newspaper that serves their entire county, can watch C span or other live feeds produced by both democratic and republican backed channels, and have the opportunity to hear various points of view.

      • I see you are one who like the law, well you are as stupid as the mayor, concinl, and Republican, You like messing with the Constitution. And you say you are an American. In my opinion you are no better than the Republicans.

      • Ed

        Yeah! King George should have hung all of the original tea party members, feathers and all.

  • I think it is so appropriate to have Florida Governor Rick Scott, a man who should have been serving time in prison for fraud, host the GOP convention and introduce Mitt Romney and other Republican luminaries to the audience that I am at a loss for words to describe the nauseating feeling I have.

    • sigrid28

      August 27th, when the Republican Convention begins, I think those who support President Obama’s re-election would be well advised to take up voter registration on a grassroots level, with a vengeance. Let the politicos and pundits keep up with Convention rhetoric, which will only leave us “at a loss for words,” or worse, as you say. We’ll have enough to do mastering the ins and outs of voter repression laws in our respective states and figuring out how to thwart them, while there is still time. Voters may need days or weeks to order or locate documents, to raise money to pay for them, and to figure out transportation. The good news is that August 27th is a Monday, so offices and agencies should be open for a week. An added advantage: when election day comes, we will know which voters need help getting to the polls. By putting our energy to good use in our local communities, instead of spending the week fuming about a clownish political spectacle, we lay the groundwork for taking the rich, complacent, out-of-touch Republican Party by surprise.

  • Fairplay4

    Republicans are staunch upholders of the Constitution until it doesn’t suit their purposes. Hypocritical behavior. Grossly dishonest and disgusting.

  • William Deutschlander

    They could care less about any Constitution, the REPUBLICANS want and are striving for an AUTOCRACY!

    • tokoloshi27

      Hang on Bill; which party has decided not to enforce the nation’s laws? How is a municipal ordinance in violation of the Constitution? As I read the piece, while Hightower clearly doesn’t approve of them, the city has taken steps to allow for individuals to have their say.

      Wasn’t it Chicago in the 1960s where a party (hmmm?) convention had mounted cops busting heads in the streets? Why wouldn’t any city want to avoid gutters running with OWS filth, I’m sure they would welcome reasonable suggestions for reducing bloodshed and anarchy.

  • ObozoMustGo

    Even foreigners can see that which the useful idiots on the left in America cannot.

    This quote was translated into English from an article appearing in the Czech Republic as published in the Prager Zeitung of 28 April 2011.

    … “The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting an inexperienced man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama. It is less likely to survive a multitude of Idiots such as those who made him their president.”

    Have a nice day!

    • tokoloshi27

      We do need to get us some of that unbiased media! Makes you proud to know the “depraved electorate” up close and personal. Of course I tend to blame our “educational” system for the depravity, vast confederacy of fools, multitude of idiots…

      The sentiment seems valid but I wonder at the translator.

      • ObozoMustGo

        toko.. all you have to do is read a lot of the posters on this site to realize the consequences of the leftist nutjobs taking over the educational system in the past 40+ years. There are actually young people on here that believe socialism is better than capitalism! And national polls reflect that, too! It is sad.

        Have a nice weekend!

  • karinursula

    This really scary. What is the next stop? Guns are o.k. but not demonstrations?
    Is this what America is all about? I think not. Please don’t vote for Romney

  • So let me get this straight, they are going to suppend the First Amendent for that week. They are banning water guns, but people who have guns permits can freely carry there weapon. And protestor can only protest away from the Convention. That the Republicans for you “There way and no way”. The concial and mayor should be arrested for messing with the Constitution. Shame of them

  • Of course, the G.O.P. wants to put on this charade that all of America lauds them, thinks they are the saviors of democracy, and the only party that cares. Not that they would ever convince me. Of course the G.O.P. main goal at the republican convention is help get hypocrite Mitt elected. Unfortunately it has already been made abundantly clear that the republican party of Reagan and even George W. Bush, to an extent (he began to change also towards the end of his second term) has long past. Reagan, himself was open to compromise and discussion and truly cared for the public. Reagan would turn over in his grave if he realized or had known that his beloved republican party would turn into a radical right wing group whose policies had turned into a “my way or no way philosophy”. They are deliberately, and have deliberately, undermined every move or attempt President Obama has made to improve the job situation, etc. in order to try and get hypocrite Mitt into the White House at the expense of the American worker, the American family, and the lower and middle class taxpayers. Corporate America, multimillionaire and billionaire investors, Wall Street, etc., of course have escaped, including hypocrite Mitt and big oil The G.O.P. would not even raise certain taxes, even at the behest of Warren Buffet and other billionaires. So why would we be surprised that the G.O.P. cares little for our constitutional rights? It is all about the con, the mirage, and the charade that they are the “party of the poor and middle class” as avowed by hypocrite Mitt himself. And allowing protests, etc. as laid down in the first amendment might just expose the truth.

    • DurdyDawg

      “Whatever I said before, I stand behind it”.. (the mittwit)

      [click on pic]

  • There is also something anti democratic about trying to stem, stop, or prevent our utilizing our first amendment rights. Look at communist countries and dictatorships who do not allow their citizens to express their rights to protest or to free speech. This keeps the rest of the world, including the U.S. and American citizens from knowing the truth about what those suppressive, sometimes violent, regimes are doing or how their citizens are being treated. By the G.O.P. pushing to subvert the first amendment right to protest or disagree, they are also stifling the truth and subverting the public’s right to know. Not exactly a democratic decision on the part of the G.O.P and anything they may be trying to hide from us. And no, I am not a leftie or a rightie, a liberal or a conservative, I am an independent who votes candidate over party, and a moderate because at least moderates are willing to compromise. I am just stating my personal thoughts and beliefs because I am, above all else, an American who believes in and supports our rights under the constitution as written by those who set up our democracy, our founding fathers.

  • lord almighty. they are hell on gun restrictions on automatic weapons but water pistols? I hope we have a few 1970 type protestor that are willing to protest where they want to , In front of the convention. I am wheelchair bound or I probably would be raising more heck about this!

    • sigrid28

      But you are highly intelligent, computer literate, and well intentioned, which gives you the ability to participate in the August 27th week of voter registration initiatives I have proposed. You are ideally suited to compile a list of qualifications for voter registration in your state, phone numbers and addresses of relevant offices and agencies where people have to go to register, and addresses of polling places, where they have to go to vote. Put it all on one page, email it to the Democratic campaign office nearest to you, and get on the phone. Print it up and distribute it when you go on excursions. You can probably raise a LOT of heck about this.

  • cabadas

    What is up with the Greed over people party, all they talk about is the constitution but yet they want to stifle our protest. Use the Constitution but, when it suit us.

  • daffodilly

    Armed “right-wingers” protest in non-designated area. Police with shields, guns and truncheons advance. Protesters “stand their ground”. Bang, bang!! What law applies? First Amendment? Carry concealed? Stand your ground? Protest as ordered, in a corral? And which minority group will be blamed for starting it all?

    • sigrid28

      What you are suggesting is that “right-wingers” will hold protest charades, even if Democratic would-be protesters stay home, hoping that the GOP spectacle withers with faint praise. Then gun violence at protests will occur and be blamed not on “right-wing” protesters disguised as Democrats but on Democrats themselves.

      To prevent needless injury and loss of life, only Obama supporters with military grade counter-insurgency training are well-enough trained to silently infiltrate this kind of right-wing protest charade and disarm right-wing charade protesters from within. This is a cheerless thought, bolstered only by a healthy respect for the French Resistance during the Second World War.

      To disable clumsy police actions, similar infiltration may also be necessary. Obama supporters expert at secretly videotaping police actions in response to charade protests (and vice versa) probably also have to be deployed. The next ring of defense against protest charades is the cadre of news cameras and reporters already scheduled to take in the scene. Then there is the next line of defense: the public with cameras of all kinds.

      If the Democratic party does not care about loss of life and reputation (how likely is that?), then only the reporting branch of this self-defense will be necessary, but it will have to be primed to record every detail, every time. Sadly, it will probably need to be mobilized again for the Democratic convention.

  • IS Mit Romney a Citizen of Mexico ?? His Daddy Was Born in Mexico, so under Mexican Law Mit is a Citizen of MEXICO. Has MIT ever denounced his MEXICAN CITIZENSHIP or Does He Hold Dual Citizenship in the USA and Mexico??