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More on the arrest of Amy Goodman in St Paul

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DemocracyNow!)

Goodman Arrested (photo: Democracy Now!)

I wrote of the outrageous arrest of veteran journalist Amy Goodman outside the Republican National Convention a few days ago.  Here’s her account, excerpted from the Pioneer Press’s Twin-Cities Online:

Goodman said she was on the convention floor, interviewing […], when she heard that her producers had been arrested and were bloodied. […] she immediately ran from the Xcel Energy Center to the site of the arrests, in a parking lot […]

“I went up the riot police line. […] I said, ‘I’d like to talk to a commanding officer.’ ”  She […] tried to ask why the producers were under arrest.

“They took me, handcuffed me immediately, said, ‘You’re under arrest,’ “ Goodman said. “They pushed me to the ground. I said, ‘You can clearly see I have all the proper credentials, I have my security clearance for the (convention) floor.’ ” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

September 4, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) Arrested at RNC

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Minneapolis and St Paul police are apparently on a rampage. Many houses and a theater were raided yesterday and today in advance of the Republican National Convention. Most of these appear to be places where independent journalists were housed. Many, including a lawyer representing them, handcuffed, some made to lie on the ground, their property searched, and then the police left – taking nothing, arresting no one.

One of my own heroes, Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow! was arrested today for “Conspiracy to Riot.” The arrest is documented in the video.  It is both sad and outrageous.

More on this tomorrow.


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Written by Monte

September 1, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Posted in News, Politics

The absurdity of yelling “Socialist!”

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In 1964 the top marginal rate was 91%. Obama proposes 39.6% (it’s 35% now), which is what we had in the deficit-free Clinton years. It’s less than half what it was under LBJ. If that wasn’t socialism, half of it certainly isn’t!
clipped from www.democracynow.org

AMY GOODMAN: Well, is Barack Obama a socialist?

RICK MacARTHUR: Barack Obama is a socialist like Harper’s Magazine is a media conglomerate. It’s the most preposterous charge I’ve heard in a pretty crazy campaign
But it’s even more absurd when you realize that
they’re all socialists now
remember, the top rate in 1964, the last time we had this kind of crazy debate between the Goldwater Republicans and Lyndon Johnson, the top marginal rate was 91 percent. Barack Obama is only proposing to raise or restore the top marginal rate from the current 35 percent to 39.6 percent, which is what it was under the Clinton administration. This is a very modest, very, you might even say, timid response to what’s, in the last fifteen years, been a redistribution of wealth from the bottom up to the top.
What is the mortgage crisis, except Wall Street picking on people
who are not very well educated about the finance market, and
robbing them
That’s redistribution of wealth, upwards.
  blog it

Written by Monte

October 26, 2008 at 9:09 pm

Posted in Politics

Frank Schaeffer’s “Open Letter to John McCain”

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Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin

Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin

Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin have gone off the rails with talk that arouses the worst instincts. The potential for tragedy is grave.

I was pleased to discover that Frank Schaeffer had written them a strongly worded rebuke. Orginally published in the Baltimore Sun, this reprint came from DemocracyNow!, and is part of an interview with Schaeffer there that I encourage you to read.  The emphases are mine. Here’s Amy Goodman’s setup:

Frank Schaeffer, bestselling author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. He is the son of the late evangelist Francis Schaeffer and considered himself a lifelong Republican. He voted for John McCain in 2000, and McCain even endorsed one of Schaeffer’s earlier books on military service. On Friday, Schaeffer published ‘An Open Letter to John McCain’ in the Baltimore Sun.

Crazy for God

Crazy for God

An Open Letter to John McCain:

“John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as ‘not one of us,’ I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.

“At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, ‘Kill him!’ At one of your rallies, someone called out, ‘Terrorist!’ Neither was answered or denounced by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee—an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.

Keeping Faith

Keeping Faith

“Shame!

“John McCain: In 2000, as a lifelong Republican, I worked to get you elected instead of George W. Bush. In return, you wrote an endorsement of one of my books about military service. You seemed to be a man who put principle ahead of mere political gain.

You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate.

“John McCain, you are no fool, and you understand the depths of hatred that [surround] the issue of race in this country. You also know that, post-9/11, to call someone a friend of a terrorist is a very serious matter. You also know we are [a bitterly divided country] on many other issues. You know that, sadly, in America, violence is always just a moment away. You know that there are plenty of crazy people out there.

Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs.

Francis Schaeffer, Frank's father, was a big voice in the previous generation of evangelicals

Francis Schaeffer, Frank's father, was a big voice in the previous generation of evangelicals

“John McCain, you’re walking a perilous line. If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters when they scream out ‘Terrorist’ or ‘Kill him,’ history will hold you responsible for all that follows.

“John McCain and Sarah Palin, you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.

Change the atmosphere of your campaign. Talk about the issues at hand. Make your case. But stop stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters, or risk suffering the judgment of history and the loathing of the American people—forever.

“We will hold you responsible.”

Strong words! But those are the kind of words that Christians are supposed to speak to power misused.  Would that the whole Church would say them.

Don’t forget the interview, here.


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Written by Monte

October 13, 2008 at 8:40 pm

Immigration raid in Postville: Justice denied

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Raid in Postville

Raid in Postville

For most of those three hours, this man was just weeping, and he was weeping for his family, worried about his children. He had children back in Guatemala, his mother, his wife and his sister all depending on him. He was the sole earner for the entire family.

So describes Erik Camayd, a professor of modern languages at Florida International University in Miami, who was one of the court-appointed interpreters flown in for the trial of immigrants arrested here in Iowa.  Here’s Amy Goodman’s set-up:

We turn now to Postville, Iowa, a small town of just over 2,000 people. On May 12th, the town became the site of the largest immigration raid in US history. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, arrested 389 workers at Agriprocessors, the largest kosher slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant in the country. Nearly 300 of the workers were charged with aggravated identity theft and Social Security fraud. Many were sent to prison.

Camayd, who’s been participating in trials for twenty-five years, describes what he saw:

Then began the saddest procession I have ever witnessed, which the public would never see, because cameras were not allowed past the perimeter of the compound. Driven single-file in groups of 10, shackled at the wrists, waist and ankles, chains dragging as they shuffled through, the slaughterhouse workers were brought in for arraignment, sat and listened through headsets to the interpreted initial appearance, before marching out again to be bused to different county jails, only to make room for the next row of 10. They appeared to be uniformly no more than 5 ft. tall, mostly illiterate Guatemalan peasants with Mayan last names, some in tears; others with faces of worry, fear, and embarrassment.

Since these people are so very poor, and since they are often the only source of income for an extended family, a jail sentence may mean their children go hungry.  Even if utterly innocent, the decision forced upon them is justice or hungry kids:

I saw immediately that this man had no choice but to plead guilty, if he wanted to return to his family as soon as possible … what made this case unique was that, for the first time, at least in this scale, they were not being deported but actually criminally prosecuted and sent to jail for five months or more. And the fact that they did not have a right to bail and that if they wanted to plead “not guilty” they would have had to wait possibly longer, up to six or eight months in jail without bail waiting for a trial, made this situation very, very difficult to really say that there was justice done in many of these cases. […]

[T]o place them in that position, basically holding their families’ well-being ransom over their heads in order to induce them to accept a plea agreement and plead guilty as the fastest way to get back home and then placing them in jail for that time under that kind of duress, I think that it’s very disturbing. It’s very disturbing. […]

Indeed, it is.

It may be legal, but it isn’t justice.


Read Erik Camayd’s personal account of the raid [Download pdf]


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Written by Monte

July 14, 2008 at 3:37 pm