Election Countdown 2012: As the Police Fear Protest at the RNC All “Basic Rudiments of Puppeteering” Are Banned and More

Election-storyThis week in the 2012 Election Countdown, the fear instilled in Tampa residents by police over protesters turns out to be unfounded; no stable internet connection at the RNC means minimal social media coverage for the event; the Republican and Democratic agenda is too close for comfort for some voters; Romney toats his investors in a yatch off the coast of the Cayman Islands; and more.

D – 11 and counting*

“Things are always different than what they might be…If you wait for them to change, you will never do anything.” ― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

RNCon. Ryan, snark watch: “Fading Obama posters.”

Ron Paul: “A long stream of Paul’s backers from ME, OK, OR, AZ, and several other states protested the RNCon’s treatment of Paul and his supporters by walking out of the convention hall with chants of, ‘As Maine goes, so goes the nation!‘” (wrap-up). … Ron Paul, NM delegate: “They’re criminals, and they’re crooks, and we want transparency.” True dat. … Ron Paul, OK delegate: “I wouldn’t vote for Mitt Romney any more than I would vote for Obama. They’re both war mongers and elitists. There’s no difference. It’s two sides of the same coin. And nothing’s going to change.” True dat. Of course, things can always change for the worse.

Management problem: “The convention wanted people to Skype/ tweet/blog/ use social media….Except they didn’t provide any Internet service.” … Management problem: “The [bus transport] scheme involved taking everyone from one central location — the convention hall, to another central location — the parking lot at Raymond James Stadium, then to separate hotel locations. It broke down at every point in the process.” … Losing the political class, Chris Christie: “A prime-time belly-flop” (ha. “Belly.” Get it?) …. Losing the political class, David Chalian: “They’re not concerned at all. They’re happy to have a party with black people drowning.” Yahoo News fired him … Losing the political class, CNN: “Two people were removed from the RNCon Tuesday after they threw nuts at an African-American CNN camera operator and said, ‘This is how we feed animals.'” None of the individuals are identified. … Losing the political class: “I didn’t see many chocolate chips in the cookie they were baking.” … Didn’t build that: “[SHER VALENZUELA] told conventioneers: ‘We took a risk. We bet on the future. We started our own business. Fifteen years later we employ more than 70 people in our 70,000-square-foot factory.'” “[Her] business financed its huge factory with a $301,000 loan backed by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The company has received $15.2 million in federal government contracts since 2001.” … Ann Romney reviewed: “She made one misstep, and mispronounced a word…she wanted to say ‘successful’ and she said ‘sexful.’ ” … Against the tide: “[ANN ROMNEY: ] It really is a message that would resonate well if they [Hispanics] could just get past some of their biases that have been there from the D machines that have made us look like we don’t care about this community.” … Against the tide: “[JEBBIE: ] The conservative cause would be the governing philosophy as far as the eye could see … and that’s doable if we just stop acting stupid.” Na ga happen. … Thursday Mystery guest: Clint Eastwood? NOTE: I can’t bear to read the speech transcripts, and I have to take down a bathroom ceiling tomorrow. Make up your own jokes!

RNCon protests. Police state: “‘For weeks, the local news kept warning everyone about violent anarchists,’ said Mark Skogman. ‘People on the local council were so terrified about these violent anarchists coming in, they were talking about leaving the area. I finally calmed them down.’ Overkill is too mild a word to describe the contrast between the heavy security and the protests in Tampa, which have been peaceful, and somewhat muted by the weather.” … Crowds: “A loose federation of activists is engaging in a series of demonstrations and marches with daily themes of economic rights, human rights, the environment, and antiwar/peace. One of the largest gatherings drew about 400 on Tuesday to Centennial Park in historic Ybor City for a rally against what participants called Republican­ efforts to suppress voter turnout among the poor and minorities. As at every such event, scores of police and deputy sheriffs surrounded the proceedings.” From the Barcalounger: Occupy’s always been non-partisan; it’s not surprising few are investing in protesting against a party when the problem is the political system or even representative democracy as such. … Live blog: Excellent work from The Phoenix (Charles Pierce’s alma mater). During a march: “People in West Tampa coming out of their homes to cheer on Occupiers and curse Romney” (photo; photo). Interesting. …. Live blog: Excellent work at FDL. …. Puppets: “The city has banned sticks, strings and masks — the basic rudiments of puppeteering — during the convention. Police have been very clear that this was targeted at puppets specifically. Something about these colorful and media-genic objects really scares the authorities. Is it a fear of being upstaged? Or a fear of masses creatively building things together? Or a fear of recognizing themselves in the bits of paper held together by spit and string? ” … Puppets: Nathan of Food Not Bombs is a puppeteer. … Twitter: TPD is using twitter, just as the Surete in Montreal did.

Conventions. Media critique: “Privately, [media outlets] concede that their streaming Web videos draw extremely low traffic compared with their articles — for smaller news organizations, sometimes only a few hundred viewers at a time.” Because they’re harder to use, silly, and take a lot longer to watch than text does to read.

Occupy. Agents provocateurs: “Seven activists from Austin, Dallas, and Houston blocked the main entrance into the port by laying in the road and linking arms inside lockboxes which physically linked them together so that police cut them apart. The use of these instruments resulted in these seven being charged with [a felony], while others who merely linked arms and legs faced lesser misdemeanor charges. [An] undercover agent with the police department acquired the materials and built the ‘lockboxes’.”

CA. Tinpot tyrants: “The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating two officers who were allegedly caught on surveillance camera slamming a nurse on the ground twice — and then fist bumping afterward – during a recent traffic stop” (pictures).

CO. Handmaid’s Tale: “The CO (fetal) Personhood amendment was not approved for ballot, falling less than 4,000 signatures short.”

FL. Voting: “The order by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle removes a provision that third-party groups registering new voters must turn in all voter forms within 48 hours or face fines of up to $1,000. ‘The crushing part of this law was the 48-hour return time,’ said Lee Rowland of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. ‘This order is a decisive victory.'” …. Voting: “Since a new set of state voting laws went into effect more than a year ago, the number of new Ds registering in Florida has all but disappeared.” … Corruption: “[E]xecutives at [Citizens Property Insurance, run by a board appointed by the governor and other elected officials,] have been living large at the same time they are asking hard-pressed Florida property owners to pay more for insurance.” …. Corruption: Rubio on Rivera and Sternad: “I only know what I’ve read in the press.” Hmm….

GA. Militia: “‘[The Fort Stewart group] were never on our radar screen,’ said Mark Potok, an expert on militia and hate groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. ‘You’d think the whole thing would be a joke except for that two people died and that they apparently spent $87,000 on guns.'” … Militia: “[S]everal agencies called into the investigation because of the accumulation of weapons — including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — made scant mention of any alleged assassination plot or government overthrow attempt. One official described it as a murder case and said no federal charges had been filed.” …. Militia, background from the hometown paper: The alleged ringleader, Isaac Aguigui, represented WA state in the American Legion Boys Nation 2008 session in Washington, D.C.”, and was interviewed by the FBI after buying 15 guns while home on leave, after his family dropped a dime. … Homeless meters: “The 2012 Leadership Macon class would like to put donation stations that resemble parking meters around the downtown area. The thinking goes that if one wants to really do something to help the homeless population, giving at a donation station is infinitely better than giving money to panhandlers. The money would be distributed to agencies that provide service to the homeless population.”

IA. RNCon: Excellent wrap-up. … Romney: “‘IA voters feel a lot of responsibility for launching Obama,’ the Romney staffer said. ‘And IA voters are having a very serious sense of buyer’s remorse.'”

LA. Isacc: “Isaac has moved to position almost due west of New Orleans as it continues its slow jog to the northwest. Southeast LA and coastal MI still have another 18 hours or so of rain, strong wind gusts and coastal flooding concerns.” … Isaac: Pictures.

MI. Drought: “The USDA said Wednesday that all 83 counties are now classified as primary natural disaster areas because of drought and excessive heat conditions that began in March.”

OH. Corruption: “[Robert Lyden,] the former Mahoning County Sanitary Engineer who told investigators he used county equipment and county time to meet with a stripper that he paid for sex was forced out of his position because of a county investigation that found he steered contracts toward a New Springfield businessman convicted of several federal crimes, including bribing former U.S. Rep. Jim Traficant.” What “equipment”? …. Handmaid’s Tale: “A naked, severely burned woman with a strap around her neck arose from a rural eastern OH road, crying in agony, and threw herself toward a passing vehicle in a scene that was ‘something out of a horror show,’ the motorist told a newspaper.

OK. Ballot access: “OK state officials have acted to keep Gary Johnson off the ballot. On August 17, the Attorney General issued a 20-page opinion saying the State Board of Elections should disregard the action of the state officers of Americans Elect, who had nominated Gary Johnson for President. But, he kept this opinion a secret from the Americans Elect Party state officers.”

SC. Voting: “If the legislature offered a reward for [voter] identification cards, ‘it would be like a swarm of bees going after a watermelon,‘ [constituent Ed Koziol wrote. State Rep. Alan Clemmons responds: ‘Amen, Ed, thank you for your support.'”

VA. Sullivan speech: “One item that was not on the agenda for the faculty meeting was the no-confidence vote [in the Board] taken by the senate a week after Sullivan’s ouster.’We haven’t rescinded it,’ George Cohen, chair of the faculty senate, said.”

VT. Solid waste: “Green Mountain Compost is the only operation whose customers’ gardens have suffered ill effects from persistent herbicides.”

WI. Tinpot tyrants: “As the video clearly captures, Deputy Callies then turned around lunged at a woman who was videotaping his tirade. He forcibly reached for her camera, pushing himself into her. He grabbed the woman’s arm and ripped the camera phone out of her hand, giving no explanation. He then tore another supporter’s phone away in the exact same manner.” … Tinpot tyrants: “The ranks of the noonday singalong at the state Capitol swelled Tuesday after remarks by the new Capitol police chief that a crackdown on such protests was coming.” … Convention: “I may never have seen a happier delegation. They have the R National Chairman in Reinz Preibus. They have a Governor with a truly national profile in Scott Walker. They have an incumbent Republican Senator in Ron Johnson. They have a Republican senatorial candidate with even more impeccable Wisconsin credentials in Tommy Thompson. They have one of the Convention Co-Chairs, in long-serving national committeewoman Mary Buestrin. And last but not least, they have the R nominee for Vice President in Paul Ryan. All this in a state that last went Republican for President in 1984, when it was nearly impossible not to do so.” The recall was more uphill than many realized.

Outside baseball. Charters: “When any educator dares to challenge the conventional wisdom and say that our schools are not failing, they can expect to be excoriated by reformers. A reformer these days is someone who believes that the ‘system’ is obsolete and broken and must be handed over to private corporations.”

Robama vs. Obomney watch. Massive takedown, Black Agenda Report: “Rs and Ds, like Romney and Obama are of one mind on many more things than they disagree about.” … Closing Prayers: NYC’s Cardinal Dolan will deliver the closing prayer at both the RNCon and the DNCon. … Resource extraction: “‘Clean coal’ was always a myth and its death sealed the coal industry’s fate. But just as it was with tobacco, VA remains filled with apologists who know it’s easier to say what people want to hear and cash industry checks than to speak the truth. And Ds like Tim Kaine and Mark Warner are just as much a part of the problem as Republicans – they may vote the right way sometimes, but their pro-industry rhetoric supports the bipartisan smokescreen that hides the truth that coal-fired power plants are deadly, expensive, and outdated.” (From a D VA blog!)

Romney. Buyer’s remorse, Lynn Sweet: “R are showcasing what may be one of their most potent arguments to vote against President Barack Obama: Buyer’s remorse. ‘Everything that he promised he wasn’t going to do he did — and then some. And that to me is, sort of, unforgivable,’ said another man.” And he’s not wrong. … Flag of convenience: “Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign toasted its top donors Wednesday aboard a 150-foot yacht flying the flag of the Cayman Islands.” Ouch.

Obama. Reddit: I am Barack Obama, President of the United States — AMA (self.IAmA) Transcript (AH). Jam tomorrow.

* 11 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with an airdrop of bottled water and C-rations for everyone on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. MA and TN have 11 electoral votes.