SALON: Glenn Greenwald's good work has sure reason like cream to the top of the cup this week. A few Salon pieces worth noting if you haven't already read them: 1) Scenes from St. Paul -- Democracy Now's Amy Goodman arrested - 2) Federal government involved in raids on protesters - and - 3) Massive police raids on suspected protesters in Minneapolis
Evening RNC Report - Wednesday Night - Opening Act - The Republican Tom Show
If tonight's opening entertainment had any unspoken theme, it would be the Uncle Tom Show, as the RNC --which is getting news as the least diversified convention in decades-- struggled to shove as many blacks, women and browns onstage as possible. The accompaniment came from the convention crowd who proved their deafening whiteness through missed reactions to planted ethnic jokes and total silence during simple utterances of spanish phrases.
Tonight's diversity push does make sense. We remind you of the selfless RNC push this year to "SERVE A CAUSE BETTER THAN SELF". I looked forward to rousing speeches about charity, humility, personal sacrifice, and all that fine shit. Also was wondering how that telethon for Louisiana was going.
One could sense the desperation for equal opportunity with the first speaker I caught up with -- Renee Amoore, of the Amoore group -- a black woman, and a rare Republican commodity at that. She opened up with this unintended giveaway of how rare the commodity must be: "This is my second convention speaking" ... The race card repeat had a good routine, based largely on Jeff Foxworthy's 'you might be a redneck if' but retooled into 'If you (blank)' 'Then you are a McCain voter' - which she looped as a game of examples and conclusion for about fifteen laps, only to offer up this strange sexual closer: "I'M GOING TO POUND THAT CHAD SO HARD FOR McCAIN." - referring to the voting booth and not the bedroom, we hope. I once knew a girl who named her dildo Chad, just to explain myself.
Next up in the diversity lottery was California State Senator Abel Maldonado, who confused and silenced the entire room with the evening greeting 'buenos noches'. Maldonado proceeded to dirty up his entire speech with jabs at his own culture, betraying his voter base through strange outbursts. My favorite one: "WATCH OUT AMERICA. YOU SOAK THE RICH, THE POOR AND THE MIDDLE CLASS GET WET!" And in his closing attack, he offered a comment so tangled in suggestion it's difficult to not perceive it as a reference to slavery and a weird drunken threat. But it got applause. Referring to his family's business: "SENATOR OBAMA, COME AND WORK ON OUR FARM. GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY. AND ON YOUR BREAK, MY FATHER WILL TEACH YOU SOMETHING ABOUT ECONOMICS. YOU'LL LEARN QUICK."
Suddenly out of nowhere 'Unidos por McCain' signs started showing up around the convention center.
The Tom Show continued later with a self-described Democrat Ruth Lopez Novador. Describing herself as an entrepeneur and wealthy FiltaFry Franchise owner, her greedy punchline came when she barked, "HIGHER TAXES SCARE THE BIODIESEL OUT OF ME". This newly brainwashed grease peddler was fun to listen to in the same way all the D-list speeches are fun to listen to at Republican gatherings. The stars give a good talk but the opening acts fulfil a sort of fetish, filling up the air with warped air-gulped statements that grope at you like bent thrift store LPs. Novador's message was that she was a Democrat until she discovered greed and now was voting for McCain because she is worried about being forced to contribute to the health of her FiltaFry workers. Welcome to gluttony, Ruth. Good luck selling the grease and I hope your face clears up.
The loudest minority moment came from Michael Williams, Texas Railroad Commission Chairman. After receiving huge booming applause, Williams, who is black (see theme), brought race right up to the front of his speech, mentioning that he was under no responsibility to vote for Obama. And then with the authority only a Railroad Commissioner can offer he stated, "LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION." Choo Choo...
It was at this moment I recognized a lost face in the crowd, laughing to myself, "Fucking Mo Rocca... that dipshit" (wondering if he's sharing a cab with Dennis Miller) and then noticed the odd music piping in. It was Sly and the Family Stone. "Everyday People" How perfect for Diversity Night at the RNC. Too bad most of the people here don't get the song is a criticism of them. Following this was "Footloose" which I figured was a hat tip to the Evangelicals.
A nice knod to Separation of Church and State came with a prayer from the very white Bishop of Orlando Thomas Wenski. And the Tom Show ended with GOPAC chairman and black man Michael Steel who summed up everyone's pent up sexual urges with the oil chant "DRILL BABY DRILL. DRILL BABY DRILL. AND DRILL NOW."
Evening RNC Report - Wednesday Night - The Big Acts: ROMNEY - HUCKABEE - GUILIANI and PALIN
My favorite moment of Romney's speech was early when he almost missed a rhyme of some kind and audibly squeeked in the recovery. It was such a funny sound I forgot to write down what he actually said - and I think that accurately describes his affect during most public appearances. Romney likes to steal his act from others, so it was no surprise his performance took partly from black woman Renee Amoore (see above) offering his own looping Foxworthy bit entitled, "It's Liberal, if" where he would offer some government idea and then slam the hammer down: "IT'S LIBERAL" (you might be a moron if)
Romney managed the biggest headslap of the evening with a statement that I think was intended to criticize Democrats but actually summarizes most free-thinkers biggest anxiety about Republicans. To quote this headbender: "IT'S TIME FOR A GOVERNMENT OF BIG IDEAS - NOT BIG BROTHER"
What? Right I agree But it's YOU GUYS THAT... Oh forget it. Who can make these statements up? And Better Yet - He closes with a request that I think the free press is more than willing to meet him halfway on: "PEOPLE IN THIS PARTY PREFER STRAIGHT TALK TO POLITICALLY CORRECT TALK."
It's like this guy doesn't even know what he's asking for. Hey Romney, stay in public service and we'll all offer you as much politically incorrect straight talk you can ask for. You're an oil-domed dog abusing over-populating asshole.
Next up, a personal favorite, Huckabee!
But First, Intermisssion Music
The musical intermission that introduces the formerly fat-faced Evangelical Preacher is the best dark comedy of the night. Two Songs, and I loved it: "If You're Going Through Hell" by Rodney Atkins and "September" by Earth Wind and Fire. I'm pretty sure you know the "Do you Remember?" lyrics to September (what a touchy month to evoke) but the Rodney Atkins song about a descent into hell is hilarious theatre when piped into the weird slithering mass that is the Republican National Convention. And it was their choice! Quoting: "If You're Going Through Hell / Keep On Goin / Don't Slow Down / You Might Get Out / Before the Devil Even Knows Your There"
I found this a peculiar thematic message, especially when juztaposed with and cued to precede "September" which forces other associations. Just to hear those reverb-soaked words "Hell" and "Devil" over and over. It was a moment where I thought if I were making a satire of the RNC these songs would have made it into the film. Everyone was dancing, too.
Intermisssion Music Stops, Cue the Preacher:
Huckabee gives a good speech. I like him as much as I hate him. And for a while he terrified me that he was going to get the ticket. What I like about Huckabee is that, similar to his opening song selections, he is a master of subversive suggestion.
Take for example this quote from tonight's speech that reads like hypnosis:
"I'M NOT REPUBLICAN BECAUSE I GREW UP RICH. I'M A REPUBLICAN BECAUSE I GREW UP NOT WANTING THE GOVERNMENT TO RESCUE ME." (to huge applause)
and I liked this one subtly implying VD or some kind of unhealthy sickness:
"I'M NOT CONCERNED WITH WHAT OBAMA BROUGHT TO EUROPE. I'M CONCERNED WITH WHAT HE BROUGHT BACK."
Huckabee's a master. He plants these statements within context of things, but the context falls off like a banana skin. Later you're left with these weird churchy messages that DO fuck with you, especially if you're a willing consumer of his messages. Which is why I loved his accidental joke on McCain. In fact, this is funniest McCain joke I've heard in months:
"MOST OF US ARE USED TO RAISING OUR ARMS TO ASK FOR HELP ... McCAIN ... HE CAN'T EVEN LIFT HIS ARMS ABOVE HIS SHOULDERS!"
Or maybe, like other Huckabee subversion, the joke was fully intended. He did lose, after all.
Guiliani's speech was a decent attack on things. You can tell he's been practicing the motherfucker since losing Florida. It had a nice rehearsed-in-the-mirror polished feeling to it, especially the hold for laugh moments. Or what his inner circle refers to as 'denture breaks' - His wig stayed on the whole time, too. So all in all a success.
I enjoyed this one weird comment from his speech best, "JOHN McCAIN SAID: 'I'D RATHER LOSE AN ELECTION THAN A WAR' WHY? BECAUSE THAT'S WHO JOHN McCAIN IS"
Cheers to that, Rudy. The entire speech was somewhat outplayed by Cindy McCain showing up in the audience in a pretty green outfit. Some jokes you can't make up: Cindy McCain embracing and then rocking Sarah Palin's infant son, cooing softly to his face on camera, during five minutes of Guiliani's speech.
What's contrived about that?
CUE THE MAIN ACT!
Wow what a problem we have with this person. Beginning her speech in front of a humongeous Liberty Bell on the video wall behind her, and clocking in at over half an hour, Sarah Palin proved to the whole planet that she can not only deliver the most hardcore book report on 'what an elected person does' (I enjoyed best of all her pronunciation of vee-toe, ya know) but she also showed her love for her beautiful state of Alaska by promising to knock it up full of so many holes it wouldn't know what the hell hit it. Or wait, was that when she was talking about her daughter? I can't keep up. All I know is it was good to finally see the family that the JUNO film was based on - and I haven't even seen JUNO, I just know it's about a knocked up teen. The Palin's live in JUNO, ya know, though, so maybe I have a sound point.
Jokes aside, her delivery is a little scary and full of cut glass - and it's horrifying to consider she's auditioning to be one aging 72 year old man's bad cough away from being free leader of the world, okay, ya know. Make no mistake, she's who you're voting for if McCain's your choice. And jesus, does she seem shady.
She reminds me of someone selling seminar information for Franklin Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Successful People - which is a sort of Dianetics without the witchcraft, but just as untrustworthy. I felt the whole time like she was selling me snakeoil, and that even the voice was fake - but I'm also aware of how alluring this good old PTA mom who (cue accent) just happend to find her ol way into public survis, ya know, -- can be to a huge voting block of people.
I did enjoy the meet the family segment - her children, all named after pesticide products - her husband, nice bit about his snow machine victory. The exploitation of her special needs child, down to camera opportunity and a pledge to help all special needs moms, ya know.
Her harsh condemnation of community organizing is especially disappointing, and extremely Anti-American. This country was built and defined through community organizing. The Declaration of Independence was a community act, as was the revolt against British rule. The Constitution was an act of community organization - and just to give something to Palin - the women's vote was the product of community action. Mayor's matter more, she says? When and how? Her argument that her experience as a mayor in a safe low-crime underpopulated corner of the globe somehow trumps community work in a dangerous large U.S. city is equally baffling. Community organizing is often backbreaking and focused towards producing change. A mayoral assignment often includes furniture, salary, and most often, a single responsibility to maintain status quo. And of the two jobs, which has more of a history of corruption?
(a postscript to this: John Stewart would later summarize this appropriately, "Anyone doing work in your community, the Republicans just said 'go fuck yourself.'")
HUFFINGTON POST SARAH PALIN PAGE
Animal Abuses: GRIZZLYBEAR.ORG ON SARAH PALIN
There is the difficult to overlook bit about her being an Evangelical who tried to burn library books, and all that kindsa stuff. And what explains this troubling train-of-thought on how she views our enemies and how to handle dissent:
"AL QUEDA TERRRORISTS ARE PLOTTING TO OVERTHROW THE PLANET AND [OBAMA] IS WORRIED SOMEONE WON'T READ THEM THEIR RIGHTS?"
I also enjoyed this bit:
"THERE IS ONLY ONE PERSON IN THIS ELECTION WHO HAS ACTUALLY FOUGHT FOR YOU IN PLACES WHERE WINNING MEANS SURVIVAL AND LOSING MEANS DEATH."
I remember asking myself, 'who is that, Nader?' - he did bring us the seatbelt.
The truth about McCain - any big military blah blah he did was not for our survival or any sort of patriotism. I refuse to think that. McCain comes from a father and grandfather of other John McCains who served in the military. He did it for family acceptance. He also wasn't very good at it, too. Please quit forcing the McCain Saved America nonsense on me. He, just like Bush, was just a kid motivated by family guilt and insecurity.
We return tomorrow - RSS for updates.