Monday, August 25, 2008

The Convention You're Not Being Shown

I believe this image originated at so kudos to them. The reverse side of the bag is a picture of a raised middle finger.
I was going to title this post "The Convention We're Not Being Shown" but I gave away my TV so I'm not being shown anything.

Glenn Greenwald writes a lot of good stuff. It's tempting to post every day with "read this" but I try to save my Greenwald links for his best and most relevant stuff. With that said, read this.

Last night in Denver, at the Mile High Station -- next to Invesco Stadium, where Barack Obama will address a crowd of 30,000 people on Thursday night -- AT&T threw a lavish, private party for Blue Dog House Democrats, virtually all of whom blindly support whatever legislation the telecom industry demands and who also, specifically, led the way this July in immunizing AT&T and other telecoms from the consequences for their illegal participation in the Bush administration's warrantless spying program.
It was really the perfect symbol for how the Beltway political system functions -- those who dictate the nation's laws (the largest corporations and their lobbyists) cavorting in total secrecy with those who are elected to write those laws (members of Congress), while completely prohibiting the public from having any access to and knowledge of -- let alone involvement in -- what they are doing. And all of this was arranged by the corporation -- AT&T -- that is paying for a substantial part of the Democratic National Convention with millions upon millions of dollars, which just received an extraordinary gift of retroactive amnesty from the Congress controlled by that party, whose logo is splattered throughout the city wherever the DNC logo appears -- virtually attached to it -- all taking place next to the stadium where the Democratic presidential nominee, claiming he will cleanse the Beltway of corporate and lobbying influences, will accept the nomination on Thursday night.

The post includes a video by Glenn and Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake of them trying to interview party attendees. Glenn and Jane are exceedingly polite but the attendees refuse to say anything substantial. Police / security soon intervene and force them further and further away from the guests. I imagine most people have been in a situation where authority figures attempt to enforce arbitrary rules and regulations, so at some level I think the video will resonate even with people who don't share its politics.

A private party, thrown by AT&T, for members of congress, in which the press are not allowed and at which the police prevent any interaction between the press and the attendees. That's the convention we're not being shown. And that's not the seedy underbelly of the system, that is the system. As Glenn writes:

The democracy-themed stagecraft inside the Convention is for public television consumption, but secret little events of this sort are why people are really here. Just as is true in Washington, this is where -- and how and by whom -- the business of our Government is conducted.

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