28 August 2008

Now your moment of daily depression

Haven't written much about the Democratic convention because I haven't seen very much of it. The Republicans should more fun to watch anyway, since it will be mighty entertaining watching a political party try to skirt the fact that every plank in its platform is now roundly unpopular across the country.

However, for sheer "dude, where's my democracy go?" madness, you can't top what happened to Glenn Greenwald, Amy Goodman, and others at a wine-and-dine party in Denver thrown by AT&T to reward Blue Dog Democrats for backing telecom immunity in the FISA bill.

There was a wall of private security deployed around the building, and after asking where the press entrance was, we were told by the security officials, after they consulted with event organizers, that the press was barred from the event, and that only those with invitations could enter -- notwithstanding the fact that what was taking place in side was a meeting between one of the nation's largest corporations and the numerous members of the most influential elected faction in Congress. As a result, we stood in front of the entrance and began videotaping and trying to interview the parade of Blue Dog Representatives, AT&T executives, assorted lobbyists and delegates who pulled up in rented limousines, chauffeured cars, and SUVs in order to find out who was attending and why AT&T would be throwing such a lavish party for the Blue Dog members of Congress.

Amazingly, not a single one of the 25-30 people we tried to interview would speak to us about who they were, how they got invited, what the party's purpose was, why they were attending, etc. One attendee said he was with an "energy company," and the other confessed she was affiliated with a "trade association," but that was the full extent of their willingness to describe themselves or this event. It was as though they knew they're part of a filthy and deeply corrupt process and were ashamed of -- or at least eager to conceal -- their involvement in it. After just a few minutes, the private security teams demanded that we leave, and when we refused and continued to stand in front trying to interview the reticent attendees, the Denver Police forced us to move further and further away until finally we were unable to approach any more of the arriving guests.
You can see the Democracy Now segment here. I can't think of a way to look at this that isn't damn depressing, but if you've got one I'd love to hear it.