June 26, 2007

Visiting Misery On The Twin Cities

The anarchists and anti-globalists have already started organizing for next year's Republican National Convention, according to the Star-Tribune. Have they started getting signs printed and policy position papers ready to engage in an intellectual challenge to the GOP? Not quite:

Anarchists and antiwar organizations preparing for the Republican National Convention are planning dozens of traffic blockades, are targeting perceived vulnerable spots in the Twin Cities metro area and are readying to spring from Internet promises to real-world action.

An online posting by a group called Unconventional Action notes "the narrow on and off ramps" of Interstate Hwy. 94 and that Minneapolis and St. Paul are "12 miles apart, separated by a wide river spanned by 5 bridges and connected primarily" by I-94.

"For these and other reasons, many believe that the RNC presents strategic vulnerabilities unique to any trade summit or party convention of recent years," the posting said.

Basically, they intend on being a huge pain to residents of the Twin Cities, disrupting traffic and creating law-enforcement nightmares for our town. And not just in the late summer of 2008, either -- they want activists to conduct a dry run this Labor Day weekend. Apparently, they need to rehearse for maximum efficiency as asses.

The group, which has dubbed themselves the RNC Welcoming Committee, isn't exactly a model of open discourse in any sense. They have banned the media from their organizing meetings while they promulgate their pre-convention tasks. Among those, the Strib reports, are instructions to "[m]arch through St. Paul and gather information, take measurements, check drain covers, etc."

Take measurements? Check drain covers? I wonder why they need that kind of information. What kinds of protests do they plan on holding? Drain and sewer covers have no bearing on normal, peaceful protests; it sounds like they plan on using the drain system to gain access to restricted areas.

Federal and state authorities have kept track of the Internet traffic, but they also remind the Strib's readers that the larger security risks come from those groups that keep silent about their intentions. In other words, it's going to be a long, long year.


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Comments (26)

Posted by RBMN | June 26, 2007 11:06 AM

Maybe welded-shut drain covers are how they determine what are the "important routes" to block. Presidential convoy routes?

Posted by Scott in CA | June 26, 2007 11:17 AM

I live in the Bay Area. We are assaulted with endless "protests" here that have 20 or 30 people. But that's not what's in store for you folks in MN.

The hard left is running this show. ANSWER, World Can't Wait, and the other commie front groups will be out in force. Expect massive disruption and hassle. Expect your downtown to be a war zone for several days.

I certainly hope the Mpls cops are undercover at these meetings. They'll need all the information they can get on the planned chaos.

When it's all over, you can expect months of 'police brutality" lawsuits. It will end up costing your city millions in claims.

My advice to any city contemplating a conventino in the future is to pass. It's just not worth the hassle. The Left no longer debates, it rages.

Posted by NRA Life Member | June 26, 2007 11:59 AM

When does the war being waged on civil discourse and free exchange of ideas by the anarchist left become a war that can actually be opposed vociferously enough to actually do something about it?

We can always go back to the standard of yelling "Fire" in a crowded movie theater as a point to start judging when these people have abused the First Amendment sufficiently to be opposed. What then is my definition of "sufficiently".

I am tempted to contemplate the strategy utilized by NYC Police during the 2004 convention. Designated areas are policed to keep them free of congestion. Designated areas are reserved for protest signs, screaming, yelling, public urination and all other behavior associated with these creeps. In other words, assure that they can say whatever they want, but also assure that they cannot disrupt daily life.

If the protestors insist on encroaching on traffic flows, they are arrested and detained in open air campsites that would take their design from Joe Arpaio, Sheriff of Maracopa County, Arizona.

At least Cindy Sheehan bought property to conduct her protests in Crawford, Texas.

Posted by Tully | June 26, 2007 12:33 PM

Using the drains to get into restricted areas? Let the rain fall down upon those free and gentle flowers....

Evolution in action.

Posted by Charles | June 26, 2007 1:41 PM

Meanwhile, thanks to Governor Roadblock (Pawlenty, for you non-Minnesotans) the citizens of Saint Paul will be paying for hosting the GOP convention without help from the state, although it was with significant lobbying from the state GOP that we got this "honor."

The 75 percent of this country you think of as "the Left" would like to exercise its rights to free speech. Some of these 225 million people aren't very law-abiding, it's true, but the Saint Paul police aren't going to be infiltrating the demonstration groups like the NYPD did -- thanks to cuts in state aid to local governments, the SP police don't have the manpower.

As for concentration camps for the demonstrators, keep on dreaming your authoritarian dreams. In Saint Paul, civilization still holds sway. The convention will be a raucous, undisciplined affair, and there will likely be violence, but those responsible will be a tiny minority. And that's true for the people outside the convention hall, too.

Posted by Lew | June 26, 2007 2:04 PM

Oh heavens, the poor city of Saint Paul might have to raise its own money to pay its own bills? Oh, the humanity!

And those nasty Republicans are coming to town to dump millions on the locals and if an international horde of thugs shows up to pillage the town in the name of "free speech" then it must be the fault of the conventioneers. With that kind of logic why would you bother to chase down and arrest armed robbers when the victim is so much easier to catch and obviously is at fault because they had the gall to open a business.

Give up the welfare teat Charles, you'll feel much better about yourself afterward. Take a good hard look at the budget priorities for that joint and hire some more cops instead of some other feel-good boondoggle. The State of Minnesota has no particular obligation to finance your precious little urban experiment by taxing the people of Vermillion or Wanamingo or Thief River Falls or any other place. Pay for your own little dreams, Sparky!

Posted by John | June 26, 2007 2:28 PM

Scott is right on the money about everything he said. As a cop in NYC I hope that the local and state officers, and the good folks of the city, stay safe and get their OT. That said, its never a small minority that are responsible for the violence, and there will be violence. Parts of the city will be shut down and emergency services will be sapped. Many of the organizers of the "peaceful" protests count on and know the violent groups. They welcome them and protect them. Ive seen it time and time again. So when someone dies because the city is sooo stretched, who is going to get sued? The protesters? No, the city will because its their RIGHT to free speech and they really don't care about people.

Posted by Charles | June 26, 2007 3:06 PM

If state money can be used to build sports stadiums, then, by the same logic, the state can help pay for the convention which the state GOP helped bring us -- heaven knows I'd rather not have it here. I know, expecting intellectual honesty from the GOP in Minnesota is expecting too much.

The hotels, restaurants, bars, and brothels all over the metro area, in Minneapolis, Burnsville, and other suburbs, are going to be making money off this affair.

Lew presents an excellent selection of various logical fallacies, but precious little substance.

John, every study ever made of violent demonstrations has concluded that it's always a small minority that's responsible for the violence.

The excesses of the NYPD during the 2004 convention have been documented.

Posted by TomB | June 26, 2007 3:46 PM

What stone are you living under again?

Posted by NoDonkey | June 26, 2007 3:46 PM

These groups cannot possibly be that difficult for law enforcement to infiltrate.

They should be doing so, and they should be gathering information on these violent, luantic criminals and jailing as many as possible prior to the Convention. Use the RICO laws against them. Bankrupt the leaders and get criminal convictions on as many as possible.

Make the convictions stick and lock up these clowns in the state pen until they're older than Neil Young.

It's time to stop screwing around with these glue-sniffing, crack peddling, juvenile delinquents on the left.

Also, guarantee the GOE will be there to crack some thick skulls.

Posted by Lew | June 26, 2007 3:57 PM

So if the the State of Minnesota is stupid enough to build a stadium for a professional sports team, they are obligated to build on that stupidity by shoveling tax money over to St. Paul so they can continue to waste it on feel-good boondoggles instead of hiring whatever emergency services staff they need? Right!!! Sorry Charles, but bailing out the liberal priorities of the Twin Cities by taxing the people of outstate Minnesota is just plain stupid and if the Governor had any real vision he'd get the legislature to kill that program altogether. As it currently stands, its only real function is to provide an escape hatch for every irresponsible decision any local politician wants to make and a boogie man to blame the consequences on. Instead of "Aid to Cities" it ought to be called "Local Government Corruption Finance Administration"!

And as far as that "small minority" that's always responsible for all that violence, what about the silent enablers that cheer them on from the sidelines? What about the rest of the crowd that stands bye while the real "activists" torch the place and destroy the property of anyone they can get their hands on? What about the wordy rationalizers that obfuscate for them and justify their viciousness in the editorials and op-eds the next day?

At least the vandal who visibly throws his Molotov cocktail has the virtue of doing his dirty work openly, unlike the crawling little things that cheer him on from the shadows and meekly posture their arid intellectualism from the safety of the sidelines. There may not be a law that puts these silent enablers in jail for the most part, but they share in the responsibility just the same.

Posted by Charles | June 26, 2007 4:34 PM

I know I can speak for the vast majority of the citizens of Saint Paul here: If any of you come to Saint Paul, you will find us hospitable, as long as you don't act like you own the place. If the out-of-town demonstrators behave, they'll be welcome as well.

Expect large crowds of relatively well-behaved demonstrators lining the roads and hanging banners from the overpasses as you travel from your expensive hotels in Minneapolis and Burnsville to the convention. I'll probably spend some time demonstrating, just to do my part, but I'll be civil.

Just keep in mind that this place, although not as left-friendly as the city to the west, isn't exactly enamored of the GOP at this point in time, and having grid-lock and demonstrations isn't going to make us any happier.

When it came to giving the multimillionaire owners of sports teams "welfare" (in your words) the GOP was all over it. Meanwhile, the infrastructure here crumbles, and the economy here ain't exactly humming. Don't expect a big GOP win here in 2008.

Posted by emdfl | June 26, 2007 4:37 PM

As a once-upon-a-time-but-never-again Republican, all I can say is that I hope they totally trash that "convention".

Posted by Robert Brown | June 26, 2007 6:24 PM


The GOP has been driven out of St. Paul and you are blaming them for the economic hell hole you live in? You should be basking in the glories of socialism by now.

No, we are not going to bail you out. You elected your government, you need to deal with the consequences. Tough love and all that.

Posted by Charles | June 26, 2007 6:44 PM


It's the state of Minnesota that's going down the tubes (such as, for example, the unemployment rate for Minnesota being worst in the nation this June, for the first time since the state has been tracking it).

Posted by Rob2 | June 26, 2007 9:26 PM

Charles: Where did you get that piece of info?


Read it again.

Posted by Charles | June 26, 2007 9:57 PM


You're right, I misinterpreted "tops" to mean "has the worst" in my hasty skimming, and I apologize, and thank you for the correction. The great news is that the Minnesota unemployment rate was only worse than the national average -- for the first time since they've been keeping track.

Call my mistake the "Minnesota syndrome" -- we're all supposed to be above average here.

Posted by Big Dan | June 27, 2007 12:47 AM

Rob2, you'll have to forgive Charles for taking a misread monthly statistic and extrapolating a distorted view of the entire state from it.

Charles is only Superhuman, after all, as he has been demonstrating. Perhaps he can be the protestor's "sign fact-checker". Oughta be a cinch for a big brain like his.

Posted by Doug | June 27, 2007 4:16 AM

I think this is mostly just overblown hysteria to justify a massive amount of new police spending.

But if I'm wrong, and it's not overblown hysteria, then perhaps we should be asking whether we really want the RNC in Minnesota?

Posted by Robert Brown | June 27, 2007 5:39 AM

Charles is wallowing is his victim status, a common state for leftists. He is desperately looking for someone to blame his failures on, so it is not at all surprising that he seized on some temporary bad news and exaggerated it beyond all reason.

Posted by Robert Brown | June 27, 2007 5:45 AM


Do you really want to allow violent leftists to drive those whom you disagree with out of town? You may regret allowing that to happen in the future.

Posted by Tom Shipley | June 27, 2007 7:20 AM

I drove past Bush a few years ago on whatever the main highway is that cuts through Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Notice there was absolutely no traffic in the oncoming lanes. Then out of nowhere a caravan of black SUVs and police cars sped by and I recalled that he was in town that weekend. Probably the closest I'll ever get to a president.

Posted by NoDonkey | June 27, 2007 7:29 AM

It's interesting how the left, which continues to force wildly a over funded, under performing public "school" system on us, which gave us the pyramid scheme laughingly known as social security, and which gave us a incredibly expensive Medicare monstrosity, squeals about funding few sports stadiums.

Should they be funded with public money? Of course not. But neither should 99% of the crap Democrats force the rest of us to fund.

At least I actually want and use a stadium. Another great use of a stadium is that it sends so many hypocritical jackasses through the roof.

Posted by Jason | June 27, 2007 8:51 AM

I hope someone videotapes the anarchists getting their butts kicked by the police. I'd pay money for a copy of that.

Posted by MarkD | June 27, 2007 10:29 AM

If there is premeditated violence, use RICO against them, with long prison terms for any offenders. Five years or so would dampen the enthusiasm to interfere with the rights of others to assemble peacefully for a convention.

This catch and release business only encourages the moonbats.

Posted by MNHawk | June 27, 2007 10:41 AM

"Meanwhile, the infrastructure here crumbles, and the economy here ain't exactly humming. Don't expect a big GOP win here in 2008."

Some of us might take this as a lesson not to drive out not only Republicans, but even the moderate Democrats, such as the previous mayor, in some mad rage of BDS. You get what you vote for.