Monday, May 14, 2012

Chicago To Be Locked Down For NATO Meeting May 20-21

Details available from Kevin Gosztola of FDL. First Amendment assembly rights are slated to be nearly nonexistent... Chicago is requiring permits to protest, and applications for said permits are being steadfastly ignored by the city.

You know, when Rahm Emanuel became mayor of Chicago, I winced. But I've since come to see him as the perfect mayor for a city run by bosses rather than by its people: he's just the guy to do the dirt that has to be done in such a government. And this event is the perfect follow-up, 44 years later, of the Democratic National Convention in that fair city.

I celebrated my 50th birthday in Chicago with Stella. First-timers both, we were utterly awed by the city. A city-dweller myself since birth, I have not felt awed by the sheer size and vitality of very many cities... Vienna, perhaps... but Chicago impressed me, and even intimidated me a bit. I gave serious consideration to moving there.

Now I am ever so grateful I did not. I would feel obliged to join the protest, and I really don't need my skull cracked at my age...


  1. I love Chicago and traveled there often during my Ann Arbor days. It's a vital, exciting city, but unfortunately, always run by criminals or near criminals. Rahm Emanuel, as you say, is a perfect fit. Chicago cops are among the most corrupt in the nation----even puts Louisanna to shame. Democratic protests will not be tolerated.

  2. I was searched by an off-duty Chicago cop doing part-time work at a museum shop. The cashier neglected to swipe my purchase to disable its security device, which of course then set off the alarm. From that point, it was "guilty until proven innocent." I swear, the cop was disappointed when I located the purchase receipt in my thick pile of paper in my backpack. Asshole!

  3. I was at Great Lakes in ET school(Navy) in '68 and since I had a military heavy equipment drivers license I was busy busing in National Guard and trucking in concertina wire. What a fun time. I even managed to get my dumb self tear gassed a couple of times. Some things never change and I am sure some good folks will get their first experience with tear gas and pepper spray.

  4. What I don't understand is why any city would host one of these things. They have a long history of costing more than any possible benefit, and even without the disappearance of civil rights that has been a feature of most international conferences these days, they screw up traffic flow and make life miserable for local people.

    What is needed is a vacant island somewhere to be used only for these types of meetings. Something like St Helena in the South Atlantic, with not even sea birds to annoy.

    Throw up some Quonset huts, a satellite uplink, and a few generators. Hell, it would be harder to find a more secure place to hold conferences, and you don't have the TSA hassle.

  5. What I don't understand is why a fundamentally military meeting among allies is not held on a military base. No member of the general public expects to be allowed to roam freely on a military base, the security is already in place there, and no one in the general public is inconvenienced.

    And so I must conclude that the inconvenience is the very point... the opportunity to prevent ordinary people from doing their own rightful daily errands, the opportunity to stick pepper spray in the noses of people who have no investment in creating havoc of any kind. That, for people like Rahm Emanuel, is the point. Emanuel likes to hurt people, people whom he regards as of inferior station. He is right about his class: he is a first-class asshole.

  6. Bryan, there already is such an island, not more than four miles from my house----it's called the Bohemian Grove.

  7. "What I don't understand is why a fundamentally military meeting among allies is not held on a military base."

    because it's a summit, which means it will be attended by political leaders, not just military leaders. political leaders and big-wigs want 5 star hotels. a military base won't cut it. even though most bases have VIP guest quarters, the scale of a summit this size means all the leaders could not be accomodated.

    as for bryan's question about why any city would agree to host this thing, hosting a meeting like this is a marker that the host is a world class city. the people in city government tend to be boosters of the city. they can rationalize the cost of the summit away by noting it will put chicago in the news of every country that is attending, and thus will theoretically generate tourism income down the line. but the main reason may just be that obama and emmanuel are close. it was america's turn to host and so when he was looking for takers, he naturally called his buddy, the mayor of his home city.

  8. All of that sounds reasonable, 'noz. And all of that reinforces my joy that I didn't move to Chicago when I thought of doing so. The worst that has been inflicted on Houston is a GOP national convention. I didn't attend, but I observed from a freeway median where my ancient car stalled in evening rush hour; something on the order of 400 cop cars were lined up on the hotel grounds, and most of their occupants were curious about the unmistakably old Honda Civic that stopped directly opposite the hotel. They knew for certain no Republican owned that car...

    Fortunately, at rush, there are always vultures, um, I mean, tow trucks, circling Loop 610 waiting for a wreck or a stall, so I was outta there in less than 30 minutes.



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