...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Thursday, August 21, 2003
      ( 10:29 AM )
Portland Says No to Bush

This is where I'll update on the happenings here in Little Beruit while the President is visiting. It looks like several of my fellow Oregon bloggers will be out on the streets today, so in solidarity, I am following their progress. Early press reports indicate the "strategy" is to try to block the big money people from getting into the fundraiser. This, of course is going to create some clashes since the main way to do this will be to sit down in intersections leading to the campus. Success of this direct action of course will depend on the kinds of numbers they can turn out for the crowds. So far, I haven't found any reports on the estimate numbers yet. Of course, if there is an attempt to actually block the presidential motorcade (which is set to shut down all of Portland traffic here in about 1/2 hour), that could raise the hackles of the secret service dudes. It looks also like there is a group of people set to welcome the president as well. Guess they couldn't afford the $2000 to actually hear their beloved speak to them.

It's the People versus the president, take two (this happened exactly this time last year too). Will the national press even care? Only if the protesters here are able to make a big enough impact, which in years past they have been quite successful. No matter how much the GOP would like to intimate that they can corner Oregon's electoral votes, the pictures of massive protest in the streets speaks a little louder than $2000/plate supporters at a posh, exclusive, fenced-off luncheon. So we shall see how this confrontation goes...

UPDATE: Here is the traffic cam that is focused on the road that the Motorcade has to travel to get to University of Portland. If like the last time, all onramps will be blocked and the freeway cleared for him for up to and sometimes over an hour surrounding his drive.

: He's Here. Here's a question, why must they close all the freeways for him to drive from the airport - couldn't he take a helicopter or something? They don't just shut down his route, they shut down ALL of our surrounding freeways so that he can go whichever way he wants.

North Portland resident John Keenan sat on the grass
in Columbia Park, watching the crowds grow. "I was just
thinking about the $2,000-a-plate fundraiser," he said.
"With all the things going on in the world, it’s a pity the
President has to be going around collecting money. You
would think he would have better things to do."

UPDATE: Latest news, reporters from our local Independent Media Center, Street Roots (Our local homeless paper) and KBOO (our local community news radio station) have been denied acess to the event, despite the fact that they obtained press credentials and passes ahead of time. As Emily points out, it looks like non-corporate media is once again blacked out.

UPDATE: looks like ALL the media has been blocked. Begs one to wonder what the heck he's going to say to his pets in there.

UPDATE: Uh oh. The mood seems to be shifting - not in a good way (though a news reporter reporting on his own "assault" is questionable at this point before the objective facts are in about what really happened). I was hoping that the protest would not get angry. It's hard when there is so much visceral anger against Bush these days, but still. Let's hope no one gets hurt. FURTHER: Of course now we hear that the newspeople are assaulting each other. Hmmm.

UPDATE (1:45 pm local): Well, things have broken up. It wasn't as bad as the corporate media was making it out to be. Of course they were focusing on the troublemakers as usual and pretty much refused to report on why the bulk of the protesters were there in the first place. It seemed the biggest story one of our local stations could drum up was that one of them smelled The Pot amdist part of the crowd!! Call in John Ashcroft!!! All in all, I think it was a smaller crowd than expected, even though people there estimated it around a few thousand. The Resident has left the building...and left the city and is now on his way to the other (friendlier) side of the state. Yep, those fires are still burning.

I have two major feelings on this event. One is that I wish more people had shown up to protest, but considering that they purposely put it at an out of the way location and blocked everything off the night before, those who did show up were hearty activists. The other is that I honestly don't understand why it is that Bush is pulling in first-time donors of $2000 a pop to these things. What is that motivates these people to give so much money to him - what is it about his presidency that has helped this state or this country at all? I can't think of a thing. Honestly. Is it just a polarization of political parties in this state that is bringing out these Republicans? I suppose that could be part of it. But in the end, it remains a mystery to me why someone would support him, much less pay $2000 to hear him say the same damned thing over again about how we've won the war against Saddam and revenged 9/11. Is it just me?

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