More about the Miami Riots : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Further details are emerging about the riot in Miami on Wednesday that preceded the Miami-Dade County election commission's decision to give up recounting the votes in the presidential election. As election workers sat counting votes, a mob screamed outside, pounded on furniture, tried to force its way into the building, surrounded a Democratic Party official, knocked two television cameramen to the ground, and kicked and punched several people, including a Democratic spokesman as he attempted to hold a news conference (New York Times 11/23/00 and 11/24/00).

The Republicans initially asserted that the riot was nothing but a spontaneous outburst, but it soon became evident that this was not true. In a report that is almost too bizarre to believe, ABC News (11/24/00) reports that the riot in Miami "was an organized Republican Party protest, run by 75 party operatives out of a headquarters in a motor home". One operative claimed that they were there to help the media. But, ABC News reports, "they also got directly involved in leading demonstrations, and were even willing to dress up in seasonal outfits to provide so-called protester color for local news reports".

The protests were clearly organized in some depth. Some participants had heard about them from a Republican phone bank, and others in the Cuban-American community had heard about them from radio interviews with Republican members of Congress. A lawyer for the Republican Party incited the rioters by asserting that the election commission would not be counting predominantly Hispanic districts (New York Times 11/24/00).

Now, one might imagine that the Republicans had organized a crowd of protesters that had simply gotten out of control. Some of them even claimed as much. But an op-ed column by Paul Gigot in the 11/24/00 Wall Street Journal column, which openly supports the riots, gives this account of how they started:

Then the Three Counting Sages repaired to semi-isolation, forcing TV cameras to watch through a window and keeping reporters 25 feet away. That did it. Street-smart New York Rep. John Sweeney, a visiting GOP monitor, told an aide to "Shut it down", and semi- spontaneous combustion took over.

This is the most astonishing thing that I have ever read. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a United States Congressman explicitly ordered a gang to attack the offices of an election commission with the express purpose of shutting down the counting of votes in a presidential election.

What is going on in these people's minds? Some Republicans tried to justify the violence by comparing it to protests that have been organized by the Democrats. The same lawyer who had helped incite the crowd in Miami asserted that "[i]t's the same type of democracy in action when Jesse Jackson parachutes in and starts a protest in the black community. People have a right to express their opinions" (New York Times 11/24/00). But this is over the top. Jesse Jackson organized peaceful protests in Florida until he was heckled off the stage by Republican counterprotesters. The NAACP organized a civilized public hearing and submitted a report on its findings to the Justice Department. That is indeed democracy. Violence is not.

Representative Sweeney, who ordered the attack on the government building where the votes were being counted said this: "thugs in that building are trying to hijack this election". This utterance is very disturbing. It's totally backward. Representative Sweeney commanded a mob that violently attacked people in the election commission's building, yet he asserted that county workers who were counting votes under the supervision of Republican and Democratic observers were "thugs". And he explicitly ordered his violent followers to shut down the counting of votes, yet he asserted that the election commission was "hijacking" the election. This is called projection: attacking people while falsely accusing them of accusing you.

Projection is also at the core of Paul Gigot's staggering column in the Wall Street Journal. His argument, in brief, is that the rioters -- he uses the word "riot" explicitly -- had been provoked to their marching and chanting by the supposed injustices of the vote count. He does not dwell on the details of kicks and punches and tramplings and menacings and false accusations, playing the whole thing as mild comedy, even though Video of the riot at the ABC News Web site makes plain what a distortion this is. These genteel rioters, he says, "let it be known that 1,000 local Cuban Republicans were on the way" -- an assertion that could not have sounded very peaceable to election commissioners who were already faced with a screaming mob. It was then, he says, that the commissioners "caved", and he makes clear that, in his view, the commissioners' decision was largely a result of the protests. At no point does he express the slightest disapproval.

Like Sweeney, Gigot manages his equanimity through projection: the commission proceedings, he bemusedly tells us, were "bad enough to inspire 50-year-old white lawyers with cell phones and Hermes ties to behave, well, like Democrats". Like Democrats. Perhaps readers of the Wall Street Journal regard it as a commonplace that the Democratic party organizes riots to shut down the counting of votes in a presidential election. No. What's really going on here is a cycle of projection that has escalated to the point of insanity. The Republicans are delaying the vote count and complaining that it is taking too long, disrupting it and claiming that it is chaotic, claiming to represent the will of the voters will preventing the many ballots which were not successfully read by the machines from being counted, and generally accusing their opponents of everything that they are doing. Even if something was legally wrong with the proceedings at the Miami Government Center, the way to resolve the problem is not by kicking people, punching them, knocking them over, and issuing threats. This is a democracy. And it should stay that way.

-- by Phil Agre (sums@it.up), November 26, 2000


How come when Jesse Jackson miraculously appears in Florida immediately following the election, with loud background voices quickly mobilized for the cameras, no one thought that was unusual? Yet when people from the non-Democratic side raise their voices, there is something insidious, underhanded, and sinister about it?

How come when Democrat supporters play for the cameras they are "disenfranchised" blacks, Jews, and other ethnic groups? Yet when non-Democrat supporters do the same, their own ethnicity gets quickly erased; they are not Latinos, they are "Republicans"

How come when these same non-Democrat Party supporters make their voices heard, Liebermann claims that they are anti-Democracy? I thought people speaking up against the government figuring out who it wants to place in power is the very essence of Democracy. Or would Lieberman have it that the masses being passive, quiet, and out of the government's face is what Democracy is all about?

-- Scarecrow (Somewhere@Over.Rainbow), November 26, 2000.

Just a question for you, Scarecrow: Did the non-Republicans present "kick, punch, and knock down" the folks simply trying to give a news conference, or "pound walls and furniture" in an attempt to disrupt the counting process? There's videotape of the events, so be careful.

If Agre can bring forth other eyewitnesses and victims of this attack, and it is found to be those "75 Republican operatives" posing as demonstrators, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

This will make Watergate and Monicagate look like a walk in the park.

-- Just another feminist (, November 26, 2000.

In fact, the statement "there is video tape of the event" is an important one, because no one was punched or kicked or even knocked over. Please, networks, if you wish to continue this lie, show us the us the us the us the tape!

You can't show us the tape..we've seen the's just what you see, people chanting and banging on doors and walls. That's it. You've seen it too. The rest, a lie, your networks and demand to see proof of their allegations. They've shown NOT A SHREAD of it yet,..and they only first started to even allege it TWO DAYS after the fact.

-- Where is the evidence? (gr@rr.rr), November 26, 2000.

I did see the tape, jerk. A guy was being chased by a violent mob and had to have a squad of policemen surround him. It was very frightening to watch.

Squarecrow, read the article. Jesse Jackson was not kicking, punching and physically assaulting people, and did not organize a group to "shut down" the democratic process. Grow a brain.

-- More GOP Morons (, November 26, 2000.

OMG, were scared? LOL ROFLMAO. Scared of a bunch of clean cut young men and women in suits? Because they were shouting? Because they were mad? Dude, you wouldn't last a day in the big city. ROF!

That tape just showed these kids out in the hallway, chanting, yelling, banging, me where someone was kicked or "knocked down" in that tape. Please. That dork was running from them cause he's a DORK...LOL. Ooooh...scary republican kids...yikes!

-- You Dork (, November 26, 2000.

You're an asshole. I'm not talking about the tape in the hallway where all the white male paid operatives of the GOP were chanting, I'm talking about a videotape of a man being run out of a lobby while he was being chased down by a crowd of rioters. Yes, it's frightening to see how our nation is being torn down by violent mobs run by the GOP, to see how Baker claims the phony certification respects the "will of the people" after he himself shut down a process that left over 10,000 ballots NEVER EVER COUNTED, NOT EVEN ONCE.

You can taunt, jeer, etc., but you can't deny the facts. The battle is just starting, and the democrats are motivated to win and WILL win. I can't wait to see all you crowing bastards who cheer on physical assault brought down by the rule of law.

-- GOP Morons Condone Violence (, November 26, 2000.

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