Just Above Sunset
September 5, 2004 - Low-Rent Crystalnacht

Home | Question Time | Something Is Up | Connecting Dots | Stay Away | Overload | Our Man in Paris | WLJ Weekly | Book Wrangler | Cobras | The Edge of the Pacific | The Surreal Beach | On Location | Botanicals | Quotes

As so it begins –

On November 10, 1938 the Nazi enthusiasts went on a spree of threats toward and vilification of certain undesirable people - and caused quite a bit of damage to their shops and homes throughout Germany. Historians named it "Crystalnacht," the "Night of the Shattered Glass."

Note this from the Centre Daily, the newspaper of State College, Pennsylvania, where Penn State has its main campus -


Posted on Thu, Sep. 02, 2004

Vandals strike county Democratic headquarters
Byline - Lara Brenckle

STATE COLLEGE - Centre County Democratic Headquarters was vandalized late Tuesday when someone smashed the thick, tempered glass in the building's storefront window, causing about $3,000 worth of damage.

According to State College police Cpl. Mark Argiro, witnesses in the 300 block of Calder Way heard the window break and saw a white Ford Tempo carrying three men leaving the area.

Investigators will review surveillance tapes taken by cameras posted on Beaver Avenue from McAllister Street to Hiester Street, in hopes that the white car seen leaving the area was caught on tape. If it was, police can attempt to identify the license plate, Argiro said.

Joanne Tosti-Vasey said she was working alone at 9:32 p.m. in the headquarters at 236 East Calder Way when she heard "a loud thud and a boom and (the glass) fell."

Tosti-Vasey, who was not injured, said she did not see anybody because a wall blocked her line of vision. …


And the Associated Press reports this via the Grand Rapids Press -


Vandals smash window at Grand Rapids HQ of Kerry campaign
September 1, 2004, 2:20 PM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- Someone tossed a cement chunk through a storefront window of the local John Kerry presidential campaign headquarters in an act of vandalism a Democratic official said appeared to be politically motivated.

"They could have gone through any number of storefronts, so I don't think it was an accident," said John Otterbacher, Kent County spokesman for the Democratic presidential ticket.

Local campaign official Jim Rinck said nothing was taken from inside the headquarters during the vandalism early Tuesday.

Kim Yob, chairwoman of the Kent County Republican Party, said she was sorry to hear of the vandalism but dismissed the possibility of any Republicans being involved.

"We're not yelling at Democrats, telling them we hate them," said Yob, who The Grand Rapids Press contacted at the Republican National Convention. "But out here in New York, these (protesters) are out of control. I'm walking down the street and some people were screaming, "I hate Republicans."'


Justification?  Fair is fair?

This week we saw the current governor of California, a charismatic German-speaking Austrian muscleman movie star, speak at the Republican Convention in New York.  He was a big hit - a strong leader who folks cheered, as he himself cheered on a leader who also should not be questioned.  And he excoriated all the “girly-men” out there who doubt we always are right in all we do.

His enthusiasts decided to have some fun?

One thing leads to another.

There was Zell Miller’s speech twenty-four hours after Shwarzenegger spoke.

William Saletan says this -


The election is becoming a referendum on democracy.

In a democracy, the commander in chief works for you. You hire him when you elect him. You watch him do the job. If he makes good decisions and serves your interests, you rehire him. If he doesn't, you fire him by voting for his opponent in the next election.

Not every country works this way. In some countries, the commander in chief builds a propaganda apparatus that equates him with the military and the nation. If you object that he's making bad decisions and disserving the national interest, you're accused of weakening the nation, undermining its security, sabotaging the commander in chief, and serving a foreign power—the very charges Miller leveled tonight against Bush's critics.

Are you prepared to become one of those countries?


I don’t know.  I have a brown shirt or two – but more rust-colored actually.  They are nice shirts.

So Miller’s enthusiasts decided to have some fun?

Maybe so.

Digby over at Hullabaloo says this -


It has been clear for quite some time to anyone who is paying attention that the modern Republican party is actively undermining the democratic process. Look at the Republican funded recall in California or the strong-arm redistricting all over the country, not to mention the more subtle forms of anti-democratic rule like bald-faced lying about government statistics and holding secret meetings and creating entirely new forms of executive privilege.

Yes, standing up before the nation and saying that speaking out against the president during a presidential campaign is putting our troops at risk is a very shocking charge. But, this is hardly the first time they've said that. I simply don't understand how people who are paid money to watch politics for a living have missed what seems to me to be an obvious development over more than a decade. Every election since 1992 has been dicier and dicier. With each cycle, they have gotten more and more aggressive in breaking the rules and challenging accepted norms. The only real question at this point is if they have been successful in rigging enough voting machines to swing this election if it's close enough. I'm hoping that they just haven't had the time to get it done because if they have there is absolutely no reason to believe they won't do it. They do not have any limits.

So yes, this election is a referendum on American democracy. At this point, they all are - and they have been for quite some time. I'm glad some members of the media are noticing. Maybe this time they won't be so willing to smugly tell us to "get over it" if things go wrong.

But, I doubt it. Until elections are actually cancelled (which we -- shockingly -- even discussed openly for a while) or journalists are jailed for sedition or some other heinous suspension of the constitution (for ordinary white people, mind you) is employed, the media will continue to support the slow erosion of our political system until it will be too late to get it back.


Wrong.  The press isn’t going to save us.  Too many people long for the strongman who ignores all the rules to get things done – the bold man who will save the homeland, the fatherland.  The press just reports the news.

Arnold won easily out here and is now talking about abolishing the state legislature, or making it, actually, part-time and, shall we say, honorary.  A crude solution - but didn’t Mussolini at least get the trains to run on time?  Sometimes, to get things done, you just have to act boldly and assume all the power – and not be one of those girly-men. 


One level up, the president famously says treaties and rules don’t apply to us and we need no allies like before – the UK and Fiji will do fine – and folks love him for it.  He will save us from the bad guys.  He’s no wimp.  He may make some really bone-headed decisions, and cannot explain himself if he perhaps even knows what he means, but he gets things done.  The women swoon.  The men are emboldened to punish folks with questions.

And it follows that a few enthusiasts will prove they’re not wimps and smash a few windows here and there.  One thing leads to another.

And here in the Hollywood Hills I thought I just saw the Von Trapp family climbing out over the hills headed for Vermont.

Here we go again.


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....