2012-08-27 14:53:51

Democracy Now! 2012-08-27 Monday

Day one of the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, has been essentially called off due to Tropical Storm Isaac. The city’s police department received $50 million from Congress ahead of the convention, purchasing armored vehicles and high-tech surveillance cameras equipped with behavioral recognition software. We begin our two-hour special coverage of the GOP convention with longtime Tampa radio broadcaster and journalist Rob Lorei, director of news and public affairs for the Tampa community radio station WMNF.

While the Republican National Convention will not start until Tuesday due to Tropical Storm Isaac, supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul held their own convention of sorts over the weekend. The two-day "Paul Fest" was described by some as a farewell rally for Paul, who was not invited to speak at the Republican National Convention. Over the years, key parts of Paul’s platform have included shutting down the Federal Reserve, ending U.S. wars, and slashing federal spending by eliminating agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education. Paul has also been a vocal critic of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. We hear excerpts of speeches from Paul and his son, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. 

At the "Paul Fest" for supporters of Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul in Tampa, Democracy Now! producer Mike Burke speaks with Brian Doherty, author of the new book, "Ron Paul’s rEVOLution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired." Doherty discusses the role Paul delegates will have at this week’s Republican National Convention and, looking ahead, in the future of the Republican Party.

Even as Tropical Storm Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast, hundreds are expected to protest this morning in Tampa against the Republican National Convention. Today’s official RNC events were canceled due to the storm. But organizers from the Coalition to March on the RNC spent the night encasing their picket signs in plastic. Thousands of law enforcement officers from the local police and sheriff departments, as well as the National Guard, are patrolling the streets near the RNC in an area being called the Green Zone. We’re joined by two guests helping to organize protests in Tampa: Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK and author of the new book, "Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control"; and Tracy Molm, an activist with Students for a Democratic Society, whose mobilizing at the 2008 RNC in Minneapolis-St. Paul landed her on the FBI’s surveillance list. Agents raided Molm’s home in 2010, along with the homes of others engaged in antiwar activism critical of U.S. foreign policy. That investigation is ongoing, but has not stopped her from continuing to protest.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived a historic recall election in June, one year after he launched a controversial effort to slash bargaining rights for the state’s public sector workers and reduce their benefits. The recall effort was the first election since the Citizens United ruling, which opened the floodgates for unlimited corporate spending on election campaigns. Analysts say the ruling helped Walker out-spend his opponent Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett seven-to-one. Ahead of the Republican National Convention, which he is expected to address Tuesday, Walker was interrupted at a celebration of the Faith and Freedom Coalition by protesters who chanted "Walker hates workers."

On Sunday, former House Speaker and former 2012 Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich called President Obama is "the most extreme, pro-abortion president in U.S. history." Earlier in the day, Democracy Now!'s Deena Guzder and Amy Littlefield caught up with Gingrich at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Tampa where he attended Sunday Mass. They asked Gingrich about his recent comments calling Obama a "food stamp president." They also asked about Missouri representative and senate candidate Todd Akin's recent claim that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancies in cases of what Akin called "legitimate rape." 

Set up for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, the "Romneyville" encampment is similar to Hoovervilles of the 1930s Great Depression. Residents of Romneyville are calling for an end to foreclosures, homelessness and the criminalization of poverty. We hear from Shamako Noble, a Romneyville resident and executive director of the Hip Hop Congress. And we speak to Cheri Honkala, the Green Party’s vice presidential nominee in the 2012 election and the National Coordinator of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign.

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