Bush in Oz
Even from the other side of the world, I can feel the resentment that's been boiling up in Sydney over Bush's visit. God, I remember feeling miffed that O'Connell St was blocked off for Clinton, and I really liked Clinton! But GWB preparations are unprecedented.
'Australians tend to be easygoing people with a strong distrust of politicians of any party. So when Sydney siders found out that we were getting kicked out of our own city for a week because we couldn't be trusted, we reacted with anger. That anger has now been going on for three months, and is going to reach it's peak in a protest on Saturday where we will try to march along a protest route that takes us down streets that are walled off and guarded with police.' Oznick
Huge blocks of Downtown Sydney, the Opera House, the Ferry Terminal, Sydney Harbour etc. are all closed for 3 days to a week! Insane security ID policies, no photography whatsoever, background checks, the regular panoply of Bush's control-freak circus. It will cost Howard the election for inviting him.
The Daily Kos does a great job as usual in pointing up these ridiculous measures, and reading their report put me in mind of those famous Free Speech Zones. Whenever Bush visits someplace, the local police and the Secret Service designate an area (often cordoned by chains or barriers) up to a few miles away in which to house anti-Bush protesters. Pro-Bush activists are allowed to display their signs without hindrance or even with encouragement. Bush has a strict advance manual which directs that protesters must have their signs obscured by pro-Bush banners, and they must be shouted down by young Republican volunteers with chants of 'USA USA.' The details of this reality-warping strategy are voluminous and chilling, but essentially par-for-the-course in the Cheney Whitehouse.
A recent article posits that despite the massive campaign to have him impeached, Bush may be so out of touch that he has never even seen so much as an anti-Bush bumper sticker.
As a common observation puts it: I thought the entire United States was supposed to be a free speech zone. Not to mention Australia. Come on Oz, don't go down without a fight!