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Democrats who backed wiretaps turn away Democratic bloggers from AT&T fundraiser
Diane Sweet
Published: Tuesday August 26, 2008


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AT&T security suggest bloggers talk to police

Moderate Democrats are turning away Democrats, even those with press passes.

On Monday night, AT&T held a 'Blue Dog' fundraiser for the group of congressional Democrats who endorsed the recent bill that gave immunity to telecoms for President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program.

The affair was held at Mile High Station, which is one of the closest buildings to Invesco field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado where the Democratic National Convention is being held.

While delegates came in and out of the party, it wasn't as easy for approved Democratic bloggers and reporters. Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow, Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake and Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com were ushered away by event security. All three had valid press passes to cover the Democratic National Convention.

As they tried to enter the event, security guards curtly refused to permit them to enter, and ordered them away from the entrance, giving few details.

Even the guests who came and went refused to say who invited them to the affair, or give their names. Only a pair of talkative men, who identified themselves as a lobbyists, and a Republican, replied.

"Can I just ask a question?" Goodman asked. "If this is open to the delegates, why isnít itó"

"Other side of the property, please," an unidentified guard replied. "The other side of the property, where the public can stand."

"But isnít this open to the delegates?" Goodman said.

"No, itís not. You could talk to the police right now. Go to the other side of the property, where the rest of the public can stand, please. Here comes an officer to talk to you."

"Weíre confused," Goodman said. "Weíre press for the DNC to cover the Democratic National Convention, and Iím just wonderingó"

"Unfortunately," the guard said. "Iím just telling you what Iíve been told."

Video follows of Goodman, Hamsher and Greenwald as they cover the events of the evening.

Additional transcript

AMY GOODMAN: And what have you been told?

UNIDENTIFIED: I need you guys over there or over there.

AMY GOODMAN: So are you saying thereís no press allowed in?

UNIDENTIFIED: Correct. Iím saying that itís a private party, is what Iím saying.

AMY GOODMAN: So what is the party about?

PARTY PARTICIPANT: No idea. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: How did you get invited?

PARTY PARTICIPANT: No idea.

AMY GOODMAN: Hi. Can I ask you about the party inside?

PARTY PARTICIPANT: Thatís right. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Can I ask about the party and who invited you? Are you guys delegates?

PARTY PARTICIPANT: Hi. How are you?

AMY GOODMAN: Good

PARTY PARTICIPANT: No. No.

GLENN GREENWALD: Iím Glenn Greenwald from Salon.com, and this is Jane Hamsher from FireDogLake, and we were here to try and cover the event, at first, and have press passes, and weíre trying to gain access. And we were told we couldnít get in even.

AMY GOODMAN: But you have press passes.

GLENN GREENWALD: We have a press pass.

JANE HAMSHER: We have legitimate press passes.

GLENN GREENWALD: We have legitimate press passes from the convention.

JANE HAMSHER: Issued by the DNC.

AMY GOODMAN: Are you going into the party? Are you going into the party?

PARTY PARTICIPANT: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about who invited you?

PARTY PARTICIPANT: Excuse me.

AMY GOODMAN: Weíre press.

GLENN GREENWALD: Yeah, itís amazing. And essentially, we probably tried to interview twenty-five, thiry people going in, and every last person refused to even give their name, identify themselves, say what theyíre here for, what the event is for. Itís more secretive than like a Dick Cheney energy council meeting. I mean, itís amazing.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what are you here for? Why do you want to interview people?

GLENN GREENWALD: Well, because, I mean, itís extraordinary that the same Blue Dogs that just gave this extremely corrupt gift to AT&T are now attending a party underwritten by AT&T, the purpose of which is to thank the Blue Dogs for the corrupt legislative gift that they got. So AT&T gives money to Blue Dogs, the Blue Dogs turn around and immunize AT&T from lawbreaking, and then AT&T throws a party at the Democratic convention thanking them, and then they all go in and into this exclusive club.

AMY GOODMAN: [inaudible] ask someone. Why donít you ask this person?

GLENN GREENWALD: Hi. Can weóare you going to the party?

PARTY PARTICIPANT: I donít know.

GLENN GREENWALD: Can we ask you a couple of questions?

PARTY PARTICIPANT: Rather not, thank you.

GLENN GREENWALD: Alright, can we just ask this gentleman here?

UNIDENTIFIED: Thatís private property, right here.

GLENN GREENWALD: OK, weíll take care of this, sir. No problem.

UNIDENTIFIED: OK.

GLENN GREENWALD: No problem. Remember, we kind ofó

JANE HAMSHER: Who are you with? Are you going to the party?

PARTY PARTICIPANT: Yeah.

GLENN GREENWALD: This is area right here is where it is, right here?

JANE HAMSHER: Are you going to the party?

GLENN GREENWALD: This is the magical D line?

UNIDENTIFIED: No, the next one over.

GLENN GREENWALD: Oh, I see.

UNIDENTIFIED: Almost.

LOBBYIST: You know where the Blue Dog Democrats started out? They all used to meet in Louisiana, in the office of the one conservative Democrat in the state, who had a portrait of a blue dog over his fireplace. And from that point onóthis was in the late 1800s, early 1900sóother conservative Democrats used to come to have this secret meeting in this place in Louisiana, and thatís how they became the Blue Dog Democrats forever more.

AMY GOODMAN: Are you both delegates?

LOBBYIST: No.

REPUBLICAN GUEST: No.

LOBBYIST: Iím a lobbyist.

AMY GOODMAN: Oh, a lobbyist?

LOBBYIST: The other L word.

AMY GOODMAN: A lobbyist with who?

LOBBYIST: I do financial services and real estate.

REPUBLICAN GUEST: Iím just a guest tonight. Iíll tell you a secret: Iím a Republican. We just got invited, soÖ

UNIDENTIFIED: Free dinner.

REPUBLICAN GUEST: Free dinner.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you feel right at home?

REPUBLICAN GUEST: Yeah. Itís a party. Hey, what the hell, right?

AMY GOODMAN: So, Medea Benjamin, why are you all out here?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Code Pink isóhas always been dogging the Blue Dogs, because the Blue Dogs are supposed to be fiscally conservative, yet they are the ones that keep cheerleading for this war and keep funding the war. But we also see that the Blue Dogs are big into the corporate sponsorship, and weíre here to say that, as the convention starts to begin tomorrow, the Blue Dogs should be ashamed of themselves for taking corporate money and then turning around and giving immunity to the telecoms industry for illegally spying on us.

CODE PINK PROTESTERS: Blue Dogs take cash from AT&T and give telecoms immunity. So Code Pink is here to give the dogs a bone, tell AT&T donít tap my phone!

AMY GOODMAN: And that is the Code Pink singers, outside of Mile High Stadium. In fact, that venue was Mile High Station, where AT&T was sponsoring a party for the Blue Dog Democrats.

 
 


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