Tuesday, August 31, 2004

RNC & Kathie Lee

I'm getting to love the smell of elephant dung in the morning.

All around Manhattan, people of all ages and political (or non-political or anti-political) affiliations are showing the Republican delegates the consequences of invading the most well-informed city in the world.

Not that there's anything we have to say that they want to listen to. And there's really no sense in trying to engage a delegate in conversation or reasoning with them; all you'll get is a smirk or an irrelevant rejoinder about 9-11 (don't you dare come here and lecture us, we're the ones that lived through it!).

So why not scare them shitless by showing them the unwelcome mat?

The best place on the web to find out what's-going-on-where is at the New York Indymedia website (Protest Updates).

I'm working on a bunch of stories about Sunday's march, the assorted non-sanctioned demonstrations, and my night at the Tank (with the RNC counter-bloggers) And I have tons of awesome PICTURES to post. But, right now, I'm too busy keeping up with the going-ons inside and out of my beloved Madison Square Garden (Home of the Knicks invaded by the Dicks).

Make sure to check back on Saturday for full reports and (did I mention?) PICTURES!

Here's one tidbit from the frontline of the anti-RNC battleground:

Sunday, after the rally, unpermitted protests were staged outside the eight Broadway theaters that hosted RNC matinees. While I staked out the entrance to the Lion King theater (The Lying Kings...part 2 to be posted on Saturday), a friend of mine took in the sidewalk show in front of the Palace Theater, where another bad Disney creation - Aida - gobbles up valuable Broadway space.

Seen exiting the theater with the RNC delegates was child-labor exploiter Kathie Lee Gifford. When "she's-no-Kelly-Ripa" saw the throng of people, chanting and panting (from the long hot day) she must have gotten confused, because it's doubtful that they were fans of her "musical" career.

Ms. (or is it still Mrs.) Gifford attempted to do what she does best: smile and wave. But she was met with a chorus line of hearty Bronx cheers (or - should-I-say - quotes from the Dick Cheney playlist).

Frowning like a teenage hooker jumping into a cab with Frank Gifford (ouch), Kathie Lee tried to play it off by claiming that everyone was "just being jealous." My friend - as suave as can be - told her to "go get another facelift, hag." She left in a huff to wherever it is that chirpy, airhead ex-morning talk-show hosts go when they're no longer taking up airtime.

You might think my friend acted kind of mean. But think what might have been said if Regis Philbin were there instead.


Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Lying Kings

I'm outside the New Amsterdam Theater in the Broadway/42nd Street area, where GOP delegates are scheduled to catch a free show of The Lion King. So far, there are only about one hundred protesters gathered in front. A group of younger protesters are holding a banner that reads "Weapons of Mass Deception?" A well-dressed man, in a business suit, carries a placard with "100 Troops Die For Bush's Lie" written on it. There are reporters and photographers from The Daily News and the foreign press hovering around waiting for something to happen.

Police are lined up in front of Disney's big catbox and across the street on the balcony of another theater. About six buses are parked out in front.

I'm waiting for the mice. Word on the street was that protesters were supposed to dress up in mouse costumes but none are stirring.

Right next to the buses, somebody stuck a sticker on a post: "Republicans Resign. The Private Sector needs Bloodsuckers. Go Home, GOP."

Next door to the house that Mickey bought is another popular out-of-towner attraction, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. Rudy Giuliani happens to be the wax dummy that the 42nd Street Madame has chosen to stand guard at front. I couldn't resist staging a photo. So I persuaded a protester to pose next to Rudy with his Impeach George Bush sign.

More later...including pictures.


Saturday, August 28, 2004

CB Has Left The Building

Over a month ago, while surfing at Blogger Forum, I noticed this post by a CBFTW in the link exchange (CBFTW): "iraq war blog - hello, I am a soldier in the united states army currently in Iraq. If you want to view the site go to http://cbftw.blogspot.com."

After I checked out CB's blog, and mostly dug it (one of his original posts was a list of songs that he liked to play while in Iraq which included "Stuck In The Middle" and "Speak English or Die"...I wrote him to tell him that he had erroneously attributed the former to Bob Dylan and to ask him if the latter was a joke...he said thank you, and, yes, it was). I wrote a short post on my site about it (Blogger In Mosul). CB (I know his real name but I won't reveal it at this time...I'll get to the why in a moment) found out about my blurb and left this comment on my site: "Hey man, thanx for talking about the site on yours, mad props. I'm not a republican or a democrat, I'm just a skater from SF who's packin a machine gun in iraq at the moment. Over and out."

CB's mostly wonderful blog possessed that rare "you are there" quality. At first, his posts weren't that well written. But he kept at it. And, by the end (yes, there's an end), his entries were so realistic and humanistic that I left a comment on his site comparing his work to Tim O'Brien and Anthony Swofford.

CB's a fan of Hunter S. Thompson. So much so, that the original name for his site paid tribute to the Great Gonzo: "My War - Fear and Loathing In Iraq." CB wasn't a warmonger; he was just doing his job. At the top of his blog CB featured a representation of Picasso's Guernica - the famous anti-war painting which was famously covered over when Colin Powell gave his grand performance at the United Nations to push for the war in Iraq.

Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the brigades from the right to discover his site. Soon, they began posting comments like "thanks for fighting the enemy there so we don't have to fight him here" (not a direct quote, mind you) and flaming the liberals or not-so-right-wingers that frequented his blog. Sadly, CBFTW linked to some of their sites (off target...one site that I discovered through CB's used to be entitled "Moby Rebuttal" but is now Blonde Sagacity...a blogger that seems to pick up her talking points straight from Sean Hannity...I've fought a number of battles on her site...but when she's not talking far-right scary politics she's not a half-bad read), as well. Worst of all, one day he posted a story which claimed that he just fought a battle with Al Qaeda...bad enough...but he also claimed (mostly based upon the word of one of his Commanding Officers) that the enemies were Al Qaeda that had come into Iraq from Iran.

A few weeks ago, the brass caught wind of CB's blog, and he figured he was "fucked" and - like the Full Metal Jacket soldier - "in a world of shit." But the brass didn't cut the plug immediately (or maybe not at all). They allowed him to continue his writing, as long as everything was submitted to the Military, parsed, and pre-approved. He agonized over shutting it down. But he soldiered on.

The first noticable change was that the title was shortened to "My War." I guess the Military don't do irony. Then he started to become annoyed with the myriad of posters on his blog. He was trying to sanitize his site for the brass...but posters were copy-and-pasting and resubmitting some of his posts.

Then he became famous.

He began getting write-ups here and there throughout the land. One day, the Wall Street Journal ran a story which carried his name, and while it didn't mention his blog, it pretty much told the same story as one of his posts (I'm not going to give the exact link...because his name is in it). Then NPR ran a piece on him. Yet, they (stupidly...though they later corrected it by deleting it) made a direct connection to his name and blog.

On August 19th, CB's only post was the text to the 1st Amendment, which created a ton of wild speculation. He returned briefly to the blog warning his fans again not to copy-and-paste. But most wouldn't listen.

Then, ominously, he mentioned he pulled guard duty.

Finally, on Friday, August 27, 2004, CB's blog endured a final name change: "Over and Out." His last post - like a true punk rocker - "thanx Ever Get the Feeling You've Been Cheated?" - last words Johnny Rotten spit onstage at the Sex Pistols last gig in 1978. OVER AND OUT."

As of now, there's no way to know for sure what happened to CB. Did the brass make him stop? Did he stop because his identity had been outed? Did he stop because he couldn't bear the censorship? Did he stop because clowns from the right kept posting stupid things? Did he stop because clowns from the left (like yours truly) kept posting stupid things?

If you go to CB's stripped-clean website and follow some of his links to right-leaning sites, you will discover that his "pals" have all the answers. They don't blame the brass for muzzling CB. They are focussed on a letter-writing campaign against NPR for printing his name.

It's people like me that they blame for his flight. I don't have all the answers. If it was people like me...I do apologize...for CB's sake. But I never signed up - completely - with Uncle Sam (completely?...a story for another day). And I never willingly signed away my rights. So, for now, the 1st Amendment protects me. The guys and girls that are stuck in Iraq no longer possess this freedom.

Here's hoping CB's doing as best as can be out there. Here's hoping that CB makes it back home in one piece. Here's hoping that CB returns to writing...whether by blog, journal or future bestseller. Here's hoping that, someday, - like the Sex Pistols - CB makes a comeback and earns some filthy lucre.


Friday, August 27, 2004

What The NY Post Stands For

Thursday's edition of The New York Post (August 26, 2004) carried a gleeful editorial entitled "PROTESTERS LOSE AGAIN" in response to State Supreme Court Justice Jacqueline Silbermann's decision to deny the use of Central Park this coming Sunday for a rally organized by United For Peace and Justice.

While past editorials in Rupert Murdoch's Fox-controlled paper-of-little-record were somewhat supportive of UFPJ's months-long struggle to allow protesters the inalienable right to peacefully gather in the park, The Post's position now seems to be that they should have sued the city in court instead of attempting to bargain with officials in good faith: "The group could have filed suit months ago charging the city with bad faith."

But changing their neocon tone about the frivolity of lawsuits in America wasn't the only blunder The Post made in this editorial. They also offered up a fantastic Bushism: "The ultra-lefty UFPJ is wrong about everything it stands for, but it should have a right to be wrong in public."

Of course, UFPJ stands for United for Peace and Justice. This would mean that Rupert's awesome Vice Presidential handicapping staff can't stand unity, peace or justice. Those are some of the reasons why we are back in Iraq.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Cut Scene

Originally, the opening scene of my play The Rules of Embedment or Why Are We Back In Iraq? (Sample Scene)took place during the February 15, 2003 mass rally in New York City. Right before the first public reading staged last November at Another Urban Riff (Cast & Credits), I ended up cutting the scene out, in order to cut down on the long-day's-journey-into-night running time and overabundance of characters.

It was a tough scene to cut. Part of the reason I wrote the play in the first place was to protest the terse media coverage of the F15 rally and the many others that followed. I wanted to give this historical worldwide protest its proper due, and to tell the story of what really happened. Also - considering I never served in the Military or worked for the Media - I felt it was important to include a scene in my topical play in which I had actually been an active participant.

But I cut it. And I cut some more after the first reading. And - like most playwrights - I've continued to cut in-between performances.

But since the city's about to become a battleground for the status of our 1st Amendment rights ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances"), I thought the cut scene might be of interest. Here's the original Act 1, Scene 1:

(It is February 15, 2003 - the day of the mass rally in New York City that attracted over a quarter million people in protest of the imminent war with Iraq. The rally was coordinated with thousands of other protests across the world involving millions of people. The location is a street corner between 60th Street and 3rd Ave. Ten police officers stand behind blue barricades warning 'DO NOT CROSS'. Most of the police officers are talking among themselves. Iron holding pens are lined up in front of the stage to the left of the officers to control the crowd.)

(To the left of the officers is a crowd of at least twenty-five visible people packed to the edge of the curtains. The protestors are multi-ethnic and range from young to old. A few hold radios broadcasting speeches from the rally. Many are recording the scene with camcorders and digital cameras.)

(A mom with a baby carriage - decorated with antiwar stickers - stands near the front of the stage. A group of five young-to-mid teenagers dance and jump around while enthusiastically beating on tom-tom drums, plastic buckets and metal pots. At least six signs held by protestors read 'No Blood For Oil.' A man wearing a George W. Bush mask carries a sign that says 'Empty Warhead' with an arrow pointed down at his head. Three old ladies dressed entirely in pink hold a sign that reads 'Pink Ladies for Peace.' Two women of Middle Eastern descent are dressed in full burqas and veils. An enduring hippie carries a sign declaring 'US Socialists against the War.' A man in his thirties, dressed like an anchorman while wearing a cardboard television set that covers his shoulders and head, renders propagandistic news reports.)

(Though upset that they are being prevented from attending the designated rally area on First Avenue, the crowd, for the most part, is calm and mellow. Most are relieved and overjoyed to see how many other regular people are in agreement.)

(TED WOLF pushes his way, methodically, through the crowd until he reaches the police barricade. He is wearing a blank, blue baseball cap, black Ray-bans, and a press pass dangles around his neck. A small notebook and pen are clutched tight in his fists. Two policemen, both white and young and with dark moustaches, guard the barricade while the remaining officers hang back and shoot the shit.)

TED - How's it going, officers? Can I cut through? I'm press.

(TED flicks his press pass with his pen. POLICEMAN #1 ignores the request while POLICEMAN #2 scowls and turns away.}

TED - Come on, my boss will ream me out unless you let me cross over to report your side of the story.

POLICEMAN #1 - Glad to see that you care. Don't go quoting me, though. My name in the paper won't help me put bread on the dinner table. But some of the other boys love to shoot their mouths off.

(POLICEMAN #1 pulls back the barricade and allows TED to cross through. TED heads off stage right, in search of some colorful quotes from more forthcoming policemen.)

(Seeing an opening, a few people in the crowd attempt to sneak through. But POLICEMAN #2 rams into them with the barricade, using more force than necessary. Some of the other police officers in the background watch the proceedings with amusement, yet make no motions of becoming involved.)

POLICEMAN #1 - Please, people! Listen to me! For your own good, get back!

POLICEMAN #2 - Move back! Everybody better get the fuck back NOW!

Read More


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Flowers For Evil Not Of

Back in March, The Village Voice printed a letter written by me about the upcoming GOP convention (Flowers Of Evil) :

Re Cynthia Cotts's "Pomp or Protest" [Press Clips, March 3-9]: It's odd that so many government agencies foresee anger and anarchy on the streets during the imminent GOP occupation of our Democratic state. I could swear I heard Dick Cheney on a cable news network last week predicting that New Yorkers will greet conventioneers as liberators and welcome them with cheering crowds and fistfuls of flowers, but maybe I'm propagandistically confused. - Ron Brynaert


Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Schizo NY Times on Iraq

On May 26, 2004, The New York Times shined the "bright light of hindsight" on its coverage of the neocon invasion of Iraq, and sort-of apologized for its own accessorial role: "But we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged - or failed to emerge." But they didn't fault any of their writers or staff by name. They saw no need to mention even the infamous Chalabi embedder - Judith Miller.

Instead of looking back, isn't it about time that the boys (and girls) at The Times stood up to the present challenge?

An editorial in today's paper (Saturday, August 21, 2004) entitled "The Road to Confrontation in Najaf" (along with the front page story alluded to within it) stands in high contrast to the majority of the previous articles posted about the stand-off in Najaf (most were written by the gung-ho John F. Burns), which unfailingly put the blame on Moktada al-Sadr and his followers.

"What is clear is that this potentially decisive showdown began when and where it did because of serious lapses in the American military command structure in Iraq. As The Times reported earlier this week, the confrontation began when a newly arrived Marine Expeditionary Unit in Najaf started skirmishing with Moktada al-Sadr's Shiite militia without its officers first clearing that decision with top American commanders in Baghdad or with Iraqi political leaders...Although the Allawi government has supported the notion that a showdown with Mr. Sadr was necessary, it probably would not have chosen to fight it out at the world's most revered Shiite shrine, or to take a stand during the week that Iraqis convened in Baghdad to choose a new interim assembly."

Only yesterday, in a front pager (Friday, August 20, 2004 "Iraq Chief Gives 'Final Warning" To Rebel Cleric"), John F. Burns wrote that "before the attacks on Thursday night, American troops and Sadr militiamen had traded volleys of gunfire in the Old City," and that "senior officials of the American-led military alliance [said] the decision on whether to storm the Najaf shrine was one for Dr. Allawi, not for the United States."

Perhaps Mr. Burns has been unable to perceive the flashlight beam of hindsight. According to him, both sides "traded volleys." Mr. Burns, and his editors (if he has any at The Times), failed to mention the now-qualified fact that it was the Marines that decided among themselves to take the initiative. And it's kind of ridiculous for J.F.B. to allow unnamed officials to assert that Dr. Allawi has assumed control of our forces (ain't it funny how Republicans fear UN control but not the control of "independent" Iraq).

But there is no correction in today's paper for Mr. Burns. There is no mention of him in today's critical editorial. And there aren't even any new "stories" carrying his byline that reflect the change of view.

The Timeshas been even worse in its business articles that address the constantly rising costs of oil. Today (Saturday, August 21, 2004) Jad Mouawad's article "Oil Price Comes Close to $50 But Then It Stages a Retreat" contains a paragraph that "explains" why the "oil markets have been on edge in recent weeks: "In Russia, it was pressure from the government against Yukos, the country's largest oil company; in Venezuela, it was a contested referendum on whether to oust President Hugo Chávez; in the Gulf of Mexico, it was the passage of Hurricane Charley, forcing the temporary closing of oil installations; and in Iraq, it was Moktada al-Sadr and his followers, who refer to themselves as the Mahdi Army."

Mr. Mouawad doesn't have the excuse of being in a war zone (like Mr. Burns), but his information is controversial, seems questionable, and is insufficiently qualified to stand unchallenged. It's bad enough that he neglects to mention the role the Marines have played in the current crisis in Najaf, but he also exempts the occupation itself as a reason for the escalating oil prices. Obviously, the continued presence of the "Coalition" in Iraq - especially after the so-called "handover" - plays more than a minor role in keeping the markets "on edge."

Instead of repeatedly calling on George Bush and John Kerry to admit they were wrong regarding the invasion of Iraq based on faulty intelligence and lack of imagination, The Times should get its stories straight on how it really stands.

If you ask me, they're nothing but a bunch of schizos.


Thursday, August 19, 2004

Protesting? Bring Your Earplugs!

A breaking story from the Associated Press (Police Turn Up Volume) reveals that the NYPD plan to use Long Range Acoustic Devices as a crowd control measure during the protests at the upcoming GOP invasion of New York City. The Long Range Acoustic Device, developed for the military by American Technology Corp. of San Diego; and designed to blast auditory barrages at up to an "ear-splitting" 150 decibels.

"The military bills them as a "non-lethal weapon" designed to disperse hostile crowds or ward off potential foreign combatants by delivering prerecorded warnings in several languages and, if needed, a blast of earsplitting feedback. But police insist the latter feature won't be used at the convention."

"The department recently bought two of the 45-pound acoustic sound machines for $35,000 apiece, and plans to mount them on Humvees posted outside Madison Square Garden. It would mark the first time the instrument — which can beam sounds for 300 yards or more — has been used by a civilian force."

A quick search at Wikipedia (LRAD) turned up this nugget: "Carl Gruenler, vice president of military and government operations for American Technology Corp., says that being within 100 yards (meters) of the device is extremely painful, but its use should be limited to 300 yards to be effectively used. He concedes that the device is powerful enough to cause permanent auditory damage, but that it is only meant to be used for a few seconds at a time."

Sounds like it may be more damaging than listening to Dubya mispronounce Abu Ghraib.


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Civil War II?

While getting my daily fix at Daily Kos, I found a diary by Don Overwith which linked to this photo from the front page of The Portland Tribune:

The caption under the photo reads "An unidentified supporter of President Bush tries to silence protester Kendra Lloyd-Knox (right) outside Southridge High School in Beaverton. Elsewhere in Portland, supporters of Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., rallied on the waterfront."

Also, check out Anna's diary at Daily Kos for a list of bloggers that will be blogging the convention from the Douglas Fairbanks Theater, just northwest of Madison Square Garden: RNC Street Bloggers hosted by The Tank

Although I live in Brooklyn, I might pop in to meet some fellow bloggers in the flesh and laptops. Some of the cooler bloggers going are Madeline Kane, a hysterical satirist that I share links with; Naomi Seligman of the absolutely essential Media Matters for America, a media watchdog site that I frequently post on; and the equally enlightening Matthew Yglesias. Not that the rest aren't cool: Jerome Armstrong of mydd.com; Jeralyn Merritt of talkleft.com; Mark Sundeen of marksundeen.com; Markos Moulitsas & Theoria of dailykos.com; Theoria of liberalstreetfight.com; Christian of edgewise; Adam Mordecai of change for america; Shankar Duraiswamy of three guys; Matt Stoller of bopnews.com; Jesse Taylor and Ezra Klein of pandagon.net; Adam Wodon of adamw.dailykos.com; anna of annatopia and majority report radio; Zachary Roth and Liz Cox Barrett of campaigndesk.com; Jake Parrillo of JoinCrossBlog; Christopher Rabb of Afro-Netizen; Zoe VanderWolk of Greenpass; Daniel Stein of dstein.blogspot.com; Mike Borrelli of Polipop; and Ollie B of Wild Democracy Ride. Wow...what a lineup!

There's also a free photo blog for the convention at RNC Moblog, which will probably feature pictures less benign than the Portland one.


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Co-Inky-Dink Theory

I just found a great link at What Really Happened: The Coincidence Theorist's Guide to 9/11

Here's a good co-inky-dink: On what day did the Pentagon groundbreaking ceremony take place? Shocking Answer


Saturday, August 14, 2004

Judy & Chalabi Sitting In a Tree

In case you haven't heard, a retorter for The New York Times, Judith Miller, has been subpoenaed by a Washington grand jury. The grand jury has been investigating the leaking of the identity of a C.I.A. officer (the wife of Joseph Wilson, the Iraqi/Nigerian "Uranium Connection" debunker) to columnist Robert Novak and others. Strange as it may seem, there has been no official word yet on whether or not Mr. Novak himself has been subpoenaed or, at least, interviewed (with or without the assistance of Dick Cheney).

Over the last three weeks, Judith Miller (Today's Final Jeopardy: What is a good answer for the name of this website: "Why Are We [Fucking] Back In Iraq?") has had four articles published in The New York Times concerning the "Oil-for-Food" scandal, but, oddly enough, none of the articles ("U.N. and Congress in Dispute Over Iraq Oil-for-Food Inquiry" (July 28, 2004), "Bribery Inquiry Needs a Year, Its Chief Says" (August 10, 2004), "Contractors for U.N.-Iraq Aid Agree to Congressional Inquiry" (August 13, 2004), and - co-written by Susan Sachs - "Under Eye of U.N., Billions for Hussein In Oil-for-Food Plan" (front page, no less...August 13, 2004)) ever even mention everyone's favorite counterfeiter (at least, of information, if not of money): Ahmad Chalabi.

In Friday's Times, Ms. Miller notes that "the Hussein government demanded kickbacks on almost every contract it negotiated, beginning in 2000, according to documents from Iraqi ministries obtained by The New York Times this year." Gee, I wonder who they might have been obtained from (perhaps Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz will one day dig up a "red letter" e-mail to prove this...NOTE to all my liberal friends and fellow bloggers: Howie ain't all that bad even if he's not a Cynthia Cotts, David Brock or Michael Wolf).

On August 10th, Ms. Miller noted that "Mr. Volcker said his panel had not yet received the original list of oil vouchers supposedly awarded to diplomats and United Nations officials, which was published by an Iraqi newspaper several months ago. Nor had he determined how his panel would vet such documents to see if they were forgeries, he said." The unnamed Iraqi newspaper is entitled al-Mada, and the unnamed source for the article is allegedly Ahmad Chalabi. Ironically, this particular article appeared on the same page as an article by Sabrina Tavernise ("Chalabi Links U.S. to Charges Against Him and His Nephew") directly about the unnamed man in question.

On July 28th, Ms. Miller observed that "[i]n addition to Mr. [Paul] Volcker's panel...at least six Congressional panels, the Treasury Department, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Manhattan district attorney are investigating the program." Of course, she neglects to mention that Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress had been conducting its own "investigation." Nor does she ever mention that the official placed in charge of the operation, Ehsan Karim, head of the Finance Ministry's audit board, was killed in a car bombing over a month ago. I.N.C. spokesman Entifadh Qanbar even told the A.P. that "[i]t's possible that he was killed because of the investigation, which is a serious issue." Just not serious enough to mention in any of Judy's articles, however.

Perhaps Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger's punchdrunk Judy has been advised by their mutual lawyers to refrain from mentioning Mr. Chalabi's name. Perhaps The Times just doesn't care anymore about its own policies on journalistic ethics or conflicts of interests, unless it involves African American writers. After all, Chemical Weapon Judy has written umpteen articles about the unsolved Anthrax mailer case from 2001, without ever divulging that she may have been an intended victim of the same culprit. Oddly enough, a certain African American writer speculated in his surprisingly well-written - yet mostly dismissed - not-so-bestselling memoir that the letter had been self-addressed (at least, that's the way I remember it...though it can't be a crime to misquote that dude).

11 Questions For Judith Miller


Thursday, August 12, 2004

Bush Ain't No Lincoln

Today's front page ofThe New York Times carried a piece (of) entitled, "Leveraging Sept. 11, Giuliani Raises Forceful Voice for Bush," written by Jennifer Steinhauer, in which the former mayor (and altar boy expert) defends the Bush Administration's constant deployment of the "9-11 card." In a telephone interview with the paper, Rudy insists that "[n]ot discussing it would be like conducting an election for Abraham Lincoln and not discussing the Civil War." But just as Rudy recently snarled, "I don't need Michael Moore to tell me about 9/11," we don't need Rudy to tell us about Abe Lincoln.

For one, Abe wouldn't have taken kindly to the modest proposal from Tom Ridge's Homeland Security, via a letter from DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, which suggested taking steps to postpone the election in case there's a terrorist attack. On November 10, 1864, Lincoln wrote that "We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined." Those wild and crazy Bushies; always thinking up ways to harm our country and our people.

Of course, Bush should feel free to campaign on his record against terrorism. However, his record would most likely be a one-sided 45 single that had little effect on the charts. In his latest campaign advertisement, Bush vows to "bring an enemy to justice before they hurt us again," though Bin Laden is still out there and New York City is in a state of orange panic alert. But continuing to harp on 9-11 would be like Lincoln constantly evoking the attack on Fort Sumter which precipitated the Civil War. Abe wouldn't have had a chance if he alienated half the country. He was interested in preserving the union, not perservering despite the union.

But if Bush does wish to emulate Abraham Lincoln, he should have his advisers advise him to plagiarize Honest Abe's "Memorandum Concerning His Probable Failure of Re-election," written 140 years ago on August 23, 1864. Lincoln wrote: "This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he can not possibly save it afterwards."


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Theorized Surprises

While checking out various blogs today, I found a great link at Cosmic Iguana which pointed me toward an article posted at Tom Dispatch which really nails the "October Surprise" phenomenom.

While I fear any number of possible (almost probable) scenarios that may occur, there is one surprise that - if I were a betting man and, especially, if I were not the son of a problem gambler - I'd consider a safe bet.

Bush's handlers will drop Cheney from the ticket at the Republican Convention and choose New York Governor George Pataki to be his running mate. Most pundits in the media seem to think that John McCain or Rudy Giuliani are safer (well, the former would be safer...the latter would be the exact opposite) bets, but former-Republican-Senator-and-renowned-Occidental-impressionist Alphonse D'Amato's handpicked handshaker is more of a team player and less of a wild card. I believe that - aside from "Ground Zero" - this is the reason the GOP selected New York City as the site for their convention, even though they damn-sure know that they're unwanted here.

The main reason to dump Cheney has nothing to do with Haliburton, Joe Wilson or the 9-11 Commission report. It's a matter of succession; there is no chance in hell or Crawford that the weak-hearted, hard-speaking Cheney can be the nominee in 2008.

But don't feel bad for Mr. Chaney. I expect that Rove & Co. will allow him to oversee the search for an Intelligence Czar. I wonder who he'll pick.


Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Hail to the Democratic Thief!

Did you ever wonder why Democrats, mostly, sat back and allowed characters such as James Baker, Ted Olsen, Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush to help steal the presidential election in 2000 for future "My Pet Goat" reader George Bush?

Did you ever wonder why - even after selection 2000 - Democrats have done little to fix this country's broken and corrupted election system?

I used to, too. But - as I am learning - maybe it's because many Democrats engage in the same types of dirty tricks and undemocratic shenanigans.

Representative Carolyn Maloney, congresswoman for the 14th District in New York City (and early John Kerry endorsee), has apparently decided that she prefers running unopposed in our Democratic Party primaries. Phoney Maloney's election lawyers and campaign manager have forced Democratic Party candidate Robert Jereski off the ballot (for the September 14th primary) through the misuse of taxpayer money and the dirtiest of dirty tricks (Maloney the Phoney). It's too bad that the Electoral Assistance Division of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs has not been monitoring this particular election.

Unfortunately, you won't be able to read about this sordid affair in any of New York's daily newspapers. Neither The New York Times, The New York Post,The Daily News, or Newsday has seen fit to write one blessed word about this ongoing story.

As I've mentioned before, Robert Jereski (Jereski for Congress) happens to be a friend of mine, so - let's just say - I'm taking this whole rotten affair a little personally. I wish I could be spending this time to complain about the rotten state of our Republican Republic, instead of fellow Democrats. Fortunately, Robert Jereski, a vocal opponent of the illegal invasion of Iraq and the unconstitutional Patriot Act, isn't thinking of sitting back and keeping his mouth shut about a powerful Democratic politician and her misuse of power.

This is the latest press release from the Jereski for Congress camp:

Representative Maloney's Place On Ballot In Jeopardy
-Challenger Robert Jereski To Petition State Supreme Court On Felony Charge of 'Corrupt' Practices-

NEW YORK, NY - In the most serious challenge yet to her 12-year Congressional career, Representative Carolyn Maloney was accused in New York State Supreme Court this morning, Monday, August 9, 2004, of 'corrupt use of power or authority' in securing her place on the ballot for the September 14th primary election. Democratic Party candidate Robert Jereski filed a petition with the court requesting that Maloney's designating petition be thrown out, based on her violation of New York State Election Law, and that she be sanctioned.

Among other complaints, Jereski's campaign is filing charges that Maloney's campaign manager Micah Kellner engaged in electioneering activities, most notably signature collection, while being employed at the Representative's district office at taxpayer expense. These most serious charges are considered felony offenses and may carry prison terms. Mr. Kellner will face these charges in a Special Election Part #49 to be held in New York Supreme Court Room #232 at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, August 11th.

"Congresswoman Maloney has treated her elected office as an entitlement for far too long," said Challenger Robert Jereski. "This latest abuse of power is typical of her approach to our district. It is not surprising that someone who has regularly ignored the views of her constituents would think that her political office could be used to maintain her hold on power. This is exactly why I am running."

Representative Maloney has repeatedly followed the Bush agenda over the objections of her constituents. On issues ranging from the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, to Free Trade, the Congresswoman has ignored her constituents and the core values of the Democratic Party. With Robert Jereski representing the 14th District, we can expect a voice that again speaks for us in Washington, DC.


Monday, August 09, 2004

Dear New York Times

Here's another Unpublished Letter to the New York Times I've written that I haven't posted on this site yet:

Dear Editors,

Timothy O'Brien's "Reconstruction" piece on Wednesday , June 25, 2003 ("Crime and Poor Security Hurt Effort in Iraq, U.N. and American Officials Say") must have been an early draft that escaped the editing process. How else could the following sentence appear? "The meeting came as the United Nations tried to regain its footing and its international standing after the fractious Security Council debates that preceded the American-led invasion of Iraq in March."

Of course, as any reasonable person knows, it is actually the Bush and Blair Administrations which have stumbled and lost their international standing due to plagiarized dossiers of lies, henny penny sky is falling doomsday scenarios and 'make-up-your-own-intelligence-as-you-go-along' policies. The United Nations only lost its standing with the Republican party which was already obscenely low to begin with.

While Mr. O'Brien's article mentions that the United Nations is appealing for more aid he neglects to mention the reason why. A quick look at the United Nations Development Program Website reveals that [at the meeting] "there was a general agreement that petroleum income will not be sufficient to cover Iraq's reconstruction needs over the next few years, making such donor assistance essential." 'Petroleum Income Not Sufficient' would have and should have been the appropriate headline for the reconstructive essay.

Either The New York Times needs to start doing a better job editing their 'journalists' or Mr. O'Brien must still mistakenly believe that the job of White House flack remains open.

Sincerely, Ron Brynaert


Thursday, August 05, 2004

Maloney the Phoney Part 2

A week-and-a-half ago, I wrote about a "dirty trick" ballot dispute concerning the Democrat Primary race for Congress in the 14th District of New York City: Maloney The Phoney.

Unfortunately, my friend and Congressional candidate, Robert Jereski (Jereski For Congress), suffered a setback, yesterday, at a Board of Elections hearing, instigated by Carolyn Maloney's supporters. The Board of Elections ruled that Mr. Jereski's designating petitions were 4 signatures short of the 1250 needed to qualify.

In an e-mail I received from the campaign, Mr. Jereski writes, "We are baffled as to why a six-term Congressperson would spend so much time and money running away from debates and an election if she believes in herself and her popularity."

I'm not baffled. I'm apalled.

Mr. Jereski concludes, "We are very disappointed that Maloney, who has voted with Bush too many times (click here for comparison between Jereski and the incumbent), would use her PAC money to unleash her election lawyers to thwart Democracy, instead of facing the voters and asking them to decide. We oppose election by election lawyers. If you do as well, please send a contribution to help with the attorney's fees (Jereski For Congress)."


NPR Brooklyn Style

Overheard in Brooklyn, today:

"But, son, if the Arabs tell you to pull your peoples back, son, then why do you still have your peoples in there?"

Overheard in Washington, today:

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," Bush said. "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."


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