Flying back from New York City at the beginning of the month, I thankfully missed our leader's speech and finished reading a rather chilling novel set in Ireland during the mid-17th century. It may not sound relevant, but the book Through the Gates of Ivory gripped me totally, as I stepped away from the sultry non-event that was the RNC 2004. About a young Anglo-Irish student at Trinity College in Dublin who flees to the Connacht and the "wild Irish" after accidentally killing a soldier, the book resonated strongly with me, as it described a man without friends navigating a dangerous country in a dangerous time. He eventually finds love (and loses it, natch) but even worse, develops deep friendships with the doomed Irish before returning to Dublin, taking up the monastic life after his lover marries an Irish noble. Just after the ending of the story, Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans seized control of England and Charles II was beheaded, leading shortly thereafter to an uprising in Ireland. Cromwell sailed across and committed the most effective genocide against the Irish in their history, nearly destroying the entire country. This massacre hung like a cloud over the novel, which truly described a world utterly lost to us. It was a dark experience.
As I know all too well, half-breeds don't get much respect and "I love you" is probably the most abused phrase in the English language, along with "What would Jesus do?" At the end of the novel, the narrator shares a poem he's written to his lost love, thirty years after she leaves him and disappears into the void that was the end of old Ireland in 1642:
Amid the island garden,
Beneath the tranquil walls
Of castle fallen,
Where olden lives still saddened
The acquiescent air,
Came Frances swinging lightly,
The leaf-veiled sun upon her:
Bright flowers hung shyly wistful,
Survivors of the briars
Made conscious in their wildness
Of parent blooms well tended
For a princess passed away.
Boo hoo hoo. Well, it's only been twenty years for me. Anyway, if you're in LA you can see all the maudlin behavior, and hear an especially biting toast to our own martyr, Peggy Entwistle, at my house this Saturday night, be there as there ain't gonna be no more in this apartment anyway.
Not that I'm thinking of moving to New York:
Forbes: The 10 most overpriced cities
My old mentor, the philosopher Richard Rorty, came out of a drunken stupor or semi-retirement to make some rather apropos comments about why the United States is shrinking from unity with the rest of the world, and what the likely result of that is:
Richard Rorty and the internationalists
The lack of serious protest (sorry, marches don't work with these clowns) in New York and the recent polls make it a certainty that my tax dollars will be funding another slightly-less-insane government in the near future. My personal experience of New York City was one of a festering silence. The Republicans did not get a warm welcome, granted, even if the city didn't break down into revolutionary chaos. When they left their hotels they boarded buses to the Convention and back again, rarely venturing into the city that hosted them or spending much money, contrary to Mr. Bloomberg's spin. I saw one couple proudly sporting their Convention pins wandering down Houston Street by Katz's Deli, looking lost, and man with dreadlocks screamed at them "MURDERERS!", which scared them right into a cab. Too bad. Maybe their collective arrogance annoyed the New Yorkers more than they anticipated. Maybe New Yorkers didn't appreciate the Republicans wrapping themselves in the martyrdom of 11 September, when they'd left New York to rot in the Seventies, attacked its liberalism throughout the Eighties and the Nineties, and now in the Aughts have the nerve to claim Gotham as their own when they hadn't even taken proper revenge, instead invading Iraq, for the horrible destruction of that day.
I've sent along some images of my low-key adventure, including some bored cops at a protest in front of Fox News, the poor battered monument which formerly centered the plaza between One and Two World Trade Center, my favorite picture of Manhattan from 1990, and yes, the disgusting drink menu from the Plaza Hotel during the Convention (sorry, Trisha.) PS Trisha is trying to sell her original on E-Bay, so please don't start printing these out...at least for a few weeks. I wouldn't try any of the drinks either.
Here's what Trisha had to say about our lovely afternoon at the Plaza Hotel (may it burn to the ground):
Check out my Craig's list posting !! I posted in TexaS EVEN.......... more fish to fry out there .
EBAY will be next ,for now,I think the hot ticket is that Mac&Cheese Who knew ???http://dallas.craigslist.org/clt/41780037.html
And here's the macaroni and cheese Trisha speaks of:
Title of item: 2004 RNC Kraft Macaroni and Cheese--Limited Edition!
Starts: Sep-03-04 20:20:49 PDT
Ends: Sep-10-04 20:20:49 PDT
Price: Starts at $15.00
To bid on the item, go to: http://cgi3.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?RedirectEnter&partner=888801&loc=http%3A%2F%2Fcgi%2Eebay%2Ecom%2Fws%2FeBayISAPI%2Edll%3FViewItem%26item%3D3928855618%26category%3D39723%26ssPageName%3DADME%3AB%3AEF%3AUS%3A1
Not that NOTHING happened in New York; on the contrary, the police did an admirable job of finding protests as they began, surrounded them and arrested all the "first responders":
At Least 900 Arrested in City as Protesters Clash With Police
By Diane Cardwell and Marc Santora
The New York Times
Final Tally Awaits the Police and Protesters By Jennifer Steinhauer The New York Times http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/090904J.shtml
You can find more detailed info here (thanks again, Trisha):
Inside the convention hall, safely shielded from the rest of us, the Republicans demonstrated what a wonderful group of assholes they've developed into:
Feel the Hate
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times "I don't know where George Soros gets his money," one man said. "I don't know where - if it comes from overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from." George Soros, another declared, "wants to spend $75 million defeating George W. Bush because Soros wants to legalize heroin." After all, a third said, Mr. Soros "is a self-admitted atheist; he was a Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust." They aren't LaRouchies - they're Republicans.
Niiiice...well, at least the text messaging worked...sorta (thanks, John):
I thought you might like to see this coverage from CNN:(http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/ptech/09/02/%20textmessaging.protest.ap/index.html)The latest protest tool: 'texting'
And I do have a little upbeat news for you, although if you asked me, I'd say fuggedaboutit:
Why Democrats Shouldn't Be Scared
By Michael Moore USA Today
World Wants Bush Out of the White House: Poll
An E-mail Interview with Garrison Keillor
By David Talbot
Salon.com Garrison Keillor talks about why he is flamingly anti-Bush and pro-Democrat.
So, I've seen the World Trade Center get wiped out four or five times this weekend...poor, poor New York City...but the worst thing I saw was a BBC documentary late Saturday night, where the surviving employees of two specific companies were interviewed. More than anything I've seen before, including the rather horrific video of the two French brothers who were with one of the first responding engine companies, these were unrelenting and terrifying accounts. All of the workers remembered most vividly first turning out of the old mezzanine into the plaza during their evacuation; many were not even aware of what had happened, when in long streams of people they saw this empty area, the monument to global peace at its center, littered with desks, cabinets, and dead bodies, with more jumping from the upper floors in twos and threes, even some of the jet passengers still strapped into their seats. Those accounts were even more horrible than the moment when, with Tom Brokaw showing an atypical confusion, we watched the collapse of Two World Trade Center. You New Yorkers are far too patient. Those rat bastards are enjoying the fall breezes in the mountains of Pakistan, but your tax dollars and the lives of over 1000 of our fellow citizens are forfeit because of a family grudge. Go figure.
These people are monsters, and they will bend or break the rules to get what they want:
Bush Overhauls U.S. Regulations
By Joel Brinkly
New York Times
Their ideas aren't even 20th century; they dip back into the 19th and 18th centuries for their inspiration:
Keyes Wants to End Election of Senators
By Mike Robinson
The Associated Press CHICAGO - Alan Keyes said Friday he would like to end the system under which the people elect U.S. senators and return to pre-1913 practice in which senators were chosen by state legislatures.
The British government that hitched their star to ours is in serious jeopardy:
David Hencke, Westminster correspondent
Thursday August 26 2004
MPs are planning to impeach Tony Blair for "high crimes and misdemeanours" in taking Britain to war against Iraq, reviving an ancient practice last used against Lord Palmerston more than 150 years ago.
But our idiot leader is well-loved and leading in the polls:
The Real Issue: Bush is Incompetent
By Richard Reeves
International Herald Tribune
Along with his oil-company pals, he's leading us down the road to ruin, and the rest of the world, I fear, will be all too happy to watch:
Get Ready for the Peak Experience
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t Perspective
When history looks back, 2004 will turn out to be a remarkable year, and not just for the unraveling of the lies and deceits of the Bush presidency. Equally as significant is the emergence into public prominence of certain scientific facts that have long been suppressed.
Oil's Slippery Slope
By Pepe Escobar
And now for something completely different...a Wal Mart gripe (thanks, Lawrence):
...and a collection of links related to the non-event in New York City (thanks, Mike):
And finally, again courtesy of Mr. Watt:
Kerry Changes Name To "Not Bush"
Sunday, August 22, 2004
Posted: 6:27 PM EDT (2227 GMT)
An animated Not Bush, formerly John Kerry, took his shirt off today as he addressed dispossessed rubber workers in Akron, Ohio and challenged dirtbags from every walk of life to "stand up and be somebody, let's wrest control of this whole wobbly, off-the-rails shithouse from the other dirtbags and make our own mistakes without them lying in our faces while they fuck us in the ass."
Kerry challenged those assembled to recognize themselves in what he was saying and do the right thing anyway. "Listen to me," he said. "I need every one of you jackasses, man-jacks, jack-offs, jack-shit-knowin' motherfuckers to register and vote. Every goddamn one of you. You're important to me. Every handicapped-space-parkin'-able-bodied fuckwit, every schoolyard bully, every gun-dreamer, every douchebag who tries to pet a polar bear at the zoo after hours and gets maimed, every cell phone slob, the O.J. Simpson jury, every Republican rock star, every bad policeman, William Shatner, the genius Scott Peterson and his genius squeeze, every guy who dies after yelling "hey guys, watch this!", every pukewad who took the batteries out of the smoke alarm and put them in his remote, every one of you shitlicks who lose your keys and everything else every fucking day and don't know what fucking day it is anyway, every lazy-ass public utility employee who can't be fired, every Californian who walks backwards for no apparent reason, every Cleveland bartender, that fuckwit in line in front of you at the airport, that dickless Clown Loach from the X-Files, the liars, the nosy, the wife-and-children-beaters, the bigots, the racists, the sexists, the man-haters, the woman-haters. I need every fuckin' one of you Walgreens-parking-lot-crawlin' motherfuckers to stand up for once in your lives and be counted. Goddamn you--step up! Drop your drawers and let it roar! Roll it like you stole it!
"Do you know what, you sons of bitches? It is our turn to do every stupid mean hateful jerkwater fuckstick meltdown thing they've been getting away with--check this out: I'm gonna put a fucking dam in a place that just fucks with everybody's head when they hear about it--they're gonna go "What the fuck is THIS?!" And I'm gonna go "Hey, let's all watch Republicans try to spear fish off of it after we loot THEIR lives and steal THEIR money!" Goddamn yes. And we're going to invade Eretria. Yes we are. Because I say so. Is it a country? Is it a city? It doesn't matter. I will start making speeches about why we have to do this and every fucking one of you retards will back me up whether you voted me in or not--it won't matter whether I can say my own name or not, because I will be able to get Kung Pao chicken at 4 a.m. without leaving the house and every one of you scumbags will pretend that if the dice rolled your way just once you could be me. And I am gonna have the biggest fuckin' big-screen TV ever, 'cause not one of you scroungewads who might vote for me would ever respect me if I didn't. So vote, shitheads. Ask somebody how to get you registered, and then get the fuck on the short bus on voting day and try to do the right thing. Thank-you."
Vive le screed!
13 September 2004