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So I'm walking down 5th Avenue and fall in step with a man in a chicken suit.
"You're a chickenhawk, I take it?" I asked him, noting the belts of plastic ammo around his chest and the olive-drab helmet on his head.
"I'm the chickenhawk-in-chief," he says proudly, showing me the rubber George Bush mask he's not wearing at the moment and handing me a translucent blue plastic egg with a piece of paper in it.
"Any trouble from the cops?" I ask.
"No, as long as there's only one of me they can't do anything. I'm a lawyer, so I know if there were two other people with masks they could arrest us."
"What if you got up on a soapbox? I hear they busted a woman for that."
"I don't really need to speak; I think this costume says it all. I just walk up to where RNC delegates are and salute'em."
"Well, best of luck," I say. After he walks off, I unfold the piece of paper in the egg and find a couple of fatuous Bush quotes, including the famous "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking of new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
This diptych was saved from Billmon's (currently dormant) page, shortly after the Vice President snarled "Fuck yourself" to a Democrat on the Senate floor:
Atrios pairs Cheney with an even madder mad dog here. I missed the speeches last night but it sounds like there was love in the air. Georgia Senator Zell Miller ranted about soldiers giving us (and the world) the Bill of Rights ("For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press...It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest"), which sounds like something from Starship Troopers, and Cheney told lie after lie about Kerry:
UPDATE: via drat fink, here's a good crib sheet correcting all the lies told by Cheney and Miller.
[I]n this post-9/11 period, Senator Kerry doesn't appear to understand how the world has changed. He talks about leading a "more sensitive war on terror," as though al-Qaida will be impressed with our softer side. [Bush has used this term too, as in "we need to he sensitive to the needs of our allies" (such as the Turks, Pakistanis, etc.)] He declared at the Democratic Convention that he will forcefully defend America after we have been attacked. My fellow Americans, we have already been attacked, and faced with an enemy who seeks the deadliest of weapons to use against us, we cannot wait for the next attack. We must do everything we can to prevent it and that includes the use of military force. [Just like we scrambled those fighter jets on 9/11.] Senator Kerry denounces American action when other countries don't approve as if the whole object of our foreign policy were to please a few persistent critics. [Like, the whole world.] In fact, in the global war on terror, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Bush has brought many allies to our side. [Tonga!] But as the President has made very clear, there is a difference between leading a coalition of many, and submitting to the objections of a few. George W. Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the American people. [Corny line.]
Senator Kerry also takes a different view when it comes to supporting our military. Although he voted to authorize force against Saddam Hussein, he then decided he was opposed to the war, and voted against funding for our men and women in the field. [Actually he opposed the same controversial $87 billion spending bill that Bush threatened to veto over the issue of "loans vs grants"] He voted against body armor, ammunition, fuel, spare parts, armored vehicles, extra pay for hardship duty, and support for military families. Senator Kerry is campaigning for the position of commander in chief. Yet he does not seem to understand the first obligation of a commander in chief and that is to support American troops in combat. [See previous comment.]
More on police bullying and incompetence in handling RNC demonstrators in this Newsday article. Apparently orange netting is the new tear gas:
Meanwhile, at Ground Zero -- a touchstone symbol in this year's presidential race -- a peaceful march turned sour as police strung orange nets at Vesey and Church streets, corralling 200 people including journalists and onlookers. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly blamed the Ground Zero arrests on march organizers "reneging on an agreement not to block traffic" and "failing to walk on sidewalk instead of street."As Tom Hayden puts it, "The protesters got in Karl Rove's sound bite...there have never been so many people protesting a political convention of the 80 in our history, and there have never been so many people arrested." Damn right about the sound bite. It was a good feeling after marching Sunday to see the protester crowd photo on the New York Post's front page. Especially since the picture of Dick Cheney's Ellis Island convention kickoff speech ran inside. Surely that would have been given bigger play if everyone hadn't turned out in such record numbers?
But many detainees told reporters they were not aware of the rules. "They said as long as you observe the red lights, it shouldn't be a problem," said Bob Curley, who was arrested with his son. "Then we walked off the sidewalk and across the street and that was the end."
Good reporting on the continuing demonstrations and shitty police arrest tactics can be found at the Village Voice (Anya Kamenetz's blog). It's hard to read this stuff without getting a knot in your stomach. It sounds like the demonstrators are just doing their thing--demonstrating--and the police are provoking, tricking, manhandling, and otherwise being complete dicks. Perfect palace guards for the Republicans, to keep them feeling safe and secure in their bubble world. Safe and secure from dissent, that is.
More RNC protest photos (click top two to enlarge). Previous group is here. Full set is here.
My photos from the United for Peace & Justice march welcoming the Republicans to NY. The huge throng started at 14th Street and moved north, filing past Madison Square Garden, where everyone did the requisite jeering. A spirited and orderly event, at least what I saw of it. A lot of cops standing around uselessly. I haven't read any reports since I got to the computer to process these pictures; I hope nothing ugly happened.
UPDATE: I just made the mistake of looking at Slate, the Microsoft-funded online journal, where man on the street correspondent Bryan Curtis follows what he and his headline writer call "the lefties" up Seventh Avenue. He makes the protest sound very silly and quaint, but of course no one can demand more balance from the magazine since there was no parade of hundreds of thousands of "righties."
The Suspended Disbelief Puppet Theater performed tonight (Aug. 28) at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn. Interesting mix of dense, decrepit, Gothic ornamentalism in the puppetry and sets (think the Brothers Quay, Poe, Ivan Albright) and hip, urbane references in the songs and dialogue: Bogie and Bacall's sexually-loaded banter about horse racing from The Big Sleep; the inimitable Mrs. Miller singing "These Boots Are Made for Walking," and a bizarre novelty record by Melvin Van Peebles called "Eyes on the Rabbit" played for maximum pathos. Rose Csorba did the puppeteering, Jim Thomson of Plasmodium provided the voices and the found/treated sound, and Sarah White and Steve Ingham sang White's lovely songs on acoustic guitars between acts.
Normally Robert Christgau's writing is so unclear, but he really nails the the new Ramones documentary in the Voice. The movie's great, the only thing I still wonder is where in the world their sound came from. The film explains how intense it was for the bland mid-70s, but not why they made the particular choices they did: short, hard uncomplicated loud songs with "morbid" themes. Performance art is mentioned in the film (and by Christgau) as an analogy, but we still don't know why 4 guys from Queens who liked the Stooges and the Dolls invented this form of high-energy minimalism. They weren't from the arty set like the Talking Heads; in fact the most fascinating person in the film is Johnny, who is a Bush and Nixon-loving Republican (and who, we also learn, kept the band honed, driven, and together as a unit for 20 years). Where did his sense of style and the vision of the group come from, given that he's so non-reflective? This is not to slight the other members' contributions, but they all seem to agree at the end of the day that Johnny was the Nazi behind the Bop.