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News :: Environment
Brightness in the Street, Dimness in the Garden
01 Sep 2004
The intelligence and common sense of New Yorkers, and especially of the people who took to the street Sunday outside the RNC venue, stands in sharp contrast to the stupidity and willful ignorance on display inside the Garden, and at large across the country.
Marching down the street in New York City last Sunday, and looking through the fences and the lines of riot-gear-clad police at the Republican delegates at the entrance to Madison Square Garden and in the entrances to some of the hotels along the march route, I realized that veteran New York City journalist and current Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin had it right: the people who are in the Garden coronating George W. Bush are from the "low-IQ states."

Breslin's maligning of Republicans may be somewhat geographically bigoted, given that there are some pretty glazed-eyed Republicans in states like New York and Massachusetts, too, but his point is nonetheless on target.

These people, and the vaster populace that continues to hail Dubya as a great leader, are really either willfully stupid, or genuinely ignorant.

The difference between them and the people in the street last Sunday, and in New York in general, is nothing short of striking.

Consider that New York City is the ground zero of this Age of Terror--the place that took the big hit on 9/11. And yet New Yorkers have the sense to know that it was ridiculous for Bush to send the U.S. military into Iraq. They have the intelligence to know that slashing taxes on the rich and corporations and running up a trillion-dollar deficit is madness. And they are savvy enough to recognize that producing the Republican National Convention show in Manhattan is nothing but a sleazy, ghoulish effort by Bush and the Republicans to ride to victory in 2004 on the blood and suffering of those who died in the World Trade Center attacks, and their families.

I say this because polls say 80 percent or more of New Yorkers support the demonstrations against the RNC, and their right to demonstrate and have the support of the city, with a permit for a rally in Central Park.

I say it because my own random survey of marchers last weekend suggested that as many as 50-percent of the half-million people marching up Seventh Avenue, across 34th Street and down to Union Square were from the City, which if true would mean about one in 15 able-bodied New York adults was out there protesting Bush and his gang.

Inside the Garden, and across the red swath of states so gracefully libeled by Breslin, are people so devoid of logic and rational thought that they actually believe that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were behind the 9/11 attacks. Many of them, for that matter, believe that the world began a few thousand years ago and that women were made from Adam’s rib.

We're talking serious know-nothingism here, folks.

Not that all Republicans are stupid. Some, I'm sure, are simply good selfish folk who figure that they've got theirs, and they want to keep it, and the rest of the country and the world be damned.

For the rest of this column, please go (at no charge) to This Can't Be Happening! .
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Re: Brightness in the Street, Dimness in the Garden
02 Sep 2004
Hundreds of detained protesters remain in a holding facility in New York despite a judge's order to release them. We speak with one of those freed: Matt Daloisio, a member of the New York Catholic Worker who was arrested at a protest at Ground Zero.
Protests against the Republican convention continued yesterday throughout New York City. The police arrested 19 people in separate incidents, bringing the total of those detained so far during seven days of relentless convention-related protests to more than 1,760 - a record for a political convention.
Hundreds of people protested the conditions under which those arrested are being held before going to court saying the site was contaminated with oil and asbestos. Pier 57 is a three-story, block-long pier that has been converted to a holding pen.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has denied the city was operating what some called "Guantanamo-on-the-Hudson." And defended the use of the of the pier garage saying "It's not supposed to be Club Med."

Last night, a judge ordered protesters who had been held for 24-hours released with desk appearance tickets if they were not charged with serious crimes. Before midnight, some protesters started emerging from 100 Centre St. around the block from our firehouse studio. Some 200 supporters greeted them with cheers and offered food and medical treatment. Despite the judge's orders, a large number of protesters remain imprisoned.

Matt Daloisio, a member of the New York Catholic Worker. He was arrested on Tuesday afternoon at a protest at Ground Zero.