John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Monday, August 30, 2004
RNC@NYC: Pig Lipstick

RNC officially began
The Repuplican National Convention officially began Monday evening with a jumbotron screen video montage of RNC director Ed Gillespie commuting his way through the night-time bustle of NYC to Madison Square Garden and a delegate announcing a take on the familiar cultural phrase, "Live from New York -- The Republican National Convention!"  Of course, since I have been a fan of Saturday Night Live since my (very) high school daze when we would sometimes actually leave a party early on a Saturday night, wait for our friend's parents to go upstairs and go to bed, spark up a fatty, and laugh our asses off watching John Belushi jump around the SNL stage in a cocaine-induced frenzy -- the RNC was a comedic disappointment -- but overall, it was still a joke.

I call it a joke because I honestly have some moderate respect for the two prime-time RNC speakers, Arizona Senator John McCain and former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani.  McCain lambasting Michael Moore when he readily admits never even seeing Fahrenheit 911 is about as funny as the lock step boos from the GOP faithful in MSG who I think haven't seen the friggin' movie either.  In related Boo-news, the Dubya Daughters were also booed during their appearance at the MTV awards show in Miami.  But, had I less respect for McCain and Guiliani, I'd call the GOP starting the RNC with two popular moderate public servants something like -- Bait and Switch, Fraud, False Adverstising, or simply a Big Fat GOP Lie -- when they are campaigning for the re-election of a president that has shown no political moderation and is leading his administration with an uber neo-con foreign policy and an ultra right-wing socially conservative domestic agenda.

So, the RNC found two acceptable speakers. In related news, NASA announced the discovery of two new extra-solar planetary bodies.  I was thinking, "GOP Pig Lipstick," listening to two pro-choice candidates supporting a president who has been trying to further erode the rights of all americans and dismantle constitutional rights and civil liberties with discriminatory faith-based initiatives and 19th-century social engineering zeal. Then, I read this op-ed in the Boston Globe by a fellow Republican, Patrick Guerriero, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans:
Having primetime convention speakers such as Giuliani, Pataki, Schwarzenegger and McCain won't convince American voters this is a big tent party. Putting lipstick on a pig doesn't fool anybody -- it's still a pig. The 2004 Republican platform calls not only for a Constitutional amendment that imposes a federal definition of marriage on all 50 states, it goes even further by opposing civil unions, domestic partnerships, and indeed any benefits or protections for gay and lesbian families. The platform's language makes clear the radical right's true motives. They want to marginalize part of the American family.

For this election, there are clear signs that the radical right controls the Republican agenda. Aside from the anti-gay platform, pro-choice Republicans also seem to be left out of the ever shrinking tent. While Log Cabin takes no position on abortion, we recognize that in order to win, the GOP must have support from millions of prochoice Americans. Furthermore, members of the Bush controlled platform committee rejected a plank saying that Republicans of good faith may disagree on issues dealing with abortion and gay and lesbian issues. This obviously sensible plank was left out of the platform in favor of watered down welcoming language.
USA Today picked this up and had some additional quotes from other Republicans. "I don't think we should ever use the Constitution to drive a wedge between us," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Sen. Arlen Specter, who is running for re-election this year in Pennsylvania, said that support for gay rights may not win votes but added, "It's morally correct."

Looking ahead to the rest of convention week, the RNC is likely to maintain a don't-ask-don't-tell policy in regard to the hypocrisy of the GOP platform placating the radical right and the televised speeches wooing the moderate, undecided and swing voters.  GOP disingenious flip-flopping.  Nothing new.

I'm John Furie Zacharias and I endorse this blog entry.

Blog the Vote!

Sunday, August 29, 2004
RNC@NYC: United March

saying NO
In the 2000 election, a whopping 82 percent of New York City voters said NO to George W. Bush.  It should be no surprise then that a few years after an election tainted by high jinx in the state governed by Dubya's brother, Jeb, some New Yorkers may want to take the opportunity of the Republican National Convention in their own city to once again express their politically negative opinion of the man trying desperately to get another four years at the top job.

So, there's the conundrum.  How does NYC protect the despised emperor from his own peasants?  In a striking and surreal similarity to the reason hundreds of thousands of protestors marched in NYC today -- Iraq -- Mayor Bloomberg has provided the RNC with a corporate and civilian equivalent of a Baghdad Green Zone.

Stephen Wisnia described the Madison Square Garden Green Zone in a post to
The streets around Madison Square Garden are lined with concrete barricades, thigh-high highway dividers with dark metal grilles bolted onto the top. The air is sticky, polluted, miasmic, the most uncomfortable summer weather New York has to offer. Half the street is blocked by the barricades, forming an alley guarded by police. The Garden area looks like an outer-space military base, a mix of high-tech satellite-broadcast gear and white concrete bunker. The sophistication of multigigahertz graphics processing units and the crude brutality of clubs and guns. Well, if Mayor Bloomberg wants to bring George Bush into a city where three-fourths of the people can't stand him, they've got to put him in a fortress. The normal upscale cocoon of midtown Manhattan isn't enough.
Bringing the Green Zone to NYC
Nonetheless, several hundred thousand United For Peace and Justice protestors marched along their permitted route, past the MSG Green Zone, and patriotically expressed their opposition to George W. Bush.  Despite corporate media, like Fox News, trying to equate marchers with anarchists to marginalize their message of opposition to Bush World policies and create an expectation of violence, the march was peaceful and effective.


Blog the Vote!

Saturday, August 28, 2004
RNC@NYC: weekend

Learn more about Bush's Iraq
Not completely unrelated to the popular grass-roots protests many groups are planning to organize during the Republican National Convention in NYC, which are many, I'd like to interject my observation about the Najaf crisis that was avoided

Did you happen to notice how quickly after our U.S. media broadcast images of the massive Iraqi convoys following the grand ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to Najaf, and peace was restored, you see and hear nothing now?  It's as if the media was ready for the shit to hit the fan and civil war to erupt, but when it didn't happen, they packed up and scurried back inside the green zone -- as if there's no friggin' story to be told now.

Coming up next on Fox News -- some in-depth live reporting on some excrutiatingly minute detail of the Scott Peterson murder trial -- Fox News asks the tough questions -- Did Amber Frey's hair stylist also have an affair?

Back when Moqtada al-Sadr first took his Mehdi militia into Najaf, I made a quick comment about how I thought the media, or the Bush administration, seem to scoff and call them 'radicals' and 'insignificant insurgents'.  Also, despite published material from our own U.S. Army War College, the Bush administration couldn't seem to grasp the inherent importance of Iraqi clerics to the Iraqi people they so repeatedly take credit for 'liberating' -- or the huge significance that Iraq's grand ayatollah Ali al-Sistani got involved and reigned in Moqtada al-Sadr and his anti-occupation campaign.  Had al-Sistani not done so, civil war or a large-scale civilian uprising in Iraq was more than a possibility.  While time will tell if al-Sadr respects al-Sistani enough to keep his word on the cease-fire, it certainly should show anyone paying attention that Bush's occupational puppet prime minister of Iraq, Allawi, has no power with the Iraqi people.  But, at the end of the day, I said in Cooler Heads Prevail For How Long? that al-Sistani undoubtedly saved many lives, both Iraqi and U.S. military, and thank [insert-deity-here] al-Sistani has done it again.

Who dies when Bush lies?

On August 29, United for Peace and Justice will hold an impassioned, peaceful, and legal march past Madison Square Garden, the site of the Republican Convention.  When the Republicans descend on New York City with their agenda of war, greed, hate and lies, they will be met by a massive, diverse, peaceful outpouring of dissent, as huge numbers of us join together in a spirit of nonviolence for a legal, permitted march on August 29 to say NO to their destructive and divisive policies.

More than 360 groups — including Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and September 11th families — have endorsed the August 29 protest and will be marching with us on that day. We will also be joined scores of prominent people, including Danny Glover, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., UNITE/HERE President Bruce Raynor and Congressman Major Owens.

If you're alarmed by the direction that the Bush Administration has taken this country, and disgusted by the efforts to marginalize and stifle our calls for change, you will want to make your voice heard on August 29.

Thousands ride in NYC

According to multiple reports coming into, even though TIMES UP! conducts a typically traffic-slowing Critical Mass Ride every month, several thousand bikers, skaters, and pedestrians took the opportunity to voice their opposition to the Bush administration.

Unfortunately, some 264 participants in last night's event rode straight into Bush World compassionate conservatism and were arrested.

March for Womens Lives
"In a show of unity and strength, we will gather in the birthplace of reproductive freedom - New York City - to support global family planning; real sex education; accessible, safe and legal abortion; birth control options; the right to privacy regarding sexuality; and access to health care."

Saturday, many thousands of women representing a number of women's groups marched across the Brooklyn Bridge and took part in the NY Planned Parenthood March for Womens Lives.

Blog the Vote!

Friday, August 27, 2004
RNC@NYC: Naked Truth

Get some effin' Gear by JfZ
Here at Thunderstorms, I strive to bring you the news and information that you're not likely (or never) going to see, hear, or read completely on Bush World FCC-approved news media outlets.

While I do read news reported by FOX, CNN, MSNBC and many large city newspapers, I also like to get reports from newspapers outside of the United States to see how they are reporting on the same stories.  I also look to independent media outlets and press releases from the groups that are actually doing the things about which the corporate-sponsored media reports.

The things that interest me aren't always political, but when they are, it should be obvious from my T-shirt (shown) what my own bias is going to be.

You see, if all you ever do is watch Bush World FCC-approved broadcast and cable news, your view of the world is going to be very much like the one in the Matrix movies.  Oh, but don't worry.  You'll be happy and content, or afraid and worried, depending upon how they want you to feel that week.  Watch their news and buy their stuff.  It's really not that difficult to figure out.  There's nothing exactly wrong about watching your evening news just so you understand that the person talking to you on the television should be believed about as much as the used-car salesman that shows up in the commercial during the television news broadcast.  If you don't, then you're just a mindless consumer -- which is what other people would prefer you to be.  But, if you're like me, you prefer to free your mind.

Concerning the upcoming Bush World love fest in NYC, I thought I might also provide some details and context beyond the blurbs you might hear about in the news.  You can check out the dynamic RNC Watch XML news feed for items of interest.  I guess I get to start out with the naked truth.

With the words "Stop AIDS" and "Drop the Debt" painted on their backs, eleven activists led by Act-Up New York, laid their naked bodies on the line in front of Madison Square Garden at noon today. Marching into the street at Eigth Avenue and 33rd Street, the activists filed in line, took off their clothes and began to chant, "George Bush, drop the debt!"

Exposing the Bush administration's dangerous policies that ignore the AIDS pandemic, the ACT UP activists were countering the spin the White House is spewing about the administration's AIDS record in order to attract swing voters. "When it comes to Bush's record on global AIDS, he's an emperor that has no clothes, " said Asia Russell of ACT UP. "He's exploiting the greatest public health threat of our generation in order to get moderate voters and faith based organizations.

Bush refused to support a proposal from June's G-7 summit in Georgia requesting the complete cancellation of Third World debt. ACT UP said that poor countries spend billions of dollars annually to pay undying interest on their international debts, which are funds that should be used for social services, including money needed for AIDS treatment and prevention programs.

By espousing a "record" that says the Bush administration is contributing to the global fight against AIDS, Russel said, "The Bush administration is giving us nothing but lies and empty rhetoric." The activists stayed in the streets for about ten minutes while a banner unfurled behind them reading, "Stop AIDS, Drop the Debt." Another banner was hung on a nearby trailer. Police then cleared the media-clogged area and arrested the activists.

Legal support for the protest said the arrestees were charged with indecent exposure, public lewdness and disorderly conduct. They were expected to be released today with tickets ordering them to appear in court at a later date.

Critical Mass bike ride

The TIME'S UP! environmental group has a long history of promoting a positive message about our environment and non-polluting transportation. The 2004 Republican National Convention (RNC) in New York City represents a great opportunity to express this message to our elected representatives and the national audience that will watch the Republicans nominate George Bush for another four years in office. TIME'S UP! is planning a full week of events to coincide with the RNC, starting on Friday, August 27th, with a scheduled Critical Mass Ride.

Check out Rooftop Films

Maybe one film festival can't change the world, but on the last Friday before the Republican National Convention, Rooftop Films is going to try, showing new short films by filmmakers who don't want four more years of disgraceful leadership and can't stand to be represented by an administration that only dissembles and destroys.  These filmmakers don't just wear their partisan hearts on their sleeves—they throw those very hearts at the screen. Read more about the films being shown for the Friday, August 27th festival, Misunderestimated.

Blog the Vote!

Thursday, August 26, 2004
P2P News and Forums

Fighting Bush World
Hackers, Slackers and Bloggers aren't the first group of people you think would care what some international conglomerates, their paid governmental talking heads (Orrin Hatch, et al) or their greedy legal sharks (RIAA) are doing.  Times have changed.

When the RIAA can legally sue you and me in federal court anywhere in the United States for 'illegally distributing copyrighted material' (and they continue to sue) just because you thought it would be cool to make me listen to the latest Brittney Spears MP3 audio nightmare while I read how typically boring your day was on your blog, it's time to get off of your digital fat ass and pay attention.

I'm not going to say anything more than that.  If you use peer-to-peer software to efficiently search for and exchange information stored on other users' computers on the net, you know who you are.  You are a cluless fool if you think 'they' will never sue 'you'.

Here is a handy list of P2P News and Forum sites who have their own style and favored platform, software, or issue concerning P2P Networks.

P2P Forums
Nap Junk
MV Group
Integrity P2P
Respect P2P
Misinformation is a Crime
The Big Hack
Slyck News Feed

Please feel free to comment on this topic.  If you have some additional information, let us know.  Remember that if you wish to comment on news items, be sure to include the static URL of the particular news story in your comment, as the news links above come via a dynamic XML news feed.

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