I've always been something of a lefty and I've been drifting more and more in that direction during the Bush years, but now I'm entering territory that I never thought I'd be in. I shouldn't believe that the President of these United States would have an innocent American killed to make a political point. How can you doubt that he would? Or at least would turn a blind eye to it. You've seen what they do to innocent Iraqis, how much further do you have to go down that road until you're willing to do it to your own citizens?
The saddest thing is that if it did turn out to be true, well, I'm not sure it would lower Bush in my estimation. He voluntarily let hundreds die and thousands be injuried (and those are just the AMERICAN counts. Add Iraqis and it's probably tens of thousands dead.) for a ficticious war. What's one more body on a pile like that?
I went to a big left-winger convention at NYU today. It was in a rather large auditorium and featured some pretty big names in Democratic politics. Nobody huge like Ted Kennedy or Bill Clinton, but some second and third teir people. The best speaker by far was Jeffery Sachs, of Columbia University BY THE WAY, who just blew everybody away with his tremendous discussion of how our wasting funds on unnecessary military projects sabotages the national security effort that could be better served by channeling some of that money to foreign aid or diplomacy. He salvaged his pannel after some Pinceton professor woman started making excuses for Democrats who voted for the war. The guy in front of me screamed "no No NO NO NO" and then the whole audience basically joined in booing her. It was deserved.
Hey, it's New York.
The second best speaker was Attourney General Eliott Spitzer, who managed to be both informative and hilarious when talking about corporate governance. He has some real charisma, and kept the audience attention even past 8:00 PM when the thing had started at 4:00 and there had been no breaks. I could see him winning the governorship of New York next time around, and he has the sort of personality that would make him a good national Democrat. Unfortunately he probably isn't attractive enough to be a good presidential candidate (He's a skinny guy with big ears) but he's a great speaker nonetheless.
The rest of the speakers were a mixed bag. There was a lot of Bush bashing, which there wasn't supposed to be because it was technically a non-partisan event (Spitzer's one gaffe was when he joked that his office was supposed to enforce those kinds of distinctions and then made one or two partisan comments, which undercut his claims of being a straight shooting bulldog just slightly. I mean it wasn't anything huge but it wasn't in great taste either.) There were some good ideas but mostly it was just a rehashing of stuff we'd already heard and nobody got specific about policy. Gary Hart was there, and he was probably the guy who gave the firmest policy recomendations.
Anyone who questions why New York is special should have been there tonight. In addition to the booing (which was PURE NYC) there was also a guy sitting near me with an incredibly biting wit that he shared without the slightest provocation. The kind of guy who just does not exist in the Midwest. Furthermore there's the fact that getting out of the Subway station I was confronted with a store that said "New York Fetish" and walking back after the conferance I passed through familiar streets with tons of bondage and "exotic" shops. What other city has political conventions with mainstream candidates and commentators literally blocks from piercing parlors and The Pink Pussycat? Not to mention across the street from the infamous Washington Square Park known for having more crack dealers than cracks in the cobblestones?
Plus in New York these bigshots probably had to stroll past these parlors on their way to eat, since most people here will walk short differences. That's another big thing about New York, walking is SUCH an important part of the culture and it's where the big shots rub shoulders with the little people on the most egalitarian transporation system the world has ever known, the New York City Sidewalk, where old gum and used condoms go before finding a home on the bottom of $400 shoes. The Sidewalks ARE New York and they're the reason that Vinny from Brooklyn can say "Fuck you" to Donald Trump if the millionaire bumps into him. Of course The Donald isn't much for walking, but then again he's not a REAL New Yorker. We're kind of embarassed by him.
New York has some of the richest people in the world, but they cannot avoid rubbing shoulders and bumping into the asses of commoners. That's incredibly grand. Most Egalitarian City Evar.
As for the conference itself, well I didn't learn all that much although I listened. Spitzer had some amazing stories about just how corrupt the corporations that he's going after have been and how pathetic the SEC is under Harvey Pitt. The numbers on the illegal detentions but the INjustice department were pretty staggering as well. Ashcroft is a total spinnmeister. He says that they have deported 500+ people caught in terorrism investigations. In order to be deported you must be CLEARED of any terrorist connections. All of the convictions from the illegal detentions have been for non-terrorist offenses too and most carried jail penalties of under 6 months. Wow, you caught a guy who commited credit card fraud AND a shoplifter? And you only had to suspend the civil liberties of 8000 men to do it? GO ASHCROFT!
I'm not going to fill this with liberal rhetoric, but I will be going back tomorrow. I'll be a bit late since GRADES are coming in, (I got the A- in Foner's class that I was expecting) and I don't want to worry about them all day, but I'll go.
I haven't had a knickname for awhile, other than the obligatory Big Ben. I guess you can start calling me Lefty.
P.S. Nets/Pistons. WOW what a game. I pity the fool who missed Richard Jefferson's block of the century, or Chauncy's chancy halfcourt three.