Saturday, August 11, 2007
Are you worried yet? Here's the latest from our overseas partners in the war on terror:
Armed police will use anti-terrorism powers to "deal robustly" with climate change protesters at Heathrow next week, as confrontations threaten to bring major delays to the already overstretched airport.
...."Should individuals or small groups seek to take action outside of lawful protest they will be dealt with robustly using terrorism powers. This is because the presence of large numbers of protesters at or near the airport will reduce our ability to proactively counter the terrorist act [threat]," the document says.
Note the clever excuse. No one seems to seriously believe that these protesters are either terrorists or plan to engage in terrorism, and normally any lawbreaking would be dealt with using ordinary police powers. However, the terrorism laws are said to apply here because the protesters — who object to a proposed expansion of the airport — "might reduce our ability to proactively counter" real terrorism. This is, needless to say, an excuse that could be trotted out for nearly anything more vigorous than sending a letter to the editor.
This is happening in Britain, not America, and it's not Armageddon. Which is a country where the top elected official can state that his predecessor's invasion of Iraq was a stupid idea, and still get elected. Rather unlike America.
So yes, it is rather Orwellian (especially the reason proffered), on a scale just as Orwellian as fenced-in Free Speech Zones (NY Repub Convention, LA Dem Convention) far from the political speech-making venues.
Still, when civil libertarian types start warning about slippery slopes, this is what they're talking about. Anyone who can't imagine how this stuff can be misused just isn't exercising their imagination.
I love the way New Yorkers take no prisoners:
Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said Friday that he misspoke when he said he spent as much time, if not more, at ground zero exposed to the same health risks as workers combing the site after the Sept. 11 attacks.Every time Rudy tries to hype his manly ground zero bonafides these guys are going to be out there smacking him down. This stuff didn't happen on the Mekong Delta 35 years ago. This happened very recently in the media capital of the world. His movements were well documented. You have to be a truly grandiose psychopath not to think comments like this will not come back to haunt you. Of course, that's exactly what he is.
"I think I could have said it better," he told nationally syndicated radio host Mike Gallagher. "You know, what I was saying was, 'I'm there with you.'"
The former New York mayor upset some firefighters and police officers when he said Thursday in Cincinnati that he was at ground zero "as often, if not more, than most of the workers."
"I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them," he told reporters at a Los Angeles Dodgers-Cincinnati Reds baseball game.
Fire and police officials responded angrily, saying Giuliani did not do the same work as those involved in the rescue, recovery and cleanup from the 2001 terrorist attacks, which left many workers sick and injured.
"There were people there less than me, people on my staff, who already have had serious health consequences, and they weren't there as often as I was," Giuliani said, "but I wasn't trying to suggest a competition of any kind, which is the way it come across."
Giuliani's explanation further angered his ground zero critics, prompting several to issue a statement demanding an apology.
"He is such a liar, because the only time he was down there was for photo ops with celebrities, with politicians, with diplomats," said deputy fire chief Jimmy Riches, who spent months digging for his firefighter son.
"On 9/11 all he did was run. He got that soot on him, and I don't think he's taken a shower since."
Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, a union that fiercely opposes Giuliani, said he doubted Giuliani misspoke.
"I think he was simply showing what his true character is — a self-absorbed, self-deluded promoter who got caught and is now just simply trying to backtrack," Schaitberger said.
And speaking of Giuliani, you have to check out the article on his Five Big Lies, in the Village Voice. Someone pointed out to me this little tidbit that would be particularly worth noting if the tabloid political press held the GOP candidates to the same standards as Democrats:
But Hauer says Denny Young, the mayor's alter ego, who has worked at his side for nearly three decades, eventually "made it very clear" that Giuliani wanted "to be able to walk to this facility quickly." That meant the bunker had to be in lower Manhattan. Since the City Hall area is below the floodplain, the command center—which was built with a hurricane-curtain wall—had to be above ground. The formal city document approving the site said that it "was selected due to its proximity to City Hall," a standard set by Giuliani and Giuliani alone...Seriously, this indicates that Giuliani personally made what everyone considers his biggest blunder --- placing that command center where he did --- because he was actually building a convenient love nest.
The mayor was so personally focused on the siting and construction of the bunker that the city administrator who oversaw it testified in a subsequent lawsuit that "very senior officials," specifically including Giuliani, "were involved," which he said was a major difference between this and other projects. Giuliani's office had a humidor for cigars and mementos from City Hall, including a fire horn, police hats and fire hats, as well as monogrammed towels in his bathroom. His suite was bulletproofed and he visited it often, even on weekends, bringing his girlfriend Judi Nathan there long before the relationship surfaced. He had his own elevator.
The love nest with the monogrammed towels masquerading as a media center, I mean, bunker, are the least of it. It's no coincidence that B. Kerik was his best buddy, since they are birds of a feather: autocratic, self-glorifying, greedy profiteers, hacks, and above all thugs. It's absolutely appalling about the free ride he's getting from the corporate media, just as Bush Jr. did in '00.
Kinda puts Kerik's exploits in the "Ground Zero" apartment that was donated for rescue workers that he ganked for his extramarital exploits in context.