Saturday, March 14, 2015

Joan Baez diffuses right wing protest at Idaho concert

Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 06:18 PM PDT

What would you do if you found yourself standing face to face with people bearing signs accusing you by name of killing babies and encouraging the shooting of American soldiers?  Might you lose your cool?  Might you get involved in an exchange that would ultimately lead to anger or descend into the shouting matches we've been seeing at so many Town Halls lately?
Not if you're Joan Baez, who, in the 50th year of her career, continues to live according to unshakeable ideals of non-violence and compassion in ways that should inspire us all.
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Last night, four Vietnam veterans protested Joan's concert in Idaho Falls with signs reading: "JOAN BAEZ - SOLDIERS DON'T KILL BABIES, LIBERALS DO" and "JOAN BAEZ GAVE COMFORT & AID TO OUR ENEMY IN VIETNAM & ENCOURAGED THEM TO KILL AMERICANS!"
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Joan was informed that the men were protesting her concert about an hour before it was due to begin and she immediately walked out onto the street to talk to them.  When she approached, one of the first things they said was "We appreciate the work you did on civil rights and women's rights."  They wanted to make that point clear.
She listened closely as they discussed their views.  Primarily, they wanted to express the way they felt betrayed by anti-war protesters when they returned from combat.  Joan assured them that she stood by them then and now.  They had mixed reactions as she explained her actual positions and her support for all veterans, across the board.
At this point, Joan's merchandise salesman, Jim Stewart, who was a Captain in the US Army during Vietnam, approached the group.  Jim is one of the most kind-hearted people you could ever meet.  He is not one to speak lightly of what he went through in Vietnam.  He took Joan's arm and said to these four men, "I stand by this lady 100%.  She did the right thing then, and she stood by us when we got home.  She even recorded a song at that time from which 100% of the proceeds went to us vets."
Here Jim listens, then engages in conversation:
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Unbelievably, one of the four protesters began to question Jim in an accusatory fashion, pressing him for details about what division he was in and and where he served, as if, somehow, he were making it up.  It brings tears to my eyes, as I write this, to remember Jim being questioned in this way.  These protesters were there, theoretically, to lament the poor treatment of American soliders and yet they belittled and questioned the service of a veteran because he did not agree with their views.
Jim played their game for a bit before seeing it for what it was and disengaging.  Joan stood by his side and said, "Oh, he's got the stories all right.  But he doesn't feel the need to talk about them."
Ironically, a man on his way to the concert approached at this moment and, without really following all that had gone on, interjected, "Those who don't realize that what they did in Vietnam was wrong are kind of SLOOOOOOW."  I watched Jim's face as he heard that statement - literally getting it from both sides within less than a minute.
At this point I engaged in conversation with the man holding the sign accusing liberals, rather than soliders, of killing babies.  He said "I never killed any babies and I don't believe in guilt by association."  I asked him how in the world he could justify holding a sign with Joan Baez's name on it that basically implied she killed babies if he didn't believe in guilt by association.  He replied "It's an analogy, you probably wouldn't understand it!"
Uhhhh.... yeah.
Jim said he should destroy the sign and he then claimed we were trying to trample his Constitutional right to free speech.  We replied that we weren't questioning his right, by any means, but rather his sense of decency, considering that he was there having a conversation with Joan and she was clearly not a baby killer.  Since his entire point was that guilt by association was wrong, it made sense to us.  But he replied "I'm Pro-Life and I'm proud of this sign."  With those words, he held it higher.
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As we discussed these things, one of them repeated, "Soldiers don't kill babies."  I said that so many horrible things happen in war that it's impossible to make such a blanket statement, especially when bombs get dropped from the sky, and I said it all comes down to the truth that "War is hell."
I continued, saying,  "And you all know that far better than me."
They were suprised by this statement, as if shocked that anyone on the "other side" recognized what they'd been through.  It seemd to render them speechless for a moment.
At this point, Joan's continuing acceptance of their stories and her willingness to hear them out began to melt their anger.  In a twist that seems hard to fathom, they then asked her to SIGN THEIR POSTERS!  She replied that she would sign the back but not the front of "those horrible things."  Incredibly, the man with the baby-killing sign replied that he would take her name off the poster if she would sign it.
She did end up signing them, and also getting copies of her book for each of them, and offering tickets to the show, which they did not accept.  She signed the back of the poster about her encouraging the killing of American soldiers - "All the very best to you, Joan Baez."
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When we got back inside the theatre, Joan broke down in tears.  I said to her "You are so brave to face people like that."  She wasn't crying about the way she had been treated, however, but about the way Jim Stewart had stood up for her.  "Did you hear his voice shaking?" she said.  "That was bravery..."
And she was right.  Stepping back into the mire of Vietnam was not something he did lightly - he bore the literal denigration of his service by another veteran in order to defend her.
During the concert afterwards Joan dedicated a song to the protesters and said "You know, they just wanted to be heard.  Everyone wants to be heard. I feel like I made four new friends tonight."
She took the high road, as always.  It wasn't my name on those signs, yet I gave into anger.  She never did. As we deal with tea parties and increasingly violent right wing protests it would do us all good to remember the example of non-violence and compassion that Ms Baez has exemplified for the 50-plus years of her career.
Her heroes are Gandhi and Martin Luther King.  In my book, she's right there with them, leading the timeless and essential march along the high road.
UPDATE:  Thanks to everyone for the recs!  I'm so happy that this story has inspired members of this community.  You may want to check out the version of "We Shall Overcome" that Joan recorded in her kitchen in June, with some lyrics in Farsi, in the hope of directly inspiring the people of Iran as they stand up for real democracy against real oppression.  The link follows...
http://www.youtube.com/...

NYPD computers used to change police-brutality Wikipedia pages

Computers linked to Police Headquarters were used to scrub anti-cop rhetoric on some Wikipedia pages that described cases of alleged police brutality, officials said Friday.
Eighty-five IP addresses that are registered to the NYPD’s vast computer network were used to change the information on pages for Eric Garner, Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo, according to Capital New York.
Police Headquarters staffs more than 3,000 employees ranging from top-ranking officials to civilian call-takers, and has more than 15,000 registered IP addresses — a dozen of which were linked to “notable” Wikipedia activity, the Web site reported.
One anonymous user made multiple changes to Garner’s page on the free-access information site on the same night a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner’s death.
The phrase “Garner raised both his arms in the air” was edited to “Garner flailed his arms about as he spoke,” and the words “push Garner’s face into the sidewalk” were changed to “push Garner’s head down into the sidewalk.”
Language that Garner was placed in a “chokehold” was changed two times — once to “chokehold or headlock” and another to “respiratory distress.”
And added to the description of the July 2014 altercation was the sentence, “Garner, who was considerably larger than any of the officers, continued to struggle with them.”
A user on the NYPD’s network also tried deleting the page for “Sean Bell shooting incident” altogether in 2007, a year after the man was shot dead by police in Queens.
“[Bell] was in the news for about two months, and now no one except Al Sharpton cares anymore. The police shoot people every day, and times with a lot more than 50 bullets. This incident is more news than notable,” the user said on Wikipedia’s “Articles for deletion” page.
Wikipedia allows anyone to edit its entries — either with an account or anonymously. The site logs an anonymous user’s IP address and creates a public record of the edits.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis said the various edits didn’t come from computers at One Police Plaza.
“We’re looking into remote servers. It could have been on any computer linked to the NYPD,” he said, adding that an internal investigation is ongoing.
Sources told The Post that changes made while Ray Kelly was commissioner weren’t officially sanctioned or coordinated to add a pro-NYPD spin.
Additional reporting by Natasha Velez and Lia Eusta

I COULDN'T STOP LAUGHING AT THIS MACBOOK COMEDY VIDEO

Apple just made a big announcement on Monday, except instead of the usual amount of hype, it was met with ridicule. Apple's new MacBook is way thinner and lighter, but it also has some severe shortcomings. This "translation" parody video pokes fun at the new MacBook, and I couldn't stop laughing!
Screen shot from the video I couldn't stop laughing at this MacBook comedy video

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Assassination of Malcolm X


Malcolm X assassination: 50 years on, mystery still clouds details of the case

Despite freedom of information act requests throughout the years, New York still will not release records to the public and claim files would endanger the safety of police officers and constitute unwarranted invasions of privacy
Malcolm X in Rochester, New York, 1965.
Malcolm X in Rochester, New York, 1965. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Our City is Committed to Affordable Housing

 



More than half of all New York City renters spend 30% or more of their income on rent.

That's why the City is committed to building and preserving more affordable housing -- so hardworking New Yorkers can build lives and raise their families in this city.

It's important we get that message out, so a few other New Yorkers and I got together to record this video.

WATCH: New York City is committed to affordable housing

If you live in the five boroughs, you're a New Yorker -- no matter where you're from or what language you speak. And all New Yorkers should have the comfort of knowing they can afford to live in the city they've made their home.

That's what we're working toward together.

Watch and share our video now:

on.nyc.gov/affordable-housing

Thanks,

Alicia Glen
Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Rev. Malcolm Boyd, an Author, Activist and Counterculture Rebel, Dies at 91

Father Boyd was among a handful of white clergymen who became nationally known for civil rights and protesting war, and — after disclosing in 1976 that he was gay — fought for women and homosexuals in the church.




Mr. Boyd with the actress Mary Pickford in 1949 in Hollywood, where he worked as a publicist and then a producer. Credit Malcolm Boyd Archives 
 
He was among a handful of white clergymen who were nationally known as champions of civil rights and opponents of the Vietnam War, a group that included the Rt. Rev. Paul Moore Jr., the Episcopal bishop in Washington and New York; the Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr., the Presbyterian chaplain at Yale University; and the sibling Roman Catholic Jesuit priests Philip and Daniel Berrigan, who were primarily peace activists. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

If Giuliani’s Obama Smear Wasn’t Racist, What Was It?


 By
Rudy Giuliani visits "Cavuto" at FOX Studios on September 23, 2014 in New York City. Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images
When Rudy Giuliani accused President Obama of not loving America, was he expressing a form of racism? If not, what was Giuliani saying?
I have argued, controversially to some on the left, that it is important to grapple with ideas on their own terms before merely analyzing their motivations. American conservatism is historically intertwined with white racism in such a way that nearly any conservative idea could plausibly be understood as an appeal to racism, but most of those ideas can be expressed and justified in non-racial terms, and deserve to be taken at face value. The trouble with Giuliani’s comments is that they lack the coherence necessary to be analyzed as an idea. Brush away the bilious rage he has emitted, and nothing solid remains behind.
The original basis for Giuliani’s comments was Obama’s allegedly unusual upbringing. “He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country,” alleged the former mayor. As Wayne Barrett points out, Giuliani’s father was a mob enforcer, and he and his five brothers all avoided military service during World War II. What about this upbringing in any way suggests it conveyed some deeper patriotism than Obama’s?
Giuliani subsequently clarified his original remarks, though not in the way he intended, by asserting that Obama’s alleged anti-Americanism amounted to “socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.” Here Giuliani is reprising the theories of Dinesh D’Souza, who has described Obama as fundamentally influenced by Kenyan anti-colonialism. Unfortunately for Giuliani, D’Souza’s racism is so transparent not even many conservatives care to defend it any longer.
Giuliani also explained that Obama’s anti-Americanism comes through in his selective use of press conferences:
“He sees Christians slaughtered [in Egypt] and doesn’t stand up and hold a press conference, although he holds a press conference for the situation in Ferguson,” he said. “He sees Jews being killed for anti-Semitic reasons, doesn’t stand up and hold a press conference. This is an American president I’ve never seen before.”
Of course, the more obvious explanation for why Obama held a press conference to address Ferguson but not Egypt is that Ferguson is located in the United States of America while Egypt is not. For a president to deliver a speech urging calm, while expressing sympathy with underlying grievances, is a completely standard act for an American president. (George Bush did it in Los Angeles.) Had Obama declined to speak about Ferguson, he could have just as easily been accused of indifference to the lives of Americans.
National Review’s Kevin Williamson attempts to rescue Giuliani’s smear by shearing off its ugly insinuations, and boiling it down to a simple left-versus-right debate about American goodness:
For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States. Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy. The sacrifices in the great wars of the 20th century? Feeding the poor and the disenfranchised into the meat-grinder of imperialism. The gifts of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Astor? Blood money from self-aggrandizing robber barons.
It is certainly true that there is a strain of left-wing thought that implicitly or explicitly rejects patriotism, and which deems the United States no better than, or perhaps even worse than, other countries. The trouble is that Obama has explicitly and repeatedly rejected this thinking. Even Obama’s endlessly criticized 2009 press conference, in which he gave an answer on American exceptionalism that conservatives deemed insufficiently flag-wavey, ended on an affirmation of American exceptionalism (“I think that we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional”).
The liberal conception of American exceptionalism espoused by Obama, while different than the left-wing conception with which Williamson conflates it, is also different than the conservative version. The left rejects American exceptionalism. The right treats it as something inherent in the American character, rather than, as liberals see it, an ideal that must be struggled toward and has often been failed. Obama’s treatment of the issue lies firmly in liberalism, rather than the left.
And of course the key element of Giuliani’s charge is that Obama has broken completely from the liberal tradition. He does not accuse Obama of being a weak-spined liberal like Jimmy Carter. He calls Obama worse than Carter:
What country has left so many young men and women dead abroad to save other countries without taking land? This is not the colonial empire that somehow he has in his hand. I’ve never felt that from him. I felt that from [George] W. [Bush]. I felt that from [Bill] Clinton. I felt that from every American president, including ones I disagreed with, including [Jimmy] Carter. I don’t feel that from President Obama
Jamelle Bouie, with excessive generosity, concedes that (smear aside) Giuliani is onto something. “Compared with the visions of his predecessors,” writes Bouie, “[Obama’s] is less triumphant and informed by a kind of civic humility.
In fact, previous Democratic presidents have also acknowledged American historical failures, in language every bit as frank as Obama’s. In a famous 1977 speech, Carter conceded, “For too many years, we’ve been willing to adopt the flawed and erroneous principles and tactics of our adversaries, sometimes abandoning our own values for theirs.” Clinton mournfully acknowledged American slavery and support for military dictatorships in Guatemala and Greece. Obama has kept fully within the liberal tradition of conceding America’s inconsistent history of upholding its ideals without abandoning the ideals themselves.
Any attempt to salvage an idea from Giuliani’s gaseous smear invariably fails. His dark insinuation that this liberal Democratic president hates America in a way unlike other Democratic presidents is under-girded by nothing but a generalized suspicion neither he nor his supporters can define.

Obama Says He Even Loves America’s Idiots

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In his weekly radio address, President Barack Obama reaffirmed his love of country, telling the nation, “I love America—even its idiots.”
Expanding on this theme, the President said, “America is made up of all kinds of people: young and old, weak and strong, smart and dumb. And when the really dumb ones get up and act like total clowns, I still love them, because they are part of America. In fact, a really big part.”
In a call for unity, the President concluded, “Let’s all work together for the United States of America. And if that means putting aside our differences—including our sometimes vast differences in intelligence—so be it.”

Republicans Unlearning Facts Learned in Third Grade to Compete in Primary

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In the hopes of appealing to Republican primary voters, candidates for the 2016 Presidential nomination are working around the clock to unlearn everything that they have learned since the third grade, aides to the candidates have confirmed.
With the Iowa caucuses less than a year away, the hopefuls are busy scrubbing their brains of basic facts of math, science, and geography in an attempt to resemble the semi-sentient beings that Republican primary voters prize.

An aide to Jeb Bush acknowledged that, for the former Florida governor, “The unlearning curve has been daunting.”
“The biggest strike against Jeb is that he graduated from college Phi Beta Kappa,” the aide said. “It’s going to take a lot of work to get his brain back to its factory settings.”
At the campaign of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, the mood was considerably more upbeat, as aides indicated that Walker’s ironclad fa├žade of ignorance is being polished to a high sheen.
“The fact that Scott instinctively says that he doesn’t know the answers to even the easiest questions gives him an enormous leg up,” an aide said.
But while some G.O.P. candidates are pulling all-nighters to rid themselves of knowledge acquired when they were eight, the campaign of Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, is exuding a quiet confidence.
“I don’t want to sound too cocky about Rick,” said one Perry aide. “But what little he knows, he’s shown he can forget.”
Get news satire from The Borowitz Report delivered to your inbox.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Forgotten Man Seeks Attention

Former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, who said President Obama 'doesn't love America.' (photo: CLTampa.com)
Former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, who said President Obama 'doesn't love America.' (photo: CLTampa.com)

By Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker
20 February 15
 
The article below is satire. Andy Borowitz is an American comedian and New York Times-bestselling author who satirizes the news for his column, "The Borowitz Report."

largely forgotten man sought attention on Wednesday night before returning to obscurity on Thursday, according to reports.
The man, whom many Americans had difficulty placing, was making a desperate bid to remind people of his existence, experts believe.
His efforts were somewhat successful, as his widely reported outburst caused people across the country to rack their brains to try to remember who he was.
After briefly attempting to recall where they had seen the man before, many people gave up and moved on with their days, but for others, the desperate man’s remarks left a bitter aftertaste.
“There is no excuse for making comments like those, no matter who you are,” Tracy Klugian, forty-seven, of Springfield, Missouri, said. “Who is he again?”
Still others showed concern for the man, and expressed hope that, instead of future bids for attention, he would find fulfillment in crafting or some other harmless hobby.
 

+79 # RMDC 2015-02-20 18:36
Yes, indeed. This man is a legend in his own mind. If he only knew where he left his mind. It is not likely he will take up some harmless hobby. It is just not in him. He'll go on trying to creep out of obscurity forever.
+29 # Old4Poor 2015-02-21 00:23
But he already has a hobby as a Drag Queen.

The photos are nightmare producing.
+16 # keenon the truth 2015-02-20 18:45
Help, someone. It's been a busy week. What did I miss?

Later edit:Sorry, I didn't look at the photo. Wish there was a way to delete comments.

+7 # Skippydelic 2015-02-21 01:34
Actually, you didn't REALLY miss anything… ;-)

+59 # Art947 2015-02-20 23:15
Is there any way that we can round up all these small men with super-inflated egos and provide them with that trip to Mars that everyone else is talking about? It should certainly satisfy their egos and provide the rest of us with respite from their stupidity.
+43 # Old4Poor 2015-02-21 00:24
Result of that action: Mars Attacks Earth.
+40 # angelfish 2015-02-21 00:29
ON the money, as USUAL Andy! You have an uncanny ability to SEE the REAL issue! A washed up Hack of a Politician looking for a spot in the Limelight once again. Really pitiful.
+23 # LGNTexas 2015-02-21 06:05
The Bracewell-Guili ani law firm has been representing the SPANISH Cintra corporation in acquiring American toll road construction contracts and management leases. Indiana, under former Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, leased their East-West toll road giving up management for 75 years. In Texas, Cintra was in bed with Gov. Rick Perry who tried to have them build the NAFTA "superhighway from the Mexican border to the Oklahoma state line. That project failed due to much landowner resistance to losing land by eminent domain, especially to profiting foreign companies. Even though Giuliani is supposedly a moderate he endorsed the most right-wing Perry in the 2012 campaign for President. Giuliani loves America so much that his privatization plans for American roads would pad the net worth of Spanish and Australian companies. http://satollparty.com/post/?p=974
+13 # Bruce Gruber 2015-02-21 07:52
An interesting series of Sociology/Psych ology/Poly Sci PhD theses could research where so many politicians end up peddling their knowledge, contacts and "public service" experience.

Inasmuch as money is the "free-est" and most effective resource in seeking public office, correlation of pre- and post- election contributors and investors could be enlightening ... if voters were aware and inclined and capable of considering factual information in selecting their "leaders"... Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito notwithstanding.

Giuliani continues to provide the entertainment divisions of mass media enterprises with the spice of 'stupidity' with which to stir, antagonize and misdirect the public away from thought and knowledge.
+8 # C-SIK 2015-02-21 09:01
OMG --- BUHDHA
I Laufhed so hard I hurt -
I couldn't place the face -
But I kept reading --- going along w/ the spirit of it so to speak ---
--- Oh My Gawd ANDY --
You set me up good - !!! -
I really did know the face, but I couldn't put a name --
And I'm trying hard - ANDY -!
And then I start reading the comments -
And Andy " OMFG " -
--- It ! - IT! - ITS!!!---
--- rudy --
rudy ???
YES !! RUDY! --
rudy -g- ???
"WE GOT U RUDY "
We were quoted to say --
THANK YOU RSN & THANK YOU ANDY --
I Owe U --- 99%OU ---
I needed that laugh although it nearly killed me --
Oh yeah and thank you Rudy ---
what does the G stand for ---???
" I forgot "
+15 # sfintersect 2015-02-21 10:37
I say Bravo Rudy! It takes most people much longer to turn themselves into a bad joke. And here you are, able to do it overnight & with just a few sentences ~ Bravo!
+1 # Corvette-Bob 2015-02-21 19:40
NEWS FLASH !!! Republicans presidential ticket for 2016. Rudy, Pres. Donald, VP.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.
RSNRSN

Rudy Giuliani, American Soviet

Rolling Stone investigative journalist Matt Taibbi. (photo: HBO)
Rolling Stone investigative journalist Matt Taibbi. (photo: HBO)
By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
22 February 15
 
udy Giuliani is giving me Soviet flashbacks.
With his bizarre foot-in-mouth rants about how Barack Obama doesn't love "America" the way "we" do, Rudy — and other "They hate us!" exceptionalist 'Muricans like Eric Erickson and Steve Forbes — are starting to remind me of the frightened, denial-sick communist die-hards I knew as a student in Russia.
Not to go too far down memory lane, but in 1990, I went to Leningrad to study. The Soviet empire was in its death throes and most people there, particularly the younger ones, knew it.
But some hadn't gotten the memo yet, and those folks, usually nice enough, often older — university administrators, check-room attendants, security guards, parents of some of my classmates, others — were constantly challenging me and other exchange students to East-versus-West debates, usually with the aim of proving that "their" way of life was better.
By the time I left Russia a dozen years and a couple of career changes later, a lot of those people still hadn't gotten the memo. They were deep in denial about the passing of the USSR and spent a lot of time volubly claiming ownership of words like we and our and us in a way that quickly became a running joke in modernizing Russia.
U Nas Lusche — roughly, Ours is Better or It's Better Here — was the unofficial slogan of the pining-for-the-old-days crowd in post-communist Russia.
These folks weren't communists in any real ideological sense. They were mainly just people who had grown lazily comfortable with certain romantically goofy elements of the Soviet way of life and were (somewhat understandably) reluctant to give them up.
If you've spent the last 30 years sitting on splintered park benches with your buddies after work, drinking rancid keg beer out of a jam jar along with some salted vobla fish and some mushy "Doctor's" kielbasa, well, you'll be damned if you're going to worship at the more expensive altar of a warm Coca-Cola and a Snickers.
You liked your disgusting salt-fish and your unhygienic beverage choices and your absurd "kassa" multi-cashier store payment system that could make shopping for groceries an agonizing three-hour ritual.
And it rankled you to no end when people told you that these things, and by implication you yourself, were vestiges of a dead-and-gone world. (I actually loved the vobla and the particulate-filled Soviet beers and a lot of other USSR delicacies — the infuriating kassa system, not so much).
All of which is a roundabout way of saying the Soviets also had a strong sense of exceptionalism. It was something that was carefully nurtured and encouraged by The Party and had been spread successfully from the Kremlin to the remotest drunk-tank in Kamchatka.
But the problem with exceptionalism is that it can turn unintentionally comic with the drop of a hat. You're made to believe you're at the center of an envious universe, but then the world changes just enough and suddenly you're a punchline clinging to a lot of incoherent emotions. I watched this happen with my own eyes to a lot of people in the former Soviet Union.
And I feel like it's happening here now, with Rudy and the rest of the exceptionalist die-hards. They're hanging on to a conception of us that doesn't really exist anymore, not realizing that "America" is now a deeply varied, rapidly-changing place, one incidentally that they spend a lot of their public lives declaring they can't stand.
This was all on display this past week. Rudy's bizarre, Internet-maelstrom-inspiring media tour began with remarks at a private dinner for Scott Walker. People focused on the insult to Obama, but just as interesting was the apostrophic address to a conspiratorial and exclusive you and me America of his imagination:
I do not believe — and I know this is a horrible thing to say — but I do not believe that the president loves America. . . He doesnt love you. And he doesnt love me. He wasnt brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.
Rudy was ripped by pretty much everyone to the left of James Dobson for these comments, with the White House snarkily commenting, "It was a horrible thing to say."
There were allegations of racism and "otherizing," and the Twitter/Net/Cable feeding frenzy was intense enough that by the end of the week, even Walker began creeping sideways, beetle-like, in a direction away from Rudy (Walker told CNBC that Rudy could "speak for himself," noting helpfully: "I love America").
Characteristically, and with a trial lawyer's bravado, Rudy tried to talk his way out of the mess, rambling in self-defense to Bloomberg, CNN, Fox and anyone else who would listen. At each stop he doubled down on his remarks, concluding the tour with an incoherent rant to the New York Times in which he denied his comments about Obama were racist "since [Obama] was brought up by a white mother."
God knows what that meant — reading this was like watching Mark Fuhrman undergo hypnosis therapy — but it was fascinating stuff.
At the very least, the Giuliani crack-up started up a long-overdue discussion about what exactly it means when patrician pols like Rudy accuse others of not "loving America" enough.
After all, which America do they mean? The one that will be majority nonwhite by 2042? The one that twice elected Barack Obama president? The one that now produces more porn than steel? The one that has one of the world's lowest fertility rates and one of the highest immigration rates? That America?
Are they big fans of South Park maybe? The Wu-Tang Clan? Looking? Because it's ironic: The heavy industry and manufacturing might that was a key source of American power in the days of Giuliani's youth is now in serious decline, but Hollywood (and American pop culture generally) is a bigger, more hegemonic world power than ever.
Yet the current batch of exceptionalists mostly despises Hollywood, one of our few still-exceptionally-performing industries. They liked it better in the days when John Wayne was the leading man, Rock Hudson was in the closet and nobody made movies about copulating cowboys or Che's motorcycle trips.
Conservative politicians like Rudy are a bizarre combination of constant, withering, redundant whining about Actual Current America, mixed with endless demands that we all stand up and profess our love for some other America, one that apparently doesn't include a lot of the rest of us or the things about this country we like.
I feel sorry for Rudy that he can't love this country the way it is. I love America even with assholes like him living in it. In fact, I'm immensely proud of our assholes; I think America has the best assholes in the world. I defy the Belgians or the Japanese to produce something like a Donald Trump. If that makes me an exceptionalist, I plead guilty.
In all seriousness, the Rudy story is a bummer. It's not easy to love America and hate half the people who live there. It requires that you spend a lot of time closing your eyes and wishing history had happened differently, which, at least in my limited experience, doesn't work very well.
And that's not something to gloat about, either. A lot of people in this country think like Rudy, and if our present doesn't work for them, the future won't work for any of us. We're all going to end up miserable together, and that sucks.

Wayne Barrett: What Rudy Giuliani knows about love — a response to his 'doesn't love America' critique of Obama

BY
special to the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Published: Thursday, February 19, 2015, 9:29 PM
Updated: Friday, February 20, 2015, 10:49 AM

Obama Doesn't Love America



Rudy Giuliani knows a lot about love.
 
Ask Regina Peruggi, the second cousin he grew up with and married, who was "offended" when Rudy later engineered an annulment from the priest who was his best man on the grounds, strangely enough, that she was his cousin. Or ask Donna Hanover, the mother of his two children, who found out he wanted a separation when he left Gracie Mansion one morning and announced it at a televised press conference.
Or ask Judi Nathan, his third wife, whom he started dating while still married to Hanover and New York mayor. In two SUVs, he and an entourage of six or seven cops traveled 11 times to Judi's Hamptons getaway at a taxpayer cost of $3,000 a trip. That's love.



MAY 12 2014 FILE PHOTO
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, seen speaking in New York last year, was assailed Thursday for questioning President Obama's love of country.
 
Rudy knows so much about love that he declared the other day that President Obama "doesn't love you" and "doesn't love me" at a private party of GOP fat cats.
EDITORIAL: RUDY GIULIANI'S DISGUSTING ATTACK ON OBAMA

TANNEN MAURY/EPA Obama was not 'brought up the way you were and the way I was brought up through love of this country,' Giuliani went as far as to say.
The onetime presidential candidate also revealed at the party that Obama "doesn't love America," an echo of a speech he'd delivered to delirious cheers in Arizona a week earlier when he declared: "I would go anywhere, any place, anytime, and I wouldn't give a damn what the President of the United States said, to defend my country. That's a patriot. That's a man who loves his people. That's a man who fights for his people. Unlike our President."
Rudy may have forgotten the half-dozen deferments he won ducking the Vietnam War, even getting the federal judge he was clerking for to write a letter creating a special exemption for him. And remember Bernie Kerik? He's the Giulaini police commissioner, business partner and sidekick whose nomination as homeland security secretary narrowly preceded indictments. He then did his national service in prison.



Giuliani's rampage against Obama questioned the President's love for America. 'I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American Presidents.' Colter Hettich/ New York Daily News Photo Illustration Giuliani's rampage against Obama questioned the President's love for America. 'I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American Presidents.'
Giuliani went so far as to rebuke the President for not being "brought up the way you were and the way I was brought up through love of this country," a bow no doubt to the parenting prowess of Harold Giuliani, who did time in Sing Sing for holding up a Harlem milkman and was the bat-wielding enforcer for the loan-sharking operation run out of a Brooklyn bar owned by Rudy's uncle.
Though Rudy cited Harold throughout his public life as his model (without revealing any of his history), he and five Rudy uncles found ways to avoid service in World War II. Harold, whose robbery conviction was in the name of an alias, made sure the draft board knew he was a felon. On the other hand, Obama's grandfather and uncle served. His uncle helped liberate Buchenwald, which apparently affected him so deeply he stayed in the family attic for six months when he returned home.



Exported.; Handout A Department of Correction receiving blotter from Sing Sing prison shows the name of Harold Giuliani (aka Joseph Starrett), Rudy's father.
Rudy also said Obama is "more of a critic than he is a supporter of America," an odd admonition coming from a security salesman who told a Tijuana audience of consulting clients in October: "America needs to stop lecturing other countries and start working on how to stop drug use in its citizens," shifting the onus for the Mexican drug trade onto us. He's a consultant in Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, the very countries where right-wing governments, traffickers and/or gangs are driving children and teenagers across the U.S. border.
DE BLASIO, DNC CHAIR SLAM GIULIANI'S COMMENTS

Exported.; MARK LENNIHAN/AP Actress Donna Hanover is the mother of Giuliani's two children. Enlarge
Giuliani and his third wife, Judith Giuliani, attend the 'Saturday Night Live' 40th Anniversary Celebration on Sunday at Rockefeller Plaza. D Dipasupil/FilmMagic Giuliani and his third wife, Judith Giuliani, attend the 'Saturday Night Live' 40th Anniversary Celebration on Sunday at Rockefeller Plaza. Enlarge
He was a consultant for the government of Qatar, the country his friend and FBI director Louis Freeh accused of hiding 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed before the attack. That's the ultimate triumph of money over memory, since he's still talking, as recently as a week ago, about the 10 friends and 343 firefighters he lost on 9/11.
While Giuliani finds Obama's rhetoric insufficiently pro-American, his 2012 RNC speech was filled with catchphrases like Obama's "a complete and absolute failure," and he just branded the President "a moron" in his Arizona invocation of Neville Chamberlain at Munich, all of it presumably a new form of nationalist celebration. In 2012, Rudy even blasted Obama, without a glance in the mirror, for "attempting to exploit" the killing of Osama Bin Laden, calling it "disgusting."
Rudy contends that his not-like-us Obama insights have nothing to do with race, adding in day-after doubling down that the President "was taught to be a critic of America," while pointing out that his mother and grandparents were white. There are few in New York now, after 12 years of Mike Bloomberg and a year of Bill de Blasio, who doubt that Rudy was a conscious, almost energetic, polarizer. He never acknowledged his dark side then and he's not about to now.
Barrett is author of "Rudy: An Investigative Biography."

 
Bookshelf
Photo
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who started fighting for socialist and liberal causes as a teenager. Credit Tamiment Library, New York University
 

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