150 Days To Go Until the RNC: A Look At What's Ahead
RNCNotWelcome.org has launched a detailed timeline of some of the major Republican National Convention-related events scheduled for this summer. We'll post the timeline as it is currently stands, but click here for updates:
July 26-29 Democratic National Convention meets in Boston, Massachusetts.
Summer-Wide: Democracy Summer. 100 days of democracy in action.
August 20-22: Life After Capitalism Conference. New York, NY
August 23-27: Bushville Tent City and Homeless Encampment
August 25-27: Food Not Bombs World Gathering, NYC
August 27: Critical Mass Bike Ride, NYC
August 29: Republican National Convention is scheduled to begin, Madison Square Garden
August 29: United for Peace & Justice calls for worldwide march
August 30: Poor People's March-sponsored by the Still We Rise Coalition
August 30: The Poor People's Campaign's March For Our Lives- 4PM, United Nations, 45th & 1st Avenue. Sponsored by Kensington Welfare Rights Union.
September 2: Bush scheduled to receive Republican renomination
September 2: United for Peace & Justice Protest called
September 4: RNC ends
New RNC Protest Artwork
Looking for RNC-related posters and artwork? Check out these recent pieces:
The Republicans Are Coming!: jpg
1,000 Groups Apply for Protest Permits During RNC
I find this a bit hard to believe but city officials are claiming that more than 1,000 groups are seeking permits to protest during this summer's Republican National Convention. Yes. You read that right: 1,000 groups. We know this from a Washington Times article that quotes Kevin Sheekey, special adviser to New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, saying: "Over 1,000 groups have filed applications for demonstration permits. Some are large, some are small. And we've got the people to handle this."
Does anyone out there want to help out RNCWatch and head down to City Hall and review these permits? It will be interesting who is seeking permits. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in helping out with this or to help out in general with RNCWatch.
Ex NY Assemblyman: GOP is 'Invading' NYC to Push Radical Agenda
At Thursday night's town hall forum on the Republican National Convention, a clear message was conveyed from the panelists: the GOP is trying to push a radical agenda in our backyard ethat has and will continue to hurt New Yorkers.
Longtime New York Assemblyman Ed Sullivan spoke at the event in place of City Councilman Bill Perkins -- amazingly four of the best known panelists: Janeane Garofalo, Arianna Huffington, Sam Waterston and Perkins were all no-shows -- and gave a concise rundown of what he sees as how the Bush agenda is adversely affecting New Yorkers. According to Sullivan, the Bush administration has:
1. cut section 8 housing
2. imposed term limits on public housing
3. spent tens of billions on Iraq that could be spent on urban development
4. limited funding for the No Child Left Behind Act
5. prevented the Pell Grant for college students from keeping pace with inflation
6. given tax cuts to the wealthy that could have gone to social services
7. cut lead abatement programs
8. passed and continues to support the Patriot Act which has a particularly adverse affect on immigrant communities
9. destroyed the dignity of organized labor in part by outsourcing jobs overseas.
Sullivan said in conclusion, "We are being invaded by a people who have an agenda that attacks us."
Sulllivan announced that Perkins planned to take GOP delegates on tours of the other side of New York that they won't likely see during the convention: the homeless intake center, the public school classroom where students speak eight different foreign languages, the emergency room in a city hospital, etc.
We'll have more on the forum later...
Will Facial Recognition Software Be Used In the New York Subways?
WABC in New York is reporting that the recent train bombings in Madrid have forced security officials to rethink how they are going to prevent a similar attack during either the Republican or Democratic National Convention since both occur above local subway systems. In New York, Madison Square Garden is located above the major subway station Penn Station.
Security experts say the NYPD and Secret Service may have to conduct person-by-person searches of everyone entering Penn Station as well as use facial recognition systems to identify suspicious individuals.
Federal Lawsuit Challenges "Miami Model"
The Miami Activist Defense and National Lawyers Guild filed a lawsuit in federal court today over the mishandling of protesters during the FTAA protests in Miami. The suit [read PDF version] accuses the City of Miami, Mayors Diaz and Penelas, Police Chief Timoney, Homeland Defense Secretary Ridge, US Attorney General Ashcroft and others of violating people's Constitutional rights during last November's FTAA protests and implementing a plan to unlawfully arrest hundreds of people.
The lawsuit charges "Law enforcement coordinated an all out assault on the First Amendment, engaging in widespread political profiling, and swept the streets of anyone viewed as being an anti-FTAA activist, effectively suspending the Fourth Amendment in the city for ten days."
City Rejects Permit To Allow Camping in NYC Parks During RNC Protests
Reuters is reporting: Former members of the Yippies, a counterculture group that clashed with police in riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, lost a bid on Wednesday to set up a camp for protesters during this summer's Republican National Convention in New York, officials said.
Demonstrators predict huge numbers of protesters will descend on New York for the convention. Law enforcement officials are planning unprecedented security.
The former members of the Youth International Party, or Yippies, applied for a permit to allow 20,000 protesters to sleep in Manhattan's East River and Tompkins Square parks to prevent large crowds from illegally camping in midtown Manhattan's Central Park, activist John Penley said.
"When they find 20,000 people camping out in Central Park, we're going to say: 'Look, we tried to do something about this, but you didn't want to work with us and now it's your problem,"' Penley said.
The application for the two campsites was denied because overnight camping is not allowed, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Parks and Recreation said. MORE
Uncivil Liberties: The Case of Camilo Viveiros
The Boston Phoenix this week has an overview titled "Uncivil Liberites:RNC2K protester faces trial in Philly" on the case of Camilo Viveiros who was arrested at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. The article begins:
In a case that may influence the protest rights of all Americans, Providence community activist Camilo Viveiros will metaphorically square off against Miami police chief John Timoney during a trial scheduled to start in Philadelphia on Monday, April 5. Viveiros faces a felony charge of assault for allegedly striking Timoney with a police bicycle during the 2000 Republican National Convention. He denies the charges, saying he’s merely one of hundreds of protesters who have suffered from Timoney’s efforts to silence legal dissent. "The heart of the case," Viveiros says, "is an attempt to spread fear and intimidate social-justice activists." MORE || Friends of Camilo
Bush's Failure To Protect NYC Before & After the 9/11 Attacks
The NYC Indymedia print team has just published a new issue of The Indypendent. It is available online here as a PDF and at spots around New York. While there is no RNC-related coverage per se, there is a brief article on a class action lawsuit by downtown residents against the Environmental Protection Agency for its mishandling of the clean-up after 9/11 and for lying to residents about the health effects. As the Republican National Convention approaches I'd expect the Bush administration's handling of 9/11 both before and after the devastating attacks to reemerge as major stories.
Last night on "60 Minutes" Bush's former counterterroism czar Richard Clarke revealed how little attention the administration paid Al Qaeda before Sept. 11. (In his new book he reveals that the Pentagon's Paul Wolfowitz honestly thought pre-9/11 that Iraq posed a bigger threat; Clarke also said Condi Rice gave the impression when she took office that she didn't even know what Al Qaeda was.) For good coverage on Clarke's charges check out the Center for American Progress, TalkingPointsMemo or the Washington Post. While the Post puts the story on its front page today, the New York Times handed the assigment to the notorious White House apologist Judith Miller and buries her article on page 18.
As the Bush administration's failure in protecting New Yorkers before 9/11 is getting more notice, isn't it time to re-examine what it did after the attacks when it put the lives of thousands in jeopardy by lying about the health risks?
If anyone missed the series of chilling articles detailing how the White House forced the EPA to lie to New Yorkers about the health and environmental effects of the collapse of the towers please take the time to read them: "EPA Misled Public on 9/11 Pollution" (Newsday) and "It's Public Be Damned At the EPA" (N.Y.Daily News).
Here's how Democracy Now! reported the story last summer on Aug. 26:
- An Environmental Protection Agency report released Friday reveals that the National Security Council pressured EPA officials to downplay the health hazards caused by the collapse of the World Trade Center.
The public was lied to about the extensive presence of asbestos from the two buildings, toxic dioxins floating in the downtown air, and increased amounts of lead found in the atmosphere. The report reveals the trail of public misinformation began in the White House.
For example, one statement from the initial draft revealed that asbestos levels in some areas were three times higher than national standards. This was changed to say "slightly above the 1 percent trigger for defining asbestos material."
In another case, despite warnings by EPA scientists, a sentence was added to a Sept. 16 news release concluding "Our tests show that it is safe for New Yorkers to go back to work in New York's financial district."
And a statement which raised concerns about "sensitive populations" such as asthma patients, the elderly and people with underlying respiratory diseases was deleted.
Security Force During RNC Likely Twice As Big as 2000 RNC in Philly
The Trenton Times interviews NJ Republican David Norcross who chairs the RNC Arrangements Committee. Norcross predicts "the security forces in New York will be twice as large as those used in Philadelphia for the 2000 convention." Norcross also says the Secret Service, NYPD and the GOP convention committee have been meeting at least once a month and plan to come up with a master security plan by May 1.
Update: According to a report on the Coast Guard site, these planning meetings began on January 31, 2003 and were hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Participants include the Secret Service, FBI, FEMA, Coast Guard, the New York State Emergency Management Office, the New York City Emergency Management Office, NYPD, NYFD and officials from Madison Square Garden. Also playing a role has been the Environmental Protection Agency On-Scene Coordinators team which respond to environmental emergencies.