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October 06, 2005


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Patrick J. Mullins

Today was unbelievable. I saw that Bloomberg was going to say something from NYT online, so I watched Fox for the first time in a few years (that's true in my case.) A terrorism specialist named Aviv was actually telling some real things about garbage bags all left on Williamsburg, Brooklyn subway platforms and how it worried him that they were just being left there, and he started talking like a human being, saying things about 'how is the public supposed to react to this kind of news item?' I couldn't believe he actually got that one through, and Ernie Anastos obviously was signaled to cut him off, that didn't work with the scare stuff--so they didn't even bother with a segue, just cut abruptly to some shit story about a little girl, some 'bundle of joy' type story. Before that, the girl with Anastos, coarse and interruptive, kept repeating Bloomberg's 'If you see something, say something,' they were all into this fervour.

As the story has then been put in the NYT where they seem to be trying to decipher even how to report it, there's always this peculiar 'specific but noncredible' thing that someone named Knocke from Homeland Security is saying; and that 'noncredible' keeps getting repeated. Other 'unnamed sources' say that the target is 'specific in terms of time, place' and that it's a bomb in a briefcase or stroller. Some said it was for 'today or tomorrow,' others toward 'mid-month.' Then how did they do the news conference about how you're going to get searched and maybe you should take the subway, but it's up to you. The gist of the Bloomberg, Kelly, and Mershon press conference seemed to be that we won't tell you which station is the bombing target. Mershon (of FBI) said 'well, you're not going to like this, but it's classified.' So they told us nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Tonight's (tomorrow's) NYT lead editorial about Bush's speech is excellent--he's crazier than ever, truly crazy, I could already tell just from the reports of the speech, and in the editorial they don't mind going ahead and saying 'terrifying'. So that what you're saying about Newsweek is related to this kind of thing in which they can no longer not report the true things behind the lies, which we first saw happening when the Convention Center couldn't be hidden from anyone but those who said they couldn't watch TV or something, the FEMA limpwrists. So why would they give Knocke's name as saying he 'didn't give it much credibility'. Aren't those kinds of things all supposed to be anonymous sources?

I did notice the increased police presence yesterday at 53rd and 3rd before I knew about the threats today. One of those steep escalators had policeman coming down one, on the other side of me going up one; one of them had a rifle casually held, but as I passed it it was pointing at me. I'm not going to say I felt any fear because I didn't, but it did register as being a little too overt even though I knew it had nothing to do with me, since it just stayed in the same position before and after me. I was amused at how I had to go into 'I'm a quiet friend of the police' so I wouldn't have to have my dentistry idyll spoiled.

They are definitely scaring New York on purpose because of Katrina and the other things you mentioned (I wondered the other day how long it would be till they got back to us), especially exciting is that Karl Rove has not been guaranteed that he'll get no indictment. But things really felt a little more German today, in the old sense, more from the speech than from the police.

The worst problem is that, whatever their motives, it is scary anyway. There really might be a threat that is serious, and there might be any number of corrupt elements accompanying or forming this real threat. However, Bloomberg made sure to add that there was not going to be any day when he would say the threat is 'over now.' There's no point in not having a lot of bottled water in the house, a lot of canned food, and some fairly serious cash (I'm serious about this. You have to have it. Any evacuation of New York is supposed to not be possible, so one decides if one can go outside yet or not in these nightmares. One can stay inside, take pills and drink in case one decides one needs to kill oneself. I never drink at home, but I've even stocked up on liquor in case I needed to get drunk if I got too terrified.) Tonight I felt paralyzed for awhile, but nothing extreme. Then I went out, and not a single person was paying any attention to this, or even talking about it passing by in conversation.

They also went on about the color codes again, which I thought they weren't supposed to keep using. I hadn't heard Orange Alert since summer, 2004, when they scared us with info about bombing several Midtown buildings, including Citicorp, and made sure they only told us the next day that the info was 2 years old, so most people wouldn't notice it. At the Bloomberg press conference they didn't say that the info was 'noncredible.' Bloomberg just said take the subway or not, but I will and I'd let my daughters take it.Bloomberg also said that New York had been on Orange Alert since 9/11, but I think Ashcroft made an enormous move into the 2nd term when, barely 10 days after Bush got the reelection, he said the high alerts 'were now no longer needed.' As I recall, hardly anything was said about why the danger of terrorists had dissipated immediately following the election. The subway searches after the London bombing were quickly no longer noticeable, but this time they want to ratchet up things some more.

Patrick J. Mullins

Oh yes, Bloomberg was supposed to do a debate tonight with Ferrer at the Apollo in Harlem, so this helped get him out of that, as Joyce Purnick pointed out. He said he had some Ramadan things tonight. Also, that 'no ethnic groups' were specified, they wouldn't talk about the Iraq arrests, etc. He said Rosh Hashanah was over and Yom Kippur wasn't till some time next week, which was in answer to 'is it to do Jewish killing?' but the answer was no answer, just a reminder of when the High Holy Days were and are. Who could resist all this flatness?


What can we do here? I, too, have thought before of the "cash on hand" problem (no chance -- even if I went out with it, somebody'd have it off me in a flash), so I, too, plan to stock up on the wine and pills.

But I still ride the subway; I can do no other. If you are even moderately interested in others, how can you not? (Or buses, which are equally as interesting.)

Tonight as always I thought of Karina's scene in A Band of Outsiders, when she recites Aragon's Les Poetes on the Metro:

"What are they doing to you, men and women
You tender stones worn down too soon
Your appearances broken
My heart goes out at the sight of you
Things are what they are..."

And you probably remember the rest.

So...I wish I knew, sometimes, what they are doing to us (and why).

I've also noticed over the last few days a noticeable increase in the number of PA announcements while in moving trains. It's become quite hard to read -- every twenty or thirty seconds some new message is blasted at us. This started sometime late last week, I'd guess. Things are amping up.

Patrick J. Mullins

Orenda--I'll keep riding the subways and buses too, although I like to walk as much as possible anyway.

Now. This is slightly embarassing, but there are yogic things one can do to get around the cash theft problem if one also then really dresses down and looks poor (this is the one time it is necessary to not even imitate the blue collar workers, but almost look like you live on the street). I have only one of those yogic places, but I have used it before for cash by placing $200 rolled up tightly, placed then in plastic and applying lubricant, when I was under threat of robbery in Los Angeles. It is NOT comfortable, but it worked. Of course, that's not guaranteed either, but would require an entire street disrobing.

Of course, one just hides a couple of credit cards as best one can, people are less likely to want them anyway; and they also might be less usable.

Other chances for escape if it comes to that for me will include walking across one of the bridges and trying to get a motel where they'll probably price gouge. Then proceeding to places where buses out of the city are running if I can get to them. All this assumes that any supposed attack won't be nuclear, and of course we suppose it would be.

So the answer is mostly 'we can do nothing.' I'm glad you mentioned wine, because I don't think vodka and a variety of liqueurs is practical. So I think I'll start with 4 bottles of inexpensive red today that I wouldn't really want at other times (in the canned food area, I buy awful brands of canned food that I know I can't stomach the rest of the time.) I'll buy these on my way to Janovic Plaza to get paint for my bathroom floor. Who could ever have believed we'd really live existentialism with such ease?

However, in the slight likelihood one could get out and on foot, the practical matter of our orifices has to be considered if you hadn't already. I just didn't want you to let that small matter make the difference in suicide or not.

Of course, even if we did get out, there would be an impossible sense of nothing to live for


Watching the wheels come off this disaster is fascinating, but horrifying. Jouissance, anyone?


"Oh yes, Bloomberg was supposed to do a debate tonight with Ferrer at the Apollo in Harlem, so this helped get him out of that, as Joyce Purnick pointed out..."

....rather than putting the blame for this scare on the shoulders of the Bush Adminstration, I'd give more credit to Pat's Bloomberg reference. The mayor has been getting a lot of flak for skipping this debate. According to this report, Bush is trying to distance himself from the recent hype:


...there was no one in Grand Central this morning, except for commuters and a few tourists ogling the Lamborginis. If you notice, most of the National Guards men are either midgets or over-weight...Only when there is a heightened security alert do you rarely see fit guardsmen carrying assualt rifles...

Patrick J. Mullins

Hardly convincing, Rodkong, really not even worth replying to, just doing it for the record. Of course Bush is trying to 'distance himself' from anything remotely concerned with being responsible--for anything.

His repulsive and putrescent speech yesterday was far more important than the subway scare. New Yorkers are used to these, and anyway, every one of them has come down from the Bushies, including the one that didn't--the August, 2001, one piece of intelligence that Condi and Bushie ignored so that Bush could become your hero.

Patrick J. Mullins

This is good from LA Times:


Patrick J. Mullins

Above link may not work. Just go t LAtimes.com and here's the title of the story, better than what I found in NYT so far:

'New Yorkers Baffled Over Differing Stances on Terrorist Threat'

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