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July 10, 2006

Memo to the NYT: We're Not Buying It

I went to this evening's rally protesting the New York Times and its publishing of a legal secret government program designed to track the movements of terrorists in order to capture them. It happened across the street from the Times' office at 229 West 43rd Street. As soon as I left work, I walked the ten blocks from my office to the rally location. The following are my observations and photos I took. Believe me, it's not easy to take notes and photos while clutching your own protest sign!

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I arrived around 5:00, and saw a decent-sized crowd had already gathered. I got a great spot right up front.

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A few counter-protesters were across the street, directly in front of the Times' office.

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Check out some of the creative signs made by anti-NYT folks!

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A few NYT employees peered out of the windows to see what the excitement was all about. One even took video footage!

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This young girl held out her sign and kept shouting, "Whose side are you on?" Good for her!

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CaucusForAmerica.com got the rally moving with the Pledge of Allegiance.

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As you can see, the counter-protester side began to fill up, but mostly with curious bystanders. Some of those folks were actually anti-NYT people who dared to mingle with those on the Dark side...

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Some people were handing out these t-shirts free of charge (I don't know which group sponsored them). I didn't grab one, as my photos suffice as a souvenier. Aren't they great?

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These guys didn't have much company...nor did they have a microphone or megaphone at their disposal; something which must have frustrated them to no end. It didn't stop them from shouting, though! Here are some of the things they kept repeating: "Why aren't you fighting?" "Get a job, hippies! Get a haircut, hippies!" (My guess: the rally was likely set for 5 so that working stiffs like me could attend. Hippies my Aunt Fanny!) "You're against freedom of the press!" "God doesn't like you. Jesus hates you!" (Ah, such tolerance!)

Unfortunately, there were some obnoxious things being said on our side of the street. Some of the less-than-stellar quotes I managed to jot down include, "You're fascists!" "Nazis!" "Hey you in the white shirt...you're ugly!" Not exactly awe-inspiring, thoughtful debate.

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The guy in orange thought he could drown out the anti-NYT crowd by constantly blowing a whistle. Obnoxious as it was, it was a pitiful attempt against our greater numbers and microphone and megaphones.

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Rabbi Aryeh Spero of CaucusForAmerica.com spoke several times while I was there. Here are a few quotes: "All the treason that's fit to print!" "This is not Bush's war, it's America's war!" "They [NYT staffers] identify more with Parisians than with people in Peoria [Illinois]." "We're not afraid of the power of the New York Times!"

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New York's finest keep the peace. Across the way, the woman with the bike is getting ready to join the whistler in orange with her own whistle in an attempt to drown us out.

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Osama bin Ladin shills for the Times.

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I met up with Pamela of Atlas Shrugs.

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Richard Poe of Newsmax.com went over the history of the name of Times Square (just down the street), and how 100 years ago its name was changed from Longacre Square to Times Square in "honor" of the paper. He then said, "May I humbly suggest Giuliani Square?" A chant then went up.

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Rafique Iscandar of the American Coptic Union said, "We all condemn the New York Times for leaking confidential information...This will only help the terrorists." For those who don't know, Copts are an Egyptian Christian sect often persecuted by Muslims.

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Deborah Burlingame, sister of 9/11 American Airlines Flight 77 pilot Charles Burlingame, was one of the speakers. I had difficulty in hearing her, but managed to jot down the following: "Free speech is a precious thing...given to the people." "This is not about journalism...this is about taking a stand." She also endorsed a boycott of Verizon and other New York Times advertisers.

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I decided to leave around 6:15 in order to make my train without having to run for it (the rally was scheduled to go until 8). Here are two photos of the crowd as I left: the anti-NYT folks and the counter protesters. Hmmm, guess whose cause was more popular?

All in all, it was a great experience. My mother worried that I'd get arrested, and my husband said he wouldn't bail me out if I did! But it was orderly and relatively calm. The NYPD did a great job, and while I was there, no one seemed inclined to breach the peace (other than engaging in permit-sanctioned shouting). Some women behind me questioned why the counter-protesters wouldn't stay quiet while scheduled speeches went on. Answer: to drown out a point of view they didn't want heard.

Those who believe the New York Times committed treason were part of a diverse crowd...with varied ages, ethnicities, and a pretty fair balance of men and women. The counter-protesters all looked fairly similar...mostly white men, likely representing white liberals with an overactive guilt complex.

The claim that we are against freedom of the press couldn't have been more wrong. Freedom of the press carries with it an inherent responsibility to use common sense in reporting -- something the New York Times failed to uphold. We, the public, have every right to call them on it, especially when stories published in our "interest" actually do more to threaten our safety than keep us informed. When a newspaper uses its considerable power and influence in order to defame a sitting president and endanger a society's safety in the name of the public's "right to know," it deserves both our contempt and censure.

Take that and print it.

Others blogging: Atlas Shrugs, Fighting the Left

Show Comments

Posted by Pam Meister at 10:05 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0) | MSM

What I didn't understand about the protest, which I caught a little bit of, was why nobody was talking about going after the actual leakers, unelected officials of all stripes from a variety of agencies/departments, in addition to the New York Slimes.

Posted by: emil at July 10, 2006 10:37 PM

Great post, Pam. I linked it up at my place

Posted by: THIRDWAVEDAVE at July 10, 2006 10:44 PM

Where can I get one of those T-shirts????
The New YorkTimes needs to pay,and the leakers need to be weeded out!!!!! wish I could've been there

P.S.Pamela from Atlas shrugs! Whew!!!!

380th A.E.W. C.E.O.S. desert beef Hooah !

Posted by: phillip at July 10, 2006 10:58 PM

Great stuff, I linked too.

I believe that's a New York City flag in front of the Times bldg, but the red, white, and blue one looks like it could be the French tricolor.

Posted by: John Ruberry at July 10, 2006 11:06 PM

Good reporting.

The Osama bin Ladin guy picture is worth a thousand words.

Posted by: Ledger1 at July 11, 2006 01:29 AM

I was there too, Chris and I thought it was great. Your coverage of it is spot on. The professional moonbats on the other side of the street were inconsequential compared to our numbers! The Rabbi was a fantastic speaker who really kept the crowd energized!

Posted by: Scott at July 11, 2006 07:08 AM

How silly was that protest, despite being hyped by dozens of right-wing blogs there were way under 100 people there. Bear in mind this is the same city that had tens of thousands for several ant-war protests. At least it was not as bad as the one in Washington which about a dozen. There were more people last month protesting the closing of our local deli!

Posted by: RealityCheck at July 11, 2006 08:01 AM

Thanks for taking the time to attend and post your notes. Wish I could have been there.

Posted by: AZVicki at July 11, 2006 08:41 AM

At it's peak, which these pictures do not really show, there were close to 200 people at the protest. Considering that NYC is an absolute bastion of liberalism, I would consider this turnout pretty impressive!

Posted by: Scott at July 11, 2006 10:21 AM

GREAT piece, Pam! Your NYC protest looks a lot more fun than ours in DC.

Did you link at LLP?

Posted by: Aaron Matthew Arnwine at July 11, 2006 11:43 AM

The flag that looks like the French flag is the New York City flag.

Free Republic was one of the two co-sponsors of the event. That was Raquel Walker of Free Republic leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

I think there were 300 total, including all the people who came and went at various times.

Posted by: fire ant at July 11, 2006 12:32 PM

"some people were handing out these t-shirts free of charge"

I'd be willing to buy one. Does anybody know who produced them and where to contact them?

Posted by: pst314 at July 11, 2006 12:46 PM

Something wrong with your tackbacks, Pam. I've linked to this, though.


Posted by: gaius at July 11, 2006 03:01 PM

A bunch of dirty hippies screaming in the street. Hilarious!

Posted by: db at July 11, 2006 03:44 PM

You look like another of those Rev. Phelps funeral protests. And you sound just about as wacky too. Keep it up. You'e great representatives of the lunatic rightwing.

Posted by: Ed at July 11, 2006 04:12 PM

Here's what I don't understand.The NYT and the administration have several weeks of discussions where the administration had chances to explain why the story should not be written. But the NYT editors and their lawyers (and you can be certain each side came with attorneys) were underwhelmed by the administration's case.
Either the NYT was unconvinced by government assertions that printing the story would violate any law or (as I suspect) the government's attorneys,having graduated in the bottom 25% of their class,made such a poor case that the bloggers covered the ground better than they did.
Either way,you wasted your time.But that is your right as a citizen.Aren't you glad you can?

Posted by: TJM at July 11, 2006 05:08 PM

How foolish. No one was in any way threatened or hurt by what the Times reported. It was common knowledge the government was using financial records to track down terrorists. The "treason" was performed by Bush administration leakers. And the magic marker brigade of demonstrators has made itself a laughingstock. Treason is a damned serious word. You'd be wise to pick your battles more carefully. The NYT and the conservatrive Wall Street Journal and many other newspapers ran with this story. It's legitimate journalism and we are all better off for it.

Posted by: richard at July 11, 2006 10:00 PM

"Treason" IS the word:

Treason: The betrayal of one's own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies.

Article III, Section 3, of the federal Constitution sets forth the definition of treason in the United States. Any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them aid and comfort has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information. If a subversive act has any tendency to weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies, aid and comfort has been given.

The Treason Clause applies only to disloyal acts committed during times of war. Acts of disloyalty during peacetime are not considered treasonous under the Constitution. Nor do acts of espionage committed on behalf of an ally constitute treason. For example, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of espionage in 1951 for helping the Soviet Union steal atomic secrets from the United States during World War II. The Rosenbergs were not tried for treason because the United States and the Soviet Union were allies during World War II.

Under Article III a person can levy war against the United States without the use of arms, weapons, or military equipment. Persons who play only a peripheral role in a conspiracy to levy war are still considered traitors under the Constitution if an armed rebellion against the United States results. After the Civil War, for example, all Confederate soldiers were vulnerable to charges of treason, regardless of their role in the secession or insurrection of the Southern states. No treason charges were filed against these soldiers, however, because President Andrew Johnson issued a universal amnesty.

The crime of treason requires a traitorous intent. If a person unwittingly or unintentionally gives aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States during wartime, treason has not occurred. Similarly, a person who pursues a course of action that is intended to benefit the United States but mistakenly helps an enemy is not guilty of treason. Inadvertent disloyalty is never punishable as treason, no matter how much damage the United States suffers.

As in any other criminal trial in the United States, a defendant charged with treason is presumed innocent until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Treason may be proved by a voluntary confession in open court or by evidence that the defendant committed an overt act of treason. Each overt act must be witnessed by at least two people, or a conviction for treason will not stand. By requiring this type of direct evidence, the Constitution minimizes the danger of convicting an innocent person and forestalls the possibility of partisan witch-hunts waged by a single adversary.

Unexpressed seditious thoughts do not constitute treason, even if those thoughts contemplate a bloody revolution or coup. Nor does the public expression of subversive opinions, including vehement criticism of the government and its policies, constitute treason. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of all Americans to advocate the violent overthrow of their government unless such advocacy is directed toward inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to produce it (Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 89 S. Ct. 1827, 23 L. Ed. 2d 430 [1969]). On the other hand, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the distribution of leaflets protesting the draft during World War I was not constitutionally protected speech (Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47, 39 S. Ct. 247, 63 L. Ed. 470 [1919]).

Because treason involves the betrayal of allegiance to the United States, a person need not be a U.S. citizen to commit treason under the Constitution. Persons who owe temporary allegiance to the United States can commit treason. Aliens who are domiciliaries of the United States, for example, can commit traitorous acts during the period of their domicile. A subversive act does not need to occur on U.S. soil to be punishable as treason. For example, Mildred Gillars, a U.S. citizen who became known as Axis Sally, was convicted of treason for broadcasting demoralizing propaganda to Allied forces in Europe from a Nazi radio station in Germany during World War II.

Treason is punishable by death. If a death sentence is not imposed, defendants face a minimum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine (18 U.S.C.A. § 2381). A person who is convicted of treason may not hold federal office at any time thereafter.

The English common law required defendants to forfeit all of their property, real and personal, upon conviction for treason. In some cases, the British Crown confiscated the property of immediate family members as well. The common law also precluded convicted traitors from bequeathing their property through a will. Relatives were presumed to be tainted by the blood of the traitor and were not permitted to inherit from him. Article III of the U.S. Constitution outlaws such "corruption of the blood" and limits the penalty of forfeiture to "the life of the person attainted." Under this provision relatives cannot be made to forfeit their property or inheritance for crimes committed by traitorous family members.

The Treason Clause traces its roots back to an English statute enacted during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). This statute prohibited levying war against the king, adhering to his enemies, or contemplating his death. Although this law defined treason to include disloyal and subversive thoughts, it effectively circumscribed the crime as it existed under the common law. During the thirteenth century, the crime of treason encompassed virtually every act contrary to the king's will and became a political tool of the Crown. Building on the tradition begun by Edward III, the Founding Fathers carefully delineated the crime of treason in Article III of the U.S. Constitution, narrowly defining its elements and setting forth stringent evidentiary requirements.

Posted by: Janine at July 12, 2006 10:29 AM

It's always funny to see bitter, right wing losers with nothing better to do with their time than make complete fools of themselves, always beseiged by some phantom 'enemy'.

Yea, sure, the NY Times will be charged with treason.


You guys really take your fake outrage way too seriously.

Posted by: Hugh at July 12, 2006 03:10 PM

Simple question, Jenine: If it's such a blatant act of treason, why hasn't the Times been charged with treason? Eagerly await your reply.

To compare this with broadcasting demoralizing propaganda to US soldiers during wartime is ludicrous, because what the Times reported was, um, the truth.

Posted by: richard at July 13, 2006 08:00 PM

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