Tuesday, February 20, 2007


The M.C John McDonagh

Myself with Malachy McCourt

Dave Cline founding member of Vietnam Vets Against The War and Veterans for Peace

Randy Credico Political activist and Comedian

Cindy Sheehan standing with the Vets

In front of a packed house at Rocky Sullivans, Iraq Veterans Against the War held a fund-raising Night of Comedy hosted by political satirist and Radio Free Eireann host John McDonagh. McDonagh started the entertainment by showing a spoof video of Nancy and Ronald Regan, discussing a "Say Yes to Drugs" White House initiative. Despite the serious tone of the evening, McDonagh’s acerbic wit and keen sense of irony had the audience laughing out loud as he commented on the willingness of the Bush administration to send other people’s children to die while protecting their own, and showed a tape of his interview on Fox television, discussing the yellow taxi "lights on the White House" protest during the Republican Convention in New York, and offering a free ride to any patriotic republicans who were willing to fight for freedom in Iraq.

McDonagh then introduced Jose Vasquez, President of the New York City Chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Vasquez discussed his own experiences serving during the war, and his commitment to making sure that the soldiers are returned home, and given the support they deserve. Several other Iraq veterans spoke eloquently of the horrors that they experienced while serving in Iraq, and their commitment to bringing home the troops.

Riham Bara Gouti then read from a blog written by a woman living in Iraq. Her daily descriptions of the suffering of the Iraqi people provided a moving counter-argument to the Bush Administration claim that the people of Iraq have benefitted from the invasion. Dave Klein, founder of Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace spoke of the parallels between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War, and the need to bring home the soldiers.

Shifting back to entertainment, comic and activist Randy Credico again had the crowd laughing as he imitated presidents from Nixon to Bush II, and their ridiculous justifications for the unjustified wars they each waged during their reigns. In one of the evening’s highlights, Credico welcomed Cindy Sheehan by imitating president Bush bemoaning the fact that he could not get the woman off of his farm.

Malachy McCourt then introduced Cindy Sheehan by reminiscing about seeing a picture in the New York Times of the casket containing Casey Sheehan being brought back to the United States. McCourt was so moved that he decided to try to Casey’s family by calling Sheehan’s listed in the phone book. His first call was answered by Cindy Sheehan, and after offering his condolences, began a lasting friendship.

Cindy Sheehan, surrounded by veterans of the Iraq war, spoke of the horror felt by all parents who have lost children as a result of this meaningless war. She criticized the politicians, especially Hilary Clinton, who gave lip service to a desire to the end war, while voting to continue to support the war by claiming that the memories of those who were lost had to be served by "seeing it through." Sheehan told the audience that she did not want one more person to die in her son’s name - that it would be the ultimate disgrace to his memory.

The evening concluded with music by rapper Sun of Nun and Senachi

Some of the viedio can seen on http://martiningram.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cupid has struck Times Square and the rest of New York
for St. Valentine's Day

If a woman gets a ring from this ad she thinks "he loves me." When a guy looks at this ad, he thinks of working 7 days a week with over time in order to pay for the ring.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


If your coming to town do not drink or park near this fine establishment.

After Police Search, Hells Angels Brace for Fight

Richard West of the Hells Angels was arrested Monday in a police raid on the club’s building after a woman was found beaten at its door. He was released uncharged.

Published: February 1, 2007

By the time a search warrant was issued late Monday, dozens of heavily armed police officers had spent hours in the biting cold outside a fortresslike East Village tenement that has served for decades as the New York headquarters of the Hells Angels. As sharpshooters looked on from rooftops and a police helicopter circled overhead, the standoff lasted all afternoon.

Officers cordoned off a block of East Third Street in Manhattan on Monday during a search of the Hells Angels headquarters.

Officers were first dispatched to the building Monday morning, after the brutal beating of a woman who was found at its front door on Sunday night. They were especially cautious before entering because past confrontations with the motorcycle club have proved both embarrassing and expensive for the city.

Since 1999, the city has paid more than $800,000 to settle two lawsuits by the Hells Angels claiming that the police illegally raided their headquarters. And after Monday’s police action, the Hells Angels promised to be back in court after complaining about excessive force and what they said was the illegal detention of one of their members by the police.

Perhaps the biggest victory for the local Hells Angels came in the early 1990s, when they fended off a long effort by the city to seize their building because the police said it was being used for drug deals. In 1994, a Federal District Court jury in Manhattan found that the city had failed to make its case, and the Angels have remained in place at 77 East Third Street, their Harleys parked in rows outside.

“These men are remarkably sophisticated consumers of legal talent,” said Ronald L. Kuby, one of several lawyers who have represented the club over the years. Whatever the outcome of the group’s latest dispute with the police, the search has again highlighted an unlikely and sometimes volatile relationship between the secretive, mostly middle-aged Angels and their East Village neighbors.

The club owns the building and has occupied it since 1969.

“They feel like they own the block, and everybody else is just sort of here,” said one resident of the block, between First and Second Avenues, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of a violent reprisal. “They can be nice, but just don’t cross them.”

The police said the assault on Sunday left the woman, who is 52, in a coma. After an argument in a nearby bar, witnesses said, the woman attempted to push her way into the clubhouse, and shouted insults from the sidewalk before she was beaten.

When the first officers arrived on Monday morning to investigate, the Angels refused to let them inside, the police said.

“Based on the seriousness of the victim’s injury, the history of the location and the refusal of those present to cooperate with the police, local commanders used appropriate resources to complete the initial investigation and entry,” said Chief Michael Collins, a police spokesman. Over the course of the day, a police canine unit, hostage negotiators and an armored police vehicle arrived at the scene, and a full block of Third Street was closed off.

The next day, in a rare public appearance outside the clubhouse, several club members and Mr. Kuby held a news conference to condemn the police tactics and deny any involvement in the beating.

“We don’t bully people” or beat up women, said one member, Bartlet Dowling. “You treat us with respect, and you get respect back.”

The officers who conducted the search on Monday took one club member, Richard West, into custody, but he was released hours later without being charged. There have been no other arrests in the case. Mr. Kuby said Mr. West planned to file suit in federal court charging the police with false arrest.

He said the club might also sue over the search itself if it finds that the warrant issued Monday was obtained by the police using misleading information. Mr. Kuby said yesterday that he had requested but had not yet received documents that had been submitted in application for the warrant.

The clubhouse is owned by the Hells Angels through the Church of Angels, a nonprofit religious organization formed by the club under state law. From the outside, the building is an anomaly on a block where several others have been transformed from decaying rentals to stylish condominiums, and where recent developments include a sleek New York Law School residence next door. The building’s interior is a mystery since almost no one besides club members are admitted.

The clubhouse is easily distinguished by two signs that read “Hells Angels New York City,” security cameras aimed at the sidewalk, and something that resembles an official city parking sign that reads, “No Parking Except Authorized Hells Angels.”

Some neighbors point out that there is one advantage to having a Hells Angels clubhouse nearby: Their reputation helps keep crime to a minimum. Instead of intimidating residents, they say, the Angels normally keep to themselves.

But one resident recalled making the mistake recently of parking a small motorcycle in a space that the club members had designated as their own. To make matters worse, the resident argued when a club member explained the rules.

A few days later, two Angels “approached me on the street,” said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “They weren’t really threatening, but I think that’s because I said I was sorry, which they thought was cool.”

The club’s relations with the police have been rocky.

The biggest police action was a 1985 raid on the Manhattan clubhouse, resulting in 15 arrests on drug trafficking and racketeering charges. That provided evidence used by the city in its unsuccessful attempt to seize the building under a federal law that enables the government to take possession of real estate, cars or other property used for drug dealing.

The more recent lawsuits by the Angels against the city both charged that the police had searched the clubhouse illegally, once in 1999 with a warrant that authorized officers to search only the first floor, and again in 2000 with no warrant.

The damages paid by the city, which were provided by Mr. Kuby and confirmed by the office of the corporation counsel, included $565,000 for the 1999 search and $247,000 for the one in 2000.