Harvard Educated, Berkeley Law Grad Disco Queen Hounded

The David Karnes (not the one who helped find two cops amid the wreckage of 9/11 at ground zero) who wrote this heartbreaking op/ed in the Los Angeles Times is the gay disco queen Millie behind discosound.com.

Millie at Her First Miami White Party 2000

Millie with Disco Saves San Francisco Gay Pride 2000

Millie & Friends New York City December 31,1999

Karnes wrote in the Times March 15:

On March 6, as one investigator later put it, I was the "unluckiest person in the world." That morning, someone bombed the military recruiting station in New York’s Times Square, and 3,000 miles away, the fallout landed on me.

A 64-page pamphlet and a 20-page memo I wrote to Capitol Hill Democrats had reached lawmakers the very day the bomb went off. Knowing the odds against anyone actually reading what I sent, I had included a photograph to grab their attention. It shows me in a victory pose in front of that Times Square recruiting station’s neon flag, with the caption "We Did It!" To the authorities, it was a smoking gun. My explanation is only found at the end of the memo: "I have enclosed the Holiday card I sent out to family and friends after the 2006 election. I hope and fully expect to have reason to send out an equally jubilant card after this November’s results."

On arriving home that evening, I was met by FBI agents, dogs and a bomb squad. After consenting to thorough questioning and a search of my home, I was greatly relieved to learn the next morning that the FBI publicly cleared me of any connection to the bombing.

As it turned out, my relief was a little premature. I began surfing the Internet and realized just how stridently fingers had pointed in my direction. The tabloid headlines left little room for doubt: "Letters Claim Responsibility for Times Square Blast" (the New York Post); " ‘We Did It’ Taunts Sicko’s Manifesto" (the New York Daily News).

Also striking was how the media, without any firsthand information, had adopted stock descriptions of both me and my writings: an "antiwar activist" (Fox News and USA Today); an "anarchist manifesto" (cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com); "a political manifesto railing against the Iraq war" (CBS News); and an "anti-Iraq war screed" (michellemalkin.com).

In fact, my "activism" rarely leaves my keyboard, and I have never opposed any U.S. military action before 2003. As for Iraq, it is only one of many topics addressed in my congressional mailings, and my message was that "there is no easy way out" and that instead of debating "withdrawal," Democrats should offer "compelling and alternative" positions on "unilateralist foreign policy, preemptive war, effective counter-terrorism [and] genuine ‘pro-Israel’ policies."

The only ones to get it right were the law enforcement personnel who read what I actually wrote. One investigator told me (correctly) that many of my views sounded "conservative," and New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly fairly characterized the mailings as "innocuous": "It’s really advice to the Democratic Party as to how to win the 2008 election."

I hoped my clearance by the FBI would keep me out of the spotlight, but the focus simply shifted to what one official described as an "incredibly unbelievable coincidence." New York Democratic Rep. Gary Ackerman calculated the odds at "a million-to-one times a million-to-one."

Given those odds, much of the right-wing blogosphere insisted that Democrats, the congressional "antiwar caucus," the post office or the FBI must be engaged in a cover-up: "I do not believe in ‘incredibly unbelievable coincidence[s]" (freerepublic.com); "I just can’t believe there’s no connection" (littlegreenfootballs.com); "There’s only one way we can know for sure. Waterboard him!" (weeklystandard.com)

Then my name surfaced, and I became, as one friend told me, "the talk of the town," as well as a media stereotype: a 50-year-old, single, gay entertainment lawyer coming home from the gym to the Hollywood Hills.

Reporters next located my 82-year-old mother. She lives alone, and with the television news blaring and the phone ringing, anxiety got the best of her. She tried to defend me as "the most gifted, creative person. … He’s been writing letters since he was 13 years old." She then called me and burst out crying: "I hope I did the right thing."

Karnes writes on discosound.com:

In 1981, a new Republican President, elected with the most reactionary base imaginable, came to power, just as we began facing an Epidemic. It was not a fortuitous combination of events. In the year 2001, a new Republican President, elected with the most reactionary base imaginable, has come to power, just as the evidence is mounting that we are facing a Revival of that Epidemic. I have always felt very secure in my well developed Gay sense of Irony. Yet I am quite sure that I will be at a complete loss to find any elements of Farce if we now make the same mistakes a second time around. Never mind what our very formidable enemies will think. Or do.

I’m not quite sure who is speaking here but it sounds like David Karnes:

“Yes, this awful War. I don’t know if we should disarm Iraq.  Or if we should start policing the Middle East or the whole damn World.  Maybe we should.  All I know is that this whole Administration, the entire GOP, the military crowd, the oil crowd, the Christian Right and all the rest, are completely insane.  And this whole country has suddenly used 9/11 as an excuse to turn power over to the most disgusting fascist forces in America.  I just can’t believe it!  It’s totally1984!  Circuit boys are all on crystal and Middle America is all on mood drugs, everyone’s totally sedated, while the most vicious hateful elements in this society are taking over and hatching their plots to dominate the World.  Everything put out by the so-called “news media” is total propaganda.  I really can’t believe this is happening.  And for me it’s all connected.  I mean, you know the Saint-at-Large Black Party is my Holiest of Holies.  But I don’t see how, with all of these War Drums banging, I can put on a black leather harness and fly 3,000 miles to go dance to some pounding music while my government is bombing yet more countries back to the ‘Stone Age.’ Jesus!  WE are the Stone Age!  Bush is like that big baboon swinging his club at the beginning of Kubrick’s 2001!  What is going on in this country?”

“Are you done?”

“No, I am not!  Why don’t people wake up and see this danger. Right here!  Right now!  Right at home!  This Right Wing is totally out of control.  They are attacking everything –  feminism, environmentalism, civil rights, separation of church and state, fundamental privacy, basic freedoms. Hillary Clinton had it exactly right when she spoke out against the vast right-wing conspiracy.  Well, guess what?  Now they’re running the country!  I just don’t see any hope unless people wake up very quickly.  But even if they do, all the Bush Crowd will need is one more terrorist attack, hell, one every 6 months, just what the doctor ordered, and Americans will just cower, clutch their Bibles and follow George Bush and Karl Rove and all the rest into whatever Hellhole they take us!  It’s just totally horrifying.  I genuinely feel like everything I’ve ever believed in is totally threatened: Humanism. Liberalism.  Pluralism. And suddenly it’s just become so clear that a pack of very rich, powerful reactionary men in Washington and New York pretty much decide and control everything.  I can’t believe that nobody– except the crazy Left, who are completely ineffectual and capable of speaking only to each other – challenges this set-up! Or sees how dangerous it is for the World.  My God!  I can barely even stand to read the paper anymore!  And everyone, including you, is just out shopping or obsessed with some ridiculously fake “reality” program on TV!”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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