Friday, December 29, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
by Peter Margasak on November 7th - 4:06 p.m.
On Saturday the Sun-Times ran a small item about a man who had set himself on fire during rush hour Friday morning near the Ohio Street exit on the Kennedy. His identity has still not been officially determined, but members of the local jazz and improvised music community say they are certain it was Malachi Ritscher, a longtime supporter of the scene. Bruno Johnson, who owns the free-jazz label Okka Disk, received a package yesterday from Ritscher that included a will, keys to his home, and instructions about what should be done with his belongings. Johnson, a former Chicagoan who now lives in Milwaukee, began making calls. Police are still awaiting the results of dental tests, but Johnson says an officer told one of Ritscher's sisters that all evidence pointed to the body being his; his car was found nearby and he hadn't shown up for work since Thursday.
Buried on Ritscher's web site Chicago Rash Audio Potential, a compendium of invaluable show postings, artwork, and photography, are a suicide note and an obituary. Both indicate that he was deeply troubled by the war in Iraq and pinpoint it as a motive for suicide (no method is specified), though there are indications that he may have had other issues as well. "He had a son, from whom he was estranged (at the son's request), and two grandchildren," reads the obit. "He had many acquaintances, but few friends; and wrote his own obituary, because no one else really knew him." Ritscher was a familiar face at antiwar protests, and he was arrested more than once for his involvement, including this time this past May. A note found at the scene of the immolation reportedly read "Thou Shalt Not Kill."
Although Ritscher, who was in his early 50s, had played music off and on over the years, he was best known for his devotion to documenting other people's shows. Several nights a week for at least the last decade he could be found at places like the Empty Bottle, the Velvet Lounge, and the Hungry Brain; by his own count he recorded more than 2,000 concerts. Over the years he invested more money in equipment and as his skills improved, many of his recordings went to be used on commerical releases--by Paul Rutherford, Gold Sparkle Band, Isotope 217, Irene Schweizer, and Ken Vandermark among others. Ritscher was fiercely modest about these pursuits--I once tried to do a piece on him for the Reader but he declined, saying he didn’t want publicity.
Photo by Joeff Davis
Thursday, October 19, 2006
By Tom Engelhardt
Tuesday 17 October 2006
The US-backed special tribunal in Baghdad signalled Monday that it will likely delay a verdict in the first trial of Saddam Hussein to November 5. Why hasn't the mainstream media connected the dots between the Saddam's judgment day and the midterm elections?
Here's how the story was reported pretty much everywhere: "An Iraqi court trying Saddam Hussein for the killing of Shi'ite villagers in the 1980s could deliver a verdict on November 5, officials said, a ruling which could send the ousted leader to the gallows…"
A possible death-sentence for Saddam and his top lieutenants on November 5? Now, shouldn't that raise a few eyebrows somewhere? If you happen to have a calendar close at hand, pull it over and take a quick look. That verdict would then come, curiously enough, just two days before the midterm elections. It's the sort of thing that-you would think-that any reporter with knowledge of the US election cycle (no less of how Karl Rove has worked these last years) would at least note in an article. But no, you can search high and low without finding a reference to this in the mainstream media.
I must admit I hadn't thought about this myself until a friend forwarded me "No Comment," the e-mail newsletter that Scott Horton sends out from time to time. ("It's intended as ironic. All I do is comment.") Horton, who likes to identify himself in his newsletter as an "obscure New York lawyer," is actually an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Law School, as well as chairman of the International Law Committee at the New York City Bar Association. He makes frequent trips to Iraq, working as an attorney "representing arrested local-hire reporters of US media."
Once he had pointed out the timing in his newsletter, I couldn't get it out of my head and, since a Google search and a spin through various mainstream articles on the changed verdict date, brought up only a couple of passing mentions online of its relationship to the US elections, I called Horton directly. Here's what he had to say when I asked whether he thought Karl Rove might have anything to do with this:
"For sure. That November 5 date is designed to show some progress in Iraq. This is the last full news-cycle day in the US before the elections. It'll be Monday. And the American public will see Saddam condemned to death and see it as a positive thing.
"When you look at polling figures," Horton said," there have been three significant spike points. One was the date on which Saddam was captured. The second was the purple fingers election. The third was Zarqawi being killed. Based on those three, it's easy to project that they will get a mild bump out of this.
"After all, almost every newspaper reserves space for Iraq reporting every day. This just assures that they will have a positive news story to feature. I find it amazing not that journalists don't editorialize on this, but that they report the story without even noting that this is right before the midterm elections. That's pretty amazing to me!
"This is not coincidence," he continued. "Nothing in Iraq that's set up this far in advance is coincidental. Look at Michael Gordon's book Cobra II. One of the points he drives home is how everything in the battle for Baghdad was scripted for US media consumption.
"In fact, in my experience, everything that comes out of Baghdad is very carefully prepared for American domestic consumption.
"As for Saddam's trial itself, I've spoken with dozens of lawyers and judges in Iraq and they have a uniformly very negative opinion of this special tribunal. Everybody - pretty consistently across the board, and despite the fact that there's no love lost for Saddam himself-has a high level of irritation about the tribunal. Judges have said to me, ‘I wouldn't serve on that. I wouldn't have anything to do with it. It's a blot on our country.' Their main point of criticism is its lack of independence. There is a team of American lawyers working as special legal advisors out of the US embassy, who drive the whole thing. They have been involved in preparing the case and overseeing it from the beginning. The trial, which is shown on TV, has mild entertainment value for Iraqis, but they refer to it regularly as an American puppet theater."
Still, scheduling the announcement of what will almost certainly be a future execution to give yourself one last shot at a bump in the polls?
Welcome to Bushworld.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
By Keith Olbermann
Tuesday 10 October 2006
Because the Mark Foley story began to break the night of September 28th, exploding the following day, many people may not have noticed a bill passed by the Senate that night.
Our third story on the Countdown tonight, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and what it does to something called "habeas corpus."
And before we reduce the very term "habeas corpus" to something vaguely recalled as sounding kinda like the cornerstone of freedom, or maybe kinda like a character from "Harry Potter," we thought a Countdown Special Investigation was in order.
Congress passed The Military Commissions Act to give Mr. Bush the power to deal effectively with America's enemies - those who seek to harm this country.
And he has been very clear about who that is:
"… for people to leak that program, and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America."
So the president said it was urgent that Congress send him this bill as quickly as possible, not for the politics of next month's elections, but for America.
"The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy."
Because time was of the essence - and to ensure that the 9/11 families would wait no longer - as soon as he got the bill, President Bush whipped out his pen and immediately signed a statement saying he looks forward to signing the actual law … eventually.
He hasn't signed it yet, almost two weeks later, because he has been swamped by a series of campaign swings at which he has made up quotes from unnamed Democratic leaders, and because when he is actually at work, he's been signing so many other important bills, such as: The Credit Rating Agency Reform Act; the Third Higher Education Extension Act; ratification requests for extradition treaties with Malta, Estonia and Latvia; his proclamation of German-American Day; the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Act; and his proclamation of Leif Erikson Day.
Still, getting the Military Commissions Act to the President so he could immediately mull it over for two weeks was so important, some members of Congress didn't even read the bill before voting on it. Thus, has some of its minutiae, escaped scrutiny.
One bit of trivia that caught our eye was the elimination of habeas corpus. which apparently used to be the right of anyone who's tossed in prison, to appear in court and say, "Hey, why am I in prison?"
Why does habeas corpus hate America … and how is it so bad for us?
Mr. Bush says it gets in the way of him doing his job.
[video clip] Bush: " … we cannot be able to tell the American people we're doing our full job unless we have the tools necessary to do so. And this legislation passed in the House yesterday is a part of making sure that we do have the capacity to protect you. Our most solemn job is the security of this country."
It may be solemn …
[video clip] Bush: "I do solemnly swear … "
But is that really his job? In this rarely seen footage, Mr. Bush is clearly heard describing a different job.
[video clip] … to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States..
Countdown has obtained a copy of this "Constitution of the United States."
And sources tell us it was originally snuck through the Constitutional Convention and state ratification in order to establish America's fundamental legal principles.
But this so-called Constitution is frustratingly vague about the right to trial. In fact, there's only one reference to habeas corpus at all. Quote: "The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."
But even Democrats who voted against the Military Commissions Act concede that it doesn't actually suspend habeas corpus.
[video clip] Leahy: The bill before the Senate would not merely suspend the great writ, the great writ of habeas corpus, it would eliminate it permanently.
And there is considerable debate whether the conditions for suspending habeas corpus, rebellion or invasion, have been met.
[video clip] Leahy: conditions for suspending habeas corpus have not been met.
[video clip] Kerry: We're not in a rebellion, nor are we being invaded.
[video clip] Specter: We do not have a rebellion or an invasion.
[video clip] Biden: The United States is neither in a state of rebellion nor invasion.
[video clip] Byrd: We are not in the midst of a rebellion, and there is no invasion.
Countdown has learned that habeas corpus actually predates the "Constitution," meaning it's not just pre-September 11th thinking, it's also pre-July 4th thinking.
In those days, no one imagined that enemy combatants might one day attack Americans on native soil.
In fact, Countdown has obtained a partially redacted copy of a colonial "declaration" indicating that back then, "depriving us of Trial by Jury" was actually considered sufficient cause to start a War of Independence, based on the then-fashionable idea that "liberty" was an unalienable right.
Today, thanks to modern, post-9/11 thinking, those rights are now fully alienable.
The reality is, without habeas corpus, a lot of other rights lose their meaning.
But if you look at the actual Bill of Rights - the first ten amendments to that pesky Constitution - you'll see just how many remain.
Well, ok, Number One's gone.
If you're detained without trial, you lose your freedom of religion, speech, the press and assembly. And you can't petition the government for anything.
Number Two? While you're in prison, your right to keep and bear arms just may be infringed upon.
Even if you're in the NRA.
No forced sleepovers by soldiers at your house. OK. Three is unchanged.
You're definitely not secure against searches and seizures, with or without probable cause - and this isn't even limited to the guards.
Five … Grand juries and due process are obviously out.
Six. So are trials, let alone the right to counsel. Speedy trials? You want it when?
Seven. Hmmmm. I thought we covered "trials" and "juries" earlier.
Eight - So bail's kind of a moot point …
Nine: "Other" rights retained by the people. Well, if you can name them during your water-boarding, we'll consider them.
And Ten - powers not delegated to the United States federal government seem to have ended up there, anyway.
So as you can see, even without habeas corpus, at least one tenth of the Bill of Rights, I guess that's the Bill of "Right" now … remains virtually intact.
And we can rest easy knowing we will never, ever have to quarter soldiers in our homes … as long as the Third Amendment still stands strong.
The President can take care of that with a Signing Statement.
see the video here:
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Miguel Cortez is a friendly guy. In talking about the biannual Polvo magazine he publishes, I asked him how he managed the citywide distribution of an independent, alternative arts periodical. He chuckled a little and answered: "by car." It's just a matter of commitment, he said.
Cortez is also committed to curating shows for the Polvo art space, which doubles as his home, bringing artists from around the world to display their work in the Pilsen neighborhood, working full-time as a graphic designer, managing three Web sites and three blogs, creating posters and stickers aimed at making the world a better place, publishing a magazine, using whatever tools high-tech and low to create art that attempts to connect the dots between distances both ephemeral and immediate. He is committed to the movements and signals of life, whether watching from an airplane window or walking past a frozen puddle on his way to work.
Miguel uses his airplane-visions and walk-to-work discoveries to lead viewers towards an appreciation of passing beauties, the snowflake divinity of everyday paths and routines. His painting series "Aerial Landscape" creates a sort of floor plan for a dream world where squares that could be living space lead to patches of orange and disappear into thin lines of smoke that might be rivers, all floating in a haze of green that could pass for either land or sky. His collection of digital prints on canvas entitled "Read My Palm" invites viewers to see the future from his own hand. He is reaching-out towards our inner-cartographer, the global-temporal-positioning-system hardwired in the collective "us."
Miguel Cortez will be showing work with Polvo at the Milwaukee International art fair in October and at the Mighty Fine Arts gallery in Dallas, Texas in 2007. Information on the Polvo Art Collective can be found at www.polvo.org.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Wednesday 20 September 2006
Address to the United Nations in New York.
Representatives of the governments of the world, good morning to all of you. First of all, I would like to invite you, very respectfully, to those who have not read this book, to read it.
Noam Chomsky, one of the most prestigious American and world intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, and this is one of his most recent books, "Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States." [Holds up book, waves it in front of General Assembly.] It's an excellent book to help us understand what has been happening in the world throughout the 20th century, and what's happening now, and the greatest threat looming over our planet.
The hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species. We continue to warn you about this danger and we appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our heads. I had considered reading from this book, but, for the sake of time, [flips through the pages, which are numerous] I will just leave it as a recommendation.
It reads easily, it is a very good book, I'm sure Madame [President] you are familiar with it. It appears in English, in Russian, in Arabic, in German. I think that the first people who should read this book are our brothers and sisters in the United States, because their threat is right in their own house.
The devil is right at home. The devil, the devil himself, is right in the house.
And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here. [crosses himself] And it smells of sulfur still today.
Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.
I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday's statement made by the president of the United States. As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.
An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: "The Devil's Recipe."
As Chomsky says here, clearly and in depth, the American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its system of domination. And we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated.
The world parent's statement - cynical, hypocritical, full of this imperial hypocrisy from the need they have to control everything.
They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that's their democratic model. It's the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that's imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons.
What a strange democracy. Aristotle might not recognize it or others who are at the root of democracy.
What type of democracy do you impose with marines and bombs?
The president of the United States, yesterday, said to us, right here, in this room, and I'm quoting, "Anywhere you look, you hear extremists telling you can escape from poverty and recover your dignity through violence, terror and martyrdom."
Wherever he looks, he sees extremists. And you, my brother - he looks at your color, and he says, oh, there's an extremist. Evo Morales, the worthy president of Bolivia, looks like an extremist to him.
The imperialists see extremists everywhere. It's not that we are extremists. It's that the world is waking up. It's waking up all over. And people are standing up.
I have the feeling, dear world dictator, that you are going to live the rest of your days as a nightmare because the rest of us are standing up, all those who are rising up against American imperialism, who are shouting for equality, for respect, for the sovereignty of nations.
Yes, you can call us extremists, but we are rising up against the empire, against the model of domination.
The president then - and this he said himself, he said: "I have come to speak directly to the populations in the Middle East, to tell them that my country wants peace."
That's true. If we walk in the streets of the Bronx, if we walk around New York, Washington, San Diego, in any city, San Antonio, San Francisco, and we ask individuals, the citizens of the United States, what does this country want? Does it want peace? They'll say yes.
But the government doesn't want peace. The government of the United States doesn't want peace. It wants to exploit its system of exploitation, of pillage, of hegemony through war.
It wants peace. But what's happening in Iraq? What happened in Lebanon? In Palestine? What's happening? What's happened over the last 100 years in Latin America and in the world? And now threatening Venezuela - new threats against Venezuela, against Iran?
He spoke to the people of Lebanon. Many of you, he said, have seen how your homes and communities were caught in the crossfire. How cynical can you get? What a capacity to lie shamefacedly. The bombs in Beirut with millimetric precision?
This is crossfire? He's thinking of a western, when people would shoot from the hip and somebody would be caught in the crossfire.
This is imperialist, fascist, assassin, genocidal, the empire and Israel firing on the people of Palestine and Lebanon. That is what happened. And now we hear, "We're suffering because we see homes destroyed.'
The president of the United States came to talk to the peoples - to the peoples of the world. He came to say - I brought some documents with me, because this morning I was reading some statements, and I see that he talked to the people of Afghanistan, the people of Lebanon, the people of Iran. And he addressed all these peoples directly.
And you can wonder, just as the president of the United States addresses those peoples of the world, what would those peoples of the world tell him if they were given the floor? What would they have to say?
And I think I have some inkling of what the peoples of the south, the oppressed people think. They would say, "Yankee imperialist, go home." I think that is what those people would say if they were given the microphone and if they could speak with one voice to the American imperialists.
And that is why, Madam President, my colleagues, my friends, last year we came here to this same hall as we have been doing for the past eight years, and we said something that has now been confirmed - fully, fully confirmed.
I don't think anybody in this room could defend the system. Let's accept - let's be honest. The U.N. system, born after the Second World War, collapsed. It's worthless.
Oh, yes, it's good to bring us together once a year, see each other, make statements and prepare all kinds of long documents, and listen to good speeches, like Abel's yesterday, or President Mullah's . Yes, it's good for that.
And there are a lot of speeches, and we've heard lots from the president of Sri Lanka, for instance, and the president of Chile.
But we, the assembly, have been turned into a merely deliberative organ. We have no power, no power to make any impact on the terrible situation in the world. And that is why Venezuela once again proposes, here, today, 20 September, that we re-establish the United Nations.
Last year, Madam, we made four modest proposals that we felt to be crucially important. We have to assume the responsibility our heads of state, our ambassadors, our representatives, and we have to discuss it.
The first is expansion, and Mullah talked about this yesterday right here. The Security Council, both as it has permanent and non-permanent categories, (inaudible) developing countries and LDCs must be given access as new permanent members. That's step one.
Second, effective methods to address and resolve world conflicts, transparent decisions.
Point three, the immediate suppression - and that is something everyone's calling for - of the anti-democratic mechanism known as the veto, the veto on decisions of the Security Council.
Let me give you a recent example. The immoral veto of the United States allowed the Israelis, with impunity, to destroy Lebanon. Right in front of all of us as we stood there watching, a resolution in the council was prevented.
Fourthly, we have to strengthen, as we've always said, the role and the powers of the secretary general of the United Nations.
Yesterday, the secretary general practically gave us his speech of farewell. And he recognized that over the last 10 years, things have just gotten more complicated; hunger, poverty, violence, human rights violations have just worsened. That is the tremendous consequence of the collapse of the United Nations system and American hegemonistic pretensions.
Madam, Venezuela a few years ago decided to wage this battle within the United Nations by recognizing the United Nations, as members of it that we are, and lending it our voice, our thinking.
Our voice is an independent voice to represent the dignity and the search for peace and the reformulation of the international system; to denounce persecution and aggression of hegemonistic forces on the planet.
This is how Venezuela has presented itself. Bolivar's home has sought a nonpermanent seat on the Security Council.
Let's see. Well, there's been an open attack by the U.S. government, an immoral attack, to try and prevent Venezuela from being freely elected to a post in the Security Council.
The imperium is afraid of truth, is afraid of independent voices. It calls us extremists, but they are the extremists.
And I would like to thank all the countries that have kindly announced their support for Venezuela, even though the ballot is a secret one and there's no need to announce things.
But since the imperium has attacked, openly, they strengthened the convictions of many countries. And their support strengthens us.
Mercosur, as a bloc, has expressed its support, our brothers in Mercosur. Venezuela, with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, is a full member of Mercosur.
And many other Latin American countries, CARICOM, Bolivia have expressed their support for Venezuela. The Arab League, the full Arab League has voiced its support. And I am immensely grateful to the Arab world, to our Arab brothers, our Caribbean brothers, the African Union. Almost all of Africa has expressed its support for Venezuela and countries such as Russia or China and many others.
I thank you all warmly on behalf of Venezuela, on behalf of our people, and on behalf of the truth, because Venezuela, with a seat on the Security Council, will be expressing not only Venezuela's thoughts, but it will also be the voice of all the peoples of the world, and we will defend dignity and truth.
Over and above all of this, Madam President, I think there are reasons to be optimistic. A poet would have said "helplessly optimistic," because over and above the wars and the bombs and the aggressive and the preventive war and the destruction of entire peoples, one can see that a new era is dawning.
As Silvio Rodriguez says, the era is giving birth to a heart. There are alternative ways of thinking. There are young people who think differently. And this has already been seen within the space of a mere decade. It was shown that the end of history was a totally false assumption, and the same was shown about Pax Americana and the establishment of the capitalist neo-liberal world. It has been shown, this system, to generate mere poverty. Who believes in it now?
What we now have to do is define the future of the world. Dawn is breaking out all over. You can see it in Africa and Europe and Latin America and Oceanea. I want to emphasize that optimistic vision.
We have to strengthen ourselves, our will to do battle, our awareness. We have to build a new and better world.
Venezuela joins that struggle, and that's why we are threatened. The U.S. has already planned, financed and set in motion a coup in Venezuela, and it continues to support coup attempts in Venezuela and elsewhere.
President Michelle Bachelet reminded us just a moment ago of the horrendous assassination of the former foreign minister, Orlando Letelier.
And I would just add one thing: Those who perpetrated this crime are free. And that other event where an American citizen also died were American themselves. They were CIA killers, terrorists.
And we must recall in this room that in just a few days there will be another anniversary. Thirty years will have passed from this other horrendous terrorist attack on the Cuban plane, where 73 innocents died, a Cubana de Aviacion airliner.
And where is the biggest terrorist of this continent who took the responsibility for blowing up the plane? He spent a few years in jail in Venezuela. Thanks to CIA and then government officials, he was allowed to escape, and he lives here in this country, protected by the government.
And he was convicted. He has confessed to his crime. But the U.S. government has double standards. It protects terrorism when it wants to.
And this is to say that Venezuela is fully committed to combating terrorism and violence. And we are one of the people who are fighting for peace.
Luis Posada Carriles is the name of that terrorist who is protected here. And other tremendously corrupt people who escaped from Venezuela are also living here under protection: a group that bombed various embassies, that assassinated people during the coup. They kidnapped me and they were going to kill me, but I think God reached down and our people came out into the streets and the army was too, and so I'm here today.
But these people who led that coup are here today in this country protected by the American government. And I accuse the American government of protecting terrorists and of having a completely cynical discourse.
We mentioned Cuba. Yes, we were just there a few days ago. We just came from there happily.
And there you see another era born. The Summit of the 15, the Summit of the Nonaligned, adopted a historic resolution. This is the outcome document. Don't worry, I'm not going to read it.
But you have a whole set of resolutions here that were adopted after open debate in a transparent matter - more than 50 heads of state. Havana was the capital of the south for a few weeks, and we have now launched, once again, the group of the nonaligned with new momentum.
And if there is anything I could ask all of you here, my companions, my brothers and sisters, it is to please lend your good will to lend momentum to the Nonaligned Movement for the birth of the new era, to prevent hegemony and prevent further advances of imperialism.
And as you know, Fidel Castro is the president of the nonaligned for the next three years, and we can trust him to lead the charge very efficiently.
Unfortunately they thought, "Oh, Fidel was going to die." But they're going to be disappointed because he didn't. And he's not only alive, he's back in his green fatigues, and he's now presiding the nonaligned.
So, my dear colleagues, Madam President, a new, strong movement has been born, a movement of the south. We are men and women of the south.
With this document, with these ideas, with these criticisms, I'm now closing my file. I'm taking the book with me. And, don't forget, I'm recommending it very warmly and very humbly to all of you.
We want ideas to save our planet, to save the planet from the imperialist threat. And hopefully in this very century, in not too long a time, we will see this, we will see this new era, and for our children and our grandchildren a world of peace based on the fundamental principles of the United Nations, but a renewed United Nations.
And maybe we have to change location. Maybe we have to put the United Nations somewhere else; maybe a city of the south. We've proposed Venezuela.
You know that my personal doctor had to stay in the plane. The chief of security had to be left in a locked plane. Neither of these gentlemen was allowed to arrive and attend the U.N. meeting. This is another abuse and another abuse of power on the part of the Devil. It smells of sulfur here, but God is with us and I embrace you all.
May God bless us all. Good day to you.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
BC's Film Flap
Trims 9/11 Series as Dems Howl
By James Gordon Meek and Helen Kennedy
The New York Daily News
Friday 08 September 2006
ABC is frantically recutting its $40 million miniseries about 9/11 amid a blistering backlash over fictional scenes that lay the blame on the Clinton administration.
Also feeling the heat was Scholastic, which yanked a classroom guide tie-in to the program.
Former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, the former head of the 9/11 commission and a paid consultant on the ABC miniseries, told the Daily News yesterday that some controversial scenes in "The Path to 9/11" were being removed or changed.
"ABC is telling me that the final version I'll be pleased with," said Kean, softening his own previous defense of the movie.
Unmollified, Democrats continued to demand that ABC yank the two-night docudrama that former President Bill Clinton's spokesman called "despicable." It is scheduled to start airing Sunday.
And Clinton's lawyer sent Kean a chiding letter expressing "shock" that a man so dedicated to accuracy had worked on a movie "that has been widely criticized for its libelous historical inaccuracies."
The chorus of outrage - ranging from Clinton cabinet members to liberal bloggers to 9/11 families to ordinary moms canceling trips to Disneyland - put ABC and parent company Disney under tremendous pressure just days before the movie's premiere.
First to go was a made-up scene showing Clinton national security adviser Sandy Berger hanging up on CIA operatives who were moments away from killing Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. "You will not see that in that way in the final edition," Kean said.
The Clinton White House did scotch several opportunities to kill Al Qaeda's founder because intelligence was sketchy. But unlike in the film, the CIA was never steps away from Bin Laden, nor did Berger hang up on agents in the field, Kean admitted.
Driven by the Internet's main liberal Web sites, the outrage over ABC's dramatization was reminiscent of the 2003 conservative furor that forced CBS to pull an unflattering Ronald Rea?an biopic. Phones rang off the hook and e-mail boxes were clogged all day at Scholastic Inc., ABC and Disney. "We're getting slammed," said one frazzled ABC staffer.
Scholastic caved quickly, yanking educational materials tied to the movie that critics said linked Iraq to 9/11 and glossed over the grim situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues," Scholastic Chairman Dick Robinson said.
ABC released a defensive statement calling criticism of the film "premature and irresponsible" because it was still being edited. The network sent out preview DVDs weeks ago.
Democrats, noting that Republicans have vowed to campaign on terrorism this fall, saw a political conspiracy. "I think they wanted to run this before the midterm elections," said Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).
Several top Democratic senators, including Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Harry Reid of Nevada, accused ABC boss Bob Iger in a letter of airing "right-wing political propaganda" and obliquely threatened his broadcast license.
The senators said ABC should be a responsible "beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves" and cancel the movie.
Asked if he had apologized to Clinton for inaccuracies in the movie, Kean quipped, "No, he was out campaigning against my son yesterday, so I didn't reach out to him at all!"
Kean's son is a GOP Senate candidate in New Jersey.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
and Photographs by Meridel Rubenstein
Columbia College Chicago’s Hokin Annex
October 12 and 13, 2006
WHAT: Crossing Borders will feature a two evening an outdoor exhibition of Low Rider vehicles. Co-organized by Pedro Cisneros III, president of the Amistad Car Club- Chicago Chapter. Pedro states, "I do consider myself an artist. A low rider is an _expression of what's going on inside the owner. " The exhibit will feature 15 Low Rider automobiles and 15 Low Rider bicycles created by 5 Low Rider Car Clubs based in the Chicago land Area. Participating clubs include the Amistad Car Club, Distinctive Lifestyles and the Young Riders bike club. Also on display in the Hokin Annex will be photographs from the Museum of Contemporary Photography permanent collection.
Chicago Low Rider Council website can be found at:
Meridel Rubenstein Photographs: Also on display will be “The Low Riders: Portraits from New Mexico”, a portfolio of twelve photographs created in 1980 by Meridel Rubenstein. The Museum of Contemporary Photography has generously lent the portfolio.
“The symbol of the car at first was just a car to me, but it became a coffin, a boudoir, a phallus. The cars do this sexy hydraulic hopping. They have these plush velvet interiors and wonderful imagery on the outside. I put the color photographs into a red velvet portfolio box lined with silver metallic paper and tied it with satin dice. It was important to me to contain them, especially in a sensual manner, because the cars themselves are containers of so many religious and sexual images. This was the first time I used materials to convey certain ideas.” — Meridel Rubenstein, interview with John Bloom on December 15, 1987
Meridel Rubenstein portfolio info:
WHEN: October 12 and 13, 2006, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
WHERE: Meridel Rubenstein Photos: Columbia College Chicago’s
Hokin Annex, 623 S. Wabash Ave.
Crossing Borders Low Rider Exhibition: The block of 600 S. Wabash
MUCH: Free and Open to the Public.
October 4 – November 8: FOCO: Performance Workshop and Installation with Celia Herrera Rodriguez
An exhibition of Latin American art that culturally examines and visually describes the artistic and cultural movement of Chicago’s Latin American community.
Glass Curtain Gallery, 1104 S. Wabash, 1st floor
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
The Chicago Tribune
Tuesday 15 August 2006
Taking refuge in a church, a prominent advocate for illegal immigrants publicly defied federal authorities in Chicago who were trying to deport her Tuesday.
Elvira Arellano, who became a national spokeswoman for families facing deportation, had been ordered to report to the Department of Homeland Security by 9 a.m.
Instead, Arellano appeared at the pulpit of Adalberto United Methodist Church in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, vowing before dozens of supporters that she would not return to Mexico "like a coward." She said she would stay in the church indefinitely with her 7-year-old son, a U.S. citizen.
Arellano's move, which apparently took many of her supporters by surprise, recalled the 1980s sanctuary movement, in which many liberal congregations around the U.S. took in illegal immigrants who were fleeing war in Central America.
Her supporters invoked the notion that lawbreakers can be protected in a house of worship, a tradition that dates to the ancient Greeks.
"If Homeland Security chooses to send agents to a holy place, I would know that God wants me to serve as an example of the hatred and hypocrisy of the current administration," Arellano said.
But defying the order also puts Arellano, 31, at risk of even stiffer punishment, including detention.
Because Arellano ignored her deportation order, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said she is now considered a fugitive. Spokesman Tim Counts said agents have the authority to go into a church or anywhere else to make an arrest.
"We will take action at the time and place of our choosing," Counts said.
Legal experts agree that a church offers no formal protection, but they say it could put the government in an awkward position.
"Just because you are in a church doesn't mean you are less deportable in a legal sense," said Joel Fetzer, associate professor of political science at Pepperdine University. "But in a political sense, it looks very bad to be hauling people out of churches as the camera rolls."
Arellano, a cleaning woman at O'Hare International Airport, was arrested in 2002 during an immigration sweep aimed at securing the nation's aviation system after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Authorities discovered she had been using a fake Social Security number to work and had previously been deported and re-entered the country illegally.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and other members of the state's congressional delegation urged homeland security officials to let Arellano remain in Chicago to care for her son, Saul, born in the U.S., who has ADHD and other health problems. She was granted three stays of deportation starting in 2003.
No longer in hiding, she began to speak openly about her own experiences and became a symbol for the state's 400,000 illegal immigrants.
She took her case to Mexico President Vicente Fox and to the Statehouse in Springfield. She helped found and became president of United Latino Family, a Pilsen-based group that lobbies for families that could be split by deportation.
But some of those sympathetic to her cause, including Durbin, suggested that another stay of deportation would be harder to justify because her son's condition has improved. Immigration officials say that without a U.S. senator's request, they cannot grant such a stay.
"It is an unfortunate truth that scores of people are in the same situation as Elvira and her family," Durbin said in a statement Tuesday. "We cannot fix the injustices of this system with private bills. Only comprehensive immigration reform can permanently remedy this situation."
Now Arellano says her only option is to seek sanctuary.
In a 2003 article in a Harvard Law School journal, law professor Wayne Logan recounted how the Greeks and Romans offered limited protections to criminals who sought shelter in temples. In the 10th Century, England's civil authorities designated sanctuaries marked by a series of crosses, Logan said.
But the tradition faded, and these days, those who invoke sanctuary typically do so as a form of civil disobedience.
When churches and synagogues harbored illegal immigrants fleeing civil war in El Salvador and Guatemala in the 1980s, U.S. authorities charged and convicted several ministers. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1987 upheld the arrests, saying they did not violate freedom of religion.
But some religious leaders have said recently they are not bound to follow tough immigration laws they consider immoral. In March, Cardinal Roger Mahony in Los Angeles said he would urge priests to ignore a proposed federal law that would increase criminal penalties against those who assist illegal immigrants.
Fetzer, who has researched sanctuary movements, said that as more people face deportation, some may choose to follow Arellano's example.
Carlina Tapia-Ruano, a Chicago immigration attorney, said the defiance might make homeland security officials more determined to take action so they aren't viewed as soft on illegal immigration.
"Any attention given to this case makes the next step unpredictable, whether it is by the agency or whether it is by Elvira," said Tapia-Ruano, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Arellano's supporters say that if agents do try to make an arrest at the church, they want it to be a chaotic scene, much like the 2000 raid in which federal agents seized 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez to return him to his father in Cuba.
As her backers offered hugs and kind words, Arellano said she is prepared to pay the consequences of defying the U.S. government.
"If I have to spend 10 or 20 years in jail, I don't care," Arellano insisted. "Because I am going to fight."
Monday, August 14, 2006
The president is trying for the third time to make terrorism his big campaign issue -- are Americans going to finally snap out of it?
An evil symbiosis does exist between Muslim terrorists and American politicians, but it is not the one Republicans describe. The jihadists need George W. Bush to sustain their cause. His bloody crusade in the Middle East bolsters their accusation that America is out to destroy Islam. The president has unwittingly made himself the lead recruiter of willing young martyrs.
More to the point, it is equally true that Bush desperately needs the terrorists. They are his last frail hope for political survival. They divert public attention, at least momentarily, from his disastrous war in Iraq and his shameful abuses of the Constitution. The "news" of terror -- whether real or fantasized -- reduces American politics to its most primitive impulses, the realm of fear-and-smear where George Bush is at his best.
So, once again in the run-up to a national election, we are visited with alarming news. A monstrous plot, red alert, high drama playing on all channels and extreme measures taken to tighten security.
The White House men wear grave faces, but they cannot hide their delight. It's another chance for Bush to protect us from those aliens with funny names, another opportunity to accuse Democrats of aiding and abetting the enemy.
This has worked twice before. It could work again this fall unless gullible Americans snap out of it. Wake up, folks, and recognize how stupid and wimpish you look. I wrote the following two years ago during a similar episode of red alerts: "Bush's 'war on terrorism' is a political slogan -- not a coherent strategy for national defense -- and it succeeds brillantly only as politics. For everything else, it is quite illogical."
Where is the famous American skepticism? The loose-jointed ability to laugh at ourselves in anxious moments? Can't people see the campy joke in this docudrama called "Terror in the Sky"? The joke is on them. I have a suspicion that a lot of Americans actually enjoy the occasional fright since they know the alarm bell does actually not toll for them. It's a good, scary movie, but it's a slapstick war.
The other day at the airport in Burlington, Vermont, security guards confiscated liquid containers from two adolescent sisters returning home from vacation. The substance was labeled "Pure Maple Syrup." I am reminded of the Amish pretzel factory that was put on Pennsylvania's list of targets. Mothers with babes in arms are now told they must take a swiq of their baby formula before they can board the plane. I already feel safer.
The latest plot uncovered by British authorities may be real. Or maybe not. We do not yet know enough to be certain. The early reporting does not reassure or settle anything (though the Brits do sound more convincing than former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who gave "terror alerts" such a bad reputation). Tony Blair is no more trustworthy on these matters than Bush and Cheney. British investigators are as anxious as their American counterparts to prove their vigilance (and support their leaders). The close collaboration with Pakistani authorities doesn't exactly add credibility.
One question to ask is: Why now? The police have had a "mole" inside this operation since late 2005, but have yet to explain why they felt the need to swoop down and arest alleged plotters at this moment (two days after the Connecticut primary produced a triumph for anti-war politics).
The early claim that a massive takedown of a dozen airliners was set for August 16 is "rubbish," according to London authorities. So who decided this case was ripe for its public rollout? Blair consulted Cheney: What did they decide? American economist Jamie Galbraith was on a ten-hour flight from Manchester, England, to Boston on the day the story broke, and has wittily reflected on other weak points in the official story line.
The point is, Americans are not entirely defenseless pawns. They can keep their wits and reserve judgment. They can voice loudly the skepticism that Bush and company have earned by politicizing of the so-called "war" from the very start. Leading Democrats are toughening up. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid uses plain English to explain what the Republicans up to -- using genuine concerns of national security "as a political wedge issue. It is disgusting, but not surprising."
Instead of cowering in silence, the opposition party should start explaining this sick joke. Political confusion starts with the ill-conceived definition of a "war" that's best fought by police work, not heavy brigades on a battlefield. Forget the hype, call for common sense and stout hearts.
All we know, for sure, is that Bush and his handlers are not going to back off the fear-and-smear strategy until it loses an election for them. Maybe this will be the year.
William Greider is the author of, most recently, "The Soul of Capitalism" (Simon & Schuster).
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Friday, July 21, 2006
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press Writer
LONDON - Syd Barrett, the troubled Pink Floyd co-founder who spent his last years in reclusive anonymity, has died, the band said Tuesday. He was 60.
A spokeswoman for the band said Barrett died several days ago, but she did not disclose the cause of death. Barrett had suffered from diabetes for years.
The surviving members of Pink Floyd — David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Richard Wright — said they were "very upset and sad to learn of Syd Barrett's death."
"Syd was the guiding light of the early band lineup and leaves a legacy which continues to inspire," they said in a statement.
Barrett co-founded Pink Floyd in 1965 with Waters, Mason and Wright, and wrote many of the band's early songs. The group's jazz-infused rock and drug-laced, multimedia "happenings" made them darlings of the London psychedelic scene. The 1967 album "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" — largely written by Barrett, who also played guitar — was a commercial and critical hit.
But Barrett suffered from mental instability, exacerbated by his use of LSD. His behavior grew increasingly erratic, and he left the group in 1968 — five years before the release of Pink Floyd's most popular album, "Dark Side of the Moon" — to be replaced by Gilmour.
Barrett released two solo albums — "The Madcap Laughs" and "Barrett" — but soon withdrew from the music business altogether. An album of previously unreleased material, "Opel," was issued in 1988.
He reverted to his real name, Roger Barrett, and spent much of the rest of his life living quietly in his hometown of Cambridge, England. Moving into his mother's suburban house, he passed the time painting and tending the garden. His former bandmates made sure Barrett continued to receive royalties from his work with Pink Floyd.
He was a familiar figure to neighbors, often seen cycling or walking to the corner store, but rarely spoke to the fans and journalists who sought him out over the years.
Despite his brief career, Barrett's fragile, wistful songs influenced many musicians, from David Bowie — who covered the Barrett track "See Emily Play" — to the other members of Pink Floyd, who recorded the album "Wish You Were Here" as a tribute to their troubled bandmate.
It contained the song "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" — "Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun." The band also dwelt on themes of mental illness on the albums "Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall."
The band spokeswoman said a small, private funeral would be held.
From David Bowie's website:
"I can't tell you how sad I feel. Syd was a major inspiration for me. The few times I saw him perform in London at UFO and the Marquee clubs during the sixties will forever be etched in my mind. He was so charismatic and such a startlingly original songwriter.
Also, along with Anthony Newley, he was the first guy I'd heard to sing pop or rock with a British accent. His impact on my thinking was enormous. A major regret is that I never got to know him. A diamond indeed." - David Bowie, July 11th 2006
Monday, July 03, 2006
Friday, June 09, 2006
Currently Rebecca Wolfram from Axe st. Arena is showing at POLVO and the next show is Elizam Escobar, another member from Axe St(all this was planned a year in advance). He was one of the Puerto Rican revolutionaries that were arrested early 1980s and were serving jail sentences until Bill Clinton pardoned them in 1999.*Note that his wife did not agree with his pardon..... Michael and Elizam were close friends and Michael was going to coordinate the exhibit, but since his passing I have to take care of that. So come on by June 23rd and meet Elizam!!
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Friday, June 02, 2006
Recycling is used to describe a series of activities that includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials and manufacturing the raw materials into either making the same product(closed loop) or new products(open loop). An example of open-loop recycling is using plastic bottles to make pipes. Artists use these processes all the time. Some come up with an idea and create work using a certain style/media and repeat this for a long time to please his/her commercial gallery/collectors(this is closed loop recycling).While others may gather old ideas, twist and turn them, throw them up in the air and some new concept pops up(open loop recycling).
miguel cortez, 2006
Diverseworks in Houston is having a benefit to raise funds in July. I was invited and this is the print that I will donate.
DiverseWorks is a non-profit art center dedicated to presenting new visual, performing, and literary art. DiverseWorks is a place where the process of creating art is valued and where artists can test new ideas in the public arena. By encouraging the investigation of current artistic, cultural and social issues, DiverseWorks builds, educates, and sustains audiences for contemporary art.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Friday, May 26, 2006
Opening Friday May 26, from 6pm-10pm
May 26 - June 17, 2006
mini-exhibit: samples from the polvo archives/collection
flatscreen DVD: Lucreccia Quintanilla (Melbourne, Australia)
SEE WWW.POLVO.ORG for more details
At left below, Jose David(art director for Calles y Sueños, an alternative space circa 1990s in Pilsen. He closed it in 2000) alongside Mirtes Zwierzynski, one of the artists from tonight's opening.
Rebecca Wolfram(left), the other artist from tonight's opening, writer Kari Lyderson(center) and writer Sally Forutan(right)