Archive for January, 2006

Steal This Yippie

January 31, 2006

Last night at a packed showing of Videos from the Resistance, I learned that Stew Albert had died of liver cancer the night before at his home in SE Portland. When I got home, I did a web search and found very little (actually nothing) on Stew’s passing. Today, the flow began to pick up a little as word spread and folks had a chance to collect their memories of this founding member of the Yippies.

Stew was a free spirit to be reckoned with, fought in the streets of Chicago with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin in 1968, hung out in bed with John and Yoko, sued the federal government after his wife Judy discovered a tracking device on their car, levitated the Pentagon to purge its evil spirits, helped found People’s Park in Berkeley, and so much more.

Here is an interview that Stew gave to Salon in 2000, an interview with The Third Page, and an article he wrote for Counterpunch in December 2005. Lastly, Stew’s blog.

[Postscript: Today I tried to go to Stew’s funeral, which I recalled from memory was in the 800 block of 18th Avenue. I left the house thinking, “Maybe I should look at the address one more time to make sure” but decided I could find it. So I’m riding my bike up SW 18th Avenue, looking for the 800s when I realize that that block is taken up by the monolithic Oregonian building on one side of the street and PGE Park on the other. I’m thinking, “I KNOW there was a W in the address so it must be on NW 18th.” So I ride over to NW 18th and as soon as I get to the 800 block, the cell phone rings. I stop and answer it. When I’m done, I look around for the synogogue, but I don’t see it. I decide to ride downtown to try to get some work done, thinking I am already too late to ride across the river to the east side and start the process over. It is only when I get to the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center office that I get a chance to check the address and realize it WAS in NW, but I had failed to realize that I drifted over to 17th Avenue when I crossed Burnside Street! I was one block away, but missed it. I am sorry about that.]

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Are You Ready for War with Iran?

January 25, 2006

In a feat of Orwellian doublespeak, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has upped the ante in the Neocons’ zeal for yet another war in the Near East, stating that while the US hopes to resolve its nuclear differences with Iran diplomatically, time has run out for discussion.

Apparently having determined that its wars against Afghanistan and Iraq have gone swimmingly, and despite a report that concludes that the US Army is stretched to the breaking point, the War Party seems desperate to draw Iran into their grand plans.

So, why am I not surprised to hear that the real reason behind America’s next war may be that Iran is about to open a new Oil Bourse which will threaten the US economy by selling its oil for Euros instead of dollars? Here is another report on the same subject, and another, and another, and another.

[2/11/06 Postscript: But then again, here is a brief piece by Paul Craig Roberts that says the Iranian oil bourse will not have a negative impact on the dollar. Notwithstanding Roberts’ opinion, I don’t trust the Bushies not to try to destroy Iran just for having the gaul to make the attempt to sell their oil in Euros.]

[2/17/07 Postscript: Here is an update on the threatened US war (crime) on Iran.]

Fela Anikulapo Kuti Podcast

January 10, 2006

Click here to listen to my Podcast of the music and politics of Nigerian music legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti (1938-1997). The undisputed father of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti was raised in a middle class family with international socialist connections. His parents expected him to become a doctor, but he decided to pursue music instead, becoming a prolific composer, singer, lyricist, keyboardist, saxophonist, and trumpeter. A trip to the United States in 1969 introduced him to the American civil rights movement, Black Power, free love, and James Brown.

In this inaugural Podcast, I spin four of Fela’s grooviest beats and three lesser-known sides from James Brown, who was a huge influence on Fela’s music.

(For the time being, this show is being hosted on Portland Indymedia Web Radio’s website as a streaming file only. As soon as possible, it will be migrated over to Odeo.com as a true Podcast which can be downloaded and played at the time and place of your choosing.)

GW Bush: Revised Speeches and Truth from Lies

January 10, 2006

Click here to listen to my audio of George W. Bush struggling to answer the question, “After 911, what was your biggest mistake and what have you learned from it?” during an April 2004 press conference. I subtly rearranged some of his words to reflect a more truthful and accurate description of the American invasion of Iraq and Bush’s mental state. Bush was in freefall during this press conference and I expected (naively, it turns out) that the mainstream media would be talking about it the next day. Sadly, there was not a word. In hindsight, I wonder if Bush was having trouble thinking of ANY mistakes, or if he was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of his grave errors and could not pick the worst.

Here is a short video I made in May 2004, shortly after Bush declared that Iraqis were no longer subject to torture since Saddam Hussein had been toppled and captured. What we know now, given everything that has been revealed since then, proves that Bush was lying through his teeth. As a matter of fact, as the video shows, US soldiers committed “wanton and criminal” acts against Iraqi prisoners (as an Army report stated) and the photos of the abuses at Abu Ghraib had been printed around the world a day or two BEFORE Bush’s radio address. We now know that the Bush regime did not ban torture by American soldiers; they banned CAMERAS in the American prisons.

And, finally, here is some more audio. This is slightly revised from a speech Bush made in December 2005 about American war policy in Iraq. Bush was forced to make a series of speeches about how the war is going in order to get the American sheep back in line with the regime’s plans. Again, I reordered the words slightly to bring it more in line with the truth.

For anyone that is interested in these things, I imported the video and photographs into Final Cut Pro, and edited the film in the timeline with titles.

For the audio clips, I imported the audio of the speeches into Soundtrack Pro using my Sony MiniDisc recorder and a Griffin iMic with a mini plug to USB connection. Then I edited the waveform in the timeline to my liking, exported the audio mix as a .wav file, and re-exported the .wav file as an MP3. (For some reason, Soundtrack Pro will not allow me to export an audio project as an MP3 in one step, so I had to import the .wav into Final Cut Pro, as sound only, then export the .wav as an MP3. There must be an easier way to do this, but I haven’t figured it out yet.)

Nobel Economist Predicts Iraq War Could Cost US $2 Trillion

January 7, 2006

Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Economics, has issued a report predicting that the Iraq War could end up costing the United States $2 TRILLION. In fact, says Stiglitz, “Our estimates are very conservative, and it could be that the final costs will be much higher.”

[Postscript: This article from February 3, 2006 says the Iraq war is costing $100,000 per minute.]

British Artist Tags Israel’s Apartheid Wall

January 7, 2006

British visual artist Banksy tags Israel’s apartheid wall in Palestine. Check out more Banksy stencil work from London, Brighton and Bournemouth, England here. This artist’s work makes me smile.

New Orleanians Rebuild Their Shattered Lives, Alone

January 7, 2006

As 2005 passes into memory, New Orleans Times Picayune columnist Chris Rose writes in Cry Me a New Year that “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times … except for that ‘best of times’ part.”

Meanwhile, when residents and educators from nearby St. Bernard Parish learn that they cannot rely on FEMA to rebuild their shattered community, they say, “We’ll do it ourselves”.

The photograph was sent to me by my brother, John, who lives in Jefferson Parish and works in New Orleans. It shows the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet flooding a levee in St. Bernard Parish during Hurricane Katrina. As John wrote, “This picture is scary as hell and I won’t be surprised if it shows up in a few nightmares.”

Interview with Robert Fisk

January 7, 2006

Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, tells Adbusters that “the greatest advantage for the US administration at the moment is that American journalists are not on the streets [of Iraq]. They can’t travel without American firepower. They can’t move from their hotel bedrooms.” Read the entire interview here.

Meanwhile, as Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon suffers a massive cerebral hemmorhage and George W. Bush describes him as a “man of peace”, Fisk writes that Sharon was a ruthless military commander responsible for one of the most shocking war crimes of the 20th century.

An Open Letter to George W. Bush from an Iraqi Citizen

January 7, 2006

As 130 Iraqis are slaughtered in one day’s violence, Dahr Jamail publishes an open letter in which an Iraqi friend tells George W. Bush that “today there is no one in the world who wants to be in your icon of democracy, and not one country would want to be like Iraq. You know why? Because you have turned our lives into a seemingly endless series of crises and our suffering is day and night.”