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29 March 2008

Hipgnosis Theatre Company, NYC: The Caucasian Chalk Circle, 4/26-5/11

Is proud to present Bertolt Brecht’s
The Caucasian Chalk Circle
Saturday April 26 through Sunday May 11
Wednesdays - Sundays, 7 pm

Special performances on Tuesday, April 29 at 7pm and Saturday, May 10 at 2pm

Theatre: 45 Bleecker Street, Manhattan
(Bleecker and Lafayette Streets)
Take the 6 to Bleecker Street; the B,D,F or V to Broadway Lafayette; or the R,W to Prince Street

Tickets: $18
Call 800-432-7250 or visit www.telecharge.com to order

Featuring: Demetrios Bonaros, John Castro, Hal Fickett, John Kevin Jones*, Colleen Kennedy*, Matthew Kinney, Elizabeth Mirarchi, Dennis Paton*, Pharah Jean-Philippe*, Ayanna Siverls*, Douglas Scott Streater, Rachel Tiemann, Richard Ugino*

*Appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association

Produced by: Demetrios Bonaros, John Castro and Margot Newkirk
Stage Manager, Lighting Director: Robert Nguyen
Technical Director: Sarah Ford
Props Master: Jessica Hinkle
Costume Designer: Krista Thomas-Scott
Choreographer: Kimberly Braton
Composer: Demetrios Bonaros
Press Rep: David Gibbs/DARR Publicity
Director: Margot Newkirk
Assistant Director: John Castro

28 March 2008

Why I Won’t Vote for Barack Obama, by Steven Salaita

Here's another good set of reasons: "Obama’s Crooked Game," by Glen Ford.

Frontline's Timid Iraq Retrospective, by Ray McGovern

Amy Goodman Questions Sen. Obama on Heeding Iraqis’ Call for Full US Withdrawal

Amy in fine form; Obama shown for what he is.

27 March 2008

Noam Chomsky Interview, 11/1/07

Fred Dibnah's Industrial Age and Age of Steam

Ten-part series; half-hour each:

The Hub: A Project of Witness

"Chasing Sustainability," Dave Chameides

Talk by my buddy Dave Chameides -- see his various blogs and sites:

Anti-war campaigners have to change electoral tactics, Naomi Klein and Jeremy Scahill

Right on target:

This article appeared in the Guardian on Wednesday March 26 2008 on p28 of the Comment & debate section. It was last updated at 10:08 on March 26 2008.

'So?" So said Dick Cheney when asked last week about public opinion being overwhelmingly against the war in Iraq. "You can't be blown off course by polls." A few days later, his attitude, about the fact that the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq has reached 4,000, displayed similar levels of sympathy. They "voluntarily put on the uniform," the vice-president told ABC news.

This brick wall of indifference helps explain the paradox in which we in the US anti-war camp find ourselves five years into the occupation of Iraq: anti-war sentiment is as strong as ever, but our movement seems to be dwindling. Sixty-four per cent of Americans tell pollsters they oppose the war, but you'd never know it from the thin turnout at recent rallies and vigils.

When asked why they aren't expressing their anti-war opinions through the anti-war movement, many say they have simply lost faith in the power of protest. They marched against the war before it began, marched on the first, second and third anniversaries. And yet, five years on, US leaders are still shrugging: "So?"

That's why it's time for the anti-war movement to change tactics. We should direct our energy where it can still have an impact: the leading Democratic contenders.

Many argue otherwise. They say that if we want to end the war, we should simply pick a candidate who is not John McCain and help them win: we'll sort out the details after the Republicans are evicted from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Some of the most prominent anti-war voices -- from MoveOn.org to the Nation, the magazine we both write for -- have gone down this route, throwing their weight behind the Obama campaign.

This is a serious strategic mistake. It is during a hotly contested campaign that anti-war forces have the power to actually sway US policy. As soon as we pick sides, we relegate ourselves to mere cheerleaders.

And when it comes to Iraq, there is little to cheer. Look past the rhetoric and it becomes clear that neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton has a real plan to end the occupation. They could, however, be forced to change their positions, thanks to the unique dynamics of the prolonged primary battle.

Despite the calls for Clinton to withdraw in the name of "unity", it is the very fact that Clinton and Obama are still fighting it out, fiercely vying for votes, that presents the anti-war movement with its best pressure point. And our pressure is badly needed.

For the first time in 14 years, weapons manufacturers are donating more to Democrats than to Republicans. The Democrats have received 52% of the defence industry's political donations in this election cycle -- up from a low of 32% in 1996. That money is about shaping foreign policy and, so far, it appears to be well spent.

While Clinton and Obama denounce the war with great passion, they both have detailed plans to continue it. Both say they intend to maintain the massive green zone, including the monstrous US embassy, and to retain US control of Baghdad airport.

They will have a "strike force" to engage in counter-terrorism, as well as trainers for the Iraqi military. Beyond these US forces, the army of green zone diplomats will require heavily armed security details, which are currently provided by Blackwater and other private security companies. At present there are as many private contractors supporting the occupation as there are soldiers, so these plans could mean tens of thousands of US personnel entrenched for the future.

In sharp contrast to this downsized occupation is the unequivocal message coming from hundreds of soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq Veterans Against the War which, earlier this month, held the Winter Soldier hearings in Silver Spring, Maryland -- modelled on the 1971 Winter Soldier investigation, in which veterans testified about US atrocities in Vietnam -- are not supporting any candidate or party. Instead they are calling for immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US soldiers and contractors. Coming from peace activists, the "out now" position has been dismissed as naive. It is harder to ignore coming from the hundreds who have served -- and continue to serve -- on the frontlines.

The candidates know that much of the passion fuelling their campaigns flows from the desire among so many rank-and-file Democrats to end this disastrous war. Crucially, the candidates have already shown that they are vulnerable to pressure from the peace camp. When the Nation revealed that neither candidate was supporting legislation that would ban the use of Blackwater and other private security companies in Iraq, Clinton changed course. She became the most important US political leader to endorse the ban -- scoring a point on Obama, who opposed the invasion from the start.

This is exactly where we want the candidates: outdoing each other to prove how serious they are about ending the war. That kind of battle has the power to energise voters and break the cynicism that is threatening both campaigns.

Let's remember, unlike the outgoing Bush administration, these candidates need the support of the two-thirds of Americans who oppose the war in Iraq. If opinion transforms into action, they won't be able to afford to say, "So?"

Copyright New York Times syndication

· Naomi Klein is the author of The Shock Doctrine; Jeremy Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army

Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times, by Amy Goodman and David Goodman

And here's info on the book tour. Amy gives a great speech. Yes, even better than Obama.


Obama on ‘Renewing the American Economy’

More on this later; some good ideas, mostly same-old, same-old.

British Correspondent Patrick Cockburn on Iraq's Growing Sectarian Divide and the Myth of "Success" in the U.S. "Surge"

Blurb from DN! --

As a new civil war threatens to explode in Iraq between U.S.-backed Iraqi government forces and Shia militiamen, we go to London to speak with Patrick Cockburn, Iraq correspondent for the London Independent. Covering the invasion and occupation from the ground in Iraq for the past five years, Cockburn has been described as “the best Western journalist at work in Iraq today.” He is author of the new book Muqtada: Muqtada Al Sadr, The Shia Revival and the Struggle For Iraq.

26 March 2008

Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth, Michael Parenti

The Coming War on Venezuela, By GEORGE CICCARIELLO-MAHER

A Century in Iraq, Replacing UN with “League of Democracies,” Rogue State Rollback? A Look at John McCain’s Foreign Policy Vision

Check these out, too:

Noam Chomsky talks about the Israel-Palestine conflict

Noam Chomsky on Iraq

Noam Chomsky on the global power dynamic in 2008

Noam Chomsky talks about the passing of William F. Buckley

Launching Interface: a journal for and about social movements

We are proud to announce the launch of Interface, a new global online journal dedicated to research carried out from and for social movements by movement practitioners and engaged academics alike. We are looking for articles of all kinds as well as people interested in helping create the journal at many different levels. This email has some basic information, and more is available on our website at www.interfacejournal.net.

Call for Papers: Issue 1, "Movement knowledge"

Interface is a new journal launched by activists and academics around the world in response to the development and increased visibility of social movements in the last few years -- and the immense amount of knowledge generated in this process. This knowledge is created across the globe, and in many contexts and a variety of ways, and it constitutes an incredibly valuable resource for the further development of social movements. Interface responds to this need, as a tool to help our movements learn from each other's struggles.

Interface is a forum bringing together activists from different movements and different countries, researchers working with movements, and progressive academics from various countries to contribute to the production of knowledge that can help us gain insights across movements and issues, across continents and cultures, and across theoretical and disciplinary traditions. To this end, Interface seeks to develop analysis and knowledge that allow lessons to be learned from specific movement processes and experiences and translated into a form useful for other movements. In doing so, our goal is to include material that can be used in a range of ways by movements in terms of its content, its language, its purpose and its form.

We are currently seeking contributions to the first issue of Interface and welcome contributions by movement participants and academics who are developing movement-relevant theory and research. The theme of this first issue, which will be published on January 1st 2009, is "movement knowledge": what we know, how we create knowledge, what we do with it and how it can make a difference either in movement struggles or in creating a different and better world. We invite both formal research (qualitative and quantitative) and practically-grounded work on all aspects of social movements. We are seeking work in a range of different formats, such as conventional articles, review essays, facilitated discussions and interviews, action notes, teaching notes, key documents and analysis, book reviews and beyond.

In order to achieve this, research contributions will be reviewed by both activist and academic peers, other material will be sympathetically edited, and the editorial process generally will be geared towards assisting authors to find ways of expressing their understanding, so that we all can be heard across geographical, social and political distances. The deadline for contributions for the first issue is September 1st 2008. Guidelines for contributors and contact details are available on our webpage at www.interfacejournal.net.

The State of the News Media: 2008, Project for Excellence in Journalism

Bottom line: it's getting worse; you weren't imagining things.

Yes He Can... Create Front Groups

From the good citizens at SourceWatch, on Obama's chief campaign strategist:

Senator Barack Obama's chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod, "moonlights" from his political PR firm AKP&D Message & Media. Working from the same office, "Axelrod operates a second business, ASK Public Strategies, that discreetly plots strategy and advertising campaigns for corporate clients," reports Howard Wolinsky. Axelrod's ASK partners are John Kupper and Eric Sedler, previously of AT&T and Edelman. Chicago Alder Brendan Reilly called ASK "the gold standard in Astroturf organizing." In 2005, as ComEd was "preparing to ask [Illinois] state regulators for higher electricity prices," ASK advised the company to form "Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity." The front group, which described itself as "a coalition of individuals, businesses and organizations," funded ads that warned of blackouts unless rates were raised. Around the same time, ASK helped Cablevision, which owns Madison Square Garden, oppose the New York Jets's plans to build a new stadium in Manhattan. Cablevision formed the "New York Association for Better Choices," and ran anti-stadium ads in its name. ASK's other work includes helping AT&T defend municipal broadband referenda.

24 March 2008

Faux Trailer to a Non-Existent Version of Gore Vidal's Caligula

Hilariously satirical of the whole 1979 film-disaster; for adults only! (So don't flag me, OK?)