Monday, April 28, 2008

U.S. Democracy Will Take 2 More Months, Can We Stand It?

Although it's a bit agonizing to have the Democratic primary so close and still unresolved, would any of us, who have already had the chance to vote, keep our fellow voters from getting their chance too? Democratic Party Chairman, Howard Dean said today,
We really can't have a divided convention. If we do it's going to be very hard to heal the party afterwards....

So we'll know who the nominee is and that'll give us an extra 2 1/2 months to get our party together, heal the wounds of having a very closely divided race and take on Senator McCain....

We want the voters to have their say. That's over on June 3....

Either of these candidates, if it's time for them to go, they'll know it and they will go....

They don't need any pushing from me. You know when to get in and you know when to get out. That's just part of the deal....

This is not about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama...this is about our country. It's about a better course for our country....

We've got to move on and win the presidency. - Source
I completely agree!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Somehow Soldiers Don't Get A Dime!

This video was produced by the father of a U.S. Sargent. Watch and wonder where your own personal tax dollars are going, spending on the military? I don't think so:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Faux News

Another zinger from Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

ACTION ALERT: Stop The Spraying!

UPDATE!!! "Judge orders halt to spraying"

Dear Fellow Bay Area Residents,

You may have heard about a government program that's about to start literally in our own backyards. Nancy Skinner (East Bay Regional Park District Board Member) sends out this alarming information:
The route map for the aerial pesticide to fight the light brown apple moth has been finalized. A number of communities around here are on the map.

The planes are scheduled to spray Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, Albany, El Cerrito, Kensington and Richmond every 30 to 90 days beginning this summer. I'm not sure about the effect of prevailing winds on other East Bay towns.

Schools and parents are worried because the EPA has not yet approved the use of this pesticide over populated areas.

It's not too late for us to delay the flights. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is now the one person who can order the pilots to stand down until it has been demonstrated that the aerial spraying to control the apple moth won't harm our environment or make people sick.

We can and should ask for an interim moratorium until a full environmental review is completed and we can be assured that the chemical is safe - click this link

On Wednesday, the East Bay Regional Park District Board approved a resolution to request a moratorium. Nancy Skinner, currently on the park district board, is circulating a short petition that will go to the Governor. He is the one to reach.

Here's the text of the petition:
Governor Schwarzenegger,

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is scheduled this summer to begin spraying pesticide "Check-Mate" from planes flying over Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Kensington, Albany and Richmond every 30 to 90 days. The pesticide, which has not been approved by the EPA for spraying in populated areas, will fall on our neighborhoods and with the prevailing wind, may drift into other East Bay communities.

You are the one person who can ask the pilots to delay the spraying until it can be demonstrated that the chemical program is safe. Please take the precaution of completing the full environmental review process so we can rest assured that no one is in harm's way. Thank you for your consideration.

Join me in signing the petition HERE!

And then tell everyone you know. Better to be safe than sorry.

The ART of Democracy

Poster and logo by Frances Jetter for Art of Democracy © 2008

Printmaker Art Hazelwood (who I've featured previously on the blog) has started a national group of artists, galleries, and other groups exhibiting political art between now and the crucial presidential election in November. Their goal is to,
Our Mission is to promote the political art of artists and art organizations on a national scale during the critical period leading up to the 2008 presidential elections. The means of achieving this goal will be to encourage artists around the nation to organize exhibitions and events at this time. The national effort will work to promote these shows through a unifying title, logo, website, public relations campaign, and through the exchange of posters and prints promoting the exhibitions.

The combined efforts will amplify the message of all the art exhibitions and draw more local and national attention. There is no prescribed message for the artwork.

I'm pleased that the gallery I'll be exhibiting my political work with in October will soon be adding information to this growing nationwide effort. (More to come on this personal front soon.)

Please help publicize this important effort by artists in this time of "national peril." Visit the Art of Democracy website and throw your support any way you can, either by adding listings, donating resources, or spreading the word. The country you save may be your own!

More from Hazelwood and the Art of Democracy:

The Art of Democracy (AOD) is a national coalition of political art exhibitions all taking place in the Fall of 2008 on the dire state of the American Political Scene.

We chose this time when the nation is particularly politically aware to bring into focus overlooked and underrepresented voices and views on the state of politics, and the state of democracy today. The web site contains an outline of the coalition and will expand to cover all of the associated exhibitions. Each exhibition will be promoted through the website as well as through other local and national media. A national coalition will have more chance of penetrating the barriers against alternate voices. A coalition of exhibitions will increase the visibility of all.

The coalition is growing: we now have exhibitions in several cities, and are seeking new partners and venues, whether at museums or art centers or galleries or cafés. Several groups are currently searching for venues. These are all shows organized under the coalition of the Art of Democracy. There are no requirements to be a part of it, and no fees, The purpose is simple: organize a national (or even international) voice for political art and artists and amplify that voice by the multiple venues and artists all participating at the same time.

Here are a few examples of posters being created for this effort:

Poster by Eric Santoy for Art of Democracy © 2008
(Click artist's name for larger view)

Poster by
Edy Cruz
for Art of Democracy © 2008
(Click artist's name for larger view)

Poster by Frank Wegloski for Art of Democracy © 2008
(Click artist's name for larger view)

Poster by Paula Anderson for Art of Democracy © 2008
(Click artist's name for larger view)

Poster by Sherielyn-Dionisio for Art of Democracy © 2008
(Click artist's name for larger view)

Poster by Ian Pulia for Art of Democracy © 2008
(Click artist's name for larger view)

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.

Friday, April 18, 2008

How to Rise Above "Gotcha" Politics

Thursday, April 17, 2008


My Dear Friends,

Last night I listened to the Democratic Presidential debate via radio so I wouldn't have to wait until 8pm Pacific time to watch it. It was frankly the WORST run debate I've heard in my 30 years as a voter. I counted how long it took the moderators to ask an actual policy question...ONE HOUR! For a full hour they badgered the candidates about flag pins, ministers, sniper fire, and "bitterness of voters" remarks. All of this stuff had previously been hashed, and OVERHASHED in the mainstream news media all week. The only reason I tuned in to the debate is that I specifically wanted to hear Clinton and Obama describe in detail their plans to 1) get our troops out of Iraq, 2) fix the mortgage crisis, 3) get us all health insurance, 4) repair the economy, 5) keep us from bombing Iran, 6) getting lobbyists out of our government, and 7) repair our reputation in the world. ONE FULL HOUR of every American who bothered to tune in was wasted, WASTED! ABC News, Charles Gibson, and George Stephanopoulos must have mistaken the program for an edition of the Jerry Springer show rather than the crucial final debate prior to what may be the last primary in a race for the most important job in America. SHAME on ABC, SHAME on parent company Disney. Don't put up with this crap! Let them know how you feel about the work they did last night:

(818) 460-7477
Email Form!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Condoleezza Rice Helped Set Up U.S. Torture System!

What kind of woman is this?

Read about this shocking new revelation HERE! Demand Rice's resignation. As soon as Bush is out of office the entire lot of these criminals need to be brought to justice! (We have to wait so that Bush can't pardon any of them while he's still president.) We also have to make sure that John McCain doesn't get a chance to pardon them either. Do your part! Donate to a progressive Democrat HERE!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Go On Your Own 3 Trillian Dollar Shopping Spree

From Filmmaker Robert Greenwald:

The occupation of Iraq will cost $3 trillion, America's most expensive conflict since WWII. Can YOU spend that money better? Here's your chance to go on a virtual $3 trillion shopping spree and prove it!

Go HERE to give it a try!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Get Yourself to New Orleans This Weekend!

The BraBall © 2008 Emily Duffy. Photo by Sibila Savage.

I'm very proud to announce that my sculpture, The BraBall, will make an appearance at the 10th Anniversary celebration of Eve Ensler's "Vagina Monologues" this weekend (April 11 and 12, 2008) in New Orleans. The AVAM has loaned the BraBall, along with several other artworks, for this important anniversary.

Enlser's ground-breaking play has been performed thousands of times by groups all over the world and her non-profit organization has raised,
...over $50 million for local anti violence groups with benefit events taking place in over 120 countries to date. V-Day supports anti-violence organizations throughout the world, helping them to continue and expand their core work on the ground, while drawing public attention to the larger fight to stop worldwide violence (including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual slavery) against women and girls. V-Day combines art and activism to stage large-scale benefits and produce innovative gatherings, films, and programs to educate and change social attitudes regarding violence against women. Source

If you're anywhere New Orleans this weekend, this is a MUST SEE, star-studded event for a great cause.

Why New Orleans you might wonder?
The women of New Orleans and the gulf south - Katrina Warriors - have
survived the fall out of global warming, failure of public structures, racism, economic hardship, and domestic abuse. All of these are pieces of the story of violence that continues to impact women here in this country and around the world.

This years V-Day Spotlight on Women in New Orleans and the Gulf South will honor Katrina Warriors for their strength and resilience in the face of devastating loss. The spotlight will highlight the daily ongoing work of women in their communities who have steadfastly kept New Orleans and the Gulf South alive with little to no resources. It will bring attention and funds so that women may be safe and empowered in a region whose pulse beats like no other. -Source

But even if you can't make it to New Orleans this weekend, chances are there is a V-Day performance/celebration near you. Go HERE to find it!

Please spread the word of this event far and wide. I hope you get a chance to see the remarkable BraBall sculpture (created with 18,085 donated bras send from women all around the globe. More details about the sculpture project HERE.)

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

So It Turns Out We DO Torture!?!

The ACLU recently forced the release of a secret document written by UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo (I know the irony is terribly bitter.) Back in 2003 before invading Iraq, the Bush Administration was busy trying to rewrite US law in order to set up a profitable war business in that hapless country. Here is a small nugget from this heinous document, "your government at work?"

As we have made clear in other opinions involving the war against al Qaeda, the Nation's right to self-defense has been triggered by the events of September 11. If a government defendant were to harm an enemy combatant during an interrogation in a manner that might arguably violate a criminal prohibition, he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the al Qaeda terrorist network. In that case, we believe that he' could argue that the executive branch's constitutional authority to protect the nation from attack justified his actions. This national and international version of the right to self-defense could supplement and bolster the government defendant's individual right. Read more here!

They point out,
There has never been a more urgent need to preserve fundamental privacy protections and our system of checks and balances than the need we face today, as illegal government spying, provisions of the Patriot Act and government-sponsored torture programs transcend the bounds of law and our most treasured values in the name of national security.

Please help the ACLU continue is fine work watchdogging our "leaders" and doing their part to help save our democracy. I've been donating $20.00 per month for a year now, figuring it's a small price to pay for a group willing to ask the hard questions on a daily basis.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Required Reading for Every Live Human

From my friend, and fellow Support Corps Supervisor, Kathy Johnson:
The Republicans and most especially this administration have become experts at subverting democratic processes. The examples are too numerous to count, everything from recess appointments and signing statements, to the whitening of Louisanna, the privatization of education in New Orleans, and the privatization of our military and emergency services - to name only a few - all done with no debate and no consensus.

Read all about it in The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein - it may well be the most important book you will ever read. Listen to parts 1 & 2 of an interview with her from

The book is meticulously researched and documented. Democracy is a meaningless word if the American people are not aware of what's going on. Folks need to understand that what has happened under this administration is NOT INCOMPETENCE but the systematic carrying out of a well-planned agenda - and only when they are caught red-handed, do they plead incompetence rather than treason.

Here's a review of the book:
In So Many Cases, Democracy Rises from Catastrophe, Naomi Klein Argues

By John Freeman

The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Sunday 16 December 2007

According to economists in the University of Chicago school of thought, free-market ideas spread across the planet in a series of natural if sometimes painful historic developments. And the unprecedented (and highly lucrative) access Western capital enjoyed to these emerging markets is essential to kick-starting democratic reform.

In this towering polemic, Naomi Klein demolishes this narrative, arguing that the evidence tells a different story. Skipping across several decades and numerous U.S. administrations of both parties, Klein shows how the free-market ideas associated with Milton Friedman have spread often through catastrophe (as in Thailand, post-tsunami, and in New Orleans, post-Katrina) and at the point of a gun (as in Chile in 1973 and Iraq today).

Klein, a journalist whose book, "No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies" was translated into 28 languages, argues here that the violence necessary to foster such free-market reforms will only increase.

Many decades ago, Marxist historian Walter Rodney labeled a similar phenomenon "the underdevelopment of Africa," describing a deliberate molding of developing economies by imperialism to serve its own needs. Today, Klein calls it "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism." She takes her cue from the role shock and awe, in all forms, plays in getting the local populace to cooperate: book-burning, bombing, widespread arrests and roundups - even torture.

Readers of Howard Zinn's "A People's History" will recognize an ideological stance at work here. But Klein is not simply a woman with a bullhorn. A fierce writer whose prose has the metaphorical gusto of Susan Sontag's in its best moments, Klein manages to weave a narrative out of a large variety of historical events that is equal parts cultural commentary and investigative journalism.

Her most powerful segments deal with events of recent years. Take, for instance, her ability to encapsulate the mess that is Iraq. Among other things, "The Shock Doctrine" shows how the growing role of civilian contractors, Abu Ghraib, the insurgency, and the constant, spooky presence of Halliburton in so many recent projects (which include the building of Guantanamo and the reconstruction of New Orleans) all stem from the shock doctrine.

For instance, in describing how so much money gets spent and so little done in Iraq, Klein creates this daisy-chain sentence. "The big contractors set up offices in the Green Zone, or even Kuwait City and Amman, then subcontracted to Kuwati companies, who subcontracted to Saudis, who, when the security situation got too rough, finally subcontracted to Iraqi firms, often from Kurdistan, for a fraction of what the contracts were worth."

Klein reminds us that, contrary to his public statements, Dick Cheney will profit enormously from his continued association with Halliburton. Here is why this book, angry as it is, deserves such a wide audience. It reminds us that the purpose of government is to serve the most people as best it can. Under the shock doctrine, Klein argues, the opposite occurs: One class of people comes up with the plan, another does the fighting, and a third, way at the bottom, deals with the fallout.

If you accept this assessment, it's not hard to see why such policies earn what the CIA calls "blowback." - Source


Freeman is president of the National Book Critics Circle.

What a Difference Miles Can Make

Last Fall I exhibited a novel group of paintings by New York artist Eleanor Gilpatrick. Today I'd like to share more pieces from her "In the World" series. Eleanor doesn't just read news about the war-torn Middle East, she transmutes it into juxtapositions with daily life in America. Most of the paintings show the stark differences between circumstances we're familiar with and those oppressing the Iraqi and other peoples. Sometimes, as in the case of the first image below, (In The World 5: Fire! California and Iraq) the actual experiences are the same, but the causes are vastly different (wildfire versus bombing.)

If you're in the New York City area in May please make it a point to see Eleanor's paintings in person. Details follow about her live exhibit.
The show features a group of my paintings that contrast the Iraqi war and other terrifying events with serene and beautiful scenes of American life. I hope people will connect with what is going on "In The World," the title of the show.

Eleanor Gilpatrick
MAY 2 - 31, 2008
Jadite Galleries
413 West 50th Street. Manhattan.
Opening reception Friday, May 2, 2008 from 6-8 PM.
Regular hours 12-6 PM, Tues-Sat.

(Click on image for larger view)
In The World 5: Fire! California and Iraq © 2007 Eleanor Gilpatrick

The contrast of beauty and terror continues with this painting, but now the two places share the terror, and the beauty lies in the fire itself. Based on press photos by Bruce Chambers, La Fonzo Rachel, and Slahaldeen Rasheed.

(Click on image for larger view)
In The World Six: Fairfield and Baghdad © 2007 Eleanor Gilpatrick

This is the sixth in the series. A placid pond behind what was once a grist mill in Fairfield, Connecticut, is contrasted with a soldier on patrol in Baghdad. The water in both places mirrors the scene. (The figure of the soldier is based on a press photo by Spencer Platt.)

(Click on image for larger view)
In The World Seven: Westport and Sadr City © 2008 Eleanor Gilpatrick

This is the seventh of the In The World series. A peaceful scene on the Saugetuck River, CT, is contrasted with a portrait of an elderly woman holding a bullet that hit her bed during a raid by US and Iraqi troops. (The image of the woman is based on a press photo by Wissam al-Okaili.)

(Click on image for larger view)
In The World Eight: Iraq And Saratoga © 2008 Eleanor Gilpatrick

Soldiers walking in Iraq amid the smoke of war are contrasted with Saratoga, New York, when the blossoms appear. The Iraq scene is adapted from a press photo by Misha Japandze.

(Click on image for larger view)
In The World Nine: On The Taconic and Near Baghdad © 2008 Eleanor Gilpatrick

A view off the Taconic Parkway, NY, and an Iraqi man tending sheep near Baghdad. The contrast is now the serene lands with the terror from the sky in Iraq. A US helicopter is involved in a raid on a nearby village. The Iraq scene is based on a press photo by Jacob Silberberg.

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.