28 March 2006

Why Sport Matters; Reason #4

Sports can remind us of hope
when things look hopeless

20 March 2006

I already got it: people are pissed

So...Now What?
10,000 angry protestors stand together in yet another undigested public action

Protest - Portland, OR; Apr 19

16 March 2006

MySpace isn't cool, hip or trendy: it's a Trojan-horse

MySpace Is The Trojan Horse Of Internet Censorship
Media elite's last gasp effort to save crumbling empire

Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones/Prison Planet.com | March 16 2006

MySpace isn't cool, it isn't hip and it isn't trendy. It represents a cyber trojan horse and the media elite's last gasp effort to reclaim control of the Internet and sink it with a stranglehold of regulation, control and censorship.

Since Rupert Murdoch's $580 Million acquisition of MySpace in July 2005, it has come from total obscurity to now being the 8th most visited website in the world, receiving half as many page hits as Google, despite the fact that on first appearance it looks like a 5-year-old's picture scrap and scribble book.

MySpace is the new mobile phone. If you don't have a MySpace account then you belong to some kind of culturally shunned underclass.

What most of the trendy wendy's remain blissfully unaware of is the fact that MySpace is Rupert Murdoch's battle axe for shaping a future Internet environment whereby electronic dissent, whether it be against corporations or government, will not tolerated and freedom of e-speech will cease to exist.

MySpace has been caught shutting down blogs critical of itself and other Murdoch owned companies. They even had the audacity to censor links to completely different websites when clicking through for MySpace. When 600 MySpace users complained, MySpace deleted the blog forum that the complaints were posted on. Taking their inspiration from Communist China, MySpace regularly uses blanket censorship to block out words like 'God'.

Earlier this week Rupert Murdoch sounded the death knell for conventional forms of media in stating that the media elite were losing their monopoly to the rapid and free spread of new communication technologies. Murdoch stressed the need to regain control of these outlets in order to prevent the establishment media empire from crumbling.

MySpace is Rupert Murdoch's trojan horse for destroying free speech on the Internet. It is a foundational keystone of the first wave of the state's backlash to the damage that a free and open Internet has done to their organs of propaganda. By firstly making it cool, trendy and culturally elite for millions to flock to establishment controlled Internet backbones like MySpace, Murdoch is preparing the groundwork for the day when it will stop being voluntary and become mandatory to use government and corporate monopoly controlled Internet hubs.

The end game is a system similar to or worse than China, whereby no websites even mildly critical of the government will be authorized.

The Pentagon admitted that they would engage in psychological warfare and cyber attacks on 'enemy' Internet websites in an attempt to shut them down. The fact that the NSA surveillance program spied on 5,000 Americans tells us that the enemy is the alternative media and that it will be targeted for elimination. Google has been ordered to turn over information about its users by a judge to the US government.

The second wave of destroying freedom of speech online will simply attempt to price people out of using the conventional Internet and force people over to Internet 2, a state regulated hub where permission will need to be obtained directly from an FCC or government bureau to set up a website.

The original Internet will then be turned into a mass surveillance database and marketing tool. The Nation magazine reported, "Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency. According to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets--corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers--would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out."

The original Internet will deliberately be subject to crash upon crash until it becomes a useless carcass of overpriced trash and its reputation will be defiled by the TV and media barons cashing in on the perfectly streamlined Internet 2, the free for all network that just requires you to thumbscan in order to log on! Those with a security grading below yellow on their national ID card will unfortunately be refused access. Websites that carry hate speech (ones that talk about government corruption) will be censored for the betterment of society.

For the aspiring dictator, the Internet is a dangerous tool that has been seized by the enemy.

We have come a long way since 1969, when the ARPANET was created solely for US government use. The Internet is freedom's best friend and the bane of control freaks. Its eradication is one of the short term goals of those that seek to centralize power and subjugate the world under a global surveillance panopticon prison.

Rupert Murdoch's MySpace and its ceaseless promotion by the establishment media as the best thing since sliced bread is part of this movement. In saying all this we do encourage everyone to set up a MySpace account, but only if you're going to use it to bash MySpace, Rupert Murdoch and copy and paste this article right at the top of the page! See how long it is before your account is terminated.

11 March 2006

Gershwin's Law

"Many people say that too much study kills spontaneity in music, but I claim that, although study may kill a small talent, it must develop a big talent. In other words, if study kills a musical endowment, it deserves to be killed."

The George Gershwin Reader, p. 136.

via The Rest is Noise

07 March 2006

RIP: Ivor Cutler

Ivor Cutler (1923-2006)
poet, songwriter and performer

from UK Guardian
Ivor Cutler, the eccentric poet, singer, songwriter and storyteller, who has died aged 83, appealed to successive generations with his offbeat sense of humour and wonder at the world. In more than four decades of performing he attracted a band of admirers and followers that included such luminaries as philosopher Bertrand Russell, Beatles John and Paul, DJ John Peel and comedian Billy Connolly. Pop mavericks such as Oasis discoverer Alan McGee and Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos were also fans. The scope of his appeal was reflected in his dedicated following on BBC Radios 1, 2, 3 and 4 - and many stations beyond.

Cutler's Jewish parents and grandparents came to the UK at the end of the 19th century in the wake of pogroms in eastern Europe. Thinking they were bound for the US, but finding their ship docked at Glasgow, they stayed there. Ivor was born 100 yards from the Rangers ground at Ibrox Park - he perpetuated the myth that his first scream was synchronous with a goal.

His childhood, shared with two brothers and two sisters, should have been happy, but a combination of anti-semitic schoolteachers and the belief that he became a lesser being in his mother's eyes after his younger brother was born seemed to inhibit his development. At the age of three, he tried to kill his younger sibling with a poker, only to be stopped by an intervening aunt. But songs around the piano in three-part harmonies, and the formative moment when, aged six, he won the school prize for his rendition of Robert Burns' My Love is like a Red Red Rose, give a somewhat warmer picture of his upbringing.

Nevertheless, the exaggerated view of a dour Scots childhood, no doubt informed by seeing his peers arriving at school with bare feet - a fact which, he later claimed, helped form his leftwing political views, aged five - appeared in his hilarious writings, Life in a Scotch Sitting Room Volume 2. With lines such as "Voiding bowels in those days was unheard of. People just kept it in," he used a string of fantastical untruths to expose the reality of his life and the Spartan - and sometimes sadistic - Scottish existence.

In 1939 Cutler was evacuated to Annan. Following some failed attempts by his travelling salesman father to include him in the business, he took a job as an apprentice fitter at Rolls-Royce. In 1941, determined to prove wrong those who claimed that Jews were not pulling their weight by enlisting, he signed up for the RAF. He trained as a navigator, but was dismissed for being too dreamy and absent-minded, apparently more interested in looking at the clouds from the cockpit window than locating a flight path. He served out the rest of the war as a first aid and storeman with the Winsor Engineering Company, then studied at Glasgow School of Art and became a schoolteacher.

Working at a school in Paisley, however, did not agree with Cutler. He hated discipline that required the strap, having received it more than 200 times himself, and in a dramatic gesture took the instrument from his desk, cut it into pieces and dispensed them to the class. Leaving Scotland was, he claimed, "the beginning of my life".

That new life included teaching at AS Neill's Summerhill school. Dubbed a hippy academy where a different approach to education was fostered, Summerhill was run with rules agreed between staff and pupils, and the premise was to educate the whole person. This alternative philosophy appealed to Cutler. He lived in the grounds of the school and engaged the pupils with drama and music. He also married and had two children, although the marriage did not last, and elements of his eccentric behaviour surfaced in his parenting, such as his insistence on sending his son to his first day at school in a kilt.

Cutler continued to teach until 1980 for the Inner London Education Authority - to the chagrin of some parents, who found his unorthodox methods subversive (such as having his pupils improvise, during a drama class, killing their siblings). But he also had a showbiz career, and claimed it was teaching that unlocked his creativity. He began with a gig at the Blue Angel, in London in 1957, which he always referred to as an unmitigated failure, and he did not begin writing poetry until he was 42 - maintaining he was not any good until he was 48.

Cutler hawked his songs around Tin Pan Alley and was eventually recognised by a promoter who recorded his work and introduced him to the comedy producer Ned Sherrin. Sherrin was tickled by Cutler's surrealist folk music and booked him to appear on television; he subsequently performed on the Acker Bilk Show and Late Night Line-Up. On one such appearance he was spotted by Paul McCartney, who invited Cutler to appear in the Beatles' film Magical Mystery Tour (1967). Cutler duly found himself playing Buster Bloodvessel, the bus conductor who announces to his passengers, "I am concerned for you to enjoy yourselves within the limits of British decency" and then develops a passion for Ringo's large aunt Jessie.

In another Beatles connection, his 1967 record, Ludo, was produced by George Martin, who was not amused by Cutler's eccentricities during the Abbey Road recording sessions. Maintaining its appeal to a new generation, the record was re-released on Oasis's label, Creation, in 1998. Cutler's distinctive baritone, coupled with the wheeze of the harmonium, became the trademark of his songwriting style as much as his offbeat, imaginative and observant lyrics.

For the latter part of his career, Cutler lived on his own in a flat on Parliament Hill Fields, north London, which he found by placing an ad in the New Statesman saying "Ivor Cutler seeks room near Heath. Cheap!". There he would receive visitors, and his companion Phyllis King, in a reception room filled with clutter, pictures and curios, including his harmonium, some ivory cutlery (a pun, of course) and a wax ear stapled to the wall with six-inch nails - proof of his dedication to the Noise Abatement Society, because of which he forbade his audience ever to whistle in appreciation at his work. The bicycle was his preferred mode of transport, its cow-horn handlebars in the sit-up-and-beg position in line with his Alexander technique practice.

Besides his accomplishments in songwriting and poetry (he was included in Faber's collection of Scottish verse, edited by Douglas Dunn), Cutler also engaged in quasi-performance art. He was wont to carry chalk to draw circle faces around dog excrement on the pavement, and would hand out gold sticky labels inscribed with such legends as "Made of dust", "True happiness is knowing you're a hypocrite" and "Changing your pants is like taking a clean plate".

Although he often took a stern demeanour with strangers, and insisted on them addressing him as Mr Cutler, it was in many ways a front. In less public company, his face would readily break into a grin, and sometimes he would remove his fez or hat to reveal a bald pate, about which he once remarked: "Sur le volcan ne pousse pas l'herbe" (Grass does not grow on a volcano).

Such bon mots were indications of his love of languages. He could quote from Homer, taught himself Chinese and was in the habit of frequenting Soho's Chinatown, where he could display his knowledge - although, typically, he chose Chinese above Japanese because the textbooks were cheaper. With the onset of old age he was increasingly worried about losing his memory, given that his father and brother had both developed Alzheimer's disease. It was a fear that was to be tragically fulfilled. He retired from the stage at the age of 82.

Cutler seemed to live by the epigrams he wrote, particularly "Imperfection is an end; perfection is only an aim," as well as his belief that art was therapy. As a creator of work that was bizarre, unique, sinister, bleak, funny, touching - and sometimes achingly moving - it proved to be therapeutic as much for his fans as for its creator. He is survived by his sons.

04 March 2006

A few things to do this month:

Calendar of Events in Portland, OR :

3rd Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq

A Call to Resist the War - Nonviolence Training
Saturday, March 4th 2006 10:00 am
Civil Resist Portland has issued a call for non-violent civil disobedience to mark the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. The action will be taking place on Monday, March 20th (see calendar listing for March 20th).

In support of this effort a non-violence preparedness workshop will be presented. People who are interested in this action, either willing to be arrested or to provide support MUST attend this training and will be required to sign a pledge of non-violence to participate.

RSVPRabbi Michael Lerner: Interfaith Presentation
Sunday, March 5th 2006 7:00 PM
Christ the Healer UCC is hosting Rabbi Michael Lerner. He will discuss the topic of his new book: "The Left Hand of God: Taking our Country Back from the Religious Right."
The talk will begin at 7:00pm.
Buffet reception preceding the talk, downstairs at 5:30pm, Dr. Lerner will speak informally and answer questions. The reception will be $15 and those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP at 503-650-4447.

RSVPPeace Song Sing-along
Sunday, March 5th 2006 5:30 pm
The Peace and Justice Singers host a community sing-along. Sing along with us and get ready to raise our voices in song at the March 19th rally to "End the War, Begin the Peace."

RSVPInternational Women's Day: Women Say No to War!
Wednesday, March 8th 2006 12:00 PM
Deliver petitions from the women of the world to Congressional Offices. For schedule details see calendar at http://www.codepinkportland.org

Various events are taking place on March 8 to support women around the globe and their Call for Peace: http://www.womensaynotowar.org
Delivering petitions to Representative Darlene Hooley’s West Linn office. 21570 Willamette Drive, West Linn. 1/2 - 1 mile west of the I-205 West Linn off-ramp.
12:00 noon
Portland - Pioneer Courthouse Square (corner of Broadway & Morrison)
We will join WILPF's regular weekly vigil downtown in our brightest pink and with Women Say No To War banners.
At 12:15pm we will march through downtown to the Federal Building at 1220 SW Third Ave, between Madison and Jefferson Streets and delivering petitions to Senator Wyden.
12:00 noon – CODEPINK Vancouver will be delivering petitions to their Reps and Senators
YWCA Community Room 3609 Main St, Vancouver, WA 98663
Women's Tea and World Cafe, "Peace in our Homes, Peace in Our World." Please join us in an evening of conversation and conviviality!?
On KBOO community radio, 90.7 fm or streaming at www.kboo.fm
CODEPINK Portland members will be appearing on KBOO’s International Women’s Day coverage. We will be playing excerpts from our “Tell it to George” interview project. We will also be inviting listeners to call-in, and tell us what they would say to George, LIVE! So, turn on your radio, and give us a call!

RSVPWeekly Peace March and Rally
Friday, March 10th 2006 5:00 pm
Portland Peaceful Response Coalition holds their Friday rally and march to kick off the final week of outreach for March 19th mobilization calling for end to the US occupation of Iraq: Bring the Troops Home Now!

RSVPPassport to Peace Interfaith Prayer Service for Peace in Iraq
Sunday, March 12th 2006 4:00 pm
Join with faith leaders and congregants from many traditions for an inspirational service as we sing and pray for peace.

RSVPKeepers of the Peace: We Have Not Forgotten
Sunday, March 12th 2006 6:00 PM
Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 host the start of a week of peace activities leading up to the End the War, Begin the Peace rally and march.

RSVPActive Nonviolence/Peace Advocacy Training for Trainers
Tuesday, March 14th 2006 8:30 am
For Clergy, Social Concerns Committees, Lay Leaders, Peace Group Leaders. Recommit to true nonviolence; acquire tools and skills to stimulate peace action and advocacy in your home group or congregation. Combining and condensing the best of secular and faith-based nonviolence and peacemaking curriculums. Lively, fast-paced and participatory. Led by Oregon Peaceworks’ Peter Bergel and Lutheran Peace Fellowship’s Glen Gersmehl.

End the War, Begin the Peace
Sunday, March 19th 2006 1:30pm
Organizations from Portland's peace and social justice community planning a mass mobilization against war on the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq have announced a full list of subthemes to be addressed at the event. A march and rally entitled "End the War, Begin the Peace" will be held on Sunday, March 19, 2006 in Portland's Waterfront Park south of the Morrison Bridge; gathering at 1:30PM with the event beginning at 2PM.

RSVPA Call to Conscience - Nonviolent Civil Resistance
Monday, March 20th 2006 12:00 AM
Civil Resist Portland has issued a call for non-violent civil disobedience to mark the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

RSVPWomen's Weekly Vigil for Peace
12:00 noon
Weekly Event
Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF) has been vigiling here weekly for several years. They pass out flyers on current peace and justice topics, always with the information for contacting our legislators included. They usually hold signs or wear small sandwich boards to purvey their message.

03 March 2006

Tom Merton remix

I suppose the most shocking thing about American culture is
the corruption of spirituality into flippancy and cynicism;
of intelligence into sophistry;
of dignity into petty vanity and theatrical self-display;
of charity into disgusting concupiscence,
and of faith into sentimentality or puerile atheism.