Finally, the Olympic torch was handed over to Chinese organizers on Sunday amid protests, but it made it there without the help of Narisa Charabongse. One of six Thai torch bearers, the founder of the Green World Foundation bowed out in protest, citing "the severe violation of human rights in Tibet." (I'm so proud of my country-in-law!)
An author, Boston University international relations professor and self-described "Catholic conservative," Bacevich (pictured) writes that the "Republican Party does not represent conservative principles" and states that "certain faux conservatives -- especially those in the service of Big Business and Big Empire -- have prospered," while "conservatism as such has not." He cites a Bush-era national debt that's ballooned from $5.7 to $9.4 trillion and post-9/11 foreign policy leadership that "validated conspicuous consumption as the core function of 21st-century citizenship" and foreign policy decisions in which "ideology supplanted statecraft."
But his main argument for an Obama presidency? Obama would end the United States' combat role in Iraq.
Bacevich, it should be noted, lost a son, a 27-year-old also named Andrew, in Iraq, but his opposition to the war preceded that May 2007 event by several years. Also, he's long been critical of the Bush administration and its neoconservative allies on several counts, a trend he continues in this piece:
Above all, conservatives who think that a McCain presidency would restore a sense of realism and prudence to U.S. foreign policy are setting themselves up for disappointment. On this score, we should take the senator at his word: his commitment to continuing the most disastrous of President Bush's misadventures is irrevocable. McCain is determined to remain in Iraq as long as it takes. He is the candidate of the War Party. The election of John McCain would provide a new lease on life to American militarism, while perpetuating the U.S. penchant for global interventionism marketed under the guise of liberation.In Obama Bacevich sees "a sliver of hope" for a conservative revival, brought on not by any deep conservative values the Illinois senator carries, but in the meaning behind a nationwide embrace of a candidate pledged to end U.S. involvement in Iraq.
"Acknowledging failure [in Iraq] just might open the door to self-reflection," he writes, and such soul-searching, while officially presided over by a Democrat, just might end up benefitting conservatives whose values are not, as Bacevich writes, in growing Empire, using expansive military budgets to shape the world to our wishes and undermining the Constitution.
Why does she go on like this? Does Clinton privately believe that Obama is so incompetent that only she can deliver the policies they both support? Is she simply selfish, and willing to put her party through agony for the sake of her slender chance? Are leading Democrats so narcissistic that they would create bitter stagnation even if they were granted one-party rule?Read it.
The better answer is that Clinton’s long rear-guard action is the logical extension of her relentlessly political life.
The original at right, and some interpretations below.
Via Copy and Paste It.
Poster by Michael Parisi and Rebecca Cadman, via Mediation and notcot.
Update: Lest this seem like a mere graphic-design exercise or visual gag, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy has grisly evidence of Chinese retribution.
Another iconic image making a comeback is the shot of a lone Chinese man blocking a line of tanks with his body in Tiananmen Square, 1989 (video):
Via Beau Bo D'Or.
Via Flickr user H@r@ald.
The film, which premieres at the Walker Art Center on April 15 (followed by a post-screening discussion with Morris) and begins its theatrical run at Minneapolis' Lagoon Cinema on May 23, takes a familiar topic and tries to offer context. Key to its story, says Morris, is what happens outside the photographic frame -- chiefly, how do the low-ranking Lynndie Englands of the military tell us more about those up the chain of command who consider humiliating prisoners "standard operating procedure" (as one government expert testifies)?
Debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, where it took home a Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize, the movie has already been receiving accolades, but The Hollywood Reporter wonders if it's treading on too-familiar turf (covered well by last year's HBO film "The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" by Rory Kennedy) and focusing too narrowly. Citing Morris' "near-pornographic obsession" with the photos, Kirk Honeycutt writes, "The wider context of the war on terrorism, the Bush administration's complicity in prisoner abuse, the moral and legal implications and the damage the scandal did to U.S. prestige worldwide is not even mentioned."
Whether it offers new facts, the film's strength, if it's anything like Morris' past documentaries Mr. Death and The Fog of War, will likely be how he conjures intimate and surprising tales from his subjects. Morris famously uses his invention the Interrotron, a device that allows interviewees to see Morris' face at the end of a camera lens, as well as extremely long interview sessions to get moving material. (In this week's New Yorker, an excerpt from Morris' forthcoming book of the same name, co-written by Philip Gourevitch, introduces us to one of Abu Ghraib photo-taker, Spec. Sabrina Harman, whose morbid fascination with corpses -- interested in forensic science, she once filmed the severed head of a cat, leftover from her autopsy of it, balanced on a Fanta can -- adds context to shots she took of soldiers posing near the ice-packed body of a detainee beaten to death.)
One aspect of the film, re-enactments of humiliations inflicted by American guards at the prison, has generated some controversy. In reply to a reporter at a Berlin press conference who questioned the practice of injecting fictional clips into a documentary, he answered, "With due respect I think this is nonsense talk. There's this idea... that if I run around with a handheld camera and I shoot with available light that is somehow more truthful. Truth is a quest... something that I have never lost sight of and never will."
More: View videos and slideshows on the film.
Above: China's famed Terracotta Warriors conscripted to speak out against China's crackdown on dissent in Tibet, by Mark Trepte/The Associated Press.
Well, I don't see the Clintons walking off the field if Hillary has the popular-vote lead, which is a realistic possibility. And I don't see Obama walking away from a lead among pledged delegates. That is why I think it is likely that, however this is resolved, the two of them run on a ticket together, and here is why: In 1976 and 1980 we had fights that went to the convention. In 1976 it was Ford and Reagan fighting it out and Jimmy Carter became president. In 1980 it was Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter and Reagan became president. History says you don't want to campaign into the convention, even if McCain will be carrying George Bush's baggage. So I think there will be tremendous pressure on the eventual nominee to pull the party together by picking the other.
Pictured: Afro Abe II, Sonya Clark
Tim Snell says this shot shows Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, "a tibetan monk who was sentenced to death, then life imprisonment, in china for a crime that he claims he did not commit. apparently he's seen as a threat to china's control of tibet and did not receive a fair trial or an independent lawyer." Students for a Free Tibet is asking everyone to download and post or stencil Tenzin's image to raise awareness of Tenzin's continuing imprisonment.
A "Free Tibet" stencil in Krakow, Poland.
And at a concert in Shanghai March 2, Björk upset some fans when she shouted "Tibet! Tibet!" near the end of the song "Declare Independence." First dedicated to the Faroe Islands, remote islands with traditional ties to Greenland but a province of Denmark, the songs lyrics include the lines, "Don't let them do that to you. Raise your flag!"
China denounced the act, saying that Björk "not only broke Chinese laws and regulations and hurt the feelings of Chinese people, but also went against the professional code of an artist." Underscoring that it understands what art is all about, it then promptly blocked access for its citizens to the Icelandic artist's website.
See more of Jungen's work.
When Bush was younger and not employed in the White House, of course, he had the opportunity to be on the front lines. During the Vietnam War, Bush landed a pilot's spot, thanks to strings pulled by Texas' Democratic lieutenant governor Ben Barnes, in a so-called "Champagne Unit" of the Texas Air National Guard. In his application for the six-year stint, Bush checked the box that read, "'I 'do not' volunteer for overseas.'" In 1972, Bush dropped off the map -- missing his military physical and months of duty.
Bush also told the assembled contractors and soldiers that their work in Afghanistan "must be exciting... in some ways romantic." But with a million pounds of metal raining down on the landscape in the first nine months of 2007, "alarmingly high" civilian casualties (350 killed by coalition forces and 438 by insurgents, as of last September) and the deaths of nearly 500 US troops there so far, perhaps that "romance" looks a bit difference on the other end of the teleconference screen.
Jeff Fecke contributed to this post.
Pictured: George W. Bush action figure by Merit International
An extraordinary rendition of "The Green Green Grass of Home."
Speaking of which: Before I catch, ahem, flak, I made some misstatements. When discussing my Premack-winning story on jailed videoblogger Josh Wolf and the ethical issues around it, I misspoke: The rally Wolf was videotaping was not an antiwar protest but coincided with a globalization summit in Scotland; and Wolf was released from jail after 226 days after he posted said footage online. My bad.
Now, go listen!
In January, Brian and I, friends since we met through Adbusters magazine years ago, discussed his three-part, multi-year Copia project. While his work offers a critique of -- "and maybe a warning" about -- overconsumption, it also arises from empathy, a we're-all-in-this-together acknowledgement of the commercial world we live in.
Here's a 12-minute audio slideshow of our phone conversation:
Consuming Imagery: Brian Ulrich Interview from Eyeteeth on Vimeo.
Funny, then, how the Associated Press chose to frame this story:
Vague, seemingly non sequitur websites have popped up right and left, including the surprisingly popular "[Candidate] Is Your New Bicycle" websites. Apparently started with an Obama version, the sites refresh with random messages, like "BARACK OBAMA FOLDED YOU AN ORIGAMI CRANE" and "BARACK OBAMA SET YOUR VOICE AS HIS RINGTONE."
My favorite of the Obamemes (if you will) is LOLbama.com. It inserts the ubiquitous LOLcats meme -- cat-photo aesthetic and misspelled musings included -- into the realm of contemporary electoral politics.
Someone at Etsy is selling buttons commemorating the meme (above), and Deviant Art has stencils:Here, according to one Reddit commenter, is where it all began: Maybe an artist should make a real bacon dispenser... unless someone already has.
Update 3/14/08: Josh Wolf writes in with a comment:
There is one aspect of the story, that I'm assuming you didn't know when you wrote it that I think may alter the perception of some of my critics who felt that I was withholding evidence. Although I refused to turn over the material to the US Attorney, I did, on several occasions offer the judge an in-camera review to assess the evidentiary value of my out-takes. The US Attorney objected and the judge refused our request.
My case was about a lot of things, the rights of an independent press being central to the story, but the way that the Federal government acted in an unreasonable and unwarranted manner over an issue that should have been outside their jurisdiction is, in many ways, just as important.