Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Scneer: An Oscar for America's Hubris, Calendar, from top (BP) to bottom (CSPG)

From: Bernie Pearl

Hello Blues Friends:

My next local show is this Saturday, March 13 I will be in acoustic
concert, with Mike Barry on upright bass, at Boulevard Music. I intend to
debut several new original pieces that night, instrumental and vocal. $15,
all ages. 8:00. Tickets on sale now. Boulevard Music, 4316 Sepulveda Blvd,
Culver City 90230. (310) 398-2583,

I'm delighted to announce that I have been booked at several festivals this
season with, hopefully, more to come: On May 7 Mike and I will be playing at
the Gator By the Bay Festival in San Diego; August 27-28 we'll be performing
and teaching at the Mendocino Acoustic Blues Guitar Workshop; October 8.
I have been invited to play at the Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival
(formerly The King Biscuit Blues Festival); and at the Bukka White Blues
Festival in Aberdeen, Mississippi on October 16. I'm hoping to fill in the
week between dates with performances and touring the Delta region.

Lastly, I have printed out below a wonderful review we just received from
the producer of the T-Bone Walker Festival we played last year in T-Bone's
hometown of Linden, Texas.

The T-Bone Walker Blues Fest on Bernie Pearl

"Bernie Pearl is one of the great Ambassadors of Blues Music and history."

"As producer and artist, every note that arises from Bernie's careful hands
is filled with the mystique, energy, and soulfulness of the blues. His
appearance at the 2009 T-Bone Walker Blues Festival at Music City Texas
Theater in T-Bone's home town of Linden, Texas, was a highlight of the

In addition to being a superb craftsman and inspired guitarist, Bernie Pearl
is also a living touchstone to Blues roots and traditions. He has known and
played with more legendary blues artists than perhaps anyone standing today.
He knows the music, he knows the people deeply, he knows the entire world of
Blues from its inception to what's happening right this minute. Through his
radio shows, his appearances with his band or solo, and producing, Bernie
Pearl is one of the great Ambassadors of Blues Music and history."

Russ Wright, Producer



An Oscar for America's Hubris
By Robert Scheer

Truthdig: March 10, 2010

What a shame that the one movie about the Iraq war that has a chance of
being viewed by a large worldwide audience should be so disappointing.
According to press reports, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts
and Sciences finally found a movie about the Iraq war they liked because it
is "apolitical." Actually, "The Hurt Locker" is just the opposite; it's an
endorsement of the politically chauvinistic view that the world is a stage
upon which Americans get to deal with their demons no matter the consequence
for others.

It is imperial hubris turned into an art form in which the Iraqi people
appear as numbed bystanders when they are not deranged extras. It is a
perverse tribute to the film's accuracy in portraying the insanity of the
U.S. invasion-while ignoring its root causes-that the Iraqis are at no point
treated as though they are important.

They never have been, at least in the American view. No Iraqi had anything
to do with attacking us on 9/11, and while we are happy to have an excuse to
grab their oil and deploy our bloated military arsenal, the people of Iraq
are never more than an afterthought. Whatever motivates Iraqi characters in
the movie to throw stones or blow themselves up is unimportant, for they are
nothing more than props for a uniquely American-centered show. It is we who
matter and they who are graced by our presence no matter how screwed up we
may be.

Indeed, the only recognition of the humanity of the people being conquered
comes in a brief glimpse of a young boy, a porn video seller, the one Iraqi
whose existence touches the concern of the film's reckless soldier hero. The
American cares deeply about the quality of the sex videos he purchases, but,
as it transpires, he is indifferent to the quality of his own family's life
back home. Even that depressingly sad commentary on life in America is
mitigated by the fact that it produces even more dedicated warriors. Maybe a
deeply unsatisfying home life is a necessary prerequisite for being all you
can be in the Army.

Yes, it is true, as Chris Hedges is quoted in the beginning of "The Hurt
Locker": "The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war
is a drug." That's from his book "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning," and
the most positive thing to come out of this film might be that some people
will be encouraged to read his brilliant book. But the film itself is
otherwise an enlightened Rambo story: War is hellish but entertaining, and
real men are those who will rise to the task no matter if its larger aim is

But the real addiction to war is not that of hapless soldiers, those troops
that the filmmakers insisted on applauding as they clutched their Oscar
statuettes. Rather, that addiction lies in the lust for power and profit
among those who sent the soldiers to Iraq to kill and be killed in a war
known to our leaders to have been undertaken for false purposes. Invading
Iraq became the obsession of the Bush administration after 9/11, as opposed
to dealing with Afghanistan, where, as then-Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld put it, there were no good targets. The Taliban hardly provided as
worthy an adversary as Saddam Hussein in our quest to replace the Soviet
empire as a reason for our massive military expenditures. And there was the
wan hope that the oil in Iraq would pay for it all. That oil hasn't paid for
any of it, but while U.S. taxpayers get stuck with the bill, the
multinational corporations swarming over the place will do very well.

Bringing up such crass motives presents an inconvenient truth for those who
believe that American foreign policy is driven by higher goals. For them I
would point to the example of Clinton-era Ambassador Peter Galbraith, who
became a cheerleader for George W. Bush's war. His hawkishness was
supposedly based on concern for Iraq's Kurdish population even though that
group was living outside of Saddam Hussein's area of control. After the U.S.
invasion Galbraith was an active adviser on the writing of Iraq's
constitution and lobbied to include language that gave the Kurds control
over the oil in their region. Galbraith was at the time advising a Norwegian
company that secured oil rights from those same Kurds, and he, in turn,
received 5 percent of one of the most promising oil fields, worth an
estimated $100 million.

Don't you think at least one of the soldiers in "The Hurt Locker" would have
known that kind of stuff was going on? If so, it's disrespectful to our
troops to have censored such innate GI wisdom.


Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG) Presents:

Art Against Empire: Graphic Responses to U.S. Interventions Since
World War II

March 10 tp April 18 2010

Opening reception: Thursday, March 11, 2010

LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions)
6522 Hollywood, Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Art Against Empire uses the power of posters to document 60 years of
opposition to U.S. interventions into the domestic affairs of sovereign
nations. Political, economic and military interventions, many of them
covert, have repeatedly resulted in unacceptable deaths and misery for
millions. These posters show hopes and dreams, and the pain of dreams

Art Against Empire will showcase over 100 political posters in the LACE
galleries, spanning two dozen sovereign nations including Korea, Vietnam,
the Philippines, Guatemala, Haiti, Cuba, Iran, and South Africa. It attempts
to inform, challenge and inspire by confronting the viewer with images of
past struggles that remain powerfully relevant today. It both raises
questions about past interventions and fosters debate about present ones.
The exhibition will also provide insight into why the amount of devastation
caused by the recent earthquake in Haiti can be linked to its long history
of French colonialism and U.S. imperialism.

The United States is the focus of this exhibition. As citizens, we are
ultimately responsible for the actions that are taken by our government in
our name. Censorship and repression, so prevalent in wartime, invariably
attempt to eliminate dissent, thereby violating the principles on which this
democracy was founded. These posters document the efforts of people who
refuse to remain silent and who use the power of art to inspire action.

Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG)
8124 W. 3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90048

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