Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"Winona Ryder on the storm... Ryder on the storm... Into this house we're born... Into this world we're thrown..."

"Riders on the storm...
Riders on the storm...
Into this house we're born...
Into this world we're thrown...
Like a dog without a bone...
An actor out on loan...
Riders on the storm..."

- Jim Morrison, The Doors, "Riders on the Storm"

Boston Herald /

Winona Ryder keeps eyes open to snooping, erosion of privacy

Stephen Schaefer / Boston Herald | July 5 2006

For her return to the spotlight in ‘‘A Scanner Darkly” (opening Friday), Winona Ryder was extremely low-key during a recent press conference that marked her first meeting with reporters since the 2001 Saks shoplifting scandal that nearly destroyed her career.

Just before Ryder’s arrival alongside co-star Keanu Reeves and director Richard Linklater (‘‘The School of Rock”) came the warning/announcement, ‘‘No personal questions.” Ryder, who had been filming all night for a new movie, wasn’t going to turn this into a confessional.

The 34-year-old actress has never discussed the prescription painkillers that were in her purse when she was busted by surveillance cameras in a Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue dressing room.

But her conviction nearly a year later did give an eerie life-mirrors-art moment when she discussed the trippy animated film ‘‘Scanner.”

‘‘A Scanner Darkly” is adapted from a novel by the late sci-fi guru Philip K. Dick. Other Dick-inspired movies include ‘‘Blade Runner,” ‘‘Total Recall” and ‘‘Minority Report.” In ‘‘Scanner,” he foresaw a world where monitors spy on everyone.

An undercover narcotics agent (Reeves) lives in a house with a bunch of druggies played by Robert Downey, Woody Harrelson and Ryder. As they get high on something called Substance D, they become paranoid that they are being watched. The joke is that they are: Their entire house has secret surveillance cameras.

Ryder had obviously given some thought to the subject of hidden surveillance cameras.

‘‘It’s bad,” she said, citing such books as George Orwell’s classic ‘‘1984,” in which Big Brother watches all, and Lillian Hellman’s memoir of the McCarthy-era blacklist, ‘‘Scoundrel Time.”

‘‘Even back then they were tapping phones and stuff like that. Now I think it’s almost in a way dehumanizing, the perspective of watching people like that,” she said. ‘‘They become less human. It’s hard to articulate, but for me, from my point of view, I know that it’s pretty scary.”

Presumably from her life as a celebrity as well as her arrest and trial experience, Ryder spoke about the ‘‘you can’t believe everything you read” syndrome.

‘‘I learned a long time ago something that I didn’t know, which is that a lot of what you read in the paper that isn’t true, they say, ‘Well, we’re putting this in there because it will help us catch this person.’ And that’s, like, an OK thing to do.”

What was easy for Ryder in the movie was a love scene on a couch with Reeves.

‘‘I am in love,” she said about Reeves, who blushed as he sat next to her. ‘‘Certainly with Keanu, it’s very easy to do that.” And she added, ‘‘I’m totally serious.”

Ryder is also serious about reviving her career - only this time with a different emphasis.

‘‘I sort of made the decision to do something only if I absolutely love it. ’Cause I can’t really base my happiness or anything around this business because it’s different now, the business part of it,” she said.

Ryder has reteamed with ‘‘Heathers” filmmaker Daniel Waters and is filming ‘‘Sex and Death 101.”

‘‘It’s very twisted. I’m Death, actually. I am, literally.”

The 1989 ‘‘Heathers” still ranks as a favorite among the films she’s made, alongside ‘‘The Crucible” and ‘‘The Age of Innocence.”

‘‘And this one, definitely,” she added. ‘‘Yeah, I love this movie.”

Even with its surveillance cameras.





Peace by pimping the passion in your pretty eyes...



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Congress is pushing a law that would abandon the Internet's First Amendment -- a principle called Network Neutrality that prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from deciding which Web sites work best for you -- based on what site pays them the most. If the public doesn't speak up now, our elected officials will cave to a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign.

Warner Independent Pictures' A Scanner Darkly -- The Official Film ...

The film site for A Scanner Darkly is the online flash destination for everything related to the Warner Independent Pictures feature film A Scanner Darkly ... - 58k - Cached - Similar pages

Mike Ferner /

Busted for wearing a peace T-shirt; has this country gone completely insane?

Mike Ferner | July 5 2006

Friday afternoon, drinking a cup of coffee while sitting in the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Center on Chicago's south side, a Veterans Administration cop walked up to me and said, "Okay, you've had your 15 minutes, it's time to go."

"Huh?" I asked intelligently, not quite sure what he was talking about.

"You can't be in here protesting," Officer Adkins said, pointing to my Veterans For Peace shirt.

"Well, I'm not protesting, I'm having a cup of coffee," I returned, thinking that logic would convince Adkins to go back to his earlier duties of guarding against serious terrorists.

Flipping his badge open, he said, "No, not with that shirt. You're protesting and you have to go."

Beginning to get his drift, I said firmly, "Not before I finish my coffee."

He insisted that I leave, but still not quite believing my ears, I tried one more approach to reason.

"Hey, listen. I'm a veteran. This is a V.A. facility. I'm sitting here not talking to anybody, having a cup of coffee. I'm not protesting and you can't kick me out."

"You'll either go or we'll arrest you," Adkins threatened.

"Well, you'll just have to arrest me," I said, wondering what strange land I was now living in.

You know the rest. Handcuffed, led away to the facility's security office, past people with surprised looks on their faces, read my rights, searched, and written up.

The officer who did the formalities, Eric Ousley, was professional in his duties. When I asked him if he was a vet, it turned out he had been a hospital corpsman in the Navy. We exchanged a couple sea stories. He uncuffed me early. And he allowed as to how he would only charge me with disorderly conduct, letting me go on charges of criminal trespass and weapons possession -- a pocket knife -- which he said would have to be destroyed (something I rather doubt since it was a nifty Swiss Army knife with not only a bottle opener, but a tweezers and a toothpick).

After informing me I could either pay the $275 fine on the citation or appear in court, Ousley escorted me off the premises, warning me if I returned with "that shirt" on, I'd be arrested and booked into jail.

I'm sure I could go back to officers Adkins' and Ousleys' fiefdom with a shirt that said, "Nuke all the hajis," or "Show us your tits," or any number of truly obscene things and no one would care. Just so it's not "that shirt" again.

And just for the record? I'm not paying the fine. I'll see Adkins and Ousley and Dubya's Director of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, if he wants to show up, in United States District Court on the appointed date. And if there's a Chicago area attorney who'd like to take the case, I'd really like to sue them -- from Dubya on down. I have to believe that this whole country has not yet gone insane, just the government. This kind of behavior can't be tolerated. It must be challenged.

I was at the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Center because I'm participating in the Voices for Creative Nonviolence's 30-day, 320-mile "Walk for Justice," from Springfield to North Chicago, Illinois, to reclaim funding for the common good and away from war.





Dr. Paul Craig Roberts /

Bush's Army: a Few Good Degenerates


Alex welcomes former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration, and a prolific and popular journalist, Paul Craig Roberts. He is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service. Roberts joins Alex to discuss his most recent article concerning the extraordinary horrors committed in Iraq by US soldiers.

Americans who get their propaganda from Fox "News" or are told what to think by right-wing talk radio hosts are outraged at news reports that U.S. troops planned and carried out the rape and murder of a young Iraqi woman. They are not outraged that the troops committed the deed; they are outraged that the media reported it. These "conservatives," who proudly wear their patriotism on their sleeves, dismiss the reports of the incident as a Big Lie floated by "the anti-American liberal media" in order to demoralize Americans and reduce public support for the war.

Playing to this audience, Col. Jeffrey Snow, a U.S. brigade commander in Baghdad, told AFP News that news coverage could cause the U.S. to lose the war. In other words, what we are doing in Iraq cannot stand the light of day, so reporters must not report or the word will get out.

Many Bush supporters believe that truth is not on our side and must be suppressed.

Yet, they support a war that is too shameful to report.

I have made it clear in my columns that Bush supporters are not true conservatives. They are brownshirts with the same low intelligence and morals as Hitler's enthusiastic supporters. And they are just as resistant to facts.

It was not the "liberal media" but the investigating U.S. military officials who told the Associated Press that the rape and murder of the young woman and her family appeared "totally premeditated," that the soldiers noticed the woman on their patrols and studied her and her family for a week before separating the woman from her family and raping her. After having their way with her, the soldiers murdered her and tried to burn her body with a flammable liquid in order to cover up their foul deed. The soldiers' cover-up attempt also involved the murder of other members of the murdered rape victim's family, including a child.

The criminals were turned in by other U.S. soldiers who knew of the monstrous crime. According to the Associated Press (USA Today, June 30, 2006), one of the soldiers has admitted his role in the rape and murder.

The soldiers cannot be said to be guilty until they are tried and found guilty. However, the U.S. military usually attempts a cover-up of such incidents and only admits to the facts after the press gets hold of them. This time, however, the investigating officials themselves gave the story to the Associated Press.

Many Americans are so unsophisticated that they refuse to believe anything bad about their country. They regard acceptance of unpalatable truths as disloyalty. This failure of American character is why Bush has been able to get away with transgressions that scream out for his impeachment and trial as a war criminal.

The premeditated rape and murders are just the latest in the long line of horrific war crimes from Abu Ghraib to Haditha. Bush supporters are still in denial about each incident. It is amazing that Bush supporters think we have a John Wayne military when, according to news reports, recruitment problems have resulted in the military accepting felons, drug users, thugs, low-IQ high school dropouts, and illegal Mexicans promised green cards for signing up. Apparently, the same people who make America's streets unsafe for Americans make Iraqi streets unsafe for Iraqis. In response to the declining caliber of new recruits, some of our best troops are refusing to reenlist. Several have written to me that "the Army has left them."

Whoever put out that propagandistic slogan, "support the troops," and the ribbon decals was a master propagandist. "Support the troops" means to deny the reality of the war and the behavior of the troops.

To this day, the Bush regime and the neocon Nazis have not told us the reason for their invasion of Iraq, the destruction of its towns and infrastructure, and the slaughter of its citizens. Every reason Bush has given has proved to be a lie.

There is no more reason for U.S. troops to be shooting up Iraq than to be shooting up Canada, Scotland, Holland, Spain, Taiwan, Florida, Virginia, or California. We are killing Iraqis for no other reason than that they resist our invasion and occupation of their country.

It is proof of the collapse of American morals and the fallen character of the American people that the American public and its elected representatives in Congress refuse to rein in the Bush regime and hold it responsible for its monstrous crimes.

America has become a land of evil. The rest of the world hates and despises us. And we are going to pay a terrible price for it. Bush's belief that our superpower status makes us immune to the opinion of others goes beyond hubris into insanity.