Aurora in New York

Lorca, the Voice of Spain
That Franco Could Not Kill

‘I realized they had murdered me. They ransacked the cafés, the graveyards, the churches… But they never found me? No. They never found me.’ This eerie Federico Garcia Lorca (mis)quote accurately describes what has actually happened for over half a century.
Until the early 2000s, when rumors were finally confirmed that he’d been shot and buried in a mass grave by a Spanish right-wing falange, 80 years ago this Friday, the mystery of Lorca’s demise only compounded to his allure. And his body still remains undiscovered.
In the meantime, the fascist regime that killed him, and ruled Spain until dictator Francisco Franco was finally dead in 1975, lasted too long but not nearly as long as will both Lorca‘s legacy and the world’s acknowledgement of his greatness. His stature has actually increased.
Before we pat each other’s back, though, on the assumption that poets always win over despots, let’s not forget the grim fate of thousands of Spaniard republicans, who were also murdered, but unlike Lorca, were buried along their names, personal history, and ideal of a free world.
While Franco, and so many others, died ‘peacefully’ in their sleep, the tormented lives of those they killed or sent to the gallows left plenty of grief to spare for generations. Luckily for Lorca, who was far from being a political animal, something else was going on for him.

Already well known in Spain for his folk-inflected poetry and popular plays, his disappearance spiked interest on his work abroad, and his collection Poet en Nueva York, of poems written during his 10-month-long U.S. visit, in 1929-30, granted him critical acclaim.
Slowly too, the acknowledgment of his homosexuality has taken a front role in the appreciation of his work. Salvador Dali, who’s believed to have been his lover, had no qualms admitting it, although typically adding that their relation had been ‘very painful.’
In the end, though, regardless of his sexual orientation, it’s on his 20-odd years body of work where answers about the endurance of his legacy may lay. That’s what happens when a life is cut short, but in the case of Lorca, much remains to be savored and subjected to wider exposure.
As for his death, many are ambivalent about the renewed search for his body. Ironically, it’s the kin of those who fought and perished in the Spanish Civil War that may have at least part of their (more)
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Occupy Wall Street

Peaceful Six-Month Anniversary Marked
by Zuccotti Evictions & Dozens Arrested

In a ‘court order violation,’ according to witnesses, the NYPD re-occupied Zuccotti Park last night in Lower Manhattan, and arrested an unknown number of participants in what had been a day of celebration for the Occupy Wall Street movement’s first six months.
As it happened before, police used MTA buses to take away those arrested and at least one protester, which sources say it’s student Cecilia McMillan, has been injured and remains at a non-identified city hospital. Elsewhere in the city, incidents of public intoxication and disorderly conduct by St. Patrick’s Day revelers, however, didn’t deserve the same attention from the NYPD.
After being evicted from Zuccotti, which was closed with barricades to ‘undergo cleaning,’ according to some uniformed officers who declined to be identified, hundreds of protesters headed to Union Square park, where they congregated until early morning. Reports of additional arrests can not be independently confirmed at this time.
Last night’s incidents, although far from the confrontation of previous months, in New York and other cities throughout the world, may have served as a sample of the NYPD’s plans for the expected increase in street protests by the OWS movement in coming months: a massive police display and the willingness to arrest even those who’re peacefully and lawfully exercising their civil rights.
It’s a risky strategy and, despite being presented as an attempt at preserving the rights of those not directly involved with the protests, as Mayor Bloomberg has stated in the past, the use of heavy riot gear and equipment by the police is, in itself, a confrontational gesture towards a movement that, for the most part, has accommodated and follow all rules concerning street protesting.
This being a presidential election year, too, it’s necessary to call attention, once more, to the fact that most New York elected officials, at city, state and federal level, have been missing in this six-month struggle to bring the crucial issue of accountability from financial institutions to the national debate. There must be something about the OWS movement that’s keeping them all away.
It’s doubtful, though, that such an abandonment of their constituency will remain so after November’s election. When their own well-heeled seats will be up for grabs, it’s only fair to expect that OWS participants and sympathizers, who have been literally thrown under the NYPD-driven MTA buses, will respond in kind. After all, NY taxpayers fund, at least in part, their elected officials’ salary.

Thieves Like Them

Enterprising Law Breaking
Takes Cues From Wall Street

Perhaps inspired by the boldness and impunity of white collar criminals, thieves, kidnappers and all manner of law-breaking career enterprisers are showing ever more their entrepreneurial tinge these days.
From a robber with a to-do list to a hijacker who sues his victims to a hotel advising its guests to steal, the booming field of the illegal seems bent on pushing boundaries towards what was once considered taboo.
Of course, these initiatives, albeit daring and full of enthusiasm, pale in comparison with the billions of dollars the financial industry as a whole, for example, has stolen from the American people.
And, as the Occupy Wall Street movement has amply demonstrated, there seem to be no limit to the amorality that the same firms that have bankrupted the economy shamelessly exhibit even this late in the game.
The handwritten note seem conspicuously innocent, found by the police at the scene of a crime in Manchester, England. It looked like one of those notes bank robbers hand to the cashier, right before someone press the alarm button and, well, do we need to finish Continue reading

The 1% Solution

The Clarity of Simple
Truths & Justice for All

“During times of universal deceit, telling
the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
Few quotes, such as the one often attributed to George Orwell, could’ve been better tailored to express what the Occupy Wall Street movement is going through right now.
Whether he said it or not is irrelevant. But it does frame with accuracy and flair, the political risks and personal cost for those talking straight to power.
Last night’s raid of the Ground Zero of the movement that has since spread out globally, ordered by the Mayor of New York City and executed by the NYPD, only reinforced the old concept of history repeating itself, except that without the benefit of the farce.
The violent invasion of the Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, was, of course, no theatrical laughing matter. On the contrary, despite not having been so far as harsh or even lethal as elsewhere in the country, it was scary enough to remind everyone of infamous assault on the Bonus Army veterans camped at the Capitol lawn in 1932. Continue reading

Standing Up

Growing Crowd Is Peacefully
Knocking on Wall Street Door

As thousands of Americans, we’re proud of what’s happening at Zuccotti Park in downtown New York City in the past two weeks.
We offer our utmost solidarity and support to those who have peacefully taken to the streets to demand accountability from the Wall Street institutions and what they represent at this Continue reading

Difficult Conversations


Regulate Them, Certainly; Breaking Them Up, Possibly. Borrow from Them? Unlikely

Will Reform Finally Send Banks Back to Their Rightful Role?

* What fraud? Goldman’s $4.36 billion earnings report follows JPMorgan’s, which reported a $3.3 billion profit, Bank of America, $3.2 billion, and Citigroup, $4.4 billion. “We appreciate the support of our clients and shareholders.” Lloyd Blankfein

* JPMorgan Chase, Merrill Lynch (now part of Bank of America), Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and UBS “marketed and sold the CDOs to investors without disclosing Magnetar’s role or the hedge fund’s interests.” ProPublica’s Marian Wang

* “Reform better include language that would (…) block the creation of ‘synthetic C.D.O.s,’ cocktails of credit default swaps that let investores take big bets on assets without actually owning them.” Paul Krugman

* “After even a cursory examination of the treatment of the American middle class by the Wall Street/Washington class over the past few decades, one should also wonder why anyone would ever do business with that crowd again. And yet, there they are, still running things at the Treasury, the Fed, and the National Economic Council.” Arianna Huffington

* “Lefty campaigners can be cranky about business elites. And the suspicion is mutual. Worldwide. Civil society as a rule sees business as, well, a little uncivil. Business tends to see activists as, well, a little too active. But in Africa, at least from what I’ve just seen, this is starting to change.” Bono

* “The American tradition of expanding opportunity from one generation to the next is at risk because we are failing to make the necessary investments in human, physical, and environmental capital.” Irony-free Hamilton Project research paper by Robert Rubin and others

* Presidential scandal: the New York Society Library is accusing George Washington of failing to return two books borrowed in 1789. If the allegations are true, Washington owes about $100,000 in late fees. The library’s ledger also shows that John Adams checked out one book that hasn’t been returned. Neither President or Vice President could be reached for comment. Lowering the Bar