web posted March 13, 2000
New York art show to compare Giuliani to Nazis
A new exhibit by well-known German artist Hans Haacke will display quotations by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and other conservative leaders about their objections to public funding for art and suggests a comparison with Nazi Germany's crackdown on free expression.
Haacke told Reuters on March 9 that his work for the prominent Whitney Museum of American Art's Biennial exhibition of cutting edge contemporary works March 23 to June 4 was not yet completed, but it would use the Fraktur script or Teutonic script used by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s.
The quotations include some comments by Giuliani in his furious response last fall to cut off funding from a Brooklyn museum over its "Sensation" exhibit of young British artists that he found offensive.
The other quotations are those of prominent political conservative Pat Buchanan and Christian fundamentalists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell in their condemnation of government-subsidized art that offended them.
Whitney Museum director Maxwell Anderson said the exhibit would be in a single room of gray walls and one black wall displaying the quotations in white Fraktur script. These would be juxtaposed with U.S. flags, a copy of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and garbage cans with speakers playing the sounds of marching troops.
"The only way that there has been a response that connects this with Nazis is the catalog which makes allusion to the fact that in the '30s the Nazis suppressed artistic freedom and that in the 'Sensation' exhibition there was a concurrent suppression that seemed to be making itself felt," Anderson told Reuters.
He said he had no doubt Haacke, who was born in Cologne in 1936 during Hitler's rule, wanted the suggested effect by using the Fraktur script in the display called "Sanitation" but was not saying the three public figures were Nazis.
"I think he's pointing at the dangers of the Holocaust, warning about what can happen if free expression is not honored," the museum director said.
He said Haacke is known for his political work, much of it critical of authoritarian behavior and figures. He said one of Haacke's current unfinished works is in the Reichstag in Berlin, called "Die Bevolkerung" an ironic appropriation of Nazi propaganda to pose the question, Who is German?
Haacke was reluctant to discuss the forthcoming Whitney museum display before it opened to the public.
"Please understand that I would like to be able to complete this thing in peace and quiet and not get into a public discussion with the press over this with the mayor or whoever else has an interest before it is actually in place and everybody can see what it really is rather than my having to correct things that have been said," said Haacke, who lives in New York.
The Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial often incites controversy with its contemporary works of art. Ninety-six other artists, including the first invitations for Internet art, will be exhibited when it opens later this month.
Giuliani indicated he would not object in the same way he did last year when he cut funding and threatened to evict the Brooklyn Museum of Art from city-owned premises for an exhibition he described as "sick beyond words." Giuliani and other Roman Catholics objected in particular to the "Holy Virgin Mary" work by Nigerian-born British artist Chris Ofili, which was marked with a lump of elephant dung and cut-outs from pornographic magazines.
Later, a federal court judge ruled against the city, ordering it to restore annual subsidies to the Brooklyn museum which accounted for about a third of its budget.
"If this is privately funded as I believe it is then the governmental objection to it passes away," Giuliani told reporters. Giuliani added that as a private citizen, he believed that "when people misuse descriptions like that in essence they do a grave injustice to the Holocaust and one of the worst chapters in world history."
B.C. won't appeal court ruling against election gag law
The provincial government won't appeal a recent British Columbia Supreme Court decision that found the government's election gag law unconstitutional, Attorney General Andrew Petter said March 9.
Parts of the B.C. Election Act limiting spending during elections are an unjustified violation of freedom of expression, the court ruled last month.
The law, passed by the NDP in 1995, restricted third-party spending during
elections to no more than $5,000 and limited the media's reporting of
polls during election campaigns.
"The effect of the decision was to strike down those provisions
of the current legislation and therefore those provisions are no longer
Wen Ho Lee, a former government scientist at the Los Alamos National
Laboratory in New Mexico, has been charged with 59 counts alleging he
breached security by downloading U.S. nuclear weapons secrets to unsecured
Long-sealed Justice report says White House spared in funding probe
A confidential report by the Justice Department's former campaign finance investigator, kept sealed by Attorney General Janet Reno for nearly two years, found a "pattern of conduct" on the part of White House officials, including President Clinton, that warranted an independent counsel probe, the Los Angeles Times reported on March 10.
"The campaign finance allegations ... present the earmarks of a loose enterprise employing different actors at different levels who share a common goal: Bring in the money," said an edited version of the 94-page report by former Justice investigator Charles LaBella, which was obtained by the Times.
Since the report was submitted nearly two years ago it has been kept sealed by the attorney general, who even after being threatened with contempt defied congressional pressure to release it. Only a handful of congressional members and aides have been allowed to read the report and then only under strictly controlled circumstances.
In the document, LaBella accused Reno's top advisers of applying double standards in endorsing independent counsels to investigate Cabinet-level officials while opposing them in similar or stronger cases against top White House officials, the Times said.
Among those singled out for special treatment, according to the LaBella report, were the president, Vice President Al Gore, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and former White House aide Harold Ickes. The Times said the report was the first indication Mrs. Clinton's part in the fund-raising scandal arising from the 1996 presidential election was under scrutiny.
While LaBella's report did not accuse the president, vice president, first lady or Ickes of any specific criminal violations, it cited questionable actions by them and a "pattern of conduct worthy of investigation" by an independent counsel, the Times reported.
The document noted administration dealings with Asian American fund-raisers and wealthy foreign nationals, and the "calculated use of access" to the White House and high-level officials, the paper reported.
LaBella called for a sweeping outside investigation into "the entire landscape" of campaign finance allegations and referred to the possibility of broad schemes "conjured up by sophisticated political operatives to circumvent" election finance laws during the Clinton reelection campaign, the newspaper said.
The details from the leaked report come at a particularly sensitive time for Gore, in the midst of his presidential bid, and Mrs. Clinton, in her battle for a U.S. Senate seat from New York. Both campaigns have struggled to distance themselves from the scandals that plagued the Clinton administration.
Senior Justice Department officials rejected LaBella's assertions, saying his report reached "outrageous" conclusions and personalized policy differences, the Times reported.
Justice Department spokesman Myron Marlin told the Times Reno "based her decision (not to appoint an independent counsel) on the facts and the laws without regard to politics, the pundits or pressure."
White House spokesman Jim Kennedy told the Times, "We're not going to comment on selectively leaked information that's allegedly from a sealed report we've never seen." But he added that a thorough investigation found no wrongdoing on the part of the president, vice president or first lady.
LaBella left the task force voluntarily days after filing his report.
American and Colombian literary greats discuss geopolitics with Fidel Castro
American writers Arthur Miller and William Styron and Colombian literary great Gabriel Garcia Marquez discussed everything from World War II to the battle over 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez during a dinner with Fidel Castro that stretched into early March 11.
Later, three of the most famous writers of the 20th century made a pilgrimage to the former residence of another literary giant -- the late Ernest Hemingway.
"It was stimulating and provocative -- and quite long," Styron said of the dinner meeting with the Cuban president. "It was a very exciting occasion."
"He talked about everything in the world," Miller added in an interview with Associated Press Television News during a tour of Hemingway's former residence, the "Finca Vigia," now a carefully restored museum on the outskirts of Havana.
Miller and Styron are in Cuba for a trip aimed at increasing contact between American and Cuban intellectuals. They met on March 12 with Cuban writers, actors and playwrights before returning to the United States.
They also met with a leading Cuban human rights activist, Elizardo Sanchez, to hear his views on civil liberties in the communist country. They also visited Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's National Assembly, and Castro's point man on Cuban-U.S. relations.
Garcia Marquez, who arrived separately in Cuba before the Americans, is a frequent visitor to Cuba and a personal friend of Castro. The Nobel prize laureate is known best for his novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude."
Miller was accompanied by his wife, photographer Inge Morath.
The 85-year-old playwright is probably best known for the Pulitzer-Prize winning "Death of a Salesman" and Tony-Award winning "The Crucible," which looked at anti-Communist witchhunts in the United States during the Cold War.
Cubans especially remember Miller as a former husband of the late actress Marilyn Monroe.
Styron came with his wife, poet Rosa Styron. The 75-year-old novelist is author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Confessions of Nat Turner," as well as "Sophie's Choice."
Also in the delegation was Bill Luers, president of the U.S. United Nations Association and a former State Department official who during the Carter administration negotiated the opening of the U.S. Interests Section in 1977.
The U.S. Embassy had been closed since Havana and Washington broke diplomatic relations in 1961 and the interests section allowed the United States to represent American interests here under the flag of the Swiss Embassy.
The delegation also includes: Wendy Luers, member of the board of directors of the National Endowment for the Arts and president of The Foundation for a Civil Society; renowned literary agent Morton Janklow and his wife, Linda Janklow, president of the Lincoln Center Theatre.
Giuliani and first lady make rare joint appearance at New York charity event
For the first time in nearly two years, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and her presumed rival for the U.S. Senate, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, appeared at the same event the night of March 11.
The two likely competitors, who have been trading strong campaign rhetoric for months, shook hands cordially during a face-to-face meeting at the annual charity fund-raiser known as "Inner Circle."
The black tie dinner is an annual affair where members of the news media and the mayor are called on to roast one another, pitching verbal barbs contained in songs and skits.
Earlier that day during appearances on the campaign trail and on television, both Mrs. Clinton and Giuliani highlighted ties with their party's presidential candidates, a trend that seems to be taking on more importance.
Speaking on CNN's "Capital Gang", Giuliani was asked which Republican candidate he would like supporting him, Texas Gov. George W. Bush or Sen. John McCain, who suspended his White House bid after losing several primary states to Bush on Super Tuesday, including New York.
"I want both of them campaigning for me," Giuliani replied. "George Bush won (the presidential primary) in New York, and he won actually by a larger margin than people realize, so there are parts of the state where he is enormously popular and very, very helpful," he said.
Bush and Giuliani last appeared together at a March 3 news conference in Sony Brook, New York, and are next scheduled to appear together March 29 at a fund-raiser in New York City.
Elsewhere in Manhattan, the first lady continued to link her campaign with Democratic presidential candidate Vice President Al Gore, as she has been doing for sometime. At times, Mrs. Clinton sounded like she was campaigning for Gore instead of herself.
"He (Gore) will make education his priority," she told about 1,000 teachers' aides. "I will fight with him; I will be by his side as we fix our public schools," Clinton said.
Mrs. Clinton and Gore have campaigned together several times and as recently as the day before, at a Hispanic legislative conference in Albany, New York.
On Saturday, Mrs. Clinton appeared to be trying to tie Giuliani with Bush. "We know that this (education) is not the priority of the Bush-Giuliani team," Clinton told the teachers' aides.
"That other team, they want to talk about gimmicks like vouchers, and that's a conversation I'm more than willing to have."
Giuliani and Bush both support vouchers that would help parents who could not otherwise afford tuition for their children to attend private school. Mrs. Clinton has said vouchers would pose a fiscal threat to the nation's public school system, by shifting taxes marked for education to private schools.
Mrs. Clinton said she would work with Rep. Charles Rangle, D-New York, to ensure passage of a $29 billion federal bill aimed at repairing and modernizing public schools.
Giuliani has been highly critical of the New York City school system and has vowed to sell the Board of Education headquarters, reduce its staff and move its offices into a smaller, modern building.
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