Brian Kim Stefans
Since the beginning
Works in Los Angeles, California United States of America

Brian Kim Stefans teaches digital literature and twentith century poetry at UCLA. He is the author of the books of poems What is Said the Poet Concerning Flowers (2006) and Kluge: A Meditation (2007), along with Before Starting Over: Essays and Interviews (2008) and Fashionable Noise: On Digital Poetics (2003), among other works. His digital works are collected at
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Circulars Update

((((((((((((((((((((((((((( Circulars Update )))))))))))))))))))))))))))

February 20, 2003


Mirakove Relay #2: On Patriot II

[Note: version on Circulars has live links. Thanks to Carol for
sending this on!]



The nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity has obtained a
draft of a secret document called the Domestic Security Enhancement Act
of 2003. This document is more commonly known as the Patriot Act II,
and is designed to "give the government broad, sweeping new powers to
increase domestic intelligence-gathering, surveillance and law
enforcement prerogatives, and simultaneously decrease judicial review
and public access to information." You can download the document here:

Find an excellent guide to the document by the Bill of Rights Defense
Committee at

View a quick list of consequences to Patriot II here:


Patriot Act II reverses the fundamental principles of a liberal,
democratic society: rather than citizens living private lives and our
government being transparent, we are now to be transparent to
government's impenetrable authority. Charles Lewis says, "democracy is
supposed to be a contact sport, with many and diverse participants, and
we quickly discovered that practically no one on Capitol Hill in either
party or in the national news media had ever even heard of the Domestic
Security Enhancement Act of 2003." So the first concern is, this
document is very mature and was kept from nearly everyone on Capitol
Hill -- never mind the general public.

When the story broke, Barbara Comstock, director of public affairs for
the Justice Dept., said, "Department staff have not presented any final
proposals to either the Attorney General or the White House. It would
be premature to speculate on any future decisions, particularly ideas
or proposals that are still being discussed at staff levels." In fact,
the staff at NOW with Bill Moyers had obtained a control sheet that
proved the document was delivered to VP Dick Cheney and Speaker of the
House Dennis Hastert on January 10. Caught red-handed in lies.


Whether you're a liberal, a libertarian, a conservative, an anarchist,
all over free enterprise, an electric-triangle prodigy, or an amoeba
painter, the Patriot Act II is not your friend! The only group that
would be served by this act is one who believes that s/he is best
served by a government that operates behind a thick veil, whose
authority is beyond reproach and not subject to accountability.

The ACLU has posted an outstanding, detailed analysis of the Patriot
II. Here are the basic offenses:
-- diminishes personal privacy by removing checks on government power
-- diminishes public accountability by increasing government secrecy
-- diminishes corporate accountability under the pretext of fighting
-- undermines fundamental constitutional rights of Americans under
overbroad definitions of "terrorism" and "terrorist organization" or
under a terrorism pretext; [nb: this topic will be the focus of relay
#3 -- carol]
-- unfairly targets immigrants under the pretext of fighting terrorism 6


"Another section would nullify existing consent decrees against state
law enforcement agencies that prevent the agencies from spying on
individuals and organizations. These consent decrees were crafted
because state and local governments illegally invaded the privacy of
American citizens and repeatedly violated their civil rights. To make
matters worse, the proposed bill prevents courts from issuing
injunctions to block future abuses."


"Perhaps the most troubling section would strip U.S. citizenship from
anyone who gives "material support" to any group that the attorney
general designates as a terrorist organization. Citizenship is the most
basic right for all Americans, one from which other rights -- such as
the right to vote, to participate in politics and even to live in this
country -- all flow. Under our Constitution, Americans can't be
deprived of their citizenship, and the rights that go with it, unless
they voluntarily give it up."


If you want to know the future under these new laws, check out the
past. Remember COINTELPRO, the FBI counterintelligence program from
1956-1971? Like the Patriot Act, it claimed to be protecting us from
evil terrorists and agents of foreign powers. In practice, it was a
plan to discredit and neutralize political dissidents at home --
dangerous terrorists like Martin Luther King, the NAACP, and the
National Lawyers Guild. Congress and the courts shut COINTELPRO down
because it was unconstitutional. Bush, Ashcroft & Co are bringing it
back.. on steroids. The report of the Congressional committee that
investigated COINTELPRO is surprisingly readable; see It's an
eye-opener.. and it could have been written last week.


John Ashcroft's TIPS program in the original Patriot Act looks an awful
lot like Fidel Castro's Committees for the Defense of the Revolution
(CDR), which the U.S. forcefully condemned. The CDR consists of
neighborhood watch groups, which monitor and patrol blocks and barrios
in order to enforce sedition acts. Many arrests have been made under
their advisement. Behold, The U.S. Cuban Liberty and Democratic
Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996: SEC. 205. REQUIREMENTS AND FACTORS
(a) Requirements.--For the purposes of this Act, a transition
government in Cuba is a government that--
(1) has legalized all political activity;
(2) has released all political prisoners and allowed for investigations
of Cuban prisons by appropriate international human rights
(3) has dissolved the present Department of State Security in the Cuban
Ministry of the Interior, including the Committees for the Defense of
the Revolution and the Rapid Response Brigades; and
(4) has made public commitments to organizing free and fair elections
for a new government--

Read what the ACLU has to say about the TIPS program: 6


Heriberto Yepez, a writer, translator, and teacher in Tijuana, reports
that U.S. flag burning has become common in Mexico. (see entry 15.2.03)
Freedom is a responsibility. We really must reclaim ours. As
international citizens, we have a responsibility to stop the violations
the U.S. is guilty of, to get out of this isolation that the current
administration have thrust us into, and to reinscribe the USAmerican
flag with values that Mexico will embrace, not burn.


Many thanks to contributors Eric Keenaghan and Charles Weigl.

Thanks to everyone for your great response to issue 1! It's excellent
that so many of you have expressed offers to submit raw materials for
Relay. Unfortunately, I'm too unorganized to manage unsolicited content
right now; if you find something worth circulating, why not relay it
directly to your own address book? As those tireless cats at Clamor
Magazine say, Become the Media! Subscription requests go to


Get The First Vienna Vegetable Orchestra into heavy rotation: If they fail to make you
giggle with glee, check yr pulse.
&L4=0 &L5=0
10&L3 =0&L4=0&L5=0

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Baghdad Snapshot Action goes online and worldwide

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February 14, 2003


Subject: Baghdad Snapshot Action goes online and

Click link for full story!



<img alt="5jan.jpg"
src="" width="324"
height="249" border="0" /><br>

[New York City]-- On February 13, 2003, teams of artists and activists
postered New York City with thousands of copies of snapshots from
Baghdad. Quiet and casual, the snapshots show a part of Baghdad we
rarely see: the part with people in it.

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First Tuesdays Reading at A Taste of Art

hey folks... i'm reading in this thing... i go on at 7 or 7:30... the john
reed book is very interesting!





147 Duane Street (between Church and West Broadway)
New York, NY 10013 TRIBECA
Phone: 212.964.5493
Fax: 212.964.2671

Features: Brian Kim Stefans, BLUE, Sharon Mesmer, John Reed

Curated and hosted by Christopher Stackhouse


John Reed is the author of SNOWBALL'S CHANCE, the controversial parody of
George Orwell's ANIMAL FARM. SNOWBALL'S CHANCE (Roof Books, hardback,
2002)is currently available at your local bookstore or online. Reed's first
novel, A STILL SMALL VOICE (Delacorte, 2000) is now available in paperback
(Delta, 2001).

Sharon Mesmer is the author of HALF ANGEL, HALF LUNCH (poems, Hard Press)
and THE EMPTY QUARTER (stories, Hanging Loose Press), the recipient of a
1999 New York Foundation for the Arts grant in poetry, and fellowships to
the MacDowell Colony, Hawthornden Castle (Scotland), and Fundacion
Valparaiso (Spain). She teaches fiction writing and literature at the New

Poet/performance artist, Blue, was born in New York City. He is the author
and publisher of chapbooks "Just Blue" and "Corner Stores in the Middle of
the Block". He has appeared in television commercials, and Off-Broadway
productions "Sex is More Than a Three Letter Word", BET's "106" and "Park".

Brian Kim Stefans is the author of three books of poetry; his forthcoming
book of essays,Fashionable Noise, is due in March 2003 from Atelos. He is
the editor/creator of and Free Space Comix: The Blog, and writes
frequently for the Boston Review, Publisher's Weekly and other rags.

by subway :

from the Westside take the 1, 2 train to Franklin or 1,2,3,9,A,C,E to

from the Eastside take the 5, 6, N or R train and get off at Chambers.

by car:

from the Westside:Take the West Side highway or 7th Avenue all the way down
to West Broadway. Turn left on Duane

from the Eastside:Take the FDR to Houston, then turn south on Broadway all
the way to Reade. Make a right on Reade. Make a right on Hudson to Duane.

For all other inquiries you can contact us at

Curator's Note:

Quotes from a favorite book relevant to a view of art, literature, the
making of poetry, however speaking to the building of buildings:

"The search which we make for this quality, in our own lives, is the central
search of any person, and the crux of any individual person's story. It is
the search for those moments and situations when we are most alive."

Opening to Chapter 3 ON BEING ALIVE of "The Timeless Way of Building" by
Christopher Alexander

"And when a building has this fire, then it becomes a part of nature. Like
ocean waves, or blades of grass, its parts are governed by the endless play
of repetition and variety, created in the presence of the fact that all
things pass. This is quality itself."

Opening to Chapter 8 THE QUALITY ITSELF of "The Timeless Way of Building" by
Christopher Alexander

Join us Tuesday Feb. 4th 7-9p for a fine group of readers, some good
chocolate, and a wonderful glass of a carmenere/cabernet sauvignon
blend.....among other things....

Keep warm, Christopher Stackhouse 212. 802. 9363

Tired of spam? Get advanced junk mail protection with MSN 8.


Free Space Comix: The Blog

There is now a nifty new comments sidebar on The Blog. Also, my first Free
Space Comix exclusives: an open letter by Carol Mirakove and images of
Antoni Gaudi's designs for the WTC site. Sheik it out.

Questioning Critical Trends in the UK: A Response to Andrea Brady on Laura
Elrick (by Carol Mirakove)

Amocoming to Kick Your Ass (parody)

Roll Over Mondrian (article on digital poetry)

Poem Formerly Known as "Terrorism" (poem)

Hotel Gaudi on WTC site (pictures)


A R R A S: new media poetry and poetics

Hinka cumfae cashore canfeh, Ahl hityi oar hied 'caw taughtie!

"Do you think just because I come from Carronshore I cannot fight? I shall
hit you over the head with a cold potatoe.


Free Space Comix: The Blog

My blog's lonely... love my blog... happy new year!

BRAND NEW on the blog:

Suzanne Dathe, Grenoble, France