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Category: 1112DC (December)

George Walker Bush the 65 year old US former president is coming under increasing scrutiny over his illegal activities whilst president writes Nikolas Kozloff. Kozloff states “For far too long, Bush has enjoyed impunity and it is disgraceful that few have questioned his efforts to create a freedom institute in Texas. While it’s doubtful that the authorities would ever investigate the former president for war crimes or torture, pressing for such efforts would send an important signal that activists are not willing to put up with a legal double standard in this country anymore. …If protests were to spread, Bush might find that he has difficulty in travelling not only to foreign lands but also to domestic destinations within the US itself. More importantly perhaps, such demonstrations might spur efforts to unite Occupy with the anti-war movement and thus further galvanise the ongoing season of protest”.


Inspired by Nikolas Kozloff image source quotezuki

Avram Noam Chomsky the 83 year old US philosopher renowned for his critiques of US foreign policy has an article re-published on Aljazeera in which he discusses the US military buildup to confront the Iranian foreign policy crisis confronting the US. “The Obama administration has been rapidly expanding US offensive capacity in the African island of Diego Garcia … nuclear-powered guided-missile submarines with Tomahawk missiles, which can carry nuclear warheads. Each submarine is reported to have the striking power of a typical carrier battle group … the substantial military equipment Obama has dispatched includes 387 “bunker busters” used for blasting hardened underground structures … On taking office, Obama immediately accelerated the plans, and they are to be deployed several years ahead of schedule, aiming specifically at Iran… The increasing threats of military action against Iran are of course in violation of the UN Charter … call to all states to resolve disputes related to nuclear issues peacefully … which bans the use or threat of force.”


Inspired by Norm Chomsky image source Duncan Rawlinson

Barbara Ehrenreich the 70 year old US political activist referred to as a ‘myth buster’, along with her husband John Ehrenreich a psychology professor have released an article on Aljazeera discussing the rise of the OWS Movement. “…those in the top 1 per cent of the wealth distribution – the bankers, hedge-fund managers and CEOs … have been around for a long time in one form or another, but they only began to emerge as a distinct and visible group, informally called the “super-rich”  … Extravagant levels of consumption helped draw attention to them … but as long as the middle class could still muster the credit for college tuition and occasional home improvements, it seemed churlish to complain. Then came the financial crash of 2007-2008, followed by the Great Recession, and the 1 per cent to whom we had entrusted our pensions, our economy, and our political system stood revealed as a band of feckless, greedy narcissists and possibly sociopaths.


Inspired by Barbara & John Ehrenreich image source David Shankbone

David Frederick Attenborough the 85 year old UK broadcaster and naturalist renowned as the face and voice of natural history programs on the BBC claims the future of our planet is at risk from the rapid urbanization of the past half century. In an article published by the Guardian, Attenborough states “We have a huge moral responsibility towards the rest of the planet. A hundred years ago people certainly had that … They were aware of the seasons and aware of what they were doing to the land and animals around them … So over 50% [living in towns and cities] is to some degree out of touch with the natural world and don’t even see an animal from one day to the next unless it’s a rat or a pigeon … That means that people are getting out of touch with the realities of the natural world, of which we are in fact a part”.


Inspired by Guardian image source davidattenborough

Christopher Eric Hitchens the 62 year old UK author and journalist renowned for his confrontational style bringing him to fame in left wing circles of the UK and the USA has died after an extended battle with throat cancer. Hitchen’s death was announced by the ‘Vanity Fair’ magazine for which he had contributed articles over the past two decades. The magazine’s editor Graydon Carter stated “”There will never be another like Christopher. A man of ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar, those who read him felt they knew him, and those who knew him were profoundly fortunate souls.” Richard Dawkins the evolutionary biologist and friend of Hitchens, stated “I think he was one of the greatest orators of all time. He was a polymath, a wit, immensely knowledgeable, and a valiant fighter against all tyrants including imaginary supernatural ones.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source ensceptico

Larbi Sadiki the Tunisian political scientist whose writings focus on the democratization of the Arab world released an article on Aljazeera that discusses the significance of Mohamed Bouazizi self-immolation one year on, that set off a chain of events now known as the ‘Arab Spring’. “The man and the act spawned a hugely unprecedented movement, forever altering the Arab political landscape, delivering the much-vaunted ‘breakthrough’ in the fight against autocracy … The Arab Spring fervour that sprang in Bouazizi’s home town and country has spread further afield in the Arab world, making possible dreams of dignity and freedom which are today palpably catapulting the Arabs into democratic openings. The uprisings and still unfolding revolutions were made by the Arab world’s little peoples. Their greatness, like Bouazizi, lies in their capacity for self-sacrifice in the quest for dignity.”


Inspired by Larbi Sadiki image source

Carson Chan the 31 year old architecture writer and curator has been featured by Alexander Forbes in an interview for Artinfo Berlin about the fallout from the Arab Spring protests on the Moroccan ‘Marrakech Biennale’, which had been “forced into a state of adaptation, rolling with the ever-changing context of the region … [Challenging and reassessing] post-colonialism, and why it’s important to break the rules.” In the interview Chan states, “The context of North Africa right now is that it’s a tumultuous area of the world. The people there are really voicing their own sovereignty, their own ambitions, and it’s really exciting to be there… More importantly, I think, is how a post-colonial identity has affected people in Morocco. It was a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956, so French as a language was installed, certain codes of how to operate, what to show, what culture is being expressed was dictated by the French for a long time.”


Inspired by Alexander Forbes image source artiffexbalear

Arundhati Roy the 50 year old Indian novelist and Booker Prize winner has explained in an interview with Arun Gupta her sense of comfort from the Occupy Wall Street movement, stating “…it seems to me, intellectually and theoretically, quite predictable this was going to happen here at some point. But still I cannot deny myself the surprise and delight that it has happened.” In the interview Roy states, “I don’t think the whole protest is only about occupying physical territory, but about reigniting a new political imagination. I don’t think the state will allow people to occupy a particular space unless it feels that allowing that will end up in a kind of complacency, and the effectiveness and urgency of the protest will be lost… I think the movement will, or at least should, become a protean movement of ideas, as well as action, where the element of surprise remains with the protesters.”


Inspired by Arun Gupta image source Jean-Baptiste Labrune

Kamer Daron Acemoğlu the 44 year old Turkish-American Professor of Economics at MIT has argued in an interview published by The Browser that it is important that we understand how and why leading western nations have over the past 30 years become far less equal. Acemoğlu states, “A lot of things don’t change radically, but inequality has… it’s an important topic and there is no reason for it to be taboo… if you want to understand the top inequality, why the top 0.1% – even more than what the 1% Occupy Wall Streeters are talking about – have been earning such huge amounts, then really you have to think about the social policy aspects of it and the politics of it. There is perhaps some sort of failure in how our system is working… if you look from the 1950s up to the end of the 1970s, the share of total national income in the US earned by the richest 1% was about 10%. If you look at the 2000s, it’s well over 20%…”


Inspired by The Browser image source M.Weitzel

NAJ Taylor the Australian Political Science academic and author of ‘This Blog Harms’, has published a three part essay on Aljazeera that “explores an often neglected aspect of corporate responsibility: the paradox of being a “responsible” arms maker. Taylor argues “that the “negative externalities” – or the impact on society – inherent in the deployment and threat of the use of weapons makes the standard of corporate responsibility difficult to apply”. In the second part of the essay Taylor argues, “those interested in corporate behaviour should view such firms through a “corporate social irresponsibility” lens, a strategy that identifies and allows a response to be made to normative developments, through proactive engagement and divestment strategies … before engaging with the problem of institutional investment in cluster munitions” in the third part of the essay.


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Naj Taylor

Steve Fraser the US labor and economic historian and co-founder of the American Empire Project has put forward a modest proposal for the Occupy Wall Street Movement to consider in an Aljazeera publication. Premised on a famous essay from Jonathan Swift, “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public”. Swift’s simple idea was “the starving Irish should sell their own children to the rich as food”. Fraser states, “The basic idea is that we offer ourselves up, 99% of us anyway, on the altar of high finance as a sacrifice to the bond markets.  It was Karl Marx who first observed that high finance is ‘the Vatican of capitalism’ … Anticipating Swift, we are already eating our own children or, at least, the futures available to them.”


Inspired by Steve Fraser image source facebook

Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin the 58 year old French former Prime Minister and career diplomat regarded as a Jacques Chirac’s protégé, has announced his intention to run in the 2012 French presidential election. de Villepin will be up against the current President Nicolas Sarkozy, a bitter rival following his acquittal by a French appeals court where de Villepin had been accused of smearing Sarkozy. In making his announcement de Villepin expressed his concern with “France humiliated by the law of the markets which imposes more and austerity … I have confidence in the ability of the French people to discern what is in the public interest and to what point, more than ever, national unity is required of us all. I believe one needs more courage than that.” de Villepin is a former member of Sarkozy’s UMP party, resigning to publish his own political manifesto.


Inspired by France24 image source Marie-Lan Nguyen

Jeffrey David Sachs the 57 year old US economist renowned as an adviser to post communist eastern Europe and other developing countries in the implementation of his economic shock therapy, has been interviewed by Sami Zeidan, where he stated “The banks have said, leave us deregulated, we know how to run things… Then they took huge gambles … broke the world system … then they rushed out to say ‘bail us out… we’re too big to fail … As soon as that happened, they said ‘oh, don’t regulate us, we know what to do’. And they went back to … paying billions of dollars of bonuses again… the problem that the OWS protesters have is: you broke the system, you gamed the economy, you’re in the White House going to the state dinners, you’re paying yourself huge bonuses, what kind of system is this?”


Inspired by Sami Zeidan image source Palácio do Planalto


Adel Al-Gazzar the 56 year old Egyptian formerly held for eight years by the US in the Cuban Guantanamo Bay detainment camp, and imprisoned in Egypt on his return, has Katie Taylor a project officer with Reprieve, calling for Ad-Gazzar’s amnesty. Al-Gazzar had a leg amputated as a result of a US bombing raid in Afghanistan on what he claims was a humanitarian visit to provide aid for the Saudi Red Crescent, he managed to return to Pakistan for treatment until sold to US security agents for a bounty. He was subsequently moved to Guantanamo Bay and been imprisoned for the past decade. Al-Gazzar is currently held by the Egyptians for “attempting to overthrow former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime … widely condemned as an attempt by Mubarak to suppress his Islamist opponents.” Taylor states that “Adel has already suffered far too much in one lifetime. He has been unjustly detained for nearly a decade, and as a result, has suffered permanent injury and chronic health problems and his family now stands on the edge of poverty.”


Inspired by Katie Taylor image source eurasiareview

James George Janos (Jesse Ventura) the 60 year old US former Governor and TV personality continues to call for increased government transparency and accountability. In an Aljazeera stream Ventura discussed issues of “government transparency, the Occupy Wall Street movement and domestic anger toward the U.S. political system.” Ventura has published recently a book titled ‘American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies, and More Dirty Lies That the Government Tells Us’. In the book Ventura discusses many alleged government conspiracies and cover ups including 9/11, the assassination of President John F Kennedy and various U.S. government programs. Ventura had filed a suit against the Homeland Security and the TSA challenging security pat-downs and full-body scans as a constitutional violation of unreasonable search and seizure, however was blocked by a federal judge citing a lack of jurisdiction. Ventura also visited the Occupy Minneapolis protesters stating he wished to be the first political face to support the Occupy Movement.


Inspired by Aljazeera image source chuckpalahniuk

Bernard-Henri Lévy the 63 year old French intellectual and philosopher, known simply as BHL and one of the leaders of the 1976 “Nouveaux Philosophes” (New Philosophers) movement, has reached the best seller list with a collaborative book titled “Public Enemies”. The best seller is a publication of letters exchanged with Michel Houellebecq since 2008, where the two speak of their personal lives, reputations, religion, sex and politics. In a review of the book George Walden writes “Much of the fun of these letters stems from their almost satirically contrasting characters: Lévy, the well-born playboy of the western mind and pocket Apollo, versus Houellebecq, the drunken, ill-favoured, lower-middle-class grouch. As Lévy parades his learning and sleek bare chest dandiacally across the world (his letters are mostly written from hotels), Houellebecq sits at home with his dog, sluicing and smoking to heroically self-harming excess.”


Inspired by George Walden image source headweb

Kalle Lasn the 69 year old Estonian Canadian author, activist and co-founder of the anti-consumerist Adbusters magazine has been credited with “branding” the OWS Movement by William Yardley in a New York Times article, “…as uprisings shook the Middle East and much of the world economy struggled, Mr. Lasn … felt the moment was ripe to tap simmering frustration on the American political left. On July 13, he and his colleagues created a new hash tag on Twitter: #OCCUPYWALLSTREET. They made a poster showing a ballerina dancing on the back of the muscular sculptured bull near Wall Street in Manhattan … For Mr. Lasn, they were tools to begin remodeling the “mental environment,” to create a new “meme,” the term coined by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins for a kind of transcendent cultural message. “There’s a number of ways to wage a meme war … I believe that one of the most powerful things of all is aesthetics.”


Inspired by William Yardley image source freerepublic

Song Dong the 45 year old Chinese conceptual artist credited with having influenced many artists in China and abroad, has opened a new exhibition, the third with his wife and collaborator Yin Xiuzhen, titled ‘The Way of Chopsticks III’. In an article published by Artcat, Dong and Xiuzhen are said to be “Widely regarded as two of China’s most prominent conceptually oriented artists, the husband and wife team have pursued independent careers since the mid-1990s and have continued to do so until the present day … Working together for the first time in 2002, they chose the theme of chopsticks as, whether picking up a grain of rice or a more sizeable morsel of food, two chopsticks are essential . As a symbol of their long-standing personal and professional relationship, the humble pair of chopsticks was an essential element…”


Inspired by ArtCat image source panacheprivee

Mark LeVine a US history professor in an article published by Aljazeera, laments the loss of the OWS Movement’s ‘People’s Library’ at Zuccotti Park NYC during a recent police raid on the encampment. LeVine recounts a discussion with his old friend Alan Minsky the producer of the ‘Axis of Justice’ radio show. “By permanently occupying Zuccottii and other parks, the OWS movement created a space where people could gather, create libraries, share books and ideas, and even meals. Where they could plan for another world, that isn’t merely possible anymore, but the only hope for the survival of humanity as a civilization … The library … reflected the uniqueness and power of the still young 99 per cent movement. From the very beginning, the OWS encampments were not just gestures of protest … but were efforts to build community where people were knowledgeable and participated in informed dialogue.”


Inspired by Mark LeVine image source

Rebecca MacKinnon the US journalist blogger and co-founder of Global Voices Online, and former researcher for the George Soros funded Open Society Institute, believes the issues she raised in calling on internet users to “take back the Net” have “grown more obvious and urgent”. MacKinnon in a recent TEDTalk presentation highlighted that global information technology companies have become the new “sovereigns of cyberspace.” MacKinnon calls on the world’s Netizens to “…work to make sure that the Internet, the geopolitical system, and the international economy evolve in a way that serves everybody’s rights and interests, not just those of the most powerful one percent … The time has come to occupy the Net. Existing political and legal frameworks have so far proven incapable of preventing and constraining the abuse of digital power … political innovations [are] needed to ensure that government and technology really do serve the world’s people — and not the other way around.”


Inspired by Huffington Post image source Joi Ito


Timothy David “Tim” Minchin the 36 year old British-Australian comedian singer describes in an article published in the Guardian, how in Texas he “came across my first proper religious nut”. Minchin is an atheist as well as a skeptic, and cannot understand how someone can call them self a skeptic and still be religious. “If you apply doubt to anything … the whole religion thing is obviously a fantasy.” In the article Minchin discloses an email from the company booked to supply him a piano: CANCEL !!!!!!!!!!. I need to decline after watching that insane Tim Minchin. What a God-hater. So sorry, please cancel the Entire Event In Dallas. Go back to Australia we do not appreciate Tim Minchin in TX. WE ARE NOT DELIVERING THE GRAND PIANO!!! NOT FOR 1 MILLION $ HA HA HA. You probably agree. Find a better comedian (not a demon). Love in Christ.


Inspired by Tim Minchin image source ticketupdates

Dani Rodrik the 54 year old Turkish economist and US Harvard University professor has lamented Europe’s potential next nightmare, a step toward the extreme right in the event of a chaotic eurozone breakup. Rodrik states in an article published on Aljazeera, “Today, the question is no longer whether politics will become more populist and less internationalist; it is whether the consequences of that shift can be managed without turning ugly … The nightmare scenario would also be a 1930s-style victory for political extremism. Fascism, Nazism, and communism were children of a backlash against globalization … feeding on the anxieties of groups that felt disenfranchised and threatened by expanding market forces and cosmopolitan elites … The challenge is to develop a new political narrative emphasizing national interests and values without overtones of nativism and xenophobia. If centrist elites do not prove themselves up to the task, those of the far right will gladly fill the vacuum, minus the moderation.

Inspired by Dani Rodrik image source twitter

Jürgen Habermas the 82 year old German Sociologist and Philosopher renowned for his theory on the concept of ‘communicative rationality and the public sphere’, has been the subject of an article published on Die Welt by Eckhard Fuhr. Fuhr refers to Habermas as a realist. “He shows that much has already been accomplished towards achieving a ‘transnational democracy, in Europe, even if the Lisbon Treaty is a pact among states, not a constitution … Habermas uses this double perspective like 3-D glasses to take a look into Europe’s future, even as he reaches back to explore the history of democracy … an attempt to set the ground for a new European narrative that frees the continent from its 20th century experiences of war and destruction by transcending them – and looks ahead to a time when lasting peace is a “cosmopolitan right” (Kant).”


Inspired by Eckhard Fuhr image source Wolfram Huke

Corey Robin the 44 year old US political theorist and associate professor has published an article on Aljazeera highlighting the deep roots of conservative radicalism, as outlined in his recent book ‘The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin’. Robin states, “I hope my book spurs readers to go back to these texts [Burke, Oakeshott, Hayek]. Not just because they’re great, which they are. But also because we’re having a conversation about modern conservatism in the dark, based on a misapprehension, of what the enterprise is and is not about. If we can get clear on these ancient texts, maybe we can get a little clearer on the contemporary practice. So here’s my final suggestion for … anyone … who likes to invoke Burke or Hayek or [fill in the blank] against today’s GOP: Read ‘em. Then let’s talk.”


Inspired by Corey Robin image source

Cindy Sherman the 57 year old US artist photographer has been named by Glamour magazine as one of the ‘Women of the Year’, referring to her as the “queen of radical reinvention”, honoring her works for challenging the traditional representation of women. Sherman’s work will be the subject of a major traveling retrospective by MoMA in 2012. Sherman works along in her studio taking on the various roles of cinema including wardrobe, hairstylist, makeup, director and model; to create series of images of herself in costumes recreating specific scenes from movies. Sherman’s interest in the visual arts began as a painter, however frustrated with the mediums limitations she turned to photography. “…there was nothing more to say through painting, I was meticulously copying other art and then I realized I could just use a camera and put my time into an idea instead.”


Inspired by artinfo image source Nathaniel Paluga

Michael Kazin the 63 year old US history professor, co-editor of Dissent magazine and former member of Students for a Democratic Society during the 1960’s, has released a book titled ‘American Dreamers: How the left changed a Nation’. Kazin in an interview with thebrowser, states “…the populist movement of the 1890s and the Socialist Party in the early 20th century … articulated an anti-corporate platform which continues to be influential even in the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations … you have civil disobedience, which abolitionists were known for. You have nonviolence and a “beloved community”, which civil rights protesters were known for. And you have a very strong emphasis on the 99% being injured by the 1%, and a critique of American democracy as being corrupted by big money, that began in the late 19th century…”


Inspired by thebrowser image source farm4

Mazhar Shahin the Egyptian cleric who has become the distinguished face of the Tahrir Square protestors now facing off with the Egyptian army, has called for the army leadership to immediately transfer power to a government of eminent civilians. During a Friday prayer, Shahin stated to the loud support of thousands in attendance, “The revolution is the one that thinks, the revolution is the one that decides, it is the one that judges … Our revolution was a body without a head. Today, the revolution will have a head … Few of the revolution’s demands have been met … The people insist on completing their revolution. Either we live in dignity, or we die here in Tahrir.” The civilian government Shahin proposed includes Mohamad ElBaradei the head of the UN nuclear watchdog.


Inspired by france24 image source youm7

Vandana Shiva the 59 year old Indian philosopher and activist, believes the 99% as represented by the Occupy Movement have nothing to lose but their disposability and dispensability. In an article published by Aljazeera, Shiva states “Freedom in our times has been sold as “free market democracy”. “Free markets” mean freedom for corporations to exploit whom and what they want, where they want, how they want. It means the end of freedom for people and nature everywhere. “Free market democracy” is in fact an oxymoron which has deluded us into believing that deregulation of corporations means freedom for us … The new movements understand this. And that is why they are indignant and are occupying the political and economic spaces to create a living democracy with people and the earth at the centre instead of corporations and greed.”


Inspired by Vandana Shiva image source

Nancy Knowlton a US coral reef biologist, along with other marine scientists believes the acidification of the oceans, are a significant threat to our way of life. Knowlton’s research focuses on the impact of climate change on the global coral reefs, resulting from rising acidic levels and warming as a consequence of carbon emissions. In an interview with Dahr Jamail, Knowlton stated “We know it’s bad and we know it’s getting worse … there’s no question we have to do something about CO2 emissions or we won’t have coral reefs, as we do now … Coral reefs are like giant apartment complexes for all these species, and there is intimacy … If that starts breaking down, these organisms, which include millions of species around the world, lose their homes. Even if they aren’t eating coral, they depend on it.”


Inspired by Dahr Jamail image source theseamonster

Lee Felsenstein the 66 year old US computer engineer and free speech advocate, renowned for his key role in the development of the personal computer, believes the current Occupy Wall Street movement could bring about generational change. In an article written by Quinn Norton, Felsenstein states “One of the effects of the Free Speech Movement [1964], and that outbreak of freedom really, was manifested in the development of the internet … We see the structure of the internet being an open structure, and open structure is what we were fighting for … There is no unified vision of what Occupy wants, besides a general feeling that the system is rigged in favor of the privileged…” Felsenstein while an engineer for the Community Memory Project, pioneered an early attempt prior to the internet, at networking publically accessible computer terminals to assess the social impact of technology.


Inspired by Quinn Norton image source

Martin Boyce the 43 year old UK artist renowned for his modernist sculptures and installations has been nominated for Turner Prize following his Swiss exhibition at Galerie Eva Presenhuber. Boyce’s sculptures have been described as a form of nonsensical modernism, appearing to dreamingly merge into each other to form a larger interior modernist installation. Boyce in an interview with Coline Milliard, stated “In my early teens I realized it was as much about looking as it was about making. My world was record sleeves, music and taking in your jeans to give them a narrow leg. Pop art and pop culture were my way in … You need to find people to talk to and to learn about the things that matter to you — it’s essential. Now with college and university fees that crucial breadth of people you might meet will be narrowed.”


Inspired by Coline Milliard image source artmw

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