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Category: 1205DC (May)

Ben White the British journalist and human rights activist specialising in Palestine/Israel, has published an article on Aljazeera claiming ‘Israel has a Jewish majority today because of the expulsions and denationalisation of most Palestinians living there’. White’s article titled ‘Jewish democracy founded on ugly battles’ states, …the Nakba [Day of the Catastrophe] is ongoing, in the daily acts of piecemeal ethnic cleansing from the Jordan Valley to the Negev, and secondly, the way in which the historical facts of “transfer” undermine the mythology of Israel as a supposed “Jewish and democratic” state. …Discussing Israel without mentioning the Nakba is linked to the myth of the Jewish state miraculously emerging from an unpopulated, arid wasteland. …the “invisibility” of the Arabs was self-serving. Palestine at the time of first Zionist settlement was not empty of people, but of people deemed worthy by Europeans of controlling their own country. …With the Nakba in clear view, current attempts to reconcile both “Jewish and democratic” components of Israel’s identity can be seen for what they are: a grand exercise in missing the point. The only reason why there is a Jewish majority in Israel today is because of the expulsions and denationalisation of most Palestinians who would have become citizens in the new state.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source prc

Mike Davis the 65 year old American Creative writer, social commentator and political activist has published an article on Toms Dispatch questioning if China now props up the world, the question is: For how much longer? Davis states, ”Officially, the People’s Republic of China is in the midst of an epochal transition from an export-based to a consumer-based economy. …Unfortunately for the Chinese, and possibly the world, that country’s planned consumer boom is quickly morphing into a dangerous real-estate bubble. …now every city with more than one million inhabitants (at least 160 at last count) aspires to brand itself with a Rem Koolhaas skyscraper or a destination mega-mall.  The result has been an orgy of over-construction. …In effect, a shadow banking system has arisen with big banks moving loans off their balance sheets into phony trust companies and thus evading official caps on total lending. …If China has a hard landing, it will also break the bones of leading suppliers like Brazil, Indonesia, and Australia.  Japan, already mired in recession after triple mega-disasters, is acutely sensitive to further shocks from its principal markets.  And the Arab Spring may turn to winter if new governments cannot grow employment or contain the inflation of food prices.”


Inspired by Toms Dispatch image source

Siobhan Courtney the British freelance broadcast journalist and writer, argues when the UK’s water infrastructure is already in severe drought, why is fracking even being considered? Courtney published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘Fracking: A dehydrated UK, watered only by capitalism’, stating “Only after the first attempt at fracking in the UK resulted in two minor earthquakes, did the department of energy and climate change decide to commission a panel of (government led) experts to investigate hydraulic fracturing further. Published in April, the first official British report [PDF] advises ministers to allow fracking to be extended across Britain. Quite how this decision was reached is staggering, as the report is full of confusing contradictions that only highlights the risks and consequences. …There has been a huge amount of attention and focus on the contamination process and structural damage caused by fracking. These concerns are of course, extremely valid, but attention, analysis and focus must be directed towards the sheer volume of water used in the fracking process. Water: nature’s most important and kindest gift to humanity. How ironic it is then, that humanity shows its gratitude by intentionally wasting and poisoning this precious life source.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source BBC

Robert Leopold Spitzer the 80 year old retired professor of psychiatry and psychology renowned as an architect of the modern classification of mental disorders and the champion of a ‘gay cure’, now apologizes for the ‘fatally flawed’ study. Spitzer states ”From the beginning it was: “can some version of reparative therapy enable individuals to change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual?” Realizing that the study design made it impossible to answer this question, I suggested that the study could be viewed as answering the question, “how do individuals undergoing reparative therapy describe changes in sexual orientation?” – a not very interesting question. …There was no way to judge the credibility of subject reports of change in sexual orientation. I offered several (unconvincing) reasons why it was reasonable to assume that the subject’s reports of change were credible and not self-deception or outright lying. But the simple fact is that there was no way to determine if the subject’s accounts of change were valid. I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy. I also apologize to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works with some “highly motivated” individuals.”


Inspired by Paul Harris image source sfist

Emma Hack the Australian visual artist who combines canvas and body painting with studio based photography, renowned for her recent work with Australian musician Gotye on the video “Somebody I Used to Know” which also features New Zealand singer Kimbra, has been interviewed by Nicholas Forrest for Artinfo. In the interview Hack states “Natasha Pincus, the director/producer, wanted to create a blend of the bodies into a background to make them appear as if they are in a relationship whilst blended. Then Kimbra leaves the relationship as the paint disappears from her back. …The process is very difficult and he was a trooper — never complained even though in pain. In all, it took 23 hours to create the work on them both. He loves and understands the process, which makes it easy to work with him.  …It differs greatly from the art I create, which is what I want to do, creating in a calm environment with my regular models. The Gotye project is similar to a commercial gig, where I’m working for the good of the client and their needs — but it is a lot more demanding emotionally on me.


Inspired by Artinfo image source adelaidenow

Carne Ross the 45 year old British director of a diplomatic advisory group ‘Independent Diplomat’, founded after he resigned from the British Foreign Office having giving then-secret evidence to a British inquiry into the Iraq invasion. Ross has published an article in The Nation titled ‘Occupy Wall Street and a New Politics for a Disorderly World’. In the article Ross states “The global financial crisis has provoked a profound and necessary questioning of the prevailing political and economic orthodoxy. So pervasive is this disillusionment with the current order that it is hard to find anyone prepared to defend it. Disorder is the new order; disequilibrium rules, and old assumptions no longer hold. …The defenders of the status quo claim that only their methods can maintain order. They are, in fact, achieving the opposite. The politics proposed here, and already evident in Occupy and elsewhere, can foment a deeper order, where people are connected to one another, reweaving our tattered social fabric, where work is fulfilling and responsible, and where everyone in society is given their proper voice and their interests are accounted for. Our current political and economic forms have made avowal of these ideals seem archaic, almost absurd. How ridiculous to wish for such virtues! We cannot let such cynicism triumph. A new way is possible, but it has to be enacted, not asked for.”


Inspired by The Nation image source Jenny Diamond

Enid Gabriella ‘Biella’ Coleman the American anthropologist, academic and author whose work focuses on hacker culture and online activism has published an article on Aljazeera about the Anonymous Hactivitst group. In the article Coleman states “… as a masked entity bearing the name Anonymous – it relays an urgent message about anonymity to contemplate. Given the contemporary reality of a corporate and state controlled surveillance apparatus, Anonymous stands out, compels, and enchants for a very particular reason: it has provided a small but potent oasis of anonymity in the current expansive desert of surveillance, much like the one quite literally being built in the Utah desert right now by the NSA. In an era when most of our personal data is archived online – in a time when states and corporations collect, market, and monetise our plans and preferences – there is indeed something hopeful, one might even say necessary, in Anonymous’ effacement of the self, in the cloaking of their identities, in striking at legislation seen to threaten privacy, and seeking to expose the depth and extent of privatised government contractors that have rapidly emerged as a security apparatus parallel to that of the national government.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Karora

Jillian Kestler-DAmours the Canadian freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker based in Jerusalem, who rejects the notion of objectivity and instead believes in using journalism to challenge power structures and promote change, has published an article on ipsnews titled ‘Media Faces New Crackdown’. Kestler-DAmours states “The Palestinian Authority’s arrest of journalists and activists critical of its policies are threatening freedom of expression and journalistic freedoms in the West Bank, according to local human rights groups. …PA security forces have arrested dozens of Palestinian journalists, bloggers, students and activists in recent weeks. Many have been detained for statements they made on social networking sites like Facebook that were critical of the PA, while others were targeted for articles and other work they published. …In late April, Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported that the PA had instructed Internet service providers to block access to news websites that were critical of President Mahmoud Abbas. Since the report came out, PA communications minister Mashour Abu Daka has resigned from his post. Attorney General al-Maghni, for his part, has defended the decision to block the websites, arguing that they were censored for security reasons and because personal complaints had been made against their content.”

Inspired by ipsnews image source jhrconcordia


F. Christopher Arterton the American Professor of Political Management and active in Democratic party politics has been interviewed by Sophie Sportiche in regard to President Obama’s shift on same-sex marriage. During the course of the interview Arterton states “I think having the president of the United States come out for that among a limited group of people may in fact cause them to pause and rethink this issue. …I would say that it’s important to bear in mind that over time, the drift has essentially been toward a greater acceptance of same-sex marriage. …There is a group in the middle that really wants a kind of civil discourse and wants US politicians to not be at each other’s throat. …I think that for the middle segment, which is where the battleground is going to be, they prefer that kind of statement rather than a virulent okay, it’s now time to go for same-sex marriage vehemently, to propose a constitutional amendment or to introduce legislation to totally gut the Defence of Marriage Act. And so to really make a fight out of this on either side, I think, is not in the interests of the group that they’re fighting over.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Politico

Anne Applebaum the 47 year old American journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author has published an article on Slate titled ‘Europe’s Extremists on the March – Many of the parties winning across the continent have one thing in common: They want to withdraw from the world’. Applebaum states “…as I look across Europe I don’t know what to call the wave of discontent, as most of the parties on the outlying right or left have more in common with one another right now than they do with anyone in the center. Generally speaking they are anti-European, anti-globalization, and anti-immigration. Their leaders, in the words of a French friend, want to “withdraw from the world.” They don’t like their multiethnic capital cities or their open borders, and they don’t care for multinational companies or multilateral institutions. Above all, they are anti-austerity: They hate the budget cuts that they believe were imposed on their national governments by outsiders in the international bond market and by their own membership in the euro currency zone. Never mind that those same national governments had created the need for austerity by overspending and overborrowing, or in some cases—most notably Greece—by funding vast, unaffordable and corrupt state bureaucracies over many decades. And never mind that many of them had begged to be part of the euro zone—nobody was forced to join—or that they benefited for many years from being members.”


Inspired by Slate image source

John Stoehr the American journalist, editor and lecturer in political science has put forward an argument in an article published on Aljazeera titled ‘Face it, the US economy is socialist – The real debate is not whether the US economy has socialist attributes, but choosing which form of socialism to employ’. Stoehr states “They [Republicans] talk about socialists and communists with the intent of scaring people away from the debate, but the fact is that state and federal governments spend billions on corporate welfare. No matter what they say about closeted communists in Congress or in the White House, Republicans – even the libertarians – heartily approve of socialism. The question in their view is about which way the money is flowing, up or down. If it’s agribusiness or oil corporations getting bucks from federal subsidies, then money is going to the top. Hoorah for socialism. If it’s single working mothers getting food stamps and housing credits, then money is going to the bottom. That’s a damn government handout – we can’t have that. On the state level, corporate welfare is often wrapped in the rhetoric of job creation. Let’s make the state attractive to businesses, because businesses create jobs, workers spend money and the economy gets better. Voila. Except that taxpayers end up giving more to corporations than they end up receiving.


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Twitter

Jonah Lehrer the 30 year old American author and journalist who writes on the topics of psychology, neuroscience, and the relationship between science and the humanities has been profiled by Paul Harris for The Guardian in an article titled ‘Jonah Lehrer: the prodigy who lights up the brain’. Harris states of Lehrer “He brings an artist’s skill to the latest research in neuroscience, making him a huge success at only 30. Now his latest book aims to demystify the workings of creativity… He strives to link art and neurology: how chemical reactions within three pounds of squidgy grey matter inside our skulls actually make us love, laugh and lead our lives. That sounds profound and much of Lehrer’s writing is full of wondrous examples of brain and art colliding and collaborating. He shows how writers and painters pre-empted the insights of neuroscience; how different parts of our brains battle with decisions; how creativity is not simply a God-given gift to a lucky few but can be understood, learned and nurtured. But his goal is not without its critics. Where some see Lehrer as a genius, others might see him repackaging plain old common sense in fine prose. It is something that is a risk of the field.”


Inspired by Paul Harris image source Twitter

Joseph Eugene Stiglitz the 69 year old American economist and professor has published an article on The Daily Beast titled “The 99 Percent Wakes Up” pointing out  that “Inequality isn’t only plaguing America—the Arab Spring flowered because international capitalism is broken.” In the article Stiglitz states “…I met with protesters in Madrid’s Retiro Park, at Zuccotti Park in New York, and in [Tahrir Square] Cairo… The protesters have been criticized for not having an agenda, but such criticism misses the point of protest movements. They are an expression of frustration with the electoral process. They are an alarm. …they are asking for a great deal: for a democracy where people, not dollars, matter; and for a market economy that delivers on what it is supposed to do. The two demands are related: unfettered markets do not work well, as we have seen. For markets to work the way markets are supposed to work, there has to be appropriate government regulation. But for that to occur, we have to have a democracy that reflects the general interests, not the special interests. We may have the best government that money can buy, but that won’t be good enough.


Inspired by The Daily Beast image source

John O. Brennan the 56 year old USA the Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, the chief counterterrorism advisor to President Barack Obama, has officially acknowledged in a speech for the first time the administration’s targeted killing of Al Qaeda members abroad. Mother Jones in an article states ”But Brennan didn’t tell the whole story: He largely rehashed the legal rationale for targeted killings of specific Al Qaeda suspects, instead of defending the use of more controversial “signature strikes,” in which targets are selected based on a “pattern of behavior.” Brennan defended targeted killings as an effective tool against Al Qaeda that helps minimize civilian casualties and likened the use of drones to laser surgery, saying: “It’s this surgical precision—the ability, with laser-like focus, to eliminate the cancerous tumor called an al Qaeda terrorist while limiting damage to the tissue around it—that makes this counterterrorism tool so essential.” …To borrow Brennan’s cancer metaphor, if targeted strikes on particular suspected Al Qaeda militants help excise cancerous tumors, signature strikes sound a little like flicking a scalpel around inside a patient’s abdomen. I’m no medical expert, but that sounds to me like it would inevitably kill the patient.”


Inspired by Mother Jones image source Pete Souza

Nikola  Kosmatopoulos the Greek PhD Candidate with the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Zurich in Switzerland has published an article on Ajazeera titled “If elections could change things, they’d be illegal”. In the article, Kosmatopoulos states “The old anarchist slogan that inspired this article’s title has gained urgent actuality in Greece. …For a long time, the most insightful and inspiring quotes about the political situation in Greece have totally eclipsed the manifestos of technocrats and the reports of journalists. Hope and insights, endurance and critique, are more likely to be expressed through red and black graffiti than in the speeches made by experts. …members of the political elite have shamelessly suggested the indefinite postponement of elections, while European officials have clearly indicated that unless voters choose one of the two major parties, the country would be plunged into chaos. …In the face of all this, it appears essential to ask whether: Instead of drafting an electoral program, it would be more useful to craft everyday programs of population mobilisation against elite-driven violence and misery. Instead of debating with those who massacre “democracy” in the parliament, it would be more effective to join the ranks of those who surround the building.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source ethno.uzh

Jane Rogers the 59 year old UK novelist and teacher, best known for her novel ‘Mr Wroe’s Virgins and The Voyage Home’ has won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction, for her first novel  in the science fiction genre ‘The Testament of Jessie Lamb’, a narration by a fictional teenager. The award director Tom Hunter, stated “It wasn’t an obvious Arthur C Clarke winner – it’s not from a science fiction publisher but from a small Scottish press. But I don’t think anyone was surprised it was nominated. It really is a very good book and it has found a real audience in the science fiction readership, it offers a route into dealing with quite serious issues, about science, about maternity and about making choices.” Described by Alison Flood in The Guardian as a “vision of a world crippled by biological terrorism… Taking place in a world in which a deadly virus, Maternal Death Syndrome, affects all pregnant women, putting the future of the human race in jeopardy, The Testament of Jessie Lamb is the story of one 16-year-old who decides she wants to save humanity. She volunteers for a programme in which she will be injected with an immune embryo, but also put into a coma from which she will not recover.”


Inspired by Alison Flood image source United Agents

Norman Gary Finkelstein the 58 year old USA political scientist, activist and author has been profiled by Natasha Mozgovaya on the Haaretz blog in reference to his latest book that she describes as surprisingly optimistic, despite its title ‘Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End’. “In June, Norman Finkelstein will mark 30 years of criticizing Israel. He remembers the exact day – the beginning of the Lebanon war, which ended his indifference to the Middle East’s troubles. …he [says he] is “not going to be an Israel-basher anymore.” It’s not that he’s changed his mind on the conflict, he just says blaming Israel has become too easy. “Nobody really defends Israel anymore” …They’ve lost the battle for public opinion, they claim it’s because American Jews know too little – I claim it’s because they know too much about the conflict, and young liberal Jews have difficulty defending the use of cluster bombs in Lebanon or supporting the Israeli settlements. I was bashing Israel in the past because nobody else was exposing its true record. Many people are doing it now, so I switched hats from a critic of Israel to a diplomat who wants to resolve the conflict. I have not changed, but I think the spectrum has moved.”


Inspired by Natasha Mozgovaya image source Miguel de Icaza

Peter Whish-Wilson the 44 year old Australian economist University lecturer and winemaker has been selected by the Australian Greens to replace the retiring Bob Brown in the Australian Senate. Whish-Wilson a board member of the conservation group Surfrider Foundation Australia, has been a vocal opponent of the proposed Gunns pulp mill in the Tasmanian state’s north. On his announcement as Brown’s successor in the parliament, Whish-Wilson stated “I’m also very conscious of the responsibility that will go with this position, both to Greens voters and all Tasmanians, in fact all Australians, I would just like to say that I think it is a very significant move for the Greens to put a senator in the north of Tasmania, to put an office there. It’s also a very strong message that the Greens will continue to oppose the pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. I will certainly try and get messages out there that are going to be very positive.” When questioned that he was a “light green” in reference to his previous work in the finance sector with Deutsche Bank Securities and Merrill Lynch, he stated “Light green, dark green, all good, all green – it’s just a label. Labels are cheap”


Inspired by Matthew Knott image source ABC

Zalmai Rassoul the 68 year old Afghanistan Foreign Minister has met for the first time with his Indian counterpart, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna where wide-ranging talks were held. The meeting took place at the India-Afghanistan Partnership Council, set up during the visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai under the first bilateral strategic pact Afghanistan has signed with any other country. India has concerns with the safety of nearly 4,000 of its nationals living in Afghanistan along with its missions and facilities. Rassoul stated at a joint press conference after the talks, “With India, we are not only willing to discuss the training of our officers, but also equipping of security forces. Security organisations of the two countries are in discussion.” The nature of the Indian assistance to Afghanistan has not been specified, although India is involved in the training of the Afghan National Army. Krishna stated at the press conference “We have always reacted positively to any suggestions from Afghanistan” and has pledged $2 billion for reconstruction activities. India is obviously keen for security of its strategic neighbour which its foe Pakistan tended to regard as its own backyard, as the time runs down for the withdrawal of the international coalition force.


Inspired by Russia & India Report image source Wikipedia

Chen Guangcheng the 40 year old Chinese civil and human rights activist on issues in rural areas of the People’s Republic of China will be permitted to apply to study abroad, in attempts to resolve the standoff over his future. Chen blind from an early age and self-taught in the law, is frequently described as a “barefoot lawyer” who advocates for women’s rights and the poor. He is best known for exposing alleged abuses in official family planning policy, often involving claims of violence and forced abortions. Chen escaped from house arrest in Shandong province with the help of his supporters from under the noses of dozens of guards, fleeing to safety in the US embassy. Chinese authorities upset about the United States harbouring the critic of its government, had created a sensitive situation potentially threatening to become a major diplomatic issue. To defuse the issue, Chen was subsequently taken from the embassy, delivered to a hospital, and a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Liu Weimin stated, “Chen Guangcheng is currently being treated in hospital. If he wants to study abroad, he can apply through normal channels to the relevant departments in accordance with the law, just like any other Chinese citizen.” Implying his potential exile to the USA where Chen had been offered a fellowship by an American university.


Inspired by The Daily Beast image source US State Dept

Lee Mingwei the Taiwanese installation artist who undertakes participatory projects where strangers can explore issues of trust, intimacy, and self-awareness. Mingwei in an interview with Kate Deimling for Artinfodotcom, when asked “For ‘The Moving Garden’, which was recently on view at the Brooklyn Museum, you placed real flowers in a 45-foot-long granite table. Visitors were invited to take a flower and give it to a stranger upon leaving the museum. How often did you have to replace the flowers?” Mingwei responded, “The museum had to replenish 150 roses every morning before it opened. By around 3pm, most of the flowers would have been taken and given as gifts between strangers. …the Brooklyn Museum created a Twitter site for participants to post their encounters. One of the most beautiful images is a tiny little girl dressed in a polka-dot dress holding an itty-bitty rose. I am fascinated by these two ideas [chance and randomness] which are quite important in my practice. I often remind myself that if one of my female ancestors didn’t go to the market that fateful morning, she would never have met my male ancestor, and thus I would never have existed.”


Inspired by Kate Deimling image source facebook

Wen Jiabao the 69 year old the sixth and current Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, serving as China’s head of government has called for the break-up of a banking “monopoly” over lending practices that has prevented businesses from borrowing the money they needed for expansion. Wen stated during tours of company sites in Fujian Province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, “Regarding raising funds for your businesses, I think it has been too easy, quite frankly, for our banks to make profits, the reason is that a small number of large banks are in a monopolistic position. It is only from them, and nowhere else, that companies get the loans they need. This is why we’ve now come to make way for private capital to enter the financial services sector, which ultimately requires breaking monopolies. There is already a consensus among the central leadership, which is reflected, as you can see, by the pilot reform in Wenzhou. I think some successful practices from Wenzhou’s pilot reform can be introduced nationally. Some of the practices may even be immediately implemented. The monopoly in the sector makes getting loans expensive. Private businesses, especially smaller ones, have to get cheaper loans to flourish.”


Inspired by Chinaorgcn image source

Anthony Kapel “Van” Jones the 43 year old USA lawyer environmental and civil rights advocate, and president co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, a platform for bottom-up, people-powered innovations to help fix the US economy. Jones has published an article on The Nation titled ‘The 99 Percent for the 1 Percent’. Jones states “The “99 percent versus the 1 percent” argument falls short in a lot of ways. The vast majority of Americans do not oppose their fellow Americans, simply because they are rich. To the contrary: more than perhaps any other people on this Earth, Americans admire success. What we detest is greed. We like economic winners; we hate economic cheaters. We cheer economic innovation; we despise financial manipulation. Like most people, I don’t hate rich people who buy yachts. (The workers who build those yachts are happy.) We don’t mind when wealthy Americans buy expensive toys; we do mind when they try to buy governors and Congresspeople. …We need everyone in our country to be involved in healing our economy and fixing our democracy. …A movement of the 99 percent for the 100 percent—powered by a deep love of working people and laying claim the best of our nation’s values—could yet transform our nation.”

Inspired by The Nation image source Wikipedia

Alison Louise Kennedy the Scottish writer known for a characteristically dark tone, a blending of realism and fantasy, and for her serious approach to her work. Kennedy has published an article in The Guardian titled ‘Suffering. Now there’s an artistic word. Or so you’d think.’ Kennedy states “I have been trying to write for at least a quarter of a century, and I can say very firmly that in my experience, suffering is largely of no bloody use to anyone, and definitely not a prerequisite for creation. If an artist has managed to take something appalling and make it into art, that’s because the artist is an artist, not because something appalling is naturally art. …I was recently in the company of a film producer. …the producer told me all about how necessary it was that creative people of every type should have as awful a time as possible. …To his way of thinking, comfort and success are poison, the Stones never did anything good after they’d got money, Van Gogh prospered because of mental distress, obscurity and ear mutilation and, actually …The producer hadn’t got any other examples, but he was convinced: if you weren’t hurting, you couldn’t be working.


Inspired by The Guardian image source Tim Duncan

Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon the Spanish Sociologist editor of the OII-edited journal Policy and Internet. Gonzalez-Bailon specializes in how online networks influence exposure to ideas and political debates, and how the internet technologies shape the flow of information. Gonzalez-Bailon published an article on Aljazeera stating, “Under the slogan “Real Democracy Now”, the protests [Spain May 2011] mobilised tens of thousands of people of all ages and affiliations, demanding better forms of political representation. Many protesters proclaimed in their placards that the Spanish Revolution was coming, a prophecy soon turned into a trending hashtag in Twitter and reverberating fast across the galleries of social media. …In the rare context of mass mobilisations, online networks behave exceptionally well: they are fast and efficient in transmitting information and spreading awareness. But they cannot do much to help a mass movement articulate their aims: they give expression to a cacophony of voices but when the lights of the protest go out, all these opinions fall like confetti after a party. …Can social media transform bursts of political activism into stable forms of participation? …Otherwise, their revolutionary message will be written on wet sand.”


Inspired by Aljzeera image source

Sheldon Richman a USA political writer and academic, editor of The Freeman magazine and renowned for his advocacy of left-libertarianism or market anarchism, has published an article on the US presidential candidate’s limited variations on their ‘Corporatist Theme’. In the article Richmond states, “So the presidential campaign is shaping up as a contest between a Democrat who says we had a free market from 2001 through 2008 and a Republican who agrees—he says “[w]e are only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy.” You can’t cease to be something you never were. Thus  Barack Obama claims and Mitt Romney implicitly concedes that the free market 1) has existed and 2) therefore presumably created the housing and financial debacle. This bodes ill for advocates of liberty and voluntary exchange. Notice what will happen if this framing is widely accepted: Genuinely freed markets won’t make the list of feasible options. That will leave us with mere variations on a statist theme, namely, corporatism. …and the winner will be: Corporatism. (That is, the use of government force primarily to benefit the well-connected business elite.) The loser? The people, who would benefit from freedom and freed markets—markets void of privileges and arbitrary decrees. That’s what maximizes consumer and worker bargaining power and enhances general living standards.”


Inspired by The Freeman image source facebook

Antonia Juhasz a USA oil and energy analyst, author, journalist, and activist has published an article in The Nation Magazine depicting the health issues experienced by residents of the Gulf Coast since the 2010 BP oil spill. In the article Juhasz states, “The most toxic chemicals found in oil are lipid-soluble, which means that they accumulate in organs that contain a lot of fat, like the brain. Consequently, those with the greatest exposure can get permanent brain damage, dementia, as a result… In August 2011 the Government Accountability Project (GAP) began its investigation of the public health threats associated with the oil spill cleanup… Witnesses reported a host of ailments, including eye, nose and throat irritation; respiratory problems; blood in urine, vomit and rectal bleeding; seizures; nausea and violent vomiting episodes that last for hours; skin irritation, burning and lesions; short-term memory loss and confusion; liver and kidney damage; central nervous system effects and nervous system damage; hypertension; and miscarriages. … It will take years to determine the actual number of affected people. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), with financial support from BP, is conducting several multiyear health impact studies, which are only just getting under way.”


Inspired by The Nation image source Twitter

Muhammad Nazaruddin the 33 year old Indonesian businessman and politician serving as General treasurer of the Democratic Party in 2010, has been jailed for corruption. The Corruption Eradication Commission investigated bribery allegations in the development of athlete’s houses for the 26th SEA Games. Nazaruddin left Indonesia before the investigation was finalized and informed the media a number of other party officers including the Chairman were also involved. Nazaruddin was finally apprehended in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, and now convicted of corruptly receiving $500,000 for helping the development company to win the project. Nazaruddin was sentenced to under five years imprisonment, below the seven years sort by the prosecution. Darmawati Ningsih informed the anti-corruption court “The defendant was convincingly proven guilty of committing criminal activities under the corruption law, [and] tainted the image of the government, which is trying to combat corruption”. Matt Brown of the ABC reports that “Indonesia’s anti-corruption court has put some of the country’s most senior corrupt officials behind bars and has close to a 100 per cent conviction rate. The corruption eradication commission, which investigates and prosecutes graft cases, reported more than 20,000 complaints from the public last year.”


Inspired by Matt Brown image source Equal Life

Matthew “Matt” O’Brien the USA author and journalist has published an article in The Atlantic citing ‘Spain Is Doomed: Why Austerity Is Destroying Europe’. In the article O’Brien states “Nearly a quarter of Spain’s population is unemployed. Half of its youth are out of work. And it’s only going to get worse. Spain is supposed to trim its deficit by some 5.5 percent of GDP over the next two years. That’s not a recipe for growth. Just ask the IMF, which downgraded its projections for Spain’s economy back in January. What matters for a nation is its GDP. That’s a country’s equivalent of personal income. If Spain’s GDP is set to fall for the foreseeable future — and it is — then who would want to lend to Spain? The markets gave their answer — practically nobody! — and ECB was forced to fill the void by giving Eurobanks free money to then invest in sovereign debt. Yields came down. European policymakers declared “Mission Accomplished.” …Rather than consider the possibility that the economy might work differently than they think, they have settled on a simple message: The beatings will continue. Unfortunately, morale will continue to not improve. Eventually, you have to think leaders in Europe’s beat-up countries will begin to wonder if life might be better outside the euro zone.”


Inspired by The Atlantic image source Business Insider

Antonio Manfredi an Italian artist, curator and director of a Naples museum, the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum has set fire to a painting valued at €10,000 to protest the under-funding of arts in Italy. Before cameras, he set fire to a painting by French artist Séverine Bourguignon watching the spectacle via Skype. In an interview with John Hooper of the Guardian, Manfredi stated “There’s no money for upkeep. We were flooded recently. And there are tons of garbage mounting up outside. …This is a war. This is a revolution, an art war to prevent the destruction of culture, and in a revolution, there are winners and losers. …There are about 1,000 works, so this could go on for years, I tell you, it’s not nice setting light to works of art. It’s terrible. Each one has its own story. …You can’t …ask for money from companies in the area that are in the grip of the Camorra, some pay [the mobsters] protection money. Others are actually controlled by them. … in this area, if you don’t have backing from the authorities, you’re in serious danger. My fear is that they’ll let me go ahead and burn the lot.”


Inspired by John Hooper image source

Michael Lewis the 51 year old USA non-fiction author and financial journalist has published an article on The Daily Beast interviewing himself ‘about how to make the Occupy Wall Street movement better – His strategy: boycott the banks!’ In the article Lewis states, “The big complaint about the movement is that it doesn’t know what it wants. If someone put you in charge of the movement, what would you have it do? I’m not certain that they’re wrong to be as woolly-minded about their goals as they seem to be. By not being too explicit about what they want, they attract anyone who is upset about anything. But if I were in charge I would probably reorganize the movement around a single, achievable goal: a financial boycott of the six “ too big to fail ” Wall Street firms: Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo. We would encourage people who had deposits in these firms to withdraw them, and put them in smaller, not “too big to fail” banks. We would stigmatize anyone who invested, in any way, in any of these banks. I’d try to organize college students to protest on campuses. Their first goal would be to force the university endowments to divest themselves of shares in these banks.”


Inspired by The Daily Beast image source Justin Hoch

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