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“Insightful, kaleidoscopic...” DEFINABLE TRACES IN THE ATMOSPHERE reviewed in The Big Issue

July 17, 2018
Socialism underpins Definable Traces in the Atmosphere (OR Books, £13), a collection by the indefinable Mike Marqusee, the American writer who spent most of his adult life in England before his death in 2015 and so was able to get to grips with cricket, one of his many great loves. See also, in this insightful, kaleidoscopic book, the politics of Bob Dylan, wanderings in the Subcontinent, flamenco and the quest for authenticity, and – poignantly and previously unpublished – a piece completed in December 2014 entitled The Cancer Dance and the Rites of Positivity.

Read the full article in the latest print edition of The Big Issue.

GREG SHUPAK on the closure of the Gaza-Egypt border at Gorilla Radio

July 17, 2018
Israel announced Monday it will seal the Kerem Shalom commercial border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. This means Gazans, already suffering a health emergency due to the dozen years-long siege of the refugee enclave, will be subject to even greater privations. Israel’s actions fly in the face of World opinion, and repeated rulings by the United Nations, who released a report last year saying conditions in Gaza are degrading at a rate to make the Strip “unlivable” by 2020.

Listen to the full interview here.

“We are not our brain: How to break the spell of the neurosciences.” RICARDO MANZOTTI writing for Science & Nonduality

July 12, 2018
What are we? Are we a soul? An immaterial mind? A flow of energy? A body? A series of neural patterns? Is there an answer to such questions that is compatible both with the hard sciences and with our personal insights? I believe there is, and it is not the one currently defended by neuroscientists (for instance, https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23831830-300-consciousness-how-were-solving-a-mystery-bigger-than-our-minds/). It’s an answer that will overturn the current accepted conceptual landscape in three steps and it is dubbed The Spread Mind (www.thespreadmind.com). Before getting there, let me outline the common ground with neuroscience.

Read the full article here.

“The Trump Administration's Human Cages Aren't New — They Have a Long and Shameful American History.” ARIEL DORFMAN writing for Alternet

July 11, 2018
When Donald Trump recently accused “illegal immigrants” of wanting to “pour into and infest our country,” there was an immediate outcry. After all, that verb, infest, had been used by the Nazis as a way of dehumanizing Jews and communists as rats, vermin, or insects that needed to be eradicated.

Read the full article here.

An Open Letter to the Protesters Outside the Planned Parenthood Near My Job: from WOMEN OF RESISTANCE

July 10, 2018

An Open Letter to the Protesters Outside the Planned Parenthood Near My Job






By National Slam Champion, Beltway Grand Slam Champion, and a 2016 Women of the World Poetry Slam representative Elizabeth Acevedo, from Women of Resistance.


An Open Letter to the Protesters Outside the Planned Parenthood Near My Job


who stuck a cross in my face and told me,
“abortions are the largest genocide of black people,
God won’t forgive you for having one”:

I’m not sure how I became the finger
to pull the trigger of your mouth.

That’s a lie. I know exactly what turned
my lunch break into a firing range

and why this clay pigeon of a body
attracted your aim—
Tell me more, how you care about
“this largest genocide of black people”

when I’ve never seen you and your signs
at a Black Lives Matter protest.

Tell me, did you mourn Tamir & Aiyana & Jordan,
as hard as you celebrated the shooting of a clinic in Colorado?

Do you know how often I’ve walked by
your markers, megaphones, and mantras?

Your pickets signs and prayers that you cock like pistols
as I clench half a millennium of horror between my teeth?
You don’t know my god.
You and mine          ain’t on speaking terms.

My god understands the choices black women
have needed to make in the face of genocide.

My god understands how slave women plucked pearls
from between their legs rather than see them strung up by the neck.
My god doesn’t condemn us who when faced with taking claim of our bodies
do so with our chins unchained to the ground.

My god understands how for generations bodies like mine
were the choice for someone like you to make.
Do you know how many years, women like me
lived equally afraid of both hangings and hangers?
Yet we’re still here, everyday carrying ourselves.


Further Reading

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THE SPREAD MIND picked as one of Tim Parks' smartest books about the brain in The Guardian

July 10, 2018
Is consciousness internal, readable, even uploadable? Does it exist in the external world? Here are some mind-bending reads that have the answers

Read the full article here.

“Pocket-size but ticks like a bomb.” THE ANIMALS' VEGAN MANIFESTO in The New York Times

July 10, 2018
In the East Village in the early 1980s, the British-American artist Sue Coe showed some of the strongest political art of the day, and in the most traditional of media: figurative painting, drawing and printmaking stretching back in its influences to Käthe Kollwitz, José Guadalupe Posada and Chittaprosad Bhattacharya. In such work, reportage, advocacy and emotion are never far apart. And propelling themes — in Ms. Coe’s case, racism, war, capitalism and violence against all animals, including humans — are never in doubt.

Read the full article here.

ALEX NUNNS on the BBC's bias against Jeremy Corbyn in RT

July 3, 2018
The BBC has been exposed by startling statistics showing a consistent bias against left-wing political opinion, despite their stated commitment to 'impartiality', according to figures compiled by a key Corbyn ally. Alex Nunns, author of 'The Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn's Improbable Path to Power' and prominent supporter of the Labour leader, has collated figures on the political persuasions of expert journalists who have appeared on the BBC's Sunday Politics Show. Nunns has calculated that since the 2017 general election, only 10 percent of journalists to have made an appearance on the panel of three 'experts' have been from the left, 33 percent from the center (encompassing the center-left), and a whopping 56 percent from the right.

Read the full article here.

STEPHEN GILPIN on the inside story of Trump University on The Torch

July 3, 2018
Stephen Gilpin Author of Trump U: The Inside Story of Trump University. The first insider account straight from Trump University, by one of its principal instructors. -Trump University, the infamous and elaborate scheme to con hundreds of earnest citizens out of their hard-earned dollars.

Listen to the full interview here.

“Essential reading... a book that instantly informs and leaves a trail to follow to learn more.” MOMENT OF TRUTH reviewed in Middle East Eye

July 3, 2018
How does one consider 70 years of conflict that countless UN resolutions, global power brokers and peace activists have been unable to resolve? Through a weighty compilation of analysis from some of the most prominent and informed voices on the issue. Upon the Nakba's 70th anniversary, such a considered analysis of Israel and Palestine is quite frankly overdue. That’s what Moment of Truth: Tackling Israel-Palestine's Toughest Questions, a book edited by Jamie Stern-Weiner and published by OR Books, aims to provide. With more than 50 contributors, including such distinguished voices as Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein and Gideon Levy, among many others, the book lays out some of the toughest questions on the conflict and considers the facts on the ground.

Read the full review here.

MEDEA BENJAMIN discusses the Iran Nuclear Deal and the Korean peace process on the Thom Hartmann Program

June 26, 2018

Listen to the interview here.

The segment with Medea begins approximately 48 minutes into the show.

“I was not in a cage, but was scarred for life.” ARIEL DORFMAN writing for CNN

June 25, 2018
Many questions swirl around Donald Trump's executive order that supposedly reverses his policy of breaking up families at the border, but one thing is certain amid so much confusion, hypocrisy and ineptitude: permanent damage has already been done, and more is to come. Damage to the children and their parents, and damage to the United States and what it stands for.

Read the full article here.

“Illustrates the ways in which oral folklore empowered thousands of Yazidi women living under the brutality of ISIS.” WITH ASH ON THEIR FACES reviewed in The National

June 25, 2018
A sense of foreboding hung in the air on the eve of one of Iraq’s greatest modern tragedies – the killing, displacing and enslaving of tens of thousands of Yazidi men, women and children by Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi’s army of terror. Mosul had fallen in June and they knew an ISIS attack was likely. But it wasn’t until the early hours of August 3, 2014, when vigilant men gripping rusty Kalashnikovs spotted unfamiliar vehicles heading towards them through the desert, that Iraq’s Yazidis came face to face with their killers. In one swift assault, ISIS fighters armed to the teeth attacked and seized Yazidi towns and villages in Sinjar, north Iraq, where about 500,000 members of the religious minority lived. In the days that followed they killed thousands and enslaved an estimated 6,383 women and children, devastating and traumatising entire communities in the process. Countless families were shattered by the loss of a mother, a daughter, a sister. .

Read the full review here.

“A dystopian machine gun, firing off dozens of shorter glimpses of thoroughly unpleasant variations on the world to come.” WELCOME TO DYSTOPIA reviewed in the San Franciso Book Review

June 25, 2018
Ah, there’s nothing like a good dystopia. They imagine how the world could go to hell, then set likable characters loose inside that pessimistic sandbox. That formula has created an army of iconic protagonists, loathsome villains, and worlds that inspire horror…especially when they seem more likely, given current events. .

Read the full review here.

MEDEA BENJAMIN author of INSIDE IRAN interviewed at Loud & Clear

June 21, 2018
On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Medea Benjamin, an anti-war and anti-torture activist and the co-founder of Code Pink, and Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network.

Listen to the full interview here.

GREG SHUPAK discusses mainstream media coverage of Israel's oppression of the Palestinians on People's Republic

June 20, 2018
The Democratic Party is attacking Donald Trump’s foreign policy from a position far to the right of Trump’s own “fire and fury” position. Why are the Democrats advocating for nuclear confrontation, and what are the facts on the ground from the Singapore summit? Later, we talk about a new Amnesty International condemnation of the United States’ massive infliction of civilian casualties in Raqqa. We are joined by Walter Smolarek, an analyst for Sputnik News; and Dr. Greg Shupak, author of the book The Wrong Story: Israel, Palestine, and the Media.

Listen to the full interview here.

“Written to further the fight on a number of epic fronts – gender, data privacy and disinformation.” WOMEN, WHISTLEBLOWING, WIKILEAKS reviewed atArts Talk

June 18, 2018
The wonderfully alliterative name of this recently published book may be difficult to resist, but don’t let the title fool you. This slim volume has been written to further the fight on a number of epic fronts – gender, data privacy and disinformation. The battlefield is the digital world and its three writers are self-declared digital activists. What do such labels really mean you may wonder and where does Julian Assange fit in? This book takes the form of a conversation between three dedicated female activists – British journalist and human rights advocate, Sarah Harrison, Renata Avila, a well-known Guatemalan human rights lawyer and digital rights expert and Angela Richter, a Croatian-German theatre director and author. I was party to a similar live conversation between these three women at a recently attended Border Sessions Tech Culture Festival here in the Hague. This is a wide ranging collaboration between Crossing Borders and a variety of local tech-focused initiatives including Impact City, Start-Up Factory and Hack the Planet among others. All three women have close connections with Wikileaks and all are highly sympathetic to the current situation of the organisation’s founder – Julian Assange. Described by him as a ‘a giant library of the world’s most persecuted documents’ to which this multi-national media organisation ‘gives asylum’, Assange may well be describing his own situation in the Ecuardorian embassy in London. Founded in 2006, WikiLeaks has published more than 10 million documents and associated analyses including the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diary and of course the NSA scandal leaked by Edward Snowden. .

Read the full review here.

“Elegant and accessible stories on a variety of themes by the most distinguished of modern Tibetan writers.” OLD DEMONS, NEW DEITIES reviewed in Scroll.in

June 18, 2018
Modern Tibetan literature has been rather hard to find, with the exception of religious and spiritual writings, and some poetry, notably Woeser’s Tibet’s True Heart: Selected Poetry, the only book of modern Tibetan poetry I have come across. Woeser has a short story in this new collection, and was the only Tibetan writer represented that I actually knew by name. Tenzin Dickie, with a story of her own included, has done a singular service in gathering together these twenty-one stories from Tibetan authors, the first collection of such writings that has been made available to the English-language reader. Quite a few of the writers are from the Tibetan diaspora, notably that in the United States, and a number of them have either been educated abroad or occupy teaching positions there now. Some of them actually write in English..

Read the full review here.

“An impressive collection... becoming subtler and more nuanced with repeated reading.” GRABBING PUSSY reviewed in Tears in the Fence

June 15, 2018
Performance Artist and poet, Karen Finley, creates for an adult audience and speaks up for those that are silenced or victimised. Her latest book, Grabbing Pussy, based on a performance piece, Unicorn Gratitude Mystery, combines Language and Beat poetry in a bravura display employing the deeply limited and limiting sexual vocabulary of recent American political discourse.

Read the full review here.

“Hilarious and sometimes frightening.” DESPERATELY SEEKING SELF-IMPROVEMENT reviewed in Tri-City News

June 15, 2018
Desperately Seeking Self-improvement: A Year inside the Optimization Movement by Carl Cederström and André Spicer is a hilarious (and sometimes frightening) account of how they spent a full year dedicating each month to a different way of improving themselves.

Read the full article here.