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"What did Obama actually do that we are supposed to build on?" NORMAN FINKELSTEIN for Mondoweiss

April 29, 2016

Hillary keeps saying, “We have to build on Obama.” But what did Obama actually do that we are supposed to build on? Did he reduce college tuition or student debt? Did he create real 9 to 5, 40-hour-per-week jobs at a decent wage? Did he reduce income inequality? If his term of office was such a resounding success—which power-hungry grovelers like Paul Krugman now proclaim—can you tell me why so many people are rallying behind Trump and Sanders? Have you ever in your lifetime seen such mass disaffection from the political establishment and the system it represents?

To read more, visit Mondoweiss.

WALTER MOSLEY named Grand Master by Mystery Writers of America

April 29, 2016

Exactly two months after the Oscars were castigated for a lack of diversity, the Mystery Writers of America held its annual Edgar Awards banquet last night, in Manhattan’s Grand Hyatt Hotel, and made history, with the naming of its first African-American Grand Master, Walter Mosley. MWA executive v-p Donna Andrews, in her column for the 70th Anniversary Annual, wrote: “You’re allowed to say, ‘About damned time.'”

To read more, visit Publishers Weekly.

“It’s actually a long story but I’ll be brief” BURHAN SÖNMEZ excerpted in Bookanista

April 29, 2016

“It’s actually a long story but I’ll be brief,” I said. “No one had ever seen so much snow in Istanbul. When the two nuns left Saint George’s Hospital in Karaköy in the dead of night to go to the Church of Saint Anthony of Padua to break the bad news, there were scores of dead birds under the eaves. That April, ice cracked the Judas tree flowers, while the razor-sharp wind bit the stray dogs. Have you ever known it to snow in April, Doctor? It’s actually a long story but I’ll be brief. One of the nuns sliding and stumbling in the blizzard was young, the other old. When they had almost reached the Galata Tower the young nun said to her companion, a man has been following us all the way up the hill. The older nun said there could only be one reason why a man would follow them in a storm in the pitch darkness.”

To read more, visit Bookanista.

"We are completely unprepared for an era in which editing DNA is as easy as editing a Word document" ASHLEY DAWSON for Jacobin Magazine

April 27, 2016

"We are completely unprepared for an era in which editing DNA is as easy as editing a Word document. At present there are no legal controls over new technologies such as Crispr and gene drives, no government regulations on editing human DNA, no centralized risk-management inventory of labs where biohazards could be developed and released."

To read more, visit Jacobin Magazine.

"Today I dreamt I was burning" BURHAN SÖNMEZ excerpted in Words Without Borders

April 27, 2016

"“Today I dreamt I was burning,” he said. “I was in the lowest circle of hell, they were taking sticks from everyone else’s fire and using them to stoke mine. But damn it, I was still cold. The other sinners were screaming, my eardrums burst and healed a thousand times over. The fire kept getting bigger and bigger but I couldn’t burn hard enough. You weren’t there, I searched every face, but there was no sign of a doctor or a student. I craved more fire, crying out and begging, like an animal going to the slaughter. The wealthy, the preachers, the bad poets, and cold-hearted mothers burning in front of me stared at me through the flames. The wound in my heart wouldn’t burn and turn to ash, my memory refused to melt into oblivion. Despite the fire that was turning metal to liquid, I could still recall my cursed past."

To read more, visit Words Without Borders.

"We live in the midst of one of the greatest mass extinction events in the history of the planet." ASHLEY DAWSON at Center for the Humanities

April 26, 2016

"We live in the midst of one of the greatest mass extinction events in the history of the planet. In its latest Living Planet report, the WWF states that global populations of vertebrate species have dropped by half since 1970. Today, halfway through the UN's declared decade of biodiversity, the pace of extinction is picking up. Over the last decade, the planet lost 1.7 million sq kilometers of forest."

To read more, visit Center for the Humanities.

"We can't maintain biodiversity in a world in which there is unrestrained, hyper-capitalist exploitation based on ceaseless growth." ASHLEY DAWSON on This is Hell

April 26, 2016

"We can't maintain biodiversity in a world in which there is unrestrained, hyper-capitalist exploitation based on ceaseless growth. It's fairly obvious that a system based on ceaseless expansion, on a finite planet, is going to run up against natural limits. And the extinctions we're seeing right now is one of the prime examples of that."

To read more, visit This is Hell.

"An excellent book which looks at the region from a brilliantly unique angle." PATRICK COCKBURN reviewed in Middle East Monitor

April 25, 2016

"Chaos and Caliphate is an excellent book which looks at the region from a brilliantly unique angle. For the most part, Cockburn really takes advantage of his personal experience and expresses it in such a gripping way that it is hard to put the book down. As a guide to what has been going on in Iraq, with Daesh and in Afghanistan it is almost perfect..."

To read more, visit Middle East Monitor.

"The one thing we can be completely certain of about the War on Terror is that it has failed." PATRICK COCKBURN for Counterfire

April 25, 2016

"The one thing we can be completely certain of about the War on Terror is that it has failed. After 9/11, Al – Qaeda was made up of a few hundreds or very low thousands of people in a few camps in Afghanistan and on the North West frontier of Pakistan. Now similar organisations control an area bigger than great Britain in Syria and Iraq and a large chunk of South Coast of Yemen, about 250 miles in fact, the distance from Edinburgh to London. They control sections of Libya and they are a growing force in Central Damascus as well as important areas in Africa. They are becoming a real threat as we know in Europe. This book was partly written in the hope that the West will develop a more realistic foreign policy, but I am not optimistic."

To read more, visit Counterfire.

"It is with some relief that one can turn to the contributions of practicing artists to The Gulf: High Culture/Hard Labor" The Art Newspaper on ANDREW ROSS

April 21, 2016

"It is with some relief that one can turn to the contributions of practising artists to The Gulf: High Culture/Hard Labor, where the general theme is art as resistance. However naïve they may seem, these are documentations of painful contemporary life. And no one could fail to laugh at Pablo Helguera’s cartoon where two exhausted travellers are crawling through the desert and one says to the other: “At the very least there ought to be a Guggenheim nearby."

To read more, visit The Art Newspaper.

"Cockburn is one of the greatest British foreign correspondents of all time – a must-read" The Conversation on PATRICK COCKBURN

April 20, 2016

"My composure is restored with Patrick Cockburn’s disturbing account of what is going on in Baghdad. Cockburn is one of the greatest British foreign correspondents of all time – a must-read. He will fortunately remain with the new internet-only Independent."

To read more, visit The Conversation.

"The masterful construction of a multi-story tale" BURHAN SÖNMEZ reviewed by Cultured Vultures

April 19, 2016

"Sonmez’s novel comes to life – not just as a visceral depiction of pain in captivity, or a Frankl-esque exploration of existential despair – but rather, the artisanal interweaving of narratives; the masterful construction of a multi-story tale."

To read more, visit Cultured Vultures.

"From early on he was determined that a person should have the right to read whatever he wanted and publish whatever he wanted." BARNEY ROSSET in Publishers Weekly

April 18, 2016

OR Books co-publisher Oakes, whose first boss in publishing was Rosset at Grove, said, “Young people don’t know this is the guy who changed the publishing world. They should. A case can be made that Barney changed worldwide culture, but it is incontrovertible that he changed American culture. From early on he was determined that a person should have the right to read whatever he wanted and publish whatever he wanted.” But Rosset is more than a history of First Amendment litigation—it is a (characteristically) candid self-portrait by America’s foremost maverick publisher, as well as a colorful and rollicking history of Grove.

To hear more, visit Publisher's Weekly.

"If Washington continues to abandon its commitment to the open Internet, the dreams of digital innovators around the world will be crushed." SCOTT MALCOMSON reviewed in The Wall Street Journal

April 18, 2016

"Mr. Obama once famously declared that government, not entrepreneurs, had built the Internet. That wasn’t true, but his actions have proved a different point: If Washington continues to abandon its commitment to the open Internet, the dreams of digital innovators around the world will be crushed."

To hear more, visit The Wall St Journal.

"The melodrama of war tends to take over" PATRICK COCKBURN on BBC RADIO 4

April 18, 2016

"War also, in Afghanistan, when you see it on television - big explosions, flames, wrecked buildings -it's very difficult to know if this is typical or not...the melodrama of war tends to take over, and that dominates everything else for a period."

To hear more, visit BBC Radio 4.

"Wars turn into bloody stalemates with no outright winners or losers." PATRICK COCKBURN for The Independent

April 18, 2016

Of course, the war never ended in Iraq or any of the other countries covered in this book. This is one of the striking features of the present era: wars turn into bloody stalemates with no outright winners or losers, aside from the millions of civilians who are the victims. Political systems decay or are overthrown but nobody is strong enough to replace them. An Islamic cult motivates people so they are prepared to die for it in a way that is no longer true of nationalism or socialism.

To read more, visit The Independent.

"These are very much the actions of the foreign policy establishment in Washington that hasn’t learned or forgotten anything for the last quarter century." PATRICK COCKBURN interviewed by Big Issue North

April 18, 2016

Is Hillary Clinton likely to pursue an enlightened foreign policy with regard to jihadism? Not much sign of it. She was for invasion of Iraq in 2003, intervention in Libya in 2011 and Syria in 2013. These are very much the actions of the foreign policy establishment in Washington that hasn’t learned or forgotten anything for the last quarter century.

To read more, visit Big Issue North.

"The United States went well beyond remaining largely silent in the face of human rights abuses in El Salvador" RAYMOND BONNER for The Nation

April 15, 2016

"The United States went well beyond remaining largely silent in the face of human-rights abuses in El Salvador. The State Department and White House often sought to cover up the brutality, to protect the perpetrators of even the most heinous crimes."

To read more, visit The Nation.

Publishers Weekly reports on OR acquisition of Serif Books

April 15, 2016

Independent New York publisher OR Books has acquired the London-based Serif Books. OR Books will maintain the imprint and continue to publish books under the Serif Books brand.

To read the rest of the news, visit Publishers Weekly.

"Very much worth reading" Catholic Herald reviews FORSAKEN

April 14, 2016

Williams' book, which is also very much worth reading, looks at Iraq and Syria after ISIS. It is, as a result, an elegy.

To read the rest of the review, visit Catholic Herald.