Welcome to the Tikkunista Teaser for March 8th, 2013. You should be seeing this page with embedded links…
The top story this week was the death of Hugo Chavez. The Guardian’s story on how leaders from Ecuador to Venezuela have delivered huge social gains while winning elections helps to put Chavez in a useful historical perspective. The Nation has a good piece on his Venezuelan legacy, while Jon Anderson in the New Yorker offers a deeply personal look at Chavez as a person. Meanwhile Associated Press bemoans that “Chavez Wasted Venezuelan Money on Healthcare and Education When He Could Have Built Gigantic Skyscrapers.” Cue Stephen Harper….
In Italy, one election happened, while the Pope’s election built up a head of smoke. (But of what colour? That’s always the question.) In the national election the big surprise was the balance of power being held by Beppe Grillo, a surreal comedian who had never run for office before. Nobel–winning playwright Dario Fo says a surreal fantasist is just what Italy needs. Counterpunch looks at Grillo’s threat to break the Euro, how that 60% of Italians voted against austerity. Grillo has a very entertaining blog where he writes about politics, and the English translation is well worth a look. And The Guardian has a fine look at the rise of European protest parties, on all sides of the spectrum. Also from the Guardian is a look at the change in the power balance in the Catholic Church, from Europe to Africa. And to explore a possibility you probably have not sufficiently considered, Away Point has a very fine piece on how the Roman Catholic Church would be different if the Dalai Lama became Pope. You can get really good odds in Vegas….
There’s an increasing amount of ICE out there. ICE (Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics) is a cyberpunk term for online security programs, and their counter programs. The internet is the next theatre of war, both for countries and for individuals. The Observer points out that Chinese army hackers are merely the tip of the cyberwarfare iceberg, while in a fascinating insight into the nature of XXIst century propaganda, Al Weiwei interviews a person hired by the Chinese government to distort or deflect online conversation. Closer to home, Propublica tells you everything we know about what data brokers know about you. (Doctors can’t sell the info on what diseases you have, but pharmacies can and do sell what drugs you’re buying against them.)
Us and them, the haves and have-nots… a set of links look at such divisions. We lead with a lovely Youtube video (6 minutes) looking at the desired, the real and the perceived wealth distribution in the US. Forbes reduces it to a single statistic: if you’ve no debts and have $10 in your pocket you have more wealth than 25% of Americans. A US veteran looks at the US military and the people of Iraq, and what the effects of the invasion have been on both. In Israel, buses are introduced to carry Jews or Muslims, but never both, following complaints from settlers. (What, me apartheid?). The Observer highlights the fight between local fishermen and the bottom trawlers, while an interesting chart shows US support for/ opposition to same-sex marriage, broken down by religion. Make your predictions before you look.
There is a branch of art that consists of things made out of other things. For example jeans, desks, etc made out of paper, ethereal birds made from wire and gauze, and glorious sculptures made from burnt matches resembling charred human heads. It’s better to burn out than fade away. We end with photo spreads from the Smithsonian (10th annual Photo Contest), from Big Picture (best photojournalism by under 25s), and from Patrick Hubschmann (Frosty Morning on the Rhine).
If the links don’t work here, or you want to see the ones that weren’t included or have been added since I wrote this, it’s all still at https://twitter.com/Tikkunista