Arundhati Roy:  Capitalism - A Ghost Story

Acclaimed novelist and essayist Arundhati Roy used the release spoke at New York City’s New School on Wednesday night about her new book, “Capitalism: A Ghost Story.” The work, which will be released in April by Haymarket books, examines the “dark side of Democracy in India,” according to its publisher.

Roy’s debut novel, “The God of Small Things,” won the esteemed Booker prize in 1997, and she’s since established herself as one of the world’s important political activists. 

The New School talk was a conversation with Indian author Siddharta Deb and was livestreamed in front of a sold out audience.

(via: Colorlines.com)

Revanchism is a term used since the 1870s to describe a political manifestation of the will to reverse territorial losses incurred by a country, often following a war or social movement.

Revanchism draws its strength from patriotic and retributionist thought and is often motivated by economic or geo-political factors. Extreme revanchist ideologues often represent a hawkish stance, suggesting that desired objectives can be achieved through the positive outcome of another war.

Revanchism is linked with irredentism, the conception that a part of the cultural and ethnic nation remains “unredeemed” outside the borders of its appropriate nation-state. Revanchist politics often rely on the identification of a nation with a nation-state, often mobilizing deep-rooted sentiments of ethnic nationalism, claiming territories outside of the state where members of the ethnic group live, while using heavy-handed nationalism to mobilize support for these aims.

Revanchist justifications are often presented as based on ancient or even autochthonous occupation of a territory since “time immemorial”, an assertion that is usually inextricably involved in revanchism and irredentism, justifying them in the eyes of their proponents…

(read more: Wikipedia)

Why firearms are, in fact, a healthcare issue

Vivek Murthy, the president’s choice to be the next surgeon general, is running into confirmation trouble because of an adversary that doesn’t normally get involved in medical matters: National Rifle Association. The group sent a letter to Senate leaders late last month opposing Murthy’s confirmation because he supports extremely strict gun-control measures…

March 12th, the European Parliament passed a resolution supporting the creation of an Arctic Sanctuary covering the vast high Arctic around the North Pole, giving official status to an idea that has been pushed by activists for years. Still, the sanctuary has a long road to go before becoming a reality: as Arctic sea ice rapidly declines due to climate change, there has been rising interest from governments and industries to exploit the once inaccessible wilderness for fish and fossil fuels…

“I Guess I’m a Racist” and Other Proclamations That End Conversations About Race
by Ian Haney López
The following is an excerpt from Ian Haney López’s book Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. Haney López joined Bill Moyers to talk about how politicians use strategic racism to turn Americans against each other and win votes. 
When Obama briefly referenced race as one of the ways that the GOP might try to scare voters, in addition to the typical “race card” retort, the McCain camp also struck back with the charge that Obama had sought to “paint John McCain … as racist.” This assailment deserves a bit more attention.
The claim to have been slandered as a racist frequently crops up on the right in response to liberal efforts to focus on troubling racial dynamics and there may be a fair level of cynical strategizing at work in such conservative carping. By translating the claim that race continues to play a distorting role in American life into a narrow indictment of mean-spirited bigotry, conservatives are more able to easily dismiss the allegation as absurd…
(read more at BillMoyers.com)
photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

“I Guess I’m a Racist” and Other Proclamations That End Conversations About Race

by Ian Haney López

The following is an excerpt from Ian Haney López’s book Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. Haney López joined Bill Moyers to talk about how politicians use strategic racism to turn Americans against each other and win votes.

When Obama briefly referenced race as one of the ways that the GOP might try to scare voters, in addition to the typical “race card” retort, the McCain camp also struck back with the charge that Obama had sought to “paint John McCain … as racist.” This assailment deserves a bit more attention.

The claim to have been slandered as a racist frequently crops up on the right in response to liberal efforts to focus on troubling racial dynamics and there may be a fair level of cynical strategizing at work in such conservative carping. By translating the claim that race continues to play a distorting role in American life into a narrow indictment of mean-spirited bigotry, conservatives are more able to easily dismiss the allegation as absurd…

(read more at BillMoyers.com)

photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

The notorious “backfire effect” has now been captured in multiple studies.

On Monday, I reported on the latest study to take a bite out of the idea of human rationality. In a paper just published in Pediatrics, Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth University and his colleagues showed that presenting people with information confirming the safety of vaccines triggered a “backfire effect,” in which people who already distrusted vaccines actually became less likely to say they would vaccinate their kids.

Unfortunately, this is hardly the only example of such a frustrating response being documented by researchers. Nyhan and his coauthor, Jason Reifler of the University of Exeter, have captured several others, as have other researchers. Here are some examples…

Most of what Americans think they know about capitalism and communism is total nonsense. Here’s a clearer picture.

As the commentary around the recent deaths of Nelson Mandela, Amiri Baraka and Pete Seeger made abundantly clear, most of what Americans think they know about capitalism and communism is arrant nonsense. This is not surprising, given our country’s  history of Red Scares designed to impress that anti-capitalism is tantamount to treason. In 2014, though, we are too far removed from the Cold War-era threat of thermonuclear annihilation to continue without taking stock of the hype we’ve been made, despite  Harry Allen’s famous injunction, to believe. So, here are seven bogus claims people make about communism and capitalism…

Economic greed appears to trump Christian charity.

Rand is perhaps the only virulently anti-Christian writer that Republicans nonetheless routinely feel comfortable heaping praise upon. In a charming 1964 interview with Playboy, Rand  described the crucifixion of Jesus in terms of “mythology,” and submitted that she would feel “indignant” over such a “sacrifice of virtue to vice.” That Christians are called to care for the most vulnerable of God’s people was, to Rand, manifest proof that the religion has nothing constructive to add to human life: After all, in her philosophy, “superiors” have no moral obligations to those weaker or more vulnerable than they. According to Rand, the Christian moral imperative to serve the needy is a “monstrous idea.”…

In another science debate, this time on Meet the Press, the science guy stands up for, you know, reason.

On the air, Blackburn, who is vice-chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, denied that there is a scientific consensus on climate change and argued that “you don’t make good laws, sustainable laws, when you’re making them on hypotheses, or theories, or unproven sciences.” (There is indeed such a scientific consensus; at one moment, host David Gregory had to correct Blackburn on this point.)

But Nye rebutted her with some simple science lessons that made a lot of sense—noting that going from 320 to 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, something Blackburn called “very slight,” is actually a very big change in percentage terms (Nye said 30 percent; it is actually a 25 percent increase).

At the same time, Nye also hammered home a compelling message centered on patriotism. “As a guy who grew up in the US,” he said, “I want the US to lead the world in this….The more we mess around with this denial, the less we’re going to get done.”…