Tag archive for politics

Follow the Leaders (into climate change)

From artist Issac Cordal:


Berlin, 2011 h/t: Barbara Medaille

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A great essay on a great writer: Messud on Camus

A great review will not only change your mind, but make you see — and feel — afresh.

Such is Claire Messud's essay on Albert Camus' Algerian Chronicles, in the 50th anniversary issue of the New York Review of Books. Must read!

But if you don't, here are some reasons — from Camus — why you should.

On violence for the sake of overthrowning one's oppressors:

“I merely say that we must refuse all legitimacy to violence, whether it comes from raison d’état or totalitarian philosophy. Violence is both unavoidable and unjustifiable.”

On intellectuals who justify violence:

Each side thus justifies its own actions by pointing to the crimes of its adversaries. This is a casuistry of blood with which intellectuals should, I think, have nothing to do, unless they are prepared to take up arms themselves.

On violence in politics:

“I am not made for politics,” he wrote in his notebooks in November 1945, “because I am incapable of wanting or accepting the death of the adversary.”

On the eroticism of nature:

There is only one love in this world. To embrace the body of a woman is also to hold to oneself this strange joy that descends from the sky toward the sea.

[Camus with his publisher Gallimard, not long before his death]

Camus and gallidmard 1958

Must. Read. Camus. 

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How far we have come on global warming — not!

Yesterday Jason Margolis for The World had an absolutely first-class analysis of the presidential politics of global warming. He began with the GOP front-runner's silence on the issue, which Margolis contrasted against the GOP candidate of four years ago. Here's what John McCain said about climate change while running for President as a Republican:

“It’s real. It’s a danger to our planet, it’s a danger to the future of these young people who are in front of me and their children. And it’s got to be stopped.”

Amazing. Today Mitt Romney ignores climate change, while Newt Gingrinch describes his call for action on it "the stupidest thing he's ever done," and Rick Santorum calls global warming a hoax

Liberals and Democrats shouldn't self-congratulate, though, because President Obama is as silent on the issue as is Romney. He mentioned climate change in the State of the Union address only to say that nothing could pass Congress on the subject. That is, he blamed the GOP for the inaction.

And "we the people" are no better, as Margolis points out: 

Perhaps the president and the Republican candidates are simply following our lead. According to a recent poll from the Pew Research Center, Americans ranked global warming as the least important of 22 priorities, just behind campaign finance reform.

Campaign finance reform — John McCain's other signature issue. No wonder he lost. 

For a shockingly entertaining explanation of the power of global warming, take a look at the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Jerry Meehl talking about climate change…and steroids in baseball.

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Go blue! The problem with sports as politics

The play-offs (and Ted Rall) remind me that the sports mindset, as the President might say, has its limits. 

I hear Noam Chomsky also has some views on sports. In Manufacturing Consent, in front of an adoring audience, he marvels out loud at the intelligence with which "Joe Six Pack" types can on the radio analyze these matters of "no importance."

No importance to Noam, maybe… 

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The central conservative truth…

…and the central liberal truth, perpetually at war.

"The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics,
that determines the success of society. The central liberal truth is
that politics can change a culture and save it from itself."

Boy is that well-put. From a new book of letters written by Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

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The politics of climate change denial, worldwide

From George Monbiot:

Australian politics provides yet more evidence that climate science
divides people along political lines. [Tony] Abbott is no longer an outright
denier, though he still insists, in the teeth of the facts, that the
world has cooled since 1997(5).
Some members of his party go further: Senator Nick Minchin, for
example, maintains that “the whole climate change issue is a left-wing
conspiracy to deindustrialise the western world”(6). (He has also
insisted that cigarettes are not addictive and the link between passive
smoking and illness cannot be demonstrated(7)).
A recent poll suggests that 38% of politicians in Abbott’s coalition
believe that man-made global warming is taking place, by comparison to
89% of Labor’s people(8).

It’s the same story everywhere. At a senatorial hustings in New
Hampshire last week, all six Republican candidates denied that man-made
climate change is taking place(9).
Judging by its recent antics in the Senate and by primary campaigns all
over the country, the Republican party appears to be heading towards a
unanimous rejection of the science. The ultra-neoliberal Czech president
Vaclav Klaus asserts that “global warming is a false myth and every
serious person and scientist says so.”(10) The hard-right UK Independence Party may soon be led by Lord Monckton(11),
the craziest man in British politics, who claims that action on climate
change is a conspiracy to create a communist world government(12).
The further to the right you travel, the more likely you are to insist
that man-made climate change isn’t happening. Denial has nothing to do
with science and everything to do with politics.

Or, as Spencer Weart — who literally wrote the book on global warmingsays: Tell me what you think about government regulation, and I will tell you what you think about global warming.

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