Friday, 19 June 2015

Links 19/6/15


The Dominican Republic has decided to strip 210000 people of Haitian decent of their citizenship. The country has a long history of ethnic cleansing and anti-Haitian violence and discrimination. 

Nine people died in a racially motivated mass shooting, perpetrated by white man, in Charleston, North Carolina. 
The shots were fired by Dylann Roof, a white man in his early 20s, who entered the church, worshipped with the members and later opened fire. The massacre will be investigated as a hate crime, Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said. However, by definition, it was a domestic act of terrorism and the gunman, a terrorist. 
Huffington Post: Why Recognizing The Charleston Church Shooting As An Act Of Racially Motivated Terrorism Is Only The First Step, June 18, 2015

Jelani Cobb in the New Yorker on the case of Rachel Dolezal: 
Race, in this country and under certain circumstances, functions like a faith, in that the simple profession of membership is sufficient. The most—possibly the sole—democratic element of race in this country lies in this ecumenical approach to blackness. We are not in the business of checking membership cards. In this way, Dolezal’s claim on black identity is of a different order than the hollow declaration of a Hollywood scion or anyone else who opted to be Negro for a season. They can plead ignorance. But Dolezal spent four years at an institution steeped in the delicacies of race. If nothing else, she understands the exact nature of the trust she violated. 
The New Yorker: Black Like Her, June 15, 2015
Hillary Clinton tries to negotiate being a Democrat with being a Democratic Presidential candidate, struggles with distancing herself from President Obama and her own long-held position towards the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

George Soros on the current state of "global disorder", the fallout of "market fundamentalism" and the relationship between the US and China:
The US government has little to gain and much to lose by treating the relationship with China as a zero-sum game. In other words it has little bargaining power. It could, of course, obstruct China’s progress, but that would be very dangerous. President Xi Jinping has taken personal responsibility for the economy and national security. If his market-oriented reforms fail, he may foster some external conflicts to keep the country united and maintain himself in power. This could lead China to align itself with Russia not only financially but also politically and militarily. In that case, should the external conflict escalate into a military confrontation with an ally of the United States such as Japan, it is not an exaggeration to say that we would be on the threshold of a third world war.
Both the US and China have a vital interest in reaching an understanding because the alternative is so unpalatable. The benefits of an eventual agreement between China and the US could be equally far-reaching. Recently there has been a real breakthrough on climate policy on a bilateral basis. By taking the nonbinding representations and promises made by the two countries at face value, the agreement has made more credible some recent efforts to bring climate change under control. If this approach could be extended to other aspects of energy policy and to the financial and economic spheres, the threat of a military alignment between China and Russia would be removed and the prospect of a global conflict would be greatly diminished. That is worth trying. 
The New York Review of Books: A Partnership with China to Avoid World War, July 9, 2015
And Amartya Sen on the the consequences of austerity: 
If failing to understand some basic Keynes­ian relations is a part of the explanation of what happened, there was also another, and more subtle, story behind the confounded economics of austerity. There was an odd confusion in policy thinking between the real need for institutional reform in Europe and the imagined need for austerity – two quite different things. There can be little doubt that Europe has needed, for quite some time, many serious institutional reforms – from the avoidance of tax evasion and the fixing of more reasonable retiring ages to sensible working hours and the elimination of institutional rigidities, including those in the labour markets. But the real (and strong) case for institutional reform has to be distinguished from an imagined case for indiscriminate austerity, which does not do anything to change a ­system while hugely inflicting pain. Through the bundling of the two together as a kind of chemical compound, it became very difficult to advocate reform without simultaneously cutting public expenditure all around. And this did not serve the cause of reform at all. 
New Statesman: Amartya Sen: The economic consequences of austerity, June 4, 2015
The European Union extends its economic sanctions against Russia - in spite of the current fractions within the Union, Russia failed to secure a blocking vote from any of the member states.

There is a new coalition of far-right parties in the European Parliament - being recognized as a bloc within the Parliament is advantageous becomes it comes with additional funding, but the far-right has a long history of coming apart quickly at the seams.

Stanford graduates are reminded in their graduation speech of the problems of racial and gender-imbalances: "It is the daunting project of shaping institutions that live up to our ideals and ensuring that the winds of freedom truly continue to blow."

Pop Culture: 

The Guardian profiles Ghostpoet.

Sense8 was pretty great for the most part (this is a very valuable read to grasp its problems). 

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