Like Lenin, Luther launched a bloody revolution – and yet he was let off the hook

by Philip Cunliffe Added 16.11.2017
2017 marks the anniversaries of two revolutions that tore Europe apart. They both shredded existing structures of authority and unleashed mass fervour, ideological zeal, passion and popular agitation for greater self-rule. These revolts resulted in civil war, sectarian bloodshed, revolutionary violence and counter-revolutionary oppression. Troublemakers both. Wikimedia Commons The first was the Protestant Reformation of Martin Luther, who...

Myanmar and Buddhist extremism

by Paul Fuller Added 16.11.2017
There is a desperate humanitarian crisis underway in Myanmar, centring around the Rohingya Muslims. There is what has been described as a “textbook case of ethnic cleansing” against the approximately one million Rohingya who live in the western Myanmar state of Rakhine. As well as retaliations from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army – a militant group of Rohingyas – which has been held by the Burmese military to have attacked a number of...

Compound found in berries and red wine can rejuvenate cells, suggests new study

by Richard Faragher, Lizzy Ostler and Lorna Harries Added 15.11.2017
By the middle of this century the over 60s will outnumber the under 18s for the first time in human history. This should be good news, but growing old today also means becoming frail, sick and dependent. A healthy old age is good for you and a remarkably good deal for society. Improving the overall health of older Americans could save the US alone enough money to pay for clean drinking water for everyone on Earth for the next 30 years....

Balfour Declaration: A Convergence of Zionist Ambition and the British Imperial Enterprise

by James J. Zogby Added 11.11.2017
  This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration in which Great Britain's Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour, stated in a note to his colleague, Lord Rothchild, that "His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object..."   Zionists have long viewed this document as a "promissory note"...

Priti Patel, ancient Rome and moral leadership

by Daniel Hough Added 11.11.2017
Priti Patel’s ignominious departure from the UK cabinet after it emerged that she had held undeclared meetings with Israeli officials during a personal holiday exposes many flaws in her conduct. The commentariat tells us she showed a lack of judgement, a lack of awareness of due process and a willingness to conduct what, in effect, was her own foreign policy. One word that hasn’t come up so frequently is “corruption”. That’s in many ways...

How Martin Luther gave us the roots of the Protestant work ethic

by Iona C Hine Added 03.11.2017
The posting of 95 theses is not the only act for which Martin Luther is famed. In 1522, he began the work that would last a lifetime: translating the Bible. This was not a neutral act. If we can trace society’s influence on tales of his theses’ posting, we can also see similar factors at work as Luther deliberated over what a German Bible should say.  William de Brailes, circa 1250AD Iona C Hine, University of Sheffield Luther’s was not the...

Martin Luther's spiritual practice was key to the success of the Reformation

by Marion Goldman and Steve Pfaff Added 31.10.2017
On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Germany’s Wittenberg Castle Church and inadvertently ushered in what came to be known as the Reformation. In his theses, Luther explicitly attacked the Catholic Church’s lucrative practice of selling papal indulgences that promised individuals they could purchase absolution from their sins and hasten their way into heaven. Luther’s 95 Theses. Ferdinand Pauwels, via Wikimedia...

The man who gave us the Reformation – and it wasn't Martin Luther

by Angus Cameron Added 27.10.2017
When Martin Luther published his 95 theses 500 years ago this month, so the story goes, his general target was the corruption of the church. But he also had a very particular organisation in his sights. By October 1517, the extraordinary reach and power of the Fugger banking family was threatening not only the integrity of religion, but the very foundations of European society. If Luther’s words provided the spark for the Reformation, it was...

Child Poverty In America Is Indefensible

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 26.10.2017
The Trump administration’s proposals on the annual budget, the efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and restructuring of the tax system all point to a sad and even tragic conclusion. The poor will be poorer, dilapidated towns will continue to crumble, and crime will rise; but worst of all, our underprivileged children will be weaker, suffering from a lack of medical care and malnutrition with little or no...

Xi Jinping sets out plans to make China great again

by Jinghan Zeng Added 23.10.2017
Extract: "As far as the Chinese authorities are concerned, Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency in the US and the chaos of Brexit in the UK are glaring examples of democratic failure,..." In 1793, in his letter to Britain’s King George III, China’s Qianlong emperor rejected all the British requests to improve the state of trade between England and China. After all, the Middle Kingdom “possesses all things in prolific abundance … there is no...

George W. Bush & GOP lack standing to bash Trump for Racism

by Juan Cole Added 21.10.2017
George W. Bush gave a speech on Thursday widely interpreted as an attack on Trump in which he deplored the rise of white nationalism and bigotry in the past year. “Bigotry,” he lamented, “seems emboldened.” George W. Bush may or may not personally be a nice guy. People used to say he was the sort of person you’d enjoy going for a beer with, and he has had close African-American and Arab friends. On the other hand, he authorized the CIA to...

Is There an Alternative to Capitalism?

by Sam Ben-Meir Added 18.10.2017
It never ceases to surprise me how merely the suggestion that our current global capitalistic system is not the best humanity can do for itself, is so often met with virulent hostility. One would think that when we are still recovering from the economic crisis of 2007-2008 (and many economists see an even worse crisis on the horizon), when inequality has been steadily rising since the neoliberal turn of the early 1980s, when real wages have...

Why we need new regulations to protect us from Facebook and Equifax

by Vivek Wadhwa Added 15.10.2017
The theft of an estimated 143 million Americans’ personal details in a data breach of consumer-credit reporting agency Equifax and the Russian hack of the U.S. elections through Facebook had one thing in common: they were facilitated by the absence of legal protection for personal data. Though the U.S. Constitution provides Americans with privacy rights and freedoms, it doesn’t protect them from modern-day scavengers who obtain...

The new atheists are not atheist enough

by Bence Nanay Added 04.10.2017
The new atheists are a diverse bunch. Philosophers, scientists, “public intellectuals” such as Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris cornered much of the non-fiction trade publishing market in the early 2000s writing about the intellectual and moral virtues of being atheist. Ironically, many of them are revered in some circles like prophets – media-savvy prophets with a couple of million Twitter followers. Yet, new atheism is a...

Roy Lichtenstein had only one great idea in his Pop Art – but made the most of it

by Catherine Spencer Added 29.09.2017
Ohhh… Alright… (1964). In one of Roy Lichtenstein’s first paintings to use graphics taken directly from comic books, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are on a wooden jetty. Donald Duck raises his fishing rod and, feeling a tug, shouts out: “Look Mickey, I’ve hooked a big one!!” Donald doesn’t realise that the fishhook – much to Mickey’s amusement – is caught on his own tail. The image, entitled Look Mickey (1961), is bright, eye-catching and...

Argentine Art’s Greatest Generation

by David Galenson Added 27.09.2017
“El mejor del mundo.” So declares a waiter at one of my favorite parilladas in Buenos Aires every time he serves a perfectly grilled steak. The excellence of Argentine beef, and of the Malbecs that accompany it, is very widely recognized. What is not as widely recognized, however, is the greatness of the generation of Argentine artists who first came to prominence in the 1950s and ‘60s. Two leaders of this group, Nicolas Garcia Uriburu and...

Austerity's enduring appeal has ancient roots in asceticism

by Sarah Macmillan Added 22.09.2017
British Library The recent easing of the public sector pay cap suggests that the government is beginning to respond to widespread concerns about the social and economic costs of austerity. Yet despite this turn, the proposed rises remain below real-terms inflation. Plus, the need for continued austerity is justified in terms of being “fair” to those who must pay for wage increases as well to as those who will receive them. Despite increasing...

For better gut bacteria, eat more oily fish

by Ana Valdes Added 19.09.2017
Having lots of different types of bacteria in your gut has many health benefits, including a lower risk of diabetes, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. So finding ways to increase the number and diversity of good bacteria in your gut is important. Up until now, the focus has mainly been on increasing fibre intake, as gut bacteria are known to thrive in people who have high-fibre diets. But we have found another way to boost your gut...

Taking Supper with Trump – The Need for a Very Long Spoon

by David Coates Added 16.09.2017
The Democratic Party leadership in both the House and the Senate spent last week congratulating themselves on the deal they supposedly struck with the President on legislation to protect dreamers, [i] and presumably took some pleasure too from the adverse impact of that supposed deal on Trump’s relationship with Congressional Republicans and his base. They should not do so. They should spend their time worrying instead about the adverse...

GPs need to tell people they can get rid of type 2 diabetes through weight loss – nutrition expert

by Mike Lean Added 15.09.2017
Every working day, GPs in the UK diagnose almost 1,000 people with type 2 diabetes. It is one of the commonest and most expensive diseases. What most people don’t know is that with a bit of hard work, it is possible to become non-diabetic again. Formerly limited to older people, type 2 diabetes is now common in younger, fatter, people in their 40s and 50s, and even younger ones who are severely obese. Some people are spared, but the epidemic...
All essays