Michael Lewis: Dont bet against the US. It has an incredible capacity for self-reinvention

The author of The Big Short on Trumps war on experts and why it would take a pandemic to remind Americans of the importance of good governance The Big Short Lewis brought to life the extraordinary black comedy of those who had made fortunes betting on the global financial crash. The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy, applies his insiders eye to unsung heroes of government administration, in light of the reckless dismantling of the US civil service under Trump. Lewis defines the fifth risk to civilisation alongside more visible contenders like climate crisis and nuclear conflict as a loss of faith in the mission of effective governance, what you never learn that might have saved you. The afterword to your new …

The secret to Trumps success? Its sheer existential dread | Sheldon Solomon

Authoritarian populist leaders thrive on the fear of death, says psychology professor Sheldon Solomon In a recent experiment, American participants were asked: Please describe the emotions that the thought of your own death arouses in you and Write down as specifically as you can what you think will happen to you physically as you die and once you are dead. Moments later, those who had been asked to contemplate their mortality reported more negative attitudes towards immigrants, greater opposition to a mosque being built in their neighbourhood, and a greater likelihood of voting for Donald Trump for president. What could possibly explain these findings? In The Denial of Death (1973), cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker argued that while humans share a …

‘There are no excuses left’: why climate science deniers are running out of rope

Guardian environment correspondent Fiona Harvey recalls being heckled at the House of Commons, and explains how attitudes to climate have shifted in the last decade The shouted words rang out across the packed parliamentary corridor: Fiona Harvey is the worst journalist there is. Shes the worst journalist of them all, because she should know better. They were the words of Lord Lawson, former UK chancellor of the exchequer, turned climate denier and now the 97% of the worlds climate scientists whose work shows human responsibility for global heating, and failure to give equal weight to the tiny number of dissenters. As the science of climate chaos has become vastly clearer in the past two decades, and the warnings more stark, …

Marianne Williamson: the ‘leftwing Trump’ preaching the Politics of Love

As 20 candidates prepare for todays second Democratic presidential debate, Stefanie Marsh meets the celebrity self-help guru accused of being a dangerous wacko who just wants the United States to harness love The left-wing version of Marianne Williamson was written off as a joke until last month when, almost 30 minutes into the televised Democratic debate, as if emerging from a pupa of deep meditation, she calmly blindsided Joe Biden, Tony Robbins or Laura Dern in her 20s, Williamson had transformed herself into Hollywoods spiritual darling by her mid-30s. Shes unique among the Democratic candidates in having been both Oprah Winfreys spiritual adviser and the officiator at Elizabeth Taylors eighth and final wedding at Neverland (where Michael Jackson was best …

Inside Trump’s DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests

Fossil fuel interests, pro-gun groups, foreign delegations and all manner of allies stay at the Trump International Hotel to cozy up to the administration, say watchdogs On 25 July, the conservative Heartland Institute is slated to host a one-day meeting at the Trump International Hotel, just a few blocks from the White House. It will feature leading climate science deniers who will discuss issues like the benefits of ending the Democrats war on fossil fuels, according to the institute. Last month, as Donald Trump was kicking off his 2020 campaign and boasting again of draining the swamp of Washingtons powerful lobbyists and elites, a couple of dozen oil and gas executives with the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance were checking into …