Democracy

New data access bill shows we need to get serious about privacy with independent oversight of the law

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The federal government today announced its proposed legislation to give law enforcement agencies yet more avenues to reach into our private lives through access to our personal communications and data. Greg Austin The Conversation This never-ending story of parliamentary bills defies logic, and is not offering the necessary oversight and protections. The trend has been led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, with help from an ever-growing number of security ministers and senior officials. Could it be that the proliferation of ... Read More »

More than 100 seats that backed Brexit now want to remain in EU

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Major new analysis shows most constituencies now have majority who want to Remain Michael Savage The Guardian More than 100 Westminster constituencies that voted to leave the EU have now switched their support to Remain, according to a stark new analysis seen by the Observer. In findings that could have a significant impact on the parliamentary battle of Brexit later this year, the study concludes that most seats in Britain now contain a majority of voters who want to stay in the EU. ... Read More »

Argentina retains strict abortion laws by rejecting elective procedures

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Argentina’s decision to retain its stringent abortion laws has left Latin America and the Caribbean with some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. ABC Argentine senators this week narrowly rejected a bill to legalise abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, overcoming support for a surging abortion rights movement in the homeland of Pope Francis. The Senate’s 38-31 vote against the proposed legislation could echo across Latin America, where anti-abortion forces remains strong even if the ... Read More »

Are Turkey’s Christians as ‘fine’ as they say?

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As tensions simmered between Ankara and Washington over detained American pastor Andrew Brunson, the leaders of Turkey’s non-Muslim minorities issued a joint statement July 31 to deny that they faced any oppression in the country. Fehim Tastekin Al-Monitor The timing of the move was rather remarkable, and for Garo Paylan, an ethnic Armenian lawmaker for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the issuance of such a declaration was “in itself a proof that we are not free.” The 18 Christian and Jewish community leaders ... Read More »

Profit, not free speech, governs media companies’ decisions on controversy

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For decades, U.S. media companies have limited the content they’ve offered based on what’s good for business. The decisions by Apple, Spotify, Facebook and YouTube to remove content from commentator Alex Jones and his InfoWars platform follow this same pattern. Amanda Lotz The Conversation My research on media industries makes clear that government rules and regulations do little to limit what television shows, films, music albums, video games and social media content are available to the public. Business concerns about ... Read More »

Australian media are playing a dangerous game using racism as currency

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It has been quite a week for race-laden discourse in the Australian media. There was Blair Cottrell, a notorious pro-Hitler extremist, appearing on Sky News and calling for a race-based immigration policy. Denis Muller The Conversation There was Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun sounding the tocsin about how “there is no ‘us’ anymore”, how Australia was being overwhelmed by a “tidal wave of immigration” and ethnic “colonies”: Jews, Indians, Chinese, Muslims, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Italians. A speech in London last ... Read More »

‘Living in a fantasy’: A close US ally is investigating everyone named John and trying to arrest US military leaders

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The Turkish government claims to have new evidence that the US was involved in the 2016 failed coup attempt, according to a Tuesday report from Ahval, an allegation the US State Department… Daniel Brown Business Insider Turkish investigators claim to have discovered an internal Word document entitled “coup directive,” which was authored by someone named John, and last updated about a week before the… As such, Ankara is investigating everyone named John who was in the country at the time ... Read More »

Rick Gates Delivers a Public Lesson on Money Laundering and Political Corruption

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Tuesday was Rick Gates’s second day testifying as a witness for the prosecution in the trial of Paul Manafort, his former boss, and he spent a lot of time explaining how money flowed from Ukraine, where he and Manafort had a run of lucrative years doing consulting work for pro-Russian interests, to shell companies in Cyprus, to other shell companies in the Caribbean, and… John Cassidy The New Yorker In the afternoon, Gates was subjected to a withering cross-examination by ... Read More »

Europe’s political problems are bigger than Orbán

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrives to take part in an European Union leaders' summit focused on migration, Brexit and eurozone reforms on June 28, 2018 at the Europa building in Brussels. - The two-day meeting in Brussels is expected to be dominated by deep divisions over migration, with German Chancellor saying the issue could decide the fate of the bloc itself. (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Letter To The Editor Populist politicians like Viktor Orbán are symptoms of a larger problem. Sophie In ‘t Veld * Politico In a recent article for POLITICO, “This time, Viktor Orbán has gone too far” (August 3), my colleague in the European People’s Party, Swedish MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, made an urgent plea for the Hungarian prime minister’s Fidesz party to be expelled from her political group. I wholeheartedly agree with her. In recent years, the EPP leadership has ... Read More »

What Democrats Need to Know About Moderate Republicans

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There aren’t enough of them to provide the margin of victory this November. Steve Phillips The Nation If Democrats mainly rely on wooing moderate Republicans this fall, they will likely lose the opportunity to take back control of the House of Representatives. There simply aren’t enough Republican swing voters out there for Democratic candidates to amass the number of votes necessary to prevail in November’s midterm elections. And if Democratic institutions and organizations insist on prioritizing such a path, they ... Read More »

Slow down, get real.

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In trying to understand the threat of fake news, a strange thing is occurring. We seem to have accepted without challenge the purity of that which is threatened. This is an edited version of a speech delivered at the annual conference of the Society of Risk Analysis Europe held at Mid Sweden University earlier this month. Nicholas Karides * How well did the media system work before this fakeness appeared? How real has real news been? The historian Noah Yoval ... Read More »

Cuba opens discussion of constitution overhaul to citizens abroad

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HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba announced on Friday that its citizens living abroad could participate in a public debate over planned changes to its 1976 constitution, a first for the communist-run country that for many years has excluded… Reuters Staff A draft proposal of changes to the constitution was passed last month by the National Assembly and will be debated by the public in 35,000 workplaces and community meetings in Cuba into November, before a final version is submitted to a… ... Read More »

‘Medicare for all’ is a pipe dream

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A new study released by Charles Blahous at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University has received a lot of attention this week. Dr. Marc Siegel The Hill It concludes that the “Medicare for all” proposal endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others would “increase federal budget commitments by approximately $32.6 trillion during its first 10 years of full implementation.” The study goes on to point out that “doubling all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to ... Read More »

‘He’s way too conservative’: Freedom Caucus members on the hot seat

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Reps. Dave Brat and Scott Perry rode the anti-Obama backlash into Congress. Now they’re facing a very different kind of backlash. Rachael Bade Politico SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. — Democrat Abigail Spanberger stood on a wooden bench at a vineyard in central Virginia and railed against “the prioritization of ideology over informed decision-making” — a pointed jab at her opponent, House Freedom Caucus member Dave Brat. Spanberger, a 38-year-old former CIA operative, has barnstormed this traditionally Republican stronghold accusing Brat of putting ... Read More »

Why the mainstream media should stop giving extreme views a platform

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In recent weeks, a number of quite astounding articles have appeared in the British press. These have included among others, a Times columnopining the benefit to Britain in the current climate of having a political leader like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin or Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; referred to as… Chris Allen The Conversation In the Daily Telegraph, a similarly toned piece contemplated the reinstatement of the death penalty after Brexit. Somewhat appealing to the lowest common denominator, these and similar articles prompt questions ... Read More »

Restoring Public Confidence in Tunisia’s Political System

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Whether Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed will remain in his post or resign has been at the heart of a political crisis for several weeks. Should major political parties and trade unions fail to find a compromise, putting in place a technocratic government could help shore… ICG What’s new? Tunisia is going through a governmental crisis sparked chiefly by a dispute between political forces about whether the prime minister, Youssef Chahed, should resign and by a struggle for control of ... Read More »