Democracy

America’s illegitimate president

Washington: Donald Trump probably would not have become president without his victory in seven of the 11 primaries held on Super Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Max Boot Brisbane Times Washington Post Now his presidency is in danger of being undone by Terrible Tuesday – August 21, 2018. This was the day when his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was convicted of eight felony counts in a Virginia courtroom and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to eight felony counts in ... Read More »

The Liberal Party is teetering on the brink of extinction

Mathias Cormann attempted to deliver the death blow. Without relish he wielded his blade, a distraught, reluctant Brutus to the Cassius from Queensland. Catherine McGregor The Sydney Morning Herald But in its current state the Liberal Party cannot even organise an assassination, let alone run the country. Although it is tempting to focus on the personalities, the betrayals and the poisonous personal feuds, there is much more at stake amid the current chaos within the federal Coalition. The government of ... Read More »

Nicaragua crisis: how democracy dies in the era of fake news

For decades, Central America was mostly sidelined as far as global news was concerned. Doug Specht The Conversation That all looked set to change with the advent of digital media, which initially promised to put previously marginalised voices on the world stage. But instead, the age of social media and fake news might have ushered in something much worse than obscurity: an entanglement of news and rumour that’s dividing populations, spilling blood on the streets, and transforming the relationship between ... Read More »

How China Controls Its Citizens

China is zombifying ostensibly regulatory-type international institutions in an effort to spread its pro-Party message. E. John Gregory The National Interest In the first two parts of this series, I explained the genesis and logic behind China’s discursive-construction of a truth-ambivalent China-wide safe space where the Communist Party would be unassailable and understood as indispensable to the nation. I also explained how the Party created a zombified version of what the West calls “civil society” in order to make the ... Read More »

The Most Damaging Thing That’s Happened to Trump

It wasn’t what Michael Cohen alleged in court, or the conviction of his campaign chair. Benjamin Wittes The Atlantic It is the morning after a devastating defeat. Smoke is still rising from the field. The rubble has not yet been cleared. And the commanders are having trouble facing just how hopeless their position has become. They no longer know on how many fronts they are fighting, how many separate enemies they face, or to what extent those enemies are cooperating—one ... Read More »

After Elections, Zimbabwe Government’s Legitimacy in Limbo

Zimbabwe’s disputed elections have reinforced political divisions as the Constitutional Court hears an opposition challenge of the results. Piers Pigou The military crackdown on opposition protesters highlights the urgency of reform if the government is to preserve stability and, by extension, its re-engagement strategy with international donors. ICG The Zimbabwean government posited that the first elections after the November 2017 ouster of Robert Mugabe would enhance the state’s credibility and strengthen the country’s prospects for economic recovery. Voters responded in ... Read More »

After Elections, Zimbabwe Government’s Legitimacy in Limbo

Zimbabwe’s disputed elections have reinforced political divisions as the Constitutional Court hears an opposition challenge of the results Piers Pigou The military crackdown on opposition protesters highlights the urgency of reform if the government is to preserve stability and, by extension, its re-engagement strategy with international donors. ICG The Zimbabwean government posited that the first elections after the November 2017 ouster of Robert Mugabe would enhance the state’s credibility and strengthen the country’s prospects for economic recovery. Voters responded in ... Read More »

What Michael Cohen’s Guilty Plea Means for Trump

The president’s former fixer on Tuesday said he broke campaign laws at Trump’s behest, paying off two women who alleged extramarital affairs. David A. Graham The Atlantic In a sudden development Tuesday, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime attorney and fixer, pleaded guilty to bank fraud and tax fraud and said he broke campaign-finance laws at the president’s behest, with the… The plea on eight felony counts, entered Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Manhattan, is the culmination of an investigation ... Read More »

Shaping a New Peace in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas

Pakistan is moving to bring its Federally Administered Tribal Areas into the constitutional order. But rights remain severely restricted in the borderlands, threatening deeper popular alienation. ICG To stop militants from stepping in, the government should lift its draconian interim regulations and deliver needed services. What’s new? Pakistan has merged the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Afghan border into an adjacent province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a big step toward bringing constitutional governance and restoring peace to these lands. But ... Read More »

PM Malcolm Turnbull should resign and hand over leadership to Peter Dutton, Mathias Cormann says

Malcolm Turnbull has been told he has lost the support of the Liberal party room and should step down as Prime Minister. By political reporter Louise Yaxley ABC The crisis has deepened ever further with the Government adjourning the House of Representatives. “Shame, Shame” was shouted from the Labor side as the vote result was announced and the lower house rose five hours early. The Government’s one-seat majority was again tested with crossbenchers Rebekha Sharkie and Cathy McGowan refusing to ... Read More »

Denmark as a Model for American Socialists?

Here are some facts to consider before American “democratic socialists” look to Denmark for guidance, as Senator Bernie Sanders did during the 2016 presidential campaign. Lars Hedegaard Gatestone Institute First of all, Danes actually pay for their brand of socialism through heavy taxation. In Denmark, everyone pays at least the 25% value-added tax (VAT) on all purchases. Income tax rates are high. If you receive public support and are of working age and healthy enough to work, the state will ... Read More »

No Parades for a President “Drunk on Power”

“Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation,” retired Navy Admiral William H. McRaven, former head of the… Lyn Yaeger Vogue McRaven was responding to President Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan seemingly to punish Brennan for his frank and fearless comments, which… McRaven continued, “If you think for a moment that your ... Read More »

‘We are real’: Saudi feminists launch online radio

Operating out of a small room in an unknown country, a new internet radio station broadcasts a programme aimed at campaigning for greater women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Alma Hassoun BBC With melancholy music playing in the background, the presenter of Nsawya FM (Feminism FM) addresses the issue of domestic violence in the Gulf kingdom. The presenter’s voice shakes with emotion as she discusses the fate of Sara, a woman she says was killed by a male relative. She was ... Read More »

If anyone should want to ban Muslims it would be me – but I don’t

Why is a Queensland senator with a 19 first-preference vote so obsessed with banning Muslim immigration? Alpha Cheng Brisbane Times If anyone should be spiteful at Muslims, many would say that it would be me. A 15-year-old Muslim shot my dad in cold blood outside the NSW Police Headquarters in Parramatta. If anyone should be marching upon Parliament House to demand an end to Muslim immigration, it would be me because a 20-year-old Muslim was sentenced to 44 years for planning the attack. ... Read More »

Brexit: Ford warns UK it will take ‘whatever action is needed’ after profits hit

The car company blamed withdrawal from the EU for a £760m drop in profitability in 2017 Joe Watts Independent Car manufacturer Ford has issued a Brexit warning to British politicians that it will take “whatever action is needed” to protect its business. The ominous words came after the American car giant blamed uncertainty over Brexit for a colossal £760m drop in its European earnings in 2017. The firm pointed the finger at plummeting confidence in the UK since the Brexit referendum and raised fears of ... Read More »

Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, dead at age 80

(CNN) – Kofi Annan, the first black African to lead the United Nations, has died at age 80. By Laura Smith-Spark, Richard Roth and Joe Sterling, CNN He served as Secretary-General at a time when worries about the Cold War were replaced by threats of global terrorism, and his efforts to combat those threats and secure a more peaceful world brought him the… Annan, who was born in Ghana in 1938, served as the seventh UN Secretary-General, from 1997 to 2006, ... Read More »