Democracy

Registered independents may soon outnumber Republicans on California’s voter rolls

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As the June 5 primary election approaches, Democrats still dominate California’s voting rolls and the percentage of independent voters continues to rise, according to new figures provided by the secretary of state’s office. Phil Willon LA Times Just shy of a quarter of the state’s voters now forgo any party label, registering as “no party preference,” a slight increase from last year. If the trend continues, as expected, California’s pool of independent voters could soon surpass the number of Republicans in ... Read More »

Turkey sentences journalists to life in jail over coup attempt

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Sentencing over alleged role in failed putsch condemned as showing disregard for rule of law A Turkish court has sentenced six defendants, including three prominent journalists, to life in prison over allegations of involvement in a 2016 coup attempt, drawing fierce condemnation from the UN and press freedom advocates. Kareem Shaheen in Istanbul The Guardian The convictions followed a months-long trial during which the prosecution alleged that the journalists sent “subliminal messages” via TV appearances and newspaper columns urging the overthrow ... Read More »

In long-secular Turkey, sharia is gradually taking over

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Over the past few weeks, Turkish officials have broken with decades of precedent in what is still, at least nominally, a secular republic: they have begun describing the country’s military deployment in Syria as “jihad.” By Soner Cagaptay The Washington Post During the first two days of the operation, which began on Jan. 20, the government’s Directorate of Religious Affairs ordered all of Turkey’s nearly 90,000 mosques to broadcast the “Al-Fath” verse from the Koran — “the prayer of conquest” — ... Read More »

Be realistic – demand the impossible: the legacy of 1968

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The events of May 1968 in Paris and then France more generally still resonate as a graphic illustration of the potential for relatively peaceful and wealthy societies to explode in spontaneous anger. Simon Tormey The Conversation May 1968 was not an uprising against tyranny or manifest injustice of a kind that animated the civil rights movement. Starting out as a set of demonstrations against university reform, the French uprisings quickly gathered momentum in a manner that almost defies explanation. Part ... Read More »

Alex Salmond blasts ‘shameful’ repeal of Offensive Behaviour at Football Act

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Alex Salmond has slammed political opponents who voted to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act The controversial act, which was piloted by Salmond in 2011 was scrapped at Holyrood in January through a Member’s Bill. Angus Howarth The Scotsman However Salmond blasted those that voted to repeal accusing them of political point-scoring over principles. MSPs voted 65-61 to repeal the Act in January in a move that Salmond dubbed ‘shameful’. He said: “It is totally shameful. It is perfectly ... Read More »

Capitalism isn’t an ideology — it’s an operating system

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Bhu Srinivasan researches the intersection of capitalism and technological progress. Today’s TED Talk Instead of thinking about capitalism as a firm, unchanging ideology, he suggests that we should think of it as an operating system — one that needs upgrades to keep up with innovation, like the impending take-off of drone delivery services. Learn more about the past and future of the free market (and a potential coming identity crisis for the United States’ version of capitalism) with this quick, ... Read More »

Churches unite to propose Religious Freedom Act

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Major submission to Ruddock panel calls for a new legal “right” John Sandeman Eternity A wide range of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian churches have spoken with one voice to the Ruddock panel on religious freedom, whose call for submissions closed today. They have received 13,500 submissions: “I think it is safe to say that people are concerned about religious freedom,” says Michael Kellahan, executive director of Freedom for Faith (FFF), a Christian legal think tank. The federal government has set ... Read More »

Dutch FM resigns triggering vote of no-confidence

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Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra resigned on Feb. 13 after admitting lying, triggering a political bombshell and a vote of no-confidence in the country’s prime minister THE HAGUE – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Prime Minister Mark Rutte overwhelmingly survived the vote brought by his arch-foe far-right politician Geert Wilders, with 101 MPs against and only 43 in favor. But the scandal has erupted in just a few days in the Netherlands, and threatens to undermine Rutte’s fledgling and fragile four-party coalition. ... Read More »

The Double Threat to Liberal Democracy

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Illiberal democracy – or populism – is not the only political menace confronting Western countries. Liberal democracy is also being undermined by a tendency to emphasize “liberal” at the expense of “democracy.” Dani Rodrik Project Syndicate CAMBRIDGE – The crisis of liberal democracy is roundly decried today. Donald Trump’s presidency, the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, and the electoral rise of other populists in Europe have underscored the threat posed by “illiberal democracy” – a kind of authoritarian politics ... Read More »

Who is Asma Jahangir ?

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Known for maintaining a resolute stance in the face of extreme pressure and opposition, Jahangir will be remembered as a champion for the disenfranchised The Indian Express Eminent lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir passed away in Lahore after she suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday, according to Pakistan media. She was 66. “Asma suffered heart attack today morning and she was rushed to Hameed Latif Hospital Lahore where she breathed her last. Doctors tried to save her life ... Read More »

Non-Violence Uses Love as Force

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“Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored…there is a type of of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth.…So the purpose of the direct action is to create a… Richard Moser CounterPunch The Civil Rights movements’ primary strategic approach was non-violent mass civil ... Read More »

If democracy is failing, why do so many lay claim to it?

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A higher ideal, despite failures along the way Patricia Roberts-Miller, University of Texas-Austin The Conversation Democracy is always being pronounced dead by those who are trying to kill it. Perhaps because it has tended toward ambitious claims of its origins and possibilities, democracy is held to higher and often different standards from other models of governance. Democracy certainly has its instances of disastrous decisions – from supporting the Sicilian Expedition to our current problem of citizens wanting lower taxes and ... Read More »

You are no longer the product

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Dutch news site De Correspondent represents a radical challenge to traditional journalistic practice. Now, it’s about to launch in the United States Tom Greenwell Inside Story But I’m stubborn as those garbage bags that Time cannot decay, I’m junk but I’m still holding up this little wild bouquet: Democracy is coming to the USA. — Leonard Cohen Almost a decade ago, Princeton’s professor of communications and public affairs Paul Starr wrote an essay in the New Republic entitled “Goodbye to ... Read More »

Attacks on the judiciary by politicians weaken our democracy

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The separation of powers sounds like the stuffy, abstract domain of lawyers and academics. But it needn’t be and it shouldn’t be. Morry Bailes * Brisbane Times Because, the actual freedom of each and every one of us – in a very real and practical way – relies on the complete independence of the executive, the Parliament, and the judiciary. At its most basic level, the separation of powers simply means that if one of the powerful arms of our ... Read More »

Shuffling Seats: The Politicians Who Put ‘Person Over Party’… And Democracy

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Winning a seat in the Senate for a political party, then dumping that political party and either going it solo or joining another party, undermines our parliamentary system, writes Ross Hamilton. New Matilda It used to be said that it was harder to get out of the Australian cricket team than it was to get in there. While that may no longer be the case for our cricketers, it is clearly is with our politicians. Once an individual gets their ... Read More »

Brexit attacks on civil service ‘are worthy of 1930s Germany’

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Ex-cabinet secretary attacks tactics of leading Brexiters who have accused Whitehall of sabotaging UK’s exit from EU Michael Savage The Guardian Leading Brexiters who accuse civil servants of sabotaging Britain’s exit from the EU are adopting dangerous tactics similar to those of rightwing German nationalists between the two world wars, a former head of the civil service has warned. In a stark assessment of the acute tensions developing over the issue, Andrew Turnbull, who led the civil service under Tony ... Read More »