Leadership

Australia’s obsession with opinion polls is eroding political leadership

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In its early days, political opinion polling’s leading advocate, George Gallup, sold it as an essential tool for democracy. Ian Cook The Conversation He believed polling made for better representation because it allowed politicians to take the people’s “pulse”. But opinion polling didn’t so much enhance democracy as remake it. Thanks to Gallup, polls have become so ubiquitous in modern-day politics that we’re now convinced they can accurately predict elections. (Even though Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the 2016 US ... Read More »

Melania Trump begins tour of Africa in Ghana amid questions and criticism

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Melania Trump began her week-long sojourn to Africa in Accra, Ghana. Landing Tuesday morning, the first lady was greeted on the tarmac by Ghanaian first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo and a… By Emily Heil and Mary Jordan The Washington Post Later, she stopped by Greater Accra Regional Hospital where she visited with new mothers and held a baby before passing out miniature teddy bears and blankets emblazoned with the logo for Be Best, her child-welfare initiative. From Ghana, Trump will travel to ... Read More »

Welcome to Europe’s ‘club’ for populists

20160226 - BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Parti Populaire chairman Mischael Modrikamen during an interview in Brussels, friday 26 February 2016

A Belgian lawyer and Donald Trump’s former chief strategist want to unite the far right. By Maïa de La Baume and Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli Politico Populists of Europe, unite — in suburban Brussels! That’s what an unlikely pair — a Belgian lawyer and Donald Trump’s former chief strategist — hope will happen with The Movement, the first ever “club” for Euroskeptics and populists. “We are building a club that will bring people together, whose members we will help … like ... Read More »

Russia: new research shows even authoritarian regimes struggle to pass laws

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When we think of parliaments in non-democratic states, we often think of a room full of raised hands. This compelling image of unanimity conveys a simple idea: that these assemblies are stuffed with loyal servants of the ruling elite. Ben Noble The Conversation Rather than scrutinise, challenge, amend, and block initiatives from the government, they provide guaranteed support. Rather than act as a check on executive power, they provide symbolic, merely ceremonial approval. Or that’s how the conventional wisdom goes. ... Read More »

Can Europe save itself?

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LONDON — One of the key arguments of the populists who have continued to attack the European Union’s legitimacy is that they represent the will of the people and embody freedom and democracy in a… Michael Cottakis The Washington Post While this is disingenuous, it contains a grain of truth. The E.U., after all, is not a democratic system. And while it has sought to reform for some time, those efforts tend to miss the point. One of the best ... Read More »

Eighty years on: The shame and tragedy of Munich

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Dr Marcus Papadopoulos looks back 80 years to Britain and France’s connivance in the carve-up of Czechoslovakia Morning Star YESTERDAY marked the 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement, one of the most shameful and tragic chapters in the history of the foreign policies of Britain and France and one that constituted a… This is not to castigate the governments of Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier for wanting to avoid another world… The traumas of the Great War were ingrained in ... Read More »

Bob Inglis, a Republican believer in climate change, is out to convert his party

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Inglis is doubling down on the beliefs that cost him his seat in Congress: Climate change is real, and Republicans must act. James Rainey nbc news CHARLESTON, S.C. — Eight years ago, Bob Inglis ran for a seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives and didn’t even make it out of the Republican primary. He lost by nearly 3 to 1. His estrangement from South Carolina voters ran deep, friends-gone-missing and allies-turned-enemies deep. The chief reason Inglis was rejected ... Read More »

The destructive American fad Australia needs to avoid

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Politics since World War II has been dominated by the ideological struggle along Marxist economic lines. The working class versus the capitalist class. In the Australian labelling, Labor against Liberal. Peter Hartcher The Sydney Morning Herald That framework is in the process of being overlaid, and even overwhelmed. Politics increasingly is becoming a clash of identities. The US is leading the way, with Europe close behind. Because there’s no American fad too stupid for Australia to ape, we’d better pay ... Read More »

Iraqi Kurdistan’s Regional Elections Test a Brittle Status Quo

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The fallout continues to settle after Iraqi Kurdistan’s fraught independence referendum one year ago. Maria Fantappie ICG In this Q&A, our Iraq Senior Adviser Maria Fantappie surveys the political landscape ahead of the first regional legislative elections since the plebiscite. What’s at stake in the 30 September elections? Voters in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq will choose the 111 members of the Kurdistan National Assembly, in the fourth election since the body was founded in 1992 and the… At stake, ... Read More »

Costa Rica Launches Initiative on Environment and Human Rights

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“For All Initiative” Promotes Gender Equality in Global Environmental Treaties Marcos Orellana HRW Today, Costa Rica will launch an initiative aiming to make gender equality and human rights integral components of global environmental agreements. Costa Rica’s Vice President Epsy Campbell Barr will launch the For All Initiative at the United Nations General Assembly’s high-level segment. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, and the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, are expected to join the launch in New… ... Read More »

On the Supreme Court, difficult nominations have led to historical injustices

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Far from being unusual, the hurried and partisan Supreme Court confirmation process for Brett Kavanaugh mirrors several notable examples of similarly politicized confirmations in U.S. history. Calvin Schermerhorn The Conversation Those conflicts, which ultimately placed justices on the court, yielded some of the most damaging civil rights decisions in our nation’s history. Unlike any other branch of government, Supreme Court justices do not have to face voters at the polls. They have no term limits. Yet the high court is ... Read More »

The German Government’s Shameful Kowtow Before Erdogan

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In welcoming Turkey’s presidential dictator for a state visit, the EU’s largest member nation is exploring the limits of self-humiliation. A working visit would be quite enough. Benedict Neff The Globalist On September 28th and 29th, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be honored by the German government with a state visit to Berlin. To give such an honor to a man who is relentlessly snuffing out the remaining elements of freedom in his own country is a big mistake. ... Read More »

Canada MPs vote to strip Aung San Suu Kyi of honorary citizenship

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Canadian MPs have voted unanimously to revoke the honorary citizenship of Myanmar’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. BBC Passing the motion was a response to her failure to stop the persecution of the Rohingya minority in her country. Ms Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her efforts to bring democracy to Myanmar – also known as Burma – which was then under military rule. A UN report last month said Myanmar military leaders must be investigated ... Read More »

How Alliances Made Athens Great

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The ancient Athenians manipulated their allies, spreading democracy and providing protection, always with their own interests first. Trump could learn something. Nikos Konstandaras The New York Times ATHENS — In his declared intention to “Make America Great Again,” President Trump appears set on destroying the foundations of American greatness. The multinational organizations and agreements that established peace and stability, and encouraged economic growth for some seven decades, were designed principally by Americans. They organized the world pretty much the way that ... Read More »

‘MeToo must become WeToo’: Jacinda Ardern’s speech to UN rebuts Trump

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New Zealand prime minister called for collective action and multilateralism in address that was applauded at the UN in New York Eleanor Ainge Roy The Guardian The prime minister of New Zealand has been met with thunderous applause at the UN for her speech espousing global cooperation and kindness from world leaders, in stark contrast to Donald Trump’s portentous rejection of globalism earlier in the week. Jacinda Ardern’s national statement was viewed by many commentators as a direct rebuttal to the US ... Read More »

Assange steps down as editor of Wikileaks

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Julian Assange has stepped down as editor of WikiLeaks as he continues to be denied access to the internet and other forms of communications. Alan Jones, Associated Press Herald Sun Assange, who has been living inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over six years, will continue as publisher. The Ecuador Government decided over six months ago to cut off his communications and limit visits to members of his legal team. He will be replaced as editor by Kristinn Hrafnsson, ... Read More »