Opinion

Kathy Sheridan: Imagine if Boris Johnson is right about the burqa?

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Dogwhistle signal sent not by hack or clown but by former foreign secretary Kathy Sheridan The Irish Times Watching Boris Johnson offer mugs of tea to door-stepping journalists outside his country home was the latest in a series of “shoot me now” modern political vignettes. This was not about something jolly like an extra-marital fling or some private fetish. His comparison of burqa-wearing women’s appearance to letterboxes and bank robbers had become the number-one story in Britain. It may surprise ... Read More »

Constitution must align with values of Markievicz, not de Valera

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De Valera excluded women from politics and relegated them to domestic sphere Sonja Tiernan The Irish Times Sinn Féin were arguably the biggest victors of the 1918 British general election. Their triumph included the election of Constance Markievicz, the first elected female MP. In line with Sinn Féin policy, elected members refused their seats in the House of Commons but instead formed the first Dáil Éireann in 1919. On her release from prison, Markievicz returned to Ireland and to her ... Read More »

Horse’s act of defiance carries message for all of us

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Perfectly healthy, prize-winning horse Chautauqua is refusing to race and pundits are perplexed. “A dapple grey horse”, the proverb goes, “will sooner die than retire”. Not so this eight-year-old gelding. Andy Marks Brisbane Times Sometimes a simple act of defiance brings home the absurdity of relatively unquestioned conventions, like — for instance — forcing animals to perform for sport. At best, Chautauqua, clearly one of the world’s most ideologically astute and politically active horses, will be put to pasture. At ... Read More »

Fresh blood: Australia is still lucky, thanks to our young migrants

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Reserve Bank governor Dr  Philip Lowe thinks Australia’s strong population growth in recent years is a wonderful thing, and he sings its praises in a speech this week. Ross Gittins WAtoday I’m not sure he’s right. Like most economists and business people, Lowe is a lot more conscious of the economic benefits of population growth than the economic costs. As for the social and environmental costs, they’re for someone else to worry about. But whatever your views, you’ll be heaps better informed ... Read More »

Erdogan: How Turkey Sees the Crisis With the U.S.

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Unilateral actions against Turkey by the United States will undermine American interests and force Turkey to look for other friends and allies. By Recep Tayyip Erdogan Mr. Erdogan is the president of Turkey. The New York Times ANKARA, Turkey — For the past six decades, Turkey and the United States have been strategic partners and NATO allies. Our two countries stood shoulder to shoulder against common challenges during the Cold War and in its aftermath. Over the years, Turkey rushed ... Read More »

Trump’s Victorious Retreats

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Why does US President Donald Trump keep making empty threats against other countries? While his detractors think he is simply a braggart, a fool, and an ignoramus, there could be a less unflattering, though equally depressing, explanation. Anatole Kaletsky Project Syndicate LONDON – Will Donald Trump back down in his trade war with China, or will he win it? The answer is probably both. Trump’s characteristic sequence of blood-curdling threats – “fire and fury,” “squeeze Iran’s exports to zero,” “tariffs ... Read More »

What philosophers have to say about eating meat

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WeWork, a co-working and office space company, recently made a company policy not to serve or reimburse meals that include meat. Joan McGregor The Conversation WeWork’s co-founder and chief culture officer, Miguel McKelvey, said in an email that it was the company’s attempt at reducing its carbon footprint. His moral arguments are based on the devastating environmental effects of meat consumption. Research has shown that meat and dairy production are among the worst culprits when it comes to the production ... 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 »

Andrew Bolt got his facts wrong. But that’s not the only thing wrong with his column

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Bolt’s column illustrates the steady and sinister drift of Australia’s national conversation towards a permissible racism Robert Manne The Guardian Last week four Murdoch tabloids – the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun, the Courier Mail and the Adelaide Advertiser – published an opinion column by Andrew Bolt. The headline the Telegraph chose, “The Foreign Invasion”, was not inaccurate. According to Bolt, Australia was losing its identity. The principal cause was “a tidal wave of immigrants” who refused to assimilate and treated Australia not ... Read More »

What makes a good friend?

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Good friendships seem worth celebrating. But for many of us, tensions can appear from time to time between being a good friend and doing “the right thing.” Alexis Elder The Conversation When faced with, for example, a situation where it’s tempting to lie to cover for a friend, it can seem as though friendship and morality are on a collision course. I am an ethicist who works on issues involving friendship, so this tension is of great interest to me. ... Read More »

Federal Trade Commission should crack down on scammers

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Last month I received a call from a friend of long standing in Las Vegas. He indicated that he was in distress; his friend had been in an automobile accident and, to his surprise, drugs were found in the backseat of his friend’s car. Herbert London The Hill The legal aide representative who contacted him said his buddy was being held in an overnight cell before a judge ruled on this matter the following day. In order to secure this ... Read More »

Wielding power, waging war: Media moguls’ relevance fading

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Back in 2011, the outspoken American-born pay TV executive John Porter lamented an obsession in the Australian business press with media moguls. John McDuling The Sydney Morning Herald “[E]veryone in the media industry seems to want to go back to the natural order of things: a Packer, a Murdoch and a Stokes pulling all the strings” Porter, chief executive of satellite pay TV company Austar at the… It has only taken seven years, but Porter’s desire to move on from ... 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 »

Race politics is back – and the far-right are loving it

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Race politics is back. Right now, it feels like there has never been a more exciting time to be a dog-whistling politician or race-baiting commentator in Australia. Tim Soutphommasane Brisbane Times Five years ago, when I began my term as Race Discrimination Commissioner, I wouldn’t have said it was likely that we would see the resurgence of far-right politics. I wouldn’t have expected that the biggest threats to racial harmony would come from within our parliaments and media. Race looms ... Read More »

Migrant kids were stripped, drugged, locked away. So much for compassion.

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WHEN ACCOUNTS of abuse emerged in June from a detention center for migrant minors in Virginia — children as young as 14 stripped naked, shackled, strapped to chairs, their heads encased in bags, left for days or longer in solitary confinement, and in some cases beaten and… Editorial Board The Washington Post This institution, the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center, near Staunton, couldn’t possibly be in America. And if it was, it had to be an extreme outlier — a place ... 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 »