North America

Sanders, Harris, Biden… can anyone beat Donald Trump to become the next US president?

No sooner had the US midterm elections for Congress concluded than jockeying began for the presidential elections in 2020. Dennis Altman The Conversation Barring either impeachment, which seems unlikely, or a health crisis, Donald Trump will seek re-election. Although the last sitting president not to be re-elected was George Bush Sr in 1992, polls suggest Trump is consistently disliked by a majority of Americans. Democrats see a remarkable opportunity to regain the White House. It’s all about the Electoral College ... Read More »

Eminent Byzantinist Dr. Speros Vryonis, Jr., Supporter of Armenian Studies, Dies

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Eminent Byzantinist and historian Dr. Speros Vryonis, Jr. passed away on March 11 peacefully in his sleep at the age of 90. Aram Arkun The Armenian Mirror-Spectator Vryonis wrote extensively on Byzantine, Balkan and Greek history. Secondarily, he contributed to the advancement of Armenology through his research in Byzantine history, his unwavering stand against shoddy scholarship and… Incongruously, or at least unexpectedly, combining a Southern twang and courtesy with ancient Greek aphorisms, Vryonis was witty and gregarious. ... Read More »

The sudden shift that should have all of us worried about the global economy

The markets’ responses to the latest US Federal Reserve Board’s interest rate and balance sheet decisions were telling. Stephen Bartholomeusz Brisbane Times The immediate reaction of the share market was to mark stocks up, before a more considered assessment sent them back down. Bond rates eased and the US dollar slid against its major trading partners’ currencies. The nature of the Fed’s announcements – a majority of the members of its Open Market Committee expect no rate increases this year and the Fed ... Read More »

Turkey: Putin’s Ally in NATO?

On September 17, 1950, more than 68 years ago, the first Turkish brigade left the port of Mersin on the Mediterranean coast, arriving, 26 days later, at Busan in Korea. Burak Bekdil Gatestone Institute Turkey was the first country, after the United States, to answer the United Nations’ call for military aid to South Korea after the North attacked that year. Turkey sent four brigades (a total of 21,212 soldiers) to a country that is 7,785 km away. By the ... Read More »

Bolton slams Turkey over refusal to abandon S-400 deal with Russia

Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton has blasted the S-400 deal as one of several major stumbling blocks in US-Turkish relations. AMNnews “We’re concerned about their purchase of the Russian air defence system called the S-400 – that’s a big problem,” Bolton said, speaking to AM 970 radio host John Catsimatidis on Sunday morning. Asked directly by Catsimatidis whether Turkey was a “friend or foe” to the United States, the top Trump foreign policy adviser cited a host of other problems affecting relations. “Well you know they’re still a NATO ally; ... Read More »

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk who introduced mindfulness to the West, prepares to die

Thich Nhat Hanh, the monk who popularized mindfulness in the West, has returned home to Vietnam to enjoy the rest of his life. Brooke Schedneck The Conversation Devotees from many parts of the world are visiting the ailing 92-year-old, who has retired to a Buddhist temple outside Hue. This thoughtful and accepting approach to his own failing health seems fitting for the popular Buddhist teacher, whose followers include a thousand Buddhist communities around the world and millions more who have ... Read More »

Housing Affordability Poll Finds Canadians Have Little Faith Government Can Solve The Problem

Only one in 10 respondents want to see 30-year mortgages. Daniel Tencer HuffPost The real estate industry is waiting with bated breath to see whether the federal budget landing Tuesday will offer any good news for first-time homebuyers struggling with historically bad housing affordability in Canada. It seems a good bet the pre-election budget will include something to address Canadians’ growing concerns about housing costs — but few actually believe it will make much difference. A new poll carried out for real ... Read More »

Wanted: Patient Diplomacy in Yemen

Sanaa has become the centerpiece of a struggle among regional power centers, and the battle for control over it will not end soon. Gordon Gray The National Interest Recent Congressional  debates about the Yemen war  have put a high priority on imposing costs on the Saudi-led military coalition by restricting arms sales and military cooperation. Moreover, this past week’s vote in the U.S. Senate  is just the latest in a series of Congressional actions sending a message of disapproval about the Trump administration’s military policy in ... Read More »

What Jesse taught Bernie about running for president

The significance of Sanders’ endorsement of Jackson in 1988 is not that he supported a black candidate but what it taught him about the power of working inside the Democratic Party. Michael Kruse Politico The night of April 19, 1988, in the tense, people-packed auditorium at Burlington High School in Burlington, Vermont, Bernie Sanders strode stern-faced into enemy territory. The city’s crotchety, socialist, obstinately independent mayor planted himself at the center of the stage at the Democratic Party’s caucus, an ... Read More »

The Psychology Of Getting Julian Assange, Part 4: Why Even Some Lefties Want To See Him Hang

Convinced Julian Assange handed Trump the election? Certain he raped two women in Sweden? Want to see him rot in jail? The fourth in a five-part series by clinical psychologist Dr Lissa Johnson explains the science behind smear and propaganda, and how and why it works. New Matilda On Sunday March 3rd and 10th, hundreds attended rallies organised by the Socialist Equality Party of Australia in Sydney and Melbourne, demanding that the Australian government secure freedom for Julian Assange. Acclaimed journalist and film-maker John Pilger spoke at the Sydney rally ... Read More »

The Darkest Hours: Power Outages Raise the Temperature in Venezuela

The crippling blackouts across Venezuela are a grim portent of things to come as U.S. oil sanctions kick in and the country’s crisis deepens. Phil Gunson ICG All concerned to end Venezuelans’ suffering should vigorously pursue a negotiated transition leading to a power-sharing deal. On Thursday 7 March, at around five in the afternoon, the lights went out in Venezuela. Within a couple of hours, as the tropical night descended, around 90 per cent of the country was plunged into ... Read More »

The Fed Should Buy Recession Insurance

If the United States falls into recession in the next year or two, the US Federal Reserve may have very little room to loosen policy, yet it is not taking any steps to cover that risk. J. Bradford DeLong Project Syndicate Unless the Fed rectifies this soon, the US – and the world – may well face much bigger problems later. BERKELEY – The next global downturn may still be a little way off. The chances that the North Atlantic ... Read More »

US Wants To Change The Law Of The Sea – Analysis

The US is frustrated by North Korea’s continuing violation of UN sanctions by using rogue vessels to import and export banned cargo, sometimes transferring the cargo at sea. Mark J. Valencia Eurasia Review So it wants to interdict suspect vessels on the high seas using force if necessary. The problem is that doing so without the consent of the flag state would violate the international law of the sea. John Bolton, the US National Security Advisor is taking the lead ... Read More »

Picking Up the Pieces After Hanoi

The collapse of last month’s summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was perhaps the inevitable result of a process in which the two leaders dominated, optimistic about their personal relationship and confident in their abilities. Richard N. Haass Project Syndicate The question is what to do now. NEW YORK – When last month’s summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal, the result was not surprising. ... Read More »

The mental health crisis among America’s youth is real – and staggering

The first signs of a problem started to emerge around 2014: More young people said they felt overwhelmed and depressed. College counseling centers reported sharp increases in the number of students seeking… Jean Twenge The Conversation Even as studies were showing increases in symptoms of depression and in suicide among adolescents since 2010, some researchers called the concerns overblown and claimed there simply isn’t enough good… The idea that there’s an epidemic in anxiety or depression among youth “is simply ... Read More »

Trump Knew Just What He Was Getting With Manafort: A Crook

Judge Ellis credited Manafort with an “otherwise blameless life.” That couldn’t be more wrong. Kenneth F. McCallion Daily Beast The 47-month sentence meted out to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort by Judge T.S. Ellis in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, last Thursday was little more than a slap on the wrist, considering the… Manafort was facing up to 25 years in prison for having carried out several complex banking fraud schemes that defrauded both banks and the U.S. government ... Read More »