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Can Joe Biden make America great again?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/01/2021 - 8:00pm in

His skills as a fixer are finely honed – but they cannot restore a pre-Trump normality. As president, Biden’s private self, shadowed by loss, must come into its own

Every year after 1975, Joe Biden, his second wife Jill, his sons Beau and Hunter and their growing families, would gather for Thanksgiving on Nantucket island off Cape Cod. Part of the annual ritual was that the Bidens would take a photograph of themselves in front of a quaint old house in the traditional New England style that stood above the dunes on their favourite beach.

In November 2014, when Biden was serving as Barack Obama’s vice-president, he found, where the house should have been, an empty space marked out by yellow police tape. The building, he wrote in his memoir Promise Me, Dad had “finally run out of safe ground and run out of time; it had been swept out into the Atlantic”.

There has been an open attempt to turn the US into an authoritarian regime – what has happened once can happen again

Biden has to create a bold departure from the hollow promises of the American dream and towards a new, real equality

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So long, we’ll miss you – we Europeans see how much you’ve helped to shape us | Fintan O’Toole

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 27/12/2020 - 8:00pm in

History will judge that the near 50-year relationship between the UK and Europe has been good for both. Best to forget the rancorous ending

Now that a deal has been done, the end of Britain’s life as a member of the European Union can be decently mourned. As funeral orations go, the one William Shakespeare put into the mouth of Mark Antony in Julius Caesar is, well, world-beating: “The evil that men do lives after them,/ The good is oft interred with their bones.” Before we throw the last handful of earth on the corpse of Britain’s membership of the European Union, we might briefly disinter the good things about the relationship.

A bad ending gets projected backwards. A messy divorce obliterates the years of reasonably happy marriage. Brexit has projected into the future a sour story of resentment and rancour. Almost 50 years of history are squeezed into a deterministic story of irreconcilable incompatibility. The evil lives on; the good rots in the earth.

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Silence reigns on the US-backed coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia | Mark Weisbrot

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 18/09/2020 - 6:00pm in

The Organization of American States had a key role in the destruction of the country’s democracy last November

Bolivia has descended into a nightmare of political repression and racist state violence since the democratically elected government of Evo Morales was overthrown by the military on 10 November last year. That month was the second-deadliest in terms of civilian deaths caused by state forces since Bolivia became a democracy nearly 40 years ago, according to a study by Harvard Law School’s (HLS) International Human Rights Clinic and the University Network for Human Rights (UNHR) released a month ago.

Morales was the first indigenous president of Bolivia, which has the largest percentage of indigenous population of any country in the Americas. His government was able to reduce poverty by 42% and extreme poverty by 60%, which disproportionately benefited indigenous Bolivians. The November coup was led by a white and mestizo elite with a history of racism, seeking to revert state power to the people who had monopolised it before Morales’ election in 2005. The racist nature of the state violence is emphasised in the HLS/UNHR report, including eyewitness accounts of security forces using “racist and anti-indigenous language” as they attacked protesters; it is also clear from the fact that all of the victims of the two biggest massacres committed by state forces after the coup were indigenous.

Related: Bolivia government abusing justice system against Morales and allies – report

Related: ‘No evidence of fraud’ in Morales poll victory, say US researchers

Mark Weisbrot is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. He is the author of Failed: What the ‘Experts’ Got Wrong About the Global Economy

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How do we 'build back better' after coronavirus? Close the income gap | Richard Wilkinson

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 26/08/2020 - 6:00pm in

Almost all problems in British society get worse when class differences increase – addressing this inequality must be a post-pandemic priority

The establishment of a free NHS in 1948 came just two days late for my fifth birthday. By the time I’d reached my twenties it was widely assumed to have eliminated health inequalities: almost no one knew whether life expectancy was longer at the top or bottom of the social ladder. Even doctors mistakenly believed “executive stress” was the biggest risk for heart attacks.

As a research student in the 1970s, my attention was drawn to official data showing not only that most of the major causes of death were two to three times more common among unskilled manual workers and their families than among professionals, but also that the gap in death rates had widened since the 1930s. Such large class differences in death rates came as a shock. Full of righteous indignation, I wrote a newspaper article addressed to the secretary of state for health, David Ennals, urging him to set up an urgent inquiry to address these issues.

Related: Coronavirus inquiry ‘could transform racial inequality in UK’

Related: Poverty kills people: after coronavirus we can no longer ignore it | Polly Toynbee

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Ireland’s shock poll result was a vote against the success of globalisation | Fintan O’Toole

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 16/02/2020 - 6:00pm in

The economy is booming at last but an angry electorate showed Leo Varadker’s government that the good times are not rolling for all

In 2011, in what seemed like a laying to rest of the mad ghosts of Anglo-Irish history, the Queen was cheered to the rafters in Dublin.

But the building in which this celebration of amity took place had its own rather haunting presence. It was the spanking new Convention Centre, a glamorous, ultra-modern monument to the optimism of the Celtic Tiger years. By the time of the Queen’s visit, it looked out on a landscape of shattered dreams. From the top floor, you had a panoramic view of abandoned building sites on the other side of the Liffey, testaments to the folly that created a spectacular banking crisis, vicious austerity and deep disillusion with the political system that had brought such pain.

Nobody expected it – including Sinn Féin itself, which failed to stand enough candidates to take advantage of its vote

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One thing Johnson’s victory doesn’t change: he’s still lying about Ireland | Fintan O’Toole

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 16/12/2019 - 12:28am in

His false claims about the withdrawal agreement reveal an utter lack of interest in Brexit’s consequences for Belfast and Dublin

The difficulty for other governments in dealing with Boris Johnson is to figure out whether he is lying or merely ignorant. There was so much weirdness in the general election campaign that it was easy to miss a moment that would have once caused something of a sensation. But in this new era, it was barely remarkable that a friendly foreign government had to intervene to say that important statements by a British prime minister were patently untrue.

On the weekend before polling day, Johnson told Sky News that there was “no question” of checks being needed on trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom under his withdrawal agreement. The Irish deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, pointedly and publicly refuted this absurd claim: “Goods coming from Great Britain into Northern Ireland will need to have some checks to ensure that the EU knows what is potentially coming into their market through Northern Ireland.”

It is deeply unsettling for the unionist community. No good can come for any settlement from their sense of abandonment

Related: Brexit deal includes two-way customs checks, insists Ireland

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The OAS has to answer for its role in the Bolivian coup

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 03/12/2019 - 4:57am in

We call upon the Organization of American States to retract its misleading statements about the election, which have contributed to the political conflict

We the undersigned call for Bolivia’s democratic institutions and processes to be respected.

The Trump administration has openly and strongly supported the military coup of 10 November that overthrew the government of President Evo Morales. Everyone agrees that Morales was democratically elected in 2014, and that his term does not end until 22 January; yet many outside of the Trump administration seem to accept the Trump-supported military coup.

Ha-Joon Chang, director of the Centre of Development Studies, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge

James Galbraith, The University of Texas at Austin

Thea Lee is the president of the Economic Policy Institute

Mark Weisbrot, co-founder, co-director, Center for Economic and Policy Research

Oscar Ugarteche is an economist at the Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

Jayati Ghosh is an Indian development economist. She is the chairperson of the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Stephanie Kelton is a professor of Public Policy and Economics at Stony Brook University

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The IMF is hurting countries it claims to help | Mark Weisbrot

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 28/08/2019 - 12:02am in

The fund’s loan agreement with Ecuador will worsen unemployment and poverty

When people think of the damage that wealthy countries – typically led by the US and its allies – cause to people in the rest of the world, they probably think of warfare. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died from the 2003 invasion, and then many more as the region became inflamed.

Related: Brexit: EU ‘would block trade deal if Britain reneged on bill’

Related: White House insists Trump not having second thoughts on China trade war

Mark Weisbrot is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington and the president of Just Foreign Policy. He is also the author of Failed: What the ‘Experts’ Got Wrong About the Global Economy

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When will America stop participating in Yemen's genocidal war? | Mark Weisbrot

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/11/2018 - 1:56am in

Sooner or later, the Trump administration will be forced to withdraw from this war. But how many people will die before it happens?

On Wednesday the Republican leadership briefly transformed the US House of Representatives into a theater of the absurd in order to block a debate and vote on US military participation in a genocidal war.

In an odd spectacle, representatives went back and forth between speaking about wolves, who kill other animals, to the Saudi monarchy, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people – mostly civilians including children – and pushed 14 million people to the brink of starvation.

Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington and the president of Just Foreign Policy, is the author of Failed: What the ‘Experts’ Got Wrong About the Global Economy (2015, Oxford University Press).

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Post Truth by Matthew D’Ancona and Post-Truth by Evan Davis review – is this really a new era of politics?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/05/2017 - 4:30pm in

Lying as the norm has been with us for a while. Is the idea of post-truth another example of liberals understanding people wrongly?

“In practice,” Evan Davis writes, “we evidently are quite happy to believe untruths.” Davis is stating what is, perhaps, the most indisputable fact regarding what has been trumpeted as the rise of a new kind of “post-truth” politics. Shrewdly, he describes the belief that we a living in a post-truth era as “an expression of frustration and anguish from a liberal class discombobulated by the political disruptions of 2016”. A catch-all term used by today’s liberals to describe upheavals that confounded their most basic beliefs, “post-truth” politics is like “populism” in implying that these unexpected shifts occurred because reason had been subverted. Duped by demagogues deploying new information technologies, voters disregarded argument and evidence in favour of manipulated emotion and fake news. The idea of truth was lost in a morass of relativism, and the politicians who controlled government for decades were abruptly dislodged from power.

Related: Fake news: an insidious trend that's fast becoming a global problem

Contrary to those who think 'peak populism' has come and gone, despair will continue to fuel extremism in Europe

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