Declining Democracies

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Foggy
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Re: Declining Democracies

#76

Post by Foggy »

That would be more informative if'n they had asked what people would prefer over democracy. Communism? Kleptocracy? Oligarchy? Anarchy? What do you think is better than democracy? :daydream:
In other news, scientists have discovered that water is wet. Film at 11.

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Re: Declining Democracies

#77

Post by pipistrelle »

RVInit wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:03 pm
:brickwallsmall: :brickwallsmall: :brickwallsmall:

(Not responding to pip on this one)
We left it behind circa 2016.

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Re: Declining Democracies

#78

Post by RVInit »

pipistrelle wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:09 pm
RVInit wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:03 pm
:brickwallsmall: :brickwallsmall: :brickwallsmall:

(Not responding to pip on this one)
We left it behind circa 2016.
We sure did.
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Re: Declining Democracies

#79

Post by Addie »

WaPo - Max Boot
A new report shows freedom is declining in established democracies — including ours ...

Unfortunately, this type of democratic erosion is now the norm across the world. The “Freedom in the World 2020” survey, released Wednesday by Freedom House, reports that 2019 saw the 14th year in a row of political deterioration, with 64 countries experiencing a loss of liberties, while only 37 experienced improvements.

Some of the worst repression is occurring in China as a result of what the report rightly describes as “the Chinese Communist Party’s ongoing campaign of cultural annihilation in Xinjiang.” But you expect repression from a communist regime. What is truly disheartening is to read that during the past year, “25 of the world’s 41 established democracies experienced net losses” of freedom.

The worst offender is the world’s largest democracy, India. The recent anti-Muslim pogroms in New Delhi — which killed 46 people and were carried out with the connivance of senior police officers — are sadly indicative of the country’s illiberal direction under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). As Freedom House notes: “While India continues to earn a Free rating and held successful elections last spring, the BJP has distanced itself from the country’s founding commitments to pluralism and individual rights, without which democracy cannot long survive.”

Less dramatic but nevertheless depressing is the erosion of U.S. democracy. Since 2009, the United States has fallen eight points on Freedom House’s 100-point scale. With a score of 86, we are now ranked behind countries such as Greece, Slovakia, Italy and Mauritius. Freedom House points out some alarming trends of late, which include “an ongoing decline in fair and equal treatment of refugees and asylum seekers,” Trump’s declaration of “a national emergency in order to redirect Defense Department funds to the construction of a wall along the southern border,” his attempt to “extract a personal political favor from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky,” and his orders to “current and former officials to defy all congressional subpoenas for document and testimony about the matter.”
Adding:
New Republic: It Can Get So Much Worse

Democracy, human rights, and rule of law are losing globally. But if Trump wins reelection, the game may be up.
"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

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Re: Declining Democracies

#80

Post by pipistrelle »

See, the posts are right.

Are there no more Gandhis or Mandelas, or are they being drowned out by Kardashian and Honey Boo Boo (or whatever) chatter?

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Re: Declining Democracies

#81

Post by Addie »

The Atlantic: The World Is Experiencing a New Form of Autocracy

Today’s authoritarians use legal measures to subvert constitutional constraints on their power.
"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

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Re: Declining Democracies

#82

Post by Addie »

WaPo: How politicians are using the coronavirus to seize control
"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

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Re: Declining Democracies

#83

Post by Addie »

New York Times: Coronavirus Claims Some of World War II’s Last Witnesses


In Europe, the virus has taken some of the last witnesses of its grim history.

For years, Gildo Negri visited schools to share his stories about blowing up bridges and cutting electrical wires to sabotage Nazis and fascists during World War II. In January, the 89-year-old made another visit, leaving his nursing home outside Milan to help students plant trees in honor of Italians deported to concentration camps.

But at the end of February, as Europe’s first outbreak of the coronavirus spread through Mr. Negri’s nursing home, it fatally infected him, too.

The virus, which is so lethal to the old, has hastened the departure of these last witnesses and forced the cancellation of anniversary commemorations that offered a last chance to tell their stories to large audiences. It has also created an opportunity for rising political forces who seek to recast the history of the last century in order to play a greater role in remaking the present one.

Throughout Europe, radical right-wing parties with histories of Holocaust denial, Mussolini infatuation and fascist motifs, have gained traction in recent years, moving from the fringes and into parliaments and even governing coalitions.

The Alternative for Germany is looking to capitalize on the economic frustration the coronavirus crisis has triggered. In France, the hard-right National Rally had the country’s strongest showing in the last European Parliament elections. And in Italy, the birthplace of fascism, the descendants of post-fascist parties have grown popular as the stigma around Mussolini and strongman politics has faded.
"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

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Re: Declining Democracies

#84

Post by p0rtia »

This is the best explanation of what the hell is going on that I've ever read. The study of economics is well above my pay grade, but this review is written in words a mile high that anyone can understand.

Meet the Hidden Architect Behind America's Racist Economics

https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspecti ... 8.facebook
James McGill Buchanan is a name you will rarely hear unless you’ve taken several classes in economics. And if the Tennessee-born Nobel laureate were alive today, it would suit him just fine that most well-informed journalists, liberal politicians, and even many economics students have little understanding of his work.

The reason? Duke historian Nancy MacLean contends that his philosophy is so stark that even young libertarian acolytes are only introduced to it after they have accepted the relatively sunny perspective of Ayn Rand. (Yes, you read that correctly). If Americans really knew what Buchanan thought and promoted, and how destructively his vision is manifesting under their noses, it would dawn on them how close the country is to a transformation most would not even want to imagine, much less accept.

That is a dangerous blind spot, MacLean argues in a meticulously researched book, Democracy in Chains, a finalist for the National Book Award in Nonfiction. While Americans grapple with Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency, we may be missing the key to changes that are taking place far beyond the level of mere politics. Once these changes are locked into place, there may be no going back.
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Re: Declining Democracies

#85

Post by Addie »

Thanks, Portia. I'm ordering Democracy in Chains.
"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

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Re: Declining Democracies

#86

Post by Addie »

Cross-posting
CNN: Protests break out in Hong Kong as first arrest made under new security law

Hong Kong (CNN) Hong Kong was facing up to a new reality on Wednesday, after China's central government imposed a sweeping national security law late the night before that critics say has stripped the city of its autonomy and precious civil and social freedoms, and cements Beijing's authoritarian rule over the territory.

Hundreds turned out to protest the legislation in the busy shopping district of Causeway Bay but were met with a heavy security presence. Riot police fired pepper spray into the crowd, kettled and dispersed protesters, and deployed water cannons.

During the protest, Hong Kong police made the first arrests under the new law, including a man who was holding a black independence flag, and soon afterward a woman with a sign reading "Hong Kong Independence."

At least 70 people were arrested on Wednesday, with two on suspicion of violating the national security law, according to police.

The new law came into effect in Hong Kong in the lead-up to July 1 -- the 23rd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from British rule to China -- and dramatically broadens the powers of local and mainland authorities to investigate, prosecute and punish dissenters.

In vague language, the legislation criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign powers. People convicted of such crimes can face sentences of up to life in prison.

Fearing they could be targeted under the new law, several political and activist groups in the city formally disbanded in advance of the law being introduced Monday. On the streets, the effects could be seen elsewhere too, as shopkeepers tore down posters that supported anti-government protests, and many citizens hastily deleted social media posts and accounts.
"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

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Re: Declining Democracies

#87

Post by Addie »

New York Times: As Neo-Nazis Seed Military Ranks, Germany Confronts ‘an Enemy Within’

CALW, Germany — As Germany emerged from its coronavirus lockdown in May, police commandos pulled up outside a rural property owned by a sergeant major in the special forces, the country’s most highly trained and secretive military unit.

They brought a digger.

The sergeant major’s nickname was Little Sheep. He was suspected of being a neo-Nazi. Buried in the garden, the police found two kilograms of PETN plastic explosives, a detonator, a fuse, an AK-47, a silencer, two knives, a crossbow and thousands of rounds of ammunition, much of it believed to have been stolen from the German military.

They also found an SS songbook, 14 editions of a magazine for former members of the Waffen SS and a host of other Nazi memorabilia.

“He had a plan,” said Eva Högl, Germany’s parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces. “And he is not the only one.”

Germany has a problem. For years, politicians and security chiefs rejected the notion of any far-right infiltration of the security services, speaking only of “individual cases.” The idea of networks was dismissed. The superiors of those exposed as extremists were protected. Guns and ammunition disappeared from military stockpiles with no real investigation.

The government is now waking up. Cases of far-right extremists in the military and the police, some hoarding weapons and explosives, have multiplied alarmingly. The nation’s top intelligence officials and senior military commanders are moving to confront an issue that has become too dangerous to ignore.

The problem has deepened with the emergence of the Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, which legitimized a far-right ideology that used the arrival of more than a million migrants in 2015 — and more recently the coronavirus pandemic — to engender a sense of impending crisis.
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Re: Declining Democracies

#88

Post by Addie »

BBC News: Hong Kong security law: Pro-democracy books pulled from libraries

Books by pro-democracy figures have been removed from public libraries in Hong Kong in the wake of a controversial new security law.


The works will be reviewed to see if they violate the new law, the authority which runs the libraries said.

The legislation targets secession, subversion and terrorism with punishments of up to life in prison.

Opponents say it erodes the territory's freedoms as a semi-autonomous region of China. Beijing rejects this.

Hong Kong's sovereignty was handed back to China by Britain in 1997 and certain rights were supposed to be guaranteed for at least 50 years under the "one country, two systems" agreement.

Since the security law came into effect on Tuesday, several leading pro-democracy activists have stepped down from their roles. One of them - one-time student leader and local legislator Nathan Law - has fled the territory.

At least nine books have become unavailable or marked as "under review", according to the South China Morning Post newspaper. They include books authored or co-authored by Joshua Wong, a prominent pro-democracy activist, and pro-democracy politician Tanya Chan.

On Saturday, Mr Wong tweeted that the new law "imposes a mainland-style censorship regime" on Hong Kong, calling it "one step away from ... actual book banning".
"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

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Re: Declining Democracies

#89

Post by kate520 »

p0rtia wrote:
Fri Jun 12, 2020 4:06 pm
This is the best explanation of what the hell is going on that I've ever read. The study of economics is well above my pay grade, but this review is written in words a mile high that anyone can understand.

Meet the Hidden Architect Behind America's Racist Economics

https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspecti ... 8.facebook
James McGill Buchanan is a name you will rarely hear unless you’ve taken several classes in economics. And if the Tennessee-born Nobel laureate were alive today, it would suit him just fine that most well-informed journalists, liberal politicians, and even many economics students have little understanding of his work.

The reason? Duke historian Nancy MacLean contends that his philosophy is so stark that even young libertarian acolytes are only introduced to it after they have accepted the relatively sunny perspective of Ayn Rand. (Yes, you read that correctly). If Americans really knew what Buchanan thought and promoted, and how destructively his vision is manifesting under their noses, it would dawn on them how close the country is to a transformation most would not even want to imagine, much less accept.

That is a dangerous blind spot, MacLean argues in a meticulously researched book, Democracy in Chains, a finalist for the National Book Award in Nonfiction. While Americans grapple with Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency, we may be missing the key to changes that are taking place far beyond the level of mere politics. Once these changes are locked into place, there may be no going back.
I’m listening to this now. Holy crap, P0rtia.

I’d really like to discuss this, book club style, with as many of the boogle as are willing. There is so much to talk about, from this movement’s Calhounian roots to yesterday’s news; Kochs, Bannon, James Buchanan - they see themselves as Masters of the Universe, the only ones competent to decide How the rest of will live. If they had their way, once SS and. Medicare are abolished, seniors who fail to provide well enough for their old age deserve their fate because they aren’t the fittest, and can sell themselves to the Makers so at least they can have food and a roof, even if they need to work another 10 or 20 years to pay them back.

Hillary, once a Goldwater Republican, knew exactly what she meant, huh, p0rtia?

:panic:
DEFEND DEMOCRACY

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Re: Declining Democracies

#90

Post by Flatpointhigh »

kate520 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:13 am
p0rtia wrote:
Fri Jun 12, 2020 4:06 pm
This is the best explanation of what the hell is going on that I've ever read. The study of economics is well above my pay grade, but this review is written in words a mile high that anyone can understand.

Meet the Hidden Architect Behind America's Racist Economics

https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspecti ... 8.facebook
James McGill Buchanan is a name you will rarely hear unless you’ve taken several classes in economics. And if the Tennessee-born Nobel laureate were alive today, it would suit him just fine that most well-informed journalists, liberal politicians, and even many economics students have little understanding of his work.

The reason? Duke historian Nancy MacLean contends that his philosophy is so stark that even young libertarian acolytes are only introduced to it after they have accepted the relatively sunny perspective of Ayn Rand. (Yes, you read that correctly). If Americans really knew what Buchanan thought and promoted, and how destructively his vision is manifesting under their noses, it would dawn on them how close the country is to a transformation most would not even want to imagine, much less accept.

That is a dangerous blind spot, MacLean argues in a meticulously researched book, Democracy in Chains, a finalist for the National Book Award in Nonfiction. While Americans grapple with Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency, we may be missing the key to changes that are taking place far beyond the level of mere politics. Once these changes are locked into place, there may be no going back.
I’m listening to this now. Holy crap, P0rtia.

I’d really like to discuss this, book club style, with as many of the boogle as are willing. There is so much to talk about, from this movement’s Calhounian roots to yesterday’s news; Kochs, Bannon, James Buchanan - they see themselves as Masters of the Universe, the only ones competent to decide How the rest of will live. If they had their way, once SS and. Medicare are abolished, seniors who fail to provide well enough for their old age deserve their fate because they aren’t the fittest, and can sell themselves to the Makers so at least they can have food and a roof, even if they need to work another 10 or 20 years to pay them back.

Hillary, once a Goldwater Republican, knew exactly what she meant, huh, p0rtia?

:panic:
Just read the article and ¡Donde es YIKES!

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Re: Declining Democracies

#91

Post by Addie »

New York Times: Body Bags and Enemy Lists: How Far-Right Police Officers and Ex-Soldiers Planned for ‘Day X’

Germany has woken up to a problem of far-right extremism in its elite special forces. But the threat of neo-Nazi infiltration of state institutions is much broader.


GÜSTROW, Germany — The plan sounded frighteningly concrete. The group would round up political enemies and those defending migrants and refugees, put them on trucks and drive them to a secret location.

Then they would kill them.

One member had already bought 30 body bags. More body bags were on an order list, investigators say, along with quicklime, used to decompose organic material.

On the surface, those discussing the plan seemed reputable. One was a lawyer and local politician, but with a special hatred of immigrants. Two were active army reservists. Two others were police officers, including Marko Gross, a police sniper and former parachutist who acted as their unofficial leader.

The group grew out of a nationwide chat network for soldiers and others with far-right sympathies set up by a member of Germany’s elite special forces, the KSK. Over time, under Mr. Gross’s supervision, they formed a parallel group of their own. Members included a doctor, an engineer, a decorator, a gym owner, even a local fisherman. ...

Germany has belatedly begun dealing with far-right networks that officials now say are far more extensive than they ever understood. The reach of far-right extremists into its armed forces is particularly alarming in a country that has worked to cleanse itself of its Nazi past and the horrors of the Holocaust. In July the government disbanded an entire company infiltrated by extremists in the nation’s special forces.

But the Nordkreuz case, which only recently came to trial after being uncovered more than three years ago, shows that the problem of far-right infiltration is neither new nor confined to the KSK, or even the military.

Far-right extremism penetrated multiple layers of German society in the years when the authorities underestimated the threat or were reluctant to countenance it fully, officials and lawmakers acknowledge. Now they are struggling to uproot it.
"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

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Re: Declining Democracies

#92

Post by Addie »

My old friend Tom Rinaldo on DU:
Saving The Republic: A Macabre Echo ...

When the history of this current time is finally written, I am confident that historians will conclude that hundreds of thousands of American deaths caused by Covid-19 would have been saved if sane and effective national political leadership had guided us, but of course it didn't. But those deaths may well prove to have saved our Republic. I subtitled this OP "A Macabre Echo" because the thought that is haunting me now is indeed a grim one. I believe, as we entered the year 2020, that the basic fabric of our American democracy was already seriously and almost irreparably degraded. The sugar high of a "good economy", that mortgaging our future and undermining any and all safeguards that might stand in the way of maximizing short term "profits" produced, served as a powerful narcotic for many, even if their share of the resulting "spoils" were mere crumbs that temporarily fell from mega corporate tables That narcotic like temporary "high" disguised grave maladies in our Republic, such as the literal subversion of the concept of truth, the arbiter of reality that a democracy depends on to guide people toward sound choices.

Great wealth has increasingly been concentrated into fewer hands in America, and with great wealth comes great power. Increasingly that power had been used to implant fraudulent substitutes for truth into the American psyche. Major personal fortunes are earned by participants in media empires that propagate these frauds, and so they have little incentive for honesty. Back when these propaganda techniques were being perfected by merchants of death (and their subsidiary scientists) in the tobacco industry, it was the use of advertising dollars that enabled them to dominate the air waves. Now though, the mouthpieces the autocracy employs hugely and directly profit from those lies also, which incentivizes their loyalty to disinformation. A massive cottage (or should I say mansion) industry developed employing media celebrity commentators on cable TV and talk radio, with easy access to lucrative "red meat peddling" paid speech circuits, not to mention a pre-programmed audience ready to purchase their written to inflame instant best selling books. It was never their intent to convince all Americans of the wisdom of their lies, nor would that have aided their efforts had it been possible to do so. A unified public is harder to control, they want and need division to accentuate raw passions and thus over ride any appeals to reason. Disinformation saturation approaching 40% as more than sufficient for their purposes.

Had Covid-19 been eradicated before it could spread world wide, Donald Trump stood a decent chance of being reelected. But even had that victory been denied him, the forces marshaled behind Trump, let alone Trump himself, would have remained highly potent and increasingly agitated. The threat to our democracy would not have ended, it would have just entered another round. Even with the virus reaching America, had Donald Trump just gotten his own malignant ego out of the way and allowed those who really knew what they were doing guide our nation's response to the pandemic instead, he could have reaped the loyalty that a war time president, which he posed at being for all of two weeks, normally benefits from, and he likely could have ridden that to another term in office. Tragically for hundreds of thousands of American families, now suffering the loss of their loved ones and/or economic devastation, Trump didn't follow scientific advice. With that choice Trump needlessly condemned staggering numbers of Americans to die, and I believe, guaranteed his loss in November's election. As has so often been stated, even Donald Trump can not spin, or lie, or distract his way out of the brutal magnitude of his failure, which now touches the life of every American.

The poison that has flowed into our body politic for years now will not drain out completely with a Trump loss in November. We have become far too ill for that quick of a cure. But with it the tides will have finally turned, and they will turn decisively solely due to the sheer magnitude of Trump's failure, resulting in the loss of American lives on a par with our losses from the Civil War, and with that the harsh discrediting of those who profited through Trump's rule, or who acquiesced to it for their own self preservation rather than that of the nation, will proceed. Trump's defeat must be massive in order for Trumpism to be routed. Spineless Republicans in Congress revealed to us just how fragile our democracy actually is. The repercussions for their cowardliness must be severe. And as Covid-19 continues its deadly march now through every state in the nation, I believe they will be. Hundreds of thousands will die, but I think the Republic will be saved.
"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

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Re: Declining Democracies

#93

Post by AndyinPA »

Well said. I hope he's right.
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Re: Declining Democracies

#94

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer »

I think several Bowzers predicted, surmised, knew, prayed, or ___, that something major would occur which the Donald could not or would not overcome due to his glaring, malignant deficiencies. Many psychiatrists and psychologists repeatedly tried to prevent it.
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