Democracy has a dream-like character. It sweeps into the world, carried forward by an immense desire by humans to overcome the barriers of indignity and social suffering.
When confronted by hunger or the death of their children, earlier communities might have reflexively blamed nature or divinity, and indeed those explanations remain with us today. But the ability of human beings to generate massive surpluses through social production, alongside the cruelty of the capitalist class to deny the vast majority of humankind access to that surplus, generates new kinds of ideas and new frustrations.
“Newly declassified documents from the Reagan presidential library help explain how the U.S. government developed its sophisticated psychological operations capabilities that – over the past three decades – have created an alternative reality both for people in targeted countries and for American citizens, a structure that expanded U.S. influence abroad and quieted dissent at home.
The documents reveal the formation of a psyops bureaucracy under the direction of Walter Raymond Jr., a senior CIA covert operations specialist who was assigned to President Reagan’s National Security Council staff to enhance the importance of propaganda and psyops in undermining U.S. adversaries around the world and ensuring sufficient public support for foreign policies inside the United States.”
Santos’ eight-point victory over Democrat Robert Zimmerman—someone who actually graduated from college and is Jewish—may partially be attributed to how he misrepresented his background. But winning a Congressional race also takes money, and one of the lingering questions is where Santos got his. Financial disclosure forms reveal that by 2022, Santos loaned his new congressional campaign and political action committee at least $600,000. (His disclosure forms from his first Congressional bid in 2020 said he earned just $55,000 per year.)
His 2022 financial disclosure forms showed more than $1 million in income coming from a company he started called the Devolder Organization LLC. But that math doesn’t add up: the WashingtonPostreported that as of July 2022, Devolder’s revenue was less than $50,000, according to data modeling from the financial data company Dun & Bradstreet.
It’s difficult to decipher what exactly Santos’ actual biography is; sometime between December 25 and December 27, he deleted the entire “about” section from his campaign website. But Santos did clear the air about something. When the 118th Congress begins on January 3, his dubious history will not be a problem. “I will be sworn in,” he assured WABC. “I will take office.”
Abbott only took politics up a notch and showed us what a fight was about. Morrison took politics and hid it from the people, and his party. Like a Golem he took to darker places where it couldn’t be seen while he played the people’s jester in the media.
The Report is here in full together with the recommendations and whilst it doesn’t seek to criticise our Governor General, the King’s representative, it may be that there has been a bit too much karaoke going on in Government House and not enough thought of ‘We the people’.
Federal election law sets strict limits on how much you can contribute, as an individual, to your candidate of choice. That limit now stands at $2,900 per election.
Contribute more than that and you’ll be breaking the law. And you could face some hefty penalties, nearly $22,000 or even more depending on the specifics of your oversized contribution.
Wait. How can ordinary Americans face substantial penalties for contributing too much to their favorite candidates when we regularly see headlines about the multiple millions America’s wealthiest are legally investing in our elections?
So, to return to where we began: is the internet a liberation technology? Or are social media incompatible with democracy?
There are no simple yes or no answers. There is, however, evidence that digital media impact political behaviour globally. This evidence warrants concern about the adverse impacts of social media on democracy.
Lula defeated Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro in yesterday’s election. The left-wing veteran will face some huge challenges on taking office, but his triumph over Bolsonaro has given Brazilian politics a fresh chance after a disastrous presidency.
Recent elections in Europe and South America are a warning for democracy. Dr Lee Duffield sets about finding psychological causes for what he calls the crop of “off-balance” players, “demagogues”, on the Right-wing.
THE RECENT elections in Sweden and Italy, which went towards extremist parties campaigning against immigrants, and the Brazil election where they were narrowly knocked back, are a warning for democracy.
Yesterday’s Italian election brought victory for Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Fratelli d’Italia — and record-low turnout. The opposition between technocrats and the far right is the symptom of a deeper decline.
Australians have begun to see the new face of extreme religion in our “conservative” politics.
It is not just the rights of individuals but the (flawed) democracies that have gradually made room for civil rights for more groups than just property-owning White men that is at stake in the rise of the authoritarian Religious Right. These democracies are more likely than authoritarian regimes to protect the equality of Others, preventing the persecution and even the atrocities that religion-infused extremism can foster. Without data-driven secular governments, our capacity to tackle the climate emergency is crippled. It is critical that we perceive the risk that is reflected in the speeches of Scott Morrison to his Pentecostal audiences. It is not merely a foreign faith movement uncomfortably shoe-horned into our secular state; it is a threat of incalculable scope. We must work together to keep authoritarian religious radicalism out of our government.
Nor is this limited to the West or is Christianity the only faith drawn into the nativist nationalist trend. In India, the Hindutva movement aims to subdue all Indians within a Hindu nation with one faith and language. Shinto is central to a Japanese nationalist movement. Buddhism is key to Myanmar and Sri Lanka’s nationalist movements. Israel is self defining as a Jewish nation and imposing second class status on non-Jews within its borders.
Australia ranks equal 36th in the world out of the 78 country list of Liberal Democracies. Why is it we always slide down when the LNP is in government? The worst and obvious being this recent decade?
The Australian LNP modeled itself on making Australia more American and they still do. Read American politics and you will see the LNP adopting American Republican policies in a kneejerk reaction because they actually have no homegrown ones of their own and currently have an interim Leader that may not even make it to the next election. Who is sitting in waiting one wonders.
By Toby James, University of East Anglia; and Holly Ann Garnett, Royal Military College of Canada | – Defending democracy has suddenly become one of the central challenges of our age. The land war in Ukraine is widely considered a front line between autocratic rule and democratic freedom. The United States continues to absorb the meaning of the riot that took place on January 6 2021 in an attempt to overthrow the result of the previous year’s election. Elsewhere, concerns have been raised that the pandemic could have provided cover for governments to postpone elections. Elections are an essential part
The Labor Party’s victory offers a blueprint for diminishing the global influence of the Fox News founder.
Rupert Murdoch, who oversees a global media empire that includes Fox News, doesn’t like losing, but he just tasted defeat in Australia’s election. Despite years in which Murdoch’s media properties vociferously backed conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Labor leader Anthony Albanese won the May 21 contest. Australia saw a wave of climate-friendly, independent candidates and Greens politicians take power in a thorough rejection of the culture wars around trans rights and “religious freedom” unleashed by Morrison and his backers in the Murdoch media.
The Orban approach to the Autocratic takeover of Democracy and it’s here!
But describing Orbán as an authoritarian doesn’t fully capture the threat he poses. What truly concerns political scientists and democracy advocates isn’t just that he’s established control over the state apparatus, but that his mode of governance has proven enduringly popular among many Hungarians. Indeed, his base of support in the rural countryside has driven him to four consecutive electoral victories, despite growing evidence of corruption and economic stagnation. If the American right does eventually follow Orbán’s advice, mixing redistributive economic policies, voter suppression, and all-out culture war on marginalized groups in ways that prove broadly popular, we’re in deep trouble.
In fact, there’s a good chance that we’re basically there already.
Which Party wants the Americanisation of our Democracy?
Free speech is a value and a practice worth fighting for, but so is truthfulness.
one of the crucial ingredients in determining who will run the country – is subject to less accountability than the vast range of consumer products that are the staple of commercial advertising. Why should the United Australia Party be allowed to tell us it will cap interest rates at 3 per cent? In the same breath the UAP tells us Craig Kelly will be the next prime minister. Slogans, jingles, unsubstantiated claims and undeliverable promises epitomise the tsunami of mainly tacky advertising.
Australia is at a critical point. A government that would cling to power to impose unpopular policy threatens the very nature of our democracy.
It is common to refer to countries that were “consolidated democracies” as corroding to “illiberal democracies”. Hungary is the most notable example. If, however, the term “competitive authoritarianism” is employed to describe regimes instead, it becomes clear that the danger for Australia is just as strong as it is for the USA and the UK, as well as for Hungary.
ISIS has been REPLCED by yet another sort of terror vying for a medieval state the CHRISTIAN RIGHT
The Right in the US has long been a brazenly antidemocratic force. The latest example is the apparent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — contrary to the wishes of the vast majority of the population and the individual rights of millions of people.
The CSFR was handed over to Hitler pre WW2. Is Ukraine ready to be donated to Putin by the West. It appears all dictators know they can get away with it. It’s this behaviour that allowed Trump to constantly avoid the consequences of his actions too along with Nth Korea, Saudi Arabia, Israel and even the US while the world watches.
“They have moved to a new stage of terror in which they are trying to physically eliminate representatives of legitimate local Ukrainian authorities,” said the Ukrainian president.
Rotterdam has been forced to walk back the dismantling of a historic bridge to make way for Jeff Bezos’s superyacht. But the incident is a reminder that billionaires’ obscene wealth isn’t just about hoarding resources — it’s also about undermining democracy.
Leaders from “approximately 110 countries were invited to take part in” President Biden’s two-day Summit for Democracy. The complete list of participating countries can be found here. You’ll notice that Australia attended (represented by Prime Minister Prime Minister Scott Morrison), which I will get to shortly. President Biden focused on a few issues, including “election integrity, countering authoritarian regimes and bolstering independent media.”
Amendments to the Federal Treasurer’s media bargaining code will be tabled in the New Year.
In a nutshell, if passed, it will mean that in Australia, Facebook and Google can only publish articles from the Murdoch media, Kerry Stokes media, and Fairfax/Channel 9.
Basically, it will be ensure that the voices of independent (or dissenting) media is muffled in the lead up to the next election.
Consider also, that the largest media empire in Australia, the Murdoch media, do absolutely nothing to hold the Morrison government to account. If anything, they seem to behave like the government’s mouthpiece.
The two considerations above should disqualify us from calling ourselves true democracy.
The free media in Russia is suppressed and civil society is monitored for security by laws and regulations. In Hungary, human rights organisations are delegitimised and those following the laws and regulations are persecuted, and in Belarus, President Lukashenko dismisses university professors and public servants according to political whims because laws and regulations enable him to do so. In the Arab countries, there are choppy seas of authoritarian actions of rulers and governments whose only concern is the subjugation of citizens, managing society and controlling public space.
To call Voter ID changes a “dead moggie” is very dangerous. Russian roulette was once called fun too until it wasn’t. That Idea is like the one thrown about decades ago, that the ABC was an unnecessary taxpayer burden and should be sold off. That grew to become LNP’s bullshit slogan of “No Cuts to the ABC” in 2013 to 8 years of razor slices called by Treasurer Morrison “Efficiency Reviews”. A slip sliding of language which was a concerted effort to bring the “dead moggie” to life and “rid us of the ABC”. That LNP ideal outcome is now accepted as a normal LNP platform and practice and will continue to be forever more.
Changes to universal franchisement and compulsory voting can easily go the same way. Yes, just another distraction, a “dead cat” that there really is no need for our Compulsory Voting system isn’t a hypothetical. Dead Cats have a habit of coming to life in the hands of the LNP,to become a normal part of our political ecosystem, labeled as “just debate” Beware!!
People that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. James McGrath is correct to a point when he suggested that politicians don’t have a good reputation. Demonstrably it has nothing to do with the election process but more to do with actions the politicians are alleged to take during the political parties’ pre-selection processes or after election. Is it too cynical to suggest that the sudden legislation requiring voters to provide identification prior to voting is Morrison’s version of Boris Johnson’s ‘dead cat strategy’ where a dramatic or sensational topic is introduced to a discussion, solely to distract attention from the inconvenient truth? What do you think?
A Virtually Unprecedented Effort’ To Suppress The Vote Republican legislatures in 14 states have already passed 23 laws that placed new restrictions on voting, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Another 60 restrictive bills are moving through legislatures in 18 states, according to the Brennan Center’s legislative tracker. At the current pace, the U.S. will have more new voter suppression laws than in any year since 2011, when a rash of new voter ID provisions went onto the books.
Yes: While there is some shoring up to do, democratic institutions held, which bodes well for other advanced democracies like Australia. No: The Republican Party is the party of Trump and its frontal assault on democracy rolls on and on.
In contrast, U.S. Republicans do their “managing” a bit more obscurely, but even more harmfully for the whole idea of democracy. They are actively engaged in a campaign to disenfranchise voters from ethnicities and geographies that are not promising “hunting grounds” for the Republicans.
There are moments when even the most committed of democrats find themselves despairing of political democracy. But the system has proven again and again to be the last best hope of ordinary people in defending their pursuit of happiness against tyrants of all stripes — both public and private.
Without such a law empowering democracy, it’s unlikely any of that will ever happen. And the Democratic majority in the House will almost certainly be extinguished in the 2022 midterms, blocking the bill for the foreseeable future. It’s difficult to believe, based on its lamentable history of squabbling and in-fighting, that the Democratic Party will manage to hang together and pass a significant bill that’s both in their own obvious self-interest and in that of the country. But stranger things have happened, such as the fact that the For the People Act has gotten this far in the first place.
The US is wealthy per capita, so it should have a high chance of continuing to transit to more democracy, not less. So why is the place falling apart? Well, I called the system capitalist democracy, and that is increasingly a contradiction. American capitalism is unhealthily dominated by monopolies and is marching toward a world of billionaires on the one hand and of workers barely making it on the other. Economic insecurity has increased, which is associated with heightened racism as ethnic groups feel they are competing for a shrinking pie. Remember I said that in 2014 the losers in Libya’s election refused to go home or to acknowledge the rules of the game? And I said that then Libya fell into civil war? And now I am saying that in 2021 a substantial section of the Republican Party doesn’t want to go home after losing and also does not agree on the rules of the game? You do the math.
Next week Republicans in Washington have one more chance to turn their backs on fascism. They could reject the laughable claims from Trump’s lawyers that he was merely exercising his free speech rights by telling his mob to march on Congress and fight like hell. Apparently such conduct does not constitute incitement to riot, because the word “incitement” has lost all relationship to reality. Nobody expects Republican senators to vote in enough numbers to convict Trump of the obvious charges that played out on television. Nobody expects enough of them to reject the violent overthrow of the democracy that put them in the Senate. They represent, to use Bush’s language, a hostile regime inside the nation’s capital. Until Republicans split with the insurrectionists – by ejecting them from their party or forming their own – democracy itself is unsafe.
These precautions are eminently sensible, given the threat of right-wing violence. And the last thing the new administration wants on its first day of office is to hold a very visible super-spreader event in the nation’s capital. But it’s not a good look for American democracy when the peaceful handover of power has the appearance of a banana republic installing a tinpot dictator—or resembles the America of 1861, for that matter, when a huge security presence at Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration presaged the outbreak of civil war.
We cannot allow the wealthiest individuals and corporations to flood our elections with cash through complex webs of super PACs and dark money groups that put special interests above the will of the American people.”
The resources industry donated $136.8 million over two decades to Australian political parties. Donations buy a lot of influence, with research showing that for every US$1 spent, the return on investment can be as high as US$220. In return, public policy is routinely moulded to suit the highest corporate bidders and their lobbyists. Adam Lucas investigates.
The Pandemic Has Exposed the Free Market’s Fundamental Flaws. We Need a Democratically Planned Economy. By Hadas Thier As COVID-19 cases skyrocket again, hospitals remain understaffed and PPE and ventilators are still in short supply. We can’t leave people’s basic needs up to the whims of profit-seeking actors — we need democratic planning.
Hundreds of millions of Muslims the world over live in democracies of some shape or form, from Indonesia to Malaysia to Pakistan to Lebanon to Tunisia to Turkey. Tens of millions of Muslims live in — and participate in — Western democratic societies. The country that is on course to have the biggest Muslim population in the world in the next couple of decades is India, which also happens to be the world’s biggest democracy. Yet a narrative persists, particularly in the West, that Islam and democracy are incompatible. Islam is often associated with dictatorship, totalitarianism, and a lack of freedom, and many analysts and pundits claim that Muslims are philosophically opposed to the idea of democracy. On this week’s show, Mehdi Hasan is joined by the man expected to become Malaysia’s next prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, and by Dalia Mogahed, director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, to discuss Islam, Muslims, and democracy.
This is, admittedly, a project fraught with peril. The line between enhanced rules and regulations for communication and the repressive abridgment of free speech can all too easily be transgressed, especially when the power to regulate falls into the wrong hands. In addition, such projects can easily backfire, as increasing regulation feeds conspiracy theories about government control and makes it easier than ever for populist firebrands to depict mainstream reporting and opinion as “fake news.” In the end, the most effective way to address the problem is to restrain the economic power of the companies and interests that profit most directly from populist attacks on epistemological authority, as well as the underlying distributions of power that have led to the current popular discontent.
But even as progressive forces work toward this long-term goal, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News are not about to start moderating their opinions, and Facebook and Twitter are unlikely to do much to regulate themselves, no matter how much earnest criticism they receive in The New York Times. It is also time to start serious discussions about how to keep the immensely powerful communications forces unleashed in the past generation from immeasurably harming the public good. These are discussions to be entered into carefully, judiciously, moderately. But they are important to have. Far more important, it might be added, than placing bets on when Donald Trump hits the 10,000th lie of his presidency.
The New Democracy “Fuck the People” The Napthine Government was way earlier than Scott Walker. They signed contracts before the freeway vote amd the LNP has still witheld $3 Bill in a blackmail tactic trying to get the Victorian electorate to vote their way. The effects of those tactics Victorians are still paying for. Walker has taken it on step further he’s pushing through bills after the election results are known. (ODT)