“This is a battle between the utility of democracies in the 21st century and autocracies,” he told reporters at his first news conference as president. “We’ve got to prove democracy works.”
Among the biggest tasks of his presidency, Biden seemed to be arguing, is to prove anew to a skeptical world that both American democracy and its model of democratic capitalism still works – and that it is superior to the very different system Xi is ruthlessly enforcing at home as he tries to extend China’s influence around the world.Biden defines his underlying challenge with China: ‘Prove democracy works’ | The New Daily
Records show how right-wing groups have used a network of conferences to teach Republican lawmakers how to gerrymander their states and suppress voting rights. Georgia is just the beginning in the war on democracy.The Right Created Boot Camps for Destroying Democracy and Voting Rights
If you take the personalities out it and ask yourself the simple question: Who is more worthy of being listened to? A family who has been put there by Divine Right, or an actress from a television show. You realise that it doesn’t matter who’s telling the truth because the Queen and her family are our heads of state and we should never question anything they say even if it is a complete load of bollocks and we know they have a history of racism and historic support of the Nazis. Yes, we should support the Royal family whatever they do because otherwise, it’s just mob rule… Or as some like to call it, democracy.Democracy Is Really Just Mob Rule And Why I’m Innocent Of Everything – » The Australian Independent Media Network
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.Democracy Is Good, Actually
Faced with protests for opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s release, the Russian left is torn over whether to join a movement which raises no general social demands. Navalny’s personalized clash with Putin highlights the present hollowness of Russian democracy.Alexei Navalny’s Movement Reflects the Weakness of Russian Democracy
In 2013, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion gutting Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which required that states with a long history of discrimination had to approve their voting changes with the federal government. That ruling led to a wave of new voter suppression laws in states including Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas.Republicans Are Trying to Kill What’s Left of the Voting Rights Act – Mother Jones
The For the People Act, numbered in Congress as H.R. 1 and S. 1, would provide for automatic voter registration across the country and would require paper ballots. It would require that early voting be made available, and would expand mail-in voting. It would authorize $1 billion for upgrades to state voting systems. Polling by Data for Progress and Vote Save America shows that the principles in H.R. 1 are very popular, across parties. Sixty-eight percent of Americans approve of the reforms in the bill. Sixteen percent oppose the measure. The items within the bill are also popular. Eighty-six percent of Americans support a plan to prevent foreign interference in our elections; 7% oppose it. Eighty-five percent of us want to limit the amount of politics; 8% oppose that idea. Eighty-four percent of us want more election security; 8 percent do not. Seventy-four percent of us want to see nonpartisan redistricting; 11% do not. Sixty-eight percent want to see 15 days of early voting; 19% do not. Sixty percent want same-day voter registration; 29% do not. Fifty-nine percent want automatic voter registration; 29% do not. Even with the Republican attacks on mail-in voting, fifty-eight percent of us want to be able to vote by mail; 35% do not. Democrats passed a version of H.R. 1 in the previous Congress, but then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to take it up. Now, every House Democrat supports the bill, while Republican lawmakers oppose it.The For the People Act | The Smirking Chimp
But it seems strange to say that, having just defeated an attempt to overturn a democratic election in his own country, Biden is in some way disqualified from criticising a similar attempt in Myanmar. The answer to this question is to recognise that Biden does not speak for “the United States”, but for the Party he leads. To the extent that his party supports democracy in the U.S., it is naturally aligned with supporters of democracy everywhere, and against supporters of dictatorship, both at home and abroad.All politics is global: The struggle between democracy and dictatorship
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 “For the People Act” Would Make America a Democracy
A successful prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder could empower the government to go after journalists for publishing classified information.Continued Push for Assange’s Extradition Is Bad News for Journalism
Imagine half a million Australians, a record 501,876 to be precise, petition for a royal commission into your patron, rabid reactionary, Rupert Murdoch, billionaire media monopolist and monster powerbroker. Does our PM, whose Liberal Party is effectively a wholly-owned subsidiary of News Corp, act democratically? No. Head Office steps in. Sharri Markson and Richard Ferguson of Murdoch’s The Australian publish an article, Kevin Rudd’s Bangladeshi ‘bots’ in media royal commission petition, Thursday 11 February, quoting a “Nicholas Smith”, who claims to have paid an overseas freelancer to “sign” the petition “hundreds of times” in order to “demonstrate to you how easy it is to manipulate our own government’s website”. Smear tactics. Neither mud-slinger Markson, nor feckless Ferguson take the next responsible step: concede that even without this stunt, there are more names on Rudd’s e-petition that any other. Ever. And just who is this Smith and his podcast The Turncoat? The story is a fake. SBS notes that The Turncoat’s Facebook page is littered with posts that have been flagged as misinformation, baseless claims about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, and others, expressing support for President Trump. Shades of Craig Kelly, MP for Hughes, who despite his dressing down from his PM, immediately returns to Facebook to promote more toxic nonsense about fake cures for Covid-19 and to sow doubt about vaccines. Former furniture rep Kelly appears regularly from his chair on Murdoch’s Sky News, beaming his dangerous disinformation around the country and -via the internet- around the globe – from whence it came. There’s a restless, recycling in Kelly’s quest. As Crikey’s David Hardaker observes, “the outrageous nonsense spouted by the renegade Liberal MP is mostly spun from generic alt-right conspiracies and ideas.”A cancer on our democracy. – » The Australian Independent Media Network
In 2021 legislative sessions, lawmakers in 28 states have pushed a whopping 106 bills that would restrict voting accessRepublicans are going all-out to limit voting rights. We know why | Republicans | The Guardian
The defeated president called for chaos and his supporters responded by storming the Capitol in Washington, disrupting the counting of electoral votes. Robert MackeyRobert Mackey January 7 2021, 9:44 a.m.Trump Unleashes Mob to Disrupt U.S. Government
When America faces a leader with totalitarian impulses who thinks he can will his way into another term, it is also facing its greatest democratic crisis in decades. The passage of time always heals wounds, including political wounds. But what can be done to revive public trust in elections in the meantime is not just an open-ended question. Democracy’s fragile skin has been stretched as never before, when tens of millions of voters say that they don’t trust the results from the best-run election in years.A Deepening Democracy Crisis: More than 70 Percent of Trump Voters Distrust the Best-run Election in Years | The Smirking Chimp
This treason must not be allowed to prosper, and those 126 servants to Trump’s authoritarian binge vocally and proudly committed treason to serve his various shabby ends. They have no business in the House of Representatives or in any office that serves the public they sold out on the cheap. There must be a reckoning, and this must be a small yet vital part of it.The 126 GOP House Reps Who Tried to Overthrow Democracy Must Not Be Seated | The Smirking Chimp
Defending democracy is part of a journalist’s jobNever let Trump’s accomplices live down their attacks on democracy | Media Matters for America
That’s the death spiral McConnell seems to be egging on. A destroyed economy will hurt Joe Biden’s presidency. It might help Republican prospects in 2022 and 2024. That’s all that matters to the Grim Reaper.McConnell Is Doing a Really Good Job of Completely Wrecking the Economy for Biden Presidency | The Smirking Chimp
His fear became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Republican voters, who once used mail-in balloting disproportionately, abandoned the practice. Democratic voters, meanwhile, embraced it. This led Republicans to engage in various sabotage efforts, which my colleague Eric Cortellessa has been tirelessly uncovering for months. These include banning swing states from processing mail-in ballots prior to election day (in order to engineer the very counting delays Trump has warned are a sign of fraud) and, in Pennsylvania, outright refusals by some GOP elections officials to count mail-in ballots that are postmarked by November 3 but arrive after that date despite a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that they do so. How this developing constitutional crisis will play out is anyone’s guess. It was certainly beyond my wildest imagination that vote by mail would be at the center of such a crisis when we first started to promote the policy eight years ago. But rest assured, my colleagues and I will be covering events as they unfold as carefully and relentlessly as we can.
The results show that in 2011 Australia had the most concentrated newspaper industry out of any country studied with the exception of China and Egypt:Australia’s newspaper ownership is among the most concentrated in the world | News | The Guardian
I believe these are essential tasks for journalists in the coming years. I call on existing newsrooms and philanthropically-supported initiatives to field an army of reporters — God knows, enough of them are unemployed right now — and send them out to communities all over the country, to help us figure out what is happening to America.American democracy is in great danger — it’s the biggest news story of our time | Salon.com
While US Republican politicians and conservative commentators were quick to condemn President Trump, not so Australian conservatives, despite their professed love for freedom. Bernard Keane reports.Coalition, conservatives duck for cover on calls for US democracy – Michael West
The combination of Trump’s attacks on the institutions and the principles of democracy and the Republican Party’s repressive methods means that democracy itself is on the ballot.The end of democracy? If Trump loses, Trumpism still wins
The former Australian PM admits he once courted the mogul’s mastheads but now says democracy is at stake‘Culture of fear’: why Kevin Rudd is determined to see an end to Murdoch’s media dominance | Media | The Guardian
Trump and McConnell have corrupted the Supreme Court and th judicial branch for a generation. Time to fight dirtyThe Supreme Court is finished: Republicans have killed it. Now it’s time to fight back | Salon.com
The USPS is under assault at the very moment we need a functioning postal service to hold a free and fair election. We can defend electoral democracy by defending the post office.Save the USPS, Defend Democracy
Warning of the very real chance of a “nightmare scenario” in which President Donald Trump misleads the American people over the results of the November election—or refuses to leave office voluntarily if voted out—Sen. Bernie Sanders is raising the alarm and mobilizing his army of supporters to be aware of just how dangerous a game the president is now playing.‘Nightmare Scenario’: Sanders Warns Nation That Trump Is Laying Groundwork for Election Result Mayhem | Common Dreams News
Donald Trump knows he is unlikely to win a fair election in 2020. But his strategies to cheat are so numerous and scattershot — did you catch that story about how acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf blocked a report about Russian propaganda? — that it’s tempting to take comfort in the hope that he has no overarching strategy to fake or steal a second term.Trump Has a Plan to Steal the Election — in Fact, He Has a Bunch of Them | The Smirking Chimp
Voter interferance and suppression on medical grounds by a president who has a mental health condition. Bye Bye American Pie (ODT)
President Donald Trump says that he does not want to fund the US Postal Service because Democrats are seeking to expand mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic, making explicit the reason he has declined to approve $US25 billion ($35 billion) in emergency funding for the cash-strapped agency.
A Major Danger (ODT)
Is adversarial politics damaging our democracy?
Those who despise adversarial politics find it to be contemptible, a damaging affliction on our political system. They resent the stifling impediments it places on governing, on governments carrying out what they promised the electorate they would do. They see it as focused on ‘winning’, on gaining a political advantage, rather than telling or establishing the truth, or contributing usefully to the discourse. It sets the teeth of the electorate on edge, which ‘turns off’ in despair. Voters would prefer politicians to be open and upfront, more focussed on the good of the nation, less willing to corrupt the usually-worthy principles that brought them into politics in the first place. At least our PM and Opposition leader are now cooperating well during the COVID-19 crisis.
What can we ordinary citizens do?
We might be able to bring about change if we, who pay our politicians’ wages via taxes, raise our voices against the use of exaggerated, depreciatory, derogatory and dishonest language by politicians, commentators and columnists. While the media might miss the theatre and the ‘newsworthy’ copy adversarial politics provides, the public would applaud a more measured approach, free from adversarial behaviour – so wasteful, so unproductive, so distasteful. We could write to our parliamentarians individually. Responders to this piece may have other suggestions. Sadly though, if history tells us anything, any change for the better is probably a vain hope.
Trump’s Democracy Civil War
Trump still has several months to fill more court vacancies, and McConnell will definitely make this a top priority ― especially in the lame duck, if Trump loses reelection in November. But at the moment, there are no more appeals court seats to fill. McConnell has responded by personally reaching out to Republican-appointed judges and encouraging them to retire so he and Trump can fill their seats this year.
Trump is a Gift according to the American Left that keeps on giving (LNP)
While some pundits extol the virtue of strong government (i.e., dictatorship) in fighting Covid-19, Middle Eastern activists are once again mobilizing to insist that democracy is not a luxury in a time of pandemic. “Systems of government that are more democratic and transparent will keep citizens safe,” argues Mai El-Sadany. Because the human rights of all citizens are at stake, not just those of a minority, she explains, “this is a unique movement of norms creation.”
With the GOP in death-cult mode, steady destruction of checks and balances previously imagined to be fail-safe, the jelly-spined leadership of the Democratic Party, and the Soviet-grade purging of any disloyalty or disobedience in the federal systems, Trump has effectively destroyed American politics.
What the actual resolution might look like, I fear to envision, but I know it will not resemble anything Americans can remember or dare to imagine.
“Trump’s defenders are saying that our Constitution does not apply to the powerful few.”
By Robert Lipsyte< Attorney General William Barr’s campaign to expand the powers of the presidency to unprecedented imperial levels has been misinterpreted as an attempt to raise Donald Trump to the level of his strongman heroes like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, and Jair Bolsonaro. Fake news! It’s really been an attempt to boost him into the same league with the strongman heroes of far too many American men: the head coaches of our major sports, especially football. As a gang of anti-democratic, anti-intellectual, authoritarian bullies dedicated to winning at any cost, they have paved the way for Donald Trump and his “base.”
If the American political class were interested in electing a decent president, perhaps even one with moral courage, personal dignity, and an inspirational vision, they would be concentrating on the character, philosophy, and background of the candidates, right? But since those in the political arena, at least brand Republican, are mostly concerned with donor dollars, expanding that base, and the charisma of their macho leader, many of them are all too ready to follow a big, loud, glad-handing figure eager to lead us deep into crises that he — and yes, it is a “he” — will claim only he can bulldoze through.
The problem is: democracies can’t function properly if there isn’t a shared truth, no matter how broad, among the voting public.
And yes, the split in our shared reality didn’t happen overnight. It has eroded for years with the help a strident, polarising Murdoch media and talkback radio, much of which is spread widely online.
But social media’s ability to filter the facts, and experience, has accelerated this trend to a crisis level.
This is something being learned the hard way in the US, when life and death decisions are being taken on worldviews that are only half-shared within the nation.
Instead it delights in thumbing its nose at democracy and transparency; turning its back on expert advice.
Above all, as the Liberal Forum annual gathering at Kevin McCann’s pad in Mosman last week so powerfully attests this is a government that has betrayed any ideals it may once have had in favour of Machiavellian pragmatism to keep itself in power for power’s sake and to serve the interests of its powerful corporate backers. It is not just a degenerate form of its earlier self; it is in a dangerously dysfunctional state of decay.
The removal of Trump from office would not threaten corporate power. It would not restore civil liberties, including our right to privacy and due process. It would not demilitarize the police or champion the rights of the working class. It would not impede the profits of the fossil fuel and banking industries. It would not address the climate emergency. It would not disrupt the warrantless surveillance of the public. It would not end extraordinary renditions, the kidnapping of those around the globe considered to be enemies of the state. It would not halt the assassinations by militarized drones. It would not halt the separation of children from their parents and the warehousing of these children in filthy, overcrowded conditions. It would not remedy the consolidation of wealth and power by the oligarchs and the further impoverishment of the citizenry. The expansion of our prison system and of black sites throughout the world, sites where we torture, would continue, as would the gunning down of poor, unarmed citizens in urban wastelands. Most importantly, the catastrophic foreign wars that have resulted in a series of failed states and wasted trillions of taxpayer dollars, would remain sacrosanct, enthusiastically embraced by the leaders of the two ruling parties, puppets of the deep state.
That’s not America. After all, Lady Liberty used to welcome newcomers with a torch, not an AR-15. We don’t wall ourselves in while bombing others in distant parts of the world, right?
Militarism in the USA & The Decay of Democracy
Democracy shouldn’t be about celebrating overlords in uniform. A now-widely accepted belief is that America is more divided, more partisan than ever, approaching perhaps a new civil war, as echoed in the rhetoric of our current president. Small wonder that inflammatory rhetoric is thriving and the list of this country’s enemies lengthening when Americans themselves have so softly yet fervently embraced militarism.
the President of the United States brazenly “colluded” with two foreign powers (to coin a term), publicly encouraging them to attack one of his domestic political opponents—the very thing the Founders most feared, and which they created the mechanism of impeachment to address. Yet the silence from the President’s party thus far has been deafening. Are we going to be a representative democracy ruled by law, or an autocracy led by a despot? Is the modern GOP really willing to burn the entire foundation of our republic to the ground in order to maintain its hold on power? (Rhetorical question. We know by now that they are.)
The modern Republican Party is about to decide just how savagely history will remember it. And if we as a nation allow them to get away with it, we deserve what we get.