What Happens Now?
We ever Believed The Day Will Come!
And he is now preparing to rush through the final votes in order to legalise everything before Brexit day, after which the UK will move into the post-Brexit transition period.
The Withdrawal Agreement Bill will be brought back to the Commons after it passed its initial hurdle before Christmas. The Bill is expected to pass with ease given that the Prime Minister now has a comfortable majority in Parliament.
The Prime Minister wants to get the bill through the Commons stages by the end of Thursday and this is likely to happen considering there will not be the same Parliamentary battles we became used to during the months of minority government.
Labour has proposed an amendment to force the Government to consult Parliament and the devolved assemblies during onward trade negotiations and also to extend the transitional period to two years if a future deal is not agreed by December.
And the SNP has proposed an amendment suggesting the Bill should not apply to Scotland. But, given the Conservative majority, neither of these amendments is expected to be voted for.
Mark Francois and Nigel Evans have also proposed an amendment calling for Big Ben to chime at the moment the UK officially leaves the EU.
In between debating the Brexit Bill, MPs will also have to squeeze in the first Prime Minister's Questions of 2020.
After the bill and all its amendments have been considered, it is expected to clear the Commons by Thursday 9 January.
The Bill will pass over to the House of Lords the following week on 13 January - as Parliament does not sit on Fridays. Peers will also debate and vote on the. Here, it is also expected to pass with ease.
MPs will debate final changes to the bill at this stage, before it is given Royal Assent which converts it into UK law.
Brexit day. The UK will leave the EU at 11pm British time.
What comes next...?
Once the UK has formally left the EU, the Government will then begin the next stage - and the next challenge - of securing a trade agreement and new partnership with the bloc by the end of the transitional period at the end of the year.
It is not yet clear whether the negotiations will begin as soon as the EU withdrawal is complete in February, but if the Prime Minister wants to secure the complex deals within less than a year as he says he does then he will have to move pretty fast.
.There is due to be a summit in June during which Britain and the EU27 will be able to assess the progress of the trade talks. This month is also the deadline for the UK to request an extension of the transition period beyond December 2020.
This is the deadline the EU has given for a trade deal to have been agreed in order for it to be presented to the European Parliament and ratified by the end of the year.
This is the deadline under the current transition period rules. If a trade deal is not in place and ratified by this date the UK would essentially leave on no deal terms and would revert to basic World Trade Organization terms.
.December 31 2022
This is the final date to which the transition period could be extended if Mr Johnson chose to do so. He would have to request this by June 2020.
Have a look at our toolkit and see what might work in your community
Empowering youth: Anti-corruption kit for young activists
Today is International Youth Day, a day for celebrating young people in society and their power to shape the world around them.
When it comes to fighting corruption, many young people are already making a big difference to the communities and countries they live in. But for those just starting out, the prospect of kick-starting a campaign, running a hackathon or planning a protest can be daunting.
That’s why we created our new anti-corruption kit – offering 15 ideas for young activists, with step-by-step guidance on how to turn a plan into action. Here are five ways young leaders in our movement are putting these tools into practice:
The New Media’s Role in Politics
New political media are forms of communication that facilitate the production, dissemination, and exchange of political content on platforms and within networks that accommodate interaction and collaboration. They have evolved rapidly over the past three decades, and continue to develop in novel, sometimes unanticipated ways. New media have wide-ranging implications for democratic governance and political practices.
They have radically altered the ways in which government institutions operate and political leaders communicate. They have transformed the political media system, and redefined the role of journalists. They have redefined the way elections are contested, and how citizens engage in politics.
The rise of new media has complicated the political media system. Legacy media consisting of established mass media institutions that predate the Internet, such as newspapers, radio shows, and television news programs, coexist with new media that are the outgrowth of technological innovation.
While legacy media maintain relatively stable formats, the litany of new media, which includes websites, blogs, video-sharing platforms, digital apps, and social media, are continually expanding in innovative ways. Mass media designed to deliver general interest news to broad audiences have been joined by niche sources that narrowcast to discrete users (Stroud, 2011).
New media can relay information directly to individuals without the intervention of editorial or institutional gatekeepers, which are intrinsic to legacy forms. Thus, new media have introduced an increased level of instability and unpredictability into the political communication process.
The relationship between legacy media and new media is symbiotic. Legacy media have incorporated new media into their reporting strategies.
They distribute material across an array of old and new communication platforms. They rely on new media sources to meet the ever-increasing demand for content. Despite competition from new media, the audiences for traditional media remain robust, even if they are not as formidable as in the past.
Readers of the print edition of The New York Times and viewers of the nightly network news programs far outnumber those accessing the most popular political news websites (Wired Staff, 2017).
Cable and network television news remain the primary sources of political information for people over the age of thirty (Mitchell and Holcomb, 2016). Consequently, new media rely on their legacy counterparts to gain legitimacy and popularize their content.
Ideally, the media serve several essential roles in a democratic society. Their primary purpose is to inform the public, providing citizens with the information needed to make thoughtful decisions about leadership and policy. The media act as watchdogs checking government actions.
They set the agenda for public discussion of issues, and provide a forum for political expression. They also facilitate community building by helping people to find common causes, identify civic groups, and work toward solutions to societal problems.
New media have the potential to satisfy these textbook functions. They provide unprecedented access to information, and can reach even disinterested audience members through personalized, peer-to-peer channels, like Facebook. As average people join forces with the established press to perform the watchdog role, public officials are subject to greater scrutiny.
Issues and events that might be outside the purview of mainstream journalists can be brought into prominence by ordinary citizens. New media can foster community building that transcends physical boundaries through their extensive networking capabilities.
Although legacy media coverage of political events correlates with increased political engagement among the mass public, mainstream journalists do not believe that encouraging participation is their responsibility (Hayes and Lawless, 2016). However, new media explicitly seek to directly engage the public in political activities, such as voting, contacting public officials, volunteering in their communities, and taking part in protest movements.
At the same time, the new media era has acerbated trends that undercut the ideal aims of a democratic press. The media disseminate a tremendous amount of political content, but much of the material is trivial, unreliable, and polarizing. The watchdog role pre-new media had been performed largely by trained journalists who, under the best of circumstances, focused on uncovering the facts surrounding serious political transgressions.
Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein inspired a generation of investigative journalists after revealing President Richard Nixon’s role in the break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate Hotel, forcing his resignation (Shepard, 2012). Much news in the new media era is defined by coverage of a never-ending barrage of sensational scandals—be they real, exaggerated, or entirely fabricated—that often are only tangentially related to governing.
This chapter begins by briefly addressing the evolution of new media in the United States to establish the core characteristics of the current political media system. We then will focus on the role of media in providing information in a democratic polity, and will examine the ways in which new media have impacted this role.
The diversity of content disseminated by new media has created opportunities, such as the ability for more voices to be heard. However, the questionable quality of much of this information raises serious issues for democratic discourse. Next, we will discuss how the new media are integral to political coverage in a post-truth society, where falsehoods infused with tidbits of fact pass as news.
Finally, we will contemplate the ways in which the watchdog press is being overshadowed by the mouthpiece press which serves as a publicity machine for politicians.
The Evolution of New Media
New media emerged in the late 1980s when entertainment platforms, like talk radio, television talk shows, and tabloid newspapers, took on prominent political roles and gave rise to the infotainment genre. Infotainment obscures the lines between news and entertainment, and privileges sensational, scandal-driven stories over hard news (Jebril, et al., 2013).
Politicians turned to new media to circumvent the mainstream press’ control over the news agenda. The infotainment emphasis of new media at this early stage offered political leaders and candidates a friendlier venue for presenting themselves to the public than did hard news outlets (Moy, et al., 2009). During the 1992 presidential election,
Democratic candidate Bill Clinton famously appeared on Arsenio Hall’s television talk show wearing sunglasses and playing the saxophone, which created a warm, personal image that set the tone for his campaign (Diamond, et al., 1993).
The fusing of politics and entertainment attracted audiences that typically had been disinterested in public affairs (Williams and Delli Carpini, 2011). It also prompted the ascendance of celebrity politicians, and set the stage for a “reality TV” president like Donald Trump decades later.
Political observers and scholars contemplated the advent of a “new media populism” that would engage disenfranchised citizens and facilitate a more active role for the public in political discourse. New media had the potential to enhance people’s access to political information, facilitate wider-ranging political discourse, and foster participation.
Initially, the public responded positively to the more accessible communication channels, calling in to political talk programs and participating in online town hall meetings. However, new media’s authentic populist potential was undercut by the fact that the new political media system evolved haphazardly, with no guiding principles or goals.
It was heavily dominated by commercial interests and those already holding privileged positions in politics and the news industry. Public enthusiasm eventually gave way to ambivalence and cynicism, especially as the novelty of the first phase of new media wore off (Davis and Owen, 1998).
The next phase in the development of new media unfolded in conjunction with the application of emerging digital communications technologies to politics that made possible entirely new outlets and content delivery systems. The digital environment and the platforms it supports greatly transformed the political media system.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, new political media platforms quickly progressed from the rudimentary “brochureware” website, used by Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992, to encompass sites with interactive features, discussion boards, blogs, online fundraising platforms, volunteer recruitment sites, and meet-ups. The public became more involved with the actual production and distribution of political content.
Citizen journalists were eyewitnesses to events that professional journalists did not cover. Non-elites offered their perspectives on political affairs to politicians and peers. Members of the public also were responsible for recording and posting videos that could go viral and influence the course of events (Wallsten, 2010).
In 2006, for example, the reelection campaign of Republican Senator George Allen was derailed by a viral video in which he used the term “macaca,” a racial slur, to refer to a young man of Indian ancestry who was attending his campaign rally (Craig and Shear, 2006).
A third phase in the evolution of new media is marked by Democratic candidate Barack Obama’s groundbreaking digital campaign strategy in the 2008 presidential election. Obama’s team revolutionized the use of social media in an election they felt was unwinnable using traditional techniques
The campaign made use of advanced digital media features that capitalized on the networking, collaboration, and community-building potential of social media to create a political movement. The Obama campaign website was a full-service, multimedia center where voters not only could access information, they also could watch and share videos, view and distribute campaign ads, post comments, and blog.
Supporters could donate, volunteer, and purchase campaign logo items, like tee shirts and caps. The campaign was active on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as a range of other social media platforms that catered to particular constituencies, such as BlackPlanet, AsianAve, and Glee.
The campaign pioneered digital microtargeting tactics. It used social media to collect data on people’s political and consumer preferences, and created voter profiles to pursue specific groups, such as young professional voters, with customized messages.
The new media trends established in the 2008 campaign have carried over to the realm of government and politics more generally. Social media have become a pervasive force in politics, altering the communication dynamics between political leaders, journalists, and the public.
They have opened up wider avenues for instantaneous political discourse and debate. Research indicates that people’s access to social media networks has a positive effect on their sense of political efficacy and tendency to participate in politics (Gil de Zuniga, et al., 2010).
However, there also has been backlash when social media discourse has become too nasty, and users have blocked content or dropped out of their social media networks (Linder, 2016).
Social media allow people to efficiently organize and leverage their collective influence. Thus, political leaders are held more accountable because their actions are constantly probed on social media.
At the same time, legacy media organizations have come to rely on aspects of new media. News market conditions, declining advertising revenues, and competition from proliferating news sources.
The size of traditional newsrooms in the U.S. has shrunk by more than 20,000 positions in the past twenty years, and global newsrooms have experienced a similar decline (Owen, 2017). Legacy news organizations have cut investigative units, and only around one-third of reporters are assigned to political beats (Mitchell and Holcomb, 2016).
Alicia Shepard, a former media ombudsman and media literacy advocate, opined, “When newspapers can’t even cover daily journalism, how are they going to invest in long-term, expensive investigative reporting?” (2012). Still, journalists working for legacy organizations continue to do the yeoman’s share of serious news gathering and investigative reporting.
Mainstream journalists have come to rely heavily on new media content as a source of news. These trends have seriously influenced the quality and nature of news content as well as the style of political reporting, which has become more heavily infused with infotainment and quotes from Twitter feeds.
Providing Political Information
The complexities of the new media system are reflected in the diversity of available content. The information distributed via the vast communications network runs the gamut from fact-based, investigative reporting from professional journalists to brash fabrications or “alternative facts”
—to use the term coined by President Trump’s advisor Kellyanne Conway—proffered by the alternative press (Graham, 2017). In the new media era, the boundaries that separate these disparate types of information have become increasing muddled.
Professional media editors who regulate the flow of information by applying news principles and standards associated with the public good have become scarce (Willis, 1987). They have been replaced by social media and analytics editors whose primary motivation is to draw users to content regardless of its news value.
Audience members have to work hard to distinguish fact from fiction, and to differentiate what matters from what is inconsequential.
A number of explanations can be offered for the shift in the quality and quantity of political information. The technological affordances of new media allow content to propagate seemingly without limits. Social media have a dramatically different structure than previous media platforms.
Content can be relayed with no significant third-party filtering, fact-checking, or editorial judgement. Individuals lacking prior journalism training or reputation can reach many users at lightningfast speed. Messages multiply as they are shared across news platforms and via personal social networking accounts (Allcott and Gentzkow, 2017).
In addition, the economic incentives underpinning new media companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, are predicated on attracting large audiences that will draw advertising revenue. Political content is used to drive consumers to social media products, rather than to perform the public service function of informing the citizenry.
Commercial pressures lead media organizations to feature incendiary stories that receive the most attention. Further, while platforms proliferate, similar content is dispersed widely as media power is concentrated in a small number of old and new media corporations (McChesney, 2015). Search engines direct users to a limited selection of heavily trafficked and well-financed sites (Hindman, 2009; Pariser, 2011).
Other explanations focus on the nature of the American political environment that has become extremely polarized, prompting the emergence of political agendas that promote rogue politics.
A 2017 Pew Research Center study revealed that the gap between Democrats and Republicans on core political values, including the role of government, race, immigration, the social safety net, national security, taxes, and environmental protection, have grown to epic proportions for the modern era. Two-thirds of Americans fall solidly in the liberal or conservative camp, with few holding a mix of ideological positions
Speech on new media reflects these stark political divisions, and frequently devolves into expressions of hostility and ad hominem attacks. President Donald Trump used Twitter to ignite a controversy over NFL players who protested racial oppression during the playing of the national anthem before games.
He used a derogatory term to refer to players, who are predominantly African American, and urged team owners to fire those supporting the demonstration. Trump’s social media blasts accused the players of disrespecting the flag and the military, which misrepresents the protest agenda and has divided the public along political and racial lines.
jPolitical divisions are reflected in the presence of media “echo chambers,” where people select their news and information sources based on their affinity for the politics of other users. Modern-day new media echo chambers began to form during the first phase of new media, as conservative talk radio hosts, like Rush Limbaugh, attracted dedicated followers (Jamieson and Cappella, 2010).
Social media has hastened the development of echo chambers, as they facilitate people’s exposure to information shared by like-minded individuals in their personal digital networks, with 62% of adult Americans getting their news from social media platforms.
Even politically disinterested social media users frequently encounter news articles unintentionally as they scan their feed (Gottfried and Shearer, 2016). The ability of social media to isolate people from exposure to those with differing viewpoints exacerbates political polarization
A significant segment of the public perceives journalists as removed elites who do not share their conservative values. Political analyst Nate Silver (2017) contends that the national press has been operating in a politically homogenous, metropolitan, liberal-leaning bubble that has become attached to “Establishment Influentials”. He maintains that the mainstream media are out-of-touch with a wide swath of the public.
During the recent election this became clear as legacy media institutions are unable to connect effectively with the frustration and anger of people outside of high education and income circles (Camosy, 2016).
Some scholars argue that new media are closing the gap between distant journalists and the mass public by giving voice to those who have felt left out (Duggan and Smith, 2016). The Tea Party, a conservative political movement focused around issues about taxation and the national debt, used social networks for political mobilization in the 2010 midterm elections.
Tea Party candidates employed social media to reshape public discourse around the campaign, forging a sense of solidarity among groups who previously felt disenfranchised (Williamson, Skocpol, and Coggin, 2011). Candidates pushing an extreme agenda have amplified this trend.
Highly partisan, flamboyant congressional candidates, on both sides of the aisle, who spark political disagreement and indignant rhetoric garner the most supporters on Facebook. They use social media to solidify their political base (Messing and Weisel, 2017).
American author Ralph Keyes (2004) observes that society has entered a posttruth era. Deception has become a defining characteristic of modern life, and is so pervasive that people are desensitized to its implications. He laments the fact that ambiguous statements containing a kernel of authenticity, but falling short of the truth, have become the currency of politicians, reporters, corporate executives, and other power-brokers.
Journalist Susan Glasser (2016) argues that journalism has come to reflect the realities of reporting in post-truth America. Objective facts are subordinate to emotional appeals and personal beliefs in shaping public opinion. The public has difficulty distinguishing relevant news about weighty policy issues from the extraneous clamor that permeates the media.
The work of investigative journalists has in some ways has become more insightful and informed than in the past due to the vast resources available for researching stories, including greater access to government archives and big data analysis.
However, well-documented stories are obscured by the constant drone of repetitive, sensationalized trivia-bites that dominate old and new media. Reflecting on coverage of the last American presidential contest, Glasser states, “The media scandal of 2016 isn’t so much about what reporters fail to tell the American public; it’s about what they did report on, and the fact that it didn’t seem to matter” (2016).
Evidence that Glasser’s concerns are well-founded can be compiled by examining media content on a daily basis. Post-truth media was prominent during the 2016 presidential election. Media accounts of the election were infused with misinformation, baseless rumors, and outright lies.
False stories and unverified factoids emanated from fabricated news sites as well as the social media accounts of the candidates and their surrogates. Republican nominee Donald Trump used his Twitter feed to push out sensational, unverified statements that would dominate the news agenda, a practice he maintained after assuming the presidency.
alleged that the father of Ted Cruz, his challenger for the nomination, was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and perpetuated the false claim that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States (Carson, 2017). False news stories infiltrated reports by legacy media organizations as they relied heavily on digital sources for information.
Cable news organizations like CNN and MSNBC amplified Trump’s unfounded claims, such as his allegations that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the fall of the World Trade Center on 9/11, even as they criticized their veracity (Shafer, 2015).
Contrived controversies detract from coverage of important issues related to policy, process, and governance (Horton, 2017). In October of 2017, President Donald Trump and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) exchanged a series of insults as Congress considered major tax reforms.
The feud dominated coverage of the battle over tax legislation on new media, and commanded the front page of The New York Times. Among the many insults slung over the course of several weeks, Trump referred to Corker as “Liddle Bob,” and tweeted that Corker “couldn’t get elected dog catcher.” Corker called the White House “an adult day care center,” and labeled Trump “an utterly untruthful president” (Sullivan, 2017).
The Ascendance of Fake News
The most extreme illustration of the concept of post-truth reporting is the rise of fake news. The definition of fake news has shifted over time, and continues to be fluid. Initially, the term “fake news” referred to news parodies and satire, such as The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live.
During the 2016 campaign, the concept of fake news was attached to fictitious stories made to appear as if they were real news articles. These stories were disseminated on websites that had the appearance of legitimate news platforms or blogs, such as Infowars, The Rightest, and National Report.
A 2017 compilation documented 122 sites that routinely publish fake news (Chao, et al., 2017). Authors are paid—sometimes thousands of dollars—to write or record false information. Some of these authors are based in locations outside of the United States, including Russia (Shane, 2017).
They make use of social media interactions and algorithms to disseminate content to specific ideological constituencies. Fabricated stories are spread virally by social bots, automated software that replicates messages by masquerading as a person (Emerging Technology from the arXiv, 2017).
Objective facts are subordinate to emotional appeals and personal beliefs in shaping public opinion.
Fake news stories play to people’s preexisting beliefs about political leaders, parties, organizations, and the mainstream news media. While some fake news stories are outright fabrications, others contain elements of truth that make them seem credible to audiences ensconced in echo chambers.
Conspiracy theories, hoaxes, and lies were spread efficiently through Facebook, Snapchat, and other social media, and reached millions of voters in the 2016 election (Oremus, 2016). For example, a fabricated story on The Denver Gardian, a fake site meant to emulate the legitimate newspaper,
The Denver Post, reported that an F.B.I. agent connected with an investigation into Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails had murdered his wife and shot himself. Other erroneous reports claimed that Pope Francis had endorsed Donald Trump and that Hillary Clinton had sold weapons to ISIS (Rogers and Bromwich, 2016).
Conditions in the new media age have been ripe for the proliferation of fake news. The new media system has lifted many of the obstacles to producing and distributing news that were present in the previous mass media age. While vestiges of the digital divide persist, especially among lower-income families (Klein, 2017), barriers to new media access have been lowered.
The cost of producing and distributing information on a wide scale have been reduced. The logistics and skills necessary to create content are less formidable. Social networking sites make it possible to build and maintain audiences of like-minded people who will trust posted content.
Fake news proliferates widely through social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. In fact, fake news stories are spread more widely on Facebook than factual mainstream media reports (Silverman, 2016). Audiences are fooled and confused by fake news, which confounds basic facts about politics and government with fiction.
A 2016 Pew Research Center report found that 64% of the American public found that made-up news created a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current events, and an additional 24% believed fake news caused some confusion (Barthel, Mitchell, and Holcomb, 2016).
Finally, legal challenges to fake news and the distribution of false content are much more difficult to pose, as it is costly and time-consuming to sue publishers for spreading false information.
An alternative meaning of fake news emerged after the presidential election. At his first press conference as President-elect, Donald Trump appropriated the term “fake news” as a derogatory reference to the mainstream press. Pointing at CNN journalist Jim Acosta, who was attempting to ask a question, Trump exclaimed, “You are fake news!”
Trump and his acolytes frequently employ the “fake news” moniker when attempting to delegitimize the legacy media, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, for reporting they consider to be unfavorable (Carson, 2017).
Weary of Trump repeatedly invoking the “fake news” label, CNN launched a “Facts First” campaign in response to “consistent attacks from Washington and beyond.” A thirty second video shows an image of an apple, with the voice over:
This is an apple. Some people might try to tell you this is a banana. They might scream banana, banana, banana, over and over and over again. They might put banana in all caps. You might even start to believe that this is a banana. But it’s not. This is an apple.
Facts are facts.
They aren’t colored by emotion or bias. They are indisputable. There is no alternative to a fact. Facts explain things. What they are, how they happened. Facts are not interpretations. Once facts are established, opinions can be formed. And while opinions matter, they don’t change the facts.
New media have both expanded and undercut the traditional roles of the press in a democratic society. On the positive side, they have vastly increased the potential for political information to reach even the most disinterested citizens.
They enable the creation of digital public squares where opinions can be openly shared. They have created new avenues for engagement that allow the public to connect in new ways with government, and to contribute to the flow of political information.
At the same time, the coalescence of the rise of new media and post-truth society has made for a precarious situation that subverts their beneficial aspects. Presently, it appears as if there are few effective checks on the rising tide of false information.
Substituting scandal coverage for serious investigative journalism has weakened the press’ watchdog role. The ambiguous position of the media as a mouthpiece for politicians renders journalists complicit in the proliferation of bad information and faulty facts.
It is important to recognize that American journalism has never experienced a “golden age” where facts always prevailed and responsible reporting was absolute. However, the current era may mark a new low for the democratic imperative of a free press
M I Ro
Photos by Pixabay.com
Bad Day Scenario
How the Americans Work Behind our Backs
Thatcher was the monster in Politics and no matter how strong she was she made some mistakes as well. All lessons must be learned. really Brexit started when Thartcher sold the council flats,
Most citizens got ugry and that little anger stays inside you and something else in the future happens it also stays inside you until one day something piss you off and you find an easy target , Immigrants , and you blame them for all those bad things happend in the country and just like that Brexit was born.. Today's gallop shows that 78% of the people in UK wants to remain in Europe
Masterminds of the Brexit game of course are the great nation of the USA , like ghosts or shadows they working behind our backs to devastate our society to spread confussion and fear to citizens of Europe and they are to blame for every single wrong thing happening in Europe n Greece is the state they are cause of the USA . You can point the finger on easy fragile target and they get the blame.
Americans are to blame because they sent agents with no mercy missions to spread fear and confussion amongst citizens of a country and they do, fights political issues arise from nowhere and next thing u know the Americans invent the country to so called correct and rebuild Democracy, they bomb cities they kill innocent families children , genocide , they should be ashamed of themselves.
One thing is for sure USA have no idea what Democracy is and means they should go ahead and kill each other in order for Democracy to survive again on our Planet Democracy spell it and even their presidend can not spell the word not to know the meaning.
Yanis Varoufakis: “The EU declared war and Theresa May played along”
The former Greek finance minister on how a bad Brexit deal became inevitable and his plan to transform Europe. In 2016, shortly before the EU referendum, Yanis Varoufakis warned that the UK was destined for a “Hotel California Brexit”: it could check out but it could never leave. The former Greek finance minister spoke from experience. In 2015, his efforts to end austerity – “fiscal waterboarding” – were thwarted by the EU (a struggle recorded in his memoir Adults in the Room: My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment).
Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal confirmed Varoufakis’s prophecy: the UK would be condemned to purgatory. With fortuitous timing, on the evening that May’s agreement was published, Varoufakis delivered an Oxford Union lecture on Europe’s future. The 57-year-old Marxist and game theorist wryly remarked that Conservative cabinet ministers praised his analysis in private.
“The UK should never have entered the negotiations,” he told me when we met afterwards. “You do not negotiate with the EU because the EU does not negotiate with you. It sends a bureaucrat, in this case it was Mr Barnier…they could have sent an android, or an algorithm.”
May’s fatal error, Varoufakis said, was to accept a two-phase negotiation: a divorce agreement followed by a new trade deal. “This was a declaration of war because Barnier said: ‘You will give us everything we want: money, people, Ireland. And only then will we discuss what you want.’ Well, that isn’t a negotiation, that’s a travesty. And Theresa May agreed to play along.”
But Varoufakis, who helped persuade Jeremy Corbyn to support Remain in 2016, has little sympathy for the “People’s Vote” movement. “It’s offensive. What was the first vote? Wasn’t it a people’s vote? To call it a people’s vote is to try and delegitimise the original vote – to say it was dictatorial, it was rigged.”
He added: “You have to explain two things: first, how are you going to get the referendum completed before the Article 50 period is over? Secondly, how can you have a binary choice between five or six options? Explain those things and I’m with you.”
Has the UK’s difficulties deterred other member states from leaving? “I never thought that the EU would disintegrate as a result of exits,” Varoufakis said. “It is fragmenting without any formal exits. You have Orbán [in Hungary] doing his own thing, the Polish government doing its own thing, the Italian government violating all the rules.” The EU could, he quipped, one day resemble the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States (“I was in Moscow some time ago and noticed there was still an office”) – or, I suggested, the League of Nations.
Angela Merkel, Europe’s pre-eminent leader, has begun her long farewell. I asked Varoufakis how he viewed the liberal adulation of the German austerian. “I’m a dialectician: she has been a disaster and we’re going to miss her. She is a disaster because she squandered immense political capital that could have been used to reshape Europe. But we’re going to miss her because whatever comes next will be worse.”
Varoufakis is writing “political science fiction” but his main focus is the pan-continental Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25), which he founded in 2015 and which will contest next year’s European elections. Some, I noted, had dismissed it as a vanity project (albeit one with 75,000 members).
“There are historic moments, moments of deep crisis when we need new movements,” Varoufakis countered. “The Labour Party emerged because the Liberals simply could not satisfy the needs of the working class in Britain. Similarly, I think that DiEM25 is necessary because nationally confined parties are simply not fit for purpose when our major crises – private debt, public debt, low investment and poverty – are like climate change, they’re common crises.”
He added: “It’s important to keep freedom of movement, we’re internationalists and we do not want to see borders. The idea that foreigners are a problem is a toxic idea and it’s completely wrong. I reject wholeheartedly the argument that no borders serves the interest of capital because migrants compete with the local working class. This is a pathetic argument, it’s wrong, that never happens. Migrants create jobs - in aggregate - they do not take jobs away.”
His dream, he said, was for the UK to return to a progressive and democratic EU in 2025. Varoufakis has deep ties to Britain: he studied mathematics and obtained a PhD in economics at the University of Essex (accounting for his fluent English) and taught at Cambridge.
He later emigrated to Australia, where he lectured at the University of Sydney, before returning to Greece in 2000 (citing “nostalgia and abhorrence of [Australia’s] conservative turn”). He lives there with his second wife, Danae Stratou, a Greek visual and installation artist.
In an era of centre-left decline and “Pasokification” (a term derived from Greece’s vanquished Pasok party), Varoufakis continues to draw hope from Jeremy Corbyn.
“I remain a great supporter of Jeremy. I’m not so sure about the Labour Party because it is a cesspit of backstabbing and shenanigans. It’s a very antiquated party, I wouldn’t like to be part of it. But Jeremy has done a remarkable job of navigating his way through the various landmines that the Blairites put in his way.”
In Greece, Varoufakis said, his “greatest adversary” is “the couch”. He explained: “After 2015, people felt so demoralised that they’ve privatised their grief, their concerns, their hopes and they stay at home. It is impossible to get them off the couch, to get them to vote, to participate.”
But “talking to people”, Varoufakis said, also remained his greatest source of optimism. “It’s when I am reading newspapers and listening to the radio that my spirits wane.”
Don’t laugh at liars like Boris Johnson and Sean Spicer. Call them out
Liars lie. The more they get away with it, the more they do it. Trump lies as he breathes, bombarding us with untruth upon untruth until we stumble in disbelief. This is all part of what we call fake news, but fake news is enabled by two things: individuals who lie and an equivocating media culture that is cautious about calling certain people liars.
Thus we have Boris Johnson – a known liar, somehow still considered a possible prime minister – doing what exactly? “Misleading” us? Though the evidence is presented to show that his figure of £350m a week that will come back to us once we leave the EU is false, no one wants to quite say that his claims are a deliberate lie.
That this sum would go to the NHS was the leavers’ magic promise, emblazoned on the side of a campaign bus. It was, we are required to say, not a downright lie but a distortion. David Norgrove, head of the UK Statistics Authority, said it was “a clear misuse of official statisitics”. So this figure is in dispute. Maybe we can call it “an inverted pyramid of piffle”, as Johnson once said when lying about a four-year affair that he denied.
Johnson was sacked by Michael Howard for lying. As a journalist he was known for “embroidering” stories. He was sacked from the Times for lying. Making up quotes. Or, as he explained it to Eddie Mair: “I mildly sandpapered something somebody said.”
Still, he has risen to the top because this lying (he backs Theresa May, and I am a straight banana) is all part of his chaotic and colourful life. The media stand by, seemingly afraid to confront his lies with evidence.
The £350m claim is a lie and even if he is half as clever as his mates say he is, he knows it. But why wouldn’t he lie? So far he has reaped significant rewards for it. His appalling behaviour is consequence-free. Indeed, he can now look across the Atlantic and see that lying is not a bar to power but an attribute of it.
The hapless Sean Spicer, Trump’s former spokesman, who lied not just about the crowds at his boss’s inauguration, but about the Holocaust, turned up at the Emmys. Hilarious, right? At least he can laugh at himself!
He lied for money and those who encourage others to laugh at him invite him right back into the inner circle. Satire is not dead, it is merely comatose because it no longer has anything to tell other than a vague truth (that Trump is stupid). Nor does it have any idea who it is telling it to – people who already think Trump is an idiot?
To watch the rehabilitation of these liars is galling, but it happens with media consent. It is a disgusting spectacle. If we stop demanding truth or even the semblance of it, we bypass any possibility of integrity in the name of entertainment. We shrug off the very notion that there can be anything other than fake news.
Boris Johnson is in the business of creating fake news. It is his modus operandi, as it was Sean Spicer’s. One of these men will do a round of chat shows and write some god-awful memoir signifying nothing. The other is spoken of still as a possible prime minister.
This is frankly unbelievable. The lies that we know these men have told are not funny, or bombast, or “sand-papering” or “truth–stretching”, or mere quirks of character or ego. They cannot be normalised by showbiz or fellow politicians. Their lies are a violation of decency. Call them out every time.
Why we vote for liars
The great fact-checking crusade of 2012 by FactCheck.org, PolitiFact, The Fact Checker, CNN Fact Check, AP Fact Check, etc. has told us something very important about the workings of democracy that we already knew: Candidates bend the truth, distort the facts, fudge the numbers, deceive, delude, hoodwink, equivocate, misrepresent, and, yes, lie, as a matter of course.
Both major-party presidential candidates and their campaigns routinely lie, as a Time magazine cover story recently documented, although the publication gave Mitt Romney’s campaign top honors for lying more frequently and more brazenly. Time is not alone in its assessment: Romney also leads Barack Obama in the Washington Post‘s Fact Checker “Pinocchio” sweepstakes.
But the lies will continue until Nov. 6, after which the chief mission left to the checkers will be to determine whether the winner was a bigger liar than the loser. The candidates lie about each other, they lie about themselves, they lie about issues they know intimately, and they lie about issues they barely understand.
Of Romney, the Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank writes today that the candidate has changed, reversed and obliterated his views so many times that “Whatever Romney’s positions were, they are no longer.”
If either presidential candidate met you, he’d tell you a lie within 15 seconds of shaking your hand, and if he knew he were going to meet your mother, he’d invent a special set of lies for her. Politicians lie not because they’re wicked – though some are – but because they’ve learned that political markets rarely reward honest campaigners.
Say what you will about Ralph Nader and H. Ross Perot, but they ran relatively honest campaigns on the issues, and the voters rejected them. The political market spoke many years ago and continues to speak: Telling the truth is not great for campaigns – and if it were, more people would be doing it.
The one presidential candidate in recent memory to win the White House posing as a truth teller was Jimmy Carter, who famously promised early in his campaign: “I’ll never tell a lie” and “I’ll never knowingly make a misstatement of fact” as president.
These promises drew instant fire from the press, most notably Steven Brill, who flayed him in a March 1976 Harper’s piece titled “Jimmy Carter’s Pathetic Lies” (subscription required). Carter, who told no fewer lies than the average candidate, paid a political price for his promise, as everyone turned up their radar. “
By saying that he would never tell a lie, Carter decided for himself that that’s going to be his standard,” said Alan Baron, George McGovern’s press secretary. “Well, fine, let’s hold him to it.” As soon as they could, voters replaced the non-lying liar with Ronald Reagan, a man so smooth even he didn’t know when he was lying.
Some of the lies the candidates tell are innocuous and are not held against them, as Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Paul Waldman write in their 2003 book, The Press Effect: Politicians, Journalists, and the Stories that Shape the Political World. For example, “It’s great to be in Kansas City” is a completely acceptable lie, as is the platitude,
“Nothing is more important to me than the future of our children,” Jamieson and Waldman write. Nor do voters care much if candidates claim to have “led the fight” for a piece of legislation if all they did was vote for it or sign it. Moving up the ladder of lying, candidates rarely are forced to pay a political price when they butcher the truth, even in presidential debates.
”You can say anything you want during a debate and 80 million people hear it,” said Vice President George H.W. Bush’s press secretary Peter Teeley in 1984, adding a “so what?” to the fact that reporters might document a candidate’s debate lies. ”Maybe 200 people read it or 2,000 or 20,000.”
Campaigns can survive the most blatant political lies, but candidates must be careful not to lie about themselves – or even appear to lie about themselves, as Jamieson and Waldman demonstrate in a long chapter about Al Gore’s image problems. Gore never claimed to have invented the Internet or to have discovered Love Canal.
He did, however, falsely claim during the 1988 presidential contest to have gotten “a bunch of people indicted and sent to jail” while working as a reporter. Voters demand authenticity in their presidential candidates, even if the authenticity is fake, as was George W. Bush’s just-folks manner. To lie about an issue is to be a politician. To lie about a corporation is to be a public relation executive.
To lie about a legal matter is to be a lawyer. To lie about international power relations is to be a diplomat. But to lie about who you are is to be a hypocrite, and voters despise hypocrites.
Voters especially don’t mind if their presidential candidate tells a lie that appears to repudiate the party’s most sacred principles. For instance, in the first of the 2012 presidential debates, Mitt Romney claimed to be for economic regulation. “Regulation is essential.
You can’t have a free market work if you don’t have regulation,” said Romney. Few Romney supporters flinched at their man’s endorsement of government intervention into business, because they knew he knew his lie was designed to make himself look palatable to easily duped Democrats and independents.
If they’ve hung with him this long, Romney supporters know that his presidential campaign has been one long lie – first to convince the Republican Party that he was an honest conservative and now to convince voters in the general election that he’s a devoted moderate.
The pervasiveness of campaign lies tells us something we’d rather not acknowledge, at least not publicly: On many issues, voters prefer lies to the truth. That’s because the truth about the economy, the future of Social Security and Medicare, immigration, the war in Afghanistan, taxes, the budget, the deficit, and the national debt is too dismal to contemplate. As long as voters cast their votes for candidates who make them feel better, candidates will continue to lie. And to win.
Finally, science shows that politicians are lying liars who lie
This is the season of lies. We watch with fascination as candidates for the world’s most powerful job trade falsehoods and allegations of dishonesty. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump routinely calls rival Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted.” Cruz retorts: “Falsely accusing someone of lying is itself a lie and something Donald does daily.”
News organizations such as The Associated Press and PolitiFact dedicate enormous resources to separating candidates’ truthful wheat from their dishonest chaff.
But if we’ve come to expect and even joke about office-seekers who seem truth averse (“How do you know a politician is lying? His lips are moving”), many of us have given little thought to our own fibs and to how they compare with politicians’ deceits. What if PolitiFact looked at what we say to our spouses, friends and bosses?
For more than two decades, researchers of different stripes have examined humanity’s less-than-truthful underbelly. This is what they have found: We all stretch the truth. We learned to deceive as toddlers. We rationalize our fabrications that benefit us. We tell little white lies daily that make others feel good.
Now magnify that. Politicians distort the truth more often, use more self-justifications and deceive in larger ways, and with more consequences, experts in psychology and political science say.
“I feel more worried about lying in public life (specifically by politicians, and in particular, Trump) than I ever have before,” psychology researcher Bella DePaulo at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said in an email. When lies succeed, they make it “more tempting to lie. Lies can stick. They can have a lingering effect, even if they are debunked. ”
Deception starts early. Children learn to lie at an average of about 3 years old, often when they realize that other people don’t know what they are thinking, said Kang Lee, a professor at the University of Toronto.
He has done extensive research on children and lying. Lee set up an experiment in a video-monitored room and would tell children there’s a toy they can have that’s behind them, but they can only get it if they don’t peek. Then the adult is called out of the room, returns a minute later and asks if they peeked.
At age 2, only 30 percent lie, Lee said. At age 3, half do. By 5 or 6, 90 percent of the kids lie and Lee said he worries about the 10 percent who don’t. This is universal, Lee said. A little later, “we explicitly teach our kids to tell white lies,” with parental coaching about things like saying how much they love gifts from grandma, and it’s a lesson most of them only get around age 6 or older, Lee said.
In 1996, DePaulo, author of “The Hows and Whys of Lies,” put recorders on students for a week and found they lied, on average, in every third conversation of 10 minutes or more. For adults, it was once every five conversations.
A few years later, Robert Feldman at the University of Massachusetts taped students in conversations with total strangers and got similar results with the participants not realizing they were lying until they watched themselves.
“I would say we’re lying constantly. Constantly,” said Maurice Schweitzer, who studies deception and decision-making at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Trump’s alma mater.
The problem is there are many shades of truth-bending. Experts split on whether to count white lies – what psychologist and political scientist Stanley Renshon calls “social lubrication” that makes civilized operate. When your spouse tells you that you don’t look fat in that outfit when you do, does it really do any harm? “There’s a difference between white lies and real lies,” Renshon said.
Some lies, said Schweitzer, “fall under politeness norms and are not very harmful. There are other lies that are self-interested and those are the ones that are really harmful. Those are the ones that harm relationships, harm trust.”
But others, like DePaolo, see no distinction: “It doesn’t matter if the attempt was motivated by good intentions and it doesn’t matter if the lie is about something little.”
Regardless, society rewards people for white lies, Feldman said.
“We’re really trained to be deceptive,” Feldman said. “If we’re not, if we’re totally truthful all the time that’s not a good thing, there’s a price to be paid for that. We don’t like people who tell us the truth all the time.”
From there it’s only a small leap to what politicians do.
“The lies that we accept from politicians right now are lies that are seen as acceptable because it’s what we want to hear,” like a spouse saying that an outfit flatters you, Feldman said.
“People want their politicians to lie to them. The reason that people want their politicians to lie them is that people care about politics,” said Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University.
“You understand that Washington is a dirty place and that lying is actually very helpful to get your policies implemented.”
When people deceive beyond white lies, they spend a lot of effort justifying and rationalizing what they are doing.
“They engage in something we call justified dishonesty,” said Shaul Shalvi, who runs the Behavioral Ethics Lab at the University of Amsterdam. It happens when people’s desire to be ethical clash with the desire to profit or get something. In that case people are willing to lie just a bit “as long as it seems legit,” Shalvi said
As long as they have a good rationale they can stretch the truth as long as they really want,” Shalvi said. Cyclist Lance Armstrong, Shalvi said, justified his denials of doping because he felt his story raised hope in cancer victims – though it also benefited Armstrong. “He was convincing himself that what he was doing was not that wrong at the time. I think politicians do the same,” Shalvi said, who adds politicians do this frequently.
Similarly, Jennifer Mercieca, a Texas A&M professor of communications who studies political rhetoric and teaches fact-checking, said politicians such as the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wis., “convince themselves that the ends justify the means” and “the reasons they are doing it are more important.”
The experts who study lying are alarmed by what they are seeing in 2016, and by its ramifications. “Dishonesty is contagious,” said the University of Nottingham’s Simon Gaechter.
His March 2016 study examined honesty in a dice game in 23 different countries (but not the United States) and then compared them to a corruption index for those countries. The more corrupt a society was, the more likely the people there were willing to deceive in the simple dice game.
Most people want to be honest, but if they live in a country where rule violations are rampant “people say, ‘Well everybody cheats. If I cheat here, then that’s OK,'” Gaechter said.
Add to that confirmation bias, Mercieca said. The public tends to believe things – even if they are false – “that confirm what we be already believe” and come from news sources and partisans that they already trust and agree with.
Political scientist and psychologist Renshon said politicians should be held up to a higher standard but over the decades, they and the government have been more deceitful and unwilling to tell the public something that could hurt them politically.
When President Dwight Eisenhower misled the public about a spy plane captured by the Soviet Union, lying was the exception. By the time President Bill Clinton strained the meaning of the word “is” testifying before a grand jury, it was more common.
“We’ve become kind of numb to it,” said Pamela Meyer, the Washington based author of the book “Liespotting” and chief executive officer of the private firm Calibrate, which that trains people and companies about how to spot deception. “In Washington, deception is the gift that keeps on giving.”
But there’s a high cost in everyday society – a loss of trust that is difficult to regain – when someone is discovered to be lying, Lee said. There are also costs to the liar, he said, noting studies that measure the effect of deception on the body and brain and how much energy it takes to create and maintain a lie.
“When you tell lies it costs your brain a heckuva lot more resources than when you tell the truth,” Lee said. Lee is working on a video camera that would study people’s heart rate, stress level, blood flow and mood, a kind of video lie detector called transdermal optical imaging.
He envisions a future televised political debate, with a camera trained on the candidates showing their heart rates and breathing levels – “an index of lying.”
Broken Britain has met its breaker in Boris Johnson
Out of the jag, a gentle smirk. Mission accomplished. Broken Britain, gone to meet its breaker. Prime minister Boris Johnson is the joke and we are now the punchline.
These days have their familiar rituals. The helicopters whir overhead, the cars drive up and down the short red roads to the palace, the moment is made flesh by the emergence of that awkward photograph with the Queen. These are the things that remain the same when everything changes, but never has it changed so utterly. This is a day of the like the country has never seen before.
When the news broke yesterday, I happened to be sitting near a woman in a public place, who was reading on her phone about her new prime minister, specifically, a boxed out list of his failed marriages, affairs and unconfirmed numbers of secret children.
Her son of about seven years of age asked her what it was about and she had to make something up. Everyday people, going about their everyday lives, forced to lie to their kids to cover up for the record-breaking wasteman, the Etonian Mick Philpott, that is their new prime minister.
With her final act in public office, Theresa May had to lie for him too. There she was, on the steps of Downing Street, telling Johnson that, “Your successes will be the country’s successes.” Those “successes” will either be the renegotiation of a deal she knows cannot be renegotiated, or a no-deal Brexit that she herself ruled out months ago, because she knows with complete certainty it would be an utter disaster.
She spoke of Brexit as “a national renewal that can move us beyond the current impasse into the bright future the British people deserve”. She’s been prime minister for three long years in which every week has left the country £600m poorer than if Brexit, which she campaigned against and did not vote for, had not happened. There is no bright future. There are only lies.
And there, right on cue, with his big blonde mane, there was the Liar King. “The buck stops here,” he said outside No 10, jabbing his finger forward, but he wasted no time at all in preparing the ground for the task ahead – which is to shift the blame for his inevitable failure on to absolutely anyone who might be conned into taking it.
The buck stops here, but, if no-deal Brexit happens it will be because “Brussels refuses to negotiate any further”. The last three years of misery that he and his merry band of liars inflicted on the nation are already someone else’s fault.
“The pessimists at home and abroad ... the doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters,” all these people are wrong, even though they’ve been right about everything so far.
“The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts,” he said. It is tedious to have to repeat the people who bet against Britain are the hedge fund managers that shorted the pound in June 2016, shorted the construction companies, shorted all the things that plummet every time a country tanks. They bet against Britain, the Liar King delivered them billions, and they have delivered him what he wanted. The little people, naturally, pick up the tab.
What do we say to describe the country in which we now live? These are realities with which we are entirely unfamiliar. What do we say, for example, about Dominic Cummings, the Vote Leave chief who is now going to run Downing Street, becoming effectively, the nation’s CEO? Do we say that a racist is running the country? Cummings ran the Vote Leave campaign, and was delighted to produce posters that showed shadowy footprints sneaking into Britain’s back door, combined with a straight-up, 100 per cent pure lie: “Turkey is joining the EU.”
You simply do not get to exploit the racism of other people for your own political ends, and somehow rise above the idea that you, yourself are a racist. Cummings may have a “large brain”, as everybody so loves to say, but he is every inch the moral equivalent of Nigel Farage, of Nick Griffin, of Tommy Robinson or any other abysmal public figure who deals in the politics of racism and Islamophobia. A dawn has broken of a kind that Britain has never seen before.
As protesters howled at the gates, the man of this dismal hour howled at the nation. The list of things he’s going to do, social care reform, the “levelling up” of per-pupil spending in schools, has already been shown to be meaningless garbage.
Among his shouted list of supposed big announcements, was news that we are to, “get going now on our own satellite positioning technology”. The UK has already made a huge financial and intellectual contribution to the EU’s satellite positioning system,
Galileo, which we have walked out on because we chose to smash up our country in the service of our new prime minister’s political ambitions. So now we will build our own (we won’t). Few things serve as a better illustration of the level to which we have allowed ourselves to be lowered.
There was, in the street outside Downing Street, the traditional paean to our great country. A country, “Whose brand, and political personality, whose diplomacy is loved and admired throughout the world.”
Is it worth repeating that our “diplomacy” has just been drummed out of America because Johnson was too cowardly to speak up for it? And his own personal diplomacy has left a British woman locked up in Iran?
There is an old German phrase, the one who has spoiled the soup must eat it. At least Johnson’s hand is now on the spoon. Over the long, dreadful months ahead, there will be absolutely no one whom Johnson does not expect to eat it for him. It is the Johnson way.
Fake elections Russia 2012
Presidential elections were held in Russia on March 4, 2012. The President of Russia, usually the most important political office in Russia (though that has not been the case since 2008, it will be the case again starting this year), is now elected for an extended term of 6 years. He may just serve two consecutive terms, but there is no other limit on the total number of terms which may be served. These high-stakes elections follow rigged legislative elections held on December 4, 2011.
Russia is a one-party dominant authoritarian regime. The boss of the Kremlin since 2000 is Vladimir Putin, who served as President between 2000 and 2008 and has served as Prime Minister since then, although in a change of traditional roles, Prime Minister Putin was the de-facto boss rather than his clone, President Dmitry Medvedev. In a cynical game of musical chairs, Putin, term-limited in 2008, ceded his office to Medvedev while becoming Prime Minister instead. While Medvedev would be constitutionally eligible for reelection, Putin emerged victorious from a behind-the-scenes game of power politics and imposed his presidential candidacy while relegating Medvedev to his current office of Prime Minister. Putin’s power is backed by United Russia (ER), the presidential and dominant party whose ideology, officially conservative, is that of any Party of Power in any authoritarian regime.
Vladimir Putin’s accession to power in 2000 and even his triumphant reelection in 2004 was met with much approval in Russia. Putin’s authoritarian regime brought political stability after the chaos of the Yelstin 90s, while an oil and gas-fueled economic boom has brought affluence to Russia’s rising middle-classes. However, the shine has begun to wear off on Putin’s regime. Oil prices are not what they once were and a balanced budget in Russia now requires the price of oil to be at $130 a barrel, against $30 in 2007. GDP growth, 4% in 2011 and 2012, does not hit the peaks of the pre-2009 era. Furthermore, the middle-classes, created and enriched by the regime in the past, is now turning against the regime under the rising liberal influences of the West and rising discontent with government corruption. Liberal, young middle-class Russians now tend to see the regime as corrupt, authoritarian and increasingly anachronistic.
The 2011 legislative elections have been called the dirtiest elections in Russia, because, despite ER’s underwhelming performance, there was still massive rigging. The 2011 elections were the last straw for a grassroots opposition which distrusts the other parties – largely joke parties run by clowns, cranks or crazies – and increasingly loathes Putin. Russia’s winter was marked by mass protests from large throngs of anti-Putin demonstrators, who are disunited in their goals but united in their willingness to get rid of him. The opposition protesters have largely been young, educated and middle-class and united a wide array of ideologies: liberals but also communists, nationalists, anarchists and monarchists. Despite these spectacular grassroots protests against the regime, it must be said that Putin can count on a motivated and equally as numerous base of supporters, something seldom reported by the foreign media. Putin, of course, can still rely on sizable public support but also a still-strong base of support from the establishment and higher echelons of power. ER is still a powerful party machine and some of its governors in the North Caucasus republics (notably Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov) fabricate the craziest of results for Putin’s personal pleasure.
The Kremlin has responded to the protests with a mix of public concessions and behind-the-scenes repressions. Medvedev announced a rather shallow pack of reforms which includes liberalizing laws on political party registration and reintroducing popular elections of governors, something scrapped by the Kremlin in 2005. On the other hand, behind the scenes, the Kremlin has been flexing its muscle and cracking down on the opposition: wiretapping phones, arresting key figures, sidelining opponents and tightly controlling the media. Putin, the ex-KGB man, has appeared to be even more traditionalist and authoritarian than the apparently more liberal Medvedev. He has increased anti-Western nationalistic rhetoric, talking about a final battle with the enemies of Russia, foreign and domestic, who are threatening the country. His record and rhetoric hardly allows us to think that Putin might heed the demands of protesters for political liberalization. He is rather more likely to pursue a course of repression, as he gets more desperate to hang on to power.
But repression alone cannot hold one’s power footing indefinitely. The Kremlin and its boss has also responded with promises of more extravagant spending and tax cuts. Their goal seems to be to placate the public into acquiescing to Putin’s rule for a bit longer.
Vladimir Putin faced five rivals in the race. There were, first of all, the two old clowns who are professionals in losing elections. You have Gennady Zyuganov, the old Soviet apparatchik and authoritarian boss of the Stalinist-nationalist Communist Party (KPRF), the traditional opposition party but which has long since given up on being a real opposition force and is content with playing the role of a not too-threatening fruitcake opposition. Then there is the old clown Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the insane nationalistic Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR). Zhirinovsky is almost a professional comedian and the LDPR is a creature of the KGB and a pretty loyal ally of the Kremlin. To this mix of old faces, you can add Sergey Mironov, the leader of the left-wing Just Russia (SR) party, another Kremlin creation.
The contender which got the Western media talking is Mikhail Prokhorov, a very wealthy businessman and industrialist in the nickel industry. Prokhorov, the owner of the New Jersey Nets, is aspiring to be the leader of the liberal opposition to Putin. Unlike veteran liberal leader Grigory Yavlinsky, the Kremlin did not block Prokhorov from running. This indicates that he has a base of support or at least acquiescence in the high spheres of the Kremlin, either because he is not threatening or because some of the more liberal elements of the Kremlin such as former finance minister Alexei Kudrin have an interest in him. However, the liberal Prokhorov has failed to appeal to the bulk of the electorate, and especially the anti-Kremlin protesters who perceive Prokhorov as a pal of the Kremlin or at least a part of the establishment.
Turnout was 65.3%, fairly low. The results were: Vladimir Putin (ER) 63.6% Gennady Zyuganov (KPRF) 17.18% Mikhail Prokhorov 7.98% Vladimir Zhirinovsky (LDPR) 6.23% Sergey Mironov (SR) 3.85%
Without any suspense or surprise, Putin was easily (re)elected with a predictably big margin. However, compared to the dirty 2011 legislative elections, the general commentary on this election has been that while it certainly doesn’t live up to the standards of free and fair election, it was generally free and not too rigged. Putin had ordered the installation of security camera in all precincts, which might have helped matters somewhat. The Kremlin probably felt the need for a cleaner election to avoid the foreign hand wringing and PR crisis which a rigged election so shortly after a legislative election seen around the world as a joke would have afforded.
The Kremlin also manipulated the whole process in the run-up to the vote, which is oftentimes much more rigged than the actual vote. Threatening candidates were barred from running while the media and the state institutions remained controlled by the Kremlin. Putin ended up facing fairly non-threatening opposition, most of it from only half-serious candidates such as Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky; while Prokhorov’s appeal was limited to non-Russian westerners while being unable to develop a serious footing in Russia. Against these candidates, Putin would have won even a fairly free election. It is also very likely that Putin remains far more popular than his party, ER, which has a very bad image with most Russians and derided, famously, as the “party of crooks and thieves”. Putin understands that ER is unpopular and often goes to great lengths to build an image of himself as some non-partisan saviour of the motherland.
There was still, of course, major rigging in this election. Higher turnout once again showed a strong positive correlation with artificially high results for Putin. In Chechnya, where Ramzan Kadyrov no longer even attempts subtlety, turnout was 94.89% and Putin won 99.73% of the vote. Putin performed very strongly in the bulk of the North Caucasus, where results are fabricated. He won 93.2% in Dagestan, 92.2% in tiny Ingushetia and 91.4% in Karachay–Cherkessia. Other “ethnic republics” also gave strong results to Vladimir Putin, because these regions are oftentimes the strongholds of Kadyrov-like strongmen who control their region with an iron fist and carry their region’s vote to Putin and ER. Putin won 90.2% in Tuva, 87.8% in Mordovia, 84% in Tatarstan (the local boss, Rustam Minnikhanov, is the right-hand man of longtime strongman Mintimer Shaimiev), 80% in Bashkortostan and 78% in Kabardino-Balkaria. The Yamalo-Nenets district, overrun by Gazprom, gave 85% to Putin while Roman Abramovich’s old Siberian desert of Chukotka gave Putin 72.6%.
One region where rigging was notoriously heavy in 2011 was the city of Moscow, which gave ER an artificially high 46% in a city which has a reputation as being a stronghold of the liberal opposition. This year, in contrast to other cities where Putin outperformed ER by up to 20%, Putin won his weakest result in Moscow city – 48.7% against 19.2% for Zyuganov and 19.1% for Prokhorov.
Despite his triumphant win, Putin returns to his old office in a far weaker position than in 2004 or 2008. His regime faces the most serious organized opposition force since Putin took office in 2000; and which despite the fact that its strength is overblown and its objectives all over the place, has voiced concerns held by a lot of Russians about political corruption, crony state capitalism and the lack of political liberties. The Putin-created middle-class, with its affluent western lifestyle and liberal European outlook, is no longer a loyal supporter of the regime. Putin’s objective is to rule until 2024, when his second six-year term will end, but he faces a fairly critical choice much sooner than that about the path he chooses for Russia: political liberalization or further repression. His rhetoric and career points to the second path, which observers fear will only lead to a vicious cycle of increased repression responding to increased opposition. Russia now enters a fairly momentous period in which Putin’s rule is no longer as solid as it was between 2004 and 2009, roughly the peak years of the regime.
M I Ro
Photos by pixabay.com
Whom Are You Going For?
Today's Politicians are 1st class liars , Hypocrites and should I say some of them they should have been in prison. How and why are still walking free I have no idea. One of them is Boris Johnson, the guy is a mess his personal life is all over the place and we place our trust in him?
He told us Get Brexit done when he knows very well it can not be done, it takes years of talking and planning you can't just go. No way Jose. On the other hand his best friend Trump _ what a name_ promise him help and he saidm, well done good job.
The NHS the desirable jewell of Britain is going to be on the hands of another criminal The president of the USA, Dah we are doomed. May as well move to Greece it is more safe there.
I read the trading contract Americans want to have with UK if you read it it's available on the BBC website, well nearly run for my life. Is Trump serious about it only a fool can sign a contract like this after the 9/11 you may think they learn their lesson but No they getting worse.
I rather stay with Europe and pay them double the fees than end up at the hands of Trump, what the fuck . I think if Boris wins which I very much doubt it I suggest we tyake the streets and demand his resignation.
How can you trust someone like Boris to take you out of the E.U and to the global market , he never work in his life his background is dirty with drugs and so what that is his past lets move to the future and I agree, Past is past
Trust him because he deny his own children they took him to the court and the judge askim him or forcve him to recognise his own child what the hell that poor girl oh man has been damaged the future is not so bright , m,ind you having the pig for a father you are damaged anyway.
The women who sit in the parliament as well are guilty cause thjey support a man -so i think he is_ like him who deny the existence of your own children are they 100% on this planet? And Boris goes around pretend to be what he cant be a MAN. How does he sleep a night? lies after lies after lies I mean come on have some respect for the rest of us,
He belongs to a farm not between humans
Then is Korbyn the guy which I have a great respect stuck in the past he thinks we are back in time 1970's and why on earth allow himself to be seen next to people he is not suppose to be seen only God has the answer, However I rather vote for him that the blond fat pig
Lib democrats another sshow after the fuck up with the colission they have had with Tories they promote this girl to be a prime minister and I must say she is good no experience but I like her however the country needs someone with balls bring back thatcher we need her she had the BALLS to put everyone where they belong.
She also did lots of damage but Tony Blair did lots of damage as well. And that brings me to my quetion . From all those clever and intelegence around UK don't tell me that they don't have anybody elase to stand for the elactions but they promote the stupid ones?
How can I trust the farm house pig to do his job? his brain located down his dick if he has got one. Who is behind all those thick men he is laughing looking at us to suffer and they are having fun.
It’s not just Boris Johnson’s lying. It’s that the media let him get away with it
And we let them both get away with it, Why? I know we have been brain washed but I didnt realise the extend of the damage is that big. Wake up people before it is too late and don't do it for yourselves but lets do it for the generation following us your children are the future
Do not let the pigs to tell you how and when to do it be your own boss they don't derseve us and we do not need them do not waste your vote , we have a mouth and speech let it all out fuck him
It’s Friday lunchtime and Boris Johnson is in Oldham. He’s live on Sky News, speaking to supporters in front of his Tory battle bus. During a speech lasting no more than 10 minutes, viewers learn that he is building 40 new hospitals. Sounds good. But it’s a lie that has already been exposed by fact-checkers, including the website Full Fact.
The prime minister tells Sky viewers that “20,000 more police are operating on our streets to fight crime and bring crime down”. This assertion is misleading in a number of ways. Recruitment will take place over three years and do no more than replace the drop in officer numbers seen since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.
Sky viewers are then informed by Johnson that Jeremy Corbyn “plans to wreck the economy with a £1.2 trillion spending plan”. Labour’s manifesto hasn’t been published, let alone fully costed. Johnson’s £1.2tn is a palpable fabrication. As Full Fact concluded: “Many of the figures behind this estimate are uncertain or based on flawed assumptions.”