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Showing posts with the label democracy

How the German Constitution Deals with Nazis

One of the paradoxes of democracy is that it creates freedoms which can be exploited by extremist groups to win enough votes to form a government and then destroy democracy itself from within. The most striking example of such a process is the rise to power of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or NSDAP) in 1932-33. ©Anja Pietsch via Wikimedia Commons     On November 9, 1918, the German Emperor William II abdicated after the country's defeat in World War I. The Social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed the founding of a German Republic from the balcony of the parliament (Reichstag) building.¹ The German Republic is commonly known as the Weimar Republic, because the assembly that wrote its constitution met in the city of Weimar. However, its official name was "German Empire" (Deutsches Reich). As a matter of fact, Germany retained the same official name from 1871 up until 1945 despite the three political u

Florida's War on 'Leftist Ideologues' Is a War on Freedom

The party which once claimed to be for small government and free markets has taken off the mask, laying bare its true intentions.  On January 17, Florida's Republican Governor and Trustees of the State Board of Administration (SBA) approved measures to "protect Florida’s investments from woke environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), ensuring that all investment decisions focus solely on maximizing the highest rate of return" (my emphasis).  " House Chamber, Florida State Capitol " by  StevenM_61  is licensed under  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 . __________

Is the United States a Democracy or a Republic? - An Essay

"The United States is not a democracy, it's a republic" - this talking point has in recent years gained traction among far right circles. "America Is a Republic, Not a Democracy", wrote on its website the Heritage Foundation , a conservative organization that since its founding in 1973 has followed the American right's trajectory of radicalization to the point of embracing Trumpism. " US Capitol Building " by  Hey Paul  is licensed under  CC BY 2.0 .

It's The Culture War, Stupid! - How The Far Right Uses Religious and Ethnic Identity to Mobilize Voters

" Impeach Trump Rally " by  Geoff Livingston  is licensed under  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 .

China deployed "Great Cannon" to take down Hong Kong pro-democracy website LIHKG

PRC and Hong Kong flags (photo by Alan Mak via Wikimedia Commons) China has deployed the so-called "Great Cannon" tool to launch a malware attack aimed at taking offline Hong Kong's popular pro-democracy website LIHKG , according to a report published by AT&T Cybersecurity. The Great Cannon is a "distributed denial of service tool (“DDoS”) that operates by injecting malicious Javascript into pages served from behind the Great Firewall ", the report states. "These scripts, potentially served to millions of users across the internet, hijack the users’ connections to make multiple requests against the targeted site. These requests consume all the resources of the targeted site, making it unavailable," the report adds. LIHKG is an online forum launched in November 2016. During the anti-extradition bill protests it became popular among Hong Kong activists , which used it as a platform to discuss politics and organize protests. On August

Hungary censors Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International - And why the European Union needs to stand up

Orban rally in 2012 (photo by Derzs Elekes Andor  via Wikimedia Commons) On November 29 Hungarian news outlet Nepszava reported that MTVA, Hungary's government controlled news agency, ordered its staff to ban statements from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch . Censorship of human rights-related content is yet another step towards authoritarianism in the country. Freedom House ranks Hungary as "partly free", giving it a score of 70 out of 100. "Hungary’s status declined from Free to Partly Free due to sustained attacks on the country’s democratic institutions by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party, which has used its parliamentary supermajority to impose restrictions on or assert control over the opposition, the media, religious groups, academia, NGOs, the courts, asylum seekers, and the private sector since 2010," Freedom House writes in a 2019 report. The Council of the European Union (EU) will hold a hearing on Article 7 proceedin

The Putin-proof golden rule to combat Russia's active measures - stop trashing each other

Kremlin, Moscow (by Минеева Ю. [Julmin] , retouched by Surendil via Wikimedia Commons)) In his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election Special Counsel Robert Mueller described how Russia's Internet Research Agency (IRA) spread propaganda and disinformation and manipulated American public opinion through the use of social media. "The IRA conducted social media operations targeted at large U.S. audiences with the goal of sowing discord in the U.S. political system," the document stated. These operations are described by the report as "active measures," a term that refers to the Russian intelligence's methods of propaganda and subversion directed at foreign governments. Originally, the phrase was used in the context of the Soviet Union's secret service, the KGB, but its practice has continued after the fall of the Soviet Union and has once again become a central part of Moscow's strategy. Oleg Kalugin , a f

European far right leaders gather in Yalta to defend Russia's Crimea policy

Yalta, Crimea (by Marcin Konsek via Wikimedia Commons ) In early April the Ukrainian embassy in Berlin notified the German government that 22 individuals, including five lawmakers of the far right, anti-EU Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, and two of the socialist Left party, planned on attending the Yalta International Economic Forum in Russia.  The 5th Yalta International Economic Forum titled "World. Russia. Crimea. New Global Reality" took place in the Crimean city of Yalta on April 17 - 20 for the purpose of attracting investment and promoting relations between Russia and foreign politicians willing to accept Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014.  At a conference held within the framework of the Forum, Head and Prime Minister of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov urged Friends of Crimea clubs to consolidate efforts to lift sactions imposed on Russia after the annexation of Crimea.   "We saw how many allies we have," Aksyonov said. "Toda

Singapore as a pioneer of capitalist authoritarianism

On July 18, 2010, British author Alan Shadrake was arrested in Singapore , two days after the country's attorney general had submitted an affidavit recommending his prosecution on charges of "scandaliz[ing] the Singapore Judiciary." The 75-yeard-old Shadrake had arrived in Singapore to promote his book ' Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock ’, which uncovered alleged bias in the implementation of the madantatory death penalty for drug trafficking by the judicial system. Police detained him after a complaint was lodged by Singapore's Media Development Authority. On November 3, 2010, Alan Shadrake was convicted for "scandalizing the judiciary." Singapore’s attorney-general argued that "public confidence in the Singapore Judiciary cannot be allowed, in any way, to be tarnished or diminished by any contumacious behaviour." The defendant claimed that his book amounted to "fair criticism on matters of compelling public inte