How to Democracy

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How to Democracy

Ago 10, 2020, 2:53pm

Nina Jankowicz | @wiczipedia | 5:37 PM · Aug 9, 2020
Amazing to see these videos popping up on Telegram:
peaceful protestors demanding to see precinct protocols, demanding votes be counted accurately, precinct captains relenting.
In this video opposition candidate Tsikhanouskaya gets more than 90% of the vote. #Belarus

1:32 ( )

Ago 11, 2020, 3:26am

Brave people.

max seddon @maxseddon | 5:40 PM · Aug 10, 2020:

The footage streaming in from Minsk, in spite of an internet blockade and
reports the army has been deployed against protesters, is just incredible
0:25 ( )

Ago 13, 2020, 2:33am

Alex Kokcharov @AlexKokcharov | 11:00 AM · Aug 12, 2020:

In #Belarus, the state TV is showing visibly terrified detained protesters. They were probably beaten up before their public promises to no longer take part in anti-Lukashenka #protests.

This is happening in #Europe in 2020. Just terrible.

0:17 ( )
From МБХ Медиа

Editado: Ago 13, 2020, 9:28am

Belarus honks.

Franak Viačorka @franakviacorka | 9:04 AM · Aug 13, 2020:

Rule of law in action! Policeman is punishing the drivers for illegal honking. No need for bureaucracy.

2:20 ( )

Ago 13, 2020, 9:34am

Thai economy was already shaky before COVID... Students really upped the ante in criticizing the monarchy.

Thailand protesters 'cross the Rubicon' and risk all to criticise the monarchy
Rebecca Ratcliffe | 11 Aug 2020

Anger has been building since 2014 coup in which prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha seized power, with students now holding rallies almost daily

Thai protesters have broken a long-standing taboo, risking lengthy jail terms to criticise the king, after weeks of student-led pro-democracy rallies that have swept across the country.

Over recent weeks, high school and university students have targeted the government of prime minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, calling for its dissolution and for democratic reforms. Now, some protesters have begun openly criticising the country’s wealthy and powerful monarchy.

Such public comments are highly unusual, and have left the government in a bind. Allowing criticism to pass would undermine the status quo that keeps them in power, say analysts, while cracking down hard on the students could foment further protests and intensify scrutiny of the monarchy.

Thailand has some of the strictest lèse-majesté (wounded majesty) laws in the world, and anyone who “defames, insults or threatens the king, queen, heir-apparent or regent” can face up to 15 years on each charge.

Protests, which are organised by different groups, are broadly united around three demands: dissolve the government, end the intimidation of activists and rewrite the constitution, which was written under military rule and has cemented the army’s power.

On Monday night, at a rally attended by thousands, a protest group went further, issuing a 10-point list for reform of the monarchy. Criticism of the monarchy should be allowed, the king’s budget should be cut, and the monarchy should not interfere with politics, the Thammasat University Pro-Democracy Group said.

...The king, who spends most of his time living in Germany, succeeded his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in 2016 and has since strengthened his authority...

Ago 13, 2020, 9:35am

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Ago 15, 2020, 6:40am

Belarus riot police drop shields and are embraced by anti-government protesters
Mary Ilyushina, Frederik Pleitgen and Claudia Otto | August 14, 2020

Minsk, Belarus (CNN)At least 50 Belarus security personnel in riot gear dropped their shields and were embraced by anti-government protesters in Minsk, as demonstrators chanted "brothers" at the police.

The scene unfolded in front of several government buildings in the of the capital. Protesters also shouted, "Sveta -- President," referring to opposition politician Svetlana Tikhanovskaya who says she won the majority in Sunday's highly contested presidential election...

Ago 16, 2020, 5:14am

Like Assad and Trump, Lukashenko welcomes Putin help.

Under Siege in Belarus, Lukashenko Turns to Putin
Andrew Higgins and Ivan Nechepurenko | Aug. 15, 2020

MOSCOW — After claiming for weeks that Russia was plotting to overthrow him, President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus appealed to the Kremlin on Saturday for help against a wave of protests and strikes triggered by police violence after a disputed presidential election.

Mr. Lukashenko spoke by telephone with President Vladimir V. Putin, Belarus’s state news agency Belta reported, and secured a promise of Russian security assistance should Belarus request it. The agency quoted Mr. Lukashenko as saying that Mr. Putin had pledged that, if needed, “comprehensive assistance will be provided to ensure the security of the Republic of Belarus.”

The Kremlin’s own account of the leaders’ conversation, however, gave no indication that Mr. Putin had offered any concrete support or even a clear endorsement of Mr. Lukashenko’s staying in power.

The Belarus news agency said Mr. Putin had offered help to “ensure the security of Belarus in the event of external military threats,” which suggested that any help from Russia might not include security assistance against domestic threats like protesters.

In its own statement on the talks, the Kremlin said that Mr. Putin had agreed with the Belarusian leader on the need “to strengthen allied relations” and prevent “destructive forces” from using the political turmoil in Belarus to “harm the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.”

Mr. Putin and Mr. Lukashenko, the Kremlin said, “expressed confidence that all existing problems will be settled soon.”

As recently as last month, Mr. Lukashenko was accusing Moscow of engineering plots to overthrow his government and even sending mercenaries to Belarus to disrupt the presidential election, which was held last Sunday...

Ago 16, 2020, 2:37pm

Thai protests: Thousands gather in Bangkok to demand reforms

Thousands of protesters staged another anti-government rally in the Thai capital, Bangkok, on Sunday to demand political reforms.

Demonstrators want a revised constitution and are also calling for reform of the monarchy - a sensitive subject in Thailand.

Under Thai law, anyone criticising the royal family faces long prison sentences.

There have been almost daily student-led demonstrations in recent weeks.

Several protest leaders have been arrested.

But organisers said they hoped Sunday's rally would show broader support for change beyond the student groups. Bangkok police said on Sunday evening that about 10,000 attended the protest.

...Observers said Sunday's protest at Bangkok's Democracy Monument was one of the biggest anti-government demonstrations since Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha took power in a 2014 coup...The protesters are demanding that Mr Prayuth - a former general who won disputed elections last year - stand down.

The BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok says recent inclusion of the monarchy in the protesters' demands has electrified the debate.

Ago 20, 2020, 7:38am

Thai protests: Lawyer Anon Nampa among nine arrested in sweep against activists

Mr Anon (Nampa), 36, was the first to openly break the taboo (lese-majeste laws) earlier this month, calling for reform at a Harry Potter-themed protest in Bangkok.

Among the others detained after Mr Anon were activists Baramee Chairat, Suwanna Tarnlek and Korakot Saengyenpanm, and a popular rapper, Dechatorn Bamroongmuang from the group Rap for Democracy, who performed at the July protest at Bangkok's Democracy Monument.

They have been charged with sedition and could face prison sentences of up to seven years. Activists said they had seen a police list of 20 more facing possible arrest in the near future.

The protesters are demanding dissolution of the government headed by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army chief who seized power in a 2014 military coup and returned as the country's civilian premier after a controversial election last year.

...Insulting the monarchy in Thailand can mean up to 15 years in jail under the kingdom's lese-majeste law.

The use of this legislation has slowed in recent years as Thai King Vajiralongkorn has let it be known he no longer wants it so widely used. But observers say the government has used other legal routes to target dissent, including the sedition law.
Media captionThe anti-government rally in Bangkok is thought to be the biggest in Thailand for six years

Mr Anon's arrest on Wednesday saw him charged with sedition for a second time this month. He was earlier arrested over the July rally with another activist, Panupong Jaadnok.

This latest arrest is over the Harry Potter-themed protest that took place in Bangkok on 3 August, where Mr Anon had stressed that he wanted to reform, not overthrow, the constitutional monarchy.

He focused in particular on the huge assets of the Crown Property Bureau which, under the late King Bhumibol, had been notionally held in trust for the benefit of the Thai people, but have now been declared the personal property of the king, making him by far the wealthiest person in Thailand.

Mr Anon also questioned King Vajiralongkorn's decision to take personal command of all military units based in Bangkok, something he believes cannot be compatible with a democratic, constitutional monarchy.

...His comments were nothing short of extraordinary in a country where few dare to openly discuss the institution. In recent years, critics of Thailand's monarchy who have fled to neighbouring countries have been abducted and murdered.

Thai police are cracking down on the student-led movement that has given rise to the country's biggest rallies since the coup six years ago.

Protesters seek the resignation of the military-backed government, an end to the harassment of its critics, a new constitution and fresh elections...

Ago 20, 2020, 8:56am

Brave man.

Russia Opposition Leader in Intensive Care After ‘Poisoning’
Anatoly Medetsky and Ilya Arkhipov | August 20, 2020

Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny has been hospitalized with suspected poisoning and is in intensive care, his spokeswoman said Thursday.

Navalny, 44, fell ill on a plane returning to Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk, Kira Yarmysh, the spokeswoman, said on Twitter. The aircraft made an emergency landing in Omsk where he was taken to the hospital for treatment of “toxic poisoning” and has been put on a ventilator, she said.

The anti-Kremlin activist is unconscious and in “serious condition,” Yarmysh said. Aides believe something was put in his tea during the visit to meet activists as “it was the only thing he drank from the morning,” she said.

Poison is among the potential causes being investigated, Anatoly Kalinichenko, a doctor at the Omsk clinic where Navalny is hospitalized, told journalists...

Editado: Ago 23, 2020, 9:45am

Franak Viačorka @franakviacorka | 8:31 AM · Aug 23, 2020:

More than 250K already at the Independence square in Minsk! It’s more than in 1990 when people protested for Independence.
Belarus will be free.

0:31 ( )

Paul Ronzheimer @ronzheimer | 8:39 AM · Aug 23, 2020:

Police: „Dear citizens, this is an unauthorized mass meeting...
“ But people dont care, even the street which leads to the square is PACKED.

0:16 ( 8:39 AM · Aug 23, 2020 )

Ago 23, 2020, 9:47am

Carter Centre to launch first-ever US election initiative, citing ‘erosion’ of democracy
Exclusive: Democracy promotion group founded by Jimmy Carter will launch US-focused initiative for first time in its history
Richard Hall | 8/22/2020

REUTERS The democracy promotion organisation founded by former president Jimmy Carter is to launch its first United States election initiative this year, citing an “erosion” of democracy in the country.

The Carter Centre has monitored more than 110 elections in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia since 1989 as part of democracy promotion efforts around the world. Although there are no plans yet to monitor polls in the US, this will be the first time it has engaged in a US election.

“We are now at a point where we have taken an institutional decision to explore some direct engagement on US election issues. And this is a departure from our whole history trying not to do that,” David Carroll, director of the centre’s Democracy Programme, told The Independent.

In the past, he added, the centre has prioritised countries where there is “a significant potential for an important change in the quality of democracy”, or where democracy is “under severe threat”...

Ago 25, 2020, 12:49pm

Renew Democracy Initiative @Renew_Democracy | 12:01 PM · Aug 25, 2020
Appeasement doesn’t stop dictators. The free world must.
#Navalny @Kasparov63 @navalny

0:39 ( )

Editado: Sep 13, 2020, 10:39am

Bill Kristol @BillKristol | 8:58 AM · Sep 13, 2020
Much of what's happening in the U.S. is depressing. But what's taking place in Minsk is inspiring.
And since that is due in part--only in part, but still truly in part--to the U.S. and to the meaning of the U.S. in the modern world,
it's a reminder to care--a lot--about the U.S.

Quote Tweet
Hanna Liubakova (journalist from Minsk) @HannaLiubakova · 1h
#Belarus. Happening right now in #Minsk. The video shows the current scale of the march.
The interior ministry reported that at least 250 people have already been detained.
Despite all arrests and repressions, people are on the streets again and again - also, all over the country
0:28 ( )

Regional cities have become important of the protests as well.
Thousands of people came out to the streets in #Brest today. All major cities but also smaller ones are protesting today
0:06 ( )

*important centres of the protests. And here's today's march in Mahilou, where thousands of people came out to the streets. This is to show that people are expressing their discontent all across #Belarus. Dozens of people were brutally detained in the regions as well
0:10 ( )

More than 100,000 people are on the streets of #Minsk, as @nashaniva estimates.
But thousands people are also joining from various neighbourhoods.
No,it doesn't stop in spite of all brutality. #Lukashenko's security forces resources are not without limits, it's definitely expensive
0:27 ( )

Franak Viačorka (Minsk journalist) @franakviacorka | 8:33 AM · Sep 13, 2020
Several huge columns like this marching Minsk streets in the direction of Drazdy where Lukashenka resides.
0:05 ( )

Sep 17, 2020, 2:20am

'The only way to stop violence': why protesters are unmasking Belarus police (Guardian)

During the past month’s uprising against Alexander Lukashenko, riot police and assorted thugs loyal to his regime have been given carte blanche by the Belarusian president to harass, assault and arrest peaceful protesters.

In recent days, however, protesters have found out that for all Lukashenko’s men’s ruthlessness and impunity, they have a vulnerable point: their faces. Grab at the mask of a policeman and he will run for cover.

Since the beginning of the protests, which followed rigged elections on 9 August, the majority of police, security officers from the feared KGB, and other officers targeting protesters have hidden behind masks or balaclavas. Footage from rallies in recent days showed that when large groups of protesters swarmed around police officers and grabbed at their masks or balaclavas, their response was to hide their faces in their hands or run.

“The only way to stop violence is to pull off the masks, in both the literal and metaphorical sense. An officer who is no longer anonymous will think twice before he grabs, beats or kidnaps someone”...

Sep 17, 2020, 4:53am

Extinction Rebellion is showing Britain what real democracy could look like (Guardian)

The protest movement’s call for meaningful participation highlights the failings of dysfunctional Westminster politics...

At moments like this, old parties flounder. New ideas arise outside the system, and effective opposition takes place on the street. Of course, this is difficult now, as there are good public health reasons not to gather in large numbers, and we can expect the government to exploit them. But civil disobedience is ever-inventive, constantly developing new tactics in response to attempts to shut it down.

We saw some of these in Extinction Rebellion’s latest week of protests, and we saw something else too: its emergence as a broad oppositional movement, taking on the billionaire press, the lobbyists, the banks and other bastions of power, that are not usually associated with the extinction and climate crises, but are fundamental to them. From the beginning, XR has been both an environmental movement and a democracy movement: participatory politics, in the form of citizens’ assemblies, has been one of its key demands.

Like the suffragettes and the civil rights movement, it was excoriated for threatening “our way of life”. Almost all democratic advances, everywhere, have been secured by people who were branded “anarchists” and “criminals”...

In some places, particularly Ireland, Iceland, France, Taiwan, British Columbia, Ontario and several Spanish and Brazilian cities, a host of fascinating experiments with new democratic forms has been taking place: constitutional conventions, citizens’ assemblies, community development, digital deliberation and participatory budgeting. They are designed to give people a voice between elections, tempering representative democracy, allowing them to refine their choices...

when people are allowed to make big and frequent decisions, the results can be transformative. Alienated, polarised populations come together to identify and solve their common problems. Democracy becomes a lived reality...

In XR’s outrageous, reviled protests we see the beginnings of what could become a 21st-century democratic revolution. Through his incompetence, callousness and greed for power, Johnson* has done us two favours: exposing the shallowness of our theatrical democracy, and creating a potential coalition ranging from hospital porters to supreme court judges. Now we must decide how to mobilise it.

* And one could add Trump.

Sep 21, 2020, 4:04pm

The world is an endlessly depressing place.

Oct 13, 2020, 12:11am

End Sars protests: The young Nigerians who forced the president to back down (BBC)

Widespread protests over Nigeria's hated Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) are a sign that the country's massive young population is finding its voice and demanding reforms in Africa's most populous country, which has been characterised by poor governance since its independence 60 years ago.

Despite forcing the president to disband the unit, they are not satisfied as they want total police reforms and for officers in the rogue department to face justice.

But it goes beyond this because the wave of protests has given a platform to a section of the country's young population who are deeply dissatisfied.

On the streets, those marching are mostly comfortably-off young people, some with dyed hair, pierced noses and tattooed bodies.

It is the sort of gathering that security personnel are quick to label criminals, but in truth, these are largely hard-working young people who have mostly had to fend for themselves without support from the state...

Oct 13, 2020, 12:24am

>19 bohemima: The world is an endlessly depressing place.

I part company with you there, Gail. There's certainly plenty of cause for depression, particularly as so many well-intentioned protests are marred by violence, but "endlessly"? Many of the examples posted here give me hope rather than depression. The nonviolent popular uprising in Sudan last year which overthrew a brutal 30-year Islamist military dictatorship, largely led by women and youth, is one that is particularly close to home for me, but I see many examples of renewed popular (as opposed to populist) participation in grassroots democracy through nonviolent means. "Power to the people!" as John Lennon, Wolfie Smith* and many others have said.

* The leading protagonist in a 1970s BBC comedy series entitled "Citizen Smith".

Oct 13, 2020, 12:33am

>21 John5918: So, more reasonable to say that the world is an intermittently depressing place?

Oct 13, 2020, 1:35am

>22 kiparsky:

Probably. I don't deny that there's plenty to be depressed about, particularly in the USA, it's only the word "endlessly" which I query. I think there are some very encouraging signs of hope. But then I've always been an incorrigible optimist!

Oct 14, 2020, 3:15am

Voters in the State of Georgia are inspiring.
I hope the state/counties get it together in the days ahead. No one should have to wait hours to vote!

Determined Georgia voters cast ballots early as lines stretch for hours
Ross Williams| Stanley Dunlap - October 13, 2020

...Voters across Georgia reported long lines and technical glitches on Monday, the first day of early voting in the state. Many voters lined up before polls opened statewide and waited hours to cast a ballot. Throughout the day, Georgians lined up at community centers, retrofitted museums and other precincts overwhelmed by the number of voters anxious to cast a ballot on the first day of early voting.

...State, county officials and election rights organizations attributed the lengthy waits Monday to the heightened interest in a pivotal election, keeping people socially distanced, many people freed up for the Columbus Day holiday and new poll workers adjusting to processing voters on what is expected to be the biggest test of Georgia’s voting equipment between now and the end of general election voting Nov. 3...

Oct 14, 2020, 8:31am

Voters in Harris County, Texas (Houston) also inspire! This huge county, which affords people just one drop-off box, shattered first-day, early voting record.

Harris County shatters record for first day of early voting in country
Charly Edsitty | October 13, 2020 6:49PM

The first day of early voting in Texas got off to a fast start as Harris County beat the highest single-day tally of early voting turnout ever.

The Harris County Clerk's Office announced on Twitter at 4:30 p.m. that over 100,300 votes have been cast so far in Harris County.

Harris County actually broke the record held since 2016 about three hours earlier, according to a tweet from the clerk's office...

Oct 22, 2020, 8:42am

Thailand cancels emergency decree in bid to calm protests
By GRANT PECK | 10/22/2020

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s government on Thursday canceled a state of emergency it had declared last week for Bangkok in a gesture offered by the embattled prime minister to cool massive student-led protests seeking democracy reforms.

The decree had banned public gatherings of more than four people and allowed censorship of the media, among other provisions. It was challenged in court by an opposition party and a group of university students.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha: “I will make the first move to deescalate this situation,” he said. “I am currently preparing to lift the state of severe emergency in Bangkok and will do so promptly if there are no violent incidents.”

As he was speaking, protesters marched near Government House, his office, to demand he step down. They also asked for the release of their colleagues who were arrested in connection with earlier protests.

They said that if their demands were not met, they would return in three days. Although the protesters pushed their way through police lines, neither side resorted to violence.

The protesters are pressing for a more democratic constitution and reforms to the monarchy. The implicit criticism of the royal institution has stirred controversy because it traditionally has been treated as sacrosanct and a pillar of national identity.

...Police sought to impose censorship on media reporting of the protests, citing what they called “distorted information” that could cause unrest and confusion.

They want to block access to the online sites of four Thai news organizations and one activist group that broadcast live coverage of the protests. They had also proposed a ban on over-the-air digital television coverage of one of the broadcasters, Voice TV.

Oct 22, 2020, 2:24pm

We the People: Lessons from Africa for Defeating Authoritarianism in 2020 U.S. Election
Kyle Murphy | October 19, 2020

U.S. democracy is facing its greatest challenge in a generation, simultaneously confronting an authoritarian leader, a global pandemic, and the consequences of centuries of systemic racism and inequality. Americans tend to think of our country as democracy’s exemplar, and the United States has a long history of pointing out governance problems abroad, suggesting steps to solve them, and often devoting resources to various forms of intervention. This has been the case in U.S. policy toward Africa for decades, and I am among those who did it. But we are too often guilty of that stereotypically American habit of exercising our mouths more than our ears and casting our gaze abroad while averting our eyes at home. It’s past time for the United States to listen and draw lessons from pro-democracy movements in Africa.

There’s remarkable similarity in how autocratic leaders go about seizing and retaining power, and civil society movements in several African countries have recent, hard-won experience with many of the scenarios we face in the United States. Sometimes they have prevented democratically-elected leaders from becoming autocrats or replaced ruthless dictators with more democratic systems, and at other times they have fallen short. But their experiences have yielded smart strategies, creative tools, and pitfalls to avoid...

Oct 25, 2020, 11:12am

Covid: How to protest during a global pandemic (BBC)

"We were adamant that everyone coming had to come in PPE, and on the day I was handing out extra masks," she said. "We also decided that for the march we would set everyone off in groups of six at 20-second intervals to somewhat stick to governmental guidelines"...

Nov 1, 2020, 10:55pm

Scholars warn of collapse of democracy as Trump v Biden election looms (Guardian)

Dozens of experts on fascism warn of global danger, calling for action from ordinary people: ‘It is not too late’...

Nov 2, 2020, 1:52am

#29--once he's out I don't think there is going to be very much hesitation anymore about whether Donald is a fascist or not. It's pretty clear to me that he is. One of the main issues really is his supporters don't want to carry that label and honestly some of them are probably not but if you think extra legal means is legitimate you're in that camp like it or not. It's also why so many police are there too--they don't believe in their own accountability to the taxpayers that they are suppose to protect and serve.

Nov 2, 2020, 3:23am

Well, once Pence gets in (I Hope) how many of the Trump Stooges can Pence get RID of immediate. eg. Say the AG... one of the vilest men ever!


Nov 2, 2020, 8:58am

>31I hope you mean Biden not Pence

Nov 2, 2020, 10:07am

Political appointees serve at the pleasure of the president, so new president can replace immediately. Sometimes they submit letters of resignation which president can accept or sit on while he/she decides on replacement or (rarely) reappointment.

Some very few appointees are on six year terms: mostly low profile--intent is to not have positions sit vacant while new president attends to "more important" appointments. Still, president can ask for term-appointees' resignation.

My understanding, anyway.

Nov 2, 2020, 10:56am

Sorry >32 jjwilson61: of course Just a brain slip. hey I am almost 74 yo. just like the orange...


Editado: Nov 4, 2020, 6:06am

No matter who wins the US election, here are reasons to be hopeful (Guardian)

Ahead of the election result writers highlight the political positives at a crucial juncture in US history...

A few voices from the USA.

Nov 4, 2020, 5:35am

#35--well it's virtually tied but this is what you get when you put up shit candidates like the Democrats did. They were afraid that Sanders was going to win so Clyburn and Obama staged an intervention and really quite a lot more of Biden's voters are voting against Trump than really voting for Joe/Kamala.....and Joe like Hillary is supposed to carry on the legacy of Barack......and there's a point to be made here because Trump isn't carrying anyone's legacy and neither did Obama. Barack is still popular with democrats but the rest of the country is past him and not looking at him anymore for leadership. He shouldn't be picking the democrat's candidates---he should allow the primary process to do that.

In line with all that is Schumer's gormless approval of Amy McGrath to run against McConnell. We're going to out-conservative the conservative. The people of Kentucky when all was said and done really wanted the Democrats to put up Charles Booker. Neither Schumer or Durbin should be the leaders of the Senate democrats AFAIC--their project to put up corporate friendly competition to the republicans failed big time and if you're looking through the bios and issues of these people there are things you notice like they're all team players who are on board with all the same shit of the establishment leaders of the party. Team players are often capable of delivering a stump speech or are witty enough to handle a debate but because of their subservience to their leadership their ability to reach out to the undecided or uncommitted almost always has its limits. Real across the board enthusiasm?--not really.

So here we are left hoping that Biden somehow pulls it out but really these are the self inflicted wounds of a party that doesn't want to stand for anything not in the interests of their wealthiest donors.

Nov 14, 2020, 11:40am

Rabbi Michael Adam Latz #BlackLivesMatter @RavMABAY | 8:04 PM · Nov 13, 2020:

Tucked away into the Midrash from nearly 2,000 years ago is the story of Miriam. The rabbis teach that on the night the Israelite slaves were gathering their belongings to flee Egypt, Miriam the Prophetess slipped into her satchel a timbrel and a tof—a small hand drum. 1/

Why on earth would she do such a thing? They had no food, no time to let the bread rise, and Pharaoh had a rather erratic habit of changing his mind, first letting them go, then deciding they would remain in slavery. What if he changed his mind again? 2/

We know that 400 years of bondage was brutal; Egyptian task masters beat our ancestors, denied them food, forbade practicing Judaism, demanded they throw their newborn sons into the Nile. Egypt was a place of constriction, narrow-mindedness, human degradation & dehumanization.3/

The Midrash teaches that when the Israelites finally crossed the sea and reached the shores of liberation, it was Miriam and the women around her who took her timbrel and her tof and began dancing and singing in celebration; they rejoiced in their freedom. 4/

They did not know what was ahead of them. They had no guarantees that the God who liberated them would stick with them in the desert. They had absolutely no guarantees their new found freedom would last. 5/

But Miriam understood something holy, something essential of the human psyche: We cannot move forward without celebration. We humans need song and dance and celebration after we’ve left the places that have assaulted our dignity and brutalized our humanity. 6/

My beloved community: We have not yet reached the promised land. We may never in our lifetimes. We have so much work ahead of us.
But it is imperative that we pause for a moment to follow in the footsteps of Miriam to sing, to dance, to rejoice. 7/

We defeated a tyrant, an authoritarian, not with bullets or with bayonettes but with our ballots.
We showed the world that not all battles must be fought with a sword.
For one brief moment, tonight, we touch the sky with tears of joy. 8/END


Nov 19, 2020, 11:21pm

After student election wins, Lebanese prepare for bigger battles (Al Jazeera)

Independent students have pulled out unprecedented wins at universities. Can they translate the gains to national politics?...

Nov 22, 2020, 10:39pm

Local people have had to improvise during the pandemic. Could their solutions stick? (Guardian)

A new kind of community politics – ‘flatpack democracy’ – has emerged in towns left to fend for themselves by the centre... A couple of tantalising questions were triggered by all this. Would at least some of the energy and creativity that had been unleashed be sustained beyond the pandemic? And if that happened, might any of the people involved shift their attention to politics?... it’s clear that in plenty of places, the basic structures of self-help have remained in place...

Nov 25, 2020, 2:02pm

Young protesters in Thailand risk much to demand change from military, monarchy
Sporting a three-fingered salute borrowed from "The Hunger Games," many students attend protests still dressed in their school uniforms.
Patrick Smith and Nat Sumon | Nov. 25, 2020

Most high school kids have enough to worry about without pounding the streets demanding reforms in an autocratic regime.

But in Thailand, that's exactly what thousands of students — some as young as 10 — have been doing for the last four months.

They have joined forces with college students and longtime democracy campaigners to call for change in a country ruled by a regime loyal to the monarchy, with a constitution drawn up in the wake up of a military coup...

Editado: Nov 29, 2020, 12:35am

Thai protesters practise ‘coup prevention’ in latest rally (Al Jazeera)

Thousands of pro-democracy activists have blocked an important junction in Bangkok to rehearse “coup prevention” strategies in the latest round of Thailand’s anti-government protests... Inflatable Santa Claus figures joined the bright yellow rubber ducks that have become a symbol of the movement as some 5,000 demonstrators massed on Friday in the shadow of a motorway flyover in the north of the capital... “The 14th coup will not happen because the people will come out and resist”...

Editado: Ene 22, 1:52pm

Navalny is one brave man:
Jailed 30 days in jail that killed Magnitsky.
Released info on Putin palace & daughter.
Called for demonstrations.

Sends goons to discourage demos.
Calls for 13.5 year Navalny jail term.
Detains Navalny activists.
Blocks social media.

Ene 23, 12:18pm

Aleksei Navalny Protests: Live Updates as Mass Rallies Sweep Across Russia
Anton Troianovski, Andrew E. Kramer and Andrew Higgins | 1/23/2021

... Braving bitter cold and attempts at intimidation, protests unfold across Russia.
Driving the protests is the demand that Navalny is released from jail.
The police and protesters clash in several cities, with reports of more than 2,100 people detained.
Protests in the Putin era are met with heavy-handed repression.
Does Navalny pose a threat to Putin’s rule?
Voices in the crowd: Protesters explain why they joined the demonstrations.
U.S. warns Americans to avoid protests as Russia cracks down on organizers...

Ene 24, 12:11am

Prince Harry says social media misinformation is threat to democracies (Guardian)

Prince Harry has said that “time is running out” for social media companies to address misinformation which he believes is a threat to democracies. He has called for more accountability for platforms, accusing them of shunning responsibility, and highlighted both the role that they played in the US Capitol riots earlier this month and the treatment of the Rohingya population in Myanmar...

Feb 1, 10:53pm

No, America should not ‘accept and move on’ (Al Jazeera)

In Kenya, in the aftermath of the 2007 elections, there was a recognition that the problems could not be resolved merely by technical fixes to the election – though these are indispensable. The distrust was rooted in historical grievances that were inflamed by opaque election practices. Commissions were established to inquire into these and develop recommendations. However, once the crisis passed, the momentum for change was lost and many of those reports and recommendations are gathering dust while elections continue to be arenas of terror and death.

There’s a lesson here for the US. Strike while the iron is hot. Fix the real kinks in the system – gerrymandering, voter suppression, and partisan management of elections, to name a few. However, also recognise that disputes over the outcome and conduct of the election are rarely only about the actual numbers, but also about deeper societal fractures that need to be healed, and that opportunities to do that do not last for very long. By all accounts, the US has a deeply polarised population... These divisions are now inflamed by an antiquated, gerrymandered, opaque electoral system overseen by partisan officials that has proven to be no match for demagoguery.

That should give US media pause for thought. In effect, the US electoral system has suffered an attack from Trump and his allies and has proven to be very vulnerable. In the aftermath of that attack, telling the victims to simply accept that Joe Biden won and move on will do little to calm resentment. It also spurns a crucial opportunity to audit the vulnerability as well as foster a comprehensive national conversation about what ails society. And that goes beyond simply rebutting allegations of fraud. It requires asking the same questions that would be asked when other national systems failed and then instituting the necessary reforms to make the system more resilient.

Feb 3, 10:07am


James Holland @James7Holland | 6:50 PM · Feb 2, 2021:
MUST WATCH: #Navalny’s speech from court.
This kind of bravery in the face of a violent regime that has already tried to murder you is inspiring.
Having survived one attempt on his life, he appears to have lost all fear, and grows stronger.

4:16 ( )
From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Feb 4, 5:51am

The Triumph of Democratic Institutions in the US: Lessons for South Sudan (The Sudd Institute)

Publication Summary

This Weekly Review applauds the power of human innovation and its success. It celebrates the strength of the American democratic institutions, which has enabled the American people to weather what was a substantial threat to a long-established institutional tradition of peaceful transfer of power. The hope is that such lessons could also help emerging countries, such as South Sudan, at the very least, to appreciate the value of rule-based institutions. Moreover, the review highlights the perils of predicating public institutions on personalities. The rest of the review revisits the definition of institutions, brief context and state of institutions in South Sudan, and concludes with some recommendations.

Feb 12, 10:40am

Global democracy has a very bad year
The pandemic caused an unprecedented rollback of democratic freedoms in 2020
The Economist | Feb 2, 2021

(world map of authoritarian, hybrid, flawed democratic, full democratic regimes)

Feb 14, 10:55am

>48 margd:

Interesting graphic. There are a couple of errors. They list Sudan as "authoritarian" whereas since the 2019 nonviolent revolution it would be more correct to call it "hybrid", I believe. And when I hover my mouse over South Sudan, there is no information. South Sudan would probably be on the lower end of "authoritarian". Somalia also doesn't seem to have any information. Kenya is described as "hybrid", whereas it is in fact a "flawed democracy". But then it's not unusual for the western media to ignore or misrepresent African countries which they don't understand or which don't fit neatly into categories as defined in the Global North.