'The squad' busted for meddling in presidential politics

‘The squad’ busted for meddling in presidential politics

The squad’s premature meddling in how Joe Biden should assemble his Cabinet — if he win…
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Head of mayors’ coalition eyes national politics

… Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, announced Monday that he plans to enter national politics with one goal in mind: becoming prime minister.
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Column: PART TWO — Politics: a meditation

Jump to navigation Other cultural paths have their democratic elements no doubt, but it is the West that has come to lay the foundation of a global economy, and of a global order in the UN and World Court. This world is a community where the lingering effects of the great age of Euro-American imperial, colonial, capitalist domination are still potent. One must also take serious note of the push-back from non-Western traditions which defy any claim that the West has political and socio-economic models for all nations, that the West somehow has universally-valid principles of government. Xi Jinpeng of China, the Saudi king, the Iranian supreme ayatollah, and the military junta ruling Myanmar, among others, all reject our democratic norms. For these potentates, our way isn’t a norm for humanity; it’s simply our way. This very condensed version of the history of our democracy is only meant to bring us back to my hypothesis about politicians and the demos : why are politics in the democratic states of the world so uninspired, ineffective, and – in my opinion – in danger of losing the allegiance of the governed and the respect government needs? If one were to ask why politics is not respected by citizens in nations like Canada, it is likely one would hear a great deal about the character, or lack thereof, of present politicians. Politicians are held in low regard. Their willingness to be genuine is rated low, their honesty suspected, their consistency for matching word to action not believed: in short, citizens and voters assert that if the character and quality of politicians were elevated, or deepened, or reinvigorated, then we might rethink our low opinion of politics. But we will not invest our passions or energies in politics until we see an end of base traits like self-interest, cynicism, greed, and egotistical ambitions. It is not our fault politicians are so dismal… is it? What is the basic responsibility of the electorate for the low quality of the people who hold office? One begins by asking if voters in democracies are nurtured, acculturated, educated and “engineered” for their civic duties. Keeping informed about politics would seem to be more effortless than ever in this age of 24/7 news cycles and infinite access to media reporting on government activity. Yet there is scant evidence that the opportunity for better-informed and more-engaged citizenship has produced high rates of participation by constituents who truly understand, and are educated about, issues touching on their democratic government. Voter participation, in my opinion, ought never be less than 80%, yet such a high rate is not the norm.  Only in crucial referendums does the voter turnout astound one by its size: witness the participation in Quebec’s poll on sovereignty in 1995; the Scots turned out in fine numbers for their ballot for parliamentary autonomy (“devolution”) also. I hypothesize an intimate connection between the quality of our elected “public servants” in political office and the quality of their constituents’ characters and consciousness — or what I might, in the terms of the Tao Te Ching, call the habits of “the people.” The Tao posits that the wise few who want to guide the people – not the lords and princes, but the sages – rule by being virtually invisible. The People never know that a leader makes things happen, but believe good things “happen of themselves, by our own acts.”  The wise, benevolent soul leads without acting. The people should have full bellies and empty minds, and “clever” ones who want to innovate and break tradition and dominate should be rendered powerless – so says this ancient classic of Chinese political principles and mystic spiritual guidance. I would reverse the idea that the sage inspirits the people to live in harmony with Tao, and postulate that the people are the root influence determining the kind of politicians/ gentlemen who govern over, legislate for, and lead them. Base politicians with weak character, small merit, little ability,  inadequate education, feeble cultural assets, exercising authority over us in a democracy, are ultimately defective because they reflect us. We lack what we want them to model. They are not better than we. We have yet to be worthy of better democracy, we have yet to create the nurture and culture of a people and a society who truly govern themselves individually and collectively. The true origin of good government surely is within the individual citizen, the person, consciousness, spirit, and will. Fortunately, Canada is not ruled by a pack of incompetent villains, manifestly grabbing power for the sake of their ego or greed. We are not terribly ill-served by the people we choose because, as I see it, Canadians are reasonably intelligent at discerning the worst among those who seek elected office. Good people, not merely ambitious incompetents, want to serve as politicians. There is one factor in play in Western democracies that has proven so far to have quite positive effects, unforeseen perhaps but most certainly intended by government policies and reforms. I refer to women’s emancipation. One half of humanity for all of recorded history had been unjustifiably disempowered by patriarchal culture. Women were wasted, their talent untapped, stifled by cultural blindness and antipathy to the female, not to say misogyny, for millennia. Politics in democracies are at last liberating women. Some women who have risen in the West, such as Merkel, Ardern, E. May, Bruntland, M. Robinson, or R. B. Ginsberg, are evidence that so far we are fortunate to be at last accessing the political genius of the female. I would be dishonest if I said I believe the quality of female politicians will sustain such high levels as we tap more and more women to serve in politics. I expect there are as many mediocre female politicians as male, but to this point, I see fewer… I have been pleasantly surprised by the high quality of people like Jagmeet Singh, Chrystia Freeland, and Patty Hajdu, in the Canadian pandemic, for their clear compassion and the intelligence they appear to be applying to the health issue and its ensuing economic and social crises. I groan when a Horgan, a Higgs, or a Moe abuse their polling popularity during the unusual situation to call snap provincial elections, but I do not succumb to any broader cynicism. Trudeau is a better character to have as our P.M. now than Harper would have been, I feel quite sure. Spending generously would not have been Harper’s instinct; from all I see, the crisis in our personal finances necessitates Trudeau’s policies. Another poor example of a leader, again in my opinion, is Jason Kenney, premier of Alberta; he is not what Albertans need, but he likely does reflect their public mind. It’s coming to America first, the cradle of the best and of the worst. It’s here they got the range and the machinery for change and it’s here they got the spiritual thirst.  — Leonard Cohen, Democracy is Coming Yes, always there will be some people who deceive us, who get elected with motives more selfish than altruistic; we must expect that in our present social order in a market capitalist economy and individualist ethical landscape. But we have institutions that can detect and correct abuses if we will do the work to operate them, in legal or political or educational paths of reform. We the people can make a difference; we have some basic merits for the work, and we can find the will to do it. Our neighbour to the south is the negative example of a people sadly degenerated from the standards of political and civic behaviours they once knew and that democracy demands. Canadian political culture, as with western and northern European culture, is still a firm enough foundation to keep us from the muck and mire Americans now suffer. The Atlantic magazine recently published a long piece about the USA, calling Americans’ present desperate politics a sign of“national cognitive decline.” I understand the significance of that phrase. The US has deteriorated culturally so that the public mind is incapable of higher standards of political conduct. It isn’t irreversible, but it is definitely not to be cured by one election and one change of president. The Americans are getting the president they deserved. The “leader of the free world,” as CBC calls the US president, has “his finger on the button” of nuclear war, and  the day I wrote this I learned he had contracted Covid 19. Democracy is at a very strange crossroads indeed. So much can be altered in a few months. I am reminded by this that a leader and the times in which the leader holds power are also of paramount importance. A gifted person born to the wrong circumstances will not have the opportunity to display their political gifts, and a leader with cognitive disabilities can be the reason politics falls into decline. But, as I have said before in this column, I consider the president a symptom of America’s diseased body politic, not the cause. He is an effect; the culture is the origin. But let me not leave readers with the conclusion that I am anti-American in my prejudices. I take refuge in Leonard Cohen’s lyric I’m sentimental, if you know what I mean I love the country but I can’t stand the scene. And I’m neither left or right I’m just staying home tonight, getting lost in that hopeless little screen. Select a newspaperThe Trail ChampionThe Boundary SentinelThe Castlegar SourceThe Nelson DailyThe Rossland Telegraph Let our virtual paperboy deliver an issue to your inbox every week, FREE! You don’t even have to tip him! Creative Commons License  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Use and FAQ  |  Advertise With Us  |  Contact Us
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Why Things Are Different This Time

Why Things Are Different This Time

Hi. Welcome to On Politics, your guide to the day in national politics. I’m Lisa Lerer, your host…
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The Politics of the Pale

Are Jewish politics as they exist today a result of our Russian past? by. Joshua Meyers. October 19, 2020.
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Politics Podcast: Why Biden’s Lead Is Different

According to our forecast, Democrats have a 72 percent chance of winning a trifecta — that is…
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Sivasankar is playing politics: Customs to Kerala High Court

Sivasankar is playing politics: Customs to Kerala High Court

… former principal secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister, is playing politics. The customs made the submission when senior advocate P Vijayabhanu, …
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EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine hits 2-month high as curbs ease, Thai politics weigh

All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays….
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Tom Purcell: You know politics stinks when stink bugs are an escape

I’d rather focus on stink bugs. The political season is at a fever pitch. Anger at those who …
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Politics latest news: Rishi Sunak 'responding to pandemic on the cheap', claims Andy Burnham as …

Politics latest news: Rishi Sunak ‘responding to pandemic on the cheap’, claims Andy Burnham as …

A ndy Burnham has accused the Chancellor of “trying to penny pinch” and “responding …
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Above Politics

The Pakistan Democratic Movement’s show in Karachi might be counted as a success within their…
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CALL FOR PAPER: The Politics of Urban Land in South Asia

The Politics of Urban Land in South Asia: Current Challenges and New Directions Land is back on the…
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No Compromise From NPR: Does No-Compromising Really Work?

No Compromise From NPR: Does No-Compromising Really Work?

By choosing “I agree” below, you agree that NPR’s sites use cookies, similar trac…
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Advertising as politics?

The Times of India has updated its Privacy and Cookie policy. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the better experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the The Times of India website. However, you can change your cookie setting at any time by clicking on our Cookie Policy at any time. You can also see our Privacy Policy Interested in blogging for timesofindia.com? We will be happy to have you on board as a blogger, if you have the knack for writing. Just drop in a mail at toiblogs@timesinternet.in with a brief bio and we will get in touch with you. The controversy surrounding the Tanishq ad has attracted a lot of comment. Both its contents and the company’s decision to withdraw it have met with fierce criticism, albeit from different quarters.  The criticism of the company for withdrawing the ad is misplaced for a number of reasons. Like any other brand, Tanishq’s primary allegiance is not to the abstract notion of freedom of expression or to the building of communal harmony, but to its own business success. If it encounters resistance to its communication, it is well within its rights to step back and try something else. Advertising is a form of communication that is designed to please and works with the permission of its intended audience. Its primary role is not to confront its consumers or stand up for a larger truth and expecting it to do so is naïve. Just to put things in perspective, a few months ago, Titan reportedly met with a similar backlash in Tamil Nadu, where its advertising for a new range of watches designed specifically for the state was found to be ‘too brahminical’ and even there, it chose to withdraw rather than stand its ground. Here the attack was from the other side of the ideological fence, and the company’s reaction was similar. The matter did not come to national attention nor was the company panned in any significant way for lacking courage.  Also, the fear that the company and its people would be in physical danger is hardly far-fetched, and we have seen examples of intimidation in this case in different parts of the country. It is a now a well-established pattern that in any such instance of ‘feelings being allegedly hurt’ by any constituency, the government in question, whichever party that it may belong to, offers little protection to those under attack. In any case, it is a bit rich for the company to be criticised by so many media outlets, given how craven their own response has been to intimidation. Corporations do not carry the burden of speaking truth to power, media does. And it is a sign of how desperate the times are that we expect that our democratic right to dissent should be protected by brands.  We have to come to terms with this new reality. In a world where everyone has access to a broadcasting platform, public pressure will become much more of a variable that will impact all public-facing actions. We are today living in a ‘hot’ democracy; as against its ‘cooler’ counterpart of an earlier era, here the pitch of all conversations is higher, the reactions more instant and emotionally charged, and the vocabulary angrier and more assertive.  Where the company erred was in not fully appreciating that its communication was an act of politics. On the face of it, a message that promotes a spirit of goodwill between communities and one that finds the humanism embedded within every religious ritual should be universally welcomed. Tanishq has also historically promoted a more progressive face of tradition, so it could have possibly told itself that it was just another brand promotion campaign. However, in today’s polarised environment, no brand message exists completely detached from the larger political context.  The arguments made against the ad are that it promotes ‘love jihad’ by presenting a very rosy picture of how Hindu girls are treated in Muslim households and that the Hindu bride is shown in an ‘inferior’ position as she is overly grateful for the consideration shown to her. Questions have also been raised about why couldn’t the ad have featured a Hindu family and a Muslim bahu? ‘Love jihad’ as a formulation is difficult to take seriously. And the fact that it does not exist has been asserted by this government on the floor of Parliament. And it would make little difference if the roles were switched and the girl were Muslim. The anger then would have been directed at the fact that ‘Hindus were going out of their way to appease the Muslim girl but Muslims would never do that with a Hindu girl’. Also, the idea of a Hindu family performing Islamic rituals would have been anathema to the critics. The problem with the ad is not its content but its intent- any attempt to show amity between the two communities would have met with the same objections. The trouble with the decision to withdraw the ad is that it unwittingly strengthens the hands of those that stand for the opposite of whatever the ad is trying to communicate. By stepping into a political minefield without having any real commitment to the position it was taking, the brand has emboldened those that wish to divide the communities. It will in all probability, lead to others being more circumspect in the kind of messages they create, and to the rise of self-censorship, not just in advertising but in other forms of creative expression. The debate over whether the ad should have withdrawn or not is not meaningful for that is exclusively the company’s decision. But the decision to create and run an ad like this without thinking through the consequences is where the real problem lies. Today, advertising is politics, and it is important for the corporate sector to wake up to this reality and act accordingly. Internationally we have seen enough instances of brands taking strong positions and standing their ground even when they come under furious attack. Even in India, we have some examples of corporations taking a stand, most recently on the issue of not advertising on news channels that run toxic and hateful content. Social media attacks can feel overwhelming, but in most cases, they are transient. Corporations don’t have to surrender to every wave of criticism, no matter which side it comes from. Every form of creative expression will have to find a way to navigate this new reality, for otherwise, between the outrage wielded by different constituencies, creative freedom of any kind will be squeezed out. This guy wrote the blog for a Corporation that owns Toilet paper. Irony! Moreover, Media injects bile and venom, and creates schisms and divisions. Me… (1) First of all, the Parsis will never forget the Hindu hospitality, generosity and the safety, they received in their 8th century exodus, after fle… Wish Rajdeep Sardesai and Rahul Kanwal had same level of understanding and articulation as Santhosh Desai.One expects news anchors unbiased and do…
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Stance on abortion politics varies widely among US religions

Daniel Patterson, a vice president of the Southern Baptists’ public policy arm, said most of the denomination’s pastors don’t engage in partisan politics …
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Cute Politics

Cute Politics

By analysing the conduct of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson we begin to question: is his bumbling b…
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Big Interview: Aberdeenshire’s first Labour councillor on breaking boundaries for women to enter …

When Alison Evison was elected as Aberdeenshire’s first Labour councillor she struck a blow f…
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Keywords – American politics

Keywords – American politics. Book review. Wayne E. Arnold. John Burnside, The Music of Time: Poetry in the Twentieth Century [Full text]. Published …
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Despite politics and coronavirus, Hong Kong's enduring love affair with real estate

Despite politics and coronavirus, Hong Kong’s enduring love affair with real estate

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong is showing that its affinity for real estate has been unaffected by a year of anti-government protests and concerns over the coronavirus, with a large housing project launched this month registering the highest response in over two decades. When the Pavilia Farm development in the New Territories district opened for subscription, eager buyers stocked up on food and water as they prepared for a long wait at the end of a snaking queue where signs read: “Expected waiting time: 8 hours.” The project, attractively priced and close to the busy Kowloon district, received close to 23,000 subscriptions for its first 391 units. When completed in late 2022 it will have 3,000 apartments. All 391 units were sold, the developer said on Sunday night, adding more units would be launched soon. Realtors said the take-up at Pavilia was the strongest in more than 20 years in one of the world’s most expensive property markets and matched the frenzy seen at the time of the 1997 handover of the former British colony to China. But it comes after social upheaval in the past year over China’s plans to introduce a national security law in Hong Kong, which has led many investors to question the future of the global financial hub. However, Hong Kong’s home prices dropped just 4% since a peak in May last year before the outbreak of protests and the spread of the coronavirus, supported by strong demand, a severe land shortage and low interest rates. This followed a six-fold rise in the index of private home prices since 2003. “The property market has accumulated over a year of demand since the social movement last June; the monthly transaction volume has been lower than usual,” said Richard Lee, CEO of realtor Hong Kong Property Services. “People’s confidence has come back after seeing (residential) prices have stayed resilient even during the COVID-19 outbreak.” Property consultancy Knight Frank’s executive director Thomas Lam said, however, the real estate market will continue to be under pressure in an economy under recession and with high unemployment. He said he expected home prices will fall around 5% this year before getting stable next year. “Now the property market is very ‘deformed’; home prices remain high but…commercial and shop rents and prices are falling non-stop,” Lam said. Pavilia Farm is being built by New World Development and MTR Corp. above the Tai Wai railway station, on the train line into Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, and will have a large shopping mall in its lower floors. On one of the early days of the launch, organisers stopped people queuing from 11.30 am local time (0330 GMT) as lines extended from a show flat to a footbridge outside despite social distancing concerns. Buyers said they were unconcerned about the exodus of residents following the protests last year as well as the possibility of a crash in prices. Grace Wong, a 40-year-old fitness trainer, said she wanted to buy a one-bedroom home for investment, although if prices dropped she said she would live in it herself. Wong said she’s staying in Hong Kong because she’s single and doesn’t have to worry about the future of any children. “(Otherwise) I’d choose to migrate elsewhere and not buy a property here,” she said. “I’m not young any more; if I don’t buy a property now it’ll be more difficult to secure a mortgage in the future.” Property agents said Pavilia Farm’s pricing was around 10% lower than nearby developments, making it attractive to buyers who have been waiting for opportunities. “The overwhelming response for this project demonstrates a rebound in the Hong Kong property sector and confidence from home buyers who are in search of high quality properties as the new normal settles in,” Edward Lau, deputy chief financial officer of New World, told Reuters. Candy Lau, 26, who works in the consumer industry, said she was also confident about Hong Kong’s property market. She said she expects it to remain stable or rise slightly in the near future and had signed up to buy a one-bedroom apartment in Pavilia and rent it out. “Property is still a better way of capital conservation. There’s limited investment channels right now; equity is volatile,” Lau said.
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BBC Executive Complaints Unit partially upholds complaint over episode of Politics Scotland

The BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) has partially upheld a complaint that that criticism…
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Roadkill, episode 1, review: Hugh Laurie plays politics with aplomb in David Hare’s polemic

Dodgy dialogue and ropy exposition can be forgiven when the plot is so enticing and Hugh Laurie, as…
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The Racial Politics of Kamala Harris's Performance Style

The Racial Politics of Kamala Harris’s Performance Style

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a woman of considerable power joins a man of considerabl…
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A Conversation with Wendy Schiller on the politics of COVID-19

A Conversation with Wendy Schiller on the politics of COVID-19

… of the Department of Political Science at Brown University, on the politics surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Dean Jha and Professor Schiller will …
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The Week Ahead – US Politics, COVID-19, Brexit, and Private Sector PMIs in Focus

It’s a busy week ahead on the economic calendar, with 57 stats in focus in the week ending …
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Americans are ready for politics to be boring again

Americans are flagging with election fatigue. We don’t want to fight anymore; President Donald Tr…
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Balancing Great Power Politics in 2021 and Beyond

Balancing Great Power Politics in 2021 and Beyond

The distance between U.S. aspirations for dealing with great power rivals and its capacity for reac…
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Shifting Iron Range politics may not be enough for Trump in Minnesota

The scene in the northern Minnesota mining town of Virginia fit perfectly into the Trump campaign&r…
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Postgraduate Profiles

Ane Alzola – MA International Politics (Specialist).
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