Thursday, July 18, 2019
Home Tags More Than

Tag: More Than

Politics this week

After 20 years in power and weeks of mass protests, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria’s ailing president, resigned. Dozens of people have been killed in the past two weeks, during Iran’s worst rains in years. Iranian officials blamed American sanctions for impeding their aid efforts. Four Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers. Over 1,400 people have been infected, up from the 249 cases reported recently. Activists in Thailand questioned the opaque conduct of the Election Commission, which has not yet announced the results of last month’s election. Thousands of people marched against it, saying it could be used as a pretext to hand over people who are wanted for political reasons. America had appealed to China to adopt tougher controls. Lori Lightfoot won a run-off election to become Chicago’s mayor, and will be the first black woman and gay person to hold the office. The prime minister held talks with the opposition in an effort to break the deadlock.

McDermott: Populist politics is the perfect breeding ground for anti-vaccination nonsense

The surge in global measles cases might be the first medical epidemic bolstered by a political movement. The anti-vaccination crowd — long relegated, quite properly, to the fringes of society — has moved perilously close to the mainstream, riding in on the same currents that brought us the Tea Party, Brexit and other populist movements. It’s the enthusiastic undermining of societal norms, however legitimate they might be. “Vaccine hesitancy and political populism are driven by similar dynamics: a profound distrust in elites and experts.” The correlation between populism and the anti-vaccination movement is so clear, the paper argues, that doctors should be tracking where populist sentiments are strongest and focus their vaccine-awareness efforts there: “Support for populist parties could be used as a proxy for vaccine hesitancy … with an increase in support being a signal for public health actors to be vigilant.” The Guardian, as part of a recent deep-dive series on the resurgence of populism, concluded the relationship with the anti-vaccination movement is a symbiotic one: Populism gets converts, and vaccination opponents get a political home after having been mostly rejected by established political parties. “The arguments align,” wrote the British daily. “Populists are often suspicious of the establishment and authority figures. Antivaxers are hostile to government, medical institutions, Big Pharma and science. More than 41,000 cases were reported in Europe in the first half of last year, almost double the year prior, with more than 30 deaths. England’s almost 1,000 cases in 2018 were fully triple the year before. In more than a half-dozen states, including Missouri, Republican lawmakers have responded to the epidemic by trying to pass legislation making it easier for people to avoid vaccinating their kids.

Why the Mueller Report Is Causing ‘Breakdown-Level’ Stress Among White House Staff

Cliff Owen/AP/REX/Shutterstock More than qualifications, more than intelligence, more than a Rolodex filled with Russian oligarchs, President Trump values loyalty. It’s also why the current and former White House staff members are reportedly worried about what may be revealed when a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report is released to the public on Thursday. According to NBC News, more than a dozen officials who cooperated with Mueller’s investigation are concerned they will be outed as a source of information that hurts the president. A former White House official said there is concern among staff that “the wrath” of Trump and his allies “will follow” if they are revealed to have provided the special counsel with information that doesn’t reflect well on Trump, particularly regarding his potential obstruction of justice. “You have a whole bunch of former White House officials and current White House officials, but especially former White House officials, who were told to cooperate,” said the former official. The redaction guidelines he later outlined in a letter to congressional leaders were vague as well. Last September, in the wake of a highly publicized op-ed in which an anonymous staffer detailed the lengths the administration goes to prevent Trump from destroying the country, Axios reported that the president had grown increasingly paranoid about the trustworthiness of his underlings, and even carried around a handwritten list of suspected leakers. “We’ve gotta get rid of them,'” a source close to Trump quoted him as saying. On Sunday, ABC’s Jonathan Karl reported that the White House is worried about what McGahn, who sat down with Mueller’s team for at least 30 hours, may have told the special counsel about the president’s potential obstruction of justice, particularly regarding his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey. According to Karl, the White House never debriefed McGahn, who left the administration last October, about what he told the special counsel’s office.

Indonesia elections: Personality, religion and politics

More than 190 million Indonesian voters are heading to the polls for an election that will test the country's democracy. Read more: Indonesia election puts Islam on the ballot The all-important presidential vote is a remake of the 2014 contest, with incumbent Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, once again going up against former general Prabowo Subianto. Jokowi won the 2014 election with 53% of the votes, and ran his campaign by promoting Indonesia's social plurality, while promising to boost the economy and improve infrastructure. This time around, Subianto hopes to edge off Jokowi by running on a platform of law and order, combined with conservative Islamic values. Jokowi hopes Amin can help bring in more conservative, traditional, and rural voters. "Religious regulations are used as political tools, especially in local areas, to strengthen support among an incumbent leader's constituency prior to an election," Ray Rangkuti, from the Indonesian politics watchdog Lingkar Madani, told DW. However, the parliament is decisive in creating the field for presidential elections. Sixteen parties are competing in the 2019 parliamentary elections, but Indonesian voters are also somewhat forced into voting for establishment parties. And once in parliament, parities who want to put a candidate on the ballot must have at least 20% support in the current parliament, or alternatively have won at least 25% of the vote in the latest election. Jokowi's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) won 19% of the vote in 2014, the largest party in parliament, but still under the threshold to field a candidate without a coalition.

Six in 10 Britons say Brexit uncertainty bad for mental health

It found that 83% of people were sick of seeing Brexit on the news every day, 64% believed the attendant anxiety was bad for people’s mental health, and more than two-thirds felt Brexit became more confusing the more they heard about it. Asked whether or not they agreed with the statement “I’m not impressed with what either the Conservative party or the Labour party have been doing on Brexit”, 84% of respondents concurred. Seventy per cent said a general election “would not resolve anything”. There was greater division on the way forward: 39% said the UK should cancel Brexit and 46% backed a departure with no deal. Almost three years on from the EU referendum, 30% of people said they still firmly backed Brexit and 34% were equally strongly against the idea. When asked to choose which out of more than a dozen politicians and institutions they would consider most likely to deliver a good outcome on Brexit, “none of these” was the clear winner on 28%. Theresa May was next, on 16%, ahead of Jeremy Corbyn on 9% and Boris Johnson on 5%. Why there’s nothing to fear from putting Brexit to the people – again | Bobby McDonagh Read more The findings are not overly cheering for the prime minister but are even less so for Corbyn. While 51% of people said May seemed concerned more with party politics than the national interest, 70% said the same of the Labour leader. Focus groups conducted as part of the research uncovered some grudging admiration for May’s endless efforts over Brexit.