Criticism of Democracy – Freedom Toons http://freedomtoons.org/ Fri, 14 Jan 2022 19:50:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://freedomtoons.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/default.png Criticism of Democracy – Freedom Toons http://freedomtoons.org/ 32 32 Aung San Suu Kyi faces 5 new corruption charges in Myanmar https://freedomtoons.org/aung-san-suu-kyi-faces-5-new-corruption-charges-in-myanmar/ Fri, 14 Jan 2022 19:50:46 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/aung-san-suu-kyi-faces-5-new-corruption-charges-in-myanmar/ Aung San Suu Kyi briefs the media in Oslo June 15, 2012. Myanmar’s military-installed government has filed five new corruption charges against the ousted leader. Markus Schreiber/AP Myanmar’s military-installed government has filed five new corruption charges against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi in connection with granting permits for the rental and purchase of a […]]]>

Aung San Suu Kyi briefs the media in Oslo June 15, 2012. Myanmar’s military-installed government has filed five new corruption charges against the ousted leader.

Markus Schreiber/AP

Myanmar’s military-installed government has filed five new corruption charges against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi in connection with granting permits for the rental and purchase of a helicopter, a legal official said on Friday.

Suu Kyi, detained since last February’s military coup, is already on trial on five other corruption charges. Each is liable to 15 years in prison and a fine.

She was also charged with other offenses and was sentenced to six years in prison after being found guilty of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies and breaching coronavirus restrictions.

Her supporters and rights groups say the lawsuits against her were engineered by the military to justify her takeover and prevent her from returning to politics.

The government dismissed the criticism.

“No one is above the law. I just want to say that she will be tried according to the law,” government spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun said when asked about the matter during a briefing. a press conference on Friday.

The military takeover prevented Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party from starting a second five-year term in power. The military said it acted because of widespread fraud in the November 2020 general election, but independent poll-watching groups have little evidence of that.

The takeover was met with widespread popular protest, and Myanmar is now rocked by armed resistance to army rule.

The five new charges relate to the rental, purchase and maintenance of a helicopter, said a judicial official familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to divulge details. information.

State media had announced in December that Suu Kyi and Win Myint, who was president of her government, would be prosecuted under the anti-corruption law for renting a helicopter.

Myanmar’s official Global New Light newspaper said the Anti-Corruption Commission found that it had abused its power and caused loss of public funds by neglecting to follow financial regulations by granting permission to the Minister of Protection. social, relief and resettlement era, Win Myat Aye, to rent and buy a helicopter.

Win Myat Aye is now Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management in the government of national unity set up as a parallel administration by opponents of the military regime. It is a clandestine organization declared illegal by the army.

The other corruption charges that Suu Kyi is being prosecuted for relate to allegations of bribery and abuse of authority related to real estate transactions.

She is also on trial for violating the Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years. The government said she and her colleagues would also face trial for alleged voter fraud.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Editorial summary: North Carolina | Raleigh News & Observer https://freedomtoons.org/editorial-summary-north-carolina-raleigh-news-observer/ Thu, 13 Jan 2022 00:37:53 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/editorial-summary-north-carolina-raleigh-news-observer/ Charlotte Observer. January 12, 2022. Editorial: After Cards Decision, State Supreme Court To Defend Democracy In North Carolina It was fitting that a trial over the new North Carolina electoral maps would take place around the anniversary of the January 6 assault on the United States Capitol, as the question before the three-judge panel was […]]]>

Charlotte Observer. January 12, 2022.

Editorial: After Cards Decision, State Supreme Court To Defend Democracy In North Carolina

It was fitting that a trial over the new North Carolina electoral maps would take place around the anniversary of the January 6 assault on the United States Capitol, as the question before the three-judge panel was to whether the court would prevent another assault on democracy.

The assault in the North Carolina capital was not led by foreigners storming the legislative chambers. It was a quiet end to a fair election run by Republican members of the North Carolina General Assembly as they drew and approved electoral maps designed to keep their party in power regardless of popular will.

On Tuesday, judges unanimously ruled that the local coup was OK. It will now be up to the state Supreme Court to stand up for a fair election and restore democracy to North Carolina.

Cynics predicted the move by simply examining the judicial panel’s affiliations: Superior Court Justices Graham Shirley, Nathaniel Poovey and Dawn Layton – two Republicans and a Democrat. But the more optimistic supporters of democracy hoped that partisanship would not blind Republicans on the electoral maps clearly drawn to give Republicans not only an unfair advantage, but in many districts an insurmountable advantage.

In the end, Layton joined his fellow Republicans, giving the decision a false sense of unanimous approval. In fact, the judges were skeptical about the fairness of the cards, but turned to the legality of the card-making process itself.

“This court does not endorse either the adopted cards or their anticipated potential outcomes,” the judges wrote. “Despite our disdain for having to deal with issues that potentially lead to results inconsistent with democratic principles and subject our state to ridicule, this court must remember that these cards are the result of a democratic process.”

The plaintiffs, a group of voting rights advocates, presented expert after expert whose mathematical analysis of Republican charts showed the charts to be outliers far removed from what balanced charts would look like. The cards could produce results as lopsided as a Republican 10-4 or 11-3 majority in the state’s congressional delegation and could drag Republicans back to veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate. of State.

The court’s decision was disappointing, but not unexpected, given the 2-1 Republican majority on the panel. Layton’s assent is unfortunate because it strengthens the Republicans’ position on appeal. But given the judges’ decision to vote on process over product, Layton’s vote is understandable.

Hilary Harris Klein, lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a press release that “We remain convinced that our conclusive evidence of partisan bias, obfuscation and attacks on black representation, from expert testimony to the cartographers, will convince the state’s highest court to protect voters from nefarious efforts to build partisan power at the expense of free elections and fair representation.

The state Supreme Court should quickly deal with this case by examining how the cards deprive voters of the right to vote based on their race or political opinion – two aspects Republicans shamelessly argue they don’t have taken into account. Ever since Republicans took control of the General Assembly, they have made North Carolina a national embarrassment for the right to vote and fair elections. Many courts have found their electoral laws and district maps to be unconstitutional efforts to deny certain voters their rights.

After a decade of that, North Carolina deserves to have an election conducted with fair cards.

In this case, dramatically, the State Supreme Court is really the court of last resort. If its seven judges defend not only the letter, but the spirit of the law, they should be unanimous in overturning the lower court’s decision. The Supreme Court should throw out the Republicans’ distorted maps and establish clear criteria to redraw them in a manner consistent with democratic principles.

___

Greensboro News and Registration. January 0, 2022.

Editorial: Democracy in Danger

The Americans know something is going on.

In a recent poll conducted by USA Today and the University of Suffolk, 86% of Republican respondents and 82% of Democrats expressed concern about the future of American democracy.

At this point, with new voter suppression laws and gerrymandering in the Red States, as well as Republican lawmakers in states granting themselves the power to overrule election results, who isn’t worried?

Yet the specifics of Republican concerns are not based on these obvious factors, but on wacky conspiracy theories, such as the white supremacist ‘big replacement’ theory that has migrated from the fringes of their party to their mainstream and their mainstream. zombie belief that Democrats regularly steal. elections while brilliantly leaving no fingerprints.

That’s not to say Democrats aren’t problematic in their own way. But rather than relying on criticism of actual Democratic policies and actions, the right-wing media bubble has for some time been weaving fantastical conspiracy theories over fake birth certificates, with activist George Soros funding immigrant caravans. to ‘invade’ the United States, space lasers controlled by the Jewish Rothchild family, microchips embedded in vaccines and a stolen election orchestrated by a variety of international political opponents united to deprive former President Trump of the right to vote. At one point, the mind is astounding at the enormity of the project and its inexplicable success. Americans, quite simply, should be smarter than swallowing all this nonsense.

But it is the result of decades of Tory AM radio and cable TV drumbeat with little opportunity to push back or fact-check as well as Republican political efforts to delegitimize the government. democratic government in any form. It is a drumbeat that has influenced its targets to prepare to accept – and perpetrate – inevitable political violence on their behalf.

Like the protester in the Netflix satirical film “Don’t Look Up” who looks up and sees the comet the President calls “fake news”, we are still waiting for reality to kick in, for independent skeptics to apply it. Occam’s razor and realize that the most likely possibility behind it is that they are being lied to. We continue to wait.

So are government officials, former Trump associates, academics and historians, all of whom warn of a continued Republican plan to wipe out democracy itself – all in the name of protecting the democracy.

Some of these academics are now warning that the elections of 2022 or 2024 may be the last we can consider legitimate, if we don’t take action to address the issues now.

To those who, after all this time, still demand that Biden “prove” that he won, the independent vote count in each state proves he won – that’s what elections are for – like this. is the case for every other election in American history. . The burden of proof lies with those who claim otherwise – a task they have consistently failed in recounts, biased audits and the courts. “I can’t believe Joe Biden won” is not a valid point.

Yet the Big Lie persists.

It’s like the biggest tantrum in American history. It won’t make our nation great; it makes our nation mean.

And endangered.

We know that conscientious and rational Republicans exist in great numbers. We often see them at work in local politics and local charities, seeking the best solutions for our communities. We see them running successful businesses in a beneficial and even generous way. They call us and razz us and we’re happy to hear from them.

We also know that a significant number of conservative officials, experts and academics have turned against the irrational populism that Trump and his allies are manipulating for political ends.

Many of them are speaking up, such as Rep. Liz Cheney, who recently tweeted, “The Republican Party has to make a choice. We can either be loyal to our Constitution or loyal to Donald Trump, but we can’t be both. “

We have reached the stage where we need everyone on the bridge. If democracy is to survive in America – if America is to remain the America we have all known and loved our entire lives – rational Republicans will have to reject the extremist politics that consumed so much of their party, fueled by a media juggernaut that lives for money, notes and clicks rather than to inform and enlighten. They will have to exhort and educate their friends to look up and see the comet.

We need rational conservatives to help us move towards a shared, peaceful and prosperous future.

It will not be found in anything with the name “Trump”.

To look for.

TO FINISH

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Nepalese democracy, political parties and domestic politics https://freedomtoons.org/nepalese-democracy-political-parties-and-domestic-politics/ Tue, 11 Jan 2022 02:15:39 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/nepalese-democracy-political-parties-and-domestic-politics/ Politics are said to direct the overall administration of the country. Respecting the mandatory provisions of the Election Commission that political parties must organize a convention every five years, the main political parties including the ruling Nepalese Congress (NC), the main opposition party CPN-UML, the Rastriya Party Prajatantra (RPP) and the CPN-Maoist Center held their […]]]>

Politics are said to direct the overall administration of the country. Respecting the mandatory provisions of the Election Commission that political parties must organize a convention every five years, the main political parties including the ruling Nepalese Congress (NC), the main opposition party CPN-UML, the Rastriya Party Prajatantra (RPP) and the CPN-Maoist Center held their respective general conventions to elect their leaders.

However, their discussion in convention and leadership selection reveals that democracy is still a difficult task for political parties in Nepal.

It is believed that the general conventions are the mega forums to discuss the ideological position of the party, to wake up the party committees from the local level to the federal level, to review the performance of the leadership and to revitalize the party by making room for new generations at the grassroots level. within the party.

Unfortunately, these massive forums organized with great pomp turned out to be soap bubbles in the institutionalization of democracy.

Former Prime Minister KP Oli, led by CPN-UML, organized a mass rally in Chitwan, in the constituency of former Prime Minister and Chairman of the CPN Maoist Center, Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, during the inauguration of the 10th General Convention of the party.

Although President Oli defied the claim that his intention was to make fun of Maoist President Prachanda, it is clear why the venue was moved from Butwal to Chitwan.

The UML General Convention worked well to reorganize the cadres in desperation after the party split, but ignored many fundamental principles of democratic procedure.

The leadership’s failure to implement the program believed to have been introduced for public consumption and propaganda has already dispersed the party, once considered by many to be the harbinger of change in the country, and disillusioned the population.

The Convention re-elected party chairman Oli, who was once in a defensive state over allegations of corruption and embezzlement ranging from the Omni Group scam to purchasing health equipment during the coronavirus outbreak , to the undue influence of government traders, to hire to Yeti Group, Baluwatar the land scam, then the audio-demanding bribe of Minister Baskota, among dozens of other cases, as a centrifugal force in the party.

Neither has anyone dared to seek clarification from his party and that of his party on these issues, nor has the Convention taken the time to review the party’s ideology, its roadmap and its orientations.

Sadly, leaders such as Ghanashyam Bhusal, Bhim Acharya, Bhim Rawal, Yogesh Bhattarai got lost in the group of sycophants praising Oli.

Rather than setting a clear roadmap for the party, the UML General Convention further confused the party line on the most discussed issues like the MCC and the oil government’s order not to release the new map. country in textbooks.

The election to the convention was like Iraq’s national election during Saddam Hussein’s regime, where Hussein claimed to have obtained 99 percent of the vote.

All the leaders were afraid of the wrath of George Orwell’s Big Brother who might use the thought police against openly speaking executives.

Meanwhile, still considered the party of leaders with the legacy of the party-less Panchayat system, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) once led by three presidents Kamal Thapa, Pashupati Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana and Dr Prakash Chandra Lohani, has re – focused on the issue of a Hindu state and end of federalism in the country.

Though once considered the party’s kingmaker, Thapa was defeated by Rajendra Lingden, a leader trained in politics by Thapa himself.

Party with relatively weaker political organization at the local level, the local RPP convention did not gain much attention.

However, the change in central leadership and the dethronement of established President Thapa is seen as the rise of Orthodox royalists in the party.

After the party leadership defeat, Thapa himself accused former king Gyanendra Shah of playing evil in party politics.

According to Thapa, the former King Shah used his secretariat against Thapa because he (Thapa) had not worked as a palace puppet.

Likewise, the ruling Nepalese Congress, the oldest Democratic party in the mainstream, appeared to be organizationally more democratic as elections were held at local, district, provincial and national levels to choose delegates.

Although the defeated leaders accused the victors of using money and force rather than sincere party work, the selection process was, to a large extent, transparent, even to outsiders.

Prior to the NC General Convention, the party seemed divided between the establishment faction led by party chairman Sher Bahadur Deuba and the opposition faction represented by top leader Ram Chandra Poudel and the Koiralas (Dr Shekhar Koirala, Dr Shahank Koirala).

Another faction led by Krishna Prasad Sitaula, although expected to be the kingmaker, was seen as close to the President Deuba party.

The leaders of the second generation of the party the Koiralas, Prakash Man Singh, Bimalendra Nidhi as well as the young leaders Gagan Thapa, Bishwo Prakash Sharma, Guru Ghimire had pleaded for the change of leadership accusing the establishment of not retaining political glory and history of the holiday.

However, the lack of proper coordination within the group gave Deuba another chance to claim the party chairmanship.

The party leadership change program was also unsuccessful this time around. However, some energetic young people who dared to challenge the five-time prime minister and chairman of the Deuba party both politically and rhetorically in open forums have managed to land key positions.

They are now in the test of action – if they can establish their platform in the party and lead it forward or be submitted to the leadership like their predecessors.

It was interesting to see the leaders including the prime minister, minister, federal and provincial lawmakers, chief minister, former ministers, greetings from the party chairman and soliciting votes from party delegates representing various venues and organizations.

Unfortunately, like the 10th General Convention of the UML, the General Convention of the NC also did not give the time to review, revise or rethink his party’s manifesto and was limited to the selection leadership and formal discussion of party statutes.

The Maoist chairman had sensed the displeasure of the delegates and knew well enough that he had a good chance of being criticized without mercy.

Still reluctant, although in party statute, to join parliamentary politics, the Maoist CPN-Center also organized its General Convention meeting to meet the mandatory deadline to make it eligible for elections in the country.

The Maoist Center, with its decade-long history of “people’s war,” thousands of war victims expectation of substantial and revolutionary change, leadership’s commitment to re-vocalize the integration agenda of all classes, geographic regions, ethnic minorities and peoples. The promise of developing the Nepalese model of development that is suitable for the 21st century has also been observed with enthusiasm by the national and international community.

The leadership’s failure to implement the program believed to have been introduced for public consumption and propaganda has already dispersed the party, once considered by many to be the harbinger of change in the country, and disillusioned the population.

Former close associates of the president of the Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ party, formerly described as two wings of the president, Dr Baburam Bhattarai and Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ have deserted Prachanda.

A group of party extremists have split up and are with top leftist Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’. Some young people who wanted to revolt against the party’s decision to sign the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement first joined Netra Bikram Chand and later dispersed.

The Maoist Center, which was once the largest political party in parliament, has become a fringe party.
In this scenario, party chairman Prachanda had come under pressure to secure both right and left cadres inside and outside the party.

“I dissected my steps as the main party leader, instead of blaming others, regarding our situation now in the report that will be submitted to this Eighth General Party Convention,” he said. he declared at the inaugural session. of the party’s general convention on December 26.

The closed-door session of the convention discussed Prachanda’s resounding political dossier forming 25 panels of delegates.

The NC did not let the delegates discuss the party course to follow rather focused on the selection of central leaders as if, like a communist party, lower committees or party members were not literate enough to discuss the issues serious like the road map for the party and the ways leading to it.

The Maoist chairman had sensed the displeasure of the delegates and knew well enough that he had a good chance of being criticized without mercy.

However, unlike UML President Oli who, rather than confessing the mistakes of the past, devoted his forces to blaming the deserting leader Madhav of Nepal and former co-chair Prachanda, the Maoist president claimed to have come with “self-criticism. “.

The document verbally mentioned some of the decisions like haphazard unification with UML and the inability to address the “People’s War” agenda as leadership failures; however, he did not report any substantive course correction as he did not dare to utter a single word related to compensating losers and punishing wrongdoers.

Thus, both the Maoist Center and the UML felt a dictatorial organizational structure of the Communist Party although they did not resemble communism, socialism, or capitalism ideologically.

The NC did not let the delegates discuss the party course to follow rather focused on the selection of central leaders as if, like a communist party, lower committees or party members were not literate enough to discuss the issues serious like the road map for the party and the ways leading to it.

In summary, recent general conventions have reflected that democracy in its true sense is still a far-fetched issue for political parties in Nepal. They have a long way to go to internalize democracy in its true sense.

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Our opinion: Democracy in danger | Editorial https://freedomtoons.org/our-opinion-democracy-in-danger-editorial/ Sun, 09 Jan 2022 05:00:00 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/our-opinion-democracy-in-danger-editorial/ But it is the result of a drumbeat of decades of Tory gossip on AM radio and cable TV with few opportunities to push back or fact-check as well as Republican political efforts to delegitimize the government. democratic government in any form. It is a drumbeat that has influenced its intended targets to prepare to […]]]>

But it is the result of a drumbeat of decades of Tory gossip on AM radio and cable TV with few opportunities to push back or fact-check as well as Republican political efforts to delegitimize the government. democratic government in any form. It is a drumbeat that has influenced its intended targets to prepare to accept – and perpetrate – inevitable political violence on their behalf.

As the protester in the satirical Netflix film “Don’t Look Up” which Is it that looks up and sees the comet the president says is ‘fake news’, we’re still waiting for reality to kick in, independent skeptics to apply Occam’s razor and realize the most likely possibility behind all that is that we are lying to them. We continue to wait.

So are government officials, former Trump associates, academics and historians, all of whom warn of an ongoing Republican plan to wipe out democracy itself – all in the name of protect the democracy.

Some of these academics are now warning that the elections of 2022 or 2024 may be the last we can consider legitimate, if we don’t take action to address the issues now.

To those who, after all this time, still demand that Biden “prove” he won, the independent vote count in every state proves he won – that’s what elections are about. for – as is the case in every other election in American history. The onus is on those who claim otherwise – a task they have consistently failed in recounts, biased audits and the courts. “I can’t believe Joe Biden won” is not a valid point.


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Trump tears Democrats, media apart on January 6 anniversary https://freedomtoons.org/trump-tears-democrats-media-apart-on-january-6-anniversary/ Fri, 07 Jan 2022 16:16:13 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/trump-tears-democrats-media-apart-on-january-6-anniversary/ Old President TrumpDonald Trump Jan. The 6 brings together the Democrats and Cheneys – the GOP being absent most of the time. ProPublica reporter says movement to target government political opponents increased before Jan 6 attack Briahna Joy Gray: Biden to ‘pay the piper’ for his mid-term inaction MORE Friday issued a strong rebuke against […]]]>

Old President TrumpDonald Trump Jan. The 6 brings together the Democrats and Cheneys – the GOP being absent most of the time. ProPublica reporter says movement to target government political opponents increased before Jan 6 attack Briahna Joy Gray: Biden to ‘pay the piper’ for his mid-term inaction MORE Friday issued a strong rebuke against Democrats and the media a day after the anniversary of the Jan.6 riot on the U.S. Capitol, accusing its critics of using the assault as a political wedge, while downplaying the importance of the most violent day on the Capitol in centuries.

In a lengthy statement released through his PAC leadership, Trump sought to exploit the grievances of his conservative voter base, making Democrats and the “media establishment” nothing less than a sinister force that had “pushed our country into the ground”.

“These radical leftists in Washington don’t care ANYTHING about American democracy,” Trump said. “All they care about is control over you, and the wealth and the riches for themselves. “

“But they fail. No one believes them anymore, ”he added. “And the day is quickly approaching when they will be massively rejected from power. “

The remarks came a day after lawmakers, led by Democrats, gathered in Washington to commemorate the January 6, 2020 anniversary, when a crowd of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as the Congress met to certify President BidenJoe Biden Biden Hopes for Significant Jobs on Friday Jan.6 Brings Democrats and Cheneys Together – With GOP Almost Absent Balance / Sustainability – Climate, Democratic Emergencies Indivisible MOREthe victory of the Electoral College.

Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died in the riot. The assault also prompted the House to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the attack.

Before the chaos on Capitol Hill, Trump urged his supporters to “fight like hell” if he challenged the election results.

Ten Republicans supported Trump’s impeachment in the House and seven voted to convict the president in the Senate trial. But the Senate is well short of the 67 votes needed for a conviction.

Since then, Trump’s grip on his own party has strengthened and he is flirting with a candidacy for re-election in 2024.

Republicans also have high hopes of winning back majorities in the House and Senate in this year’s midterm election. Trump and Jan.6 are likely to be problems both in the GOP primaries and in this fall’s general election.

Trump’s remarks on Friday also came after he canceled a press conference scheduled for Thursday in which he was to repeat his false claims about the 2020 election and criticize the work of the House select committee to investigate the riot January 6.

The former president’s remarks made no mention of the violence committed by the rioters. Instead, he blamed the Speaker of the House Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi Jan. 6 unites Democrats and Cheneys – with GOP almost absent One year later: a lesson Three in four voters support ban on lawmakers from trading in stocks: MORE poll (D-Calif.) For the chaos that day, calling the events of January 6 a “security failure led by Pelosi on Capitol Hill.”

Trump also accused Democrats of using the January 6 riot as a pretext to clamp down on free speech and censor critics. He also hammered home the Democrats’ efforts to push through sweeping electoral reforms, accusing them of pursuing such measures in order to consolidate their ruling majorities.

“The reason Democrats are doing all of this isn’t because they think they’ll win a fair and honest election,” Trump said. “It’s because they know they’re going to LOSE a massive one.”

Democrats called electoral reform efforts necessary to tackle restrictive new election laws that Republican legislatures in several states passed in the wake of the 2020 election and Trump’s baseless claim he made. steal a second term in the White House through widespread electoral fraud. .

Well over a year after his loss to Biden, Trump has clung to the misconception that the 2020 election was rigged against him. There is no evidence that the 2020 elections were marred by electoral fraud or widespread embezzlement. Multiple state-level election audits and reviews have found no evidence for Trump’s claims.

Yet Trump’s claim that the election was stolen from him has caught on among many Republicans. A poll released by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst late last month found that nearly three-quarters of Republicans doubt the legitimacy of Biden’s election victory.

Polls also suggest a deep division in the United States over what happened on January 6 and how to interpret the violent incident.

In his remarks on Friday, Trump brushed aside criticism that he sought to weaken American democracy by rejecting election results.

“Remember, I’m not the one trying to undermine American democracy,” he said. “I am the one trying to SAVE American democracy.”


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Chinese FM Wang Yi kicks off African tour https://freedomtoons.org/chinese-fm-wang-yi-kicks-off-african-tour/ Wed, 05 Jan 2022 14:47:29 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/chinese-fm-wang-yi-kicks-off-african-tour/ Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi returned to Africa on Tuesday (January 4th). He arrived in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, to embark on a four-day three-country tour that will also take him to Kenya and the Comoros, an island state in the Indian Ocean. The tour marks the custom that the Chinese Foreign Minister’s first overseas […]]]>

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi returned to Africa on Tuesday (January 4th). He arrived in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, to embark on a four-day three-country tour that will also take him to Kenya and the Comoros, an island state in the Indian Ocean.

The tour marks the custom that the Chinese Foreign Minister’s first overseas trip in the New Year is always to Africa, a tradition now in its 32nd year. It also comes less than five weeks after Wang’s last trip to the mainland, when he led the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation conference in Senegal and also made a brief stop in Ethiopia.

Although the Chinese Foreign Ministry did not specify On why the three countries were selected for this year’s visit, spokesman Zhao Lijian hinted last week that pushing back the United States over the Ethiopia conflict is likely to become an important theme on the tour of Wang, especially in Eritrea and Kenya.

“As a developing country, China and African countries face the common task of safeguarding sovereignty, opposing hegemony and achieving development, ”Zhao said at the regular press conference in Beijing on Thursday. He used the same language as China’s official criticism of US sanctions against Addis Ababa and other developing countries. “We are comrades in arms in the fight against hegemonism,” he added in a not-so-subtle dig in the United States.

While bilateral issues will likely dominate Wang’s discussions with his various hosts, escalating tensions between China and the United States will undoubtedly be close to the surface at every stop on the tour. In Kenya, for example, where a general election will be held in August and the presidential campaign is now in full swing, Wang could address the issue of democracy he raised in his year-end interview with Xinhua last week. .

Even though the US Democracy Summit is long overdue and the event really hasn’t generated much interest, Chinese officials are apparently still pissed off, as evidenced by Wang’s statement that “no one is able to lecture others on democracy ”- a point, incidentally, which was also echoed by the Kenyan media.

After his tour ends on Friday, Wang will travel to the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Possible items on Wang Yi’s African tour agenda this week:

  • ERITREA: The war in Ethiopia will undoubtedly be at the top of the agenda of Wang’s talks with his counterpart Osman Saleh Mohammed. China and Eritrea are aligned in their support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in his fight against Tigrayian forces. The choice to go to Eritrea was also likely influenced by Beijing’s ever-growing popularity and influence throughout the Horn of Africa region.
  • In addition, the two sides could unveil Belt & Road projects in response to Asmara joining the network last November. China often rewards new BIS members with loans or infrastructure development projects.
  • KENYA: Ethiopia will likely be a talking point in talks with Foreign Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, but not very important. Wang will likely want to avoid any comparison with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who leaned heavily on Omamo regarding the war across the border. Instead, debt relief will likely be a much more pressing concern for Kenyans. Look for Kenyan attempts to get China Exim Bank to ease costly loan service obligations.
  • Wang could also visit the nearly completed Nairobi Highway, a prominent public-private partnership with the China Road and Bridge Corporation. It highlights the new, less state-driven direction that stakeholders have advocated for China-Africa cooperation. Vaccine trade and production announcements are also likely.
  • COMOROS ISLANDS: The inclusion of the Comoros Islands on the itinerary reinforces the increased importance that Beijing places on the African States of the Indian Ocean. Last year Wang visited the Seychelles and after leaving Moroni Wang will travel to the Maldives and Sri Lanka, two countries also key to the Indian Ocean. China increasingly sees the Indian Ocean as one of its most strategic maritime interests, especially with the opening of new land trade routes through Pakistan and Myanmar that are slashing shipping times by several weeks. and reduce China’s vulnerability to the so-called “Malacca trap”.

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Reflections on 2021 and 2022 https://freedomtoons.org/reflections-on-2021-and-2022/ Mon, 03 Jan 2022 16:01:25 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/reflections-on-2021-and-2022/ Well, the New Year’s gone with a bang. After a week of over 70 degrees, we were hit by fierce storms that left me typing in the dark and the promise of snow. Don’t worry, however, the market will take care of it. I don’t make a lot of predictions since the Trump insurgency changed […]]]>

Well, the New Year’s gone with a bang. After a week of over 70 degrees, we were hit by fierce storms that left me typing in the dark and the promise of snow. Don’t worry, however, the market will take care of it.

I don’t make a lot of predictions since the Trump insurgency changed my understanding of the people of this country. I will, however, offer a few observations on the year we have just been through and the one to come. I thought a lot about what happened and what we need to do.

We started 2021 with Donald Trump and his megaphones on Fox News, OAN and various talk shows declaring the election stolen, despite no evidence of fraud. On January 6, a mob assaulted the Capitol in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the election. In the process, the leaders of both parties condemned the attack and blamed Donald Trump.

Within days, however, GOP leaders withdrew their criticism of Trump and made it clear that they thwart any attempt to hold people accountable or even get to the bottom of what exactly happened. They have been telling us for months that it is time to move on. According to polls in March, 55% of Republicans believed the election was stolen. A recent poll showed 71% of Republicans believe Biden is illegitimate, even though election experts from both parties agree the election was fair. It looks like the GOP is gearing up to justify stealing the upcoming election.

Joe Biden has got off to a great start as president. He embraced the US bailout, putting money in people’s pockets and restarting the economy. As a result, unemployment is falling, the stock market is rising, the economy has grown at a healthy pace, and wages have increased accordingly.

Biden has also reached the other side of the aisle to pass a massive infrastructure bill that eluded his predecessors. The bill will repair our roads and bridges, upgrade public transportation, provide clean water, and bring the internet to underserved areas. The bill was a huge success that never really received the attention or credit it deserved.

However, the pandemic and inflation weighed on the administration and kept optimism low, despite signs of a strong economy. Biden’s initial success in deploying the vaccine was overshadowed by, first, Delta and, now, Omicron. A country ready to get out of the virus is repeatedly asked to be cautious and threats of shutdown are pushing people towards the boiling point.

Inflation concerns are real, whether inflation is transient or lasts for a while. People pay more for basic items like food and building materials. Rising prices have dampened the optimism that should accompany a booming economy.

In Congress, Democrats botched their treatment of the Build Back Better bill and confused their priorities. They don’t know how to win and they don’t know how to fight emotionally. They should have been doing victory dances all over Capitol Hill for weeks after the infrastructure bill. Instead, too many progressives have lamented that the infrastructure bill is not enough without an expansion of the social safety net that is more of a priority for Democratic interest groups than for ordinary citizens who simply want to overcome the pandemic.

Instead of the massive spending bill, Democrats should have focused on voting rights and tied it to the assault on Capitol Hill while the episode was still fresh. By waiting so long, they gave the right-wing propaganda machine time to change the perception of aggression among conservatives who were initially outraged. Now Democrats are catching up as Republican legislatures pass measures for electoral districts, restrict access to polling stations, and even change the rules for how elections are certified. As the new year dawns, Democrats risk ending up with neither a social spending bill nor a voting rights bill. It is a failure to govern.

The pandemic is expected to end now, but instead we are debating whether or not to close schools. Obviously, progressives have learned little about what happened in Virginia. The threat of Omicron is low compared to other strains, especially in vaccinees. Force school staff and students over 12 to vaccinate, but don’t even talk about closing schools. Instead, claim victory. Vaccines and boosters have made the disease little more than a disadvantage for most people of working age or younger. Unless they have underlying conditions, it is very, very unlikely that they will get seriously ill from COVID as long as they are vaccinated.

Democrats continue to push polls showing overwhelming public support for their agenda. From abortion rights to the extension of Medicaid to universal pre-K, Americans are siding with Democrats rather than Republicans. But those progressive groups pushing their agendas seem to understand poll numbers better than the people they poll. While Americans may agree with the Democrats’ positions, they don’t think of politics in those terms. Most don’t think about problems on a daily basis. Their priorities are based on things they face every day, like the pandemic or the cost of groceries.

The gap between a middle-class family of three or four and the politicians and activists who talk about Build Back Better is huge. They don’t know what it is. (Hell, I don’t know what it is and I do this for a living.) They want to know if they can send their kids to school so they don’t end up with distance learning anymore. . They want to know what Joe Biden is doing about rising food prices. They want to hear about the issues they are facing right now, right now, not some empty plan to make things better next year.

So if I was in charge of Democrats by 2022, I would tackle about four or five easily identifiable issues. First, I would take care of the pandemic. I would cry victory, touting the success of vaccines in making disease little more than the flu for most people who get vaccinated. I recognize that the elderly and immunocompromised are at greater risk and are taking steps to protect them, requiring vaccinations for all people working in facilities that house older Americans. I would work with states to identify seniors who live at home and provide them with appropriate protection like N-95 masks and home test kits. I would prescribe vaccines for air travel. And I would assure people that schools would stay open because closing them is a greater threat to our young people than the coronavirus.

Also, push back the media that want to keep the pandemic for clicks. Expose them to fuel the hysteria that keeps people in an irrational fear. This morning I read an article on Daily beast titled “Spooked ER Doc Confronts the Terrifying ‘Tidal Wave’ of Omicron Kids. “ It wasn’t until the eighth paragraph that the author admitted, “He reports that most children in hospital have underlying conditions such as leukemia that are complicated by COVID. Only a handful of otherwise healthy children he treated have fallen seriously ill solely from the coronavirus. Leading with that headline is downright misinformation.

Second, I would tackle inflation. Whether or not this is transient or endemic is irrelevant. Acknowledge that prices continue to rise and urge the Federal Reserve to take action to address it. A slight increase in interest rates is not going to scare anyone since most people know that we have been receiving money almost for free since the Great Recession.

Third, fight climate change. Most Americans, and especially young people, think of this as an existential threat. Make it a top priority. Speed ​​up the production of green energy and invest in energy efficiency measures. Contrary to the Conservatives’ magical thinking, the market is not going to deal with climate change, certainly not in the time we have left to deal with it.

Fourth, make the protection of our democracy an urgent cause. Use the January 6 anniversary to remind people that disinformation and the Big Lie always motivates people to question our democracy. Tie this propaganda to actions taken by Republican legislatures to undermine the democratic process and work to build a movement to protect voting rights. Nothing else on the legislative agenda matters if Republicans continue to downgrade democracy.

Finally, pick a social agenda from the Build Back Better bill and make it the centerpiece. Focus on pre-k universal or paid family leave or whatever has the broadest support. Get what you can of Joe Manchin and declare victory again. Donald Trump understands that people want to feel like they are winning. Democrats ignore their victories and perpetually focus on the issues. It’s the epitome of letting the perfect get in the way of the good, and in politics the good is pretty much all you get.

Happy 2022.


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the Czech Republic is at the head of the anti-China group of the EU; Will Germany join? https://freedomtoons.org/the-czech-republic-is-at-the-head-of-the-anti-china-group-of-the-eu-will-germany-join/ Sat, 01 Jan 2022 19:05:23 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/the-czech-republic-is-at-the-head-of-the-anti-china-group-of-the-eu-will-germany-join/ On his first day in office, the new Prime Minister Fiala sent a message to capitals around the world: “Our country is looking to the West”. The message came in the form of Fiala’s choice for Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, a 36-year-old Chinese falcon. London: “China is an unreliable trading partner that has failed to […]]]>

On his first day in office, the new Prime Minister Fiala sent a message to capitals around the world: “Our country is looking to the West”. The message came in the form of Fiala’s choice for Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, a 36-year-old Chinese falcon.

London: “China is an unreliable trading partner that has failed to deliver on its investment promises in the Czech Republic,” Prague mayor Zdenek Hrib said in an interview early last year. His comments came as more and more Eastern European countries, courted by Beijing as a New Silk Road partner, distance themselves from China.
Everything looked so different just five years ago.
President Xi Jinping will have thought the game was ready when he arrived in Prague in May 2016, the first stop on a foreign tour that also took him to Washington for the nuclear security summit. His visit to the Czech Republic, also known as “Czechia” for short, came as part of a wider campaign to deepen China’s relations with countries in central and eastern Europe. A year earlier, China had signed agreements to build a high-speed railroad from Budapest in Hungary to Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, and pledged to invest in ports and industrial parks along coastal areas. from the Adriatic, the Baltic and the Black Seas. Beijing viewed these Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) as a window to broader relations with Europe as a whole, in particular under Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). . The countries of Central and Eastern Europe were also crucial links between the Central Asian and Russian sections of the Silk Road economic belt and the final destinations in Western Europe. Many were scrambling to claim a position as China’s “bridge to Europe”, with all the economic benefits that this could bring.
The Czech Republic in particular had made efforts to rapidly strengthen ties with China under the leadership of its president, Milos Zemen who, ignoring the debates in Prague over the wisdom of his approach, had visited Beijing twice in the past. from the previous two years. On one occasion, he was the only sitting Western leader to attend Beijing’s massive military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, two months later by signing a memorandum of understanding with China s ‘committing to cooperate on the Belt and Road.
Zeman’s pro-Chinese stance drew much criticism in Czechia at the time. A former finance minister, Miroslav Kalousek, accused him of “licking authoritarian and nonfree regimes”. In a more diplomatic tweet, Petr Fiala, former Minister of Education, said “we cannot get down on our knees and deny our professed values”. Fiala is now the Czech Prime Minister.
The dramatic parliamentary elections in Czechia last October, which drew an unusually high turnout from young voters keen to oust populist oligarch and Prime Minister Andrej Babis, currently under investigation by Brussels, marked a turning point in Czech politics. From his first day in office, the new Prime Minister Fiala sent a message to capitals around the world: “Our country is looking to the West”. The message came in the form of Fiala’s choice for Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, a 36-year-old Chinese hawk, Russian critic and staunch supporter of the EU and NATO. During the election campaign, Lipavsky specifically described China and Russia as a “threat to the Czech Republic”, arguing that his country had given up some of its principles in recent negotiations with Beijing and Moscow. Months earlier, Lipavsky was one of the politicians responsible for excluding China and Russia from tenders for contracts to build reactors at a Czech nuclear power plant. He also favors deepening ties with Taiwan, calling it “the Czech Republic’s” important economic partner much more important than the People’s Republic of China. ” A statement unlikely to endear him in Beijing.
Strikingly, Lipavsky has been cold towards deepening relations with the other countries of Visegrad – Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, an opinion which will be music to Brussels’ ears, annoyed by the questioning of Budapest. and Warsaw for the supremacy of EU law over national law. It will also send a strong message to voters in Hungary, where parliamentary elections are taking place next April and strongly pro-Chinese Prime Minister Victor Orban is threatened by a coalition of parties determined to impeach him. Orban has been China’s most trusted European ally, and his departure will increase the chances of success of the EU’s new Global Gateway Strategy, unveiled on December 1. Billed as a potential European response to China’s BRI, Brussels says the EU’s new strategy, worth up to € 300 billion, is designed to increase investment promoting democratic values, high standards and good governance. The new strategy also clearly represents a hardening of views on China.
With the largest population and economy in Europe, Germany is key to the success of the EU’s Global Gateway Strategy and EU foreign policy. Last year, Germany was again China’s most important trading partner, with a trade volume of over 212 billion euros, but today German companies are feeling badly about it. comfortable with China. For decades, German industry, a forerunner in the Chinese market, has turned a blind eye to Beijing’s human rights abuses, while managers and engineers have helped make the country the country’s largest trading partner. ‘Germany. But as Xi Jinping bolsters the country’s surveillance state, threatens its neighbors, and takes on an increasingly bellicose tone with the West, Germany’s Chinese strategy, designed to meet the needs of its export industry , seems more and more unsustainable. For many years, German leaders and politicians have peddled the idea of ​​”transformation through trade” as a mechanism to transform the Asian juggernaut into a Western-style democracy. But today, even China’s biggest defenders in Germany don’t continue to pretend. Major German industry players are now joining prominent politicians in calling for a fundamental overhaul of the country’s approach to China and other autocratic states.
But that leaves German companies more exposed to China than any of its European peers, faced with an impossible choice between preserving a crucial trading relationship and upholding the liberal ideals that Germany holds dear. One in four German jobs depends on exports, and much of this trade is done with autocratic regimes like China and Russia.
However, the China’s debate over German industry comes as the country’s political winds turn. The Greens and the Free Liberal Democrats, the two parties that have joined the Social Democrats in forming a government, are taking a considerably tougher stance on China than did former Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been criticized for years for being too soft. Merkel had made China one of her foreign policy priorities, visiting the country twelve times during her tenure as chancellor, more than all of her predecessors combined. Even during last year’s democracy protests in Hong Kong, Merkel flew to Beijing with a large business delegation and met Xi. She was also the driving force behind the EU’s investment deal with China, now frozen by the European Parliament due to Beijing’s ruthless conduct in Xinjiang.
All eyes are now on the new Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and his Foreign Secretary, Annalena Baerbock of the Green Party. In an interview with Die Tageszeitung on December 1, Baerbock promised a foreign policy that will be “based on values”. His general message was that Germany will take a stronger stance vis-à-vis China and respond unequivocally to grievances: “In the long run, eloquent silence is not a form of diplomacy, even if it has been. seen that way in recent years, ”she added. She even suggested an import ban on products from Xinjiang, without categorically ruling out a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
By focusing on China and allowing the transatlantic partnership to play a bigger role again, Germany’s new government is taking a clear position in the geopolitical dispute between the United States and China. In Brussels, the change will be supported by the Czech Republic and, if the parliamentary elections next April in Hungary lead to the departure of pro-Beijing Orban, the consensus within the EU will go strongly in the anti-China direction.
Xi Jinping, deeply allergic to criticism, is well known for intimidating small nations like Lithuania, Denmark and even Australia, who question his autocratic style. Will he have the courage to intimidate a great economic and critical power like the European Union? We may soon find out.
John Dobson is a former British diplomat, who also worked in the office of British Prime Minister John Major between 1995 and 1998. He is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Plymouth.


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Trump, Biden, vaccine terms, infrastructure bill – one year in politics https://freedomtoons.org/trump-biden-vaccine-terms-infrastructure-bill-one-year-in-politics/ Fri, 31 Dec 2021 04:59:00 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/trump-biden-vaccine-terms-infrastructure-bill-one-year-in-politics/ 2021 has been a fascinating political year. We take a look at some of the things learned over the past 12 months. For Democrats at the national level, controlling Washington, 2021 has started with high hopes for major legislative achievements. Republicans have been playing defense all year, overshadowed by the former president’s presence Donald trump. […]]]>

2021 has been a fascinating political year. We take a look at some of the things learned over the past 12 months.

For Democrats at the national level, controlling Washington, 2021 has started with high hopes for major legislative achievements. Republicans have been playing defense all year, overshadowed by the former president’s presence Donald trump. What are the lessons of their successes and their failures?

Pignanelli: “The history of politics of the year has been one of partisan, cultural and ideological divisions that defy easy resolution. Neither side has the strength to really impose its will. So, in 2021, governing was just plain difficult. “- Gerald Seib, Wall Street Journal

For political observers, 2021 has confirmed that traditional rules of politics remain important. For example, an understanding of mathematics is essential for success. A three-vote majority in the United States House and a one-vote majority in the United States Senate is not a mandate. Instead, these numbers signal an absolute requirement for collaboration to be successful at anything.

President Joseph biden, when he was a senator, was a past master in the art of concocting coalitions on major legislative initiatives. So, it was no surprise that the bipartisanship of Congress achieved the greatest legislative achievement, the $ 1.2 trillion in infrastructure improvements. But for everything else, the progressives on the left apparently need tutoring on this lesson.

Election activities in 2021 further underscored that voters care about the future, not the past. Democrats who sent messages against Trump and Republicans who kissed the former president have behaved badly. The “things happen so be prepared” rule has been ignored, at a cost. Variants of the coronavirus, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and price inflation have all raised jurisdictional issues with the Biden administration.

The principle “Democracy is disorderly” was obvious. Americans are struggling to teach about race, mandatory vaccinations, the principles of non-discrimination, and climate change. While seeming confusing and traumatic, all Americans are engaged in conversations about these issues.

The overarching lesson of 2021 is that Americans cannot be taken for granted. They rightly ask for explanations and participation in the process. It is truly heartwarming.

Webb: The biggest political lesson of 2021 is: don’t go too far; don’t assume you have a mandate to take the country in a radical new direction when you don’t. A corollary is this: understand the state of mind of the country, especially the inner-city working class citizens, before you try to force radical change. Don’t try to rule the whole country through the prism of East Coast and West Coast values.

Democrats won the Presidency and the United States House and Senate fairly (despite Trump’s protests). But the margins of victory were tiny. The Senate is 50-50. Republicans won many seats in the House. And Joe Biden barely won the presidency.

But instead of ruling with a bit of humility, from the center, reaching out to the other side, Democrats have turned to a left-wing grand slam home run, defending every ultra-progressive problem and agenda imaginable.

Now Biden suffers from near-historically low approval ratings, the progressive wing of the party is angry and disillusioned, and the stage is set for Republicans to win big midway through 2022. He’s never been realistic. for progressive democrats to try to transform society.

Meanwhile, Republicans have effectively played the loyal opposition all year. But when they have to happen in elections and political initiatives, the wild card that is the Trump card could mess things up.

In Utah, the priorities of a new governor, a stubborn Republican legislature, a vibrant economy, and the dangers of a redistribution combined to produce an intriguing year. What have we learned about our state policy?

Pignanelli: The Utahns are a pragmatic people, and many actions of our state officials reflected this virtue. Controversial social issues have been reviewed, but also confined to prevent them from entering into deliberations on other topics. The critical attention to the issues of water, air quality, climate change and growth was subtle but very real.

Utah thrives with a diverse demographic flavor. We are a global center of innovation for technology, financial services and healthcare. However, the “Utah Way” remains a priority. Another refreshing sign of the times.

Webb: Utah is by no means perfect. We face our share of problems. We have to do a better job with education, for example. But we have good governance in Utah. Our state and local leaders are not ignorant of the problems. They resolve them in a thoughtful and reasonable manner. They look after basic needs and balance budgets. They are in line with the priorities and values ​​of citizens. Now is a good time to be a Utahn.

The COVID-19 pandemic was over everything in 2021. What political impact has the dreaded coronavirus had?

Pignanelli: The response to the pandemic has become a litmus test for many office holders across the political spectrum. This will influence cross-party competitions in 2022.

Webb: It is regrettable that the pandemic has turned into a political issue that divides. Trump has been vilified by his opponents for not controlling the pandemic. But Biden and the Democrats did no better. It’s a tough battle, tougher than we expected. Biden’s struggles with COVID-19 – including not being prepared with millions of test kits needed right now – are contributing to his low approval ratings.

The reality is that neither Biden nor Trump deserves criticism for things beyond their control. But when bad things happen, those responsible are blamed.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a former journalist and semi-retired smallholder farmer and political consultant. E-mail: lwebb@exoro.com. Frank Pignanelli is a lawyer, lobbyist, and political advisor from Salt Lake who served as Democrat in the Utah Legislature. E-mail: frankp@xmission.com.


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India: Activists denounce “witch hunt” by foreign-funded NGOs | Asia | An in-depth look at current events on the continent | DW https://freedomtoons.org/india-activists-denounce-witch-hunt-by-foreign-funded-ngos-asia-an-in-depth-look-at-current-events-on-the-continent-dw/ Wed, 29 Dec 2021 14:17:39 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/india-activists-denounce-witch-hunt-by-foreign-funded-ngos-asia-an-in-depth-look-at-current-events-on-the-continent-dw/ The Indian government’s recent decision to cut foreign funding for a charity founded by Mother Teresa has drawn strong criticism from NGOs and rights activists. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government denied Missionaries of Charity (MoC) permission under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) after receiving “unfavorable contributions,” a statement released by the Foreign Minister said. […]]]>

The Indian government’s recent decision to cut foreign funding for a charity founded by Mother Teresa has drawn strong criticism from NGOs and rights activists.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government denied Missionaries of Charity (MoC) permission under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) after receiving “unfavorable contributions,” a statement released by the Foreign Minister said. Ministry of the Interior on December 25.

“During the examination of the MoC renewal application, some negative contributions were noted,” noted the ministry, without providing details.

The charity – founded in 1950 by the late Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who has dedicated most of her life to helping the poor in the eastern city of Kolkata – has more than 3,000 nuns around the world who run hospices , community kitchens, schools, lepers and homes for abandoned children.

Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work and was later declared a saint.

The MoC, which operates shelters across India, received around $ 750 million (€ 660 million) from overseas in the 2020-21 fiscal year, according to The Hindu newspaper.

Activists criticize the Modi government

The Commerce Ministry said in a statement that it had instructed its centers not to use foreign currency accounts “until the problem is resolved.”

The organization, however, rejected reports that its bank accounts had been frozen.

The government’s move came just two weeks after Gujarat state police began investigating the charity for the “forced conversion” of Hindus to Christianity.

Die-hard followers of Hinduism, the majority religion in India, often accuse the Ministry of Culture and other Christian charities of engaging in religious conversions.

Activists say religious minorities in India have faced increased levels of discrimination and violence since Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party (BJP) came to power in 2014.

Modi’s government rejects reports that officials have a radical “Hindutva” (Hindu hegemony) agenda and insists that people of all faiths have equal rights.

“While FCRA permissions are widely denied to these organizations, other right-wing Hindu groups are allowed to receive funds with little or no oversight,” prominent criminal lawyer Rebecca John told DW.

“The FCRA has now become a weapon to force organizations and trusts that work in the NGO sector to close their overseas accounts and thus minimize their work in India,” said John.

Henri Tiphagne, executive director of People’s Watch, called the government’s actions a “complete witch hunt”.

Foreign funding for his organization was suspended in 2012, and he is still challenging the case in court.

Many NGOs hit by restrictions

This is not the first time that the Indian government has refused permission for an NGO to receive foreign funding.

In 2020, rights group Amnesty International announced it was halting operations in India, citing “continued crackdown” and “harassment” by Prime Minister Modi’s government.

Amnesty’s bank accounts had been frozen by India’s Law Enforcement Directorate, a government investigative agency, forcing it to lay off its 150 employees and halt its campaigns and research.

Other organizations, including Sabrang India, Lawyers Collective and Navsarjan Trust, have also been targeted by FCRA.

These organizations criticized mining infrastructure and projects, demanded justice for anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002, and denounced violations against Dalits. In response, they were faced with repeated questions about their work, threats of investigations and the blocking of foreign funding.

Groups such as Greenpeace India and the Ford Foundation have also been hit with restrictions.

With the reduction in NGO funding, many struggled to function and decided to go out of business.

“Extremely concerning”

Six months ago, authorities blocked the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), a civil liberties group, from receiving foreign contributions.

People working for the organization said they were surprised by the decision as CHRI works with government stakeholders.

They have challenged this decision in the Delhi High Court and are awaiting its verdict.

“The National Human Rights Commission, state police and prison services and legal aid institutions recognize CHRI as a resource partner and expert in the areas of police and prison reform and transparency of governance, ”CHRI Director Sanjoy Hazarika told DW.

“We are a recognized specialist in the field of the right to information,” said Hazarika.

Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, told DW that it is “extremely worrying” that authorities are targeting rights groups.

“This unfortunately indicates a lack of confidence when a proud democracy cannot tolerate criticism or the ability of groups to tackle entrenched social inequalities,” she said.

Edited by: Srinivas Mazumdaru


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