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Posts Tagged ‘Politico’

Posted by hkarner - 18. März 2019

Date: 16-03-2019
Source: The Guardian By Frans de Waal
Subject: What animals can teach us about politics

Decades of studying primates has convinced me that animal politics are not so different from our own – and even in the wild, leadership is about much more than being a bully.

In July 2017, when Sean Spicer, then the White House press secretary, was discovered hiding in the bushes to dodge questions from reporters, I knew Washington politics had become truly primatological. A few weeks earlier, James Comey had intentionally worn a blue suit while standing at the back of a room with blue curtains so as to blend in. The FBI director hoped to go unnoticed and avoid a presidential hug. (The tactic failed.)

Making creative use of the environment is primate politics at its best, as is the role of body language such as sitting on a throne high above the grovelling masses, descending into their midst with an escalator or raising one’s arm so underlings can kiss your armpit (a pheromonal ritual invented by Saddam Hussein). The link between high evaluations of debate performances and the candidates’ heights is well known – taller candidates have a leg up. This advantage explains why short leaders bring along boxes to stand on during group photos. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How Brexit will kill the sandwich

Posted by hkarner - 9. August 2018

Sandwich ingredients could be hit hard by a no-deal Brexit

The UK imports a lot of meat, cheese and salad from Europe to satisfy its lunchtime cravings.

The humble sandwich is toast if there is no Brexit deal.

Sure, if the talks break down there will be plenty of other things to worry about. Four million citizens on either side of the Channel won’t know if they can carry on working and living where they are. Patients may be worrying whether their hospital has stockpiled the right drugs.

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Trump reviews top White House staff after tumultuous start

Posted by hkarner - 14. Februar 2017

flynn-wikipediaMichael Flynn is under fire, but he’s not the only one about whom Trump is voicing his doubts.

U.S. President Donald Trump, frustrated over his administration’s rocky start, is complaining to friends and allies about some of his most senior aides — leading to questions about whether he is mulling an early staff shake-up.

Trump has told several people that he is particularly displeased with national security adviser Michael Flynn over reports that he had top-secret discussions with Russian officials about and lied about it. The president, who spent part of the weekend dealing with the Flynn controversy, has been alarmed by reports from top aides that they don’t trust Flynn. “He thinks he’s a problem,” said one person familiar with the president’s thinking. “I would be worried if I was General Flynn.” 

Yet Trump’s concern goes beyond his embattled national security adviser, according to conversations with more than a dozen people who have spoken to Trump or his top aides. He has mused aloud about press secretary Sean Spicer, asking specific questions to confidants about how they think he’s doing behind the podium. During conversations with Spicer, the president has occasionally expressed unhappiness with how his press secretary is talking about some matters — sometimes pointing out even small things he’s doing that he doesn’t like. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Germany’s identity crisis

Posted by hkarner - 18. Oktober 2015

Merkel_HollandeCan Germany really manage it? |

As refugees keep coming, Germans ask ‘Who are we?’

BERLIN — For weeks, Germany’s debate over the refugee crisis focused on the logistics of housing and feeding the thousands arriving at the border every day.

With more than 1 million refugees expected this year alone, the foremost question was whether Germans, as Chancellor Angela Merkel keeps insisting, can really “manage it.”

As the depth of the challenge has become apparent, the discussion has shifted way from the short-term hurdles to a subject that makes Germans wince: identity. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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‘The real Labour leader’ takes a beating

Posted by hkarner - 14. Oktober 2015

 watson ccThe UK opposition’s attack dog, Tom Watson, is on the defensive.

LONDON — Tom Watson was supposed to be the Labour Party’s adult in the room, a deputy leader with the experience and stature to soften Jeremy Corbyn’s hard-left leadership style.

But one month after Watson’s election gave moderates hope that some centrist common sense would find its way into the shadow cabinet, his own political standing is in jeopardy.

Watson earned adulation with his campaign in 2011 to bring Rupert Murdoch to account for the phone hacking scandal at the now-defunct News of the World. He followed up the next year with a whistle-blowing crusade against an alleged pedophile ring involving top figures in British politics, including former home secretary Sir Leon Brittan.

Here’s the problem: Watson got the pedophile probe wrong, according to Scotland Yard. The London police service posthumously cleared Brittan of all charges last week and apologized to his widow. Brittan’s brother, Samuel, demanded that Watson apologize as well.

Watson released a statement saying he was sorry for the “distress” caused to Brittan’s family, but he appeared to stand by his actions. He may now face a grilling by the parliamentary home affairs select committee, not to mention widespread condemnation by the media — especially the Murdoch press.

The scandal engulfing Watson now threatens to deprive the party of the tough-minded politician who many had hoped would be the one to pull the party back from the abyss. Bookies give Corbyn’s leadership odds of 5/4 of surviving until the next election. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Requiem for the Loony Left

Posted by hkarner - 9. Oktober 2015

Zoe Konstantopoulou casts her vote in the September 20 Greek election — but she failed to get reelected |

The former Greek speaker claims to seek the truth, but she is destined for the wilderness.

This weekend saw the swearing-in of Greece’s new parliament and the election of the new speaker of the house, Nikos Voutsis, a Syriza elder and loyal associate of the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras. At the same time, the pompously named Greek Debt Truth Commission, led by the outgoing speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou, delivered the findings of its investigation on the origins of the country’s debt problem. Predictably, it found that Greece’s debts were “illegitimate, illegal and odious.”

Konstantopoulou, who has failed in her bid to be reelected as an MP, called a four-day session of the Truth Commission just after the September 20 election, in a desperate bid to remain in the spotlight for a little bit longer. 

She had even pre-announced that she would call on Yanis Varoufakis, the mercifully departed finance minister, to appear, in order to explain how the country was led to sign a third bailout agreement. The public sessions were broadcast on the television channel of the parliament. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Merkel: EU needs to consider treaty change

Posted by hkarner - 7. Oktober 2015

Merkel was greeted at the European parliament as „Chancellor of Germany, accompanied by her Vice-Chancellor, the head of the province of France“ (hfk)

Ahead of joint speech with François Hollande, the German chancellor admits reform won’t be easy.

Merkel cc 3STRASBOURG — German Chancellor Angela Merkel told members of the center-right European People’s Party Wednesday that EU leaders should be open to considering important treaty changes if they want the Union to “evolve.”

According to MEPs and officials who attended a closed-door meeting ahead of her joint public appearance with French President François Hollande in Parliament, Merkel said the treaties should be changed “if necessary” to deal with important issues.

In a discussion that focused mainly on the migration crisis facing the EU, the chancellor acknowledged that such changes would be difficult to achieve given the recent history of the EU. The sources said the mention of possible EU reforms requiring a treaty change came in response to a question from an MEP. They were general in nature and not related to any specific topic, such as the coming British referendum on membership of the Union.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will push for serious EU reforms in a variety of areas, including policies allowing the free movement of labor and people throughout the Union.

According to several MEPs who attended the meeting, Merkel held a 30-minute discussion with party members on a variety of topics, including migration, negotiations on an EU-U.S. trade agreement, and economic policies. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The decline of the French intellectual

Posted by hkarner - 24. September 2015

By ; Politico

Updated 9/22/15, 7:21 AM CET

One of the most characteristic inventions of modern French culture is the “intellectual.”

Intellectuals in France are not just experts in their particular fields, such as literature, art, philosophy and history. They also speak in universal terms, and are expected to provide moral guidance about general social and political issues. Indeed, the most eminent French intellectuals are almost sacred figures, who became global symbols of the causes they championed — thus Voltaire’s powerful denunciation of religious intolerance, Rousseau’s rousing defense of republican freedom, Victor Hugo’s eloquent tirade against Napoleonic despotism, Émile Zola’s passionate plea for justice during the Dreyfus Affair, and Simone de Beauvoir’s bold advocacy of women’s emancipation.

Above all, intellectuals have provided the French with a comforting sense of national pride. As the progressive thinker Edgar Quinet put it, with a big dollop of Gallic self-satisfaction: “France’s vocation is to consume herself for the glory of the world, for others as much as for herself, for an ideal which is yet to be attained of humanity and world civilization.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Varoufakis: I’m not backing Tsipras

Posted by hkarner - 5. September 2015

‘A 10-year-old knows the Greek bailout cannot end well.’

Varoufakis ccYanis Varoufakis, Greece’s controversial former finance minister, will not be backing his leftist former ally Alexis Tsipras in the upcoming Greek election, and said a child could see that the country’s last bailout was wrong.

Speaking to CNBC in London on Friday, Varoufakis said that he and his former boss Tsipras were still friends, but that he would not be endorsing the Syriza party ahead of the vote on September 20 — an election he described as “sad.” 

Asked if he wanted to see Syriza back in charge of the Greek parliament, Varoufakis said, “I want to see stability. But we need to end the extend-and-pretend nightmare of the last few years, constantly accumulating new debt, piling it up on already non-viable debt, pretending that we’ve solved the crisis, the debt deflationary spiral is enhanced, and the country becomes unreformable. That is something that the political system has not managed to address.”

He added, “The reason I called this the ‘sad election’ is because I don’t believe this parliament is going to be able to do it.”

Varouafkis stepped down as finance minister in early July in order, he said, to make it easier for Tsipras to forge a third bailout deal. But the deal that was struck did not make him happy. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Greece’s first female prime minister takes charge

Posted by hkarner - 28. August 2015

 Thanou CCGreece’s interim prime minister Vassiliki Thanou. |

Poll puts Syriza ahead with 23 percent, significantly less than the 36 percent in January.

8/28/15, 4:07 PM CET, Politico

ATHENS — Greece’s first female prime minister took the helm of an interim government Friday while campaigning heated up for a September 20 election.

As interim premier, Supreme Court President Vassiliki Thanou, 65, will be responsible for overseeing the vote, which was triggered by the resignation of Alexis Tsipras after seven months as head of the government. Thanou is the country’s fifth prime minister in less than four years.

“The main responsibility is to ensure the elections take place correctly, but it’s very possible that the government will be required to manage other issues such as migration and the start of the school year,” she told the interim cabinet’s first meeting. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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