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Bonfire of the Liberals – The Wall Street Journal

Americas liberal intelligentsia thought the election of Donald Trump meant America would re-enact 1984, but its starting to look more like Homage to Catalonia, George Orwells account of the lefts internecine savagery during the Spanish Civil War. Witness the spectacular online meltdown that followed a liberal open letter opposing left-wing attacks on free speech.

A Letter on Justice and Open Debate, published Tuesday by Harpers, opens with anti-Trump throat-clearing. It then accurately describes the ferocious campaign...

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Bonfire of the Liberals - The Wall Street Journal

The Willful Blindness of Reactionary Liberalism – The New Republic

Associative freedom is often entirely absent from popular discourse about liberalism and our political debates, perhaps because liberals have come to take it entirely for granted.

Overall, the liberal ideal is a diverse, pluralistic society of autonomous people guided by reason and tolerance. The dream is harmonious coexistence. But liberalism also happens to excel at generating dissensus, and some of the major sociopolitical controversies of the past few years should be understood as conflicts not between liberalism and something else but between parties placing emphasis on different liberal freedomschiefly freedom of speech, a popular favorite which needs no introduction, and freedom of association, the under-heralded right of individuals to unite for a common purpose or in alignment with a particular set of values. Like free speech, freedom of association has been enshrined in liberal democratic jurisprudence here and across the world; liberal theorists from John Stuart Mill to John Rawls have declared it one of the essential human liberties. Yet associative freedom is often entirely absent from popular discourse about liberalism and our political debates, perhaps because liberals have come to take it entirely for granted.

For instance, while public universities in America are generally bound by the First Amendment, controversial speakers have no broad right to speak at private institutions. Those institutions do, however, have a right to decide what ideas they are and arent interested in entertaining and what people they believe will or will not be useful to their communities of scholarsa right that limits the entry and participation not only of public figures with controversial views but the vast majority of people in our society. Senators like Tom Cotton have every right to have their views published in a newspaper. But they have no specific right to have those views published by any particular publication. Rather, publications have the rightboth constitutionally as institutions of the press, and by convention as collections of individuals engaged in lawful projectsto decide what and whom they would or would not like to publish, based on whatever standards happen to prevail within each outlet.

When a speaker is denied or when staffers at a publication argue that something should not have been published, the rights of the parties in question havent been violated in any way. But what we tend to hear in these and similar situations are criticisms that are at odds with the principle that groups in liberal society have the general right to commit themselves to values which many might disagree with and make decisions on that basis. Theres nothing unreasonable about criticizing the substance of such decisions and the values that produce them. But accusations of illiberalism in these cases carry the implication that nonstate institutions under liberalism have an obligation of some sort to be maximally permissive of opposing ideasor at least maximally permissive of the kinds of ideas critics of progressive identity politics consider important. In fact, they do not.

Associative freedom is no less vital to liberalism than the other freedoms, and is actually integral to their functioning. There isnt a right explicitly enumerated in the First Amendment that isnt implicitly dependent on or augmented by similarly minded individuals having the right to come together. Most people worship with others; an assembly or petition of one isnt worth much; the institutions of the press are, again, associations; and individual speech is functionally inert unless some group chooses to offer a venue or a platform. And political speech is, in the first place, generally aimed at stirring some group or constituency to contemplation or action.

Ultimately, associative freedom is critical because groups and associations are the very building blocks of society. Political parties and unions, nonprofits and civic organizations, whole religions and whole ideologiesindividuals cannot be meaningfully free unless they have the freedom to create, make themselves part of, and define these and other kinds of affiliations. Some of our affiliations, including the major identity categories, are involuntary, and this is among the complications that makes associative freedom as messy as it is important. Just as the principle of free speech forces us into debates over hate speech, obscenity, and misinformation, association is the root of identity-based discrimination and other ills. The Supreme Courts decision in Bostock v. Clayton County banning employment discrimination on the basis of LGBTQ identity last month was a huge step forward, but in practice, workers of all stripes often lack the means and opportunity to defend themselves from unjust firingsall the more reason for those preoccupied with cancel culture and social mediadriven dismissals to support just-cause provisions and an end to at-will employment.

What about the oft-repeated charge that progressives today intend to establish group rights over and above the rights of the individualthat, specifically, minorities and certain disadvantaged groups are to be given more rights than, and held as superior to, white people? If this were the case, the critics of left illiberalism would truly be onto something: Individual rights are, again, at the center of liberal thought.

But that divergence isnt anywhere to be found in any of the major controversies that have recently captured broad attention. A minority chef who says she wants to be paid as much as her white colleagues has not said that white people are inferior; an unarmed black man under the knee of a policeman and begging for his life is not asking to be conferred a special privilege. The goal is parity, not superiority. The heart of the protests and cultural agitation weve witnessed has clearly been a desire to see minorities treated equallysharing the rights to which all people are entitled but that have been denied to many by societys extant bigots and the residual effects of injustices past.

Ultimately, its the realities of our collective past that make the notion that progressives are dragging the country toward illiberalism especially ridiculous. Over the course of two and a half centuries in this country, millions of human beings held as property toiled for the comfort and profit of already wealthy people who tortured and raped them. Just over 150 years ago, the last generation of slaves was released into systems of subjugation from which its descendants have not recovered. August will mark just 100 years since women were granted the right to vote; Black Americans, nominally awarded that right during Reconstruction, couldnt take full advantage of it until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. The litany of other inequities and crimes our country has perpetrated and continues to perpetrate against Native Americans, immigrants, religious and sexual minorities, political dissidents, and the poor is endless. All told, liberal society in the U.S. is, at best, just over half a century old: If it were a person, it would be too young to qualify for Medicare.

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The Willful Blindness of Reactionary Liberalism - The New Republic

Why the Conservatives are going after the Liberals’ pre-pandemic spending now – CBC.ca

The federal balance sheet is a mathematical exercise that has real fiscal and economic implications. But outside of a debt crisis,the greatest value of a surplus or deficit estimate may be as a political idea.

In that respect, the most interesting thing about the $343 billion deficit that Finance Minister Bill Morneau projected on Wednesday is how it might frame the federal debate for years to come.

There is very little actualdebate to be had about the current deficit. Almost no one is arguing that the federal government should not have spent nearly $200 billion over the last few months to help Canadians get through a pandemic-induced economic shutdown. The need to continue providing some amount of support through the fall and into next spring seems obvious.

Where there are specific complaints, they tend to be that the government could have spent more and moved faster. As if in response to those critiques, Morneau's 168-page snapshot goes on at length about what the Liberal government has done and makes a point of showing how the federal response in Canada stacks up against relief efforts in other G7 countries.

All of which might explainwhythe Conservatives stopped short Wednesday of a fullassaulton the current deficit. Instead,the Conservatives renewed their attacks on the deficits the Trudeau government ran before the crisis. In 2015, the Liberals made an explicit decision to run a deficit and the federal government ran a cumulative shortfall of $54.7 billion between 2015 and 2019.

Watch: Andrew Scheer presses federal government for a pandemic recovery plan

The Conservatives like to argue that the budget was balanced when the Harper government left office five years ago. That's not entirely accurate. In November 2015 after that year's federal election, but before the Liberals had started to implement their agenda the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer released an updated fiscal projection that showed a surplus of $1.2 billion for 2015-2016.

But the federal balance sheet was benefiting from a one-time boost provided by the sale of the federal government's shares in General Motors. In the years following, the PBO projected that the budget would show a deficit of between $3 billion and $5 billion in subsequent years.

For the fiscal year of 2018-2019, the PBO estimated that the federal government's debt-to-GDP ratio a measure of accumulated debt in comparison to the national economy would be 27.9 per cent.

In fact, after the Liberal government implemented its spending plans, the debt-to-GDP ratio was 30.9 per cent in 2018-2019. That three per cent difference isn't nothing, but it is the box within which any argument about pre-2020 fiscal policy has to be fought.

Of course, a full evaluation of the Liberal approach before the pandemic hit would have to assess the value of that increased spending. But the 2015 to 2019 era is just the prelude to what'slikely to be a larger debate about the shape, size and activity of the federal government going forward.

The federal government is running a deficit of $343 billion but the sky has not fallen and that is an implicitchallenge to the Conservatives' arguments about the primary value of frugality.They also may notwantthe idea of such widespread federal support for individuals and businesses to be broadlyaccepted by Canadians.

So, on Wednesday, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer told the House of Commons that Morneau had presented a "dire" picture of federal finances. Pierre Poilievre, the shadow finance minister,stood and loudly decriedthe fact that total federal debt isnow expected to reach $1 trillion.Poilievrethen called on Morneau to reform the government's relief policies so that the free market could be unleashed to create the jobs and growth that are now needed.

The future direction of the Conservative Party still depends on who its next leader turns out to be, but Scheer and Poilievreprobably havelaid out the broad strokes of what Conservatives will argue in the months and years ahead that government borrowing isa significant source of concern, that there has been too much spending under the Liberals, and that the private sector must be left alone to create prosperity.

When Conservatives need to argue that Canada cannot "afford" something in the future, they'll no doubt insist that the Liberals have 'spent the cupboards bare'. (Granted, Poilievre and Scheer were making that argument before the current crisis. Maybethey needa new metaphor.)

Watch: The National:Bill Morneau on $343B deficit, post-pandemic recovery

One trillion is not a magic number;the federal debt almost inevitably would have reached that level at some point in the future. But it is a big number. And big numbers can be attention-grabbing.

No one should take thedeficitfor granted, but Morneau was prepared to argue thatCanada's current fiscal plight looks less alarming when it's placed incontext. Canada went into this crisis with the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7 and it still has the lowest level of net government debt among those countries. Due to low interest rates, the federal government also willpay a lower servicing charge on that debt this year than it did last year, even with the extra borrowing.

Federal debt-to-GDP is now expected to reach 49 per cent well below its peak of 66 per cent in the mid-1990s. As the economy continues to recover, that ratio should decline.

But even if no one is really contestingthe need to spend now, there will be a debate later about how to manage the deficit and the debt going forward. And the extent of the federal government's emergency spending coupled with the deficits of earlier years could leave Morneau and the Liberals vulnerable to claims that they are irresponsible or profligate.

There was some faint grumbling already when it seemed that the federal government might not be doing enough to ensure that payments from the Canadaemergency response benefit (CERB) weren't going to ineligible recipients. Any future spending scandals could be much more potent in light of the big numbers that were released on Wednesday.

And Morneau willsoon have to confrontall the other problemsthis pandemic has exposed, and all the outstanding requests that have piled up over the last four months. Major issues involving long-term care, precarious work, inequality, child care and climate change are going to be waiting for the finance minister once it's time to rebuild not to mention the need to be better prepared for the next pandemic. Each of those issues will come with demands for new funding.

On that note,theNDP'sJagmeetSingh isalreadycalling for a new tax on the richest Canadians. Of course, theNDPwas proposing a wealth tax before this pandemic but New Democrats will have evenmore reasons to argue for one now.

For the Liberals, doing everything and making the case that theycan do so responsibly is only going to get harder. And Liberals who worry about this government's legacy must know that if they leave the government on an unacceptable fiscal path, they'll give their successors a handy reason to significantly restructure whatever is left behind.

Watch: The At Issue panel discusses what's missing from the fiscal snapshot

Link:

Why the Conservatives are going after the Liberals' pre-pandemic spending now - CBC.ca

Free Speech Fantasies: the Harper’s Letter and the Myth of American Liberalism – CounterPunch

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

Harpers Magazines July 7th Letter on Justice and Open Debate is making its rounds in popular political discourse, and takes aim at the PC cancel culture we are told is being fueled by the most recent round of Black Lives Matter protests. This cancel culture, we are warned, is quickly and perniciously taking over American discourse, and will severely limit the free exploration of competing viewpoints.

The Harpers letter signatories run across the ideological spectrum, including prominent conservatives such as David Brooks and J.K. Rowling, liberals such as Mark Lilla and Sean Willentz, and progressives such as Noam Chomsky and Todd Gitlin. I have no doubt that the supporters of the letter are well meaning in their support for free speech. And I have no interest in singling out any one person or group of signatories for condemnation. Rather, I think its warranted to focus on the ways in which free speech is being weaponized in this case, and in contemporary American discourse, to empower reactionary voices, under the faade of a free exploration of ideas.

The ideas established in the Harpers letter sound just fine in principle, and when examined in a vacuum. The supporters embrace norms of open debate and toleration of differences, and opposition to dogma[s], coercion, and intolerant climate[s] that stifle open exploration of competing views. The letters supporters celebrate the free exchange of information and ideas, which they deem the lifeblood of a liberal society, contrary to a rising vogue for public shaming and ostracism and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. The letter elaborates:

But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms. Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes. Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal.

Appealing to Americans commitment to civic responsibility for open dialogue, the Harpers letter warns, restriction of debate invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away.

One of the main problems with this sort of lofty rhetoric is that it misrepresents the severely deficient reality of American political discourse. We live in a period when the rise of neoliberal capitalism and untrammeled corporate power have cheapened public political discourse to serve the interests of plutocratic wealth and power, while assaulting notions of the common good and the public health. Idealistic rhetoric about exploring diverse views falls flat, and is a mischaracterization of reality to the deficiencies in U.S. political discourse under neoliberal corporate capitalism, when debates are perverted by political and economic elites who have contempt for the free exchange of ideas.

Numerous passages in the Harpers letter create the impression that U.S. political discourse is characterized by a vibrant and open exploration of diverse and competing views. The letter includes:

+ A lament that the emerging cancel culture threatens to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration.

+ The claim that the free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted.

+ The assertion that American discourse is characterized by institutions that uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters.

+ The call to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences.

All of these claims are romanticizations of American life. They obscure the reality that progressive left and radical dissident views are routinely blacklisted from mainstream political, economic, and social discourse by the media and by mainstream academic institutions.

The lets engage in a diversity of competing views position sounds great until one realizes that we do not, and have never lived in, that sort of pluralistic democracy. We live in a political culture that, on its face, is committed to free speech protections for all, in which through the respectful exchange of ideas, we arrive at a better understanding of truth, to the benefit of all. But we dont really live in that society. Ours is a reactionary culture, which celebrates ideas that service political and economic power centers. In this society, views that are elevated to being worthy of discussion include milquetoast liberal values that are sympathetic (or at least not antagonistic) to corporate power, apolitical content thats aimed at mindless entertainment and political diversion, and reactionary authoritarian views that border on fascistic, but are vital to demonizing immigrants, people of color, and other minorities, and reinforce a white patriarchal corporate power structure. Radical lefties, or even progressive-leftists, need not apply to be included in this circumscribed discourse. Their views are routinely blacklisted from the mass media, and are increasingly marginalized in higher educational institutions.

I dont draw these conclusions lightly. My understanding of how the mass media operates is based on extensive personal experiences, and those from countless left intellectuals I know. Many of us have struggled (and mostly failed) to break into mainstream discourse because of the limited space in corporate news devoted to marginalized perspectives. With this marginalization comes the near erasure of critical views, including those seeking to spotlight record (and rising) economic inequality, repressive institutions that reinforce racial, gender and transphobic systems of repression, the corporate ecocidal assault on the environment, the rise of unbridled corporate power and plutocracy, the rising authoritarianism in American politics, and the increasingly reactionary and fascistic rhetoric that has taken over the American right.

Despite complaints about a pervasive liberal bias in higher education, available evidence reveals the opposite. As Ive documented through my own comprehensive analysis of hundreds of national opinion polling questions on Americans political and economic values, theres virtually no empirical evidence to suggest that increased education in the U.S. is associated with increased likelihood of holding liberal attitudes. The reason for this non-link between education and liberalism is obvious to those leftists who have struggled to carve out a space in the increasingly reactionary American university: theres very little commitment to progressive or leftist values in the modern corporate collegiate experience-oriented schooling system.

Reflecting on my own experiences within this system, the very notion of academics serving as public intellectuals has been under systematic assault by the rise of a professionalization culture that depicts political engagement as biased, unprofessional, and unacceptable. Whatever lingering commitment to higher education as a public good was rolled back decades ago with the rise of corporatized academic professional norms. Scholars are now primarily concerned with publishing in esoteric, jargon-laden journals that no one reads, and almost no one cites, while elevating a discussion of the methods of how one does research over a discussion of the political and social significance of our work. In this process, theres been a suppression of any commitment to producing active citizens who see themselves as having an ethical or moral responsibility to be regularly politically engaged.

The reactionary professionalization thats celebrated in the ivory tower is relentlessly promoted at every step of the process through which academics develop and are socialized: in the graduate school experience, in the job hiring, tenure, and promotion processes, and in the process of peer review for academic publications. Those who dont get with the program are filtered out at some point in this process. Very few who are committed to challenging professionalized academic norms make it through PhD programs, and fewer still obtain tenure-track jobs and tenure. It is a rare to find academics who learn how to effectively hide their political values in grad school, and who then actively draw on those same values in their scholarship once theyve secured an academic job.

In my more than two decades in higher ed, I can say theres no such thing as a fair hearing for the progressive-radical left when it comes to academic publishing. Thinking of my own research, I see zero interest in elite academic publishing houses the Oxfords, Princetons, and Cambridges of the world in making space for openly leftist frameworks of analysis, let alone for the sort of applied Gramscian and Marxian empirical research that I do on media propaganda, hegemony, indoctrination, and mass false consciousness. Neither do any of the reputable journals in most social science disciplines express interest in this sort of research.

Considering the research I do focuses on social movement protests, media propaganda/fake news, and inequality studies, one might think these timely topics would draw a large number of requests for university speaking engagements. These are, after all, defining political issues of our time. But this isnt at all the case. The academy remains as reactionary as ever in terms of sidelining and blacklisting leftist ideas and frameworks for understanding the world. Theres little interest in prioritizing high-profile campus speaking events for such topics in the neoliberal corporate academy. Considering the utter contempt for such scholarship, its difficult for me to focus my limited time and energy lamenting campus attacks on authoritarians like Milo Yiannopoulos, or whatever other reactionary pseudo-intellectual flavor of the week who has been disinvited from paid speaking engagements that I and other leftist scholars couldnt dream of receiving in the first place.

I wont shed a tear for reactionaries who seek to appropriate dwindling university resources for their own personal publicity and self-aggrandizement, considering that their ideology actively supports gutting the very institutions that they so shamelessly take advantage of. The reality of the matter is that theres no First Amendment free speech right to be invited to numerous campus engagements, to be paid a generous speaking fee, or to have campus security resources devoted to protecting arch-reactionary authoritarian speakers in light of the large student protests that are mobilized against these campus events.

We should recognize that the recent wave of laments against PC cancel culture from the right reinforce a specific power dynamic in American society. It is one in which reactionaries have initiated an assault on what little remains of independent and critical thinking within the media and higher ed. They have done so by draping their contempt for free and critical inquiry in the rhetoric of free speech. But U.S. media and educational institutions have never been committed to the free exploration of competing views, at least not for those who question corporate power. The sooner we stop pretending this landscape represents a free and open exchange of ideas, the better.

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Free Speech Fantasies: the Harper's Letter and the Myth of American Liberalism - CounterPunch

Liberals rejected 1,000 voters in its leadership race. One of them is questioning why – CBC.ca

Robyn LeGrow is among the thousand-odd people rejected by the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador to vote for its next leader. (Peter Cowan/CBC)

Some people registered to vote in Newfoundland and Labrador's Liberal Party leadership race are being ousted from the process, and left questioning the party's reasoning why.

Among the rejected is Robyn LeGrow of St. John's,who two weeks ago posted on herpersonal Facebook account a critique of candidate Andrew Furey's campaign policies.

"I can only assume that that is why I have been disqualified. I had no idea when I put that post out on my personal page, to my personal friends, that it would get as much attention as it has," LeGrow told CBC News on Wednesday.

The party is informing the former voters via email.

"We want to thank you for your interest in the Liberal Party and this election. However, our records indicate that you do not support the aims and objectives of the Liberal Party of NL. As a result, you have been found ineligible to vote," reads an emailwritten byLewis Stoyles, chief returning officer of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador leadership election.

The upcoming party vote will elect its nextleader and the province's next premier on Aug. 3 ahead of a provincialgeneral election which will be called within the next year.

LeGrow took to Twitter Wednesday morning with her concerns, with many people commenting that they, too, have received rejection notices.

Emails being sent to rejected voters include an opt-inreview process by the party.

"If our records are incorrect or you wish to have this decision reviewed, please respond to this email by9:00 PM (NST) on July 8, 2020," the email from Stoyles reads.

That leavesmany, includingLeGrow, with less than 12 hours before the deadline for appeal closes.

An appeals process will continue throughout the rest of the week, according to Judy Morrow, a member of the leadership election committee and past president of the Liberal Party in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The first part of the appeals involvesasking Stoylesto review thedecisionthat rendered the voterineligible. If the voter is not satisfied,then they have an opportunity to make an appeal to the party's appeals committee, which wasput in place in February.

The party plans to have a finalized list of voters by July 14, with voting starting onJuly 28.

LeGrowistaking the party up on its appeals offer, and says she has notified them she'll be pursuing it.

"My concern is that communications all along haven't been consistent," she said.

"It seems to me that they are creating the rules as they go, making decisions and then responding to them based on feedback from people who are on the other end of those decisions."

On Wednesday afternoon, the Liberal Party held a virtual news conference for anupdate on the election process.

Since voter registration closed on June 25, the election committee has been going through what its calling a "multi-faceted vetting process." Thatincludedcalls and email blasts to verify and authenticate registered voters, and waspartnered with a research company.

As of Wednesday roughly 33,500 voters have been designated eligible, according to Morrow, who took questions from reporters.

When asked if the vetting process included the research company combing through social media accounts of registered voters to find past comments which could find them in the ineligible category, Morrow said no.

"They were just given pure lists from our Liberal list database," she said.

Morrow saidanyone who signed up with the party to vote for itsleadership, and in a follow up robocallsaid they would vote for any other party, were automatically disqualified from voting.

Anyone who said they didn't support the aims of objectives of the Liberal Party were also disqualified. Those categories addedup to about 300 people.

There were about 1,000 ineligible voters total, Morrow said.

"They were for various reasons. That could be because their date of birth was missing, or they didn't have an email or telephone number, or they were no longer a resident of the province," she said.

"We found some individuals who had been deceased. There were different reasons for knockouts."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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Liberals rejected 1,000 voters in its leadership race. One of them is questioning why - CBC.ca

Shock bid for Liberal presidency turns party tensions to the Max – InDaily

Adelaide Friday July 10, 2020

A standoff is looming for one of the SA Liberal Partys most senior roles, with country medico Max van Dissel today nominating to replace former premier John Olsen as state president.

The move will surprise many in the party who had anticipated an uncontested ballot, with high-profile lawyer and recent failed senate hopeful Morry Bailes believed to be preparing for a run for the presidency.

Bailes did not respond to inquiries today and has previously not commented on the issue, but senior sources had expected him to be a candidate and to be unopposed.

But that changed today when van Dissel nominated for the role, with sources from both the left and right of the party telling InDaily he was expected to garner support from both wings, and questioning whether Bailes would still run in a contested ballot.

Both men are currently Liberal vice-presidents, with van Dissel coming to the end of the maximum-allowed three terms.

Olsen, who was brought in as president ahead of the successful 2018 state election, is tipped to be elevated to the presidency of the federal party, although a formal decision on that succession has been delayed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Van Dissel, a Kapunda specialist and GP who ran for the Save the RAH Party in the state seat of Frome in 2010, confirmed he had lodged a nomination for the presidency this morning when contacted by InDaily.

He said he had toyed with standing for the Legislative Council, whose ballot is being held next weekend, but I then thought, Im 61 Id be 63 when the next election is held, and Id be 71 after one term and that, I think, was inappropriate.

I thought, how else can I serve the party, he said.

Van Dissel as a Save the RAH candidate in 2010.

Asked whether his candidacy would be a fly in the ointment of Bailes prospective bid, van Dissel said: He hasnt discussed it with me.

No-one has discussed it with me Ive made up my own mind to run [and] well see who else gets flushed out, he said.

I feel Ive got the credentials, having been a vice-president for three years and served on state executive.

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Van Dissel, whose nephew Michael ran against Bailes in this years senate race that saw then-Legislative Council president Andrew McLachlan elected, said he brought a lot of experience to the table.

A country doctor for 30 years, he said he was passionate about rural health issues an area he argues was neglected by Labor in their 16 years because theres no votes in it for them.

He has also championed issues at odds with the partys right wing, having pushed a pill-testing motion at state council last year.

InDaily revealed last month Bailes had stepped down as managing partner of leading general practice firm Tindall Gask Bentley.

At the time, he left the option open for another senate tilt, saying: Youd have seen from my previous nomination that I was interested in the senate I was interested in the federal parliament [and] public life is something Id never say no to so, watch and wait.

But some in the party have baulked at the prospect of the next state president harbouring political ambitions, with several backing van Dissel on those grounds.

I believe the Liberal Party does best when theres some cooperation between the two factions, van Dissel said today.

Send us anemail, making it clear which story youre commenting on and including your full name (required for publication) and phone number (only for verification purposes). Please put Reader views in the subject.

Well publish the best comments in a regular Reader Views post. Your comments can be brief, or we can accept up to 350 words, or thereabouts.

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Shock bid for Liberal presidency turns party tensions to the Max - InDaily

Justice John Roberts joins the Supreme Courts liberal wing in some key rulings – The Economist

But he is not tilting left

FOR A THIRD time in as many weeks John Roberts, Americas conservative chief justice, has sided with his liberal colleagues in a big case. After his votes on LGBT rights and immigrant protections, on June 29th he was the linchpin in a 5-4 decision striking down a law that would have limited abortion access in Louisiana. This brought cheers from liberals and howls from conservatives. Josh Hawley, a senator from Missouri and Chief Justice Robertss former clerk, called June Medical Services v Russo, the abortion decision, a disaster and accused his old boss (without naming him) of perpetuat[ing] bad precedent while barely bothering to explain why.

The precedent Mr Hawley deplores is Whole Womans Health v Hellerstedt, a decision in 2016 rejecting a Texas law that purported to protect womens health while regulating about half of the states abortion clinics out of existence. Chief Justice Roberts is no fan of Whole Womans Health, either: he was among the dissenting trio of justices in the 5-3 ruling. This week in June Medical he repeated his disdain for the earlier decision, but explained that stare decisisLatin for let the decision standrequired the court to treat like cases alike. Since the Louisiana requirement that abortion providers must secure admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles was nearly identical to the doomed Texas rule, and imposed a similarly substantial obstacle to abortion access, the outcome should be the same. The court must not upend its own judgment a mere four years on.

Yet, with an eye on future cases, the chief justice proceeded to undercut the very precedent he had relied upon to reject Louisianas law. Whole Womans Health said judges should consider both the benefits and burdens of a regulation. But weighing the two against each other, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, is a job for the legislature, not the courts. If a regulation does not make it exceedingly hard for women to procure abortions it would probably pass constitutional muster, no matter how slight or illusory the benefit. This may be read as an invitation to Republican-run states to cook up restrictive abortion laws as long as they can be pitched as not too burdensomeand are not replicas of a law the court has already rejected.

A more radical opportunity to turn the tide on abortion lurks in the chief justices opinion. He emphasises that June Medical is not about Roe v Wade, the ruling in 1973 that protects a womans right to abortion. Though Justice Clarence Thomas, in dissent, charged that the courts abortion jurisprudence remains in a state of utter entropy and ought to be thrown out in its entirety, Chief Justice Roberts demurred. Neither party has asked us to reassess the constitutional validity of the abortion right itself, he wrote. If plaintiffs come askingas they are in Georgia and Alabama, where near-blanket abortion bans are working their way through the courtshe might be willing to reconsider Roe.

There are loopholes in the other liberal victories, too. Though Chief Justice Roberts joined the left side of the bench (and Justice Neil Gorsuch) to bar workplace bias against gay and trans people, the majority opinion leaves open whether employers with religious objections to hiring LGBT workers might, in some circumstances, have a licence to discriminate. And in the case halting President Donald Trumps cancellation of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the chief justice noted that the merits of ending Barack Obamas programme were not the question. Mr Trump could still kill DACA if he would only follow basic standards of administrative law. The chief justice sent the president the same message a year ago when he refused to bless the administrations flubbed quest to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, but hinted it could try again.

Two other decisions penned by Chief Justice Roberts this week also came out 5-4but with the liberals in their more familiar position as dissenters. The first of these was Seila Law v Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a challenge to the design of a federal agency set up after the recession of 2007-09. The majority did not break up the CFPB but, dampening its independence, gave the president the power to fire its director whenever he pleases. Then, on June 30th, the chief justice anchored Espinoza v Montana Department of Revenue, requiring any state that funds secular private schools to fund religious schools, too. Both rulings, cloaked as inevitable outgrowths of earlier cases, were in fact profound shifts in the law.

Acting boldly through superficially small stepsand getting credit for aisle-crossing while giving liberals at best temporary solaceseems to be panning out well for Chief Justice Roberts. He is cultivating a reputation for non-partisanship at the Supreme Court while advancing primarily conservative goals. And hes winning: of the 53 cases decided so far this term, he has been in the majority in 52.

This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition under the headline "Hail to the chief"

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Justice John Roberts joins the Supreme Courts liberal wing in some key rulings - The Economist

Colson’s liberal columns go to the extreme – Aspen Times

Colsons liberal columns go to the extreme

John Colson is a fine writer. It is clear from his opinions that he is a liberal voice, possibly the liberal voice, of The Aspen Times. Is there a conservative voice to provide an opposing narrative? A few days ago he wrote (New Normal) expressing concerns for bare-faced wanderers.

Yet my experieince in business and dining areas masks are commonplace, enforced, hiking not so much with no one around. He said little in the past about protestors and rioters irresponsibility, masks included. He clearly is anti the pro-Donald Trump crowd creating so-called controversies.

What about the Democrats ignoring running and protecting a nation? He enjoys invectives, like right-wing nut base or the pathetically ignorant swath critical of opposing thoughts as if he is a scientist. Oh well, when reading Colson I guess its just another day of bile boiling from the caldron of a biased opinionist, facts or truth aside.

Tom Balderston

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Colson's liberal columns go to the extreme - Aspen Times

Who are the real liberals today? – The Week

This is a revolutionary moment in American culture.

On one side, activists and employees are demanding fundamental change to overturn structural racism deeply embedded within institutions of journalism, education, and business. On the other, critics accuse the would-be revolutionaries of engaging in acts of illiberalism, including the silencing and firing of people who resist the proposed changes or even show insufficient zeal in enacting them.

So far, the fight between the two sides has generated far more heat than light. That's what makes Osita Nwanevu's essay in The New Republic, "The Willful Blindness of Reactionary Liberalism," such a welcome intervention.

In defending the activist side of the dispute, Nwanevu's tone is high-minded, his reasoning clear and thoughtful. While critics of the activists frequently call the latter a "mob" or describe it in explicitly religious terms, Nwanevu makes a careful, deliberate, complex argument designed to show that it's actually the critics who are acting and speaking impulsively, reacting to events without deep thinking, intentionally refusing to see the reality going on around them.

As one of those critics (unnamed in Nwanevu's essay), I disagree. But it's important to clarify exactly why to ensure that both sides keep the conversation going instead of merely talking past each other, with each side doing little more than bucking up allies and seeking to discredit opponents. In my view, Nwanevu is quite wrong to describe social justice activists as "expanding" the bounds of liberalism, since the aim of their reforms is a deliberate constriction of debate. It would therefore be more honest for him and his ideological allies to admit this and accept its illiberal implications.

I've been pointing to the illiberalism of the social-justice left since at least 2013. I backed off somewhat during the first couple years of the Trump administration, since it seemed a little peevish and an offense against proportionality to write frequently about the topic with the White House occupied by a man who regularly expresses contempt for civil liberties. But there have been events worth addressing over the past year or so. Roughly since the publication of the "1619 Project" in The New York Times last August, but especially since the newsroom rebellions began early last month, I've found myself led once again to call out the illiberalism of the activist left.

Yet as far as Nwanevu is concerned, those who hold my views are the ones guilty of illiberalism.

Part of the problem may be that Nwanevu is responding to weaker arguments made by some on my own side. He's right to note, for example, that the core issue has nothing much to do with "free speech" in constitutional terms, since no one is raising a threat of government censorship. But neither does it concern, as Nwanevu asserts, "freedom of association," including the freedom of a community civil society, a newspaper, a corporate workplace to establish its own standards, since no one is denying the legitimacy of that freedom.

As I've argued on other occasions, every community makes decisions about what ideas and attitudes to rule out of bounds to treat some ideas as worthy of debate and others as unacceptable and warranting cancellation. What's distinctive about the present moment is that groups of activists are demanding to be given the power to make this all-important decision within certain institutions and they are using this newfound power to shift (and often constrict) the lines of acceptable thought and discussion, ruling certain arguments (and the people who make them) out of bounds.

Why do I oppose this effort? It has nothing to do with public policy. I'm all for vigorous debate and personally support efforts to ensure that Black Americans and other minority groups receive equal treatment under the law and that police reforms address and rectify manifest injustices in law enforcement. But that's only a small (and peripheral) part of what Nwanevu discusses in his essay and what his activist allies are aiming for. What he and they are really concerned with is defending the view that American society is comprised of "intelligible, if often hidden, systems" of racial oppression, and rejecting the views of "reactionary liberal[s]" like myself, who see the country as "a jumble of bits and pieces a muddle that defies both systemic understanding and collective action."

That really is the nub of the issue, though I think this is a tendentious way to describe the difference between the two camps. My criticism of the "1619 Project," for example, was focused less on the details of the various contributions and more on the framing of the project as an effort to tell the definitive, "true" story of America, with the history of slavery and its legacy sitting at its very core, decisively shaping everything else.

This was an activist move an act of deliberate exaggeration, a flattening out of the complexity that Nwanevu dismisses as a "muddle" and a "jumble," a decision to focus monomaniacally on one (important) facet of the multifaceted American experience and warp everything else around it. It certainly wasn't an example of seeking to achieve what Nwanevu calls "parity" among various groups. It was an effort to make Black history the defining feature of the country.

The best one can say for the effort is that it's an act of intentional overcorrection: American history has for too long been told as a story focused on white people, so now we should tell it as a story focused on Black people. But that's not a way to achieve a more accurate understanding of the past. It's an act of replacing one form of distortion with another.

And this brings us back to the second-order issue to the question of whether the activists fighting for control of decisions in the workplace believe this kind of criticism is acceptable, and hence worth publishing, at all. From his essay, it's genuinely hard to tell where Nwanevu comes down on the question. During an especially perplexing passage, he mocks New York Times columnist David Brooks for "surreal condescension" in wondering, in the midst of an essay about Ta-Nehisi Coates's much-lauded memoir Between the World and Me, whether, as a white person, he had "standing to respond" critically to Coates' "experience."

When Brooks' column appeared, five years ago, it was possible to wave away such concerns. Today, after a series of forced resignations and firings at a series of media organizations, they cannot be. Yet Nwanevu dismisses them anyway before quickly pivoting to expressions of admiration for two more recent columns from Brooks in which the columnist shows that his reading in Black history has "worked" on him, leading to a "conversion" to support for reparations for slavery and an acknowledgement that "moderates" have "failed Black America."

Brooks has learned. He won't be canceled.

But what if his reading hadn't "worked"? What if Brooks stood by or deepened his respectful criticisms of Coates? What if he continued to argue, as he did in that five-year-old column, that "this country, like each person in it, is a mixture of glory and shame" and that although "violence is embedded in America it is not close to the totality of America"? What if instead of joining Coates in calling for reparations, he argued, as I have, that it's a proposal doomed to failure? Would he be allowed to make those arguments in The New York Times today? Or would he be risking his job in doing so not because he would be severely criticized, which is assumed and expected, but because he would provoke a rebellion on staff and calls for his dismissal for refusing to adequately listen, learn, and adjust his views?

I want a public world in which Ta-Nehisi Coates is free to make his arguments with as much potency as he possibly can. But I also want a public world in which his critics can do the same without fear of crossing lines newly drawn. One argument. Then the next. And so on, down through the years. That's how we truly learn and grow as a culture not by taking control of the boundaries of debate, narrowing them to verify our tidy certainties, protecting our sacred texts, and punishing those who dare to profane them.

I don't know if Osita Nwanevu shares this vision of a free, liberal society. I do know that many of the people on his side of the debate appear not to. And that he nonetheless believes that those who think the way I do are the ones guilty of illiberalism. Maybe one day, if the argument continues, I'll be able to persuade him otherwise.

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Who are the real liberals today? - The Week

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million – CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News

OTTAWA - The Liberal party spent more than it took in the 2019 election year, raising just over $42 million and spending just over $43 million.

Financial records released late Friday show that by the end of the year, the party had $625,865 in assets.

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year.

Of the major parties, only the Liberals' 2019 records were available Friday.

The New Democrats say they asked for and received an extension, the Conservatives did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The Liberals also finished 2019 with $24.7 million in loans, according to their financial records, against huge election-year donations.

Among their biggest expenditures in 2019 were salaries, coming in at $7.95 million.

This year, they are covering some of their staffing costs using the COVID-19 wage subsidy program, which is also being used by the Conservatives.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020.

Originally posted here:

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million - CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

Lebanons neo-liberal wheels sped to a dream future, but the past applies the brakes – FRANCE 24 English

For decades, Lebanon was a poster child of the triumph of private enterprise, its failure to close its civil war chapter overlooked in the hopes that prosperity would overcome the weakness of the state. But now that the current economic crisis has ripped the neo-liberal band-aid, can the Lebanese confront the wounds of the past?

The trains in Lebanon are an unfortunate metaphor for the state. Theyre going nowhere. In fact, they havent budged since the national rail system ground to a halt during the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war.

But they live in the public memory, an object of yearning and a testimony to the limitations of private enterprise. Artists put up shows offering sepia-tinted nostalgia of a heritage service. Newspapers feature profiles of Lebanons last living train driver. NGOs raise awareness, via songs and video clips, hoping it will lay the groundwork for a modern railway system linking cities as they did under Ottoman and colonial rule.

The wheels of the dream however are stuck, like the countrys trains going rusty in yards roamed by packs of wild dogs.

Meanwhile, Lebanon has a Public Transport and Railway Administration or Office des Chemins de Fer et des Transports en Common (OCFTC) in French. The department is staffed by civil servants and has a budget of more than $8 million a year.

But the OCFTCs only transportation offering is a fleet of public buses with a grand total of 35 vehicles officially running nine routes nationwide. In reality, many OCFTC bus drivers never get behind a wheel. Some confess they havent driven for years because theyre afraid of being attacked by the drivers of private minibuses, who dominate Lebanons public transport sector.

Transport regulation services, meanwhile, range from corrupt to non-existent. Red registration plates necessary for public transport vehicles are issued by the Transport and Vehicle Management Authority (TVMA) under the Interior Ministry. But they can be bought and sold or simply forged, with the number of red plate vehicles on the streets far exceeding TVMA-issued registrations.

But Lebanon nevertheless kept moving, its estimated 4 million citizens famed for their enterprise, resilience and business acumen getting where they needed to somehow. The rich and upper middle classes in their cars maneuvered traffic snarls, the less fortunate hailed minibuses or service Lebanons celebrated shared taxis.

The money also flowed, with Lebanese banks the historic jewel of the countrys economy offering high interest rates, attracting currency from local and regional depositors as well as the large Lebanese diaspora across the world.

Little Lebanon has long been the hailed liberal island in an autocratic Arab neighbourhood. After the civil war, it turned into a neo-liberal dream, the absence of effective state services, it was believed, could be filled by private enterprise, mirroring the post-Soviet zeitgeist of privatisation against the sin of bloated governments. International attention instead was focused on Lebanons precarious political equilibrium in a volatile region. The Lebanese, it was believed, could manage finance.

But the neo-liberal bubble has burst with deadly consequences. A spiraling economic crisis driven by a currency collapse is driving the state and its people into destitution. The Lebanese pound in recent days fetched more than 9,000 to the greenback on the black market, hyper-inflation has wiped meat off many Lebanese tables including the armys menu and the desperation has triggered a spike in suicides.

Four Lebanese killed themselves last week in suicides apparently linked to the economic downturn.

In one case, a 61-year-old man shot himself before a Dunkin Donuts shop in the heart of capital, Beirut. A suicide note on his chest quoted a line from a popular song, I am not a heretic. But hunger is heresy, according to local media reports.

IMF as defenders of widows and orphans

Meanwhile talks between Lebanon and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an emergency bailout have stalled over the countrys inability to overhaul its entrenched patronage systems.

Two members of Lebanons negotiating team resigned last month, including one of the main architects of the governments rescue plan. Alain Bifany, the top civil servant in the Lebanese finance ministry, told a news conference he refused to be part of, or witness to, what is being done.

A blame game has since dominated the Lebanese airwaves. But it hasnt changed the facts on the ground. The collapse of talks was not due to differences between Lebanon and the IMF, the two negotiating parties. It was sparked by infighting within the Lebanese team, pitting civil servants against bankers and politicians over the extent of losses accrued by the banks, particularly Lebanons central bank.

The governments assessment of central bank losses of around $50 billion equivalent to more than 90 percent of Lebanons 2019 total economic output was rejected by the central bank governor and some parliamentarians who maintained the amount was lower, according to the Financial Times. The IMF is more in line with Lebanese civil service figures, estimating losses of over $90 billion.

The collapse of IMF talks is really disappointing. Basically, there is no plan B and it was the last hope to inject badly needed foreign currency which could offer a respite to the economy, said Karim Emile Bitar, senior fellow at the Paris-based Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS) and director of the Institute for Political Science at St. Joseph University, Beirut.

While IMF bailouts, with the accompanying austerity and belt-tightening measures, tend to be unpopular across the world, the reverse is true in Lebanon, Bitar explained.

The irony in Lebanon is that theres such a degree of egregious corruption, political clientelism and kleptocracy that the IMF ended up being seen as defending the widows and orphans, said Bitar in a phone interview with FRANCE 24 from Beirut. This is one of the very few cases when the IMF is seen on the side of social justice against political elites in cahoots with private interests, banks and big depositors the few who have over $10 million each [in bank deposits] and dont want to contribute to a fair solution.

The IMF bailout of around $5 billion in aid after Lebanon for the first time defaulted on its sovereign debt would pave the way for contributions from France, the EU, and Gulf states keen to rescue the country, but wary of pouring money into the morass.

But overhauling Lebanons entrenched patronage systems has proved to be easier said than done. You would not think this would be difficult, a senior European diplomat told the Guardian. We have been begging them to behave like a normal state, and they are acting like they are selling us a carpet.

Beautiful, but threadbare national carpet

The Lebanese national carpet though is a structurally threadbare tapestry of sectarian divides that has been historically managed more often mismanaged by feudal lords, warlords and their families and friends.

The carpet is ripped in times of war, but when the conflict ends with an invariable division of spoils the fabric of the nation is rarely strengthened. The countrys once warring elites and weary populace instead place their hopes on the magic of the market and the memory of the last bloodbath as a deterrent against future man-made disasters.

The roots of the current crisis lie in the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war and the countrys failure to effectively close that historical chapter by addressing existential issues. The lessons of the past are important not just for Lebanon, but also for other countries in the region, such as Syria and Iraq, grappling with sectarianism and strife.

Lebanons brutal civil war between internecine sectarian groups backed by regional powers ended with the Taif Accord. The agreement reached in the mountainous Saudi city of Taif ended the fighting, but failed to effectively secure the peace. Instead of abolishing colonial era divide-and-rule policies, imperative for newly independent democracies, the parties merely updated the confessional equation.

Post-conflict justice and reconciliation was avoided in favour of national amnesia, encapsulated by the dictum la ghalib, wa la maghloub (no victors, no vanquished). The old system of zaims, or feudal overlords, providing protection and services in exchange for patronage survived with a few nomenclature tweaks: warlords became politicians, their funding sources switched to international business and finance, territories turned into ministries, and profiteering proceeded at usual unregulated levels.

>> Read more: Lebanons modern zaims, or feudal lords-turned-candidates

Mr Lebanon rebuilds corruption

The postwar healing focused on obliterating the visual signs of the conflict, particularly in Beirut with its bombed out buildings and pockmarked concrete carcasses.

But the national reconstruction, which was essentially a construction boom, soon became a symbol of the ailments infecting the state.

The countrys first postwar prime minister, Rafik Hariri, led a reconstruction that set the bar for politico-business enrichment. A businessman tycoon with close Saudi ties and dual citizenship, Hariri was the largest stakeholder in Solidere, a joint stock company that snagged most of his governments reconstruction projects. Hariri also owned Lebanons largest private construction company, whose director was appointed the head of the Council for Development and Reconstruction, leading an architect to explain to the Washington Post that the agency that the government used to control private development has now reversed its role.

The fact that Hariri was not a warlord and had the drive and pockets to rebuild his country made him a popular figure in Lebanon. The corruption was evident Hariri was called Mr. Lebanon but it was tolerated as the price of Lebanons reentry in the world as the businessman-prime minister repeatedly proclaimed.

Critics of his rebuilding particularly architects and heritage groups bemoaning the demolition of historic sites were brushed aside. Downtown Beirut turned into a glitzy giant shopping mall financed by debt on the detritus of Lebanons past, a perfect symbol of the reemerging nation.

We were sold a myth, that many had an interest in telling, that there was no need for a strong state, Lebanese resilience would always come on top. Today, those truly resilient are the oligarchs, ruling class and corrupt elites while average citizens are no longer capable of making ends meet, said Bitar.

The construction and reconstruction boom was financed by borrowing, increasing the countrys debt-to-GDP ratio to recent peaks of nearly 150 percent, putting Lebanon in the worlds top three most-indebted countries. Interest payments, meanwhile, covered more than a third of the governments annual spending.

But the banks, which own most of the debt, happen to be controlled by politicians and their families and friends who are sinking Lebanon.

Toward a zaim-less state

The Mr. Lebanon template for the state could be negotiated, with wry humour, by the affluent and upper middle classes. But it was never amusing for the less fortunate, who were driven to their communities Hezbollah for the Shiites, modern day zaim-politicians for others to survive. This entailed non-state patronage networks that often exploited the state.

The defunct railways was just one of several departments staffed by salaried cadres who secured jobs by wasta (influence) but did precious little. The system, at the very least, managed to prop a middle-class. But the current crisis has pulled the rug on that. The country had a solid middle class. Today, the middle class has all but vanished. Many are thinking of leaving the country, said Bitar.

The Lebanese, acutely aware of the brewing problem, have been trying to do something about it. Grassroots movements have included the 2015 You Stink protest campaign against the garbage collection problem. In the 2018 parliamentary elections, a record number of civil society figures, under an umbrella coalition called Kuluna Watani, stood for the long-delayed polls. But while that fired up hopes on the campaign trail, it did little to change the post-election power dynamic since electoral rules ensured the survival of the old guard.

Anti-government protests once again broke out in October, with demonstrators demanding an end to the system. They got, instead, a change of government with Prime Minister Saad Hariris resignation, but nothing changed. Ministry posts are still doled out on patronage terms, the trains are still stuck.

The only silver lining of the current crisis is that this time its so serious, the Lebanese will not be hoodwinked by a bailout band-aid on the national wound.

There must be a rejection of the old clientelist system. Many aspire to a new Lebanon based on citizenship rather than community affiliations, said Bitar. They want rights from the state without having to go begging to sectarian leaders begging for jobs, asking for money for medicine. Today, Lebanon needs a new social contract.

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Lebanons neo-liberal wheels sped to a dream future, but the past applies the brakes - FRANCE 24 English

Justice Gorsuch Sides with Liberals and in 5-4 Decision in Favor of Native American Rights – Law & Crime

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the eastern half of Oklahoma is, and has been for nearly two centuries, a Native American Indian reservation. The 5-4 decision fell along ideological lines, with Justice Neil Gorsuch,the only justice from the western U.S., siding with the courts liberal bloc.

In a 42-page decision penned by Justice Gorsuch, the court reasoned that because Congress never disestablished the Native American reservationestablished through a series of treaties with granting all land West of the Mississippi River to the the Creek Nation of Indiansthat land remains a Native American reservation.

Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law. Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word, Gorsuch wrote.

The controversy stemmed from the prosecution of Jimcy McGirt, a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation tribe who in 1997 was convicted by state authorities on charges of sex crimes against a child. McGirts attorneys argued that because Congress never terminated the Muscogee reservation, the eastern half of Oklahoma remained sovereign territory, McGirt should have been tried in federal court.

The court first attempted to address the issue over the territorial dispute in 2018, following an appeal from a ruling of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals which held that the land was indeed a tribal reservation. The justices heard arguments in Sharp v. Murphy in 2018, but took on McGirts case instead, likely because Justice Gorsuchwho participated as a federal appellate judge when the case was in circuit courthad to recuse himself.

Oklahomas solicitor general argued there was no need for Congress to disestablish the reservation and transfer authority to the state because the land was never a legally established reservation; ruling otherwise would throw the state into chaos, the argument went.

The decision has significant implications for Oklahomas 1.8 million residents, as state authorities have no jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed on Native American territory, and many previously state convictions are likely to be called into question.

Gorsuch addressed this point head-on, saying the magnitude of a legal wrong is no reason to perpetuate it.

Looking to the future, Oklahoma warns of the burdens federal and tribal courts will experience with a wider jurisdiction and increased caseload, the opinion said. But, again, for every jurisdictional reaction there seems to be an opposite reaction: recognizing that cases like Mr. McGirts belong in federal court simultaneously takes them out of state court. So while the federal prosecutors might be initially understaffed and Oklahoma prosecutors initially overstaffed, it doesnt take a lot of imagination to see how things could work out in the end.

Gorsuch last year also provided the decisive vote when the court ruled in favor of Native American rights, holding that a nineteenth century treaty did not expire when Wyoming became a U.S. state.

Read the full decision below:

McGirt by Law&Crime on Scribd

[image via Jabin Botsford Pool/Getty Imagess]

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Justice Gorsuch Sides with Liberals and in 5-4 Decision in Favor of Native American Rights - Law & Crime

This Hindi book on Indian secularism could have exposed liberals, but it was ignored – ThePrint

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When a card-carrying secular intellectual challenges the secular orthodoxy of our time and it draws a blank by way of a response, you know that secularism is indeed in a deeper crisis in India than you imagined. Either smug in its ever-shrinking cocoon. Or resigned to its defeat. Or both.

The intellectual is Abhay Dubey, a well-known scholar based at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), with an impressive body of published work. He is a trailblazer for doing social science in Indian languages and a familiar commentator on television. Once a card-carrying Communist, he is known to be a fierce critic of the Bharatiya Janata Partys (BJP) politics, unlikely to defect to their camp. The challenge to secularism comes from his latest book, Hindu-Ekta banam Gyan ki Rajniti [Hindu Unity vis--vis Politics of Knowledge, published by Vaani Prakashan] that was released in February this year, at the height of anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act movement. This is the first detailed, well-researched yet provocative book-length critique from a secular perspective of some of the most cherished beliefs of Indian secularism.

In any other country, such a publication would have triggered passionate political debates, responses, and rejoinders. Nothing of that kind happened in the last six months. I have not been able to locate a single serious review so far.

The initial non-response could be a function of language. Abhay Dubey writes in Hindi, and rather demanding Hindi at that (I had to consult dictionary a couple of times). You cant hold it against him, unless you believe that he must dumb-down to the level of babalog Hindi understood by the English-speaking elite. But it is not hard to see why his argument has not travelled to the secular intellectuals that he critiques. This underlines his point about the disconnect between the English speaking middle-class world of liberal-secular ideology and the rest of India.

The deeper reason for silence around Dubeys book could be that it confronts us with an inconvenient truth. It leads us to conclude that if the secular project stares at a historic defeat, it has no one else to blame. It is silly to think that secular politics has been defeated just by some clever and devious political machinations of Narendra Modi or Amit Shah. In the last instance, Dubey holds that the defeat of secular politics is a defeat of secular ideology. This ideology drew and started believing in a caricature of its adversary, floated self-serving myths about the past, subscribed to formulaic understanding of the present and trusted reluctant warriors and non-existent allies to fight the battle for secular India. Dubey holds a mirror to us: the harsh truth is that this defeat is very well earned. We cant refute his argument, for we know it to be true. Yet we cant accept it, for it unsettles our ready-made map of the world we inhabit.

Also read: Hate is hot in India. Colder ideas like constitutional patriotism must work harder to win

Abhay Dubey must be commended for picking up the courage to say that secularism tripped itself by systematically misunderstanding the Sangh Parivar. The arrogance of the Westernised Left-liberal-secular elite made them dismiss the intellectual lineage of Hindutva ideology because it drew inspiration from a religion. This hubris made secular ideologues overlook basic facts about the Sangh Parivar: that it draws upon the social reformist tradition within Hinduism, that its exclusion of Muslims has been successfully complimented by a campaign to include lower-caste Hindus, that it has successfully negotiated its way with modern constitutional democracy, that by demonising it as merely Brahminical and Fascist, we mislead ourselves and fail to understand the reasons for the rise of this ideology. The book prepares us to take on the real adversary, not just a straw-man.

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This is related to the complacent reading of Indias past and present that secularists have perpetuated. Dubeys book shows us how secular historians had convinced themselves and everyone else that Hindu was merely a statistical majority, that the deeper diversities this label covers were more salient, that, therefore, a project of Hindu consolidation was ruled out. This led to the lovely yet lazy belief that the existence of pluralism, composite culture and the moderating logic of democratic politics would negate the possibility of Hindu majoritarianism. Dubey alerts that such a reading distracted us from recognising the historical truth that the self-description of Hindu evolved much before colonialism, mainly in reaction to then ruling political identity of the Muslims, that Hindu unification is a long term structural process aided by modern society, modern law and the logic of modern competitive politics. By moving from politically correct language to a historically correct account, this book helps us understand why Hindutva ideology hasbecome commonsense and why secularism appears anti-Hindu.

Also read: Hindutva rise must be pinned on historians who told us Hindus, Muslims lived peacefully once

No wonder, this distorted understanding led to a myopic politics. Abhay Dubey points out the well-known weaknesses of secular politics: exclusive focus on defence of minority rights, inability to speak against minority communalism with the same force as Hindu communalism, and the tendency to gloss over Congress inconsistencies and failures in upholding secular principles. He also makes bold to question many other secular political strategies: the idea of an imminent revolt against Brahminism, bahujan unity as an antidote to majoritarianism, dependence on dominant OBC castes and better-off communities within Dalits to carry out the project of social justice and fight for secularism, or the assumption of Dalit-Muslim unity. The failure of these strategies is for everyone to see.You may not agree with all of Dubeys critique, or with his historical interpretation in each case. Yet the books project ofidentifying and confronting the weaknesses of secular ideology and practice at this moment of its worst crisis must become a project of our times. This would be painful, but willingness to face it is a sign of confidence, evading this is a sure sign of death.

Abhay Dubey provides us with a resource to undertake this project. He identifiesalternative but overlooked voices within the secular camp that cautioned against such simplistic understanding and short-sighted politics. He draws upon historian Dharma Kumar, sociologists Satish Sabarwal, Imtiaz Ahmed and D.L. Sheth, political scientists Suhas Palshikar and partially Rajni Kothari and Rajeev Bhargav as sources of an alternative understanding that is prepared to look at the inconvenient facts and proposes a more nuanced course of action. We need to takethis quest further to MahatmaGandhis own candid engagement with the Hindu-Muslim question, to Rammanohar Lohia and his followers, and even to Right-leaning thinkers like Dharmpal and Nirmal Verma.

Any such attempt would obviously invite the charge of kowtowingto the powers-that-be, if not of being a closet Hindutva supporter. The author anticipates this reaction and offers a mature response: If so, I would overlook [such a reaction] as a product of despair born out of the continuous defeat of liberalism and secularism in our public life. The only way to respond to this historic setback is to face up to the mistakes of secularism and do a course correction. Abhay Dubey has started this conversation. Let us hope that this early silence would be followed by vigorous debates. An English translation of this book could be the first step in that direction.

The author is the national president of Swaraj India. Views are personal.

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This Hindi book on Indian secularism could have exposed liberals, but it was ignored - ThePrint

BC Liberals called out for advertising in magazine that defends conversion therapy – CTV News

Several prominent BC Liberal MLAs have said they were shocked and concerned to learn that their party had paid for advertising in a socially conservative magazine, and the party says it will review its advertising in the future.

But critics say the response from the party and its leader, Andrew Wilkinson, has lacked details about how the advertising decision was made in the first place and how it will be prevented in the future.

The Light Magazine is a free monthly Christian lifestyle magazine, according to the publications website.

It frequently publishes articles expressing alarm that conversion therapy could be banned or curtailed, and against B.C.s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) policy in public schools. In 2018 the magazine published a long statement detailing how same-sex sexual relationships and expressing a transgender identity are contrary to scripture.

Conversion therapy is a widely discredited practice that treats same-sex attraction as a mental illness, while SOGI provides a framework in schools to be inclusive and safe spaces for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities, including those who identify as transgender.

The BC Liberals frequent advertising in the magazine was first reported by Press Progress, a news site funded by the NDP-aligned Broadbent Institute. Several of the ads feature the smiling faces of Wilkinson and other prominent BC Liberals.

Spencer Chandra Herbert, the NDP MLA for Vancouver-West End, said he feels personally hurt by the realization that Opposition colleagues paid for advertising in the publication. Three years ago, Herbert publicly shared his and his husbands journey of becoming parents to their son.

I just went What? Wait a second, so people that I smile at and work with are also paying for ads opposite that appear opposite articles arguing that people like me and my family should be converted into something were not? Chandra Herbert said, referring to conversion therapy.

Or that policies meant to make life safer for LGBTQ people should be eliminated, bringing back violence and discrimination as I know it would happen?

BC Liberal MLAs Todd Stone, Jane Thornthwaite, Tracy Redies and Joan Isaacs all made statements on Twitter saying they were dismayed to learn of the advertising. Stone said his constituency office is now reviewing all advertising to ensure publications are consistent with my values moving forward.

Wilkinson and the BC Liberal Caucus Twitter account posted the same statement that read: There is no room in the BC Liberal Party for homophobia, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination. Going forward, we are taking immediate steps to ensure our advertising decisions reflect those values at all times.

But Laurie Throness, the BC Liberal MLA for Chilliwack-Hope, said he would advertise in the magazine again because it aligns with his values as a Biblical Christian and its an important way to reach his constituents. He said the BC Liberal Party includes both social conservatives like him and MLAs who are socially liberal.

CTV News Vancouver reached out to all the MLAs who appeared in the ads, as well as the BC Liberal Party, but Throness was the only MLA who responded, while the party directed CTV News Vancouver to its statement on Twitter.

Biblical Christians follow their Lord in their sexual practice. They dont attack other people, they dont condemn other people, because Jesus did not condemn other people, Throness said.

They withdraw from sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. That has nothing to do with intolerance, it has everything to do with following their conscience and following their Lord.

Throness pointed to an article in the October 2019 edition of The Light the same edition that featured an ad with Wilksons photo and nine other BC Liberal MLAs that raises concerns about proposed B.C. legislation that would prevent conversion therapy.

Many people are concerned that this bill infringes upon Canadian freedoms, including the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion and the freedom to practice our professions according to our expertise, reads the article in The Light Magazine.

Throness said its clear the article is against coercive conversion therapy, such as kidnapping people.

The federal government recently introduced legislation that would criminalize conversion therapy, saying the practice harms and stigmatizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit (LGBTQ2) persons, undermines their dignity and negatively impacts their equality rights.

The practice can take various forms, including counselling and behavioural modification, and it can lead to long-lasting trauma, said Attorney General David Lametti.

Chandra Herbert said the problem with the MLAs advertising in the magazine is that the ads legitimize the views of the articles they appear alongside.

Its not about me being upset and offended, he said. Its the wider public who gets impacted.

Its the youth who have been told by their parents that they shouldnt be who they are and that conversion therapy could help them because they read it in a magazine that looks respectable because, Hey, our local MLA advertises in there, so does the opposition party, so surely this cant be that bad.

Chandra Herbert said he was glad to see statements from individual MLAs, but hed like to see a stronger response from the party about how the advertising decision was made in the first place.

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BC Liberals called out for advertising in magazine that defends conversion therapy - CTV News

Could the ‘liberal’ Dutch have learned from Taiwan’s approach to coronavirus? – The Guardian

The whole world has been struggling to contain the coronavirus and flatten the curve, but Taiwan has had no curve. Out of a population of 24 million, only 440 people have tested positive for Covid-19, and there have been just seven deaths. Compare that with the Netherlands: while it is similar in size to Taiwan with a population of 17 million, well over 5,000 lives have been lost to the virus.

What has made the difference? Clearly, the Netherlands is not an island that could cut itself off from the rest of world, lock down completely and thus contain the disease. Taiwan is but Taiwan didnt do that either.

Public spaces in Taiwan, restaurants, shops and schools, have all remained open since the initial Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan. Life in Taiwan has continued pretty much the same as before. What Taiwan did however, was opt for a complex tradeoff involving virus containment strategies and information gathering, while balancing individual autonomy with trust and control.

But lets first consider the Dutch situation. As Covid-19 hit the Netherlands in March 2020, the public was simply advised to restrict travelling to and from affected areas. When the crisis rapidly worsened, almost all subsequent efforts were directed at minimising the spread of the disease and reducing the influx of patients into hospitals.

The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, appeared on television and said that as he trusted citizens to behave responsibly, it would suffice to request that people remained at home as much as possible, observed the 1.5-metre distance protocol, and self-quarantined or self-isolated when feeling unwell. Since no mass testing for Covid-19 took place, the number of infected people and information about who they were or where they had been was anybodys guess.

To minimise transmission of the virus, schools, offices, restaurants and bars were closed. Work that could not be contactless was suspended, and all public gatherings were cancelled. But no complete lockdown, as in Italy or Spain, was deemed necessary. This was seen as too much of an invasion of our Dutch privacy. When the day-to-day numbers of Covid-19 deaths started to drop below 100 per day, it was considered a vindication of the policy of intelligent lockdown.

Taiwans decisions have been partly motivated by its lack of trust in the information shared by China and by Taiwans exclusion from the World Health Organisation at Chinas insistence. These factors have required it to be self-contained and to insist, within a democratic framework, on a policy of maximum health information transparency, both with and from the Taiwanese population. Taiwans history and culture means there is a strong emphasis on the collective over the individual. But its longstanding experience with epidemics such as Sars in 2003, and bird flu in 2013 have also been influential in shaping the response.

From the outset, Taiwans president, Tsai Ing-wen, took aggressive steps to prevent a possible epidemic, such as a travel ban on visitors from China and other epidemic regions (Europes travel bans came much later).

Taiwans approach relies essentially, however, not on its citizens anonymous individual responsibility, but on a completely transparent form of supervised self-discipline. And although the Taiwanese measures are considerably more intrusive, paradoxically, they result in a remarkably liberal policy.

A centralised epidemic command centre (the CECC) was quickly activated to provide immediate information, including detailed surveillance of the movements of infected people.

If anyone reports to a hospital with Covid-19 symptoms, the hospital is obliged to report to the CECC, which then traces the patients recent whereabouts and draws up an anonymised footprint for them in public spaces, such as supermarkets or restaurants. Mobile phone service companies are asked to send out text warnings to anyone else who may have been in these spaces at the time. A typical message reads:

Epidemic Alert. You have been in the proximity of an infected person. Please maintain self-health management, keep to social distancing rules, wear a mask in public and wash hands regularly. If you have any physical complaints, please contact your local healthcare provider.

All this is done on the basis of confidentiality; the infected person is never identified.

Taiwan has also introduced an electronic fence system. This allows local authorities to monitor the whereabouts of a quarantined person. It uses mobile phone signals to detect if an individual leaves their designated quarantine area; if they do, the authorities are immediately notified.

While Taiwanese citizens are aware that intensive monitoring involves an invasion of their privacy, the vast majority acquiesce in the use of personal data and are willing to comply with government regulations. Equally, mask-wearing in Taiwan has become a cultural norm. It is considered a moral virtue to protect others from ones own infection, so as to break the chain, for the benefit of all.

So could a country like the Netherlands have learned from the Taiwanese approach? The Dutch government contemplated the voluntary use of a coronavirus tracking app to alert a user if they had been in contact with a confirmed case, but dismissed it after a national debate about privacy and security. Meanwhile, Rutte and his cabinet have started to implement a four-month plan to relax restrictions.

A key difference, though, is that the western emphasis on autonomy and liberal values, so solidly rooted in Dutch culture, assigns responsibility for the collective health of a nation to the individual, whose behaviour is neither especially informed nor monitored. Ironically, Dutch residents have paid for this unsupervised self-governance with heavy restrictions on their right to free movement, considerable uncertainty and a high death toll. In contrast, Taiwan has demanded more monitoring and compliance of its people, but the result is a healthier population, greater certainty, and ultimately more liberty.

Cha-Hsuan Liu is a lecturer in social policy and public health at Utrecht University; Jaap Bos is associate professor at the department of interdisciplinary social science at Utrecht University

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Could the 'liberal' Dutch have learned from Taiwan's approach to coronavirus? - The Guardian

The Times Smith Versus The New Yorkers Farrow: The Great Powers of Liberal Journalism Go to War – Vanity Fair

In the navel-gazing nation of journalism, it was the shot heard round the world: Is Ronan Farrow Too Good to Be True? That was the headline of Ben Smiths latest for the New York Times, which landed with a bang on Sunday night and quickly set Twitter ablaze. The more than 3,500-word column was an assiduous accounting of various bombshells Farrow has reported for The New Yorker, including his groundbreaking work on Harvey Weinstein. It was as if Farrow had his very own public editor, and while Smith conceded that the 32-year-old investigative reporter is not a fabulist he does not make things up, it was a brutal portrayal nonetheless.

In Smiths words: He delivers narratives that are irresistibly cinematicwith unmistakable heroes and villainsand often omits the complicating facts and inconvenient details that may make them less dramatic. At times, he does not always follow the typical journalistic imperatives of corroboration and rigorous disclosure, or he suggests conspiracies that are tantalizing but he cannot prove. New Yorker editor in chief David Remnick, meanwhile, gave a full-throated defense of Farrows reporting: Working alongside fact-checkers, lawyers, and other editorial staff members at The New Yorker, he achieved something remarkable, not least because he earned the trust of his sources, many of whom had to relive traumatic events when they talked to him. We stand by Ronan Farrows reporting. Were proud to publish him.

Smith has been the Times media columnist for more than two months now, following in the footsteps of Jim Rutenberg and David Carr. Hes a bomb-thrower, not exactly a normal Timesian role, and his columns have made waves one way or another. There was Smiths inaugural installment that questioned whether his new employers runaway success was good for journalism; a searing postmortem of Fox Newss early coronavirus coverage; a contrarian Tara Reade take that turned out to be arguably a bit premature; and even an unflattering assessment of the state of Cond Nast, which owns Vanity Fair. (Cond Nast also owns The New Yorker, which is where my wife works; conflicts all around!) But Smiths Farrow column has been the biggest talker of them all, and perhaps the most polarizing too.

The voluminous reactions on Twitter appear to be split between people applauding Smith for doing the uncomfortable but necessary work of holding an influential and highly regarded peer to account (Super-deep accountability journalism by @benyt on Ronan Farrow's written record. Muscular debunking, tweeted Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple), and those who detect whiffs of grudge-settling and hypocrisy (or who at least think Smith failed to deliver a kill shot befitting the length and aggressiveness of his examination). To quote one person in the latter camp, John Carreyrou, the former Wall Street Journal investigative reporter who took down Elizabeth Holmes: Journalistic high-mindedness from @benyt, the guy who pubbed the Trump dossier without fact-checking a shred of it and who later refused to retract the Trump-instructed-Cohen-to-lie-to-Congress story. Rich with irony and quite brazen.

I checked in with both Smith and Farrow, and neither had anything to add. (Nor did the Times or The New Yorker.) But there are undeniably rich dynamics to the whole episode, in which a relative Times outsider has targeted one of journalisms sacred cows, and, in so doing, created a sort of institutional face-off between two of the industrys most venerable news organizations. The Times and The New Yorker compete robustly with one anotheras they did on the Weinstein story, which the Times broke firstbut they would typically be seen more as allies than antagonists. Adding to the complexity is the fact that they shared the Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2018 over some of the same #MeToo reporting by Farrow in The New Yorker that Smith is now prosecuting in the Times. If nothing else, its rather fascinating to watch. As Politicos Jack Shafer put it: There is something wonderfully cleansing about a full-bore @nytimes vs. @NewYorker fight.

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The Times Smith Versus The New Yorkers Farrow: The Great Powers of Liberal Journalism Go to War - Vanity Fair

@Home with SF State: Adjusting to Remote Learning | College of Liberal & Creative Arts – SF State News

Lyn Bafour, a Cinema and Chinese major, has used her nightstand as a desk for online classes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If I just reorient myself on my bed, I feel like thats enough mentally to make the switch of, this is where you sleep versus this is where you work, Bafour said in a new video series exploring how students have adjusted to online learning this semester.

Despite the challenges with taking classes from home, the Trader Joes employee has found a way to prepare herself every day: Wake up, get in the mindset and shake everything off and just start doing the work.

Cinema major Nithin Kumar said keeping his workspace clean and simple has helped him stay on task.

I have my monitor. I have a keyboard. Basically, I have [my workspace] set up for maximum productivity with as little distractions as possible, he said.

Sabrina Mota, a Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts major, said students shouldnt be too hard on themselves, especially during this unprecedented crisis.

Forgive yourself if this isnt going to be your best semester, Mota said. Understand that a lot of people, they take a long time to go through school and they still end up being able to get to their aspirations and make change.

The pandemic and shelter-in-place ordinances have made Bafour value the importance of human interaction more than ever.

Whats going on right now is very isolating, and during the first few days, I was very lifeless. I didnt know what to do with myself, said Bafour, an employee at Trader Joes grocery store. But talking to somebody really did help feel like things are normal and reaffirmed that other people are going through the same thing.

Video produced by Sreang Hok and Kavin Chan

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@Home with SF State: Adjusting to Remote Learning | College of Liberal & Creative Arts - SF State News

Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned | TheHill – The Hill

Progressives are embracing super PACs with newfound vigor as they look to put their political influence and organizing tactics to use in the aftermath of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden wins Oregon primary Joe Rogan announces exclusive deal with Spotify Author: Biden 'completely different' from FDR MOREs (I-Vt.) presidential campaign.

A handful of new liberal outside groups have cropped up in recent weeks, many of them founded by former aides and allies of Sanders and other prominent progressives. Their goals range from boosting the presidential campaign of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPro-Trump outside groups raise .8 million in April Biden wins Oregon primary Graham to release report on his probe into Russia investigation before election MORE to patching what they see as electoral holes in the Democrats organizing strategy.

But the proliferation of super PACs has come at a cost for some in the progressive movement, which has long denounced the existence of such groups and the influence of money in politics.

Sanders himself has privately expressed frustration with one such super PAC, originally called Future to Believe In PAC after the Vermont senators campaign slogan. The group was formed late last month by a handful of former aides to Sanderss campaign, including senior adviser Jeff Weaver, to boost Biden among progressives.

Sanderss displeasure with the formation of the super PAC prompted its founders to change its name this week to Americas Promise PAC to avoid the appearance that it is tied to Sanders or his campaign.

For Weaver and others, the decision to form a super PAC appears to stem more from a sense of urgency than a genuine comfort with such groups, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money so long as they do not coordinate with a candidate or campaign.

In a memo issued on Friday, Weaver warned that lagging support and enthusiasm for Bidens candidacy among progressives has the potential to sink the former vice presidents chances of ousting President TrumpDonald John TrumpPro-Trump outside groups raise .8 million in April Biden wins Oregon primary Graham to release report on his probe into Russia investigation before election MORE in November. Americas Promise PAC, he wrote, could help Biden make up that ground.

[D]espite best intentions, the Biden campaign and the [Democratic National Committee] are far behind on digital organizing, Latino outreach and progressive coalition building all critical to reaching and winning over Sanders supporters, Weaver wrote.

Chuck Rocha, a former senior adviser to Sanders who is involved in Americas Promise PAC and is spearheading the creation of another group, Nuestro PAC, said that super PACs are simply a means to an end: helping Democrats and progressives win up and down the ballot.

Unlike traditional political action committees and political nonprofits, super PACs can act as a partisan hammer, Rocha said, a role that traditional campaigns and PACs cant necessarily fill.

I am anti all this money in politics and if we can operate without super PACs, I would vote for that everyday, Rocha told The Hill. But Ive got to do something right now. I dont have the privilege to be able to wait around until there arent super PACs on either side.

Rocha and his political consulting firm Solidarity Strategies launched Nuestro PAC last month to turn out Latino voters in the fall using the same playbook that helped Sanders win broad support among Latinos during his primary campaign. Rocha himself is currently the largest donor to the super PAC. He said that hes courting other progressive and Democratic-leaning groups to help fund the effort.

Rocha said he wont accept contributions from corporate interests or business executives.

Super PACs arent the problem. The problem is corporate money in super PACs, he said. I dont know any corporations who would give Chuck Rocha or Nuestro Pac any donations anyway.

Still, the move towards super PACs has received blowback from some progressives. Rocha said he has lost thousands of followers on Twitter since started Nuestro PAC last month. And after Americas Promise launched in late April, the grassroots collective The People for Bernie Sanders advised its followers: Dont give them a dime.

One of the basics of the Bernie campaigns was a refusal to go there in terms of anything like a super PAC, Norman Solomon, a longtime activist and the co-founder of the progressive online initiative RootsAction.org.

I think thats in harmony with the politics that if youre opposed to huge money running the political show then you dont take huge money in super PACs.

Solomon is among a group of advisers to the newly-formed Once Again PAC, a traditional political action committee focused on helping Sanders win delegates in upcoming Democratic presidential primaries in order to exert influence over the partys platform and rules at its national convention this summer.

Also involved in that effort is Nina Turner, a former co-chair of Sanderss presidential campaign, and Winnie Wong, a former adviser to Sanders.

While Solomon said that most activists on the left share Bernies detest for super PACs in general, he also emphasized that progressive super PACs are a relatively small part of the terrain, especially given the massive outside groups funded by ultra-wealthy donors that often back Republicans or more centrist Democrats.

Its David vs. Goliath, he said. Even David needed a slingshot and I think thats how some people see it.

Sanderss former aides arent the only ones formingoutside political groups. Earlier this month, Justice Democrats, the progressive groupaligned with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight Defense: Pentagon memo warns pandemic could go until summer 2021 | Watchdog finds Taliban violence is high despite US deal | Progressive Dems demand defense cuts The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden leads Trump by 6 points in new poll Ocasio-Cortez primary opponent Caruso-Cabrera goes on fierce attack in online debate: 'AOC is always MIA' MORE (D-N.Y.), filed paperwork with the Federal Election Committee (FEC) to create a hybrid PAC also called a Carey Committee similar to a super PAC.

Sanders himself has benefited from super PACs in the past. Vote Nurses Values PAC, the super PAC funded by the nurses union National Nurses United, spent more than $700,000 in support of the Vermont senator during the 2020 presidential primaries.

To me, theres a big difference between a labor lobbyist who is an advocate for working people versus a corporate lobbyist for Goldman Sachs or General Electric, said Jonathan Tasini, a progressive strategist and former surrogate for Sanderss 2016 presidential campaign. I sort of see super PACs the same way.

Tasini said that the end goal for Democrats should be to get rid of all this money in the U.S. political system. But he added that progressives should be practical in their approach to super PACs.

I dont think we should be so ideologically rigid about this, he said. Everyone would love to get rid of all this money. But that isnt the reality today.

One of the draws of super PACs in addition to being allowed to raise and spend unlimited sums of money is that they promise political operatives freedom that they often dont get within the rigid and bureaucratic structure of traditional campaigns, said Linh Nguyen, a former presidential campaign staffer for Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBipartisan Senate group offers new help to state, local governments Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned Trump and Biden signal bitter general election with latest attack ads MOREs (D-N.J.) and former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergLiberals embrace super PACs they once shunned .7 billion expected to be spent in 2020 campaign despite coronavirus: report Bloomberg wages war on COVID-19, but will he abandon his war on coal? MORE.

Nguyen and other former campaign staffers filed paperwork with the FEC late last month creating PAC That A$$ (PTA), a super PAC aimed at boosting Democrats up and down the ballot, while aggressively mocking GOP incumbents. The group isnt tied directly to the progressive movement, but is "very much anchored in the idea that we are trying to fix the system," Nguyen said.

In an interview this week, Nguyen said the group isnt only going to be run by political operatives, but is also hiring writers and comedians particularly black and brown creatives with the goal of reaching young voters and communities of color online ahead of the 2020 election.

Our donors that are funding this have specifically said we want you all to try different things, Nguyen said. Experiment and figure out how to break through the noise.

Nguyen said that PTA is built around the notion that super PACs are detrimental to the political process. The groups website touts that if their efforts to get Democrats elected are successful, there wont be any more Super PACs.

We want to fight fire with fire. This is something that Republicans are very, very comfortable in, and as Democrats, we shy away from it or we take the higher road, she said. We want to lean into it. Were going to get a lot of criticism, but we dont want to shy away from it.

Link:

Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned | TheHill - The Hill

Liberals vow to resurrect Roe 8 if elected next year – WAtoday

Opposition transport spokeswoman Libby Mettam said the Liberal Party was still committed to Roe 8 and the Perth Freight Link.

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If necessary it is a decision we would most certainly reverse and we are comfortable fighting the government on this issue given it has the support of the community of the southern suburbs, she said.

Ms Mettam said WA needed big ticket infrastructure projects to help the state recover from the coronavirus pandemic and with $1.2 billion in federal funding still on the table, now was the time to get it started.

Were finding it is quite extraordinary that 62,000 people have lost their jobs in the past four weeks and the McGowan government would come out with a plan to block Roe 8, she said.

The Perth Freight Link was envisioned to connect Fremantle Port with Perths southern suburbs but it was scrapped after the Labor party won the 2017 election in a landslide with stopping the road as a headline commitment.

The Liberal Party maintains the road would reduce congestion and remove trucks from Leach Highway while future proofing the Fremantle port.

Ms Saffioti said the McGowan government had been given a clear mandate to stop the freight link.

It was a deeply flawed, controversial project that I am pleased has now been laid to rest, she said.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the land that was cleared to make way for the freight link was already being rehabilitated which would ensure the Beeliar Wetlands and its conservation values would remain for future generations.

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Liberals vow to resurrect Roe 8 if elected next year - WAtoday

NP View: Will these Liberals be willing to do what Chrtien and Martin did? – National Post

A Liberal government will reduce the deficit. We will implement new programs only if they can be funded within existing expenditures. We will exercise unwavering discipline in controlling federal spending . Expenditure reductions will be achieved by cancelling unnecessary programs, streamlining processes and eliminating duplication.

Its hard to imagine the Liberals making such a promise in this day and age, but that is what they pledged to do in their 1993 Red Book. Contrast that to the 2015 election, when the party campaigned on the idea of running $10-billion deficits for three years, for a total of $30 billion a limit they blew through (and it wasnt even close). Or the 2019 election, when it gave up on balancing the books altogether and introduced a plan to run yearly deficits of $20 billion over its four-year mandate.

The coronavirus, however, changes everything. Those deficits now seem like chump change in the face of the Parliamentary Budget Officers (PBO) April 30 forecast of a $252.1-billion deficit in 2020-21 a number that, given the spate of spending announcements since then, he now says is likely to prove very optimistic.

As a percentage of the economy, even the optimistic number would be the highest on record. And that doesnt include the provinces, which have also seen their expenditures balloon. All told, a National Bank Financial report this week estimated that combined federal and provincial deficits could reach a staggering $350 billion, which represents about 20 per cent of gross domestic product.

If theres any good news, its that the massive increase in government spending that weve witnessed since the start of this pandemic will (hopefully) be temporary. Yes, COVID-19 has exposed critical holes in our health-care system, long-term care facilities and supply of critical goods that will require long-term expenditures in order to address. But the vast majority of the spending the financial support for workers who have lost their jobs and companies that have lost their revenue streams can easily come to an end once the health threat subsides.

Thats not to say that it is inevitable, though. We have already heard calls for the government to transform the Canada Emergency Response Benefit into a universal basic income program, for the state to use this crisis as an opportunity to replace fossil fuels with green energy pick your pet cause and chances are that someone is using the coronavirus as an excuse to push it.

But the Liberals must resist these calls, because the fact is that we will not be able to afford any of it. We wont even be able to afford any of the programs, like universal pharmacare, that Parliament was considering at the beginning of the year.

The Liberals justified their deficit spending before the pandemic by citing Canadas relatively good debt-to-GDP ratio, the amount of government debt relative to the size of the economy. Yet the PBO estimates that the national debt will hit $962 billion this year, up from $685 billion in 2018, and could easily top $1 trillion thats a one with 12 zeroes the year after.

Meanwhile, Statistics Canada released a flash estimate last month, which suggested that real GDP shrank nine per cent in March. The PBOs scenario estimates that real GDP will decline by 12 per cent this year, which would be four times worse than the worst year since we started keeping records in 1961.

Divide those two numbers and we could be looking at a debt-to-GDP ratio of nearly 50 per cent by the end of the year. This, however, would not be unprecedented: it stood at a whopping 66.6 per cent in 1995.

That was when Prime Minister Jean Chrtien and Finance Minister Paul Martin launched an aggressive effort to balance the budget that still makes conservatives jealous. They did so not by massively increasing taxes, but by cutting federal spending by 14 per cent between 1995 and 1998. Thanks to these austerity measures, the economy prospered, growing between four and five per cent a year between 1997 and 2000. Accordingly, our debt-to-GDP ratio dropped to 29 per cent by 2009.

Barring a sudden end to their minority government, when the current crisis abates, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau will face a similar situation. It has always seemed somewhat paradoxical that Chrtien and his American counterpart, President Bill Clinton, were able to balance their budgets in the 90s, while their conservative successors watched them balloon once again. Yet centre-left governments often find it easier to drastically reduce spending, because people tend to believe that they are doing it out of necessity, rather than ideology, and therefore are more inclined to give them a pass.

Will this current crop of Liberals follow in the footsteps of their predecessors and do what needs to be done to stabilize this countrys finances, retaining the prosperity that sustains our way of life and preserving it for future generations? We certainly hope so, but their own recent history is cause for concern.

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NP View: Will these Liberals be willing to do what Chrtien and Martin did? - National Post


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