Category Archives: politics

macron01_400The cheer was always going to be qualified. The bubbles would be less effervescent, more a case of relieved sighing rather than frothy exultation.  After another electoral hack, and another round of threats, the French election was being played out in an era that may, in time, be given the Trump name.

The pollsters did rest a bit easier after the election result, with Emmanuel Macron outdoing his contender Marine Le Pen by fifteen percent. Their soothsayers have been failing of late, and this result provided some form of revival. But what it did show, as it did in the United Kingdom, is that the battle between the forces of nationalist nostalgia and autonomy, and the market model masquerading as prosperity and democracy, will continue to rage.

In any other set of circumstances, it would have been seen as thumping, clear, and unquestionable: a 66 percent approval for Macron, with Parisians going the whole hog with 90 per cent. But such are the times that the 34 percent, left unattended to the north and south of the country, may well become the future governing power, a disease that takes hold, and eventually conquering the host.

While it was second highest score in the second round of a presidential vote since 1965, Macron’s margin of victory becomes less significant when compared with that of Jacques Chirac’s 82.21 percent in 2002 over Marine Le Pen’s father. An unescapable fact is that 11 million votes were cast in favour of Le Pen.

Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!

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The Observable Abysmal Incompetence of Trump’s First 100 Days by Dr. Emanuel Paparella

Donald Trump is very proud of the fact that, as a business man, he knows how to negotiate and make deals. But the crucial logical question is this: how well does he know what he is negotiating? Were we to attempt to answer that question judging by the first 100 days in office, we’d soon discover an abundance of sheer incompetence. Evan business leaders are beginning to acknowledge as much. Trump himself has declared recently that he didn’t think the job would be so hard. That’s a narcissist’s mode of acknowledging ignorance and incompetence, not to speak of corruption.

E.g., the administration has scrambled to come up with the outline of a tax plan that’s more or less the same as the one that has been on Trump’s website for months now: cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 to 15 percent, slashing individual tax rates across the board, and expanding the standard deduction, big-league. This attempt to create the illusion of progress is a longtime Trump tactic.

Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” brags about how he supposedly tricked Holiday Inn into going into business with him on a casino by having construction crews dig holes and fill them up, making it look as if he was already building it when he wasn’t. But assuming that worked then – maybe they thought it was a good deal except for the fact that Trump’s workers seemed so inept? – it can’t now.

Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!

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Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

kurds01_400Any doubts that Turkey’s involvement in the conflict against Islamic State is purely symbolic were dispelled by a latest round of air strikes against Kurdish positions in northeast Syria and Iraq’s Sinjar region, killing at least 20 fighters.  (The number from Ankara is a more inflated 70).  Iraqi government officials were flawed by the action, infuriated by its audacity; the US State Department was troubled and confused. 

“We are very concerned, deeply concerned,” claimed spokesman Mark Toner, “that Turkey conducted air strikes earlier today in northern Syria as well as northern Iraq without proper coordination with the United States or the broader global coalition to defeat IS.”[1] Toner also explained that such strikes “were not approved by the coalition and led to the unfortunate loss of life of our partner forces in the fight against” Islamic State.

The Pentagon seemed less troubled, concerned more with logistical error and plain bungling among coalition members. “We don’t want our partners hitting other partners,” came a statement from a senior US defence official. “We’ve got to figure out exactly who got hit. We don’t know yet. We do know where the strikes were, but we don’t know exactly who is dead.”[2]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is very much on top of the world – his world, at least. On the home front, he continues a savage campaign against alleged coup plotters through mass detentions. He is beaming from the referendum results held this month that granted him new constitutional powers.

Refuting the suggestion that this latest round of belligerence was an act of introspective, isolated adventurism, he explained that, “We shared this with the US and Russia and we are sharing it with Iraq as well. It is an operation that (Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud) Barzani has been informed about.” Such an interpretation stretches the meaning of sharing, to say the least.

Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!

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The Creepy Bungling Inspector Clouseau-like Relationship between Trump and the US Spy Agencies by Dr. Emanuel Paparella

Sen. Lindsey Graham, Rep. South Carolina, has dubbed the relationship of President Trump to the US spy agencies to a Dr. Clouseau investigating himself. He is probably on to something considering the various bungling self-defeating and incompetent ways by which  the House has so far been conducting the Russia dealings investigation.

It remains an entertainingly funny reality show controlled by the White House but it feels as if it could change on a dime and turn into a sad ugly tragedy. The question arises: is control slipping away from Trump prompting him to challenge agencies’ integrity and alleging that (in collusion with former president Obama) they monitored his presidential campaign?

papar01_400_02It is well known that counter-allegations have surfaced of Trump’s White House funneling secret intelligence reports to top Republicans investigating its ties to Russian officials as well as the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. These investigations, if proven, will seriously threaten his presidency. They also may reflect a deepening distrust of the intelligence community among Trump’s political advisers who remain bungling amateurs when it comes to classified information and covert programs. Michael Hayden, former CIA head and the National Security Agency has quipped lately that those bunglings “reveal a chasm of ignorance about how stuff is done.

It is also well known that Trump, with the backing of political advisers Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, initially sought to put Wall Street billionaire Stephen Feinberg in charge of a review of the intelligence agencies. An early assessment of the review suggested the elimination of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, (the umbrella agency created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks) in order to better streamline and coordinate intelligence. At least that was the official rationale. The oversight agency was simply an unnecessary bureaucracy that ended up manipulating and distorting information. Now, however, the operative words are no longer “dismantle” the intelligence agencies, but “trim and optimize” to better make them manageable. The question arises: manageable by whom?

Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!

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The psychotic paranoid Sultan by Thanos Kalamidas

For more than a decade, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – the present Turkish President – has been West’s favourite Muslim son. A leader that could work as an example, a role model and a strong breakwater to all kind of Muslim radicalism in Middle East and South East Asia. That’s how the West wanted him to be. So blinded by their own wishes, wants and denials they didn’t see that Erdoğan was a psychotic paranoid authoritarian, totally corrupted by power who manipulated everybody. And by everybody I don’t mean just the west but everybody including the radical Muslims of ISIL.

ovicover_25_03_17The amazing thing about Erdoğan is that while the Europeans were and still are, till very recently, victims of his manipulations, it was the Americans who saw first his real face and a very critical moment for them. It was when Erdoğan refused to help the Americans in their invasion to Iraq and surprisingly when Saddam fell defeated, the Turks appeared as victors ready for the looting. That made George W. Bush’s administration angry and their “friendly” attitude towards Turkey for the rest of the time was only due to keep appearances and of course for geopolitical reasons since Turkey remains an accountable force in the area. Obama continued Bush’s policy with Turkey: keep Erdoğan in a safe distance and doubt anything he says.

The Europeans from the other played a very strange and schizophrenic game with Turkey. While Turkey had started negotiations with EU for a membership, the EU leadership often used public opinion to delay talks or agreements. The 2005 French referendum for the European Constitution is the best example when 55% voted against with one and only excuse, they didn’t want Turkey as a full member state in the EU. Furthermore while it has never happened with any other candidate country, most EU member states demand to have an internal referendum before fully accepting Turkey in EU. But the same time the Europeans were too keen to support politically Erdoğan everywhere, invest financially in Turkey in the name of Erdoğan with Germany France and Holland majoring in those investment and finally keeping a “neutral” distance with Turkey’s conflicts first with the Kurds and then with another EU member (which actually made it more painful) with Cyprus. In both these cases the European “neutral” attitude is actually in conflict with the European principals since Erdoğan’s hostility against the Kurds is on the limits of a genocide and in Cyprus, Turkey occupies part of the independent and full EU member state as a result of an invasion not much different from Saddam’s to Kuwait. Furthermore Europe has been fully aware of Erdoğan’s dictatorial turn the last five years at least, has been fully aware of the imprisonments, tortures, murders plus Erdoğan’s connection with ISIL’s oil but still they kept treating him as a …partner, ally and friend.

Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!

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The Rattlin’ Tattlers by Leah Sellers

Rattle !  Rattle ! Whirrrrr !  Rattle !
 
Ka-boom !  Ka-boom !
 
“Come on outta’ your Hidey Holes, you Rattlin’ Tattlers !  You do not Rule the Roost here !  I, King Clyde, follower of the Trumpian Way, Rule over this here Chicken Coop  !  And not just this Chicken Coop, but the whole ding-dang-dong Chicken Yard “

Rattle !  Rattle !  Whirrrrr !  Rattle !

Ka-boom !  Ka-boom !

cats01_400“Clyde ?!  Clyde ?!  Put that gol’durned shot gun down for just a minute, will ya’ ?  It’s Sam.  I wanna’ come on into the Chicken Coop to talk without gettin’ my head blown off !”

“Why, sure, Sam !  Come on in, Pardner.  I could sure use some help knabbin’ these ‘ole Rattlin’ Tattlers !  You got your pistol with ya’ ?  Come right on,
in !

Sam slowly and cautiously opened the Chicken Coop’s holey and tattered door to discover his old childhood friend standing in the middle of the Chicken Coop naked as a Jaybird.

“Clyde, where are your clothes ?  What in the heck is goin’ on with you,
Boy ?  Do you understand how crazy all of this looks right now ?  You have got Lillian and the kids scared to death.”

“So, she called you to come on over here to get me in line, did she ?”

Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!

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Is There Still Time Left To Save American Democracy? by Dr. Emanuel Paparella

am01There is an ongoing wishful thinking which began as soon as Donald Trump announced his candidacy: it’s fed by the wrong notion that somehow democratic institutions will stop, or at least curb Trump’s abuse of power. Now that he is president, some historians give us approximately a year to save the Republic.

The delusion seems to be based on a misconception, that somehow the leopard will change its spot, that one institution or other will eventually force him to change his behavior, that the office of presidency will mature him. But what has been demonstrated so far is that he doesn’t seem to care much about institutions as dispensers of laws, only in so far as they represent barriers to kleptocratic authoritarianism and personal ego aggrandizement. It’s all about Donald, all the times. Full stop.

There is a frightening complacency in the air that is redolent of the days of Hitler’s rise in the 30s during the 20th century. Then also things appeared normal to many Germans. They thought nothing had really changed. But they had changed and it was in fact the delusion that they had that soon enough led to regime change.

The mantra now seems to be this: we are Americans, not Germans; we are exceptionalists; we live beyond history; we have freedom because we love freedom; we love freedom because we are free. A bit circular, philosophically and logically speaking, but pernicious in the sense that if fails to acknowledge the historical structure that can enhance or weaken democracy and republics based on democratic structures. The escape from freedom can happen in any country. As Jefferson put: eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Republics, such as that of Rome, can rise and fall. In fact, most Republics have fallen. Historical amnesia will only ensure that all the mistakes of past history will be repeated.

The fact is that the Trump administration currently looks to authoritarian regimes as its models. They are undoubtedly thinking about them, not in a negative sense but sympathetically, in a positive mode.

Let’s remember the 30 but not in Germany, here in the US. At that time we had people vehemently opposed to Roosevelt and what they considered his “welfare state,” his interventionist leaning in Europe to save it from fascism. For them, not FDR but Charles Lindbergh was their hero.

Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!

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