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MarkGB 

"Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world" - Henry Kissinger

and yet...

"Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences" – Robert Louis Stevenson

The 'global democratic recession' started at home

In response to an FT article by Gideon Rachman on 8th August 2016, entitled ‘The global democratic recession’

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/43ea5f04-5d4c-11e6-bb77-a121aa8abd95.html#ixzz4GlFvdkPZ

'Sometimes one or two events can change the political mood all over the world. The release of Nelson Mandela from prison in February 1990 came just three months after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Those two events inspired democrats and liberals across the globe.

Sadly, the current international mood is much less optimistic and much less friendly to democracy. It has been shaped above all by the collapse of the Arab spring of 2011 into bloodshed and anarchy. Autocrats all over the world, above all in Russia and China, now point to the Middle East as an example of the dangers of premature democratisation.

The politicians who captured the spirit of the early 1990s were inspirational democrats such as Mandela, Václav Havel in Czechoslovakia — and liberal reformers such as Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin in Russia. Today, the leaders that seem to embody the spirit of the age are autocrats with scant respect for democratic values – men like Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the presidents of Russia and Turkey; as well as Donald Trump, a trash-talking demagogue who has somehow become the Republican nominee for president of the US…

…Freedom House, a think-tank that issues an annual report on the state of democracy, argues that political freedom has been in global retreat for the past decade…

…The least free part of the world is the Middle East…Egypt is suffering from a harsher autocracy than the Mubarak regime that was overthrown in 2011…

…Even in Europe, some of the freedoms won in 1989 are imperilled. In both Poland and Hungary there has been an erosion of press freedom and judicial independence…

…In parts of Asia, things have also gone backwards. Thailand experienced a military coup in 2014…In Malaysia, liberals are in despair at the machinations of the scandal-plagued government…

…In the two most important autocratic powers - Russia and China — the governments are cracking down harder on liberals who dare to challenge the prevailing regimes…

…The problems of democracy have extended even into the US, the “leader of the free world”. Even if Mr. Trump fails to win the presidency he has already done immense harm to the prestige and dignity of US democracy…' - Gideon Rachman

Even if everything you say is true Mr. Rachman, and I think much of it is, I will believe the FT's passion for 'democracy' when you and your colleagues start holding your own 'side' to account. For example:

1. When you start dissecting the Democratic National Convention for its egregious behaviour towards one of its own candidates, irrespective of any preference for the other one

2. When you report the middle east by analysing our destructive role in the tragedy that is unfolding there, including our rather badly hidden agendas around oil and regime change, rather than just dish up partisan fare that might have come straight out of a State Department briefing (minus the intelligent questions)

3. When you take Hillary Clinton's free pass away and give her 1/10 of the hard time you give Trump. There are two very flawed characters in that race, two people who know all about shady dealings, two blatant liars running for the presidency of the United States, not just one. Right now - the FT and the NYT, two papers that would both like the world to think of them as beacons of democracy - are little more than marketing pamphlets for Hillary Clinton. She'd have to commit 'democratic murder' to get even a 'journalistic parking ticket'.

So...we can keep writing about how great 'liberal democracy' is, and watch one half of the rest of the world hold its nose at the stench of our hypocrisy, the other half laugh itself stupid...or...we can start holding our own to account, and have a fighting chance of being taken seriously when we talk about 'democracy'

Welcome to the Bachman Turner Overdrive economy

And in other news – Saturday 6th August 2016