Don’t throw the firecrakcers yet

If you’re one of those cheering for Steve Bannon’s getting fired and believe this will mean change inside the Trump administration, you’re probably not seeing the whole picture.

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Bannon’s presence inside the WH as Chief Strategist was always seen as the “source of evil” behind Trump’s policies. Others saw him as a troublemaker inside the WH, even going as far as accusing him of leaking insider info. However, truth be told, “evil” didn’t start with him.

Having been officially aiding Trump with his campaign only since August 2016 – after Trump got the Republican nomination, most of the controversial policies/statements had already been made before Bannon got in. The first of those ideas – which is now currently on hold, was the wall at the US-Mexico border to stop Mexican immigrants to come to the US – who according to Trump, were coming over “committing serious crimes like rape, killing and selling drugs”. By the end of 2015, the new flavour of the month was the Muslim ban, in which Trump proposed temporarily stopping all Muslims from entering the country “Until we know what’s going on“, something that is now being seen by the Supreme Court.

Bannon is no moderate, in fact he is a well know right-wing nationalist and the reason why Breitbart became what it is today; a website that spreads alt-right propaganda with immense exposure in doing so. His world views are no secret of his, he warns of an incoming apocalyptic war between Islam and Christianity and warns that if the US doesn’t act, China might outpace the US both in terms of economic and military capacity. Something that can be seen in his interview at ‘The American Prospect’.

This interview of his was quite scandalous because of the old “on-off the record” controversy, but also because of what he said in that interview, especially about North Korea:

“There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us”

Something that might have not gone well with his former “chief”, but Bannon’s mistakes didn’t start here. If we go back to April we could see that clashes between Bannon and Trump’s most sacred treasure, his family, started to come up especially with Jared Kushner, who was accused of being a “Democrat” – aka soft republican, and a “Globalist”. Trump tax cut plan; typical of Republican establishment, might have been a stab in the back for Bannon – who’s a fierce economic nationalist and clearly saw the impact that would have on the electoral base that got Trump elected – leading to Bannon remarking in his interview at The Weekly Standard:

“What Trump ran on—border wall, where is the funding for the border wall, one of his central tenets, where have they been? Have they rallied around the Perdue-Cotton immigration bill? On what element of Trump’s program, besides tax cuts—which is going to be the standard marginal tax cut—where have they rallied to Trump’s cause? They haven’t.”

For those who are trilled and happy with Bannon’s getting fired don’t throw the firecrackers yet. There is more than meets the eye in this administration. Bannon might have gone, but if we can learn something with this is that Republican establishment and Trump’s nepotism are alive and well.

 

Luís Carvalho, Bsc graduated in Economics and proud 2015 graduate of democracy

Disclaimer: This might not reflect the whole group’s opinion

 

La Primera de Muchas

17888097_1259379007502561_1214337678_nAyer fue un día triste para el socialismo español. Ayer, mientras seguíamos discutiendo sobre un proceso interno que cada día que pasa nos va enfrentando un  poco más, murió a los 46 años Carme Chacón a causa de problemas cardiacos.

Carme Chacón materializaba gran parte del ideario socialista. De familia humilde, gracias a sus profundas convicciones progresistas, a su gran trabajo como concejala de Esplugas de Llobregat y a su labor como observadora en la OSCE  , consiguió hacerse  un hueco en el mundo de la política. Fue una férrea defensora de la “Nueva Vía” de Zapatero y todos los valores que ella representaba, convirtiéndose en una de los miembros  más populares del gobierno del presidente socialista.

Carme Chacón fue la primera mujer en llegar al cargo de  Ministra de Defensa  en España, pero no fue sólo eso, fue mucho más. Continue reading “La Primera de Muchas”

How to beat Merkel – and while doing so Socialists might also save the EU

Angela Merkel has just announced to re-run for the German Chancellorship in the upcoming Fall 2017 general election. If she wins she can prolong her reign, which started in 2005, a total of 16 years, the biggest in German history (tied only with Helmut Kohl 1982 – 1998, CDU). Over the years the reasoning by experts for her uncontested leadership, although with changing coalition partners, has varied but subsequently acclaimed she holds a high level of trust.

Continue reading “How to beat Merkel – and while doing so Socialists might also save the EU”

Civil disobedience in Sudan: Another Arab Spring?

“Peaceful” civil disobedience is always linked in the minds with Mahatama Ghandi’s march to the sea in protest of the British monopoly on salt, his most courageous act of civil disobedience against the famous British rule in India in 1930. However, this time the news come from Africa, specifically in Sudan where Sudanese  started on Sunday 27th of November 2016 a five-day civil disobedience with varying proportions of response among the residents of the country.

Continue reading “Civil disobedience in Sudan: Another Arab Spring?”

Europe Together: Three Common Sense Proposals for Digital Europe

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When talking about Europe’s Digital Union it is easy to get lost in abstract terms such as net neutrality, portability and geo-blocking. The S&D group even made a short glossary descripting the jargon, quite handy. Fortunately, it is also possible to briefly describe in everyday language what priorities I, as a young, non-expert yet assiduous internet and app user, would see as my priorities for digital Europe. Continue reading “Europe Together: Three Common Sense Proposals for Digital Europe”

Ireland’s Incomplete Revolution

When we see the word ‘Revolution’ we think of the French or Americans in the 18th century. We think of war, uprising, political turmoil, not 21st century Ireland.

The Revolution I speak of has a few factors.

  1. Growing opposition towards the Church’s role in Ireland & Irish politics
  2. Irish women standing up to the backwards Irish way of life.
  3. Most importantly, the repealthe8th movement for safe & legal access to abortion.

Continue reading “Ireland’s Incomplete Revolution”

We Will Miss You Barry

On 5 November 2008 I woke up with eyes full of emotional tears. Barack Obama, a charismatic Senator of mixed background, with a beautiful wife and two wonderful young daughters, had inspired millions and had just been elected President of the United States of America.

Continue reading “We Will Miss You Barry”

The decline of the Arabian Peninsula. Time for a party?

The Middle East is going up in flames but the Arabian Peninsula has for years been the prosperous exception. This is now changing. The countries of the GCC are experiencing decreasing demand for oil which is putting pressure on prices worldwide. Oil economies that stop selling oil will at some moment collapse. Its a scenario that the international community has to prepare for. The question that remains is if we should fear this development, or celebrate it.

There are many reasons why the demand for oil is decreasing. The main one is the lower-than-expected growth of industrialized economies. Especially the disappointing growth in Asia has negatively impacted the demand for oil and gas. But also other factors have played a role. The United States for example, although recovering from a financial crisis, has increased domestic oil production to become more self-supporting. The oil producing countries of the GCC however, had prepared for better times. They are now stuck with a surplus in oil and in no strategical position to increase their prices. Continue reading “The decline of the Arabian Peninsula. Time for a party?”

Remember the Heroes – The 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956

During the last week I had a chance to spend a few days in Brussels between 17th and 20th of October as a part of the Graduates of Democracy delegation to a series of meetings. I was happy to see the preparations to an event and exhibition for the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. It showed the appreciation of very important event in our history, not for just Hungary but for our common European heritage. The revolution lasting for only 18 days (between October 23 and November 10) gave an important lesson about our democratic and social values. Continue reading “Remember the Heroes – The 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956”

A Civil Society Struggle: Sending Food Waste to Waste

Unemployment. High deficit. Public debt. Bankruptcy. Recession. Troika.

I am sure at least one of these small, yet, very serious words come to mind when you ask any European about Portugal. The financial crisis turned the spotlight into this 10 million inhabitant’s country, which led to the request of financial aid in 2011. In terms of social justice, Portugal’s performance is rather fable, raking 20th out of the 28 EU member states. The average month income of Portuguese families downgraded from 948,58 euros in 2009 to 833, in 2014. In the same year about 10,9% of the Portuguese population was living on severe material deprivation. In terms of the long-term unemployment rate, the country ranks 5th and 6th when it comes to youth unemployment. One of the many consequences of adopting austerity measures is the creation of a wider gap of inequality as those who earn less are more affected. In 2013, Portugal’s poverty rate was 19,5% and it was the 9th most unequal country in the EU. One year later, 2 million people were living in poverty, which means one in every 5 Portuguese live with an average income lower than 422 euros and half a million people need alimentary help.[1]

Continue reading “A Civil Society Struggle: Sending Food Waste to Waste”