Monthly Archives: June 2016

Brexit, aboriginal day, Colombia, a poem: Matters of Facts, and Opinions

Dawn breaks behind the Houses of Parliament and the statue of Winston Churchill in Westminster, London, Britain June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Dawn breaks behind the Houses of Parliament and the statue of Winston Churchill in Westminster, London, Britain June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

‘Explosive shock’ as Britain votes to leave EU, Cameron quits, by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton  Report

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks after Britain voted to leave the European Union, outside Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron speaks after Britain voted to leave the European Union, outside Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

 Britain has voted to leave the European Union, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and dealing the biggest blow since World War Two to the European project of forging greater unity.

Brexit Factbox: Who, where, when why – and what next, by Alastair MacDonald, Report

In England’s Mean and Truculent Land, by Jonathan Manthorpe, F&O International Affairs columnist

Britain’s departure from the EU will be a journey across new territory full of terrors and treacherous terrain. Among the many stupidities in Cameron’s management of the referendum was allowing a simple majority for victory.

An American “Brexit” revolt? Not likely, by Tom Regan, F&O Summoning Orenda columnist

Immediately after the Brexit vote, to take Britain out of the European Union, the hyperventilating United States  media found umpteen different ways to say “It could happen here.” This American media chorus is wrong.

Joyful rebels sign ceasefire with Colombian government, by Marc Frank and Carlos Vargas, report

A historic ceasefire deal brought Colombia’s government and leftist FARC rebels close to ending the longest running conflict in the Americas. Capping three years of peace talks in Cuba, it sparked celebrations, and set the stage for a final deal to end a guerrilla war born in the 1960s out of frustration with deep socio-economic inequalities.

Note to our readers: Facts and Opinions will take a summer break next week, returning on July 10.

Commentary:

The Revolt of (some of) the 4.5%, by Jim McNiven, Thoughtlines  Column

One of the American presumptive presidential candidates has been creating a big nationalist fuss about ‘Making America Great Again’. Somehow, according to this interpretation, the country’s just not given the respect it had in the past….

Canada’s National Aboriginal Day, by Deborah Jones/Free Range Column

Time, some vast and today unfathomable sweep of time, may eventually heal the wounds in the people, families and communities left by Canada’s treatment of its first peoples; of even the theft, abuse and murder of generations of children. For now, on the first day of summer each year, Canada celebrates National Aboriginal Day.

Singing is the best revenge, by Penney Kome/Over Easy Column

Heightened security will greet a major Denver music festival, from  July 2 – 6. For a week, the U.S. city’s music venues will showcase 6000 singers in 130 groups.

Arts: 

 

Georgia O'Keeffe - Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico / Out Back of Marie's II, 1930 Oil on canvas mounted on board. Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Gift of The Burnett Foundation ©Georgia O'Keeffe Museum via The Tate

The Tate Modern in London debuts its Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition July 6. Said the museum, “with no works by O’Keeffe in UK public collections this exhibition is a rare opportunity to see over 100 of her remarkable paintings outside the US.” Image: Georgia O’Keeffe – Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico / Out Back of Marie’s II, 1930 Oil on canvas mounted on board. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Gift of The Burnett Foundation ©Georgia O’Keeffe Museum….. visit the Tate site.

Fearful Symmetry — a poem, by Stephen Collis, excerpt

A poem  from the Chapbook New Life, available this month by Above/Ground Press.

Note to our readers: Facts and Opinions will take a summer break next week, returning on July 10.

FINDINGS:

NASA updated our image of the Big Blue Marble this month. Read Jim McNiven on Robert Goddard's role in the technology that made possible space exploration.

NASA updated our image of the Big Blue Marble this month. Read Jim McNiven on Robert Goddard’s role in the technology that made possible space exploration.

“Act locally, think globally.” We’ve all heard that one. But the mayors of more than 7,100 cities, in 119 countries, just put it into practice, announcing their commitment to tackle climate change. The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy represents some 600 million people, more than 8 per cent of the world’s population. Read about it on the covenant site.

Also on the climate front, a new paper in the science journal Nature Climate Change, Why the right climate target was agreed in Paris may convey hope. The researchers, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said limiting temperature rise within survivable limits “is possible, yet requires transformational change across the board of modernity.” Their work, remarked a Washington Post report, suggests that the  Paris climate agreement has what it takes to stabilize climate change. “That’s a pretty big deal,” wrote Chris Mooney.

Brexit became a household word overnight. But in the larger context, are all of Europe’s fault lines deepening dangerously?  Conflict experts told Common Space the European Union is in for a rocky time, even without Brexit, due to “nationalistic and racist politics” and with economic conditions …. continue reading at Common Space.

When even the IMF warns America about its poverty levels, people listen. The U.S. economy “is in good shape” — but is threatened in future by declining labor force participation, falling productivity growth, polarization in the distribution of income and wealth, and high levels of poverty, said the International Monetary Fund, after an annual analysis. It said about one in seven people are impoverished, and recommended raising the minimum wage and offering paid maternity leave. … find the IMF press release here.

William Koch’s recent sale of 20,000 bottles of wine for $21.9 million prompted Oliver Roeder of FiveThirtyEight to look into this rarefied underground.  “… wat I found was a high-end wine market, and a blockbuster auction, with notes of geography, chemistry, economics, culture and thousands of years of history — with a detectable aroma of bullshit.” …. read The Weird World of Expensive Wine.

Elsewhere, Nepal banned its citizens from working in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria because of the recent slaughter of 13 Nepalis and the ongoing terrorist threat. Thousands of migrants were rescued on the Mediterranean this week. South Africa’s top court ruled that 800 corruption charges against  President Jacob Zuma will stand. Game of Thrones production will not be affected by Brexit, said HBO, responding to stories warning filming in the UK would be disrupted. Pope Francis named the mass killings of Armenians — a red hot button in Turkey — “genocide.” Rulings by America’s top court put paid to an amnesty plan, and upheld affirmative action at a Texas university — a case, reports ProPublica, not quite as the plaintiffs presented it.   In Bangladesh, Buddhist monks served food to Muslims breaking their fast at sunset.

— Deborah Jones

Updated June 25 to include Tom Regan’s column

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

Posted in Current Affairs

Brexit (UK referendum on European Union), etc.

By Diliff - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35972521

The hemicycle of the European Parliament. Photo: Diliff/CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia

Citizens of the United Kingdom vote tomorrow today* on Brexit, the referendum on whether Britain should leave Europe. The impact, no matter which way the vote goes, is already global.

We’ll have a wrapup on the weekend. Meantime, here are some suggestions of where to follow the breaking news:

In case you missed it:

Here’s F&O’s International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe’s take on Brexit, from June 11, and an academic’s analysis last month on forecasts.

Small Stampede for the Brexit, by Jonathan Manthorpe, F&O, column

It is unlikely that Britons are going to give a conclusive answer to the question whether they should remain in the European Union or leave it when they mark their referendum ballots on June 23.

Which Brexit forecast is trustworthy? by Nauro Campos, Brunel University London.

At one extreme, Economists for Brexit predict that the main economic consequence of Brexit is that UK incomes in 2030 will be about 4% higher. In the middle, studies suggest UK incomes by 2030 will be will be unaffected. And At the other extreme, various studies (including the Treasury, the LSE, the OECD, and the National Institute for Economic and Social Research reports) indicate substantial losses to the UK economy, of about 7% by 2030. How does one think this through? An economist offers suggestions.

Our new works in the past week:

Last but not least, recommended: a Finding:

*updated/edited June 23

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

Posted in Current Affairs, Gyroscope Tagged , |

Facts, and Opinions, that matter this week

Commentary and analysis:

hc_Al_Hussein_smllVerbatim: Hate, mainstreamed — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. By Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein  Excerpts

Hate is becoming mainstreamed. Walls – which tormented previous generations, and have never yielded any sustainable solution to any problem – are returning. Barriers of suspicion are rising, snaking through and between our societies – and they are killers. Clampdowns on public freedoms, and crackdowns on civil society activists and human rights defenders, are hacking away at the forces which uphold the healthy functioning of societies. Judicial institutions which act as checks on executive power are being dismantled. Towering inequalities are hollowing out the sense that there are common goods. These trends bleed nations of their innate resilience.

O Canada … Oh, grow up , by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda F&O columnist

Canada’s debate over changing its anthem to make it gender neutral is immature. Seldom has so much ink and indignation been spilled over such a simple matter. Making Canada’s national anthem more open to all people is of course a good idea. It is the very essence of Canada itself.

African democratic reform falters and falls, by Jonathan Manthorpe, F&O International Affairs columnist

Two events make it depressingly clear that after political and social advances Africa is slipping back into its bad old ways. On Thursday, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation announced that yet again there is no one worthy of receiving its latest prestigious and lucrative prize for excellence in African leadership. And in Angola, President Eduardo dos Santos put his daughter, Isabel, in charge of the state-owned oil company.

 

Mo Ibrahim. Photo Chatham House via Wikipedia, Creative Commons

Mo Ibrahim. Photo Chatham House via Wikipedia, Creative Commons

 

Hissène Habré: a pivotal case for international justice in Africa,  by Pierre Hazan  Analysis

On May 30, in an African court, history was made. In an unprecedented move, a former president was convicted of human rights abuses by a foreign court. In another historic ruling, the accused was also sentenced on counts of sexual abuse and the rape of a prisoner. The conviction of Chad’s former dictator, Hissène Habré, comes at a crucial time for international justice in Africa.

Squib: Bloomsday, by Deborah Jones, Free Range F&O columnist

I would like to love Ulysses. I don’t. Perhaps James Joyce was just playing a big joke on us?

Reports

Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius

Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius

Massacre at U.S. nightclub, ISIS claims responsibility. By Barbara Liston

A man armed with an assault rifle killed and injured scores of people at a packed gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12 in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, which President Barack Obama described as an act of terror and hate.

A cluster bomb is pictured on the ground of a field in al-Tmanah town in southern Idlib countryside, Syria May 21, 2016. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi - RTSFBBFFinancial firms invest $28 billion in making banned cluster bombs. By Alex Whiting

More than 155 financial institutions have invested billions of dollars in companies making cluster bombs, weapons which are banned under international law because of their impact on civilians, a pressure group said. The firms include those in Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and Britain, countries which have signed a convention banning the weapons.

Going green helps Rust Belt cities revive. By Winifred Bird

Gary, Indiana is joining Detroit and other fading U.S. industrial centers in an effort to turn abandoned neighborhoods and factory sites into gardens, parks, and forests. In addition to the environmental benefits, these greening initiatives may help catalyze an economic recovery.

Kate Lynn Blatt, a transgender woman, walks up to Salem Belleman's Church in Mohrsville, Pennsylvania, United States, May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton Fighting for transgender rights in the U.S. By Reuters  Report/Photo-essay

Kate Lynn Blatt once lived as a woman at home but went to work in a battery factory as a man, a painful phase in her gender transition that would later propel her to the forefront of a constitutional battle for transgender rights in America.

Expert witness

Sexuality as a spectrum, and the wisdom of Indonesian Bugis. By Sharyn Graham Davies  Expert Witness

What if gender were viewed the same way sex researcher Alfred Kinsey famously depicted sexuality – as something along a sliding scale? An ethnic group in South Sulawesi, Indonesia – the Bugis – views gender this way. This spectrum of sex is a good way of thinking about the complexity and diversity of humans.

Magazine

U.S. Army armored personnel carrier (APC) spraying Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Photo: U.S. Army Operations in Vietnam R.W. Trewyn, Ph.D. , (10) APC Defoliation National Archives: 111-CC-4966 originally found in Box 1 Folder 9 of Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. CollectionA Father’s War, A Son’s Toxic Inheritance. By Stephen M. Katz for ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot, as told to Mike Hixenbaugh and Charles Ornstein  Magazine

The package from my father delivered a warning: A handwritten note attached to a stack of Veterans Affairs medical records. During the war, before I was born, Al had sprayed Agent Orange along riverbanks in Vietnam, often soaking his uniform in the herbicide. The exposure, he wrote, had caused him serious health problems, including a neurological disorder, and he believed it also might have harmed me. My mind raced as I thought of my own troubled medical history.

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

Posted in Current Affairs

Massacre at US nightclub

Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius

Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius

Massacre at U.S. nightclub, ISIS claims responsibility, by Reuters

 A man armed with an assault rifle killed 50 people at a packed gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on Sunday in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, which President Barack Obama described as an act of terror and hate.

Police killed the shooter, who was identified as Omar Mateen, 29, a Florida resident and U.S. citizen who was the son of immigrants from Afghanistan.

Islamic State claimed responsibility, but U.S. officials said they had seen no immediate evidence linking the militant group to the massacre …. read more.

Recommended elsewhere: Frederic Lemieux, a criminologist at George Washington University, writes about the six things Americans should know about mass shootings.

Related on F&O: analysis from our archives:

America’s gun cult, Switzerland’s firearms culture, by Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs columnist

In the ranks of “barbaric cultural practices,” the United States’ addiction to firearms is among the most deadly. The results of gun violence in the U.S. are in the same order of magnitude as the fruits of terrorism in the entire world. But the epidemic of gun slaughter in the U.S. is not entirely down to the simple availability of firearms in, it seems, almost every home. The Swiss also have firearms readily available, but they do not massacre each other at nearly the same rate as the Americans.

Why ISIS is winning, with America’s help, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda columnist

The attacks in Paris were as much a sign of ISIS’s weaknesses, as a demonstration of its ability to strike. If Western governments had grasped the opportunity to turn this horrible tragedy against ISIS, we might have pulled off a small but important victory against these murderers. Instead, we played the hand that ISIS dealt us like a bunch of hillbilly rubes at a blackjack table in Las Vegas.

Waiting for America’s next mass murder, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda columnist

We won’t have to wait long. He’s out there right now. We don’t know his name, or where it will happen, but he will do it. We’ll know his name within the next week or so. It will be a he. Very few mass murders are committed by shes. It’s hard to even think of any. He’s likely early, maybe mid-20s.

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

Posted in Current Affairs Tagged , , , |

Facts and Opinions that matter, this week

The coffin of late boxing champion Muhammad Ali arrives for a jenazah, an Islamic funeral prayer, in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The coffin of late boxing champion Muhammad Ali arrives for a jenazah, an Islamic funeral prayer, in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Muhammad Ali in 1966. Photographer unknown, Dutch National Archives, The Hague

Muhammad Ali in 1966. Photographer unknown, Dutch National Archives, The Hague

MUHAMMAD ALI: the final goodbye to “The Greatest,” by Nick Carey and Steve Bittenbender

Fans chanting “Ali!” and throwing flowers lined the streets of Muhammad Ali’s hometown in Kentucky on June 10 for a funeral procession to celebrate the boxing champion who jolted America with his showmanship and won worldwide admiration as a man of principle.

Muhammad Ali: Remembering when Clay/Ali bestrode the world, by Rod Mickleburgh

It’s been said many, many times, but it remains true. Never again will we see the likes of Muhammad Ali.

What Muhammad Ali, conscientous-objector, taught me, by Penney Kome, Over Easy column

As a young teen studying at the Illinois School of Ballet, I didn’t follow sports much, which is probably why I didn’t recognize the big man right away.  The top of my head came to his elbow. My dad was 6’2″, but this guy was really big. A block away, it hit me: I’d just crossed paths with champion boxer Muhammad Ali.

Don’t fear Trump, fear his followers, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

It’s not Donald Trump but his followers, who defend him so ferociously, that really give one pause — particularly when one considers what they will do after their “Messiah” loses in the fall.

Small Stampede for the Brexit, by Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs columnist

It is unlikely that Britons are going to give a conclusive answer to the question whether they should remain in the European Union or leave it when they mark their referendum ballots on June 23.

Court awards reporter-turned-politician $200,000 in defamation case. By Brian Brennan, F&O Feature writer and Arts columnist

Arthur Kent, a war correspondent who left U.S. television journalism to enter Canadian politics, won a defamation lawsuit against Canada’s largest newspaper publisher and one of its former columnists. Arthur Kent was awarded $200,000 in compensatory damages.

How to fix the Toxic State of Public Discourse, by James Hoggan, book excerpt

When I first began thinking about writing I’m Right and You’re an Idiot, I sat down with Steve Rosell and Daniel Yankelovich, two eminent pioneers in an evolving field that uses dialogue to deal with highly polarized public conflict. I wanted to learn more about the power of dialogue, how to mend broken conversations and achieve clear collaborative communication so we can triangulate issues in innovative ways and find creative solutions.

The Collapse of the Caliphate, by Jim McNiven

The Islamic State “Caliphate” has been reduced to three major urban areas, Raqqa, Mosul and Falluja. None of them have dependable resupply routes for either military goods or civilian needs. Short of their opponents falling into disarray and not pressing on, an unlikely hope this close to the end, things for ISIS can unravel simply by waiting. So, what comes after the Caliphate?

The Search for the Dead Sea Scrolls, by Ronen Zvulun

A three-week excavation at the Dead Sea is the first part of a national campaign to recover as many artefacts as possible, particularly scrolls, left behind by Jewish rebels who hid in the desert some 2,000 years ago, before they are snatched up by antiquity robbers.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth leaves after attending a service of commemoration to mark the end of combat operations in Iraq, at St Paul's Cathedral in London October 9, 2009. Queen Elizabeth joined families and politicians on Friday for a service to honour British service personnel who fought and died during the war in Iraq.  REUTERS/Luke MacGregor   (BRITAIN POLITICS CONFLICT ROYALS MILITARY RELIGION SOCIETY)Last but not least, I introduce today a modest new feature on F&O under my Free Range column. It’s a section of my own opinions, random thoughts and wonderings that, being less formal than essays and more opinionated than reports, I’ll call Squibs. These opinions are entirely my own, and do not represent the position of Facts and Opinions, or any of our collaborators. Today, I have some thoughts about Queen Elizabeth II …. read more.

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

Posted in Current Affairs

Facts, and Opinions, that matter this week

People film with their phones and cameras during a flag-raising ceremony at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China June 4, 2016.   REUTERS/Damir Sagolj.

Taiwan tells China not to fear democracy. Above, people film with their phones and cameras during a flag-raising ceremony at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj.

Reports:

Shelter the focus at Venice Architecture Biennale, by Joel Dullroy

The Venice Architecture Biennale is usually a showcase of prestigious architecture projects from around the world, but Germany’s entry this year has taken a different angle, focusing instead on simple shelters used to house asylum seekers.

Emily Dickinson’s garden, “native” plants, and climate change, by Janet Marinelli

A plant from the homestead of poet Emily Dickinson is challenging basic precepts of conservation practice, such as what is the definition of “native”? Are climate refugees that hitchhike north via horticulture less worthy of protection than plants that arrive on their own? Do they pose a threat to existing native species? Should native plant gardening, the domestic form of assisted migration, be used to help plants stranded in inhospitable habitat?

Taiwan tells China not to fear democracy, by J.R. Wu

On the anniversary of China’s bloody crackdown on student-led protests in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, Taiwan’s new president told China that democracy is nothing to fear, and Taiwan could serve as an example to China.

Commentary:

Hong Kong activists split over Tiananmen Square, by Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs columnist

For the first time, Hong Kong’s Federation of Students, a coalition of student unions, eschewed the Victoria Park demonstrations over the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising and killings. Instead, it focused on democracy and even independence in Hong Kong’s future.

Polls: The good, the bad and the ugly, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

A few suggestions about what to watch out for in political polls: how you can tell a good one from a bad one, and why you never, ever, ever bet your house on one poll only.

Magazine:

Christopher Park/ ProPublica

Christopher Park/ ProPublica

Gunfight in Guatemala: and insider’s tale of Latin America corruption. By Sebastian Rotella

Big or small, leftist or rightist, rich or poor, with only a few exceptions, Latin American nations struggle with a crime problem that threatens political stability and security; many are in a struggle between the rule of man and the rule of law. This is one man’s story in the large, long-running war.

 

Notebook:

This fall’s US presidential election will affect the world. Barring a cosmic event or supernatural intervention, Republican Donald Trump will be pitted against either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. A campaign milestone  —  the Democratic party primary in California — will occur Tuesday June 7. Some polls place Sanders and Clinton in a statistical tie. The latest developments include a remarkable letter released Friday by Green party contender Jill Stein urging Californians to support Bernie Sanders, unless already registered with the Green party,  to support “the agenda of economic and racial justice shared by Bernie’s and my campaigns.” Robert Reich, one of Sanders’ most vocal supporters, urged Democrats to put aside their differences no matter who wins. “I can’t criticize anyone for voting their conscience, of course. But your conscience should know that a decision not to vote for Hillary, should she become the Democratic nominee, is a de facto decision to help Donald Trump,” he wrote on his blog.

Follow the campaigns at these credible outlets: New York Times; Politico; Reuters; Bloombergthe BBC; the Guardian; the Economist.  Here are the campaign pages for Sanders, Clinton, and  Trump.  America’s two dominant parties are not the only ones in the running, though all others typically are ignored by pundits and political journalists and — in a Catch 22 — receive precious few votes. Here are the pages for the Green’s likely presidential candidate Stein, and for Gary Johnson of the Libertarian party.

Elsewhere:

This is good: Muhammad Ali, a feature and a video documentary on the New York Times about the fighter who died this week.

“Muhammad Ali was a three-time world heavyweight boxing champion who transcended sports and helped define his turbulent times. He entertained with his mouth as much as his fists, narrating a life of brash self-confidence full of religious, political and social stances.”

And THIS is surprising, and important: A criticism of neoliberalism by, of all organizations,  the International Money Fund

Neoliberalism: Oversold? Instead of delivering growth, some neoliberal policies have increased inequality, in turn jeopardizing durable expansion….

There has been a strong and widespread global trend toward neoliberalism since the 1980s, according to a composite index that measures the extent to which countries introduced competition in various spheres of economic activity to foster economic growth….

“There is much to cheer … however:

“An assessment of these specificpolicies (rather than the broad neoliberal agenda) reaches three disquieting conclusions:

•The benefits in terms of increased growth seem fairly difficult to establish when looking at a broad group of countries.­

•The costs in terms of increased inequality are prominent. Such costs epitomize the trade-off between the growth and equity effects of some aspects of the neoliberal agenda.­

•Increased inequality in turn hurts the level and sustainability of growth. Even if growth is the sole or main purpose of the neoliberal agenda, advocates of that agenda still need to pay attention to the distributional effects.­…

As Maurice Obstfeld (1998) has noted, “economic theory leaves no doubt about the potential advantages” of capital account liberalization, which is also sometimes called financial openness. It can allow the international capital market to channel world savings to their most productive uses across the globe. Developing economies with little capital can borrow to finance investment, thereby promoting their economic growth without requiring sharp increases in their own saving. But Obstfeld also pointed to the “genuine hazards” of openness to foreign financial flows and concluded that “this duality of benefits and risks is inescapable in the real world.” (my emphasis.)  Visit the IMF site to read the  analysis 

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Note to our readers: F&O’s weekly blog post was delayed this weekend by a technical glitch. Thanks for your patience.

In Case You Missed These:

 

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