Matters of Facts, and Opinions, this week.

A woman walks past a laughing Buddha sculpture near the venue where the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting will be held over the weekend in Chengdu in Southwestern China's Sichuan province, July 22, 2016. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool

A woman walks past a laughing Buddha sculpture near the venue where the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting will be held over the weekend in Chengdu in Southwestern China’s Sichuan province, July 22, 2016. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool

Our work this week ranges from a photo essay of Ireland, to economics, to political commentary about what happens when a well-organised and productive country puts a despot in charge. You may have to read Jonathan Manthorpe’s piece to guess which country.  Hint: it’s not America (yet). See our list of new works, below, and on our Contents page. But first, some notes:

Forgo pursuit of Pokemon long enough to catch Syrian artist Khaled Akil, and his web series Pokemon Go in Syria. Akil superimposed Pokemon apparitions on Agence France Presse photographs, mostly of children, in the surreal landscape of bombed-out Syria.

Must we give the oxygen of publicity to the orange man who aspires to lead America? Some have tried to avert our gaze from the sick joke of American democracy,  and the descent of the Republican party into a freak show. But having officially captured the party nomination Donald Trump has become impossible to ignore. F&O columns this week allude to him,  pieces by Brian Brennan and Tom Regan. Otherwise, limiting exposure is recommended, along with keeping an eye on others hoping to preside over the country once called “leader of the free world” —  Hillary Clinton with running mate Tim Kaine (Democrats), Jill Stein (Greens) and Gary Johnson (Libertarian).  And — sigh —  here are three recommended readings about the man who should not be named:  AP Fact Check: Donald Trump’s RNC acceptance speech; “A Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and the world,” said a Washington Post editorial; and “We should fear — for the republic, for a democracy facing its gravest peril since the Civil War,” wrote Timothy Egan in a New York Times piece titled, “Make America Hate Again.”

Turkey, as we reported last week, averted a coup. Already widely criticized for repression including of freedom of expression, the country immediately suspended the European Convention on Human Rights. As protesters chant  “God is great!” and “Death to the traitors!” Der Spiegel ponders “Turkey’s Post-Coup Slide into Dictatorship.”  F&O’s report about the G20 this week includes a statement from a Turkish official that it will uphold the rule of law; we shall wait and see.

Another German city was under attack on Friday. Follow the news from Munich on Deutsche Welle.

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New works on F&O this week include:

Commentary:

Trump as dealmaker-in-chief? by Brian Brennan

Donald Trump would envisage himself as America’s dealmaker-in-chief. What would that look like? Not a pretty picture, as I see it.

The American Dream is undermining America, by Tom Regan

It is perhaps the most famous myth about the creation of America:  the “American Dream.” The belief that no matter what your background, where you’re from, or who your parents were, that if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything, any goal, any dream. But the American Dream has become a problem.

Zimbabwe Collapse looms over Mugabe succession, by Jonathan Manthorpe

The natural span of life is approaching its end for 92-year-old Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s leader since 1980, but the infighting over the succession is so intense that no one is running the shop, and there may be nothing much left to inherit when the time comes.

‘It Don’t Come Easy’ by Jim McNiven

We are coming to a crossroads. Either we continue with the globalization project that started with the Marshall Plan and the first GATT tariff reductions, or we don’t.

Johnny Cloherty from Mweenish Island who catches lobsters and harvests seaweed, takes his catch out of a lobster pot on his currach boat off the coast of Carna in Galway, Ireland, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh

Johnny Cloherty from Mweenish Island who catches lobsters and harvests seaweed, takes his catch out of a lobster pot on his currach boat off the coast of Carna in Galway, Ireland, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh

Photo-essay:

Seafarer’s Pilgrimage, by Clodagh Kilcoyne

It is said that people don’t come home for Christmas to the small western Irish village of Carna, they come back for St. MacDara’s Day. On that day, every July 16, hundreds make a pilgrimage off the coast of Gaelic-speaking Carna to tiny, uninhabited St. MacDara’s Island, to a celebration of mass and blessing of boats.

Expert Witness:

Can America’s polarization be traced to 1832? by Jennifer Mercieca

Perhaps instead of “to the victor belongs the spoils of the enemy,” we could learn to think of politics as “to those entrusted with great responsibility belongs the obligation to work for the common good.” It isn’t as poetic, but it also isn’t as partisan.

Reports:

Calls for G20 to act as fiscal, monetary policies falter, by Kevin Yao and David Lawder

Fiscal and monetary policies are becoming less effective at spurring economic activity so the world’s leading economies need to increase coordination to promote sustainable growth, said China’s Finance Minister.

Pokémon Go: the app that leads you places, by Tom Phillips

The Pokéstop passed on a daily commute could hold the key to capturing an elusive Charizard), but perhaps it can also become a place we get to know better in the real world.

Reader-Supported Facts and Opinions is employee-owned and ad-free. We survive on an honour system. Thanks for your interest and support. Details.

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