′Auschwitz did not begin in Auschwitz′ | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 27.01.2019

Today’s world has grown sleepy, he says. “Many people these days seem to take democracy for granted. It’s like a comfort blanket that gives them a sense of peace and tranquility.” But that tranquility is deceptive, he warns: “Democracy is under attack.” Right-wing populists like the AfD politician Björn Höcke have a problem with Germany’s culture of remembrance. Höcke has described the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin as a “monument of shame.” For Heubner, it’s comments like these that are the source of shame. “This is disgraceful talk; unpatriotic, stupid. The German people have just regained their dignity through remembrance.”

Source: ′Auschwitz did not begin in Auschwitz′ | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 27.01.2019

I believe in Tory values, but the party is becoming repellent | Matthew d’Ancona

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I am proudly centre-right, but Brexit has summoned the very worst demons that lurk in the party’s psyche

I have had it up to here with the Conservative party. Not, perhaps, an unusual sentiment to find expressed in the Guardian. But, as a centre-right columnist, I do not start from the proposition that all Tories are inherently evil champions of “neoliberalism” (whatever that means), intent on maximising suffering and despair. I don’t express this contempt for the party blithely or to prove a point. This is not an exercise in rhetoric. I mean it.

By way of explanation: I used to edit the Spectator. I am proud to chair a centre-right thinktank, Bright Blue. I wrote a book about the Conservative-led coalition. And if you think that’s bad, I was one of the few people in the world who applauded aspects of Theresa May’s 2017 manifesto (that’s a really select club).

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Russia denies sending mercenaries to shore up Nicolás Maduro’s position | World news | The Guardian

The man leading the charge has been Igor Sechin, the former military translator who now heads the Russian oil firm Rosneft. A fluent Spanish speaker, Sechin has met with Maduro regularly and has increased the Rosneft’s investment in Venezuelan oil production and its state-owned producer.

Source: Russia denies sending mercenaries to shore up Nicolás Maduro’s position | World news | The Guardian

$20 billion in investments?

Trump ordered 15,000 new border and immigration officers — but got thousands of vacancies instead – Los Angeles Times

In a sign of the difficulties, Customs and Border Protection allocated $60.7 million to Accenture Federal Services, a management consulting firm, as part of a $297-million contract to recruit, vet and hire 7,500 border officers over five years, but the company has produced only 33 new hires so far.

Source: Trump ordered 15,000 new border and immigration officers — but got thousands of vacancies instead – Los Angeles Times

 

The PAC for Accenture Federal Services gave around $250,000 to 112 members of Congress in campaign donations 2015-2016. Pretty good investment return and insurance policy against not getting raked over coals for not fulfilling contract. And says a lot too for incompetence of the White House managers of the contract. $5+ billion demanded for a wall would produce a 2 or 3 miles of wall at this rate.

Two bombs explode at Philippines cathedral, killing at least 27 people

Too often, religions are used and abused by each other not as a means to advance good will but just to empower faux-religious fanatics who want to be dictators!

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First blast in or near church on island of Jolo during Sunday mass, followed by second outside compound

Two bombs have exploded outside a Roman Catholic cathedral on a southern Philippine island where Muslim militants are active, killing at least 27 people and wounding 77, security officials have said.

The country’s national police chief said the first bomb went off in or near Jolo cathedral during a mass on Sunday, followed by a second blast outside the compound as government forces were responding to the attack.

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The Observer view on why Venezuela needs consensus, not conflict | Observer editorial

And for sure, Venezuela does not need former colonialists setting her future!

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The implicit threat of military intervention on behalf of Juan Guaidó’s opposition raises fears of a cold war proxy conflict

Nicolás Maduro was re-elected Venezuela’s president last May by fraudulent means, as regional governments and independent observers noted at the time, and his leadership lacks legitimate authority. Maduro, in office if not in power since 2013, has proved himself an incompetent and unimpressive successor to the late socialist president, Hugo Chávez, on whose name and reputation he shamelessly trades.

Maduro has disastrously mismanaged Venezuela’s potentially wealthy economy, overseeing severe shortages of food and medicine and hyperinflation. His authoritarian rule, enforced by violence, has exacerbated social divisions, undermined democratic institutions and free media, caused millions to flee abroad and alienated neighbouring countries.

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For the poor, it’s not Europe that’s the problem. It’s austerity

false austerity designed to bail out the already grossly rich!

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Brexit is a solution to what wealthy Leavers perceive to be their problems. It will not remedy the discontents of the many

As the Brexit farce proceeds, it is worth remembering that before David Cameron made his catastrophic error of calling a referendum, the EU was way down the list of British people’s concerns in almost every opinion poll. Indeed, not even in the first 11.

The central point is that Brexit became the focus for all manner of discontents, many of them understandable. But leaving the EU would indubitably not be the answer to them, and would be guaranteed not to make the discontents into “glorious summer”.

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