Polish Ruling Party Forces Through Reforms to Defang Supreme Court
Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice party is forcing through judicial reforms that the Supreme Court’s president, Małgorzata Gesdorf, has said would “end” the Supreme Court and “break” the Constitution.
The changes are expected to be enacted next week after a parliamentary committee voted for the legislation on Thursday.
During a hearing, lawmakers from the ruling party rejected all amendments from the opposition, refused to hear independent legal counsel and ignored warnings from parliament’s own lawyers, who said the reforms might be unconstitutional.
Grzegorz Schetyna, the leader of the opposition Civic Platform, has called for demonstrations in the streets.
“This is no longer a creeping coup,” he told Polish television. “This coup begins to strike.” Read more
Europeans can be sorted into six “tribes”, argues Chatham House based on a survey of public opinion in ten different countries:
Hesitant Europeans: The largest group (36 percent), they sit in the middle on many issues but tend to vote center-right. They are ambivalent about the EU and worry about high immigration.
Contented Europeans: Often young, socially liberal and unperturbed about immigration, this group (23 percent) is happy with the way things are. They want neither a federal Europe nor disintegration. Many young Central Europeans fall in this category.
EU Rejecters: Feel the EU is undemocratic and are angry that politicians aren’t doing enough to stop immigration. This group (14 percent) is disproportionately rural and overrepresented in Austria and the United Kingdom.
Frustrated Pro-Europeans: Want closer EU integration driven by “progressive values” but don’t themselves feel the benefits of membership. Relatively many Belgians, French and Italians are in this group (9 percent).
Austerity Rebels: Want a looser, “more democratic” EU, but — unlike EU Rejecters — do believe wealthy member states should help out the poor. This group (9 percent) is generally middle-aged, possibly unemployed and likely to live in Greece or Italy.
Federalists: Highly educated, wealthier and more likely to be urban than the other tribes, this group (8 percent) dreams of a United States of Europe. Read more
Overreliance on the military: Foreign policy is now run by generals, not diplomats. The military has its own hospitals. It plays a crucial role in disaster relief. It may not be long before the Army Corps of Engineers is asked to fix America’s broken infrastructure. Read more
France’s two right-wing parties are struggling to remain united in the era of Emmanuel Macron.
Lawmakers friendly to the president have split from the center-right Republicans to form a new party, Agir (Act).
Prominent Republicans, like Bruno Le Maire and Édouard Philippe, have joined Macron’s government.
More centrists are expected to defect if the hardliner Laurent Wauquiez prevails in a party leadership vote next month.
The far right is also divided: Marine Le Pen’s former right-hand man, Florian Philippot, has created a new party to appeal to blue-collar workers in the rust belt of northern France while the rest of the National Front is focused on its heartland in the socially conservative southeast. Read more
Back in March, I wondered if anybody in Donald Trump’s inner circle wasn’t in touch with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The answer, we know now, is no. The Russians were all over Trump’s team.
Whether this was collusion or a case of collective and massive misjudgment is something Robert Mueller, the special counsel, must find out, but clearly the Russians were trying to influence the outcome of the election.
The fact that none of Trump’s underlings disclosed their Russian contacts, and when first asked about them lied, suggests they knew they were doing something wrong. Read more
The Republican Tax Plan Is Awful. It Will Probably Pass Anyway
The Republican tax plan looks like a left-wing caricature of conservative tax reform. It cuts rates for businesses and high incomes, leaves poor Americans worse off and explodes the deficit in the process.
The votes for Brexit, European populism and Donald Trump weren’t working-class revolts.
Ta-Nehisi Coates and Adam Serwer have argued that mostly-white elites are drawn to the “economic anxiety” thesis because it absolves them of responsibility for more intractable problems, like racism, xenophobia and self-delusions about both.
If nativists are motivated by stagnating wages, then there are policy solutions for bringing them back into the mainstream.
But what if their grievances aren’t so concrete? Read more