For much of 2020, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan relied on foreign-policy adventurism to divert attention from Turkey’s economic crisis and his AK Party’s political travails. His aggressive forays in Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Eastern Mediterranean helped overshadow the political reversals of the previous year, when the AKP lost local elections in major cities — none more embarrassing than that of Erdogan’s old stronghold of Istanbul — and a significant decline in membership.
But the strategy may have reached its limits: Neither investors nor the general public seem to be buying Erdogan’s promise of a new economic era. More generally, the president and his party seem to be losing the confidence of large political constituencies, including urbanites and young conservatives.
Now, with the coronavirus pandemic proving more resilient than expected, and hopes for a smart economic rebound in 2021 crumbling, Turkey’s opposition parties are gunning to regain the initiative. Erdogan may ignore their calls for early general elections — they are scheduled for the summer of 2023 — but he can expect his political rivals to press him every step of the way.
Among those waiting to pounce are Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who heads the main opposition party, the CHP, and its brightest stars, Ekrem Imamoglu and Mansur Yavas, the high-profile mayors of Istanbul and Ankara, respectively. But the opposition’s best chances of bringing Erdogan down may rest on two women from opposite sides of the political spectrum: Meral Aksener, head of the Iyi Party, and Canan Kaftancioglu, the CHP’s Istanbul chief.
The two could hardly be more different. Aksener, 64 is a nationalist and member of Turkey’s political elite, having previously served as interior minister. Known as “Asena” after a mythical Turkish she-wolf, she makes no bones of her desire to replace Erdogan as president, and ran against him in 2018. Kaftancioglu, 48, revels in her image as a “motorcycle-riding, leftist feminist,” and although her views are more radical than most in her own party, she is respected for having orchestrated the AKP’s 2019 humiliation in Istanbul.
Both their parties are keen to capitalize on the space opening up in Turkey’s political center as Erdogan leads his party rightward. This move puts the AKP in a collision course with its coalition partner, the far-right MHP. Iyi, or “Good Party,” represents the challenge from the center-right, and CHP from the center-left.
Aksener has traveled in the opposite direction from Erdogan: She broke away from the MHP to maneuver her way toward the center. Even so, she retains strong nationalist credentials that make her a difficult target for the AKP-MHP combine; they would much prefer her as an ally. But she has flatly turned down calls —“not even if they put a gun to my head” — to return to the MHP fold and join the ruling coalition.
Kaftancioglu, on the other hand, is an easy and frequent target for Erdogan and the pro-AKP media. She is appealing a 10-year sentence on charges, mostly relating to old tweets, of insulting the president, inciting hatred and promoting terrorism. She is also being assailed for allegedly covering up charges of sexual assault against party colleagues.
Her supporters say the ferocity of the attacks only demonstrates the degree to which Erdogan and his allies fear Kaftancioglu and her ability to turn out the vote for the CHP. Nearly a fifth of Turks live in Istanbul, making it crucial to the opposition’s hopes of ending the AKP’s two-decade dominance of Turkish politics.
Defeating Erdogan remains a tall order: Remember, he won in 2018 with nearly 53% of the vote, while the CHP’s Muharrem Ince got less than 31% and Aksener just over 7%. The AKP-MHP alliance won a clear majority in parliament, well ahead of a coalition that included the CHP and Iyi Party.
Turkey’s economic and political landscape has shifted since then, weakening Erdogan and the AKP, but a change to the status quo will still require a strong show of opposition unity. A winning coalition will be hard to pull off without substantial help from the Kurds, but they will be wary of Aksener’s nationalism and are resentful of the CHP’s failure to stand up for Kurdish politicians under attack from the Erdogan government.
Still, Erdogan will enter 2021 facing the strongest opposition of his career at the top of Turkish politics. And the pairing of Aksener and Kaftancioglu represents an unprecedented double threat for the president and his party.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
James Gibney at email@example.com
Scaramucci to Trump: 'Get out of politics and back to business' – Yahoo Canada Finance
The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — Larry King, the suspenders-sporting everyman whose broadcast interviews with world leaders, movie stars and ordinary Joes helped define American conversation for a half-century, died Saturday. He was 87. King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded, tweeted. No cause of death was given, but CNN reported Jan. 2 that King had been hospitalized for more than a week with COVID-19. His son Chance also confirmed King’s death, CNN reported. A longtime nationally syndicated radio host, from 1985 through 2010 he was a nightly fixture on CNN, where he won many honours, including two Peabody awards. With his celebrity interviews, political debates and topical discussions, King wasn’t just an enduring on-air personality. He also set himself apart with the curiosity be brought to every interview, whether questioning the assault victim known as the Central Park jogger or billionaire industrialist Ross Perot, who in 1992 rocked the presidential contest by announcing his candidacy on King’s show. In its early years, “Larry King Live” was based in Washington, which gave the show an air of gravitas. Likewise King. He was the plainspoken go-between through whom Beltway bigwigs could reach their public, and they did, earning the show prestige as a place where things happened, where news was made. King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews. In 1995 he presided over a Middle East peace summit with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He welcomed everyone from the Dalai Lama to Elizabeth Taylor, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Barack Obama, Bill Gates to Lady Gaga. Especially after he relocated to Los Angeles, his shows were frequently in the thick of breaking celebrity news, including Paris Hilton talking about her stint in jail in 2007 and Michael Jackson’s friends and family members talking about his death in 2009. King boasted of never overpreparing for an interview. His nonconfrontational style relaxed his guests and made him readily relatable to his audience. “I don’t pretend to know it all,” he said in a 1995 Associated Press interview. “Not, `What about Geneva or Cuba?’ I ask, `Mr. President, what don’t you like about this job?’ Or `What’s the biggest mistake you made?’ That’s fascinating.” At a time when CNN as the lone player in cable news was deemed politically neutral, and King was the essence of its middle-of-the-road stance, political figures and people at the centre of controversies would seek out his show. And he was known for getting guests who were notoriously elusive. Frank Sinatra, who rarely gave interviews and often lashed out at reporters, spoke to King in 1988 in what would be the singer’s last major TV appearance. Sinatra was an old friend of King’s and acted accordingly. “Why are you here?” King asks. Sinatra responds, “Because you asked me to come and I hadn’t seen you in a long time to begin with, I thought we ought to get together and chat, just talk about a lot of things.” King had never met Marlon Brando, who was even tougher to get and tougher to interview, when the acting giant asked to appear on King’s show in 1994. The two hit it off so famously they ended their 90-minute talk with a song and an on-the-mouth kiss, an image that was all over media in subsequent weeks. After a gala week marking his 25th anniversary in June 2010, King abruptly announced he was retiring from his show, telling viewers, “It’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.” Named as his successor in the time slot: British journalist and TV personality Piers Morgan. By King’s departure that December, suspicion had grown that he had waited a little too long to hang up those suspenders. Once the leader in cable TV news, he ranked third in his time slot with less than half the nightly audience his peak year, 1998, when “Larry King Live” drew 1.64 million viewers. His wide-eyed, regular-guy approach to interviewing by then felt dated in an era of edgy, pushy or loaded questioning by other hosts. Meanwhile, occasional flubs had made him seem out of touch, or worse. A prime example from 2007 found King asking Jerry Seinfeld if he had voluntarily left his sitcom or been cancelled by his network, NBC. “I was the No. 1 show in television, Larry,” replied Seinfeld with a flabbergasted look. “Do you know who I am?” Always a workaholic, King would be back doing specials for CNN within a few months of performing his nightly duties. He found a new sort of celebrity as a plainspoken natural on Twitter when the platform emerged, winning over more than 2 million followers who simultaneously mocked and loved him for his esoteric style. “I’ve never been in a canoe. #Itsmy2cents,” he said in a typical tweet in 2015. His Twitter account was essentially a revival of a USA Today column he wrote for two decades full of one-off, disjointed thoughts. Norm Macdonald delivered a parody version of the column when he played King on “Saturday Night Live,” with deadpan lines like, “The more I think about it, the more I appreciate the equator.” King was constantly parodied, often through old-age jokes on late-night talk shows from hosts including David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, often appearing with the latter to get in on the roasting himself. King came by his voracious but no-frills manner honestly. He was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in 1933, a son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who ran a bar and grill in Brooklyn. But after his father’s death when Larry was a boy, he faced a troubled, sometimes destitute youth. A fan of such radio stars as Arthur Godfrey and comedians Bob & Ray, King on reaching adulthood set his sights on a broadcasting career. With word that Miami was a good place to break in, he headed south in 1957 and landed a job sweeping floors at a tiny AM station. When a deejay abruptly quit, King was put on the air — and was handed his new surname by the station manager, who thought Zeiger “too Jewish.” A year later he moved to a larger station, where his duties were expanded from the usual patter to serving as host of a daily interview show that aired from a local restaurant. He quickly proved equally adept at talking to the waitresses, and the celebrities who began dropping by. By the early 1960s King had gone to yet a larger Miami station, scored a newspaper column and become a local celebrity himself. At the same time, he fell victim to living large. “It was important to me to come across as a ‘big man,”’ he wrote in his autobiography, which meant “I made a lot of money and spread it around lavishly.” He accumulated debts and his first broken marriages (he was married eight times to seven women). He gambled, borrowed wildly and failed to pay his taxes. He also became involved with a shady financier in a scheme to bankroll an investigation of President John Kennedy’s assassination. But when King skimmed some of the cash to pay his overdue taxes, his partner sued him for grand larceny in 1971. The charges were dropped, but King’s reputation appeared ruined. King lost his radio show and, for several years, struggled to find work. But by 1975 the scandal had largely blown over and a Miami station gave him another chance. Regaining his local popularity, King was signed in 1978 to host radio’s first nationwide call-in show. Originating from Washington on the Mutual network, “The Larry King Show” was eventually heard on more than 300 stations and made King a national phenomenon. A few years later, CNN founder Ted Turner offered King a slot on his young network. “Larry King Live” debuted on June 1, 1985, and became CNN’s highest-rated program. King’s beginning salary of $100,000 a year eventually grew to more than $7 million. A three-packs-a-day cigarette habit led to a heart attack in 1987, but King’s quintuple-bypass surgery didn’t slow him down. Meanwhile, he continued to prove that, in his words, “I’m not good at marriage, but I’m a great boyfriend.” He was just 18 when he married high school girlfriend Freda Miller, in 1952. The marriage lasted less than a year. In subsequent decades he would marry Annette Kay, Alene Akins (twice), Mickey Sutfin, Sharon Lepore and Julie Alexander. In 1997, he wed Shawn Southwick, a country singer and actress 26 years his junior. They would file for divorce in 2010, rescind the filing, then file for divorce again in 2019. The couple had two sons, King’s fourth and fifth kids, Chance Armstrong, born in 1999, and Cannon Edward, born in 2000. In 2020, King lost his two eldest children, Andy King and Chaia King, who died of unrelated health problems within weeks of each other. He had many other medical issues in recent decades, including more heart attacks and diagnoses of type 2 diabetes and lung cancer. Through his setbacks he continued to work into his late 80s, taking on online talk shows and infomercials as his appearances on CNN grew fewer. “Work,” King once said. “It’s the easiest thing I do.” Funeral arrangements and a memorial service will be announced later in co-ordination with the King family, “who ask for their privacy at this time,” according to the tweet from Ora Media. ___ Former AP Television Writer Frazier Moore contributed biographical material to this report. Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press
How political symbolism brought down Keystone XL – CBC.ca
The new president of the United States described his inauguration on Wednesday as a moment to move forward. But moving forward properly requires a reckoning with the past. In Joe Biden’s case, that reckoning came for the Keystone XL pipeline.
The project’s fate seemed to be sealed years ago, but it haunts us still. And now, with strident words from Alberta Premier Jason Kenney about a trade war, it could haunt Canadian politics indefinitely.
Or, Canadian leaders could decide that it’s time for them to move forward, too.
The executive order that rescinded Keystone XL’s permit on Wednesday states that “the United States must be in a position to exercise vigorous climate leadership in order to achieve a significant increase in global climate action and put the world on a sustainable climate pathway.”
If that sounds familiar, it’s because President Barack Obama said almost the same thing when he blocked Keystone in November 2015. “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” Obama said. “And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”
John Kerry — secretary of state in 2015 and now Biden’s climate envoy — put an even finer point on the significance of Keystone in his own statement at the time. “The United States cannot ask other nations to make tough choices to address climate change if we are unwilling to make them ourselves,” he said.
A pipeline that became a referendum
In his remarks, Obama argued that the practical value of the pipeline had been wildly overstated — by both sides. Keystone XL, he said, would be neither “a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others.”
But the economic arguments in favour of the pipeline could not overcome the profound symbolic value assigned to it by environmental groups and climate-focused voters.
On its own, Keystone wouldn’t spell the difference between a green future and a “climate disaster.” But the pipeline became a referendum on the U.S. government’s commitment to combating climate change — a tangible thing on which American activists could focus their energies.
Trump, who actively sought to undermine attempts to fight climate change, revived the project. But the political frame that was placed around Keystone XL in 2015 never went away, while legal challenges to the project continued.
By the fall of 2019, most of the major Democratic candidates for the presidency had pledged to rescind Trump’s order on their first day in office. Last May, Biden insisted that he would kill the pipeline.
After Biden’s victory in the presidential election, the Eurasia Group said that rescinding the permit was a “table stake” for the Democratic president and that backing away would risk “raising the ire of activists, their committed followers, and — importantly — the left wing of the Democratic party in Congress.”
“Rescinding KXL would be one area the Biden administration could act [on] and deliver a win to a key political constituency with no congressional interference,” the global consulting firm said.
Bill McKibben, one of the activists who led the campaign against Keystone, wrote in the New Yorker on Thursday that he was grateful for Biden’s decision and never doubted that the new president would follow through. “Even today,” he wrote, “Keystone is far too closely identified with climate carelessness for a Democratic president to be able to waver.”
So the second death of Keystone shouldn’t have surprised anyone. It might have seemed rude of Biden to not wait a day or two to allow Canadian officials to make a fuller presentation on the pipeline’s behalf, but that only would have delayed the inevitable.
The lingering costs of climate inaction
Perhaps Biden thought he was doing his neighbours a favour by ripping the Band-Aid off quickly.
What might have happened to Keystone XL had Canada and the United States taken more aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the years leading up to Obama’s decision? It’s an intriguing hypothetical. Keystone may have paid the price ultimately for decades of global inaction on climate change.
In the here and now, any debate about Keystone will have to consider whether its additional capacity is even needed at this point. In the meantime, Premier Kenney wants Justin Trudeau’s government to impose trade sanctions on the United States if Biden refuses to revisit his decision.
Stephen Harper could be ungracious in his defence of Keystone — he famously said that approving it was a “no brainer” — but his government doesn’t seem to have ever publicly threatened to impose sanctions if Obama rejected it. Nor does it appear anyone called for sanctions when Obama officially killed the project shortly after the Trudeau government came to office.
Sanctions out of spite?
This idea of reprisals seems to have originated recently with Jack Mintz, a Canadian economist, who also conceded that imposing tariffs could be akin to “cutting off our own nose to spite our face.”
Notably, Erin O’Toole’s federal Conservatives have not joined the premier in calling for sanctions. Kenney — whose government is polling poorly and whose party is being out-fundraised by the opposition — is spoiling for a fight. He has seized on the fact that federal officials did not respond to Biden’s decision in particularly strong terms — and the Liberals may not have struck the right tone for those listening in the Prairies.
WATCH: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says Ottawa ‘folded’ on Keystone XL
But before launching a trade war against this country’s closest ally and its new leader, one should consider the potential results and opportunity costs.
Would a trade war convince President Biden to brave the wrath of his supporters and reverse a campaign promise? Or would a renewed fight over Keystone XL simply consume political and diplomatic capital that could be put toward other things?
Kenney has said sanctions might discourage the Biden administration from intervening against two other contested pipelines that originate in Alberta — Line 5 and Line 3. Writing in the New Yorker, McKibben did identify Line 3 as a target. But there’s also a decent chance that sanctions would only inflame existing tensions around those projects.
Threats and futility
In May, 2015 — nearly six years ago — former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson wrote that it was time for the Canada-U.S. relationship to move on from Keystone XL. Robertson argued that there were too many other important things to talk about. Six years later, that list of important things includes fostering collaboration on clean energy, fending off ‘Buy American’ policies and combating China’s aggression.
Still, Kenney warned that if the Trudeau government does not do more to defend Keystone, “that will only force us to go further in our fight for a fair deal in the federation.”
But if the battle for Keystone was effectively lost more than five years ago, should the federal government’s willingness to keep fighting it have any bearing on Alberta’s relationship with the rest of the country?
The death of Keystone XL will have a real impact on those Albertans whose jobs depended on it. There are real anxieties and questions that need to be addressed, not least by the federal government.
But the question now is whether fighting over Keystone will do anything to address those concerns — or whether it’s time to put that political energy toward other purposes.
Newfoundland ex-pat makes waves pairing politicians with their cartoon doubles – The Guardian
An effort to shake off some homesickness led Adam DuBourdieu to mix pop culture and provincial politics — namely, taking politicians involved in this election and matching them with their visual counterparts on “The Simpsons.”
Originally from Kippens on the province’s west coast, DuBourdieu, 30, moved to Edmonton, Alta., just before the COVID-19 pandemic set in.
As with many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, he experienced homesickness in the months that followed the move.
A keen follower of local politics when living in the province, DuBourdieu set about combatting his traveller’s lament by having some fun with the upcoming provincial election.
Combining his love for “The Simpsons” and politics, he matched the politicians running in the election with the Simpsons character he saw as their cartoon counterparts.
“I always loved watching ‘The Simpsons,’” DuBourdieu. “I watched it with my dad.”
Some matchups were tough, while others were easy fits, such as the NDP’s Jim Dinn, a former schoolteacher, and his match with Principal Skinner.
“You can’t take yourself too seriously. Being a teacher, that’s par for the course,” Dinn said of that character match.
Dinn has seen the rather large social media thread containing the pictures.
He said that as a teacher, he learned long ago that you have to have a sense of humour, and it’s a lesson he’s taken with him to politics. Seeing the thread, he took it in good fun.
He said it could be worse. It could turn into a meme like a recent picture of United States Senator Bernie Sanders.
“Let’s have a laugh with it,” said Dinn. “It’s a good thing. It’s a bit of good fun.”
The result was a 47-part thread on Twitter filled with pictures of the politicians and their characters side by side. It is a mixture of retiring MHAs, incumbents and party leaders of all political stripes.
“The Simpsons” and politics have a bit of history. Across its 32 seasons, the show has mixed humour and politics.
The show seemingly predicted the start of the United States presidency of Donald J. Trump, and the Lisa Simpson presidency that followed him.
Coincidentally, Torngat Mountains MHA Lela Evans is paired with the presidential Lisa.
The relationship, however, between “The Simpsons” and the political arena doesn’t stop at a coincidental presidential prediction.
The show has often tackled topics of the day, such as same-sex marriage and gun control, and it has often been accused of having a liberal bias. Springfield’s Mayor Quimby is a regularly appearing character, and DuBourdieu saw him as a perfect match for Conception Bay East-Bell Island incumbent David Brazil.
Homer Simpson — coupled with Topsail-Paradise MHA Paul Dinn — once fought former U.S. president George H.W. Bush after the two became neighbours. Former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford have also made cameo appearances on the show.
DuBourdieu tabbed Ford as the right match with Mount Pearl North MHA Jim Lester.
“Politics has always been in ‘The Simpsons,’ and Newfoundland politics has some characters,” said DuBourdieu.
Harbour Grace-Port de Grave MHA Pam Parsons knew at once who voiced Bart Simpsons’ former babysitter, Laura Powers.
“That’s the one where Darlene from Roseanne voiced the character. Sara Gilbert,” she said.
Like other children of the ’80s and early ’90s, Parsons grew up in the early years of “The Simpsons.” She saw the show move from animated shorts on “The Tracy Ullman Show” to a pop culture phenomenon on Fox.
“Growing up as a child, I certainly watched ‘The Simpsons.’ I loved Bart Simpson. I think we all did,” said Parsons. “I even had the little toys that McDonald’s was putting out.”
Parsons is one of 10 women featured in the long Twitter thread. Of the 10, nine are incumbent MHAs and their animated doppelgangers. The remaining one is Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote.
She was paired with Springfield Elementary second-grade teacher Mrs. Hoover.
“I like that (Dubourdieu) was non-partisan,” said Parsons, who appreciated the comedic break it offered. “I got a good chuckle out of it.”
The response to the sizeable thread has been favourable online.
It was something that surprised DuBourdieu at first.
Since it went online, there have been dozens of interactions between politicians and the public. People have marvelled at how perfect some of the comparisons are, such as independent MHA Eddie Joyce being matched with oil tycoon Rich Texan.
“It is something people are familiar with,” DuBourdieu said about why he chose to use “The Simpsons” as a reference point.
Liberal candidate George Murphy tweeted that he thought of himself as the lovable barfly Barney Gumble instead of Police Chief Wiggum, the character he is attached to.
Other candidates, such as Progressive Conservative candidate Kristina Ennis and the NDP’s Jenn Deon, have expressed interest in being connected to their Simpsons doubles.
Lake Melville NDP candidate Amy Hogan even went ahead and did her own. It was Jerri Mackleberry, the mother of notable twins Sherri and Terri.
“I think I’m probably the twins, Sherri and Terri’s mom, Jerri. It’s is the purple hair and the glasses,” Hogan tweeted.
DuBourdieu pledged to do a third part of the thread if there is enough interest.
In the days since it was posted, a link to the thread made its way around the Progressive Conservative email chain.
“We got a good kick out of it,” said Conservative MHA Barry Petten. “You can’t help but laugh.”
The Conception Bay South representative readily admitted he wasn’t much of a Simpsons watcher and had little background on Superintendent Chalmers or why he was paired with him.
Still, Petten said he appreciated the work and the humour it brought to the election.
“It’s all good humour,” he said.
Looking back on the process and the result of his humourous entry into the Newfoundland and Labrador political scene, DuBourdieu has no regrets about piecing everything together.
Some comparisons were easy, while others required a bit more thought, he said, and he learned a little along the way, namely, how male-dominated this province’s legislature is.
As the province rolls toward the election on Feb. 13, DuBourdieu will watch from his home in Alberta.
In the meantime, he is glad he got to contribute to the run-up in some way.
“I’m glad I did it and I hope people get a good chuckle out of it,” said DuBourdieu.
Nicholas Mercer is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering central Newfoundland for SaltWire Network.
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