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Will Rajinikanth's bet on 'spiritual' politics, 'change' mantra catapult him ? – Mint

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Chennai: If his political package of ‘spiritual politics’ plus ‘change everything’ clicks, Rajinikanth would be the third star from the celluloid world to taste political success in Tamil Nadu after AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran and his protege J Jayalalithaa.

Whether or not his charisma and fan following would catapult him to political primacy could also be gauged, to an extent, from how he was going to explain his spiritual politics and the mantra of change to the people besides a host of other factors.

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Assembly elections are due in Tamil Nadu during April-May 2021. According to the actor, spiritual politics is honesty, transparency and graft free politics transcending the barriers of caste and religion to provide good governance.

The ‘change everything’ slogan in addition to the ‘now or never’ is about a complete overhaul of the ‘system’ in governance and at the level of party structure as well to facilitate a real change for the benefit of the people.

The star, who had described himself in the past as a fanatic fan of late MGR, had invoked his legacy to assure a good administration for the benefit of poor and common man. Before he founded the AIADMK in 1972, MGR was with the DMK and had been also been active in politics. Virtually challenging Dravidian ideology, he had asked if honesty, belief in God and overcoming the barriers of caste and religion was alien to the Dravidian land.

On the poll prospects for the actor, political analyst Sumanth Raman said it was too early to predict since there were many questions to be answered by the actor. Raman wondered, “What is the meaning of change everything ? what is his policy and programmes ?”

He said the actor should explain how he would usher in the change that he has promised. Many things– like if his party would contest all the 234 seats, if it is so, who would be the candidates or whether there is a possibility of stitching an electoral alliance are not known, he said. Rajinikanth would also need a large team of credible faces to be fielded as candidates, he pointed out.

To a question on the actor saying in March that he would prefer to name a youth as Chief Minister and stay out of governance, Raman wondered if that view was still “valid.” “Rajinikanth will make an impact. But for the impact to be really huge, there should be answers for such questions. I can see that both AIADMK and DMK is rattled by his political innings.” he told PTI.

On spiritual politics, he said the DMK may try to give a spin to it, but he did not see ‘neagativity’ about it.

Dravidian ideologue V M S Subagunarajan, however, did not concur. He said the actor could not get a political foothold in Tamil Nadu since neither spirituality nor nationalistic politics have ever been successful in the state. Despite rooted in Periyar’s ideology, the state has some space for film stars but only for those who have either acknowledged or endorsed the Dravidian ideology like actors Vijayakanth (founder of DMDK) and Kamal Haasan (chief of Makkal Needhi Maiam), he said.

“Rajinikanth’s brand of spirituality is no doubt Hindu spirituality. His claim that he embraces all faiths is only hollow,” he said, adding the actor’s party, with its hues of spiritualism and nationalism may only be a clone of the BJP. “Nationalistic politics has no place in Tamil Nadu and yesteryear top star Sivaji Ganesan’s failure to take off politically is a very good example,” he said.

Renowned actor Sivaji Ganesan, who founded a political party after associating with the Congress, was defeated by DMK’s Durai Chandrasekaran in the 1989 Assembly election (Tiruvaiyaru assembly constituency) by a margin of over 10,000 votes. Ganesan could only emerge as the runner-up.

Film critic and political analyst M Bharat Kumar pointed out that the actor has said his spiritual politics treated all religions equally and that it transcended all barriers. “The AIADMK is already following soft spiritualism through several welfare measures for the benefit of all faiths including Christians and Muslims. So, we need to see how he is going to distinguish himself from the AIADMK to succeed,” he said.

The actor has promised ‘spiritual politics’ driven by the ‘change’ mantra in Tamil Nadu which is dominated by Dravidian politics of the AIADMK and DMK for over five decades.

The death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi in 2016 and 2018 respectively, provided the perfect setting for Kamal Haasan and now Rajinikanth to aspire to climb the political ladder.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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Spy Chief Nominee Haines Vows 'No Place for Politics' in Her Job – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as director of national intelligence is pledging she’ll never let politics affect decision-making in the collection and use of intelligence.

“To be effective, the DNI must never shy away from speaking truth to power — even, especially, when doing so may be inconvenient or difficult,” Avril Haines, who would be the nation’s first woman to oversee U.S. intelligence agencies, said in testimony prepared for her confirmation hearing on Tuesday. “To safeguard the integrity of our Intelligence Community, the DNI must insist that, when it comes to intelligence, there is simply no place for politics — ever.”

Haines also intends to tell the Senate Intelligence Committee that she wants to use intelligence to better support efforts to counter China’s “unfair, illegal, aggressive and coercive actions, as well as its human rights violations,” according to excerpts from her prepared remarks for the 10 a.m. EST hearing.

Biden said when he chose Haines for the position in November that he expected her to help restore independence to intelligence agencies that were subjected to frequent attacks by President Donald Trump, who often portrayed them as part of a “deep state” bent on undermining his presidency.

Trump chose enthusiastic Republican supporters in Congress for key intelligence posts, including Michael Pompeo, his first CIA director, and John Ratcliffe, his final director of national intelligence.

Biden’s Top Cabinet Choices — Who May Not Be on the Job Day One

“To lead our intelligence community, I didn’t pick a politician or a political figure, I picked a professional,” Biden said.

Haines, 51, was the Central Intelligence Agency’s deputy director from 2013 to 2015 under President Barack Obama and was his deputy national security adviser from 2015 to 2017.

Haines says in her prepared testimony that intelligence agencies should apply their capabilities to help end the global coronavirus pandemic “while also addressing the long-term challenge of future biological crises — enabling U.S. global health leadership and positioning us to detect future outbreaks before they become pandemics.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Avril Haines, Biden's pick for top spy, to tell Senate she'll keep politics out of intelligence analysis – NBC News

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WASHINGTON — Joe Biden’s nominee to lead America’s vast spying bureaucracy is expected to tell senators weighing her confirmation that she will protect whistleblowers, speak truth to power and keep politics out of intelligence analysis, according to excerpts of her prepared statement obtained by NBC News.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday to consider the nomination of Avril Haines, who was a national security official during the Obama administration, to become director of national intelligence. She would oversee 18 intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the National Security Agency.

Haines, who was deputy CIA director and deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration, will also tell lawmakers that she intends to prioritize countering China, bolstering cyber defenses and anticipating the next pandemic, according to the prepared remarks.

Nov. 24, 202002:14

“We should provide the necessary intelligence to support long-term bipartisan efforts to out-compete China — gaining and sharing insight into China’s intentions and capabilities, while also supporting more immediate efforts to counter Beijing’s unfair, illegal, aggressive and coercive actions, as well as its human rights violations, whenever we can,” she intends to say.

“At the same time, the DNI should see to it that the Intelligence Community’s unique capabilities are brought to bear on the global Covid-19 crisis around the world, while also addressing the long-term challenge of future biological crises — enabling U.S. global health leadership and positioning us to detect future outbreaks before they become pandemics.”

Haines would become the first woman in the job, which was created after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to better coordinate the sprawling American intelligence bureaucracy. She would succeed John Ratcliffe, a Republican former member of Congress from Texas who appears to have gotten the job because of his loyalty to President Donald Trump and because the acting occupant of the job, Richard Grenell, was deemed so unacceptable by Senate Democrats that they were willing to confirm Ratcliffe to be rid of him.

Among other things, the director of national intelligence oversees the presidential intelligence briefing process. But the director does not run covert operations ordered by the president — the CIA director retains that power.

Aug. 20, 201809:09

The excerpts of Haines’ testimony do not mention the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, but the issue of whether the FBI and other agencies have a handle on domestic extremism is likely to come up at the hearing. While the job of national intelligence director focuses mainly on spying abroad, it includes jurisdiction over the National Counterterrorism Center, which analyzes intelligence about both domestic and international terrorism, and last year it published a report noting that there is no “whole of government” effort aimed at domestic terrorism.

“If I have the honor of being confirmed, I look forward to leading the Intelligence Community on behalf of the American people — to safeguarding their interests, advancing their security and prosperity, and to defending our democracy, our freedoms and our values,” Haines, who joined the government in 2008 as a State Department legal adviser, intends to say.

To be effective, she will add, “the DNI must never shy away from speaking truth to power — even, especially, when doing so may be inconvenient or difficult.”

“To safeguard the integrity of our Intelligence Community, the DNI must insist that, when it comes to intelligence, there is simply no place for politics — ever,” she will say.

After Haines and other Biden nominees were introduced in November, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, said on Twitter that Biden’s Cabinet picks “will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline.”

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The Review: The Politics of Political Science – The Chronicle of Higher Education

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On January 7, the American Political Science Association released a “Statement on the Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol” that many of its members considered mealy mouthed and insufficiently condemnatory of the Republican Party. (What particularly rankled was APSA’s insistence that “both sides” need “to do better.”) Four days later, APSA released an “expanded” statement apologizing for the lack of fire in their original, and dutifully supplying the litany of evils they’d failed to mention the first time: “xenophobia, white supremacy, white nationalism, right-wing extremism, and racism.” As our Tom Bartlett notes, “there seemed to be general agreement that the second statement was, if not perfect or comprehensive, at least better.”

This might all seem like a tempest in an academic teapot, where supercharged symbolic politics attach themselves to such basically trivial things as the bland, official statements of professional organizations. But, as the Smith College political scientist Erin Pineda explains in her new Review essay, “A Reckoning for Political Science,” the field has from its origins suffered from uncertainty about the relationship between its descriptive and normative aspects — and from poisoned disciplinary roots in racist and nationalist political projects. “How can political scientists,” Pineda writes, “conduct their work — researching and writing about politics — while remaining somehow above the fray of politics? Is that even a realistic goal? Is it a desirable one?”

Read the whole essay here. And then check out two books discussed by Pineda: Jessica Blatt’s Race and the Making of American Political Science and John G. Gunnell’s Imagining the American Polity.

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