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Do America’s political parties matter in presidential elections?

April 2015 will go down in history as the month that the 2016 race for the White House began in earnest. Hillary Clinton’s online declaration of her presidential candidacy was the critical moment. With it America’s two major political parties have locked horns with each other. The Democrats intend to continue their control of the presidency for another four years; Republicans hope to finally make good on a conservative bumper sticker that began appearing on automobiles as early as the summer of 2009 and that read, “Had Enough Yet? Next Time Vote Republican.”

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The dangers of evolution denial

As the 2016 presidential election season begins (US politics, unlike nature, has seasons that are two years long), we will once again see Republican politicians ducking questions about the validity of evolution. Scott Walker did that recently in response to a London interviewer. During the previous campaign, Rick Perry answered the question by observing that there are “some gaps” in the theory of evolution and that creationism is taught in the Texas public schools (it isn’t, of course).

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What puts veterans at risk for homelessness?

There has been an ongoing battle to end homelessness in the United States, particularly among veterans. Over the past three decades, considerable research has been conducted to identify risk factors for veteran homelessness, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has funded much of that research. In 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced its commitment to end veteran homelessness in five years. As we near the end of that five years, it’s important to reflect on what we have learned and what we now know about veteran homelessness.

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Divided Sovereignty

Neverending nightmares: who has the power in international policy?

Late last year, North Korea grabbed headlines after government-sponsored hackers infiltrated Sony and exposed the private correspondence of its executives. The more significant news that many may have missed, however, was the symbolic and long overdue UN resolution condemning the crimes against humanity North Korean committed against its own people.

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Hillary Clinton and voter disgust

Hillary Clinton declared that she is running for the Democratic Party nomination in a Tweet that was sent out Sunday, 12 April 2015. This ended pundit conjecture that she might not run, either because of poor health, lack of energy at her age, or maybe she was too tarnished with scandal. Yet, such speculation was just idle chatter used to fill media space. Now that Clinton has declared her candidacy, the media and political pundits have something real to discuss.

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Afterwar – Episode 22 – The Oxford Comment

As 2.6 million men and women return home from war, the prevalence of veteran suicide and post-traumatic stress is something that is frequently discussed by civilians, politicians, and the media, but seldom understood. These changes extend beyond psychological readjustment, physical handicap, and even loss of life. The greatest wounds, in fact, may not even be visible to the naked eye. While the traditional dialogue concerning veteran assistance typically involves the availability of institutional services, military hospitals, and other resources, there is an increasing need to address what many call the “moral injuries” sustained by soldiers during combat.

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Bailey et al-New Perspectives on Industrial Policy for a Modern Britain

Putting industrial policy back on the agenda

As the UK General Election draws near, the economy has again been the over-riding feature of the campaign. Yet the debate itself has been pretty narrow, being principally framed around ‘austerity’ and the reduction of the size of the government’s budget deficit. The major political parties are all committed to eradicating this deficit, with the main question being the time-frame in achieving this goal.

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Will our political leaders survive 2015?

As the 2015 UK General Election approaches, the world’s eyes are focused on the main party leaders, and on the ways in which the outcome of this election may affect their political careers. And as Tony Blair stated: ‘The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.’

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Parliamentary procedure

On May 7, British voters will head to the polls to elect a new Parliament. If mid-April forecasts are correct, the formation of a government will be a bit more complicated than in elections past. The results of those elections will have important ramifications for the conduct of economic policy in both Britain and the European Union. For most of the last two centuries, British governments have been formed by one of the two major political parties of the time.

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Legislating for justice

Legislating on land rights is an exercise fraught with challenges. States are reluctant and often opposed to any central legislation on the subject viewing such an exercise as an encroachment into their domain.

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Cyber won’t protect us: the need to stand behind the Iranian nuclear framework agreement

After two years of negotiations, Israel throwing whatever they can against any possible agreement, and the Republicans in the US Congress doing what they can to scuttle the deal, we finally have a framework for an agreement between Iran and its negotiating partners. It is not a perfect deal, but it is likely the best the West can get and given the other options, it is literally the only hope standing between a rational dialogue with Iran and outright conflict.

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Keep the Cadillac tax

The Obamacare “Cadillac tax” is currently scheduled to go into effect in 2018. However, last week, sixty-six members of the House of Representatives, including both Republicans and Democrats, proposed to repeal the Cadillac tax before it becomes effective. The Cadillac tax will be imposed at a 40% rate on the cost of health care insurance, exceeding statutorily-established thresholds. Unions and many of their Democratic stalwarts, otherwise supportive of Obamacare, oppose the Cadillac tax because generous union-sponsored health care plans will trigger the tax.

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How many of these famous political quotes have you heard before?

The week of the UK general election has finally arrived. After suffering weeks of incessant sound-bites, you will soon be free of political jargon for another few years. Phrases like “long-term economic plan” have been repeated so often that they have ceased to mean anything. From Margaret Thatcher to Harold Wilson, from Benjamin Disraeli to Winston Churchill, British prime ministers and politicians have uttered phrases that have echoed throughout history. How many of these famous political quotes do you remember?

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Five years of Labour opposition

The 7 May 2015 marks the conclusion of a long and challenging five years for Ed Miliband as leader of the opposition. After one of the worst defeats in the party’s history in May 2010, he took over as the new leader of the Labour party with the mission to bring the party back into power after only one term in opposition. A difficult task at the best of times, but made even harder due to internal tensions between Blairites and Brownites, Blue Labour and New Labour as well as many voters blaming the previous Labour government for the economic state of the country immediately after the 2010 election.

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Fig leaves and fairy tales: political promises and the Truth-O-Meter

The Tampa Bay Times is a very fine newspaper. One of its most insightful features — indeed, a feature that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 — is its PolitiFact website. This is an independent on-line platform through which a legion of reporters and editors fact-check every statement, promise and half-hearted mumble ever made by a politician, political candidate, political party, or campaign group.

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Reference and the election of the new Italian President

After three inconclusive rounds in the preceding days, in which nobody secured the two-thirds majority needed to win, on the morning of 31 January 2015 a fourth round of voting was held in the Italian Parliament to elect the country’s President. This time, a simple majority of the 1,009 eligible voters (the members of both Chambers of the Parliament plus some delegates from the Regions) was enough to decide the election.

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