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Chinese Feminist Group’s Social Media Account Suspended

The closing of the account for the organization, Feminist Voices, may have been linked to an article it posted about a women’s strike planned in the United States on March 8, International Women’s Day, feminists said on Wednesday. The strike, which is being coordinated by the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington last month, is called “A Day Without a Woman.”

“This is about attacking civil society,” Lu Pin, a founder of Feminist Voices who lives in New York, said in a telephone interview. “They want to take away our voice.”

The move may also reflect a tightening of security two weeks before China’s annual parliamentary meetings, which begin March 5, during which the government traditionally cracks down on the already limited political debate in the country’s censored media.

New Deal Sales Pitch

You have been assigned a New Deal program to “sell” to your classmates. Your task is to inform and persuade in equal measure.

Your pitch must be 3-4 minutes, you are free to use whatever visual tools (poster, whiteboard, PowerPoint) you want.

Don’t neglect your duty to inform. This is school, after all. Read about your New Deal program. You can’t sell a product that you don’t know thoroughly. Knowledge breeds confidence. Teach your audience about the program.

Audience is everything. Stay in the time period 1933-38. You are selling to a populace suffering from the Great Depression and anxieties from the rising tide of fascism in Europe. Speak to those people.

Consider countering claims that opponents of your program might levy. “Some fools may argue that the AAA is unconstitutional, but…” or “uninformed critics bemoan the the program does not relieve all Americans, but…”

Introductions and conclusions matter. First and last impressions are destiny.

A little stagecraft goes a long way; too much showmanship repels the audience.

Rubric: 5 points content / 5 points persuasiveness / 5 points timing and style

Here are some models you might consider:

How to advertise considering logos, pathos, and ethos:

Don Draper’s Mark Your Man Pitch:

Don Draper’s Carousel Pitch:

Six Documents: The American Imperialism Debate

Read these six documents, 3 for and 3 against Philippine annexation, then respond to these questions

Be prepared to debate whether or not the United States should annex the Philippines.

Democracy in Nigeria

Read  these six  articles (12 pages)…..
Democratic Transition in Nigeria
Bloomberg Editorial
Opinion: Democracy is taking root in Nigeria
Nigeria’s Democratic Revolution
Miracle in Abuja

…and respond to these questions.



Fake news almost destroyed Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was more than just a foe of slavery. He was also a mixed-race eugenicist, believing that the intermarriage of blacks and whites would yield an American super-race.

Or at least, that’s what newspapers in 1864 would have had you believe. The charge isn’t true. But this miscegenation hoax still “damn near sank Lincoln that year,” in a tough re-election campaign amidst a bloody civil war when he and his Republican party were blindsided.

The “leading Republican journal of the country is the unblushing advocate of ‘miscegenation,’ which it ranks with the highest questions of social and political philosophy,” wrote the New York World, a Democratic paper. The miscegenation pamphlet was perhaps American history’s most successful fake news campaign.

The parallels to today are easy to see. Back then, telegraphs and other technological changes let news spread swiftly and gave rise to more starkly partisan newspapers. Public trust in government was in tatters. With little consensus or authority over the truth, the purest gauge of veracity was gut feeling. And in an America so deeply divided—especially over differences about race—what tended to feel real were stories that confirmed fears and biases.

For Nigerian News

Sahara Reporters does a great job of rounding up major news stories from Nigeria (and West Africa where relevant to Nigeria).

Why Many Young Russians See a Hero in Putin

Cool piece in Nat Geo, image and graphic rich, seeks to explain Putin’s appeal to an unlikely demographic.


How Xi Jinping Can Avoid Becoming a Dictator

“While it’s possible that Mr. Xi is taking more time to pick an heir, there are indications that he intends to break with custom and hold on to his role as head of the party beyond the 10-year term.

In recent months, Mr. Xi has promoted many allies in key government and party positions to fill slots vacated by retired or purged rivals. He has been overhauling the military, making it more difficult for generals to disobey or to stage a coup. Neither Mao Zedong nor Deng Xiaoping was able to achieve such control.

The Communist Party charter does not impose term limits for its top leader. The 10-year limit is based on an unwritten custom.

Mr. Xi has no formidable rivals. He has used the anticorruption drive to purge disloyal party and military leaders, and to weaken his fellow Politburo Standing Committee members. Party elders are too old or too weak to cause him trouble.

Mr. Xi’s best option for extending power is to overhaul the Communist Party’s system of governance. Over the past year, think tanks and constitutional scholars are said to have conducted secret studies on how to legitimately prolong Mr. Xi’s rule. Some scholars, including Cao Siyuan, have suggested adopting an electoral presidential system tailored for China.

It may seem far-fetched, but such a system would grant Mr. Xi the legitimacy and public support he craves to stay in power. Without the legitimacy of an election, even a flawed one by Western standards, he would have to step down in 2022 or flagrantly ignore the party rules, and turn himself into a dictator who lives in constant fear of being toppled.

In transitioning to an electoral system, Mr. Xi could change China’s Constitution by the end of his term in 2022 to strengthen the power of the president. Once the president is given control of the government and the military, Mr. Xi could abolish the Politburo Standing Committee, shed his title as general secretary of the party, and run for a newly empowered presidency.”

High Hitler: how Nazi drug abuse steered the course of history

The book in question is The Total Rush – or, to use its superior English title, Blitzed – which reveals the astonishing and hitherto largely untold story of the Third Reich’s relationship with drugs, including cocaine, heroin, morphine and, above all, methamphetamines (aka crystal meth), and of their effect not only on Hitler’s final days – the Führer, by Ohler’s account, was an absolute junkie with ruined veins by the time he retreated to the last of his bunkers



Mexicans have 300 different ways of referring to corruption

Language is shaped by a people’s environment. Inuits famously have more than 50 words for snow, while Hawaiians have 65 to describe fishnets. In Mexico, there are 300 terms to refer to corruption.

They are compiled in a new book, the “Mexican Corruptionary,” a tongue-in-cheek effort to get Mexicans to own up to their corrupt behavior, which costs their country’s economy billions of dollars a year and has wreaked social havoc by undermining its institutions. It was put together by Opciona, a civil society group that seeks to improve civility in Mexico under the motto #EmpiezaPorTi, or start with you.

Mexicans rank corruption as their second biggest concern (link in Spanish) after insecurity and crime—which in turn can be linked to corruption via dirty elected officials. (See G, for Góber, short for governor. )


Daniel Lazar This is a forum to post articles and to share ideas about my historical and political interests. I hope to provide a valuable resource for my students and to contribute to the marketplace of ideas.