Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Huckabee Backs Denying Abortion To 10-Year-Old Raped By Stepfather

GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee supports Paraguay's decision to deny an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim, he revealed in an interview Sunday.

In an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union," the former Arkansas governor argued that the Paraguayan government's refusal to allow an abortion for the now-11-year-old, who gave birth last week after being raped by her stepfather, prevented a second tragedy.

Inside Canada's top-secret billion-dollar spy palace

While the Harper government is preaching government austerity, it is spending almost $1.2 billion on a new Ottawa headquarters for a little-known military spy agency.

It's the most expensive Canadian government building ever constructed.

Under tight security, CBC obtained an exclusive tour of the top secret complex that most Canadians will otherwise never get to see, a development even National Defence apparently thinks is so grandiose that the department dubbed the project “Camelot” in official documents.

Exclusion of Blacks From Juries Raises Renewed Scrutiny

SHREVEPORT, La. — Here are some reasons prosecutors have offered for excluding blacks from juries: They were young or old, single or divorced, religious or not, failed to make eye contact, lived in a poor part of town, had served in the military, had a hyphenated last name, displayed bad posture, were sullen, disrespectful or talkative, had long hair, wore a beard.

The prosecutors had all used peremptory challenges, which generally allow lawyers to dismiss potential jurors without offering an explanation. But the Supreme Court makes an exception: If lawyers are accused of racial discrimination in picking jurors, they must offer a neutral justification.

The Clean Power Plan Is Barely Better Than Kyoto; IPCC Says: We Must Remove CO2 From the Atmosphere

The EPA's Clean Power Plan is 12 percent more stringent than the Kyoto Protocol, yet since 1978, the US has emitted as much carbon dioxide as we emitted in the previous 228 years. Globally, since 1984, our civilization has emitted as much carbon dioxide as in the previous 236 years.

The new EPA carbon regulations in the Clean Power Plan require about the same carbon dioxide emissions reductions as what was proposed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, when we as a global society first recognized that climate pollution was a problem. What resulted was the Kyoto Protocol, and its proposal to limit carbon dioxide emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels in the US and similar levels in other developed countries.

Germany's Merkel To Face Down Party Rebels In Greek Bailout Vote

BERLIN, Aug 15 (Reuters) - In a major test of her authority, Chancellor Angela Merkel will ask skeptical German lawmakers to back an 86 billion euro ($95.5 billion) bailout for Greece on Wednesday despite uncertainty over whether the IMF will play a role in the rescue.

Parliamentary approval is not in doubt because the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens are expected to back the deal. But the vote could expose a deep divide among Merkel's conservatives, damaging the German leader and her close ally Volker Kauder, the head of her bloc in parliament.

The Closing of the Canadian Mind

THE prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has called an election for Oct. 19, but he doesn’t want anyone to talk about it.

He has chosen not to participate in the traditional series of debates on national television, confronting his opponents in quieter, less public venues, like the scholarly Munk Debates and CPAC, Canada’s equivalent of CSPAN. His own campaign events were subject to gag orders until a public outcry forced him to rescind the forced silence of his supporters.

Scathing Column In The New York Times Bashes Stephen Harper

A Toronto-based writer has taken to the New York Times to pen a scathing review of Stephen Harper, who is seeking a third term as prime minister.

"The Harper years have seen a subtle darkening of Canadian life," writes Stephen Marche, a Canadian who has regular columns in both Esquire and the National Post.

Most Canadians don’t think they’re better off since 2011 Conservative victory, poll finds

Chris and Mariana Thomson don’t believe they’re better off in the four years since the federal Conservatives captured a majority government in 2011.

The Toronto couple, Chris, 40, a medical adviser for a pharmaceutical company and Mariana, 36, a medical writer, have seen soaring costs for everything from utility bills to food, clothing and transportation, but their paycheques are barely keeping pace.

Stephen Harper's pre-election N.S. event cost public thousands: documents

Stephen Harper is campaigning in central Nova Scotia today, his second visit to the region in two months — but this time his party will pay for his team's travel expenses.

The prime minister's campaign-style visit to Nova Scotia two months ago cost taxpayers thousands of dollars in travel and technical support — raising questions about the dividing line between partisan pitches and legitimate government business in the pre-election period.

Netanyahu Appoints Opponent Of Palestinian Statehood As UN Envoy

WASHINGTON -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Friday that Israel’s next ambassador to the United Nations will be Danny Danon, an outspoken opponent of a two-state solution.

"The UN platform is very important at this time, and I'm sure Danny will fight with all his might to present the truth in the international arena," Netanyahu said, as reported by Haaretz.

Mike Duffy's Lawyer Takes Aim At Nigel Wright's Image During Cross Examination

OTTAWA — Mike Duffy's defence lawyer ripped into Nigel Wright's choir-boy image Friday as he used his cross-examination of Stephen Harper's former chief of staff to slowly pick apart the bribery charge against his client.

Donald Bayne pulled no punches during his inquisition, trying to discredit Wright by suggesting he and others in the Prime Minister's Office had strong-armed Duffy into a expense-repayment scheme the senator did not support.

Stephen Harper faces most serious scandal since taking power: analysis

OTTAWA—It was a daily meeting to pick out the bad news, flag the trouble spots and worry about the landmines that could trip up a government.

Nigel Wright, once Stephen Harper’s trusted aide, chaired a daily issues management meeting when he ran the Prime Minister’s Office.

Every day, top staffers to Harper would review stories that had cropped up in the media overnight and reports from minister’s offices or agencies flagging other issues of concern that hadn’t yet made it to the headlines.

Alberta Climate Change Panel Includes Members With Suncor, Enbridge Links

Alberta’s climate change strategy will be shaped by a newly appointed panel made up of five experts—including representatives with links to two major Canadian energy companies.
“Our government intends to take action,” Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips said at a Friday news conference about the NDP government’s commitment to hold an “incredible conversation” to come up with an ambitious plan.

States Try To Dig Up Planned Parenthood Violations, Fail Miserably

WASHINGTON -- The Planned Parenthood Federation of America stressed Friday that multiple investigations into its state affiliates have fallen flat, as the reproductive health organization battles allegations that it has illegally profited from fetal tissue donations for research.

Harper’s office furious with Conservative Senate leaders, Duffy trial hears

Stephen Harper’s Prime Minister’s Office was furious with the Conservative Senate leadership after it acted without informing the PMO to address a growing expenses scandal – measures that ultimately jeopardized a scheme to have Mike Duffy repay his questionable claims.

Day 3 of testimony from former Harper chief of staff Nigel Wright at the Duffy fraud trial saw the senator’s lawyer, Donald Bayne, use internal PMO e-mails to paint a picture of a Prime Minister’s Office that ruled the Conservative majority in the Senate with an iron fist when it needed to do so.

Canada Could End Homelessness. And It'll Only Cost You $46 A Year

"Nobody grows up with the aspiration to be the poster child for homelessness, but you take what you've been given, right?"

Katrina Blanchard-Gervais laughs at the absurdity of it all, and she sounds more bright than bitter. After two years in homeless shelters, the mother of six now has an apartment as part of an innovative program in Hamilton, Ont., called Housing First.

Unpaid U.N. Intern Was Living Out Of A Tent In Geneva

Think your unpaid internship is bad? The high cost of living in Geneva drove this United Nations intern to camp in a city park.

It's been a soggy experience. "I didn't choose the most waterproof tent in the store," David Hyde told the Tribune de Genève. The 22-year-old New Zealander began his unpaid internship at the United Nations two weeks ago, but found he couldn't afford to rent a place to live.

Harper's Wright hand flops in court

Donald Bayne, lawyer for disgraced Senator Mike Duffy, wasted no time with the prosecution’s star witness, Nigel Wright, on Thursday.

Eschewing the rote introductory pleasantries lawyers use to anesthetize witnesses, Bayne commenced his surgical cross-examination with dispatch and a hacksaw. Within minutes Wright's calm self-assurance gave way to an expression of consternation. With few moments of light-hearted relief, his furrowed brow remained fixedly in place for the rest of the day.

Nigel Wright's Testimony Is Insulting to Canadians

"I had an obligation to fulfill my end of the arrangement with him (Duffy). I couldn't think of another way of doing it."

Is anyone else profoundly insulted and deeply offended by this self-effacing statement from Nigel Wright as to why he forked over $90,000 of his own money, in secret, to pay Mike Duffy's debts?

Attorneys General File Petition To D.C. Court To Block EPA Carbon Rule For Power Plants

WASHINGTON, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Fifteen state attorneys general petitioned a federal court in Washington on Thursday to block new U.S. rules to curb carbon emissions from power plants, in the first of several expected legal challenges to the Obama administration measure.

States that oppose the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan filed for the stay in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The states asked for a ruling by Sept. 8, one year before they need to submit compliance plans to the EPA.

Hidden camera discovered at OFL headquarters

The discovery of a hidden video camera at the Ontario Federation of Labour headquarters has shaken employees and triggered bitter finger pointing and strong denials among current and former top union brass.

In early July, a staff member discovered a concealed working camera in an exit sign near the reception area of the building at 15 Gervais Dr. in Toronto, the Star has learned.

On the morning of Nov. 20 last year, Tyrone Tomlin sat in the cage of one of the Brooklyn criminal courthouse’s interview rooms, a bare white cinder-block cell about the size of an office cubicle. Hardly visible through the heavy steel screen in front of him was Alison Stocking, the public defender who had just been assigned to his case. Tomlin, exhausted and frustrated, was trying to explain how he came to be arrested the afternoon before. It wasn’t entirely clear to Tomlin himself. Still in his work clothes, his boots encrusted with concrete dust, he recounted what had happened.

30 Percent of California's Forest Firefighters Are Prisoners

Here's a kind of crazy stat: Between 30 and 40 percent of California's forest firefighters are state prison inmates. The state has become a tinderbox of sorts from a four-year drought, and roughly 4,000 low-level felons are on the front lines of the state's active fires. Here's what's going on:

Why are prisoners fighting fires? For years, California's prison system has operated a number of "conservation camps," in which low-level felons in the state prison system volunteer to do manual labor outside, like clearing brush to prevent forest fires or fighting the fires themselves. A handful of other states have similar programs, but California's program is by far the largest, with roughly 4,000 participants. At its best, the program is a win-win situation: Inmates learn useful skills and spend time outside the normal confines of prison, and the collaboration with Cal Fire saves the state roughly $80 million a year.

This Is the Real Cost of Coal

This story was originally published by the Atlantic and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

In Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See, a radio broadcaster marvels at the wonder of coals:

Consider a single piece glowing in your family's stove. See it, children? That chunk of coal was once a green plant, a fern or reed that lived one million years ago, or maybe two million, or maybe one hundred million. Can you imagine one hundred million years? Every summer for the whole life of that plant, its leaves caught what light they could and transformed the sun's energy into itself. Into bark, twigs, stems. Because plants eat light, in much the way we eat food. But then the plant died and fell, probably into water, and decayed into peat, and the peat was folded inside the earth for years upon years—eons in which something like a month or decade or even your whole life was just a puff of air, a snap of two fingers. And eventually the peat dried and became like stone, and someone dug it up, and the coal man brought it to your house, and maybe you yourself carried it to the stove, and now that sunlight—sunlight 100 million years old—is heating your home tonight.

Federal Election 2015: Brad Wall Shouldn't Worry About Equalization Formula: Harper

PENSE, Sask. — The question of how the federal government shares revenues between well-to-do and more needy provinces is not all that important in the election campaign, Stephen Harper said Thursday.

The Conservative leader brushed aside a question about the equalization formula that Ottawa uses to help have-not provinces pay for services that wealthier provinces can more easily cover.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has expressed frustration with the formula, saying it doesn't easily take into account the changes in resource prices, such as oil and hydro, making it years behind the times.

Covering the 'Great Wall of Harper Campaign'

The more I cover the Conservatives this election, the more I feel back in Beijing, where for a time I worked inside state media.

I took that job hoping China was opening up, lured by a false promise I'd be helping the media there grow into an independent and free one. Instead, before I quit, I got a real schooling on how totalitarian manipulation of the news works.

Having completed that education, these days I am increasingly startled by similarities between tactics of the Tories and those of the Chinese Communist Party. Both seek to preserve power by stifling dissent, conducting affairs in secret, and obsessively controlling the message.

Rejecting TPP a Matter of Human Rights

Forget about the dairy farms and supply management. The real reasons Canada should withdraw from its unseemly flirtation with the Pacific Rim trade deal are that it would formalize a trade relationship with a country plagued by human rights abuses, and make local laws and regulations designed to protect health and the environment more easily struck down by multinational companies out to fatten their bottom lines.

Carly Fiorina Has A Laughable, Dangerous Solution To The Paid Leave Problem

New mothers in the United States are often forced to go back to work just a few weeks after having babies. That happens because our federal government, unlike that of any other country in the developed world, offers no provision for paid maternity leave.

But no worries, everyone! Carly Fiorina has a solution. If the former Hewlett-Packard CEO is elected president, she’ll simply fix our economy, making it “so strong that employers are forced to compete for workers by offering better salaries, better leave policies, more time off, and good benefits,” she wrote on Thursday in a blog post for The Huffington Post.

Jeb Bush Leaves Door Open For Use Of Torture

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Thursday declined to rule out resuming the use of torture under some circumstances by the U.S. government.

"I don't want to make a definitive, blanket kind of statement," Bush told an audience of Iowa Republicans, when asked whether he would keep in place or repeal President Barack Obama's executive order banning so-called enhanced interrogation techniques by the CIA.

Planned Parenthood Is Just The Beginning

Since videos emerged last month showing Planned Parenthood staff discussing how they provide fetal tissue and organs to researchers, Republicans have been falling all over themselves to insist that the organization be defunded. But the GOP’s defunding campaign isn't actually about stopping fetal tissue research. It's about defunding family planning services that have nothing to do with abortion, in the hopes of derailing the groups that provide them. And it's tied to a far bigger spending fight that awaits Congress when it returns from its August recess.

Student Loses Facebook Internship After Highlighting Dangers Of Location Tool

Third-year Harvard University student Aran Khanna had it made: secured an internship at Facebook, created a Chrome browser extension, and highlighted potential privacy concern lurking in his soon-to-be employer’s messaging system — the latter of which caused weeks of controversy that cost him an opportunity with the world’s largest social media company.

The controversy stemmed from Khanna’s Chrome app Marauder’s Map, which extrapolated data through Facebook Messenger’s geo-location feature that allowed friends to automatically share their whereabouts via private messages. Facebook rescinded Khanna’s internship offer after learning about the app over privacy concerns.

Harper declines to explain apparent incongruity in Duffy story

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is dodging an apparent incongruity between his own narrative around the repayment of Senator Mike Duffy’s questionable living expenses and an e-mail written by Nigel Wright, Mr. Harper’s former chief of staff, who dipped into his own bank account to ensure that the money was refunded.

Mr. Wright was on the stand Thursday for the second day at Mr. Duffy’s trial on 31 charges that include bribery, fraud on the government and breach of trust. More than 400 pages of government e-mails pertaining to Mr. Duffy were released publicly this week. In one of them, written May 14, 2013, to a press attaché, Mr. Wright says, “The PM knows, in broad terms only, that I personally assisted Duffy when I was getting him to agree to repay the expenses.”

Wright cites Scripture as reason for $90,000 'good deed' for Duffy

OTTAWA — Mike Duffy's lawyer, Donald Bayne, tore into Nigel Wright during cross-examination Thursday, suggesting the prime minister's former chief of staff created a "deliberately deceptive scenario" for Canadians.

Bayne peppered Wright with questions all morning Thursday, maintaining that a "scheme" was orchestrated inside the Prime Minister's Office to push Duffy to repay his expenses.

Veterans declare war on Harper

Ronald Clarke still remembers seeing dead bodies stacked up like cordwood awaiting burial in a Vietnamese mass grave.

“I was deployed with a Canadian contingent. We were there to monitor the so-called ceasefire. While there, we lost one officer who was shot down and we had two officers taken prisoner and held for over a month,” said Clarke.

Energy East Pipeline's Risks Outweigh Benefits, Ontario Energy Board Says

TORONTO — The Ontario Energy Board says there is an imbalance in the environmental and economic risks of the Energy East pipeline project and the expected benefits.

The board says its primary concerns are about pipeline safety and the impact on lakes, rivers and drinking water in the event of an oil spill, and wants it routed away from environmentally sensitive areas.

Oilsands Being Left In The Ground Is Just A Matter Of Fact, Experts Say

EDMONTON — The furor over a New Democrat candidate's remarks about leaving Alberta's oilsands in the ground reflects how poorly the issue is understood, say energy experts.

To many, Toronto Centre candidate Linda McQuaig's recent statement is just the simple fact of the matter.

The loyal soldier: Nigel Wright on the stand

The North Pole. Tom Mulcair nailed it: it’s a great place to visit if you happen to be Stephen Harper this month.

On the day the Conservative business establishment’s poster-boy, former Harper chief of staff Nigel Wright, took the stand in Senator Mike Duffy’s controversial corruption trial, the man who fired him (or said he did, at any rate) was on his way via Edmonton and B.C. to press the flesh among the polar bears.

You’ve got to hand it to Harper: he runs true to form, whether it’s to the Arctic, South America or the nearest closet. When CTV’s Bob Fife broke Duffygate, an alleged tale of tawdry payoffs and illicit expenses, Harper shuffled off on a foreign trip to avoid the heat in the kitchen back home.

Why Chris Christie Says We Should ‘Reexamine’ The 14th Amendment

Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is calling for a reexamination of constitutional policy that grants citizenship to all children born to undocumented immigrants on United States soil.

In a radio appearance on Wednesday, conservative host Laura Ingraham asked Christie for his opinion on birthright citizenship, a topic he does not seem to have specifically addressed before. In response, Christie said he believed the policy may be outdated.

Jeb Bush Is Trying to Blame the Iraq Crisis on Hillary Clinton

Jeb Bush is trying to pull off the mother of all chutzpah moves by blaming Hillary Clinton for today's troubles in Iraq and the rise of ISIS.
Yes, you heard that right: The brother of the fellow who invaded Iraq on false premises, and who did so without a coherent and comprehensive plan for what to do after the defeat of Saddam Hussein, is trying to jujitsu this issue and heave his hefty family baggage onto the shoulders of the leading Democratic 2016 contender.

PMO fought to change audit reports to douse Senate criticism, emails show

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s staff tried to rewrite a Senate audit report to head off questions about whether Mike Duffy and other senators were constitutionally qualified to hold their seats, according to explosive new emails.

Tabled as evidence at Duffy’s criminal trial Wednesday, the emails show Harper’s staff were extremely sensitive to whether all senators were qualified to represent the province or territory from which they are appointed.

Mike Duffy Trial: Wright Says PM Was Unaware Party Would Repay Duffy's Expenses On His Behalf

OTTAWA — Inside the Prime Minister's Office, they called it the "scenario for repayment" — a plan that would make the Mike Duffy expenses scandal quietly go away, without anyone suggesting the senator had done wrong.

Nigel Wright, the marquee witness at Duffy's fraud, breach of trust and bribery trial on Wednesday, said he didn't tell former boss Stephen Harper that the deal involved someone else paying Duffy's contested expenses.

Rogue Staffers Threatened To Sue When The PMO Took Control Of The “Independent” Mike Duffy Investigation

Publicly, the Senate put on a show of independence. Then-Conservative Senate leader Marjory Lebreton insisted “I ran my own shop.” When Duffy and other Senators were accused of filing tens of thousands of dollars in inappropriate housing expenses, the Senate’s internal economy committee investigated.

But new emails show the PMO was quarterbacking everything behind the scenes. The emails were entered into evidence as Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright testified at the Duffy trial.

Why I’m sticking with Harper

I don’t think John Robson, whom I know, will mind if I say he is a conservative. I doubt he’s ever been a member of a party and I don’t know his voting record, but he’s what passes for a conservative journalist, once with Sun News, and keen on history, which is a dead giveaway for conservatism.

So when he writes, “I can’t vote for the Harper Conservatives. I just can’t.” I take notice.

I make no bones about the fact that I am a Tory. I even have a Conservative Party of Canada membership card.

Heavily Armed 'Oath Keepers' Bring New Unease To Ferguson Protests

Four civilians carrying military-style rifles and sidearms patrolled a riot-torn street in Ferguson, Missouri, early Tuesday, saying they were there to protect a media organization but drawing swift criticism from police and protesters alike.

The appearance of the four men, all white, quickly drew stares in the mostly black neighborhood, which exploded into violence again on Sunday night as protesters marked the police killing of an unarmed black teen a year ago.

Anti-Voting Crusader Plans Purge Of 30,000 Citizens From Voting Rolls

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) — notorious voter suppression architect who now wields the power to prosecute people for voter fraud — has proposed a change to state regulations which would allow his office to purge more than 30,000 incomplete voter registration applications being held because voters have not yet provided proof of citizenship.

Four state lawmakers, including one Republican, have come out against the proposal, claiming it would disproportionately impact low-income, minority and elderly voters who may need more than 90 days to provide their proof of citizenship. State Rep. Jim Ward (D) told ThinkProgress that not every Kansas citizen has a drivers’ license and other forms of identification can be hard for people to procure in a short period of time.

After Massive Contribution To Scott Walker, NBA Owner Will Get $250 Million In Tax Dollars For New Arena

Wisconsin Governor and Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker will sign a bill Wednesday finalizing his controversial plan to spend $250 million in state, county and city funds — plus tens of millions more in interest and future tax breaks — on a new basketball arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Walker has characterized the plan to replace the existing 27-year-old NBA arena as beneficial to taxpayers, arguing that the state would lose even more money if they declined to do so. But voices from across the political spectrum are blasting the plan, saying that pouring money into private sports stadiums is a terrible investment, and arguing the team’s Wall Street billionaire owners should shoulder the burden, since they’ll be reaping the profits.

Tenants in San Francisco Fight Back Against Nuisance Evictions

Leaving a stroller in the hallway. Hanging laundry out a window. Living with a new roommate. These everyday activities have now become eviction-worthy offenses in the eyes of some landlords in San Francisco, who are using low-fault or nuisance evictions over issues like these to chase long-term tenants out of rent-controlled units. The city's tenants, however, are refusing to go down without a fight.

Dozens of tenants, tenants' advocates and property owners crowded into San Francisco City Hall to share testimony about their evictions and discuss a tenant-protection bill at a San Francisco Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee hearing on July 27.

Surge in Use of Wind and Solar Technology Sends EU Emissions Tumbling

LONDON—Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions are falling fast, mainly because of the rapid spread of the wind turbines and solar panels that are replacing fossil fuels for electricity generation.

European Union data shows that once countries adopt measures to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs), they often exceed their targets—and this finding is backed up by figures released this week in a statement by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

America’s Empire of Bases

There’s a secret world out beyond the horizon, a world of austere airstrips and shadowy commandos, a world of screens filled by streaming full-motion video of armed young men in the backlands of the planet, a world of musty storage depots and warehouses, pallets and fuel drums just waiting for sailors and soldiers and airmen to come calling. It’s the American “baseworld,” a huge but hidden network of far-flung outposts and tucked-away compounds stretching from North America to the Middle East, Asia to Africa. If you follow the subject, you may not be surprised by some of the sites now mentioned in connection with this empire of bases, like Romania, where a major U.S. military transit hub became fully operational last year; Senegal and Ghana, where the Marine Corps recently established “cooperative security locations”; and Bashur airfield in Iraqi Kurdistan, which was reportedly being turned into a training site for the fight against the Islamic State in 2014. You might, however, be surprised to learn that plans for each of these locales were mentioned more than a decade ago in an article by the late Chalmers Johnson.

Hillary Clinton Joins Debt-Free College Push With a Big Plan

Hillary Clinton outlined her plan to nearly eliminate student debt on Monday at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire—joining two of her opponents in the Democratic primary and a growing activist push to make college debt a central issue of the presidential campaign.

Dubbed the “New College Compact,” Clinton’s plan contains several different approaches to reducing student debt, which now averages $30,000 per student each year. But the central feature is expanded federal aid to states that guarantee “no-loan” tuition at public four-year universities. The think tank Demos and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee also made increased federal aid to states a central feature of their recent push for “debt-free college.”