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.]

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Recount Road to Nowhere

Who started it this time? The behavior of Jill Stein, the Green Party Presidential candidate, who has filed in Wisconsin for a recount of votes cast in the Presidential election, and who plans to pursue recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania as well, has been frustrating; that of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party contender, who joined the effort, human but disappointing; and that of Donald Trump, the President-elect, outrageous and destructive. The recount business has not brought out the best in anybody, and in Trump it has brought out the worst: in a series of tweets Sunday night, he alleged that millions of votes were fraudulent, enough to cost him the popular vote. None of this is going to produce any change in the results of the 2016 election. The sole item it may deliver is the one thing the country had been spared with Trump’s victory: a corrosive, conspiracy-minded, and slanderous attack on the integrity of our voting system. This is a critical period in which the shape of Trump’s Administration will be formed, one that presents all sorts of tasks and challenges for his opponents. Democrats have better things to do.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Donald Trump’s Second, Perplexing Week as President-Elect

The second week of the Trump transition brought several new appointments, the first specific policy pronouncements, and the most alarming statement about Presidential power since Richard Nixon declared, in 1977, “When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

First, the appointments. Trump announced that General Mike Flynn would serve as his national-security adviser. There are three ways to judge any head of the National Security Council: experience, ideology, and independence. Given that the President-elect has no foreign-policy experience and still struggles with the most basic facts about world affairs, it’s crucial for his N.S.C. adviser to have experience both as a high-level strategist and as a manager of the bureaucracy. N.S.C. adviser is a staff job. He or she is charged with coördinating policy among the State Department, the Pentagon, the intelligence agencies, and the other key entities in the national-security apparatus. Flynn was a well-respected intelligence analyst, and he has been praised for his work in Afghanistan, especially in understanding the enemy. But when he was elevated to a managerial position running the Defense Intelligence Agency, he failed and was sacked. This is not disqualifying, but it is concerning. A bad manager at the head of the N.S.C. can compensate by hiring a strong deputy national-security adviser who can take on the organizational duties, and one hopes Flynn finds someone who can fill that role.

Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Big-Donor Education Secretary

After choosing for his cabinet a series of political outsiders who are loyal to him personally, Donald Trump has broken with this pattern to name Betsy DeVos his Secretary of Education. DeVos, whose father-in-law is a co-founder of Amway, the multi-level marketing empire, comes from the very heart of the small circle of conservative billionaires who have long funded the Republican Party.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Democrats: Revoking Trump’s Fast-Track Trade Authority Is Good Policy and Good Politics

Donald Trump’s top priority on his first day in office, per a video released by his transition team, will be to formally withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and instead “negotiate fair bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores.” This move would officially rupture the bipartisan consensus on globalization, and adherents to that view are sick with worry. They solemnly warn of the damage to American geopolitical prestige. They fear that China and Russia will exploit the global power vacuum to install their own free-trade zone under their own rules. And they note ruefully that other countries in the region are flocking to join such pacts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Donald Trump Personally Blasts the Press

The fantasy of the normalization of Donald Trump—the idea that a demagogic candidate would somehow be transformed into a statesman of poise and deliberation after his Election Day victory—should now be a distant memory, an illusion shattered.

First came the obsessive Twitter rants directed at “Hamilton” and “Saturday Night Live.” Then came Monday’s astonishing aria of invective and resentment aimed at the media, delivered in a conference room on the twenty-fifth floor of Trump Tower. In the presence of television executives and anchors, Trump whined about everything from NBC News reporter Katy Tur’s coverage of him to a photograph the news network has used that shows him with a double chin. Why didn’t they use “nicer” pictures?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Turkey Removes Two Dozen Elected Mayors In Kurdish Areas

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Turkey appointed new administrators in two dozen Kurdish-run municipalities on Sunday after removing their elected mayors over suspected links to militants, triggering pockets of protest in its volatile southeastern region bordering Syria and Iraq.

Police fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse demonstrators outside local government buildings in Suruc on the Syrian border as new administrators took over, security sources said. There were smaller protests elsewhere in the town.

Privacy Advocates Fear Bill C-51 Consultations Will Be Skewed

A Liberal government plan to hold public consultations on national security including changes to Bill C-51 is presented in a way that is biased in favour of police and other authorities, warns a privacy watchdog.

The controversial bill, also known as the Anti-Terrorism Act, has civil liberties groups concerned over how vaguely some aspects of the bill are worded and how easily it allows law enforcement to breach the privacy of citizens.

Why It Matters: Issues at stake in U.S. election

WASHINGTON — A selection of issues at stake in the presidential election and their impact on Americans, in brief:


The future of millions of people living in the U.S. illegally could well be shaped by the presidential election. The stakes are high, too, for those who employ them, help them fit into neighbourhoods, or want them gone.

Trump Doesn’t Want to Lead the Country—He Wants to Lead a Culture War

I was wending my way through the parking lot of a big-box store not long ago. A large, smoke-belching, unmuffled truck with the kind of mammoth tires one sees at demolition derbies hurtled into the lot and careened into a parking space some yards away. The sides of the truck were plastered with enormous political advertisements. “Make America Great Again,” the Trump banners read. (As the cloth furled and snapped and fluttered in the wind, however, it was “RUMP” and “RUM” whose guidance promised a return to gloryland.) The whole effect was bigger and more eye-catching than a float in a parade. The sight of it! The sound! Whether in approval or disapprobation, the entire geography of the parking lot reacted as one. Heads swiveled, eyes widened, mouths gaped.

Obama Promises Lame-Duck TPP Push Despite Uproar Over Pro-Corporate Provisions

A PROVISION THAT would let foreign corporations challenge new American laws and regulations has become the latest flashpoint in the battle over the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, even as President Obama on Tuesday said he will renew his push for its passage in the lame-duck session of Congress.

Beijing warns US to stay out of South China Sea dispute

China has sent a coded warning to the United States to stay out of the South China Sea dispute after Beijing was again accused of building permanent structures on islands in the area.

Speaking after talks with rival countries at a regional summit in Laos, premier Li Keqiang said China wanted to work with other countries to “dispel interference” in the contested maritime zone.

Teachers Are Working for Uber Just to Keep a Foothold in the Middle Class

Matt Barry teaches history and economics to eleventh and twelfth graders at Live Oak High School, a public school in a suburb of San Jose, California. At 32, he’s in his ninth year on the job, teaching 35 students in each class. But Barry also has a second life that’s becoming increasingly common for American schoolteachers: He spends his after-school hours and weekends as an Uber driver in order to earn extra money.

Barry and his wife, Nicole, are both teachers, and each earns $69,000 per year, which should place them solidly within the middle class. If Silicon Valley hadn’t sprawled around them, that’s where they would be. But the explosion in wealth that has accompanied the tech boom has sent housing costs well beyond the reach of longtime working- and middle-class residents. In the town where Barry teaches, the median home price is $800,000, ensuring that the people who spend their days educating Live Oak students will never live near them. In Barry’s own neighborhood of Gilroy, a 20-minute drive from his school, the median home price is $650,000. When Barry’s child is born—Nicole is pregnant—the family will pay an additional $6,000 dollars in health insurance annually; if she takes time off, that will more than double, to $14,400.

Why is Trudeau following Harper's lead and giving special protections to powerful corporations?

Foreign investors -- including some of the world's wealthiest and most powerful corporations -- typically generate little public sympathy and aren't usually lumped in with groups deemed worthy of special protections.

So the Trudeau government, which is in the process of granting wealthy foreign investors extraordinary legal protections and access to public money, is probably hoping the public isn't paying much attention.

Russia's leading independent pollster declared 'foreign agent'

Russia’s main independent pollster has been declared a “foreign agent” after showing a drop in the ruling party’s popularity before a major vote.

Unless the Levada Centre, which began doing surveys in 1987, is able to appeal against the justice ministry’s ruling, it will be forced to close down due to the stigma of the label, said the director Lev Gudkov. The move comes less than two weeks before parliamentary elections.

The NSA’s British Base at the Heart of U.S. Targeted Killing

The narrow roads are quiet and winding, surrounded by rolling green fields and few visible signs of life beyond the occasional herd of sheep. But on the horizon, massive white golf ball-like domes protrude from the earth, protected behind a perimeter fence that is topped with piercing razor wire. Here, in the heart of the tranquil English countryside, is the National Security Agency’s largest overseas spying base.

Angela Merkel's party beaten by rightwing populists in German elections

Angela Merkel has suffered a sobering defeat in regional elections in her constituency of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, with her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) coming third behind the Social Democrats (SPD) and the rightwing populists Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

Projections late on Sunday night saw the centre-left SPD on 30.5%, the anti-immigration AfD on 20.9%, and the chancellor’s centre-right CDU suffering its all-time lowest result in the eastern state, on 19%. Earlier this year, the CDU had looked like the party most likely to be tasked with forming the next government in the state.

Assad Regime to Besieged Aleppo: Surrender or Starve

Istanbul— Aleppo is under siege again. Once again, some 300,000 civilians in the rebel-held eastern part of the city must eke out their survival with no fresh produce and a dwindling food supply, in addition to the other perils of life for those in the Assad regime’s political opposition.

That means barrel bombs that destroy houses and bury their children, and missiles that destroy their schools, mosques, and hospitals.

Catastrophic, or merely awful? The hidden meaning of Brexit

The New Yorker cover illustration told one side of the Brexit story: A John Cleese avatar, in a bowler, clearly representing the Ministry of Silly Walks, steps off a cliff into an abyss.

From the other side, former Conservative Foreign Secretary William Hague soothed a Toronto audience with the bromide that all will be for the best once the markets quiet down and the U.K.’s partners adapt to the new reality.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

UN blames Syrian government siege strategy for expected mass evacuations

Many besieged Syrian towns and cities are on the brink of falling to government forces leading to mass evacuations similar to that seen in the town of Darayya last week, the UN predicted on Thursday.

The UN blamed an intensification of the conflict and the Syrian government’s “strategy” of refusing to allow aid agencies into the besieged towns with food and medicine.

Your Tax Money Is Subsidizing Wall Street Bonuses

Few people have heard of Section 162(m) of the tax code. But if you want to understand the deeply perverse incentives built into the American economy, all you need to do is examine this little subsection of the law.

Section 162(m) was a well-intentioned effort by Bill Clinton to rein in executive pay by capping tax deductions for CEO salaries at $1 million. There’s a loophole in the language, however, that allows exemptions for stock options or any other pay that is considered “performance-based,” and that loophole has lead to explosive growth in various stock options and bonus payouts for executives—all subsidized by taxpayers. In effect, Section 162(m) created a legal process by which publicly held companies can lower their tax bills by boosting CEO pay, leaving taxpayers on the hook for the lavish salaries of corporate titans.

B.C.'s Climate Plan Subsidizes Fossil Fuels (Yes, You Read That Correctly)

The B.C. government has quietly slipped subsidies for the natural gas sector into its climate plan, which has been panned as "cynical" by leading experts.

B.C.’s so-called Climate Leadership Plan, quietly released on August 19, includes a vague pledge to subsidize the electrification of upstream natural gas facilities in the northeast of the province, using “renewable” power from BC Hydro projects.

Saudi Arabia Is the Most Gender-Segregated Nation in the World

For decades, the United States has supported Saudi Arabia despite the latter country's record of human rights abuses and working against American interests. What explains this alliance that has endured across multiple US presidential administrations? Fearless firebrand Medea Benjamin tackles this question in her new book Kingdom of the Unjust. Get it now by making a donation to Truthout!

The following are two excerpts from the chapter, "The Struggle of Saudi Women for Equal Rights," in Kingdom of the Unjust.

David Duke And His Pals Loved Trump’s Immigration Speech

WASHINGTON ― Prominent members of the white supremacist movement applauded Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s immigration speech Wednesday.

David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader and current Senate candidate in Louisiana, called the speech “excellent.” Jared Taylor, editor of the white nationalist publication American Renaissance, said it was a “hell of a speech. Almost perfect.”

Trump, in Major Immigration Speech, Is Back in Fear-Mongering Form

One never knows what Donald Trump will say – the candidate has flaunted his unpredictability for over a year. But now, finally, in the general election and with his stance on his core political identity in question, he has delivered the most anticipated speech of his political career. And here’s the answer. There will be no flip-flopping. There will be no “softening.” There will be no pivot.

If anyone had any doubts, Trump put them to rest on Wednesday evening.

Mexicans Scorn Trump’s Visit—And Peña Nieto for Having Invited Him

In March, Mexico’s embattled president, Enrique Peña Nieto, compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. “Unfortunately, there have been moments in the history of humanity,” Peña Nieto said in a newspaper interview of Trump’s anti-Mexican slurs, “when these expressions, this strident rhetoric, has led to ominous outcomes…. That’s how Mussolini and Hitler” took power.

Supreme Court Denies North Carolina’s Plea To Restore Swath Of Voting Restrictions

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a last-ditch request from North Carolina to reinstate a controversial set of voting restrictions that would have taken effect in the lead-up to the November election.

In a one-sentence order that did not include any reasoning, the high court declined the state’s petition, which sought to put on hold a July ruling that found the voting law discriminated against African-Americans and compared it to a relic of the Jim Crow era.

Capitalism and democracy: the strain is showing

Is the marriage between liberal democracy and global capitalism an enduring one? Political developments across the west — particularly the candidacy of an authoritarian populist for the presidency of the most important democracy — heighten the importance of this question. One cannot take for granted the success of the political and economic systems that guide the western world and have been a force of attraction for much of the rest for four decades. The question then arises: if not these, what?

The Strategic Savvy of Russia’s Growing Anti-Abortion Movement

Maria Studenikina fidgets with a laptop for a few minutes before beginning her presentation. Standing in front of the audience in a white blouse and blazer, she conveys an almost cherubic quality. As she outlines the goals of Save Life (Spasi zhizn), the charity program she helps coordinate, she speaks softly into a microphone, enunciating her words in the fashion of a zealous schoolteacher. “The main goal of our program is a reduction in the number of abortions by getting women who intend to terminate their pregnancy to refuse the procedure, and to provide social and psychological help to motivate them to backtrack and save the life of the child.”

U.S. Strategy to Fight ISIS Has Set Off a New Conflict in Syria

Five years after the start of Syria’s uprising, the Turkish military directly entered the fray last week, sending troops to occupy the northern Syrian town of Jarablus, previously held by the militant group the Islamic State. Turkey’s intervention represents a significant escalation of the conflict, as well as a sign that the country is likely to take a more aggressive approach to foreign policy following July’s failed military coup and subsequent purge.

North Korea executes officials with anti-aircraft gun in new purge – report

North Korea’s purge of senior officials who are deemed a threat to Kim Jong-un’s leadership of the country has continued with the public executions of two senior officials, according to South Korean media, possibly to generate fear among members of the elite after recent high-level defections.

The conservative daily, the JoongAng Ilbo, reported on Tuesday that Hwang Min, a former agriculture minister, and Ri Yong-jin, a senior official at the education ministry, were executed by anti-aircraft gun at a military academy in Pyongyang earlier this month.

China’s Trans-Amazon Railway Would Punch a Path Through a Rainforest

China’s fast-rising population and its burgeoning economy make steep demands on natural resources, so steep that Beijing is searching constantly for supplies from overseas. And it wants to obtain them, naturally, as cheaply as it can.

Now in prospect is China’s trans-Amazon railway— a 3,300-mile-long (5,000 km) artery to link the soya-growing areas and iron ore mines of Brazil to the southern Peruvian port of Ilo, providing a cheaper, shorter route than the Panama Canal.

Inside the Head of a Trump Supporter

Sometimes you have to go a long, long way to discover truths that are distinctly close to home. Over the last five years, I’ve done just that—left my home in iconically liberal Berkeley, California, and traveled to the bayous of Tea Party Louisiana to find another America that, as Donald Trump’s presidential bid has made all too clear, couldn’t be closer to home for us all. From those travels, let me offer a kind of real-life parable about a man I came to admire who sums up many of the contradictions of our distinctly Trumpian world.

Two Terrible Ideas, on Their Way to History’s Dustbin

A recent Gallup poll found that worries about race relations were at an all-time high in the United States, and it’s easy to see why. This has been a summer of horrific violence born of bias and racism, perpetuating an epidemic of police shootings and mass killings. It has also been a summer of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump baiting crowds at rallies until they scream racial epithets into television cameras, while he promises to usher in a neo-Nixonian era of “law and order” to police people of color in our urban cores.

Welfare Was ‘Reformed’ 20 Years Ago This Week. I’ve Suffered the Consequences.

This country has a penchant for plans to end poverty that do nothing to actually help families struggling to make ends meet.

This week marks the 20th anniversary of welfare reform, which created work requirements and other barriers for families who need the most basic cash assistance.  The legislation was aimed at getting people to become self-sufficient.  As then-President Bill Clinton put it, “No one who can work should be able to stay on welfare forever.”

Goodbye, Harper. Good riddance.

Like fame and drugs, politics consumes its own.

Stephen Harper is no exception. Marketed as the archetypal Strong Leader, he ends as a rickety Wizard of Oz. Out of office, he was left wriggling and exposed when the curtain of power was drawn back. It revealed a very small man in a very big office. He didn’t so much leave public life as skulk away.

He gave not a single interview after getting waxed in the 2015 election by Justin Trudeau. Las Vegas proved more attractive to the MP from Calgary Heritage than the House of Commons, where, post-defeat, he lurked rather than sat. And while he was doing little for his constituents other than cashing his paycheck, he did find time to set up his political consulting company in Calgary after a few visits to U.S. casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson. Adelson is the man who has promised, but not yet delivered, $100 million to support Donald Trump’s presidential bid.

Governor Of Maine Says People Of Color Are ‘The Enemy,’ Implies They Should Be Shot

In a Friday press conference following his homophobic remarks about a state lawmaker, Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) called people of color and people of Hispanic origin “the enemy” and implied they should be shot.

“A bad guy is a bad guy. I don’t care what color he is. When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red,” he said. “You shoot the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.”

Harper the hypocrite

With Friday’s announcement of the resignation of the MP for Calgary Heritage, the political career of Stephen Harper officially ends and the debate over his legacy begins.

The Alberta talk shows and Twitter traffic have been overwhelmingly positive. But like all legacies, Harper’s will be mixed. A balanced budget in 2015 has to be measured against the string of deficits that preceded it, after Prime Minister Harper inherited a sizeable surplus from the Martin/Chretien era. Over nine years as PM, Harper added significantly to the national debt. Harper ran deficits seven out of nine years and added over $150 billion in red ink.

Russians march into Georgia as full-scale war looms

Russia's punitive campaign in the Caucasus threatened to intensify into all-out war against Georgia last night, with Russian troops seizing control of strategic towns a couple of hours from the capital, and aircraft pounding Georgian infrastructure.

Vastly outnumbered by the Kremlin's ground and air forces, the Georgian government announced it was pulling back its troops to defend the capital, Tbilisi, against a feared Russian onslaught. Washington accused the Kremlin of long preparing an invasion of Georgia in "aggression that must not go unanswered".

A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories

STOCKHOLM — With a vigorous national debate underway on whether Sweden should enter a military partnership with NATO, officials in Stockholm suddenly encountered an unsettling problem: a flood of distorted and outright false information on social media, confusing public perceptions of the issue.

The claims were alarming: If Sweden, a non-NATO member, signed the deal, the alliance would stockpile secret nuclear weapons on Swedish soil; NATO could attack Russia from Sweden without government approval; NATO soldiers, immune from prosecution, could rape Swedish women without fear of criminal charges.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Why Did the Saudi Regime and Other Gulf Tyrannies Donate Millions to the Clinton Foundation?

As the numerous and obvious ethical conflicts surrounding the Clinton Foundation receive more media scrutiny, the tactic of Clinton-loyal journalists is to highlight the charitable work done by the foundation, and then insinuate — or even outright state — that anyone raising these questions is opposed to its charity. James Carville announced that those who criticize the foundation are “going to hell.” Other Clinton loyalists insinuated that Clinton Foundation critics are indifferent to the lives of HIV-positive babies or are anti-gay bigots.

China doesn't give a damn what Canada thinks

The cheerleaders have been out in force over the last few days, spreading rose petals along the route that Justin Trudeau will take on his first official visit to China next week, ahead of the two-day G20 leaders’ summit early next month.

The themes employed by Trudeau’s fans are time-honoured and brightly polished. They’re also questionable at best, downright nonsense at worst.

How Obama Helped Lay the Groundwork for Trump’s Thuggery

It is no secret that we are living in an age when we are constantly bombarded by images of murder, beatings, police brutality, and the carnage of suicide bombings on television, in the newspapers, and on the Internet. And we all know that America has the highest rate of imprisonment, as well as of murder and suicide by firearms, of any “civilized” country in the world. What is new is that a man running for the office of president often sounds like a thug, and that his offhand threats and insults seem only to galvanize the loyalty of his millions of supporters, the most recent example being Trump’s provocative line that “Second Amendment people” could stop Hillary Clinton.

Viktor Orbán’s Potemkin referendum

On October 2, Hungarians will vote in a referendum on Europe’s plan to relocate refugees throughout the continent. The controversial vote is being heavily promoted by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and perceived similarities to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union have heightened interest in its outcome.

And yet, it would be a mistake to give too much weight to Orbán’s referendum. The vote is more of a public relations endeavor than an expression of democratic will — an attempt to strengthen Orbán’s image as the leader of an emerging populist, nationalistic and regressive Europe.

How Isis came to be

Three years ago, the Islamic State (Isis) did not exist; now it controls vast swaths of Syria and Iraq. Showing off its handiwork daily via Twitter and YouTube, Isis has repeatedly demonstrated that it is much more than a transnational terrorist organisation – rather, it is an entity with sophisticated command, control, propaganda and logistical capabilities, and one that has proven its ability to take and hold strategically critical territory at the heart of the Middle East.

Goodale invests $138 million to upgrade indefinite detention, not reform it

On Monday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced the federal government would be pouring $138 million into upgrading immigration detention facilities across Canada. Two detention centres, in Quebec and British Columbia, will also be replaced.

The announcement comes after Goodale refused to meet with hunger-striking immigration detainees in two maximum security Ontario prisons.

Turkey and Iran Reach Agreement on Conditions for Syria Peace

In a stunning diplomatic surprise, Turkey and Iran have announced a preliminary agreement on fundamental principles for a settlement of the Syrian conflict.

The dramatic turn in the diplomacy of the Syria War was revealed in Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim's regular weekly speech to the ruling AKP Party in the parliament and confirmed by a senior Iranian foreign ministry official Tuesday.

Trump’s Speech On Terrorism Was An Inexcusable Exercise In Scapegoating and Scaremongering

On Monday, Donald Trump gave a speech at Youngstown State University that amounted to an overlong, incoherent exercise in scaremongering. Most of the press coverage, almost uniformly negative, focused on the Republican nominee’s call for the “extreme vetting” of visa applicants. But there was much more to it than that.

A good rule of thumb for knowing you are in the presence of a crank is when he starts in on how Islamofascism or, as Trump repeatedly called it “Radical Islamic Terrorism” is the great challenge of our age, comparable to the challenges posed by the three great, sinister ideologies of the 20th century: Fascism, Nazism, and Communism. That was Trump’s opening gambit; it only went downhill from there.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

North Carolina Won’t Stop Suppressing the Vote

North Carolina has spent $5 million and counting defending the country’s worst voting restrictions, which the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit said targeted black voters with “almost surgical precision.” The state waited 17 days after that ruling, then asked the Supreme Court yesterday to reinstate its voter-ID law, cuts to early voting and ban on pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds. Governor Pat McCrory hired Paul Clement, the former solicitor general in the Bush administration who argued against Obamacare and for the Defense of Marriage Act before the Supreme Court, to represent the state.

Is Angela Corey the Cruelest Prosecutor in America?

In March of 2011, 12-year-old Cristian Fernandez was taken into an interview room at a Jacksonville, Florida, police station and interrogated by Michelle Soehlig, a ponytailed female officer. Before Soehlig began questioning him, she told the child, “These are your constitutional rights,” and slid over a document listing the Miranda warnings, familiar to anyone who’s seen an episode of Law & Order. Cristian was otherwise alone, squirmy, resting his head on his chubby arms and sometimes talking to himself, as if practicing what to say to the adults who would question him, muttering, “Pow! Pow! Pow!” He responded to Soehlig’s questions with a barely audible “Uh-huh,” so she prompted him to say “Yes.” It was after 2 am.

Venezuela Is Descending Into Chaos. Now This Issue Is on America’s Doorstep.

Earlier this year, Venezuelan journalist and political scientist Francisco Toro described his home country as "the world's most visibly failing state." And now, amid a worsening economic crisis, a crackdown on political opposition, and increasing violent crime, more and more of his countrymen are seeking haven in the United States.