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.]

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

What if Western media covered Charlottesville the same way it covers other nations

If we talked about what happened in Charlottesville the same way we talk about events in a foreign country, here’s how Western media would cover it. Those quoted in the “story” below are fictional.

The international community is yet again sounding the alarm on ethnic violence in the United States under the new regime of President Trump. The latest flash point occurred this past weekend when the former Confederate stronghold of Charlottesville descended into chaos following rallies of white supremacist groups protesting the removal of statues celebrating leaders of the defeated Confederate states. The chaos turned deadly when Heather Heyer, a member of the white ethnic majority who attended the rally as a counterprotester, was killed when a man with neo-Nazi sympathies allegedly drove his car into a crowd.

White supremacist rallies are planned for at least nine cities this weekend — here’s what to expect

A few blocks away, I arrived at the edge of Emancipation Park, where the rally was supposed to have taken place, to find skirmishes already underway between right-wing extremists and members of the loose alliance known as AntiFa (for anti-fascist). Smoke billowed near the AntiFa contingent, perhaps from one of its own canisters, or maybe a so-called flash-bang hurled by police. It was all so chaotic, that it was difficult to understand what was taking place.

Monday, December 18, 2017

7 Years Before Russia Hacked the Election, Someone Did the Same Thing to Climate Scientists

One Saturday morning in June, two days after the president had announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris climate agreement, Michael Mann was tweeting about Donald Trump.

Mann, a Penn State professor who is one of the world’s most prominent climate scientists, was thinking about the daily barrage of revelations surrounding Russia’s efforts to help Trump win the previous year’s election. The hacked Democratic documents posted on WikiLeaks. The media craze over private emails that had been ripped out of context. Smear campaigns circulating on social media.

“#Russia #Wikileaks #HackedEmails #Sabotaged #ClimateAgreements,” tweeted Mann. “Why does this story sound so darned familiar?”

Sunday, October 15, 2017

White privilege turned deadly in Charlottesville: How would police have reacted if a mob of angry black people had gathered there?

I offer the following thought experiment.

Last weekend, hundreds of white supremacists and other right-wing extremists descended upon the city of Charlottesville, Virginia. They planned their "Unite the Right" rally months ago on the internet and in other public forums. The organizers encouraged their followers to bring weapons to Charlottesville. Many did so.

On Friday night, hundreds of white supremacists marched through the city, torches in hand, channeling the brutality and evil of the American Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis of Hitler's Germany. These white supremacists encircled a black church and threatened to burn it down -- and by implication kill all the people inside. This same gang of thugs then surrounded a group of University of Virginia students and beat them.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The long history of civil rights protests making white people uncomfortable

President Trump has launched a three-day campaign against a group of mostly black NFL players who have chosen to kneel during the national anthem before football games to protest racism in America. On Friday, he said players who protest in this way should be fired and, when most NFL owners rallied in support of their players, Trump expressed support for a boycott of the league.

Friday, September 08, 2017

“There’s No Middle Ground”

Alicia Garza, whose 2013 Facebook post in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, created a hashtag that later became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement, is arguably now one of the most influential civil rights leaders of this century. Garza, 36, and her fellow co-founders have since expanded their fledgling racial justice group, Black Lives Matter Global Network, into a national organization with dozens of chapters. BLM members have pushed for criminal justice reforms and worked to elect black candidates to public office. Their activities during the 2016 campaign pressured Democratic presidential hopefuls to publicly acknowledge the movement and the racial disparities it is trying to change.

Monday, August 28, 2017

How We Got from George W. Bush to Donald Trump: Liberals Had More to Do with It Than We’d Like to Think

The arrival of Donald J. Trump feels like the completion of the cycle I was writing about in the early George W. Bush years. It is all too easy to get caught up in the moment, though fears are understandably high, and not think about the deep-seated anomalies and contradictions in the body politic that have brought America to the cusp of out-and-out fascism. Even if Trump’s policies turn out in the end to be not as fearsome as he has repeatedly stated, his explicit persona and policy positions take us very far out of the realm of normal democracy. It has become fashionable lately to excuse George W. Bush for being a “moderate” in comparison with Trump, but it should not be forgotten that Bush was the original American fascist; everything Trump, or a future would-be authoritarian, might do is predicated on the radical innovations Bush introduced in our political style, subverting the constitution and changing the balance between liberty and security in ways that have had permanent impact.

The Ugly, Violent Clichés of White-Supremacist Terrorism

Smoke dissolving into a night sky. Bright light from torches reflected on faces. Those faces stretched into snarls. The images out of Charlottesville, Virginia, on Friday and Saturday are unsettling—but also pathetic, also exasperating—for their boring timelessness. There’s little less original than white racists shouting in the heat. Everybody’s seen the shape of these crowds; everybody knows the list of their grievances. The “Unite the Right” rally, with its secondhand slogans—“blood and soil,” “Jew will not replace us”—and its hand-me-down flags was still less shocking given Charlottesville’s recent history. Back in May, Richard Spencer, America’s latest smirking white supremacist, led a march of the so-called alt-right on the city. Just last month, members of the Ku Klux Klan took their turn. More regrettable visual clichés: stars and bars, tear gas and riot masks. Both groups claimed as inspiration another image, as old and iconic, in its way, as their cause: the form of Robert E. Lee astride his horse. Charlottesville’s city council voted to sell the statue of the general that stands at Lee Park, renamed Emancipation Park, and the ensuing chaos—a summer-long reactionary tantrum—has yet to wane.

When Does a Fringe Movement Stop Being Fringe?

Suddenly, the “far right” doesn’t seem so far. On Friday night, hundreds of protesters descended on a statue of Confederate hero Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. Carrying tiki torches, waving Confederate battle flags, and sometimes armed with clubs and shields and flanked by self-styled militiamen with heavier arms, the protesters, described by many as “white nationalists,” brawled with counter-protesters in Charlottesville streets, a situation that led Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency Saturday.

The Two Andrew Jacksons

This spring, a mere 172 years after his death, Andrew Jackson was back in the news. In March, Donald Trump made a quick visit to the Hermitage, the once-sprawling plantation that our seventh president had outside of Nashville. Jackson, Trump declared, was “the People’s President,” a man who “shook the establishment like an earthquake.” Several weeks later, Trump gave an interview in which he made the bizarre claim that Jackson “was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War,” and went on to tweet that Jackson “would never have let it happen” if he’d still been sitting in the White House.

Gulf Government Gave Secret $20 Million Gift To D.C. Think Tank

The United Arab Emirates is on pace to contribute $20 million over the course of 2016 and 2017 to the Middle East Institute, one of Washington’s leading think tanks, according to a document obtained by The Intercept. The outsized contribution, which the UAE hoped to conceal, would allow the institute, according to the agreement, to “augment its scholar roster with world class experts in order to counter the more egregious misperceptions about the region, inform U.S. government policy makers, and convene regional leaders for discreet dialogue on pressing issues.”

The Largest Fascist Rally in Recent Memory Is Expected This Week—It Must Be Challenged

The August 12 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, looks like it will be the largest organized racist demonstration in recent memory. But that's not the only reason it is important. First, while there have been dozens of far-right rallies since Trump's election, this will be the first major, national rally run by the alt-right's openly white nationalist wing. Second, after months of arguments, this is also an opportunity for a large swath of progressives to come together in opposition to the far right.

Russian surveillance plane soars over the Pentagon, Capitol and other Washington sights

A Russian surveillance plane soared through secure airspace over Washington on Wednesday, presumably collecting intelligence as it traveled near the Pentagon, the Capitol and other government buildings, two U.S. officials said.

The Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft made the flight through the Treaty on Open Skies, which Russia, the United States and 32 other nations have signed. The treaty established criteria under which countries can make unarmed observation flights over the soil of other treaty members in an effort to promote transparency and international arms control efforts, according to the State Department.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Left’s Misguided Debate Over Kamala Harris

Back in January, after Donald Trump had nominated Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary, I uncovered a leaked document from the California attorney general’s office that showed OneWest Bank repeatedly broke foreclosure laws under Mnuchin’s six-year reign as CEO and then chairman. Prosecutors in the state’s Justice Department wanted to file a civil enforcement action against the company for “widespread misconduct,” but the attorney general at the time, Kamala Harris, overrode the recommendation and declined to prosecute. She never gave a reason.

Former CIA spy believes Putin intentionally left paper trail from Trump Tower to the Kremlin

While President Donald Trump continues to deny that Russia was involved in hacking the 2016 election, intelligence agencies maintain they were and continue to be. One former CIA station chief believes the reports and warns that they show no sign of slowing.

In an NPR interview, Daniel Hoffman recalled his time spent at a U.S. diplomatic compound in Moscow. He warned that every American official should consider themselves a target.

Alex Jones hosts Russian ultra-nationalist to pressure Trump to fire McMaster

Alex Jones hosted a Russian ultra-nationalist this week to push President Donald Trump to fire his national security adviser — who has become a target of the so-called “alt-right.”

The InfoWars broadcaster invited Russian political philosopher Aleksandr Dugin to discuss the “globalist” threats to Trump’s agenda — particularly national security adviser H.R. McMaster, reported Business Insider.

Vacationing like a 'real' man: Photos from Putin's macho holiday seen as part of re-election bid

It seems there is no such thing as too much of Vladimir Putin's bare chest.

For the second time in three days, the Kremlin has released video of the Russian president's recent macho holiday adventures in Siberia — with even more hunting, boating and underwater spearfishing — and plenty of new scenes of a shirtless Putin enjoying the outdoors.

'They're basically running hotels': Property management companies Airbnb's biggest winners

A small number of commercial property managers generate a majority of Airbnb's overall revenue, eating up available housing stock and driving up rent in Canada's three biggest cities, a new study from Montreal's McGill University concludes.

"Just 10 per cent of hosts account for a majority of the revenue and the nights booked on Airbnb consistently in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal," said the study's lead author, David Wachsmuth, a McGill professor of urban planning, in an interview on CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

How America Lost Its Mind

“You are entitled to your own opinion,
but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

— Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“We risk being the first people in history to have been
able to make their illusions so vivid, so persuasive,
so ‘realistic’ that they can live in them.”

— Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to
Pseudo-Events in America (1961)

When did America become untethered from reality?

Fossil fuel subsidies are a staggering $5 tn per year

Fossil fuels have two major problems that paint a dim picture for their future energy dominance. These problems are inter-related but still should be discussed separately. First, they cause climate change. We know that, we’ve known it for decades, and we know that continued use of fossil fuels will cause enormous worldwide economic and social consequences.

Second, fossil fuels are expensive. Much of their costs are hidden, however, as subsidies. If people knew how large their subsidies were, there would be a backlash against them from so-called financial conservatives.

Deadly heat wave, nicknamed ‘Lucifer,’ engulfs Europe

A summer of record-breaking heat continues around the world, as Europe sweats under a heatwave so intense locals have dubbed it “Lucifer.”

The heat wave, which stretches from Eastern Europe to parts of France, Italy, and Spain, has already caused at least six deaths, slowed traffic, and sparked wildfires. Over the weekend, temperatures in southern Spain reached high as 111°F, while the south of France saw temperatures near 104°F.

As Venezuela turns bleak, where should young, left-wing idealists turn?

Among the secondary tragedies emanating from the current political, social, and economic mess in Venezuela is this: for young, left-wing idealists elsewhere, a magnet for their hopes is fading. I think each generation deserves a chance to believe in the actualization of the dreams and ideals they discover in adolescence. It gives them something to work with as they age and evolve.

What’s It Like to See a Democracy Destroyed?

What’s it like to watch a country implode? To see a democracy destroyed and an economy crater?

Since 2014, American journalist Hannah Dreier has documented just that in Venezuela, once one of the world’s wealthiest nations and still home to what are believed to be the planet’s largest oil reserves. She wrote for the Associated Press about what it was like to live in a place with the world’s highest murder rate—and the world’s highest rate of inflation. About the breakdown of hospitals and schools, and how the obesity epidemic that plagued a rich country was quickly replaced with people so hungry they were rooting through the garbage on her doorstep.

The U.S. Has More to Lose Than Russia in Spy Expulsions

In December of last year, two Russian intelligence officers met in the Washington, D.C., area with a potential source they hoped had valuable information regarding the inner workings of the Obama White House. At the meeting, the Russians probed for clues on what steps the Obama Administration—then in its final days—might take to punish Russia for its interference in the 2016 election.

According to a senior U.S. official, unbeknownst to the Russians, their source was not actually a White House mole but a U.S. counterintelligence asset. Of the options that the Obama Administration was considering, none trickled back to the Russians.

The Left’s Supporting Role in American Hate Theater

On the second Saturday in July, more than 1,000 people showed up in a small Southern city to shout down the Ku Klux Klan. That very same afternoon, up North, left-wing counter-protesters chased a band of alt-right Proud Boys out of a public park where they’d tried to rally. It’s been like that throughout this Summer of Hate, fifty years removed from the so-called Summer of Love. Wherever they’ve tried to assemble, both old and new-school white supremacists have found themselves routinely outnumbered, outshouted, out-organized, and out-brawled by the left.

When it talks like a fascist, walks like a fascist and squawks like a fascist ...

They say that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I used to think that referred to politicians who achieved a frightening level of leverage over their societies. No holds barred, no limits to their authority. Chancellor Hitler, Prime Minister Mussolini, President Vladimir Putin. Dictators.

But given the nightmare that is the Trump regime, I have revisited that interpretation of the cliche. It is getting clearer by the day that power also corrupts those who see the benefit of serving any regime, no matter how dark it may be.

The Rise of the Violent Left

Since 1907, Portland, Oregon, has hosted an annual Rose Festival. Since 2007, the festival had included a parade down 82nd Avenue. Since 2013, the Republican Party of Multnomah County, which includes Portland, had taken part. This April, all of that changed.

In the days leading up to the planned parade, a group called the Direct Action Alliance declared, “Fascists plan to march through the streets,” and warned, “Nazis will not march through Portland unopposed.” The alliance said it didn’t object to the Multnomah GOP itself, but to “fascists” who planned to infiltrate its ranks. Yet it also denounced marchers with “Trump flags” and “red maga hats” who could “normalize support for an orange man who bragged about sexually harassing women and who is waging a war of hate, racism and prejudice.” A second group, Oregon Students Empowered, created a Facebook page called “Shut down fascism! No nazis in Portland!”

UN Syria investigator quits over concern about Russian obstruction

Obstructions placed in the way of Syrian war crimes prosecutions by the United Nations and Russia contributed to the decision of Carla Del Ponte, a renowned war crimes prosecutor, to resign as one of three members of a UN commission of inquiry.

Her decision, announced on Sunday in Switzerland, has dealt a heavy blow to the commission’s credibility. Del Ponte joined in September 2012, bringing her considerable experience as a war crimes prosecutor in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia to the civil war in Syria. However, she said her role had come to be an alibi for inaction.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Here's The Story Behind The Fighter Pilot Who Made That Viral Campaign Ad

Amy McGrath knew when she was 12 years old that she wanted to fly fighter jets. She also knew that she wasn’t allowed to.

So McGrath launched an aggressive letter-writing campaign to lawmakers in her home state of Kentucky. She wrote to her congressman, who told her “women ought to be protected and not allowed to serve.” She then targeted Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who never replied. Finally, she wrote to every member of the Armed Services committees in both houses of Congress. Most of them ignored her, so she tried writing letters to the editor for her local newspapers instead.

Inside the Cult of Assange

It is hard to lose your illusions. Especially when they were once embedded with hope for a better world. Such is the case with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

Laura Poitras’s new film Risk follows six years in the life of Assange, the leading figure behind WikiLeaks, the organization that has released hundreds of thousands of secret documents. The film is permeated by a slow, bleak disappointment that seeps through the narrative like dirty water. This does not make for the most electrifying story, but it is a necessary one, an awakening, if you will, from the fantasia of promises to change the world to the plain old boring stuff of betrayal, failure, ego, and blindness.

The End of This Road: The Decline of the Palestinian National Movement

As President Trump prepares for yet another attempt to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the ground is shifting under his feet. While Israel’s willingness to offer an acceptable deal is increasingly open to question, with nothing to suggest that its terms are likely to soften with time, the Palestinians are sliding toward the unknown. With the slow but sure decay of the Palestinian political scene, the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), represents the last slender chance for a negotiated settlement: he is the sole remaining national leader of his people with sufficient, if dwindling, authority to sign and ratify a deal. For President Trump and his team, as well as for all those seeking to end this century-plus-old conflict, there should be no doubt about the moment’s urgency. After Abbas, there will be no other truly weighty representative and legitimate Palestinian leadership, and no coherent national movement to sustain it for a long time to come.

Meet the Reporter Driving Fox News’s Biggest, Craziest Stories

On May 16, the day after The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump had divulged intelligence secrets to two Russian officials in the Oval Office, Sean Hannity devoted much of his show to the murder of 27-year-old Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. Using a report from Fox 5, a Fox News affiliate in Washington, D.C., Hannity relayed the allegation that Rich had been in contact with WikiLeaks prior to his death—the suggestion being that Rich was the source of the hacked DNC emails in the 2016 election, not Russian hackers. Hannity would continue to talk about Rich’s murder for the next week. Breitbart and the Drudge Report also led with the Rich story, not the story about Trump.

Sir Vince Cable Attacks Elderly Brexit ‘Martyrs’ Who Have ‘Shafted The Young’

Sir Vince Cable has lashed out at hardline Brexit “martyrs” who view economic pain as a price worth paying to break away from Brussels.

The Liberal Democrat leader accused them of “masochism” and claimed older Brexit voters with views “coloured by nostalgia from an imperial past” had imposed their will on a younger generation more comfortable with the European Union.

The Myth of Reverse Racism

Contrary to initial indications, the civil-rights division of the Department of Justice won’t be dismantling affirmative action after all. At least, that’s the current word from Trump administration officials, after a New York Times article claimed the department would be using the broad powers of justice to take on universities that it decided had discriminated against white people. The DOJ since clarified that it was gearing up to investigate complaints from dozens of organizations alleging that certain universities used quotas—which are illegal—to limit the number of Asian American enrollees.

It’s 2017, and Most States Still Allow Shackling of Prisoners During Labor and Delivery

A few weeks ago, a group of Democratic senators introduced the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, which would compel federal prison officials to be more attentive to the unique needs of female inmates when it comes to things like parenting, visitation, and access to health care. Among the bill’s provisions is a federal ban on restraints for pregnant prisoners—who in many states can still be forced to go through labor and delivery while shackled to a bed. As a medical resident, Dr. Carolyn Sufrin—who is now a medical anthropologist and an OB-GYN at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine—delivered the baby of one such prisoner and was appalled by the inhumanity of it. Her recent book, Jailcare: Finding The Safety Net for Women Behind Bars, explores the experiences of pregnant women who gave birth while incarcerated. I reached out to Sufrin to learn more about prison births, the problems of impoverished pregnant women, and how to reform a male-dominated justice system that often fails to attend to women’s concerns.

The Difficult Voyage of Martin Shkreli, the Pharma Bro, Comes to an End

As the deliberations in the Martin Shkreli trial dragged into their fifth day, the possibility that he could end up facing a deadlocked jury, or even an acquittal, started to seem increasingly real. So did the potential for yet another embarrassing setback for the government when it comes to prosecuting white-collar crime. Instead, on Friday afternoon, in Brooklyn, the jury delivered a victory, of sorts, to the government, finding Shkreli guilty on three of the eight counts with which he’d been charged—including the two most serious ones, of securities fraud. After the verdict was read, Shkreli stood outside the courthouse and said that he was “delighted, in many ways” with the result, and that “this was a witch hunt of epic proportions.”

Brexit: Why ‘Project Fear’s’ Predictions Could Be Coming True After All

“Let’s just remember what a shock really means,” David Cameron told factory workers last March. “It means jobs being lost. It means mortgage rates might rise. It means businesses closing. It means hardworking people losing their livelihoods.”

Yet such claims made during the EU referendum about the financial consequence of Brexit did not play out as many Remainers had predicted.

Meet Hatreon, the new favorite website of the alt-right

Finding funding on the internet is hard—especially if your ideas are despised by almost everyone. Just ask members of the alt-right, the pro-Donald Trump white nationalist movement that received considerable attention during the 2016 presidential election. These guys often get barred from online funding platforms like Patreon, GoFundMe and PayPal.

Enter Hatreon, a new crowdfunding service. Like Patreon, Hatreon allows users to donate money to their favorite internet personalities, while the website takes a small cut. But Hatreon doesn’t have any “hate speech” restrictions. Which is perhaps why it’s attracted controversial figures such as alt-right leader Richard Spencer and Andrew Anglin, founder of neo-Nazi news site The Daily Stormer.

Why is the “deep state” on the tip of so many tongues these days?

The politics of the American deep state have grown more explicit in the six months of the Trump presidency.

Rosie Gray of reports that Rich Higgins, an NSC staff director and former Pentagon official, was recently fired for circulating a memo arguing that a “deep state” of leftists, globalists and Islamic sympathizers poses a threat to the Trump administration and to U.S. national security.

    His dismissal marks the latest victory by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in the ongoing war within Trump’s White House between those who believe that the president is under threat from dark forces plotting to undermine him, and those like McMaster who dismiss this as conspiratorial thinking.

Who’s right?

Black Women Have to Work 7 Months Longer Than White Men to Receive the Same Pay

July 31st is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, the day that marks how long into 2017 an African American woman would have to work in order to be paid the same wages as her white male counterpart was paid last year. Black women are uniquely positioned to be subjected to both a racial pay gap and a gender pay gap. In fact, on average, black women workers are paid only 67 cents on the dollar relative to white non-Hispanic men, even after controlling for education, years of experience, and location.

Why does this wage gap exist for black women?

It's going to take more than new anchors to fix the drifting CBC

CBC president Hubert Lacroix hit the nail on the head, though his eyes were probably tightly closed at the time: Public broadcasters, he said in a 2015 presentation, “risk being boiled to death.”

Correct. For their greed, mismanagement, badly outdated mandate, second-rate products and terminal arrogance.

Sadly, it didn’t take Hubert long to get back into whine mode. Speaking at an international public broadcaster’s convention in Munich, Lacroix belly-ached that budget cuts could threaten the continued existence of outfits like the CBC.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Massachusetts Is Ground Zero in the Battle for the Soul of the Democratic Party

The headline at The Boston Globe on Wednesday was incredulous: “Could 3 people from Massachusetts really run for president?” Yet it was a question the hometown paper had to ask this week, with news that Barack Obama is urging former Governor Deval Patrick to consider a White House bid and that Representative Seth Moulton plans to attend an Iowa steak fry this September. If either Patrick or Moulton wants to take on President Donald Trump in 2020, they could be entering a Democratic primary field “the size of an Iowa cornfield,” as New York magazine’s Ed Kilgore put it. They could also be facing a fellow Bay Stater who’s a national leader of the ascendent populist-progressive movement: Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Medicare-for-All Isn’t the Solution for Universal Health Care

Within the broad Democratic coalition, it’s pretty clear that the discussion of health care has shifted to the left. Mainstream figures like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a potential presidential candidate in 2020, are embracing single payer. Representative John Conyers’s Medicare-for-All bill currently has 115 Democratic co-sponsors in the House. And Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer recently said that single payer is now “on the table.” Assuming we have free and fair elections in the future, and Democrats regain power at some point, this is all very good news for single-payer advocates.

New Fox Harassment Allegations: “A Contributorship…Was Contingent Upon” Sex

A former frequent on-air guest at Fox News says that a Fox consultant and top lieutenant to Roger Ailes, the network’s late founder and longtime CEO, sexually harassed her repeatedly for more than a year, including dangling the possibility of a paid job at Fox if she would have sex with him.

The allegation appears in a written declaration by Caroline Heldman, an associate professor of politics at Occidental College who made numerous guest appearances on Fox starting in 2008. The Fox consultant, Woody Fraser, is a veteran television producer who helped create and produce shows such as Good Morning America and Wild and Crazy Kids* and worked closely with Ailes at Fox for nearly a decade. Fraser’s relationship with Ailes dated back to the 1960s, when he hired a young Ailes to work on The Mike Douglas Show. “It was the best hire I’ve ever made,” Fraser told an Ailes biographer.

Ken Livingstone Suggests Venezuela’s Problems Down To Hugo Chavez’s Decision Not To ‘Kill All The Oligarchs’

Ken Livingstone has suggested the crisis in Venezuela is in part due to president Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez’s decision not to “kill all the oligarchs” in the country.

The former London mayor said when he met Maduro he found no reason to believe him to be anything other than a “genuine democratic socialist”.

After damaging historic property and wetlands, pipeline CEO is ‘baffled’ by criticism

Kelcy Warren, Texas billionaire and CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, simply does not understand why people would be opposed to his pipeline projects.

In a letter sent to lawmakers on Monday, Warren said he was “baffled” by allegations that the Rover Pipeline, an Energy Transfer Partners project that would stretch from southwest Pennsylvania to Michigan, had violated federal regulations in constructing the pipeline.

The Handshake

On the Sunday before Christmas, in 2015, Hal Howard was pulling away from a party at his pastor’s house when he saw, standing in the street in front of him, a little girl. Howard slowed his pickup truck to a stop and tooted his horn. The girl didn’t move. At the same time, the girl’s father, Yousef Muslet, was playing with one of his sons on their front lawn. Muslet’s house sits opposite the pastor’s, in a prim, suburban neighborhood of Belle Glade, Florida. When Howard began honking at his daughter, Muslet walked up to the truck and introduced himself.

John Deere Is Against the Right to Repair Its Equipment

When I was a boy, I loved spending time with my Uncle Ernest and Aunt Eula on their small northeast Texas farm. They pulled a frugal living from their 50 acres, raising a little bit of everything. Doing a lot with a little to make ends meet, Ernest and Eula operated on principle of frugality expressed in an old country rhyme: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

This meant that when their tractor broke down, they fixed it themselves. Likewise, if their old Zenith console radio went on the fritz, they didn't just order a new one, they brought out their tool kit and fixed it.

Private Prison Demands New Mexico and Feds Find 300 More Prisoners in 60 Days or It Will Close

The nation’s second-largest private prison corporation is holding New Mexico politicians hostage by threatening to close unless the state or federal authorities find 300 more prisoners to be warehoused there, according to local news reports.

“The company that has operated a private prison in Estancia for nearly three decades has announced it will close the Torrance County Detention Facility and lay off more than 200 employees unless it can find 300 state or federal inmates to fill empty beds within the next 60 days,” the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reported last week.

Energy Department Scientists Barred From Attending Nuclear Power Conference

Edwin Lyman, a physicist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, was one of 30 U.S.-based scientists scheduled to speak at the quadrennial International Atomic Energy Agency conference on fast breeder nuclear reactors in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in late June. Lyman did not attend the previous two conferences, Kyoto in 2009 and Paris in 2013, and was looking forward to rubbing shoulders with hundreds of scientists from around the world, including more than two-dozen from U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories.

Universal Health Care Can Work: But the Case Must Be Made for How to Pay and How Money Will Be Saved

Progressives are riled up with renewed seize-the-day determination to turn Congress’ failure to gut Obamacare and Medicaid into a push for nationwide universal health care.

“JOIN THE MOVEMENT,” shouted a typical email blast Monday from the Progressive Turnout Project, quoting Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and, of course, asking for donations.

"I need your ideas re: Medicare-for-all," Sanders said via an email blast from