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, January 31, 2017

Trans-Pacific Partnership won't improve workers' rights in Asia, critics warn

Congressional Democrats and labor unions have in recent days vigorously attacked one of President Obama’s main arguments for the proposed Pacific trade deal – that it will increase worker protections in Vietnam and several other Asian countries.

These critics question Obama’s assertion that the pact will get Vietnam to grant real freedom of association to labor unions, despite a pattern of repression by the country’s communist government. The pact, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), includes Vietnam, Chile, Japan, Mexico and eight other countries that account for 40% of world trade.

Will the TPP really protect workers?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership being negotiated between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations has been characterized as the most progressive trade agreement in our history, with the strongest labor and environment provisions ever.

But what is the benchmark? To date, the United States has never had a trade agreement that protects basic rights and raises wages and living standards for working people. Previous agreements have failed to ensure the integrity of the democratic process and preserve consumer and environmental protections. Comparing this pact to previous agreements sets a pretty low bar.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Our democracies are drowning in a sea of lies

In a clickbait universe, a Trump is always king.

These days, the only thing melting away faster than the polar ice caps is democracy, largely because of the steady degradation of information. In the end, you are what you know.

With only 9 per cent of Canadians willing to pay for news online, an informational Dark Age looms. It’s already consumed the United States, where fake news is giving reality a run for its money — as illustrated by the magical mystery tour of one Donald J. Trump. Fake crowd sizes, fake numbers for illegal voting, fake promises.

The Rise Of Europe’s Far-Right Is ‘A Wake-Up Call’ For Democracy, Says Turkish Novelist

Elif Shafak is a celebrated novelist who lives in London and Istanbul. Her books include The Forty Rules of Love, Three Daughters of Eve and The Architect’s Apprentice, among many others. She spoke with The WorldPost in Zurich earlier this week in the wake of Donald Trump’s inauguration and a conference of European nationalist leaders.

Last weekend the far-right populist parties in Europe met together for the first time in Koblenz, Germany to coordinate their efforts. Marine Le Pen, the leader of the anti-immigrant National Front in France, said it was Europe’s time to “wake up” and follow President Donald Trump’s example in the United States. Do you see populists gaining power in continental Europe over the coming years, as they have in the U.S. and Britain? Is that a greater danger than in the U.S.?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

NAFTA and other trade deals have not gutted American manufacturing — period

Politically speaking, there was no debate on United States international trade agreements in 2016: All politicians seeking to win a national election, or even to create a party-spanning political coalition, agree that our trade agreements are bad things.

From the left, we had Democratic presidential primary runner-up Bernie Sanders — and a remarkably close runner-up he was — slamming trade. From the — I do not think it’s wrong but it’s not quite correct to call it “right,” at least not as Americans have hitherto understood what “right” is — but from somewhere, we had now-President Donald Trump. Listen to them: The rhetoric is the same.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Julian Assange reneges on promise to accept extradition if Chelsea Manning’s sentence is commuted

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is reneging on the promise he made last week to accept extradition to the United States if President Barack Obama granted clemency to Chelsea Manning.

“Mr. Assange welcomes the announcement that Ms. Manning’s sentence will be reduced and she will be released in May, but this is well short of what he sought,” said Barry Pollack, Assange’s U.S.-based attorney, in an email to The Hill on Wednesday.

Are third-party candidates spoilers? What voting data reveal

Green Party candidate Jill Stein does not see herself as a spoiler in the 2016 presidential race.

Her voters, Stein claims, would not have come to the polls had she not been in the race.

But what if Stein were wrong and she didn’t bring new voters to the polls? The number of votes Stein got in Michigan and Wisconsin exceeded the gap between Clinton and Trump in those states. If you assume that Stein voters were more liberal than conservative and therefore more likely to support Clinton than Trump, Stein could have been a spoiler in those two states.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Parting Words

After eight years, few lines from Barack Obama’s Presidential speeches stay in mind. For all his literary and oratorical gifts, he didn’t coin the kinds of phrases that stick with repetition, as if his distaste for politics generally—the schmoozing, the fakery—extended to the fashioning of slogans. He rarely turned to figurative language, and he never stooped to “Read my lips,” or even “Ask not what your country can do for you.” His most memorable phrase, “Yes we can,” spoke to the audacious odds of his own run for the Presidency, not a clear political vision. He sought to persuade by explaining and reasoning, not by simplifying or dramatizing—a form of respect that the citizenry didn’t always deserve.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Here’s how Jill Stein helps Putin promote his right-wing agenda to the American left

Jill Stein ran to the left of Hillary Clinton, but her views frequently line up with Vladimir Putin — whose policies contradict many of the left-wing values she champions.

Journalist Casey Michel reported for The Daily Beast on Stein’s political ties to Putin, who considers Clinton his enemy, and how the Kremlin-sponsored media outlets promote anti-American views aimed at both the far-right and far-left in the U.S.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Russian Reactions To Hacking Accusations And Sanctions Follow A Traditional Pattern: Deny Then Distort

MOSCOW ― To close out 2016, U.S. President Barack Obama authorized several actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the recent American presidential election, including expelling Russian diplomats and closing Russian government–owned compounds. These steps, described by some analysts as the biggest retaliation since the Cold War, drew a variety of reactions in Russia. While a number of Russian commentators on social networks habitually blamed Obama’s administration for weakness of response and animosity against Russia, the Kremlin chose a different approach. In an unusual act of moderation, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to postpone retaliation in the hope that U.S.-Russia relations will improve under the new Trump administration.

Friday, January 06, 2017

WikiLeaks alleges someone in the White House is leaking things, and that’s making them mad

WikiLeaks sent out a tweet on Friday morning angrily claiming, without evidence, that the Obama administration and CIA leaked an intelligence report on Russian hacking to NBC.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Paul Ryan Says the GOP Will Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood

During a news conference on Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the process to dismantle Obamacare will include stripping all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, but he did not provide much further detail.

His remarks come two days after a Republican-led House investigative panel released a report that recommended the health care provider be defunded. The investigative panel—created to examine allegations that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissue for profit—was then disbanded, because it was not reauthorized for a new Congress. Planned Parenthood was never found guilty of any wrongdoing at the state or federal level, despite multiple GOP-led investigations.

Texas Lieutenant Governor Introduces Anti-LGBTQ Bathroom Bill

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A Texas Republican state senator introduced legislation on Thursday to limit public restroom access for transgender people, despite warnings from a business group that the measure would hurt the Texas economy because it was discriminatory.

The “Texas Privacy Act” has been marked as a top legislative priority for Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a Republican and conservative Christian who guides the legislative agenda in the Republican-controlled state Senate. He said the measure protected the privacy and safety of Texans.

Trump and the Flawed Nature of US Democracy: An Interview With Noam Chomsky

Trump's presidential victory exposed to the whole world the flawed nature of the US model of democracy. Beginning January 20, both the country and the world will have to face a political leader with copious conflicts of interest who considers his unpredictable and destructive style to be a leadership asset. In this exclusive interview for Truthout, world-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky sheds light on the type of democratic model the US has designed and elaborates on the political import of Trump's victory for the two major parties, as this new political era begins.

Man told to take citizenship test despite living entire life in UK

A man born in London to German parents has been told he cannot get a British passport unless he takes a UK citizenship test because he cannot prove his mother was legally in the country when she gave birth.

Dom Wolf, 32, said he felt betrayed by the country in which he was born and has written to Theresa May in the hope she can intervene.

Paul Ryan pledges GOP’s first legislative action will defund Planned Parenthood

With majorities in Congress and the impending inauguration of Donald Trump, Republican lawmakers are wasting no time pursuing policy goals that threaten to imperil millions of Americans’ access to health care.

This week, GOP leaders moved forward with a plan to repeal Obamacare through a process called budget reconciliation, which will allow them to avoid a filibuster from their Democratic colleagues. Through this budget process, Republicans are asking House and Senate committees to produce legislation by January 27 that includes dismantling key parts of Obamacare.

House Republicans revive obscure rule that allows them to slash the pay of individual federal workers to $1

House Republicans this week reinstated an arcane procedural rule that enables lawmakers to reach deep into the budget and slash the pay of an individual federal worker — down to a $1 — a move that threatens to upend the 130-year-old civil service.

The Holman Rule, named after an Indiana congressman who devised it in 1876, empowers any member of Congress to offer an amendment to an appropriations bill that targets a specific government employee or program.

It was the racism, stupid: White working-class “economic anxiety” is a zombie idea that needs to die

On Jan. 20, Donald Trump will become president of the United States of America. Donald Trump is an authoritarian and demagogue who meets the definition of a fascist, as I have argued on multiple previous occasions. His election and the 60 million voters who supported him are a threat to American democracy.

How did this happen?

The first draft of this history is being written now. In the years and decades to come, we will have the benefit of hindsight, as well as more information and context, to make better sense of Donald Trump’s victory on Election Day 2016 and its implications for American democracy and global politics.

Levant faces libel claim for comparing activists to Nazis

A Montreal-based activist group filed a libel action against right wing activist Ezra Levant on Dec. 22, the same day that he lost his appeal against another libel judgment.

In the latest lawsuit, filed in Ontario Superior Court in Ottawa, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) allege that Levant defamed them by comparing them to Nazis and calling them “Jew-baiters.”

Chuck Schumer Answers Donald Trump’s ‘Clown’ Gibe

WASHINGTON ― If President-elect Donald Trump wants to call Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) a “clown,” he can expect an answer from his famously loquacious fellow New Yorker.

And Schumer was all too happy to offer one on Thursday when reporters asked about it at a news conference on Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump’s nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services.

Did Putin Direct Russian Hacking? And Other Big Questions Did Moscow influence the U.S. election? Who else has been hacked? Could the CIA be wrong? Gary Cameron / Reuters

Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Thursday: “Every American should be alarmed by Russia’s attacks on our nation.” The remarks were made in his opening statement at a hearing on foreign cyberthreats to the U.S. in which senior U.S. intelligence officials testified about the role Russia played in the U.S. election. (Our blog of the hearing is here)

Julian Assange Shaping Up To Be Next Conservative Hero

There's always a certain level of hypocrisy in politics. When you're in the majority, the filibuster is an obstructive, anti-democratic abomination. When you're in the minority, it's an important bulwark against mob rule.

But have we ever seen anything like the recent lovefest among conservatives for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange? "Julian, I apologize," cooed Sarah Palin. Sean Hannity poses the question of the day: "Who do you believe? Julian Assange or President Obama and Hillary Clinton." Donald Trump approvingly passed along Assange's contention that "a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta"1 and then asked, "why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!"

So far, this sudden outpouring of affection for Assange hasn't gone beyond the inner circle of Trump sycophants. But it might not be long before it does. If a third of Republicans can decide they think Vladimir Putin is a great guy as long as he's anti-Clinton, why not Julian Assange too?

1Just for the record: yes, a 14-year-old could have hacked Podesta. But in fact, a 14-year-old didn't hack Podesta. Here's the story.

Original Article

U.S. To Transfer 4 Guantanamo Bay Detainees To Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON, Jan 4 (Reuters) - The United States will transfer four detainees to Saudi Arabia from the Guantanamo Bay military prison in the next 24 hours, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, in President Barack Obama’s final push to shrink the inmate population there despite pressure from the president-elect to halt such releases.

It will be the first in Obama’s final flurry of transfers aimed at sending as many as 19 prisoners to at least four countries, including Italy, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, before Donald Trump is sworn in on Jan. 20.

One of the biggest legal guns in the country is coming for partisan gerrymandering

It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that the fate of the American Republic rests on how Justice Anthony Kennedy votes in Gill v. Whitford, a gerrymandering case that is all but certain to be heard by the Supreme Court. And now, that case is set to be argued by the single most qualified lawyer in the country to present such a case to the justices.

Last November, a three-judge federal court struck down Wisconsin’s state assembly maps, saying they were unconstitutionally drawn to advantage Republicans. That alone is a big deal. The Supreme Court has been highly skeptical of gerrymandering suits in the past. Though Kennedy refused to slam the door entirely shut to such suits, many obstacles remain in front of any attorney who seeks a federal court order against a gerrymandered map.

Donald Trump’s Alarmingly Trumpian Transition

With the House Republicans reversing themselves (temporarily, perhaps) on gutting the Office of Congressional Ethics, and Megyn Kelly jumping from Fox News to NBC News, the 2017 political-news cycle began with a bang on Tuesday. But there was no getting away from the story that overwhelms all others: in sixteen days, Donald Trump will become the forty-fifth President of the United States. Outside the Trump family and the alt-right, is there anyone who didn’t shudder a little as the ball dropped in Times Square on Saturday night?

The Republican Party’s Corruption Will Bring Them Down—Again

There’s nothing more consistent in national politics than the clockwork-like inconsistency of Republican budget deficit alarmism: They scream about the deficit when a Democrat occupies the White House, and go quiet when a Republican does.

After inheriting surpluses from President Bill Clinton in 2001, the GOP spent eight years not paying for new spending (on wars and a prescription drug benefit for seniors) while reducing taxes dramatically and in regressive fashion. When Republicans’ disastrous regime culminated in a crippling financial crisis, the structural deficits they had created mushroomed into the trillion-dollar-a-year range, after which they handed control of the government to Democrats and magically rediscovered the virtues of miserliness.

The Battle for Obamacare Begins Anew

After six years of legislative dry runs, the battle over repealing the Affordable Care Act is suddenly getting very real.

Republicans in the Senate on Wednesday voted to formally set in motion a complicated, multistep process that—they hope—will result in President Donald Trump signing a law in his first weeks in office that would scrap the key parts of President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement. On both sides of the Capitol, the parties began mobilizing for what will likely be the first pitched policy fight of the Trump presidency.

With One Bill, Republicans Fast Track Plan To Undo Obama Regulations

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday giving Congress the power to kill dozens of recently enacted rules in one fell swoop, as Republicans charged ahead on their campaign to strip down federal regulations.

It was the second time the Republican-dominated chamber took up legislation blocking “midnight rules,” those rolled out at the close of a president’s term. But the previous bill, introduced in November, had faced a certain veto from President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Republican Congresswoman Discovers Her Followers Love Obamacare

With Republicans convinced they need to repeal Obamacare ASAP but unsure of how they want to replace it, Rep. Marsha Blackburn issued a public plea for help on Tuesday. The Tennessee Republican—and member of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team—asked the Twitter masses to take a poll on whether they like the law. Turns out Blackburn's followers are pretty big fans of the Affordable Care Act, with 84 percent of the 7,968 votes opposing a repeal of Obamacare.

GOP Bill Would Slash Diplomatic Security Funds Unless Trump Moves U.S. Embassy To Jerusalem

WASHINGTON ― Three Republican senators — including two former presidential candidates who’ve long criticized former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi — introduced a bill on Tuesday that would halve funds for embassy security, construction and maintenance until the next president moves the U.S. Embassy in Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem.

Mitch McConnell Says Americans Won’t Tolerate Democrats Blocking Supreme Court Nominations

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a warning to Democrats on Wednesday, one day after the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland expired without any Senate action: Don’t consider staging a similar blockade on any of President-elect Donald Trump’s high court nominees.

Republicans’ Obamacare repeal plan will add $9 trillion to national debt, but that may not bother them

If Republicans use budget reconciliation to fast-track their repeal of the Affordable Care Act (colloquially known as Obamacare), they will have to accept a $9 trillion increase in the national deficit by 2026. By then, the national debt would reach $29 trillion.

Kansas Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican with libertarian leanings, has already vowed to oppose the reconciliation plan on the grounds that the budget resolution will add so much to the deficit.

Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity and Republicans in general have become Julian Assange fans and CIA doubters

It seems that hatred of Hillary Clinton can unite conservative Republicans such as Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the man whose website posted thousands of Clinton emails in the months leading up to the November elections.

When discussing the Joint Analysis Report that claimed to prove Russia was responsible for the hacking, Assange said that “on the top, there is a disclaimer saying nothing — there is no guarantee that any of this information is accurate.” When Hannity led Assange with the comment that “it’s a guess,” Assange shook his head and said, “I used to be a computer security expert. What they have is what they call indicators. So, a way to recognize if these tools, these alleged Russian tools, have been used on your system.”

Obama Urges Democrats To Stand Tall Against Assault On Obamacare

WASHINGTON ― Barack Obama paid what’s likely to be his last visit to Capitol Hill as president on Wednesday and beseeched congressional Democrats to fight to protect the Affordable Care Act from Republican efforts to unravel it.

With President-elect Donald Trump set to assume office in little more than two weeks, the GOP-led Congress is already moving forward with Republicans’ longstanding desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Obama sought to rally his party to do whatever it can to thwart them, despite the terrible odds.

Why Is Trump Siding With Assange Over the CIA?

We are through the looking glass now.

The next president of the United States is siding with Julian Assange, a man who wears his anti-Americanism proudly and acts like the textbook definition of a Russian asset, over the U.S. intelligence community – thousands of smart, patriotic people who work long hours for middling pay, some risking their lives to keep the rest of us safe.

Globalization Isn’t Doomed. It’s Evolving, With China As A Leader.

The worldwide debate about globalization has been upended by “the Trump phenomenon,” which has spread like wildfire across Europe and elsewhere. The two separate camps of “deglobalization” versus “reglobalization” are pitted against each other in a tug of war with no clear winner.

From a historical perspective, globalization has not been linear in its progress. There have been ups and downs and twists and turns. With several decades of fast growth of globalization, the world has reaped unprecedented benefits, but we have also seen a widening gap between the rich and the poor and a deeper division between capital and labor, as predicted by Karl Marx.

Keith Ellison Vows To Ban Lobbyist Contributions To The DNC

In a new video interview with The Huffington Post, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) pledged to ban contributions from lobbyists to the Democratic Party if he’s elected as its next chairman.

“Yeah, I would,” Ellison told HuffPost when asked about banning lobbyist donations. “I think it’s important that people feel that the party is their party … There is a pragmatic, perhaps too pragmatic step that you can say, ‘We’ll just take whatever money from whatever source in whatever amount.’ But once you do that, I think you cross a line where people do not feel that the party is really theirs.”

Donald Trump backs Julian Assange over Russia hacking claim

President-elect Donald Trump has backed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in casting doubt on intelligence alleging Russian meddling in the US election.

Mr Assange said Russia was not the source for the site's mass leak of emails from the Democratic Party.

Mr Trump has now backed that view in a tweet. He wrote: "Assange... said Russians did not give him the info!"

Blue States Must Become Even Bluer

For the past 20 years, the Republican Party has perversely rewritten former Supreme Court Louis Brandeis’s notion that states could be “laboratories of democracy.” Where Brandeis imagined state governments pushing liberal and progressive ideas beyond the national consensus, drawing the nation forward, Republicans have worked to preserve a dwindling white majority through gerrymandering and have used state governments not merely to slow down liberalism, but to turn it to dust and ash in the broad center of the country. In the so-called red states, liberalism is now often relegated to a kind of folklore-ish local practice in college towns and mid-sized cities, while formal, statewide policy is strictly and stridently conservative.

Law Enforcement on IDF soldiers suspected of harming Palestinians

In 2015, the MPCID opened 186 criminal investigations into alleged offenses committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians. Of these, 120 investigation files have been closed and 7 resulted in disciplinary measures. Over the course of the year, 15 indictments were served for harm caused to Palestinians, including for four incidents that took place in 2015.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Why Christians Are Disproportionately Powerful in Congress

The 115th Congress is back in session, and at least one thing looks the same as usual: 91 percent of its members identify as Christians. This proportion has basically remained constant for more than five decades, as long as this kind of data has been available, according to a new study from Pew Research Center. What has changed is the U.S. population: Only 71 percent of American adults identify as Christians.

The Era of Republican Overreach Begins

“Let us not be timid,” Paul Ryan exhorted members of the House on Tuesday, moments after 239 Republicans had, in near-unanimous fashion, re-elected him as speaker. He was girding his party for what he called “the opportunity of a lifetime”—the chance to remake Washington under President-elect Donald Trump and unified Republican control of government.

Ryan needn’t have worried about his members’ gumption: They had committed their first act of political overreach before the 115th Congress was even sworn in.

When America Last Had Two Presidents at One Time

Over the holiday weekend, the Nixon biographer John Aloysius Farrell (who has sometimes written about the 37th president in this space) delivered what might be called a historical bombshell. Using notes from H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s chief of staff, he reported that despite years of insistence it was not true, Nixon had in fact used back channels to kill peace negotiations to end the Vietnam War on the eve of the 1968 presidential election, in order to give himself a leg up in that race. Farrell writes:

    But Nixon had a pipeline to Saigon, where the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, feared that Johnson would sell him out. If Thieu would stall the talks, Nixon could portray Johnson’s actions as a cheap political trick. The conduit was Anna Chennault, a Republican doyenne and Nixon fund-raiser, and a member of the pro-nationalist China lobby, with connections across Asia….

    Nixon told Haldeman to have Rose Mary Woods, the candidate’s personal secretary, contact another nationalist Chinese figure — the businessman Louis Kung — and have him press Thieu as well. “Tell him hold firm,” Nixon said.

Inside the House GOP ethics debacle

Just hours after Republicans voted to gut the House's independent ethics office, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s phone started lighting up with calls and texts.

The California Republican had tried to warn his colleagues about the political risks of defanging the Office of Congressional Ethics during a closed-door, secret ballot roll call Monday night. And after that vote, a number of lawmakers who agreed with McCarthy raised serious concerns about approving the controversial pitch in a public vote the next day.

The End of Democracy in Turkey

Following the New Year’s Eve attack in Istanbul, democracy in Turkey is likely to enter a death spiral. The issue isn’t the attack itself, terrible as it was. On New Year’s Eve, a lone gunman made his way into the Reina dance club, which was jammed with revellers, and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing thirty-nine people and wounding dozens. The shooter has not yet been identified, but, in an Internet posting, the Islamic State claimed that one of its soldiers had done the job. In its typical deranged language, the group said that it had happily struck the revellers, “turning their joy into sorrows.” The attack, the group said, was in retaliation for air strikes and other military operations carried out by the “Turkish apostate government” against ISIS in Syria.

Terror sparks call to centralize German police powers

BERLIN — In the wake of last month’s terror attack in Berlin, Germany’s interior ministry wants to centralize and expand police and domestic intelligence services in what would be the most sweeping overhaul of the country’s security apparatus since World War II.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said expanding the powers of the federal police was essential for Germany to confront a growing terrorist threat. He also called for Germany’s regional intelligence authorities to be merged into a single service under Berlin’s authority.

11 things exposed by the ethics office Republicans just tried to dismantle

On Monday night, on a federal holiday, behind closed doors, House Republicans voted to eviscerate the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) — the independent body tasked with rooting out corruption and conflicts of interest on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, after a public outcry, they abandoned the plan, though some Congress members suggested they may try again at a later date to gut the ethics panel.

Warming crushes global records again in 2016

2016 has crushed the record for hottest year, set way back in 2015, which itself smashed the previous record for hottest year that was set in 2014.

Such a three-year run has never been seen in the 136 years of temperature records. It’s but the latest in an avalanche of evidence this year that global warming will either be as bad as climate scientists have been warning for decades — or much worse.

House Republicans Dive into the Swamp

Stung by instant and overwhelming outrage at the audacity of their plan to gut the oversight authority of the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, House Republicans have reversed course.

For now.

But don’t think that Tuesday’s decision to maintain existing OCE rules means that House Republicans have suddenly embraced ethics and transparency.

UK’s EU Ambassador Sir Ivan Rogers Quits Ahead Of Brexit Negotiations

Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK’s ambassador to the EU, has resigned just weeks before the Brexit negotiations are set to begin.

The Foreign Office confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that Sir Ivan would be leaving the key Brussels post after it was first reported by The Financial Times.