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.]

Friday, March 10, 2017

Does this study show why Hillary Clinton lost?

Could an overemphasis on personality and style over substance be what cost Hillary Clinton the presidency? That’s one likely conclusion from a batch of new research by the Wesleyan Media Project, unveiled this week.

Their new study of the presidential race, focusing on the advertising campaigns of Clinton and Donald Trump, reveals that despite outspending the Republican nominee by a 2-to-1 margin, the campaign ads rolled out by the Clinton camp and the Democratic National Committee were largely devoid of policy points.

What Teddy Roosevelt Could Teach Ryan Zinke

Donald Trump’s new Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, rode a horse to work on his first day on the job, accompanied by a couple of mounted national park policemen. Teddy Roosevelt, too, used to ride horses all around Washington, D.C. when he was President.

Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, outdoorsman, and Republican Congressman from Montana, likes to talk about being a “Teddy Roosevelt conservationist.” He has opposed efforts by fellow Republicans to privatize public lands or turn them over to the states—as recently proposed by Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah. Ronald Reagan’s first Interior Secretary, James Watt, also disappointed Western “Sagebrush rebels” of the 1970s and ‘80s who wanted him to turn federal lands over to the states. Instead, Watt promised to use them to “mine more, drill more, cut more timber.”

Life in Gaza Is Shaped by the Electricity Crisis

During a visit to Gaza late last year, a colleague called me at the last minute to postpone a planned meeting. Apologizing, he told me that he needed to go home for several hours to do laundry. Electricity had come on in his neighborhood and he needed to complete household chores while it was available.

Later, he told me, "Life [in Gaza] is shaped by the electricity crisis. If there is power from 3 pm to 10 pm today, there won't be tomorrow. When there is power in the afternoon, I go home and do work. I do laundry and anything else. When the power is off in the afternoon, I don't go home. I won't go home until it is on, because at home, I will just sit in the dark. I live on the 11th floor of my building and I can't do anything there without electricity."

Can a Feminist Be Pro-Life?

Is there such a thing as pro-life feminism? In January, New Wave Feminists, an anti-choice organization, was briefly listed as a sponsor on the website of the Women’s March on Washington. “Intersectional feminism is the future of feminism and of this movement,” said Bob Bland, one of the event’s co-chairs. “We must not just talk about feminism as one issue, like access to reproductive care.” Leaving aside the question of whether Bland understands what intersectionality means—pro-life is a political stance, not an identity or a social position—can feminism, a social-justice movement for women’s equality and human rights, encompass the belief that women should carry to term every fertilized egg, no matter the consequences?

Leaked emails reveal Trump backer and Brexit leader Nigel Farage’s longstanding ties to Julian Assange

Leaked emails reveal Nigel Farage, who led the push for Brexit and now serves as an “unofficial adviser” to President Donald Trump, has longstanding ties to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Farage visited the Ecuadorian embassy Thursday where Assange has sought asylum since 2012, but the former leader of the UK Independence Party told Buzzfeed he couldn’t remember what he’d been doing in the building just moments earlier.

The Man Who Wants to Unmake the West

It was the day after Britain voted to leave the European Union in June, and the Western world was still absorbing the shock. With no clear plan for what would come next, the globe’s fifth-biggest economy had abruptly announced a divorce from the neighbors it had been trading with for nearly 45 years. Markets plunged. “A calamity,” declared the New York Times. “Global panic,” proclaimed one London headline.

Steve Bannon had a different reaction. He booked the calamity’s chief architect as a guest on his radio show to celebrate.

The Rehabilitation of George W. Bush

It says something about the state of affairs we’re in when George W. Bush emerges from the dung heap of history ostensibly smelling like roses. Were Bush from a less powerful country—one that has to follow rules it had no part in making, rather than one that sets rules it has no problem violating—he would be at The Hague before a war-crimes tribunal.

Instead, he is promoting his artwork—paintings of US veterans wounded in the line of duty—in a new book called Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors. Given that the illegal war he launched left so many dead or gravely injured, it might more properly be titled Victims of Hubris.

Paul Ryan Fundraised With Health Insurance Lobbying Firm Just Before His PowerPoint

Just hours before House Speaker Paul Ryan held a press conference to sell his health care overhaul legislation — using a PowerPoint presentation mocked for misrepresenting basic facts  — he was doing something he’s much better at: fundraising.

The two things were related. The Thursday morning breakfast fundraiser he attended was hosted by a lobbying firm working to unwind the Affordable Care Act on behalf of health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of the big winners of Ryan’s proposed legislation.

GOP Rushes Forward With Its Health Care Bill

House Republicans plowed ahead with their effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, brushing aside new criticism of what their proposed legislation would do ― and ignoring protests over the hurried process they are using to enact it.

Two House committees ― Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means ― spent dozens of hours Wednesday and Thursday to advance complementary portions of the American Health Care Act, the long-awaited bill to repeal and “replace” the 2010 health care law. The Ways and Means Committee completed its work around 4:30 a.m. Thursday, and the Energy and Committee followed early Thursday afternoon.

A GOP Congressman Just Spent 6 Minutes Defending Vladimir Putin

Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the president of Estonia from 2006 to 2016, had a crisis on his hands in September 2014. Russian security service agents crossed the border and kidnapped and detained Eston Kohver, an agent with Estonia's equivalent of the FBI. The Russian government accused Kohver of being a spy and sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

Ilves referred to the episode Thursday during his testimony at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Russian disinformation and "weaponization of information." Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), a staunch defender of President Donald Trump, opened his statement by diminishing the importance of connections between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and said that controversy over the matter "has reached the absurd level of attacks."

This Is the Resistance: More Than 5,000 Grassroots Groups Have Sprung Up Since Trump Was Elected

Joshua Holland surveys the new grassroots resistance groups that have sprung up since the election—he found more than 75, and that number is likely growing.

Indivisible is the biggest of these groups, with more than 5,000 local groups, at least two in every Congressional district. Jeremy Haile explains—he’s one of the authors of the Indivisible Guide.

March 8 was International Women’s Day, and Rebecca Solnit was on strike during it. She talks about about the exciting shape feminist activism has taken over the last few year—she calls it “fearless,” “unapologetic” and “gorgeously transformative.” Rebecca’s new book is The Mother of All Questions.

Original Article
Author:  Start Making Sense and Jon Wiener

The Fight to Save the Affordable Care Act Is Really a Class Battle

The escalating battle over the future of the Affordable Care Act—heightened now that House Republicans have released their Obamacare-repeal legislation—is revealing a fundamental fault line in American society. Even the most vociferous opponents of the ACA defend some features of the law, like parents’ ability to keep children under the age of 26 on their insurance and the ban on insurance companies’ refusing coverage for people with preexisting condition. Those defenders include Republican lawmakers, who incorporated both of those features in their repeal bill. What we rarely hear defended is the ACA’s role as an instrument of social justice. Yet, at its most basic, starting to mitigate America’s yawning class divide is exactly what the ACA did. With this proposed legislation, that is exactly what the Republicans are trying to undo.

Britain’s crime and punishment

The disclosure Wednesday that the European Union’s anti-fraud office has a multi-billion euro complaint against the British government for not cracking down on customs fraud is a serious embarrassment for London.

What in happier times might have been a minor irritant in intra-EU relations could, in the context of the negotiations over Brexit, develop into a poisonous wound.

Russia’s RT Network: Is It More BBC or K.G.B.?

LONDON — The London newsroom and studios of RT, the television channel and website formerly known as Russia Today, are ultramodern and spacious, with spectacular views from the 16th floor overlooking the Thames and the London Eye. And, its London bureau chief, Nikolay A. Bogachikhin, jokes, “We overlook MI5 and we’re near MI6,” Britain’s domestic and foreign intelligence agencies.

Mr. Bogachikhin was poking fun at the charge from Western governments, American and European, that RT is an agent of Kremlin policy and a tool directly used by President Vladimir V. Putin to undermine Western democracies — meddling in the recent American presidential election and, European security officials say, trying to do the same in the Netherlands, France and Germany, all of which vote later this year.

BLUEXIT - A Modest Proposal For Separating Blue States From Red

Dear Red-State Trump Voter,

Let’s face it, guys: We’re done.

For more than 80 years now, we—the residents of what some people like to call Blue America, but which I prefer to think of as the United States of We Pay Our Own Damn Way—have shelled out far more in federal tax monies than we took in. We have funded massive infrastructure projects in your rural counties, subsidized your schools and your power plants and your nursing homes, sent you entire industries, and simultaneously absorbed the most destitute, unskilled, and oppressed portions of your populations, white and black alike.

All of which, it turns out, only left you more bitter, white, and alt-right than ever.

In Kansas City, A Mother Fears Her Children Could Be Next

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Mahnaz Shabbir was 12 when a teacher walked into her sixth-grade classroom and asked her to come to the front of the room and explain why her cousin wasn’t eating. Mortified, Shabbir told the class that her cousin, who had recently moved to the U.S. from India, was observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which requires fasting.

When her friends played “cowboys and Indians,” Shabbir, whose parents came from Hyderabad, India, was always made to play an Indian. This felt different: Her teacher had singled her out in front of her overwhelmingly white, Christian classmates.

Uber stops using Greyball 'secret program' to dodge regulators

Uber says it will ban a secret software tool from being used to evade undercover regulators.

The software, called Greyball, seeks to identify officials around the world trying to catch Uber drivers operating illegally. It then denies them service.

The ride-hailing firm has been using the tool to secure early access to cities where its operations had not yet been authorized.

The “Dutch Trump” Is Even More Toxic Than the Real Thing

PITY THE DUTCH, if you can. The party led by a far-right, anti-immigrant, anti-Islam populist named Geert Wilders is on course to gain the most votes in next week’s parliamentary elections in the Netherlands. But the journalists who have dubbed Wilders “Holland’s Trump” and “the Donald Trump of the Netherlands” may owe the U.S. president an apology.

The House GOP’s not-so-sneaky plan to destroy Medicaid

About 74 million Americans from the most vulnerable pockets of the country would see their access to doctors and medicines rapidly curtailed under the House GOP’s proposed health insurance overhaul.

Peel back the wonky jargon at the core of the bill’s Medicaid provisions, and you’ll find a straightforward idea: America should spend far, far less than it does to get health insurance coverage for poor people.

Trudeau following Harper's lead in denying justice to illegally imprisoned Muslim men

If the Liberal government is serious about combating Islamophobia, they should award long-denied justice to those in Canada's Muslim and Middle Eastern communities whose fundamental freedoms were so callously swept away by Canada's eagerness to support the U.S. "War on Terror."

Canadians are likely familiar with the case of Maher Arar, a Syrian-Canadian who in 2008, after a formal inquiry, received compensation and a formal government apology for the role of Canadian officials in his 2002 rendition and year of captivity and torture in Syria. While the pain and suffering caused to Arar and his family can never be fully remedied, at least Canada took responsibility to fulfill our legal obligation to award redress.

Man behind BRICs on future for Brits

LONDON — It’s been five months since Jim O’Neill quit his job at the Treasury, becoming the first and for now only minister to walk out of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.

Feeling let down and aghast by the government’s lack of coherence on Brexit, the former Goldman Sachs chief economist — best known for coining the acronym “BRICs” to describe the fast-growing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China — opted instead for some down time and went traveling with his family.

The Republicans Did This to Themselves

Republicans spent more than seven years seeking unified control of government based on a promise to swing the pendulum of the American health care system in a more conservative direction. How they intended to accomplish this was never clear. When asked during that period of time to assess their progress, Republican leaders would insist an Affordable Care Act alternative was nearly complete, in the final stages of negotiations, and then they’d let the issue drop until another inquisitor broached the subject again.

Jewish Centres In Ontario Targeted With Bomb Threats

TORONTO — Jewish community centres in Toronto and London, Ont., were among several across North America that received bomb threats on Tuesday.

Police say the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre in Toronto was evacuated out of "an abundance of caution" in light of threats made in New York, Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, Maryland.

France's rightwing scandals leave Socialists struggling to be heard

In recent weeks, Benoît Hamon and Jean-Luc Mélenchon have been ploughing their political furrows, criss-crossing France, addressing meetings and outlining their programmes for the presidency.

But for the candidates of the Socialist party (PS) and hard-left movement La France insoumise (Unsubmissive France), the results have been distinctly underwhelming.

Apple to 'rapidly address' any security holes as companies respond to CIA leak

Apple has promised to “rapidly address” any security holes used by the CIA to hack iPhones, following the release of a huge tranche of documents covering the intelligence agency’s stockpile of software vulnerabilities.

The leak, dubbed “Vault 7” by its publisher WikiLeaks, is made up of a collection of around 10,000 individual documents created between 2014 and 2016. A spokesman for the CIA said it would not comment “on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents” and the Trump administration spokesman Sean Spicer also declined comment.

Uber silent on use of secret 'Greyball' tracking tool in Canada

It's called Greyball: a secret method used by Uber to track and evade unfriendly authorities in cities around the world.

The ride-hailing service won't confirm whether it used that clandestine tool to deceive regulatory and law enforcement authorities in Canadian cities.

Still, Uber has publicly acknowledged that it used Greyball in major cities across the world including Paris, Boston, and Las Vegas.

Hungarian law targets Soros, foreign-backed NGOs

BUDAPEST — The Hungarian government is moving to limit the influence of nongovernmental organizations that promote democracy and the rule of law, seemingly buoyed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s election victory and the ascendance of the alt right in Washington.

This week, parliament is expected to introduce legislation on foreign-funded NGOs. The government’s bill, whose official text has yet to be made public, will likely require groups to register how much funding they receive from foreign sources.

Paul Ryan’s Health-Care Vise

If there is a single person who made Paul Ryan the Speaker of the House, it is probably Mark Meadows. Back in 2015, Meadows, a former restaurant owner who, in 2012, was elected to represent the most conservative district in North Carolina, set into motion the events that led to Speaker John Boehner’s resignation. Meadows, who had no legislative experience, filed an obscure parliamentary procedure known as a motion to vacate that would have forced a referendum on Boehner in the House. Boehner resigned rather than face the prospect of losing that vote, and Ryan emerged as the only Speaker candidate acceptable to all the factions of the House G.O.P.

From Russia with loathing: Freeland and the media

Exodus 34:7 — the Sins of the Father. “Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and fourth generation.”

The bullshit is getting biblical.

Politics has always been a game of public people aiming poison darts at other public people. But have we really reached the point where what your grandfather did, or didn’t do, overcomes contemporary reality? Judging from the media hullabaloo over Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her grandfather’s Nazi past, the answer appears to be yes.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Republican Health-Care Bill is the Worst of So Many Worlds

With the release of the American Health Care Act, House Republicans have pulled off an impressive feat: managing to alienate virtually everybody with a stake in health care. If you liked the Affordable Care Act, you will, unsurprisingly, hate this bill. We’ll get into the details later (the bill is in two parts; the Energy and Commerce Committee text is here, the Ways and Means Committee text here; summaries in plain English here and here), but in short, the subsidies for insurance coverage are stingier, the coverage itself is worse, and the penalty for non-coverage is actually higher.

Oregon Congressman Pushes Bill Exempting Ranchers From Terrorism Law's Reach

As the far right becomes more vocal around the country, the Trump administration is not the only arm of government serving its interests. Some members of Congress are closer to fringe right-wing groups than they might care to admit. In February, Oregon Representative Greg Walden introduced a new, vaguely titled bill, "Resource Management Practices Protection Act of 2017" (H.R.983). This bill might look benign at first glance, but in fact, it is a codification of structural racism, a political gift to right-wing paramilitaries, and a double standard in favor of the radical right.

Kremlin-backed media turns on Trump

Kremlin-controlled news outlets used to root for Donald Trump’s election. Now they’re reveling in the chaos and division of his early presidency.

“Sessions Scandal: ‘U.S Headed to Constitutional Crisis,’” reads a March 3 headline on the website of the Kremlin-funded English-language network RT.

“Immigrants See American Dream Fade in Wake of Surge in Hate Crimes,” Sputnik News, another English language outlet bankrolled by the Kremlin, reported the same day.

The Bumbling Plot to Destroy Obamacare

The effort to convert candidate Barack Obama’s health policy platform into what became Obamacare began just days after the 2008 election, with the release of a detailed white paper written by Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus that bears remarkable resemblance to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which became law nearly a year and a half later.

Everything that happened in between—dozens of public hearings, hundreds of private ones, countless Congressional Budget Office cost estimates, White House negotiations and agreements with industry and consumer stakeholders—had an impact on the final bill, but the process began with a remarkable degree of Democratic consensus, reflected in the similarities between the initial and final products.

Far-Right Bots Are The Secret Of Marine Le Pen’s Social Media Boom

France’s far-right populist leader Marine Le Pen is struggling to maintain support ahead of the country’s upcoming presidential election, as independent Emmanuel Macron has taken a commanding lead in recent opinion polls. Yet online, it’s the National Front’s Le Pen who is dominating.

Le Pen’s campaign has heavily focused on developing a social media presence, and currently dwarfs her competitors in terms of followers. In a number of cases, pro-Le Pen hashtags have trended on Twitter and given the impression of a groundswell of support for her campaign.

'Basil al-Araj was a beacon for Palestinian youth'

Ramallah, Occupied West Bank - The curtain on the window from which Basil al-Araj, 34, would look out onto Ramallah is slightly drawn back. Water bottles line the edge of the window, in an old house in the city where he went into hiding more than two months ago.

Cigarette butts are scattered on the table, next to a set of books that Basil spent his time reading. A cup of coffee still sits next to the last meal he consumed, including some beans. Dried blood stains the floor of the house.

Frankie Boyle Compares Boris Johnson To Fascist Oswald Mosley In Latest Brexit Column

Comedian and political commentator Frankie Boyle’s withering column about the Tory government’s Brexit strategy has bestowed Boris Johnson with an intensely sinister new persona.

Within Boyle’s dystopian view of the future, the Foreign Secretary is comparable to the essence of 1930s fascist leader Oswald Moseley, trapped in the form of a soft toy.

“Boris’s actual purpose? He’s just there to divert us from the horrific things the government is planning, like a nodding dog stuck to a serial killer’s dashboard. The media has a lot to answer for in terms of promoting the image that Boris is sweet and cuddly, when in fact he’s more like Oswald Mosley’s soul trapped in a Furby.”

House Republicans Unveil Bill To Repeal Obamacare

House Republican leaders on Monday formally unveiled legislation to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act and “replace” it with a very different health policy scheme ― one in which government would do a lot less to help people get comprehensive health insurance and, most likely, many more people would struggle to find affordable medical care.

The bill represents a starkly different vision for the health care system than embodied by the Affordable Care Act. President Barack Obama’s 2010 law expanded health coverage to 20 million previously uninsured people and slashed the share of Americans without health insurance to an all-time low. The law targeted financial assistance to lower-income households and featured a slew of consumer protections, starting with an ironclad guarantee of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

Too Frightened to Change a Hated Order

The term “anti-systemic movements” was commonly used 25 years ago to characterize forces on the left in revolt against capitalism. Today, it has not lost relevance in the West, but its meaning has changed. The movements of revolt that have multiplied over the past decade no longer rebel against capitalism, but against neoliberalism—deregulated financial flows, privatized services, and escalating social inequality, that specific variant of the reign of capital set in place in Europe and America since the 1980s. The resultant economic and political order has been accepted all but indistinguishably by governments of the center-right and center-left, in accordance with the central tenet of la pensée unique, Margaret Thatcher’s dictum that “there is no alternative.” Two kinds of movement are now arrayed against this system; the established order stigmatizes them, whether from the right or left, as the menace of populism.

Next NDP leader must present principled alternative to right-wing populism

Like many, I have been giving thought to the NDP leadership race and sorting through what it is I'm looking for in a new leader. New Democrats and friends have also asked me who I might support amongst the declared and yet-to-be-potentially-declared candidates. I decided to share some of my thoughts in the hopes it contributes to the great debate that invariably happens when New Democrats elect a new leader.

Bahrain moves to ban opposition party and let army courts try civilians

Bahrain has taken steps to ban the main opposition party and transfer many civilian judicial cases to a military court, in what appears to be a new crackdown on dissent and human rights.

Theresa May visited Bahrain only three months ago as part of a drive to deepen UK military and trading links. The UK has been funding efforts to set up a police ombudsman in Bahrain, but conceded in its 2016 annual human rights report that developments in the country were a cause for concern.

Dutch go old school against Russian hacking

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Better safe than sorry.

That’s the Dutch government’s approach to dealing with the fear of Russian election hacking. The tech-savvy country scaled back the use of computers to count votes and opted for an all-paper, all-manual election this month. It is one of the more drastic responses to a threat that France and Germany, which also hold elections this year, have also started to grapple with.

Wagging the Dog

The loons are running the laundromat.

The spin cycle in U.S. politics has been whirring and tumbling away since November 8th over at the White House, and now this: Donald Trump slips his gears for all to see on the social media.

I’m not quite sure what Trump meant when he tweeted “Just found out I had my wires tapped in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found! This is McCarthyism.”

What It Really Means To ‘Defund’ Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON ― House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has vowed to “defund” Planned Parenthood in upcoming legislation. But what he and Republicans in Congress are trying to do is actually very different from what that word suggests.

The government does not cut a blank check to Planned Parenthood. The family planning provider is listed nowhere in the federal budget, and a law already prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortions. Planned Parenthood is only reimbursed for the non-abortion health care services it provides to low-income women, including birth control, Pap smears, breast exams and STI tests, through Medicaid and the Title X family planning program.

UK will have to give up all EU perks after Brexit, François Hollande warns

The French president, François Hollande, has warned that Britain cannot hang on to the advantages of EU membership after it leaves, saying his message to Britain is: “That’s not possible; the UK will become an outsider to the European Union.”

In an interview with the Guardian and five other European newspapers as he prepares to host a summit in Versailles to discuss the future of the European Union after Britain’s departure, Hollande said he regretted Britain’s decision to leave but stressed France’s long-held position that the UK could not exit the EU while holding on to any of the perks of membership.

How Global Elites Profit from Unaffordability

Unaffordability is in the eye of the beholder. For those of us not fortunate enough to own a house in a global city such as Vancouver, but choose to live and work here anyway, it is a constant oppressive force. If you are too young, too newly arrived or too late to buy in before home prices exploded, unaffordability poses an exhausting series of questions on life’s horizon: Do I belong in this city? Will I ever be able to set down roots? What if rent finally gets too high for me stay? Where will I go then?

But if you belong to the community of wealthy elites that also gravitate to these cities, unaffordability means something else entirely. Insanely high real estate costs don’t dissuade the extremely rich from buying homes in places like Sydney, London and Vancouver. High prices make owning a house there more desirable. They confer social status. And if, like many members of this elite, you own several homes — one as a place to live in and the others as investments or safe havens for your wealth — you want home prices to keep going up. They are, after all, making you even wealthier.

You're On Your Own: Republicans Plan Attack on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security

Several years ago, 62-year-old Michael Kaufman, a disabled resident of Bovina, New York, accidently drilled through one of his fingers. He quickly went to the closest Emergency Room where the wound was treated and bandaged. He thought this was all that he needed to do; unfortunately, the next morning, he noticed red streaks traveling up his arm -- a sign of possible blood poisoning -- so he returned to the local ER where medical staff immediately inserted an IV of antibiotics and suggested that he go to a bigger hospital 50 miles away to see a hand specialist, which he did.

Paul Ryan budget proposal threatens housing aid programs for the poor

When Paul Ryan, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, talks of social mobility, about helping struggling Americans move out of impoverished areas to give them greater opportunity, Shiva Daniels is the kind of person he has in mind.

A federal housing voucher allowed Daniels to escape her crime-plagued neighborhood in Dallas, Texas, and move her four children to the suburb of Garland.

Brexit faces Groucho Marx moment

PARIS — Call it Theresa May’s Groucho Marx moment.

In the 1935 classic movie “A Night at the Opera,” Groucho (alias Otis B. Driftwood) is dining in style when the waiter brings him the bill. “Nine dollars and 40 cents? This is an outrage,” Groucho explodes, passing the check to his blonde companion as he walks away from the table. “If I were you, I wouldn’t pay it.”

Britain’s EU partners are quietly preparing for the possibility that the U.K. government may walk out of negotiations on divorce from the European Union within the next year, once Brussels’ chief negotiator Michel Barnier presents a politically toxic exit bill between €50 and €60 billion and refuses to discuss any future trade relationship until London commits to paying its dues.

Republicans and the Constitution

We’re familiar with the contours of the story: fifty-five delegates gathered in Philadelphia, in the sweltering summer of 1787, to do something about the inert Articles of Confederation. Having recognized that the old agreement was fatally flawed—it had no provisions for unitary foreign or tax policies, or for a national defense—the delegates set about creating a four-and-a-half-thousand-word lattice of compromises and counterbalances that has, with the notable exception of the years 1861 through 1865, cemented the union of the United States. The Constitutional Convention has become a sacrosanct chapter in American history, which is not to say that it has lacked an abundance of critics. In 1913, the historian Charles Beard dismissed the whole affair as a gathering of wealthy men, almost half of them slaveholders, scheming to preserve and enhance their economic power. Not so long ago, the late political scientist Robert A. Dahl and the legal scholar Sanford Levinson asked whether the constitution they produced was even properly democratic. But seldom have critics so thoroughly disdained the events in Philadelphia as to call for a do-over. Until recently.

Trudeau's relationship with First Nations meets its make-or-break moment

It is said in places where First Nations and environmentalists congregate that Premier Christy Clark would approve an asbestos mine in a nursing home.

Perhaps that’s why First Nations leaders think Fish Lake would be a good place to die. Their development-happy premier knows no bounds when it comes to resource extraction. If the environment gets a champion, once again it will have to be Indigenous Peoples leading the way. And they are.

“The first time I saw the lake, I thought to myself, ‘This is the place where I might have to make the ultimate sacrifice.’ A sacred place. We must protect it.”