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, June 30, 2017

China launches aircraft carrier, boosting military presence

China has launched a new aircraft carrier in the latest sign of its growing military strength.

It is the country's second aircraft carrier, after the Liaoning, and the first to be made domestically.

The as-yet unnamed ship was transferred into the water in the north-eastern port of Dalian, state media said. It will reportedly be operational by 2020.

Turkey suspends 9,000 police officers for 'Gulen links'

Turkey has temporarily suspended more than 9,000 personnel from the country's police force while they are investigated for suspected links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, the country's state-run news agency said.

Anadolu Agency said that police personnel were removed from duty on Wednesday, hours after Turkey launched nationwide operations, detaining more than a thousand people with alleged ties to Gulen's movement which Turkey blames for orchestrating a failed coup in July.

Toronto Housing Crisis Caused By 'Government-Induced Land Shortage': Study

As Ontario’s provincial government brings in new rules aimed at cooling the province’s overheated housing markets, a report argues the government is to blame for the crisis in the first place.

The report from Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development says the 2006 Places To Grow plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area left too little space around the region to build single-family homes, and mandated too much land to build condos.

Sen. Mike Enzi: A Guy Who Wears A Tutu To A Bar 'Kind Of Asks For It'

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) told a group of high school and middle school students last week that it’s fine to be a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer community ― but if you’re too open about it, don’t be surprised if you get picked on.

On Thursday, Enzi was speaking to students at Greybull High School and Middle School when a student asked him what he was doing to support LGBTQ people in Wyoming. Mathew Burciaga, an editor at the Greybull Standard, was at the event. The Standard published a rough transcript and audio of the event Tuesday evening.

What a difference a year makes

LONDON — On the campaign stump in Bridgend, Wales Tuesday, Theresa May painted a rosy picture of Britain after Brexit.

“Brexit isn’t just a process, it’s an opportunity, it’s an important moment for us because it’s an opportunity for us to change this country for the better,” the U.K. prime minister told supporters hoping for a landslide victory in the general election on June 8.

Exactly one year earlier, she was singing a rather different tune. On April 25, 2016, May made her only major intervention in the EU referendum campaign, at a speech at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. She gave a measured, but firm, endorsement of the Britain’s membership of the European Union.

Turkey targets Kurdish fighters in Iraq and Syria

Turkish military jets have carried out air strikes against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters in northern Iraq and northeast Syria, killing at least 70 people, according to a Turkish military statement.

A statement released by Turkey's air force said that it carried out the air strikes against PKK targets located in the Sinjar Mountains region in northern Iraq and in Karachok Mountains in northeastern Syria on Tuesday.

A cop shot an unarmed man in the back. The Supreme Court says there doesn’t even need to be a trial.

The penalty for drunk driving is not getting shot in the back. Nor is this the penalty for walking away from a police officer. Nevertheless, a cop shot Ricardo Salazar-Limon, causing him “crippling injuries,” as he tried to walk away from a drunk driving arrest. Salazar-Limon was unarmed.

The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will do nothing for Mr. Salazar-Limon. A lower court decision holding Salazar-Limon will not even receive a full trial will stand without the Supreme Court hearing the case.

The Unity Tour Was Kind of a Mess—and That’s OK

The Democratic National Committee’s Unity Tour is over, and the reviews are in: Most journalists panned it. “At a ‘Unity’ Stop in Nebraska, Democrats find anything but,” wrote The New York Times. “Is Dem unity tour tearing the party apart? asked MSNBC’s AMJoy. Vice didn’t even bother with the question mark, proclaiming: “The Democrats are falling apart on their ‘come together’ tour.”

Bye bye, Bernie: He’s not fit to captain the Democratic ship if he can’t stop chasing the great white male

To the extent that Democrats are looking for their progressive soul, Sen. Bernie Sanders is not where they should be fixing their gaze. Sanders is clear that he is not a Democrat — except when he needs to be one in order to run for president. Yet he is demanding that the Democratic Party head for what Rebecca Traister last week called “third-way centrist bullshit.”

Economic populism and what are commonly erroneously and dismissively referred to as “social issues” — such as reproductive rights, immigration reform and civil rights for people of color, those who have disabilities, people of all faiths, LGBT people and women — are indivisible. Sanders routinely demonstrates his own lack of progressive values by dividing them.

Why Colleges Have a Right to Reject Hateful Speakers Like Ann Coulter

As graduation season approaches, colleges across the country are locking down commencement speakers to address the class of 2017. Harvard got Mark Zuckerberg (a Harvard dropout). Hillary Clinton is speaking at Wellesley, Bernie Sanders at Brooklyn College. Joe Biden will speak to my seniors at Colby. But if this year is anything like last, other invitees will prove more controversial, sparking another round of debates over “no-platforming”: the practice of opposing campus speakers.

How Russia hacked the French election

Since the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Moscow waged an influence campaign targeting the 2016 U.S. elections, experts have asked: Will it do the same in the French and German elections? Both votes will have an enormous impact on the future of Europe and the liberal order, and much is weighing on whether these democracies are adequately shielded from outside manipulation.

In fact, Moscow has already interfered in French elections. In 1974, the KGB launched a covert propaganda campaign to discredit both François Mitterrand and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. Overtly, Moscow courted Giscard, to an extent that papers such as the right-wing L’Aurore condemned it as an “intolerable” insertion into French domestic politics. Correspondents interpreted the move as “open intervention in national politics.”

The Real Trump Agenda: Helping Big Business

What with U.S. aircraft carriers sailing in the wrong direction, Attorney General Jeff Sessions describing Hawaii as “an island in the Pacific,” and Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent, and Kid Rock larking around in the Oval Office, it’s been a pretty typical week for the Trump Administration: jaw-dropping, mind-addling, hard to keep up with. With all the chaos and dysfunction at the top, the Administration’s many pro-corporate regulatory initiatives are being somewhat overlooked by both the media and the public at large. This is wrong: these are decisions and actions that will have harmful consequences, and Trump’s own supporters will be among those hurt.

Bill O’Reilly ruined the news: 10 ways he and Fox News harassed us all

On Wednesday Fox News announced that it would sever ties with Bill O’Reilly in response to multiple charges of sexual harassment and the retreat of a number of sponsors from “The O’Reilly Factor.” Without question the firing of O’Reilly, which follows the departure of Fox News founder Roger Ailes, who also had been accused of sexual harassment, is a positive sign.

But what will these shifts at Fox News really mean? Are we really rid of these two vile characters?

Don’t believe Theresa May. The election won’t change Brexit one bit

Having informed European leaders that Britain is leaving the European Union and, after laying out the UK’s negotiating position in a detailed notification letter, the prime minister is now asking the British people how they would like their full English Brexit served. In Brussels, we now wonder who will be joining us at the breakfast table after all.

As a Belgian, I have a long-standing appreciation of surrealism. My colleague, the European council president, Donald Tusk, suggested last week that the script could have been written by Alfred Hitchcock. For me, it is more akin to the unworldly art of Magritte.

Election is a Tory power grab, says EU Brexit chief

Theresa May’s claim that she will be strengthened in the Brexit talks by a general election victory has been dismissed as nonsense by the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, who has condemned the prime minister as a political opportunist.

In an outspoken attack, Guy Verhofstadt suggests the prime minister was motivated by party political considerations rather than the national interest in calling a poll for 8 June.

Absurdity is questioning a dictator's motives

News flash: Bashar al-Assad is bad. He has been murdering his own people for more than six years now. Before that, his father did the same. And not once in the decades the Assad family has held power in Syria did it need "justification" for its crimes against humanity.

Thus, a confirmed nerve agent attack on Khan Sheikhoun, one of many chemical weapons attacks committed by the regime, is not out of the ordinary! Pro-Syrian revolution individuals or organisations who say that Assad committed chemical attacks on Khan Sheikhoun are not calling for World War III - they are simply naming the aggressor, as they have been doing for more than six years.

Reminder To Progressives: Abortion Is An Economic Issue

Bernie Sanders traveled to Nebraska this week to throw his support behind Omaha Democratic mayoral candidate, Heath Mello, who is running against the incumbent Republican mayor, Jean Stothert. A Mello win, Sanders has said, would give hope to other “progressive Democrats” in conservative states.

But Mello’s “progressive” credentials are questionable at best. As a state senator, he co-sponsored a bill requiring that abortion providers tell women they can have an ultrasound first, and mandating that providers who use ultrasound display the image in a way women can see if they choose. He said it represented a “positive first step to reducing the number of abortions in Nebraska.”

Jason Chaffetz Is Fleeing Scandal—But Maybe Not His Own

Jason Chaffetz is so ambitious that his last name is a verb.

In the political world, to Chaffetz means to throw a former mentor under the bus in order to get ahead, and various prominent Republicans, from former Utah governor and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. to House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, have experienced what it’s like to get Chaffetzed. But the five-term Utah Republican and powerful chairman of the House oversight committee shocked Washington on Wednesday when he announced he would not seek reelection in 2018 or run for any other political office that year in order to spend more time with his family.

B.C. belongs to resource companies. Clark's just the paid caretaker.

Unless Christy Clark’s bulldozer hits a ditch, the Liberal party’s power in British Columbia will probably grow. Just like the provincial debt, the horrid finances of BC Hydro and the evolution of Vancouver into a vast private club for the super-rich.

All this is supported by the nonsense view that Christy posing beside hulking dump trucks once every few years vanquishes all — including any zany notion of standing up for the environment. Even from a distance, surveying B.C. politics is like watching a python swallow a peacock.

Why Bernie Sanders’s Unity Tour Failed

Bernie Sanders will conclude his “Come Together and Fight Back” tour with Tom Perez this weekend—a political roadshow that’s taken the Vermont senator and the Democratic National Committee chair to more than half a dozen red and purple states across America since Monday. The goal of the tour, Sanders’s office said earlier this month, was “to begin the process of creating a Democratic Party which is strong and active in all 50 states, and a party which focuses on grassroots activism and the needs of working families.” But the tour was also meant to bridge divides between the Democratic establishment, as represented in last year’s primary by Hillary Clinton, and Sanders’s insurgent progressive wing.

‘They Starve You. They Shock You’: Inside the Anti-Gay Pogrom in Chechnya

GROZNY, Russia — It was supposed to be a night out. But for the young man who calls himself Maksim, as for scores of other gay men arrested in a pogrom this month in Russia’s Chechnya region, it pivoted into nearly two weeks of beatings and torture.

Maksim said it had started with a chat room conversation with “a very good old friend who is also gay,” and who suggested that they meet at an apartment. When Maksim arrived, however, he was greeted not by his friend but by agents who beat him. Later, they strapped him to a chair, attached electrical wires to his hands with alligator clips and began an interrogation.

Why is Jason Chaffetz leaving Congress? There are a bunch of conspiracies swirling around

Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz is no stranger to conspiracy theories. But now that he’s announced that he’s not going to run for re-election, he has become the subject of conspiracy theories rather than the one spreading them.

Marine Le Pen is using Islamophobia to draw female voters

French voters will go to the polls on Sunday, and the race could be a tight one.

After numerous controversies and heated debates, two frontrunners have emerged, the far-right Marine Le Pen and centrist ex-investment banker Emmanuel Macron. Regardless of which way the vote goes, however, the result could be historic if the winner is Le Pen, who would be France’s first female president. But making history is more complicated than just checking a box.

Marine Le Pen is trying to win the French elections with a subtler kind of xenophobia

Marine Le Pen, the face of the French far-right, is trying to bring American-style identity politics to France — wagering that direct appeals to the country’s women, Jews, and secular-minded voters will help her win the French presidency despite widespread concerns about her hardline views on immigration, outsiders, and globalization.

That strategy seems to have helped her ride a wave of general public dissatisfaction with the status quo into second place with 21.7 percent of the voting after the first round of voting on April 23. She was slightly edged out by Emmanuel Macron, a centrist banker turned politician who is running for elected office for the first time.

Syria Changed the World

ISTANBUL — The world seems awash in chaos and uncertainty, perhaps more so than at any point since the end of the Cold War.

Authoritarian-leaning leaders are on the rise, and liberal democracy itself seems under siege. The post-World War II order is fraying as fighting spills across borders and international institutions — built, at least in theory, to act as brakes on wanton slaughter — fail to provide solutions. Populist movements on both sides of the Atlantic are not just riding anti-establishment anger, but stoking fears of a religious “other,” this time Muslims.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Army accused of extrajudicial killings in Egypt video

The Egyptian army has been accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings in Sinai province, with a leaked video purportedly showing soldiers executing detainees and then staging events to make the deaths appear to be casualties of a gun battle.

The video, which was posted online on Thursday by Mekameleen, an opposition TV channel based in Turkey, appears to show two blindfolded men being shot in the head by uniformed soldiers.

Andrew Sullivan and the “model minority” myth: Columnist unintentionally reminds us that racism is the force that gives conservatives meaning

Last Friday Andrew Sullivan published an essay in New York magazine titled “Why Do Democrats Feel Sorry for Hillary Clinton?” The argument presented therein was not novel, nor was Sullivan’s essay particularly insightful. The article is highly useful in some ways, however.

It is a reminder that while it may be fashionable to blame Donald Trump’s “white working class” voters for electing a racist incompetent, the bigotry that propelled Trump to the presidency is endemic to the Republican Party and modern conservatism as a whole. This includes its “reasonable,” “serious” and supposedly “principled” voices like Sullivan as well.

Elizabeth Warren Reveals Mitch McConnell Is Just as Big a Jerk Behind Closed Doors

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) guest-starred on Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight Show" Tuesday shortly after kicking off her nationwide book tour in New York City. This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class, the 11th book by the U.S. senator, former professor and bankruptcy law expert, is the story of wealth inequality in America since the 2008 financial crisis.

Site C dam project has become 'uneconomic' and should be suspended: UBC report

A new report is calling for the suspension of B.C.'s Site C dam project, saying it's no longer going to benefit the provincial economy as once expected and that power from the hydroelectric station will likely be exported at losses of up to $1 billion.

The report on water governance released Tuesday looks at which option would be best for B.C. from a business standpoint: cancelling, suspending or finishing the $8.5-billion project.

China chases billionaire who threatens 'explosive' allegations against elite

A flamboyant Chinese billionaire known for his love of supercars and social media has claimed he is the victim of a political witch hunt after he threatened to lift the lid on “explosive information” about corruption at the top of Chinese politics.

On Wednesday China’s foreign ministry confirmed that, at Beijing’s request, Interpol had issued a red notice for the arrest of Guo Wengui, a 50-year-old tycoon who had in recent months taken the highly unusual step of speaking out about alleged cases of corruption involving the relatives of senior leaders.

Precarious Work Is Awesome And Canada Will Get Way More Of It: Report

Finance Minister Bill Morneau last year warned Canadians they will have to get used to precarious work. Now a new survey from a staffing agency suggests precarious work will increasingly become the norm over the next decade.

The survey from Randstad Canada predicts an “immense shift” to what it describes as “agile employment and non-traditional workers.” And it sees this as a good thing.

How Saskatchewan does cash-for-access — in broad daylight

Politicians who navigate a corrupted political system have some of the easiest jobs in the world. With the weight and legitimacy of the state behind them, they need not sell anything more than access to themselves. And it is a seller’s market.

For a long time, there was no better example of this than Quebec. In 1977, the Parti Québécois enacted the toughest campaign financing laws in the country, which banned corporate donations and limited individual contributions to $3,000. For the next three decades, provincial politicians — from the PQ and especially from the Liberal Party of Quebec — devised ways to get around this pesky law.

Jeremy Corbyn’s 7 weeks to save Labour

LONDON — The U.K. Labour Party, 117 years old, one of the twin behemoths of modern British politics, is about to go head-to-head with potentially its most deadly enemy yet: Prime Minister Theresa May.

May’s shock decision to call an early election will force the opposition party to face the electorate at a moment of extreme weakness. The vast majority of its MPs do not back their leader, the left-winger Jeremy Corbyn. Divisions within the party have contributed to dismal poll ratings. And on Brexit, the party faces a challenging balancing act between its two core groups of voters: metropolitan, middle-class progressives, many of whom would love dearly to see Britain stay in the EU, and working-class voters in poorer areas concerned about jobs and immigration and enthusiastic about Brexit.

Bomber jacket wars: Stagecraft beats statecraft in the Trump White House

A great photographer by the name of Bud Lee once told me that photographs record another’s truth, not yours. I was new to the journalism game back then, and even after working with him for a month on a photographic essay called “The Politics of Costume” for Esquire, I didn’t understand what he was talking about. The way I saw it, Bud was creating his own truth by picking the moment to snap the shutter.

Russia bans Jehovah's Witnesses and labels group as extremists

Russia’s supreme court has banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses from operating in the country, accepting a request from the justice ministry that the religious organization be considered an extremist group.

The court ordered the closure of the group’s Russia headquarters and its 395 local chapters, as well as the seizure of its property.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Trump Doubles Down in Syria’s Intensifying Proxy War

Late Monday night, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, issued a terse statement—sent to reporters via e-mail—warning Syria that U.S. intelligence had detected preparations for the use of chemical weapons, which “would likely result in mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.” If President Bashar al-Assad follows through, the statement threatened, the United States would insure that “he and his military will pay a heavy price.” Nikki Haley, the Ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted an even wider warning. “Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people,” she wrote.

BBC And ITV To Defy Theresa May And Hold General Election 2017 TV Debates Anyway

Two of Britain’s biggest broadcasters are set to defy Theresa May’s threat to boycott TV election debates - by going ahead with them anyway.

ITV confirmed it would hold a televised leaders debate, as it did at the last two general elections, while the BBC said it would refuse to let the government stop it producing a programme in the public interest.

Turkey Is A Cautionary Tale Of Fragile Democracy, Says Turkish Novelist

Elif Shafak is a Turkish novelist and essayist whose works include The Bastard of Istanbul, The Architect’s Apprentice and Three Daughters of Eve. The WorldPost interviewed her about the results of Turkey’s historic referendum granting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sweeping new powers.

Erdoğan’s power grab follows authoritarian script

NEW YORK — Any media outlet telling you that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan legitimately won the referendum vote is complicit in a historic fraud.

The free world has refused to get literate in the ways wily despots overpower the state and willingly overlooked the Putin-Chávez-Erdoğan formula now in vogue: a servile media, judiciary and military; oligarchs owning the economy as proxies for the leader; a political opposition allowed to hobble around theatrically; subsidized trolls and bots shape-shifting the opinion-scape; and manufactured plebiscites precisely calibrated with myriad little tricks to produce the right outcome.

West African man spent 103 consecutive days in solitary awaiting deportation and his lawyer calls it ‘cruel and unusual’

A 51-year-old West African man, who has spent the last seven years in a maximum-security jail because the Canadian government has been unable to deport him, once spent 103 consecutive days in solitary confinement, court heard Wednesday.

“And that wasn’t the only time he was in segregation,” said Jared Will, lawyer for Kashif Ali, an immigration detainee who is arguing in Ontario Superior Court that his detention is unlawful.

Putin-linked think tank drew up plan to sway 2016 U.S. election - documents

A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters.

They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, after the election.

Justice Ginsburg delivers a victory for the presumption of innocence

Under our Constitution, aperson accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. It’s a foundational principle that is familiar to anyone who’s watched an episode of Law and Order.

And yet the state of Colorado forgot an important corollary to this principle — even after someone is convicted, if their conviction is later “erased,” then the presumption that they are innocent must also be restored.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court reestablished this corollary in an opinion written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Only Justice Clarence Thomas dissented from Ginsburg’s decision, although Justice Samuel Alito wrote separately to disagree with her reasoning.

Nelson v. Colorado involves two individuals, Shannon Nelson and Louis Alonzo Madden, who were convicted of crimes but later had their convictions thrown out. Both were charged a variety of fees and other costs during the period after their convictions but before those convictions were tossed out — Madden was charged nearly $2,000. The state refused to refund the money even after it lost the legal basis it used to collect the funds.

According to the Colorado Supreme Court, the only way that Nelson and Madden could be reimbursed is through a separate proceeding under the state’s Exoneration Act. However, under that act, “a defendant must prove her innocence by clear and convincing evidence” — a high burden that effectively forces wrongly convicted individuals to overcome a presumption of guilt.

Such a process, Ginsburg wrote for the Court, is not good enough.

“Colorado urges…that the funds belong to the State because Nelson’s and Madden’s convictions were in place when the funds were taken,” the justice wrote. “But once those convictions were erased, the presumption of their innocence was restored.”

She added that the state “may not presume a person, adjudged guilty of no crime, nonetheless guilty enough for monetary exactions.”

Original Article
Author: Ian Millhiser

I'm an American living in Sweden. Here's why I came to embrace the higher taxes.

I was visiting the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, a 23-island archipelago in Lake Superior, when suddenly I found myself pining for Stockholm. Why? Because standing on the boat dock in Bayfield, Wisconsin, I realized that the 23,000-island Stockholm archipelago is more accessible to me, an American, than my own 23-island national park.

These wilderness islands with haunting sea caves are accessible only by tour boat at a cost of $151 for a family of two adults and three children. There is no free 15-minute ride across the strait to Basswood Island closest to the mainland, nor a $10 shuttle between the islands, as there would be in Sweden where a heavily subsidized ferry system makes the Stockholm archipelago available to all citizens — as well as to American tourists.

Russia unveils new Arctic military base

Visitors to the Russian defence ministry website can now take a "virtual tour" of a new military base in a remote region of the Arctic.

Such media openness contrasts markedly with Russia's traditional military secrecy. However, the tour does not show any new military hardware.

The Democratic Party Must Finally Abandon Centrism

It is easy to dismiss the “Come Together and Fight Back” Tour that this week will take Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez to eight cities in eight states this week as mere political theater. But this tour has the potential to finally begin redefining a Democratic Party that is still struggling with its identity after the disastrous 2014 and 2016 election cycles. That’s a big deal, not just for a party that lacks focus but for an American political process that will alter dramatically—for better or for worse—in the months and years to come.

Slaughter of the Osage, Betrayal of the Sioux

One cold November day last year, Chris Turley, a 28-year-old member of the Osage Nation, set out from the tribe’s northeast Oklahoma reservation upon a quest. He had a wool hat pulled down over his crisply cut black hair and wore military fatigues, just as he had done when he served in Afghanistan as a Scout in the US Army. He carried a rucksack filled with MREs—Meals, Ready-to-Eat—and bottled water, a tent, and a sleeping bag. Tucked away was also an emergency medical kit.

Departing on foot, he headed north through the tall prairie grass. He went past scattering herds of cattle and grinding oil pumps. Thirty miles later, around midnight, he stopped near the Kansas border and made camp in the darkness. He slept in his tent, curled in the cold. In the abruptness of dawn he woke, poured water into a container with premade eggs and quickly ate, and then set out again. The rucksack weighed 80 pounds and his right leg especially burned. In Afghanistan, shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade had shivved through his knee. (He received a Purple Heart and a Commendation with Valor, which said his “actions under intense enemy fire when wounded, and courage when facing the enemy in close proximity, not only eliminated and disrupted the enemy but saved the lives of his fellow Scouts.”) Doctors had predicted he’d never walk again without help, but after months of rehabilitation, he did.

Monitors Criticize Turkey Referendum, Erdogan Denounces ‘Crusader Mentality’

ANKARA/ISTANBUL, April 17 (Reuters) - A defiant Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan denounced the West’s “crusader mentality” on Monday after European monitors criticized a referendum to grant him sweeping new powers, won with a narrow victory laying bare the nation’s divisions.

Addressing a crowd of flag-waving supporters from the steps of his palace in Ankara, Erdogan told election observers to “talk to the hand” and said it would not be so important to Turkey if the European Union broke off accession talks.

The referendum that just brought Turkey closer to one-man rule, explained

ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has publicly feuded with the US, likened the German government to Nazis, jailed more journalists than any other leader in the world, and arrested tens of thousands of his own people on suspect charges.

Now a slim majority of Turkish voters have just approved constitutional changes designed to make the strongman even stronger.

Professor Carnage

Early one Friday morning, more than 250 police officers file into a high school auditorium in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Dressed in the uniform of the off-duty cop—polo shirts and khakis accessorized with pistols and handcuffs—the officers are here to attend a seminar called “The Bulletproof Mind: Prevailing in Violent Encounters … and After.” As the cops settle into their seats, a burly National Guard sergeant in camouflage fatigues takes the floor to introduce the man who will lead the seminar: Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a retired Army ranger and former West Point instructor.

Brexit Voters Respond Angrily To News EU Agencies Will Withdraw From UK Within Weeks

Brexit voters have responded angrily to news that EU diplomats are plotting to withdraw flagship agencies from Britain ‘within weeks’.

The Daily Express reported the move was a ‘Brexit punishment’ - despite admitting the loss of the European Banking Authority and the European Medical Agency (EMA) was inevitable after the triggering of Article 50.

Turkey referendum: Erdogan dismisses criticism by monitors

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected criticism by monitors of Sunday's referendum in which he won sweeping new powers.

"Know your place," he said, after the observers said the president had been favoured by an "unequal" campaign.

Israeli Government Is Petrified of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement

The following is an interview with Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace and the editor of On Antisemitism: Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice.

Mark Karlin: How is the charge of antisemitism used to smear critics of the Israeli government and its ignoble policies toward Palestinians?

Rebecca Vilkomerson: As Tony Lerman's contribution to the On Antisemitism book explores, Israel and its advocates have worked hard to portray criticism of the state of Israel as the "new antisemitism." However, using the charge of antisemitism to shut down legitimate criticism of Israeli policies diminishes the meaning of the term and makes it harder to combat the real thing.