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.]

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Brexit Could Put The UK ‘Second Rank’ For Access To New Medicines

Patients could face a delay of up to a year for new medicines as a result of Brexit, the Heath Secretary told MPs on Tuesday.

Jeremy Hunt said Britain would leave the European Medicines Agency (EMA), a regulator, and confirmed this could reduce it to “second rank” in terms of access to new drugs, behind the EU and the US.

Major drugs companies, including those for cancer, use the EMA as a quick route to marketing medicines across the EU, as they can then bypass regulators in individual member states.

The American Dream Is Easier To Achieve In Canada

The United States is called the "land of opportunity." But economists say the American dream is actually much easier to achieve in Canada.

When U.S. President Donald Trump announced his election bid, he claimed "the American dream is dead," The Washington Post reported.

Israel Announces Plans For 2,500 New Settlement Homes

Israel’s Defence Ministry announced plans on Tuesday to build 2,500 more settlement homes in the West Bank, the second announcement of new construction in the occupied territory since President Donald Trump took office.

A statement from the Defence Ministry said the plans, authorized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, were intended to fulfill a demand for new housing “to maintain regular daily life”. Most of the new construction will take place in existing settlement blocs.

The statement said 100 of the homes would be built in Beit El, a settlement which according to Israeli media has received funding from the family of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

It was not immediately clear whether it was the first time that the new construction had been announced. There are several stages involved in the process of approving and building new settlement homes.

Original Article
Author: Reuters

NYT’s David Brooks Dismisses The Women’s March As ‘Identity Politics’

In a column published Tuesday, The New York Times’ David Brooks tries to argue that the women and men who marched Saturday were wasting their time on what he dismisses as “mass therapy” and ineffective “identity politics.”

His rationale is basically: Oh, girls with their silly pink hats and trifling concerns, please stop; I know what’s best. Leave this stuff to the men in the political parties.

May must get parliamentary approval to initiate Brexit

The British Supreme Court has ruled the government must seek parliamentary approval before formally initiating the process to leave the European Union.

Tuesday's decision, which affirms an earlier High Court ruling, is a setback for Prime Minister Theresa May, who intends to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to leave the bloc by the end of March this year.

Merkel Calls For A More Open World: ‘We Won’t Get Anywhere’ With Populism

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday said the populist hope to “return to a small world” would not benefit society, instead calling for openness and acceptance during a speech to church leaders in Würzburg, Germany.

The address was one of the first Merkel gave this year. While it didn’t specifically address the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, it was a pointed remark about the spread of nationalism in America, Britain and across Europe that’s already begun to undermine international accords and threaten efforts to deal with the ongoing migrant crisis.

Australia and New Zealand to pursue 'TPP 12 minus one'

The US-led 12-nation agreement was set to cover 40% of the world's economic output.

Pulling out of the TPP was one of Mr Trump's first executive orders and fulfils a long-held campaign promise.

Australia has already devised a name for a possible new agreement: TPP 12 Minus One.

Texas Supreme Court considers same-sex spousal benefits an open question

In a rather unprecedented event, the Texas Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a case about whether married same-sex couples deserve equal spousal benefits — suggesting it’s still an open question. It’s not.

The case in question relates to benefits the city of Houston offered to the same-sex spouses of city employees back in 2015. Texas still banned same-sex marriage at the time, but these were employees who had been legally married in other states. The conservatives still fighting this case (including the anti-LGBT group Texas Values) argue that the expenditures Houston made before the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell should be undone and that the Obergefell ruling should be read narrowly to allow the benefits to continue to be denied.

Not renewable: Bill would ban utilities from using renewable energy

On the first day of the state’s legislative session, nine Republican lawmakers filed legislation that would bar utilities from using electricity produced by large-scale renewable energy projects.

The bill, whose sponsors are primarily from the state’s top coal-producing counties, would require utilities to use only approved energy sources like coal, natural gas, nuclear power, hydroelectric, and oil. While individual homeowners and small businesses could still use rooftop solar or backyard wind, utilities would face steep fines if they served up clean energy.

Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich

Steve Huffman, the thirty-three-year-old co-founder and C.E.O. of Reddit, which is valued at six hundred million dollars, was nearsighted until November, 2015, when he arranged to have laser eye surgery. He underwent the procedure not for the sake of convenience or appearance but, rather, for a reason he doesn’t usually talk much about: he hopes that it will improve his odds of surviving a disaster, whether natural or man-made. “If the world ends—and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble—getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the ass,” he told me recently. “Without them, I’m fucked.”

'Your only right is to obey': lawyer describes torture in China's secret jails

On day one of his detention Xie Yang claims he was shackled to a metal chair and ordered to explain why he had joined an illegal anti-Communist party network.

On day two he was moved to a secret prison and informed: “Your only right is to obey.”

Finally, on day three, the violence began.

The War on Women Is Over—and Women Lost

When she was 20 years old, Renee Chelian began every Friday with a predawn drive to an airplane hangar outside Detroit. There she met an abortion doctor, and a pilot who flew them to Buffalo, New York.

This was 1971. Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that established a woman's right to an abortion, was still a year and a half away, and New York was one of the few places in the country where abortion was legal. Chelian was the doctor's assistant. She cleaned instruments and made appointments for women who hitchhiked or drove from all over the Midwest and New England to reach the clinic.

Finland May Have Found The Answer To Increasing Global Unemployment

HELSINKI ― As the planet prepares for a potentially isolationist Trump world order and leaders gathered in Davos to debate the impacts of globalization, it is difficult to imagine what to make of the future of international integration. But a new basic income program in Finland aimed at curbing the negative side effects of globalization head on, may just be what the the global community needs to ease fears of widespread unemployment.

This proposed system, now in its early stages in the Nordic nation, allows citizens to receive a fixed sum of money from the government, which could be the trick to at least starting to lift bottom incomes and serve as a solution for the economic ills of globalization. In a world where the day worker and short-term employee feel more and more disconnected from who they perceive as the overpaid elites, this effort is more important than ever.

Israel approves permits for 566 settler homes

Israeli authorities have approved building permits for 566 settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local officials, a move that has drawn condemnation from Palestinian leaders.

The approval of  the building plan on Sunday came two days after the inauguration of Donald Trump in the United States, with Israeli official saying the  permits had been held up until the end of Barack Obama's administration, which had been critical of Israeli settlement activity.

In Moscow, Trump inauguration inspires Russian hopes of new nationalist era

Maria Katasonova pointed proudly to the three stylised portraits behind her: versions of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Marine Le Pen, all made to look eerily similar with blond hair and identical outfits. “It’s called Triptych,” she said. “It was painted a year ago, when nobody believed Trump had a chance of winning, except us. Now, it’s a vision of the future.”

It’s a vision that terrifies many in other parts of Europe, but here, people can hardly contain their excitement at the friendly noises Trump is making towards Russia, and the concurrent shakiness of the European liberal consensus.

After the US, far right says 2017 will be the year Europe wakes up

France’s far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen called on voters across Europe to “wake up” and follow the example of US and British voters.

Speaking at an unprecedented meeting in Germany of Europe’s rightwing populist parties, she said Brexit would unleash an unstoppable wave of “all the dominoes of Europe”. And after Brexit, she added, before an audience of several hundred, the election of Donald Trump was a “second coup”.

Paul Ryan promises to replace key Obamacare policy with that same policy

Paul Ryan has crafted a flattering, and politically valuable, reputation in the press as a wonk’s wonk, the rare member of Congress who knows how budget and tax policy works and how to use that knowledge to argue for conservative proposals.

So it was jarring to see a comment Ryan made in an interview with Charlie Rose on Wednesday, after Rose asked him to detail Republicans’ plans to replace Obamacare:

    We also think that a refundable tax credit is a smarter way to get people the ability to go buy insurance that they like that they can afford. That's better than [Obamacare's] subsidies. A refundable tax credit means you get assistance to regardless of your income tax liability to buy care.

Alabama found guilty of racial gerrymandering

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the state of Alabama engaged in unconstitutional racial gerrymandering in at least 12 districts in order to preserve a Republican supermajority. The ruling is a victory for the state’s Legislative Black Caucus, which has been fighting in court for years against voting maps that intentionally limit the voting power of African Americans by packing them into as few oddly-shaped districts as possible.

The decision, which came down on the day Donald Trump took the presidential oath of office, calls on Alabama to re-draw 12 districts that were drawn “predominantly” based on race. These districts are all currently represented by Democrats, and 10 out of 12 by Black Democrats.

Expanding Tar Sands Will Kill Paris Targets and Climate Stability, Report Finds

Canada can’t increase tar sands production or build more pipelines if the world is to achieve the targets on global carbon emissions set by the Paris Agreement on climate.

That’s the central conclusion of a new report by Oil Change International (OCI), a U.S. research and advocacy group dedicated to exposing the full costs of fossil fuel extraction.

“There is no scenario in which tar sands production increases and the world achieves the Paris goals,” says the report.

Israel Begins Ethnically Cleansing Bedouin Community to Build Jews-Only Town

Liberal supporters of Israel have traditionally operated on a political binary that runs along 1967 armistice lines -- the Green Line -- separating the Occupied Palestinians Territories from Israel. Though Israel enjoys no internationally recognized border between itself and Palestine, refusing to even produce a map proposing any such borders in peace negotiations, the border in the liberal Zionist imagination is firmly established. According to Peter Beinart, the widely published liberal Zionist pundit, Israel-Palestine is divided between a "Democratic Israel" representing Israel inside the Green Line, and "nondemocratic Israel," signifying Israeli military control over the Palestinian West Bank. In Beinart's view, if Israel allowed Palestinians to establish a state in the West Bank (he curiously omits the Gaza Strip), it would consolidate its identity as a liberal democracy.

Gina Miller Calls Theresa May’s Brexit Speech Deliberate ‘Diversion’ From Supreme Court Article 50 Ruling

Theresa May’s pledge to give parliament a vote on any Brexit deal is a deliberate attempt to divert attention from the high-profile Supreme Court case she is about to lose, the lead claimant has said.

May made the pledge this week in a major speech outlining her vision for Brexit, which means she is willing to let MPs vote on the final deal Britain eventually negotiates but is fighting in the courts to stop them voting on triggering Article 50, which begins the formal process of leaving the EU.

Major Fake News Operation Tracked Back to Republican Operative

Cam Harris, a recent college graduate hoping to build a career as a political consultant, received an unwelcome email from a New York Times reporter this month. As the reporter, Scott Shane, recounted on the front page of Thursday’s Times, he had discovered that Harris was the publisher of a fake news site dedicated to smearing Hillary Clinton.

100 years ago, Americans talked about Catholics the way they talk about Muslims today

About a century ago, millions of Americans feared that members of a religious group was amassing an arsenal of weapons for a secret, preplanned takeover of the United States.

The feared religious group wasn’t Muslims. It was, as Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce wrote in a great piece in 2015, Catholics:

    Hatred had become big business in southwestern Missouri, and its name was the Menace, a weekly anti-Catholic newspaper whose headlines screamed to readers around the nation about predatory priests, women enslaved in convents and a dangerous Roman Catholic plot to take over America.…

    America’s deep and widespread skepticism of Catholics is a faint memory in today’s post-Sept. 11 world. But as some conservative politicians call for limits on Muslim immigration and raise questions about whether Muslims are more loyal to Islamic law than American law, the story of Aurora’s long-ago newspaper is a reminder of a long history of American religious intolerance.

    Today, there are calls for federal surveillance of mosques in the name of preventing terrorist attacks; a century ago, it was state laws that allowed the warrantless search of convents and churches in search of supposedly trapped women and purported secret Catholic weapons caches.

Michael Eric Dyson Wants White People to Step Up and Actually Do Something About Racism

The election of Donald Trump sent things spinning in America and got people talking about "whiteness." Did Democrats ignore the white working class? Was Trump making a legitimate appeal to rural America, or was his rhetoric a thinly masked courtship of white racists? If progressives want to win the next presidential election, do they need to abandon identity politics?

As befuddling as it all seems, the author Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University sociology professor and Baptist minister, has a pretty simple message: If America is to improve racial harmony, then white people—all of them—will need to get on board.

Turkey's parliament set to approve sweeping new powers for president

A sweeping bill that will alter the Turkish constitution and grant broad powers to the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is on track to pass in parliament, paving the way for a historic spring referendum that could transform the country’s politics and strengthen the ruling party.

The parliament passed amendments to seven articles in the constitution in a second round of voting in the early hours of Thursday, and is expected to continue voting on the remaining articles on Friday.

Congress moves to give away national lands, discounting billions in revenue

In the midst of highly publicized steps to dismantle insurance coverage for 32 million people and defund women’s healthcare facilities, Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens.

Republican Lawmakers in Five States Propose Bills to Criminalize Peaceful Protest

On Saturday, the Women’s March on Washington will kick off what opponents of the incoming administration hope will be a new era of demonstrations against the Republican agenda. But in some states, nonviolent demonstrating may soon carry increased legal risks — including punishing fines and significant prison terms — for people who participate in protests involving civil disobedience. Over the past few weeks, Republican legislators across the country have quietly introduced a number of proposals to criminalize and discourage peaceful protest.

Noam Chomsky on the Long History of US Meddling in Foreign Elections

A wide range of politicians and media outlets have described the alleged Russian interference in the last US presidential election (by way of hacking) as representing a direct threat to American democracy and even to national security itself. Of course, the irony behind these concerns about the interference of foreign nations in the domestic political affairs of the United States is that the US has blatantly interfered in the elections of many other nations, with methods that include not only financial support to preferred parties and the circulation of propaganda but also assassinations and overthrows of even democratically elected regimes. Indeed, the US has a long criminal history of meddling into the political affairs of other nations -- a history that spans at least a century and, since the end of World War II, extends into all regions of the globe, including western parliamentary polities. This interview with Noam Chomsky reminds us that the United States is no stranger to election interference; in fact, it is an expert in this arena.

Second wave of bomb threats hit Jewish Centers across the country

For the second time in as many weeks, Jewish centers across the United States were hit with a wave of bomb threats on Wednesday, forcing evacuations at several locations.

According to Haaretz, Jewish Community Centers in at least 15 states all received bomb threats around the same time. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that at least 25 Jewish institutions have been affected so far in Florida, Alabama, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, California, Ohio, Tennessee, Maryland, Minnesota, Delaware and Missouri.

America’s Blue Wall of Terror

Some of you, my beloved white friends, seem genuinely surprised that most black folk fear the police. You are shocked that we think of them as a brutalizing force. You cringe when we say they are out to do everything but serve and protect us. You think we are manufacturing stories about our bad encounters with police. You think that we must have done something wrong to provoke such remorseless cruelty.

When I was seventeen years old, I was with my brother Anthony and a childhood friend, both a year older than me, and we were stopped by four Detroit cops patrolling the neighborhood in an unmarked police vehicle. They amplified their command for us to get out of the car over their blaring megaphone. Then they approached us. One of the officers snatched me out of the backseat. We were no strangers to the menace of the police and naturally assumed the position against our car.

Brutal Austerity Is Coming to a Statehouse Near You

The incoming Trump administration understandably frightens liberals, but right-wing successes at a state level would have moved forward regardless of who won the election. Only four states currently have a Democratic governor and a Democratic state legislature. What's more, bipartisan support for policies of austerity and neoliberalism have led to vast social spending cuts across the country regardless of political affiliation.

Here are five proposed budget cuts that should have progressives up in arms.

Too much leverage: Uber’s borrowing habits are being scrutinized

Uber Technologies is the darling of the ride-hailing economy. Its sleek app, reasonable prices and the quick response time of its drivers have attracted so many customers that the company claims it’s turning a profit in select U.S. and European cities. On the other hand, everywhere else that the company operates, profits have remained so elusive that Uber recently pulled out of China.

As the 7-year-old startup works toward staging an initial public offering as early as this year, the San Francisco-based company (co-founded by computer engineer Travis Kalanick) has relied heavily on investors and lenders to reach the goal of becoming the world’s biggest and profitable ride-hailing company. Eventually the banks, billionaire angel investors, private equity firms and government sovereign wealth funds that have bankrolled Uber’s rise will expect returns for those investments.

Five Reasons that President Obama Was Right to Commute Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

On Tuesday, three days before the end of Barack Obama’s term as President, the White House announced that he had commuted the sentences of two hundred and nine people, including Private Chelsea Manning, who was arrested, in 2010, for giving hundreds of thousands of files classified as secret—the revelation of which caused diplomatic tumult and other difficulties for the United States—to WikiLeaks. Manning had been court-martialed and sentenced to thirty-five years in military prison. Under Obama’s order, she will be released in May, after being incarcerated for more than six years. Here are five reasons that Obama’s decision on Manning was the right and just move.

The Real Meaning of Putin's Press Conference

You have to feel bad for the Moldovan president. The newly elected Igor Dodon had traveled to Moscow to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin for the first Russian-Moldovan bilateral meeting in nine years. Yet here he was, standing side by side with Putin, his hero and model for emulation, at a regal-looking press conference and some reporter has to go and ask about the prostitutes.

“You haven’t yet commented on the report that, allegedly, we or in Russia have been collecting kompromat on Donald Trump, including during his visit to Moscow, as if he were having fun with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel,” said the reporter with the pro-Kremlin LifeNews. “Is that true? Have you seen these files, these videos, these tapes?”

“We were heard for the first time”: President Obama leaves an incredible legacy on LGBTQ rights

In March 2009, Mara Keisling visited the White House. It was an event that has now become typical; Keisling estimates she’s been in the White House dozens of times since then. But back then, it was a big deal — even historic.

“As far as I know, I was the first trans person invited as a trans person to the White House,” Keisling, who’s the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), told me. She thought back to the first trans policy session she took part in at the White House, noting the tragic irony that it was held in the Indian Treaty Room — a place that symbolizes the many broken promises the US government has made to Native Americans.

Turkey's constitutional reform: All you need to know

Last December, Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) unveiled a raft of constitutional amendments that aim to fundamentally change the way Turkey is governed.

The controversial draft constitution, dubbed the "Turkish-style presidency", is seeking to replace the current parliamentary system with a presidential one paving the way for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has held power for the past 13 years, first as prime minister and since 2014 as president, to become the sole executive authority in the country.

Along With Chelsea Manning, Obama Granted Hundreds Of Federal Drug Offenders Early Freedom

WASHINGTON ― In one of his final acts in office, President Barack Obama granted clemency to 209 federal prisoners on Tuesday, almost all of whom were convicted of drug crimes.

Obama has now granted more commutations than any president in American history, according to White House Counsel Neil Eggleston. The number of federal prisoners who have had their sentences commuted during Obama’s presidency totals 1,385 individuals, though many of those who had their sentences shortened will spend several more years behind bars. The latest group includes more than 100 individuals who believed they would die in prison, as they’re serving life sentences, according to the White House.

CBO Predicts 18 Million Uninsured, Higher Premiums In First Year After Obamacare Repeal And Delay

The Congressional Budget Office just issued a report on the likely effects of a Republican effort to repeal Obamacare immediately but keep some elements of the coverage expansion in place for two years.

The numbers are staggering and suggest the GOP will find it difficult to keep its promise of an “orderly transition,” unless they deviate significantly from a prototype repeal bill they passed last year.

Theresa May Confirms UK Will Quit Single Market As She Sets Out Her Brexit Goals

Theresa May today confirmed the UK will be leaving the single market as she set out her vision for Brexit.

In a landmark speech in London this lunchtime, the prime minister said her Government wanted to regain control of the UK’s immigration policies - meaning membership of the single market was impossible.

This MLK Quote Sums Up The Rise Of White Supremacy Post-Trump

Martin Luther King, Jr. said and wrote many poignant and profound things during his lifetime, certainly too many to count, but one quote from the Civil Rights icon feels eerily prophetic in light of Donald Trump’s presidency.

On July 16, 1964, King released a statement on the Republican presidential nomination of Barry Goldwater. Goldwater had run a campaign based on a new kind of conservatism that was staunchly against civil rights reform and implicitly pro-white. Goldwater concerned King, who felt the candidate legitimized and incited an uptick of white supremacist ideology in the Republican party.

“It was both unfortunate and disastrous that the Republican Party nominated Barry Goldwater as its candidate for President of the United States,” King declared, warning of Goldwater’s “trigger-happy attitude that could plunge the whole world into the dark abyss of annihilation.” His thoughts on Goldwater’s stance on race and civil rights are equally striking.

Swedish minister 'shocked' by xenophobia towards Swedes in UK

The Swedish government wants the issue of the rights of EU citizens in the UK and British people settled elsewhere in Europe to be resolved urgently and removed from the Brexit negotiating table as quickly as possible.

Ann Linde, the Swedish minister for EU affairs and trade, said she was shocked by the uncertainty and xenophobia experienced by Swedes in the UK since the referendum.

These 8 Men Have As Much Money As Half The World

Just eight super-rich men hold the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population, according to an analysis from the charity Oxfam released Sunday night.

Six of these billionaires, from Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people, are American entrepreneurs: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Rounding out the list are Carlos Slim, the Mexican tycoon, and Amancio Ortega, the Spanish founder of a retail conglomerate that includes clothing chain Zara. Together their net wealth ― assets minus debts ― amounts to $426 billion.

Cops' Feelings on Race Show How Far We Have to Go

This week, the Pew Research Center released a report entitled "Behind the Badge," a comprehensive survey of nearly 8,000 law enforcement officials across the United States examining their attitudes toward their jobs, police protests, interactions with their communities, racial issues, and much more. The report states that it is appearing "at a crisis point in America's relationship with the men and women who enforce its laws, precipitated by a series of deaths of black Americans during encounters with the police."

9 MLK Quotes the Mainstream Media Won't Cite

The Martin Luther King Jr. who is cynically trotted out every time racial unrest erupts in our cities is the MLK who can be conveniently used to prop up the status quo. He is MLK reduced to “I Have A Dream,” used in conservative political ads to scare-monger about invading, job-stealing Mexican immigrants. He is the almost wholly fabricated MLK whom the modern GOP claims would today be one of their own, presumably standing alongside them as they vote against the poor, people of color and women of every race at every opportunity. He is MLK reimagined as the passive figure the fascist, racist right in this country wants us to be as they lean into the boot on our necks.

Republican congressman sneaks away from constituents demanding health care answers

Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) tweeted Friday that he was excited to return home to Colorado this weekend, but things didn’t go very well when he got there.

On Saturday, his open meeting to chat with constituents at the Aurora Central Library was overwhelmed by voters particularly concerned about the fate of their health care if the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) is repealed — a plan Coffman supports — without a replacement put in place. Rather than meet with most of them or even address them, he left the event via a back door and escaped in a waiting vehicle.

Supreme Court ruling in Ernst fracking case poses threat to Charter rights

Today the Supreme Court of Canada rejected Alberta landowner Jessica Ernst's legal challenge to sue the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) for denying her right to freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court said that Ernst should have launched a judicial review of how the AER handled and defended the immunity clauses that shield government bodies from lawsuits.

Russian state-owned media slams Chrystia Freeland

Well, that didn’t take long.

The Russian state-owned Sputnik News has come out with a piece blasting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new foreign affairs minister, Chrystia Freeland, and framing her appointment as a “catastrophe for Canadian-Russian relations.”

Posted early Saturday afternoon, the copy quotes University of Montreal history professor Michael J. Carley who slams the new minister as a “hater of Putin” and “Russophobe.”

Why Bernie Sanders Came Up Short—and How That Lesson Can Fuel Future Progressive Victories

The following is an excerpt from the new book Rules for Revolutionaries by Becky Bond and Zack Exley (Chelsea Green, 2016):

Revolutions are messy, wonderful, maddening, and joyful all at once. They alternate between inspiring unbelievable elation and taking your heart and crushing it in a vise, sometimes both in the same day.

Revolutions rarely succeed immediately. But when they do achieve their ultimate goal—even when it seems sudden—it’s usually a result of years of accumulated confidence, new tactics, and momentum. All of this is gained through defeats and setbacks that train and galvanize an ever-growing base of people who believe that change is possible if they all stand up and fight for change together.

GOP Congressman introduces federal ‘heartbeat bill’ to effectively ban all abortions in the US

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) Thursday introduced a bill that would implement a nationwide abortion ban, modeling it after the “heartbeat bills” already found unconstitutional in federal court.

Under HR 490, an abortion provider who performs an abortion without “determining … whether the fetus has a detectable heartbeat,” “informing the mother of the results of that determination,: or “after determining … that the fetus has a detectable heartbeat,” will face fines and up to five years in federal prison.

The Corruption Allegations Against Benjamin Netanyahu

In 2008, it emerged that Ehud Olmert, then Israel’s Prime Minister, was being investigated for having received cash-stuffed envelopes from an American businessman. I remember an acquaintance remarking, “Another kept man.” Like Ariel Sharon, Olmert’s predecessor, whose tenure had been dogged by allegations that he had accepted kickbacks from a South African executive, another Prime Minister was suspected of being beholden to moneyed interests.

Jeremy Corbyn Launches Attack On Theresa May Over GP Opening Hours Demand

Jeremy Corbyn has led a furious backlash against Theresa May’s demand that GPs adopt a seven-day service to help alleviate the NHS crisis.

“This is another example of a prime minister in denial. A Prime Minister who would much rather listen to spin doctors than real doctors,” the Labour Party leader told a conference in central London.