Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Tuesday, 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.”

The EU Is Fighting A Lopsided Battle Against Russian Disinformation

Hundreds of people demonstrated in Germany in January last year, after media outlets reported that migrants had abducted and raped a 13-year-old Russian-German girl.

But while the protests were real, the story was fake.

The girl, identified as “Lisa F,” later retracted her claims, but the story spread across Europe after a Russian state owned TV station heavily featured the allegations while German authorities were still trying to verify what happened. Several other outlets in Russia and Germany then quickly picked up the story, sometimes adding the claim that the case was not being investigated because it put German immigration policy in a bad light. Even Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the case was being “hushed up.”

Premier Li Says China Will Resolutely Oppose Taiwan Independence

China will resolutely oppose and contain Taiwan independence, Premier Li Keqiang said in remarks prepared for delivery at the opening of the annual meeting of parliament on Sunday, amid heightened tension between Beijing and the self-ruled island.

China is deeply suspicious of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, whose ruling Democratic Progressive Party espouses the island’s formal independence, a red line for Beijing, which has cut off an official dialogue mechanism with Taipei.

Tsai says she wants peace with China.

Maybe It’s Time To Stop Calling The GOP Obamacare Plan A ‘Replacement’

This could be the week House leaders finally introduce legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans have been trying to wipe off the books ever since it became law in 2010. The new bill supposedly exists already ― tucked away in a sealed room somewhere in the Capitol building, available only to Republicans who sit on the committee tentatively planning to mark up the legislation.

Despite the secrecy, reports in Politico, the Wall Street Journal and other outlets have provided a pretty clear picture of what Republicans have in mind. If those preliminary reports are correct, the proposal would fall well short of the repeated promises from President Donald Trump and other GOP leaders to replace Obamacare with something that provides “great health care” for all Americans.

In fact, what the Republicans have in mind doesn’t look like a replacement at all.

Telecoms made $37 million last year charging to unlock cellphones

Canadian telecoms made a total of $37.7 million last year by charging customers to unlock their cellphones. That's a whopping 75 per cent jump in this source of revenue compared to 2014.

Telecoms often order locked phones from manufacturers that are programmed to work only with their service. Then they charge a fee — typically $50 — to unlock the phone if a customer wants to switch providers.

Up Close on How Caste Discrimination in India Can Be Deeply Traumatic for a Woman

It’s like being told you are not poor, deprived or spat upon. You are not Dalit.

India today lives under a regime with a prime minister who, in the runup to his stunning May 2014 victory, broadcast the fact that he came from humble origins—a tea-brewing (chaiwallah) family. Never mind that nothing in his pre- and post-prime ministerial demeanor had anything humble about it; he sports suits worth an Indian Rs 10,00,000 and uses a pen worth a tenth of that amount.

So when this regime responds and humiliates a single mother, Radhika Vemula, a Dalit, who lost her older son when he committed suicide out of humiliation and desperation—and does so by saying ‘You are not a Dalit’—we must take serious pause.

What is the alt-right and what does it stand for?

Although largely confined to websites, online media forums and social media, the alternative right, or alt-right, came into the spotlight during the US election campaign and appears to have been energised by Donald Trump's electoral victory.

In November, media attention honed in on the alt-right when, during a speech at the National Policy Institute Conference in Washington DC, white nationalist Richard Spencer chanted "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!" as the audience gave Nazi-like salutes.

HB 2.0 is coming: How North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom compromise” doubles down on anti-LGBT discrimination

It was a bad time to come out as transgender in North Carolina. Elijah Tuck, an 18-year-old college student, began transitioning during his senior year of high school. For Tuck, it was natural to start using the men’s restrooms because as someone who “passes” for male, he’d already gotten looks and comments when attempting to use the women’s facilities.

While waiting for his girlfriend in a women’s restroom at Target, a woman walked in and was startled to see him — lanky and fair, large glasses perched on a slender frame. Tuck looks like the kind of kid you’d call to fix your computer, not someone you’d expect to see standing in the women’s restroom. The woman, confused, asked if she was in the wrong place. “No, but I might be,” Tuck remembers saying to her. After that day, he began using the men’s room whenever possible to avoid incidents like that one.

This Virginia Democrat Is Crafting A Populist Anti-Trump Strategy

Champagne corks popped in Charlottesville, Virginia, as hundreds of overjoyed Democrats crowded onto the brick-paved pedestrian thoroughfare to cheer the election results and toast the future. Not only had Barack Obama been elected the next president of the United States, but liberal voters had ousted arch-conservative Rep. Virgil Goode from Congress, replacing him with a young Democrat named Tom Perriello.

GOP congressman thinks poor people don’t want health care, ‘just like Jesus said’

In an interview with STAT, Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) says he doesn’t support Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion because he believes some poor people just don’t want health care.

“Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us,’” Marshall, a doctor and first-term congressman, said. “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

The author of the STAT piece, Lev Facher, writes that he “pressed” Marshall on that point. But the congressman “shrugged.”

Climate science denier Darrell Issa joins House climate change caucus

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) announced this week he has joined a bipartisan House caucus on climate change. But the news, first reported by Reuters, glossed over one major point: Issa has been a long-time climate science denier.

He is now part of the Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan group looking at “policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate.” But in August 2013, Issa won a “Climate Change Denier” award by the League of Conservation Voters for “his extreme anti-science views, which put him at odds with 97 percent of scientists and a majority of the American people.”

California Nonprofit May Have Violated Tax Law By Donating to Anti-Muslim, Far-Right Dutch Candidate

The David Horowitz Freedom Center, a controversial California-based nonprofit that sponsors virulently anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant campaigns in the U.S., has quietly played a prominent role in financing Dutch far-right nationalist Geert Wilders’s People’s Party for Freedom (PVV). The PVV’s platform calls for an end to Muslim immigration and the closing down of mosques and Islamic schools in the Netherlands — and polls suggest it may win the largest number of seats in the Netherland’s parliamentary elections this month.

Who is Russia's US ambassador Sergei Kislyak?

Two senior Republicans - Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former national security adviser Michael Flynn - have found themselves in hot water over contacts with Russia's US ambassador Sergei Kislyak. But who is he?

A career diplomat whose service in Washington began during the Cold War, Mr Kislyak is an established figure on the diplomatic circuit known for courteously but doggedly pushing Russia's position at lunches and policy forums.

Jim Crow is alive and well in Israel

For years, Israel has sold, and we in the United States have bought, the cheap peel-away sticker that it is the "lone democracy" in the Middle East.

It has a nice, assuring ring to it, sort of like "opportunity" or "peace", whatever these chants may, in practice, mean. But, like beauty, it remains very much in the eye of the beholder, and like reality, sooner or later the truth surfaces, no matter how well its fiction is packaged.

Arkansas Republican pushes bill to ban Howard Zinn books from public schools

Republican Arkansas state Sen. Kim Hendren introduced a bill to the state legislature that will ban the works of historian Howard Zinn from any schools that receive public funds.

The Arkansas Times reported Thursday that House Bill 1834 would ban all public schools and open enrollment charter schools from “including in its curriculum or course materials for a program of study books or any other material authored by or concerning Howard Zinn.”

The Arab lawmaker vying to be prime minister of a utopian Israeli-Palestinian state

Half an hour was all MK Ahmad Tibi needed – from the moment U.S. President Donald Trump stated, two weeks ago, that he was committed to a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but not necessarily a two-state solution – to appear on CNN and illustrate what Israeli Palestinians mean when they hear “one state”: “If this will be the case,” he said, “I will be running for the post of prime minister, and I can assure you that I will win [over] Bibi Netanyahu.”

The Marked Woman

In the early twentieth century, the members of the Osage Nation became the richest people per capita in the world, after oil was discovered under their reservation, in Oklahoma. Then they began to be mysteriously murdered off. In 1923, after the death toll reached more than two dozen, the case was taken up by the Bureau of Investigation, then an obscure branch of the Justice Department, which was later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was among the F.B.I.’s first major homicide investigations. After J. Edgar Hoover was appointed the bureau’s director, in 1924, he sent a team of undercover operatives, including a Native American agent, to the Osage reservation.

David Grann, a staff writer at the magazine, has spent nearly half a decade researching this submerged and sinister history. In his new book, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the F.B.I.,” which is being published by Doubleday, in April, he shows that the breadth of the killings was far greater than the Bureau ever exposed. This exclusive excerpt, the book’s first chapter, introduces the Osage woman and her family who became prime targets of the conspiracy.

Iowa Republican who wants to politicize university hiring lied about his own degree

When we last saw Iowa state Sen. Mark Chelgren, he was trying to force ideological balance in his state’s higher education system by mandating that a person’s application for a university job be cross-checked with his or her registration on voter rolls, in order to ensure “partisan balance” for the institution’s faculty, staff and administration. But the senator — the brain behind the 2015 proposal to execute undocumented immigrants who try to re-enter the U.S. after deportion for committing a felony — may have beefed up his resume.

South Africa’s Fault Lines

In Makause, a sprawling settlement of overcrowded shacks built on an abandoned gold mine, some 30,000 residents face the leafy streets and gracious homes of Primrose, an affluent suburb of Johannesburg. Separated only by a narrow highway, the two neighborhoods offer a stark reminder that, 22 years after apartheid was abolished, South Africa is still defined by massive inequality and stark segregation.

Marine Le Pen loses immunity from prosecution over IS images

The European Parliament has lifted French far-right leader Marine Le Pen's immunity from prosecution after she tweeted pictures of so-called Islamic State (IS) violence.

Ms Le Pen is under investigation in France for posting three graphic images of IS killings in 2015, including the beheading of US journalist James Foley.

Forced evacuation of east Aleppo was war crime, says UN

The United Nations has accused the Syrian government of deliberately attacking an aid convoy near Aleppo last September, and labeled a forced evacuation of opposition-held parts of the east of the city as a “war crime”.

In a report covering the capture of Aleppo by forces supporting the Syrian regime, the UN also accused Damascus of repeatedly using chemical weapons and cluster munitions, and systematically destroying hospitals.

Angela Merkel urged to ban Erdoğan over jailed German journalist

Angela Merkel is facing calls to ban the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, from entering Germany while a German journalist continues to be held in an Istanbul prison.

Erdoğan, who campaigned in Germany in 2011 and 2014, was rumoured to be planning a political rally to secure the symbolically important diaspora vote before April’s referendum in Turkey on giving him greater powers.

Mass Incarceration in the Cornfields: Shattered Families and Racial Profiling in Small-Town America

Annette Taylor first lost her father to the prison system at age four. He was gone for four years, then came home for a few months, only to return to the Department of Corrections for another 16 years. "My dad was my everything," Taylor told Truthout. Once her father was gone, Taylor remembers that her mother "just worked, worked, worked. She really wasn't around." Her mother worked two, sometimes three jobs -- doing laundry in hotels and laboring in factories in Champaign County, Illinois, where their family lived. When still a preteen, Taylor had to take on the role of mothering her younger siblings -- "get the dinner out that my mom made, make sure my little sister was doing her homework." By the time she was fourteen, Taylor was pregnant. "I didn't even tell my dad," she recalls. She was terrified he would be disappointed. He only learned about the child a year later.

The NRA’s new gun-sales pitch: America is a war zone and the “violent left” is coming for you

If there’s anyone who can be counted on to “out-Trump” Donald Trump, it’s Wayne LaPierre, the CEO and executive vice president of the National Rifle Association. LaPierre’s speech on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference was a masterpiece of conspiracy theory-style paranoia, race baiting and horrific fantasies, painting the American landscape as a war zone of crime and terror that can be survived only by those who armor up like they’re going to war.

Alexis Tsipras’ €100 billion problem

THESSALONIKI, Greece — As opposition leader, Alexis Tsipras promised that “not a single house” would be taken from Greeks who can’t pay their mortgage.

It’s now haunting him as prime minister.

Tsipras’ left-wing party Syriza came to power on a wave of popular protest at the height of the European debt crisis. After a dramatic showdown with Greece’s international creditors in July 2015, Tsipras chose to prioritize continued membership of the eurozone over doing away with austerity. The choice was controversial and left many people feeling betrayed.

Berta Cáceres court papers show murder suspects' links to US-trained elite troops

Leaked court documents raise concerns that the murder of the Honduran environmentalist Berta Cáceres was an extrajudicial killing planned by military intelligence specialists linked to the country’s US–trained special forces, a Guardian investigation can reveal.

Cáceres was shot dead a year ago while supposedly under state protection after receiving death threats over her opposition to a hydroelectric dam.

Here's Proof Republicans Are Done With Democracy

Show up for a protest, and end up losing your home, car, and retirement account?  How about losing everything over just being at a meeting or on a conference call?

Confessed wife-beater and Arizona State Senator Sonny Borrelli (R-AZ) has introduced an amazing bit of legislation into the Arizona senate, which has already passed—it's in the House now. The bill would hyper-criminalize any sort of organized political dissent if any person involved with that dissent (including, presumably, agent provocateurs) were to engage in even minor “violence,” so long as that violence harms the “property,” regardless of value, of any person (including a corporation).

'We have never ceded our lands': First Nations in B.C.'s interior weigh impacts of Kinder Morgan pipeline

Kinder Morgan's controversial Trans Mountain pipeline is pitting First Nations and climate science against industry and the federal and B.C. governments. rabble's Alyse Kotyk is investigating how TMX will impact British Columbians in the lead-up to the May election. Read her first piece here.

Across B.C.'s interior, Indigenous communities are deciding whether or not they will support Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline project through mutual benefits agreements (MBA).

Tom Perez Will Be a Strong Fighter for Civil Rights

Tom Perez could’ve been attorney general if Hillary Clinton had been elected president. Instead he’ll be chair of the DNC.

Conventional wisdom portrayed the race for DNC chair as a rerun of the 2016 presidential campaign, with Perez as the corporate establishment and Keith Ellison as the insurgent progressive. That narrative was greatly overstated. While I preferred Ellison as DNC chair, Perez has a strong and impressive progressive record, especially on civil rights.

Turkish ‘No’ voices muffled in Erdoğan’s referendum

ISTANBUL — As Turkey heads toward a constitutional referendum designed to grant its leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan even greater powers, the polls predict a neck-and-neck race.

That doesn’t mean their chances are equal. While the April vote is likely to be free, whether it will be fair — given rising repression of political dissent and the ongoing state of emergency — is another question.

Russian Hackers May Now Be Mucking With European Elections

When the US intelligence community released a report in early January laying out the evidence for Russian meddling in the US election, US officials warned that this wasn't a one-off attack, and that Russia could soon set its hacker corps loose to disrupt elections in other countries. "Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future efforts worldwide," the report said, "including against US allies and their election processes."

Former neo-Nazi warns that the white supremacist movement is only growing bolder and more dangerous

While it’s comforting to believe that white supremacist movements in the United States are only a tiny fringe, one former neo-Nazi warns that they’re growing bolder and more dangerous every day.

In an interview with Vox, anti-hate activist Christian Picciolini explains why the Trump administration’s decision to spend far fewer resources fighting violent white nationalist movements couldn’t come at a worse time for the United States.