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.]

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.

The Legacy of Monsanto's PCBs: Oozing Pus, Birth Defects and Immune Problems

The people of New Bedford, Massachusetts, have always been tough. When New Bedford was the whaling capital of the world, seven men would hop into a 25-foot rowboat to chase -- and harpoon up close -- furious 50-foot whales weighing 85 tons. After petroleum replaced whale oil around 1900, New Bedford workers then kept 70 textile mills humming day and night. After textiles moved away, from the 1940s onward New Bedford supplied the world with electric gear. But when those factories began to close in the 1960s, they left behind some awful secrets -- 572 chemically poisoned plots of land within the city's 24 square miles, including land where unsuspecting townspeople built two public schools. In the early 1980s, local people learned that their prized harbor -- all 18,000 acres of it, including its bounty of fish and lobsters -- had been rendered dangerously toxic by factory wastes. In 1983, New Bedford Harbor, the mouth of the Acushnet River, was declared a Superfund site, heavily contaminated with PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). This small city reeled. To many, the combination of unemployment and toxic waste seemed insurmountable.

Britain Set To Lose EU Banking And Medicine Agencies ‘Within Weeks’

EU diplomats are plotting to issue a crushing blow to Theresa May’s Brexit strategy by withdrawing flagship agencies from Britain ‘within weeks’, it has been reported.

Officials at a meeting held last Tuesday agreed an uncompromising position over the future of the EU’s banking and medicine regulators - which employ about 1,000 people in London.

Toronto Homeowners Cash Out Amid Fears Of A Housing Bubble

TORONTO — Sarah Blakely recalls feeling some trepidation when she and her husband shelled out more than $300,000 for a modest 1 1/2-storey house in a less-desirable part of Toronto.

Seven years later, they found themselves on the right side of a hot housing market, with values tripling in a 'hood suddenly considered up-and-coming for young families seeking detached homes.

They recently sold that renovated three-bedroom for more than $1 million and now expect to live mortgage-free in a four-bedroom purchase in their hometown of Ottawa.

WikiLeaks founder baffled by sex assault claims

ONE of the women claiming she was sexually assaulted by Julian Assange took a "trophy photo" of him lying naked in her bed, he says.

The white-haired computer impresario had been invited to stay in her empty flat when he visited Stockholm to give a lecture last August, shortly after WikiLeaks released tens of thousands of classified US documents on the Afghanistan war.

Is Julian Assange a misogynist, or just seething with rage against Hillary Clinton? We wonder

It’s time to admit that there is a sexist pattern to Julian Assange’s behavior. It’s impossible to truly understand his motives, or his election-shaping hatred of Hillary Clinton (he was even tweeting about her this week), without first looking at his views on women.

It’s not that misogyny is the only characteristic that defines Assange, or even the primary one. He is the most emblematic of the early 21st century internet radicals, a man who has literally cut himself off from the rest of the world (remember, he is at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London by choice) and constantly bombards himself with online information.

Paul Ryan Raised $657,000 While Avoiding His Constituents During Recess

House Speaker Paul Ryan snubbed his Wisconsin  constituents during the President’s Day congressional recess, refusing to hold even a single town hall. Local activists appeared at his office in Racine to demand a meeting. Others placed a tongue-in-cheek missing person advertisement on Craigslist, asking for the whereabouts of their elected representative. Ryan “fled sometime in and around January 20, 2017, and hasn’t been seen since,” the ad stated.

Elizabeth Warren Says Mitch McConnell Won't Even Say Hello To Her

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has apparently been ignoring Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) since moving to silence her on the Senate floor in February, Warren told The Boston Globe.

McConnell cut Warren off in February as she tried to read a letter from Coretta Scott King during a speech on the Senate floor, explaining her opposition to Jeff Session’s nomination to be attorney general. McConnell invoked a little-used rule that blocks senators “by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”

Russian Dissident Masha Gessen on Why Outrage Is Not Optional

Russian journalist and dissident Masha Gessen began her career in the 1980s, cutting her teeth in the gay and lesbian press in the United States. In Russia, Gessen risked her life to chronicle Vladimir Putin’s autocratic excesses, the country’s dissident movements and violence against the country’s LGBTQ community. She was beaten on the steps of parliament in June 2013 for protesting Russia’s infamous anti-gay law. As a gay parent with three children, Gessen was at risk of losing custody of her family as a result of the legislation. She is now settled in the United States, where she continues to cover the political dysfunction of Russia.

‘Nobody’s got to use the Internet’: GOP’s Sensenbrenner calls Internet optional as FCC readies to limit broadband

As Republican lawmakers continue to defend their decision to vote to roll back a set of broadband privacy rules that would have required internet service providers to ask for permission before collecting user data, the Federal Communications Commission is readying more drastic changes to the regulatory oversight of the internet.

Is This the End of Bill O'Reilly? Let's Hope So: 18 Reminders That He's a Terrible Person

It's a given that Bill O’Reilly is a terrible person. Thing is, he’s been so thoroughly heinous for so interminably long, it can be hard to remember all the reasons why. Most recently, there have been new revelations about O’Reilly and Fox News paying millions in settlements to women who have been targets of his sexually inappropriate behavior. But reviewing O’Reilly’s history, there's a pattern of despicable behavior that goes back much further in time.

He's shown himself to be a raging racist and a bloviating bigot (for which Fox News audiences love him), a man who lies about his press credentials and morals in the same breath. He imagines himself a guardian of truth and the defender of American virtues being lost to brown, gay and godless hordes, when in fact, he's a huge dick.

First fake news, now fake history: Glenn Beck wants to train young people to promote an alternative history

If there are two characteristics that really define Trumpism, they are a total disregard for the importance of facts and a nostalgia for a mythical, vaguely defined time of American “greatness.” That makes the Trump era ripe for Glenn Beck’s ongoing project of creating and promoting his revisionist view of American history — one that valorizes straight white men as humanity’s natural leaders and grants Christian fundamentalism a centrality to American history that it does not, in reality, have.

University president cuts top women’s hockey program, calls it a ‘boutique sport’

On March 30, just over 24 hours after the United States women’s national hockey team (USWNT) secured a historic contract from USA Hockey that promises a bright future for the sport, the University of North Dakota announced abruptly that it was cutting its women’s hockey program.

The announcement was a huge blow to the women’s hockey community. The UND women’s team is one of the top NCAA hockey programs in the country — it was ranked sixth nationally coming into this season. Twelve of its alumni or current players competed at the world championships this year, and seven won medals, including USWNT players and twins, Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson.

House Republican lashes out at constituent for saying his salary was paid by taxpayers

As a U.S. representative, Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) earns a salary of $174,000 per year. He seems to be confused about where that money comes from, however.

During a town hall event earlier this week, the third term congressman said the notion taxpayers pay his salary is “bullcrap.”

“You said you pay for me to do this — bullcrap, I pay for myself,” Mullin, who reportedly owns multiple companies under the umbrella of Mullin Plumbing, said. “I pay enough taxes where before I ever got there, and continue to for my company and pay my own salary.”

Why Putin wins

In 1995, the celebrated Russian author Yevgeny Yevtushenko visited Toronto on a book tour. Over lunch, Yevtushenko was asked where he thought his still-torn country was headed — just over three years removed from the dissolution of the former Soviet Union at the end of 1991.

In response, he picked up his novel, Don’t Die Before You’re Dead, and thumbed through it until he found the paragraph he wanted. Post-Soviet Russia, he had written, “divided into three countries. One was frightened and wanted to return to yesterday. The second did not yet know what tomorrow would be like, but did not want to return to yesterday. The third was waiting.”

Goodbye 1st Amendment: New Bill Seizes Assets of Anyone Who Plans or Participates in Protests that ‘Disturb the Public Peace’

Imagine having all your assets seized because you planned a peaceful protest that disturbed the peace? That could be a reality under SB1142, which just passed the Arizona state senate.

Under SB1142, Arizona’s racketeering laws are expanding to include rioting. This gives the state government the right to criminally prosecute and seize the assets of everyone who planned a protest that turned violent and everyone who participated.

Silicon Valley Sweatshops

No one knows talent better than Donald Trump. That’s supposedly why the president has vowed to end exploitative temporary-visa labor systems and instead promote “merit-based” foreign-labor recruitment, so good jobs are reserved for skilled, deserving Americans, we’re told. He’s not just talking about building walls to keep out immigrants, but targeting engineers the United States imports to build our booming tech sectors, through the H-1B foreign-labor visa program.

The unexpectedly close Kansas House race shows that targeting is overrated

Democratic Party leaders, stung by criticism for having done so little to help their candidate in an unexpectedly narrow House special election in Kansas, have swiftly converged on an explanation for their actions. They’re now arguing it wasn’t a mistake — they didn’t just underrate how much Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s unpopularity would matter, or overrate how good state Treasurer Sam Estes, the Republican who ultimately won, was as a candidate. No, they argue, staying largely out of the race was a strategy.

Mississippi is rejecting nearly all of the poor people who apply for welfare

Last year, 11,717 low-income residents of Mississippi applied to get a meager government benefit to help them make ends meet. The state’s welfare program, part of federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), gives a maximum of just $170 a month to a family of three. These applicants had applied hoping to get at least that crumb of cash assistance.

But out of the pool—more than 11 thousand—only 167 people were actually approved and enrolled in the program, according to state data obtained by ThinkProgress. Every other applicant was denied or withdrew, resulting in an acceptance rate of just 1.42 percent. Statistically speaking, it’s more like a rounding error.

First Muslim woman on New York Court of Appeals found dead in Hudson River

The body of the first African American woman judge on the New York Court of Appeals, washed ashore Wednesday on the Manhattan side of the Hudson River, the New York Post reports.

Sheila Abdus-Salaam was found floating, fully clothed, in the water near uptown Manhattan several hours after she was reported missing from her home in Harlem.

Shocking Education Report Shows Taxpayers Paying Hundreds of Millions for Unneeded and Inferior Charter Schools

A blockbuster report detailing how California’s charter school industry has wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars by opening and building schools in communities that don't need them and often end up doing worse than nearby public schools, is a nationwide warning about how education privateers hijack public funds and harm K-12 public schools.

“This report finds that this funding [building, buying, leasing] is almost completely disconnected from educational policy objectives, and the results are, in turn, scattershot and haphazard,” the report's executive summary begins. “Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent each year without any meaningful strategy. Far too much of this public funding is spent on schools built in neighborhoods that have no need for additional classroom space, and which offer no improvement over the quality of education already available in nearby public schools. In the worst cases, public facilities funding has gone to schools that were found to have discriminatory enrollment policies and others that have engaged in unethical or corrupt practices.”

The Kansas Democrat who nearly pulled off the impossible has some advice for his party

James Thompson may not be heading to Congress, but not everyone is calling his loss in Kansas’ special congressional election a defeat.

On Tuesday, Republican Ron Estes beat Thompson in the solidly Republican district by a margin of roughly five points. Just a few months ago, President Trump carried the district with a wide margin of 27 points.

Turkey’s Fateful Referendum: The Road to Dictatorship?

Istanbul—Cups of tea and trays of sugar cubes are passed around in a crowded meeting in Istanbul’s Sisli district on a damp and cold winter night. Dozens of activists are gathered around a conference table littered with buttons and stickers, some with a simple “Hayir,” or “No,” on them, others with the slogan “No to a One-Man Regime.” The fliers are rainbow-colored, a homage to the 1988 campaign to remove Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from power in that year’s plebiscite.

Airlines Treat People Like Dirt Because the Republicans in Congress Let Them

Policymakers reacted swiftly this week to the outrageous viral video of police officers forcibly removing an innocent passenger from an overbooked United Airlines flight. A new passenger bill of rights, including regulations on bumping people from flights, was announced on Tuesday—by Canada’s transportation ministry.

Here in the United States, at least one party has a long history of siding with the airlines at the expense of their passengers. “It’s an ongoing frustration that we haven’t had good cooperation on the Republican side,” says Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League. “Their constituents are being mistreated, just like Democratic constituents. I’m disappointed and frustrated.”

North Carolina bill would punish sports conferences that boycott over anti-LGBT laws

Another day, another hateful bill filed in the North Carolina House of Representatives.

This time, legislators have proposed a bill going after the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), which pulled championship games from the state last year because of the anti-LGBT “bathroom bill,” HB2.

The new bill, House Bill 728, says that if an intercollegiate athletic association boycotts North Carolina in the future, the campuses in the University of North Carolina system in that conference would be prohibited from granting any media rights to that conference, and would provide written notice to that conference that they intend to leave upon the expiration of media rights.

A Missouri Town Exiled A Woman For Calling The Police On Her Abusive Ex

When Rosetta Watson, a black woman with disabilities living in Maplewood, Missouri, needed protection from an abusive ex-boyfriend, she did what she was supposed to do: She called the police. On four occasions between 2011 and 2012, she contacted local law enforcement, telling authorities that Robert Hennings hit, shoved and choked her.

Watson wanted relief from the violence. But instead, according to a federal lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union filed last week against Maplewood, she was evicted and forced to leave town for six months.

Brexit Referendum Was A ‘Bluff’ The Government Must Never Repeat, MPs Warn

The Government must never again “bluff” with a referendum and fail to plan for a shock result like Brexit, MPs have warned.

Instead, it must prepare for the outcome it opposes - such as Britain voting to leave the EU - and avoid being unready to act, the cross-party parliamentary report said.

Better planning could have helped David Cameron survive his Brexit defeat, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee suggested, but instead his “credibility and authority were undermined”.

Brexit: foreign states may have interfered in vote, report says

Foreign governments such as Russia and China may have been involved in the collapse of a voter registration website in the run-up to the EU referendum, a committee of MPs has claimed.

A report by the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee (PACAC) said MPs were deeply concerned about the allegations of foreign interference in last year’s Brexit vote.

Rudy Giuliani's Newest Gig Is Almost Too Sleazy to Be True

Once upon a time, Rudy Giuiani was tough on Iran.

Last August, when the Obama administration returned $440 million from frozen Iranian bank accounts to Iran as part of the international deal to shutter Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Giuliani said, “I call that trading with the enemy."

Now Guiliani is defending in U.S. federal court a wealthy Turkish businessman who sought to flout U.S. and international sanctions on behalf of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Last month Giuliani joined the legal defense team of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian dual national who is under indictment for, you guessed it, trading with the enemy.

Big Pharma Funds “Independent” Advocacy Groups Attacking Drug-Price Reduction Bill

Advertisements from seemingly independent advocacy groups are swamping Beltway newspapers with dire warning that recent proposals to lower drug prices will lead to dangerous consequences. In the last week alone, the ads have appeared in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Roll Call, The Hill, and Politico.

The groups placing the ads have no obvious connection to pharmaceutical companies. For instance, the American Conservative Union (ACU), one of the organizations taking out an ad, describes itself as devoted to promoting “liberty, personal responsibility, traditional values, and strong national defense.”

Minnesota Republicans accuse female legislator of racism because she criticized white men

On April 4, America’s first Somali legislator —Rep. Ilhan Omar (D) — made a speech on the House floor about the connection between today’s Black Lives Matter activists and civil rights icons like Martin Luther King Jr. She was speaking out in opposition to a Republican bill that would increase penalties for protesters if they block highways — a tactic that has been used in Minnesota in response to the deaths of Jamar Clark and Philando Castile at the hands of cops.

Russia’s latest victim in Ukraine — reform

Last month, activists and students barricaded the doors of the central Kiev branch of Sberbank, a Russian state-owned bank. The message: Stop the Kremlin from using profits made in Ukraine to fund its war against Ukraine.

The demonstration was a manifestation of growing popular fury over the perception that the primary beneficiaries of Ukraine’s economic policies are Moscow and local oligarchs with business interests in Russia.

Why It Matters That the United Dragging Victim Is Asian

On Sunday night, cell phone videos were published of a 69-year-old Asian man being forcibly dragged off a United Airlines flight by Department of Aviation security officers after he refused to give up his seat on an overbooked flight. The footage is viscerally disturbing: The passenger screams as his face appears to be slammed into the headrest. Subdued, he is then dragged by his arms down the aisle, his shirt hitched up to expose his stomach. Later, he somehow gets back on the plane and runs to his seat, stammering, over and over again, “I have to go home.” Another video shows him clutching one of the plane’s divider curtains, face dripping with blood, repeating the words, “Just kill me.” He was reportedly later removed on a stretcher.

United Airlines CEO Blames ‘Disruptive And Belligerent’ Passenger Who Was Dragged Off Overbooked Flight

United Airlines has blamed the “disruptive and belligerent” passenger who was dragged off an overbooked flight on Sunday.

In an extraordinary email to the company, United’s CEO defended the decision to forcibly remove the paying customer, saying that staff were “left with no choice”.

Footage of the incident, which involved a man being violently dragged off a flight booked to Louisville, sparked outrage.

China 'moves 150,000 troops and medical supplies to North Korean border in case US attacks Kim Jong-un regime'

China has moved 150,000 troops and medical supplies to its North Korean border fearing a refugee crisis in the event of US airstrike, it has been claimed.

Donald Trump's decision to launch missiles into Syria last week in retaliation for President Assad's gas attack caused widespread alarm in China, it is believed.

Japan's daily newspaper Sankei said it was taken in China as "warning" of a possible attack on North Korea.