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, April 13, 2014

Pierre Poilievre does not speak the truth

It's an unlikely strategy, but could it work?
The Conservatives have come up with what seems like a very odd response to the tsunami of opposition to their so-called Fair Elections Act.
They are putting Prime Minister Harper's relentlessly slippery Democratic Reform Minister, Pierre Poilievre, in front of virtually every microphone that will have him.
They seem to think the one-time boy wonder MP from suburban Ottawa has the charm and wit to push back against the pointed and detailed criticism of so many eminent Canadians -- of whom former Auditor General Sheila Fraser is only the most recent.  

Fair Elections Act Will Hurt Aboriginal Voting: First Nations

OTTAWA - Gladys Christiansen had a question of her own for the Conservative government as she testified Thursday before a parliamentary committee studying controversial election law changes.

"The government continually stresses the accountability of First Nations," Christiansen, the human resources director for Saskatchewan's Lac La Ronge Indian Band, told MPs.

"What about the government's accountability to Canadians?"

Toronto Home Prices Soar Nearly 8%, Vancouver Sales Also Up

TORONTO - The Toronto Real Estate Board says home sales for March totalled 8,081, up 7.2 per cent from a year ago.

The increase came as the board also reported the average selling price for the month was $557,684, up almost eight per cent compared with March 2013.

"With borrowing costs remaining low, and in fact declining, strong home ownership demand will continue to butt up against a constrained supply of listings," said Jason Mercer, the board's senior manager of market analysis.

Canadian Housing Market Data So Poor Everyone Is 'Flying Blind': CIBC

Ever notice how everyone seems to be wrong about Canada’s housing market? The pessimists predicting a housing bubble collapse have been wrong so far, but so have the optimists, who have been calling for a “soft landing” that hasn’t materialized.

Take, for instance, TD Bank’s prediction two years ago that Toronto and Vancouver house prices would fall by 15 per cent over the next few years. Or Scotiabank’s prediction last year that the housing market would “correct into mid-decade.” House prices have jumped significantly since then.

Oilsands' Economic Impact Is Not As Big As You'd Think

Many supporters of the Keystone XL have been warning that failing to build the pipeline — or at least some other infrastructure to carry oil — would be harmful to Canada’s economy.

But a report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggests that while the oilsands are becoming an ever larger part of the economy, they aren’t as important to the overall health of the country’s GDP and job growth as politicians and pundits make it out to be.

The Gigantic Hole in ExxonMobil's Doughnut

ExxonMobil, in negotiations with shareholder activists that led to withdrawal of their shareholder proposals, agreed to report to shareholders on climate change. On March 31, 2014, ExxonMobil released two lengthy reports, one titled "Energy and Carbon -- Managing the Risks" and the other titled "Energy and Climate." There is much overlap. The first, which is discussed below, most directly responds to the possibility, first identified by the Carbon Tracker Initiative in London, and subsequently being given growing attention by investment analysts and the financial press, as well as the IEA, the IPCC and the United Nations, that there is a gross mispricing of fossil fuel assets on the balance sheets of the top 200 public fossil fuel companies. The mispricing results from the fact that only a fraction of those total proved reserves, say between 20 percent to 40 percent, can be allowed to be burned if the world's governments hold fast to their declared goal of not permitting a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees C from preindustrial times. Carbon Tracker called these unburnable assets "stranded" and the label stuck.

The Return Of The Back-Alley Abortion

Four decades after the Supreme Court upheld a woman's right to choose, pregnant women once again find themselves crossing the border to Mexico and haunting back-alleys in search of medical care. Left: Abortion rights demonstrators rally outside of the Texas State Capitol, July 15, 2013 (Tamir Kalifa/AP). Right: Demonstrators march to the U.S. Capitol for a rally seeking the repeal of all anti-abortion laws, Nov. 20, 1971 (AP).

In 1969, when abortion was completely illegal in Texas except to save a woman's life, Karen Hulsey became pregnant.

what really happened at the april 3 manifestation…

I think it is important to start off by giving ASSÉ a much needed thank you. Their unrelenting passion for resistance and endless organizing helped to successfully facilitate a 10,000 person strong manifestation, defying P6 and bringing awareness to recent austerity cuts. Thank you for all your efforts and work, your inclusive attitudes and strong solidarity is appreciated.

The manifestation did defy P6, after two or three announcements before it’s commencement stating the assembly was illegal, ten thousand people took to the streets against austerity. A couple hours later cops were coming into the crowd trying to “fight” (and I mean quite literally, fight, yes – like fist fight) protesters, blood was pooling on Sherbrooke, rubber bullets were flying, rocks were flying, teargas (which is a new type of teargas for the SPVM – we will get into this later) was in the air and rumors were floating around that people were being hauled to the hospital after heads were cracked open. But the timeline of events is not as clear as it may appear.


Martin (Two Brains) Wolf, the Financial Times’ venerable economics commentator, doesn’t always have the correct answers. But he invariably poses the right questions, which, in a journalist, is often more important. In his column this week, Wolf asks, “Is China different? Or must its borrowing binge, like most others, end in tears?”

That the Middle Kingdom’s transformation from a Communist command economy is a great success story cannot be doubted; it’s one of the wonders of modern history. Since 1991, according to the World Bank’s database, its inflation-adjusted growth rate has averaged about ten per cent a year. Rapid growth has dragged hundreds of millions of people out of grinding poverty and turned China, according to some measures, into the world’s second-largest economy. (In terms of G.D.P. per capita, the performance is a bit less impressive. In 2012, according to the World Bank, China’s was $6,091, placing it among places like Peru, Serbia, and Thailand.)


Justice John Roberts, in his decision for the majority in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, said that there was a difference between the “quid pro quo corruption” of someone buying off a politician and “the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford.” It’s a distinction that can, at times, feel like a fine one. In light of McCutcheon, it’s worth taking a look at the forms that access can take; as it happens, there was an illustrative scene last week at the Venetian Hotel, in Las Vegas.

Russia Arrests 25 Ukrainians Suspected Of Attacks

MOSCOW, April 3 (Reuters) - Russia has detained 25 Ukrainians it suspected of preparing attacks in the southern and central part of the country, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement on Thursday.

The detained, who were reported as being members of ultra-nationalist movements, were planning attacks between March 14 and 17, it said, in Russia's Rostov, Volgograd, Tver, Orel, Belgorod, Kalmykia and Tatarstan regions.

The new shock doctrine: 'Doing Business' with the World Bank

One of the problems with neoliberal economic policy is that it's tough to get countries to agree to it; especially democratic ones. It has often required quite extreme measures, such as invasion - the classic example being the US-backed coup against Chile's democratically elected president - or debt bondage and structural adjustment led by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Both are effective ways of forcing countries to deregulate their markets.

How Big Banks Swipe Millions From Welfare Recipients

Dominique Hudson is fed up with giving Wells Fargo her bus money.
Each month, the 18-year-old from Oakland, Calif., pays the bank about $12 in ATM fees to access cash from CalWORKS, California’s principle welfare program. The mother of a 3-year-old boy who relies on the public bus to get to her minimum wage job at a grocery store, Hudson could use that money for about five commutes.

Rick Perry Says Texas Won't Comply With Measures To Reduce Rape in Prison

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) refused last week to adopt federal standards aimed at combatting rape in prisons, saying that it would be "impossible" for Texas to comply with the new measures.

In a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on March 28, the governor wrote that though the intention of 2003's Prison Rape Elimination Act is "commendable," the Department of Justice's rules to implement the legislation are "unnecessarily cumbersome" and "counterproductive."

Baffin Correctional Centre 'appalling' and should be closed, report says

The current state of disrepair and overcrowding at the Baffin Correctional Centre in Iqaluit is "nothing short of appalling" and the facility needs to be shut down, according to a new report obtained by CBC News.

The 34-page report was done by the Office of the Correctional Investigator. The territorial government initially refused to release the report to CBC News until Nunavut's information commissioner told it to release it in its entirety.

Eve Adams nomination scrap a test case for Tory grassroots

Eve Adams wants to stay a winner. That's about as a safe an observation around Parliament Hill as noting the Centennial Flame never goes out.

But it's the way the first-term Conservative MP is going about trying to secure her return to Parliament that could make her goal unachievable, and could even anger the party's vaunted grassroots in the crucial run-up to the 2015 election.

Follow the Money, Part 2 -- Barrick Gold's Peter Munk

The Fraser Institute awarded Barrick Gold chairman Peter Munk its T.P. Boyle Founder's Award at a gala dinner in Toronto in 2010. This is the think tank's most prestigious award, which it gave to Munk "in recognition of his unwavering commitment to free and open markets around the globe and his support for enhancing and encouraging democratic values and the importance of responsible citizenship." Equating "free and open markets" with "democratic values" is a long-standing neoliberal marketing mantra. It also epitomizes Munk's vast charitable giving.

Death, denial and the toxic politics of climate change

At first, it sounded like the smartest guy in the room had just made an awesomely smart observation.

Social psychologist Sheldon Solomon, on a panel this week discussing the world’s failure to tackle climate change on CBC Radio’s The Current, noted that humans are deeply in denial about death, and that they express this denial with distractions like consumerism or obsessively following their favourite sports team.

Families of fallen soldiers invited to Ottawa service must pay own way

Family members of Canadian soldiers who fought and died in Afghanistan have been told to pay their own way to attend an elaborate service in Ottawa honouring the fallen, CTV News has learned.
CTV News obtained a letter dated last month by the "Director of Casualty Support Management" at National Defence, written to all 158 next-of-kin families.

U.S. Pushes Canada To Loosen Privacy Laws

The U.S. government is prodding Ottawa and some provinces to overhaul their privacy laws and allow Canadians’ personal data to be hosted on U.S. servers.

In its latest report on international trade barriers, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (OUSTR) criticized federal and provincial regulations preventing public bodies from storing Canadians’ personal data outside Canada.

Fair Elections Act: Sheila Fraser Slams Bill C-23 As Attack On Democracy

OTTAWA - Sheila Fraser, the former auditor general who became a virtual folk hero for exposing the sponsorship scandal, is training her sights on what she sees as a new abuse by the federal government: its controversial overhaul of Canada's election laws.

Fraser, who co-chairs an advisory board created by chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand last fall, told The Canadian Press she believes Bill C-23, if allowed to pass without significant amendments, would constitute an attack on Canada's democracy.

How Paul Ryan's Budget Paves the Way for Another Financial Crisis

Representative Paul Ryan released his budget blueprint this week, and fans of his work were no doubt pleased: it called for $5 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade, focused heavily on domestic, non-military spending. Safety net programs like Medicaid and food stamps would face savage cuts, and the Affordable Health Care Act would be repealed entirely. Meanwhile, both corporate and individual tax rates would be lowered.

It is easy to make the case that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer under Ryan’s so-called “Path to Prosperity” plan: one needs only to look at the literally trillions cut from Medicaid and food stamps while the rich pay much less in taxes.

With ‘McCutcheon’ Ruling, An Activist Court Opts for Full-On Plutocracy

Any doubts about the determination of an activist United States Supreme Court to rewrite election rules so that the dollar matters more than the vote were removed Wednesday, when McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was decided in favor of the dollar.

The court that in 2010, with its Citizens United v. FEC decision, cleared the way for corporations to spend as freely as they choose to buy elections has now effectively eliminated the ability of the American people and their elected representatives to establish meaningful limits on direct donations by millionaires and billionaires to campaigns.

The Supreme Court’s Ideology: More Money, Less Voting

In the past four years, under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court has made it far easier to buy an election and far harder to vote in one.

First came the Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which brought us the Super PAC era.

Then came the Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which gutted the centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act.

How The Supreme Court Just Legalized Money Laundering By Rich Campaign Donors

Chief Justice John Roberts begins his opinion in McCutcheon v. FEC with a flourish: “[t]here is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.” He then spends the next forty pages explaining why that participation includes the right of rich people to attempt to buy elections. Thanks to the decision Roberts and his four fellow conservative justices handed down today (Though Thomas did not join Roberts’ opinion, he wrote a more radical opinion calling for all limits on campaign donations to be eviscerated), wealthy donors now have a broad new power to launder money to political candidates — they just have to be a bit creative about how they do it.

Scott Walker Doesn’t Want You to Vote

Across the land, Republican state legislators have shouted “voter fraud, voter fraud” to justify various schemes to restrict voting. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is now leading the charge, which makes sense since the phony fraud redounds to his benefit.

Legislative actions, written by the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, are intended to hamper African-American and Latino voting. Legislators have all but said that they can still smell the Rio Grande on new voters. But they “cry wolf” and have created a public understanding that in no way reflects reality. As is well known by those who’ve bothered to investigate, voting restrictions are the true fraud.

Is It Time to Jump Down the First Amendment Rabbit Hole With Clarence Thomas?

It’s painful to say, but given the perverse logic of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision and Wednesday’s plurality ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC, Justice Clarence Thomas—the uber-conservative known for invoking his right to remain silent during oral arguments—may be correct about the direction of federal campaign finance law. If he is, the court may soon be ready to make even more drastic changes in the law, taking what some legal commentators have called a final jump down the First Amendment “rabbit hole.”

Charles Koch Is Sick Of 'Collectivists' Calling Him 'Un-American'

Charles Koch has apparently had enough of "collectivists" criticizing his "un-American" ways.
In an opinion piece published online Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, the billionaire backer of conservative candidates and causes came to his own defense, claiming he only seeks to uphold the principles of "dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom," which he said he believes "are under attack by the nation's own government." He defined collectivists as "those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives."

Ukraine Accuses Yanukovych Of Ordering Killing Of Anti-Government Protesters

KIEV, April 3 (Reuters) - The killing of anti-government protesters in the Ukrainian capital Kiev in February took place "under the direct leadership" of ousted President Viktor Yanukovich, security chiefs said on Thursday.

The charges were made during a news conference by the prosecutor general and heads of the interior ministry and state security service at which they blamed the shooting deaths of more than 100 people on the Berkut riot police.

Russia Expects Answers On NATO Troops In Eastern Europe

MOSCOW, April 3 (Reuters) - Russia has recalled its top military representative to NATO for consultations, Russian news agencies reported on Thursday, widening the rift between Moscow and the Western alliance over Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

Russia's action last month has caused the deepest crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War, leading the West to impose sanctions and stirring fears that President Vladimir Putin has territorial designs beyond Crimea, a Black Sea peninsula with its Russian-majority population.

NASA Cuts Most Ties With Russia's Space Agency Over Ukraine Crisis

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., April 2 (Reuters) - NASA has been added to the list of U.S government agencies prohibited from contacting Russian government representatives, though operation of the International Space Station is exempt from the ban, officials said on Wednesday.

"This suspension includes NASA travel to Russia and visits by Russian government representatives to NASA facilities, bilateral meetings, email, and teleconferences or video conferences. At the present time, only operational International Space Station activities have been excepted," NASA Associate Administrator Michael O'Brien wrote in a memo to employees that was posted on the website.

New Bill Would Force Obama Administration To Count Drone Deaths

Drone strikes under President Barack Obama have killed an estimated 2,400 people -- but there has never been an official count. That would change under a bipartisan bill introduced in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.), would require the administration to release an annual count of the number of people killed in drone strikes, as well as information on whether they were believed to be civilians or combatants. The legislation, which is similar to an amendment sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in the 2014 intelligence authorization bill, would be retroactive for five years.


If you think that the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was bad, just wait: worse may be on the way.

The issue before the Court was fairly narrow, even a little obscure. Congress bars individuals from contributing more than fifty-two hundred dollars to any candidate for federal office in any election cycle. It also bars individuals from contributing more than a hundred and twenty-three thousand dollars, in total, to multiple federal candidates in a cycle. In the McCutcheon case, by a vote of five to four, the Court struck down the overall hundred-and-twenty-three-thousand-dollar limit. But this ruling will affect relatively few campaign contributors. In the most recent cycle, fewer than six hundred donors maxed out to candidates.

High Frequency Trading, and Proof That the SEC Approach to Insider Trading Is Completely Wrong

Got to love Mary Jo White, the Chairwoman of the SEC. While Michael Lewis's book Flash Boys was getting all the headlines and was the topic of some of the best television on CNBC, ever, Ms. White used the firestorm to ask for more money for the SEC.

Shocking? The only shock would be if she didn't use any occasion the SEC was in the public eye to ask for more money. It is unfortunate because there is no greater waste of money than what the SEC spends trying to enforce insider trading laws.

After Today's Supreme Court Ruling, Here's How All This Will End

If understanding campaign finance laws is still on your to-do list -- what's the difference between a super PAC and a 501(c)4 again? what counts as illegal coordination and what doesn't? -- don't spend too much time worrying about it, because those rules won't be here much longer. After Wednesday's Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission striking down aggregate limits on campaign contributions, the rules governing campaign money are crumbling around us.

What's left is an incoherent system in which donors can make unlimited contributions anonymously to certain entities engaging in politics, but must attach their name to unlimited giving to other groups, and are blocked from making unlimited contributions directly to candidates. Clearly, such a bundle of contradictions can't last. Chief Justice John Roberts, who said pre-confirmation that he would be guided by precedent, is just as clearly determined to see the remaining restrictions fall, as are the other four Republican appointees on the Supreme Court. It's no longer a matter of if, but when.

Eleven Ways Paul Ryan’s Newest Budget Ignores The Changing Fiscal Outlook

The budget blueprint that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) released on Tuesday rehashes several of the same economic policy ideas from his past two “Path to Prosperity” budgets, despite drastic improvement in the nation’s fiscal outlook in the intervening years.

Plagued With High Cancer Rates, One Tar Sands Community’s Eight Year Quest For Answers

Dr. John O’Connor can’t forget the cancer patients he’s seen. The quiet school bus driver who tried to hide his jaundice from his wife. The traditional elderly man who came to the examining room “yellow, almost green” and died the day after his operation. The Lebanese immigrant, deeply in love with his partner who lost her uncle nine years ago to the same disease, given less than a year to live. As the physician for the beautiful, remote First Nations community of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, O’Connor wants to know why he’s seen so much suffering.

Haisla First Nation Chief Councillor says Enbridge trying to buy Kitimat vote

This late in the day, a poll of its residents has no binding effect on the project. Next week, the District of Kitimat will seek the views of its residents on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline Project. But to what end? If anything, it will lead to further uncertainty.

Deciding to hold a referendum at this late date is a slap in the face to all the work done by the Haisla Nation on this project. The Haisla Nation dedicated time and money toward testing Northern Gateway’s evidence and claims about safety and environmental protection, while the District stood by and did nothing.

Christy Clark partnered in Enbridge lobbying firm before becoming BC premier

B.C. Premier Christy Clark was a partner in a lobbying firm that was contracted by Enbridge and lobbied the federal government on the company's behalf, according to documents obtained by The Vancouver Observer. The documents originate from the years when Clark stepped away from politics.

The Premier's spokesperson, however, stated that Enbridge was no longer a client of the firm by the time she joined the firm.

UPS Fires 250 Drivers After They Protested A Coworker’s Firing

Two hundred fifty employees of the United Parcel Service (UPS) walked off the job for 90 minutes in February to protest the firing of one of their coworkers, Jairo Reyes. Reyes had driven for the company for over 20 years, and they felt his firing (which occurred after acomplicated saga over the hours that senior UPS workers could hold) was unfair.

GM Didn't Fix Deadly Ignition Switch Because It Would Have Cost $1 Per Car

DETROIT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Motors Co in 2005 decided not to change an ignition switch eventually linked to the deaths of at least 13 people because it would have added about a dollar to the cost of each car, according to an internal GM document provided to U.S. congressional investigators.

The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce released the documents on Tuesday as lawmakers asked CEO Mary Barra why GM failed to recall 2.6 million cars until more than a decade after it first noticed a switch problem that could cut off engines and disable airbags, power steering and power brakes.

The Supreme Court Has Struck Down Overall Campaign Contribution Limits

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the aggregate campaign contribution limits, thereby opening the door to even more money in the political system.

The 5-4 ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was penned by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia. The decision relies heavily on the assertion in the 2010 Citizens United ruling that influence and access are not a corruption concern.

The Supreme Court Just Gutted Another Campaign Finance Law. Here’s What Happened

The Supreme Court on Wednesday released its decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the blockbuster money-in-politics case of the current term. The court's five conservative justices all agreed that the so-called aggregate limit on the amount of money a donor can give to candidates, political action committees, and political parties is unconstitutional. In a separate opinion, conservative justice Clarence Thomas went even further, calling on the court to overrule Buckley v. Valeo, the 1976 decision that concluded it was constitutional to limit contributions to candidates.

Atheists Classified As Terrorists Under New Saudi Arabian Laws

Atheists are being defined as terrorists under a raft of new Saudi Arabian laws, a report from Human Rights Watch states.

The new laws are accompanied by a series of related royal decrees which appear to criminalise virtually all dissident thought or expression as terrorism.

“Saudi authorities have never tolerated criticism of their policies, but these recent laws and regulations turn almost any critical expression or independent association into crimes of terrorism,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at HRW.

Rick Mercer: Online Voting Needs To Be Considered By Conservatives

Canadians can bank, pay their taxes, and even find a potential spouse online.

They just can't vote that way.

And the fact that the Harper government would seek to reform Canada's election laws without seriously discussing online voting doesn't make any sense to CBC comedian Rick Mercer.

Windmills Are Beautiful (Yes, Even in My Backyard)

I have a cabin on Quadra Island off the British Columbia coast that's as close to my heart as you can imagine. From my porch you can see clear across the waters of Georgia Strait to the snowy peaks of the rugged Coast Mountains. It's one of the most beautiful views I have seen. And I would gladly share it with a wind farm.

Sometimes it seems I'm in the minority. Across Europe and North America, environmentalists and others are locking horns with the wind industry over farm locations. In Canada, opposition to wind installations has sprung up from Nova Scotia, to Ontario, to Alberta, to B.C. In the U.K., more than 100 national and local groups, led by some of the country's most prominent environmentalists, have argued wind power is inefficient, destroys the ambience of the countryside and makes little difference to carbon emissions. And in the U.S., the Cape Wind Project, which would site 130 turbines off the coast of affluent Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has come under fire from famous liberals, including John Kerry and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Mississippi Legislature Passes ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill That Legalizes Discrimination Against Gay People

The Mississippi legislature has passed legislation that would allow people to use their religion to justify discrimination. It seemed last month that the “religious liberty” bill had sufficiently stalled after the House voted to send it a study committee instead of passing it, with many members noting how it could be used to promote discrimination. However, both the House and Senate have approved a conference report on the bill, advancing it to Gov. Phil Bryant (R) with problematic language.


When she was very young, the Moscow-based journalist Ulyana Skoibeda read a biography of Margaret Mitchell. “Gone with the Wind” has always been popular in Russia. The detail that stuck in her memory was that Mitchell, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, said she felt that she had grown up in “a conquered country.”

Last week, Skoibeda published a column in Komsomolskaya Pravda, the most popular daily in Russia, called “I No Longer Live in a Conquered Country.” Of the countless Russian articles, podcasts, and television clips that I’ve absorbed in the past few months of crisis, none strikes me as more emblematic of the emotions of the moment—Vladimir Putin’s moment—than Skoibeda’s exercise in fevered nostalgia and nationalist revival.

Bombings Rock Area Near Cairo University

CAIRO, April 2 (Reuters) - An Egyptian police brigadier-general was killed in bombings outside Cairo University on Wednesday, the Interior Ministry said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but Islamist militants have carried out similar operations in a fast-growing insurgency threatening the security of the most populous Arab nation.

Two bombs, planted among trees outside the university, also wounded five from the security forces who had been guarding the facility, the ministry said.

Fair Elections Act Cracks Down On Non-Existent Problem: Greg Essensa

OTTAWA - Federal Conservatives have held up Ontario as a model for the proposed crackdown on potential voter fraud in its controversial overhaul of national election laws.

But the province's chief electoral officer says the federal bill adopts only one measure instituted in Ontario — a ban on vouching — without adopting any compensating mechanisms to ensure voters without proper identification aren't deprived of their fundamental democratic right to vote.