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, January 24, 2016

European Court Rules Employers Can Read Workers' Private Emails And Messages On Yahoo, WhatsApp And More

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that it is acceptable for an employer to monitor their employee's private online communications.

The ruling was made off the back of a case in Romania where Bogdan Mihai Bărbulescu filed a complaint after he was fired for using his work email to send personal messages.

Mr Bărbulescu claimed that his right to privacy had been infringed after his employers went through his emails without asking for permission.

Chelsea Clinton Said Bernie Sanders Would Take Health Care From Millions

The Clinton campaign's assault on Bernie Sanders over health care got more intense on Tuesday.

This time it wasn't presidential candidate Hillary Clinton or one of her aides delivering the attack lines. It was her daughter, Chelsea, who argued that Sanders would dismantle Medicare and Medicaid -- and "strip millions and millions and millions of people of their health insurance."

Will America Succumb To Trumpism? The World Is Watching.

WASHINGTON -- In his State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday night, President Barack Obama never mentioned Donald Trump.

But the president’s speech, stressing optimism, tolerance and good will, was from beginning to end a dismissal and rebuttal to everything the billionaire real estate bigot is and says.

Harper government subsidized ex-Australian PM's trip for conservative conference

Former prime minister Stephen Harper’s government paid more than $8,000 of a former Australian prime minister's hospitality expenses while he attended a conservative conference in Ottawa in 2013, the foreign affairs department has confirmed.

The government department paid for accommodations, car rentals and “hospitality” costs for the three-day visit in March 2013, during which John Howard addressed the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa.

Board appears to openly defy Notley government as Athabasca U crisis deepens

The Notley Government, clearly aware of the serious problems faced by Athabasca University and anxious to find a way to save the foundering distance-learning institution, has ordered the school's board and administration, in effect, to straighten up and fly right.
In response, the financially troubled public University's Tory-appointed and dominated Board of Governors seems to have defied Advanced Education Minister Lori Sigurdson and, on at least one key point, done the opposite of her bluntly worded instructions.

Canadian unions celebrate defeat of C-377, international attacks against unions intensify

As Canada's unions celebrate their first victory -- the elimination of the Harper government's union-reporting laws -- their counterparts in the U.S. and U.K. are engaged in similar battles for workers' rights.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that his government will do away with the reporting rules required by Bill C-377. This legislation would have forced unions to declare any transactions made over $5,000, all salaries totaling more than $100,000 and details of all political activities starting in 2016.

The Oregon Militia Is Picking the Wrong Beef With the Feds

On January 2, a band of armed militants—led by Cliven Bundy's son Ammon—stormed Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, seizing the visitor center both to protest the tangled legal plight of two local ranchers convicted of arson on public land, and to defy the federal government's oversight of vast landholdings in the West. (You might remember that Cliven launched his own successful revolt against federal authorities in 2014 to avoid paying grazing fees on public land in Nevada.)

The Daily Cost Of The Bundy Occupation

Although the armed occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge facility may seem to have done little more than camp out with guns and demand snacks, their continuing occupation is costing taxpayers dearly.

Local and federal government facilities have had to be closed, keeping public employees unable to complete their work. Harney County, which houses the preserve, schools were closed last week, adding teachers to the list of employees on paid leave and preventing students from learning. Police and security have been brought in to protect the townspeople from the armed militiamen — who have threatened law enforcement and other county officials. The occupied reserve, a valuable tourist attraction for the area, is closed to recreators. All of those costs and losses add up.

Hillary Clinton Isn't Holding Back Against Bernie Sanders Anymore

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton used to avoid uttering the name of her main rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt). But that phase of the race has definitively ended, with Clinton and her team staging a multi-pronged attack on Sanders in the first weeks of the new year.

Clinton herself has laid into Sanders in the last two weeks, unspooling a new tactic of directly attacking her competitor. Her campaign staff began criticizing Sanders in earnest last autumn, but until recently, the candidate herself had mostly focused on introducing her own policies and criticizing those of the Republican contenders.

Father of Koch Brothers Helped Build Nazi Oil Refinery, Book Says

The father of the billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch helped construct a major oil refinery in Nazi Germany that was personally approved by Adolf Hitler, according to a new history of the Kochs and other wealthy families.

The book, “Dark Money,” by Jane Mayer, traces the rise of the modern conservative movement through the activism and money of a handful of rich donors: among them Richard Mellon Scaife, an heir to the Mellon banking fortune, and Harry and Lynde Bradley, brothers who became wealthy in part from military contracts but poured millions into anti-government philanthropy.

@Kady: You want a more democratic House of Commons? Then it's time to start allowing more secret votes

On the face of it, it may seem an almost absurdly counter-intuitive proposal for parliamentary reform.

But could holding more House votes via secret ballot produce a more democratic Chamber? Or, at least one in which the balance of power between caucus leadership and individual MPs isn’t quite so top-heavy?

Homeless Victoria Campers Won't Budge: 'We Are Part of the Solution'

People camping next to the Victoria courthouse say they'll stay until the provincial government works with them on long-term solutions to the housing crisis.

Responding to a Jan. 8 letter from the B.C. government asking the campers to leave, supporters said they are willing to fight in court to prevent the camp of 100 or so people from being disbanded.

"We believe this is an effort to hide homelessness and not solve it," supporter Ashley Mollison said of the government's efforts to move campers to a newly opened 40-bed shelter in an existing building on Yates Street run by the Our Place Society.

Navy Uses US Citizens as Pawns in Domestic War Games

Beginning in mid-January, Navy SEALs will be practicing unannounced and clandestine combat beach landings across Washington State's Puget Sound and many other coastal areas of that state.

The simulated combat exercises, which will include the use of mini-submarines and other landing craft, will deposit Navy SEALs carrying "simulated weapons" on 68 beach and state park areas in Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Washington's west coast, unbeknownst to most of the relevant government agencies tasked with overseeing these areas.

Who Profits From the Refugee Crisis?

Wars and persecution have driven the number of refugees to record-breaking highs worldwide, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported in June 2015.

Currently 59.5 million people - nearly 1 percent of the world's population - are refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced. Half of them are children.

The Great Forgetting

America’s refusal to fund and sustain its intellectual and cultural heritage means it has lost touch with its past, obliterated its understanding of the present, crushed its capacity to transform itself through self-reflection and self-criticism, and descended into a deadening provincialism. Ignorance and illiteracy come with a cost. The obsequious worship of technology, hedonism and power comes with a cost. The primacy of emotion and spectacle over wisdom and rational thought comes with a cost. And we are paying the bill.

Harper’s shadowy appointments cast dark pall over Trudeau’s sunny ways

The big blue meanies just won’t let go of Justin Trudeau’s Yellow Submarine.

Stephen Harper is now long gone from office, but there may not be a damn thing the new government can do about most of the damage he’s done to Canada. By handcuffing the new government’s ability to implement its agenda of change, Harper continues to exert his influence despite being massacred at the polls.

You Thought We Canadians Controlled Our Fisheries? Think Again

Wild fisheries are humankind's greatest single source of protein. They are fully renewable, we don't have to till soil, plant seeds, apply fertilizer or pesticide, water them or feed them; we just have to manage the harvest. As global populations continue to grow, much is at stake as we determine who benefits from the greatest renewable food resource.

The new way police are surveilling you: Calculating your threat ‘score’

FRESNO, Calif. — While officers raced to a recent 911 call about a man threatening his ex-girlfriend, a police operator in headquarters consulted software that scored the suspect’s potential for violence the way a bank might run a credit report.

The program scoured billions of data points, including arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches and the man’s social- media postings. It calculated his threat level as the highest of three color-coded scores: a bright red warning.

Against School

Despite all the talk about educators and education priorities, the most important people in any school have always been businessmen. They constantly complain that our schools our failing, that they need to cut out modern fads and go “back to basics,” that unless schools get tougher on students American business will be unable to compete.

As Richard Rothstein has shown, such claims are hardly new. Because schools have never been about actual education, businessmen have been easily collecting studies about their failure at this task since the very beginning. In 1845, only 45 percent of Boston’s brightest students knew that water expands when it freezes. In one school, 75 percent knew the US had imposed an embargo on British and French goods during the War of 1812, but only 5 percent knew what embargo meant. Students, the Secretary of Education wrote, were simply memorizing the “words of the textbook...without think about the meaning of what they have learned.”

How The Bundy Standoff Endangers Local Ranchers’ Interests

The dry prairies of Southeast Oregon have been the backdrop for land disputes for centuries — long before armed men decided to set up shop in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, demanding land sovereignty and snacks.

Anti-government militiamen have occupied the refuge’s headquarters since last week in response to sentences leveled against two local ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond, for intentionally setting fires on federal land. Led by the sons of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher with a history of federal standoffs, the group occupying the refuge is also calling for a broader federal surrender of land they believe belongs to ranchers.

Texas Governor Unveils Plan To Repeal The 20th Century

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) proposed a series of constitutional amendments on Friday that would so fundamentally alter our founding document that it would be akin to throwing out the system of government established by the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and replacing it with something entirely different. The amendments are a hodgepodge of efforts to restore constitutional interpretations that briefly gained traction beginning in the Gilded Age, proposals to implement longtime Republican fantasies, and ideas drawn from the fringes of talk radio and the legal academy. Though Abbott’s new constitution would maintain the federal government’s current division between executive, legislative and judicial branches, the powers of all three branches would be diminished so significantly that the new system of government would be barely recognizable to students of our current system.

It’s Payback Time for Women

A COUNTRY that gives every citizen enough cash to live on whether she needs it or not: It’s got to be either a fool’s paradise or a profligate Northern European nation. And lo, in November, the Finnish government proposed paying every adult 800 euros or about $870 a month. Fits of this seemingly irrational generosity, called a universal basic income or U.B.I., are becoming surprisingly common. The Swiss will vote in a referendum on basic income this year. The Dutch city of Utrecht will soon start a basic-income pilot program. Canada’s ruling Liberal Party recently adopted a resolution calling for a similar experiment.

Still, it couldn’t happen here. Or could it? Over the past few years, a case for the U.B.I. has emerged that could make it appealing not just to the poor, who don’t vote in great numbers, but to women, who do.

The Dumb and the Restless

First of all, when did it become OK for cowboys to cry in public?

The coolest thing about the Gary Cooper-Clint Eastwood-James Coburn-Yul Brynner-style cowboys is that they never said a damned thing. They walked slow, asses sore from all that riding, and kept things to a syllable or two if they could manage it: "Whiskey." "Bath." "Draw."

This Case Could Strike a "Mortal Blow" to Unions

On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear a case that has been likened to Citizens United for its potentially far-reaching ramifications. Instead of eviscerating long-standing campaign finance laws, though, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association threatens to strike a devastating blow to the nation's labor movement. Spearheaded by a conservative legal group, the case was designed to weaken public employee unions by challenging a nearly 40-year-old decision that allows them to collect compulsory fees from all employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, even if those employees aren't dues-paying union members.

Hillary Clinton Is Not Telling The Truth About Wall Street

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton's campaign spent much of this week waging a dishonest attack on Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and his campaign's Wall Street reform platform. The risky attempt to make inroads with progressives on one of her weakest issues is damaging the credibility of some of her top lieutenants.

Clinton's attack on Sanders is as simple as it is untrue: Unlike Sanders, Clinton has argued, she is willing to take on "shadow banking" -- a broad term for various financial activities that aren't regulated as strictly as conventional lending.

How The Supreme Court Could Crush Public-Sector Unions

WASHINGTON -- In what may turn out be a painful blow to labor unions, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Monday in a case that could make the entire U.S. public sector a right-to-work zone.

In the case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a group of public-school teachers in California want the court to rule that the First Amendment prohibits their union from requiring them to pay what are known as "fair-share fees." Such fees, which all workers in a bargaining unit are obligated to pay, help cover the costs of maintaining union contracts.

If the court rules against the union and workers are given the option of not paying those fees, public-sector unions stand to lose significant funding. The lawsuit, backed by a host of groups on the right, gives conservative justices -- especially Justice Samuel Alito -- the chance to overturn a four-decade-old precedent that essentially declared fair-share fees to be legal.

Jodie Emery Bummed Liberals Gave Bill Blair Leading Role In Marijuana Legalization

OTTAWA — Some members of the marijuana movement are concerned about the government's decision to make Toronto's former police chief a point man on legalizing pot, activist and former Liberal hopeful Jodie Emery said Friday.

Liberal MP Bill Blair, parliamentary secretary to Justice Minister Jody-Wilson Raybould, has been tapped to take a leading role on the file, working closely with the departments of Justice, Public Safety and Health.

German riot police clash with anti-Islam protesters

Riot police used water cannons and tear gas in a tense faceoff with an estimated 1,700 anti-immigrant protesters outside the main train station in Cologne, Germany.

The assembled crowd had been demanding much tougher laws on refugees after a string of New Year's Eve sexual assaults and robberies in the city blamed largely on foreigners.

Some protesters threw fire crackers and beer bottles at officers before the rally was shut down, according to a Reuters witness.

Does Justin Trudeau Want Fair Elections or Not?

Prime Minster Justin Trudeau's election pledge (and subsequent confirmation) that Canada will not have another election under first-past-the-post has morphed into a growing controversy. Trudeau's evident attraction to one option for electoral reform -- the so-called preferential ballot, or instant runoff vote (IRV)* -- and his stated opposition to proportional representation has some analysts and commentators smelling a rat.

That's because IRV is a system that favours parties who are able to lay claim to the ideological middle ground. That is, with a preferential ballot (where voters' second choices determine the outcome in most ridings) the centrist party can garner second choice votes from both the right and left wing parties -- as the Liberals clearly did in October's vote.

Charter Rights at Issue in Fracking Supreme Court Case

An Alberta woman's landmark eight-year battle over fracking regulation, water contamination and Charter rights will take centre stage in the Supreme Court of Canada Tuesday.

Jessica Ernst claims fracking contaminated the water supply at her homestead near Rosebud, about 110 kilometres east of Calgary. She is seeking $33 million in damages.

Ernst is also taking on the agency that regulates the energy industry in Alberta, claiming it has denied her the right to raise her concerns effectively and is shielded by unconstitutional legislation that bar citizens from suing it for wrongdoing.

Shredding the public interest! Albertans will never know what Tory secrets were purged by the PCs last May

Nobody knows if any dirty Tory secrets were destroyed when 344 boxes of documents from the Alberta government's Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Department were "improperly" shredded on May 6, 2015, the day after the historic provincial election that gave Rachel Notley's New Democratic Party a majority in the Legislature.
Nobody knows if elected officials of the 44-year-old Progressive Conservative government that remained in charge in the hours after the election gave the orders to shred thousands of working papers, meeting notes, letters, files and action requests relating to litigation, committee work, legislation, cabinet decisions, outside organizations, other governments, and Aboriginal communities, or if conscientious civil servants merely took it upon themselves to clean up the documents.

What Trudeau will — and won’t — do to reverse Harper’s legacy

No matter what the pundits, pols or PR types tell you, de-Harperizing Canada will be the biggest political story of 2016.

The writing, or rather the graffiti, is already on the wall; it’s all about Liberal credibility now. The Conservative Opposition has made it crystal clear — if the Trudeau government doesn’t change Harper’s decisions, it’s endorsing them. As an argument it’s morally craven, but effective in its own way.

Ex-police chief Bill Blair to handle Liberals' pot legalization file

As the Liberal government gets to work on its campaign pledge to legalize marijuana, the former police chief of Toronto will be taking a lead role.

Last month, Bill Blair was named as one of two parliamentary secretaries to the minister of justice. Sources tell CBC News he's been assigned to handle the pot file.

Blair's new role fits with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's attempts to frame the issue during the election campaign.

The Company Behind Keystone XL Now Wants $15 Billion From US Taxpayers

In November, environmentalists were ecstatic when President Barack Obama decided not to grant a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. But TransCanada, the company behind the project, was not so happy. On Wednesday, it filed a lawsuit against the federal government seeking to overturn the permit rejection. At the same time, it gave notice that it plans to pursue compensation under the North American Free Trade Agreement, to the tune of $15 billion.

Ammon Bundy Rejects Sheriff's Offer To End Oregon Standoff

BURNS, Ore., Jan 7 (Reuters) - The leader of a group of armed protesters occupying the headquarters of a U.S. wildlife refuge in rural southeastern Oregon on Thursday rejected a sheriff's offer of passage out of the state to end the standoff.

During a meeting at a neutral site, Harney County Sheriff David Ward offered to escort Ammon Bundy and his group of occupiers out of Oregon, but Bundy declined.

Bundy met the sheriff on a roadside after leaving the compound with other occupiers in two vehicles.

Revealed: White House seeks to enlist Silicon Valley to 'disrupt radicalization'

The White House will attempt to enlist Silicon Valley’s major technology firms in its efforts to combat terrorism on Friday when a delegation of the most senior intelligence officials fly to California to meet with executives from companies including Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, YouTube and others.

A copy of the agenda obtained by the Guardian indicates the White House seeks more or less to channel Silicon Valley’s talent into its war against Islamic State and other extremist groups.

Ted Cruz: Attacks From Trump And McCain Reflect An Establishment In 'Full Panic Mode'

WEBSTER CITY, Iowa -- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says he thinks John McCain questioning his citizenship is an indication that the political establishment is in "full panic mode," and that the Arizona Republican senator's real motivation is that he secretly supports Marco Rubio for the Republican nomination.

The Most Chilling Political Appointment That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Unless you’re unusually familiar with libertarian legal activists (or you are a Republican presidential candidate) you probably have never heard the name “Clint Bolick.” But Mr. Bolick has spent the last quarter century working — at times quite successfully — to make the law more friendly to anti-government conservatives. Thanks to an appointment, announced Wednesday by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R), Bolick will now bring this agenda to his state’s supreme court.

Canada 'no intention' to cancel $15bn arms deal with Saudi Arabia - despite condemning execution of 47

The Canadian government has “no intention” of cancelling a controversial $15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia despite decrying the oil-rich kingdom’s execution of 47 prisoners, according to reports.

According to Global Research – an independent research organisation based in Montreal – the deal, which dwarves any other military exports brokered by the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), is the largest military exports contract in Canadian history.

What the Saudi arms deal says about Trudeau’s foreign policy

When beheading is a big part of your political brand, you might think you’re going have some problems warming yourself under the halo of Justin Trudeau’s sunny ways, but apparently not so much. After Saudi Arabia executed 47 people, including controversial Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion shrugged off any questions that it would inhibit trade. Why stop the $15-billion sale of military equipment from General Dynamics Land systems to the Saudi’s over a few dozen decapitations?

Thomas Mulcair Must Step Down As NDP Leader, Says High-Profile Ontario MPP

A high-profile Ontario New Democrat has publicly called for federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair to resign.

Cheri DiNovo, a member of provincial Parliament for the riding of Parkdale-High Park, told The Toronto Star's Thomas Walkom that Mulcair is "tainted" from a disastrous federal campaign and "has to go."

DiNovo told The Star that while Mulcair is not entirely to blame for the loss, the party abandoned its principles under his leadership by moving to the centre to try to win power. She pointed to Mulcair's "balanced budget nonsense" as an example.

We Need to Talk About Saudi Arabia

Dealing with Saudi Arabia is becoming a mug's game for almost everyone in the West -- Europe, the U.S. and Canada, among others. Time and again, the House of Saud makes us look like suckers, and the recent Saudi execution of 47 people in one day (mostly by beheading, a few by firing squad) is just the latest example. We know the Saudis are crooked, but they're the only game in town.

Historically, the House of Saud has a lot of legitimacy. It ruled much of the Arabian peninsula in the 18th century, before the Ottoman Empire took over, and after the First World War it waged an Islamic State-style war against other factions and founded modern Saudi Arabia in 1932.

TPP Overshadows Libs' Effort to Boost Small Business Exports

A new federal program to help small and midsize businesses increase exports is unlikely to ease fears about a growing trade deficit and the impact of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement.

Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Small Business Minister Bardish Chagger announced the five-year, $50-million CanExport program Tuesday in Kitchener, Ont.

The TPP is locking Canada into restrictive digital lock rules

Problems? Oh, the Trans-Pacific Partnership has a few! Readabout them all in the new seriesThe Trouble with the TPP.
One of the most controversial aspects of the 2012 Canadian copyright reform process involved the anti-circumvention provisions, often referred to as the digital lock rules. The U.S. pressured Canada to include anti-circumvention rules, which were required for ratification of the WIPO Internet Treaties, within the copyright reform package. They feature legal protections for technological protection measures (TPMs, a broader umbrella that captures digital rights management or DRM) and rights management information (RMI).

'Perfect Storm' Engulfing Canada's Economy Perfectly Predictable

Economists, an irrational tribe of short-sighted mathematicians, are now calling Canada's declining economic fortunes "a perfect storm."

It seems to be the only weather that complex market economies generate these days, or maybe such things are just another face of globalization.

In any case, economists now lament that low oil prices have upended the nation's trade balance: "Canada has posted trade deficits every month this year, and the cumulative 2015 total of $13.6 billion is a record, exceeding the next highest, in 2009, of $2.95 billion."

Why some think it's fair to pay top CEOs 184 times the average worker salary

Edwin Locke, the world-renowned industrial organizational psychologist, says those who take issue with the large salaries of top CEOs, especially when compared to the earnings of an average worker, are motivated by one thing: envy.

"There's no objective method for determining the correct ratio between the top and the bottom," said Locke, professor emeritus at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. "There's no way to do it. It's just completely subjective, based on emotion."

At Least 2,250 Canadian Veterans Are Homeless: Government Analysis

OTTAWA — The federal government has — for perhaps the first time — taken a stab at estimating how many of the country's veterans are homeless, but the report by Employment and Social Development Canada cautions the data is far from complete.

The study, dated March 2015 and released to The Canadian Press under access to information legislation, estimates that 2,250 former soldiers use shelters on regular basis, which represents about 2.7 per cent of the total homeless population that uses temporary lodging.

Surprise! Corporate America Is Throwing Down for the TPP

American big business has now officially endorsed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), giving many all the proof they need that the 12-nation deal—poised to be the largest ever—is bad news for people and the planet.

An association of Chief Executive Officers known as the Business Roundtable (BRT) announced its formal backing on Tuesday, indicating that it plans to use its muscle to press Congress to approve the deal this year. In fact, BRT president John Engler told The Hill that the association wants the TPP to pass as quickly as possible—before the summer.

No proof election calls were actually made: Del Mastro's lawyer

OSHAWA, Ont. — Dean Del Mastro should not have been convicted of overspending on his 2008 election campaign because there’s no proof the hundreds of phone calls to voters he paid for were ever made, the former Conservative MP’s lawyer argued in court Tuesday.

Lawyer Leo Adler said the judge in Del Mastro’s 2014 trial erred by failing to consider the commercial value of the voter-ID and get-out-the-vote calls that were actually made when determining whether his campaign breached the legal spending limit.

U.S. Stocks Fall After Chinese Markets Plummet

Last year, steep declines in Chinese stocks were periodically followed by dramatic, if less severe, declines in U.S. and European stocks.

On 2016's first day of trading, it's more of the same.

Chinese market chaos rooted in long-held but sporadically-acted-on fears of economic malaise, negative U.S. manufacturing data and instability in the Middle East combined to create an unfortunate grab bag of reasons for traders to sell.