Democracy Gone Astray

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

After Trying Everything Else, Democrats Have Decided To Listen To Their Voters

WASHINGTON ― Before President Donald Trump appeared before cameras Tuesday night to bestow his Supreme Court rose on Judge Neil Gorsuch, protesters were already gathering outside the Brooklyn office of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D), demanding he take a firm stand against whichever man Trump nominated.

Later that evening, he did just that, announcing that Gorsuch would need 60 votes to get through the Senate, a declaration that Democrats planned to filibuster. The move came not long after he had chided Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) for suggesting that he would filibuster Trump’s pick no matter who it was. Whether Schumer’s decision was specifically driven by the thousands outside his office, who had been organized by the Working Families Party, or the crowds who had gathered at JFK airport, or the millions who had marched across the country the week before is impossible to know for certain.

But there can be no denying that Democratic spines have stiffened noticeably.

Republicans move to sell off 3.3m acres of national land, sparking rallies

Now that Republicans have quietly drawn a path to give away much of Americans’ public land, US representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah has introduced what the Wilderness Society is calling “step two” in the GOP’s plan to offload federal property.

The new piece of legislation would direct the interior secretary to immediately sell off an area of public land the size of Connecticut. In a press release for House Bill 621, Chaffetz, a Tea Party Republican, claimed that the 3.3m acres of national land, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), served “no purpose for taxpayers”.

Ryan Bundy goes on the attack during hearing in Las Vegas

Ryan Bundy, accused of leading the 2014 standoff near his father’s ranch in Bunkerville, testified Tuesday that the charges detailed in the 16-count indictment against him describe the actions of federal agents who tried to impound his father’s cattle.

“The wrong people are in jail,” Bundy testified during an unusual, six-hour detention hearing at which the rancher’s son, who has been incarcerated for a year, argued for his release pending trial on extortion, conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, and other charges resulting from the April 2014 confrontation.

Senate Republicans just cheated Democrats out of a vote on controversial appointees

Senate Republicans just took the country another step away from democracy.

On Wednesday, Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee forced through the confirmations of Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services and Steve Mnuchin for Secretary of Treasury despite a Democratic boycott of the hearings for the controversial nominees. They did so by simply changing the rules so as to no longer require any Democrats to be present to achieve quorum.

House Republicans push forward anti-union ‘right-to-work’ bill

On Wednesday, Republican Reps. Steve King (IA) and Joe Wilson (SC) re-introduced a so-called right-to-work bill that would significantly hamper unions across the country and likely lower wages for all Americans.

Republicans have proposed this kind of legislation before; King introduced a similar bill almost exactly a year ago. But now they may feel emboldened by having an ally in the White House. On the campaign trail, President Trump said he is “100 percent” in favor of right-to-work laws.

Iran Defends Ballistic Missile Test, Says It Won’t Attack Another Country

Iran said on Tuesday it would never use its ballistic missiles to attack another country and defended its missile tests, saying they are neither part of a nuclear accord with world powers nor a U.N. Security Council resolution endorsing the pact.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spelled out Tehran’s stance after a U.S. official said Iran on Sunday test-launched a medium-range ballistic missile that exploded after 630 miles (1,010 km).

Tories Overseeing Biggest Rise In Inequality Since Days Of Margaret Thatcher

Britain is on course for a “major” slowdown in living standards, with families seeing almost no income growth before the next general election, a new report warns.

Research by the Resolution Foundation found poorer households will suffer a fall in their incomes, leading to the biggest rise in inequality since the days of Margaret Thatcher.

The think tank said a recent mini-boom in living standards has now ground to a halt because of rising inflation and “plateauing” of employment in recent months.

In 1971 the People Didn't Just March on Washington—They Shut It Down

The following is an excerpt from L.A. Kauffman's new book, Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism (Verso, 2017). This excerpt was originally published on

If the government won’t stop the war, we’ll stop the government.

The largest and most audacious direct action in US history is also among the least remembered, a protest that has slipped into deep historical obscurity. It was a protest against the Vietnam War, but it wasn’t part of the storied sixties, having taken place in 1971, a year of nationwide but largely unchronicled ferment. To many, infighting, violence, and police repression had effectively destroyed “the movement” two years earlier in 1969.

The Supreme Court Seat That Fueled Trump’s Win

Even though very few voters have ever heard of him, Neil Gor­such is one of the big reas­ons why Don­ald Trump won the White House and per­haps the biggest reas­on why so many Re­pub­lic­ans are muted when he now takes ac­tions they don’t fa­vor. Gor­such—or the prom­ise of someone like Gor­such—rep­res­ents so much more than one nom­in­ee. To many con­ser­vat­ives, he rep­res­ents a gen­er­a­tion of rul­ings fa­vor­able to their be­liefs.

The nom­in­a­tion un­veiled Tues­day night in a prime-time an­nounce­ment from the East Room is the reas­on so many Re­pub­lic­ans who be­lieve in free trade sup­por­ted an openly pro­tec­tion­ist can­did­ate, why so many evan­gel­ic­als who ad­voc­ate Bib­lic­al mor­al­ity backed a thrice-mar­ried can­did­ate who spoke openly of wo­man­iz­ing, and why so many Re­pub­lic­ans who nor­mally de­mand total fealty to con­ser­vat­ive or­tho­doxy tol­er­ated so many sharp breaks with their be­liefs.

Look Back in Anger

In his youthful second book, an enthusiastically received novel called The Romantics (2000), Pankaj Mishra portrays young men from provincial India who immerse themselves in modern intellectual history. Like many students from the provinces before him, Mishra’s main character seeks his place largely through reading. But unlike those earlier generations, he explores who to become not just in his new city, but in globalized modernity.

Mishra’s hero reads Gustave Flaubert’s coming-of-age novel, Sentimental Education, and Edmund Wilson’s interpretation of it as a commentary on exclusion and its consequences. He shares his reading with a more politically aware friend, almost embarrassed by his own bookishness. But when they meet again years later, it turns out that his friend has taken Wilson’s essay very seriously. For in nineteenth-century Europe and its struggles, he discovered an environment much like his own. Although a new world of moral and material possibilities seemed to open up before the young men of his generation, now, as then, only a few would actually succeed in their strivings. Flaubert captured the mismatch that a modern youth experienced between “large, passionate, but imprecise longings” and the “slow, steady shrinking of horizons.” The European bildungsroman addressed what has become a worldwide situation in our time.

Congress is set to overturn the Stream Protection Rule

In one of his last acts as president, Barack Obama finalized a rule protecting streams from surface mining operations. It is likely that, in one of his first acts as president, Donald Trump will overturn it.

The Stream Protection Rule is an update to existing mining regulations. It compels companies to restore the “physical form, hydrologic function, and ecological function” of streams after mining operations are complete. And, it calls for monitoring pollution levels in streams near surfaces mines.

Marine Le Pen: Deadline passes for National Front leader to repay EU funds

The presidential candidate had until midnight to repay the money, but said she had no intention of doing so.

The parliament says she wrongly used the funds to pay an aide at the National Front's headquarters in Paris.

She says she is the victim of a politically motivated vendetta.

Philippines police paid to kill alleged drug offenders, says Amnesty

Amnesty International has accused police in the Philippines of paying officers and other people to kill alleged drug offenders, planting evidence and even setting up a racket with funeral homes in a “murderous war on the poor”.

A wave of extrajudicial killings by police and the vigilantes they work with may amount to crimes against humanity, Amnesty said. More than 7,000 people have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte, nicknamed “the punisher”, unleashed a bloody crackdown seven months ago.

Senate Republicans Take the First Step to Defund Planned Parenthood

In December, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule that would prohibit states from withholding federal funds—including Title X family planning money—from Planned Parenthood. On Monday afternoon, a Republican senator introduced a bill that would reverse it, along with a second bill that would prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funding—including Medicaid.

Russia accuses cybersecurity experts of treasonous links to CIA

Two of Moscow’s top cybersecurity officials are facing treason charges for cooperating with the CIA, according to a Russian news report.

The accusations add further intrigue to a mysterious scandal that has had the Moscow rumour mill working in overdrive for the past week, and come not long after US intelligence accused Russia of interfering in the US election and hacking the Democratic party’s servers.

Ukraine: Fighting flares up in eastern town of Avdiivka

Fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia rebels in eastern Ukraine has escalated, with at least 13 civilians and fighters on both sides killed in the worst outbreak of violence in several weeks.

The warring sides were locked in heavy battles for a third day on Tuesday at the government-held town of Avdiivka, accusing each other of launching attacks and firing heavy artillery in violation of a two-year truce agreement.

Wisconsin judge orders state GOP to redraw gerrymandered legislative districts

A federal court issued a ruling on Friday that the Wisconsin Republican Party is sure to dislike — namely, ordering it to redraw its state legislative districts so they aren’t gerrymandered to Republicans’ advantage.

This was a follow-up to a ruling in November in which a federal court determined that Wisconsin had drawn up its districts so as to give Republicans a constant advantage in state elections, according to The Washington Post on Saturday. The Wisconsin GOP’s actions were part of a larger national process in which Republican congressional leaders redrew nearly half of all congressional districts after the Republicans won 21 state legislatures during the 2010 midterm elections. As a result, even though Democratic state legislative candidates in Wisconsin received more votes than Republicans in the November 2016 elections, they only won 39 of that state’s 99 districts. Republicans are planning to appeal Friday’s decision to the Supreme Court.

The Kochs' Political Empire Is Sweating Bullets That GOP Failure to Fix the Economy Could Cause a Progressive Uprising

Republicans are under serious pressure to deliver results now that they hold the White House as well as both houses of Congress.

In a BuzzFeed report about Charles and David Koch working to hold Republican lawmakers accountable, it was revealed that the right has suddenly become the dog that caught the car. Over the weekend, the brothers brought together a conference of 550 donors who give more than $100,000 each year to the Kochs’ fundraising network.

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

Corporate America Is Inching Even Closer to a Constitutional Convention

During a Colorado Springs rally on Oct. 18, 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump announced, “The time for congressional term limits has finally arrived.” For many, it was one of Trump’s more moderate proclamations. Term limits don’t sound like such a bad idea.

But it’s possible this comment signaled support for a broader, more partisan agenda. Term limits are a central demand for a growing movement of states-rights activists focused on weakening the federal government—and they are dangerously close to convening the first state constitutional convention in U.S. history.

How the Hyde Amendment and HR 7 Punish America’s Poor Women

On Tuesday, the House passed H.R. 7, a bill that will make the Hyde Amendment permanent. For 40 years, the amendment, which has been subject to annual renewal since Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) first proposed it in 1976, prevents the federal funding of abortions through Medicaid. H.R. 7, formally known as the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017, goes even further, extending the provisions of the Hyde Amendment by eliminating abortion coverage by all medical insurance plans participating in the ACA.

Slayers of Social Security: Rep. Sam Johnson and other Republicans like Paul Ryan want to gut safety net for older Americans

Uncle Sam wants you!

Not the symbolic Uncle Sam, but Sam Johnson. Although he’s been a member of Congress more than a quarter of a century, it’s unlikely you’ve ever heard of him. He’s a lawmaker who holds a congressional seat, but just sits in it, achieving so little that he’s unnoticeable.

But look out! Johnson has suddenly leapt into action. And we all need to take notice, because this Texas Republican has unveiled what he calls his “Plan to Permanently Save Social Security.”

Grassroots Labour supporters revolt against Jeremy Corbyn over Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn is facing a serious revolt by grassroots Labour supporters who backed him to be leader as the party’s crisis over Brexit escalates rapidly.

With more members of Corbyn’s frontbench considering resigning – shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens became the first to quit the shadow cabinet on Friday – the rebellion is now spreading among local party members, who are furious at his support for Theresa May’s plans for triggering the article 50 process.

Anti-choice advocate admits to Joy Reid her ultimate goal is to make birth control illegal

An interview on the women’s march in Washington last week took a bizarre turn when an anti-choice advocate told MSNBC host Joy Reid that birth control — including the pill and IUD’s — should be made illegal because they kill babies.

Following a considerable amount of cross-talk over services that Planned Parenthood provides with Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life, host Reid pulled her panel up and said she wanted to talk about something everyone could agree on: that contraception should be legal.

Our broken system won’t be fixed by radical third parties: The U.S. needs a new centrist party now

Donald Trump is now president. His unique approach to politics should not distract us from our real problem on the governance front: American politics has turned tribal.

Despite campaign promises to “drain the swamp” and change the ways of Washington, we predict that the next four years will be business as usual in America’s capital. Sure, there will be a flurry of legislative activity this year. Perhaps there will be some unfunded tax cuts or infrastructure spending. The one thing that can still bring Democrats and Republicans together is passing out goodies now that can be paid for by our children.

Why Republicans really hate Obamacare

I think it is time to address to address the really black elephant in the room because it seems like people have been ignoring this humongous black elephant — that has an ass so big that it touches every corner of the room — for a long time. Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, 99 percent of the Republican Party (and its alt-right rejects) are so anxious to get rid of the Affordable Care Act for one reason: It’s called Obamacare.

We all saw this on that “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” episode a few years back. Kimmel interviewed people on the street, asking them if they prefer Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. Every white person on the film chose the Affordable Care Act, possibly because it sounds more American than socialist-like Obamacare, not knowing that they are the exact same thing. They heard a black name and instantly ran away from the product. It didn’t matter if the policy made sense or not because in America, “black” equals “bad.”

Theresa May Attacked For Refusing To Condemn Donald Trump’s Muslim Refugee Ban

Theresa May has come under fierce attack after refusing to condemn Donald Trump’s blanket ban on refugees and travellers from Muslim countries.

The Prime Minister was heckled by reporters after she failed three times to answer questions on the controversial US Presidential order.

At a press conference in Turkey this afternoon, May finally said: “The United States is responsible for United States policy on refugees. The UK is responsible for UK policy on refugees.”

Holocaust Memorial Day: Why Denouncing Deniers Is More Important Than Ever

“Today, we have people in the highest, most powerful offices of the world who say ‘facts don’t matter’,” says Professor Deborah Lipstadt, noting the parallel with the Holocaust deniers she has fought for decades.

This year, Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) marked the release of Denial, the big-screen adaption of a landmark 1996 legal case that put racism, anti-Semitism and questions of free speech on trial.

What is Theresa May's view on Brexit?

When Theresa May becomes the British Prime Minister on Wednesday, Brexit negotiations will be high on her list of priorities.

On Monday she attempted to reassure those who had voted to leave the EU that “Brexit means Brexit, and we will make a success of it”.

But those same people she was trying to reach out to are unlikely to forget quickly that May was a ‘Remain’ supporter during the campaign.

Russia parliament votes 380-3 to decriminalize domestic violence

Russia's parliament voted 380-3 on Friday to decriminalize domestic violence in cases where it does not cause "substantial bodily harm" and does not occur more than once a year.

The move, which eliminates criminal liability in such cases, makes a violation punishable by a fine of roughly $500, or a 15-day arrest, provided there is no repeat within 12 months.

The bill now goes to the rubber-stamp upper chamber, where no opposition is expected. It then must be signed by President Vladimir Putin, who has signaled his support.

‘Hooligan Sparrow’ Takes an Unflinching Look at China’s Crackdown on Human Rights Activists

When filmmaker Nanfu Wang was questioned by Chinese police about the subject of her documentary, “Hooligan Sparrow” (a nickname for gender rights activist Ye Haiyan), she told them Sparrow is a vain and shallow person who craves the spotlight.

Wang was lying. It’s something she learned to do well through a year of harassment by police while making the film.

Weekend Roundup: A New ‘Nationalist International’ Challenges The Old Globalization

No sooner did “the party of Davos” ― as top White House aide Stephen Bannon calls the global elite ― end its annual conclave in the Swiss Alps late last week than the “Nationalist International” was born down in the Rhine Valley city of Koblenz, Germany. All the main populist movements from across Europe gathered together there to celebrate the Brexit and Trump victories as a premonition of their own expected success in elections over the coming year. They called on their fellow Europeans to “wake up” like the Americans and British and take back control of their national destinies.

Chilling HBO documentary takes on the Slenderman stabbing

On May 31, 2014, a slumber party that started at Skateland ended in a stabbing. Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, both twelve years old, lured their friend Payton into David’s Park in Waukesha, Wisconsin. After a game of hide and seek — a ruse — and some encouragement from Anissa, Morgan pulled out a knife she’d swiped from the kitchen that morning and stabbed Payton nineteen times.

Morgan and Anissa would later tell police that they were trying to murder Payton, whom they had known since childhood, for Slenderman.

A crappy health care “compromise”: GOP’s new Obamacare “replacement” bill is sure to be wildly unpopular

The first legislative replacement for the Affordable Care Act of the Trump era has been unveiled, and it seems almost certain that everyone will hate it. The bill, which is sponsored by a handful of Republican senators, tries to accomplish every health care policy goal at once: It tries to preserve (most of) the Affordable Care Act, it tries to modify the Affordable Care Act, and it tries to repeal (most of) the Affordable Care Act.

The legislation is being marketed as a “compromise” bill, but it’s nothing of the sort, and it would result in lots of people losing their health coverage.

South Dakota Republicans’ “state of emergency” is a brazen political coup against anti-corruption law

South Dakota voted for Donald Trump last November by 60 percent and a majority of the state’s voters also passed a wide sweeping anti-corruption bill. However, unlike the brash billionaire sent by Republicans to “drain the swamp” in Washington, the bill passed by voters is being stalled by Republicans who don’t want it to succeed.

Republican lawmakers in South Dakota have refused to enact a ballot measure instituting campaign finance, lobbying reforms, public financing for campaigns and creating the first independent ethics commission in the state’s history. The bill passed with 52 percent the vote.

Street Homelessness Soars To Six-Year High As Labour Blames Tory Council And Benefit Cuts

The number of people sleeping on Britain’s streets has increased to a six-year high, new official statistics have revealed.

Ministers were accused of presiding over a “national scandal” of growing homelessness as it emerged that ‘rough sleeper’ levels had gone up by 16% in the past year - and more than doubled since 2010.

Some 4,134 people slept rough across England on any given night in 2016, up 134% overall since the last Labour government and an increase of 51% in the last two years.

Compromise does not work with our political opponents. When will we learn?

Barack Obama left behind hints of a progressive legacy. Unfortunately, despite his faith in our system and his positive track record on many issues over the last eight years, there have been very few permanent accomplishments.

This vulnerable legacy should remind us that what we really need is a strong and unapologetic progressive to lead us. What we need as well is a relentless grassroots movement to hold that leadership accountable.

‘Don’t record me you f*cking n*gger!’: Angry white woman caught on camera punching black actor

Police in Reno are investigating a white woman who was caught on camera punching a black actor in the head while calling him racial slurs.

Actor and singer Elijah Ahmad Lewis posted a video on his Facebook page Wednesday that showed him in a confrontation with a white woman on a sidewalk in Reno.

Indiana bill would allow police to shut down protests 'by any means necessary'

A bill that would require public officials in Indiana to dispatch law enforcement swiftly to remove any protesters blocking traffic by “any means necessary” prompted uproar on Wednesday.

Opponents of the bill, introduced by a Republican state senator, rushed to the general assembly in Indianapolis on Wednesday afternoon to attend a hearing for the legislation, arguing that it could give a green light to the police to shut down protests harshly “even to the point of costing lives”.

In Trump’s unfounded voter fraud claim, a familiar pattern

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday elevated an unfounded conspiracy theory about last fall’s campaign to its highest level yet, saying that he will ask for a “major investigation” into his repeated claims that up to 5 million illegal immigrants voted in the election.

The head-spinning sequence had all the hallmarks that the country witnessed throughout his campaign: First came an early morning tweet calling for the investigation. It was immediately clear his claim had no basis in fact. His demand for an investigation then sent many in the political class — the media, and political supporters and detractors — into a state of astonishment.

The First Step to Electing More Democrats? Getting Them to Run

Kara Lynum was meeting with a client Monday morning when she decided to run for office. The client was an undocumented man from Mexico, and Lynum, who is an immigration lawyer in St. Paul, Minnesota, brought up current events. "I said to him, 'I'm really sad about Trump,' and he said, 'Yeah, you're sad, but I'm really worried about my family,'" she says. Lynum, 35, had joined thousands of protesters at a march through the Twin Cities on Saturday and had spent weeks thinking about what the Trump administration's immigration policies would mean for her clients.

While Trump grabs headlines, Texas Republicans launch new wave of assaults on LGBT rights

For understandable reasons, Donald Trump and his cadre of Beltway Republicans are dominating the news cycle. But it’s also important to pay attention to what’s going on in the states, where the same reactionary revolt that lifted Trump to the White House is playing out closer to the ground.

In Texas, for instance, Republicans still enraged about the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision legalizing marriage for same sex couples have launched two major attacks on LGBT rights.

Theresa May opens Trump visit by attacking past foreign policy failures

Britain and the US must never again intervene in other sovereign countries’ affairs in a bid to “remake the world in our own image”, Theresa May has told senior Republican policymakers in Philadelphia.

In a foreign policy speech that marks a clear break with the liberal interventionism of the Tony Blair and David Cameron eras, the prime minister said there must be “no return to the failed policies of the past” that saw Britain bogged down in conflicts in the Middle East.

John McCain says US has no strategy to deal with Russian cyber warfare

John McCain warned that the Trump administration is unprepared to deal with Russian attempts “to influence elections in France and European countries in the coming months”.

In audio obtained by the Guardian of the 2008 presidential nominee speaking at the congressional retreat in Philadelphia, the Arizona senator said “we don’t have a policy and we don’t have a strategy” for Russian cyber warfare. He said “it is the one aspect of our confrontation where I believe our adversaries are ahead of us”, adding “it is a hell of a lot of easier to offense in cyber than defense”.

Holocaust Memorial Day: Rise In Hate Crime Parallels The ‘Darkest Days Of The 1930s’, Warns EJC’s Moshe Kantor

The recent rise in hate crime has “parallels with the darkest days of the 1930s”, the head of a body representing Europe’s Jews has warned.

Dr Moshe Kantor, head of the European Jewish Congress, said that the rise of Far Right and neo-Nazi parties is exceptionally worrying.

As commemorations take place around the world for Holocaust Memorial Day, he said that there were dangers “lurking in our own back yard” and called for improvements in security, education and legislation to deal with them.

Ed Miliband On BBC Newsnight Warns Theresa May Against ‘Dangerous Trojan Horse’ Deal With Donald Trump

Ed Miliband has lambasted Theresa May for “locking” the UK in Donald Trump’s “boot” by seeking a “Trojan horse” trade deal with the US President.

The former Labour leader said it was a “mistake” for the British Prime Minister to align herself so closely with Trump.

He instead welcomed Angela Merkel’s stance after the Chancellor advocated a partnership with the US only on the condition they adhere to the values Germany holds dear.

Transgender Rights Are Under Attack in These 11 States

Conservatives now hold the governor's seat and control of the legislature in roughly half of all states, and since the election they've quickly gotten to work proposing measures that opponents say could threaten the rights and safety of transgender people. Human rights advocates say they're fearing an onslaught of discriminatory bills in the coming months.

Texas Is Leading the Right-Wing Crusade Against Planned Parenthood

At the end of a three-day hearing, a federal district court judge in Austin, Texas, on January 19 issued a temporary injunction blocking state officials from excising Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program — a move that would deny more than 11,000 of the state’s poorest residents from accessing preventive care from their provider of choice, and would annually strip Texas Planned Parenthood clinics of several million dollars.

Canada Is The 6th Freest Democracy In The World: Study

Canada is one of the freest democracies in the world, while U.S. democracy is getting more flawed, according to a new study.

The Economist Intelligence Unit's 2016 Democracy Index looked at the state of democracy in 165 nations and two territories around the world.

The index ranks countries based on five categories — "electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture."

Sunday, February 26, 2017

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

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

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

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

The American Dream Is Easier To Achieve In Canada

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

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

Israel Announces Plans For 2,500 New Settlement Homes

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

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

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

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

Original Article
Author: Reuters

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

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

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