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.]

Monday, August 21, 2017

Here's The Story Behind The Fighter Pilot Who Made That Viral Campaign Ad

Amy McGrath knew when she was 12 years old that she wanted to fly fighter jets. She also knew that she wasn’t allowed to.

So McGrath launched an aggressive letter-writing campaign to lawmakers in her home state of Kentucky. She wrote to her congressman, who told her “women ought to be protected and not allowed to serve.” She then targeted Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who never replied. Finally, she wrote to every member of the Armed Services committees in both houses of Congress. Most of them ignored her, so she tried writing letters to the editor for her local newspapers instead.

Inside the Cult of Assange

It is hard to lose your illusions. Especially when they were once embedded with hope for a better world. Such is the case with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

Laura Poitras’s new film Risk follows six years in the life of Assange, the leading figure behind WikiLeaks, the organization that has released hundreds of thousands of secret documents. The film is permeated by a slow, bleak disappointment that seeps through the narrative like dirty water. This does not make for the most electrifying story, but it is a necessary one, an awakening, if you will, from the fantasia of promises to change the world to the plain old boring stuff of betrayal, failure, ego, and blindness.

The End of This Road: The Decline of the Palestinian National Movement

As President Trump prepares for yet another attempt to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the ground is shifting under his feet. While Israel’s willingness to offer an acceptable deal is increasingly open to question, with nothing to suggest that its terms are likely to soften with time, the Palestinians are sliding toward the unknown. With the slow but sure decay of the Palestinian political scene, the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), represents the last slender chance for a negotiated settlement: he is the sole remaining national leader of his people with sufficient, if dwindling, authority to sign and ratify a deal. For President Trump and his team, as well as for all those seeking to end this century-plus-old conflict, there should be no doubt about the moment’s urgency. After Abbas, there will be no other truly weighty representative and legitimate Palestinian leadership, and no coherent national movement to sustain it for a long time to come.

Meet the Reporter Driving Fox News’s Biggest, Craziest Stories

On May 16, the day after The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump had divulged intelligence secrets to two Russian officials in the Oval Office, Sean Hannity devoted much of his show to the murder of 27-year-old Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. Using a report from Fox 5, a Fox News affiliate in Washington, D.C., Hannity relayed the allegation that Rich had been in contact with WikiLeaks prior to his death—the suggestion being that Rich was the source of the hacked DNC emails in the 2016 election, not Russian hackers. Hannity would continue to talk about Rich’s murder for the next week. Breitbart and the Drudge Report also led with the Rich story, not the story about Trump.

Sir Vince Cable Attacks Elderly Brexit ‘Martyrs’ Who Have ‘Shafted The Young’

Sir Vince Cable has lashed out at hardline Brexit “martyrs” who view economic pain as a price worth paying to break away from Brussels.

The Liberal Democrat leader accused them of “masochism” and claimed older Brexit voters with views “coloured by nostalgia from an imperial past” had imposed their will on a younger generation more comfortable with the European Union.

The Myth of Reverse Racism

Contrary to initial indications, the civil-rights division of the Department of Justice won’t be dismantling affirmative action after all. At least, that’s the current word from Trump administration officials, after a New York Times article claimed the department would be using the broad powers of justice to take on universities that it decided had discriminated against white people. The DOJ since clarified that it was gearing up to investigate complaints from dozens of organizations alleging that certain universities used quotas—which are illegal—to limit the number of Asian American enrollees.

It’s 2017, and Most States Still Allow Shackling of Prisoners During Labor and Delivery

A few weeks ago, a group of Democratic senators introduced the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, which would compel federal prison officials to be more attentive to the unique needs of female inmates when it comes to things like parenting, visitation, and access to health care. Among the bill’s provisions is a federal ban on restraints for pregnant prisoners—who in many states can still be forced to go through labor and delivery while shackled to a bed. As a medical resident, Dr. Carolyn Sufrin—who is now a medical anthropologist and an OB-GYN at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine—delivered the baby of one such prisoner and was appalled by the inhumanity of it. Her recent book, Jailcare: Finding The Safety Net for Women Behind Bars, explores the experiences of pregnant women who gave birth while incarcerated. I reached out to Sufrin to learn more about prison births, the problems of impoverished pregnant women, and how to reform a male-dominated justice system that often fails to attend to women’s concerns.

The Difficult Voyage of Martin Shkreli, the Pharma Bro, Comes to an End

As the deliberations in the Martin Shkreli trial dragged into their fifth day, the possibility that he could end up facing a deadlocked jury, or even an acquittal, started to seem increasingly real. So did the potential for yet another embarrassing setback for the government when it comes to prosecuting white-collar crime. Instead, on Friday afternoon, in Brooklyn, the jury delivered a victory, of sorts, to the government, finding Shkreli guilty on three of the eight counts with which he’d been charged—including the two most serious ones, of securities fraud. After the verdict was read, Shkreli stood outside the courthouse and said that he was “delighted, in many ways” with the result, and that “this was a witch hunt of epic proportions.”

Brexit: Why ‘Project Fear’s’ Predictions Could Be Coming True After All

“Let’s just remember what a shock really means,” David Cameron told factory workers last March. “It means jobs being lost. It means mortgage rates might rise. It means businesses closing. It means hardworking people losing their livelihoods.”

Yet such claims made during the EU referendum about the financial consequence of Brexit did not play out as many Remainers had predicted.

Meet Hatreon, the new favorite website of the alt-right

Finding funding on the internet is hard—especially if your ideas are despised by almost everyone. Just ask members of the alt-right, the pro-Donald Trump white nationalist movement that received considerable attention during the 2016 presidential election. These guys often get barred from online funding platforms like Patreon, GoFundMe and PayPal.

Enter Hatreon, a new crowdfunding service. Like Patreon, Hatreon allows users to donate money to their favorite internet personalities, while the website takes a small cut. But Hatreon doesn’t have any “hate speech” restrictions. Which is perhaps why it’s attracted controversial figures such as alt-right leader Richard Spencer and Andrew Anglin, founder of neo-Nazi news site The Daily Stormer.

Why is the “deep state” on the tip of so many tongues these days?

The politics of the American deep state have grown more explicit in the six months of the Trump presidency.

Rosie Gray of TheAtlantic.com reports that Rich Higgins, an NSC staff director and former Pentagon official, was recently fired for circulating a memo arguing that a “deep state” of leftists, globalists and Islamic sympathizers poses a threat to the Trump administration and to U.S. national security.

    His dismissal marks the latest victory by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in the ongoing war within Trump’s White House between those who believe that the president is under threat from dark forces plotting to undermine him, and those like McMaster who dismiss this as conspiratorial thinking.

Who’s right?

Black Women Have to Work 7 Months Longer Than White Men to Receive the Same Pay

July 31st is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, the day that marks how long into 2017 an African American woman would have to work in order to be paid the same wages as her white male counterpart was paid last year. Black women are uniquely positioned to be subjected to both a racial pay gap and a gender pay gap. In fact, on average, black women workers are paid only 67 cents on the dollar relative to white non-Hispanic men, even after controlling for education, years of experience, and location.

Why does this wage gap exist for black women?

It's going to take more than new anchors to fix the drifting CBC

CBC president Hubert Lacroix hit the nail on the head, though his eyes were probably tightly closed at the time: Public broadcasters, he said in a 2015 presentation, “risk being boiled to death.”

Correct. For their greed, mismanagement, badly outdated mandate, second-rate products and terminal arrogance.

Sadly, it didn’t take Hubert long to get back into whine mode. Speaking at an international public broadcaster’s convention in Munich, Lacroix belly-ached that budget cuts could threaten the continued existence of outfits like the CBC.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Massachusetts Is Ground Zero in the Battle for the Soul of the Democratic Party

The headline at The Boston Globe on Wednesday was incredulous: “Could 3 people from Massachusetts really run for president?” Yet it was a question the hometown paper had to ask this week, with news that Barack Obama is urging former Governor Deval Patrick to consider a White House bid and that Representative Seth Moulton plans to attend an Iowa steak fry this September. If either Patrick or Moulton wants to take on President Donald Trump in 2020, they could be entering a Democratic primary field “the size of an Iowa cornfield,” as New York magazine’s Ed Kilgore put it. They could also be facing a fellow Bay Stater who’s a national leader of the ascendent populist-progressive movement: Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Medicare-for-All Isn’t the Solution for Universal Health Care

Within the broad Democratic coalition, it’s pretty clear that the discussion of health care has shifted to the left. Mainstream figures like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a potential presidential candidate in 2020, are embracing single payer. Representative John Conyers’s Medicare-for-All bill currently has 115 Democratic co-sponsors in the House. And Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer recently said that single payer is now “on the table.” Assuming we have free and fair elections in the future, and Democrats regain power at some point, this is all very good news for single-payer advocates.

New Fox Harassment Allegations: “A Contributorship…Was Contingent Upon” Sex

A former frequent on-air guest at Fox News says that a Fox consultant and top lieutenant to Roger Ailes, the network’s late founder and longtime CEO, sexually harassed her repeatedly for more than a year, including dangling the possibility of a paid job at Fox if she would have sex with him.

The allegation appears in a written declaration by Caroline Heldman, an associate professor of politics at Occidental College who made numerous guest appearances on Fox starting in 2008. The Fox consultant, Woody Fraser, is a veteran television producer who helped create and produce shows such as Good Morning America and Wild and Crazy Kids* and worked closely with Ailes at Fox for nearly a decade. Fraser’s relationship with Ailes dated back to the 1960s, when he hired a young Ailes to work on The Mike Douglas Show. “It was the best hire I’ve ever made,” Fraser told an Ailes biographer.

Ken Livingstone Suggests Venezuela’s Problems Down To Hugo Chavez’s Decision Not To ‘Kill All The Oligarchs’

Ken Livingstone has suggested the crisis in Venezuela is in part due to president Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez’s decision not to “kill all the oligarchs” in the country.

The former London mayor said when he met Maduro he found no reason to believe him to be anything other than a “genuine democratic socialist”.

After damaging historic property and wetlands, pipeline CEO is ‘baffled’ by criticism

Kelcy Warren, Texas billionaire and CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, simply does not understand why people would be opposed to his pipeline projects.

In a letter sent to lawmakers on Monday, Warren said he was “baffled” by allegations that the Rover Pipeline, an Energy Transfer Partners project that would stretch from southwest Pennsylvania to Michigan, had violated federal regulations in constructing the pipeline.

The Handshake

On the Sunday before Christmas, in 2015, Hal Howard was pulling away from a party at his pastor’s house when he saw, standing in the street in front of him, a little girl. Howard slowed his pickup truck to a stop and tooted his horn. The girl didn’t move. At the same time, the girl’s father, Yousef Muslet, was playing with one of his sons on their front lawn. Muslet’s house sits opposite the pastor’s, in a prim, suburban neighborhood of Belle Glade, Florida. When Howard began honking at his daughter, Muslet walked up to the truck and introduced himself.

John Deere Is Against the Right to Repair Its Equipment

When I was a boy, I loved spending time with my Uncle Ernest and Aunt Eula on their small northeast Texas farm. They pulled a frugal living from their 50 acres, raising a little bit of everything. Doing a lot with a little to make ends meet, Ernest and Eula operated on principle of frugality expressed in an old country rhyme: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

This meant that when their tractor broke down, they fixed it themselves. Likewise, if their old Zenith console radio went on the fritz, they didn't just order a new one, they brought out their tool kit and fixed it.

Private Prison Demands New Mexico and Feds Find 300 More Prisoners in 60 Days or It Will Close

The nation’s second-largest private prison corporation is holding New Mexico politicians hostage by threatening to close unless the state or federal authorities find 300 more prisoners to be warehoused there, according to local news reports.

“The company that has operated a private prison in Estancia for nearly three decades has announced it will close the Torrance County Detention Facility and lay off more than 200 employees unless it can find 300 state or federal inmates to fill empty beds within the next 60 days,” the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reported last week.

Energy Department Scientists Barred From Attending Nuclear Power Conference

Edwin Lyman, a physicist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, was one of 30 U.S.-based scientists scheduled to speak at the quadrennial International Atomic Energy Agency conference on fast breeder nuclear reactors in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in late June. Lyman did not attend the previous two conferences, Kyoto in 2009 and Paris in 2013, and was looking forward to rubbing shoulders with hundreds of scientists from around the world, including more than two-dozen from U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories.

Universal Health Care Can Work: But the Case Must Be Made for How to Pay and How Money Will Be Saved

Progressives are riled up with renewed seize-the-day determination to turn Congress’ failure to gut Obamacare and Medicaid into a push for nationwide universal health care.

“JOIN THE MOVEMENT,” shouted a typical email blast Monday from the Progressive Turnout Project, quoting Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and, of course, asking for donations.

"I need your ideas re: Medicare-for-all," Sanders said via an email blast from BernieSanders.com.

Behind the Crazy Headlines: Three Truths About the Trump Presidency

The United States has had some turbulent and scandal-plagued Presidencies during its two-hundred-and-forty-one-year history—those of Richard Nixon, Warren Harding, and Ulysses S. Grant come to mind—yet there has never been one like Donald Trump’s. On Monday morning, I sat down to write a post about the swearing-in of John Kelly as the new White House chief of staff, and the beginning of Act II of Trump’s Presidency. By the time I had finished writing, not one but two news cycles had turned. In the afternoon, news broke that Anthony Scaramucci, the New York financier who was named Trump’s director of communications just a week and a half ago, had been fired. And on Monday night, the Washington Post revealed that President Trump had dictated a misleading statement that was given to the press about his son Donald Trump, Jr.,’s infamous meeting, last June, with a Russian lawyer.

Brexit Is Worth Family Members Losing Their Jobs, Say Half Of Leave Voters Over 65

Half of Leave voters over the age of 65 would be happy for their family members to lose their jobs in order to ensure Brexit goes ahead.

A YouGov poll published today also revealed 61% of people who voted Leave at the referendum think that “significant damage” to the UK economy is a price worth paying for taking Britain out of the EU.

The man who would beat Putin

Only a little more than 48 hours had passed since Leonid Volkov had been released from a cramped Moscow detention center, but the outspoken Kremlin critic was already back at work plotting to unseat Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As chief of staff for Russian dissident Alexei Navalny’s run for the presidency in an election to be held next March, Volkov is the man behind a grass-roots political campaign unlike anything the country has ever seen.

According to the friend of a murdered Russian watchdog, Putin is one of the richest men in the world

In his testimony on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, former CEO Bill Browder of Hermitage Capital Management is expected to describe the dramatic and heartbreaking story of Sergei Magnitsky. A Russian lawyer and close friend of Browder, Magnitsky was allegedly tortured to death by Vladimir Putin’s Russian government as he attempted to expose corruption and kleptocracy in that country.

Harrowing Images From Venezuela’s Deadly Protests

A new round of deadly protests engulfed Venezuela on Sunday, as the government held internationally criticized elections for a new political body that will have the power to rewrite the country’s constitution.

Demonstrators and police met in a series of clashes, resulting in the deaths of at least 10 people.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Fossil Fuels' Double Whammy to Taxpayers: Subsidies Are Dwarfed by Health Costs

Health campaigners say the energy policies of the world’s richest countries are inflicting a double burden on their citizens, not only using their taxes to pay fossil fuel subsidies, but also loading huge health costs on them.

The work of the Health and Environment Alliance, HEAL, the report says that although fossil fuel combustion causes deadly air pollution and climate change, virtually all governments spend vast sums of public money – their citizens’ taxes – on supporting the oil, gas and coal industry in fossil fuel energy production.

How Putin used propaganda to deftly turn Russians against Ukrainians

Vladimir Putin’s decade-long media campaign turned Russians against Ukrainians and Ukraine itself before he annexed Crimea in 2014.

In my book Putin’s War Against Ukraine: Revolution, Nationalism, and Crime, I explore how Putin successfully fanned the flames of ethnic Russian nationalism, turning Russians against both the Ukrainian state and people.

While Trump and ‘Mooch’ were creating diversions — lawmakers heard explosive testimony in Russia probe

One of the most important congressional hearings yet in the Trump-Russia probe took place Wednesday, in the midst of one of President Donald Trump’s most chaotic weeks yet.

Bill Browder — once the biggest portfolio investor in Russia but now a leading critic of Vladimir Putin — told the Senate Judiciary Committee how the Russian president needs to lift U.S. sanctions to deliver what he promised to corrupt oligarchs who support his rule, reported Huffington Post.

The Message That Putin’s Expulsion of U.S. Diplomats Sends to Trump

Vladimir Putin’s announcement on Sunday that he would require a dramatic reduction in the U.S. diplomatic mission to Russia is a personal message to Donald Trump—at once a last-ditch effort to gain some conciliations from a U.S. President who had promised them and an indication of how, despite early hopes in Moscow, Putin and those around him are gearing up for a more familiar, confrontational pose with Washington. The Kremlin’s thinking appears to be that if the United States is so intent on demonizing it, then, fine, let it have its Cold War—and anyway, mutual antagonism has come to be a comfortable, even habitual mode for the Putin state.

A Federal Judge Just Found Joe Arpaio Guilty of Criminal Contempt

Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who made a name for himself with his extreme anti-immigration policies and his notorious Tent City jail, has been found guilty of criminal contempt.

Arpaio, who served as sheriff of Maricopa Country for 24 years, was charged by the Justice Department last October with defying a judge’s order to stop targeting immigrants for traffic stops.

He was voted out of office the following month.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 5. Arpaio, 84, faces up to six months in jail.

Original Article
Source: motherjones.com
Author:  Ben Dreyfuss

6 Things We’re Likely To Lose Thanks To Brexit

Japan’s biggest bank has apparently chosen Amsterdam as the location of its EU headquarters, potentially costing hundreds of jobs in London, as the fallout from Brexit begins to swell.

Sources told the Financial Times that Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group had chosen the Dutch capital to maintain its ‘passporting’ rights - the ability to sell financial products across EU borders.

TransCanada Admits Keystone XL Pipeline May Never Happen

After nine years of political rhetoric, protests and lobbying, TransCanada's fight to build the Keystone XL pipeline seemed to end in victory for the company in January, when President Donald Trump signed an executive order approving the project.

But fast forward half a year, and the controversial project to bring Canadian oilsands product to the U.S. Gulf Coast is no closer to reality. In an earnings call last week, the company's brass — while remaining optimistic — pretty much admitted the project may never happen.

What will be the ramifications of Putin's order to reduce US embassy staff?

When it comes to diplomatic expulsions, Vladimir Putin likes to pull a surprise.

When the outgoing Barack Obama administration kicked out 35 Russian diplomats in December, the Russian president was widely expected to make a symmetrical response, but surprised everyone by doing nothing at all – apparently in the hope that relations would become rosier when Donald Trump took office.

Vladimir Putin to America: You've Let Me Down

Sunday night, Vladimir Putin went on national television and explained his decision to slice American diplomatic staff in Russia by two-thirds. He was retaliating for Barack Obama’s December expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, as well as newly passed congressional sanctions, by kicking out 755 American diplomatic staff—a response over 20 times stronger than Obama’s original retaliation for Russian election meddling. But Putin sounded calm and humble, like a disappointed parent who has no choice left but to send a recalcitrant child to military school. “We were waiting for a long time, thinking that maybe something will change for the better; we kept hope alive that the situation will change,” Putin said. “But judging by everything that’s happened, if something’s going to change, it won’t be soon.”

Bernie Sanders’s Campaign Isn’t Over

Bernie Sanders’s Presidential race ended a year ago, but his campaign never did. Since the election, he has staged events in Michigan, Mississippi, Maine, West Virginia, Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Montana, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, and Illinois. At every one, he speaks about the suffering of small-town Americans, and his belief that the Democrats can help them. When I caught up with him recently, his shirt was a little untucked, his head hung down, and he carried a printed copy of his remarks. Sanders was catching a late-night flight to Chicago, and was taking a moment to record a message for Snapchat. The central illusion of a Presidential campaign is that a candidate can, through constant motion and boundless energy, meet countless people and, in the end, give voice to the experience of the country. After the election, Sanders seemed to adopt the illusion as an ethos.

Successful African American community is under investigation by Republicans

Examining the decline in violence, cognitive scientist, psychologist, linguist, and popular science author Steven Pinker concludes in The Better Angels of Our Nature:

    “Across time and space, the more peaceable societies also tend to be richer, healthier, better educated, better governed, more respectful of their women, and more likely to engage in trade.”

Russia is retaliating against new US sanctions in a big way

Russia will force the US diplomatic mission in the country to eliminate hundreds of people from its workforce by September 1, President Vladimir Putin told state TV in an interview that aired on Sunday.

"More than 1,000 workers — diplomats and support staff — were working and are still working in Russia; 755 must stop their activity in the Russian Federation," Putin said, per Reuters. This does not mean, as early news reports suggested, that 755 US diplomats will be expelled from the country entirely — but it is a serious cut to America’s diplomatic presence in Russia.

Landowners challenge pipeline developer, saying taking property is unconstitutional

Virginia and West Virginia residents opposed to the Mountain Valley Pipeline asked a court in Roanoke, Virginia, to block federal regulators from allowing the pipeline’s developers to confiscate private property to build the 303-mile natural gas pipeline.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, the residents challenge the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to allow a private company like Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, to confiscate property through eminent domain to build such a project. The residents also are seeking a preliminary injunction so that — even if the FERC grants the company final permission to build the pipeline — the company would not be allowed to use eminent domain until this suit is decided.

Simply Drinking Water Shouldn’t Be This Dangerous

Health officials in a major American city downplayed dangers of lead contamination in water even as officials connected to the Flint, Michigan, crisis faced a criminal investigation, according to a report obtained by the Guardian.

Residents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were given “misleading” statements by health officials who “deflected” attention from lead-contaminated water, according to the audit.

When bat-shit crazy is an understatement

O.J. Simpson recently told the parole hearing that released him after nine years in prison that he had led a “conflict-free” life.

After hearing that from a man convicted of causing wrongful death, kidnapping and armed robbery — and who entered a no-contest plea on a case of wife-beating that sent Nicole Simpson to hospital (the eighth time the cops had answered a 911 call from the doomed woman) — I thought narcissistic bullshit couldn’t find a higher gear.

I was wrong.

Donald Trump subsequently claimed that he was the second most “presidential” person to occupy the White House … after Abraham Lincoln.

Dems pivot to offering ObamaCare improvements

House Democrats are poised to advance a flood of proposals designed to address the problems dogging President Obama's signature healthcare law — a move that puts pressure on Republican and Democratic leaders alike.

The strategy marks a pivot for the Democrats, as party leaders have throughout the year discouraged members from offering improvements to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), fearing they would highlight problems with the law and divert attention from the Republicans’ months-long struggle to repeal and replace it.

Putin: US must cut diplomatic staff in Russia by 755

President Vladimir Putin said the United States would have to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 people and that Russia could consider imposing additional measures against the US as a response to new sanctions approved by Congress.

Moscow ordered the US on Friday to cut hundreds of diplomatic staff and said it would seize two US diplomatic properties after the House of Representatives and the Senate approved new sanctions on Russia. The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump would sign the sanctions bill.

Watch: Hackers Demonstrate How to Crack Into Electronic Voting Machines in Minutes

Who says America's electronic voting machinery cannot be hacked?

One of the world's largest and best-known hacker conventions, DEF CON, debuted an interactive "Voting Machine Hacker Village" this year at its annual gathering in Las Vegas. In some cases within minutes, and in other cases within a few hours, of the village doors' opening, hackers in attendance said they had successfully breached some systems. The security investigators claimed to have found major vulnerabilities or claimed to have breached every voting machine and system present.

New Film Shows the Brutality of Duterte’s Murderous Drug War in the Philippines

President Donald Trump attracted bipartisan criticism in April for enthusiastically endorsing one of the world’s most brazen human rights catastrophes: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous anti-drug campaign. Since Duterte took office last June, police and vigilante death squads have killed more than 7,000 people, and devastated poor communities in cities across the country.

Will Wisconsin Get Foxconned?

President Trump, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and House Speaker Paul Ryan got a big political boost from the news that the Foxconn corporation is promising to bring thousands of  jobs to Wisconsin in a new factory for flat-panel display screens.

But caution is in order, as the Taiwan-based electronics giant is one of the world’s most brutal employers, notorious for driving workers to suicide.

Why American Democracy Is Broken, and How to Fix It

Under President Barack Obama, Americans saw how divided government leads to crisis-wracked governance, with the Republican Congress roadblocking presidential appointments (particularly in the courts) and playing a game of chicken with the debt ceiling that risked sending the country into default. Now, under President Donald Trump, Americans are seeing that unitary government also leads to crisis-wracked governance, with the Republican Congress unable to coalesce around an agenda.

These Days, All Roads Lead To Beijing

When Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, at the beginning of September 2013, few thought it was anything but another ordinary visit. Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, had been to the Kazakh capital several times and usually talked about how he welcomed good relations with one of China’s neighbors to the west. But when Xi began his speech, it was obvious that something new was afoot. The Chinese president was offering more than the usual banal platitudes. He was talking about the future, and he was talking about a plan.

Christy Clark, Former Premier, To Resign As B.C. Liberal Leader

VANCOUVER — Christy Clark, a gifted political campaigner with an ever-present smile, announced her resignation Friday as leader of British Columbia's Liberal party, one month after her government was tossed from power in a dramatic confidence vote.

Her resignation is effective Aug. 4, the former premier said in a statement. She is also leaving as a member of the legislature serving the riding of Kelowna-West.

Here's How The Government Could Have Stopped Sears Canada Employees From Getting Fucked Over

When a big company like Sears Canada goes through tough times, public sympathy is usually with the workers who are losing their benefits, pensions, or severance. But the way the law is currently written means that, for the most part, people with deeper pockets get paid before employees do.

"What we have essentially is a regime that creates a priority of claims in any insolvency situation for who gets paid out," Mark Rowlinson, a labour lawyer and policy researcher at the United Steelworkers union, told BuzzFeed Canada.