America's institutions can preserve liberty, but they're also pretty good at destroying it

As trumpism metastasizes, I've taken some comfort in the American system of checks and balances, especially the independent judiciary and the strong Constitutional tradition, which lets impact litigators like EFF and ACLU leverage the courts to overturn the executive branch; I've seen this work many times with EFF and other civil liberties organizations. Read the rest

Canadians: Parliament is holding an emergency session tonight about the #muslimban, call your MP NOW!

From Leadnow.ca: "The most important thing you can do right now is take 5 minutes to call your MP demanding that the Canadian government: Make an immediate, public condemnation of the executive orders by President Trump that bans Muslims and refugees from entering the US, and; Rescind the Safe Third Country Agreement which bars most refugee claimants entering from the United States over land to claim asylum in Canada." Read the rest

In the chaos of the Muslim ban, the rule of man trumps the rule of law

Donald J Trump's executive order banning Muslims from entering the US threw the world into chaos yesterday, as US citizens, lawful permanent residents and visa holders found themselves stranded abroad, detained at airports on arrival to the USA, or helplessly waiting outside immigration checkpoint for news of sick and vulnerable family members who were held incommunicado by US immigration officials who refused to obey a US federal court order. Read the rest

White House confuses Theresa May, UK Prime Minister; with Teresa May, porn star

The White House's official schedule for UK PM Theresa May's state visit misspells the PM's name in three places, referring to her as "Teresa May," a soft porn star, model and musician. (Image: Charnwood Publishing Co Ltd) Read the rest

A nation of Flints: America has 1.2m miles of deteriorating lead pipes and they'll cost $1 trillion to fix

Lead pipes have a lifespan of about 75 years -- and America's lead pipe are about 75 years old. 3,000 American municipalities have 1.2m miles of lead pipe, and it's all overdue for replacement, but there's no plan in hand to do so, and any workable plan will cost about $1 trillion to execute. Read the rest

In one day, Trump and Republicans shattered the norms of decency, political transparency, and accountability

In a 24-hour period, America experienced: its next president giving a press-conference in which paid shills applauded or booed as suited his needs; its next president wielding a binder of blank pages as a prop, declaring it to be his "conflict of interest plan"; its next president setting out a way to launder bribes through the State Department; its Congress holding a 1AM vote to ban the Budget Office from investigating the real costs of legislation; its Senate voting to strip 22 million people of health-care (including me and my family). That was all in one day. Read the rest

Webcomic explains how weakening the Voting Rights Act led to voter suppression in 2016

On The Nib, Andy Warner posts a quick primer on the Voting Rights Act, which was weakened in a 2013 Supreme Court case that struck down the requirement for districts with a history of racist voter suppression to get federal oversight for changes to their voting procedures; of note is the section on Jeff Sessions, whose Attorney General confirmation hearing is underway right now. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

For 13 years, Texas has been secretly, illegally denying kids special education

In 2004, under then-governor Rick Perry, the Texas Education Agency secretly instituted a plan to cap the number of students receiving special education support at 8.5% -- far less than the national average. Read the rest

Tim Cook confirms: tech met with Trump to ask for billions in tax breaks

A leaked memo from Apple CEO Tim Cook to his staff explaining why he met with Donald Trump -- a guy who called Apple traitors for refusing to defeat their own security -- explains the rationale: "tax reform." Read the rest

Coup: North Carolina Republicans convene a special session to strip incoming Democratic governor of executive powers

Thomas writes, "Shortly after closing a post-election special session to fund relief for counties afflicted by flooding from Hurricane Matthew or mountain wildfires, North Carolina GOP legislative leaders announced a second special session to begin the same day with an open agenda. The docket was filled with 21 House bills, some of which stripped Democratic Governor Elect Roy Cooper of substantial control over the executive branch. This is a coup attempt, an effort to undermine the results of a highly scrutinized election." Read the rest

Congressional Science Committee tweets link to Breitbart climate denial by self-confessed bullshit artist

James Delingpole is an invective-hurling anti-climate science columnist who has candidly admitted that he doesn't bother to read scientific papers, calling himself a "an interpreter of interpretations." Read the rest

Bernie Sanders: Trump just used your taxes to reward Carrier for offshoring American jobs

Last February, Carrier announced that it was offshoring its US air-conditioner manufacturing jobs to Mexico, despite having made a $7.6B profit that year, despite having received more than $6B in US military contracts, despite having recved a $50M tax-break, despite having paid its retiring CEO a $172m bonus, despite having spent $12b on stock-inflating accounting tricks. Read the rest

Trump's anti-net-neutrality FCC: filling the swamp with his own alligators

Trump campaigned on "draining the swamp" of the industry insiders who enjoy a revolving door relationship with the regulatory branch, moving from industry to government and back again. But his actions speak louder than his words. Read the rest

Entrepreneurs explain how Obamacare let them found businesses and create jobs

Obamacare has some significant structural problems, all stemming from the way it gives the whip-hand to insurance companies, who get to demand ever-larger sums from both the government and Obamacare users; nevertheless, the ability to get insurance makes an enormous difference for people contemplating starting innovative businesses and stepping away from big, lumbering corporations that are big enough to extend coverage to their employees. Read the rest

Support the Human Rights Data Analysis Group in rooting out human rights abuses in Trump's America

At the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, we’ve been holding heads of state accountable for human rights violations for a quarter century. And now we're prepared to do the same in the United States.

Our work is cut out for us: we’re showing how data is misused to reinforce racial discrimination in policing, in criminal justice determinations-—work that is more relevant and necessary than ever.

We’ve provided critical evidence in the prosecution of dictators like Slobodan Milosevic for ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, Efraín Ríos Montt for genocide in Guatemala, Hissène Habré for crimes against humanity in Chad. And we are providing the most accurate counts of killings in Colombia and Syria, and homicides by police in the US. This evidence will be ready when these societies come to terms with their past.

Facts do matter. And leaders need to be held to account. We need you to help us get this message out and support our work. Will you consider us in your end-of-year giving? Read the rest

Trump Administration: a climate denier for the EPA, a Goldman-Sachs banker for Treasury

Donald Trump, who once claimed that climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese has indicated that his EPA transition team will be led by Myron Ebell, who claims that accession to the Paris Climate Accord is unconstitutional, that global warming is "modest" and "nothing to worry about" and even that "a warming trend would be good for other people" because "more people die from blizzards and cold spells than from heat waves." Read the rest

Donald J Trump: "No matter who wins, at least I had fun" (The Onion)

The Onion is apparently struggling to satirize an election that is so absurd it can only be called "self-satirizing," but they scored a hit with their op-ed by Donald J Trump: "No Matter What Happens Tomorrow, At Least I Had Fun." Read the rest

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