• Populism resurgent“Authoritarian populism” becoming driving force in Western democracies

    The election victory of Donald Trump, Brexit,the rise of former fringe parties like UKIP and France’s Front National are part of a political trend which could define the next decade, according to research by polling firm YouGov. YouGov’s polling found that “authoritarian populism” was a force driving many voters across Europe and the United States, sharing notions such as opposition to immigration; suspicion of international coalitions, treaties, and organization; and reluctance to use national power for goals which are termed “globalist” – like human rights or nation-building.

  • Populism resurgentThe seeds of the alt-right, America’s emergent right-wing populist movement

    By George Michael

    In recent months, far-right activists – which some have labeled the “alt-right” – have gone from being an obscure, largely online subculture to a player at the very center of American politics. Long relegated to the cultural and political fringe, alt-right activists were among the most enthusiastic supporters of Donald Trump. To its critics, the alt-right is just a code term for white nationalism, a much-maligned ideology associated with neo-Nazis and Klansmen. The movement, however, is more nuanced, encompassing a much broader spectrum of right-wing activists and intellectuals. Unlike old-school white nationalist movements, the alt-right has endeavored to create a self-sustaining counterculture, which includes a distinct vernacular, memes, symbols, and a number of blogs and alternative media outlets. Now that it has been mobilized and demonstrated its relevance (just look at the number of articles written about the movement, which further publicizes it), the alt-right is likely to grow, gaining a firmer foothold in American politics.

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  • TransitionsWhen dictators die of natural causes, their regimes remain intact

    A dictator’s death of natural causes rarely leads to regime change, according to a new study that comes as the remaining fifty-five authoritarian rulers currently in power are at least seventy years old and in various stages of declining health. The researchers have studied all seventy-nine cases of dictators dying in office between 1946 and 2012 and found the ruling regime remained intact through the following year 87 percent of the time.

  • Hate groupsWidespread anti-Semitic harassment of journalists perceived as critical of Donald Trump: Report

    A new report released earlier today by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) details a troubling, year-long rise in anti-Semitic hate targeting journalists on Twitter, with data showing that the harassment has been driven by rhetoric in the 2016 presidential campaign. The anti-Semitic tweets have been directed at 800 journalists, both conservative and liberal, who wrote critically about Trump. The tweet writers are disproportionately likely to self-identify as Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, or part of the “alt-right,” a loosely connected group of extremists, some of whom are white supremacists. There were 19,253 anti-Semitic tweets in the first six months of 2016, and the words that appear most frequently in the bios of the 1,600 most prolific anti-Semitic Twitter attackers are “Trump,” “nationalist,” “conservative,” and “white.” “To be clear,” ADL stresses, “this does not imply that the Trump campaign supported or endorsed the anti-Semitic tweets, only that certain self-styled supporters sent these ugly messages.”

  • GunsReport finds strong link between strength of states’ gun laws and rates of gun violence

    A new report has found a strong correlation between the strength of state gun laws and levels of gun violence. The report, which analyzes ten specific indicators of gun violence in all fifty states, found that the ten states with the weakest gun laws collectively have levels of gun violence that are more than three times higher than the ten states with the strongest gun laws. The ten states with the weakest gun laws collectively have three times more gun violence than the ten states with the strongest gun laws.

  • Classified informationHow did classified information get into those Hillary Clinton e-mails?

    By Jeffrey Fields

    FBI director James Comey publicly rebuked Hillary Clinton for being “extremely careless” in handling classified information while she was secretary of state. Were the secretary of state and her aides careless with such information? And how can they maintain that they did not knowingly mishandle classified information? To answer these questions, we need to understand two facts about the classification of information and its transmission. First, the determination of what information is classified is subjective, meaning that reasonable people can disagree about the relative sensitivity of particular information. In fact, different agencies disagree about issues like this all the time. Second, Clinton has not shared classified documents, and this is not something she is accused of. It is extremely difficult to share a classified document electronically over e-mail, because most government agencies, including the State Department, maintain separate systems precisely to make it all but impossible to electronically pass information between classified and unclassified systems. This is partly why Clinton and her aides say so assuredly that they did not knowingly e-mail classified materials. The issue is thus whether she and her aides should have known that matters discussed in e-mails were classified or sensitive.

  • TerrorismU.S. terror victims file suit against Facebook for failing to block Palestinian incitement

    The families of five Americans recently killed or injured by Palestinian terrorists have filed a lawsuit against Facebook for allowing the terrorist group Hamas to incite violence on its network. The plaintiffs are seeking $1 billion in punitive damages under the Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows American citizens who are victims of overseas terrorist attacks to sue in U.S. federal courts.

  • GunsSupreme Court: Domestic violence perpetrators can be banned from buying, owning guns

    The supreme court has ruled that individuals convicted of a domestic violence “misdemeanor” can be prohibited from owning or purchasing a gun. Previous law stated that only those convicted of intentional abuse would be barred from owning weapons, but a “reckless” assault could be pardoned. In the United States, around five women a day are shot to death by current or former intimate partners. At least 52 percent of American women murdered with guns every year are killed by intimate partners or family members.

  • VeilsVeils, headscarves may improve observers' ability to judge truthfulness

    Judges in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada have ruled that witnesses may not wear the niqab, which covers everything but the eyes, when testifying, in part because they believe that it is necessary to see a person’s face to detect deception. Contrary to the opinions of these courts, it is easier to determine the truthfulness of a woman wearing a headscarf or even a veil that leaves only her eyes exposed than a woman wearing no head covering at all, according to new research.

  • GunsHawaii becomes first state to place gun owners – both residents and visitors -- in a federal database

    Hawaii has become the first U.S. state to place its gun owners on a federally managed database — the FBI’s “Rap Back” criminal monitoring system — and monitor them for criminal activity. The new law would permit Hawaii police to determine whether gun owners ought to be allowed to keep possession of a firearm following an arrest.

  • GunsLicense and registration, please: how regulating guns like cars could improve safety

    By Keith Guzik and Gary T. Marx

    In the midst of the Senate’s failure to agree on measures designed to tighten controls around the sales of firearms, a new idea is emerging: Regulating guns like cars. In some regards, we are already there. Operating a firearm, like operating a motor vehicle, requires a license in many jurisdictions. Certain types of criminal offenses – domestic violence in the case of firearms, drinking and driving in the case of automobiles – can result in a suspension or revocation of that license. These rules focus on the competency of users. Regulating guns like cars is a more tried and true approach to managing dangerous technologies than the simplistic prohibitionist logic of simply keeping guns away from those we categorize as “the bad and the mad.”

  • Immigration4-4 Supreme Court tie keeps Obama's sweeping immigration reforms blocked

    A 4:4 tie at the Supreme Court has dealt Barack Obama’s immigration program – and his legacy — a major setback. The president took his executive action to shield about four millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation after House Republicans refused to bring to the floor for a vote a 2013 bipartisan Senate legislation which provided a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Twenty-six states with Republican governors challenged Obama’s executive action, arguing that Obama had exceeded his authority by granting a blanket deportation deferment to millions of undocumented immigrants. A federal judge in Texas ruled in favor of the twenty-six governors, and the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of appeals upheld that Texas court’s decision last November.

  • Mass shootingSix things Americans should know about mass shootings

    By Frederic Lemieux

    The United States had 78 mass shootings during that 30-year period. The highest number of mass shootings experienced outside the United States was in Germany – where seven shootings occurred. In the other twenty-four industrialized countries taken together, 41 mass shootings took place. In other words, the United States had nearly double the number of mass shootings than all other twenty-four industrialized countries combined in the same 30-year period.

  • SurveillanceSnowden performed “public service” but should be punished: Eric Holder

    Eric Holder, the former U.S. Attorney General, has said Edward Snowden performed a “public service” by triggering a debate over surveillance techniques. Holder added, however, that he believed Snowden should be punished for leaking classified intelligence information which threatened U.S. national security.

  • SurveillanceFour questions Belgians should ask about the Patriot Act

    By Lacey Wallace

    The Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks added a sense of urgency to calls for Belgium to enact its own counterterrorism bill. It is a call the French government has already answered. Increased use of surveillance is a worldwide trend. There is no guarantee, however, that even with the most sophisticated surveillance technology out there today, passing a bill or law to collect private information on citizens will protect us from terrorist threats and violence. Even more vexing: the nature of intelligence gathering means we may never know exactly how many attacks have been prevented by the Patriot Act, the French surveillance law — or a similar law that Belgium may soon pass.