ONTD Political

WARSAW — Step by step, the Polish government has moved against democratic norms: It increased government control over the news media, cracked down on public gatherings and restricted the activities of nongovernmental organizations.

Now the party in power is moving aggressively to take control of the last major independent government institution, the courts, drawing crowds into the streets and possible condemnation by the European Union.

The party is pushing to jam several bills into law; one would force all the nation’s top judges to resign, except those it appointed. Another bill, already approved by Parliament, would ultimately give the government control over who can even be considered for a judgeship.

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Poland may be stripped of EU voting rights over judicial independence

The EU is on the brink of taking the nuclear option of stripping Poland of its voting rights in Brussels in response to plans by its rightwing government to “abolish” the independence of the country’s judiciary.

Frans Timmermans, the first vice-president of the European commission, accused Warsaw of seeking to put judges under full political control as he warned that the EU was “very close” to triggering article 7, a never-before-used sanction in the treaties that allows a member state’s voting rights in the council of ministers to be suspended.

Poland’s ruling rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS) has been in almost constant conflict with the European commission since it was elected. In recent weeks the Polish government has proposed a series of reforms that would give ministers power over the appointment of judges and members of the country’s supreme court.

The first step in the EU triggering article 7 is an assessment of whether there has been a breach of fundamental rights, which could be launched as early as next week on the recommendation of the commission. “What we decide next week depends on developments also this week,” Timmermans said, as he called for fresh dialogue with Warsaw.

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John McCain diagnosed with brain cancer

Arizona Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported on Wednesday.

McCain returned to Arizona last week after becoming ill, which prompted Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to delay a potential vote on health care.

According to Gupta, McCain had surgery to address the tumor, and has since returned to his home. Gupta said McCain will need a combination of chemotherapy and radiation to continue recovering, Gupta reported.

"On Friday, July 14, Sen. John McCain underwent a procedure to remove a blood clot from above his left eye at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix," a statement from the Mayo Clinic read. "Subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot."

The Mayo Clinic confirmed Gupta's reporting on McCain's treatment options.

"Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation," the statement added. "The Senator's doctors say he is recovering from his surgery 'amazingly well' and his underlying health is excellent."

McCain's office has confirmed his condition in a statement Wednesday evening.

"Senator McCain appreciates the outpouring of support he has received over the last few days," a statement read. "He is in good spirits as he continues to recover at home with his family in Arizona."

McCain was first elected to the Senate in 1986. He then had a pair of unsuccessful presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2008.

There are diseases hidden in ice, and they are waking up

Long-dormant bacteria and viruses, trapped in ice and permafrost for centuries, are reviving as Earth's climate warms

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New GOP plan to repeal Obamacare meets fatal opposition

Senate Republicans' Plan B to gut Obamacare is poised for failure, as three GOP senators said Tuesday they will vote against a procedural motion to advance repeal of the health law without a replacement — effectively dooming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s latest effort.

The opposition from GOP Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins came a day after Senate Republicans’ bill to replace Obamacare collapsed, and further imperiled President Donald Trump's vow to dismantle the health law.

McConnell said Tuesday that he would still move to hold a vote soon, which would put senators on the record even if the vote's outcome was preordained.

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It's what you get when you sneakily form a super-secretive Senate group to work on healthcare in the dark, with 13 men and zero women. Turns out, it was women who decided the fate of their bill anyway. Oh, the irony!

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in 2010.

Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Shelley Moore Capito have a few things in common. They are all senators. They are all Republicans. They are all women. And they all near-immediately opposed Mitch McConnell’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act with a delayed replacement.

After the GOP Senate health care bill was effectively killed from within on Monday night ― Sens. Jerry Moran and Mike Lee from the conservative wing of the Republican Party dealt the bill its final blow ― McConnell, the Senate majority leader, announced he would move forward with legislation that would effectively repeal the Affordable Care Act without replacing it. The repeal of key parts of the ACA would be delayed until two years after the vote, which McConnell told reporters he wanted to hold in the “very near future.” (The same legislation was vetoed by former President Barack Obama in 2015.)

By Tuesday afternoon, three Republican senators ― Collins, Capito and Murkowski ― became the first to announce that they would oppose a motion to proceed on a repeal of the ACA without a replacement.

Capito released a statement Tuesday morning emphasizing that she “did not come to Washington to hurt people,” pointing to 173,000 people in her state of West Virginia who gained health coverage due to Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

“My position on this issue is driven by its impact on West Virginians,” she continued. “With that in mind, I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”

Soon after, Collins, who had publicly opposed the GOP Senate health care bill, and voted against the same repeal legislation in 2015, tweeted that she too would vote no on the motion to proceed.

“I do not think that it’s constructive to repeal a law that is so interwoven within our health care system without having a replacement plan in place,” the Maine senator said, recommending that the Senate Health Committee hold hearings to look at ways to fix the ACA.

Following Collins, Murkowski, a senator from Alaska, announced that she would not vote to proceed to repeal the ACA, encouraging the Senate to “take a step back and engage in a bipartisan process to address the failures of the ACA and stabilize the individual markets.”

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By Emma Gray. 07/18/2017 04:37 pm ET.


Hope everyone had a great weekend! I couldn't find any good political memes at my usual sources (which tbh have been slim pickins for awhile now) so meh. Anyone have suggestions for good places to find up-to-date memes, plz let me know
Jimmy Carter recovering after collapsing from dehydration in Winnipeg, report says

Former president Jimmy Carter was taken to a hospital Thursday for dehydration while in Winnipeg, according to a news report.

The 92-year-old was in Canada helping build a Habitat for Humanity home when he “collapsed,” a volunteer told CBC News, triggering a rush of paramedics and firefighters to assist him. An ambulance took Carter to a hospital.

“President Carter has been working hard all week. He was dehydrated working in the hot sun and has been taken offsite for observation. He encourages everyone to stay hydrated and keep building,” a statement from the Carter Center said.

As a precaution, Carter was transported to St. Boniface General Hospital for re-hydration, and former first lady Rosalynn Carter is with him, the center said.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter are the organization’s most prominent supporters, and since 1984 have built, renovated or repaired almost 4,000 homes globally, according to the nonprofit’s website.

The Carters arrived in Canada this week to build or repair as many as 100 homes across Canada in four days, ending Friday, the organization said.

“Housing affordability in Canada is at an all-time low. We are proud supporters of Habitat for Humanity and grateful to everyone who is joining us in our efforts to bring affordable housing to families across the country,” Carter said.

Carter announced in 2015 that he was free of a type of melanoma that spread across his brain.

geez he is 90 years old and i am not and refuse to go outside for anything waPOW
The ACLU is trying to block a bill that gives men (including rapists) equal say.

Members of the extreme anti-abortion groups Operation Rescue protest outside a clinic in Little Rock.

Arkansas legislators clamped down on abortion access even further by passing a law that forces women to have their partners’ permission to access the procedure.

A recently-passed bill, H.B. 1566, is a provision under the Arkansas Final Disposition Rights Act of 2009, which states that, in the matter of a person’s death, family members have to agree on what to do with the deceased person’s body.

H.B. 1566 includes aborted fetuses into that Act, which means that both the mother and the father of the fetus will have to agree on what to do with fetal remains, thus requiring a woman to tell whoever impregnated her that she’s planning on having an abortion. Both parties will have to agree on what to do with the remains.

This law could also apply to women impregnated by abusive partners, and those impregnated after a sexual assault. (For women under the age of 18, the decision about what to do with the fetal remains will be deferred to her parents or guardians.)

A representative for NARAL Pro-Choice told HuffPost on Monday that H.B. 1566 is essentially a way to “make it harder” to access abortion.

“While proponents of this plan claim it’s about embryonic-tissue requirements, the plain intention and unavoidable outcome of this scheme is to make it harder for a woman to access basic health care by placing more barriers between a woman and her doctor,” he said.

Experts say that personhood laws like this one this are a sneaky way for legislators to push an anti-abortion agenda without necessarily calling it such.

“Some politicians have begun trying to make abortion functionally unavailable through insidious restrictions like this one,” the NARAL representative said. “Their intention is, of course, to make abortion unavailable by any means necessary.”

The provision recently passed in the state’s 2017 legislative session and would go into effect on at the end of this month ― but the ACLU is fighting back.

The civil rights organization partnered with the Center for Reproductive Rights to file a lawsuit against H.B. 1566, and is hoping to freeze the legislation until a decision has been made. The first hearing for the lawsuit will be on July 13.

“Every day, women in Arkansas and across the United States struggle to get the care they need as lawmakers impose new ways to shut down clinics and make abortion unavailable,” members of the ACLU said in a statement.

“We will fight politicians who not only seek to shame, punish, or burden women for making these decisions, but also try to push care out of reach.”

By Jenavieve Hatch. 07/10/2017 04:25 pm ET.

Nuclear powers rebuked as 122 nations adopt U.N. ban

While Friday's meeting between the leaders of the two biggest nuclear powers drew world attention, representatives from 122 other countries did something truly historic that barely registered a blip: They negotiated the first-ever treaty outlawing atomic bombs.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, passed at the United Nations by a vote of 122 to 1, was the culmination of a decadelong effort by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons — and a resounding rebuke to the world's nuclear weapons states, which were glaringly absent and immediately dismissed the effort.

The vote, which opens the treaty for signature beginning Sept. 20, drew a lengthy standing ovation at U.N. headquarters in New York — even if the agreement is not expected to have any measurable effect on the atomic arsenals in the hands of the few.

“These states are sending a message. They are expressing their profound frustration that the U.S., Russia, China and other nuclear-armed states have not fulfilled previous political and legal commitments," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based advocacy group, who attended the session.

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