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.]

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Glazed and confused: Dissecting the Tim Hortons merger

To hear stock market analysts and industry gurus gush over the proposed US$12.5-billion merger between Tim Hortons and Burger King this week, one might wonder if they were hopped up on double-doubles and honey crullers. What started with a shocking late Sunday news report that the two food chains were in talks quickly rose to a swelling of adulation for the corporate union and what it might mean to Tim Hortons’ future. The deal offers “huge upside” for the coffee chain’s U.S. expansion, noted one management prof. Consultants were soon envisioning Tim’s kiosks in Burger King’s thousands of restaurants across the U.S. But why stop there? “Could you have a Tim Hortons and a Burger King across the street from each other in South Africa?” a person close to the merger talks mused to Forbes. “Absolutely.”

World domination, Timmy’s style.

More chance of dying from work than going to war - Intl Labor Organization

Going to war may seem one of the most hazardous ordeals on the planet, but perhaps not. The International Labor Organization (ILO) says there is more chance of dying from work than fighting for your country on the battlefield.

The admission was made by Guy Ryder, the ILO’s director-general, who was speaking at the 20th World Congress in Frankfurt to participants from 141 countries in what is the world’s largest occupational safety event.

Mayor Forces Man To Leave Public Meeting Because He Won’t Stand During Prayer

A Florida mayor ejected one of his constituents from a City Commission meeting on Thursday because he declined to stand during the invocation and pledge to the flag at the beginning of the meeting.
Winter Garden Mayor John Rees, a nonpartisan official leading an Orlando suburb of about 37,000, was caught on video demanding that an audience member stand for a prayer, which thanked God for “allowing us to live in a country where we’re free to believe, think, and pray.”

China: No Open Nominations For Hong Kong Leader

BEIJING (AP) — China's legislature on Sunday ruled out allowing open nominations in the inaugural election for Hong Kong's leader, saying they would create a "chaotic society." Democracy activists in the Asian financial hub responded by saying that a long-threatened mass occupation of the heart of the city "will definitely happen."

B.C. teachers' strike: Vince Ready walks out of talks

Vince Ready has left talks between the B.C. teachers' union and the provincial government in Richmond, B.C., saying the sides are too far apart to come to a resolution anytime soon.

"I don’t see a resolution here before the start of school given the positions of the parties. They are a long, long ways apart," the veteran mediator said.

He has been working as a facilitator since Thursday, when talks resumed after a summer of stalled negotiations.

EU leaders deliver sanctions ultimatum to Russia over Ukraine

European Union leaders have given Russia a week to reverse course in Ukraine or face a new round of sanctions as Kiev warns it is on the brink of full-scale war with Moscow.

Fears are growing that the confrontation on the EU's eastern borders could engulf the whole continent after Russia sent troops to back a new offensive by pro-Kremlin rebels in south-east Ukraine.

The EU president, Herman Van Rompuy, said the 28 leaders meeting in Brussels had agreed to take "further significant steps" if Moscow did not back down.

St. Louis County Police Officer Dan Page Retires Following Inflammatory Video

The St. Louis County police officer who pushed a CNN journalist on live television in Ferguson, Missouri, and was earlier suspended from duty after a videotape surfaced in which he threatened to "kill everybody," has retired.

St. Louis County police officer Dan Page, a 35-year police veteran, had his last day with the force on August 25th, MSNBC reported on Friday night. A representative of the St. Louis County Police Chief told MSNBC that Page is expected to receive a his full pension.

Page fell into the national spotlight when he pushed CNN's Don Lemon who was in Ferguson covering the unrest stemming from the killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown by a police officer. The engagement between Page and Lemon was shown on CNN.

Lemon would later uncover a video of Page where he threatens violence and also says disparaging things about President Barack Obama, Muslims, and LGBT people. Page was suspended from duty on August 22, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar saying that the comments Page made in the surfaced video, "deeply disturbed me immediately."

Original Article
Author: The Huffington Post | By Andrew Hart

Canada looks to join NATO force of 10,000 troops meant to keep Russia in check

Canada is interested in joining a NATO joint expeditionary force of at least 10,000 troops that is being created to bolster the alliance’s eastern flank in an effort to check Russia’s creeping military takeover of eastern Ukraine, according to Britain’s Financial Times newspaper.

The British-led division-sized force will include troops from at least six countries. It will be comprised of air, sea and land components as well as special forces, the British business daily said Friday in the lead story on its website. The as yet unnamed force would exercise frequently and be maintained at a very high state of readiness, according to NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who spoke of its creation for the first time in interviews with European journalists earlier this week.

Texas National Guard Troops At Border Can't Afford Food

WASHINGTON -- National Guard troops deployed to the border in Texas are visiting a food bank because they can't afford food and gas ahead of their Sept. 5 payday, according to a report Friday by local station Action 4 News and a state senator.

Action 4 News reported that a Rio Grande Valley food bank had been contacted about 50 Texas National Guard troops who needed assistance. The troops are reimbursed for their meals, but pay for them upfront, stretching the finances of some troops who were called to southern Texas earlier this month to address an increase in unaccompanied minors crossing the border illegally.

NATO Chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen Urges Canada To Boost Defence Spending

NATO's outgoing secretary general is repeating his call for member countries like Canada to boost their defence spending in response to the "wake-up call" of recent crises like the one unfolding in Ukraine.

In an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio's The House, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who will preside over his final NATO heads of government summit Sept. 4-5 in Wales, said that after 25 years of "relatively calm weather" the alliance now needs to reinforce its collective defence and adapt to what he calls "a profound climate change."

What Makes Us Unequal? Precarious Jobs

In his last year of undergrad at the University of British Columbia, Andrew Longhurst noticed his friends grow increasingly anxious.

On the cusp of entering the workforce, their bachelor's degrees were no longer a one-way ticket to permanent employment, some joined temporary work agencies in the hopes of scoring some on-call office or construction work. At best, they found part time or contract gigs to pay the bills.

How Brazil Has Dramatically Reduced Tropical Deforestation

Over the past nine years, the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has dropped by 70 percent. This success has been achieved despite high beef and soy prices, which in previous years had pushed deforestation upward, and during a time that Brazil had rapid economic growth and made important progress in reducing poverty, hunger, and inequality. Brazil’s reduction in emissions from deforestation is the largest contribution so far by any country—rich or poor—to reducing global warming pollution. The factors responsible for this accomplishment include government policies and enforcement actions by prosecutors, on both the federal and state levels; incentives created by Norway’s pledge of up to $1 billion in results-based compensation; the concerted pressure exerted by non-government organizations (NGOs) on the government and the soy and beef industries; and the positive response by those industries, resulting in the 2006 soy and 2009 beef moratoria. Political leaders, such as President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, Minister of the Environment/2010 Green Party presidential candidate Marina Silva, the independent public prosecutors, and several state governors can also claim an important share of the credit. Ultimately, however, it was the change in the political dynamic of the deforestation issue due to years of effort by Brazilian civil society that made these actions and this success possible.

EU Mulls New Russia Sanctions As Ukraine Rebel Offensive Gains Ground

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union on Saturday was poised to impose new sanctions against Russia as Ukraine's president warned the conflict with Moscow threatens peace and stability for Europe as a whole.

Petro Poroshenko said before a summit of the EU's 28 leaders that a strong response was needed to the "military aggression and terror" facing his country.

Should Companies Have to Pay Taxes?

Reading companies’ annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission is a reliable cure for insomnia. Every so often, though, there is a significant revelation in the paperwork. This year, one of the most important revelations came from Microsoft’s filings, which spotlighted how the tax code allows corporations to enjoy the benefits of American citizenship yet avoid paying U.S. taxes.

According to the SEC documents, the company is sitting on almost $29.6 billion it would owe in U.S. taxes if it repatriated the $92.9 billion of earnings it is keeping offshore. That amount of money represents a significant spike from prior years.

Ukraine president warns Europe nearing 'point of no return'

The European Union has warned that the apparent incursion of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil pushes the conflict closer to a point of no return, with new economic sanctions being drawn up to make Moscow reconsider its position.

The Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, who briefed a summit of the 28-nation EU's leaders in Brussels, said a strong response was needed to the "military aggression and terror" facing his country.

Canadian commandos shopping for new equipment

Canada’s special forces have put together a shopping list of new equipment, ranging from armoured vehicles to radios, that they plan to acquire.

The purchases will unfold over the next 10 years and could include up to $99 million in new equipment for the Canadian Special Operations Forces Regiment (CSOR) based in Petawawa, and up to $249 million for new armoured vehicles to be used by various units in the Ottawa-based special forces command.

B’nai Brith CEO to nominate Harper for Nobel Peace Prize

The head of a prominent Canadian Jewish organization says he plans to nominate Stephen Harper for a Nobel Peace Prize Mr. Harper is a staunch supporter of Israel whose comments on the Middle East have at times put him at odds with other Western leaders.

In a news release issued by B’nai Brith Canada, Mr. Dimant praised the Prime Minister’s approach in dealing with major international conflicts.

Miliband calls for tougher action on Britons travelling to Iraq and Syria

The government should take tougher action to prevent would-be British jihadis from travelling to Iraq and Syria to fight for Islamic State (Isis) and force those who return to Britain to undergo a process of "de-radicalisation", Ed Miliband has said.

The Labour leader said the government should revisit the decision to scrap the control orders regime for terror suspects, after the terror threat level to the UK was raised from substantial to severe.

Syria Refugees Top 3 Million Mark, UN Says

GENEVA, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance of Islamist militants or are having difficulty in reaching open border crossings, the United Nations said.

Syrians desperate to leave their war-engulfed homeland are forced to pay hefty bribes at armed checkpoints proliferating along Syria's borders, or to smugglers, the U.N. refugee agency said.

Acknowledging the Reality of Police Brutality

As recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, move from headlines to history, I would like to say a few words about two very sensitive subjects: police brutality, and racism.

As we all know, recently a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri killed an unarmed African-American teenager. The police officer shot him somewhere between six and eleven times. According to some eyewitnesses, the victim, Michael Brown, was shot in the back. Then Brown turned around, with his hands up, and shouted "I don't have a gun -- stop shooting!" At which point the officer allegedly shot him several more times, and killed him.

Dunkin' Donuts Worker's Death Reveals The True Cost Of Our Low-Wage, Part-Time Economy

A New Jersey woman died earlier this week trying to catch a few hours of sleep between jobs, a chilling reminder of the struggle low-wage workers, particularly women, face making ends meet.

Police found Maria Fernandes dead in her car on Monday night, parked in a convenience-store parking lot in Elizabeth, N.J., according to a police press release. Fernandes, 32, was wearing a Dunkin’ Donuts uniform when she was found. A friend and fellow employees told officials she worked as many as four jobs, said Lt. Daniel Saulnier, a spokesman for the Elizabeth police department.

Charles Koch Linked To Creation Of Fossil Fuel-Defending Nonprofit: Report

WASHINGTON -- Documents uncovered by Republic Report link billionaire Charles Koch to the formation of a nonprofit that would later become the Institute for Energy Research, an active player in Washington policy debates.

IER, also a nonprofit, describes its mission as providing "intensive research and analysis about American energy." It's known for advocating against tax subsidies for renewable energy and the Environmental Protection Agency's new rules on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. It's highly critical of policies that would be bad for oil, gas and coal interests -- which, of course, are the source of much of Koch's immense wealth. And its political arm, the American Energy Alliance, has run ads attacking President Barack Obama and other politicians for their energy policies.

Tax Breaks for Tesla? States Should Think Twice

This week’s merger between Burger King and Tim Hortons, and the proposed shift of the American food icon’s headquarters to Canada, has everyone talking about the merits of corporate taxation. But something is missing from this discussion: the billions in tax breaks states lavish upon corporations to lure their operations.

You cannot talk about the corporate tax burden honestly without accounting for these subsidies.

Mount Polley Spill: Elevated Levels Of Chemical Elements Found In Nearby Water

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. - Elevated levels of seven chemical elements have been found by B.C. government staff in the sediment near a mine tailings spill.

The Ministry of Environment says copper, iron, manganese, arsenic, silver, selenium and vanadium were found in concentrations that exceeded provincial standards during testing near the Mount Polley mine Aug. 12 and Aug. 15.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Police Tase Black Man Who Was Sitting On A Chair While Waiting To Pick Up His Kids

The shooting of unarmed teenager Mike Brown rekindled a debate about why police seem to target African Americans. Cell phone video posted this week suggests that clashes between unarmed black men and police can happen over little more than sitting on a chair.
Chris Lollie, 28, says he was waiting to pick up his children in a skyway in St. Paul, Minnesota, after working the night shift in a nearby restaurant. A security guard told him the seemingly public area he was sitting in was reserved for employees. Lollie, suspecting he’s being singled out for his race, responded that there was no sign saying so. The guard called the police, who confronted Lollie.

Obama’s Racial Justice Initiative—for Boys Only

On a Saturday morning in mid-July, about seventy-five recent high school graduates and college underclassmen—all young black men—crowded into the Laney College student center in downtown Oakland, California. Some were accompanied by parents, mostly their mothers. Some wore red button-up shirts and black ties that marked them as members of the Striving Black Brothers Coalition, a group that provides mentorship to young African-American men attending a nearby community college. One wore a letterman-style jacket issued by another college-prep program geared toward black youth. Embroidered on the back was a question: What if the prince dared to be king?

Safety Board final report on Lac Mégantic disaster is sharply critical of railway regulation, but federal gov't unmoved

Canada's Transportation Safety Board issued a 181-page report on August 19 detailing the breakdown in application and enforcement of federal rail safety regulations that caused the deaths of 47 people in the oil train disaster in Lac Mégantic, Quebec on July 6, 2013. (Read the 12-page executive summary here.)

The TSB report identified 18 distinct causes and contributing factors in which safety procedures and regulations failed or were not applied. These pertain to the operations and equipment of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, the short-line company that was receiving crude oil trains from CP Rail south of Montreal and then running them through Quebec and Maine to Irving Oil in New Brunswick; the oil tanker cars that are used by railways across North America to transport oil; and lax procedures and enforcement by Transport Canada over railway operations in Canada.

Surplus military gear moves from battle to U.S. police forces

If the armoured personnel carriers rolling down the streets of Ferguson, Mo., this month looked as though they belonged in Iraq or Afghanistan, that’s because some of them once did.

Over the last seven years, the Pentagon says it has given police forces in St. Louis county (which includes the suburb of Ferguson) seven Humvees, three helicopters, 15 weapon-aiming sights, two night-vision devices, a cargo trailer, as well as pistols, rifles and a bomb-disposal robot.

U.N. Condemns U.S. Police Brutality, School Segregation And 'Stand Your Ground'

A U.N. committee urged the U.S. Friday to stop police brutality, in light of the shooting of Michael Brown that set off the riots in Ferguson, Mo.

In a news briefing Friday, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (C.E.R.D.) vice chairman Noureddine Amir said the "excessive use of force by law enforcement officials against racial and ethnic minorities is an ongoing issue of concern."

Alberta Chiefs Boycott Meetings With Province Over Development Of First Nation Lands

EDMONTON - A dozen northern Alberta chiefs say they will boycott the province's attempt to implement legislation to regulate consultation with industry over development on their lands.

"We're sick and tired of someone telling us what to do and thinking for us," Rose Laboucan, chief of the Driftpile First Nation, said Thursday. "We can think for ourselves."

Putin Reminds West Russia Is One Of The 'Largest Nuclear Powers'

Do not "mess with Russia" was the bellicose offering from Vladimir Putin on Friday, as the Russia President reminded an increasingly exasperated West that his country maintains one of the largest nuclear arsenals in the world.

After being excoriated by Nato and President Obama on Thursday for the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, Putin spoke at a pro-Kremlin youth camp on Friday, issuing a threat against Western military action, saying no country would "think" of conflict with Russia.

Pro-Russian Separatists In Control Of Key Town Of Novoazovsk

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union on Saturday was poised to impose new sanctions against Russia as Ukraine's president warned the conflict with Moscow threatens peace and stability for Europe as a whole.

Petro Poroshenko said before a summit of the EU's 28 leaders that a strong response was needed to the "military aggression and terror" facing his country.

Obama Administration To Reward Student Loan Company Accused Of Cheating Troops

The Obama administration plans to reward Navient Corp, the student loan specialist formerly owned by Sallie Mae, with new business some three months after federal prosecutors accused the company of intentionally cheating troops on their federal student loans, according to three sources familiar with the administration's plans.

The move is likely to stoke comparisons to recent multi-billion-dollar settlements reached between big banks and federal authorities over financial crisis-era misdeeds. Banks agreed to pay sizable sums, but public interest groups have criticized the settlements because the banks suffered few business consequences and their executives escaped criminal and civil charges.

LA Cops Shot An Unarmed Black Man, Are Being Even More Secretive Than Ferguson Police

Outrage escalated in Ferguson, Missouri, as city officials waited a full week to release the name of the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. But it took even longer for Los Angeles to release the names of two officers involved in the shooting of another black man believed to be unarmed.
On Thursday — more than two weeks after Ezell Ford was fatally shot — police announced that the names of the officers were Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas, both in the gang enforcement unit. As in Michael Brown’s case, police allege that Ford was reaching for their gun — not that he had his own. But witnesses say the 25-year-old man who strugged with mental illness was laying on the ground when he was shot, and that they saw no struggle. Witness Leroy Hill told the Huffington Post that he stood across the street as officers beat Ford, at one point yelling “shoot him.”

Why the ‘Unhiring’ of Steven Salaita Is a Threat to Academic Freedom

In early August, Inside Higher Education ran a story that sent a shock wave through the academy. It reported that at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an official offer of a tenured professorial appointment had been rescinded by a top administrative officer. That alone would have been unusual, but concerns grew after sources close to the decision-making process reported that Chancellor Phyllis Wise was responding to calls and e-mails about Professor Steven Salaita’s acerbic and emphatic anti-Israel tweets.

Gov’t to end fees for paper bills: Moore

OTTAWA - The big telecom companies may have agreed to exempt some customers from fees charged for paper invoices, but the federal government says it's going to end the whole practice.

Industry Minister James Moore says the government will introduce legislation to end what is called pay-to-pay, the practice of charging people extra for a monthly bill on paper.

"We do not believe that Canadians should pay more to receive a paper copy of their telephone or wireless bill," Moore said in a statement Friday.

Seven US children are shot dead every day on average ‘and we are as a country ignoring them’

For every U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan during 11 years of war, at least 13 children were shot and killed in America.

More than 450 kids didn’t make it to kindergarten.

Another 2,700 or more were killed by a firearm before they could sit behind the wheel of a car.

Every day, on average, seven children were shot dead.

Shell Submits a Plan for New Exploration of Alaskan Arctic Oil

Royal Dutch Shell submitted a plan to the federal government on Thursday to try once again to explore for oil in the Alaskan Arctic, following years of legal and logistical setbacks as well as dogged opposition from environmentalists.

While the plan is just a first step in the process, it reflects the energy potential in the Arctic. Shell’s proposed programs consist of two drilling rigs working simultaneously in the Chukchi Sea, which could produce more than 400,000 barrels of oil a day.

Putin Urges Release Of Ukrainian Soldiers

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Friday called on pro-Russian separatists to release Ukrainian soldiers who have been surrounded by the rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Putin's statement came several hours after Ukraine accused Russia of entering its territory with tanks, artillery and troops, and Western powers accused Moscow of lying about its role and dangerously escalating the conflict.

NATO said at least 1,000 Russian troops are in Ukraine and later released what it said were satellite photos of Russian self-propelled artillery units moving last week.

Voters may be saying 'enough is enough' to Harper's Tories

For lack of a better term, let's call it "voter fatigue." Voter fatigue is what sets in when the public simply grows tired of the politicians who are running their lives. They may not be especially angry at the people in power. It's more a matter of being weary -- and bored -- of hearing the same self-serving arguments, the same empty platitudes, the same threadbare rationalizations over and over from the same political mouths.
That's when voters start telling one another (and they tell pollsters, too) that "enough is enough." I think we are at that point in federal politics today. As I read the opinion polls, people are not so much outraged by Stephen Harper and the Conservatives as they are tired of them. Some of this was reflected in the Angus Reid Global survey mentioned in last week’s column. Asked to describe Harper in one word, 26 per cent of the 1,502 Canadians polled chose "boring" while 37 per cent said "arrogant."

The Fraser Institute's 'research' is junk -- have a happy Labour Day!

While the conclusions of the Fraser Institute's annual Labour Day attack on labour unions and the rights of working people to bargain collectively are predictably in tune with the market fundamentalist nostrums of the globalized corporations that bankroll its efforts, the group's methodology appears to be shifting in an interesting way.
The so-called "institute" released a paper yesterday that asserts the more heavily the labour relations field is tilted in favour of corporate employers, the more "balanced" it is -- an absolute inversion of reality.
This is no surprise because, no matter what the subject, Fraser Institute "research" always lines up precisely with the agenda of its corporate financiers.

A Big Summer Story You Missed: Soaring Oil Debt

Some of the summer's biggest news stories took place in the bombed schools of Gaza, the abandoned hospitals of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the wheat fields of eastern Ukraine and the bloody mountains of northern Iraq.

But one of the most important made virtually no headlines at all, and seemed to only appear on the website of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

First Nations renew protests over building on ‘sacred’ Grace Islet

SALTSPRING ISLAND — The sharp roar of saws and a generator coming from a construction site on Grace Islet Tuesday morning was too much for Tseycum Chief Vern Jacks.

After paddling in the Cowichan Tribes big canoe over to the small island, where a luxury home is being built over a First Nations burial ground, he stood on the shore and yelled to the workers: “You would never do this to your ancestors. Think about your kids, your family.”

Elizabeth Warren Defends Israeli Shelling of Gaza Schools, Hospitals

The Israeli military has the right to attack Palestinian hospitals and schools in self defense if Hamas has put rocket launchers next to them, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said last week at a local town hall, according to the Cape Cod Times.

Warren, in defending her vote to send funds to Israel in the middle of its war with Hamas, said she thinks civilian casualties are the "last thing Israel wants."

"But when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they're using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself," she said.

Bill C-304: Hate Speech Clause's Repeal Gives White Supremacists Rare Moment Of Glee

A Conservative private members’ bill that repeals part of Canada’s hate speech laws has passed the House of Commons with scant media attention, and even less commentary. But it's being cheered by many Canadian conservatives as a victory for freedom of speech. And it's being cheered most vocally by another group: White supremacists.

The Koch Brothers And Republican Party Have Just Joined Forces To Track Voters

A secretive data and technology company linked to conservative oil billionaires Charles and David Koch has reached an agreement to share its information with the “voter file and data management company” that holds an exclusive agreement with the Republican National Committee. This will allow the Republican Party full access to voter data collected by the Koch’s Freedom Partners entities and clients — and entrenches the Kochs’ network even deeper into the GOP.

Tory Fundraising Email Says 'Media Elite' Mobilizing To See Party Defeated

With a federal election just a year away, Conservatives are warning supporters that the media is "mobilizing" to boot the party from power.

And Tories are increasingly hinting "elites" want to seize control.

On Tuesday, the Tories sent a fundraising email with the subject line "Just disgusting," railing against a recent column from the Toronto Star's Heather Mallick extolling what she sees as the virtues of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau while heavily criticizing Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Condo Fraud: Meerai Cho, Toronto Condo Lawyer Representing Centrium, Faces 75 Charges

Toronto police continue to investigate the disappearance of millions of dollars in down payments from hopeful condo buyers, as the provincial government stepped in Wednesday to say it will be conducting a review of the situation.

Lawyer Meerai Cho, who represented a developer of the now-cancelled Centrium condo project, is facing 75 charges and has been temporarily suspended by the Law Society of Upper Canada. Police raided a building Wednesday that once held the developers' offices, but it was not immediately clear what, if anything, was found.

Foreigners Are Taking Over Canadian Real Estate Definitely Maybe

The housing market is so inflated that the international community warns of a bubble ready to burst and locals fret that soaring prices have pushed the dream of home ownership forever out of reach.

Some weary house hunters have turned wary as reports circulate about an influx of wealthy foreign buyers, particularly from China, buying up the housing stock.

This isn’t Vancouver. Or Toronto. Or anywhere in Canada.

This is the scene in Sydney and cities across Australia where, similar to Canada, low interest rates have sparked a years-long rush into the market amid cries of overvaluation and deteriorating affordability.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tax Dodging Whopper? Burger King Moves to Canada After Merger with Tim Hortons

This week Burger King announced it is buying the Canadian coffee-and-donut chain Tim Hortons for $11.4 billion, creating the third largest fast-food chain in the world. The newly created firm will be headquartered in Canada where the corporate tax rate is lower than in the United States. While Burger King denies it was motivated by lower taxes, the deal has revived the debate over so-called tax inversions, whereby U.S. companies use mergers to move overseas and avoid U.S. tax rates. In July, the Obama administration estimated tax inversions could cost the United States as much as $17 billion per year. One investor who stands to profit from the Burger King deal is President Obama supporter Warren Buffett. He lent Burger King $3 billion at a lucrative 9 percent interest rate to help complete the deal. We are joined by James Henry, an economist, lawyer, and senior advisor with the Tax Justice Network. He is former chief economist at McKinsey & Company.

Author: --

Remember the Wendy Davis Filibuster? The Law She Fought Is Driving Dozens of Abortion Clinics Out of Business

At the new Planned Parenthood clinic in Dallas earlier this month, exam rooms were stocked, desks, chairs, and computers were installed, even a few phones had started to ring. Construction workers came in and out, and the waiting room stood empty, save for a corner stack of moving boxes.

"We're just waiting for furniture," said Kelly Hart, senior director of government relations for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, while giving a tour of the clinic, which opened to patients two weeks ago.

Your Cell Phone Company Says Your Location Info Is Private. Think Again.

On Sunday, the Washington Post published an expose revealing that private companies are peddling surveillance systems to foreign governments that track the location of cell phone users in the US and abroad. The report raised a basic question: How can this be happening when cell phone companies generally promise not to disclose their customers' location information without their consent? The main problem is that location information is available on a global network that can be accessed by thousands of companies. And in the wake of the Post story, US cell phone companies are refusing to discuss how this squares with their privacy policies, or say what they are doing to keep their customers' whereabouts confidential.

Fraser Institute Blasts Canada's 'Biased' Labour Relations Laws In New Report

Just when it seemed that the debate over right-to-work laws had calmed, Canada’s most well-known conservative think-tank has released a report blasting the country’s “biased” labour relations laws for stalling jobs and investment.

After assessing various labour relations laws in the private sector for their “flexibility” — defined for the purpose of their index as “less bias towards favouring unions over employers” — the latest report, released Thursday by the Fraser Institute, found that all 10 provinces lagged behind the 50 U.S. states.

Emails Raise More Questions about Gambling Exec's Conflict of Interest

Emails obtained by The Tyee raise further questions about Michael Graydon's shift from heading the B.C. Crown corporation that oversees gambling to running the private firm that plans to build a casino beside BC Place Stadium -- a transition process that investigators for the province found put Graydon in a conflict of interest.

Graydon tendered his resignation as CEO to the B.C. Lottery Corp. board of directors Jan. 29, effective March 31. The resignation was accepted but the board gave Graydon until Feb. 4 to leave. Three days later, on Feb. 7, Graydon's hiring as president of PV Hospitality ULC was announced.

You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia

BEIRUT -- The dramatic arrival of Da'ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed -- and horrified -- by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia's ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, "Don't the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?"