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.]

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When the Workday Never Really Ends

Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. And for working people who have to juggle family and work, locked into a rough schedule and the stress of poverty—there really aren’t enough.

The “new economy” of twenty-four-hour online shopping, global markets and just-in-time inventory churning, have created a demand for “flexible” labor—rapid-fire changes in schedules, shift-swapping, on-call staff. In a new book, Unequal Time, sociologists Dan Clawson and Naomi Gerstel survey how time is distributed across this new economic landscape, and finds that flexibility—and its evil twin, unpredictability—is creating a new social order that brings chaos to the workplace and the home.

300 military personnel received same moving benefit as Andrew Leslie

Around 300 military personnel annually have been granted the same moving benefits as Andrew Leslie, a retired general and aspiring federal Liberal candidate who was singled out for government criticism after he billed the Department of National Defence $72,000 for a move within the city of Ottawa.

Leslie, a former army commander, became the focus earlier this year of Conservative government attacks after becoming eligible and claiming his moving expenses under a DND benefit program called Intended Place of Residence, or IPR.

A Disturbing New Trend for the Roberts Court

The American public expects justices on the Supreme Court to differ. But they also expect the Court to be the place those differences, particularly in cases that affect people's rights, are carefully explained in written opinions, and are reached only after extensive written and public oral argument. That's basic to the rule of law. Indeed, justices across the ideological spectrum routinely point to their lengthy opinions in arguing that the Supreme Court, far from being opaque, is the most transparent of government entities. Very recently, however, the Roberts Court has abandoned that principled process in several cases, and has issued peremptory, unsigned, and divided rulings that will cause irreparable injury to many Americans.

Ebola Patient Flew Day Before Symptoms Started

DALLAS (AP) — A second Dallas hospital worker who provided care for the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S. has tested positive for the disease, and officials on Wednesday began reaching out to passengers who had been on a flight with her the day before she fell ill.

It's not clear how the worker contracted the virus, though the second case among health workers pointed to lapses beyond how one individual may have donned and removed personal protective garb.

How a Businessman Funnels Public Education Funds for Charter Schools Into Private Companies

In late February, the North Carolina chapter of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation — a group co-founded by the libertarian billionaire Koch brothers — embarked on what it billed as a statewide tour of charter schools, a cornerstone of the group’s education agenda. The first — and it turns out, only — stop was Douglass Academy, a new charter school in downtown Wilmington.

Douglass Academy was an unusual choice. A few weeks before, the school had been warned by the state about low enrollment. It had just 35 students, roughly half the state’s minimum. And a month earlier, a local newspaper had reported that federal regulators were investigating the school’s operations.

Canada defends blocking NDP MP from speaking at Arctic meeting

Canada’s Foreign Affairs department is defending its decision to block an opposition member of Parliament, representing a group of Arctic lawmakers from various countries, from speaking at an intergovernmental meeting in Canada.

The incident occurred at a meeting of senior Arctic officials of the Arctic Council in Yellowknife, NWT in late March, but was revealed in detail in a separate report tabled Oct. 8 in the House of Commons.

Energy East to ignite pan-Canadian battle over Alberta’s oil sands

So far, conflicts over the expansion of the Alberta tar sands have centered on giant pipeline projects into B.C. and the U.S., where fierce opposition from environmentalists, Aboriginals, citizens and farmers have effectively stymied the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL projects.
Now, Eastern Canada will soon get a taste of these oil sands dramas.

Claims of Police Brutality Threaten to Escalate the Hong Kong Protests

In a case that has shocked Hong Kong and inflamed tensions in a city now in its third week of mass pro-democracy protests, six police officers have been caught on video kicking and beating a prominent political activist.

The man allegedly assaulted was Civic Party member and social worker Ken Tsang Kin-chiu, who was one of 45 people arrested early Wednesday as demonstrators attempted to throw up fresh barricades across a major thoroughfare leading to the main financial district.

In the video, Tsang offers no resistance to police.

Inheritance tax threshold could rise to £1m next April, Cameron hints

Families should be able to pass a family home on to their children tax-free, David Cameron said as he indicated the inheritance tax threshold could rise before the election next May.

The Prime Minister said middle-class families should be spared the 40 per cent death tax on houses where they had lived for many years.

He wanted to "shoehorn" into his final Budget a policy to increase the £325,000 inheritance tax threshold, which is expected to take place next March.

Tell Me a Story with a Happy Ending, Part II

September 18, 2014

Hi, Etgar,

I read your letter at least twice, still looking for a sliver of hope, but without any luck, even though I’d be lying if I denied that ideas for possible solutions come to mind whenever I drive past those endless cornfields.

And, even with all the corn here, they don’t make pizza with corn like they do in Israel. They’ve just never heard of it here, and it’s the topping my kids like best when it comes to pizza. And Obama? You’d never catch me letting him eat corn on my balcony. That’s all I need, for the President of the United States to leave corn kernels on my floor.

Activism Or Greenwashing? Giant Companies Bankroll New Social Good Platform

A recently launched news site wants to rally millennials to save the planet. But first, it has to find a way to reconcile its mission with the massive corporations that are bankrolling it.

The site,, focuses on uplifting stories about environmental innovation and sustainability. The stories are written by a mix of journalists, consultants and PR professionals. At the end of every story, the site suggests ways that young readers can get involved to help make a difference.

As Ferguson Protests Spread, So Does Residents' Backlash Around St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- The locations of demonstrators who descended on the St. Louis area over the weekend to push for national reforms regarding police brutality led to some heated confrontations with area residents.
The "weekend of resistance" known as "Ferguson October" was in response to the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson while walking down the middle of a street in the St. Louis suburb in August. Protesters, who are calling for Wilson's arrest, spread out across the region, organizing protests in venues ranging from public buildings and a university to gas stations, casinos and even a political fundraiser.

'Anthropocene' Term Gains Traction As Human Impacts On Planet Become Clearer

WASHINGTON (AP) — People are changing Earth so much, warming and polluting it, that many scientists are turning to a new way to describe the time we live in. They're calling it the Anthropocene — the age of humans.

Though most non-experts don't realize it, science calls the past 12,000 years the Holocene, Greek for "entirely recent." But the way humans and their industries are altering the planet, especially its climate, has caused an increasing number of scientists to use the word Anthropocene to better describe when and where we are.

Supreme Court Stops Parts Of Texas Abortion Law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked key parts of a 2013 law in Texas that had closed all but eight facilities providing abortions in America's second most-populous state.

In an unsigned order, the justices sided with abortion rights advocates and health care providers in suspending an Oct. 2 ruling by a panel of the New Orleans-based U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that Texas could immediately apply a rule making abortion clinics statewide spend millions of dollars on hospital-level upgrades.

No Shock and No Awe

It’s not too soon to state the obvious: At this point, the war against the Islamic State can only be seen as failing.

U.S.-led air power has barely been able to keep the jihadist militants from capturing the Syrian town of Kobane, near the Turkish border—and the besieged city may yet fall. Far to the southeast, Islamic State fighters have come within a few miles of Baghdad and threaten to consolidate their control of the vast Anbar Province, the Sunni heartland of Iraq. The self-proclaimed “caliphate” remains intact and its forces are advancing.

The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons

The soldiers at the blast crater sensed something was wrong.

It was August 2008 near Taji, Iraq. They had just exploded a stack of old Iraqi artillery shells buried beside a murky lake. The blast, part of an effort to destroy munitions that could be used in makeshift bombs, uncovered more shells.

Two technicians assigned to dispose of munitions stepped into the hole. Lake water seeped in. One of them, Specialist Andrew T. Goldman, noticed a pungent odor, something, he said, he had never smelled before.
He lifted a shell. Oily paste oozed from a crack. “That doesn’t look like pond water,” said his team leader, Staff Sgt. Eric J. Duling.

If we keep electing zombie policy makers, we're going to keep getting zombie health care policies

The "Bed Blockers" are back. Health Minister Stephen Mandel (unelected) used the term, so it's official.

Actually, it's a lot like a horror movie that never ends out here in Alberta. Just when you think it's safe to settle down on Elm Street and get the kids ready for a little Halloween fun, the Bed Blockers come lurching down the street.

It happens every time we get a new conservative premier here on the Western edge of the Great Plains, which seems to be every couple of years nowadays.

Site C dam granted BC Province environmental assessment approval

Site C Clean Energy project, a proposed $7.9 billion dam seven kilometres southwest from Fort St. John, is in the public interest, Environment Minister Mary Polak and Forests Minister Steve Thomson stated today in a press release.

The ministers issued an environmental assessment certificate to BC Hydro after concluding that the benefits of the project on Peace River outweighs the environmental, social and heritage effects.

Premier's trade mission to Asia weighed down by 'unique' delegation

Despite the fall sitting of the legislature, Premier Christy Clark and two cabinet ministers are off selling B.C. in India and the Far East this week. And those two trade missions couldn't be more different.

Accompanied by 25 senior executives from the industry, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Minister Steve Thomson is in China, Japan and South Korea with one objective: develop new markets for B.C.'s forestry products.

New York Times Reporter James Risen Finds ‘Crazy Is The New Normal' In War On Terror

NEW YORK –- New York Times reporter James Risen was surprised Sunday when former National Security Agency chief Michael Hayden said he doesn’t see a need for the government to prosecute Risen for refusing to reveal a source.

“I’m glad to see he feels that way these days,” Risen said in an interview Monday with The Huffington Post. “I’m not sure how long he’s felt that way.”

Sheriff's Office Cuts Off Jailhouse Interview After Deadly Raid On David Hooks' Georgia Home

The night before David Hooks was gunned down by police, his SUV and several hunting guns were stolen from his home on a 200-acre plot in East Dublin, Georgia.

The following night, around 11 o'clock, David's wife Teresa saw people in dark clothes approaching their home. Hooks, a 59-year-old grandfather, reached for a shotgun -- a weapon that turned out to be unloaded -- and prepared for a confrontation.

The intruders on Hooks' property on Sept. 24, however, were not criminals. They were part of a SWAT team from the Laurens County sheriff's office, and they were looking for drugs -- largely on the word of a tipster named Rodney Garrett, an avowed meth addict and car thief.

Hong Kong protests hover over PM’s China trip

OTTAWA - Even if the Hong Kong protests fizzle, Stephen Harper must press his Chinese hosts next month on the concerns raised by student activists, says a former Canadian ambassador.

David Mulroney, who served as Canadian envoy to Beijing from 2009 to 2012, said even though Canada needs China trade to grow its economy, it still has to find a way to talk about important issues that cut to the core of democratic beliefs.

The Hong Kong student protests place Harper and some of his fellow Western leaders in a potentially awkward position as they head to the November APEC summit in Beijing. The 21-member APEC bloc also includes the United States and Australia, as well as Russia.

Add $80 Million to BC Place's Massively Blown Budget?

The new roof and renovation of BC Place, paid for by the citizens of British Columbia, spiraled over its stated price by nearly $200 million in the first year it was announced, 2009.

It looks like the budget blowing didn't stop there, according to figures released by B.C. Pavilion Corporation (PavCo), the crown corporation in charge of the project.

Numbers just made public, added to earlier accounts, show the biggest contract for the renovation of BC Place Stadium appears to have gone $80 million over budget.

Texas Attorney General: ‘It Does Not Matter’ If Same-Sex Marriage Benefits Children

The marriage equality fight is still playing out in many states, and on Friday, Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott (R) filed his state’s latest brief defending its ban on same-sex marriage.
Abbott urged the Fifth Circuit to carefully consider the “rational basis” standard, which, despite how other courts have interpreted it in same-sex marriage cases, requires an incredibly low standard for scrutiny of a law. As he describes in the brief, “If it is rational to believe that a legislative classification might be related to legitimate state interest, then it does not matter whether the law actually advances that state interest — or any other state interest.” In other words, for purposes of the court, the facts of reality don’t matter so long as “one could rationally speculate that opposite-sex marriages advance some state interestto a greater extent than same-sex marriages.” Appealing to this standard is actually sound legal strategy, but in doing so, Abbott makes the case that it doesn’t even matter whether the law is discriminatory or has consequences for Texas families.

LinkedIn Accused Of Secretly Selling Your Professional Data To Potential Employers

LinkedIn may have violated consumer protection laws by selling users’ work history to potential employers without consent, according to a class-action lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed last week in a California federal court, and asserts that LinkedIn’s job reference tool allowed employers to make hiring and firing decisions without regard to or knowledge of LinkedIn users.

Being There With ISIS and Thomas L. Friedman

In film director Hal Ashsby's classic Being There (1979), Peter Sellers plays Chance Gardner, an idiot man-child whose nonsensical comments are mistaken for profundity.

"As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden," Chance says. "In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again."

How the ‘War on Women’ Is Deepening Racial Inequality

In 1983, when the Department of Health and Human Services assembled the first task force to examine women’s health issues, the appointed experts made it clear that the defining challenges weren’t only related to differences between men and women but also to inequality between some women and others. One fact the panel noted in its final report was that Hispanic women died in childbirth three times as often as white women; black women died four times more frequently. “If a woman is a member of an ethnic or a cultural minority,” the report stated bluntly, “her health is at risk.”

Scott Walker Thinks $7.25 Is a Living Wage—He’s Wrong

Reasonable people may differ on the precise definition of a living wage. But the consensus is that $7.25 an hour does not come close to the standard for assuring that someone who works full time can earn enough to live above the poverty line.

Unfortunately, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s administration has formally rejected that consensus view and is now arguing that $7.25 an hour is a living wage.

Walker disdain for the minimum wage is well established. When a Wisconsin reporter asked the governor this week to clarify his stance with regard to setting a base wage, he explained, "I don't think it serves a purpose."

How One Man Refused to Spy on Fellow Muslims for the FBI—and Then Lost Everything

On the night of December 9, 2011, Siham Stewart called her husband, Ayyub Abdul-Alim, as he closed down his corner store, Nature’s Garden, in Springfield, Massachusetts. She asked him to bring home a gallon of milk. A few minutes later, she watched from the window of their second-floor apartment as he was seized in the street and handcuffed by two police officers.

Forty-eight hours after Abdul-Alim’s arrest, FBI agent James Hisgen and Springfield police officer Ronald Sheehan offered him the chance to walk away free of charges if he agreed to become an informant on the Muslim community. He refused the deal and is now held at the Cedar Junction maximum-security prison in Massachusetts, facing up to sixteen years behind bars.

Generic Drug Prices In Canada Nearly Double Those In Other Countries

OTTAWA - A new study has found that Canadians are still paying far more than other industrialized countries for generic drugs, despite recent efforts by the provinces and territories to bulk buy six particularly costly medications.

The study by the University of Ottawa and the Bruyere Research Institute says the price of the six drugs — which include medications used to treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels — remains much higher in Canada than it is elsewhere.

Oil Price Decline Threatens One-Quarter Of New Canadian Projects: IEA

About a quarter of new oil projects in Canada could be under threat if oil prices fall below $80 U.S. per barrel, the International Energy Agency warned in a report Tuesday.

With Brent crude prices tumbling from a high of $115 U.S. earlier this year to around $86 U.S. today, many analysts have been warning that some oilsands projects — which have among the highest production costs of any oil fields around the world — could be in trouble if prices fall further.

Western Canadian oil was trading at around $81 U.S. per barrel on Wednesday.

Alleged Western Hog Exchange Abuse Captured On Hidden Camera

EDMONTON - Alberta's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it's investigating allegations of abuse at a hog facility in Red Deer.

An animal rights group has released a video taken at the Western Hog Exchange facility that shows hogs being kicked and struck with what appears to be a club.

Canada is in a big economic stall: What to do?

Are we supposed to accept "normal" is a stagnating economy?
In 2011 median earnings in Canada were $30,000. That means one-half of Canadian workers earned less than $30,000. What is more to the point is that earnings in 2011 were $1,800 below the level attained in 1977 (inflation adjusted 2011 dollars)! The pay packet for workers shrunk over that 24 year period.
It's a big stall -- an awful lot of Canadians are not getting ahead.

In Dangerous Times, Why Lower Our Best Defence?

"There are too many inequalities around the world -- there are millions of people dying of hunger and a few thousand dying of indigestion." -- Mahamadou Issoufou president of Niger, 2013

What connects the horrific disease Ebola in Africa, the terrorist group Islamic State in Syria, the possible mega-drought in California and British Columbia's shrinking food production?

The answer is simple: in an increasingly interconnected and threatening world, food security may be the most valuable defence of all.

Harper Wants Two Classes of Free Speech

Reports surfaced last week that the federal government plans to introduce a new copyright exception for political advertising within a forthcoming budget bill. The provision would allow politicians and political parties to use news content in their political advertising without prior permission.

While the revelations sparked an angry outcry from media organizations and political opponents, the real problem is the potential for copyright to stifle legitimate speech. Political speech -- even noxious attack ads -- surely qualifies as important speech that merits protection. Unfortunately, the government plans to create two classes of rights when it comes to political speech: one for politicians and political parties, and the other for everyone else.

Protesters Clash With Police In Ukraine's Capital Kiev

KIEV, Oct 14 (Reuters) - A few thousand protesters clashed with police on Tuesday outside the Ukrainian parliament, throwing stones and smoke bombs and firing with air guns through the building's windows.

A Reuters photographer said the protesters, many of whom were masked and armed with batons or metal chains, massed outside the main entrance of the building and began bombarding it with projectiles.

Koch donors uncloaked

The deep-pocketed political network created by the billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch this summer quietly launched a super PAC that can buy explicitly political ads supporting Republican candidates rather than the issue-oriented ads they‘d been airing for years.

The catch: For the first time, the network’s donors would be publicly identified if they gave to the super PAC.

Four months later and the results are in: The super PAC, Freedom Partners Action Fund, is a smash hit with donors. It has surpassed its fundraising goal and now says it is on pace to spend roughly $25 million on ads intended to help Republicans capture the Senate.

Harper announces plans for Gulf of St. Lawrence

SEPT-ILES, Que. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Ottawa and Quebec are both expected to table legisl
ation by the end of the year to jointly manage the petroleum resources in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Harper made the announcement in Sept-Iles on Tuesday along with Denis Lebel, the federal cabinet minister responsible for Quebec's economic development.

"The accord will enable the safe and environmentally responsible development of petroleum resources in the region, help create hundreds of jobs and generate revenues and economic growth for Quebec and Canada," Harper said.

Key Inequality Measure The Highest Since The Great Depression

You know inequality is getting bad when it's making a Swiss bank uncomfortable.

The ratio of wealth to household income in the U.S., a measure of inequality, is the highest it has been since just before the Great Depression, Credit Suisse noted in a 64-page report on global wealth released on Monday. The bank also warned that this was not good news for the health of the economy:
"This is a worrying signal given that abnormally high wealth income ratios have always signaled recession in the past," the bank wrote.

Cop To Immigrant During Traffic Stop: ‘If You Do Something, I Will Kill You Right Here’

Teodulo Sanchez was driving home when an Arizona police officer pulled him over and threatened to “kill” or “shoot” him if he moved, according to a video of the incident captured last week. Immigration advocates have long charged that Arizona police officersindiscriminately pull over members of the Latino community, oftentimes using the anti-immigrant state law colloquially known as the “show me your papers” law, as justification.

We need to talk about pensions with upcoming generations

How many times have we talked to our children, grandchildren, friends and neighbours about the issue of pensions, only to get the deer in the headlights look? I believe that it is one of the duties of those around the age of retirement to reach out to younger people about the importance of preparing for retirement. We know that Stephen Harper is doing all he can to make the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) unsustainable and to make people work longer to receive the benefits. 
I know that many of our younger workers are working at minimum wage jobs and that surviving is very tough these days, but young people must start saving early -- even starting with $10 a payday, and as they manage that, upping the amount gradually so that when they are ready to retire they will have something to fall back on. I know they feel that they can't make ends meet now, but by starting small and increasing gradually they will learn to save and see the results as their pension grows.

Senate Candidate Orchestrated Racial Gerrymander, Now Praises Court For Striking It Down

In a debate with Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) Monday, Senate candidate Ed Gillespie (R-VA) praised a recent court decision for tossing out Virginia’s racially gerrymandered congressional maps — even though the maps were the direct result of a partisan redistricting scheme he himself crafted.
Asked if he would support a bill to restore Voting Rights Act protections gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court last year, Gillespie argued that more protections are unnecessary because the courts are still able to strike down discriminatory laws like Virginia’s.

How Lowering Oil Prices Could Actually Change the World

Brent Crude has fallen to $90 a barrel as China’s and Asia’s slowing economic growth has reduced oil demand and production remains high.  All this despite the subtraction of Libyan and Syrian oil from the market and the big reduction, via sanctions, in Iran’s exports.  Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are pumping more oil than they had been.

If oil goes lower and stays there for a while, what are the implications?

Why Are These Hedge Fund Kingpins Dumping Millions Into the Midterms?

As Democrats and Republicans battle for control of the Senate, hedge funds are dumping millions of dollars into congressional campaigns. Most of these companies are lining up behind one party or the other. But the second-biggest spender, Long Island-based Renaissance Technologies, is playing both sides of the aisle. As of early September, the firm's CEO, Robert Mercer, had given $3.1 million to Republican candidates and super-PACs. Its founder and chairman, James Simons—a brilliant former National Security Agency code breaker—had donated $3.2 million to their Democratic counterparts.

The devil, the details and Stephen Harper

The starter’s pistol for Election 2015 has sounded. The three pillars of Stephen Harper’s past successes at the polls are now in place: fables, fear and the smear. Can they do the trick again?

The Conservative bias in the mainstream media (there hasn’t been a Liberal bias for years) has already led to rhapsodizing over Harper’s de facto balanced budget and looming tax cuts. Never mind the fact that this is a made-in-the-cutting room surplus. Never mind the fact that Harper wants your vote in return for shrinking your world. It is the PM’s choice of a ballot question in neon — buttressed by the usual bribes paid with other people’s money.

Mr. Harper’s peek-a-boo budget deficit

Nobody should have been surprised when Prime Minister Harper recently let slip that the federal deficit for 2013-14 came in at $5.2 billion, substantially lower than the $16.6 billion forecast in the February 2014 budget. Deficits forecasts are political props now — part of the theatre of budget-making.

A government’s fiscal credibility — with voters and with bond rating agencies — rests on its ability to beat its own forecasts. So the Finance Department must set the forecast accordingly. That’s no easy task, given that tiny shifts in two very large numbers — budgetary revenues and budgetary expenses — can lead to huge swings in the balance, as can hard-to-predict shifts in the wider economy. When things go right, they go really right. When they go wrong, they go wrong completely — and repeatedly.

Military's mental health system 'abandoned' CFB Shilo soldier

Mental health care at Canadian Forces Base Shilo in Manitoba has been "a nightmare for me and other patients," a soldier says. Among other things, the base has been without a psychiatrist for three months.

In those three months, the soldier — who CBC News is calling "Smith" to protect his identity — has attempted suicide.

Temporary foreign workers hired in area with high aboriginal unemployment

At the centre of an Alberta mall catering to four First Nations grappling with massive unemployment is a cafeteria that dishes out burgers, fries and bannock – cooked and served by temporary foreign workers.

The exact number of foreigners employed by Ermineskin Cafeteria’s owner, Howard Ng, is unclear. Mr. Ng, who is not aboriginal, did not respond to repeated interview requests relayed to him through phone messages, e-mails and a couriered letter to his corporate registration address in Edmonton.

Richest 1% of people own nearly half of global wealth, says report

The richest 1% of the world’s population are getting wealthier, owning more than 48% of global wealth, according to a report published on Tuesday which warned growing inequality could be a trigger for recession.

According to the Credit Suisse global wealth report (pdf), a person needs just $3,650 – including the value of equity in their home – to be among the wealthiest half of world citizens. However, more than $77,000 is required to be a member of the top 10% of global wealth holders, and $798,000 to belong to the top 1%.

Major Bank Asks Traders To Be Polite, They Promptly Quit

Deutsche Bank is losing some of its best-performing traders, the Financial Times reports. The bank says it's no longer keen on rewarding people to rig interest rates, manipulate foreign exchange rates and then send sweary emails bragging about it. So traders who like to get paid to do those things are leaving.

"Cultural change," in the words of Colin Fan, Deutsche Bank's co-head of investment banking, is sweeping through the company, and the message is clear -- you can't be vulgar, amoral or even, it seems, profitable. After all, this is a trading floor. "We definitely are seeing leakage," Fan told the FT, using inexplicably medical imagery. Traders who are "purely financially driven [are] going to less regulated spaces" like hedge funds or boutique firms, he said.

ISIS: A Cognitive, Systemic Failure

As we watch the Middle East seemingly tearing itself to bits in an orgy of violence, many observers are disbelieving: how can this be happening? How did it become such a mess? It apparently shocked all by its unexpectedness. Is this just another intelligence failure, they ask?

No, it is not an "intelligence failure." It is far worse. It is a cognitive and intellectual failure of the system itself. In fact, the signs of this impending "madness" have been out there -- "hiding" in the open, as it were -- for the last 25 years. You did not need "secret intelligence" to tell us where we were heading; you just needed cognitive openness: the ability to "read" the direction that events were taking.

ISIS May Have Chemical Weapons

WASHINGTON -- The Islamic State militant group may possess chemical weapons that it has already used to extend its self-proclaimed caliphate, according to photos taken by Kurdish activists and examined by Israeli researchers.

The group, making gains in Iraq and Syria, may have captured chemical agents in Iraq in June and used them in July to kill three Kurdish fighters in the strategically important region of Kobani in northwest Syria, suggests a report released Sunday by the Global Research in International Affairs Center, a branch of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel.

Jimmy John's Makes Low-Wage Workers Sign 'Oppressive' Noncompete Agreements

If you're considering working at a Jimmy John's sandwich shop, you may want to read the fine print on your job application.

A Jimmy John's employment agreement provided to The Huffington Post includes a "non-competition" clause that's surprising in its breadth. Noncompete agreements are typically reserved for managers or employees who could clearly exploit a business's inside information by jumping to a competitor. But at Jimmy John's, the agreement apparently applies to low-wage sandwich makers and delivery drivers, too.

Poverty The Strongest Factor In Whether High School Graduates Go To College

Students from high-poverty public schools are less likely to attend college than those from wealthier ones, regardless of whether they're from urban, suburban or rural areas.

A report released Tuesday by the research branch of the nonprofit National Student Clearinghouse, which examined data from more than 3.5 million high school graduates, found that poverty remains a more important indicator of whether a student will go to college than high school demographics or location.

Why Government Spends More Per Pupil at Elite Universities Than at Public Universities

Imagine a system of college education supported by high and growing government spending on elite private universities that mainly educate children of the wealthy and upper-middle class, and low and declining government spending on public universities that educate large numbers of children from the working class and the poor.

You can stop imagining. That's the American system right now.

Paul Ryan Thinks Humans Might Not Be The Cause Of Climate Change

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — The planet has faced climate change forever and humans' pollution might not be to blame, Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said Monday during a debate against his Democratic challenger.

Ryan, favored to win re-election to his seat representing GOP-leaning southern Wisconsin, faced off against businessman Rob Zerban for an hourlong forum that touched on world events, domestic politics and the economy. One of the sharpest differences came when the moderator asked each candidate if he thought human activity is to blame for changes to the planet's climate.