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.]

Friday, May 29, 2015

Supreme Court Hands Victory To Police Who Use Deadly Force

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt at least a partial blow to police reform advocates Monday, in a ruling that held police officers could not be sued after all for firing gunshots at a severely mentally disabled woman who threatened violence.
The decision is a loss for plaintiff Teresa Sheehan, who survived the deadly police force, and had won the right to sue in the lower courts.Studies in several cities have found that about half of police shooting victims are mentally ill, and that the mentally ill are disproportionate victims of excessive police force. Sheehan, like many of disabled police shooting victims, was shot in what started as a call to police for help.

Here's Everything You Need To Know About Obama's Trade Deal In One Short Speech

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) took to the Senate floor Friday evening to make a point-by-point analysis of why a trade deal being negotiated by President Barack Obama would harm the United States.

Merkley's comments came as the Senate voted to give Obama "fast track" authority that will allow him to negotiate a deal that Congress can then approve with an up or down vote, but cannot alter.

71 Arrested In Cleveland Protests Over Cop's Acquittal In Deaths Of Unarmed Black Motorists

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland emerged unscathed and intact after a day of protests following the acquittal of a white patrolman who had been on trial in the shooting deaths of two unarmed black suspects killed in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire.

Officers arrested 71 people the night after the verdict, though there was nothing close to the violence other cities have experienced over the treatment of black suspects.

Putin Signs Law To Shut Down 'Undesirable' Foreign Organizations In Russia

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law Saturday giving prosecutors the power to declare foreign and international organizations "undesirable" in Russia and shut them down.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have condemned the measure as part of an "ongoing draconian crackdown which is squeezing the life out of civil society."

The Big Banks Are Corrupt -- and Getting Worse

The Justice Department's latest settlement with felonious big banks was announced this week, but the repercussions were limited to a few headlines and some scattered protestations.

That's not enough. We need to understand that our financial system is not merely corrupt in practice. It is corrupt by design - and the problem is growing.

Let's connect the dots, using news items from the past few weeks:

Michael Brelo, Cleveland Patrolman, Found Not Guilty In Deaths Of 2 Unarmed Suspects

CLEVELAND (AP) — A patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects during a 137-shot barrage of gunfire was acquitted Saturday in a case that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights.

Michael Brelo, 31, faced as many as 22 years in prison had the judge convicted him on two counts of voluntary manslaughter. Before issuing his verdict, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John P. O'Donnell said he would not "sacrifice" Brelo if the evidence did not merit a conviction.

Birth Control That Works Too Well

What if there were something that simultaneously cut the unintended-pregnancy rate and the abortion rate, while saving a bundle of taxpayer money? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Turns out there is. In 2009, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation donated over $23 million to the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, a five-year experimental program that offered low-income teenage girls and young women in the state long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs)—IUDs or hormonal implants—at no cost. These devices, which require no further action once inserted and remain effective for years, are by far the best method of birth control available, with less than a 1 percent failure rate. (The real-use failure rate for the Pill is 10 times higher.) One reason more women don’t use LARCs is cost: While they save the patient money over time, the up-front price can be as high as $1,200. (Even when insurance covers them, many teens fear the claim forms sent to their parents would reveal they are sexually active.) Another reason is that women simply don’t know about LARCs and assume the cheaper pills available at clinics are their only option.

EKOS poll: Even Tories strongly oppose Memorial to Victims of Communism

Opposition to the Harper government’s planned Memorial to the Victims of Communism is staggering—with even the prime minister’s supporters strongly opposing its design and location, EKOS polling data shows.

Sixty-three per cent of those polled who intend to vote Conservative in the upcoming federal election oppose the memorial, a project of the Harper government that has been vigorously backed by senior Conservatives despite controversies about its location, cost and political symbolism.

The iPolitics/EKOS poll shows that 77.4 per cent of Canadians strongly oppose the memorial and 82.7 per cent of residents of the National Capital Region [NCR] oppose it. In Canada and the NCR only four per cent polled strongly support the memorial.

Among non-Tory voters, 83 per cent who intend to vote Liberal oppose the project and 84 per cent of polled who intend to vote NDP oppose it. Among other supporters of national parties, opposition remains at the 83 per cent mark.

Original Article
Author:  Janice Dickson

Wall Street Could Win Big If SCOTUS Guts Fair Housing Act

WASHINGTON, May 22(Reuters) - If the state of Texas prevails in a civil rights case about to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, landlords and developers will have an easier time defending themselves in housing discrimination lawsuits.

But the biggest beneficiary of a win for Texas could well be Wall Street.

Jade Helm 15 Is Not a Federal Takeover: It's Domestic Military Expansion

Some of the conspiracy theories being offered about this summer's eight-week US Special Operations Command (SOCOM)-led "Jade Helm 15" military training exercise seem stranger than fiction. The general suspicion is that the exercise is an Obama administration attempt to invade the state of Texas.

At one point, right-wing conspiracy sites speculated Walmart was "in" on the Obama administration's plan to invade the state, suddenly closing down stores to provide "food distribution centers" to the military and allowing them to use a pre-existing system of secret underground tunnels to launch the takeover attempt in the state.

This Is What Happens When You Slash Funding for Public Universities

On February 25, three University of Arizona graduate students—Kyle Blessinger, Zach Brooks, and Sarah Ann Meggison—had a meeting with Kelli Ward, a Republican state senator in Arizona. They were there to lobby against massive new cuts to state spending on higher education; the number being thrown around was $75 million. Under the state constitution, attending the university is supposed to be as “nearly free as possible,” but due to state budget cuts, tuition had increased more than 70 percent between 2008 and 2013 for in-state students—the severest hike in the country. Now it was poised to go up even more, while funds for graduate instructors were likely to be squeezed even further.

Exclusive: The CIA Is Shuttering a Secretive Climate Research Program

On Wednesday, when President Barack Obama spoke at the US Coast Guard Academy's commencement ceremony, he called climate change "an immediate risk to our national security." In recent months, the Obama administration has repeatedly highlighted the international threats posed by global warming and has emphasized the need for the country's national security agencies to study and confront the issue.

So some national security experts were surprised to learn that an important component of that effort has been ended. A CIA spokesperson confirmed to Climate Desk that the agency is shuttering its main climate research program. Under the program, known as Medea, the CIA had allowed civilian scientists to access classified data—such as ocean temperature and tidal readings gathered by Navy submarines and topography data collected by spy satellites—in an effort to glean insights about how global warming could create security threats around the world. In theory, the program benefited both sides: Scientists could study environmental data that was much higher-resolution than they would normally have access to, and the CIA received research insights about climate-related threats.

But now, the program has come to a close.

How Scott Walker and His Allies Hijacked the Wisconsin Supreme Court

For three years, Wisconsin prosecutors have been investigating whether Republican Gov. Scott Walker broke campaign finance laws as he battled a 2012 recall effort sparked by his push for a law that undercut the power of public-sector unions. Prosecutors allege that Walker and his aides illegally coordinated with conservative groups that were raising money and running ads to support Walker and his Republican allies. At least one group at the center of the probe, the Wisconsin Club for Growth, has gone to court to stop the investigation. Its fate now rests with the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which will rule any day now on whether the inquiry can proceed.

But there's a rub. Two key targets of the investigation—the Wisconsin Club for Growth and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), the state's leading business group—have spent more than $10 million since 2007 to elect a conservative majority to Wisconsin's top court. Given their involvement in the investigation, and the Wisconsin Club for Growth's position as a party to the case, good-government advocates question whether the four conservative justices elected with the help of these two groups should be presiding over the case.

Israel's new deputy foreign minister: 'This land is ours. All of it is ours'

Israel’s new deputy foreign minister on Thursday delivered a defiant message to the international community, saying that Israel owes no apologies for its policies in the Holy Land and citing religious texts to back her belief that it belongs to the Jewish people.

The speech by Tzipi Hotovely illustrated the influence of hardliners in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s new government, and the challenges he will face as he tries to persuade the world that he is serious about pursuing peace with the Palestinians.

Harper's privatization plan for First Nations water services

The Council of Canadians campaigns to ensure that the human right to water and sanitation is fulfilled for all. We also oppose the privatization of water services. We have long argued that Indigenous peoples in Canada are having their right to water and sanitation violated and that the federal government has an obligation to provide the funding necessary so that they can enjoy these rights.
The situation is serious in terms of access to clean drinking water for First Nations in Canada. APTN reports, "As of March, 135 First Nation communities across Canada were under a boil water advisory. ...Of the 23 bands in the East Coast, that operate their own drinking water systems, 21 are considered high risk." 

U.S. publicly challenges China's moves in disputed islands

The U.S. military has begun to carefully but publicly challenge Chinese island-building on disputed reefs and shoals in the South China Sea, creating fresh tension in a potential global tinderbox as both countries shift forces into the area.

In the latest incident, a Chinese military dispatcher demanded repeatedly that a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft leave as it flew near Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands, where China has dredged hundreds of yards of coral and sand and built an airstrip on what it claims is sovereign territory.

Harper’s imperial vanity could be his Achilles heel

What do NFL quarterback Tom Brady and Stephen Harper have in common? Both men play by their own rules … which is to say, they cheat.

Where do they differ? Brady was caught deflating footballs before a championship game to give himself a throwing advantage. He has been punished with a four-game suspension to start the upcoming NFL season. (He is appealing that punishment.) More to the point, there will be an asterisk beside his name in the record books. Like Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez, Brady’s star is now besmirched, perhaps permanently.

BC LNG Lost Its Window of Opportunity, Study Finds

The window of opportunity to capture Asian gas markets has eluded proposed liquefied natural gas projects in British Columbia, and as a consequence it is unlikely that any LNG projects will likely be commissioned or economic for another decade.

That's the central conclusion of a new study on the prospects for natural gas extraction and export in Canada by the London-based Oxford Institute for Energy Studies released earlier this month. The institute operates as a non-profit charity that has looked at the economics and politics of energy since 1982.

Canadians to Spy Agencies: Get a Warrant!

Do our digital homes deserve the same right to privacy as our brick-and-mortar homes?

This is one of the questions Canadians are asking after CBC News revealed that a government spy agency -- the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) -- targeted popular mobile browsers and apps, leaving millions at risk of having their private data hacked.

This is the latest in a long series of revelations about how the government has been spying on our private online activities on a massive scale -- without ever going to a judge to ask for a warrant.

Conservatives won’t participate in major broadcasters’ debates

OTTAWA – It’s official: Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not participate in two leaders’ debates hosted by Canada’s major broadcasters.

The broadcast consortium of Global News, CTV, CBC and Radio-Canada announced Thursday it has reached an agreement in principle to host two debates with the NDP, the Liberals, the Green Party and the Bloc Quebecois during the federal election campaign.

Legal experts decry retroactive Conservative law but say it can’t be stopped

OTTAWA - Legal and parliamentary experts say there's nothing to stop the Harper government from retroactively rewriting a law to absolve RCMP wrongdoing and stuffing the changes in an omnibus budget bill — even as police investigate.

"There is no restraint on Parliament's legislative powers other than legislative jurisdiction under the Constitution Act 1867 and the charter," former House of Commons law clerk Rob Walsh said in an email Thursday.

In simpler terms, "there's nothing wrong with it," according to Ned Franks, a professor emeritus at Queen's University and parliamentary procedure expert

By closing the Health Council of Canada, Stephen Harper is abandoning national medicare

Health Ministers from across Canada were recently told by the Harper government that it will stop funding the Health Council of Canada and wants it “wound down” in order to save $6 million.

When the Harper government says it is time to wind down the Health Council of Canada, it is saying in effect, it is time to wind down national medicare. Let me explain.

The Health Council of Canada was formed in 2003, following the Romanow Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, to provide accountability, oversight, planning and national coordination for our health care system. Its achievements to date include lowering wait times and encouraging innovation in the public health care system to ensure access to a continuum of services, in and out of hospital.

House of the whopper: PM has spun such a web of deceit he should resign or be dismissed

Unless it is OK for the prime minister to lie repeatedly and openly on an important matter, Stephen Harper must resign or be dismissed.

On Monday, Harper told a Halifax radio audience he “dismissed” former chief of staff Nigel Wright over the mysterious $90,000 cheque to Sen. Mike Duffy. But last Thursday, he told the House of Commons Wright “resigned.” So one or the other was a brazen, in-your-face lie.

Jeb Bush: It's 'Intellectual Arrogance' To Agree With Scientists About Humans Driving Climate Change

WASHINGTON -- Likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Wednesday that while he acknowledges "the climate is changing," he's not clear on the extent to which human activity may be causing those changes.

"I don't think the science is clear of what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It's convoluted," the former Florida governor said at an event in Bedford, New Hampshire.

Ominous, odious … omnibus: Big bills with big problems

The Harper government holds the insitution of Parliament in contempt. (The feeling is mutual, apparently.) This contempt gets expressed in ways large and small — none more egregious than its habit of dumping omnibus bills on MPs’ desks.

The government tabled its 2015 omnibus budget bill, C-59, on May 7. At 153 pages, it’s a pale shadow of previous budget bills (2010 budget, 1,056 pages; 2011 budget, 716 pages; 2012 budget, 882 pages; 2013 budget, 450 pages; 2014 budget, 858 pages).

For the government, of course, the bills are only as long as they need to be; the point is to package politically popular measures together with poison pills, the better to corner the opposition into voting against them. And so, the government tables budget bills shot through with measures that have nothing remotely to do with the budget.

Destroying What Remains: How the US Navy Plans to War Game the Arctic

I lived in Anchorage for 10 years and spent much of that time climbing in and on the spine of the state, the Alaska Range. Three times I stood atop the mountain the Athabaskans call Denali, "the great one." During that decade, I mountaineered for more than half a year on that magnificent state's highest peaks.  It was there that I took in my own insignificance while living amid rock and ice, sleeping atop glaciers that creaked and moaned as they slowly ground their way toward lower elevations.

I Went to Prison for Exposing the CIA’s Torture Program. Why Are the People Responsible for It Walking Free?

After I blew the whistle on the CIA’s torture program in 2007, the fallout for me was brutal. To make a long story short, I served nearly two years in federal prison and then endured a few more months of house arrest.

What happened to the torture program? Nothing.

Following years of waiting for the government to do something, I was heartened when I read in my prison cell—in a four-day-old copy of The New York Times—that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had finally released in December a heavily censored summary of its report on the CIA’s brutal “enhanced interrogation” techniques.

How the Money Primary Is Undermining Voting Rights

In November 1963, Evelyn Butts, a seamstress and mother of three from Norfolk, Virginia,
filed the first lawsuit in federal court challenging her state’s $1.50 poll tax. Annie Harper, a retired domestic worker from Fairfax County, filed a companion suit five months later. In March 1966, the Supreme Court overruled two previous decisions and overturned Virginia’s poll tax, stating that economic status could not be an obstacle to casting a ballot.

“Fee payments or wealth, like race, creed, or color, are unrelated to the citizen’s ability to participate intelligently in the electoral process,” wrote Justice William Douglas in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections. “We conclude that a State violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment whenever it makes the affluence of the voter or payment of any fee an electoral standard.”

Collin Fitzgerald's Benefits Battle Highlights Disconnect With Veterans Affairs

OTTAWA - A decorated Canadian soldier who was released from the military for severe post-traumatic stress disorder has since been assessed by Veterans Affairs as having simple anxiety, making access to benefits and services more difficult.

Former master corporal Collin Fitzgerald, who was awarded the Military Medal of Valour in the killing fields of Kandahar, said he was floored by the determination, which came as he sought benefits following his career in the infantry.

Conservative Party paid for Laureen Harper fundraising appearances in Nova Scotia

PARLIAMENT HILL—The Conservative Party has confirmed it is footing the bill for a campaign-style fundraising tour by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s wife Laureen Harper, in a bid to help Conservative MP Scott Armstrong fend off a challenge by former Conservative MP Bill Casey in the Nova Scotia electoral district Mr. Armstrong has held since 2009.

“Just to be clear, the Conservative Party is paying Ms. Harper’s travel and expenses related to the fundraisers in Cumberland-Colchester,” Conservative Party spokesperson Cory Hann said in an email to The Hill Times.

Cash for Canada's 150th a 'slush fund' for Tory MPs: Mulcair

The government is being accused of using Canada's upcoming 150th birthday celebrations as a ploy to buy votes in the fall election.

Last Friday, the Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the new Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, in honour of the country's sesquicentennial, which earmarks $150 million for 1,800 community projects across the nation.

When saving lives does not count and government promises are not fulfilled

Since claiming a majority victory in 2011, the Harper government, with its Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney, and later Chris Alexander, has succeeded in quickly transforming Canada from a country known for its humanitarian tradition of welcoming outsiders and providing sanctuary to the oppressed into one that fears and distrusts refugees.
In 2012, the government implemented the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act. The Act, according to its architects, mainly aimed to deter 'bogus' refugee claimants who are allegedly wasting Canadian tax money. The government also promised a fairer (and faster) hearing process for refugees. Along with this Act, the Minister of Immigration committed to increasing the number of refugees resettled from overseas, depicted as 'genuine' refugees.

Who Is BC's Big LNG Partner? A Petronas Primer

Just one week after the Lax Kw'alaams band rejected a $1-billion offer by Petronas to build a liquefied natural gas terminal at the mouth of the Skeena River in British Columbia, Premier Christy Clark has signed an agreement with Malaysia's national oil company to "establish the path to a final investment decision on the project."

Part of that path includes a long-term commitment by the provincial government not to raise natural gas royalties, regardless of changes in global prices for the commodity.

Province Forges Ahead with LNG Development

Despite a recent setback from the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation and ongoing economic uncertainty, the British Columbia government today announced two agreements that it says will help start a liquefied natural gas industry in the province.

"We have worked hard to establish a path for final investment decisions with the agreements that we are about to sign today," said B.C. Premier Christy Clark. "These agreements set the stage for a potential $36 billion investment in northern British Columbia that will be a key driver of jobs for people in every corner of our province."

The Hidden 'Betrayal' In Obama's Trade Agenda

WASHINGTON -- As Congress prepares to give President Barack Obama expedited powers to "fast-track" trade deals through Congress, many U.S. steel mills and skeptics of Obama's trade agenda are worried about steel dumping, the term commonly used to describe countries selling steel below market price.

In an interview with The Huffington Post on Tuesday, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), one of the many Democrats feuding with their party’s president over the trade debate raging in the Senate, explained why steel dumping is an issue for communities such as his hometown of Cleveland.

Big Banks Plead Guilty To Market Manipulation, Will Pay $5.8 Billion

The age of multibillion-dollar bank fines with no admission of wrongdoing is over. The Justice Department announced Wednesday morning that five banks pleaded guilty to market manipulation, while also paying billions of dollars in fines.

Barclays, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan and the Royal Bank of Scotland admitted to illegally distorting foreign exchange markets. The banks formed what they called "The Cartel" and aimed to set a key currency marker, known as "the fix," at mutually beneficial values.

The Real "Looting": From Slavery to Policing and Beyond

In April, another unarmed Black person was killed by police. Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American male, was arrested by Baltimore police on April 12, given a "rough ride" and a week later died of a spinal cord injury he received in the police van.

Much has been, and will still be, written about Baltimore. However, one word that has been overused in that coverage is "riot." We must keep in mind: The protests and property destruction in Baltimore may have been a spontaneous reaction to police violence but they were not isolated. They are part of a growing uprising against generations-long systemic racism across the United States.

Louisiana Legislature Rejects ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill, Governor Imposes It By Executive Order

Louisiana’s “Marriage and Conscience Act” (HB 707), which was promoted using stories of anti-LGBT discrimination, died in committee Tuesday. Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who had prioritized the legislation’s passage in his State of the State address last month, responded by promising to issue an executive order accomplishing the same effect of the legislation.
“We will be issuing an Executive Order shortly that will accomplish the intent of HB 707 to prevent the state from discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman,” he explained. “This Executive Order will prohibit the state from denying or revoking a tax exemption, tax deduction, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, professional license, certification, accreditation, or employment on the basis the person acts in accordance with a religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Who funded Harper's rise to power? And other questions about election financing.

As the renowned Republican backroom operator Mark Hanna noted back in the late 19th century, "There are two things that matter in politics. One is money, and I can't remember the other."
Indeed, the fantastically wealthy Koch brothers proved in the recent U.S. congressional vote that organizing billionaires to buy elections is a lot easier than herding cats.
The Kochs raised $290 million from America's mega-rich to win control of Congress, and are now raising a further $889 million in a bid to buy the Oval Office.

The Harper government v. refugees, 2006-2015

It has been nearly a decade since the Conservative party came to power. Since then, the government has embarked on controversial reforms that have had devastating effects on refugees, as well as damaged Canada's reputation as a refugee-welcoming country. The following are the most significant changes that have been enacted:
2009-2013: Funding cuts to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
The government reduced its financial assistance to UNRWA from $32.4 million in 2007 to $19 million in 2009, and by close to $15 million between 2010 and 2012. In 2013, it did not provide any funding. Since 1950, UNRWA has been mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to provide health, educational and social services as well as emergency relief for Palestinian refugees in camps in the Middle East. The funding cuts are taking a heavy toll on Palestinian refugees, especially those fleeing the war in Syria. "We are cutting back services to people in situations like the one in Yarmouk because governments, like the Canadian government, have been cutting our funds," noted UNRWA's spokesperson in an interview with the CBC on April 9, 2015. As a result, he added, Palestinians living in Yarmouk, who are already on the verge of being slaughtered, have been surviving on 400 calories a day.

Is Harper the worst prime minister in history?

“I think Harper… can be vindictive, certainly not always grateful for what people have done for him in the past… So you can say he’s ruthless, which is probably true… Maybe that’s a personal failing.” 
– Tom Flanagan, former Harper adviser, campaign manager and University of Calgary political scientist

Five weeks after Stephen Harper won his majority government in 2011, Maclean’s magazine ran a story asking experts to name Canada’s best prime ministers. Harper ranked 11th on the list.

Swiss Bank UBS Pleading Guilty To Wire Fraud, Settles U.S. Legal Cases For $545 Million

BERLIN (AP) — Swiss bank UBS says it is pleading guilty to wire fraud and is paying $545 million to settle U.S. cases of market manipulation.

The bank said Wednesday that under the deal with U.S. authorities it will be granted conditional immunity from prosecution in a Department of Justice probe on the manipulation of foreign exchange rates. UBS AG said it was the first to report to the DOJ potential misconduct by banks in forex markets.

It will however pay a $342 million fine to the Federal Reserve.

It will separately pay a $203 million fine to the DOJ for manipulating a key market interest rate called the London Interbank Offered Rate.

The bank said "the conduct of a small number of employees was unacceptable and we have taken appropriate disciplinary actions."

Original Article
Author: ap

Elizabeth Warren Wants Hillary Clinton To 'Weigh In On Trade'

WASHINGTON -- As the fight over a massive international trade agreement heats up on Capitol Hill, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said on Tuesday that she wants to see Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton "weigh in on trade."

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Warren declined to say whether she would endorse Clinton. "Right now I think it's important for her to have a chance to lay out her views on a whole host of issues, including trade," she said.

Here Are 13 Killings by Police Captured on Video in the Past Year

FROM FERGUSON LAST summer to Baltimore this spring, police killings of unarmed black men under questionable circumstances have sparked outrage, civil unrest, and a heated national debate about policing in the United States. As Mother Jones and others have reported, there isn't sufficient data available for determining how many people are shot to death or otherwise killed by police each year, or how the issue might be trending. But more such incidents appear to be getting captured on video than ever before, due in part to the ubiquity of cellphone cameras. The footage—not only from cellphones, but also surveillance cameras, dashboard cameras in police cars, and police-worn body cameras—has caused a tectonic shift in public awareness.

The Harper government’s Orwellian war on dissent

Under Stephen Harper, Canada is turning into the incredible shrinking democracy.

That’s bad enough. But if this process of purposeful transformation isn’t reversed, the country could end up more fascist than free.

All the great freedoms have been diminished under this prime minister’s rogue adventure. Despite his blue-chip media enablers, the sultans of sophistry who like to say he’s an ‘incrementalist’, this guy is a rollicking anti-democrat ploughing through the traditions of this country like a runaway bulldozer.

Canada not tracking Saudi rights record despite $15-billion arms deal

Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs has not done a human rights assessment of Saudi Arabia in the past two years even though Ottawa is brokering a $15-billion arms deal to sell fighting vehicles to Riyadh, a regime with an abysmal record for treatment of women, dissenters and offenders.

Departmental records also reveal that Ottawa is issuing export permits connected to the light armoured vehicle (LAV) sale announced in 2014. Under Canadian law, the government should do an official assessment of whether the transactions will further endanger human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Canada 150 infrastructure plan criticized as Tory election move

Provinces, municipalities and community groups have as little as three weeks to get their proposals in for a new “Canada 150” infrastructure fund, prompting concern that the Conservatives are rushing to spend the cash ahead of the coming election.

Ottawa expects the program will renovate up to 1,800 existing facilities, such as community centres, hockey rinks, Legion halls and bike trails.

Senate audit cost $21M, another 10 senators will be referred to RCMP: sources

A sweeping Auditor General’s audit of the Senate has cost taxpayers $21 million, and uncovered troubling expense claims from 10 more sitting and former senators, CTV News has learned.

The 10 senators filed questionable expenses amounting to more than $100,000, sources told CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife.

Just as the questionable spending of Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau and Mac Harb were sent to the RCMP, sources say the latest cases will be, too.

“There are people who were saying, ‘Oh, there is just a couple of bad apples,” said NDP MP Paul Dewar. “Well, now it’s potentially 14. That’s a lot of apples.”

How can a Canadian mining company sue El Salvador for $301 million?

Friday morning, a delegation of anti-mining activists, along with one in a kangaroo costume, made a visit to the Toronto office of Industry Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. 
They were accompanied by a delegation from El Salvador, visiting as part of the Stop the Suits Tour, organized with MiningWatch Canada, SalvAide, the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, the United Church of Canada and others. They were there to draw attention to a petition with over 175,000 signatures, asking mining company OceanaGold to drop its $301 million lawsuit against El Salvador.

Want to Roll Back Bill C-51?

It's clear Canadians are deeply unhappy with the way the federal government views the privacy rights of its citizens. Last week, Bill C-51 passed in the House of Commons. It's now before the Senate and is expected to become law within weeks.

This is a piece of legislation so extreme that experts say it will lead to widespread violations of our charter rights.

Today, OpenMedia, which advocates for more Internet freedom, is launching a privacy plan aimed at rolling back Bill C-51, ending government-supported surveillance and restoring the privacy rights of Canadians.

With NDP Win, Alberta Votes against 40-Year Ideological Infection

It's been a few weeks since the NDP swept to power in Alberta, and bastions of the political right are already exploring the upper stratosphere of hyperbolic fear mongering. As if rehearsing for a production of Dracula, free market celebrity Kevin O'Leary told the Business News Network that the NDP is a "disease" and "the dark force itself" that will "drag Alberta into the abyss."

Musing about our irksome democratic process, he lamented, "We can't eradicate this disease; you can't just make the NDP illegal." He apparently sees hope in curing the electorate of its errant ways by bringing Alberta "to its knees."

Rising carbon emissions from oilsands a 'unique' challenge, federal cabinet told

Greenhouse gas emissions from increasing oilsands production will rise faster than Canada's ability to curb them, the federal government was warned before new emissions reduction targets were announced last week.

Cabinet documents obtained by CBC News reveal the thinking behind the scenes as the cabinet members mulled over various proposals for Canada's target to cut its greenhouse emissions by 2030.

Why are Canadians subsidizing executive stock options?

If you’re a top executive at a major corporation, no need to read further; you’ll know all this.

But if you’re an ordinary person, you may not. You’ve probably heard of “executive stock options” — a perk that allows corporate executives a special deal on purchasing the company’s stocks.

And you may suspect that these stock options are connected to the rampant greed and corruption that have plagued the corporate world in recent years. If so, you’d be right.

Even leading business thinkers agree.