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, June 24, 2015

Apple Music Is Another Tech Company Attempt to Please Investors by Trapping Customers

On Monday, Apple closed its annual Worldwide Developer Conference with the star-studded reveal of its long-rumored music streaming service. Named Apple Music, it is a reimagined version of Apple’s billion-dollar acquisition Beats Music, and will require a monthly subscription to listen to most songs.

In the run-up to this announcement, Apple has allegedly engaged in alarming behavior. The Verge reported the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are scrutinizing the company after it pressured record labels not to renew their license agreements for YouTube and Spotify’s free streaming services. Apple hoped to cripple the offerings of other services to increase the value of its own paid service, which is likely to come pre-installed on future operating system updates.

How A Right-Wing Political Machine Is Dismantling Higher Education in North Carolina

On a Monday afternoon in April, a few dozen people gathered in a windowless room in Raleigh, North Carolina, to discuss the crisis in higher education. As they dug into plates of Tex-Mex, the featured speaker, Jay Schalin, ascended the podium and adjusted his notes. The crisis isn’t cost or access, he informed the room. “The main problem has to do with the ideas that are being discussed and promoted,” Schalin explained, those being “multiculturalism, collectivism, left-wing post-modernism.”

Israelis And Palestinians Would Gain Billions From Peace, New RAND Study Finds

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israelis and Palestinians would gain billions of dollars from making peace with each other while both would face daunting economic losses in case of other alternatives, particularly in case of a return to violence, according to a new study released on Monday.

The RAND Corp., a U.S.-based nonprofit research organization, interviewed some 200 officials from the region and elsewhere during more than two years of research into the costs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its main finding was that following a peace agreement, Israelis stood to gain $120 billion over the course of a decade. The Palestinians would gain $50 billion, marking a 36-percent rise in their average per-capita income, the report said.

Harper’s visit to Ukraine ‘pointless gesture’

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent visit to Ukraine was yet another counterproductive and pointless gesture of unwavering Canadian support for the current government in Kyiv. No doubt Harper’s anti-Russian rhetoric would be welcome words to the ears of President Petro Poroshenko, as he tries to drown out the shouts of protest from his own disenfranchised citizenry.

That’s right, folks. Once again, mass demonstrations in the streets of Kyiv are calling for an end to government corruption. Despite the ousting of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 and the subsequent instalment of pro-Western oligarch Poroshenko last June, Ukraine remains gripped by its crippling debt and widespread unemployment.

Harper’s assassins might have been too effective on Trudeau

The intricate minuet of Canadian politics has halted in front of a question few could have predicted even six months ago.

Has the former heir-apparent to Stephen Harper’s mantle of power, Justin Trudeau, suddenly and with stunning surprise fallen out of the run for the roses?

According to Frank Graves of EKOS, the pollster who has burned up these pages recently with his surveys around this subject, there seems a massive appetite for change in the country, or at least a loss of appetite for Harper. Only 33 per cent of Canadians approve of how the current PM is running the show.

US Federal Report Confirms Water Pollution by Fracking

Despite being limited by data gaps, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that hydraulic fracturing technology has polluted ground and surface water in cases ranging from Alberta to Pennsylvania.

The 500-page draft report reverses the findings of a 2004 EPA study that concluded that the technology, which involves the high-pressure injection of fluids, gases, chemicals, water and sand into rock formations that hold oil and gas, posed no risk to groundwater.

Busting Harper's Favourite Myth: He's Been Hell on Canada's Economy

Contrary to what Stephen Harper and his cohorts would have you believe, it is possible to have a thriving economy, a healthy environment and a compassionate society. In fact, it is the only sustainable way forward.

But as I will detail in this week's series drawn from my new book, Harper's policies have harmed Canada's economic well-being and prospects.

Today, let's examine the critical slide in Canada's competitiveness.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Canada 15th out of 144 countries in its Global Competitiveness Report for 2014-15. It was a drop of one notch from Canada's 14th place finish the year before, which might not have been alarming but for the fact that this latest score was Canada's lowest since Harper took power in 2006.

Mel Hurtig Tags Stephen Harper: 'The Arrogant Autocrat'

Mel Hurtig, the renowned Canadian nationalist who has authored eight books critical yet hopeful about the country he loves, was determined to track down a fact. He wanted to know whether Stephen Harper, in all his time as prime minister, had ever, in speaking to Canadians, uttered the word "poverty."

Hurtig, who is 83 and published The Canadian Encyclopedia, is not one to be thwarted in pursuit of a good info nugget. And so he scanned what speeches and remarks of Harper he could find. The more he looked, the more it seemed that "poverty" was not in the PM's vocabulary. Just to be sure, Hurtig contacted the prime minister's staff and asked them to resolve the question once and for all. Had Canada's leader publicly mouthed the word "poverty" or not? Harper's people never got back.

Margaret Atwood on Bill C-51

"Bill C-51 does not even provide the measure of oversight that other countries with comparable spy laws have," Margaret Atwood, told the National Observer in an emailed response to a request for her opinion about the proposed legislation.

Bill C-51 is an anti-terrorism act, which, if passed, will enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code of Canada, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Torture survivor turned author voices fears over Bill C-51

Marina Nemat was just 16 years old when she was handcuffed to a torture bed at Tehran’s Evin Prison and lashed on her bare feet with cable by a guard.

Later, she found herself tied to a pole awaiting execution, before a car screeched to a halt seconds before the trigger was pulled. It was Ali Moosavi, one of her interrogators, bringing an order from the Ayatollah Khomeini himself to spare Nemat’s life.

Is Harper the worst prime minister in history?

“Brian Mulroney was an appalling prime minister, appalling. But if I had to pick one prime minister over the other [between Harper and Mulroney], I would pick Mulroney.”

– Stevie Cameron, author of On the Take, the 1994 bestseller about corruption during the Mulroney years.

In the summer of 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and other world leaders arrived at a swanky resort located two hours north of Toronto to take part in the annual G8 Summit. As it turned out, the resort lies in the riding of then federal Industry Minister Tony Clement.

How These Stoner Kids Landed a $300 Million Pentagon Arms Contract

In early 2007, three stoner twentysomethings won a Defense Department contract to supply the Afghan military with $300 million worth of ammunition. "The dudes," as they came to be known—a ninth-grade dropout, a masseur, and a low-level pot dealer, all with little or no experience but plenty of nerve—had begun bidding on Pentagon arms contracts and winning out over massive international conglomerates. The Afghan contract wasn't their first, but it was by far their largest. They would have to source thousands of tons of mortar rounds, grenades, rockets, and 100 million rounds of AK-47 ammunition and deliver all of it to Kabul at a particularly fraught time for the Afghan war effort.

Exclusive: Breakdown of sums that 30 senators are alleged to owe

CTV News has obtained a breakdown of the amounts that 30 senators are said to owe taxpayers for filing allegedly questionable expense claims, and who from that group has started to pay the money back.

Conservative and Liberal senators are said to owe anywhere from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars each, totaling nearly $1 million-worth of alleged inappropriate expenses. More than half are sitting senators.

After New Nigerian War Crimes Allegations, U.S. Should Think Twice About Deeper Military Ties

The United States-Nigeria relationship is about to get a little closer. On Thursday, a “senior U.S. diplomat” said that the U.S. was sending a team to Nigeria to more closely coordinate in the government's battle against Boko Haram. The announcement comes shortly after Nigeria’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari, was sworn in after winning the March election.

Twilight of the Professors

Michael Schwalbe is a professor of sociology at North Carolina State University and author of the much-praised “Rigging the Game: How Inequality Is Reproduced in Everyday Life” (2008). He can be reached at

Twenty-eight years ago Russell Jacoby argued in The Last Intellectuals that the post-WWII expansion of higher education in the U.S. absorbed a generation of radicals who opted to become professors rather than freelance intellectual troublemakers. The constraints and rewards of academic life, according to Jacoby, effectively depoliticized many professors of leftist inclinations. Instead of writing in the common tongue for the educated public, they were carrot and sticked into writing in jargon for tiny academic audiences. As a result, their political force was largely spent in the pursuit of academic careers.

Britain To Send 125 Military Advisers To Iraq, Says David Cameron

KRUEN, Germany, June 7 (Reuters) - Britain is to expand its military training mission in Iraq in the coming weeks, Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Sunday, saying the Iraqi army needed more help to deal with improvised bombs planted by Islamic State militants.

Cameron, speaking before a meeting of the Group of Seven industrial nations (G7), said Britain would send 125 new military advisers to Iraq, most of whom would train the Iraqi army in how to counter improvised explosive devices or IEDs.

When Police Harass Citizens, Are Corporations Getting What They Pay For?

The shoulders of Cove Point Road in Lusby, Maryland are looking pretty ragged these days. Recently, heavy trucks and construction vehicles have crumbled the pavement as they thunder down the narrow road. Not far up Cove Point Road from the main highway, just past the sometimes clogged intersection with H.G. Trueman Rd., they turn left and enter the gates of the LNG plant that’s been there for 40 years, but is now undergoing a major upgrade. The road also looks a little brownish from dirt spilled by dump trucks.

How Five Decades Of Legal Birth Control Have Changed Americans’ Lives

In 1961, Estelle Griswold opened a Planned Parenthood clinic in Connecticut with the explicit intention of getting arrested. Griswold was handing out prescriptions for birth control in the hopes of challenging a state law dating back to 1879 that criminalized the use of contraception.
It worked: Griswold was convicted for disseminating information about birth control to married couples. She appealed her case all the way up to the Supreme Court — which ultimately decided, exactly five decades ago, that state-level bans on birth control violate married couple’s right to privacy. (The Court has since expanded the right to use contraception to unmarried couples, too.)

Canada’s New Climate Movement

I’ve had the incredible privilege of traveling around the world and meeting with activists, labor unions, and politicians who are focusing on climate change. I want to tell you that that the coalition of groups we’re witnessing being assembled here in Canada is unique: organizations representing the most marginalized people in Toronto; First Nations who are our water and carbon keepers; environmentalists waging inspiring divestment campaigns; and the trade-union movement, including the country’s largest private-sector union representing workers at the heart of the fossil-fuel economy. We understand that we have key differences, but we also understand that what unites us is greater.

Syriza on the Brink

So is this the endgame for Greece and the eurozone? Or is it just another stop on the long road to nowhere? Greece is (almost) bankrupt; the government has submitted a 47-page proposal to its creditors making serious concessions. But last night the creditors handed back an (apparently) take-it-or-leave it deal that Syriza would have a hard time pushing through the parliament. Still, the negotiations (and back-channel murmurs) continue. In the small seaside town of Limni, Euboea, last week, most people I talked to rolled their eyes and said they’d stopped reading the papers or watching the TV news. Life goes on—somehow.

G7 Summit: Harper Faces Tough Talk On Climate Change And Security Threats

SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany - The G7 leaders started their annual meeting Sunday during which Prime Minister Stephen Harper was expected to face discussions on a topic he has been repeatedly criticized for not doing enough about — climate change.

Germany, with the firm backing of neighbour France, is linking climate change to global security following a report prepared for G7 foreign ministers in April that urged all countries to place climate change at the heart of their foreign policy.

Harper’s Conservatives Win ‘Most Secretive’ Government Award

HALIFAX – Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has won this year’s Code of Silence Award from the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ).

The annual award recognizing Canada’s most secretive government or publicly funded agency was handed out in Halifax Saturday evening.

The federal government was named for its 2015-16 omnibus budget bill that erased the last trace of the former federal gun registry.

Harper pushes Canada-EU trade pact at opening day of G7 leaders’ summit

SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany - Prime Minister Stephen Harper used Sunday's opening of the G7 summit to push European leaders to ratify the comprehensive Canada-EU free trade agreement.

Harper's office said he talked up the trade pact at the G7's first working session of the day on the fragile global economy.

"Prime Minister Harper encouraged European members of the G7 to swiftly implement the job-creating Canada-EU trade agreement," his office said in a statement.

Lavish Canada House reopening in London cost taxpayers more than $200K

As the Harper government was tightening its belt to wipe out the federal deficit, officials at Canada House in London, England, spared no expense on a splashy re-opening fit for a queen.

Internal invoices for the Feb. 19 posh event on Trafalgar Square show taxpayers were billed more than $200,000 for a few hours of wine-sipping, beef-eating and plaque-unveiling, as well as a set of complimentary keys for Queen Elizabeth II, the guest of honour, and Prince Philip.

Florida House Rejects Plan To Expand Health Care For Hundreds Of Thousands

The Florida House of Representatives voted Friday to reject a state Senate bill that would have expanded Medicaid for thousands, marking a victory for Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Following a heated six-hour debate, the Republican-controlled House voted 72-41 against the measure, which passed in the state Senate earlier this week. The proposal would have used $18 billion in federal funds over a decade to help low-income workers purchase health care plans from private providers. The program would have expanded Medicaid for hundreds of thousands of Floridians.

Bill C-51 is all but law. It just needs approval from the Senate, with a vote expected to come on Tuesday. The bill criminalizes promoting and advocating terrorism, and expands the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

But as the vote approaches, opposition is coming from a new angle. A group who describe themselves as "principled conservatives and libertarians" posted an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, calling the bill "reckless, dangerous and ineffective."  They warn him that Bill C-51 would divide conservatives and that it could cost him the election.

Lawyer Rocco Galati says Bill C-51 creates a modern-day Gestapo in Canada

Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati is one of Canada's most outspoken critics of the Conservatives' antiterrorism bill.

In a speech late last month, he claimed that Bill C-51 "creates a modern-day Gestapo".

He insisted that this is "no exaggeration", noting that German and Italian versions of this bill were passed in the 1930s. And that's why he's planning a court challenge.

Christy Clark: Government has apologized for misleading public over B.C. health firings

The day after documents were released showing the government misled British Columbians over an RCMP investigation into the firing of health researchers three years ago, Christy Clark said apologies had already been made, and there was nothing further to add.

"I don't have anything more to add to that," Clark said Friday.

"And what I've said in the past is we, government, very much regrets that mistake that was made. It shouldn't have been made and (government) has apologized for it. It was wrong."

Unions resist as federal government seeks changes to employee sick leave provisions

As the federal government approaches its summer recess, one of the Conservative government's top priorities is to get the Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-59, passed in both the House and the Senate. Public service unions are watching the progress of the bill closely, and preparing to fight for the rights of public employees. 
Along with budget implementation legislation, Bill C-59 contains numerous other legislative changes including retroactively changing the access to information laws to protect the RCMP from criminal charges, amendments to the Canada Labour Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and changes to the collective bargaining process for federal employees.

Libertarian? You Belong on the Left

A few dozen freedom-loving libertarians expressed their ''principled'' opposition to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Anti-Terrorism Act this week. As the Senate's final vote on Bill C-51 is delayed to Tuesday, many are sounding off on Harper's fractured right-wing base.

Historically, libertarians have found themselves lumped in with the far right, presumably because the far right says it doesn't like big government and neither do libertarians. Hey, libertarians just want to do their own thing and be left alone. Isn't that what the right wing wants too?

If Food Is a Right, Who Should Provide It?

At a recent public forum in Victoria, B.C. about the right to food, the first audience question was about federal politics and the October election, which put the panelists in an awkward position.

"We all work for charities that are very non-partisan and would never suggest that you vote in any particular way," said Laura Track, counsel for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, alluding to federal laws that restrict what organizations with charitable status can say.

Greece Rejects Creditors' Proposal, Calls Plans 'Absurd'

ATHENS, June 5 (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday spurned "absurd" terms of proposed aid from lenders and delayed a debt payment to the International Monetary Fund, prolonging an impasse that threatens to push Greece into default and out of the euro zone.

In a defiant speech aimed at winning parliament's backing for his rejection of the austerity-for-aid package, Tsipras balanced indignation with confidence that a deal was "closer than ever before" to keep his country inside the currency bloc.

Residential school survivor's story illuminates Canada's need for change

VO: What was it like to live in a residential school?

LH: "I was sexually assaulted when I was six and seven years old, and I was beaten up brutally throughout my years in a residential school. I was emotionally abused, I couldn’t speak my language, and I was punished for just being a kid — lonely for my parents, wanting to be home, missing warmth, missing comfort. We were punished constantly and this is a common experience.”

Think The Net Neutrality Fight Is Over? Think Again.

WASHINGTON -- When the Obama administration approved strong new net neutrality rules earlier this year, advocates rejoiced. "We have won on net neutrality,” Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told The Guardian. President Barack Obama declared victory and thanked Reddit, the self-proclaimed "Front Page of the Internet" for its community's activism on the issue.

Norway Confirms Major Divestment From Coal

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Norway's Parliament has formally endorsed a move to exclude coal companies from the country's $900 billion oil fund because of their impact on climate change.

Friday's decision was expected after a parliamentary committee last week unanimously recommended dropping coal investments.

Ontario Has Officially Banned Conversion Therapy For LGBTQ Children

TORONTO - Ontario has given final approval to an NDP private member's bill that bans so-called conversion therapy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children.

New Democrat Cheri DiNovo says therapists should not try to "fix" LGBTQ kids or subject them to what she calls unethical and abusive conversion therapy.

DiNovo says not only did Ontario allow conversation therapies to go on too long, the province actually covered the treatments under its health insurance plan, a practice that ends now.

Bank Fee Outcry Unites Consumers And Even Politicians

Like the cable and phone companies, Canadian banks are often accused of trying to gouge customers with service fees.

The justification from Canada's Big Five financial institutions is that they face increasing revenue pressures as a result of low interest rates and the sagging price of oil.

Duffy’s suffering for the sins of the Harper machine

Mike Duffy’s case of justice interruptus is back on — at least until June 19.

As spectacle, it hasn’t exactly been Ben Hur. Three distinct camps have emerged.

There are the people who think it’s all about a bad apple — the once-portly, now much-diminished senator from Prince Edward Island. This group thinks justice amounts to turning the bad apple into applesauce. They read Christie Blatchford and laugh uproariously with every pass of the razor.

Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, a key supporter of C-51, quits Conservative caucus

Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu has resigned from the Conservative caucus after learning that he is the subject of an RCMP investigation into his expenses.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Boisvenu to the upper house five years ago.
Boisvenu was a key, high-profile senatorial appointment for the prime minister.

Top Harper law-and-order spokesman caught in Senate expenses case

One of the Conservative government’s top law-and-order spokesmen – Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu – is among the nine current and retired senators whose cases will be referred to the RCMP in response to the Auditor-General’s upcoming report.

Mr. Boisvenu is a strong advocate of victims’ rights and is well known for his tough-on-crime approach. In 2012, he said he did not wish to reopen the debate on the death penalty, but added he didn’t mind if murderers end up killing themselves.

Canadians are stopping cuts to Canada Post now to stop privatization later

Opponents of changes to Canada Post have a lot of company these days.
Over 218,000 people have signed on to a change.orgpetition started by Susan Dixon, which aims to save home delivery. And recently, Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and its new President Mike Palecek, and residents of Hamilton, Ontario, have been successful in postponing the plan to end door-to-door delivery on Hamilton Mountain.

Canada's new trade deals good for Canadian corporations, bad for African democracy

Sometimes what is good for business can be bad for people. Most Canadians understand this and cherish their right to protest "bad deals" and to elect new governments willing to reverse so-called "business-friendly" policies. This is called democracy.
So what do we call it when Ottawa signs a deal with an unelected regime that would prevent any future elected government in a small African nation from changing its laws regulating Canadian-owned mines for almost two decades?

Ukraine's President Tells Military To Prepare For 'Full-Scale' Russian Invasion

KIEV, June 4 (Reuters) - Ukraine's president told his military on Thursday to prepare for a possible "full-scale invasion" by Russia all along their joint border, a day after the worst fighting with Russian-backed separatists in months.

His address in parliament was one of the first times Petro Poroshenko has used the word "invasion" to refer to Russia's behavior since the start of a separatist rebellion in the east in which the United Nations says more than 6,400 people have been killed.

WikiLeaks releases documents related to controversial US trade pact

WikiLeaks on Wednesday released 17 different documents related to the Trade in Services Agreement (Tisa), a controversial pact currently being hashed out between the US and 23 other countries – most of them in Europe and South America.

The document dump comes at a tense moment in the negotiations over a series of trade deals. President Barack Obama has clashed with his own party over the deals as critics have worried about the impact on jobs and civil liberties.

Senate Expense Audit: Tory Senators Wish They Knew Auditor Had Fingered Their Own Leader

OTTAWA — Several Conservative senators say they wish they had known their Senate leadership had been fingered by the auditor general when they drafted a new arbitration process for those with questionable expenses.

The three most powerful people in the upper chamber — Senate Speaker Leo Housakos, government leader Claude Carignan, and the Liberal Senate leader Jim Cowan — are all in disputes with the AG’s office over questionable expenses, several sources reported Thursday. They are among 21 senators with disputed expenses but not among the nine whose files may be referred to the RCMP.

21 Things You May Not Have Known About The Indian Act

"The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change.” - John A Macdonald, 1887

Many laws affecting Aboriginal Peoples were combined in 1876 to become the Indian ActThe Actgave Canada a coordinated approach to Indian policy rather than the pre-Confederation piece-meal approach.

It's not too late to fight back against Tory anti-terror bill

We are at a disheartening moment in federal politics.
Despite all the powerful and thoughtful critiques of the government’s anti-terrorism bill, it is on the verge of becoming law. The legislation undermines our rights and liberties and does a disservice to every citizen and to the free society we all cherish.
Long before the pending final vote in the Senate, a chorus of important voices denounced the bill: former prime ministers Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, Joe Clark and John Turner, five former Supreme Court justices, seven former Liberal solicitors-general and ministers of justice, three past members of the Security and Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), two former privacy commissioners, a retired RCMP watchdog; the Canadian Bar Association, 60 business leaders in the high-tech sector, and dozens of law professors across the country. The message was the same every time: the bill is seriously flawed, and it unnecessarily puts Canadians’ civil liberties at risk.

Scott Walker: The First ALEC President?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will address the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in San Diego this July.

Walker's speech at ALEC will be a reunion of sorts. Walker was an ALEC member as a state legislator in the 1990s, and the agenda that Walker has championed throughout his long political career has closely tracked the policies promoted by ALEC and its corporate funders, despite public opposition to many of those measures.

New Snowden Documents Reveal Secret Memos Expanding Spying

Without public notice or debate, the Obama administration has expanded the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance of Americans' international Internet traffic to search for evidence of malicious computer hacking, according to classified NSA documents.

In mid-2012, Justice Department lawyers wrote two secret memos permitting the spy agency to begin hunting on Internet cables, without a warrant and on American soil, for data linked to computer intrusions originating abroad -- including traffic that flows to suspicious Internet addresses or contains malware, the documents show.

The Scariest Trade Deal Nobody's Talking About Just Suffered a Big Leak

The Obama administration’s desire for “fast track” trade authority is not limited to passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In fact, that may be the least important of three deals currently under negotiation by the U.S. Trade Representative. The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would bind the two biggest economies in the world, the United States and the European Union. And the largest agreement is also the least heralded: the 51-nation Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).

Global Capitalist Crisis and the North American Free Trade Agreement: Reflections 21 Years On

Recent US Senate approval won by President Obama for "fast-track" negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal has thrust "free trade" and capitalist globalization again into the headlines. Often referred to as "NAFTA on steroids," the TPP is but the latest in more than two decades of "free trade" agreements that have helped open up the world to transnational corporate plunder.

If we want to understand such deals we would do well to reflect on the first of these, the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which went into effect in January 1994. We cannot understand NAFTA without understanding the larger picture of which NAFTA and the TPP form part: the new system of global capitalism and the crisis of that system.