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.]

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Government Wants to Improve Its Cybersecurity and Weaken Ours

Since the most successful hack ever launched against government servers compromised the personal information of more than 4.2 million government employees, the government has been scrambling to prevent it from happening again.

On June 4, the Office of Personnel Management announced it had been hacked, and officials have speculated that Chinese sources are to blame.

With FBI officials concerned about their ability to defend national security, FBI Director James Comey has called on companies such as Apple and Google to build “back doors” into encryption to protect user information from hacks but allow government agencies to access the data.

How much do you love me? For Immigration Canada, 532 pages of proof isn’t enough

Maria Canella and her husband, Kurtis Lee Boulianne, were convinced nothing was missing from their spousal sponsorship application for her immigration to Canada.

The 532-page “proof of relationship” they filed included: six pages of wedding receipts, 18 pages of congratulatory wedding cards, 30 pages of wedding photos, 21 pages of plane tickets, 39 pages of emails, 29 pages of cards and love letters, 57 pages of Facebook history, 36 pages of Skype and FaceTime records and 137 pages of Message chat logs.

The Fast-Track Fight Is Effectively Over: It’s Happening

The Senate narrowly invoked cloture on fast-track trade legislation Tuesday morning, setting up a final vote Wednesday that will surely send the bill to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

In so doing, Congress will surrender remarkable authority to Obama and his successors. For the next six years, Congress will be unable to amend any trade deal signed by the president, and only 50 votes will be required for Senate passage—a reduced burden that hasn’t been granted to minimum-wage hikes, equal-pay legislation, gun control, campaign-finance reform, nor any other non-budgetary legislation of the Obama era.

Rachel Notley offers a dignified argument for healing and acknowledgement of past wrongs against First Nations citizens

From the vantage point of the capital city of another Western Canadian province, it was hard not to feel enormous pride in Alberta Premier Rachel Notley after she apologized in the Legislature yesterday for the failure of Alberta's past political leaders to speak up against the residential schools system, its goals and the national tragedy to which it has contributed.
It is particularly important in this context, in the words spoken by Premier Notley, that Alberta has now joined the chorus of voices calling for a national inquiry into the parallel tragedy of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

Senate Gives Obama Huge Win On Trade

WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Tuesday handed President Barack Obama the biggest legislative victory of his second term, with a dramatic vote clearing the way for major trade agreements with Pacific Rim nations and the European Union.

The 60-37 vote all but ensures the passage of legislation that will allow Obama to "fast-track" his negotiated trade pacts through Congress, preventing filibusters or amendments. Liberals have long assailed Obama's trade agenda, but Republicans successfully wooed a bloc of Democrats led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to secure enough votes to overcome a filibuster.

New Research Warns Of Catastrophic Food Shortages Due To Unchecked Climate Change

New research supported by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office and insurer Lloyd’s of London finds that, absent major changes, humanity risks a catastrophic collapse in its ability to feed itself by mid-century, due in significant part to human-caused climate change.
Last year, the United Nations’ “highly conservative” IPCC climate panel warned that humanity is risking a “breakdown of food systems linked to warming, drought, flooding, and precipitation variability and extremes” on its current path of unrestricted carbon pollution. Many studies in the last 12 months have strengthened the scientific case (see this, for instance).

Understanding the Human Cost of Imprisonment

No one who spends time in prison leaves unscathed. I have been incarcerated for more than 20 years in Michigan state prisons, where I remain today. I know from experience that prison is so much more than confinement to a cell.

Prison disposes of and makes invisible a growing underclass, prison's majority clientele. It also incapacitates those who have shown - through their imagination, audacity and defiance - that they possess what it takes to push and pull something bigger than themselves, such as a social justice movement. Prison functions to expel self-determination, exacerbate weaknesses, exhaust strength and suppress expressions of intelligence, in an aim to produce a robot-like mass that will follow the rules of prison.

Killing a Nation With Euphemisms: TPP-Eats-Medicare Edition

This week, legislation to give President Obama fast-track trade agreement authority (TPA) will take its star turn in the GOP-controlled Senate. The cloture vote is said to be taking place on Tuesday, and if the 60-vote threshold is reached, the final vote on the bill will happen the same day, or on Wednesday.

More importantly, however, is the following vote, scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday, on "Trade Adjustment Assistance," (TAA), also known as the "We sent your job to a Pacific Rim sweatshop in a country with no labor laws where people work for $2 a day during 18-hour shifts making the clothes you used to be able to afford before we laid you off, so here's ten dollars so you can take in a movie and get your mind off things, but no popcorn for you" bill.

Trade Accord, Once Blocked, Nears Passage

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s ambitious trade push is back on track, after several near-death moments, in large measure because top Republicans stood by him.

The Senate on Tuesday narrowly voted to end debate on legislation granting Mr. Obama enhanced negotiating powers to complete a major Pacific trade accord, virtually assuring final passage Wednesday of Mr. Obama’s top legislative priority in his final years in office.

The procedural vote of 60 to 37 just reached the minimum needed, but final Senate passage will require only 51 votes. The House approved trade promotion authority last week.

Is Walmart Hiding $76 Billion in Overseas Tax Havens?

Walmart executives appear to have way more money than they know what to do with, but know exactly where to hide it. Its big box is roomy enough to hide billions in un- and undertaxed profits, according to a new report by a watchdog group. While the retail giant is known for capitalizing on corporate tax breaks and driving the offshoring of jobs to the Global South, little is known about how much of its assets are hidden from Uncle Sam and offshored to far-flung tax havens.

According to the financial investigation, Walmart is stashing “at least $76 billion worth of assets in 78 subsidiaries and branches located in 15 overseas tax havens.” Though that figure is disputed by Walmart, Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) maintains that these subsidiaries operate as a vast network of shell companies. The report, by researchers with ATF and United Food and Commercial Workers, argues that this arrangement of financial black sites lets Walmart circumvent US tax codes and enjoy minimal taxation abroad.

The True Story of a Texas Prison Riot

The Willacy County Correctional Center in Raymondville, Texas, is now empty. As of late May, a single security guard sat in a small car in the entrance to the parking lot. It has been like this since prisoners so ransacked the facilities in a February riot, cutting and burning holes in the Kevlar domes that held them, that the Federal Bureau of Prisons declared it “uninhabitable.” The agency moved the inmates to other prisons and declined to renew its contract with the private corrections company that ran the facility. Nearly all of the 400 employees were terminated.

Why Jeb Bush Wants the United States to Be More Like Estonia

On Monday, Jeb Bush posted a column on Medium touting the need for ramped-up cybersecurity efforts. "Given the reliance of the United States government and the private sector on the internet, it is disturbing we remain vulnerable to its disruption and misuse," he wrote.

The piece was mostly devoid of specific ways to fix those vulnerabilities, but what Bush did propose raises some privacy concerns. The former Florida governor cited Estonia, a tiny Baltic nation that's a world leader in cybersecurity efforts, as a model to emulate. What he didn't say was that Estonia's model is predicated on pervasive government involvement in policing the country's internet infrastructure, with the central government establishing a secure online national ID system for citizens. This is a digital version of what US conservatives have long opposed: a national identity card.

Who profits from austerity?

On Saturday, London rocked to the sounds of 250,000 marchers protesting austerity in the U.K. Organized by The People's Assembly Against Austerity, the day's events (marches were also held in Liverpool and Glasgow) announce the beginning of a campaign against the cutbacks to services by the Conservative government headed by David Cameron.
Recently returned to power with an unexpected majority, the Conservatives wants to resume the tight spending policies -- temporarily suspended in the run-up to the election -- that have worsened unemployment all over Europe.

Tory appointee to bridge corporation expensed liquor, zoo trips, tours

Sightseeing tours. Bottles of wine and amaretto. Trips to the zoo. Business class flights with her husband.

One of the Conservative government's appointees to a tiny Crown corporation racked up big expenses during her term — and one of the supervisors who approved a portion of the spending now calls much of it "probably a holiday."

Ann Gray, a freelance land-records researcher from Sarnia, Ont., sat on the board of directors of Blue Water Bridge Canada from 2007 to 2012. Until it was folded into another entity in February, the corporation ran the Canadian half of the international bridge between Sarnia and Port Huron, Mich.

On TPP, Congress's Cat Burglars Are Pulling a Fast One

"With cat-like tread upon our foes we steal." So boasted Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance as they decided to try a little burglary for a change. And "steal" is the appropriate word.

It's hardly a surprise that Republican congressional leaders and their cadre of Democratic allies spurred on by Barack Obama are resorting to a bagful of parliamentary tricks to put the Trans-Pacific Partnership on a "take it or leave it but you can't change it" fast-track to enactment by Tuesday.

EPA Report Puts a Staggering Price Tag on Climate Inaction

According to a report released Monday by the Obama administration, doing nothing to rein in greenhouse gas emissions would cost the United States billions of dollars and thousands lives.
The findings come as part of an attempt by the Environmental Protection Agency to quantify the human and economic benefits of cutting emissions in an effort to reduce global warming. The report is the latest piece of President Obama's recent climate push and provides a tool that he hopes to use in negotiations at the UN climate talks in Paris later this year.

Questions mount about oversight of $2B federal infrastructure fund

A $2-billion federal infrastructure fund at the centre of the Conservative government’s 2009 Economic Action Plan was allotted to municipalities in select areas of the country with little apparent oversight, regulation, auditing or attempt to disperse the monies evenly across Canada.

The Municipal Infrastructure Loan Program (MILP) was administered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. on behalf of the federal government. The $2 billion was to provide low-interest loans to help municipalities pay for infrastructure improvements. The program raised eyebrows in March when it was revealed that well over half the fund went to municipalities in Quebec.

A Foot in the Door: Millennial Families Priced Out of Cities

A lifelong Winnipegger, 33-year old Oanh Pham feels she's always walking a "tight line" when it comes to housing, even in a city renowned for its relatively affordable market compared to the rest of the country.

Yet despite her University of Manitoba degree in psychology and business -- and years of experience managing volunteers for non-profits overseas and locally -- in some months the mother of one earns just $10 too much to qualify for income assistance, but still too little to pay all her bills.

MPs Not Seeking Re-Election May Be Doing It For The Severance And Pension: Expert

OTTAWA - Nearly 60 members of the just-ended 41st Parliament have decided against running again this fall.

Some moved on to provincial politics, like Conservatives Patrick Brown and Brian Jean, now leading conservative parties in Ontario and Alberta.

Others, like the NDP's Alexandrine Latendresse, who was among the young MPs from Quebec who were swept onto Parliament Hill in 2011, say the cut-and-thrust of the House of Commons has lost its appeal.

Most MPs won't give details of their Ottawa housing arrangements

Despite the intense scrutiny of residency expenses in the Senate, only a handful of MPs are willing to provide a public account of where they live and what they expense while in Ottawa.

The Citizen asked all 305 sitting MPs to answer a short survey about whether they rented or owned homes in the Ottawa area and in their own ridings, and if they claimed per diems or housing allowances from the House of Commons. MPs were also asked how much time they spent in their ridings.

Federal Court orders public safety minister, RCMP to hand over gun registry data

OTTAWA - A Federal Court judge has ordered that Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and the RCMP commissioner immediately hand over an external hard drive containing a copy of all Quebec gun registry data.

Judge Luc Martineau gave the government until 10 a.m. Tuesday morning to deliver the hard drive to the court — effectively issuing a vote of non-confidence in government assurances that all the remaining long-gun registry records would be preserved while court challenges continue.

Facial Recognition Technology Is Secretly Tracking You, Everywhere

Facial recognition technology is becoming more and more widely used by social media platforms, advertisers and tech companies. But many of us don't know that our biological data is being collected, much less what it's being used for -- and there aren't a lot of guidelines to make sure these companies respect our privacy.

Advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union have recently tried -- and failed -- to reach an agreement with trade groups about the use of technology that can recognize your facial features, identify you and sell you products. At stake is consumer privacy: You may unwittingly be marketed to (or tracked by law enforcement) without ever explicitly consenting to having your face used.


The spy unit responsible for some of the United Kingdom’s most controversial tactics of surveillance, online propaganda and deceit focuses extensively on traditional law enforcement and domestic activities — even though officials typically justify its activities by emphasizing foreign intelligence and counterterrorism operations.

Documents published today by The Intercept demonstrate how the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), a unit of the signals intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), is involved in efforts against political groups it considers “extremist,” Islamist activity in schools, the drug trade, online fraud and financial scams.

Jeb Bush Just Got His Big Chance to Impress the Koch Brothers

Jeb Bush will finally get his chance to audition for the Koch brothers.

For months, there has been speculation about which GOP 2016 hopeful will win the backing of the billionaire brothers and their donor network, but the former Florida governor has been conspicuously absent from the conversation. In January, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), as well as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, attended the winter conference organized by the conservative brothers in California, but Bush did not make an appearance. And in April, David Koch was reportedly spreading the word that he liked Walker—or even a Walker-Rubio ticket. This was not surprising. The Kochs and their lieutenants were not major fans of the George W. Bush administration, and they may well be reluctant to see another member of the Bush dynasty occupy the White House. But representatives of the brothers said the door was not closed to Bush and he still has a chance to win their dollars.

Canadian wages: Up, down or sideways?

We're coming up to a federal election, and one where "The Economy" will likely be a central battlefield. As such, we're going to hear many claims and counter-claims that support the view that Stephen Harper is either the Greatest or Worst Prime Minister ever.

One point of contention is wages. Part of the problem are the units of measurement and analysis -- hourly, weekly, or annual earnings, total vs. market income, median vs. average. So this post is a bit of a stream of consciousness graphing of the ways that we measure income, and what that means.

Earth Has Entered First 'Mass Extinction' Since Dinosaurs, Study Warns

The Earth has entered its sixth mass extinction phase, a new study warns, and the time we have to avoid dramatic consequences is rapidly running out.

Vertebrates -- which include mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish -- are disappearing at a rate 114 times faster than normal, according the study published Friday in the journal Science Advances. The study, led by Stanford, Princeton and the University of California-Berkeley, stated the number of vertebrate species that have gone extinct in the last century normally take 800 to 10,000 years to disappear under natural extinction rates.

White Supremacist Donates Thousands To GOP Campaigns: Report

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidates, GOP lawmakers and the lone black Republican in the House are returning donations from the leader of a white supremacist group cited by Charleston church murder suspect Dylann Roof or giving the money to charity.

Rep. Mia Love of Utah, an African-American Republican woman who was elected to the House last year, said through a spokesman that she had returned $1,000 in donations from Earl Holt, leader of the Council of Conservative Citizens.

Rick Perry Is Still on the Payroll of a Controversial Pipeline Company

When former Texas Gov. Rick Perry launched his bid for the Republican presidential nomination earlier this month, he declared his campaign would emphasize energy policy. "Energy is vital to our economy, and to our national security," Perry said during his announcement speech. He vowed to green-light the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Perry's staunch support of the energy industry is nothing new; he was a reliable ally of the energy sector throughout his 14 years as governor. But this year, Perry gained a new incentive for helping energy companies: He started working for one. And two weeks into his presidential campaign, he's still on its payroll.

America's CEOs Now Make 303 Times More Than Their Workers

The US economy is rebounding for the nation's top income earners but not for everyone else, according to a new study from the Economic Policy Institute. Thestudy, published Sunday, finds that chief executives at the country's 350 biggest firms earned an average of $16.3 million in 2014, marking a 54.3 percent increase since 2009. Meanwhile, compensation for typical workers in the same industries as those CEOs fell 1.7 percent over the same time period.

Conservatives at risk of losing more than just deadwood

Whether driven by pensions, premonition, or panic, Harper’s ministers and MPs are heading for the exits in droves – or seeking new political homes.

A group of Conservatives nearly as large as the entire Liberal caucus will not be re-offering in the next federal election. That includes five cabinet ministers now that Industry minister James Moore has decided on a career-path change. And the number is still likely to grow as the summer wears on.

The U.S. and Israel Are Preemptively Discrediting The UN's Report On The Gaza War

WASHINGTON -- The Israeli and U.S. governments have launched a campaign to preemptively discredit a forthcoming United Nations Human Rights Council report on possible war crimes committed during last summer’s Gaza war.

The report, scheduled to be released by the end of June, is based on a nearly yearlong investigation into the six-week conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian political party that controls the Gaza Strip. According to the UN, Israel’s military incursion into Gaza, dubbed "Operation Protective Edge," left 2,256 Palestinians, including 1,563 civilians, dead. Sixty-six Israeli soldiers and seven civilians in Israel were also killed in the fighting.

China's Communist-Capitalist Ecological Apocalypse

This article seeks to explain why China's environmental crisis is so horrific, so much worse than "normal" capitalism most everywhere else, and why the government is incapable of suppressing pollution even from its own industries. I begin with an overview of the current state of China's environment: its polluted air, waters, farmland and the proximate causes, including overproduction, overdevelopment, profligate resource consumption, uncontrolled dumping and venting of pollutants. I then discuss the political-economic drivers and enablers of this destruction, the dynamics and contradictions of China's hybrid economy, noting how market reforms have compounded the irrationalities of the old bureaucratic collectivist system with the irrationalities of capitalism resulting in a diabolically ruinous "miracle" economy. I conclude with a précis of the emergency steps the country will have to take to take to brake the drive to socio-ecological collapse, with dire implications for us all.

Orwell, Huxley and America’s Plunge Into Authoritarianism

In spite of their differing perceptions of the architecture of the totalitarian superstate and how it exercised power and control over its residents, George Orwell and Aldous Huxley shared a fundamental conviction.  They both argued that the established democracies of the West were moving quickly toward an historical moment when they would willingly relinquish the noble promises and ideals of liberal democracy and enter that menacing space where totalitarianism perverts the modern ideals of justice, freedom, and political emancipation. Both believed that Western democracies were devolving into pathological states in which politics was recognized in the interest of death over life and justice. Both were unequivocal in the shared understanding that the future of civilization was on the verge of total domination or what Hannah Arendt called “dark times.”

Cash for votes: Harper’s MPs set for summer of handouts

OTTAWA - Once, when we were talking about the time-honoured practice of politicians posing with cheques dispensed by the capital for use in the local riding, former New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord let me in on a secret.

A politician, he said, will earn more political capital - and a better chance at re-election — with a smaller cheque than a big one. Lord, who served two terms as premier and is one of the best retail politicians I’ve seen work a room, knew that a few thousand bucks to fix the roof at the local Legion, upgrade the kitchen at a community centre, or put in some lights at a soccer field was always going to win more votes than, say, a big announcement about a $45-million highway overpass.

‘Government by photo op’: How Stephen Harper froze out Ottawa’s press corps

Touring the Vimy Ridge battlefield in France one day, Stephen Harper went down into one of the First World War trenches that have been preserved to give visitors a sense of what it was like there in 1917. Coming out later, the prime minister glanced at two TV photographers with their cameras pointing at him and quipped, “In those days, the enemy had guns.”

Sometimes Harper’s disdain for the Ottawa-based media — which he saw as part of the eastern establishment that had at one time helped solidify a Liberal stranglehold on Canadian politics — seemed half-serious, somewhat in the vein of the partisan posturing on display daily in the House of Commons. But for the most part, it was clear Harper saw the national reporting corps as self-important upstarts who amounted to little more than an obstacle to the Conservatives’ all-encompassing effort to shape and frame public attitudes toward their government.

Landlord evicts tenants, then pursues them for two months’ rent for not giving notice

One of Toronto’s biggest landlords has an in-house collections agency that pursues evicted tenants for two months’ rent because they didn’t give “proper notice” when they were kicked out of their apartments, the Star has learned.

MetCap Living Management, which has more than 10,000 rental units in the city concentrated in Parkdale and Scarborough, and Suite Collections operate out of the same Richmond St. E. office. Suite’s president, Brent Merrill, who also sits on MetCap’s corporate board, says everyone must give 60 days’ notice to vacate an apartment, even if they’re being evicted.

Jason Chaffetz strips Meadows of subcommittee chairmanship

The House Republican crackdown has reached a new level of severity.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz has stripped North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows of his subcommittee chairmanship, just days after he defied leadership on the House floor by voting against a party-line procedural motion.

“Sometimes the coach needs to make a change on the field,” Chaffetz (R-Utah) told POLITICO Saturday. “He’s still a valuable contributor, and I really like Mark Meadows, he’s a good person. But I need to make a change.”

Greek Government Signals New Concessions As Debt Talks Deadline Nears

ATHENS, June 20 (Reuters) - Greece's left-wing government promised on Saturday to offer concessions to creditors to unlock billions of euros in funds and stave off default but kept a defiant anti-austerity tone ahead of a vital summit of euro zone leaders next week.

With its banks hanging on life support from the European Central Bank, and billions of euros being withdrawn daily, Greece may have to impose capital controls within days unless a breakthrough is made at Monday's summit.

WSJ Claims Institutionalized Racism 'No Longer Exists,' Ends Up Proving It Still Does

The world was not waiting for The Wall Street Journal to weigh in on the Charleston, South Carolina, massacre. Yet in a steaming hot pile of take posted online Thursday evening, the newspaper's editorial board took a hard look at the killing of nine people at a historically black church and concluded that "what causes young men such as Dylann Roof to erupt in homicidal rage, whatever their motivation, is a problem that defies explanation."

Refugees Of Development

HADE, Kosovo — In 1999, Serbian commandos wearing hoods over their heads and greasepaint on their faces entered this mountain village and executed five Muslim men ages 25 to 80. The soldiers forced the surviving inhabitants onto buses headed for Albania and Macedonia. Then they set nearly every home in Hade ablaze.

After an American-led bombing campaign ran Serb forces out of Kosovo, the people of Hade returned from refugee camps and from havens higher in the mountains. Over the next few years they rebuilt their village and resumed tending their cows and gardens and mining coal for KEK, Kosovo’s state-owned power company.

Racist Talk From Dylann Roof’s Judge

The judge who called for sympathy for shooter Dylann Roof’s family members has a history of racist language in the courtroom.

Charleston County Magistrate James B. Gosnell began Friday’s bond hearing for mass-murderer Dylann Roof by declaring that the killer’s family members were victims as well.

At least he did not repeat an opinion that he offered in another proceeding a dozen years ago.

Jeb Bush And Chris Christie Spout Anti-Women Rhetoric At Conservative Conference

WASHINGTON, DC — “It was right here in this room that we celebrated the burial of the Equal Rights Amendment,” conservative Phyllis Schlafly, who led the fight against the constitutional amendment in the 1970s, told a cheering crowd in Washington, D.C. on Friday. “We were able to celebrate a tremendous victory against all the powers that be, and of all the things we taught people by defeating the Equal Rights Amendment, it was that conservatives can win.”

Citizens United: Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s Gift to Moneyed Interests

To understand the reasoning behind Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that has assured the corruption of American politics, it’s useful to go back half a century to California’s capital, Sacramento, birthplace of the author of that fateful ruling, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

His father, Anthony J. Kennedy, a lawyer, was one of the biggest lobbyists in a legislature that was pretty much under the control of lobbyists and the industries and businesses they represented. They gloried in the title of the “Third House,” and they usually had as much or more clout than the other two, the Senate and the Assembly.


In February 2010, a man named Joseph Stack deliberately flew his small airplane into the side of a building that housed a regional IRS office in Austin, Texas, just as 200 agency employees were starting their workday. Along with himself, Stack killed an IRS manager and injured 13 others.

Stack was an anti-tax, anti-government fanatic, and chose his target for exclusively political reasons. He left behind a lengthy manifesto cogently setting forth his largely libertarian political views (along with, as I wrote at the time, some anti-capitalist grievances shared by the left, such as “rage over bailouts, the suffering of America’s poor, and the pilfering of the middle class by a corrupt economic elite and their government-servants”; Stack’s long note ended: “the communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed”). About Stack’s political grievances, his manifesto declared that “violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.”

Charleston's Hometown Newspaper Is Putting Awful Cable News to Shame

Shrinking newsrooms, digital "churnalism," and armies of pundits carving up increasingly divided audiences—that's the media we're told we must accept to live in America today.

But have hope, news consumer! There's another, less remarked-upon media phenomenon going on: the return of the heroic local newsroom dominating breaking national coverage.

From Boston to Ferguson, Baltimore, and Charleston, one thing has become crystal clear: To get real reporting—and to get it fast—you've got to switch off cable and go local. It's here you'll find the scoops, the sense of place, the authentic compassion; it's here you can avoid the predictable blather from a candidate, or pundit, or hack filling airtime. It's here you'll find out what's really happening to a particular group of Americans who have just been shoved into a tragic spotlight. Turn off the TV and Google the local paper on your phone. Find their Twitter feed. Follow their journalists.

Missing, Murdered Aboriginal Women: RCMP Release Updated Findings

OTTAWA - Aboriginal women continue to be most frequently killed by men they know, the RCMP said Friday as it released updated findings on missing and murdered indigenous women.

Another 32 aboriginal women have been murdered and 11 more have disappeared since the force last reported on the issue 13 months ago. Its initial report put the tally at 1,181 murdered and missing women, between 1980 and 2012.

The RCMP said Friday that female victims, regardless of their ethnicity, continue to be targeted most often by men within their own homes and communities.

Canada's 2016 Census To Mirror Controversial Version From 2011

OTTAWA - The Conservative government has not added any new questions to the 2016 mandatory short-form census, leaving the process identical to the controversial system it introduced for 2011.

Statistics Canada and other groups had raised the possibility of adding questions to the short-form in order to raise the quality of information in the most critical areas.

CIBC: Free Trade Deals Becoming ‘Bureaucratic Nightmare,' Time Has Come To Fix Them

“Something is not working” with the free trade deals Canada has signed onto, CIBC World Markets says in a new report — but don’t expect the usual argument against globalization.

Instead, CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal says the problem with existing free trade deals is they are so unwieldy that in some cases they’re not actually eliminating the barriers to trade between countries.

‘The Benefits Do Not Trickle Down': Reaganomics Bad For The Economy, IMF Argues

The International Monetary Fund just blew a big hole through trickle-down economics.

You’ve probably heard of trickle-down economics: It gained popularity in the 1970s and was a major part of the pro-business “Reaganomics” agenda of the 1980s.

'Rising Star' James Moore Latest Off the Tory Train

The announcement yesterday that Industry Minister James Moore will not seek re-election is ''bad optics'' for the Tory brand but is unlikely to impact the party's prospects this fall, says political scientist Nelson Wiseman.

First elected in 2000,* the Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam MP is the latest high profile Conservative cabinet minister to drop out before the writ drops, joining Peter MacKay, John Baird and Shelly Glover.