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, April 06, 2016

Man Faces Life In Prison For Stealing $31 Worth Of Candy

A New Orleans man could spend the rest of his life in jail after allegedly shoving “$31 worth of candy bars into his pockets at a Dollar General store.”

The man, 34-year-old Jacobia Grimes, is being charged by prosecutors under the state’s “habitual-offender law.”

Wait, Banks Can Shut Off My Car?

One spring evening in 2012, after getting off a shift at Señor Frog's bar and grill in Las Vegas, Candice Smith drove to the Palace Station casino to cash her paycheck. When she returned to her car, it wouldn't start. She knew what the problem was: the starter kill switch her lender had installed on the vehicle. To restart the car after business hours, she needed to call the device manufacturer's hotline number and get an unlock code. That night, the process took four hours.

Smith had bought her used Chevy Cobalt the previous year, financing the purchase through a subprime auto lender called CAG Acceptance. The sales contract required Smith, whose credit score was 690—prime by most definitions—to pay $218 every two weeks for four years. The GPS-enabled kill switch would allow CAG Acceptance to disable her starter if her payments were more than 30 days late.

Police Use This Secret Military Snooping Gadget to Track Cell Phones. But Is It Legal?

In March, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled that a lower court was correct to suppress evidence police collected without a warrant using the cell-phone tracking device known as a Stingray. Now the court has published the full opinion explaining its decision in the case, which has  been closely watched by civil rights advocates.

“They Had Created This Remarkable System for Taking Every Last Dime From Their Customers"

In 2011, Don Foss, perhaps the richest used-car salesman in the history of the world, commissioned a half-hour film about himself and posted it to YouTube. The Don Foss Story opens with one of his TV ads from the 1970s, ads for which Foss hired an actor to portray him. (The real Foss, who is portly and balding, says he might have played himself "if I looked like Robert Redford.") At the ad's conclusion, we meet the film's narrator: "Today I'm going to guide you through the story of a truly remarkable man," he intones before lobbing the auto billionaire his first softball: "Don, your story pretty much epitomizes the great American Dream. I'm sure everybody wants to know how you did it."

New York Times, Washington Post Interviews Offer Different Takes On Donald Trump

Dual interviews with Donald Trump published Saturday gave different perspectives of the GOP front-runner: The Washington Post exploring what Trump would do as president, and The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd pressing the mogul on some of the many controversies in his campaign.

In a 96-minute interview with the Post’s Robert Costa and legendary reporter Bob Woodward, Trump affirmed that his “Lone Ranger” style to governing is what a flagging America most needs. The Trump that has thrown the political system into turmoil and pushed partisan tension to a violent boil is the same one that would be leading the nation, he said.

Revealed: the $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin

A network of secret offshore deals and vast loans worth $2bn has laid a trail to Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.

An unprecedented leak of documents shows how this money has made members of Putin’s close circle fabulously wealthy.

Though the president’s name does not appear in any of the records, the data reveals a pattern – his friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage.
The documents suggest Putin’s family has benefited from this money – his friends’ fortunes appear his to spend.

About the Panama Papers

Over a year ago, an anonymous source contacted the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and submitted encrypted internal documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that sells anonymous offshore companies around the world. These shell companies enable their owners to cover up their business dealings, no matter how shady.

In the months that followed, the number of documents continued to grow far beyond the original leak. Ultimately, SZ acquired about 2.6 terabytes of data, making the leak the biggest that journalists had ever worked with. The source wanted neither financial compensation nor anything else in return, apart from a few security measures.

What needs to be revealed

One year ago "John Doe" sent a message. "John Doe's" real name certainly is not John Doe. But this name, commonly used in the US by people who would like to uphold their anonymity, popped up. John asked a question that aroused our curiosity: "Interested in data? I would be happy to share." And with that, one of the most unusual and exciting chapters in the history of Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) started.

The firm

Even from a distance, the view of Panama City is impressive. Dozens of skyscrapers line the Pacific coast and hint at great wealth – some of it from the business of hidden money. As the plane approaches Panama City, the container ships queuing for the Panama Canal fall into view, and the rainforest can just about be deciphered on the horizon. Somewhere in between, right behind the skyscrapers, lies the financial district and the headquarters of Mossack Fonseca. The Panamanian law firm has not only helped prime ministers, kings and presidents hide their money. It has also provided services to dictators, drug cartels, Mafia clans, fraudsters, weapons dealers, and regimes like North Korea or Iran. In brief, it seems Mossack Fonseca has helped and continues to help the world’s biggest villains cover up their doings.

Christian Universities Increasingly Apply for Exemptions From Anti-Discrimination Rules

Six months after the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, Dr. Randall O'Brien, president of Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee, told the local CBS affiliate that "in a changing world, we want to reaffirm who we are, who we intend to be, and establish our identity as a religious school, a Christian school."

O'Brien was gleefully explaining that the 165-year-old college, established as Mossy Creek Missionary Baptist Seminary in 1851, had just been granted a US Department of Education (DOE) exemption from Title IX regulations, in effect allowing the university to continue to collect federal dollars for scholarships and sports programs despite banning unmarried, pregnant students; women who have had abortions; single mothers; and LGBTQ people from attending classes or working on campus.

In a revealing interview, Trump predicts a ‘massive recession’ but intends to eliminate the national debt in 8 years

Donald Trump said in an interview that economic conditions are so perilous that the country is headed for a “very massive recession” and that “it’s a terrible time right now” to invest in the stock market, embracing a distinctly gloomy view of the economy that counters mainstream economic forecasts.

The New York billionaire dismissed concern that his comments — which are exceedingly unusual, if not unprecedented, for a major party front-runner — could potentially affect financial markets.

Truthdigger of the Week: Susan Sarandon, Defender of Those Who’ll Vote for Bernie Sanders Only

Left-wing voters of principle have endured insults and abuse in this presidential nominating season. A large number of Bernie Sanders supporters—one-third, by some counts—have warned that they will not vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election if she is the Democratic nominee. This prospect has many Democrats terrified, as it would seem to ensure at least four years of rule by Donald Trump or one of his equally repugnant rivals for the Republican nomination, and these Democrats have made no secret of their contempt for such spoilers.

Chinese Steel Tariffs Effect On UK Companies Played Down By The Government

The Government has played down the effect of the latest Chinese steel tariffs on UK firms amid growing fear of a damaging trade war with Beijing.

Ministers have been under pressure to act after the Chinese ministry of commerce announced on Friday that it was imposing levies of up to 46% on some types of specialist steels imported from the European Union, South Korea, and Japan.

Greece Demands IMF Explain ‘Disaster’ Remarks In Explosive Leak

The leaked remarks of International Monetary Fund officials suggesting the lender may threaten to pull out of Greece’s bailout are eliciting anger in Athens and could jeopardize debt negotiations.

The Huffington Post exclusively obtained a private letter on Saturday from Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras to IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, demanding answers for some of the controversial comments in a March 19 teleconference between Poul Thomsen, IMF European director, Delia Velculescu, IMF chief of mission in Greece and IMF official Iva Petrova.

Israel's debate over an execution in Hebron mirrors America's debate over Ferguson

If you want to see the Israel-Palestine conflict in its purest and most crushing manifestation, the place you go is Hebron.

The West Bank city has been divided, since 1997, by an arrangement that grants 20 percent of the land to a handful of Jewish settlers, who walk through their eerily empty streets primarily to express their claim, guarded by bored-looking Israeli soldiers.

Sanders and Trump Voters Are More Skeptical of War Than Clinton, Cruz Voters

A Pew poll released this week finds that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders voters share a more skeptical view of U.S. military adventurism than Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton supporters.

On most other issues, Democratic and Republican voters find themselves diametrically opposed, but this issue splits each party.

Mississippi Poised to Pass Breathtaking Anti-LGBT Law

The Mississippi House of Representatives passed a sweeping anti-LGBT law on Friday that will make it easier to discriminate against gender and sexual minorities in the state.

The so-called Religious Liberty Accommodations Act is meant to protect people, businesses, and organizations with "sincerely held" religious beliefs about the sanctity of traditional marriage. The bill also says gender is determined by "an individual's immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth."

Ignoring Court Orders, Maricopa County Locks Up Mentally Ill People Too Impaired For Trial

Mario Cruz barely talks above a whisper, avoiding most conversations and mumbling on the rare occasion that he does choose to speak. Over the past three years, he’s spent most of his time staring through windows in Maricopa County’s 4th Avenue Jail.

On the day he was arrested, police randomly knocked on his front door to confront him about a drug house shooting that happened more than a decade ago. Cruz, who was 19 years old when the shooting occurred, didn’t pull the trigger. But two people died and his presence at the drug house landed him behind bars for first degree murder and drug possession.

Big Banks Aided Firm At Center Of International Bribery Scandal

No business can operate without bankers — not even the bribery business.

British financial giant HSBC and American bailout kingpin Citibank processed transactions, managed money and vouched for Unaoil, a once-obscure firm that is now at the center of a massive international corruption scandal. Police raided Unaoil’s Monaco offices and interviewed its executives on Thursday, a day after The Huffington Post and Fairfax Media first exposed the company’s practices. Law enforcement agencies in at least four nations are involved in a wide-ranging probe of the company and its partners.

B.C. now has the lowest minimum wage in Canada

Today the province of B.C. acquires an all-new claim to fame: having the lowest minimum wage in Canada.

According to a poll released today by the B.C. Federation of Labour (BCFED), 83 per cent of polled participants think it's necessary for a person making minimum wage in British Columbia to live above the poverty line.

However, at $10.45/hour, B.C.'s current minimum wage puts full-time workers nearly $6,000 below BCFED's calcuclated Low Income Cut Off for one person of $24,823.

The Canadian military wants armed drones. Here’s why we should say no.

Almost all the defence policy experts in Canada these days seem to think that that the Canadian Armed Forces need to acquire drones suitable not just for surveillance, but for engaging the enemy in low-intensity wars.

I think the experts are wrong — dead wrong.

Acquiring armed drones — MQ-1 Predators or the larger MQ-9 Reaper, Washington’s attack drones of choice — would risk involving Canada in all manner of military follies and morally questionable acts of assassination. Because deploying armed drones is so easy — and so low-profile — when compared to fighter-bombers, their presence in the arsenal would solidify an expectation in the CAF that their primary role is to serve in expeditionary campaigns run by the U.S. or NATO.

Islamic Extremism Is a Product of Western Imperialism

As we struggle to come to terms with the latest terrorist attacks in Brussels, it is important that we understand the causes of such extremism. After all, Islamic extremism was virtually unknown fifty years ago and suicide bombings were inconceivable. And yet today it seems that we are confronted with both on a daily basis. So what happened to bring Islamic fundamentalism to the forefront of global politics? While there are many factors involved, undoubtedly one of the primary causes is Western imperialism. Western intervention in the Middle East over the past century to secure access to the region’s oil reserves established a perfect environment in which Islamic fundamentalists could exploit growing anti-Western sentiment throughout the Islamic world, with some establishing violent extremist groups. The most recent consequence of this process is the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, which emerged out of the chaos caused by the US invasion of Iraq.

EU-Turkey refugee plan could be illegal, says UN official

The European Union’s plan to send refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war back to Turkey en masse could be illegal, a top UN official has said, as concerns mounted that Greece lacks the infrastructure needed for the deal to take effect on Monday.

Peter Sutherland, the UN secretary general’s special representative for international migration and development, said that deporting migrants and refugees without considering their asylum applications first would break international law.

Hillary Clinton: US State Department halts review of emails at FBI request

The US State Department has suspended plans for an internal review of whether classified information was properly handled in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails at the request of the FBI, a spokeswoman said on Friday.

Clinton, the front-runner in the race for the Democratic party nomination in the 8 November presidential election, has apologised for using a private email server for official business while in office from 2009 to 2013 and said she did nothing wrong. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the arrangement.
On 29 January, the State Department said 22 emails sent or received by Clinton had been upgraded to top secret at the request US intelligence agencies and would not be made public as part of the release of thousands of Clinton’s emails. It said none of the emails was marked classified when sent.

At the time, the department also said it would conduct an internal review on whether the information in the emails was classified at the time it passed through Clinton’s private account run on a server in her New York home.

The State Department consulted the FBI about this in February, and in March the law enforcement agency asked the State Department to halt its inquiry.

“The FBI communicated to us that we should follow our standard practice, which is to put our internal review on hold while there is an ongoing law enforcement investigation ,” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters.

“The internal review is on hold, pending completion of the FBI’s work,” she added.” We’ll reassess next steps after the FBI’s work is complete.”

An official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the State Department had really only done “administrative work” on its review but had held off while waiting for a response from the FBI.

“It took a little bit of time for the FBI to respond to our request for advice and in the interim we did not pursue the review out of prudence,” said the official, who declined further comment on the review.

The government forbids handling of classified information, which may or may not be marked that way, outside secure government-controlled channels, and sometimes prosecutes people who remove it from such channels. The government classifies information as top secret if it deems a leak could cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security.

Two judges have allowed a group suing for Clinton’s records to seek sworn testimony from officials. On Tuesday, one judge said there was “evidence of government wrongdoing and bad faith” over the arrangement.

Original Article
Author: Reuters

Turkey And The EU Have A Plan For the Migrant Crisis. Here’s Why It’s A Mess.

ATHENS, Greece — On April 4, hundreds of migrants who arrived on the Greek islands in the past 10 days will be sent back across the Aegean Sea to Turkey, to the shores they departed from in hopes of finding refuge in Europe.

Monday’s returns will be the first deportations made as part of a controversial deal between Turkey and the European Union to halt migration flows to the continent, much to the outrage of humanitarian groups and the despair of migrants fleeing war and extreme poverty.

Trump Ally Roger Stone Says He’s Planning “Days Of Rage” At The Convention

Roger Stone, the longtime Republican political operative and current ally of Donald Trump, says he’s trying to organize protests at the Republican convention in Cleveland this summer to disrupt any effort by the party to “steal” the nomination from the frontrunner.

Stone tweeted several times on Friday evening about his plans, announcing a “Stop the Steal March on Cleveland” and calling on supporters to get to Cleveland for the convention in July.

German Television Pulls Satire Mocking Turkey’s Erdogan

GERMANY’S STATE BROADCASTER, ZDF, apologized on Friday for what it called satire that had crossed the line into slander and removed video of a comedian reading an obscene poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from its website and YouTube channel.

The poem, which was read by the German satirist Jan Böhmermann on Thursday’s edition of his late-night show “Neo Magazin Royale,” described Erdogan in vile, obscene terms — even comparing him, at one stage, to Josef Fritzl, an Austrian man who fathered seven children with a daughter he held in a cellar for 24 years — but the text was presented as part of a comic demonstration of the difference between satire and slander.

Kansas Lawmakers Ignore Separation Of Powers, Look To Impeach Supreme Court Justices

Tired of being told the law doesn’t allow them to enact their radical overhauls of the social contract, Kansas Republicans are out to eject their state Supreme Court justices.

Lawmakers in the state are pushing to replace the American tradition of checks and balances among the three separate branches of government. A bill narrowly passed the state Senate in late March that would give legislators far broader power to impeach judges from the high bench.

Florida Will Vote This Year On Measure That Would Block Solar Leasing In The State

Score one for the Koch brothers.

A measure that opponents say is intentionally confusing and will stifle solar growth was given the go-ahead by the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday. It will appear on the Florida ballot in November.

Environmental and solar advocates challenged the measure, titled, “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice,” saying that it does not reflect any choice and does not create new rights. Sponsored by utility companies and other groups tied to the Koch brothers, the measure will prevent people from selling their electricity to third parties. This would effectively prevent solar leasing in the state, because under that system, an owner — usually a solar company — installs panels at a home and then sells the generated electricity back to the homeowner.

Ted Cruz Calls For National Law To Cripple Unions

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said during a radio interview Thursday that he supports national “right-to-work” legislation, a type of anti-labor law that Wisconsin passed last year in an effort to cripple the state’s unions.

The Texas senator, who is currently leading in the Wisconsin polls, said in an interview on WTMJ radio in Milwaukee that such right-to-work laws are a “fundamental right,” according to the Associated Press. Right-to-work laws are designed to severely weaken unions by forcing them to provide services without payment from workers.

We’ve Had Enough With Failed Trade Policies

Many pundits were caught off-guard by the transpartisan fury over America’s trade policy rocking the presidential primary season. But it’s no surprise to me. I grew up in a working class family in Kenosha, Wisconsin. So I know why Americans have had enough of shiny promises, job-killing trade deals, and Wall Street bailouts that propel ordinary people into an economic nose dive.

Joseph Stiglitz To Canada: Stay Away From Flawed, Pro-Big Business TPP

OTTAWA — Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says Canada should reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal because it is a flawed trade agreement that benefits big business at the expense of working people.

The Columbia University professor is delivering that message in a speech at a University of Ottawa conference on the Pacific Rim trade agreement that includes the United States and Japan and covers 40 per cent of the world economy.

A Bird, A Plane? No, It’s Superdelegates!

The Democratic Party’s special class of entitled and unelected VIP delegates helps explain what’s wrong with the way we choose our presidential candidates.

Last week, our suggestion that Hillary Clinton call for the resignations of her pals Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz got a big response. But a few people misunderstood what we were saying.

Law School Sells Naming Rights to Secretive Antonin Scalia Fan

George Mason University in Northern Virginia renamed its law school the Antonin Scalia School of Law on Thursday, after receiving a $10 million gift from the Charles Koch Foundation and another $20 million from an undisclosed donor.

Rove Suggests Disregarding Millions Of Republican Voters, Nominating A ‘Fresh Face’ For President

Republicans have a big problem. The party’s two leading candidates for the GOP presidential nomination are both viewed unfavorably by a majority of the voting population and are only getting more unpopular. The third-place contender boasts a net-positive favorability but hasn’t resonated with voters outside his home state. So assuming frontrunner Donald Trump doesn’t hit the delegate threshold needed to avoid a contested convention, what are party leaders to do this July at the Republican convention in Cleveland?

Fukushima on the Hudson? The Growing Dangers of Indian Point

It was a beautiful spring day and, in the control room of the nuclear reactor, the workers decided to deactivate the security system for a systems test. As they started to do so, however, the floor of the reactor began to tremble. Suddenly, its 1,200-ton cover blasted flames into the air. Tons of radioactive radium and graphite shot 1,000 meters into the sky and began drifting to the ground for miles around the nuclear plant. The first firemen to the rescue brought tons of water that would prove useless when it came to dousing the fires. The workers wore no protective clothing and eight of them would die that night—dozens more in the months to follow.

Rene Angelil's Funeral To Be Partly Paid For By Quebec Taxpayers

QUEBEC — The Quebec government says it will contribute $49,770 to the reported cost of Rene Angelil's funeral in Montreal last January.

The province offered to play a role in organizing the funeral for Celine Dion's longtime husband.

According to documents obtained by Cogeco Nouvelles, the final tally came in at $700,000 — roughly 10 times the amount such events usually cost.

Police Costs Continue To Soar Despite Falling Crime Rates

TORONTO — The recent furor over comments by Toronto's outgoing deputy chief of police about cutting officers to save money focused the spotlight anew on policing costs that keep rising even as Canada's crime rate plunges and its economy sputters.

While communities across the country grapple with police budgets that in some cases are eating up to 50 per cent of their operating budgets, solutions to what's become a perennial headache have proven elusive.

Foreign Money Is Flowing Into U.S. Elections, Alito’s Lying Lips Notwithstanding

IN HIS 2010 State of the Union address, Barack Obama attacked the then-new Citizens United Supreme Court decision for making it possible for U.S. elections to be bankrolled by “foreign entities.”

Justice Samuel Alito, part of the Citizens United majority, was in the audience, and shook his head and seemed to mouth “not true.”

'Sharing Economy' Report: Canada Should Limit Airbnb Rentals, Licence Uber Drivers

TORONTO — A new report on the sharing economy suggests governments should screen drivers on platforms such as Uber and limit what kinds of homes can be rented on sites like Airbnb.

In creating the report, research group MaRS Solutions Lab interviewed more than 136 people including taxi drivers, uberX drivers, hotel managers and Airbnb hosts.

Canada Border Services Agency Slammed For Secrecy Over Deaths

OTTAWA — The federal border agency is hiding behind privacy law when it refuses to discuss the death of an immigrant in custody, say groups who want more independent oversight of the agency.

The Canada Border Services Agency detains people who are considered a flight risk or a danger to the public, those who arrive in very large groups, and newcomers whose identities cannot be confirmed.

Cut Admin to Save School Costs? How Original, Premier

With the release of the Vancouver School Board's preliminary budget proposals for 2016-17, we are into yet another spiral of cutbacks and recriminations.

The VSB proposal, an 88-page document, sets out yet another bleak prospect: a shortfall of over $27 million. That means program cuts, layoffs, and school closures. The board will hold a series of meetings this month to hear from stakeholders about which programs, which people, and which schools face the axe. As T.S. Eliot said, "April is the cruellest month," and it will also be among the bitterest.

'Devastating' Cuts Recommended for Vancouver Schools: Board Chair

Vancouver School Board chair Mike Lombardi is trying to stay optimistic. But faced with cutting $27.26 million from the board's projected $504.62-million budget, he's "sickened" at the thought of implementing the cuts district staff have recommended for 2016/17 school year.

Even with cuts in 13 of the last 14 Vancouver district budgets, since over $300 million was cut from public education in 2002, Lombardi said proposals released by staff yesterday are the harshest he's seen yet. Over half -- $16 million -- of the cuts will directly impact classrooms, he said.

Parents urge province to ban daycare wait list fees

Like most first-time Toronto parents, Nadine Blum knew she would have to put her name on numerous child-care wait lists if she hoped to get a spot for her son in time to return to work last December.

But she wasn’t expecting to pay for the privilege to get in line behind scores of other parents desperate for daycare.

“I must have been on 20 to 30 lists, I lost track of the number,” said Blum, 38. “But what really surprised me were the fees to get on those lists.”

Trudeau greenlights Energy East on condition it's built using recycled materials

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rubber-stamped the controversial Energy East pipeline project on the condition it is built using only recycled materials, has learned.

"This government has said time and time again that pipelines are an intrinsic part of Canada's sustainable energy policy," Trudeau announced in a press conference Thursday in Montreal's historic Old Port. "But we campaigned on a promise to halt climate change."

The real poison pill in the TPP

Canadians have many reasons to be concerned about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive international trade agreement that, if ratified, will result in restrictive new rules governing our daily lives, from how we use the Internet, to how much we pay for medicine.

We already know the TPP will extend copyright terms for decades, keeping valuable cultural content out of the hands of new artists and the public. We know it will hamstring Canadian innovation, with top Canadian tech entrepreneurs telling us how it locks in the economic advantage U.S. firms already enjoy in the intellectual property sector.

Elizabeth Warren Just Launched A New Attack On Wall Street

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate financial firms for allegedly making misleading statements about a federal effort to protect people saving for retirement.

In a letter sent Thursday to SEC Chair Mary Jo White, Warren said firms could have violated securities laws by issuing conflicting comments about a proposed rule that would require financial advisors to act in the best interest of their clients, rather than the best interest of their own profit.

Here's Another Way Politicians Are Screwing You Over

Let's talk about climate change, for once without politics. Instead, money.

That's right. Forget the red and blue, the heated tempers and rising rhetoric. Instead think about the coal factories that still power much of the country, and who pays for every pound of carbon they add to the atmosphere. Right now, your state is making bets on its future economy, by choosing whether or not to change those factories by acting preemptively on a contested emissions rule.

Elizabeth Warren Warns Banks Are Lying About Upcoming Rule Change, Potentially Breaking The Law

On Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accusing banks of lying about the pending rule requiring financial advisers to put clients’ interests ahead of their own, thus potentially violating securities laws.

The rule would expand the fiduciary duty standard to cover brokers advising people seeking advice about retirement investments, which currently allows them to steer clients toward the products that make themselves more money at the expense of their clients’ needs. Americans lose an estimated $17 billion a year to this conflicted advice every year.

British Columbia’s Carbon Tax Has Been So Successful That Businesses Want To Increase It

A carbon tax may be a controversial topic in the United States, but in one Canadian province, this eight-year-old policy has been such a success that on Wednesday more than 100 businesses said they support a tax increase.

In a letter addressed to Premier Christy Clark, who governs the province of British Columbia, more than 150 companies said they back a plan to increase the carbon tax by $10 — about $7.70 U.S. — per metric ton a year starting in July 2018, an idea the government-sponsored Climate Leadership Team unveiled earlier this year.