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 13, 2016

GE’s Jeffrey Immelt, Now Slamming Sanders, Once Said It Was His “Task to Outsource”

BACK IN 2014, in an interview with the magazine Chief Executive, General Electric Co. CEO Jeffrey Immelt explained that starting in the 1980s, “most of us” — i.e. GE executives — “saw it as our task to outsource manufacturing, to move it to low-cost countries. This continued through the 1990s and into the very early 2000s.”

President Bill Clinton Gets It Wrong On Mass Incarceration

President Bill Clinton doubled down on his 1994 Crime Bill, pulling back from his recent apology for his role in the over incarceration of young African Americans. Instead, today he labeled these youth in similar fashion to his wife’s description 20 years ago, as a type of predator that leads to people being “hopped up on crack.” Mass incarceration has largely been the type of stain on the Clinton legacy with Black Americans that doesn’t wash out with words. Clinton’s bill has left in its wake a trail of devastated African American families cut off from loved ones that have served sentences for nonviolent drug offenses that were decades too long. For former President Bill Clinton to now insinuate that Black Lives Matter protestors are defending murderers and gang leaders, is offensive to a people that have been through so much due to his legislative actions. Yet, here we stand in 2016 hearing the same rhetoric espoused to create the Crime Bill, now being used to justify its abhorrent results. Where as in 1996 Hillary Clinton called young blacks super predators, that is now replaced with Bill Clinton saying,

Bill Clinton’s Welfare Reform Law Is Kicking Up To 1 Million People Off Food Stamps

As many as 1 million unemployed Americans are getting kicked off food stamps this year thanks to the welfare reform law Bill Clinton signed in 1996.

States are in the process of imposing a three-month time limit on benefits for working-age adults who don’t have children or jobs. Tens of thousands of Americans in nearly two dozen states reached the limit at the beginning of the month.

Nothing Bill Clinton Said To Defend His Welfare Reform Is True

Everything Bill Clinton said Thursday to defend his 1996 welfare reform law was false.

Clinton claimed that he left the program with plenty of money for poor people, suggested that it helped reduce black poverty and that it was only the mean, nasty Republicans from the George W. Bush era who gutted it and hurt the poor. Clinton’s distortions of economic history and his own record are so outrageous that — you will be shocked — it is difficult to believe he was being honest.

Wall Street Should Pay a Sales Tax, Too

In case there was any doubt, the presidential election fight has confirmed that blasting Wall Street, even eight years after the financial crisis, is still a vote-getter.

Hillary Clinton has said she'd like to jail more bankers. Donald Trump has skewered the hedge fund managers who are "getting away with murder." And Bernie Sanders has made Wall Street accountability a centerpiece of his campaign.

How Private Prison Companies Use Big Tax Breaks and Low Wages to Maximize Profit

The two largest private prison firms in the United States are exploiting a loophole in the tax code to secure millions of dollars in corporate tax breaks.

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group avoided a combined $113 million in federal income taxes in 2015 alone, according to an analysis of federal financial filings by the racial and economic justice group Enlace.

The Panama Papers: Why They Might Get Away With it

The recent release of the Panama Papers by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has caused a great public stir. This is the first of a two-part series in which I will discuss the tax scandal unearthed by the release of these documents, describe why experts thing it will be difficult to hold those involved to account, and, finally, argue that these events can also serve as the impetus for a fairer, more cooperative global approach to taxation.

A Letter To Wealthy Tax Evaders, From Your Pal The CRA

"The Canada Revenue Agency offered amnesty to multi-millionaire clients caught using what's been called an offshore tax 'sham' on the Isle of Man," reported on March 8, 2016.

Leaked documents from the CRA also revealed that the wealthy tax evaders were offered a deal in which they would be free from any future civil or criminal prosecution and would not have to pay any fines or penalties.

The F/A-18E Super Hornet Is What Canada Needs

Does Canada need a fifth-generation stealth multirole fighter? I don't think so.

As a matter of fact, beside the F-35 fiasco in general, Canada cannot afford such an expensive plane that had limited capabilities. A project worth more than $8 billion at the start, many experts now evaluate it at more than $49 billion. This might include all acquisition, sustainment and operating costs but does not guarantee the price won't go up again due other issues with the aircraft.

Federal government quietly lifts cap on temporary foreign workers in seasonal industries

Tinkering with the number of temporary foreign workers admitted into Canada for seasonal labour fails to fix underlying problems around unsustainable business practises, workers' groups in Atlantic Canada warn.

Unifor, the New Brunswick Federation of Labour and the Fish and the Food and Allied Workers' Union in Newfoundland and Labrador raised concerns about the program after news emerged the federal government removed the hiring cap for temporary foreign workers in seasonal industries for the year.

Moss Park gentrification a cause for concern

Gentrification by any other name is still gentrification. The seemingly benign language of "revitalization," "vibrant public spaces," "exciting opportunities," "community resiliency," "inclusion model" and "diversity" only disguises the reality that poor and homeless people will be displaced and the policing of poverty will escalate where gentrification takes place.

In Toronto's Downtown East (DTE), the proposed LGBTQ-focused sport centre at Moss Park's John Innes Community Centre, a joint venture of the 519 Community Centre and the city, is a concern for anti-gentrification activists, as is the closely related nearby George Street revitalization project, which is promising to "deinstitutionalize" that neighbourhood by consolidating most homeless services and individuals under one roof.

TPP Trade Deal Will 'Dilute' Canada's Business Position In U.S.: Memo

OTTAWA — On the day Canada agreed to the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, an internal federal analysis warned the deal threatened to water down the country's powerful business position in the crucial U.S. market.

The October briefing note, prepared for then-finance minister Joe Oliver, framed Canada's participation in the 12-country Pacific Rim pact as a defensive manoeuvre, at least in part.

More Names Surface in Panama Papers Leak, but Still No High-Profile Americans

Although many public figures across the world have been implicated in the leaked Panama Papers, few Western elites have been named in the media coverage.

The list of non-Westerners tied to tax havens in Panama continues to grow: first, parts of Putin’s inner circle. Then, regime leaders in Syria. And now, wealthy Chinese citizens.

Panama Papers Name Client of Podesta Group, a Lobbying Firm With Ties to the Clintons

No high-profile Americans have been implicated in the Panama Papers. But various sources are reporting a Clinton connection to the leaked documents.

According to the Washington Free Beacon and Observer, one of the companies listed in the Panama Papers is Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank, which has ties to Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1 Percent From Panama Leak

Whoever leaked the Mossack Fonseca papers appears motivated by a genuine desire to expose the system that enables the ultra wealthy to hide their massive stashes, often corruptly obtained and all involved in tax avoidance. These Panamanian lawyers hide the wealth of a significant proportion of the 1 percent, and the massive leak of their documents ought to be a wonderful thing.

How Habitat for Humanity Went to Brooklyn and Poor Families Lost Their Homes

In 2010, the New York City affiliate of Habitat for Humanity received a $21 million federal grant to work on a city neighborhood hit particularly hard by the foreclosure crisis and help stabilize it.

The funds would allow Habitat-NYC to launch the most ambitious project in its 32-year history. Its neighborhood pick was Bedford-Stuyvesant, a historically poor neighborhood in central Brooklyn, where the charity would focus on buying and renovating abandoned apartment buildings.

Uber Settles Illegal Practices Lawsuit For Multi-Million Sum

SAN FRANCISCO, April 7 (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc agreed to a $25 million settlement to end a civil lawsuit in California that accused the ride-sharing company of misleading customers about the strength of its background checks on drivers, prosecutors in Los Angeles and San Francisco said on Thursday.

Uber must pay $10 million within 60 days, and the remaining $15 million will be waived if Ubercomplies with the terms of the agreement for two years, the San Francisco and Los Angeles County district attorneys said in statements.

With Iceland’s Pirate Party Surging in the Polls, Its Government Resists New Elections

THROWN INTO DISARRAY by a Panama Papers scandal, Iceland’s coalition government appointed a new prime minister on Thursday, refusing to call early elections to resolve a crisis in public confidence brought about by the revelation that three senior ministers had secret offshore accounts.

Sheldon Adelson's Casino Agrees to Pay $9 Million in Foreign Corruption Case

The casino run by major GOP financier Sheldon Adelson agreed today to settle a long-running Securities and Exchange Commission bribery investigation that has been swirling around Adelson's Chinese operations. Las Vegas Sands will pay $9 million but won't have to admit any guilt, and the SEC will close its investigation into possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.