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 20, 2016

How Wall Street Profits From Student Debt

As the presidential primaries rumble on, the candidates — especially Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton — have debated college affordability and Wall Street greed. Unfortunately, no one is confronting the links between the two.

More than 40 million Americans have student debt, totaling at least $1.2 trillion. On average, borrowers out of school owe $36,000, with a monthly payment of $680. Roughly 11 percent of borrowers are in default. Overall, indebtedness discourages people from starting degrees, families and businesses, dragging everyone down.

There was no NDP Leap

What is going on in Canada's "mainstream" left?

According to many -- including those on both sides of this debate -- it seems that the NDP has taken some great leap to the left by embracing the activist Leap Manifesto backed by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis.

Is Hillary Clinton a neoconservative hawk? What Iraq and Libya decisions tell us about her foreign policy

Two election cycles after losing the Democratic Party nomination because of her Iraq War vote, Hillary Clinton finally seems to have put it behind her. In fact, with the latest wave of ISIS hysteria, her hawkishness is seen by some as a plus. At the same time, striking a balance, a good case can be made that, though she did vote to authorize the Iraq War, she would never have started it herself if she had been president.

5 years of tax industry parties and receptions with CRA staff

Senior enforcement officials at the Canada Revenue Agency attended several posh receptions offering free alcohol and hors d'oeuvres paid for by groups and firms in the tax industry, typically on the sidelines of major national conferences.

The numerous tax firms sponsoring the events included KPMG — which the CRA has alleged for years ran a "sham" offshore tax dodge for rich Canadians — as well as two law firms: Fraser Milner Casgrain (now known as Dentons), which court documents allege advised KPMG on setting up the offshore scheme, and Osler, which has been representing KPMG in court.

Saudi Arabia Prepared To Flood World With Oil, Crown Prince Says

Some of the world’s largest oil producers are scheduled to meet in Doha, Qatar on Sunday to address the global oil oversupply, but hopes of a deal to cut production have fallen apart even before the meeting began.

With a day to go to the meeting, Iran has announced it will not attend, and Saudi Arabia is openly musing about flooding the world with desperately unneeded oil.

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg his country could immediately ramp up production by a million barrels per day, to 12.5 million barrels, “if we wanted to.” He also suggested the country has the capacity to nearly double its oil production, to around 20 million barrels per day.

An Odd Cloud Rolls Toward Hillary Clinton’s Campaign: The Case of an Arrested Romanian Hacker

Although the subject of Hillary Clinton’s emails did not come up during Thursday’s presidential debate, the heated controversy over the Democratic front-runner’s use of a private Internet server during her four-year stint as secretary of state is far from over.

Indeed, if recent reports published largely (though not exclusively) by right-wing news media have any credibility, the controversy is about to re-erupt with redoubled fury. Some on the right are even predicting that Clinton will soon be indicted.

Panama Papers: Reigniting the Debate for a Global Tax Body

Buried beneath the sensational revelations making headlines in the wake of the Panama Papers is a simple truth about the importance of fair and effective tax systems: revenues from taxation -- whether from company profits, capital gains or wages -- are crucial for maintaining nationwide mechanisms of economic sharing that safeguard the basic needs of citizens. Not only does the redistribution of tax revenue allow governments to fund safety nets and public services designed to keep poverty at bay, it maintains the infrastructure needed to facilitate a wide variety of social and economic activities, from public transport and roads, to schools and hospitals.

The Steep Cost of Tax Dodging

The old saying goes that there are two things certain in life: death and taxes. But do taxes actually apply to the rich and powerful?

US corporations enjoy US infrastructure, talent and other resources, but they're not giving back financially. Over the last 50 years, the corporate share of federal revenues has dropped from a high of almost 40 percent in 1943 to less than 9 percent today. And while corporations pay less, ordinary Americans are called upon to make up the difference. Individual income taxes will account for nearly 49 percent of all federal revenues in 2016. If you add payroll taxes, individual taxes will make up more than 80 percent of US government revenues this year.

To Support Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment Is To Support A Conspiracy

The list of absurdities that we’ve seen play out over these last few weeks, leading up to Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, is long. That’s why I’ll only explore the latest chapter here: The unprecedented insanity and vanity displayed by Vice President Michel Temer.

I know that most of those in favor of the impeachment are no longer — and perhaps have never been — sensible. So there’s no point in explaining that what’s at stake is not merely the Worker’s Party or Dilma. They have both made plenty of mistakes and deserve harsh criticism, but they also deserve recognition for the advancements that they have undeniably brought about in Brazil.

There Is a Moderate Republican in This Race, But She’s Running as a Democrat

Historical perspective on Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton

Who is the real Democrat — Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton? Why are fringe candidates getting all of the attention this year? Who are the moderates?

These questions can all be answered by understanding something that has been unfolding for 40 years: The center of American politics has shifted steadily to the right. Today, neither party is even remotely similar to what it was when Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, for example, first entered politics.

Steve Wozniak Just Blasted Uber For Poor Treatment Of Workers

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak just threw some shade at Uber.

On Monday, at the Future Transport Summit in Sydney, Australia, Wozniak denounced the ride-hailing company’s disputed labor practices and critiqued what he sees as its monopolistic ambitions, according to Mashable.

“Like a lot of people, I have some distrust of Uber and how their drivers don’t really realize at first that they aren’t making much money, maybe losing money on the wear and tear of their cars,” Wozniak told reporters at the summit.

Prisoner’s Letters Document Tragedy and Hope Inside Guantanamo

On April 16th, the Department of Defense issued a short press release announcing that Mohammed al-Hamiri, a Yemeni citizen held at Guantanamo Bay, had been transferred for release. Hamiri had been incarcerated at Guantanamo since 2002, when he was detained by American forces. First taken into custody at the age of 19, Hamiri spent more than a third of his life at the prison. During that time, he was never charged with any crime.

After Vote to Remove Brazil’s President, Key Opposition Figure Holds Meetings in Washington

BRAZIL’S LOWER HOUSE of Congress on Sunday voted to impeach the country’s president, Dilma Rousseff, sending the removal process to the Senate. In an act of unintended though rich symbolism, the House member who pushed impeachment over the 342-vote threshold was Dep. Bruno Araújo, himself implicated by a document indicating he may have received illegal funds from the construction giant at the heart of the nation’s corruption scandal. Even more significantly, Araújo belongs to the center-right party PSDB, whose nominees have lost four straight national elections to Rousseff’s moderate-left PT party, with the last ballot-box defeat delivered just 18 months ago, when 54 million Brazilians voted to re-elect Dilma as president.

It's Time Canada Finally Put First Nations First

Canadians, as a people, have regularly been hailed for their individual and collective generosity, their giving spirit and quickness to lend a helping hand via either donations or deeds. That's undoubtedly a wonderful thing to be celebrated for. And hopefully, it continues to bear fruit in the form of generous future generations.