Showing posts from October 8, 2016

A National Strike Against "Prison Slavery"

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[This issue has gained some legs in the press; let's see if it gets any political traction. *RON*]

By E. Tammy Kim, New Yorker, 3 October 2016

Weekdays are workdays at the Perry Correctional Institution in Pelzer, South Carolina, where Dee, a forty-two-year-old native of Georgia, has spent a decade serving time for a robbery. On typical mornings, he “commutes” from his cell to an on-site furniture factory, where he and other inmates assemble wooden tables and chairs for a private company. But when Dee’s cell door opened on September 9th, the forty-fifth anniversary of the Attica prison uprising, he did not respond as usual to the call to attention. Dee was on strike. “I quit,” he told me a few days ago, speaking via a contraband cell phone. “That was my last day of work.” Dee grew up poor and began committing crimes as a young man, but he had educated himself in prison and joined a group of “jailhouse lawyers” who assist other inmates with l…

Body Cameras Are Betraying Their Promise

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[They’re not transparent. They’re not independent. They’re not even turned on when they should be. You have police who argue that a shooting wasn't premeditated when the cameras were on before and after a fatal shooting but mysteriously off at the moment the death occurred. *RON*]

Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 30 September 2016
When they were introduced to the American public two years ago, police body-cameras seemed like they might help everyone. Police departments liked that body cams reduced the number of public complaints about officer behavior. Communities and protesters liked that they would introduce some transparency and accountability to an officer’s actions.

Today, research suggests that body cameras significantly reduce the number of public complaints about police. But recent events subvert the idea that the devices help or increase the power of regular people—that is, the policed. Instead of making officers more accountable and tra…

Civil Forfeiture: Legalized Government Robbery

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[The title says it all. I'd be amazed if such forms of robbery by police prove to be constitutional in the end. This is a direct result of austerity policies, and you can bet your booties that rich white men are not in the majority of those being pulled over. *RON*]

By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News, 5 October 16
California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law last week that would prohibit the police from seizing property – and money – from individuals without due process. Politicians, bloggers, and others on both the left and the right called the move “historic” and “one of the most important reforms for civil forfeiture in years.” Even The New York Times, in its October 2 print edition, called it a rare example of the left and right uniting to “rein in government abuse of civil forfeiture.”

The previous California law required a criminal conviction for forfeitures under $25,000. But local police in the state circumvented that by…

Austerity Obsession is Pushing EU Into Crisis Warns Stiglitz

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[In Stiglitz view austerity is bad in itself in a recession, but it also has the worst consequences, under the EU, for smaller, weaker economies that can't exert the usual nationally-controlled stabilizers because their economies are, in important ways, centrally controlled. *RON*]

Robert Hackwell, EuroNews, 6 October 2016

‘The main problem of the eurozone is the single currency itself’ ; so says Jozeph Stiglitz. The Nobel prize-winning economist insists that the monetary union shouldn’t have been created the way it was and now we see that this experiment was flawed from the start.

However the World Bank’s ex-chief economist believes it can still be fixed.

Oleksandra Vakulina, euronews: “Mr, Stiglitz, thank you for being part of the Global Conversation on euronews. Your latest book is called : ‘The Euro; how a common currency threatens the future of Europe’. Is there a way to save the monetary union and to make it prosper?”

Consumer Internet prices could drop after CRTC slashes wholesale rates, analysts say

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[This is a motivation of sorts to move to a smaller provider. The big ones, like Rogers, will want to increase consumer prices to make up for these 'losses'. (I use sneer quotes since they're not really losses, just claw-backs to their proposed, and incredibly venal, pricing for their wholesale product.) As noted, though, it's possible that this creates a niche for smaller, wanna-be providers to break through and, potentially, compete on price. I say potentially because it's not like the smaller providers are such Robin Hoods either. *RON*]

Emily Jackson, Financial Post, 7 October 2016

The federal telecom regulator’s decision to axe wholesale rates for high-speed Internet could hurt the bottom line for Canada’s largest providers, but ultimately result in lower prices and more choice for consumers, analysts say.

Why is the CEO of a big Canadian bank giving speeches about climate change and pipelines?

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[McKay hinted at what’s on the line for his company when he stated, "RBC [Royal Bank of Canada] has a big stake in Canada getting this right." Translation: we're such conservative dinosaurs that we invested to the gills in Big Oil. If it goes belly up, we go right along with it." And the Trudeau government just can't wait to applaud the sentiment. *RON*]

By Shannon Daub & Bill Carroll, Corporate Mapping Project, 6 October 2016

Royal Bank of Canada CEO David McKay made a few headlines last week when he offered his thoughts to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce on the energy and climate challenges facing Canada. In his speech he called on the federal government to help get fossil fuel resources to market by approving new bitumen pipelines and other infrastructure. Doing so, he argued, is essential to the transition to a “cleaner economy.”

And it seems he has the ear of Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Environment and C…