Monday, March 09, 2015

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Robert Reich discusses how outsized corporate influence in the U.S. has kept the general public from sharing in any nominal economic improvements:
The U.S. economy is picking up steam but most Americans aren’t feeling it. By contrast, most European economies are still in bad shape, but most Europeans are doing relatively well.

What’s behind this? Two big facts.

First, American corporations exert far more political influence in the United States than their counterparts exert in their own countries.

In fact, most Americans have no influence at all. That’s the conclusion of Professors Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University, who analyzed 1,799 policy issues — and found that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

Instead, American lawmakers respond to the demands of wealthy individuals (typically corporate executives and Wall Street moguls) and of big corporations – those with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns.

The second fact is most big American corporations have no particular allegiance to America. They don’t want Americans to have better wages. Their only allegiance and responsibility to their shareholders — which often requires lower wages  to fuel larger profits and higher share prices.
- And LOLGOP notes that the Republicans remain firmly devoted to making matters even worse.
But Carol Goar writes that in Canada, we're seeing a strong push for a guaranteed annual income which could work wonders in eliminating precarity.

- Karl Nerenberg reports on Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien's concerns about the Cons' terror bill. Dr. Dawg points out disturbing similarities between CSIS' new mandate under C-51 and the FBI's orders to disrupt the U.S. civil rights movement. And Eleanor Bader discusses the FBI's outright control of some leftist groups even after its role in sabotaging civil rights had been exposed.

- Meanwhile, Evan Dyer notes that even the Cons' Australian counterparts were willing to answer a shooting with transparency rather than secrecy and fear - meaning that Stephen Harper's preference for the latter is a matter of choice rather than inevitability. And Laura Stone reports that Canada's top defence officials offered a far more reasonable perspective on the Ottawa shooting than the Cons' - including express recognition that it didn't involve "linkages" to any other activity.

- Finally, Trish Hennessy's latest Index exposes the frequency of violence against women in Canada.

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