Category Archives: Governance

Chart of the day II: Drug arrest rate disparities

From Every 25 Seconds: The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States, a joint report from Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union:


Headlines of the day II: The political freak show

First, a handicap, via the New York Times:

Clinton’s Past Leaves Her Muted in Furor Over Trump

  • Amid a swirl of sexual assault accusations against Donald J. Trump, the virtual silence from Hillary Clinton speaks volumes.
  • Her old missteps and her husband’s history have effectively paralyzed her during a moment of widespread outrage.

And a seriously scary offering from the Boston Globe:

Trump’s supporters talk rebellion, assassination at his rallies

  • At a time when trust in government is at a low point, Trump is actively stoking fears that a core tenet of American democracy is also in peril: that you can trust what happens at the ballot box.
  • His supporters here said they plan to go to their local precincts to look for illegal immigrants who may attempt to vote. They are worried that Democrats will load up buses of minorities and take them to vote several times in different areas of the city. They’ve heard rumors that boxes of Clinton votes are already waiting somewhere.
  • And if Trump doesn’t win, some are even openly talking about violent rebellion and assassination, as fantastical and unhinged as that may seem.

Chart of the day: The law enforcement divide

From Gallup:


France ends mandatory transgender sterilization

Goof lord.

Mandatory sterilization?

Although it wasn’t all that long ago, many states in the U.S. mandated sterilization for the “feeble minded,” part of the the same eugenics movement that gave inspiration to Hitler.

From the  Thomson Reuters Foundation:

Rights activists celebrated a major victory in France on Thursday after the country passed legislation allowing transgender people to legally change their gender without undergoing sterilization.

The move comes after a handful of European nations strengthened the rights of transgender people by scrapping requirements such as undergoing medical procedures in order to have their desired gender legally recognized.

Since 2014, Denmark, Malta and Ireland have allowed people to legally change their gender by simply informing authorities, without any medical or state intervention.

The practice of involuntary sterilization has been widely condemned as a human rights violation, including by the United Nations.

Charts of the day II: Monsanto’s lobbying outlay

From Monsanto Lobbying: an attack on us, our planet and democracy, an important new report from Corporate Europe Observatory, two revealing charts, first of Big Agra/GMO giant’s lobbying and election spending in the U.S. [including, in small print, the $8.1 million spent to fight a GMO labeling referendum in California]:


And the corporation’s outlays in the European Union, including company-sponsored front groups:


As CEO reports:

Corporations like Monsanto have limitless resources to buy political power through lobbying. Not only are they represented by numerous lobbying associations at every level from local to global, they also have an army of hired-gun lobbyists, fund scientists to act as their mouthpiece, and participate in ‘greenwashing’ projects.

EU institutions and the US government often actively solicit corporations to lobby them, giving corporations privileged access to decision-making. This perverse symbiosis allows corporations to capture decision-making, but leads to hollowed out democracy, environmental disaster, and grave social injustice.

There are roughly three fields of industry lobbying: directly targeting decision-makers; PR and propaganda; and undermining science. Broadly three types of actors exist: those giving the orders, those following them, and those who are accomplices to these attempts.

Quote of the day: Hillary’s promised payoff

From Jon Schwarz, writing for the Intercept, on one of the secret deals promised by Hillary Clinton in her avid pursuit of corporateer big bucks:

American multinational corporations are currently stashing a staggering $2.4 trillion in profits — about 14 percent of the size of the entire U.S. economy — overseas. Multinationals are required by U.S. law to pay the statutory 35 percent tax on profits they earn anywhere on earth, but the tax is not assessed until the profits are brought back to the U.S.

This has allowed Corporate America to essentially hold U.S. tax revenue hostage, refusing to pay its taxes until Americans become so desperate that they will cut a deal giving multinationals a special new tax rate.

This strategy has already paid off once, in 2004, when multinationals got Congress to let them bring back $312 billion in profits at a one-time rate of about 5 percent. The legislation required that the cash be used to hire Americans or conduct research and development. Corporations ignored these provisions and instead used the money to enrich their executives and stockholders, while cutting U.S. jobs.

Both Hillary and Bill Clinton clearly envision cutting a similar deal during a Hillary Clinton presidency, although presumably they intend for the corporations to keep their part of the bargain this time.

Mexican gov’t launches another Ayotzinapa probe

It’s been more than two years after the 26 September 2014 abduction and disappearance of 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in the state of Guerrero [previously], and still no answers about what happened to the missing students, children of poor families in one of Mexico’s most impoverished regions.

And now the government is launching yet another investigative, this time involving some of the scientists and an international panel which had so thoroughly discredited earlier “investigations.”

From teleSUR English:

Mexico’s Attorney General Arely Gomez said Tuesday that another search for the missing students from Ayotzinapa will be launched next week in the towns of Iguala, Cocula and Guerrero, two years after they were reported disappeared during a clash with federal and local police.

The investigation will involve foreign criminologists, representatives of their relatives and members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Authorities will use a special technology to obtain underground 3-D images, in a bid to find possible mass graves.

In a four-hour press conference, Gomez added that she will continue the investigation against her predecessor Tomas Zeron de Lucio, accused of having modified the crime scene.