Poor, to still poor…

Aug 6, 2018

CBC News – Mark Gollam
Ford government ditched basic income pilot project before any data landed, researcher says

The basic income project was a pilot study set up in April 2017 by the previous Liberal government to test the assumptions of providing a level of basic income to poor people.  The study, thus far, has no results and will not likely provide any conclusions.  Intended as a three year and $150 million dollar program, the pre-mature cancellation without the data pursued in the design leaves 4,000 families in four communities high and dry: Hamilton, Brantford, Thunder Bay and Lindsay.  More importantly, justification for the cancellation voiced by Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod is most certainly faulty.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/basic-income-pilot-project-ford-cancel-1.4771343   Related article: Toronto Star – Natalie Paddon   Six Ontarians talk about their life before, after and, once again, without basic income   https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2018/08/02/i-may-end-up-homeless-again-six-ontarians-talk-about-their-life-before-after-and-once-again-without-basic-income.html   Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (Aug. 1, 2018)  Tories target the poor with bad welfare changes   https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2018/08/01/cutting-a-planned-increase-for-welfare-recipients-by-half-and-axing-a-basic-income-pilot-program-is-misguided-and-a-false-economy.html   Related article: Global News  Jane Gerster   Reality check: does social assistance disincentivize people from working?  https://globalnews.ca/news/4367291/does-welfare-make-people-stop-working/    Related article: National Newswatch – Catherine L. Mah,   Dalhousie University    Basic income: A no-brainer in economic hard times   https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2018/08/03/basic-income-a-no-brainer-in-economic-hard-times/#.W2R8argnY2x   Related article: National Newswatch – Paola Loriggio, Canadian Press     Ontario government defends move to axe basic income pilot project  https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2018/08/01/ontario-government-defends-move-to-axe-basic-income-pilot-project-3/#.W2R-S7gnY2w

CBC News – Farrah Merali
PCs ‘playing politics with people’s lives’ on injection sites, drug policy expert warns

Critics think she isn’t going to find any of the clinical evidence of harmful effects for Ontario’s present safe injection sites.  Ontario’s new Health Minister Christine Elliot was defending the review of the practices by her ministry in spite of overwhelming and frequently duplicated study results such as those in 2012 by Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi, a physician and researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital:  “We found there is good evidence that supervised consumption sites have a number of positive effects, including decreased needle sharing, decreased overdoses in neighbourhoods around supervised consumption sites, and increased referral of people to programs that help them with their drug use.”   No one is sure why the ministry wants a review unless it is an ideological objection to the sites. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/supervised-injection-sites-waiting-1.4771143

Sentencing Project (US) – Marc Mauer
Capitalizing on Mass Incarceration: U.S. Growth in Private Prisons

Mauer offers a 22 page pdf describing the impact of private prisons in an era of mass incarceration.  He describes the history of the growth in private prisons as well as the challenges and reach of the private prisons, arriving at some recommendations regarding the industry.  Finally, he offers a profile (with trends and stats) of the private prisons in specific states: Florida, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina and Texas.  https://www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Capitalizing-on-Mass-Incarceration.pdf?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=35b802b2-5444-4a66-9f7c-a141a75bcaf2

BC Tyee – Crawford Killian
Fourteen Steps to Fascism: How do Trump’s America and Canada stack up against Umberto Eco’s prescient prescription for ‘Ur-Fascism’?

Killian picks up on 14 points which characterize the historic fascism as Eco experienced as a boy in World War II Italy.  Eco, and Dr. Sarah Churchwell, a U.S. professor at the University of London offer the 14 points as a check list to see how much drift has occurred since then.  Churchwell suggests that we only need one of the points to allow the coalescence of the rest and the larger fascist thrust.  How scary that Donald Trump, Jr., is now alleging that the US democrats are now displaying signs of fascism! https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2018/07/30/Fourteen-Steps-To-Fascism/   Related article: The Hill (US) – Morgan Gstalter  Trump Jr. compares modern-day DNC to 1930s Nazi platform   http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/400138-donald-trump-jr-compares-modern-day-dnc-to-1930s-nazi-party    Related article:  CNN – Eli Watkins  Trump Jr. says the Democratic Party platform is similar to the Nazis’    https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/02/politics/donald-trump-jr-dinesh-dsouza/index.html         Related article: BC Tyee – Brian Budd   Lessons in Fighting Right-Wing Populism – Ford Nation routed centre-left parties. Here’s how they should fight back.   https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2018/07/25/Fighting-Right-Wing-Populism/   Related article: Policy Options – Keith Neuman   In spite of growing populist trends, Canadians’ confidence in major public institutions has remained steady for the past decade.   http://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/august-2018/canadians-confidence-in-national-institutions-steady/

CBC News – Robert Rocha
Data sheds light on how Russian Twitter trolls targeted Canadians – Tweets tried to sow discord on asylum seekers, Syria and pipelines

The furor over the Russian interference in US politics and public life may leave us a little smug.  This report from the Rocha may give reason to pause and reflect on the potential and reality around Russian efforts to sow discord in Canada.  Most of the conclusions are based on research from Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren, two professors at South Carolina’s Clemson University.  Their research, published by Five-Thirty-Eight website into activities by the Internet Research Agency (IRA) was at the heart of the analysis in the US interference.  The report incudes a division of the types of social media behaviours found in Canada.  While the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) “has assessed the threats to Canada and “did not observe nation-states using cyber capabilities with the intent of influencing the democratic process in Canada… A CSE report, however, says it will be watching for such activity ahead of the 2019 federal election.   http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/russian-twitter-trolls-canada-targeted-1.4772397

N.Y. Times (US) – Elisabetta Povoledo and Laurie Goodstein
Pope Francis Declares Death Penalty Unacceptable in All Cases

Pope Francis has not only declared the death penalty wrong in all cases but he is pledging the Catholic Church’s moral authority to work world-wide to defeat its use and application.  Executions are “an attack” on human dignity, the Vatican announced on Thursday, adding that the church would work “with determination” to abolish capital punishment worldwide.”  The advocacy for the end of the death penalty will be very confrontational in the US where the death penalty is often vigorously pursued and many at both state and federal levels of the government and the judiciary are professing Catholics.  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/02/world/europe/pope-death-penalty.html

 The Guardian (UK) – Keith Kahn-Harris
Denialism: what drives people to reject the truth

This article is a timely piece for us living in an age of sharp divisions and political tribalism.  Kahn-Harris distinguishes everyday denial and a more serious denialism which achieves far more than simple denial.  Says Kahn-Harris:   “Denialism is a mix of corrosive doubt and corrosive credulity.”  To elaborate:  “Denialism is more than just another manifestation of the humdrum intricacies of our deceptions and self-deceptions. It represents the transformation of the everyday practice of denial into a whole new way of seeing the world and – most important – a collective accomplishment. Denial is furtive and routine; denialism is combative and extraordinary. Denial hides from the truth, denialism builds a new and better truth.”  https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/aug/03/denialism-what-drives-people-to-reject-the-truth?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=The+Long+Read+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=282684&subid=25659394&CMP=longread_collection

Vera Institute of Justice (US) – Jacob Kang-Brown and Jack Norton
More than a Jail: Immigrant detention and the Smell of Money

Replete with photos this link and the Vera project In our backyard  attempt to illustrate that the lure of money from renting jail cells to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a prominent part of the US immigration scene, nationally and locally.  In this case, a small jurisdiction in rural southern Florida has a jail with extra cells beyond the local law needs, so they rent the cells to ICE.  “It brings to light the complicity between the public and private sectors in the continuation and growth of mass incarceration.”  Ironically, the strategy for local profit was brought to light by the Internal Revenue Service’s declaration that this use of the public facility is not eligible for tax free status.  https://www.vera.org/in-our-backyards-stories/glades-county-more-than-a-jail