Russia gains access to the NRA to sway the outcomes of elections, threatening the very underpinnings of our democracy

After Maria Butina Charged for Using NRA to Push Russian Agenda in US, Democrats Demand GOP Hold Gun Group, Trump Accountable: “Something bad happened in 2016 and every day that we in Congress fail to hold Russia and this administration accountable is another day they can chip away at our country’s institutions.” By Jessica Corbett, staff writer, Common Dreams Russian politician …

Elizabeth Denham: ‘Data crimes are real crimes’

By Carole Cadwalladr in The Observer, UK, Sun 15 Jul 2018 02.00 EDT With the publication of an interim report on her investigation into the Brexit referendum, the information commissioner has issued a strong statement of intent against the tech giants  Elizabeth Denham: ‘We still rely on journalists, on civil society, on whistleblowers bringing evidence forward, but as a regulator we need to act on it.’ …

Democracy under threat and need for reform is urgent, says regulator

Electoral Commission asks government to change law after series of online political campaign scandals, by Jim Waterson, The Guardian UK, Mon 25 Jun 2018    Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie addresses a rally in Parliament Square organised by the Fair Vote Project. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo The Electoral Commission has called for urgent reforms to electoral law after a series of online political …

After Long Career Bailing Out Big Banks, Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Now Runs Predatory Firm That Exploits the Poor for Profit: “Your economy, rigged to redistribute wealth to the top.”

Monday, July 02, 2018 by Common Dreams by Jake Johnson, staff writer Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner discusses his book Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises during the Politico Playbook Lunch at The Hamilton May 19, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) After a lengthy government career defined by his central role in bailing out predatory Wall Street banks as former President Barack Obama’s Treasury …

Democracy, public schools and charter schools

Charter schools are at heart a less democratic system than public schools. By Steven Singer on Common Dreams.org, May 2018 Charter schools have turned our children into the products of businesspeople. Enough. (Photo: AgainstAusterity.org) There are good charter schools. I admit that. There are bad public schools. I admit that, too. But if one had to choose between the worst public school and the …

Students as debt slaves, more of an indication of social breakdown. Meanwhile, “What Medicare for All is to the health care debate, or Fight for $15 is to the battle about inequality, 100% Renewable is to the struggle for the planet’s future.”

Excerpt from Students as Debt Slaves, at CommonDreams.org 23 Apr 2018.   Interview those fifty-ish high school educated male workers whom Ann Case and Angus Deaton revealed are dying prematurely from diseases of despair. In a meticulously documented essay on the origins and purpose of money, University of Missouri-Kansas City economist Michael Hudson points out that historians and anthropologists can find no examples of …

Facebook will be better at privacy for Europeans, but Americans, Asians, Africans and the rest of FB users are out of luck

“Just as Standard Oil once cornered 85% of the refined oil market, today Google drives 89% of internet searches, 95% of young adults on the internet use a Facebook product, Amazon accounts for 75% of ebook sales, while Google and Apple combined provide 99% of mobile operating systems” Vince Cable calls for break-up of Google, Facebook and Amazon: Recent scandals have changed …

Agreeing on a democratic alternative, participatory planning and a democratic economy

A decentralized-planned economy or decentrally-planned economy (occasionally horizontally-planned economy) is a type of economic system based on decentralized economic planning, in which decision-making is distributed amongst various economic agents or localized within production units. Decentralized planning is held in contrast to centralized planning where economic information is aggregated and used to formulate a plan for production, investment and resource allocation by a central authority. Decentralised planning can take shape both in …

Introducing students to labor history and worker’s rights

The Nation, March 2018 The young woman in the black sweatshirt was indignant. Across the negotiating table, a stern, occasionally sharp-tongued adversary was refusing to budge—first on wages and then on the organization’s social-media policy. “We’re a hospital,” the woman said with marked intensity. “Don’t you agree that our first responsibility is to our patients?” Nearby, a cluster of people were …

An Internet of ownership: democratic design for the online economy

The following article was published in The Sociological Review 66, no. 2 (March 2018). Updated 2018.02.05. The disappointments of the online economy – for instance, user surveillance and systemic labor abuses – stem at least in part from its failures to meaningfully share ownership and governance with relevant stakeholders. Under the banner of ‘platform cooperativism’, an emerging network of cooperative developers, entrepreneurs, labor …