Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Monday, June 30, 2014

How Did the FBI Miss Over 1 Million Rapes?

Earlier this month, a 911 dispatcher in Ohio was recorded telling a 20-year-old woman who had just been raped to “quit crying.” After she provided a description of her assailant, the caller went on to say, “They’re not going to be able to find him with the information that you’ve given.” This incident had its viral moment, sparking outrage at the dispatcher’s lack of empathy. But it also speaks to the larger issue of how we are counting rapes in the United States. Sixty-nine percent of police departments surveyed in 2012 said that dispatchers like this one, often with little training, are authorized to do the initial coding of sexual assault crimes.

Will the Government Finally Regulate the Most Predatory Industry in America?

When Dana Jones first heard about payday loans, she was struggling to pay for prescriptions for her mother, who had been struck suddenly with mental illness. She borrowed a small amount that first time—just $50, she remembers—and paid it back when she got her next paycheck. It seemed simple enough, so she began drawing regularly on short-term credit. “I really thought it was a loan that worked like any other loan I had gotten from finance companies,” said Jones, who lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “I just didn’t know.”

Lukaszuk Says Redford Should Consider Resigning MLA Seat

EDMONTON - An Alberta Tory leadership candidate says Alison Redford needs to consider whether she's fit to serve as a member of the legislature given revelations the former premier had a travelling trip planner that billed $330,000 in expenses.

"I'm at a point right now where I think I'm tired of talking about the member for Calgary-Elbow," Thomas Lukaszuk said in an interview Thursday referring to Redford's seat.

Stephen Harper Failing To Protect Charter Rights, Lawyers Claim

OTTAWA - The Harper government is falling short in its duty as a guardian of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Bar Association will be told Friday in a major speech.

Simon Potter, a past president of the association, is to deliver that scathing message in the keynote address to the day-long conference on the state of constitutional law in Canada.

CBC Cuts Will Hit Evening News, In-House Production, Jobs

TORONTO - The CBC is slashing some 20 per cent of its workforce over the next five years, while cutting back evening newscasts and in-house production and raising the possibility of selling its flagship headquarters in Toronto.

During a heated town hall with employees Thursday, the broadcaster announced its five-year strategic plan. President Hubert Lacroix unveiled sweeping changes designed to shift the CBC's priorities from radio and television to digital and mobile services.

Canadians imprisoned abroad: There are more of them than you think

There's something about a Canadian passport that offers its owner a degree of confidence. After all, in the hierarchy of citizenships, Canada ranks near the top. A Canadian passport can get you into 170 countries without a visa.
But it can't get you out of jail; even if it's clear that you've been wrongfully accused.
Along with the widely publicized sentencing of a Canadian journalist in Egypt, several other Canadians are currently being held abroad under dubious circumstances and critics say the Canadian government has repeatedly let them down.

Feds Quintuple Allowed Catch on Endangered Salmon Species

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is allowing commercial fishermen to catch five times as many endangered coho salmon in anticipation of this year's massive sockeye run on the Fraser River.

Conservationists are outraged with the federal decision, which they say will further threaten the coho species in the rush to allow fishermen a greater catch during the annual sockeye return. This year's return is expected to be tremendous, as high as 70 million fish.

The boss has gone crazy! He's giving away new uniforms! At $4.5 million, they're practically free!

After checking the date to make sure it wasn’t still April 1, many Canadians must have wondered if the Harper Government had completely taken leave of its senses whenthey learned last week we taxpayers are about to fork over $4.5 million so Canadian Forces officers can have British-style crowns and pips on their epaulettes again, and naval officers big loopy gold braids on their sleeves.
Well, that will scare the hell of Vladimir Putin, now, won't it?
Not that $4.5 million for regimental fripperies seems like very much to a government that has added a couple of hundred billion free-floating Canadian Credionias to the national debt since taking over from the Liberals, who had quietly been paying it down.

‘It’s unconstitutional’: lawyer Rocco Galati targets Conservative citizenship law

OTTAWA – Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati has launched yet another Constitutional challenge against the Conservative government – this time to do with a recently-passed citizenship law.

In court documents filed Wednesday, Galati says changes to the Citizenship Act are unconstitutional because they give Parliament the authority to strip Canadian-born citizens of their citizenship.

“If you can place the citizenship of Canadian-born citizens into chaos and uncertainty, well the entire bedrock for your democracy goes,” Galati said in an interview.

Why everyone should care about the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

With recent media scandals about the abuse of temporary foreign workers and the subsequent outrage about migrant workers stealing Canadians' jobs, Minister Jason Kenney has announced a number of changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program on June 20, 2014.
But these reforms are band-aid measures that maintain the legal exploitation of migrant workers. Coupled with increased Canadian Border Services Agency funding, migrant workers can now be removed more quickly -- within two years. Such reforms cater to reactionary sentiments to privilege Canadians and "get rid of migrant workers" without addressing the structural abuse inherent to the program. The fanfare about stricter penalties for employers is a PR stunt since employer sanctions will be based on workers' complaints to the government (totally unlikely!) Migrant workers will continue to be indentured to a single employer, won't have guaranteed access to social services or labour protections, and will not be granted permanent residency upon arrival.

The elephant in the room; Or, students bear the cost of the corporate university

The firing of outspoken University of Saskatchewan Dean Robert Buckingham this May raised questions not only of academic freedom, but of the ongoing transformation of Canadian post-secondary institutions as sites of private profit rather than public education. is proud to launch this special summer series on the corporatization of Canadian universities, by USask Professors Sandy Ervin and Howard Woodhouse. See their first entry: How to make USask 'The People's University' once again.
We have often been asked, "What is going on at the University of Saskatchewan?" The answer, we would maintain, is an appropriation of a younger generation's future wealth -- reflecting larger injustices.

Oilsands Moratorium, Big-Picture Thinking Needed: Academics

Canada needs a moratorium on new oilsands projects and pipelines, says a group of Canadian and U.S. academics.

In a comment article in the prominent science journal Nature, they argue that leaders have to stop considering the industry's development project by project and start thinking about the big picture.

"Governments have allowed corporations to profit from one-off policy decisions," the academics write in the article. "The collective result of these decisions is unnecessarily high social, economic and environmental costs."

Can the President Strike an American Anywhere in the World?: Drone Memo Raises Troubling Questions

During a three-month span in 2011, U.S. drones killed four American citizens overseas. On September 30, cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were killed in a drone strike in Yemen. Two weeks later, another U.S. drone killed Anwar’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, in Yemen. A month later, a U.S. citizen named Jude Kenan Mohammad was killed in Pakistan. For the past two-and-a-half years, the Obama administration has refused to release its legal rationale for killing American citizens overseas. That changed on Monday when a federal court released a heavily redacted 41-page memo. It concludes the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force gave the U.S. government the authority to target Anwar al-Awlaki, who the Obama administration claims had joined al-Qaeda. On Capitol Hill, Sen. Ron Wyden praised the release of the memo but said it raises many questions. Wyden asked, "How much evidence does the president need to determine that a particular American is a legitimate target for military action? Can the president strike an American anywhere in the world?" Questions also remain over when the United States can kill non-U.S. citizens. We speak to Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.

Author: -0-

A Black College Student Has The Same Chances Of Getting A Job As A White High School Dropout

African-American students need to complete two more levels of education to have the same probability of getting a job as their white peers, a new study by Young Invincibles finds.
The researchers looked at data mainly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census, isolating the effects of race and education on unemployment. They found that an African-American male with an associates degree has around the same chance of getting a job as a white male with just a high school diploma. “At every level of education, race impacts a person’s chance of getting a job,” Tom Allison, a research manager and one of the study’s authors, told ThinkProgress.

'Neighborhoods Are Not War Zones'

Police said there was no way they could have known a baby was inside a home they stormed with a "no-knock" drug warrant at 3 a.m.

But a "flash grenade" tossed by a SWAT team officer landed in Bounkham Phonesavanh's crib, badly burning the 19-month-old and leaving holes in his face and chest that exposed his ribs. Today, weeks after the May 28 raid on the house outside Atlanta, it's not clear whether the child his family calls "Baby Bou Bou" will survive. Sheriff Joey Terrell of Habersham County, Georgia, called the incident "a terrible accident that was never supposed to happen."

Federal Judge Rules No-Fly List Is Unconstitutional

June 24 (Reuters) - The U.S. government's no-fly list banning people accused of links to terrorism from commercial flights violates their constitutional rights because it gives them no meaningful way to contest that decision, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Anna Brown, ruling on a lawsuit filed in federal court in Oregon by 13 Muslim Americans who were branded with the no-fly status, ordered the government to come up with new procedures that allow people on the no-fly list to challenge that designation.

House Passes Bill To Aid Koch Brothers, Deregulate Wall Street

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a financial deregulation package that would benefit the Koch brothers and the nation's largest banks by a vote of 265-143.

The legislation would significantly weaken elements of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law dealing with derivatives -- the complex products at the heart of the 2008 meltdown. Many components of the bill approved Tuesday had previously passed the House with bipartisan support. However, Democratic backing had been weakest on the most controversial measure, which allows U.S. firms to skirt domestic regulations on some derivatives by conducting trades through offshore affiliates in other major financial centers.

Prominent Republican Lawyer Says Ted Cruz Sounds Like A Racist

A leading Republican litigator argued on Tuesday that Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) opposition to marriage equality was reminiscent of the sentiment advanced by racists during the 1970s. Ted Olson made the accusation during an appearance on SiriusXM radio’s The Agenda.
A new New Yorker article by Jeffrey Toobin quotes a Cruz speech this month in which the first-term Senator condemned the Supreme Court’s ruling that effectively struck down down California’s unconstitutional Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. Cruz told the Texas Republican Convention that “marriage is under assault,” adding, “You want to know what judicial activism is? Judicial activism is judges imposing their policy preferences on the words of the Constitution.”

So Begins the Slow March Back into Iraq and Toward Disaster

Imagine the president, speaking on Iraq from the White House Press Briefing Room last Thursday, as the proverbial deer in the headlights—and it’s not difficult to guess just what those headlights were. Think of them as Benghazi on steroids. If the killing of an American ambassador, a Foreign Service officer and two CIA private security contractors could cause almost two years of domestic political uproar, unending Republican criticism and potential damage to the president’s “legacy,” consider what an Iraq in shambles and a terrorist state stretching across “the Levant” might do. It’s hardly surprising, then, that a president regularly described as “reluctant” nonetheless stepped before the press corps and began the slow march back into Iraq and toward disaster.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Denmark's Welfare System Means It Has One Of The Narrowest Wealth Gaps In The World

COPENHAGEN - This is what it's like to live in Denmark, a nation with a narrower wealth gap than almost anywhere else: You've been jobless for more than a year. You have no university degree, no advanced skills. You have to pay a mortgage. And your husband is nearing retirement.

You aren't worried.

If you're 51-year-old Lotte Geleff, who lost her job as an office clerk in January 2013, you know you'll receive an unemployment benefit of 10,500 kroner ($1,902) a month after taxes for up to two years. You're part of a national system of free health care and education for everyone, job training, subsidized child care, a generous pension system and fuel subsidies and rent allowances for the elderly.

And high taxes.

Oilsands wages driving push for temporary foreign workers

If you are a temporary foreign worker in Fort McMurray, the gap between your wage and the wage that workers earn in the oilsands sector is immense.
On average a worker in a fast food outlet in Fort McMurray — and there are lots of them in a place where at almost any time of day there is a long line of pick-up trucks waiting at the drive-thru — earns $14 to $17 an hour. If it’s part-time work, which it usually is, that works out to $400 to $500 week at the most.
In the oil and gas sector in Alberta where wages are mostly driven by the fierce competition for all kinds of labour in the oilsands industry, the average weekly wage as of December 2013 was $2,067, up 73 per cent from 2001.

Moms change diapers, Dads form leaders: Justice minister’s emails to staff

OTTAWA - Justice Minister Peter MacKay raised eyebrows in his department with two very different tributes to female and male employees for Mother's Day and Father's Day this year.

Emails obtained by The Canadian Press show that in May, MacKay saluted mothers in the department for holding down two full-time jobs — at home and at work.

"By the time many of you have arrived at the office in the morning, you’ve already changed diapers, packed lunches, run after school buses, dropped kids off at daycare, taken care of an aging loved one and maybe even thought about dinner," MacKay said of the moms in a staff-wide memo that went out to thousands of employees before Mother's Day.

No, Northern Gateway Is Not a Nation Builder

Martha Hall Findlay, a former Liberal MP, wants all good Canadians to say yes to Northern Gateway.

In a recent Globe and Mail commentary, the executive fellow for University of Calgary School of Public Policy (funded in part by Imperial Oil) writes that you simply can't build a nation by saying no to a pipeline.

It will bring us that ever-popular deity, prosperity. Prosperity for us, and for generations to come.

Who cares about the truth when you’ve got a hefty ad budget?

Stephen Harper has made an amendment to the old saying that bullshit baffles brains: marketing trumps all.

Care to play Snakes and Leaders Stevie-style? Easy-peazy. You screw the veterans and then divert attention by surrounding sporting events with commercials saying what a swell job you’re doing for them. The veterans will know you are a fat-faced liar, but that doesn’t matter. They are old and expendable — a disappearing demographic of no political importance. There’s no political upside to them.

There Are 1,401 Uninspected High-Risk Oil and Gas Wells. Here's Where They Are.

Johnson County, Wyoming, is the kind of remote, quiet Western community wherelife revolves around cattle—it was the site of an infamous 19th-century armed battle between cowboys and suspected cattle rustlers. The county ranks only 11th statewide for oil production, but it holds the No. 1 ranking nationwide for a more ignominious distinction: It has 249 new, high-risk oil and gas wells that the federal government has failed to inspect for compliance with safety and environmental standards.

The Ghoulish Face of Empire

The black-clad fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, sweeping a collapsing army and terrified Iraqis before them as they advance toward Baghdad, reflect back to us the ghoulish face of American empire. They are the specters of the hundreds of thousands of people we murdered in our deluded quest to remake the Middle East. They are ghosts from the innumerable roadsides and villages where U.S. soldiers and Marines, jolted by explosions of improvised explosive devices, responded with indiscriminate fire. They are the risen remains of the dismembered Iraqis left behind by blasts of Hellfire and cruise missiles, howitzers, grenade launchers and drone strikes. They are the avengers of the gruesome torture and the sexual debasement that often came with being detained by American troops. They are the final answer to the collective humiliation of an occupied country, the logical outcome of Shock and Awe, the Frankenstein monster stitched together from the body parts we left scattered on the ground. They are what we get for the $4 trillion we wasted on the Iraq War.

Isis threat justifies greater surveillance powers in UK, says Liam Fox

Britain's security services may need to be given greater powers of surveillance to monitor extremists from Isis when they return home to Britain from Iraq and Syria, the former defence secretary Liam Fox has said.

A majority of people will accept that an "ideological battle" means that the authorities will need greater powers to intercept the communications of extremists, Fox said.

Why I'm for Massive Civil Disobedience

The Conservative government's decision to approve the Northern Gateway pipeline is the greatest threat to national unity since the Quebec crisis in 1995. It is reminiscent of Pierre Trudeau's National Energy Program of 1980 except in that case the program could be and was cancelled. It is, simply put, an "up yours" to our province.

What we must understand is that there will be spills and serious spills along this pipeline. This is a certainty. Enbridge's own record demonstrates this but the law of averages makes it certain.

It's worse than that. Because of the terrain over which the pipeline would go, access to the spills is all but denied. One only has to look at a map to see that there is no more hostile territory in the world for a pipeline.

Northern Gateway and National Aboriginal Day: Reconciliation postponed

We're at a watershed moment for Canada, one where we have the opportunity to carry on as we always have in our relationship with Indigenous peoples, or one where we can move forward in new, more respectful ways. Which path will we choose?
On June 17, the federal government signalled that it was content with the status quo when it approved  construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline, a bitumen viaduct that will cross the Arctic and Pacific Ocean watersheds, travelling though the traditional territories  of more than 100 First Nations. While the approval is conditional on meeting the review panel's 209 recommendations and improving relations with Indigenous Peoples along the pipeline's path, the review panel's ecological conclusions have been critiqued by a panel of 300 scientists, and the consultation process with First Nations has been characterized by government's own experts as deeply flawed.

Narendra Modi's Hindi-only-tweets order stirs fears of India language shift

Narendra Modi's landslide victory in the Indian general election last month marked a turning point in the country's politics – but it has also resulted in a radical change in the country's language of power.

India's home ministry has instructed civil servants in Delhi to use Hindi rather than English in all their communications on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, it emerged this week. Hindi is to also get priority on all government websites.

Profit in passport chaos? Passport Office makes £13 per application

The Passport Office was accused of "profiting from public hardship" after it was revealed it is making a £13 surplus on every passport it issues.

MPs have been told that it is now having to spend nearly a £1m in a month on overtime as it attempts to deal with the chaos of 490,000 outstanding applications.

Detailed Passport Office figures also confirm that the closure of overseas passport posts has caused a significant increase in applications this year.

Egypt sentences Muslim Brotherhood leader and 182 followers to death

An Egyptian court has confirmed death sentences against the leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and at least 182 of his supporters.

The court's decision came two months after it referred the case against the Brotherhood's "general guide", Mohamed Badie, and hundreds of others to the state's highest religious authority, the grand mufti, the first step towards imposing a death sentence.

Enbridge approval ‘declared war’ on the rights Indigenous people

Three days after the federal government granted approval to the $7-billion Enbridge Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline, a group of women in Gitgaat First Nation held the first — albeit symbolic — blockade of the controversial project.

It is no doubt the first of many to come, as opposition continues amongst many First Nations in the province, who say they will never back down and allow the project through regardless of government rulings.

Stephen Harper: EI Rule Changes Have Nothing To Do With People Leaving Maritimes

CHARLOTTETOWN - The flow of workers from Eastern to Western Canada has nothing to do with changes to employment insurance, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday.

Harper was asked about outmigration and what, if any, relationship it may have to EI changes while he was in Prince Edward Island, a province where those changes have been met with protest.

Here's What Canada's Public School Classrooms Look Like If Teachers Don't Buy Supplies

Teachers at public schools in British Columbia, Canada, went on a full-scale strike Tuesday.

The British Columbia Teachers' Federation and the government are locked in a bitter labor dispute over wages, class sizes and additional support for students. The strike effectively ended the school year early for public school students.
It's no secret that a lot of classroom materials -- from books to supplies to decorations -- are purchased by teachers themselves. But the magnitude of teachers' contributions and dedication to their students really becomes clear when the teachers remove their belongings.

Prosecutors: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Part Of 'Criminal Scheme'

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Newly released documents show prosecutors are alleging Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was at the center of a nationwide "criminal scheme" to illegally coordinate with outside conservative groups.

The documents were filed as part of an ongoing lawsuit challenging the probe by the conservative group Wisconsin Club for Growth. They were ordered publicly released Thursday by a federal appeals court judge after prosecutors and the Wisconsin Club for Growth did not object.

One of the filings from prosecutors outlines previously unknown details about the investigation that began in 2012 as Walker was facing a recall election.

Prosecutors say Walker, his chief of staff and others who worked for him were discussing illegal coordination with a number of national groups and prominent figures, including GOP strategist Karl Rove.

Original Article
Author: AP  | By SCOTT BAUER

Canadian Forces' return to old-style ranks, insignia costs millions

At a time of federal belt-tightening, the Conservative government's return to World War II-era ranks and insignia will require new dress uniforms for Canadian soldiers and naval officers at a cost of $4.5 million.

Defence Department figures show the bulk of that cost — $3.1 million — will go to buy new jackets for the dark green dress uniforms army officers wear to formal events and on parades.

A similar change for naval officers — the addition of a curl to the top bar of their traditional naval rank — has a cost of $1.35 million, the Defence Department says.

Northern Gateway and class politics in British Columbia: Ready for war?

But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence… illusion only is sacred, truth profane. Nay sacredness is held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness.
- Feuerbach, Preface to the second edition of The Essence of Christianity

Russia Resumes Military Buildup Near Ukraine Border: NATO

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia is resuming its military buildup along the Ukrainian border in an apparent attempt to intimidate its neighbor, NATO's chief said Thursday as Ukrainian government forces unleashed a major offensive against pro-Moscow insurgents.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, voicing strong concern about the Ukrainian military onslaught. Putin said he expects Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to immediately launch his plan to end the violence, the Kremlin said.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Bill S-4 Passes Senate, Despite Supreme Court Ruling Against Warrantless Access

The Supreme Court of Canada last week declared that access to telecom subscribers’ personal information requires a court warrant.

This week, despite a warning from Canada’s privacy commissioner, the Harper government is moving ahead with legislation that greatly expands warrantless access to subscriber data.

Exclusive: Inside the Koch Brothers’ Secret Billionaire Summit

Charles and David Koch wrapped up their annual summer seminar on June 16 in Dana Point, California, at the St. Regis Monarch Bay resort—a fitting location for two men whose combined net worth is more than $100 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The highly secretive mega-donor conference, called “American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society,” featured a who’s who of Republican political elites. According to conference documents obtained through a source who was in attendance, Representatives Tom Cotton (AR), Cory Gardner (CO) and Jim Jordan (OH) were present, as were Senators Mitch McConnell (KY) and Marco Rubio (FL). Cotton, Gardner and McConnell are all running for the Senate this year; Jordan for re-election in the House. Rubio is widely considered a major contender for a 2016 presidential run. According to the documents, the conference attendees discussed strategy on campaign finance, climate change, healthcare, higher education and opportunities for taking control of the Senate. (The draft agenda is available for viewing here.)

Up Close and Personal With George W. Bush’s Horrifying Legacy

The Iraq disaster remains George W. Bush’s enduring folly, and the Republican attempt to shift the blame to the Obama presidency is obscene nonsense. This was, and will always be, viewed properly as Bush’s quagmire, a murderous killing field based on blatant lies.

This showcase of American deceit, obvious to the entire world, began with the invented weapons of mass destruction threat that Bush, were he even semi-cognizant of the intelligence data, must have known represented an egregious fraud. So was his nonsensical claim that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, when in fact he was Osama bin Laden’s most effective Arab opponent.

Ebola Kills 7 In Liberia, Health Official Says

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — A health official says seven people believed to have the Ebola virus have died in recent days in the Liberian capital, in the first reported deaths in Monrovia.

Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah told The Associated Press on Tuesday that brings to 16 the number of people believed to have died from the virus in the West African country since the outbreak began.

The deaths are worrying because no new cases had been confirmed in Liberia in more than two months.

The outbreak appears to have begun in neighboring Guinea and has also spread to Sierra Leone. In all, the World Health Organization says nearly 250 people have died of the virus, which causes severe bleeding and high fever.

Original Article
Author: AP


The United States now faces the possibility of its third intervention in Iraq. On paper, the two earlier wars quickly achieved their military goals. In 1991, a muscular alliance of thirty-four nations, led by the United States, forced Iraq to withdraw from the tiny city-state of Kuwait in a mere six weeks. In 2003, President Saddam Hussein, after twenty-four years in power, fled Baghdad just three weeks after a token “coalition of the willing” invaded. Yet both wars were ultimately political failures, and the new challenge in Iraq may prove to be even deadlier, with sweeping regional repercussions. Given its deepening sectarian and ethnic divisions—and the absence of a cohesive or effective military—the modern Iraqi state may not hold. Neighboring Syria is already shattered, and the Middle East map—defined by European powers a century ago—may be redrawn, either de facto or formally. Globally, the jihadist threat has never been greater.

Nobody’s a Critic - Who holds journalists to account in Canada?

CANADIANS often lament our lack of an equivalent to Jon Stewart’s Daily Show (no, the Rick Mercer Report does not count), but that barely describes the dire state of media criticism in this country. The United States has NPR’s On the Media, Gawker, and numerous blogs and newspaper columns that dissect journalism from various perspectives; we have almost nothing comparable. The UK, beyond its cutthroat Fleet Street wars, has Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipeand the Media Show, both on the BBC. Australia has Media Watch on TV andMedia Report on public radio. Al Jazeera English has Listening Post. Media analysis is an established beat in almost every nation with a free press, and it’s a given that journalists must scrutinize our own profession as diligently as we would any other.

Harper’s foe isn’t the Supreme Court — it’s the Constitution

What a remarkable joke Stephen Harper continues to play on Canada: The law-and-order party is once again making it clear that it’s about as law-abiding as Bonnie and Clyde making a bank withdrawal.

Our desperado PM has done it again. The issue this time is the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice to fill a vacancy from Quebec. Judge Robert Mainville is apparently Harper’s pick this time, after a previous appointment from Quebec — Marc Nadon — was struck down as unconstitutional.

$100B Defence Spending Plan Laid Out For Industry

The Conservative government is proposing more than $100 billion in defence spending on a series of projects that would see the Department of National Defence get new fighter jets, rescue planes, helicopters, drones, ships, satellites, uniforms and even rifles.

The Defence Acquisition Guide is a list of more than 200 separate procurement projects the military hopes to undertake in the next 20 years. The guide is not a rock-solid program, but a road map of sorts for the Canadian defence industrial sector.

Hillary Still Doesn’t Get It on Iraq

The unfortunate re-eruption of warfare in Iraq will lead to many more questions for Hillary Clinton about her past support for the war—a rather unfortunate thing from her point of view, given the issue was a key reason for her 2008 Democratic presidential primary loss.

Iraq War Boosters Get Second Chance In Media Spotlight

NEW YORK -- In Monday’s Wall Street Journal, Paul Bremer criticized the Obama administration’s policy in the Middle East and argued that the United States needs to make “a clear commitment to help restabilize Iraq.”

Notably, Bremer’s op-ed -- “Only America Can Prevent a Disaster in Iraq” -- neglected to mention his own role in helping to destabilize Iraq following the Bush administration’s disastrous 2003 invasion. As U.S. presidential envoy to the nation, Bremer disbanded the Iraqi army at the beginning of the occupation, a critical blunder that was followed by years of sectarian violence.

America Is Globally Shamed For Its Pathetic Minimum Wage

America is treating its low-wage workers so badly that it's starting to get shamed by the rest of the world.

The International Monetary Fund on Monday cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth this year, warned of sluggish growth for years to come, and made a bunch of suggestions for getting America's economic house in order -- including raising the abysmally low federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Iraq crisis: Barack Obama sends in US troops as Isis insurgency worsens

The Obama adminstration has ordered the urgent deployment of several hundred armed troops in and around Iraq, after the rampant insurgency in the country forced the first talks between the US and Iran over a common security interest in more than a decade.

Barack Obama discussed the crisis with national security team on Monday night after earlier notifying Congress that up to 275 troops could be sent to Iraq to provide support and security for personnel and the US embassy in Baghdad.

While Obama has vowed to keep US troops out of combat in Iraq, he said in his notification to Congress that the personnel moving into the region were equipped for direct fighting. In addition, officials told Reuters that the White House was considering sending a contingent of special forces to train and advise beleaguered Iraqi troops, many of whom have fled their posts in the face of the insurgency.

Social media mass surveillance is permitted by law, says top UK official

The true extent of the government's interception of Google, Facebook and Twitter – including private messages between British citizens – has been officially confirmed for the first time.

The government's most senior security official, Charles Farr, detailed how searches on Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as emails to or from non-British citizens abroad, can be monitored by the security services because they are deemed to be "external communications".

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Rockefeller Files: Harper and the Canadian petro-state

By 2012, the U.S. was awash in light sweet crude from (fracked) shale oil deposits in Texas, North Dakota and elsewhere. With Midwest and Gulf Coast refineries configured to take heavy oil, that light crude has been looking for a refining home.
Just months after the 2012 Bilderberg meeting, media reports revealed that Royal Dutch Shell and BP (whose executives were at the secret conclave), trading firm Vitol and three other (unidentified) shale oil producers in the U.S., had applied to tanker their fracked light crude from the U.S. Gulf Coast up to Eastern Canada for refining -- replacing conventional imported oil.

Harper's party of paranoia

Causing great injury to the whole of Canada, Stephen Harper may soon divide the country’s citizens into two classes: those who can have their citizenship revoked if convicted of a crime like terrorism, and those who can’t.

As Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada tells me, by denying dual nationals the rights of other Canadians, Bill C-24 echoes “a very troubling narrative that we hear often, but don’t expect to see in legislation, which equates foreignness with suspicion.”

By threatening some people — but not all — with deprivation of citizenship, the Canadian government isn’t alone; it keeps company with other governments that, together, sustain a global climate of paranoia.

Enbridge Set to Win Canada Approval on Northern Gateway

Enbridge Inc. (ENB) is poised to win government approval as soon as today for its proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to the Pacific coast, a major step for the project that still faces opposition from aboriginal and environmental groups.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet must decide by midnight tomorrow whether to approve the C$6.5 billion ($6 billion) pipeline, which would carry diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands across British Columbia. Canada’s petroleum industry is seeking measures to move landlocked crude to offshore markets with another proposed pipeline, TransCanada Corp’s, Keystone XL, in regulatory limbo in the U.S.

Tony Blair Says ISIS's Success In Iraq Is Due To Failure To Intervene In Syria, Not 2003 Invasion

The looming civil war and bloody insurgency in Iraq were caused by the West's failure to intervene in Syria, not the 2003 invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, Tony Blair has said in a renewed call for military action.

Thousands have fled the sweeping advance of fighters from ISIS, Islamists so extreme they were disavowed by Al Qaeda.

The group has have taken control of large areas including second city Mosul, imposed the death penalty by crucifixion for failing to adhere to strict Islamic law and reportedly beheaded a man and published the video of it.

Average house price in Canada rose 7.1% to $416,584 in May

The average resale price of a Canadian home continued to march higher, with the national real estate association showing it hit $416,584 in May, a rise of 7.1 per cent compared to the same month a year earlier.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said sales activity in Toronto and Vancouver continue to skew the average price higher. If those two cities are stripped out, the average Canadian home is worth $336,373 while the year-over-year increase shrinks to 5.3 per cent.

Rio Police Clash With World Cup Protesters

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 15 (Reuters) - Police blocked a small group of anti-World Cup protesters who were trying to reach the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, before Argentina played Bosnia in the city's first game of the tournament.

About 150 bandanna-clad protesters carrying banners that said "Fifa go home" marched towards the stadium, causing some stores to shut their doors temporarily and one metro station to close briefly.