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.]

Friday, August 31, 2012

Never Mind Super PACs: How Big Business Is Buying the Election

On January 27, 2010, one year into his term, President Barack Obama used the occasion of his State of the Union address to issue a warning. The Supreme Court had just opened the “floodgates for special interests—including foreign corporations—to spend without limit in our elections.” He was speaking about the ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the Court struck down nearly a century of law, granting corporations vast new leeway to influence the outcome of elections.

Our Low-Wage Recovery: How McJobs Have Replaced Middle Class Jobs

When we think about what the economy has lost since the Great Recession, we tend to consider it in terms of simple addition and subtraction. We said goodbye to more than eight million jobs in the downturn; we've added around four million back. It's easy and dismal math.

But there's another painful dimension to this recovery that's gotten far less attention than the lingering jobs deficit. It's the fact that most of the jobs we lost offered decent pay, while the ones we're adding are mostly low-level, service sector positions. Middle class jobs have been replaced by McJobs.

Bernanke Warns Congress to Stop Stalling on Economy

hereIn his big speech at Jackson Hole today, Ben Bernanke said that today's weak economy was due not to structural factors, as some conservatives continue to argue, but is "being held back currently by a number of headwinds":
First, although the housing sector has shown signs of improvement, housing activity remains at low levels and is contributing much less to the recovery than would normally be expected at this stage of the cycle.

"Other Revenue": The Black Hole of Political Party Financial Reporting

There is, it seems, at least one unexpected benefit to the revelations regarding the NDP's sheepish about-face on those now infamous advertising fees that it quietly refunded to unions and other buyers earlier this year.  

Thanks to that internal NDP document posted online by the Toronto Star  as part of its initial report, we now know the source of at least some of the otherwise unexplained "other revenue" that the party reported in its annual financial statements for 2006 and 2009. (They still haven't submitted last year's return after requesting an extension to the original deadline last May.)

But aside from that unprecedented, if not exactly voluntary, peek into the NDP coffers, not even Elections Canada is privy to the details of the hundreds of thousands -- in some cases, millions -- of dollars that political parties take in every year, over and above the income gleaned from donations, membership sales, election expense rebates and per-vote subsidy transfers from the government.

Poll Reveals Typical Stephen Harper Supporter: An Albertan Male 65 Or Older Making Less Than $20,000

Who is the typical supporter of Stephen Harper? What is the profile of a Thomas Mulcair fan? A new poll provides some clues.

The latest survey by Forum Research for the National Post shows a tie in voting intentions between the governing Conservatives and the opposition New Democrats. With few exceptions, the results are generally in line with what Canadians have been telling pollsters for months.

Charitable Fraser Institute received $4.3 million in foreign funding since 2000

The Fraser Institute, Canada's leading right-wing think tank, received over $4.3 million in the last decade from eight major American foundations including the most powerful players in oil and pharmaceuticals, The Vancouver Observer has learned.

In May, it was found that the US oil billionaire Koch brothers gave the Fraser Institute half a million dollars since 2007.  But further investigation shows the insitute received funding from other major US foundations.

"Democracy Is Not A Business": Bringing Progressive Voice to RNC, CODEPINK Disrupts Romney Speech

As Mitt Romney formally accepted the Republican presidential nomination Thursday night, four activists from the group CODEPINK interrupted him throughout, calling for money out of politics and a return to democracy. CODEPINK has been protesting every day at this week’s convention — including last night’s speech by vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. They have also held actions against gun violence at home; military intervention abroad; and what they call the Republicans’ "war on women." We’re joined now by two of the activists who disrupted Romney’s speech last night: Rae Abileah, co-director of CODEPINK; and Medea Benjamin, the group’s co-founder.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: --

David Koch: 'Some Tax Increases' May Be Needed To Reduce U.S. Deficit

Even billionaire Republican donor David Koch says the U.S. probably needs higher taxes to reduce the federal budget deficit.

"I think it's essential to be able to achieve spending reductions, and maybe it's going to require some tax increases," Koch, the eighth-richest man in the world and one of the most influential donors in the Republican Party, told Politico on Thursday.

China—Not Wall Street—Caused 2008 Crisis: Study

Thought the global financial crisis in 2008 was caused by subprime bonds, collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and other Wall Street engineering? Think again.

According to a new study, China, not Wall Street bankers, was responsible for the global crisis and the ensuing recession.

The study from the Erasmus Research Institute of Management said the saving frenzy of the Chinese created the cheap money, which fueled the U.S. housing bubble and its collapse.

The Medicare Killers

Paul Ryan’s speech Wednesday night may have accomplished one good thing: It finally may have dispelled the myth that he is a Serious, Honest Conservative. Indeed, Mr. Ryan’s brazen dishonesty left even his critics breathless.

 Some of his fibs were trivial but telling, like his suggestion that President Obama is responsible for a closed auto plant in his hometown, even though the plant closed before Mr. Obama took office. Others were infuriating, like his sanctimonious declaration that “the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.” This from a man proposing savage cuts in Medicaid, which would cause tens of millions of vulnerable Americans to lose health coverage.

Harper faces harsh criticism from within his own party

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government needs to face public criticism from within its own tent, an Alberta Conservative MP argued Thursday.

Brent Rathgeber, MP for Edmonton-St. Albert and a federal parliamentarian since 2008, has recently raised eyebrows with his pointed criticism of wasteful government spending, gold-plated MP pensions, and the controversial supply management system that protects dairy and poultry farmers from competition.

Save the Salish Sea: Respecting Indigenous rights means stopping tar sands tankers

I am, like most of you, a strong supporter of First Nations land and title rights. Increasingly, the international community is waking up to the rights of Indigenous people and their justified desire for sovereignty and self-determination.

This struggle is playing itself out very publicly as First Nations on the west coast of Canada have drawn a line in the sand regarding dangerous pipeline projects. That is the context for the canoe gathering this weekend in the Vancouver harbour, organized by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the the Squamish Nation.

Protecting the waters is a sacred trust

Arctic diplomacy is not enough

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has just completed his annual trek to the Canadian North. Unlike previous years, when he emphasized international challenges, this trip focused on domestic Arctic issues. Several important new initiatives were announced, such as the creation of a new park. However, while the normal focus on the protection of Canadian Arctic sovereignty and security were not as evident, no one should be under the impression that the case for fulfilling previous promises has been reduced. International interest in the region only strengthens it.

Civil servants next on wage freeze list, says Dalton McGuinty

WATERLOO—Premier Dalton McGuinty says his wage freeze crusade is setting civil servants as its next target.

“We’re coming,” he told reporters Friday while campaigning in next Thursday’s by-election.

Once the minority Liberal government passes its controversial legislation to impose contracts on teachers and ban strikes for two years and gets doctors “back to the table” for negotiations, efforts will centre on the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and a federation representing managers and professionals in the civil service, McGuinty said.

Axing reviews not a solution

It's one thing for the federal government to listen to lobbying by resource development companies and other industry groups to streamline the environmental review process of projects to make it more efficient.

That doesn't mean, however, that the proper response is to scrap the reviews altogether, or for the federal government to wash its hands of the responsibility by turning it over to the provinces or other agencies that are going through their own budget restructuring processes, which have an impact on their capacity to conduct reviews.

The Throwaways

Police enlist young offenders as confidential informants. But the work is high-risk, largely unregulated, and sometimes fatal.

On the evening of May 7, 2008, a twenty-three-year-old woman named Rachel Hoffman got into her silver Volvo sedan, put on calming jam-band music, and headed north to a public park in Tallahassee, Florida. A recent graduate of Florida State, she was dressed to blend into a crowd—bluejeans, green-and-white patterned T-shirt, black Reef flip-flops. On the passenger seat beside her was a handbag that contained thirteen thousand dollars in marked bills.

Mitt Romney: His Party Is the Problem

Who knew that Mitt Romney was such a fan of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign?

“How many days have you woken up feeling that something really special was happening in America?” Romney told thousands of Republican delegates, alternates and hangers-on Thursday night. “Many of you felt that way on Election Day four years ago. Hope and Change had a powerful appeal.”

Godly American Businessman: How the RNC Marketed Mitt Romney

TAMPA -- Paradoxically, the bar was high for Mitt Romney's speech to the Republican convention not because much was expected of him but because it was not.

In six years of campaigning for the presidency, he has managed to leave such a hazy and sour impression in the minds of the mass of American voters that he is barely regarded as a human being. In the days and hours leading up to Romney's big moment, delegate after delegate at the convention told me, with a glint of panicked hope in their eyes, that in Romney's speech he would finally have a chance to introduce himself -- to seem real, to be understood.

Paul Ryan's Grim Vision for America

It's a struggle to truly explain Paul Ryan. He seems so reasonable. Why, in his speech on Wednesday, he told his audience about all the tough choices ahead but then added, "We have responsibilities, one to another—we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities is that of the strong to protect the weak." How could you dislike a Republican who says stuff like that?

It's hard. And it's hard to convince people that this is, basically, an elaborate and finely honed act. After all, we're not used to politicians getting up on a stage and just flatly hustling us. We give them the benefit of the doubt, especially when they speak in sober tones and make a point of sorrowfully acknowledging how tough things are for everyone.

Romney's Speech: The Softer Side of a Hard-Right Campaign

With the Republican convention in Tampa, Mitt Romney has launched the most ideological presidential campaign in recent history. At issue is not merely the current state of the economy and Romney's ability to become the CEO-in-chief and perform a turnaround. Romney is waging a battle for the opportunity to conduct a conservative social experiment that would remake fundamentals of American society. But he neglected to mention that Thursday night during his climactic—though hardly soaring—acceptance speech.

Corporations have their own plans for their money

Whose job is it to create jobs?

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney have been chastising Canadian corporations because they are sitting on an estimated $526 billion in cash. They should put the money to productive use or give it back to investors in the form of dividends, Carney says.

Please, someone spend the money and get some tax dollars rolling in.

It’s easy to understand the frustration of Carney and Flaherty. The federal government believes that its mix of incentives and tax reductions should have Canadian businesses rushing to invest and create jobs, but they aren’t. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has expressed similar frustration.

Ottawa says it’s streamlining environmental review process, reducing “paperwork”

OTTAWA—Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says cancellation of nearly 600 federal environmental assessments in Ontario does not mean important pipeline proposals or plans to upgrade Chalk River nuclear facilities won’t get a proper review.

Those major projects will still be reviewed, but Ottawa is merely dropping what Oliver and Environment Minister Peter Kent say is unnecessary “paperwork.”

The 2012 federal budget led to a change in regulation that means nationwide, nearly 3,000 proposed developments will no longer be subject to a review for potential environmental damage by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA).

Ontario NDP backs teachers in opposition to McGuinty's legislation

As the public's attention was directed at 5,000 teachers gathered on the grass in front of Queen's Park on Tuesday, it neglected the buzz of activity going on only a few hundred yards away.

While the province's educators protested a bill that would freeze their wages and deny them the right to strike, Ontario's MPPs were returning from summer recess and preparing to duke it out over Premier Dalton McGuinty's Putting Students First Act.

Conservatives set to help McGuinty's Liberals

Fiscal shocker! Redford Tories promise transparency but deliver opacity!

This just in! Alberta's Progressive Conservative government is secretive!

Well… yeah!

What's astonishing is that the Alberta news media appears to be astonished by this revelation, which if you happen to have been paying attention at any time during the past decade or four shouldn't exactly come as news to you.

Yesterday, the Alison Redford generation of the successful PC firm founded by Peter Lougheed in 1971 rolled out its 2012 first-quarter financial "update" and the media were shocked -- truly shocked! -- that the government wasn’t very forthcoming with helpful analysis about the fact its optimistic pre-election predictions have been blown to smithereens by "lower than expected" energy revenues.

War Resister Kim Rivera to be deported from Canada on Sept. 20

Kim Rivera – the first female Iraq war resister to seek sanctuary in Canada – has been ordered deported.

The War Resister Support Campaign has confirmed that on Thursday August 30, 2012, Rivera received notice of her impending deportation set to occur on September 20, 2012 by Citizenship and Immigration Canada facilitated through the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Lies On Parade

How do I lie to thee? Let me count the ways.

There were so many last night at the Republican National Convention—and I don’t mean just the usual convenient, half-apologetic, hey-what-do-you-expect-it’s-politics lies that conventions have been delivering by the bushel ever since the Anti-Mason Party convened the very first national political convention in America in 1831 (to nominate William Wirt, a Mason).

Nor do I mean the sort of standard, jingoistic, chest-thumping lies that all powerful nations have to feed themselves to keep the dreadful business of nationalism staggering forward until it collapses in a heap of Soviet-style self-contradictions and inanities.

Mayor Rob Ford’s conflict of interest case rooted in donations he solicited from lobbyists

Mayor Rob Ford is putting his job on the line defending the principle that a politician should be free to listen to a lobbyist’s pitch, and then pitch the lobbyist on donating to a private charity.

While some have characterized the conflict of interest case that will see Ford in court Wednesday as being about a few thousand dollars, or politicians being able to have charities, that’s not what originally got him in hot water.

Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper warned Ford informally in 2009, and later officially, to stop using council letterhead and city resources, including his assistant’s time, to solicit funds for his private football foundation.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Drought-hit farmers asked to repay funds from mad-cow crisis

As Eastern Ontario farmers deal with the worst drought in more than a decade, the provincial government is asking approximately 4,500 farmers to return overpayments from as far back as 2003.

Carleton-Mississippi Mills MPP Jack MacLaren’s office says Agricorp, an Ontario government agency that provides risk management programs for farmers, began sending the letters to Ontario farmers in April. MacLaren, a farmer, received a letter himself.

Rachel Corrie's death is not merely a 'regrettable accident'

Independent Jewish Voices - Canada rejects Haifa District Court's decision to remove any blame from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) or the Israeli driver of the military bulldozer that killed 23-year old Rachel Corrie nearly a decade ago. In a decision issued today, Judge Oded Gershon called her death a “regrettable accident."

In March 2003, Corrie, an American peace activist from Washington State, stood in front of the house of a local pharmacist in Rafah, Gaza. Dressed in a bright orange security vest, she and other members of the International Solidarity Movement peacefully stood in front of the home to prevent its demolition.

Turning anger into action to stop Harper's foreign policy

If you're reading this you probably know that the Harper-led Conservative government has ramped up the corporate and military orientation of Canadian foreign policy. But, the extent to which they’ve done so will likely be a surprise.

In The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper's Foreign Policy I detail the sordid story of this country's sabotage of international environmental efforts, of a government in bed with tar sands producers and a mining industry widely criticized for abuses. My forthcoming book also discusses the Conservatives' bombing of Libya, ongoing war in Afghanistan and support for aggression in Iran, Lebanon and Somalia. In effect, Harper's Conservatives have designed Canadian foreign policy to please the most reactionary, short-sighted sectors of the Conservative Party's base — evangelical Christian Zionists, extreme right-wing Jews, Islamophobes, the military-industrial-complex as well as mining and oil executives.

China's Nexen offer hard for Ottawa to refuse

China’s $15-billion deal to buy a major Canadian petroleum producer and a slice of the Alberta oilsands may have trapped the Harper government between a rock and a slippery slope of Chinese takeovers.

The bid by the state-controlled giant China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) to buy Calgary-based Nexen Inc. and its stake in the oilsands was formally submitted to the Canadian government for approval late Wednesday.

Miners charged with murder of 34 colleagues who were shot and killed by South African police

JOHANNESBURG—South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority says it is charging 270 arrested miners with the murders of 34 striking colleagues who were shot and killed by police officers.

The strange development — which comes under an arcane Roman-Dutch common law — seems to show that President Jacob Zuma’s government is attempting to shift the blame for the killings from police to the striking miners. The killings shocked the nation and Thursday’s news likely will inflame already angry South Africans.

Prosecuting Authority spokesman Frank Lesenyego says all 270 miners arrested after the shootings were charged Thursday at a court near the Lonmin PLC platinum mine where the fatalities occurred.

On Aug. 16, striking miners armed with clubs, machetes and at least one gun allegedly charged at police, who opened fire.

Original Article
Source: the star
Author: AP

Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

The great criticism of Mitt Romney, from both sides of the aisle, has always been that he doesn't stand for anything. He's a flip-flopper, they say, a lightweight, a cardboard opportunist who'll say anything to get elected.

The critics couldn't be more wrong. Mitt Romney is no tissue-paper man. He's closer to being a revolutionary, a backward-world version of Che or Trotsky, with tweezed nostrils instead of a beard, a half-Windsor instead of a leather jerkin. His legendary flip-flops aren't the lies of a bumbling opportunist – they're the confident prevarications of a man untroubled by misleading the nonbeliever in pursuit of a single, all-consuming goal. Romney has a vision, and he's trying for something big: We've just been too slow to sort out what it is, just as we've been slow to grasp the roots of the radical economic changes that have swept the country in the last generation.

The Legitimate Children of Rape

Writing in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Dr. Felicia H. Stewart and Dr. James Trussell have estimated that there are twenty-five thousand rape-related pregnancies each year in the United States. While these numbers make up only a small part of this country’s annual three million unwanted pregnancies, the numbers are still extremely high. Nonetheless, the relationship between rape and pregnancy has been a topic of highly politicized debate since long before Todd Akin’s comments on “legitimate rape,” Paul Ryan’s bill with its category of “forcible rape,” and Sharron Angle’s suggestion, two years ago, that women pregnant through rape make “a lemon situation into lemonade.” There is a veritable war of statistics about rape and pregnancy, and the confusion is exacerbated by the competing agendas of the pro-choice and anti-abortion movements. It has been argued that fear promotes ovulation, and that women who are raped have a ten-per-cent risk of pregnancy; there are estimates of as little as one per cent. Numbers are also skewed when they are adjusted to include or exclude women not of reproductive age; for sodomy and other forms of rape that cannot cause pregnancy; for rape victims who may be using oral birth control or I.U.D.s; and for women who are raped and become or are pregnant as a result of consensual sex with a husband or partner who is not the rapist, before or after the rape. Women who are being abused on an ongoing basis are particularly likely to conceive in rape. Catherine MacKinnon has written, “Forced pregnancy is familiar, beginning in rape and proceeding through the denial of abortions; this occurred during slavery and still happens to women who cannot afford abortions.”

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Loses Appeals Court Ruling Allowing False Arrest Lawsuit

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio might want to get ready to spend more time in court defending himself.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that two news executives for the Phoenix New Times can sue the Maricopa County sheriff's office for their 2007 arrests.

The men, newspaper co-owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, were arrested at their homes in the middle of the night after their publication reported the sheriff's office planned to use a subpoena to figure out who was talking to journalists about Arpaio. Arpaio's allies drafted subpoenas that "demanded that the paper reveal its confidential sources as well as produce reporters’ and editors' notebooks, memoranda, and documents" related to stories about Arpaio, according to the court ruling. The New Times refused, leading to misdemeanor charges against Lacey and Larkin of disclosing grand jury inner workings. The charges were dropped the next day.

Super PACs Spending: Tech Tools That Help You To See Who's Funding Whom

Do you want to throw your remote at the TV when a political ad, especially one sponsored by a super PAC, interrupts your sacred "Breaking Bad" time to bombard you with partisan, distorted messages? Well, put your clicker down, because there's a better way to channel your frustration.

While many are unhappy with influence of super PACs in this election cycle, there's a bevy of websites and apps that techies have put together to help average voters uncover who's funding which groups and to learn who's really speaking in the ads. This is ordinarily a tough task, due the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling, which lets corporations and unions donate unlimited funds to super PACs, organizations nominally unaffiliated with any campaign. While the ruling requires ads to say which group is sponsoring them, the super PACs themselves often use legal loopholes to obscure who’s funding them.

The Paul Ryan Speech: Five Hypocrisies

My quick take on Paul Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night is that it is awfully difficult to criticize President Obama when you’ve spent the last fourteen years in Washington dealing with many of the same issues. In five significant cases, Ryan’s attacks on the President were breathtakingly hypocritical.

Fox News' Sally Kohn: Paul Ryan's RNC Speech 'Was Attempt To Set World Record For Blatant Lies'

According to Fox News columnist Sally Kohn, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday "was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech."

"On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold," Kohn wrote.

Paul Ryan Address: Convention Speech Built On Demonstrably Misleading Assertions

TAMPA, Fla. -- Paul Ryan pledged Wednesday that if he and his running mate Mitt Romney were elected president, they would usher in an ethic of responsibility. The Wisconsin congressman and GOP vice presidential candidate repeatedly chided President Barack Obama for blaming the jobs and housing crises on his predecessor, saying that his habit of "forever shifting blame to the last administration, is getting old. The man assumed office almost four years ago -– isn’t it about time he assumed responsibility?"

Ryan then noted that Obama, while campaigning for president, promised that a GM plant in Wisconsin would not shut down. "That plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight," Ryan said.

Except Obama didn't promise that. And the plant closed in December 2008 -- while George W. Bush was president.

They Love the Lies Paul Ryan Tells

It fell to Mitch McConnell, arguably the lousiest public speaker ever to practice the political craft, to sum up everything that can or should be said about the Republican National Convention.

Opening the “We Can Change It” themed second night of he convention with a call to remove President Obama, the Senate minority leader declared that it was time to put “Mitt Ryan” in charge of the republic.

Forgive McConnell.

He just said what everyone at the convention seemed to be thinking: Wouldn’t it be cool if Paul Ryan were topping the ticket?

Obama: "We Need to Seriously Consider" A Constitutional Amendment to Reverse Citizens United

President Obama set the internet aflame Wednesday with his "Ask Me Anything" Q-and-A on Reddit, the massive web aggregator and online community.

Given Mother Jones' obsession with super-PACs, dark money, and the mad dash for campaign cash in 2012, one particular question stood out to us: "What are you going to do to end the corrupting influence of money in politics during your second term?"

Obama responded by decrying the "no-holds barred flow of seven- and eight-figure checks" into super-PACs' war chests. He worried that these outside groups "threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens."

With Ryan Speech, Romney Campaign Goes Full Tea Party

If there is a bedrock of conventional wisdom in presidential politics, it is this: First, succeed in the primaries by winning over the base, and then move to the center in the general election to court independent and middle-of-the-road voters. So where is Mitt Romney's pivot to the center?

Throughout his political career, Romney has demonstrated a high degree of flexibility. But he has yet to employ those skills as the final stage of this presidential slog begins. And with Rep. Paul Ryan's fiery speech at the GOP convention on Wednesday night, it was clear that Romney did not pick Ryan to appeal to the undecideds in the middle. The speech was an indication that the Romney crew has gone rogue—or completely tea party.

Kimberly Rivera, Iraq War Resister, Deportation Hearing Today

TORONTO - An American soldier who has been living in Canada with her family for the past five years will learn today if she will be deported to the U.S.

Kimberly Rivera, the first female U.S. war resister, fled to Canada in 2008 to avoid further military service.

She had initially arrived while on leave but then applied for refugee status.

The War Resisters Support Campaign says Rivera will face harsh penalties if she is ordered to return to the United States.

The group says two other Iraq war resisters who were deported, Robin Long and Clifford Cornell, faced year-long jail sentences upon their return.

Rivera lives in Toronto with her husband and four children.

Original Article
Source: huffington post
Author: The Canadian Press

Rob Ford lets molehill become mountain

The indefatigably controversial Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, will face a moment of truth next Wednesday when he appears before an Ontario Superior Court judge to face allegations that he violated the province’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. If the judge rules against him, Mr. Ford will be summarily thrown out of office. This is a drastic outcome that does not correspond proportionately to the allegations. Furthermore, to unseat a democratically elected mayor so easily would set a terrible precedent.

How to fix an 'upside-down' immigration system

You know all those "illegal aliens," meaning the Mexican migrant workers that the Americans want to throw out? If we had any sense, we'd bring them to Canada.

It is not an idea you hear very often. But it is exactly what James McNiven proposed, albeit more for dramatic effect, at the annual Palmer Conference on immigration at the University of PEI this summer.

Every single speaker and contributor at the conference agreed immigration is good for Canada's growth and prosperity.

Canada: Not quite the conservative paradise Republicans think it is

Chatting on the way into Tampa's arena, a pleasant sixty-something woman advised me that I really should watch 2016: Obama's America, a favourite of delegates here that darkly warns of what will result from four more years of a President whose ideological roots are supposedly in Africa. She also wanted me to know how much she likes Canada.

She and her husband live in upstate New York, so they're well-acquainted with Montreal's charms. If Barack Obama wins re-election in November, she said half-jokingly, maybe they'll move there.

Ottawa’s ‘dead money’ tirade misses the point

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is lambasting Canadian business for hoarding cash instead of creating jobs. He should look into a mirror. It’s his government that has created this sorry state of affairs.

The hoarding controversy made headlines last week when Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney publicly urged Canadian businesses to reinvest the estimated $500 billion in what he called “dead money” they are now sitting on.

Flaherty followed suit a few days later.

The challenges for charities of disclosing fundraising costs

It's not that often that charities law and criminal law intersect, but the decision of R. v. Gour, decided June 28, 2012, did just that. The case was about an individual, Adam Gour, who had contracted to fundraise for charity, and his and his contractor's failure to disclose the commissions that would be earned. The court concluded this was a fraud. The case is only six pages long, and makes for a compelling read.

The issue of paying fundraisers in the context of charitable donations has been a controversial one for some time. Under the Income Tax Act, charities are obligated to devote their resources exclusively to charitable purposes and activities. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the agency which oversees charities, does not consider fundraising in and of itself to be a charitable purpose or a charitable activity that directly furthers a charitable purpose. The CRA has developed extensive guidelines for charities.

U.S. workers stand against Mitt Romney model of outsourced jobs

TAMPA, Fla.—Four hardy souls from rural Illinois joined tens of thousands of people undeterred by threats of Hurricane Isaac during this week's Republican National Convention. They weren't among the almost 2,400 delegates to the convention, though, nor were they from the press corps, said to number 15,000. They weren't part of the massive police force assembled here, more than 3,000 strong, all paid for with $50 million of U.S. taxpayer money. These four were about to join a much larger group: the more than 2.4 million people in the past decade whose U.S. jobs have been shipped to China. In their case, the company laying them off and sending their jobs overseas is Bain Capital, co-founded by the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

Paul Ryan’s rousing, disappointing speech

Watching Paul Ryan’s speech from inside the Tampa Bay Times Stadium, it was clearly a huge success with the party faithful. The crowd of delegates roared their approval and jumped to their feet energized by his delivery and his message. The convention hall was not quite as electrified as by Sarah Palin’s combative speech in 2008, but it was still buzzing.

The personal stories and the conservative platitudes were all well done. But the substance was a  let down. Sure, all political speeches contain some exaggeration and smoke and mirrors, and the Obama campaign and its allies have run some misleading ads in this election campaign. But this speech was a flat-out taunt to fact-checkers. For a guy who has assumed the role of the Republicans’ egghead policy wonk, promising to give bold solutions to tough problems and to make the campaign about “big things,” his speech was a disappointment.

Tory government likely to continue with F-35 purchase: Williams

PARLIAMENT HILL—The federal government intends to continue with plans to acquire a fleet of F-35 stealth warplanes rather than look at other options to replace Canada’s aging fleet of fighter jets following a scathing report on the project from Auditor General Michael Ferguson last April, says a former assistant deputy minister about an email exchange between Public Works and The Hill Times.

In an email exchange with The Hill Times clarifying an independent review of the F-35 acquisition that Public Works plans to obtain, the department said the outside firm that will carry out the review will be tasked with ensuring only that all of the steps the government has taken since the July, 2010, Cabinet decision to buy the F-35s will be under scrutiny.

Lowe’s hires Ottawa lobbyist in push for Rona takeover

U.S. retailer Lowe’s Cos. Inc. has retained the services of an Ottawa lobbyist as it tries to navigate tricky political waters in its attempt to land Quebec hardware chain Rona Inc.

Robert Evershed, principal at Prospectus Associates in Corporate Development Inc., disclosed in Canada’s registry of lobbyists that his firm began promoting Lowe’s interests as of Aug. 20.

Dalton McGuinty has made enemies of friends

It’s not every day that 5,000 teachers mass at Queen’s Park for an anti-government protest. Not since the Mike Harris and Bob Rae eras have unions targeted the party in power for defeat.

For the minority Liberals, itching to transform themselves into a majority government in two coming byelections, this is not looking like a winning strategy

Miners' attack on Yanomami Amazon tribe 'kills dozens'

An attack by gold miners on a group of Yanomami tribespeople in Venezuela has left up to 80 people dead, according to campaign groups.

The attack is reported to have taken place last month in the remote Irotatheri community, close to the border with Brazil.

The miners allegedly set fire to a communal house, with witnesses reporting finding burnt bodies.

Growing Opposition to the Canada-EU Trade Agreement

With the final rounds of negotiations sessions planned for September and October, Canada and the EU are closing in on a free trade deal that would go far beyond the reach of NAFTA. Meanwhile, there is growing opposition to the agreement as the whole process has lacked openness, transparency and any public consultations. In Canada, there are concerns over the threat it poses to local democracy. This includes fears of deregulation and privatization, as well the expansion of corporate investor rights. There are also warnings that the deal could be used as a backdoor means to implement ACTA which was rejected by the European Parliament in July.

Antarctic may host methane stores

Large volumes of methane - a potent greenhouse gas - could be locked beneath the ice-covered regions of Antarctica, according to a new study.

It says this methane could be released into the atmosphere as ice retreats, contributing to climate warming.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Scientists fight to save library from federal cuts

Scientists are continuing to fight to save the library at the St. Andrews Biological Station from federal funding cuts.

The library is used by Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, outside researchers and by university students for teaching and research in southwestern New Brunswick.

Those fighting to save the library argue the federal government's plans to close the library will make that work a lot more difficult.