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.]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

12 Ways a Fiscal "Grand Bargain" Could Screw the Poor

As the fiscal cliff looms, there's a consensus that, one way or another, the rich are going to have to pay up. But that doesn't mean poors are home free. Any "grand bargain" budget deal will be just that—a deal, which means that even though Democrats want to shield social programs from cuts, they will inevitably end up as bargaining chips on the table.

Obama's starting point for negotiations is the deficit plan that came out of the 2011 debt-ceiling showdown. It already contains heavy cuts in discretionary spending, which is spending on stuff that is not entitlements, including military and domestic programs. And 25 percent of that domestic spending goes to programs that help low-income people, according to Richard Kogan, a federal budget expert and senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Obama and the Democrats have been pretty set against cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and long-term unemployment benefits. However, Rep. Paul "62-percent-of-my-proposed-budget-cuts-come-from-poor-people-programs" Ryan will likely be leading the charge on the other side of the aisle. He won't be able to chop up the safety net to his liking, but he and his fellow Republicans will do what they can.

China's "Ultimate Goal Is a Huge Fracking Industry"

China is ratcheting up its fracking ambitions with virtually no regard for groundwater protection or other environmental safety measures, according to a new investigation by the independent publication Caixin. The report points to an October 24 white paper on energy development released by China's top cabinet which "calls for ramping up the industry and pumping 6.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas from underground shale formations by 2015."

"The model for China's anticipated success is the US shale gas sector," the article states. "Geologists estimate the nation's recoverable reserves at about 25 trillion cubic meters, on par with the United States."

Reasons to worry about the Canada-China trade deal

Canadians feel uncomfortable about the proposed Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement with China. Tens of thousands of people who probably didn't know what a FIPA was before the end of September have sent letters to their MPs asking that it be torn up.

Many of them are worried that China-based corporations will be able to use the generous investment protections in the FIPA to challenge environmental, public health or conservation measures in Canada.

Jim Greer, Ex-Florida GOP Chair, Claims Republican Voting Laws Focused On Suppression, Racism

Jim Greer, the former head of the Florida Republican Party, recently claimed that a law shortening the early voting period in the state was deliberately designed to suppress voting among groups that tend to support Democratic candidates, the Palm Beach Post reports.

“The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” Greer told the Post. “It’s done for one reason and one reason only...‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us.’"

CEO Council Demands Cuts To Poor, Elderly While Reaping Billions In Government Contracts, Tax Breaks

WASHINGTON -- The corporate CEOs who have made a high-profile foray into deficit negotiations have themselves been substantially responsible for the size of the deficit they now want closed.

The companies represented by executives working with the Campaign To Fix The Debt have received trillions in federal war contracts, subsidies and bailouts, as well as specialized tax breaks and loopholes that virtually eliminate the companies' tax bills.

Opposition MPs Want Answers On Why The Canadian Forces Ombudsman Is Being Blocked by the Harper Government?

Opposition MPs are crying foul over the issue involving the latest watchdog to run into a roadblock/roadblocks with the Conservative government.

Canadian Forces Ombudsman Pierre Daigle is being stonewalled in his request to view cabinet documents, including those that deal with the failure of the Canadian Forces and the DND to increase dismemberment coverage for reservists. Daigle doesn’t want to report on documents – he just wants to examine them to find out why the government won’t provide better coverage for part-time soldiers.

'We're stopping them ... There's no way around us': Wet'suwet'en evict Pacific Trails Pipeline

Tomorrow (Nov. 27) – one week after hereditary leaders of the Wet’suwet’en nation, in northern B.C., evicted Apache company-hired surveyors from their traditional territories – allies across Canada and the U.S. are holding protests in solidarity with the pipeline blockade.

The contractors were working on the right-of-way for the planned Pacific Trails Pipeline (PTP), a proposed 463 km natural gas pipeline linking Summit Lake in north-east B.C. with Kitimat on the west coast, to export gas to Asian markets. A full list of planned actions can be found here.

The Commons: Should the federal government pay for a refugee claimant’s cancer treatment?

The Scene. Ralph Goodale stood with right hand in pocket, a piece of paper in his left hand, to read the indictment against his former assistant.

“Mr. Speaker, the government’s decision to deny health care services to certain refugee claimants faces very stiff opposition. Doctors, nurses and every significant health care organization in Canada says the decision is wrong. Media editorials say the immigration minister has dropped the ball. Most especially, provincial governments are universally critical, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba. Saskatchewan’s premier describes federal refugee cuts as ‘unCanadian,’ ” the deputy Liberal leader reported to the House.

All Torontonians will pay for Rob Ford's ‘wilful blindness’

Finally, someone has called Mayor Rob Ford to account for his reckless actions. Judge Charles Hackland removed him from office Monday, effective in 14 days, ruling the mayor of two years had violated municipal conflict of interest rules.

Unfortunately, Ford isn’t the only one who has to pay.

Toronto residents are without the mayor they elected — and if the decision of Justice Hackland holds through the expected court appeals — Torontonians may have to pay an estimated $7 million to stage a city-wide byelection to replace the mayor.

Rob Ford out: Mayor can’t run in by-election, city’s top lawyer says

Mayor Rob Ford cannot run in any byelection to replace him, the city's lawyer said Tuesday in a major blow to Ford's battle to keep his job.

Ford said Monday — in the wake of the bombshell ruling that he breached the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act — that, if a byelection is held, he would be the first name to get on the ballot.

Rob Ford out: The case against the mayor, in brief

The judge’s decision to turf Mayor Rob Ford flowed from Ford’s decision, while still a councillor, to solicit donations to his football foundation from city hall lobbyists, clients of lobbyists and a company bidding on city contracts, using letters written on his council stationery.

When he was ordered by council, on the advice of city integrity commissioner Janet Leiper, to pay back the $3,150 received from those parties, Ford ignored six requests for proof that he had done so.

Energy dominates Council of the Federation meetings

One might imagine that Alberta premier Alison Redford and Quebec premier Pauline Marois stole the show at the Council of the Federation meetings in Halifax, NS with their announcement -- even before the meetings had officially commenced -- that they had agreed to put together a working group of officials to examine the possibilities of moving oil from Alberta to eastern and Atlantic Canada. In fact, the announcement underscored what was the dominant theme of this gathering of provincial and territorial leaders: energy.

Coal Port to China Barges ahead without Public Support: Activists

A plan to significantly expand a Surrey coal port -- allowing it to export four million metric tonnes of the fossil fuel a year, mostly to China, and potentially doubling that later -- is barging ahead quietly without much public awareness or input, says a climate change activist group.

Fraser Surrey Docks (FSD) wants to build a direct transfer port enabling Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway -- owned by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett -- to dump their loads into 8,000-tonne barges bound for Texada Island, where it would be loaded into deep sea vessels.

How Rupert Murdoch's Creation Is Destroying the Republicans

Poor Mitt Romney has become a Republican punching bag as leaders within the party denounce his post-election comments about how President Obama won re-election by promising government-funded "gifts" to minority groups and young voters. As Republicans jab Romney though, they're missing the larger, more pressing point: They don't have a Mitt Romney problem. They have a Fox News problem.

Romney's "gifts" put-down echoed the infamous claim Romney made during the campaign that 47 per cent of Americans see themselves as "victims" and are overly dependent on the government. With the campaign concluded, lots of fellow Republicans now feel free to bash Romney:

BC Politicians' Gaseous Dreams

"You make a very serious mistake believing that people in charge know what the hell they're doing" -- Mair's Axiom I

We in B.C. are on a ship of fools headed for a disabling recession, the likes of which we've never witnessed before.

Always in a helpful mood, I'm going to try and help Finance Minister Mike de Jong and Opposition Leader Adrian Dix understand elementary rules of economics from a man -- me -- who learned about such matters in university (Economics 200, 1951, failed).

Canada-Israel Defence Pact Put To The Test By Escalating Violence

OTTAWA - The rain of rockets, and talk of an Israeli military incursion into Gaza, presents the Harper government with the first significant test of its newly negotiated defence partnership with Israel.

But Defence Minister Peter MacKay cautioned Thursday that Canada wants to see cooler heads prevail in the escalating conflict.

Over the last two years, officials in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government have been given private assurances that Ottawa was behind them. MacKay went so far as to say in 2011 that "a threat to Israel is a threat to Canada."

Ottawa spends millions on ads promoting resource development

Natural Resources Canada is spending $185,000 to hold focus groups to vet millions of dollars worth of advertisements promoting responsible resource development, according to documents obtained by CBC News.

The government's supplementary budget estimates document shows the resource development campaign will cost $4 million.

Policy-making and politicking meet in Tories' heavy monitoring of ethnic media

OTTAWA - The federal government's intense — and expensive — scrutiny of Canada's ethnic media may be prompting cries of partisanship from opposition critics, but it could just be a happy confluence of good governance and good politics.

Thousands of pages of documents obtained by The Canadian Press under access to information laws reveal that the Citizenship and Immigration Department spent nearly $750,000 over three years monitoring and analyzing ethnic media sources at home and abroad.

Toews never issued ministerial press release on feds’ destruction of long gun registry, so gun advocates broke news

PARLIAMENT HILL—When Public Safety Minister Vic Toews disclosed early this month that the federal government’s promise to destroy millions of records of registered long guns had finally been delivered, with the exception of court-protected data from Quebec, he kept the news in the family.

Mr. Toews (Provencher, Man.) issued a press release as an MP in his riding, but did not issue one as the minister of Public Safety and the government did not issue a public statement or news release announcing the RCMP had completed destruction of the registry data, save for the court-ordered preservation of Quebec records.

BP agrees to $4.5 billion fine over Deepwater Horizon spill

NEW ORLEANS—Oil giant British oil company BP Plc pleaded guilty on Thursday to criminal charges relating to its 2010 oil spill and agreed to pay an extra $4.5 billion (all figures U.S.) on top of the tens of billions it is already paying out.

BP said it would plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect relating to the death of 11 workers, one misdemeanor count under the Clean Water Act, one misdemeanor count under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and one felony count of obstruction of Congress.

Ottawa faces $250-million suit over Quebec environmental stance

OTTAWA—The Canadian government faces a $250-million suit from a U.S. energy producer over Quebec’s environmental stance, raising new questions about the wisdom of investor rights treaties Ottawa is planning with China and the European Union.

Lone Pine Resources Inc. has declared its intention to use its power under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to challenge Quebec’s crackdown on fracking, a controversial drilling technique for releasing oil and natural gas from underground shale rock formations.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay fears escalating Mideast violence

OTTAWA—Escalating violence between Israel and militants in Gaza could be the “spark” that ignites more serious conflict, Defence Minister Peter MacKay says.

Rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israel, including in a fatal attack on Thursday, and Israel’s assassination of a prominent Hamas leader and ongoing airstrikes have many fearing broader military action.

Stephen Harper's Trust Rating Lags Other Leaders In Americas In New Poll

Stephen Harper has some trust issues, at least according to a new poll of political attitudes in 26 countries in the Americas.

The Americas Barometer poll from The Environics Institute has found that Canada's prime minister lags behind leaders in the U.S., Mexico, and Central and South America on the issue of trust.

You can see by exactly how much in the slideshow below. The numbers represent the percentage of respondents who said they had "a lot of trust" in their prime minister or president.

End racial profiling now, say protesters

Angry protesters packed the area in front of police headquarters in Toronto on Wednesday to speak out against racial profiling and the failure of the Toronto Police Services Board to eliminate the age-old practice.

Even though activists admitted that the Toronto Police Service and the City of Toronto have committed to ending racial profiling, protest groups said they haven’t gone far enough.

The growing global movement against austerity

Amaia Engana didn't wait to be evicted from her home. On Nov. 9, in the town of Barakaldo, a suburb of Bilbao in Spain's Basque Country, officials from the local judiciary were on their way to serve her eviction papers. Amaia stood on a chair and threw herself out of her fifth-floor apartment window, dying instantly on impact on the sidewalk below. She was the second person in two weeks in Spain to commit suicide as a result of an impending foreclosure action. Her suicide has added gravity to this week's general strike radiating from the streets of Madrid across all of Europe. As resistance to so-called austerity in Europe becomes increasingly transnational and co-ordinated, President Barack Obama and the House Republicans begin their debate to avert the "fiscal cliff." The fight is over fair tax rates, budget priorities and whether we as a society will sustain the social safety net built during the past 80 years.

Israeli troops massing near Gaza Strip

Israel says "all options are on the table" for quelling rocket attacks from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip after three Israelis died in a rocket attack in the south and a missile fired from the Palestinian coastal territory threatened the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv.

Israeli forces are now amassing. Troops are moving toward the Gaza Strip and at least a dozen trucks carrying tanks and armoured vehicles were seen late Thursday moving toward the border area, while buses ferried soldiers.

Woman denied haircut goes to Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario Published on Thursday November 15, 2012 Share on twitter Share on facebook STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR Faith McGregor, in front of the Terminal Barber Shop on Bay St, says she was turned away by a barber there because she's a woman, even though she wanted a man's haircut

A request for a lunch-hour haircut has turned into a battle over human rights, pitting freedom of religion against a woman’s right not to be denied service based on her gender.

Faith McGregor walked into the Terminal Barber Shop on Bay St. in June to get a haircut — the “businessman,” short on the sides, tapered, trim the top. The shop, like many barbers in Toronto, doesn’t do women’s haircuts. But McGregor, 35, said she wanted a men’s cut.

Toronto cop’s conviction upheld for sex assault during roadside search

A judge has dismissed the appeal of a Toronto police officer who was convicted of assault and sexual assault for squeezing a man’s testicles.

However, Justice Faye McWatt ruled that Salameh Marji could serve his sentence on weekends.

A 12-month probation order and a DNA order remain in effect.

Nathan Phillips skating rink reno goes $750,000 over budget

The cost of replacing the skating rink at Nathan Phillips Square has risen by $750,000, to $2.7 million, due to “unforeseen site conditions,” a council committee was told Thursday.

Councillor Doug Ford blamed the cost escalation on mismanagement, while other members of the government management committee were more forgiving.

Officials discovered they needed to install a missing support wall around the concrete slab that they had believed was already there because it appeared on the drawings.

Will GOP Opposition To Violence Against Women Act Renewal Soften After Election?

WASHINGTON -- Republicans across the country were dealt a series of defeats by a broad coalition, powered by women and Latinos, that has led to a round of soul-searching within the party. Several House and Senate candidates lost pivotal races after making offensive comments about rape. In four states, voters endorsed, for the first time, rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, by voting to support marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

America's Poorest Neighborhoods Lost 91 Percent Of Their Wealth During The Great Recession

Families living in poor neighborhoods lost almost everything during the Great Recession, potentially making it more difficult for them to gain a better life in the future, according to a recent report.

Households living in high-poverty neighborhoods saw a 91 percent decline in their overall wealth over the course of the downturn, according to a recent report from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Though low-income families lost less than their richer counterparts in terms of absolute value during the recession, their loss of wealth was much more extreme as a proportion of their total assets: households in high-poverty neighborhoods saw their net worth drop to $3,000 in 2009 from $32,000 in 2007, Diana Elliott, research manager of Pew's Economic Mobility Project, told The Huffington Post.

Impeach Obama Robocall Campaign Launched By Conservative Group

WASHINGTON -- The movement to impeach President Barack Obama has been launched, just days after he won a second term in the White House.

The Conservative Majority Fund, a conservative group known primarily for its birther conspiracy spreading, has launched a robocall campaign to gin up support for the president's impeachment.

Abortion Poverty Study Finds Link Between Lack Of Access And Income

Women who attempted to get abortions but were denied are three times as likely to fall into poverty than those whose efforts were not blocked, a recent study conducted by researchers at University of California San Francisco found.

UCSF's Bixby Center on Global Reproductive Health examined 3,000 interviews conducted with over 1,000 women from across the United States who had either received abortions or were turned away because their pregnancies had already passed the clinic's gestational limit. The study aimed to determine the effects carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term had on women's mental, physical and socio-economic health.

John Boehner: No Tax Rate Boost To Avert Fiscal Cliff

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner says Republicans want to cooperate with President Barack Obama on reducing federal deficits, but not by raising income tax rates.

Boehner spoke soon after Obama told reporters the GOP-run House should let taxes rise on the richest Americans. Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said that would hurt job creation.

The speaker said there has been a spirit of cooperation between congressional Republicans and the White House. He said he is optimistic about talks beginning Friday between the White House and congressional leaders about averting the fiscal cliff – tax increases and spending cuts occurring automatically in January unless lawmakers reach a compromise to avert them.

Obama campaigned for re-election on boosting taxes on the wealthy, but said Wednesday he could compromise on how to do that.

Original Article
Source: huffington post
Author: AP

Superstorm Sandy—a People's Shock?

Less than three days after Sandy made landfall on the East Coast of the United States, Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute blamed New Yorkers’ resistance to big-box stores for the misery they were about to endure. Writing on, he explained that the city’s refusal to embrace Walmart will likely make the recovery much harder: “Mom-and-pop stores simply can’t do what big stores can in these circumstances,” he wrote.

Called to Work During Superstorm Sandy, Tribeca Parking Attendant Drowned

Sometime during the mid-afternoon hours of October 29, as Superstorm Sandy was heaving up the East Coast, Anthony Narh, a Ghanaian immigrant, limped toward his job at Empire Parking, an underground garage serving one of the toniest strips of one of Manhattan’s toniest neighborhoods. Nestled near the watery edge of TriBeCa, Empire Parking was smack in the center of an evacuation zone—and Sandy was heading straight for it.

As the winds picked up and debris was flying up and down TriBeCa’s narrow streets, Anastasia Ratia, an architect and designer who lives with her aunt at 92 Laight Street, a high-end building adjoining the garage, ran into Narh and a co-worker. Ratia and her aunt had already evacuated but were making a last-minute run to the building; Narh, who was in his late fifties and walked with a severe limp, was just arriving for work. (At the garage, he was known as Jackson.)

The Gaza Invasion: Will It Destroy Israel's Relationship With Egypt?

The fact that Israel endured over 800 rocket attacks from Gaza in the past year before commencing yesterday's military operation against Hamas suggests that Jerusalem hoped to avoid the current flare-up. Among other concerns, the Israeli government knew that another Gaza war would ignite the neighboring Egyptian "street," and since Egypt's post-revolutionary government would have to be more responsive to popular sentiments, a downgrade in Israeli-Egyptian relations would be likely. The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood -- Hamas' Egyptian cousin -- as Egypt's new ruling party exacerbated those qualms, given the Brotherhood's longtime opposition to the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty and refusal to acknowledge Israel's rightful existence.

The Real Reason You Should Care About the Petraeus Affair: Privacy

CIA Director David Petraeus, one of the most lauded military leaders of his generation, resigned last week after an FBI investigation into email harassment uncovered evidence of his affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. Here's why you should care: If the director of the CIA can't keep his private life secret from the FBI, you can't either.

It is easy for federal authorities to get access to your online activities. If you think the feds need a warrant to start looking at your email, you're dead wrong. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the law governing online communications, was written in 1986. Congress wasn't sure whether to treat email, then in its infancy, more like letters or phone calls. People used to download their email back then, so leaving your information on a company's server meant the feds had to do less paperwork to access it. Now everyone's information is stored online, but that archaic standard is still in place.

Native leader complains of government inertia

OTTAWA -- The scaffold Prime Minister Stephen Harper erected in January to help boost the independence and prosperity of Canada's First Nations is being corroded by inaction and risks collapsing in a familiar cloud of inertia and distrust, newly obtained correspondence suggests.

Shawn Atleo, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, lays bare the frustrations of Canada's native leaders in a pair of scathing letters sent last month to Harper and Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan.

Proposed bill allowing police phone and Internet snooping under fierce debate

After a cooling-off period, debate appears to be ratcheting up once again over a bill that would give police easier access to phone and Internet subscriber information.

In recent weeks, Canada’s police chiefs have launched an aggressive campaign – using online videos, Twitter blasts and letters to the editor – to jumpstart discussion about controversial Bill C-30.

Ontario finance minister takes a dig at federal counterpart

TORONTO — Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's moving target for balancing the budget proves you can't believe the deficit projections coming out of Prime Minster Stephen Harper's government, Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan says.

Flaherty has now changed his budget-balance date five times, most recently pushing it back by one year to 2016-17, Duncan said.

Federal government spends $46.5M on small projects, mostly in Tory ridings

OTTAWA - A gluten-free bakery in Alberta received more than $1 million in federal money Wednesday as government MPs scattered across the country to announce funding for more than 50 initiatives the Conservatives say are the most "important government spending."

Other highlights include a $90,000 cheque to a Quebec club for snowmobile grooming machines. This was the second funding announcement for the machines in Quebec in two days - on Tuesday $108,885 was handed over. Tennis court upgrades in Saskatchewan netted $22,900 from the government purse.

Continued deficits to leave Tory election promises unkept

OTTAWA — With the federal government no longer expecting to balance its budget before the next election, four key Conservative election goodies are on hold.

The Tories had linked limited income splitting for families, doubling of the child fitness tax credit, a new adult fitness tax credit, and doubling the annual contribution limits to tax-free savings accounts to deficit elimination.

Nous accusons: Mainstream media fails to report on atrocities against Gaza

While countries across Europe and North America commemorated military casualties of past and present wars on November 11, Israel was targeting civilians.

On November 12, waking up to a new week, readers at breakfast were flooded with heart rending accounts of past and current military casualties. There was, however, no or little mention of the fact that the majority of casualties of modern day wars are civilians. There was also hardly any mention on the morning of November 12 of military attacks on Gaza that continued throughout the weekend.

Bangladeshi Labor Activist Finds Burned Clothes With Wal-Mart Labels At Site of Deadly Factory Fire

The Bangladeshi government has declared a period of national mourning for more than 120 garment workers who died in a fire at a factory that supplied U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart, among others. Joining us from Bangladesh is labor activist Kalpona Akter, who has visited the factory and took pictures of the charred clothing labels she found there — including the Wal-Mart brand, Faded Glory. She started work in garment factories when she was 12 years old. Now she campaigns for better wages, recognition of the right to organize, and higher safety standards. We are also joined by Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, which investigates working conditions in factories around the world. In comparison to the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York City, Nova says, “It really is an extraordinary achievement, in an ironic sense, that the U.S. apparel industry has managed to replicate early 20th century conditions that were so brutal and cruel to workers now again here in 2012 in factories in places like Bangladesh. It is a shameful record for the U.S. apparel industry … And hopefully this horror will finally galvanize a global push for genuine reform of the labor practices of the big brands and retailers. Akter speaks directly to shoppers, saying, “Consumers can play a big role because they are the most powerful player in the supply chain.”

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: --

Foulidis suit offers painful lessons about democracy

The tale of restaurateur George Foulidis and his libel action against Mayor Rob Ford is a cautionary one for any citizen looking to do business with the City of Toronto.

You will be frustrated. You will face bureaucratic delays and political gridlock. You might get caught up in the political vortex of city hall. Your good name may be slandered or libeled. And you may just have to suck it up as collateral damage.

Troops movements, call-up of reservists signal Israeli ground operation in Gaza imminent

JERUSALEM—Israel has begun moving troops toward the Gaza Strip and authorized the call-up of reservists for a possible ground invasion of the Palestinian territory.

At least a dozen trucks carrying tanks and armoured vehicles were seen late Thursday moving toward the border area, while buses ferried soldiers.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak announced that he had authorized the army to draft reserve forces for possible activity in Gaza. The army said as many as 30,000 troops could be drafted.

Ferocious Israeli Assault on Gaza Kills a Leader of Hamas

JERUSALEM — Israel on Wednesday launched the most ferocious assault on Gaza in four years after persistent Palestinian rocket fire, hitting at least 20 targets in aerial attacks that killed the top military commander of Hamas, damaged Israel’s fragile relations with Egypt and escalated the risks of a new war in the Middle East.

 The Israel Defense Forces coupled the intensity of the airstrikes with the threat of a ground invasion of Gaza, recalling its three-week operation in the winter of 2008-9, shifting infantry brigades and calling up some specialist reserves. The Israelis also warned all Hamas leaders in Gaza to stay out of sight or risk the same fate as the Hamas military commander, Ahmed al-Jabari, who was killed in a pinpoint airstrike as he was riding in a car down a Gaza street.

Savita Halappanavar Dead: Irish Woman Denied Abortion Dies From Blood Poisoning

DUBLIN -- The debate over legalizing abortion in Ireland flared Wednesday after the government confirmed that a woman in the midst of a miscarriage was refused an abortion and died in an Irish hospital after suffering from blood poisoning.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny said he was awaiting findings from three investigations into the death of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian woman who was 17 weeks pregnant. Her case highlighted the legal limbo in which pregnant women facing severe health problems can find themselves in predominantly Catholic Ireland.

Peter MacKay's Riding Gets $600,000 In New Projects

PICTOU, N.S. - Defence Minister Peter MacKay has announced that three recreational facilities in his Nova Scotia riding are getting more than $600,000 in federal funding.

The MP for Central Nova issued a statement Wednesday saying the money will be used by the Hector Arena in Pictou, the New Glasgow Marina and the Trenton Minor Sports Centre.

The money comes from Ottawa's Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund.

MacKay says the federal government has invested more than $400 million in his riding since 2006.

Original Article
Source: huffington post
Author: CP

EU Strikes: Europe's Workers Stage Austerity Protests

BRUSSELS - Hundreds of thousands of Europe's beleaguered citizens went on strike or snarled the streets of several capitals Wednesday, at times clashing with riot police, as they demanded that governments stop cutting benefits and create more jobs.

Workers with jobs and without spoke of a "social emergency" crippling the world's largest economic bloc, a union of 27 nations and half a billion people.

NDP Questions Overcrowded Saskatchewan Jails: Where Inmates Are Sleeping

REGINA - The Opposition NDP is trying to lock down an answer from the Saskatchewan government on jail overcrowding.

Government numbers show that on any given day, an average of 360 inmates slept in bunks placed in spaces other than a cell.

Keystone XL: U.S. Election Brings Pipeline's Future Back Into Spotlight

WASHINGTON - The re-election of President Barack Obama has put TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline back on the radar in the United States, particularly now that climate change is once again a hot topic of discussion in the aftermath of mega-storm Sandy.

The oil industry is optimistic that Obama will now approve the US$7 billion project he stalled in January, deferring a decision until after the presidential election.

Shawn Atleo, AFN National Chief, Sent Scathing Letters To Harper, Duncan

OTTAWA - The scaffold Prime Minister Stephen Harper erected in January to help boost the independence and prosperity of Canada's First Nations is being corroded by inaction, and risks collapsing in a familiar cloud of inertia and distrust, newly obtained correspondence suggests.

Shawn Atleo, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, lays bare the frustrations of Canada's native leaders in a pair of scathing letters sent last month to Harper and Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan.

Federal scientists uncover evidence that oilsands contaminants travel further than expected

Federal scientists have uncovered evidence that contaminants wafting out Alberta's oilsands operations are collecting on the bottom of remote lakes up to 100 kilometres away.

The chemical "legacy" in the lake sediments indicates that oilsands pollution is travelling further than expected and has been for decades.

"The footprint of the deposition is potentially larger than we might have anticipated," says Derek Muir, a senior Environment Canada scientist, who will present the findings Wednesday at an international toxicology conference in the U.S. where the oilsands are a hot topic.

Government to consider arming coast guard vessels

The federal government is considering arming Canadian Coast Guard vessels currently being produced at the Halifax shipyard.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay made the revelation after a ceremony unveiling the coast guard's newest mid-shore patrol vessel, Caporal Kaeble V.C., at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography on Tuesday.

He said the Organization of American States has been putting pressure on Canada to arm its coast guard to aid in combating drug and other contraband from entering North America.