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.]

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Political marketing and the rise of the permanent campaign

Our most recent soundings of democratic health reveal a public that is deeply mistrustful of politics and politicians — perhaps more so now than at any time in the past thirty years.

Some of this mistrust is rooted in the broad value shifts that we discussed earlier. A public that is less deferential, less respectful of authority and more skeptical poses a profound challenge to governments. Increasingly, it appears that political parties are attempting to solve these problems not through policy solutions but through better political technology.

FBI Surveillance Of Occupy Wall Street Detailed

WASHINGTON -- Was Tim Franzen stockpiling weapons? What was Tim Franzen's philosophy? What was his political affiliation? Did Tim Franzen ever talk about violent revolution?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation wanted to know. In late 2011, an agent or agents -- Franzen still isn't quite sure -- began trying to find out. It was during this time that Franzen became a well-known and central presence in Occupy Atlanta. He helped start the Occupy Wall Street offshoot, and had been arrested when police razed their encampment in a downtown Atlanta park.

Debt Ceiling Crisis 2013: The Media Needs To Be Trained

One of the things that I hope to successfully convey as Congress proceeds from the pooch punt that averted that "fiscal cliff" (that Congress created so that they could heroically avert it) to the fiscal crisis moment slated for March of this year, it's that debt ceiling hostage takers are dangerous psychopaths. Yes, we can trace instances of Congresscritters shaking the chandeliers on the debt ceiling going back many presidential terms -- heck, there was once a senator from Illinois named Barack Obama who troubled the Bush administration over it. It was a dumb idea then, as it is now.

Marion Hammer, Ex-NRA President, Compares Assault Weapons Ban To Racial Discrimination

Marion Hammer, former president of the National Rifle Association, recently spoke out against an effort by congressional lawmakers to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, comparing such action to discriminating against people "because of the way they look."

In an interview on NRA News on Thursday, host Ginny Simone and Hammer argued that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was making a misguided crusade against gun owners with her push to renew an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

Idle No More protests: Key members pledge to continue action

Cheers erupted at an Oakville Idle No More protest as news came of the prime minister’s meeting with native leaders next week, but organizers stressed the need for continued action.

“Promises have been broken — so stay here so we as First Nations, aboriginal people, Indians, status, non-status are here to stand up for our constitutional right to have a say in the use of our lands and territories,” said Earl Lambert, a Cree motivational speaker and one of the key figures at Friday’s protest.

TDSB says politics behind Liberal decision to back Jimmy Hazel’s trades council

A top official with the Toronto’s public school board says he is concerned the Ontario government’s decision to preserve a controversial contract with a problem-plagued trades council is politically motivated.

“(The trades council members) are major contributors to the Liberals,” noted TDSB chair Chris Bolton in an interview with the Star. Having angered teachers with recent legislation, Bolton, a New Democrat, and others at the board speculate that the Liberals are trying to shore up support from other organized labour groups in the province as they prepare for an election.

Why Theresa Spence’s struggle matters

Theresa Spence’s resolve versus Stephen Harper’s stony silence: it is still the only really big story in Canada right now.

My good friends over at CP got it wrong — or rather the editors they consulted did. Luka Rocco Magnotta was not the Newsmaker of the Year. He was just a Hannibal Lecter who slipped off the screen into real life and temporarily diverted the public’s attention for a few weeks last spring. He is Robert Pickton with terminal narcissism and a cellphone.

The benefits of decriminalizing abortion

On January 28, 2013, Canada will celebrate 25 years of reproductive freedom. Since our Supreme Court struck down Canada's abortion law in 1988, our country's experience is proof that laws against abortion are unnecessary. A full generation of Canadians has lived without a law and we are better off because of it.

Canada is the first country in the world to prove that abortion care can be ethically and effectively managed as part of standard healthcare practice, without being controlled by any civil or criminal law. Our success is a role model to the world.

Bill C-377 and the year ahead for the labour movement

In late December, the Conservative majority in the House of Commons passed Bill C-377, an Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations), which was designed to challenge unions' involvement in political activities and divert their resources to busy work.

Like so many other actions on the part of the Harper government, Bill C-377 will inevitably turn out to be a purely political and ideological attack on his opponents. Its adoption fits right in with funding cuts to the women's, environmental and international development groups of the past few years.

Province renews TDSB contract with expensive maintenance and trades workers

In a move that dropped jaws at Ontario’s largest school board, the province has suddenly renewed the infamous contract that gave taxpayers in Toronto $3,000 electrical outlet jobs and a $143 pencil sharpener installation.

“It does not even make sense,” Toronto District School Board Chair Chris Bolton told the Star Thursday. “It is a bizarre move that has undone all the work we have been doing.”

Theresa Spence Is More the Problem Than Solution

First thing's first: I don't think Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is going to starve to death. That will not be how this story ends -- the end will be a meeting between Stephen Harper and Spence, just as she has requested.

The Prime Minister is certainly stubborn -- that can be the only reason he hasn't responded to her yet -- but he surely knows a dead First Nations chief would not make for good PR. He will accede to her demands. He has no other choice.

Spence to join Harper meeting with chiefs Jan. 11

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence says she will join a "working meeting" between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a delegation of First Nations chiefs, but is not ready to give up her hunger strike.

Spence made the announcement from Victoria Island just north of Ottawa, where she has been conducting a hunger strike that is now in its 25th day.

Idle No More and the new narrative in native struggles

Idle No More isn’t just for people of near-indigenous heritage or those who have been affected by failed treaties. There has been a longing in this country for for justice and natural respect for the land by many more than our numbers. It is certainly a wake-up call for the present First Nations leadership that their acquiescence to domination isn’t a legitimate political position any more.

But don’t be confused; Idle No More means as little to the likes of Stephen Harper and his followers as did Martin Luther King’s letters to George Wallace (governor of Alabama). Harper could probably care less whether Theresa Spence lives or dies. She doesn’t stand in the way of his economic agenda. But Theresa means everything to us. Her life is our life.

Uganda's 'Kill the Gays' bill spreads fear

Gay activist Gerald Ssentongo is afraid to talk openly about his cause in Uganda. Not only that, but he is terrified of being "caught" socialising with gay people and only meets his friends at night in out-of-reach places.

"The fear for our lives is everywhere, but it has increased of late. I am now verbally attacked, and last month my friend was assaulted simply because she said she was a lesbian. The attacks can happen in any scenario," said the 35-year-old. His concerns come at a time when the parliament of this East African nation has revived the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill, also known as the "Kill the Gays" bill.

Israeli wall isolates Palestinian communities

Bir Nabala, occupied Palestinian territories - Shops are shuttered, and their signs are slowly rusting. Most apartment windows are broken, while those that remain in their frames are covered in dust. A single mechanic's garage is operating, though cars seldom drive through the area.

This neighbourhood once housed approximately 250 Palestinian families and dozens of bustling shops and businesses. Today, the streets of Bir Nabala are empty.

Senatus Decadens

The Roman Senate outlasted the fall of the Republic, the splitting of the Empire in two, repeated invasions, the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, and several centuries of intermittent Barbarian rule. The institution didn’t finally die off until 603 A.D.—about six hundred years after it had ceased to have any purpose.

The United States Senate hasn’t matched that record yet, but it’s getting there. At this moment, the Senate doesn’t look so bad, but that’s only because the House of Representatives has recently managed to outdo it in sheer pigheadedness—defeating the majority party’s own fiscal plan, refusing to allow a vote on Hurricane Sandy aid. Also, we’ve grown numb to the Senate’s paralysis. Stagnation and obstruction have become its only identifying characteristics.

NDAA Signed Into Law By Obama Despite Guantanamo Veto Threat, Indefinite Detention Provisions

President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 on Wednesday, despite his own threat to veto it over prohibitions on closing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

Civil liberties advocates had roundly criticized the bill over Guantanamo and a separate section that could allow the military to indefinitely detain American citizens on suspicions of supporting terrorism. Just as he did with last year's version of the bill, however, Obama decided that the need to pass the NDAA, which also sets the armed forces' $633 billion budget for the 2013 fiscal year, was simply "too great to ignore," according to a presidential signing statement released in the early morning hours Thursday.

Pentagon bans Towleroad, AMERICAblog sites for being “LGBT.” Coulter, Limbaugh ok.

It’s bad enough the United States Department of Defense censors Towleroad and AMERICAblog – banning the gay civil rights Web sites from being accessed on DOD computers – and it’s even worse that the Pentagon has no problem permitting their computers to access Ann Coulter’s and Rush Limbaugh’s hate-filled Web sites.

California Appeals Court Overturns Rape Conviction, Rules State Law Doesn't Protect Unmarried Women

LOS ANGELES — A California appeals court overturned the rape conviction of a man who authorities say pretended to be a sleeping woman's boyfriend before initiating intercourse, ruling that an arcane law from 1872 doesn't protect unmarried women in such cases.

A panel of judges reversed the trial court's conviction of Julio Morales and remanded it for retrial, in a decision posted Wednesday from the Los Angeles-based court.

Battles of the Budget

The centrist fantasy of a Grand Bargain on the budget never had a chance. Even if some kind of bargain had supposedly been reached, key players would soon have reneged on the deal — probably the next time a Republican occupied the White House.

For the reality is that our two major political parties are engaged in a fierce struggle over the future shape of American society. Democrats want to preserve the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — and add to them what every other advanced country has: a more or less universal guarantee of essential health care. Republicans want to roll all of that back, making room for drastically lower taxes on the wealthy. Yes, it’s essentially a class war.

Powerful Tea Party Group's Internal Docs Leak

FreedomWorks, the national conservative group that helped launch the tea party movement, sells itself as a genuine grassroots operation, and for years it has battled accusations of "astroturfing"—posing as a populist organization while doing the bidding of big-money donors. Yet internal documents obtained by Mother Jones show that FreedomWorks has indeed become dependent on wealthy individual donors to finance its growing operation.

Ontario Teachers Contracts Imposed Using Controversial Legislation

TORONTO - Students across Ontario face more uncertainty when they head back to class next week, after the province's cash-strapped Liberals outraged unions by forcing two-year contracts on 126,000 public school teachers and education workers.

But Education Minister Laurel Broten said she will soon repeal the same controversial anti-strike law that gave her government the power to impose the collective agreements, which cut benefits and freeze the wages of most teachers.

Enbridge To Spend $400 Million On Expanding Capacity Of Alberta-To-US Pipeline

CALGARY - Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) and its U.S. affiliate plan to spend $600 million to expand two pipelines on either side of the Canada-U.S. border.

One $400-million project involves increasing capacity on Enbridge's Canadian mainline between Hardisty, Alta. and the border.

Chinese Investment Into Canada Boomed In 2012: BMO

A recent news report brought up the spectre of briefcases full of illicit Chinese cash making its way into Canada's real estate market, but far more money from the booming Asian economy is coming into Canada by way of investment in Canadian resources.

According to an estimate from the Bank of Montreal, foreign direct investment into Canada from China hit an all-time high in 2012, with most of that money going to purchases of natural resource companies and projects.

B.C. judge rules federal law on firearms offence to be unconstitutional

VANCOUVER - A British Columbia judge has concluded the federal government's mandatory-minimum sentence for the possession of a loaded and prohibited firearm is arbitrary and fundamentally unjust and has the potential to violate a person's protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

The ruling is the latest across the country from judges who believe the law forcing them to impose a three-year minimum prison sentence in all such cases violates the charter.

Wildrose rink lotto scheme: A new tax on the prodigal and the poor

It was almost a relief yesterday when Danielle Smith, leader of Alberta's right-wing Wildrose Opposition, announced the scheme her party had come up with to finance the millionaires and billionaires of professional hockey through the use of … wait for it … keno!

Alert readers will recall that the Wildrose Party stands against all tax increases but in favour of big breaks for billionaires, so the desire by Edmonton's mayor and council to spend half a billion or so of public funds to help out a needy billionaire, drugs and hockey magnate Daryl Katz, must have just about driven them 'round the bend.

Laurel's lies: The real way to put Ontario students and children first

Laurel Broten is lying.

But, then, so are all of Ontario's other politicians.

The narrative of Broten, imposing contracts on Ontario's teachers, is quite clear. Ontario cannot afford pay increases, fair wages and reasonable sick day banking  policies because of an alleged "financial crisis" in the province. Ontario simply has no money.

Joint Statement Supporting Chief Spence and 'Idle No More'

Indigenous and human rights organizations stand in solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence in her appeal for full respect for Aboriginal and Treaty rights by the government of Canada. There is an urgent need for Canada to demonstrate genuine respect and long-term commitment, initiated by a meeting between First Nations' leadership, the Prime Minister and the Governor General.

Full honour and implementation of Indigenous peoples' Treaties are crucial to the evolution of Canada and the principle of federalism.  Cooperative and harmonious relations cannot be achieved by devaluing Treaties or by unilateral government actions.

Placing #IdleNoMore in Historical Context

Much has been said recently in the media about the relationship between the inspiring expression of Indigenous resurgent activity informing the #IdleNoMore movement and the heightened decade of Native activism that led Canada to establish the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) in 1991. I offer this short analysis of the historical context that led to RCAP in an effort to get a better sense of the transformative possibilities in our present moment of struggle.

The federal government was forced to launch RCAP in the wake of two national crises that erupted in the tumultuous "Indian summer" of 1990.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper to meet First Nations leaders Jan. 11

OTTAWA—Prime Minister Stephen Harper has offered to meet with a delegation of First Nations leaders to discuss treaty and aboriginal rights and economic development.

“I will be participating in a working meeting with a delegation of First Nations leaders co-ordinated by the Assembly of First Nations on Jan. 11,” Harper said in a statement Friday.

The statement was issued to the media minutes before aboriginal leaders were set to begin a news conference about the continuing hunger strike of Theresa Spence, chief of the struggling Cree community of Attawapiskat in northern Ontario.

First Nations: The Long Shadow of Assimilation

Hennessy's Index is a monthly listing of numbers, written by the CCPA's Trish Hennessy, about Canada and its place in the world. For other months, visit:
  • 150,000

    Number of Aboriginal children who were taken from their families and forced into residential schools as part of Canada’s assimilation policy from the 1870s onward. In 2008, the government apologized to Aboriginal peoples “for failing them so profoundly.” (Source 1, 2)

Arctic "death spiral" leaves climate scientists shocked and worried

A "radical shift" is plunging the Arctic Ocean towards an ice-free state for the first time in millions of years. One of the world's foremost ice experts, Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, calls it a "global disaster" that will cause such a big boost in global temperatures that even such extreme measures as geo-engineering need to be considered urgently.

Climate science has long understood that disappearance of summer sea ice in the Arctic would be a "tipping point" in the Earth's climate system, accelerating global temperatures and causing extreme weather and other climate changes far beyond the Arctic. Yet nearly every expert has been shocked by just how rapidly this "continent of ice" has been vanishing, and how dramatic the impacts have been already.

Chief on hunger strike demands action within 72 hours

Canada’s native leaders have petitioned the Prime Minister and the Governor-General to gather three weeks from now to discuss perceived failings in the treaty relationships – but an Ontario chief on a hunger strike to force such a meeting says she can’t wait that long.

Theresa Spence, the chief of the impoverished community of Attawapiskat, who has been fasting for 24 days to demand the face-to-face discussion, has told her supporters and other native leaders that a meeting must occur within the next 72 hours, and she will not start eating until it has begun. Raymond Robinson, an elder from the Cross Lake First Nation in Manitoba, is forgoing food along with her.

Republicans Have a Habit of Blocking Disaster Relief for Americans

On Wednesday, Rep. Peter King lost it. Infuriated by a last-minute decision by House speaker John Boehner to kill a disaster relief package for victims of Hurricane Sandy, the New York Republican spent the last day of the 112th Congress mulling the moral decline of the GOP. "I can't imagine that type of indifference, that type of disregard, that cavalier attitude being shown to any other part of the country," he said in a floor speech. In King's telling, Boehner's decision was a "a cruel knife in the back." Later in the day, New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie also wondered what had come of his party, calling the decision "callous" and "disgusting," and adding: "This used to be something that was not political."

House Republicans Derail Bill Targeting Rapists

In the past year, Republicans have gone wild when it comes to rape. They blocked the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act because it would have given tribal courts broader jurisdiction over rape on Native American lands. They told women they can't get pregnant from rape and that babies that result from rape are God's will. Though the GOP did pay a political price for some of this (see: Rep. Todd Akin), as the 112th Congress was hurriedly finishing up its business in the past few days, House Republicans yet again played politics with rape and sabotaged a bipartisan bill that would have made it easier to track down rapists.

America's Real Criminal Element: Lead

When Rudy Giuliani ran for mayor of New York City in 1993, he campaigned on a platform of bringing down crime and making the city safe again. It was a comfortable position for a former federal prosecutor with a tough-guy image, but it was more than mere posturing. Since 1960, rape rates had nearly quadrupled, murder had quintupled, and robbery had grown fourteenfold. New Yorkers felt like they lived in a city under siege.

Currency Seizures At Canadian Border: Chinese Cash Accounts For 59% Of All Seizures, Report Says

Chinese nationals are bringing illicit cash into the country by the briefcase, and at least some of it is ending up in Canada’s real estate market, according to a news report.

Canada Border Services Agency data obtained by the Wall Street Journal shows cash seizures from Chinese citizens accounted for 59 per cent of all the currency seized at Canada’s two busiest airports, in Toronto and Vancouver, from April 2011 to June 2012.

Exporting assault weapons approved

OTTAWA -- Just one day before last month's elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., Canada offered its gun merchants "new market opportunities" to export banned assault weapons to Colombia, one of the world's most violent countries.

Canada quietly eased its ban on the export of assault-style weapons to Colombia after Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird recommended an order amending the Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL).

Environment Canada survey asked Canadians about carbon tax, oil exports

OTTAWA—Months before the Conservatives began their sustained campaign attacking the New Democrats over their proposed cap-and-trade policy, Environment Canada wanted to know how Canadians felt about a federal carbon tax.

Many did not like the idea.

Environment Canada commissioned polling firm Ipsos Reid to conduct a nationwide telephone survey last June to learn how Canadians view federal priorities regarding the environment, in order to help improve the way the government communicates with the public.

Exposé Reveals Wal-Mart Blocked Improvements Despite Vows to Improve Safety After Deadly Factory Fire

Wal-Mart has vowed to improve safety problems among suppliers who make clothes for the company after at least 111 workers died in a deadly fire at a Bangladesh garment factory. But inspection reports found inside the facility underscore fundamental problems with how Wal-Mart’s supply chain allows it to avoid improving conditions. "One of the main monitoring companies, inspection companies for Wal-Mart, admitted that 'We don't even check whether factories have emergency exits, whether they have fire escapes or fireproof, smoke-proof enclosed staircases.’ And this factory did not have outdoor fire escapes, did not have enclosed staircases," says Steven Greenhouse, labor and workplace reporter for the New York Times about his latest investigation, "As Walmart Makes Safety Vows, It’s Seen as Obstacle to Change."

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: --

Idle No more movement could become challenge for Stephen Harper

MONTREAL—At first glance, Chief Theresa Spence — the hunger-striking Attawapiskat leader who has become the de facto face of the Idle No More movement — and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois — the fiercely articulate Quebec student leader who was cast in a similar role last spring — have little in common.

But first impressions are often misleading.

Treaties are between nations: An #IdleNoMore solidarity post

When I first started blogging, I mentioned something that I've only talked about occasionally, since.

I wrote about being Métis but passing for white and living in urban Canada.  This brought with it an escape from most serious forms of discrimination that First Nations people face, and something that should be acknowledged as privilege, even if it wasn't consciously pursued.  It also brought many occasions of people letting fly the judgmental assumptions and beliefs that they have about Aboriginal peoples, thinking it's "safe" to do so around me.  And then, when I get angry and reveal that I'm Métis, those people simply change their behaviour.  Their opinions haven't changed, they simply decide to be more careful about speaking in front of me.  It's also not unusual to have them also start projecting those assumptions onto me.

Members of KI First Nation marching from Toronto to Ottawa in support of Theresa Spence

Members of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation are marching 450 kilometers from Toronto to Ottawa in support of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence who is on day twenty-four of a hunger strike aimed at convincing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Crown to agree to a treaty meeting with First Nations. The march started at Queen's Park Wednesday morning and I joined it for a stretch along Bloor St, across the Don River and down Danforth Avenue.

It's time for Ezra Levant to apologize or explain his hateful Roma commentary

It's 2013, and it's time for Sun News Network commentator Ezra Levant to either apologize for or explain his comments on Sept. 5, 2012, about the Roma.

Now, Levant appears to be the kind of young man for whom a phrase like "never apologize, never explain," would take on mantra-like authority. Nevertheless, it's time, or certain conclusions about Levant's views about the Roma people will be impossible to avoid.

Idle No More demonstrators hold closing ceremonies, plan to be off Sarnia rail spur by Thursday morning

SARNIA, ONT.—Protesters sang songs and beat drums in a traditional ceremony Wednesday night to mark the conclusion of a 13-day aboriginal blockade of an industrial rail line in Sarnia.

The blockade, which jammed up a busy spur line in the industrial district of the city, was ordered cleared by a local judge earlier in the day.

Public spat between Toronto police, SIU after police brutality complaint

The province’s police watchdog says it has been forced to close an investigation into allegations a man was beaten unconscious by Toronto officers this summer because police are keeping essential information — the alleged victim’s complaint — secret.

Toronto police quickly fired back, with spokesman Mark Pugash saying the claim is “just comprehensively wrong.”

Attawapiskat chief is wrong to blackmail PM

The threat of suicide is always ill advised or rooted in selfishness. In the regrettable case of Theresa Spence, it appears to be a case of both.

The chief of northern Ontario's Attawapiskat reserve is holed up inside a teepee on a small island in Ottawa near Parliament Hill, subsisting on lemon water and fish broth since Dec. 11 as part of a stunt to force Prime Minister Stephen Harper or Gov. Gen. David Johnston to meet with her over her concerns with the Conservative government's relationship with First Nations and the omnibus Bill C-45. To his considerable credit, Johnston very quickly made it clear it is a political matter, and as the Queen's representative, he wouldn't be talking with Spence.

Is Fracking Safe? Debate on Controversial Natural Gas Drilling Technique as NY Moratorium May Expire

The controversial use of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," that is behind the country’s natural gas boom has come under scrutiny in the new Hollywood drama, "Promised Land," and met stiff resistance in New York state, where a four-year moratorium against the process could soon expire. Supporters say fracking is essential to U.S. energy independence, a way to revitalize depressed rural areas with new mining jobs and gas projects. But opponents warn that hundreds of millions of gallons of chemically treated water used in the process will pollute drinking water supplies and agricultural fields. New research by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado say methane — a potent greenhouse gas — may be escaping from gas sites at much higher rates than previously thought. To dive into this firestorm of debate, today we host a debate with two supporters of fracking and two opponents. We are joined by Kate Hudson, Watershed Program director at Riverkeeper, New York’s clean water advocate; Phelim McAleer, a filmmaker who produced a pro-fracking documentary called "FrackNation"; Daniel Simmons, director of state of regulatory affairs at the Institute for Energy Research; and Mayor Matt Ryan of Binghamton, New York, who is a former professor of environmental law and outspoken opponent of fracking.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: -

Education Minister Laurel Broten set to impose contracts on Ontario teachers

Education Minister Laurel Broten will impose contracts on public school teachers under the minority Liberal government’s controversial Bill 115 before classes resume Monday, the Star has learned.

The details — to be announced at a news conference Thursday — mirror the two-year deals reached last summer with Catholic and French-language teachers, freezing pay for most, reducing sick days and limiting how much unclaimed sick time can be cashed out at retirement.

After 25 years, it's time to stop spinning our wheels

In 1988, hundreds of scientists and policy-makers met in Toronto for a major international conference on climate change. They were sufficiently alarmed by the accumulated evidence for human-caused global warming that they issued a release stating, “Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war.”

They urged world leaders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2005. Had we heeded that warning and embarked on a campaign to meet the target, Canadians would now be healthier (because of reduced air pollution), have greater reserves of energy and more jobs. We’d also be a world leader in renewable energy and could have saved tens of billions of dollars.