Democracy Gone Astray

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

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

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

Monday, March 04, 2013

This retiree’s $22.75 Canada Pension Plan shock

The decision to start taking the Canada Pension Plan at 60, or to wait until as late as 70, is one that requires some thought.

Starting early gives you the satisfaction of enjoying a benefit that you’ve paid into all your working life. Waiting gives you a much bigger payment.

But as the case of two Nova Scotia retirees Winston and Sheila Billard shows, even the best laid plans can go astray.

Despite distraction from neocon flameouts, Redford Tory bumbling dominates Alberta's news

Even word that Tom Flanagan, the Icarus of Canada's neoconservative movement, had flown too close to the sun and was coming down to earth in flames was not enough to save Alberta's crisis-prone Progressive Conservative government from more pain!

One would have thought Premier Alison Redford would have been cheered when the principal architect of the Opposition Wildrose Party's brush with victory last April appeared at a seminar to defend users of child pornography and thereby assured his own political and professional demise.

For the record, accusing women of being 'career feminists' is sexist

I’m a socialist. Let’s just start with that, OK? I’m anti-capitalist and I’m feminist and I’m living in a capitalist, patriarchal world. I am working class and I will likely always be. I hope to be able to survive and live comfortably some day, while also doing ethical, feminist work. But God forbid I become successful, lest I join the ranks of the much-maligned ‘career feminists’!

Now, I haven’t read Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s soon-to-be published book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, so I’m doing what several others have already done, which is to write about a book I have not (and will probably never) read. What I’m most interested in, though, is not the content of the book, but the backlash against Sandberg and, more generally, this attack on successful women and on women who may profit or make a living from doing feminist work. The so-called ‘career feminists’.

John Baird's presence at AIPAC confirms Harper government's uncritical support of Israel

John Baird, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs is confirmed to deliver a keynote address at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy meeting taking place March 3 – 5, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

His presence there further cements the Harper government's uncritical support of Israel in face of its deteriorating record of massive human rights violations in Occupied Palestine. "Canada stands shoulder to shoulder with Israel," said Mr. Baird in November 2012. His invitation to address AIPAC reflects that this government's position has not altered in face of Israel's widening breaches of international and humanitarian law against the people and land of Palestine.

Ontario government cutting billions from health funding, says health-care group

Overcrowded hospitals. More bed closures. Increased privatization. Longer wait times.

And if the last provincial budget was any indication, things aren’t likely to get better any time soon in Ontario.

“We’re calling it the austerity budget,” said Nathalie Sheppard, campaign organizer for the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC).

“For the next four years, they’re going to be cutting $3 billion from the health-care system in Ontario.”

Canada’s inaction on environment hurts its reputation: former PM

OTTAWA – Ongoing inaction on the environment is Canada’s Achilles heel on the international stage, as other countries reassess the importance of tackling climate change, according to former prime minister Kim Campbell.

“Canada kind of dragged its heels on climate change as long as the (former president George W.) Bush administration wasn’t doing much,” she said in an interview on the Global News program The West Block with Tom Clark. “The Obama administration is moving in a different direction and in the last state of the union address the president really started tackling this.”

UN Right-To-Food Envoy Criticizes Harper Government On Scrapping Census, Effect Of EU Trade Talks

OTTAWA - The United Nations right-to-food envoy says the Harper government's controversial decisions to scrap the long-form census and negotiate a free trade deal with Europe will make it more difficult to fight poverty in Canada.

Those are among the many cutting observations made by Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations' special rapporteur on the right to food, who will release his report Monday in Geneva at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council.

Eric Holder: Voting Rights Act Can't Be Called Unnecessary Yet

With the Supreme Court having heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act last week, the Obama administration weighed in again Sunday with another impassioned defense of the 1965 law.

"For our nation's Department of Justice, the fair and vigorous enforcement of this and other vital protections -- and their defense against all Constitutional challenges -- constitutes a top priority," read Attorney General Eric Holder's prepared remarks for a speech he was set to give at the Edmund Pettus Bridge Crossing Jubilee. "Let me be clear: although our nation has indeed changed, although the South is far different now, and although progress has indeed been made, we are not yet at the point where the most vital part of the Voting Rights Act can be deemed unnecessary. The struggle for voting rights for all Americans must continue -- and it will."

Tory ministers plot Human Rights Act repeal

Senior Tory cabinet ministers have raised the prospect of pulling Britain out of the European convention on human rights, despite a pledge by David Cameron that the party will not lurch to the right in the wake of its drubbing in the Eastleigh byelection.

Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, claimed that a future Conservative majority government would scrap the Human Rights Act, which enshrines the ECHR in domestic law. Theresa May, the home secretary, has reportedly been working on the plans for the Tories' next manifesto.

43,000 strip-searches carried out on children as young as 12

Contraband was discovered in just eight searches in 1,000 in young offender institutions in one year - with no drugs or knives found.

A promise to end routine strip-searching of children in custody is being flouted, according to data revealing there were more than 43,000 recorded incidences involving children as young as 12 over a 21-month period – but in only 275 searches were illicit items found.

The Sequester, Explained

Where did the whole idea of sequestration originate? It goes back to 1985. The tax cuts of Ronald's Reagan early years, combined with his aggressive defense buildup, produced a growing budget deficit that eventually prompted passage of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. GRH set out a series of ambitious deficit reduction targets, and to put teeth into them it specified that if the targets weren't met, money would automatically be "sequestered," or held back, by the Treasury Department from the agencies to which it was originally appropriated. The act was declared unconstitutional in 1986, and a new version was passed in 1987.

Sequestration never really worked, though, and it was repealed in 1990 and replaced by a new budget deal. After that, it disappeared down the Washington, DC, memory hole for the next 20 years.

John Roberts Voting Rights Act Comments Wrong, Massachusetts Official William Galvin Says

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin is calling out Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts for making "deceptive" and "disturbing" remarks about voting rates among minorities in the Bay State.

Justices heard arguments Wednesday in a challenge to the part of the Voting Rights Act that forces places with a history of discrimination, like the Deep South, to get approval before changing the way elections are held. During the arguments, Roberts asked Solicitor General Donald Verrilli if he knew "which state has the worst ratio of white voter turnout to African-American voter turnout," claiming that state is Massachusetts.

Alberta education minister ends negotiations with teachers

The war of words continues to escalate between Alberta teachers and the provincial government.

In a bluntly-worded e-mail to Alberta’s school board trustees, Education Minister Jeff Johnson put the province’s teachers on notice with the announcement that contract “negotiations are over” and any incentives previously offered are now “off the table.”

In the e-mail, sent out Friday, March 1, Johnson said Alberta “teachers are already the highest paid among the provinces” and urged school board trustees to keep certain “fiscal realities in mind” as local school boards negotiate with Alberta’s teachers.

Refugee hearings move to Montreal as Ottawa office closes

OTTAWA — A group of Ottawa immigration lawyers is lobbying the federal government to change its plans to close the local office for refugee hearings, saying it will make it harder for claimants to receive a fair hearing.

The Immigration and Refugee Board has several hearing rooms for refugee cases at its national headquarters on Slater Street, says Mike Bell, one of several lawyers representing more than 30 colleagues who regularly represent refugees in Ottawa. He says the lawyers were told in January that the board will move the hearings to Montreal at the end of this month and use the Ottawa space for other purposes. Bell said it’s his understanding the move is part of cost-reduction efforts demanded of all government departments by Treasury Board.

Many Liberals want Clark gone, but forcing her out won't be easy

Throughout this darkest weekend of Christy Clark's premiership, the Liberal Party grapevine has buzzed and burned with speculation about her future.

The last several days have been a debacle for Clark, beginning Wednesday afternoon when the NDP dropped a bombshell in question period: a secret government plan to win ethnic votes by misusing public resources.

Ontario justice of the peace displays unjust impatience

Justice delayed is justice denied. But Ontario Justice of the Peace Alfred “Bud” Johnston appears to have taken that foundational legal principle to its absurd extreme.

Johnston threw out more than 60 charges one day last December because the prosecutor was two minutes late, potentially costing the city thousands of dollars in revenue and letting dozens of accused off the hook without due process.

Chinese Community Outraged At Liberal 'Ethnic Vote' Plan

Members of Vancouver's Chinese community are calling the actions of the B.C. Liberal Party "immoral" after a leaked document revealed a wide-ranging plan to win ethnic votes in the upcoming provincial election.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark apologized on Thursday for the language used in the Liberals' "Multicultural Strategy" document, which outlines "quick wins" such as making apologies for historical wrongs.

Tom Flanagan: Academics Defend His Child Porn Views As Free Speech

CALGARY - Some academics are coming to the defence of former Stephen Harper strategist Tom Flanagan.

The retiring University of Calgary professor came under fire for controversial comments on child pornography during a public lecture in southern Alberta on Wednesday.

Flanagan told the crowd in Lethbridge he has "grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures" and "for doing something in which they do not harm another person."

Charlie Angus Critiques Senate Expenses, Says Spotlight Underscores Weak Oversight

MONTREAL - An opposition MP says a media report on a Conservative senator's expense claims is part of a disturbing pattern that points to bigger problems at the institution.

New Democrat Charlie Angus says an article in Montreal's La Presse newspaper about Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu underscores that there isn't enough oversight of the upper chamber.

Las Vegas Sands Under Investigation For Corruption, Admits Violations 'Likely'

March 2 (Reuters) - Las Vegas Sands Corp said it "likely" violated the federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which outlaws the bribery of foreign officials, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Friday.

The filing marks the first disclosure by the casino operator, controlled by founder and billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, that it was under investigation.

Tightening the grip: Muzzling of scientists ramps up

I had originally intended to write this column about my trip to Washington, D.C. on February 7-8, when I met with United States Senators and Congresspersons about climate and the Keystone XL pipeline. In brief, the trip was very successful in making links with strong proponents of climate action. Things are moving. The U.S. General Accountability Office had decided that as a threat to federal government finances, climate change is now classed 'high risk'.

I had planned a media availability session at the unfortunate time of Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., as it was the only time when I wasn't busy in meetings. By complete fluke, Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird, came to Washington, D.C. the same day and held a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at 2 p.m. Thanks to Minister Baird, my press conference was perfectly timed and a ton of media showed up. In the Twitter world, this could all be explained with #synchronicity.

MUHC, ORNGE and the banality of corruption

Whenever the snow starts to melt, I notice smells re-emerge that I had forgotten about, like of the wood of my hallways or of the White Birch paper plant.

Normally, the stench of corruption isn’t hidden by the whims of catastrophic climate chaos. But in the case of the SNC Lavalin saga, have been relatively quiet throughout winter’s freeze. Until the snow started to melt.

The Sequestration Fight Is Based on Lies and Stupidity

As a political writer, being outraged by certain issues and policies is like rocket fuel. I'm not an angry guy by nature, but there's a universe of things in politics that anger me and, combined with an almost involuntary drive to seek and disseminate the truth, I'm never really at a loss for topics to cover.

But the sequestration issue has been one of those rare items that frustrate me to the point of being incapable of spending time on it. When I read about sequestration, my brain seizes. The stupidity of it all simply confounds me to the point of being speechless. For me, this is a shocking and rare predicament.

Connie Hedegaard, EU Climate Commissioner: Obama Must Act On Global Warming Rhetoric

WASHINGTON -- Connie Hedegaard recalled being "puzzled" during recent trips to the U.S. by a loud and proud anti-science movement that dismissed global warming. Such denial is hardly heard back in her home country of Denmark, nor is it given any credence by 97 percent of the world's climate scientists.

But the European Union's climate commissioner said she was heartened by President Barack Obama's "very clear paragraph on the science" during his State of the Union speech last month, which came punctuated by an urgent call to action.

Worst Income Drop In 20 Years Shows Austerity Arrived Long Before The Sequester

As you have probably heard, today is Sequester Day, when the Austerity Badger sneaks into America and sets our money on fire. In truth, austerity is here already. Exhibit A: the dismal personal-income report released Friday morning.

Personal income plunged 3.6 percent in January, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported, the biggest drop in 20 years. The decline was driven by a couple of unusual one-time effects, according to the BEA. Both are direct results of Washington's suicidal obsession with budget deficits at a time of persistent economic weakness.

Jamie Dimon Claims He Tried To Save Lehman Brothers In 2008

Jamie Dimon now claims that he and his bank, JPMorgan Chase, labored to prevent the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, according to documents filed in federal court this week. That assertion directly contradicts the conventional understanding that the bank effectively exploited Lehman’s vulnerabilities for its own gain.

“We took huge exposures to keep Lehman alive,” Dimon said during a Feb. 23 deposition conducted as part of a lawsuit filed against JPMorgan by the Lehman Brothers estate, which is seeking $8.6 billion in damages.

Ted Cruz To Deliver Keynote Address At CPAC

Freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been selected to deliver the keynote address at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, American Conservative Union President Al Cardenas told WRAL's "Mornings on the Mall" on Friday.

Cruz had already confirmed a speaking role at the conference, which is set to take place March 14-16 in the Washington D.C. area, but the decision to have him close out the conference marks another high-profile move for the Senate newcomer.

The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking

THIRTEEN years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe.

 What they have found so far has shocked even scholars steeped in the history of the Holocaust.

The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.

Municipal Broadband Networks Bridge the Digital Divide As TeleComm Industry Tries To Block Them

As many as one in 10 Americans cannot get Internet connections fast enough for common online activities such as watching video. Many communities have responded to this digital divide by creating their own municipal broadband networks as an alternative to the slow services offered by cable and telephone companies in order to gain equal access to education, health care and even jobs. One example of success is a Thomasville, Georgia, which has been connecting people for more than a decade. But these efforts could soon be blocked. Some 19 states have passed laws to stop these communities from making such investments, and Georgia could be next. We are joined by Chris Mitchell, director of the Telecommunications as Commons Initiative, of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. He recently co-authored a report, "The Empire Lobbies Back: How National Cable and DSL Companies Banned The Competition in North Carolina." Catharine Rice is the President of the SouthEast Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, which represents Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. She led the effort to block an industry-sponsored on municipal broadband investment in North Carolina, which passed last year after Republicans came to power in the state, including a longtime friend of the Koch brothers, Art Pope, who is now the governor’s budget director.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: -

Jim Clyburn: Antonin Scalia Rejects Voting Rights Act Because He's 'White And Proud'

WASHINGTON -– Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Friday that he was "absolutely shocked" to hear Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia describe a key piece of the Voting Rights Act, one of the most significant achievements of the civil rights movement, as a "perpetuation of racial entitlement" earlier this week.

"I'm not easily surprised by anything, but that took me to a place I haven't been in a long time," Clyburn said of Scalia's comments, during an interview with HuffPost. "What Justice Scalia said, to me, was, 'The 15th Amendment of the Constitution ain't got no concerns for me because I'm white and proud.'"

Honoring Rosa Parks Requires More Than a Statue

On Wednesday, President Obama and a bipartisan collection of congressional leaders paid tribute to the legacy of Rosa Parks by unveiling a statue of her at the Capitol. The nine-foot bronze figure of Parks desegregated Statuary Hall: hers is the first statue of a black woman to be installed at the Capitol and currently the only statue of a black person (a statue of Frederick Douglass is set to be moved there shortly).

Yet, the statue of Rosa Parks—seated and clutching her purse—turned her into a meek and redemptive figure. To the end of her life, Parks believed the United States had a long way to go in the struggle for social and racial justice. Yesterday’s ceremony, however, was largely an exercise in national self-congratulation and a demonstration of American pride and pageantry. It invoked the history of racial injustice to put that history in the past.

Keystone XL: U.S. State Department Report Says Little Environmental Impact From Keystone XL

WASHINGTON - The U.S. State Department says rejecting TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline would neither put the brakes to Alberta's oilsands development nor significantly diminish greenhouse gas emissions, critical findings that could help the White House green-light the controversial project.

The pipeline "remains unlikely to significantly impact the rate of development of the oilsands or the demand for heavy crude oil in the United States," a State Department official told reporters in a conference call Friday minutes after the release of its long-awaited environmental assessment of Keystone XL.

Unions win court hearing challenging temporary foreign worker permits for miners

VANCOUVER - Two B.C. unions will get their wish to look behind the curtain of how the federal government decides if temporary foreign workers can come to Canada.

On Friday, the Federal Court granted the unions the right to pursue a judicial review of the process used to grant temporary foreign worker permits to 201 Chinese miners.

Fantino talks foreign aid with mining industry

Canada’s foreign-aid agency is moving ahead on plans to work alongside the extractive industry, and International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino will take the message directly to mining executives at a conference in Toronto this weekend.

In a sign that the Canadian International Development Agency views the industry as a key element of its push to deliver foreign aid in tandem with private sector activities abroad, Mr. Fantino will address a group on Saturday morning that is expected to include foreign ministers, non-governmental organizations and representatives of some of the biggest mining companies in Canada.

EI reform and Senate expenses: What’s sauce for the goose ought to be sauce for the gander

My first job in the newspaper business was in Grand Falls-Windsor, a central Newfoundland pulp town, in 1989.

It was hard times in the Maritimes, with the collapse of the cod fishery driving many down the road to points west.

The people who stayed had to find ways to get their stamps — bits of paper that showed they had worked for 10 weeks — which qualified them for 42 weeks of unemployment insurance.

I live in P.E.I. No, wait — I live in Ontario

“He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.”

— Benjamin Franklin

So, we found out this week that Ottawa has unleashed a raft of professional pennypinchers. Their mission? To crack down on the unemployed in this country and claw back any wayward moneys they might be receiving.

Remarks on child porn defended by academics

CALGARY -- Some academics are coming to the defence of former Stephen Harper strategist Tom Flanagan.

The retiring University of Calgary professor came under fire for controversial comments on child pornography during a public lecture in southern Alberta on Wednesday.

Flanagan told the crowd in Lethbridge he has "grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures" and "for doing something in which they do not harm another person."

Barry Cooper, a fellow political science professor at the university, said Friday Flanagan was making a reasoned argument in an academic setting, and he doesn't deserve to be so widely condemned for having an opinion.

Senator Mike Duffy's P.E.I. seat not safe yet

Mike Duffy's Prince Edward Island Senate seat may not be safe yet, with sources telling CBC News the committee seeking legal advice on his residency has yet to receive a response.

Yesterday, Senate Government Leader Marjory LeBreton suggested the question was settled over whether Duffy, who lives mostly in Ottawa, was qualified to represent P.E.I. She pointed to a declaration of qualification document that all senators sign when they are appointed, which lists the senator's name, city and province.

Freedom from religion: An essential right for all

The integrity of the Conservative government's newly minted Office of Religious Freedom is already in grave doubt after 10 days of pointed criticism. It's a noble-sounding endeavour, but it suffers from too many unanswered questions, glaring incongruities and serious omissions.

Given that it's the right-wing Conservative government behind the initiative, it carries a high risk of being Christian-centric, with a primary focus on the persecution of Christian minorities. Another purpose may be to help ensure the government's future electoral chances by pandering to its Christian constituency, as well as a handful of other religious groups that were invited for consultation. Further, the new agency could divert attention and resources from other human rights issues. Why does the cause of religious freedom deserve its own office in a world filled with deep poverty, violence, discrimination against women, environmental degradation, and a host of other ills and human rights violations? John Moore points out: "It's all the more cynical when you consider that this government regards our own Charter of Rights and Freedoms as liberal puffery."

EI audit manual outlines tips to root out fraud

CBC News has obtained documents that reveal Service Canada investigators were instructed to carry out exhaustive examinations of 1,200 randomly selected EI claimants, who were collecting regular benefits, or benefits relating to maternity or parental leave, compassionate care, sickness and work sharing.

Investigators with the Integrity Services Branch were provided with a 23-page manual, dated October 2012, outlining investigative techniques intended to be used in a pilot project starting in November and winding up at the end of March.

Unequal Justice: Mother, sons sucked into criminal justice system

On a cold Saturday night in January, Jean, 40, sits at the kitchen table of the east Toronto apartment she shares with her two sons, Brandon, 19, and Thomas, 22. Both sons have cycled in and out of the youth criminal justice system, and now find themselves in serious trouble as young adults.

A mix of court paperwork is scattered across the table.

After spending years bailing out her boys, the elder perhaps more than 50 times, Jean finds herself at the dismal point where even she has been sucked into the criminal justice system.

Ottawa takes a leaf from Ontario on freedom of information

Following in the footsteps of her Ontario counterpart, Canada’s information czar says elected officials should be subject to freedom of information legislation. She expects to issue an official recommendation to the federal government in the fall.

“(The current legislation is) no longer adequate in 2013. I think Canadians actually want to have high levels of accountability systems, for anywhere that their taxpayer dollars are being spent,” Information Commissioner of Canada Suzanne Legault said in a telephone interview Thursday.

Proposed Christian law school should be denied accreditation, Clayton Ruby says

A proposed Christian law school would be fundamentally inconsistent with Canadian law and should be denied accreditation, prominent lawyer Clayton Ruby says.

In a letter addressed to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, he and three other lawyers, including a professor of law at the University of Ottawa, are asking the federation to block the accreditation of a Christian law school at British Columbia’s Trinity Western University (TWU), claiming the school’s policies discriminate against homosexuality.

Keystone XL pipeline won’t drive up greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. State Department says

WASHINGTON—Canada’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline moved one step nearer to reality Friday with a U.S. government assessment that the project will have little to no impact on American greenhouse gas emissions.

The long-awaited U.S. State Department report — hailed in Ottawa and Alberta, shredded by the project’s environmental opponents — set in motion a new countdown that is expected to prompt a final decision from President Barack Obama by July.

Unequal justice: Aboriginal and black inmates disproportionately fill Ontario jails

Blacks and aboriginal people are overrepresented in Ontario’s youth and adult jails, with some staggering ratios that mirror those of blacks in American jails.

A Star analysis of Ontario jail data, obtained by University of Toronto doctoral candidate Akwasi Owusu-Bempah through freedom of information requests, shows:

• In Ontario, aboriginal boys aged 12 to 17 make up 2.9 per cent of the young male population. But in Ontario youth facilities they make up nearly 15 per cent of young male admissions. In other words, there are, proportionally, five times more aboriginal boys in the young male jail population than what they represent in the general young male population.

Health minister acknowledges ‘disconnect’ over Duffy, Wallin holding OHIP cards

SAULT STE. MARIE, ONT.—Health Minister Deb Matthews says there is a “disconnect” between what Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin — both OHIP card holders — are telling the Senate and the health ministry.

The senators claims residency in P.E.I. and Saskatchewan respectively yet hold health cards in Ontario, which entitles them to full coverage.

Marc Garneau: Federal Scientists Must Be 'Ungagged'

A Liberal leadership hopeful who knows a thing or two about science says the Harper government is afraid of facts that conflict with its message.

Marc Garneau, a former astronaut and head of the Canadian Space Agency, told The Ottawa Citizen on Wednesday that he would 'ungag' federal scientists if he becomes prime minister.

Recep Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister, Draws Criticism For Zionism Remarks

ANKARA, Turkey — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday waded into the controversy over comments by Turkey's prime minister equating Zionism to a crime against humanity, rebuking the leader of the NATO ally by saying such remarks complicate efforts to find peace in the Middle East.

Kerry said the Obama administration found the statements by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "objectionable" and he stressed the "urgent need to promote a spirit of tolerance, and that includes all of the public statements made by all leaders" at a news conference in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Syria Massacre: Government Forces Accused Of Executing 72 People In Malkiyeh

The Syrian opposition has accused government forces of having executed 72 people and burned their bodies in a village near the embattled northern city of Aleppo.

President Bashar al-Assad's "terrorist regime executed 72 people after a raid on Malkiyeh village near the town of Sfeira in the east of Aleppo province," the National Coalition charged in a statement issued Thursday.

Ben Bernanke, Hippie

We’re just a few weeks away from a milestone I suspect most of Washington would like to forget: the start of the Iraq war. What I remember from that time is the utter impenetrability of the elite prowar consensus. If you tried to point out that the Bush administration was obviously cooking up a bogus case for war, one that didn’t bear even casual scrutiny; if you pointed out that the risks and likely costs of war were huge; well, you were dismissed as ignorant and irresponsible.

 It didn’t seem to matter what evidence critics of the rush to war presented: Anyone who opposed the war was, by definition, a foolish hippie. Remarkably, that judgment didn’t change even after everything the war’s critics predicted came true. Those who cheered on this disastrous venture continued to be regarded as “credible” on national security (why is John McCain still a fixture of the Sunday talk shows?), while those who opposed it remained suspect.

Videos expose Kenya cash-for-votes scandal

Ferdinand Waititu, standing for the Nairobi governor seat for the TNA (the party of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta), was caught on camera seeming to bribe a group of young people in Donholm, a less affluent suburb of Nairobi, on February 6.

The video footage appears to show Waititu giving a speech promising jobs, food security, funding for women and youth groups, and railing against cheap alcohol.