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 18, 2013

Environmentalists Say Harper Cabinet Secrecy Is Smothering Debate

VANCOUVER - Environmentalists are asking a court to stop what they say is Ottawa's use of cabinet secrecy to hide decisions and smother debate about endangered species.

"It's getting weird," said Melissa Gorrie, an environmental lawyer involved with the case going before the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver on Tuesday.

The fight began with a November 2011 attempt by environmental groups before the courts to force Environment Minister Peter Kent to issue an emergency protection order for sage grouse. They say Kent is obliged to do so under terms of the Species At Risk Act when a species is threatened with immediate disappearance.

The Country Most Gouged By Telecom Companies? Canada

Last week, I made an effort to investigate some of the findings of a recent Scotia Capital report, which itself sought to dispel some of the alleged myths pervading the Canadian wireless market. Some of my conclusions were based on slightly older numbers, taken from a 2011 version of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Wireless Matrix. Since stats such as revenue and profits don't change that quickly over the course of a year, I felt it was okay to use those numbers.

Alison Redford Calls Thomas Mulcair's Comments In US 'Ridiculous'

OTTAWA - A U.S. rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline proposal would have far-reaching implications for the Canada-U.S. relationship, Alberta Premier Alison Redford warns.

In an interview with The Canadian Press on Monday, Redford said Canada and the United States have a long history of economic integration that would be thrown into question by a 'No' to the pipeline.

The NCAA: Poster Boy for Corruption and Exploitation

It’s time for that period of breathless college-hoops hysteria known as March Madness. It’s time for bracketology, Final Four predictions, office pools and the gambling of billions of dollars, legal and illegal. What will go largely unnoted is the fact that kids, ranging in age from 18 to 22 and branded with corporate logos, are producing this tidal wave of revenue—and they’re not receiving a dime of it.

'White Student Union' Members Defend CPAC Segregation Comments

Two members of the White Student Union at Towson University in Maryland aren't backing down after advocating for racial segregation and defending slavery at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.

K. Carl Smith of Frederick Douglass Republicans was giving a presentation at CPAC about how Republicans could reach out more effectively to minorities. Scott Terry, a member of the White Student Union, began challenging Smith about the inclusion of blacks in the GOP's tent, in an exchange captured by the liberal blog ThinkProgress that quickly spread around the Internet.

Desiline Victor, Obama's 102-Year-Old Voter, 'Shocked' By Scalia's 'Racial Entitlement' Remark

WASHINGTON -- Desiline Victor, the 102-year-old voter who received a standing ovation at President Barack Obama's State of the Union address earlier this year, sent a letter on March 12 to Justice Antonin Scalia criticizing his remarks about the Voting Rights Act being a "racial entitlement."

Victor said she was "shocked" when she heard what Scalia said about the Voting Rights Act during the Supreme Court's oral arguments on a key provision of the law last month.

Elizabeth Warren: Minimum Wage Would Be $22 An Hour If It Had Kept Up With Productivity

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) made a case for increasing the minimum wage last week during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing, in which she cited a study that suggested the federal minimum wage would have stood at nearly $22 an hour today if it had kept up with increased rates in worker productivity.

"If we started in 1960 and we said that as productivity goes up, that is as workers are producing more, then the minimum wage is going to go up the same. And if that were the case then the minimum wage today would be about $22 an hour," she said, speaking to Dr. Arindrajit Dube, a University of Massachusetts Amherst professor who has studied the economic impacts of minimum wage. "So my question is Mr. Dube, with a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, what happened to the other $14.75? It sure didn't go to the worker."

Fixing the Worst Law in Technology

On the opening day of this year’s South by Southwest festival, in Austin, an audience gathered in a giant conference hall to remember the life and tragic suicide of Aaron Swartz. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, spoke of Swartz’s curious and restless mind. Swartz’s girlfriend Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman described him as a man who was constantly asking whether what he was doing was the most important thing that he could be doing. The proceedings were yet another reminder that Swartz’s suicide was heartbreaking beyond belief, and that something must be done about the law that he was aggressively prosecuted under, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

As if to underline the point, last Thursday, federal prosecutors indicted that Matthew Keys, a social-media editor at Reuters, under the same law for helping with an online prank. Keys helped hackers vandalize a news story on the Web, messing with the contents of the article and changing a headline to read “PRESSURE BUILDS IN HOUSE TO ELECT CHIPPY 1337”—which was an inside joke. The damage was trivial, yet he is threatened with two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in damages and up to twenty-five years in prison.

Arundhati Roy on Iraq War’s 10th: Bush May Be Gone, But "Psychosis" of U.S. Foreign Policy Prevails

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the global justice activist and author Arundhati Roy joins us to discuss the war’s legacy. Roy is the author of many books, including "The God of Small Things," "Walking with the Comrades," and "Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers." Roy argues the imperial mentality that enabled the United States to invade Iraq continues today unabated across the world. "We are being given lessons in morality [by world leaders] while tens of thousands are being killed, while whole countries are shattered, while whole civilizations are driven back decades, if not centuries," Roy says. "And everything continues as normal."

Original Article
Source: Democracy Now!
Author: -

Four lessons from Steubenville

Thanks to a trial overseen by a juvenile court judge, justice in Steubenville was administered remarkably quickly. On Sunday morning, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were found delinquent of the rape of a sixteen-year-old girl, for which they will serve, respectively, a minimum of two years and one year each. But this isn’t the end of the story, which went national with the help of Anonymous but was truly laid bare in the four days of testimony last week.

Hugo Chavez and the history of hostile interventions against left-wing governments

It is a phenomenon rarely noted that virtually every left-wing government since the Second World War, almost all of them elected, has faced vicious, sometimes violent, obstruction by its enemies both internal and foreign. Many were overthrown. As Henry Kissinger explained just before the American-backed coup against Salvador Allende in Chile, "The issues are too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves."

Not surprisingly, the histories of all such governments have, for better or worse, been deeply influenced by such hostile interventions.

Missing the Copenhagen target

On February 15, with the Conservatives' typical, quiet Friday afternoon, splash-less launch, the 2012 Progress Report to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy was tabled in the House of Commons. The following week was a break in the Parliamentary schedule, and, so far, the report has been ignored in the national media.

If you have had any exposure to the talking points repeated, ad nauseum, by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Environment Minister Peter Kent, and Michelle Rempel (Kent's Parliamentary secretary) on Canada's actions in reducing Greenhouse gases (GHG), you will have heard that 'Canada is half way to our Copenhagen target.' This is the target adopted by Stephen Harper when he attended the climate talks, COP15, in 2009.

How Ottawa stole show from Parks Canada

 OTTAWA — You might say Parks Canada got mauled by Bigfoot.

Internal documents show the prime minister’s department micro-managed a media event staged by Parks Canada, trying to erase the venerable agency from a public announcement while promoting the Harper government.

The incident is a case study in communications control from the centre, a signal feature of the governing Conservatives since they first came to power in 2006.

John Boehner On Gay Marriage: 'I Can't Imagine' Ever Supporting This

Days after Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) reversed his stance on gay marriage, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is not doing the same.

Portman announced to Ohio newspapers on Friday that after his own son came out in February 2011, he has grown to change his perspective on the issue. In a Sunday interview on ABC's "This Week," Boehner was asked by host Martha Raddatz about whether he could ever envision a similar shift happening on his end.

Iraq 10 Years Later: The Deadly Consequences of Spin

One night, more than a decade ago, I was a guest on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News show along with Bill Kristol, the godfather (or son-of-the-godfather) of the neoconservative movement. The subject: What to do about Iraq? The Bush administration had begun pounding the drums for war, claiming, as Vice President Dick Cheney had put it, that there was "no doubt" tyrant Saddam Hussein was "amassing" weapons of mass destruction "to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." As one of the few political analysts on television to question the rush to war, I noted that WMD inspections in Iraq could be useful in preventing Saddam from reaching the "finish line" in developing nuclear weapons. Kristol responded by exclaiming, "He's past that finish line! He's past the finish line!"

Harper government plans ‘world class’ system to address oil spill fears

OTTAWA — The Harper government will announce Monday in Vancouver plans to create what it calls a “world class” oil spill prevention regime, The Vancouver Sun has learned.

The announcement is in response to public opinion concerns which last summer prompted B.C. Premier Christy Clark to issue five key demands — including improved tanker safety — that she says must be met before the provincial government will agree to allow oilsands pipelines to the West Coast.

A senior federal source said Sunday the announcement is a response to British Columbia’s concerns, noting that the Harper government also included pipeline safety measures in last spring’s budget.

Harper government’s reckless and undemocratic muzzling of scientists

Apparently Stephen Harper is unmoved by the embarrassment of international reprobation.

It has been a year since Nature, one of the world’s leading scientific journals, chided the federal Conservatives for their antagonism to openness and declared, “It is time for the Canadian government to set its scientists free.”

Steubenville Rape Trial: Blogger Who Exposed Case Speaks Out After Ohio Teens Found Guilty

Two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio, have been found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl at a party last August. On Sunday, the teenagers, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, were found delinquent in the sexual assault of the girl who witnesses testified was too drunk to move or speak. The case sparked a national controversy following the emergence of images and social media postings from the night of the assault. We’re joined by Alexandria Goddard, a crime blogger who first exposed crucial evidence in the case by taking screen shots of incriminating social media posts, photographs and videos, before they could be deleted. The hacker group Anonymous picked up on Goddard’s posts and released shocking video from the night of the assault. We also speak to Marc Randazza, a First Amendment lawyer who represented Goddard when she was unsuccessfully sued for defamation. "I’m convinced that if Ms. Goddard hadn’t started blogging about this and Anonymous hadn’t taken up the standard, that this case would have been swept under the rug," Randazza says.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: -

The immigration questions we dare not ask

Have I got a book for Jason Kenney. The immigration minister has acquired a reputation as diligent and hardworking, popping around to most every ethnic meet-and-greet he can squeeze into his daily rounds. Indeed, the punditocracy has pronounced him the Conservatives’ greatest asset in wooing the ethnic vote.

Fiscal ‘blackmail’ in Canada’s poorest quarter

They have kneecapped the political opposition, ignored the premiers, muzzled the scientists and even told federal librarians not to let their hair down when they’re not at work.

Now the Harper government has brought its godfather negotiation tactics to the poorest postal code in the nation.

As the CBC has reported, seven of the ten poorest postal codes in Canada are attached to reserves.

The lesson? Beware the Ides of March, especially if you are a member of the Burnt Church First Nation in rural New Brunswick.

Hill media still want better access to government, Cabinet

Access to government information, MPs, and ministers continues to be a top priority for the newly-elected Parliamentary Press Gallery executive, members of which say the decreased access since Prime Minister Stephen Harper came to power is impeding their ability to do their jobs properly causing a spike in access to information requests.

“Access [to government] is one of the tools we have to do our job. If we’re supposed to be covering what’s going on with the government and government-related ministries and agencies and the opposition obviously if we don’t get access to what’s going on it makes it much more difficult to do our job,” said Radio Canada reporter Daniel Thibeault, who was acclaimed as president at the press gallery’s annual general meeting on March 8.

Flaherty to release ‘austerity’ budget, MPs criticize $5-million for Religious Freedoms Office

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will release the federal government’s budget this week laying out how the government plans to spend an estimated $252.5-billion over the next fiscal year, but opposition MPs are already saying any cuts or new spending will be ideological.

“It’s a pattern across subject areas,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.), who questioned the government’s funding and cutting choices in the last budget.

Peeved Harper aims at 'remaking Canadian labour force'

Canada’s longstanding shortage of skilled workers has apparently made Prime Minister Stephen Harper mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore.

Sources tell CBC News that, for the past year, the prime minister has been banging heads in his government to come up with new ways to help Canadians get the right skills for the right jobs — namely, thousands of vacancies that companies are begging to fill.

Renting out a private parking spot in Toronto is illegal

For $80 a month, you can rent a west-end driveway on College St. Or there’s an off-lane spot in the Annex for $100. A Yorkville driveway goes for $12 per day.

Kijiji, Craigslist and list dozens of available parking spots for rent in Toronto. The problem, however, is that renting out private parking is technically illegal in this city and could result in a $25,000 fine, although that’s unlikely.

Toronto Star makes up facts in exposé of sex tourism in Cuba

"There is truly no prostitution healthier than Cuba's," said Fidel Castro in 1992. Or so claims the Toronto Star. But did he really?

Not at all. Castro actually said, "There is truly no tourism healthier than Cuba's."

This just scratches the surface of the fact-free reporting of the Star in its new series The Ugly Canadians, an exposé of a supposed epidemic of Canadians travelling to Cuba for child sex tourism.

Obama Mideast Visit: President Will Find Disillusioned Palestinian Public When He Visits Region

RAMALLAH, West Bank — President Barack Obama will find a disillusioned Palestinian public, skeptical about his commitment to promoting Mideast peace, when he visits the region.

Obama's trip, beginning Wednesday, appears aimed primarily at resetting the sometimes troubled relationship with Israel. But winning the trust of the Palestinians, who accuse him of unfairly favoring Israel, could be a far more difficult task.

Federal budget cuts undermine Environment Canada’s mandate to enforce clean air regulations: emails

OTTAWA — The Harper government’s budget cuts to scientific research at Environment Canada have compromised the department’s capacity to crack down on cancer-linked pollution and its mandate to enforce clean air regulations, say enforcement officers in a collection of internal emails obtained by Postmedia News.

As the government continues consultations with the oil and gas industry on regulations to address rising heat-trapping greenhouse gases, the emails, exchanged between Environment Canada enforcement officers from various regions including Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver, said that the government was eliminating the only Canadian group capable of writing and supervising credible testing methods for new and existing rules to impose limits on pollution from smokestacks.

CNN grieves that guilty verdict ruined ‘promising’ lives of Steubenville rapists

CNN broke the news on Sunday of a guilty verdict in a rape case in Steubenville, Ohio by lamenting that the “promising” lives of the rapists had been ruined, but spent very little time focusing on how the 16-year-old victim would have to live with what was done to her.

Judge Thomas Lipps announced on Sunday that Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, would be given a maximum sentence after being found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl while she was unconscious. Richmond could be released from a juvenile rehabilitation facility by the age of 21 and Mays could be incarcerated until the age of 24.

Canadian military hardware good for Colombia's stability, says envoy

OTTAWA - The federal government's plan to sell military hardware to Colombia will further stabilize the country and help its economy grow, says the Colombian ambassador to Canada.

But a conflict prevention expert based in the South American country says Canada should insist that human rights monitoring accompany any future sales of assault rifles or armoured vehicles to Colombia.

As dismantling begins, shuttering of research station called a 'travesty'

The federal government says it is still trying to find a buyer for the world-renowned freshwater research station in Northern Ontario that it is closing at the end of this month, but it has already sent in a crew to start taking down buildings.

The doors of the old sleeping cabins at the 45-year-old Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) are being ripped off, the appliances are being taken away, and the personal belongings of researchers are being removed.

Gitmo Hunger Strike: ‘Prisoners put their lives on the line in a medieval torture chamber’

An inmate hunger strike at Guantanamo prison has entered its 40th day, with more than 100 reportedly taking part. Experts warn of health risks over a strike prompted by the confiscation of prisoners’ belongings and rough handling of Korans.

The prisoners' lawyers, along with other experts and former detainees, are sounding the alarm over the inmates’ critical condition. “They are indeed threatening their own lives, putting their lives on the line in this heroic effort to express a sense of autonomy, outrage at being imprisoned in what can be characterized as nothing less than the American sort of medieval torture chamber,” anthropologist Mark Mason, who studies the cultural factors behind human suffering, told RT.

The Toews and Harper Show: Virtual reality TV and right-wing fearmongering

Recent raids targeting migrant workers in Vancouver have sparked protest and justifiable anger -- fueled in large part by the revelation that a film crew was tagging along with Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) agents, filming for a reality TV show, Border Security: Canada's Front Line.

Here at, Michael Stewart has convincingly argued that this security state - entertainment tag team should ultimately be blamed on the right-wing politics of the current federal government:

     ...the conditions which made Border Security: Canada's Front Lines possible are the deliberate result of almost a decade of Conservative policies by the Harper government. Xenophobic and fearmongering immigration practices, the increased use of migrant workers and attendant reduction of their rights, and the militarization of Canadian border all unswervingly led to the appalling scenario we witnessed this week.

Experts wonder if military remembers lessons from Somalia affair

OTTAWA —The death of Shidane Arone at the hands of Canadian soldiers 20 years ago is often remembered as one of the darkest moments in Canadian military history.

But as the tragic, shocking story of Arone, a Somali teen who was tortured and killed after he was caught sneaking into a Canadian compound, fades further into the past, military historians fear Canada runs the risk of forgetting the lessons of a catalytic event in the history of the Canadian Forces.

Story not over for Peter Penashue, says former Chief Electoral Officer Read it on Global News: Global News | Story not over for Peter Penashue, says former Chief Electoral Officer

Even though he has resigned and repaid $30,000 in “ineligible” campaign contributions and vowed to run in a byelection to get his seat back, the story is not over for former intergovernmental affairs minister Peter Penashue, says former Chief Electoral Officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley.

“We haven’t seen the end of this,” Kingsley said during an interview on the Global News program The West Block with Tom Clark.

Kevin Page nearly quit in 2009 -- and has 'no intention' of running for public office Read more:

The following is a transcript of Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page’s interview with Question Period.

Kevin Newman: Give me some adjectives to describe what the job’s been like for you?

Kevin Page: Scary, at times -- releasing a report on Afghanistan. Exhilarating, at times -- getting calls from people in your industry the day after the Auditor General report comes out saying, ‘Guess what?’ when you were being criticized a year prior on your costing of the F-35 fighter plane, the government was actually providing the same numbers, actually larger to cabinet but weren’t showing them to Canadians and Parliament, even though they were requested.

Parks Canada News Conference Micro-Managed By Harper's Communications Unit

OTTAWA - You might say Parks Canada got mauled by Bigfoot.

Internal documents show the prime minister's department micro-managed a media event staged by Parks Canada, trying to erase the venerable agency from a public announcement while promoting the Harper government.

The incident is a case study in communications control from the centre, a signal feature of the governing Conservatives since they first came to power in 2006.

Canadian Sports Shooting Association Launches Petition To Kill Provincial Firearms Offices

OTTAWA - A pro-gun advocacy group that has two representatives on a federal firearms advisory panel wants the Conservative government to eliminate all provincial firearms offices, saying they have "poked the lion" once too often.

The Canadian Sports Shooting Association has launched a national petition that asks Ottawa to establish a single "civilian agency" in place of provincial and territorial firearms officers that oversee licensing and other gun regulations.

Gideon v. Wainwright Anniversary Highlights Lingering Problems

WASHINGTON — It is not the happiest of birthdays for the landmark Supreme Court decision that, a half-century ago, guaranteed a lawyer for criminal defendants who are too poor to afford one.

A unanimous high court issued its decision in Gideon v. Wainwright on March 18, 1963, declaring that states have an obligation to provide defendants with "the guiding hand of counsel" to ensure a fair trial for the accused.

The Rightward March of the Republicans

As their legislative conflicts with President Obama escalate, congressional Republicans are doubling down on the strategy that helped them score big congressional gains in 2010 but produced a thumping presidential defeat in 2012.

After a brief window of introspection following Obama’s reelection, congressional Republicans, especially in the House, have shelved almost any effort to reposition the party or reshape its message. That shift was crystallized this week when House Republicans revived, virtually unchanged from Obama’s first term, the austere budget drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan.

Giorgos Katidis Banned From Greek National Soccer Team For Life For Giving Nazi Salute

ATHENS, Greece — Greek soccer player Giorgos Katidis has been banned from his national team for life after giving a Nazi salute while celebrating a goal in the topflight league.

Greece's soccer federation said Sunday in a statement that the AEK Athens midfielder's gesture "is a deep insult to all victims of Nazi brutality."

The 20-year-old Katidis gave a Nazi salute after scoring the go-ahead goal Saturday in AEK's 2-1 victory over Veria in the Greek league. He pleaded ignorance of the meaning of his gesture – right arm extended and hand straightened. He claimed on his Twitter account that he detests fascism.

AEK and the Greek league are considering separate sanctions. AEK fans have demanded Katidis' dismissal from the team.

Katidis has played for Greek national junior teams but not the senior side.

Original Article
Author: AP

Bribery Allegations Surfaced Against WSJ in China

The Justice Department last year opened an investigation into allegations that employees at The Wall Street Journal's China news bureau bribed Chinese officials for information for news articles.

A search by the Journal's parent company found no evidence to support the claim, according to government and corporate officials familiar with the case.

The U.S. government, meanwhile, is nearing the end of a broader investigation of the Journal's owner News Corp NWSA +0.02% . stemming from allegations of phone hacking and bribery at U.K. tabloids, among other issues, according to people familiar with the case.

How to Force Ethics on the Food Industry

A COURT has struck down, at least for now, New York City’s attempt to slow the growth of obesity by limiting the portion size of sweetened beverages.

But governments should not be deterred by this and should step up their efforts to protect the public health by limiting the marketing tactics of food companies. Anyone who believes these interventions are uncalled-for doesn’t know the industry the way I do.

Why does Parliament Hill need a monument to the War of 1812?

There are few patches of grass in Canada, maybe none, more prominent than the slope by Parliament’s East Block. The building itself is the most intriguing of our Parliament Buildings, asymmetrical and gloweringly gothic. Its lawn overlooks Confederation Square and the National War Memorial, the somber, affecting centerpiece of our Remembrance Day ceremonies.

The Drone Perplex: Rand Paul and Obama

A star speaker Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference was Senator Rand Paul, whose picture fills out a Mt. Rushmore-like tableau atop the CPAC home page next to portraits of Marco Rubio, Sarah Palin, and Paul Ryan. The freshman Republican from Kentucky devoted most of his speech to his dream of rolling back everything the American people have done for themselves through their government since the McKinley Administration. But the first third was a gloss on the civil-liberties themes that, on March 8th, had handed the Rand brand a brand-new burnish. That was when the Son of Ron mounted a filibuster to beat the band—the talking kind, an old-fashioned bladder-busting blabfest—of President Obama’s nominee for director of the C.I.A., John Brennan. In that one thirteen-hour talkathon, the 2008 McCain campaign guru Steve Schmidt told the “Meet the Press” audience, “Rand Paul arrived as a national figure.”

Ted Cruz CPAC Speech: Senator Addresses Conservative Political Action Conference 2013

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) gave the keynote address of the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, focusing much of his address on Sen. Rand Paul's infamous 13-hour filibuster.

"To my grave I will owe Rand Paul a debt of gratitude that the first time I spoke up in the Senate I had the opportunity to read [William Barret] Travis' letter from the Alamo," Cruz said, noting that he also read Shakespeare and the opening monologue from the film "Patton."

Edmonton Students Protest Against Post-Secondary Education Cuts In 2013 Alberta Budget

Hundreds of post-secondary students and staff marched to the legislature in Edmonton to protest against province-wide education cuts on Friday.

The group met at the University of Alberta to discuss the potential for a concerted response to the Alberta budget, before rallying on the steps of the legislature.

Alberta places ad in New York Times to make its case for Keystone XL pipeline

EDMONTON - The Alberta government, continuing to press its case for the Keystone XL pipeline, took out out an ad in Sunday's New York Times newspaper, tying the controversial project to core American values and to U.S. pride in its military.

The half-page ad is headlined "Keystone XL: The Choice of Reason."

It acknowledges the validity of environmental concerns, but stresses the $7-billion pipeline is about much more than that.

"America's desire to effectively balance strong environmental policy, clean technology development, energy security and plentiful job opportunities for the middle class and returning war veterans mirrors that of the people of Alberta," reads the $30,000 ad.

Apocalypse Soon: Preston Manning, Ron Paul and the Angry God of the Market

Last weekend, the priests and priestesses of the Canadian branch of the international market fundamentalist religion gathered in Ottawa and called, as they always do, for more human sacrifice.

I speak, of course, of the annual networking conference of the inaptly labelled Manning Centre for Building Democracy, named for Preston Manning, founder of the Reform Party that now governs in Ottawa and Canadian pontifex maximus of the cult of market fundamentalism.

"Conservatives" at the Manning conference -- who virtually to a man and woman are not conservative at all, but adherents of an extreme and radical ideology that borders on theology -- didn't need to elect a pope. They already have one, in the body of former Texas Congressman Ron Paul. So they invited Dr. Paul (he's a physician by profession) to be their keynote speaker.

Alberta Health Services trimmers toss out a couple of market-fundy myths to save cash

Two pernicious and slightly dissonant myths that cloud discussion of public health care are the idea that to get the best public-sector managers we must pay excessive private-sector style salaries and perks and the plainly preposterous notion the private sector always does everything better.

So it was interesting how Stephen Lockwood, the apparently cold-eyed and pragmatic trucking company executive from Okotoks picked by the Progressive Conservative government of Premier Alison Redford to lead the Alberta Health Services Board, tossed both ideas over the side the instant he was told to get serious about appearing to save money.

Toews approved TV show filming B.C. immigration raids

Approval for a reality show production crew to film an immigration raid at a Vancouver construction site came directly from the federal government, documents obtained by a Vancouver woman show.

Helesia Luke, who has a background in television production and now works with non-profits in Vancouver, was troubled by news of the immigration raid being filmed on Wednesday, so she asked the federal government for the production agreement.

Run on banks in Cyprus after a bailout tax is set

NICOSIA—Cyprus’s parliament will decide on Sunday whether savers must pay a levy on bank deposits under terms for an international bailout to avert bankruptcy — with approval far from certain.

The eurozone demand on Saturday that savers pay up to 10 per cent of deposits as a condition for the 10 billion euro ($13 billion U.S.) bailout drew fury in the eastern Mediterranean island and caused some jitters elsewhere in the region.