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.]

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Koch-Linked Women's Group Takes Credit for Mark Sanford's Win

Soon after Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina who resigned in disgrace in 2009, pulled off an upset win in his congressional race on Tuesday, a conservative group called the Independent Women's Voice boasted of its role in his victory. "Independent Women's Voice was the only outside group supporting Sanford on a significant scale, by educating voters about the facts about the Democratic candidate," IWV president Heather Higgins said in a statement. IWV spent $250,000 on TV and print ads in the last week of the election, helping to power Sanford to victory over Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a special election in South Carolina's 1st Congressional district.

Our Elections Really Are Rigged—by Gerrymandering and Districting Abuses

Mark Sanford’s comeback bid was never so audacious as America’s political gossip columnists would have us believe.

Yes, the conservative Republican once boomed as a presidential prospect, before drawing national headlines in 2009 when it turned out that he had not gone missing on the Appalachian Trail but had instead snuck off to visit a woman friend in Buenos Aires. Yes, revelations about the affair led to his resignation as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, to his being censured by the South Carolina General Assembly after a State Ethics Commission investigation into allegations that he had misused state travel funds and to his divorce from a popular South Carolina politico.

Jason Richwine Dissertation On Low Hispanic IQ Puts Heritage On Defensive

WASHINGTON - A conservative researcher's 2009 dissertation, which argued that Hispanic immigrants to the U.S. have substantially lower IQs than whites, put one of the biggest opponents to an immigration reform bill in Congress on the defensive on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Warren: Student Loans Should Have Same Rate Big Banks Get

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unveiled her first bill Wednesday, designed to set student loan interest rates at the same level the Federal Reserve offers to big banks.

With some student loan rates set to double on July 1 -- from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent -- Warren's bill would reduce student loan interest rates to 0.75 percent, opening the Fed's discount window to students.

Why Did Syria Shut Down the Internet? Posted

The World Wide Web became a little less worldwide on Tuesday afternoon. Suddenly, Syria disappeared, at least from the perspectives of Google and Akamai. Nineteen hours later, it appears to have come back on. How was it turned off? Four fibre-optic lines carry Internet traffic in and out of the country. Perhaps, as the government says, the rebels cut them all. Or perhaps four scavengers simultaneously digging for copper wrenched their spades in at the same time. But most likely, President Bashar al-Assad did the deed. The government also flipped the kill switch last fall, and security firms report that the shutdown comes from sophisticated engineering, not coördinated slicing or accidental shovelling.

Military Sexual Assault: Shame Isn’t Enough

“I apologize to this committee for the shameful behavior of my Marines,” General Jim Amos said at a House hearing yesterday, speaking about a new Pentagon report showing that, for all the noise and promises in recent years, the prevalence of sexual assault in the military has increased. Based on the numbers, ten per cent of women in the Marines would be subjected to assault or harassment. General Amos’s testimony seems to have gone over better than that of Air Force General Mark Welsh, over at the Senate, who, in a hearing about a crime of violence, mused about the “hook-up mentality” to the point where Senator Kirsten Gillibrand started yelling at him and Michael Donley, the Secretary of the Air Force. They were appearing not only in the wake of the report but after the arrest this weekend of Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, who was in charge of sexual assault prevention in the Air Force, for an alleged act of sexual battery. Shame is the operative word here; but shame is simply not enough.

Ex-Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling In Deal To Cut Prison Sentence By 10 Years

Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling would be freed from prison by 2017 under a newly proposed deal, CNBC reports. That would reduce Skilling's current sentence by more than a decade.

More from Reuters:

According to court papers on Wednesday, the government and Skilling have agreed to recommend that Skilling be resentenced at a June 21 hearing to a term of 14 to 17-1/2 years, a period that could be reduced for good behavior.

Housing Starts Canada: April 2013 Sees Numbers Down More Than 25% Over 2012

Housing starts in Canada were 25.4 per cent lower in April of this year than they were the same month last year, a clear sign that Canada's housing market has slowed considerably.

According to data from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., housing starts ran at an annualized pace of 182,754 units this April, compared to 244,900 in April 2012. Housing starts fell 2.5 per cent from March to April, led by a decline in multiple urban starts (condos) of 3.5 per cent.

Al Gore Dismisses 'Ethical Oil': 'There's Only Dirty Oil And Dirtier Oil'

Former U.S. vice president Al Gore has torn a strip off the "ethical oil" campaign favoured by some backers of Canada's oil sands, telling an audience that it simply doesn't exist.

“There’s no such thing as ethical oil,” he said at Toronto’s Ryerson University on Tuesday. "There’s only dirty oil and dirtier oil."

He made the remarks during a public interview with Globe and Mail editor-in-chief John Stackhouse, who asked Gore about the controversial term that brands oil from nations like Canada, a democracy that works to protect human rights, as the ethical alternative to “conflict oil” from oppressive countries.

Trudeau Attack Ads Have Backfired, Failed To Hurt Liberals, Poll Suggests

Conservative attack ads aimed unapologetically at Justin Trudeau have not had any impact on national voting intentions, as federal Liberals gain ground and move ahead of the Tories.

A new poll from Ipsos-Reid for Postmedia and Global TV (April 26-30, surveying 1,059 online panellists) found the Liberals under Trudeau to have the support of 35 per cent of Canadians, a gain of three points since Ipsos-Reid was last in the field just prior to his leadership victory. Conservatives had 32 per cent, up one point, while New Democrats were down two points to 25 per cent support.

NDP wants House to order Tories to hand over docs on 'missing' public safety billions

Yesterday, Liberal treasury board critic John McCallum challenged the government to back up its claim that nearly $3.1 billion in public safety-related financing was not, as determined by the auditor general, 'missing', but had been duly listed in the public accounts and estimates.

Today, the New Democrats are upping the ante with a motion that, if passed, would force the government to show its work by delivering to the House all related annual reports, internal evaluations, Treasury Board submissions and related material by June 17th, at which point the speaker would make arrangements to post the entire collection online.

Conservative front bench could use a spring cleaning

It is said that governments defeat themselves in their second mandate, i.e. in years five to eight. In year seven of the Harper government, which has made fiscal responsibility its hallmark, voters see Tory senators making incorrect claims for housing expenses and being forced to pay back tens of thousands of dollars. We have the questionable use of taxpayers’ dollars to attack Justin Trudeau through the use of “ten percenters“; the Auditor General reporting there is some $3.1 billion in terrorism-related spending that Ottawa can’t account for; and another huge ad buy to herald for their Economic Action Plan. The opposition is right to target this version of fiscal accountability.

Tory heartland hit the hardest with loss of long-form census data

OTTAWA - The federal government's decision to axe the long-form census has left parts of the Conservative heartland in western and rural Canada without some of the newest data on how its population is changing.

Statistics Canada released the first results Wednesday from the 2011 voluntary National Household Survey, the replacement for the long census. The data covered such topics as religion, visible minorities, aboriginals and immigration.

Alex Gibney, Wikileaks Documentary Director, Says Critics Are 'Part Of A Propaganda Machine'

Alex Gibney has directed his share of controversial documentaries. But only when he took on Wikileaks did he get his very own abusive hashtag.

"The Wikileaks organization and its followers are very much part of a propaganda machine," Gibney says. "Anything you say critically, you'll get slammed. It's not, like, we dispute a few issues here. It's hashtag #FuckAlexGibney."

It's unlikely that many Wikileaks supporters, who unveiled the #FuckAlexGibney meme during this year's Sundance Film Festival, have seen Gibney's film, "We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks." But they know its depiction of the organization's founder, Julian Assange, isn't 100 percent complimentary, and that's apparently enough.

An Interview With Julian Assange

London—A tiny tip of the vast subterranean network of governmental and intelligence agencies from around the world dedicated to destroying WikiLeaks and arresting its founder, Julian Assange, appears outside the red-brick building on Hans Crescent Street that houses the Ecuadorean Embassy. Assange, the world’s best-known political refugee, has been in the embassy since he was offered sanctuary there last June. British police in black Kevlar vests are perched night and day on the steps leading up to the building, and others wait in the lobby directly in front of the embassy door. An officer stands on the corner of a side street facing the iconic department store Harrods, half a block away on Brompton Road. Another officer peers out the window of a neighboring building a few feet from Assange’s bedroom at the back of the embassy. Police sit round-the-clock in a communications van topped with an array of antennas that presumably captures all electronic forms of communication from Assange’s ground-floor suite.

Remembering Mary Thom

Steadfast. Diligent. Generous. Gifted. These are all words that describe my friend and former colleague, Mary Thom, the editor whose tenure at Ms. magazine and the Women’s Media Center helped shape the the dialogues and debates of modern feminism, who died on April 28 in a motorcycle accident.

But what I remember first about Mary is her laugh—a ready and almost girlish eruption that challenged first impressions of her as a very serious person. Mary liked to laugh, finding a generally good-natured amusement in certain human foibles—in a way that only a keen observer of people and their deeds would.

GOP Immigration Amendments Boost Drones, Incarceration and Criminalization

On Tuesday evening, the Senate Judiciary Committee released amendments to the immigration bill as the legislation begins its mark-up phase.

One of the most closely watched amendments, offered by Democrats, will be a measure for US citizens to sponsor their same-sex partners for green cards. While pundits say the LGBT-related amendments may determine the fate of the bill, Republicans are also sponsoring amendments that could have far-reaching ramifications.

Ironies abound in Alberta's agitated politics as Alison Redford cranks up the postage meter

Am I the only one who sees irony in the leader of Alberta's ultra-conservative Wildrose Party working up a full head of steam because the merely very conservative government of Premier Alison Redford plans to mail a colourful budget brochure to every household in the province -- at taxpayer expense, of course?

After all, the Wildrose Party of Danielle Smith is effectively the Alberta provincial branch of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party of Canada -- the one mailing out those federal Tory flyers attacking Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's substance as well as his masculinity.

‘Harper Government’ brand on 522 government news releases since December, Liberals say feds politicizing bureaucracy

PARLIAMENT HILL—Federal public servants in the media branches of more than two dozen government agencies and departments have used the term “Harper Government” to announce federal funding, tax breaks, and a range of government handouts and projects in more than 500 news releases since December.

Government House Leader Peter Van Loan (York-Simcoe, Ont.) tabled a government list of how many times the “Harper Government” label has been used in news releases from the public service, an otherwise neutral institution that remains strictly non-partisan, in the House of Commons on Monday.

Why Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals and Andrea Horwath’s NDP should form an anti-Tory coalition

There will be no Liberal-NDP accommodation at the federal level. That was virtually assured when anti-co-operation candidate Tom Mulcair was chosen leader of the New Democrats. Now that the Liberals are surging ahead under Justin Trudeau, who is equally opposed to an arrangement between the two parties, non-co-operation is a certainty.

They will fight one another in the 2015 federal election campaign as fiercely as they fight the Stephen Harper Conservatives.

U.S. Is Weighing Wide Overhaul of Wiretap Laws

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration, resolving years of internal debate, is on the verge of backing a Federal Bureau of Investigation plan for a sweeping overhaul of surveillance laws that would make it easier to wiretap people who communicate using the Internet rather than by traditional phone services, according to officials familiar with the deliberations.

The F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, has argued that the bureau’s ability to carry out court-approved eavesdropping on suspects is “going dark” as communications technology evolves, and since 2010 has pushed for a legal mandate requiring companies like Facebook and Google to build into their instant-messaging and other such systems a capacity to comply with wiretap orders. That proposal, however, bogged down amid concerns by other agencies, like the Commerce Department, about quashing Silicon Valley innovation.

Hospital Prices No Longer Secret As New Data Reveals Bewildering System, Staggering Cost Differences

When a patient arrives at Bayonne Hospital Center in New Jersey requiring treatment for the respiratory ailment known as COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she faces an official price tag of $99,690.

Less than 30 miles away in the Bronx, N.Y., the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center charges only $7,044 for the same treatment, according to a massive federal database of national health care costs made public on Wednesday.

Bill C-54 Raises Fears Of Mentally Ill, Doctors Say

OTTAWA - Mental health professionals from across Canada are banding together during Mental Health Week to ask the Harper government to rethink its latest crime bill.

Nine different organizations, including their multiple provincial organizations, say changes to the Not Criminally Responsible regime for mentally ill offenders have been made without evidence or input from mental health workers.

Harper Government's Palestine Stance At UN Opposed By Many Canadians: Documents

OTTAWA — The prime minister’s staunch pro-Israel stance may be winning favour with the Jewish community, but it does not sit well with most Canadians who wrote to Stephen Harper last fall after Canada voted against granting Palestine status as a non-member observer state at the United Nations.

National Research Council: Harper Tories Tell Agency To Focus On Industry, Not Raw Science

OTTAWA - The Harper government is telling the National Research Council to focus more on practical, commercial science and less on fundamental science that may not have obvious business applications.

The government says the council traditionally was a supporter of business, but has wandered from that mandate in recent years — and will now get back to working on practical applications for industries.

MPs’ war over Canadian history misses the point

Canadians don’t learn enough Canadian history. Virtually everyone in Canada agrees on that much.

What remains in dispute is what history, or whose history, Canadians should be learning more about. That’s why the Conservative-dominated Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s comprehensive review of (among other things) the history that is being taught in Canadian schools has become so controversial.

When keeping it simple is stupid

I have a question for Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre. Aboriginal people make up only four per cent of the population, yet they account for 23 per cent of the inmates in federal prisons. What is the ‘root cause’ of this alarming incarceration rate?

Following Poilievre’s logic, if the root cause of terrorism is terrorists, then the root cause of aboriginal crime must be aboriginal criminals. So if the jails are full of aboriginal people, it’s because so many of them commit crimes.

Tax cuts a race to the bottom

The four Maritime provinces are all in deficit, a cumulative $1.1 billion of red ink. Ontario is forecasting a deficit of $11.9 billion. Alberta is projecting a $6 billion shortfall.

Manitoba, the poor sister of the "booming" resource-rich west, with a population of one million, is struggling with a $1 billion bill from its 2011 major flood and is dealing with another flood this year. Despite a one-point increase in its sales tax to eight per cent, it is still projecting a $518 million deficit for 2013-14.

Eduardo Galeano, Chronicler of Latin America’s "Open Veins," on His New Book "Children of the Days"

One of Latin America’s most acclaimed writers, Eduardo Galeano is out with the new book, "Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History." Galeano’s classic "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent," made headlines when Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez gave President Obama a copy at the Summit of the Americas in 2009. Since its publication in 1971, "Open Veins" has sold over a million copies worldwide despite being banned by the military governments in Chile, Argentina and his native country of Uruguay. While in exile after the Uruguayan military junta seized power in a 1973 coup, Galeano began work on his classic trilogy, "Memory of Fire," which rewrites five centuries of North and South American history.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: --

Pentagon Study Finds 26,000 Military Sexual Assaults Last Year, Over 70 Sex Crimes Per Day

A shocking new report by the Pentagon has found that 70 sexual assaults may be taking place within the U.S. military every day. The report estimates there were 26,000 sex crimes committed in 2012, a jump of 37 percent since 2010. Most of the incidents were never reported. The findings were released two days after the head of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention unit, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, was arrested for sexual assault. We air highlights from Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on military sexual assault and speak with Anu Bhagwati, executive director and co-founder of Service Women’s Action Network. "The numbers are outrageous, and I think we’ve reached a tipping point," Bhagwati says. "The American public is furious."

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: -

Albertans unaware of carbon tax, poll shows

One of the Redford government’s key selling points as it touts Alberta’s environmental record internationally is barely known to its own residents, according to a new poll.

A ThinkHQ Public Affairs survey conducted between April 16 and 20 shows only 31 per cent of Albertans are aware of the province’s $15-per-tonne levy on large carbon emitters.

ThinkHQ president Marc Henry said there is good news for the Progressive Conservative government, however, as it contemplates a possible hike to the fee.

Alberta pipeline safety report won’t be made public right away

EDMONTON - The Redford government will not immediately release the results of an independent review of pipeline safety in Alberta despite opposition calls to do so, Energy Minister Ken Hughes said Tuesday.

The report was commissioned in July 2012 after a scathing U.S. National Transportation and Safety Board report and three local pipeline leaks triggered unprecedented public concern.

Redford’s government spends $350,000 on austerity budget brochure

The Redford government is under fire for its decision to spend $350,000 of taxpayers' money to mail a glossy budget brochure to all Alberta households, two months after the 2013 budget was introduced.

Premier Alison Redford, who made a rare visit to the legislature press gallery Tuesday to personally deliver the first copies of the brochure, said she believes it's important for Albertans to have the correct information on her government's fiscal plans.

Ship deal hits rocky shoals

OTTAWA - In all the delirium of competing for lucrative contracts to build new warships, we lost sight of the big question — what exactly are we building?

Irving Shipbuilding has recently bought full-page ads in The Chronicle Herald and the Ottawa Citizen to defend the high cost of building Arctic/offshore patrol ships in Halifax.

Obama's faint 'red line' on Syria

After dramatically declaring that Israel's recent airstrikes on Syrian targets were a "declaration of war," Bashar al-Assad's deputy foreign minister this week detailed a perfectly Middle Eastern theory as to who was behind the attacks.

"This," declared Faisal al Mekhdad, "is an alliance between al-Qaeda, Wahhabism and Israel."

The notion of such an alliance is lunacy of course. But at least Mekhdad does appear to know his enemies much better than the militarists in Washington who want to find allies in Syria's chaotic conflict and go charging in to save the day.

Millions in taxpayer-funded consulting work kept secret

Most federal departments are not following government guidelines that encourage them to tell the public just what they’re getting for the millions of dollars spent on management consulting.

A Star investigation found that 90 per cent of the $2.4 billion paid out for management consulting in the past decade comes with no description of the work done on the government’s public disclosure sites.

TDSB proposes cuts to music programs to balance budget

Staff at the Toronto District School Board is calling for $2 million in cuts to instrumental music programs, a 4 per cent drop in every school’s “discretionary budget” and less overtime for workers in the maintenance department, as a way to wipe out the remaining $27 million deficit.

The list of proposed cuts also includes possible merging of smaller night school courses and the layoff of two managerial staff in the popular Grade 1 Reading Recovery program.

World Jewish Congress warns of rise of neo-Nazi parties in Europe

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY—The World Jewish Congress said Tuesday it is greatly concerned about the emergence of what it called neo-Nazi parties in Europe, singling out Greece’s Golden Dawn, Hungary’s Jobbik, and Germany’s National Democratic Party.

A study presented at the congress’s assembly here in the Hungarian capital highlighted the links among the growing strength of such extremist groups, the European economic crisis and latent Nazi-type tendencies in Europe.

Ottawa clearing way for Canadian airlines to use fewer flight attendants

The federal government wants to let Canada’s airlines fly with fewer flight attendants, a move that one union says is a threat to passenger safety.

Transport Canada this week granted WestJet an exemption to the existing rules, allowing the airline to operate with one flight attendant for every 50 passengers, instead of one cabin staff for every 40 passengers.

Kitchener MP criticizes pro-choice group over equality motion

Conservative Kitchener Centre MP Stephen Woodworth is taking a national pro-choice group to task for not supporting a motion he plans to submit in parliament affirming a human's "equal worth and dignity."

Woodworth told CBC News on Monday once it is agreed that a human being has a right to dignity and equality, there can be a public and parliamentary discussion on the definitions of “human being,” “dignity” and “equality”.

International intervention heats up in Mali

France's National Assembly and Senate have voted to extend the country's military intervention in Mali. A resolution passed both houses of parliament on April 22. Not a single vote was cast in opposition.

Three days later, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 2100, creating a policing mission beginning July 1, 2013. The mission is called by its French acronym MINUSMA. Its projected size is 11,200 soldiers and 1,440 police.

Wall Street Bills Clear Hurdle With Democrats Backing Deregulation

WASHINGTON -- Just one day after Treasury Secretary Jack Lew wrote a letter urging lawmakers to reject a slate of Wall Street deregulation measures, nearly two dozen Democrats joined Republicans to approve the package in the House Financial Services Committee.

The legislation would repeal several sections of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law targeting derivatives, the complex financial transactions at the heart of the 2008 banking collapse. Similar measures have already cleared the House Agriculture Committee with broad bipartisan backing.

With Bangladesh Toll Over 700, 'Which Brands Accept Blood on Their Labels?'

It is rare that a member of Congress calls out a major industry, especially one with a powerful presence in his home state.

It is rarer still that a senior member of Congress, with a ranking position on a powerful committee, does so.

But Congressman George Miller has gone after a fashion industry that relies on low-wage workers in unsafe factories to produce clothing with “blood on their labels.”

Toews denies NDP's charge that government tried to muzzle Mountie

OTTAWA - The Opposition leader in the Senate says an alleged attempt by the RCMP to prevent a British Columbia Mountie from testifying at a committee may amount to serious interference with the Senate’s ability to carry out its responsibilities.

In a question of privilege put to the upper chamber Tuesday, Liberal Sen. James Cowan said Canadians "should not be fearful of telling the truth before us."

Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella is expected to rule on the matter Wednesday.

Pure science research drops sharply at National Research Council

OTTAWA — Scientists at the National Research Council are publishing far less research than they did before the NRC embarked on a mission to help industry rather than doing pure science.

And an internal poll suggests many NRC employees don’t trust their leaders.

Stephen Hawking joins academic boycott of Israel

Professor Stephen Hawking is backing the academic boycott of Israel by pulling out of a conference hosted by Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem as a protest at Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Hawking, 71, the world-renowned theoretical physicist and former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, had accepted an invitation to headline the fifth annual president's conference, Facing Tomorrow, in June, which features major international personalities, attracts thousands of participants and this year will celebrate Peres's 90th birthday.

Stop Giving Your Money to Rich People on Kickstarter

When Zach Braff created a Kickstarter project two weeks ago to finance his new film, Wish I Was Here, the introductory remarks included in his pitch contained a flagrant contradiction of terms. In the first paragraph, Braff claimed he was a fan of Kickstarter, but he “didn't imagine it could work on larger-scale projects.” Yet, in the following paragraph, after discussing how he was inspired by the similarly “larger-scale” Kickstarter project for Rob Thomas' Veronica Mars film, he “couldn't help but think... maybe there is a new way to finance smaller, personal films that didn't involve signing away all your artistic control.”

Barack Obama’s own tea party is backed by big money

They come with their signs and banners on the 14th of every month to mark the shootings at Newtown, Conn.—a hundred or so protesters in front of the headquarters of the National Rifle Association, a boxy, glass-walled building surrounded by blooming trees in a suburb of Washington.

“I am here to show my senator, who has an A-rating from the NRA, that there is another voice,” says Donna Lipresti, a 60-year-old law-firm administrator from northern Virginia, who hoists a sign calling for background checks for gun buyers. Similar grassroots demonstrations, petition drives and vigils have been unfolding across the United States.

Sarelle Sheldon, McGill rape survivor, goes public with her story

Odds are you know someone who’s been sexually assaulted.

In fact, with estimates as high as one in four North American women being likely to experience sexual assault in her lifetime, odds are you know several sexual assault survivors.

But you probably don’t know who they are.

Are private security firms the answer to rising police costs?

As police agencies across Canada look for ways to control spiraling costs, could farming out certain work to private security firms be part of the solution?

Executives from national security company Canadian Corps of Commissionaires told a parliamentary committee Tuesday that many “less-demanding” duties currently performed by sworn officers — crime scene security, offender transportation, front desk management — could easily be performed by private guards, freeing up officers to tackle more important tasks.

China's and India's Dangerous Game

China and the United States have the world's most important bilateral relationship. But the runner-up is surely China and India. After all, the two countries have a combined population of (roughly) 2.5 billion, amounting to around 40 percent of the world's population. They also have rapidly growing economies, nuclear weapons, and a border over 600 miles long -- one that remains unresolved after a deadly skirmish between the two countries in 1962.

Experimental Lakes Area: Lake 227 Research Could Be Saved, Scientists Say

OTTAWA — These scientists aren’t asking for much.

They just want access to a road, the ability to get in a boat and keep their research going by filling a barrel with phosphoric acid that will slowly drip into Ontario’s Lake 227.

10 Key Findings From a Rapidly Acidifying Arctic Ocean

As predicted by chemistry, change in the Arctic Ocean is accelerating as temperatures warm faster than the global average, as the sea ice melts, as northern rivers run stronger and faster, delivering more fresh water farther into the northernmost ocean, and as we continue blasting an ever increasing quantity of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The Arctic Ocean Acidification Assessment, a new report from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), presents these 10 key findings:

1. Arctic marine waters are experiencing widespread and rapid ocean acidification. In the Nordic Seas, acidification is taking place over a wide range of ocean depths, from surface waters (faster) to deep waters (more slowly). Seawater pH has declined ~0.02 per decade since the late 1960s in the Iceland and Barents Seas. Other ocean acidification signals have also been encountered in surface waters of the Bering Strait and the Canada Basin of the central Arctic Ocean.

Paul Ryan: 'I Don't See A Grand Bargain Happening' On Budget

WASHINGTON -- On this, some of Washington's highest-ranking budget players can agree: A "grand bargain" this year to close the nation's chronic budget deficits seems like a long shot.

That was the consensus at an annual Washington "fiscal summit" thrown by billionaire deficit hawk Pete Peterson, who's staked $1 billion of his fortune on a foundation aimed at raising public awareness of the dangers of the government's growing debt.

Work-Related Deaths Kill 150 Americans Per Day: Study

More than 100 people in the United States die every day as a result of their work, according to a new report from the AFL-CIO.

The union found that about 4,693 workers were killed on the job in 2011, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 50,000 workers per year die from work-related diseases. Combine those numbers and you get about 150 work-related deaths per day, the AFL-CIO report found.