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.]

Friday, October 04, 2013

Shawn Atleo: Tories Must Choose 'Collaboration Or Collision' With First Nations

OTTAWA - The Harper government must choose between "collaboration or collision" with Canada's Aboriginal Peoples when it comes to proposed energy projects, the head of the Assembly of First Nations warned Thursday.

First Nations must be a part of any energy projects that affect them or their lands, and will not back down if they feel their rights are not being respected, Shawn Atleo said in an interview.

"We will stand firm in our rights. We will have a say," he said.

Shawn Atleo: Tories Must Choose 'Collaboration Or Collision' With First Nations

OTTAWA - The Harper government must choose between "collaboration or collision" with Canada's Aboriginal Peoples when it comes to proposed energy projects, the head of the Assembly of First Nations warned Thursday.

First Nations must be a part of any energy projects that affect them or their lands, and will not back down if they feel their rights are not being respected, Shawn Atleo said in an interview.

"We will stand firm in our rights. We will have a say," he said.

David Anderson, Tory MP, Lobbies CRTC On Sun News Case In Possible Ethics Violation

OTTAWA - A Conservative parliamentary secretary has intervened in the federal broadcast regulator's deliberations on carriage of all-news services — just months after three colleagues landed in trouble for sending letters to the same court-like body.

In his Sept. 4 letter to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Saskatchewan MP David Anderson urges the regulator to take a "much more market driven approach" to both news and entertainment channels.

This Vulture-Fund Billionaire Is the GOP's Go-To Guy on Wall Street

When Republicans make their pilgrimages to Wall Street for money to help take back the Senate next year, there may be no hotter ticket than a party at Paul Singer's. The 69-year-old hedge fund billionaire's co-op apartment at the Beresford, a hulking Italian Renaissance building on Central Park West whose celebrity residents have included Jerry Seinfeld, Glenn Close, and Helen Gurley Brown, can draw scads of high-finance players. The haul for a dinner event has been known to run to $1.4 million, and Singer himself has no trouble writing a $1 million check to a super-PAC. He's been described as a "fundraising terrorist" for his persistence in twisting arms, a skill that has helped drive a major strategic shift among Big Finance donors, who favored Obama in 2008 but now overwhelmingly back the GOP.

Robert Reich on his Turn as Film Star in ‘Inequality for All’

Throughout his forty-six-year career, Robert Reich has been an academic, an author, a candidate for governor, an adviser to presidents, the secretary of labor and a merry-eyed agitator. With the September 27 release of his documentary Inequality for All, he adds “film star” to his résumé. On a recent morning, we sat down to talk about the movie and the subject that seems to have become something of a mission for him. The interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.     —Lizzy Ratner

Glenn Greenwald Faces Off With 'Newsnight' Interviewer In Hostile Clash

Glenn Greenwald faced off against BBC journalist Kirsty Wark in a deeply hostile interview on Thursday night's edition of "Newsnight."

Wark unabashedly made the case for the prosecution, interrogating Greenwald about his reporting and Edward Snowden. Some of her questions:

"Why should you be the arbiter about what is in the public interest and what is vital to national security?"

"It is very possible that you actually, by your actions, make it easier for terrorists to understand how to evade all the checks that are made on them online."

"There is vast amounts of material I gather that you have that still has not been reviewed at the moment. Do you have this? Is it in your bedroom in Rio?"

AmeriCorps VISTA Members: At Work With No Pay During the Shutdown

During their years of national service, AmeriCorps members deal with long hours and little pay—and that’s when the federal government is working. Due to the government shutdown, members of the AmeriCorps VISTA program are receiving no pay—and are still required to show up at work.

While several government agencies have furloughed workers, AmeriCorps VISTA members, around 8,000 Americans working to fight poverty, are among the federal workers who must continue working for no compensation. Even worse, VISTA members are prohibited from taking a second job to supplement their income, leaving some members short on rent payments and food.

Obama Pins Shutdown Blame On John Boehner

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama laid the blame for the government's partial shutdown at the feet of House Speaker John Boehner, escalating a government-shutdown confrontation that was leading headlong into a potentially more damaging clash over the nation's borrowing authority.

Speaking at a construction company in Washington's Maryland suburbs Thursday, Obama cast Boehner as a captive of a small band of conservative Republicans who want to extract concessions in exchange for passing a short term spending bill that would restart the partially shuttered government.

Darkness in Washington

Ryan Lizza’s excellent Daily Comment last week explained the lay of the American political landscape in the clearest possible terms, backed up by numbers: a faction of congressional Republicans, many, if not most, in the South, representing ideologically extreme, heavily white districts that were drawn by Republican-controlled state legislatures after the 2010 elections so as to keep those seats Republican in perpetuum, have their party in a chokehold—and with it, at the moment, the federal government. Eighty House members, Lizza wrote, barely a third of the Republican caucus, most of them new to Congress, forced Speaker John Boehner to reverse his public position and refuse to fund the government after September 30th unless Democrats agreed to gut the Affordable Care Act.

Supreme Court rejects citizens' request to change nationality from 'Jewish' to 'Israeli'

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a request by a group of Israelis to declare that they were members of the Israeli people and to allow them to change the ethnic registration on their identity cards from “Jewish” to “Israeli.”

The court ruled that the issue was not one for the court to decide and that there was no proof of the existence of a uniquely “Israeli” people. The court’s ruling echoed that in a similar case 40 years ago.

John McAfee Lives to Fight Another Day

It’s been nearly a year since most people have thought about John McAfee, the permanently bleary-eyed antivirus pioneer who may now be more famous for his exploits in the jungles of Central America than for the software that bears his name. That’s what happens when your life becomes an odyssey of drugs, guns, young women, corruption, the promise of a miracle antibiotic, a secret laboratory, a government raid, a murder, a manhunt, and a healthy dose of paranoia. After being deported from Guatemala, where he sought asylum after fleeing authorities in Belize, he arrived back in the United States last December.

If Harper wants to be PM, job comes with questions from journalists: Mulcair

EDMONTON - Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair says if Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to lead a modern democracy, he needs to realize that includes taking hard questions.

Mulcair, speaking to reporters in Edmonton, was reacting to a news report that the Prime Minister's Office was ready this week to ban from the PM's plane a CTV reporter who earlier asked a question of Harper at a no-questions event.

Audrey Tobias, 89, Stands By Census Refusal, Says She Won't Pay Fine

TORONTO - A defiant, diminutive octogenarian pleaded not guilty Thursday to criminal charges arising out of her refusal to fill out the 2011 census, and said she would not pay any fine if convicted.

Audrey Tobias, 89, told Ontario court she agreed with the aims of the census, but objected to the involvement of American arms behemoth, Lockheed Martin.

"When I learned that the contract for the information technology was being given to a foreign company, I was shocked," Tobias testified.

Millions of Poor Are Left Uncovered by Health Law

A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times.

Because they live in states largely controlled by Republicans that have declined to participate in a vast expansion of Medicaid, the medical insurance program for the poor, they are among the eight million Americans who are impoverished, uninsured and ineligible for help. The federal government will pay for the expansion through 2016 and no less than 90 percent of costs in later years.

Canada-EU CETA: 'Illusory' benefits and 'significantly increased drug costs' from EU patent proposal

Despite Canada spending more per capita on pharmaceutical drugs than any country in the world, the federal government is about to sign a trade deal with Europe that would increase the cost even more in exchange for "illusory" gains in pharmaceutical research and development.

This is the prognosis of a new policy brief out of Carleton University on the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The brief, written by Joel Lexchin of York University and Marc-André Gagnon at Carleton, explains the three areas where the EU, at the request Big Pharma, wants Canada to reform its patent regime. The authors go over the associated costs of those reforms as predicted in earlier reports and by the federal government, as well as why it is highly unlikely they would translate into more innovative research or associated job growth in Canada.

Stephen Harper, Israel and the strange metaphor of the mourning dove hunt: Walkom

In Israel, Stephen Harper’s name will soon grace a bird sanctuary. Yet in Canada, his government has declared open season on the bird that symbolizes peace, the dove.

This is not just a tale of conflicting metaphors — although it is that, too.

Let us begin with the dove’s view of things. Until this fall, the bird — formally known as the mourning dove — was a protected species in most of Canada.

How Stephen Harper picks judges

Stephen Harper’s appointment of Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court of Canada is being faulted on two counts:

That the prime minister failed to name a woman, as widely expected and suggested, including seemingly by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. This leaves the top court with twice as many men as women — six to three.

That Harper has picked a conservative with ideological affinity to his brand of conservatism — not on social issues, such as abortion, but rather on governance, such as how much deference the courts should show the executive branch. In other words, Nadon may not be the type to challenge the prime minister on policies and interpretation of law. Nadon will likely give unto government what the government considers to be government’s and unto the courts what he thinks is the court’s — as he suggested before a parliamentary panel Wednesday.

Political party spending should not be black hole

BRANDON -- It's your money. You deserve to know how it is being spent.

Last week, media reports disclosed Winnipeg Centre NDP MP Pat Martin was the recipient of donations from labour unions and others to fund the settlement of a defamation lawsuit brought against him.

Donors to Martin's defence fund include the federal NDP Caucus Fund, the United Steelworkers, CUPE, the Canadian Labour Congress, along with other labour organizations and union locals.

Rona Ambrose closing 'loopholes' in drug access program

The Canadian government announced today it is closing "loopholes" in a special access program that provides heroin to certain addicts.

At a news conference in Toronto Thursday, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said new regulations would also ban access  to products containing unauthorized forms of cocaine and other restricted drugs, such as ecstasy and LSD.

Ambrose said those drugs won't be authorized for patients under new regulations that take effect immediately. She also said the ban won't affect clinical trials or university research.

Stephen Harper’s environment minister casts doubt on climate change

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s environment minister is casting doubt about scientific observations of melting summer sea ice in Canada’s north.

In a short televised interview on CTV’s daily political show, Power Play, Leona Aglukkaq suggested that scientific observations were not as important as the Harper government’s priorities in its new role as chair of a group of Arctic nations.

Newest Supreme Court Justice Marc Nadon Backtracks On NHL Draft Claim

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper's newest pick for the Supreme Court Marc Nadon says he did not lie to a Parliamentary committee Wednesday when he stated he was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings at age 14.

On Thursday, Nadon confirmed he was never officially drafted to the National Hockey League.

90-Year-Old Discharged From Delta Hospital Without Shoes

A 90-year-old senior says staff at a Delta Hospital sent her home in a taxi in the middle of the night while she was bleeding from the arm, dressed in nothing but her pyjamas, and without shoes.

Vivian Fitzpatrick, who is legally blind, was taken to the hospital by an ambulance at 10:30 p.m. PT Tuesday night after she felt an intense pain in her leg, which turned out to be a case of high blood pressure.

After she was cleared by a doctor, an unknown nurse came into her room and told her she was going home, Fitzpatrick said.

No, the House GOP Isn't Standing Up for Kids With Cancer

Step aside, WWII vets; House Republicans have found their newest government shutdown prop: children with cancer. On Wednesday, having caught wind of the news that about 200 patients—including 30 children—would not be admitted for clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health, the House quickly passed a bill to fund the NIH. (It passed similar resolutions for the National Park Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the District of Columbia.) On Twitter, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) synthesized the new conservative talking points as only he could: "President Stompy Feet now says he'll kill funding for children's cancer treatment. Will the media still cover for him?" On Thursday morning, House Republicans who worked previously as doctors and nurses held a press conference on Capitol Hill to call once more for full funding of the NIH.

The G.O.P.’s Emergency-Room Politics

“What a sick twisted old man to say, why would we want to do that?” Sean Hannity, of Fox News, said to Ted Cruz. They were talking about Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, whose answer to a question about funding for the National Institutes of Health had become, for them, the story of the shutdown.

Once House Republicans refused to pass a spending bill on Monday night, the N.I.H. had to stop enrolling new cancer patients in clinical trials, among them some thirty children. This was such an indictment of the shutdown that the G.O.P. had suggested a micro-appropriation—part of a “piecemeal” funding tactic to keep anger at bay. Reid, talking to reporters, called it cherry-picking and said that he wanted the whole bill, sticking to that after Dana Bash, of CNN, asked why he wouldn’t help just one child with cancer if he could. If you listen to the exchange, something Reid then says—“Why would we want to do that?”—clearly refers to the pitting of different people hurt by the shutdown against each other. But he did give Fox a line, if one dependent on the idea that Reid would think that caring for children was an alien concept. “Pretty sick,” Hannity said, as Cruz tried to look sad. Also, “cold, callous, heartless, mean-spirited, hateful.” Guest after guest was outraged.

Oceans Face Triple Threat Of Warming, Declining Oxygen And Acidification, Study Shows

OSLO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - The world's oceans are under greater threat than previously believed from a "deadly trio" of global warming, declining oxygen levels and acidification, an international study said on Thursday.

The oceans have continued to warm, pushing many commercial fish stocks towards the poles and raising the risk of extinction for some marine species, despite a slower pace of temperature rises in the atmosphere this century, it said.

Russia Charges All 30 Greenpeace Activists With Piracy Following Arctic Protest

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian investigators say they have charged the entire crew of a Greenpeace ship with piracy for a protest at a Russian oil platform in the Arctic.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement that the charge, which can result in a 15-year prison term upon conviction, was filed Thursday against 16 members of the crew, including a prominent Russian freelance photographer.

The crew's other 14 members were similarly charged the day before.

The Russian Coast Guard seized the Greenpeace ship and all the people it was carrying following the Sept. 18 protest at the offshore platform owned by Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom. The activists are now in custody in the northern city of Murmansk.

Greenpeace denies any wrongdoing and describes the charges as absurd.

Original Article
Author: AP

Why U.S. Health Care Is Obscenely Expensive, In 12 Charts

The U.S. leads the world in health care spending, but we don't live very long, and going to the doctor is so expensive that we don't do it very often. So where is the money going?

Not toward obesity-related diseases or unnecessary tests and treatments, as the writer John Green pointed out in a recent video explainer. From Lipitor to childbirth to colonoscopies -- everything just costs a whole lot.

As congressional Republicans continue to keep the federal government closed following misguided attempts to defund the most significant health care reform in decades, here are some illustrations of the wasteful spending.

More Than 170,000 Sign Petition Demanding No Pay For Congress During Shutdown

As the federal government shutdown continues with no signs of stopping, tens of thousands have signed a petition demanding that members of Congress receive no pay for the duration of the budget stalemate.

A CourageCampaign petition on calling for a block on congressional pay until the shutdown is over had over 176,000 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.

Congressman Castigates Park Ranger For The Memorial Closure He Voted For

Day two of Government Shutdown 2013 offered America plenty of surreal moments, from the brief and ridiculous re-emergence of the Grand Bargain, to the sight of multiple members of a universally reviled governing body offering to give up their paychecks as if they thought it was a move worthy of a medal. But nowhere did Salvador Dali's clocks warp and melt under the heat of sustained stupidity as badly as they did down at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Yesterday, it became pretty obvious that if you wanted to catch the eye of any Beltway reporter to discuss what you were enduring during the shutdown, you had to go on down to this memorial to make your case. Unfortunately, that's where many members of Congress decided to while away their day as well. As Ryan Reilly reported, heroic members of Congress turned out to boldly grandstand at the memorial, pretending just as hard as they could that its temporary closure was the most dire effect of the shutdown ... for which ... they voted. Yes, that was by far the most surreal thing about it. Gawker's Tom Scocca turned the best phrase about the whole mess, describing those lawmakers as committing "an act of civil disobedience against themselves."

Mitch McConnell Will Ask Supreme Court To Scrap Campaign Contribution Limits Entirely

WASHINGTON -- On Oct. 8, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will argue to the Supreme Court that all campaign contribution limits should be eliminated and that candidates should be able to accept unlimited donations.

Although McConnell is not a party in the case of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court has granted the Senate minority leader time during oral argument to present his views: that campaign contribution limits are an unconstitutional burden on free speech and that the court should give contribution limits a higher level of scrutiny than it has in the past. McConnell will be represented by lawyer Bobby Burchfield.

Propaganda Won't Solve Our Cellphone Problems

Who knew the normally rather staid Canadian telecom world could provide such entertainment? This summer we witnessed heated rhetoric, political populism, multi-million dollar ad campaigns and a good dose of patriotic flag waving, all over whether Verizon, a big U.S. telecom company, should be "allowed" to come into the Canadian market. More specifically, whether it should be able to do so through acquisition of one of the new, small entrants who were subsidized in 2008 by the Canadian government (and thus by Canadian taxpayers) by way of spectrum set-asides, only to stand to reap even further advantage over the incumbents in the upcoming spectrum auction.

Now, with the new multi-million dollar government ad campaign attacking the incumbent telcos, it has become downright nasty.

Forced Evictions, Anti-Gay Laws, and Dead Workers: Welcome to World Cup Prep

Last week, the Guardian published a report into the slavelike conditions of Qatar's World Cup construction projects. Detailing the tragic deaths of 44 Nepalese migrant workers and the squalid conditions of thousands more prepping for the event in 2022, the Guardian's reporting has rightfully drawn the attention of the international community. But labor relations aren't the only issue in Qatar—and the Middle Eastern state is far from an exception among World Cup hosts. In fact, all three of the next Cup locations have been widely criticized for human rights and inequality issues.

Taxpayer Subsidies Helped Tesla Motors, So Why Does Elon Musk Slam Them?

It's rush hour in Silicon Valley, and the techies on Highway 101 are shooting me laser-beam stares of envy. Beneath the floorboard of my Tesla Model S, a liquid-cooled pack of 7,000 laptop batteries propels me down the carpool lane at a hushed 65 miles per hour. Then traffic grinds to a halt, and I'm stuck trying to merge onto an exit ramp as Benzes and BMWs whip past. It's the excuse I'm waiting for: I punch the throttle, and the Model S rockets back up to speed so fast that I worry about flying off the road—a silly fear, it turns out, because the car corners like a barn swallow. "And there you go," says Tina, my beaming Tesla sales rep. "Takeoff!"

America's Biggest Newspapers Slam The GOP Over Shutdown

Republicans looking for supporters of their shutdown strategy will have to look somewhere other than the country's biggest newspapers.

Of the ten most widely-read papers in America, not a single title's editorial board seemed to think that the House GOP caucus was going about things the right way. To be sure, most of those papers lean Democratic, but even the avowedly conservative titles, like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, had little love for John Boehner and his colleagues.

Ocean acidification due to carbon emissions is at highest for 300m years

The oceans are more acidic now than they have been for at least 300m years, due to carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, and a mass extinction of key species may already be almost inevitable as a result, leading marine scientists warned on Thursday.

An international audit of the health of the oceans has found that overfishing and pollution are also contributing to the crisis, in a deadly combination of destructive forces that are imperilling marine life, on which billions of people depend for their nutrition and livelihood.

Conservatives to withdraw key benefits from unemployed under-25s

David Cameron on Wednesday signalled a major overhaul in benefits for 18- to 24-year-olds when he announced plans to withdraw housing benefit and jobseeker's allowance from many of the 1 million youngsters currently not in work, education or training.

At the end of a Conservative conference in Manchester dedicated to sending tough messages on welfare, party officials said the proposals for young people to be either "earning or learning" were a prime example of how a modern Tory state would not turn its back on the world, but instead "equip the vulnerable for the global race". The proposal was the only policy announcement in a speech dedicated to setting out the prime minister's vision of a society in which there is opportunity for all.

Doctors accuse coalition of huge cut in spending on surgeries

The coalition put £400m less into GP services last year than Labour's final year in office, despite family doctors struggling to meet growing patient demand for appointments, family doctors say.

General practice received £943m less across the coalition's first three years because an increase in spending under Labour was not sustained, according to research by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). The budget cuts occurred when ministers repeatedly pledged to be protecting frontline NHS care and giving the service real terms budget increases.

Christy Clark warns Canada unprepared for tanker oil spills

If a tanker were to spill oil off the coast of British Columbia today, the federal government would not have the resources to handle a large-scale disaster, warns B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

In an interview with CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge, Clark sounded the alarm over Canada's inability to handle a major coastal oil spill now, let alone in the future should new pipelines be approved.

"We are woefully under-resourced," Clark said.

"Imperialism & Fundamentalism Have Joined Hands": Malalai Joya on 12 Years of U.S.-Led Afghan War

Ahead of next week’s 12th anniversary of what has become the longest war in U.S. history, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the United States is seeking to sign an accord to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan for the indefinite future. The United States plans to pull out the bulk of its 57,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but the Pentagon wants to retain a smaller force of around 10,000 forces after 2014. We are joined by Afghan activist and former member of Parliament, Malalai Joya, author of the book, "A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice." A survivor of numerous attempts on her life, Time magazine has named her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. "We need the support of justice-loving people of the U.S. to join their hands with us," Joya says. "Unfortunately, we see that today imperialism and fundamentalism have joined hands."

Author: --

MPs grill Supreme Court of Canada appointment Nadon at special committee

PARLIAMENT HILL—Opposition MPs put Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s latest appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada, Marc Nadon, on the defensive Wednesday with questions about past legal rulings, his gender since the number of female Supreme Court judges has declined under Mr. Harper’s appointments and thinly-veiled suggestions he may be inclined to favour the government.

In the strongest opposition questioning yet during unofficial House committee hearings over Supreme Court appointments that began in 2006, Conservative MP Shelley Glover (Saint Boniface, Man.) intervened at one point to object to a line of questioning from Liberal MP Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Que.), a former justice minister who took issue with a ruling the nominee, Federal Court of Appeal Justice Nadon, had made in a controversial case involving a Rwandan man accused of inciting genocide against Rwanda’s ethnic Tutsis in 1992.

Mining Victims Seek Justice in Canada

Cerro de San Pedro, with the modest population today of just 97 residents, was founded 400 years ago as a mining town in the north of Mexico. It is located less than 10 kilometres from the outskirts of the state capital of San Luis Potosí, in a valley that is home to approximately 1.3 million people.

In 1995, Toronto-registered Metallica Resources Inc. began exploration work at an old mining site near Cerro de San Pedro. Soon after, a coalition of environmental groups and citizens concerned with the threats that the mine would bring to the arid valley, formed the Broad Opposition Front (FAO using the Spanish initials). Within a year, the FAO claims, Metallica began, "a series of illegal acts of dispossession, subterfuge and co-optation of officials, in order to seize the land where the [mining] project is [located]."

Devastating Photos Of Florida Pollution Will Fill You With Rage

On Thursday, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) will present shocking photos of polluted Florida waterways to Congress "so that Washington can see the pressing need to find real solutions to address this problem that has gone on for far too long."

Murphy asked his constituents to send in photos of the toxic water lapping under their boats and docks, and will present the four most jaw-dropping at his October 3 briefing, which is co-hosted by Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.). (Watch a livestream above.)

NSA Phone Records Collection Can't Be Challenged By The Callers, Government Argues

The government is arguing in the terrorism case that serves as the National Security Agency's primary public justification for its bulk collection of telephone records that criminal defendants have no constitutional right to challenge the agency's sweeping surveillance program.

In a filing made Sept. 30, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy of the Southern District of California contends that only the telephone companies have a Fourth Amendment interest in their call records -- and therefore that Basaaly Moalin cannot challenge his conviction for providing material support to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab.

Obama To Wall Street: You Should Be Scared

WASHINGTON -- A self-described "exasperated" President Barack Obama told Wall Street CEOs on Wednesday that they should not take for granted that the Republican-led House of Representatives will raise the nation's debt ceiling by Oct. 17.

"I think this time is different," the president said, when asked by CNBC's John Harwood whether the financial markets were right to assume that the upcoming conflict would ultimately get resolved in time. "I think they should be concerned."

This Quote Says Everything About The GOP's Shutdown Stand

House Republicans are continuing to play hardball in negotiations over the spending bill that precipitated the government shutdown on Oct. 1, apparently out of fear that compromise would weaken their power.

"We're not going to be disrespected," Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) told The Washington Examiner. "We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is."

The GOP spent much of Wednesday blaming President Barack Obama and the Democrats for the effects of the shutdown, which led to the furlough of 800,000 workers and the closure of numerous government services. They failed to mention that the spending bill didn't pass because they loaded the bill with restrictions on the Affordable Care Act, a law that passed in 2010 and was found constitutional by the Supreme Court in June 2012.

In an effort to end the shutdown, Democrats are seeking the passage of a "clean" continuing resolution to fund the government while further negotiations on the budget take place. Most, if not all, Democrats would vote for it, and enough Republicans are publicly now on board to pass it.

At the time of this writing, however, such a vote is still being thwarted by the GOP leadership.

Original Article
Author: HP

Lost in the Denialosphere: Climate Change and Obamacare

Last week, in Stockholm, a group of scientists from around the world issued what should be, but of course will not be, the last word on climate change. Officially known as Working Group I’s contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the document offered a veritable flood of information—two thousand two hundred and sixteen pages’ worth. Many groups posted good summaries of the report’s central points, including Climate Central and RealClimate. But perhaps the best one I read came in an e-mail from a biologist who studies the effects of climate change in the Andes. “Spoiler alert,” he wrote. “Earth is getting warmer.”

FreedomWorks CEO Says Hard Right Should Stay The Course Past Debt Limit Deadline

WASHINGTON -- As Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and congressional Republicans angle for a deal with President Barack Obama to resolve the government shutdown, the leader of one influential conservative group remains unreceptive to the idea of any grand bargain.

Matt Kibbe, the CEO of the conservative nonprofit FreedomWorks, said House Republicans should continue pushing to end or delay the president's health care reform law. Kibbe insisted that Obama could conceivably sign a bill that gutted, or at least delayed, his signature legislative accomplishment.

Toxic Algae Blooms May Be Longer, More Intense Due To Climate Change

SEATTLE -- Toxic algae blooms appear to be increasing in frequency and intensity around the country, but the full range of their causes -- and their health effects -- remains far from clear. Some experts, meanwhile, are suggesting that lakes, rivers and ponds that breed such blooms are becoming more hazardous thanks in part to a warming planet.

Green Lake, a popular local recreation destination, is no exception. Nearly every morning, Garet Munger and his little black dog, Charlie, make the 3-mile trek around the lake -- which is currently more than living up to its name.

Canada Job Grant Doomed Unless Ottawa Makes Changes, Premiers Say

TORONTO - Unless the federal Conservatives make substantial changes to the Canada Job Grant, the jobs training fund is doomed to failure, provincial leaders said Wednesday.

Ottawa has to be open to changing the program because a "one-size-fits-all" approach to helping more people find jobs isn't going to work, said British Columbia Premier Christy Clark and New Brunswick Premier David Alward.

Afghanistan Veterans Lawsuit: Harper Government To Appeal B.C. Court Ruling

OTTAWA - The Harper government says it intends to appeal a B.C. court ruling that cleared the way for a class-action lawsuit involving veterans of Canada's war in Afghanistan.

A group of ex-soldiers is taking Ottawa to court, alleging that the federal government's new system of compensating veterans violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Why Obamacare Might Help the Man on Fox

“There’s a huge debate over whether Obamacare will raise or lower insurance rates,” Fox News’s Jim Angle said one night last week, as he began a story on Fox’s “Special Report.” “For this family, that answer is abundantly clear, in black and white.” The family he was talking about, the Mangiones, had heard recently that their monthly health-insurance premiums could soon triple thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Onscreen were a nice couple, Andy and Amy Mangione, their two sweet-looking boys, and a beautiful house complete with flag flying outside. If it seemed like the perfect Fox News story about Obamacare—almost too perfect—that’s because it was.

Northern Gateway Pipeline The Focus Of Forest Ethics' Efforts

VANCOUVER - Oil sands opponents who have used their public relations muscle to fight the Keystone XL pipeline that would flow from Canada into the United States are turning their sights on two pipeline proposals in British Columbia.

Although neither the Trans Mountain nor the Northern Gateway projects cross the border on land, the American arm of the conservation group Forest Ethics said the pipelines will result in an additional 700-plus tankers traversing the waters off the Pacific coast.

Dave Ellis, CTV Journalist, Allowed To Travel With Harper After Question Controversy

OTTAWA - A veteran TV cameraman will be allowed to travel to Malaysia with the prime minister this week after all.

Earlier today, Stephen Harper's office appeared poised to scratch CTV journalist Dave Ellis from the trip because he asked an impromptu question during a media event last week in New York.

CIRA President Byron Holland: Canadian Internet Users Can Avoid NSA Spying

The head of the agency that manages Canada’s .ca domain says the country should build out its own internet infrastructure to avoid spying by the U.S. National Security Agency.

Byron Holland, president of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), says internet traffic in Canada is often routed through U.S. exchange points, making it vulnerable to NSA monitoring.

The GOP's Obamacare Suicide

Is the Republican Party committing suicide this week? The final results of the shutdown blame game won't be in until the government is un-shut. Yet at the same time that the party is allowing itself to be branded as an ideologically rigid outfit controlled by political hostage takers, it has been endangering its future by waging a high-profile but Alamo-like stand against Obamacare, just as a main component of the health care program is kicking in—and appears to be popular.

If anything has defined the GOP in its must-destroy-Obama phase, it's the party's virulent opposition to the Affordable Care Act. And with Obama reelected, the economy slowly improving, and deficits slowly decreasing, Republicans have bet almost all the chips they have left on the decimation of Obamacare. With Sen. Ted Cruz wagging the party, the GOPers pushing for the government shutdown—aided and abetted by Rush Limbaugh, the Heritage Foundation, and other influentials of the far right—have focused exclusively on Obamacare. This confrontation over government spending has nothing to do with, well, government spending. The shutdown was merely a way for Cruz-controlled Republicans to vent about Obamacare. So if the Republican party stands for anything today, it is obstructing Obamacare. But here's the rub: What if Obamacare works?

The Hidden Costs of the American Way of Healthcare

I grew up in a small town in northern Minnesota, which had one small hospital and one anesthesiologist—my father. Thus, I grew up watching him being called away from dinner for emergency c-sections, chainsaw accidents, appendix ruptures, you name it. This instilled in me a very real sense of how ill health or a catastrophic accident could be just around the corner—for anyone.

It seemed a bit at cross purposes that I planned as a child to be a novelist and wanted an employment situation that was stable and provided insurance. I also wanted to live in New York City, because that’s where the writers and publishers were.