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.]

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Unhappy With a Moderate Jeb Bush, Conservatives Aim to Unite Behind an Alternative

OSKALOOSA, Iowa — Fearing that Republicans will ultimately nominate an establishment presidential candidate like Jeb Bush, leaders of the nation’s Christian right have mounted an ambitious effort to coalesce their support behind a single social-conservative contender months before the first primary votes are cast.

In secret straw polls and exclusive meetings from Iowa to California, the leaders are weighing the relative appeal and liabilities of potential standard-bearers like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and former Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas.

Stephen Harper says ISIS unlikely to sue over legality of Syria mission

Prime Minister Stephen Harper defends his plan to send Canadian pilots to fight ISIS from the air space over Syria, despite attacks by NDP Leader Tom Mulcair over the mission's legality.

Harper laid out his proposal to extend the current combat mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS or ISIL, until March 31, 2016, during a speech to the House Tuesday.

Perhaps more controversially, however, Harper also wants to give the Canadian Armed Forces authorization to mount airstrikes in Syria.

Unequal votes threatening Canadian democracy, study finds

The votes that Canadians cast in federal elections are more unequal than at any time in the country's history. The House of Commons is more unrepresentative than other federations in the developed world.

In the Throne Speech, the Conservative government promised legislation to address the under-representation of Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta in the House of Commons. It can't come too soon.

Connected cars perfect for harvesting personal data, report warns

As our cars get more high-tech and connected, they are increasingly spying on us and sending personal data about us to many different parties — in violation of Canadian privacy laws, a new report warns.

Regulators need to step up and protect the privacy of car users at a time when the range and amount of potentially sensitive — and commercially valuable — data being collected by cars is growing, says a study funded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and released today by the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association.

Grassroots Dene people defending the land in northern Saskatchewan

On this week's episode of Talking Radical Radio, I speak with Don Montgrand and Candyce Paul. They are grassroots Dene people living in northern Saskatchewan, and they talk with me about the Northern Dene Trappers Alliance and its efforts to defend the land and to defend the Dene people in the face of companies and governments pushing predatory resource extraction.
It would be hard to find something more fundamental to Canada as a historical project or to social struggles in our current moment than conflict between, on the one side, colonial capitalist resource extraction driven by companies and by the Canadian state, and on the other side Indigenous nations and their allies resisting, asserting sovereignty, and defending the land. Montgrand, who is 59, recalls a time before development began to have a major impact on the land in northern Saskatchewan. But then roads were built, a uranium mine opened with a promise of prosperity that never arrived and with major health impacts on the locals who got jobs there. And in more recent years, there are dozens of companies exploring and doing preliminary work on various resource extraction projects in the area, most related to uranium or to tar sands. The impact on the land, the animals, the food supply, and the people has already, compared to Montgrand's youth, been extensive, and it will only intensify if projects are allowed to go ahead. Yet with elected leadership that they say is not responsive to the concerns of the people, and with purely token consultation from governments, it is only grassroots action that has a chance of stopping the devastation.

Mass arrests in Québec signal start of Printemps 2015

One hundred people were arrested outside of my house last night. Close to 300 were arrested throughout Québec City.
Students, mostly; the ones who take to the streets when it's dark and march around town to condemn the actions of government.
We've seen this before: in 2012, the serpentine night rallies were routine. As the protests progressed then, the police repression grew.

Floyd Dent Beating: Detroit Police Officers Must Be Sacked, Protesters Demand

INKSTER, Mich. — More than 50 people have marched outside a Detroit-area police department to demand the firing of two white officers involved in the aggressive arrest of a black man who was pulled from his car and punched in the head many times.

Video of the bloody arrest of 57-year-old Floyd Dent in January was aired by TV station WDIV on Tuesday.

Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost met protesters Wednesday and said the incident is being investigated by Michigan State Police. She says the officers are on paid leave.

The Rev. Charles Williams II threatened to ``shut Inkster down until we get justice.''

Police treatment of black men has become a major issue in the U.S. in the aftermath of killings in Ferguson, Missouri, and in New York City.

Original Article
Author: Mike Householder

Jason Kenney's 'Crystal Ball' Comment About Syria Ridiculed By Thomas Mulcair

An admission from Canada's defence minister that he doesn't know how an expanded ISIL mission into Syria will end is proof that Conservatives lack a clear exit strategy, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair suggested Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters after the NDP caucus meeting, Mulcair zeroed in on comments Jason Kenney made the day prior in an interview with CBC's "Power and Politics" that aired hours after Prime Minister Stephen Harper made his case for extending the mission.

CRTC Slams Bell Media Over Allegations It Attempted To Censor Coverage Of CRTC

Bell Canada and the CRTC seem to be at war.

In what could well be an unprecedented move, Canada’s telecom regulator has publicly criticized Bell Media over reports its president attempted to censor coverage of a CRTC decision by Bell-owned CTV News.

Canada’s telecom regulator didn’t name Bell Media in a strongly-worded statement issued Wednesday, but made it clear who the target was.

1 In 3 Suffer From Food Insecurity In Nunavut, StatsCan Data Reveals

More than one-third of households in Nunavut lack access to safe and healthy food — a level that is four times the national average, according to a new Statistics Canada report.

The report “Food Insecurity in Canada,” released Wednesday, found an average of 8.3 per cent of Canadian households did not have access to the variety or quantity of food they need due to a lack of money during the years studied, 2011-2012. That amounts to 1.1 million Canadian households.

Likud's Victory Is Israel's Defeat

Those of us who regularly observe and try to make sense of the madness sweeping the Middle East often find ourselves, perhaps out of desperation, engaging in wishful thinking, hoping that in the end, reason will prevail over lunacy. We analyze unfolding events, dissect patent facts, reassess our assumptions, and try to discern where we were right and where we erred, but we often find ourselves exactly where we began.

Black America Is Just 72 Percent Equal To White America. In Some Areas, The Inequality Is Worse Than That.

A report released last week holds troubling findings about lasting inequality across the African-American community.

The 2015 "State of Black America" study, conducted by the National Urban League, finds that black Americans fare worse than their white peers across a variety of indicators, including economics, social justice and overall equality. The report, issued every year since 1976, showed modest gains in some areas, but leaves plenty of concerns about the speed of progress more than 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

Israel's Blatant Flouting of International Law Requires Presidential Response

As Israeli voters went to the polls, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared he would oppose the creation of a Palestinian state. In what The New York Times called a "racist rant," he also proclaimed, "right-wing rule is in danger" because "Arab voters are streaming in huge quantities to the polling stations." James Besser, Washington correspondent for Jewish newspapers for 24 years, wrote that Israeli voters, "more clearly aware of Netanyahu's intent than ever," have chosen "the apartheid path."

Netanyahu's remarks were met with outrage in the United States and around the world. The Obama administration reacted by saying the United States would "reassess" its policy toward Israel. And, significantly, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told a J Street conference that "an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end, and the Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state."

Netanyahu's words create a golden opportunity for Barack Obama to radically transform his policy of uncritical support for Israel's ongoing violations of the law.

Ted Cruz Compares Himself to Galileo, Calls Those Who Believe In Climate Change ‘Flat-Earthers’

A few days after accusing “global warming alarmists” like California Governor Jerry Brown (D) of ridiculing and insulting “anyone who actually looks at the real data” around climate change, newly-declared presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) upped his rhetoric against those who care about the issue.
Speaking to the Texas Tribune on Tuesday, Cruz said that contemporary “global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers.”

Ted Cruz Wants You To Believe He’s Legally Required To Sign Up For Obamacare. He’s Not.

Newly-minted presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) admitted that he would grudgingly sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday, just one day after announcing that he intends to repeal “every word of Obamacare” if elected president.
Cruz framed the decision as one of inevitability. After all, a provision of the law requires members of Congress and some of their staff to purchase coverage through the law’s marketplace in DC and since his wife and current coverage provider is giving up her employer-sponsored plan to work on his presidential campaign, the family needed to enroll in a new policy.

Magna Carta Messed Up the World, Here’s How to Fix It

In a few months, we will be commemorating the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta—commemorating, but not celebrating; rather, mourning the blows it has suffered.

The first authoritative scholarly edition of Magna Carta was published by the eminent jurist William Blackstone in 1759. It was no easy task. As he wrote, “the body of the charter has been unfortunately gnawn by rats”—a comment that carries grim symbolism today, as we take up the task the rats left unfinished.

Blackstone’s edition actually includes two charters: the Great Charter and the Charter of the Forest. The former is generally regarded as the foundation of Anglo-American law—in Winston Churchill’s words, referring to its reaffirmation by Parliament in 1628, “the charter of every self-respecting man at any time in any land.” The Great Charter held that “No freeman shall be arrested or imprisoned,” or otherwise harmed, “except by the lawful judgment of his equals and according to the law of the land,” the essential sense of the doctrine of “presumption of innocence.”

Parks and Wreck: The Feds Need $11.5 Billion to Fix Our Public Lands

In 2014, the 300 million visitors to US national parks may have noticed the potholes in the roads, the magnificent vistas obscured by dense brush, dirty visitors' centers in need of basic repairs, trails that were not maintained, and overgrown campgrounds. Why? Blame Congress, which has routinely purchased new federal lands over the last 20 years while neglecting to fund the maintenance of existing national parks. National parks and historic sites need almost $12 billion in upkeep—or about four times the National Parks Service's annual budget. Meanwhile, congressional Republicans proposed a budget that would slash spending by $5.5 trillion in 10 years.

The People Who Pick Your Organic Strawberries Have Had It With Rat-Infested Camps

When most of us think of Mexican food, we visualize tacos, burritos, and chiles rellenos. But we should probably add cucumbers, squash, melons, and berries to the list—more or less the whole supermarket produce aisle, in fact. The United States imports more than a quarter of the fresh fruit and nearly a third of the vegetables we consume. And a huge portion of that foreign-grown bounty—69 percent of vegetables and 37 percent of fruit—comes from our neighbor to the south.

CRA Charity Audits: Study Says Rules For Political Advocacy Are Unclear, Unfair

OTTAWA - Canada needs to catch up with Europe, Australia, New Zealand and even the United States when it comes to unshackling public policy advocacy by charities, says a new study.

While businesses are free to deduct the cost of ad campaigns for tax purposes — even when they promote a public policy position such as a specific pipeline project or telecommunications — tax rules for charities are confusing, arbitrary and potentially crippling, says the report by the University of Victoria's environmental law centre.

And that, say the report's authors, is putting a chill on important work by Canadian charities as the Canada Revenue Agency carries out an aggressive audit campaign aimed at advocacy it deems "political."

Burmese Slaves Catch Seafood For Global Supply: AP Investigation

BENJINA, Indonesia - The Burmese slaves sat on the floor and stared through the rusty bars of their locked cage, hidden on a tiny tropical island thousands of miles from home.

Just a few yards away, other workers loaded cargo ships with slave-caught seafood that clouds the supply networks of major supermarkets, restaurants and even pet stores in the United States.

ISIL Mission Not Expanding When It Comes To Aid

OTTAWA - There will be no new Middle East aid packages unveiled to accompany the proposed expansion of Canada's military mission against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, government officials said Wednesday.

Instead, Defence Minister Jason Kenney pointed to some $67.4 million already earmarked for relief efforts in Iraq, plus several hundred million more spent in Syria, as proof of Canada's humanitarian and development commitment.

"We really are a leader," Kenney said. "We'd like to see other countries step up to our level."

Many Canadians Distrustful Of Federal Politics, Poll Indicates

A strong majority of Canadians don't take part in politics beyond voting and don't trust their federal parties or MPs, a new report suggests.

What's more, four in 10 Canadians said they hadn't had a single political conversation in the past 12 months, according to Samara Canada, a non-partisan charitable organization that works to improve Canadian democracy.

Samara's report comes as CBC News hosts a live discussion on voter engagement. Tonight at 7 p.m. ET, CBC's chief correspondent, Peter Mansbridge, moderates a debate in Toronto that asks the question, Is Politics Broken?

Why Canada is in Iraq – and should stay out of Syria

There are arguments in favour of expanding the Canadian military mission from Iraq into neighbouring Syria, and on Tuesday the Prime Minister stood in the House and made them.

The so-called Islamic State controls territory in Iraq, and Canada’s air strikes are targeting it there. But much of the ISIS quasi-state, including its nominal capital city of Raqqa, is across the border in Syria. Stephen Harper spoke of “denying safe haven” to ISIS by sending Canadian warplanes, which are now restricted to Iraqi airspace, into Syria. The Prime Minister also stressed, as he always does, that ISIS is a terrorist organization that regularly threatens to attack Westerners, including Canada and Canadians. Fighting ISIS over there, goes the argument, is the best way of preventing terrorism over here. All of this has a certain logic to it.

U.S. nudged Canada towards expanding ISIL air campaign to Syria: Kenney

OTTAWA - The United States made it clear Canada's precision-guided bomb arsenal and expertise would be welcome in Syria, Jason Kenney said Wednesday — a narrow glimmer of clarity in the Harper government's murky reasons for expanding its Middle East campaign to include the war-torn region.

The defence minister would not go so far as to say the Americans asked Canada to expand the scope of its airstrikes outside of Iraq, but did indicate that Washington left the option open for consideration.

Saudi Arabia Military Amasses Near Yemen Border: U.S. Officials

WASHINGTON, March 24 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia is moving heavy military equipment including artillery to areas near its border with Yemen, U.S. officials said on Tuesday, raising the risk that the Middle East's top oil power will be drawn into the worsening Yemeni conflict.

The buildup follows a southward advance by Iranian-backed Houthi Shi'ite militants who took control of the capital Sanaa in September and seized the central city of Taiz at the weekend as they move closer to the new southern base of U.S.-supported President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Right-wing Website Reboots to Fight Bill C-51

A controversial right-wing Internet forum, which muted its members' posts after a series of defamation lawsuits, will start-up once again to fight Bill C-51 and Stephen Harper, according to its founder.

Connie Fournier, founder of Free Dominion, said there are many Canadian conservatives who don't support the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act. The long-time Conservative party supporter and former volunteer said she is considering casting a vote for the New Democrats over the issue.

Will 'Mining' Watchdog Hold Multinationals to Account?

Mining companies are unique in that they have always had to go where resources are physically located. These areas are often remote, environmentally delicate and inhabited by Indigenous people who will not share equally in the economic benefits of development.

Canadian mining companies' international assets have increased in the past 10 years from a value of $30 billion to $210 billion. In light of these investments, some argue that the environment and communities from where these minerals are extracted have sometimes faced negative impacts. For instance, Hudbay Minerals Inc. is expected to go to trial in Ontario for alleged human rights abuses in Guatemala where it and a former subsidiary operated a nickel mine. The company has denied the allegations and they have not been proved in court.

Justice Anthony Kennedy: Solitary Confinement 'Literally Drives Men Mad'

The inmates and prison activists fighting solitary confinement have Supreme Court Justice and key swing vote Anthony Kennedy on their side.

While speaking before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and Federal Government on Monday, Kennedy blasted the U.S. prison system for isolating inmates.

After Israeli Election Disappointment, Two-State Supporters Plan Their Next Moves

WASHINGTON -- Advocates of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict weren't too discouraged by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's much-criticized promise ahead of his election victory last week that a Palestinian state would never be created on his watch.

In fact, attendees of the annual J Street conference, held in Washington over the last four days, seemed energized by Netanyahu's remark -- as well as by the possibility that President Barack Obama's administration would start taking a harder line against Netanyahu.

Republicans Are Responsible for Netanyahu Now

The collusive relationship between House Speaker John Boehner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu runs famously deep, into the well of Congress. They are aligned by shared interests in augmenting Netanyahu’s political fortunes, improving the Republican Party’s electoral viability, and sabotaging the Obama administration’s efforts to secure a multilateral agreement foreclosing an Iranian nuclear weapon for at least a decade.

So it's extremely conspicuous when one offers anything less than fulsome praise for the other, which is basically what happened when Boehner learned that Israelis had spied on the Iran negotiations, and passed information thus gleaned to members of Congress, in hopes of sinking the nuclear deal.

The Five Worst Supreme Court Justices In American History, Ranked

Today is the official release date for my book, Injustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comforted and Afflicting the Afflicted. As you might guess from the title, it is not particularly complimentary of the Supreme Court as an institution. As the book’s jacket explains, “the justices of the Supreme Court have shaped a nation where children toiled in coal mines, where Americans could be forced into camps because of their race, and where a woman could be sterilized against her will by state law. The Court was the midwife of Jim Crow, the right hand of union busters, and the dead hand of the Confederacy. Nor is the modern Court a vast improvement, with its incursions on voting rights and its willingness to place elections for sale.”

B.C. gov't approved grizzly hunt despite overwhelming public opposition, emails reveal

Hundreds of government emails opened through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests show the provincial government's management of the grizzly bear hunt under fire.

The memos show B.C. wildlife managers re-started the grizzly hunt last year without actual counts of the bears in one region — and with a government grizzly specialist complaining that “arbitrary” grizzly bear maps had not been updated in 30 years.

“The problem is no one [ever] updates anything in this ministry. We draw an arbitrary line based on our best guess and it remains fixed for 30 years,” wrote wildlife biologist Pat Dielman in December 2013.

Canada faces dramatic drop in citizenship, prompting concerns about disengaged immigrants

The percentage of immigrants who become citizens has been dropping dramatically in recent years — from 79 per cent to 26 per cent among people who arrived between 2000 and 2008.
Sounding the alarm is former citizenship director-general Andrew Griffith, who suggests that recent reforms which raised barriers to becoming a citizen could lead to immigrants’ widespread disengagement from Canadian public life and identity.
His analysis — part of his study being presented at a conference this week — of the impact of the Conservatives’ reforms also suggests that the new version of the citizenship test has adversely affected applicants from visible minorities more than those with European roots.

Canada Weighs Joining China-Led Bank Amid U.S., Japan Concerns

(Bloomberg) -- Canada is considering joining China’s planned infrastructure bank, a move that would leave the U.S. and Japan as the only Group of Seven holdouts as they continue to question the institution’s governance and environmental safeguards.

China has given countries until March 31 to sign up as founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The U.K., France, Germany and Italy said this month they would seek to join, creating unease among U.S. and Japanese officials.

“Canada is currently looking at the initiative,” David Barnabe, a Finance Department spokesman in Ottawa, said in an e-mailed statement. Chinese officials have only broadly outlined the details of the institution, and “discussions among existing members relating to the Bank’s objectives, governance structure and operating modalities are underway,” with work “expected to take several months.”

Some 5,600 privacy breaches in federal government in 2014: documents

There were 5,600 privacy breaches in the federal government in 2014, affecting almost 44,000 individuals, according to data ministers tabled in the House of Commons on March 23.

According to the 2013 annual report from the privacy commissioner, there were 426 complaints received. This includes all complaints from departments and the public. The 5,600 privacy breaches are all internal departmental investigations, of which only the 255 were referred to the Privacy Commissioner’s Office.

NDP MP Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay, Ont.) asked a question on the Order Paper regarding data, information, or privacy breaches in government departments, institutions, and agencies.

Harper’s real target with Islamic State mission is Trudeau, say experts

News of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s plan to table a motion to extend and expand the anti-Islamic State mission had leaked far and wide long before he stood up in the House of Commons to start the debate today. So the only real surprise for a lot of observers came from across the aisle — from Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

The Liberals voted against the initial mission to push back IS in Iraq back in October. But with polls still indicating broad support for the mission, many predicted Trudeau would reverse course and back the extension. Instead, Trudeau accused the prime minister of “failing to clearly (articulate) the mission’s objectives” and said the Liberal caucus could not support deepening Canadian involvement by expanding the bombing campaign to Syrian territory — where accused war criminal President Bashar al-Assad is fighting a bloody and interminable civil war.

Tory MPs Deny Elizabeth May A Chance To Speak About ISIL Mission

OTTAWA — Conservative MPs denied Green Party Leader Elizabeth May a chance to speak Tuesday about Canada’s expanded mission against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the House of Commons.

As the leader of an unrecognized party with two MPs, May needed the unanimous consent of the House to respond to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's addressoutlining plans to extend Canada's mission in Iraq by as much as a year and to expand airstrikes to include Syria.

Utah Governor Signs Law Reinstating Firing Squad As Backup Execution Method

Firing squads are a legal execution method once again in Utah.

A law signed Monday by Gov. Gary R. Herbert (R) establishes firing squads as a secondary execution method in the event the Department of Corrections can't obtain drugs for lethal injection.

Lethal injection remains the primary execution method for Utah and the 31 other U.S. states that allow the death penalty as a punishment for certain murders.

Chicago's Stop-And-Frisk Rate Four Times New York At Its Worst, ACLU Says

CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago police officers initiated stop, question and frisk encounters at a much higher rate last summer than their New York City counterparts ever did, and just like with New York's heavily criticized program, Chicago blacks and other racial minorities were disproportionately targeted, according to a civil liberties group.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois released a report Monday saying it identified more than 250,000 Chicago stop-and-frisk encounters in which there were no arrests from May through August 2014. African-Americans accounted for nearly three-quarters of those stopped, even though they make up about a third of the city's population. On a per capita basis, Chicago police stopped 93.6 people per 1,000 residents, or more than four times New York's peak rate of 22.9 stops per 1,000 residents, which happened during the same four-month period of 2011.

Secret $1.5 million donation from Wisconsin billionaire uncovered in Scott Walker dark-money probe

John Menard Jr. is widely known as the richest man in Wisconsin. A tough-minded, staunchly conservative 75-year-old billionaire, he owns a highly profitable chain of hardware stores throughout the Midwest. He’s also famously publicity-shy — rarely speaking in public or giving interviews.

So a little more than three years ago, when Menard wanted to back Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — and help advance his pro-business agenda — he found the perfect way to do so without attracting any attention: He wrote more than $1.5 million in checks to a pro-Walker political advocacy group that pledged to keep its donors secret, three sources directly familiar with the transactions told Yahoo News.

Canadian jets will hit targets in Syria under Tories’ plan to expand mission

OTTAWA— Canadian fighter jets will soon be pounding Islamic State targets in Syria as the Conservative government pushes ahead with plans to extend and expand its military mission in the region over the strong objections of Liberals and New Democrats.

Harper spoke in the Commons Tuesday morning to unveil his government’s proposal to prolong the ongoing mission in Iraq for another year and to expand airstrikes by CF-18 fighter jets to Syria.

This EPA Rule Will Save Thousands of Lives—if the Supreme Court Upholds It

Few regulatory battles have gone on as long as the 25 years it's taken for the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate mercury, arsenic and other toxic pollution from large power plants. Before it finally takes effect next month, the EPA's mercury rule will face its final obstacle Wednesday in arguments for Michigan vs. EPA at the Supreme Court.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died because of the delay. While the vast majority of power plants already have the pollution equipment to meet the rule, the regulation in full effect will annually prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths and 130,000 cases of asthma. A rule that costs $9.6 billion a year will deliver public health benefits up to 10 times as much—worth anywhere between $37 billion and $90 billion—to say nothing of the suffering prevented. The EPA targets coal-fired power plants because the sector is responsible for half of all U.S. mercury emissions and 62 percent of arsenic emissions. On a day to day basis, these emissions can irritate the eyes, skin, and breathing. Over time, they poison the lungs and kidneys and cause birth defects.

Mideast Apocalypse 2030: Why Obama Wants the Palestine Issue Solved. Now.

It began in Hebron, which Palestinians call “al-Khalil,” the city of Abraham.  Hundreds of thousands of Israel squatters had been enticed into this Palestinian city of 400,000 by the Likud government with cheap rent in cookie-cutter apartment buildings constructed on stolen Palestinian land.  The raids on Palestinian olive orchards, their main source of income, had become daily affairs, leaving the environs denuded and full of stumps.  Then it went beyond killing trees.  Palestinian young men were kidnapped, tortured, killed.  Graffiti threatened the rest of their families and warned them to escape to Jordan while they could.  The Jordanian army moved tank and sniper units to the best crossing points over the Jordan River, announcing it would shoot on sight any Palestinians who attempted to immigrate illegally.

A $600-Million Fracking Company Just Sued This Tiny Ohio Town For Its Water

A tiny town in eastern Ohio is being sued by an Oklahoma-based oil and gas company that bought more than 180 million gallons of water from the town last year. That water use, combined with a dry fall, prompted the village to temporarily shut off water to Gulfport Energy. Now, a second company has a water agreement, and there might not be enough water to go around.
Gulfport Energy alleges in the lawsuit that the village of Barnesville, population 4,100, violated its agreement to provide water from its reservoir by entering into a contract with oil and gas company Antero Resources. Gulfport says the village’s contract with Antero allows for withdrawals beyond what Gulfport is allowed to take.

"That's What That N----- Deserved"

"The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box." —Lawyer Atticus Finch in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

IN APRIL 2005, nearly eight years after Kenneth Fults was sentenced to death for kidnapping and murdering his neighbor Cathy Bounds in Spalding County, Georgia, one of the trial jurors made a startling admission under oath: He'd voted for the death penalty, he said, because "that's what that nigger deserved."

Harper's Plan To Expand ISIL Mission Into Syria Rejected By NDP, Liberals

OTTAWA - The plan to expand Canada's war against the Islamic State into Syria hinges on the conviction that dictator Bashar Assad has lost control of the country, allowing extremists to pose a clear and direct threat to the international community, Stephen Harper said Tuesday.

Although the question opposition parties were asking Tuesday was: What changed the prime minister's mind?

When Canada's combat mission first got underway almost six months ago, Harper ruled out the possibility of CF-18s attacking targets in Syria, which has been home to a bloody four-year long civil war.

Lost in the '50s with Harper's anti-terror pablum

Last Friday, viewers of the CBC's flagship news program,The National, could be forgiven for thinking they were back in the Leave it to Beaver 1950s. Indeed, they ran a saccharinestory that would have done proud former Soviet and East German state news agencies. In fact, had it run during the Cold War, it would hopefully be touted in today's journalism schools as an embarrassing parody of what their profession is supposed to be.
It's the tale of little six-year-old Jacob, who really likes spies. So much so that he wrote to CSIS to ask if they could help him set up a spy club. Little Jacob did not know, perhaps, that CSIS is an agency found to be complicit in a variety of illegal acts, from complicity in torture and recording solicitor-client legal calls to uttering threats, coercing Muslims into spying on their own communities, and lying in front of judges during secret hearings.

Report Slams Scrapped Post-Secondary Watchdog

B.C.'s ombudsperson, Kim Carter, has given failing grades to the BC Liberal-created crown corporation that was in charge of regulating private post-secondary education for a decade.

In a report released Monday, Carter called for a students' bill of rights after investigating a string of complaints about the Private Career Training Institutions Agency of B.C. The complaints date back to 2013. The government dissolved the agency last year.

The agency was established in 2004 for "student protection," according to its website. Its mandate was to set basic education and quality standards for institutions.

Philadelphia Cops Shoot and Kill People at 6 Times the Rate of the NYPD

Philadelphia, a city with a vastly smaller population than that of New York City, has seen a much higher rate of police shootings in recent years. According to a new report published on Monday by the US Department of Justice, police violence disproportionately affects Philadelphia's black community, and officers don't receive consistent training on the department's deadly force policy.

Meet Ted Cruz's Karl Rove: "He Leaves a Path of Destruction"

It was no surprise on Monday when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) formally announced his presidential bid. By last summer, he was making key hires for his campaign crew. And this included recruiting a controversial Missouri-based political operative named Jeff Roe, who is known for his ruthless, bare-knuckled style and who has recently been in the news due to a tragic death.

Following the apparent suicide last month of Missouri state auditor Tom Schweich, who was a Republican gubernatorial candidate, Republican legislators and party elders in the state denounced the toxic culture within the state GOP and pointed to it as a cause of Schweich's death. And some cited Roe as a prime purveyor of the political hardball and scorched-earth tactics that have transformed many Missouri elections into mud-drenched campaigns of personal destruction. There's no evidence linking Roe to the anti-Semitic "whisper campaign" that seems to have deeply troubled Schweich in the days prior to his death. But Roe's merciless style has been legend in Missouri for over a decade. And now he is poised to practice his brand of political blood sport against Cruz's 2016 rivals.

Queen's Park To Have Some Armed Security

TORONTO - Some guards at Ontario's legislature will be armed, the Speaker said Monday as he discussed a number of security changes that will be phased in at Queen's Park.

A task force reviewed security protocols at the legislature following October's shooting on Parliament Hill. Now that the review is complete, Speaker Dave Levac said there will be a "minor arming" of some guards, but he will not be publicly announcing "who's got what."