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, May 31, 2013

Ethics Commissioner should find Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy guilty right now

The Ethics Commissioner has covered up twice already for Nigel Wright -- but public evidence is so clear another cover-up would be an even bigger scandal.

The Senate Committee controls whether a Senate Ethics Officer can investigate, and the Committee can overrule her rulings

Kathleen Taylor, Neuroscientist, Says Religious Fundamentalism Could Be Treated As A Mental Illness

An Oxford University researcher and author specializing in neuroscience has suggested that one day religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness.

Kathleen Taylor, who describes herself as a "science writer affiliated to the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics," made the suggestion during a presentation on brain research at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales on Wednesday.

Meet Abdulelah Haider Shaye, The Other Journalist The Obama Administration Has Targeted

WASHINGTON -- James Rosen got off easy. After searching his email and tracking his whereabouts, the Department of Justice has not jailed or prosecuted the Fox News journalist, which the Obama administration says reflects its deep respect for the role of a free press. On Thursday, a DOJ spokesperson said in a statement that "the Department does not anticipate bringing any additional charges. During the Attorney General's tenure, no reporter has ever been prosecuted."

The Obama administration gave no such leniency to Abdulelah Haider Shaye, a Yemeni journalist who had access to top officials in the militant Islamist group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and reported on evidence that the United States had conducted a missile strike in al Majala for which the Yemeni government had claimed credit.

One Walmart's Low Wages Could Cost Taxpayers $900,000 Per Year, House Dems Find

Walmart wages are so low that many of its workers rely on food stamps and other government aid programs to fulfill their basic needs, a reality that could cost taxpayers as much as $900,000 at just one Walmart Supercenter in Wisconsin, according to a study released by Congressional Democrats on Thursday.

Could the Facebook Win Be Feminism’s Tipping Point?

Feminists won big on Tuesday when an online campaign forced Facebook to revisit their policies on misogynist hate speech. In just a week, the protest—organized by Women, Action & the Media (WAM), Everyday Sexism and writer Soraya Chemaly—generated nearly 5,000 e-mails and 60,000 tweets directed at Facebook’s advertisers. After companies started to pull ads, Facebook responded with a lengthy statement committing to change their policies and admitting they hadn’t been doing their due diligence curtailing violent sexism: “In recent days, it has become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate…. We need to do better—and we will.”

The Horrific Costs of the US-Colombia Trade Agreement

From the sixth-floor window of a Bogotá hotel, a flourishing capital is manifest. A hive of activity, it looks every bit the rejuvenated city it is billed as—the pacified centerpiece of a country that has gone to extraordinary lengths in an attempt to shed its violent skin. There are no visible reminders of the carnage that swallowed it whole in the mid-twentieth-century before widening its jaws to consume the rest of the country—at least not from this vantage point.

This Week in Poverty: Taking on Sallie Mae and the Cost of Education

Nearly two hundred students, parents, community members and union leaders rallied at Sallie Mae’s annual shareholder meeting in Newark, Delaware, yesterday. On the agenda: first, demand that the nation’s largest private student loan lender meet directly with students to discuss their crushing debt burden; and second, introduce a shareholder resolution calling for disclosure of the corporation’s lobbying practices and membership in groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Willie Smith Ward Sentenced To 50 Years In Prison For Stealing Rack Of Ribs

Trying to steal a $35 rack of pork ribs will cost a Texas man 50 years in prison.

The seemingly stiff sentence handed down Wednesday dates back to a September 2011 incident, in which Willie Smith Ward, 43, attempted to steal a package of meat from the H-E-B grocery store in Waco. An employee approached Ward and asked what he had under his clothing.

Mark Carney: Is He Really The Greatest Central Banker Of His Generation?

OTTAWA - Rock star, saviour, outstanding central banker of his generation — the accolades have flowed fast and freely during Mark Carney's five-year reign at the Bank of Canada.

But with the closing of the books on the bank governor Saturday, a more nuanced appraisal of his legacy emerges from the economists and analysts who have followed his every word and deed since erupting on the scene, seemingly out of the blue, in February 2008.

John Baird Accuses Elizabeth May Of Making Sexist Remark

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird accused Elizabeth May of sexism in the House of Commons on Friday.

The Green Party Leader had used the opportunity of question period to address what she sees as a lack of integrity in the Prime Minister’s Office. May called the PMO an “invention,” a “partisan fortress” and the least accountable place funded by taxpayers.

“About $10 million a year disappears into the PMO with zero accountability,” she said. “The guys in short pants who run around bullying MPs, muzzling scientists and harassing civil servants report to one boss. Is it not time to have accountability out of the PMO?”

Northern Gateway Pipeline Opposed By BC Government

The B.C. government has officially stated its opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline in its current form, in what is the strongest statement the government has made against the project.

In a final written submission to the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, the province states that its questions around the pipeline route, spill response or any other incidents around the pipeline have not been answered satisfactorily, Environment Minister Terry Lake said in a Friday news release.

Centerra Gold's Kumtor Mine Stormed In Protest; Kyrgyzstan Declares State Of Emergency

As many as 2,000 protesters stormed a Canadian-owned mine in Kyrgyzstan on Friday, prompting the central Asian country's government to declare a state of emergency.

Protesters hurled rocks during clashes with police Friday that injured 50 people and ended with 80 arrests, the Associated Press reports, after nearly a week of protests that saw demonstrators cut off the main road leading to Centerra Gold's Kumtar mine.

'Constant Circus' Around Rob Ford A Distraction, Councillors Say

The ongoing controversy surrounding Rob Ford has one member of his executive committee suggesting the Toronto mayor step aside temporarily.

- Ford has no plans to step aside.

- Ford ducks questions on drug video as new ones emerge.

- Ford's office reportedly tipped to location of video.

Nigel Wright will be paid severance after resigning from PMO job

Nigel Wright, the Prime Minister’s former chief of staff, will be paid severance after resigning from his job – a benefit available to few Canadians and one the Conservative government is ending for public servants.

While the government criticized “voluntary severance” for public servants and began terminating the policy through collective bargaining in 2011, it has kept in place benefits that are twice as generous for political aides who work for the Prime Minister or cabinet ministers.

DFO declines interview with scientist on oilsands because it disagrees with media report

OTTAWA — The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has declined an interview request with a scientist to discuss the environmental impacts of oilsands development because it objected to a recent Postmedia News report, a federal government spokesman wrote in an email.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is one of seven federal departments and agencies under investigation by Parliament’s Information Commissioner, Suzanne Legault, over allegations that the government is “muzzling” and restricting access to government scientists.

Ottawa breaching N.L.'s confidence in trade talks, says premier

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale says Ottawa has been trying to cut side deals with other provinces to build support for trade talks with the European Union, while excluding her province's demands from the final terms of the deal.

Dunderdale said federal officials, including Trade Minister Ed Fast, have been talking with other provinces to build broad support for the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, also known as CETA, with the European Union.

Canadian suppliers looking to get in on action of $33-billion national shipbuilding procurement strategy

OTTAWA—As Canada’s $33-billion rebuild of the Royal Canadian Navy gears up into design and production, so are defence companies who are onsite at Ottawa military conference CANSEC, looking to get a piece of the action by promoting their products and services.

“Reinvestment in the Canadian Armed Forces is among the largest and the most ambitious endeavours that Canada will undertake in the next 20 years,” retired Canadian vice-admiral Paul Maddison told the hundreds of defence officials and suppliers gathered for his keynote address at CANSEC May 29.

Toronto police officer Glenn Weddell acquitted of G20 assault on Dorian Barton

A judge has acquitted a Toronto police constable of assaulting a bystander at a G20 summit protest three years ago, preferring his fuzzy memory of events to an unreliable Crown witness.

Ontario Superior Court Justice M. Gregory Ellies found Glenn Weddell not guilty of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon for the injuries inflicted on Dorian Barton during the June 26, 2010 demonstration that took place a few hundred metres south of the Ontario legislature.

Clearing a debt — and a guilty conscience

The woman assures the postal clerk that she is quite serious — she really does want $6 worth of postage stamps.

It’s 1934. First-class postage costs 3 cents, so she’s buying 200 stamps. Six dollars is a substantial sum, roughly $100 in today’s currency. Later that afternoon, at home, she opens the firebox door of her furnace and consigns the stamps to the flames. Finally, her conscience is clear.

B.C. rejects Northern Gateway project over environmental concerns

British Columbia has formally rejected the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, saying the project has not been able to address environmental concerns.

In its final written submission to the review panel, British Columbian officials say the $6-billion project as proposed by Calgary-based Enbridge should not go ahead.

Eurozone Unemployment Reaches Record High Of 12.2 Percent

LONDON — The unemployment rate across the 17 European countries that use the euro hit a record 12.2 percent in April, and the number of unemployed is on track to reach 20 million by year's end.

The worsening jobs crisis points to the recession that has gripped the euro alliance. Many countries are struggling to stimulate growth while grappling with a debt crisis that's led governments to slash spending and raise taxes.

American Muslim Who Claims He Was Tortured Abroad Sues FBI

Yonas Fikre, an American Muslim who claims that he was tortured in the United Arab Emirates at the behest of the US government, sued the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Department on Thursday. Fikre, whose story was first reported by Mother Jones in April 2012, claims he was abused by local authorities in the UAE after refusing to become an informant for the FBI.

Harper Conservatives May Be Going Extinct In Quebec, Poll Suggests

Are Quebec Conservatives about to go extinct?

Increasingly, it seems that Stephen Harper has given up on the province. In the end, it may be a realistic assessment of his electoral chances in Quebec, especially considering that both leaders of the main opposition parties are now Quebecers.

A poll conducted earlier this month by CROP for La Presse found support for the Conservatives has fallen to only 9 per cent in the province, putting the party back to where it had been prior to their breakthrough in 2006. Conservatives had the support of only 8 per cent of francophone Quebecers in the poll, while just 10 per cent of non-francophones in the province said they would vote for the Tories.

Nigel Wright's Resignation 'A Big Blow' For Scrambling PMO

OTTAWA — When Nigel Wright accepted sole responsibility for ensuring that Senator Mike Duffy’s inappropriate housing expenses had been repaid, his resignation sent a shockwave through the federal government and Tories across the country. It also left a gaping hole in the Prime Minister’s Office, which is scrambling to shuffle the decks.

To many who didn’t know Wright, his resignation was an admission of guilt. Conservative MPs grumbled about being bombarded with calls from angry constituents.

Syria may get Russian fighter jets under new contract

MOSCOW—Russia's MiG aircraft maker said Friday it plans to sign a new agreement to ship at least 10 fighter jets to Syria, a move that comes amid international criticism of earlier Russian weapons deals with Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

MiG's director general, Sergei Korotkov, said a Syrian delegation was in Moscow to discuss the details of a new contract for the delivery of MiG-29 M/M2 fighters. In remarks carried by Russian news agencies, he said Syria wants to buy "more than 10" such fighters, but wouldn't give the exact number.

Keeping democracy alive: Engaging in political process between elections

Last week, Seth Klein reflected on some lessons from the 2013 B.C. election. Among the many important lessons he noted was the fact that "we need to better understand why so many people feel disengaged from politics and key policy debates." Indeed. Now that the election is over, those of us who are passionate about civic engagement need to do what we can to understand this trend and hopefully alter its course.

In Powell River, a group of us have been trying to find creative ways to engage diverse groups of citizens in dialogues about matters that impact us and our community. Calling ourselves PR Voices, we're hosting a speakers series which began in March with a talk by Ken Wu on raw log exports and will continue until our municipal election in November 2014. Our intention is for this to be a dynamic and emergent process which may change shape as we go depending on the passions and needs of those participating. That said, we are far enough along in the process now to have a few lessons of our own that we believe we are learning about engaging people meaningfully in the democratic process.

Everything You've Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong

"SPEEK EENGLISH, TACO," THE GIRL with the giant backpack yelled when Maria asked where to find a bathroom. The backpack giggled as it bounced down the hall. It had been hours since Maria began looking for a bathroom. Anger boiled inside her, but she didn't know any English words to yell back. That was the hardest part. Back in El Salvador she'd always had something to say.

The bell rang. A flood of shoulders and sneakers swirled around Maria, and she couldn't see much until the sea of strangers streamed back into classrooms. Then she stood alone in the hallway.

It was Maria's first day at school, her first week in the United States. Her middle school in San Francisco was the biggest building she'd ever seen. It was bigger than the entire Best Buy store she'd walked through in awe on her first day in the city.

Alberta Minimum Wage Up 20 Cents, But Still The Lowest In Canada

EDMONTON - Alberta's minimum wage is increasing by two dimes at the end of August and will remain the lowest in the country.

Effective Sept. 1, the 29,300 workers on the lowest end of the pay scale will earn $9.95 an hour.

New PayScale Study Challenges Conventional Thinking On Why Women Make Less Than Men

Men and women who work the same job actually get paid about the same when they are starting out in their careers, according to a study released Thursday. However, the study said, as workers move up the ranks, men's wages start to increasingly outpace those of their female counterparts.

We Mustn't Repeat History, for Aboriginal Children's Sake

In 1907, Canada's Department of Indian Affairs dispatched Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce to investigate residential schools in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. Bryce found dilapidated buildings, rampant tuberculosis, and shocking death rates. In some schools, only 31 per cent of children survived to graduation.

Bryce submitted a lengthy report detailing the appalling conditions. The federal government buried his report for 15 years until Bryce became so frustrated that he published his findings in a book.

Rob Ford is killing his own legacy

What does it take to make a politician quit? Apparently, some will not go until they are carried out kicking, screaming or defeated. And at the top of that list is Toronto’s embattled mayor, Rob Ford.

Ford resembles an elephant besieged by a pride of lions, clawing and biting at him until he falls to his knees and succumbs. Except he’s not succumbing. The trail of blood behind him now includes five staff members and still he lumbers on. It’s a surreal spectacle, a slow-motion kill, that has riveted — and paralyzed — a city.

Mike Duffy, Poor Rich White Man

It's been a tough month for Whitey. Not so much regular Whitey, but certainly for Extra Whitey. As represented by Mike Duffy and Rob Ford, Extra Whitey has really been taking it on the double chin. Why is it always the whitest amongst us who suffer?

Perhaps it's because, based on these examples, Extra Whitey seems to feel even more entitled than regular Whitey. Duffy in particular really shines in the entitlement area. With a veritable F5 tornado of bogus expense claims swirling around him, Senator Duffy issued a statement proclaiming: "[My] actions regarding expenses do not merit criticism."

Is Duffy a bomb set to explode in Harper’s face?

With all of Stephen Harper’s potential nemeses, who would have thought that the most dangerous would turn out to be Mike the Spud From the Deep Red Mud of Kanata?

Here is a simple fact that bears consideration: Mike Duffy is still a senator, but Nigel Wright is no longer the prime minister’s chief-of-staff.

One man tried to put out the fire; the other, who allegedly set it, is still toasting publicly-provided weenies in the flames.

Enbridge aims to meet with Premier Christy Clark to discuss concerns

Friday is one of the final chances for Enbridge Inc., the British Columbia government and other stakeholders to pitch their arguments to a National Energy Board review panel on the Northern Gateway oil pipeline project.

But for John Carruthers, president of Northern Gateway, it will be simply another day in the long effort to convince an often skeptical public that the $6-billion project moving Alberta crude across B.C. for export to Asia should proceed.

The Right's perilous denial of reality: Rob Ford and anti-democratic fictions

Two weeks on and Toronto's ever evolving "crackgate" scandal seems to show no signs of going away as daily revelations alternately stun and bemuse Torontonians, Canadians and, to a degree, the international press. It has been almost surreal in its absurdity and in the spectacle of such things as city hall security guards escorting a mayor's aide to the bathroom, Doug Ford holding press conferences to allow his brother to sneak out the back door of city hall, and so on.

A comprehensive outline of developments was put together by a Toronto weekly, The Grid, though this excludes the latest two days of news, such as the assertion by the Toronto Star that Ford, who has claimed no video exists, told his staff he knew where it was, as well as today's news that two more staffers in the mayor's office have resigned.

Documenting the ghosts in our industrial food machine

With the aid of a local guide, Toronto photographer Jo-Anne McArthur climbs through the fence at a fox fur farm in an undisclosed location in the European countryside.

There, row after row of buildings cover cage after cage of frightened animals; the foxes are grey and black, beautiful -- and making unearthly cries and groans, like the sounds from a horror film. But these noises are very much part of the capitalistic, industrialized relationship between humans and animals.

Why the Mike Duffy Senate scandal still perk-olates

Two weeks in and the Senate expenses scandal involving former TV journalist Mike Duffy lives on. And once again, the fuel keeping it alive comes from an email written by the senator himself.

CBC News obtained a copy of a message Duffy sent to a Conservative strategist in July 2009 — just six months after Prime Minister Stephen Harper named him to the Senate — asking for advice on how he should be compensated for ''my expanded role with the party.''

Senate spending scandal: In midst of Mike Duffy storm, Conservatives brace for Hurricane Wallin

OTTAWA—For those bending in the headwinds of the Senate spending scandal — from the prime minister on down — there is every reason to brace for another ferocious gust about to blow.

That is an ill wind coming in from Wadena.

There is every reason to believe that a pending audit of Saskatchewan Senator Pamela Wallin’s expenses promises to be an epic chapter in an unfolding scandal which has already destabilized Stephen Harper and his government, cost the job of the prime minister’s chief of staff Nigel Wright, led to a likely RCMP probe and pushed Wallin and one-time colleague Mike Duffy out of the Conservative caucus.

RCMP denies Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s security threatened

OTTAWA—The RCMP is denying troubling allegations from within its own ranks that unresolved workplace harassment issues threaten the personal security of Prime Minister Stephen Harper or his family.

But it pointedly said nothing Thursday about the feuding group of bodyguards that surround them.

The crack team of Mounties who protect Harper and his family around the world and around the clock is supposed to be one of the country’s top police units, and yet today the Prime Minister’s personal detail — known as PMPD — is a fractured squad.

Harper, most Conservative MPs silent on Morgentaler’s death

The death of abortion crusader Dr. Henry Morgentaler has sparked debate about his legacy, but the Conservative government is not weighing in.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose office typically issues statements on deaths of notable Canadians and various other events, was silent on Morgentaler’s passing Tuesday.

Former Harper stalwart had tax problems of his own

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have been attacking the NDP over back taxes owed by one of their MPs, but one of Harper’s former closest advisors, Dimitri Soudas, has had problems of his own with Revenu Québec.

According to documents filed in the Gatineau courthouse and obtained by iPolitics, Revenu Québec issued a certificate in March 2012, seeking to collect $27,849 in back taxes from Soudas, the prime minister’s former director of communications. The Court of Quebec Civil Division granted a judgment against Soudas in April 2012.

Andrée-Anne Stewart, spokeswoman for Revenu Quebec, said Thursday that the initial assessment for unpaid taxes was $67,467. To read the court documents, click here.

CTV poll: 13% believe Harper didn't know about $90K bailout for Mike Duffy

Just 13 per cent of Canadians believe Prime Minister Stephen Harper is telling the truth when he says he had no knowledge of Nigel Wright’s $90,000-bailout of Sen. Mike Duffy, according to a new poll.

The CTV News Ipsos Reid poll also found that 44 per cent were “not sure whether or not the prime minister had any knowledge of the monetary gift made by Mr. Wright at the time,” and 42 per cent said they are “convinced that the prime minister would have known about the monetary gift by Mr. Wright at the time.”

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty rejects HST hike to fund public transit in Ontario

Ottawa is slamming the brakes on Premier Kathleen Wynne’s plan to hike the HST to fund public transit.

Late Thursday, Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty warned Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa that no increase to the 13 per cent tax would be permitted.

Flaherty said any scheme to raise the levy regionally in the Greater Toronto/Hamilton Area would violate terms Queen’s Park and Ottawa agreed upon when they harmonized the 5 per cent GST and the 8 per cent provincial sales tax in 2010.

‘Systemic racism’

Former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci says he is not an alarmist by nature, but the lack of First Nations civic rights in the justice system has disturbed him to his core.

After 50 years of practising law, Iacobucci says his work surrounding the residential school settlement and probing a lack of aboriginal representation on juries are two issues that have perhaps meant the most to him as a Canadian.

Canada ready to sign EU trade deal, but Newfoundland may throw wrench in the plan

It’s been said that the real father of confederation is deadlock. The negotiations over the free trade deal with the European Union offer plenty of fresh evidence that Canada’s own worst enemy is its unwieldy constitutional structure.

Ottawa is set to sign a free trade deal with the EU when Stephen Harper visits Europe for the G8 conference next month. But there are fears that Newfoundland and Labrador may walk away from any agreement that does not protect its fish processing industry.

Falstaff in Toronto, Angelo in New York

I write this on a train speeding—well, strolling at velocity, this being Canada—from my beautiful, troubled home town of Montreal to the super-successful city of Toronto, Canada’s true capital, where, to everyone’s shock, the first full-scale, messy, Louisiana-style, twenty-first-century political scandal in Canada is taking place, to the wonder of the burghers of a town once thought immune to all scandals save those of the meaner, pocket-filling kind. The facts are that Rob Ford, the rotund, wayward mayor of Toronto, was seen by reporters, on a smartphone video, smoking what looked like crack with what appeared to be Somali drug dealers, inhaling deeply while making scurrilous remarks about, among others, the new Liberal Party leader, Justin Trudeau. Ford and his still stranger brother, Doug, a councilman, denied that the video existed, or, if it did, that it really showed what it seemed to show—though the idea that two reporters from the Toronto Star would deliberately lie about such a thing seems difficult to credit, and the notion that anyone could, even with post-modern Photoshop methods, fake such a thing seems even odder. (One imagines an evil FX guy inserting a Ray Harryhausen-like puppet-animation figure of the portly Mayor Ford into the video, shimmering and jerking and rustling as he struggles with the pipe.)

Walmart, Gap Lead Coalition To Create New Bangladesh Safety Pact

Walmart and Gap are working on their own independent safety plan to prompt reform in Bangladesh after both retailers declined to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, Women's Wear Daily reported. Forty other retailers, mostly European, have agreed to the latter pact.

Eric Bolling Abortion Claim: 'The Five' Co-Host Says Rate Linked To Growth Of Female Breadwinners

A Fox News co-host has made the most outlandish statement yet in a rapidly escalating rhetorical arms race this week over the role of women in the workplace.

"The Five's" Eric Bolling suggested on Wednesday that the decades-long increase in American women's earning power was actually a symptom of the "breakdown of the American family" -- spurred as it was, he claimed, by an increasing number of overextended single mothers. As a result, Bolling breathlessly suggested, a growing number of women would opt to seek abortions.

Cities Where Suburban Poverty Is Skyrocketing

The number of poor people in U.S. suburbs rose by 63.6% between 2000 and 2011, from 10 million to well over 16 million people. For the first time, there are now more people living in poverty in the suburbs than in cities.

In some metro areas, the number of poor people living outside the city proper has jumped even more rapidly. In the Atlanta, Ga., suburbs there are roughly 480,000 more people living below the poverty line than there were in 2000, an extraordinary 158% increase in the number of the suburban poor. Based on data collected by the Brookings Institution as part of a comprehensive study on suburban poverty, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 cities with the biggest increases in suburban poverty between 2000 and 2011.

Rob Ford Scandal: Did Toronto Mayor Know And Lie About Alleged 'Crackstarter' Video?

In another bizarre turn to the Rob Ford "Crackstarter" saga, The Star reports that the embattled Toronto mayor told his staff "not to worry" about a video that allegedly shows him smoking crack because "he knew where it was."

According to the report, Ford held a meeting on May 17 to address the video scandal with senior staffers. The Star's sources say that during the briefing, Ford told his aides he not only knew the video's whereabouts, but also gave an exact address, which he said he obtained from "our sources."

Reinhart And Rogoff's Pro-Austerity Research Now Even More Thoroughly Debunked By Studies

The debunking of Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff continues.

The Harvard economists have argued that mistakes and omissions in their influential research on debt and economic growth don't change their ultimate austerity-justifying conclusion: That too much debt hurts growth.

But even this claim has now been disproved by two new studies, which suggest the opposite might in fact be true: Slow growth leads to higher debt, not the other way around.

Two Crucial Questions for James Comey

President Obama is prepared to nominate James Comey, a former Department of Justice official under George W. Bush, to head the FBI, according to various press reports.

Comey’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee will present an excellent opportunity to press the administration on two of its biggest failings: an out-of-control security state and a dearth of prosecutions related to the 2008 crash on Wall Street.

Celebrated artists in Commons gallery 'insulted' by James Moore's NDP broadside

OTTAWA - In its zeal to deflect attention from the Senate expenses scandal, the Harper government managed Thursday to antagonize some of Canada's most prominent arts and culture luminaries.

This year's winners of the Governor General's performing arts awards were in the gallery of the House of Commons as Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore fended off opposition queries about Sen. Mike Duffy's invalid expense claims.