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.]

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Parliament must debate any military mission in Mali

Before sending Canadian troops into harm’s way in Mali, Prime Minister Stephen Harper should consult Parliament, and let the public know what the mission involves and the risks it entails. Defence Minister Peter MacKay has been musing about deploying military trainers. But given Mali’s explosive volatility even trainers could face dangers that we should weigh before signing on.

Mixed messages on Mali have opposition pressing for clarity

Contradictory messages from two Harper ministers about Canada’s potential role in strife-torn Mali have drawn questions from the official opposition about who is in charge of the government’s foreign policy.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay openly speculated on Sunday about Canadian troops training military officers in the West African desert country, similar to the Canadian mission taking place now in Afghanistan.

First Nations chiefs contemplate “breach of treaty” declarations, indefinite economic disruptions

First Nations leaders have discussed plans to launch country-wide economic disruptions by the middle of January if Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn’t agree to hunger-striking Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s demand for a treaty meeting, APTN National News has learned.

During three days of meetings and teleconferences, chiefs from across the country discussed a plan setting Jan. 16 as the day to launch a campaign of indefinite economic disruptions, including railway and highway blockades, according to two chiefs who were involved in the talks who requested anonymity.

Criminal injustice: Idle No More, the prison system and Indigenous people in Canada

Idle No More is forcing many Canadians to be Willfully Blind No More.

Ostensibly, the movement spearheaded by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is about the protection of First Nations' treaty rights. At its core, though, might be something more profound, perhaps best described as a demand for all of us in this country to re-think the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians. The relationship is, of course, an uneven one, though it might be far more uneven than most of us in this country care to acknowledge.

Government on path to dissolve First Nation treaty rights, says Madahbee

OTTAWA—In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation voices concern on behalf of all First Nations that the government is passing bills, legislation and funding cuts in an attempt to dissolve First Nation treaty rights.

Patrick Madahbee, Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation, has laid out his concerns on behalf of all Anishinabek people in his letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Texas Can Defund Planned Parenthood, Judge Rules

A district judge ruled on Monday that Texas can legally cut Planned Parenthood out of its new state-funded health program for women, which launches on Tuesday.

The Texas Women's Health Program, which provides basic health care and family planning services to low-income women, previously received about 90 percent of its $35 million annual funding from the federal government. When state legislators voted to cut Planned Parenthood out of the program because some of its affiliates provide abortions, the Department of Health and Human Services warned the state that if it broke federal Medicaid rules by discriminating against a qualified provider, it would no longer receive federal funding for the program. Instead of reinstating Planned Parenthood funding, Gov. Rick Perry (R) decided to start a new women's health program funded entirely by the state so that it could continue to exclude Planned Parenthood from the program.

Fiscal Cliff Passes For 'Disgusted,' 'Disappointed' Congress

WASHINGTON -- Congress stumbled ingloriously off Capitol Hill New Year's Eve, with the Senate passing a "fiscal cliff" deal two hours after the deadline to address the tax and spending problems that Capitol Hill had created for itself, and leaving the final resolution for the start of 2013.

The lawmakers managed that feat despite knowing about the deadline for a year and a half, and despite having the deal in sight Sunday night. It preserves Bush-era tax cuts for income under $450,000 for couples and under $400,000 for individuals. The tentative deal also would extend emergency unemployment insurance and secure other tax policies that generally help the middle class.

Environment minister to axe renewable content requirement for home heating oil

OTTAWA - The federal government is backing away from requiring that home-heating fuel contain at least two per cent renewable content.

Environment Minister Peter Kent said Monday he plans to amend the Renewable Fuels Regulations in the new year to make the current exemption for home-heating oil permanent nationwide.

That will likely be good news for consumers, since it costs more to produce home-heating fuel using renewable products such as biofuels.

Sarnia rail blockade will end when Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets Theresa Spence, protesters say

SARNIA, ONT. — Industry officials are searching for answers as a rail blockade in Sarnia enters its eleventh day.

A group of protesters from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation took to the railroad as part of a nationwide protest known as Idle No More on Dec. 21, calling for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Gov. Gen. David Johnston to meet with hunger striking Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence.

To torture or not to torture: Why is this question being asked in America?

To torture or not to torture, why is this question being asked in America? The answer you will receive is different depending on who you speak to. Proponents of torture, such as Harvard law Professor Alan Dershowitz, argued in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 that there is a need in "exceptional circumstances" to resort to "legal torture."

Citing the ticking bomb scenario, Dershowitz argues that a "torture warrant" can be issued by a judge after being presented with "compelling evidence" that a suspect holds vital information that, if not disclosed to policing agencies on time, could lead to catastrophic consequences.

EI premiums lead list of price hikes for 2013

OTTAWA—Prepare for higher payroll taxes and pricier passports after ringing in the new year, but if you have any money left over then you can put some more of it into your tax-free savings account.

Canadians will see more money taken off their paycheques in 2013, with the federal government increasing Employment Insurance rates for both employees and their bosses.

View From Abroad: Poor America, Undone By Political Gridlock, Gun Violence

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- New Zealand is about as far from the Washington Beltway, physically and socially, as you can get and still be on planet Earth.

They don't care a whit for status here, and not that much for money or power. They love the outdoors and with good reason, for this is arguably the most beautiful place in the world. Kiwis say "no worries" instead of "you're welcome," and they would rather charge you less for something if they deem that fair.

Afghanistan Violence Falls In 2012, Insider Attacks Rise Dramatically

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Violence in Afghanistan fell in 2012, but more Afghan troops and police who now shoulder most of the combat were killed, according to statistics compiled by The Associated Press.

At the same time, insider killings by uniformed Afghans against their foreign allies rose dramatically, eroding confidence between the sides at a crucial turning point in the war and when NATO troops and Afghan counterparts are in more intimate contact.

Al Qaeda In Mali: Islamist Fighters Carve Out New Country

MOPTI, Mali — Deep inside caves, in remote desert bases, in the escarpments and cliff faces of northern Mali, Islamic fighters are burrowing into the earth, erecting a formidable set of defenses to protect what has essentially become al-Qaida's new country.

They have used the bulldozers, earth movers and Caterpillar machines left behind by fleeing construction crews to dig what residents and local officials describe as an elaborate network of tunnels, trenches, shafts and ramparts. In just one case, inside a cave large enough to drive trucks into, they have stored up to 100 drums of gasoline, guaranteeing their fuel supply in the face of a foreign intervention, according to experts.

Shea, MacKay on the hot seat as 2012 ends

Pity the plight, just for a moment and in the kindly spirit of a new year, of federal cabinet ministers from the Maritimes. As a group, they are forever exposed. Despite the Three P's of high office: power, prestige and patronage, they walk around every day with Kick Me signs taped to their backsides.

Take Gail Shea. She's the only Tory MP from P.E.I. She increased her majority between the 2008 and 2011 elections and her political and government experience made her a cabinet shoo-in. That was the easy part. Promoting a government's unpopular policies is where the kick-me signs come in.

Harper boasts of accomplishments for 2012, NDP has different take

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is ending the year by listing his government's achievements in 2012, but the Opposition is pointing to several low-lights.

In a statement, Harper says Canada will enter 2013 with some of the strongest economic growth among the Group of Seven richest nations.

And he says the world has taken note, with Forbes magazine ranking Canada No. 1 in its annual review of the best countries for business.

Public safety and the politics of gun control in Canada

Gun mayhem in the U.S. hit just in time to catch the Canadian gun lobby and the Harper government doing a little victory jig on gun de-control.

Vic Toews, a U.S. Republican-style guns-and-prisons guy who carries the Orwellian title of Public Safety Minister, has just scrapped prospective regulations covering gun shows -- those conduits for rogue guns -- to cap off the killing of the national gun registry in the usual Harper government spirit of triumphal vandalism. That is, not just killing it but gleefully riddling it with bullets by destroying the actual data on which it was based to make sure a future government can't revive any of it.

Idle No More Protesters Block Toronto And Montreal's Main Rail Line

BELLEVILLE, Ont. - Via Rail says its trains have begun moving again after the main rail line between Toronto and Montreal was blocked by protesters.

Via says roughly 2,000 passengers on trains to and from Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal are affected that started late Sunday afternoon.

The rail line was blocked by protesters that CN Rail spokesman Jim Feeny says were part of the Idle No More movement.

The Idle movement staged other protests Sunday in support of Northern Ontario First Nations Chief Theresa Spence.

She is staging a hunger strike to back her demand for a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Original Article
Source: huffington post
Author: CP

Harper Government Considers Mali Military Training Mission

OTTAWA - The Harper government is examining whether to dispatch Canadian troops to help train an African force whose purpose would be to take back a vast swath of Mali from an off-shoot of al-Qaeda.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay, speaking in Halifax Sunday, said what form of military assistance can be provided to a growing international swell is something that's under active discussion.

Kyoto climate change treaty sputters to a sorry end

The controversial and ineffective Kyoto Protocol's first stage comes to an end today, leaving the world with 58 per cent more greenhouse gases than in 1990, as opposed to the five per cent reduction its signatories sought.

From the beginning, the treaty that was adopted in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, was problematic. Opponents denied the science of climate change and claimed the treaty was a socialist plot. Environmentalists decried the lack of ambition in Kyoto and warned of dire consequences for future generations.

Harper’s gamble with First Nations’ rage

As the old year passes, Stephen Harper faces a dilemma: If he can’t attend at Chief Theresa’s Spence’s teepee, how could he possibly attend her funeral?

And yet, if should she should starve herself to death because the PM refuses to meet with her, how could he stay away?

With each wasted day, it gets less and less likely the prime minister will blink. After all, what would be the explanation for attending on the 18th day of Chief Spence’s fast as opposed to, say, the 11th or 25th day? The photo opportunity — Christmas Eve or Christmas Day — has already come and gone.

Decolonizing in the Empire State: A view of #IdleNoMore solidarity from abroad

In September 2012, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper grabbed headlines in New York City. The New York-based Appeal of Conscience Foundation presented Harper with the "World Statesman of the Year" award in recognition of his being "a champion of democracy, freedom and human rights." Yes, the same man who once proclaimed that Canada has "no history of colonialism" and more recently tweeted "Mmm…bacon" while trying to ignore Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence's hunger strike was actually awarded a humanitarian award! Now, some New Yorkers are putting Harper back in the public spotlight, but for very different reasons: they are protesting the Conservatives' Bill C-45 and supporting Chief Spence's hunger strike and the #IdleNoMore movement more generally.

Drone War Spurs Militants to Deadly Reprisals

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — They are dead men talking, and they know it. Gulping nervously, the prisoners stare into the video camera, spilling tales of intrigue, betrayal and paid espionage on behalf of the United States. Some speak in trembling voices, a glint of fear in their eyes. Others look resigned. All plead for their lives.

 “I am a spy and I took part in four attacks,” said Sidinkay, a young tribesman who said he was paid $350 to help direct C.I.A. drones to their targets in Pakistan’s tribal belt. Sweat glistened on his forehead; he rocked nervously as he spoke. “Stay away from the Americans,” he said in an imploring voice. “Stay away from their dollars.”

Fiscal Cliff: Senate Remains Deadlocked, Mitch McConnell And Harry Reid Say

WASHINGTON -- With less than a day and a half before the nation hits the so-called fiscal cliff, Senate leaders declared Sunday afternoon they had made no progress in cutting a deal in their chamber.

"I'm concerned about the lack of urgency here. We all know we're running out of time," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), complaining that he had worked into the night Saturday to make an offer to the Democrats, but hadn't received a response.

First Nations Chief's Call To Action Answered By Canadians, Politicians

On First Nations Chief Theresa Spence's 20th day of her politically motivated hunger strike, Canadians and politicians answered her plea for solidarity for her cause to secure a meeting between First Nations leaders, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and the Governor General.

The Attawapiskat chief sent Friday a public plea to make Sunday a day of solidarity, asking Canadians to stage protests across the country and petitioning politicians to meet with her in Ottawa.

Why the 99 per cent still matter in Canadian politics

A year after the Occupy movement focused public attention on the income, wealth and opportunity gap between the top 1 per cent and the 99 per cent, the issue is attracting the attention of conservatives in Canada.

Quite simply, they want the problem to go away. So they’re intent on a simple message: chill out, Canada, inequality isn’t the problem.

When Canada turns 150: A frightening future or a new day led by Bieber and Trudeau?

What might Canada look like in 2017, the year of our sesquicentennial celebration?

It is, of course, impossible to predict events a week from now, let alone five years out. But for fun and the sake of argument, let’s try. What follows is a brief national portrait, dated July 1, 2017. Utopia? Dystopia? Or the usual hodge-podge, leavened with fanciful nonsense? You decide.

Government-dodging Freeman on the Land movement creates 'major policing problem': CSIS report

An anti-government movement known as Freeman on the Land has become a 'major policing problem' in several provinces, according to a threat assessment by Canada's spy officials.

The report by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service lists Freeman members among 'domestic extremists' who associate with issue-based causes, such as environmentalism, anti-capitalism, anti-globalization and far-right racism.

Concern mounts among those affected by federal government privacy breach

The loss of highly sensitive personal information held by a federal government department has ignited concern and frustration among those affected by the blunder.

After an employee with the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) misplaced an electronic storage device containing the personal information of about 5,000 Canadians, the department sent letters to affected people informing them of the mishap.

Ex-PM Joe Clark warns Canada, First Nations headed in ’dangerous direction’

OTTAWA — Former prime minister Joe Clark says he’s concerned Canada and its First Nations are “headed in a dangerous direction.”

Clark issued a statement after meeting Saturday with Chief Theresa Spence, who has been fasting for more than two weeks in an effort to persuade Prime Minister Stephen Harper to meet with her and other First Nations leaders over treaty issues.

Clark, who was a Tory prime minister from 1979 to 1980, says friends of his in the First Nations community had suggested he meet with Spence, chief of a remote reserve in Northern Ontario.

Hunger-striking chief calls for action amidst health concerns

On First Nations Chief Theresa Spence's 20th day of her politically motivated hunger strike, Canadians and politicians answered her plea for solidarity for her cause to secure a meeting between First Nations leaders, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and the Governor General.

The Attawapiskat chief sent Friday a public plea to make Sunday a day of solidarity, asking Canadians to stage protests across the country and petitioning politicians to meet with her in Ottawa.

Israel files indictment against former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman

JERUSALEM—Israel’s Justice Ministry filed its indictment against former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman in a Jerusalem court on Sunday, charging him with breach of trust and fraud in a case that could further harm his political career.

Lieberman is accused of trying to advance the career of a former diplomat after the envoy relayed information to him about a criminal investigation into the former Cabinet minister’s business dealings.

Attawapiskat: Why don't they just leave?

ATTAWAPISKAT, ONT.—If she had a magic wand, Rosie Koostachin would change many things in her community. There would be better housing, health care and education. There would be more jobs and there would be no drug and alcohol abuse. Oh, and the reserve would be better run.

But there is no magic wand. Neither is one on its way.

Koostachin, the wise 42-year-old mother of four and grandmother of one, knows that.

First Nations chief Theresa Spence calls for solidarity protests

As First Nations Chief Theresa Spence's hunger strike continues, the chief called for weekend solidarity protests from all Canadians to force Prime Minister Stephen Harper to meet with her and other native leaders angered by his policies.

While Idle No More protests have been staged in various communities over the past two weeks — a movement aiming to repair existing violations to the treaty relationship — this is the Attawapiskat chief's first time calling for action.

France's 75 Percent Tax On The Super Rich Smacked Down By Country's High Court

PARIS — Embattled French President Francois Hollande suffered a fresh setback Saturday when France's highest court threw out a plan to tax the ultrawealthy at a 75 percent rate, saying it was unfair.

In a stinging rebuke to one of Socialist Hollande's flagship campaign promises, the constitutional council ruled Saturday that the way the highly contentious tax was designed was unconstitutional. It was intended to hit incomes over (EURO)1 million ($1.32 million).

Florida's Long Lines On Election Day Discouraged 49,000 People From Voting: Report

Florida took center stage in the 2012 elections, when voters around the state had to wait in line at the polls for up to nine hours. Gov. Rick Scott (R) initially denied that there was any problem, saying it was "very good" that people were getting out to vote.

But a new study shows that tens of thousands of people were actually discouraged from voting because of the long lines.

Personal info held by government on thousands of Canadians goes missing

OTTAWA - A federal government department says there is no evidence that missing personal information about thousands of Canadians has been used for fraudulent purposes.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada says an employee reported on Nov. 16 that a USB key containing personal information, including Social Insurance Numbers, of about 5,000 Canadians was missing.

Attorney General won’t say how many convicted in wake of 2010 Toronto gang sweep

Toronto police typically aren’t shy when it comes to announcing how many arrests were made and charges laid after one of their anti-gang sweeps.

But it’s a different story when the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General is asked for a status update on the most recent major initiative targeting gangs, May 2010’s Project Corral.

F-35 — a case study in deficient decision-making

The F-35 fighter plane is shaping up as the biggest fiasco in the history of military aviation. If anything’s to be gained from the monumental botch that is the costliest and most multi-functional military aircraft project ever attempted, the Joint Strike Fighter program from which the F-35 is derived should be taught at the Royal Military College and its peers worldwide. It is an epic case history of supplier over-reach on the part of defence contractors, and deficient decision-making by public policy makers.

Canada's controversial 2012 changes to immigration and refugee system

Over the past year Ottawa has made some sweeping and controversial changes to the immigration, asylum and refugee system, and the rules involving Canadian citizenship.

In doing so, the federal Conservative government has radically changed the landscape and made it much tougher for many to make Canada their home.

The NRA Myth of Arming the Good Guys

The gut-wrenching shock of the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14 wasn't just due to the 20 unthinkably young victims. It was also due to the realization that this specific, painfully familiar nightmare was unfolding yet again.

As the scope of the massacre in Newtown became clear, some news accounts suggested that mass shootings in the United States have not increased, based on a broad definition of them. But in fact 2012 has been unprecedented for a particular kind of horror that's been on the rise in recent years, from Virginia Tech to Tucson to Aurora to Oak Creek to Newtown. There have been at least 62 such mass shootings in the last three decades, attacks in which the killer took the lives of four or more people (the FBI's baseline for mass murder) in a public place—a school, a workplace, a mall, a religious building. Seven of them have occurred this year alone.

Gun Sales Surge In Wake Of Newtown Shooting As Panicked Enthusiasts Rush To Stock Up

NEW YORK -- The phones at Red's Trading Post wouldn't stop ringing. Would-be customers from as far away as New York wanted to know if the Twin Falls, Idaho gun shop had firearms in stock. Others clamored to find out if their orders had been shipped.

Overwhelmed, gun store manager Ryan Horsley had to do what no employee would ever think of doing just days before Christmas: He disconnected the phone lines for three whole days.

The Bully in the Asylum: Is the G.O.P. Headed for its Cliff?

On Thursday, Senator Harry Reid came to the floor of the Senate to condemn a “dictatorship“—a petty sort of tyranny, one in the chamber down the hall, led by John Boehner, which Reid blamed for the lack of a deal to prevent the country from going over the fiscal cliff. “It’s being operated with a dictatorship of the speaker, not allowing the vast majority of the House of Representatives to get what they want,” Reid said.

No interest in changing policy just to add NDP stamp, Dix says

The closer he gets to the provincial election, the more Adrian Dix is downplaying expectations he’d sweep into the premier’s office with an agenda of massive reform.

The Opposition leader, who polls say is the front-runner to become premier in the May election, continues to stress that he is not preparing to dismantle a decade of B.C. Liberal programs and policies.

Most Canadians believe the Stephen Harper government is failing to protect the environment, poll suggests

OTTAWA — A majority of Canadians believe the Harper government is doing a poor job of protecting the nation’s environment, suggests a new poll conducted for Postmedia News and Global Television.

The Ipsos Reid survey suggests that 61 per cent of Canadians disagree with the statement “the Harper government is doing a good job at protecting Canada’s environment.”

Khadr transfer delays remain inexplicable

On Oct. 23, 2010, Canada and the United States exchanged diplomatic notes agreeing in principle to the idea that Omar Khadr should be transferred to the Canadian correctional system after serving one more year in U.S. custody (he’d served eight already).

On Sept. 29, 2012, Omar Khadr came back to Canada.

Tk'emlups elder considers hunger strike of her own

If Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence ends her hunger strike aimed at securing a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper about first Nations rights a Tk'emlups elder is willing to take up the cause.

"She's determined. I don't think she should (stop). If she does, I'm thinking of fasting in my sweat lodge in support," said Evelyn Camille, a councillor with the Tk'emlups Indian Band.

Stephen Harper’s not-so-hidden agenda

About 34 months, just under three years, remain in the current mandate of Stephen Harper’s majority government. A week may be long time in politics, but it is also true that years quickly pass for governments. The period before the next election affords time for just three budgets and perhaps one more Speech from the Throne.

What does this time hold for Stephen Harper?

Attawapiskat: No end in sight to problems of inadequate housing, unemployment, drug addiction

ATTAWAPISKAT, ONT. — Many years ago, Helen Kataquapit lived in a house. A real house that was warm, had a bedroom, a kitchen with a stove and a washroom with running water.

That memory is fast fading.

The 52-year-old grandmother — who lives in a room not much larger than a walk-in closet in two trailers shared by dozens of others in one forlorn corner of Attawapiskat — knows she may never live in a house again.

Rob Ford now wants to be reappointed, not face a byelection

Reversing his previous position, Rob Ford now says he wants council to reappoint him as mayor, not call a byelection, if he is forced out of office.

“It’s up to the council. They’re going to either appoint somebody or we’re going to have a byelection. They have two options, and hopefully I’ll get appointed — hopefully I’ll win the appeal, and if I don’t, then hopefully I get appointed. If not, then we have to go to the polls,” Ford said during an unscheduled call to Newstalk 1010 on Thursday.

Idle No More: A crucial call for justice

Grassroots rallies across Canada under the banner 'Idle No More' have put the spotlight on a federal legislative agenda that is trampling the rights of Indigenous peoples set out in  domestic and international law.

Bill C-45, the omnibus budget bill, introduced changes to the Indian Act, including measures that would make it easier for First Nations to 'surrender' their lands, even without the support of the majority of their members. The omnibus bill also further narrowed the scope of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and numerous related laws, so that resource development projects on the traditional lands of Indigenous peoples will be much less likely to be subject to a rigorous public environmental impact assessment. These changes are on top of dramatic restrictions on environmental assessments already passed in the previous budget bill.

Lisa Murkowski, Ron Wyden Propose Campaign Finance Reform

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) proposed campaign finance reform on Thursday that will seek to walk back the funding possibilities opened up by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections.

'Fort Hernandez' Evicted And Occupy LA Protesters Removed From Home

After spending four months camped out in front of the house dubbed 'Fort Hernandez' in an effort to save it from foreclosure, Occupy LA activists were removed from the property, and the family was evicted. The Van Nuys house, where the Hernandez family resided but hadn't paid a mortgage on for about five years, is now surrounded by a chain link fence and is the property of Bank of America.

Nearly 100 personnel from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department removed 18 Occupy LA protesters and five dogs at about 5 a.m. Thursday morning, KPCC reports. Six to eight family members were living in the house and are now locked out.

2012 Culture and Resistance with Alice Walker, Randy Weston, Walter Mosley, Gore Vidal and More

Today we look at the nexus of politics and art, airing highlights of our cultural coverage from the past year featuring Alice Walker, Walter Mosley, Tony Kushner, Randy Weston, Steve Earle, Randall Robinson, Toshi Reagon, Tom Morello and others. We pay tribute to the late Adrienne Rich, Gore Vidal and Whitney Houston and mark the centennial of the birth of Woody Guthrie

Original Article
Source: Democracy Now!
Author: --

Finance Stocks Dominate The Market In 2012 Despite Continuous Fines, Scandals And Fraud

Quick, what was the best-performing stock sector in the U.S. in 2012? Here's a hint: It was the sector that could not stop getting into trouble and paying billions of dollars in fines on a near-weekly basis.

Yes, financial stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index had a better 2012 than any other group in the stock market, jumping more than 26 percent for the year through December 26, according to FactSet data. That increase far outpaced the broader S&P 500, which gained a still-respectable 13 percent this year, according to FactSet.

India Gang-Rape Victim Dies In Singapore Hospital

SINGAPORE -- An Indian woman who was gang-raped and beaten on a bus in New Delhi died Saturday at a Singapore hospital, after her ordeal galvanized Indians to demand greater protection for women from sexual violence that impacts thousands of them every day.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was aware of the emotions the attack has stirred and that it was up to all Indians to ensure that the young woman's death will not have been in vain.