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.]

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Our way or the Norway: Managing petroleum wealth in Canada

One of goals in my paper, The Petro-Path Not Taken, was to compare Norway and Canada-Alberta's record in distributing petroleum wealth amongst persons and amongst provinces. Norway has been very effective in distributing oil wealth amongst it regions and its population. Its level of income inequality is one of the lowest in the world.

Canada's level of inequality, on the other hand, has been among the fastest growing and now among the highest in the OECD.

The Ghosts of Barbary

When the United States was born, Algiers was a greater military power. Its Ottoman-aligned sultans kept European slaves and deployed nine battleships and fifty gunboats to prey on merchant shipping in the Mediterranean. America had no international Navy, and isolationists among the Founding Fathers weren’t sure they ever wanted one. Yet North Africa was a place where Americans could make a fortune if they were willing to bear risks.

New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions After Rape As 'Tampering With Evidence'

A Republican lawmaker in New Mexico introduced a bill on Wednesday that would legally require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term in order to use the fetus as evidence for a sexual assault trial.

House Bill 206, introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R), would charge a rape victim who ended her pregnancy with a third-degree felony for "tampering with evidence."

UN Launches Drone Investigation Into Legality Of U.S. Program

WASHINGTON -- The United Nations opened a major new investigation on Thursday into the United States' use of drones and targeted assassinations.

The U.N. investigation, led by special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights Ben Emmerson, is expected to focus on the legal justification for America's expansive drone program, which has largely remained secretive and unexamined.

Kevin Page Cuts Report Finds Tories Doing Opposite Of What Was Promised

OTTAWA - The Conservative government's spending restraint is focusing on front-line services while back-office spending continues to rise, says a new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office.

That's exactly the opposite of promises made by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who said last year that the majority of Ottawa's $5.2-billion austerity program would target administrative and support costs without impacting service to the public.

Start-Up Visa: Canada To Launch New Immigration Program In April

TORONTO - A new program designed to lure start-up companies and entrepreneurs to Canada will launch in April.

The start-up visa will be limited to those who already have the backing of a venture capital firm in Canada.

Canadians 'Subsidize' American Energy Consumers, Says Brian Ferguson, Cenovus CEO

CALGARY - The CEO of oilsands company Cenovus says each Canadian is subsidizing U.S. energy consumers to the tune of $1,200 annually through cheap Alberta crude.

Brian Ferguson told a CIBC investor conference says a lack of pipeline capacity is a major issue not just for the industry, but for Canadians.

Theresa Spence's Account Calls Patrick Brazeau 'Asshole' On Twitter

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, or whoever is controlling her account, took to Twitter Thursday to call Senator Patrick Brazeau a "typical colonized indian asshole."

Brazeau, an Algonquin from the Kitigan Zibi reserve in Quebec, has long been critical of fiscal accountability on reserves and was tweeting about the celebrations to end Spence's hunger strike Thursday when the chief's account shot back with the vitriolic tweet.

Idle No More's real challenge

BRANDON -- If the leaders of the Idle No More movement are receiving their tactical advice for free, they are getting their money's worth. If they are paying for the advice, they should demand a refund. If they are relying on their own advice, they need to find better advisers.

It's a blunt message, but it is the message that flows from a series of recent public opinion polls that each indicate the Harper government's popularity among Canadians has increased at a time when the Idle No More movement has dominated the national news cycle.

Canada missing $145 billion in infrastructure due to underfunding: study

OTTAWA - A new study suggests that on top of current spending as much as an additional $30 billion a year for 10 years would be needed to return infrastructure spending in Canada to historic levels.

The study, from the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, says underinvestment in infrastructure is a chronic problem in Canada.

Despite Tory promises, spending cuts haven’t saved any money at all: Parliamentary budget officer report

OTTAWA — A new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office finds that the Conservative government’s spending restraint program is focusing on front line services, while back office spending continues to rise.

That’s exactly the opposite of promises made by Treasury Board President Tony Clement, who said last year that the majority of the spending cuts would target administrative and support costs and wouldn’t affect service to the public.

Canadian military transport to support French-Mali mission for up to 30 days

OTTAWA - The Harper government's commitment of a giant Canadian air force transport to support of the French military action in Mali has gone from one week to one month.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will issue a statement later today saying the C-17 Globemaster will continue to ferry war materials and vehicles between France and the Malian capital of Bamako until Feb. 15.

Canada's health-care system is no longer portable

On Monday, the Health Council of Canada (HCC) released a new report which rates Canada's health-care system by comparing it to nine other developed countries. The HCC sent out surveys to physicians throughout Canada and the nine other countries and asked primary care physicians to rate the system.

Canada doesn't do very well in this survey and we're shown to be below the average of these selected developed countries, in some cases by a far margin.

Canada exposed: The legacy of a hunger strike

Chief Theresa Spence and Elder Raymond Robinson are going to eat solid food and return to their respective homes.  That is a good thing from nearly everyone’s point of view, even if people have different reasons for believing so.

Myself, I simply didn’t want to see anyone die that way.

Even in the short term, we can note some accomplishments, mostly attributable to what the hunger strikes exposed.

Great White Father knows best: On privilege, power and Chief Spence's hunger strike

Imagine, if you will, that there was a white man born of wealth and privilege sitting beside Rosa Parks on the bus that momentous first day of December in 1955. Let us suppose for a moment that like many others he was disgusted by the treatment of blacks in Montgomery, Alabama, and that he wanted nothing more than to witness the end of racial segregation.

Imagine that he nevertheless counselled Rosa Parks in that moment to give up the righteous position she had taken up -- to relinquish her seat and conclude her protest. Maybe it was so that Parks would have the energy to fight another day, or fight in more effective ways.

North Korea vows to conduct nuclear test aimed at the U.S.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—North Korea’s top governing body warned Thursday that the regime will conduct its third nuclear test in defiance of UN punishment, and made clear that its long-range rockets are designed to carry not only satellites but also warheads aimed at striking the United States.

The National Defence Commission, headed by the country’s young leader, Kim Jong-un, denounced Tuesday’s UN Security Council resolution condemning North Korea’s long-range rocket launch in December as a banned missile activity and expanding sanctions against the regime. The commission reaffirmed in its declaration that the launch was a peaceful bid to send a satellite into space, but also clearly indicated the country’s rocket launches have a military purpose: to strike and attack the United States.

Cop oversight fight

A recent public spat involving the Toronto police and two provincial cop watchdogs has resurrected calls to fix an oversight system that critics say is badly broken.

The outspoken ombudsman of Ontario, André Marin, doesn’t mince words when describing the feud, which centred around allegations that an officer beat a man during his arrest outside a Toronto nightclub last July. Marin calls it “a pissing match.”

T.O.’s cultural shape-shift

City boosters like to boast about Toronto’s multiculturalism and often speak with pride about the 1 million-plus Chinese Canadians in the GTA and the fact that we have the second-largest Somalian diaspora in the world.

But there’s much less public discussion of the tens of thousands of First Nations people who live here. Sure, there’s the city’s Aboriginal Affairs Committee co-chaired by Councillor Michael Layton and Frances Sanderson of Nishnawbe Homes (it was saved at the last moment by council after the mayor proposed cutting it), but it receives little staff support or funding and is limited in what it can accomplish.

Canada fails First Nations

Our First Nations problem: A reality check

A made-in-Ottawa housing crisis

The public perception is that the federal government has turned over millions to build housing on native reserves. In fact, the feds maintain that they are not responsible for housing in First Nations communities, though the department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) provide some funding. The harsh truth is that there’s a significant shortage of housing on reserves: some 8,500 units at AANDC’s last count almost a decade ago. Funding has failed to keep up with growing demand since then. To make matters worse, much of the housing built on reserves dates back to the 1970s and 80s and is of substandard quality, constructed with little regard for building codes or harsh weather. The auditor general reported in 2003 that 44 per cent of the existing 89,000 housing units on reserves required “major” renovations. The poor conditions have resulted in widespread mould contamination, which has led to serious health side effects. But no direct action has been taken by the feds to deal with the problem, aside from awareness programs.

Jose Mujica: The world's 'poorest' president

It's a common grumble that politicians' lifestyles are far removed from those of their electorate. Not so in Uruguay. Meet the president - who lives on a ramshackle farm and gives away most of his pay.

Laundry is strung outside the house. The water comes from a well in a yard, overgrown with weeds. Only two police officers and Manuela, a three-legged dog, keep watch outside.

What Kind of Liberal is Obama? An Increasingly Crafty One

From the front pages of the nation’s biggest newspapers to the Web sites of conservative magazines, to the headline on my own post—apologies for its lack of originality—the reaction was uniform: President Obama delivered the most liberal inaugural address in decades, or possibly ever. “President Barack Obama began his second term Monday with an unapologetically liberal vision,” wrote Todd J. Gillman, of the Dallas Morning News. “In effect, Mr. Obama endorsed the entire liberal agenda as the guiding star of his next four years in the White House,” Fred Barnes opined for the Wall Street Journal.

Mississippi's GOP Governor Says No American Lacks Health Care

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) doesn't like President Barack Obama's health care reform law. It's too expensive and too intrusive, he says.

And Bryant has another reason to oppose the law, he revealed in an interview with Kaiser Health News: It's not necessary because everyone's doing just fine now.

    There is no one who doesn't have health care in America. No one. Now, they may end up going to the emergency room. There are better ways to deal with people that need health care than this massive new program.

Obama and the Legacy of Camelot

When Caroline Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 as her father's rightful heir, she laid upon him the mantle of Camelot and the enduring mystique of John F. Kennedy, who, according to polls, continues to be America's most beloved president. Comparisons between the 35th and 44th presidents have been inevitable, but while there are striking similarities between the two men, there are also distinguishing differences.

Both rose to the nation's highest office as junior U.S. senators with scant legislative achievements to their credit. The man from Massachusetts served three terms in the House of Representatives before he won his Senate seat in 1952 and began campaigning for national office, running for vice president in 1956 and for president in 1960. Obama, a state legislator in Illinois for seven years, began his run for the White House shortly after being elected to the Senate. Both men broke the barriers of bigotry to reach the highest office in the land, Kennedy as the first Roman Catholic, and Obama as the first African American.

Boehner: Let’s Destroy Math Instead of the Economy

John Boehner announced on Tuesday that he will proceed with a plan to suspend the federal debt ceiling, which is actually kind of a brilliant way to avoid crashing the world economy without voting for something that sounds like it increases the national debt. But, as part of his concessions to the looniest wing of the Republican party, he has also committed himself to passing a budget that would reach full balance within a decade.

Paul Ryan's budget, even while employing all sorts of fanciful projections, didn't balance the budget until 2040.Why? Because the parameters Republicans have picked for the budget make balancing the budget utterly impossible. Moving that timetable up by seventeen years changes the plausibility level from Level: Unicorn to Level: Unicorn Being Ridden By Santa Claus Who Has Lost 50 Pounds Through One Weird Trick. (That's why Santa's riding a unicorn now — otherwise, he'd be far too corpulent.)

Arkansas Bible Course Bill Proposed By Rep. Denny Altes To Teach Elective In Public Schools

Arkansas schools could soon have an easier way to teach a Bible course as part of its public curriculum.

Republican state Rep. Denny Altes has proposed a bill that would allow the state's public school districts to adopt an elective curriculum for academic study of the Bible. The course would "consist of a nonsectarian, nonreligious academic study of the Bible and its influence on literature, art, music, culture and politics" and would "be taught in an objective and non devotional manner with no attempt made to indoctrinate students as to either the truth or falsity of the biblical materials or texts from other religions or cultural traditions."

KBR Secret Indemnity Agreement Signed By Army Chief Tainted In Enron Scandal

WASHINGTON -- The Army official who signed a secret agreement that military contractor KBR claims should burden taxpayers with the bill for the company's negligent poisoning of U.S. soldiers in Iraq resigned from the military in 2003 after a tenure marked by questions about his ties to Enron Corp.

Thomas E. White, named secretary of the Army in 2001, signed an indemnity agreement protecting KBR, the military's largest contractor, from legal liability on March 19, 2003. KBR had asked for the agreement as part of its contract to rebuild Iraq oilfields destroyed in the U.S. invasion. White resigned a month later, on April 23, under fire for his previous role as a senior Enron executive and after clashing with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over his advocacy for a multi-billion dollar artillery system.

Spain: Unemployment Rate Jumps To Record 26 Percent

MADRID (AP) — Spain's unemployment rate shot up to a record 26.02 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, leaving almost six million people out of work, the National Statistics Institute said Thursday.

The rate rose from 25.02 percent in the third quarter as the country's recession deepened.

North Korea Sanctions: More Threats Of Nuclear Tests, Rocket Launches

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea is warning that it is prepared to conduct a nuclear test and carry out more long-range rocket launches.

In a statement carried Thursday by state media, the National Defense Commission in Pyongyang threatened to wage a "full-fledged confrontation" against the U.S. for what it calls continued hostility.

The declaration follows the U.N. Security Council's condemnation of North Korea on Tuesday and expanded sanctions against the regime for launching a rocket in December. North Korea said the launch was a peaceful satellite mission, but the U.S. and others say it was actually a test of long-range missile technology.

Original Article
Source: huffington post
Author: AP

Business Lobbying In 2012 Soared, Buoyed By Fiscal Cliff Crisis

WASHINGTON -- Lobbying expenditures for large pro-business lobbying groups soared in the last quarter of 2012, driven by election-year politics, the lame-duck congressional session's increased legislation, and the fiscal cliff showdown, according to newly released data analyzed by the Center for Public Integrity.

Why the Israeli Elections Were a Victory for the Right

The story of the Israeli elections is not, as was expected, the dominance of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud-Beiteinu coalition with former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. Instead, it is the unlikely triumph of Yair Lapid, a media celebrity who managed to secure nineteen seats in the next Knesset, making his newly formed Yesh Atid, or There Is a Future, the second-largest party in Israel. In the coming days, Lapid will play a pivotal role in the formation of the next governing coalition, and he is certain to receive a ministerial role in any future administration.

Why Greenland's Melting Could Be the Biggest Climate Disaster of All

Jason Box speaks the language of Manhattans. Not the drink—the measuring unit.

As an expert on Greenland who has traveled 23 times to the massive, mile thick northern ice sheet, Box has shown an uncanny ability to predict major melts and breakoffs of Manhattan-sized ice chunks. A few years back, he foretold the release of a "4x Manhattans" piece of ice from Greenland's Petermann Glacier, one so big that once afloat it was dubbed an "ice island." In a scientific paper published in February of 2012, Box further predicted "100 % melt area over the ice sheet" within another decade of global warming. As it happened, the ice sheet's surface almost completely melted just a month later in July—an event that, in Box's words, "signals the beginning of the end for the ice sheet."

Sun News Asks Anti-Abortion Activists For Help With CRTC Application

Sun News TV host Brian Lilley has asked anti-abortion supporters across Canada to support the channel's CRTC application for mandatory carriage.

"Sun News is the strongest voice for the pro-life cause on television in Canada. Bar none," Lilley told anti-abortion site LifesiteNews

"We welcome the other side of the debate as well because that is what we do, but no one on television in this country gives as much airtime to pro-lifers. We shouldn't let that voice be silenced," he added.

Keystone XL Pipeline: 53 Senators Urge Obama To Approve Project

WASHINGTON - More than half the Senate on Wednesday urged quick approval of TransCanada's controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, ramping up pressure on President Barack Obama just days after he promised in his inaugural address to respond vigorously to the threat of climate change.

A letter signed by 53 senators said Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman's approval of a revised route through his state puts the long-delayed project squarely in the president's hands.

Premier Redford to address Albertans in Thursday night televised speech

CALGARY - Premier Alison Redford will make her first televised state of the province address tonight in a move that opposition parties dismiss as a political ploy aimed at softening the impending blow of broken promises.

Redford said she wants to speak directly to Albertans about the effects of rapidly declining revenues on Alberta’s economic plan.

Climate change has to be part of Keystone pipeline debate

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, joined by 10 U.S. governors, released a letter recently urging President Barack Obama to swiftly approve the Keystone XL pipeline project.

As always, the argument is simple, and narrowly framed: 1. Canada has a lot of oil and the U.S. needs oil. 2. We don’t have enough pipeline capacity to handle our ambition for unconstrained growth in oilsands production. 3. Building the pipeline will create jobs.

A taxpayers’ hero takes his leave

Kevin Page, the government’s financial watchdog, is leaving. Two months to go until the end of his term and the Conservatives can hardly wait.

They loathe the guy — with good reason. He stood up to them as few others have. He had a degree of courage which few others have shown.

A guessing game has begun on Page’s replacement. Some feel that only the weak-kneed need apply. Christiane Ouimet, anyone? Remember her, the government’s former Commissioner of Integrity, the one alleged to have whitewashed approximately 227 whistleblower accusations?

Awareness of Idle No More is widespread, poll suggests

The majority of Canadians have heard of aboriginal protest movement Idle No More, a new poll suggests, with more than half saying Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence's hunger strike won't advance the cause of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Canada.

The majority of people polled — 64.2 per cent — said they had heard of Idle No More, with 27.8 per cent saying they hadn't heard of it and 7.9 per cent unsure.

Manitoba Tories reject calls to revoke membership of former youth president

WINNIPEG - Manitoba's Opposition party is not going to revoke the membership of a former youth wing president who made admittedly racist comments about aboriginals — at least not right now.

The Progressive Conservative board of directors met Wednesday night and formally accepted the resignation of Braydon Mazurkiewich as the party's youth president. But it rejected, at least for the time being, calls to revoke Mazurkiewich's member card.

Mazurkiewich stirred up controversy last month when he took to Facebook to blast a proposed urban reserve on a former military base in Winnipeg, saying the area was "built for hardworking men and women of the military, not freeloading Indians."

"Gideon’s Army": Young Public Defenders Brave Staggering Caseloads, Low Pay to Represent the Poor

The new documentary "Gideon’s Army" follows a group of young public defenders in the Deep South who contend with low pay, long hours and staggering caseloads to represent the poor. The film’s title comes from the landmark 1963 Supreme Court ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright that established the right to counsel to defendants in criminal cases who are unable to afford their own attorneys. We’re joined by "Gideon’s Army" director and producer Dawn Porter, and Travis Williams, a Georgia public defender who is featured in the film.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: -

House of Commons and Senate speakers join parliamentary budget officer’s legal battle

OTTAWA — The speakers of the House of Commons and Senate have waded into the parliamentary budget officer’s legal battle with the federal government and will go to court to protect the constitutional rights of the two chambers.

New documents filed in Federal Court show that lawyers for the Speaker of the House of Commons and Speaker of the Senate will now participate in the case to protect the jurisdictional rights of Parliament.

Please permit me: Ontario proposes ending permit process for endangered species

This week we launched a campaign to convince the Ontario government to NOT end permitting for projects that impact provincially recognized endangered species (Note: if you haven't sent a letter yet please do so today). Not that we support giving anyone a permit to harass, harm or kill endangered species, it's a defensive measure -- the province is proposing replacing permits with voluntary rules developers would be expected to follow. They say it's a government cost-cutting measure.

In reality, of course, it is a cost-cutting measure for developers looking to avoid proper studies and delays. Permitting is important because every case is unique and the Ministry of Natural Resources must review each application to harass, harm or kill any endangered species as required under the provincial Endangered Species Act.

Uh-oh! Alberta Premier Alison Redford wants to have a 'conversation' with us

Oh dear. Premier Alison Redford wants to have a "conversation' with us tonight.

Daddy's new job at the convenience store doesn't pay as much as the old one. We're all going to have to tighten our belts a little, and that means you kids too. We've had to cancel the snow clearing service -- so you’re going to have to shovel the walks yourselves if you still expect to get your allowance -- and it will be smaller, so get used to it! There will be no trip to Hawaii this winter.

In an email to her remaining Progressive Conservative party faithful yesterday, Redford explained how, this evening, "I will begin a conversation with Albertans about the challenges we face as a result of the rapidly falling price of Alberta oil. As loyal party supporters, I wanted to let you know first."

Film pulls back curtain on Obama's 'Dirty Wars'

PARK CITY, Utah -- As President Barack Obama prepared to be sworn in for his second term as the 44th president of the United States, two courageous journalists premiered a documentary at the annual Sundance Film Festival. Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield reaffirms the critical role played by independent journalists like the film's director, Rick Rowley, and its narrator and central figure, Jeremy Scahill. The increasing pace of U.S. drone strikes, and the Obama administration's reliance on shadowy special forces to conduct military raids beyond the reach of oversight and accountability, were summarily missed over the inaugural weekend by a U.S. press corps obsessed with first lady Michelle Obama's new bangs. Dirty Wars, along with Scahill's forthcoming book of the same title, is on target to break that silence ... with a bang that matters.

Why Is Christy Clark Passing the Hat in Calgary?

Just when you think politics in BC can't get any weirder...

Last week, the BC Liberals held a $125-a-ticket political fundraiser in Calgary with BC Energy Minister Rich Coleman and Communities Minister Bill Bennett in attendance to collect the cheques. Premier Clark may have picked a fight with Alberta's premier over the Enbridge pipeline, but Alberta's business elite publicly admitted they are more afraid of the NDP than they are the Liberal premier, even if she is thwarting a major pipeline project.

After Tiller: 40 Years After Roe v. Wade, Abortion Providers Continue Work of Slain Kansas Doctor

Forty years after the landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion, the new documentary "After Tiller" follows the only four doctors left in the United States who are known to provide abortions in the third trimester. In 2009, their colleague, Dr. George Tiller, was assassinated while attending church in Wichita, Kansas. The four doctors depicted in the film have also braved threats, harassment and the emotional weight of the stories they hear to provide women with a desperately needed medical procedure. We’re joined by the directors of "After Tiller," Lana Wilson and Martha Shane.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: --

Canadians evenly split on feds scrapping long-gun registry, but 51% also want stronger gun control, says new poll

A new public opinion survey has uncovered evenly-divided opinion about the government’s dismantling of the federal long-gun registry, nearly a year after Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives used their majority to pass legislation in Parliament to end the gun-tracking system.

A Forum Research survey last week found 41 per cent of Canadians approving the controversial measure to dismantle the registry of rifles and shotguns and 41 per cent saying they disapproved of it.

Immigration backlog: Anti-fraud measures add years to citizenship process

Extra scrutiny introduced by Ottawa to crack down on citizenship fraud means thousands of immigrants will have to wait as long as nine years to become full-fledged citizens.

Until recently, immigrants with permanent resident status had to wait three years before filing a citizenship application, which would then take about 21 months to process in routine cases — for a total of about five years.

Toyota latest winner from Canada’s corporate socialism

Call it corporate socialism.

It’s not a new activity. In one way or another, the practice of publicly subsidizing profitable private corporations has been going on for more than a hundred years.

So in that sense, Wednesday’s announcement that the Ontario and federal governments are giving Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. up to $34 million to build a hybrid car in Cambridge is par for the course.

'Protect the Sacred' gathering of Indigenous Nations to draft new treaty opposing pipelines

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the day Faith Spotted Eagle’s great-great-grandfather signed the historic peace treaty between the Ihanktonwan, Ponca and Pawnee Nations in territory that is now the Dakotas. To mark the occasion, nations from Canada and the US will gather in unprecedented numbers to reaffirm the peace treaty and hopefully sign a new, international treaty calling on both the Canadian and American governments to respect First Nations’ right to protect their traditional territories.

Organized by the group Protect the Sacred, the gathering will be held in Pickstown, South Dakota.

Ontario teacher protest: Liberals repeal Bill 115

The Ontario government officially repealed Bill 115 early Wednesday morning, a move the teacher unions have called “meaningless.”

It is not expected to have any effect on the ongoing tensions with public elementary and high school teachers and extracurricular activities will not resume.

The Untouchables: How the Obama administration protected Wall Street from prosecutions

[The one-hour Frontline program can be viewed in its entirety here.]

PBS' Frontline program on Tuesday night broadcast a new one-hour report on one of the greatest and most shameful failings of the Obama administration: the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis: a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering. What this program particularly demonstrated was that the Obama justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable.

Wading in Uncomfortable Waters: Abortion and the Politics of Experience

Forty years after abortion became legal in the United States we are still wading in waters that run deep.

Arguably, abortion runs as deep in our modern human history as pregnancy does. Our ancestors had ways of terminating pregnancies long before the U.S. Supreme Court existed. And while we commemorate and celebrate the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, we know that it does not mark an anniversary of the beginning of this family planning method. Abortion has been, and will continue to be, part of a wide array of methods that we use to control our bodies and fertility, regardless of its legality.