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, March 26, 2013

Conservatism and Harperism don’t jibe

OTTAWA — Cognitive dissonance is a term from psychology describing the state of mind of a person who holds two contradictory beliefs at the same time. The conflict between the reality conveyed by the senses and prior belief commonly gives rise to feelings of immense anxiety and frustration, which the patient attempts to resolve in various ways.

Then there is the Canadian conservative movement, which seems capable of convincing itself of any number of conflicting ideas without visible discomfort of any kind. Nowhere is this particular case of cognitive dissonance on better display than at the annual Manning Networking Conference, where the movement’s core gathers every year to congratulate itself on two things: the rightness of its beliefs, and the greatness of the government of Stephen Harper.

Canadian Banks Too Big To Fail? ID'd As 'Systematically Important,' Big Six To Get Tougher Rules

OTTAWA - The federal financial supervisor has slapped a too-big-to-fail label on Canada's six largest banks, declaring they will need to carry a bigger capital buffer and be subjected to stricter supervision than their smaller peers.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions said Tuesday that the "systemically important" designation stems from a framework issued by the Basel committee on banking oversight in October that set out guidelines for assessing domestic financial institutions.

Suncor Oilsands Pond Water Discharge Halted

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. - Tests are being done to determine whether a waste water spill at an oilsands plant in northern Alberta made its way into a nearby river.

The leak was discovered Monday at a Suncor (TSX:SU) base plant north of Fort McMurray.

Coal Power Study Finds Health Impacts Very Dangerous

EDMONTON - A study says coal-fired power generation is likely to cause thousands of early deaths in Alberta and cost the province hundreds of millions of dollars before government regulations force plants to reduce emissions.

The study also says the plants — many of which have decades to comply with new federal emissions rules — will also be behind thousands more hospital admissions and lost workdays. It concludes the costs associated with poorer health and reduced productivity amount to a subsidy for generators because they don't have to pay for them.

Dropping CIDA, snubbing the public purpose

The announcement last week that CIDA was being folded into the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade provoked its strongest reaction in Quebec. Let's see about creating a Quebec Ministry of International Co-operation blurted out Jean-Francois Lisée, Quebec Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs.

For Montreal-based Alternatives, the major international affairs NGO, putting international development under the authority of diplomats spells the demise of international solidarity networks once fostered by CIDA.

Water Justice Day in Tunis

More than 80 people from around the world -- representing at least 25 different organizations -- gathered for a 'Water Justice Day' forum at the Université de Tunis in advance of the World Social Forum.

Presentations were heard from water movement activists from Turtle Island/ North America, India, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, Asia, Chile, Europe, France, Greece, Italy, and Palestine.

To change the system we need to recover our ability to dream

The World Social Forum (WSF) 2013 beings today in Tunisia. Pablo Solon is an organizer with the Climate Space at the WSF, and will be helping convene a number of sessions in Tunisia around the themes addressed in this article.

There is no single answer, no single campaign nor single approach.

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level that avoids catastrophe, we need to:

 -Leave more than two-thirds of the fossil fuel reserves under the soil;

Peter Kent orders doomed advisory panel to turn over website files

OTTAWA – Environment Minister Peter Kent has ordered a government advisory panel on sustainable economy issues to stop posting messages on its website and turn over its online files to his department.

The order puts a stop to efforts by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, which is shutting down as its government funding ends, to transfer its website to a think-tank based at the University of Ottawa. The think-tank, Sustainable Prosperity, had offered to keep the government-funded research accessible to the public.

To achieve free trade the government raised tariffs

This year, for the ritual pre-budget donning of the new shoes photo op, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty took himself to a Roots manufacturing plant in Toronto to try on some made-in-Canada product. What a coincidence when, a day later, Mr. Flaherty announced new higher tariffs on goods imported from 72 countries, many of which are leading shippers of shoes to Canada in competition against Roots.

The official reason for the new tariff levels had nothing to do with shoes or Roots. Still, the tariffs — expected to raise $330-million a year in new revenue for the government — were immediately seen as evidence Mr. Flaherty had produced an “anti-trade budget” that would boost the retail cost of imported goods to Canadian consumers and serve as added protection for at least some Canadian manufacturers.

Canada’s air force eyes drones for maritime and Arctic patrols

OTTAWA—Canada’s air force remains committed to getting a squadron of drones to keep watch over vast tracts of the country’s coastlines and Arctic regions, be deployed on humanitarian missions, and even carry weapons in war zones, the head of the air force.

Lt.-Gen. Yvan Blondin says delays in purchasing unmanned aerial vehicles have had a silver lining as evolving technology has meant drones are becoming more capable.

Tory MPs rebel against Prime Minister's Office control

Backbench MPs are turning up the pressure in frustration over the Prime Minister's Office stifling debate in the House of Commons.

MPs who oppose abortion and want to see legislated limits for it are pushing back against caucus discipline, particularly in light of an all-party committee shutting down debate last week on a non-binding motion to condemn sex-selective abortion.

Jobs: Fix education so we don’t have people without jobs, conference told

Canada must fix its educational system to ensure that a looming demographics shift doesn’t leave result in a “people without jobs and jobs without people” scenario, experts warn.

“The demographic time bomb that’s ticking is getting louder and louder,” said John Manley, president and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, which hosted a conference on the issue in Toronto on Monday.

North Korea puts artillery forces at highest combat posture

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—North Korea’s military warned Tuesday that its artillery and rocket forces are at their highest-level combat posture in the latest in a string of bellicose threats aimed at South Korea and the United States.

Seoul’s Defence Ministry said it hasn’t seen any suspicious North Korean military activity and that officials were analyzing the North’s warning. Analysts say a direct North Korean attack is extremely unlikely, especially during joint U.S.-South Korean military drills that end April 30, though there’s some worry about a provocation after the training wraps up.

'White Student Union' announces night patrols on Maryland college campus

In a move likely to spark outcry, a student group calling itself the White Student Union at Maryland’s Towson University intends to enact night-time "patrols" throughout the school’s Baltimore County campus.

While student patrols or after-hours chaperones are not unheard of at American universities, the fact that the plan has been announced by what is already an infamous, Whites-only group is certain to not sit well in a city like Baltimore, which boasts a 60% African American population.

'Monsanto Protection Act' slips silently through US Congress

The US House of Representatives quietly passed a last-minute addition to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill for 2013 last week - including a provision protecting genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks.

The rider, which is officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision, has been derided by opponents of biotech lobbying as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” as it would strip federal courts of the authority to immediately halt the planting and sale of genetically modified (GMO) seed crop regardless of any consumer health concerns.

Look! Up in the sky! 10,000 drones in US by 2020

The idea of thousands of drones buzzing high above Main Street, USA may sound just a bit too Orwellian for most people. But according to the FAA, the future is already here.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts that swarms of unmanned aircraft systems could be taking to the skies of America in the next five years, with up to 10,000 active commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) patrolling from above by 2020.

NATO research team calls Stuxnet attack on Iran an 'act of force'

A group of 20 law and technology experts has unanimously agreed that the Stuxnet worm used against Iran in 2009-2010 was a cyberattack. The US and Israel have long been accused of collaborating on the virus in a bid to damage Iran’s nuclear program.

While that accusations against Washington and Tel Aviv have never been confirmed by either government, a NATO Commission has now confirmed it as an “act of force.”

Royal Charter Press Regulation 'Probably Illegal' Under EU Law, Says Telegraph Director Lord Black

The royal charter system for the future regulation of the press agreed by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband is probably "illegal under European law", the executive director of the Telegraph Media Group has said.

Lord Black of Brentwood, who is also chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance, savaged the cross-party plan for the future regulation of the press as peers agreed the cross-party plan without a vote last night.

Britain's Helicopter Search And Rescue To Be Sold To US Company, Bristow Group

A US-based company is to take over Britain's helicopter search and rescue operations, it has been reported.

The government has awarded the contract to run the service to the Bristow Group, which has its headquarters in Texas, Sky News reported.

The broadcaster said an announcement - ending 70 years of search and rescue operations by the RAF and Royal Navy - would be made before the stock market opens on Tuesday.

The contract - which runs from 2015 to 2026 - is reported to be worth in the region of £3 billion.

Bristow is said to be planning replace the ageing RAF and Navy Sea King helicopters with faster, more efficient Sikorsky S-92s and AgustaWestland 189s.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We are due to make an announcement soon."

Original Article
Author: PA

Drone Strikes Have Backing Of British Public, Despite 'Cloud Of Secrecy' Over Killings

A majority of the British public support the United Kingdom government aiding the United States target and kill known terrorists with drone strikes, a survey published today shows.

However their backing for the controversial practise drops significantly if they are told civilians would be injured or killed in the attacks.

Housing Benefit Cuts: Ministers 'Worryingly Unaware' Of Impact Of Reforms

The Department of Work and Pensions has little idea how plans to cut housing benefit will affect claimants and if the reforms will even save money, MPs have warned.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee said the DWP had made no attempt to assess what impact the changes would have on homelessness, rent levels and arrears.

Joe Biden's Paris Hotel Cost $585,000 For One-Night Vice Presidential Stay

A $585,000.50 bill for one night at a hotel is either the result of an unimaginable amount of room service, or, if you're a member of Vice President Joe Biden's posse, it's just another night in Paris.

That's per a contract awarded to the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand, which hosted Biden's one-night stay during a diplomatic trip to Europe in early February.

Rich Americans Obsessed With Budget Deficit, Much Less Supportive Of Living Wage: Study

The wealthiest Americans in the country have disproportionate influence over our nation's leaders. That wouldn't be such a big problem, if only they were a little more like you and me.

Yes, America’s super-rich are both more likely to be politically active and have access to lawmakers, a recent study from Benjamin Page and Jason Seawright, professors at Northwestern University, and Larry Bartels, a professor at Vanderbilt University. But those wealthy Americans tend to have political priorities more in line with those found on cable news networks than in Americans homes, the study found.

Drone Warfare: Neither Cheap, nor Surgical, nor Decisive

Today’s unmanned aerial vehicles, most famously Predator and Reaper drones, have been celebrated as the culmination of the longtime dreams of airpower enthusiasts, offering the possibility of victory through quick, clean and selective destruction. Those drones, so the (very old) story goes, assure the US military of command of the high ground and so provide the royal road to a speedy and decisive triumph over helpless enemies below.

Why a Democratic Majority Is Not Demographic Inevitability

Quick show of hands: who remembers the Summer of the Shark? The reference is to those muggy months in 2001 when the news was so slow and the media was so craven that the third-most-covered news story was a supposed epidemic of shark attacks that weren’t even an epidemic (there were 76 shark attacks in 2001 and 85 in 2000). The (media) feeding frenzy ended, naturally, on September 11. And so did something else: the general sense that George Bush was a do-nothing president that drove his approval ratings into the low fifties. As if overnight, they rose to 90 percent.

Austerity's Cruelest Cut: Democracy Denied in Detroit

When the voters of Detroit were given the opportunity to decide whether they wanted Rick Snyder to have a role in running their city, it did not go well.

Snyder, as the Republican nominee for governor in 2010, finished with just 5 percent of the vote.

As in: He lost the city by a 20-1 margin.

Reviewing This Week's Mea Culpas on Iraq: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

UPDATE  The piece below was written, in only slightly different from, on assignment for The Washington Post but killed by the paper's Outlook section on Thursday.   They later ran a piece by their own Paul Farhi claiming that the media "didn't fail" on Iraq.  When I wrote about this today it drew wide attention across the Web.   Follow that all here.

For awhile, back in 2003, Iraq meant never having to say you’re sorry, at least for the many war hawks. The spring offensive had produced a victory in less than three weeks, with a relatively low American and Iraqi civilian death toll. Saddam fled and George W. Bush and his team drew overwhelming praise, at least here at home.

Here Are the 7 Worst Things Antonin Scalia Has Said or Written About Homosexuality

Justice Antonin Scalia has written that "it is our moral heritage that one should n
ot hate any human being or class of human beings." Judging by the things he has said in court or written in his legal opinions about gays and lesbians, he doesn't really mean it.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments over whether the Defense of Marriage Act and California's ban on same-sex marriage are constitutional. Despite Scalia's long public history of expressing revulsion and contempt for gays and lesbians, on the subject of whether people of the same sex should be allowed to marry, he is among the nine people whose opinions will really matter. Here are the lowlights of Scalia's anti-gay comments:

"Flagpole Sitting" 

What's a little frat-boy humor between justices? In 2003, during oral arguments in Lawrence v. Texas, the case challenging a Texas law that criminalized homosexual sex, Scalia came up with a tasteless analogy to illustrate the issue. "[S]uppose all the States had laws against flagpole sitting at one time, you know, there was a time when it was a popular thing and probably annoyed a lot of communities, and then almost all of them repealed those laws," Scalia asked the attorney fighting the Texas law. "Does that make flagpole sitting a fundamental right?"

Discount TTC Passes For Low-Income Torontonians debate sidetracked by expansion

TORONTO - A proposal to introduce discount TTC passes for low-income Torontonians was sidetracked Monday by the ongoing debate over funding for transit expansion.

Toronto's Board of Health raised concerns that there was no way to fund such an initiative when the city is already struggling to raise enough money to expand public transit.

Jim Flaherty’s most humane tax break under attack

Canada’s income tax system is becoming dangerously progressive, the Fraser Institute says.

The Vancouver-based think-tank issues its warning in a newly released report, saying that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty set a “risky precedent” by introducing tax credits for low- and modest-income Canadians. It singles out the Working Income Tax Benefit, introduced in 2007, as the minister’s most serious departure from the path of fiscal responsibility.

Is Stephen Harper taking the “public” out of public servant?

I've been giving some thought in recent days to the term public servant. It contains within it an elegant and necessary tension. For the “public” half or the “servant” half to be accorded undue weight skews the proper functioning of the kind of permanent, non-partisan public service that characterizes Westminster-style systems like Canada's.

The hundreds of thousands of Canadians who work for governments, particularly those employed - in the evolving argot of recent decades - as knowledge workers or symbolic analysts or members of the creative class, are, in a sense, servants. They owe a duty of loyalty to carry out the programs and policies of the elected government of the day.

Accountability a fine notion until government needs to be accountable

Kevin Page is going out in a blaze. Canadians can judge for themselves whether there's any glory involved.

It in testament to the federal Conservative government’s lack of transparency that Page, whose job as Parliamentary budget officer ended Monday, had to go to court in search of clarification on his mandate.

Speaking out, demanding respect: Nishiyuu walkers bring message to Parliament Hill

The big sign on Parliament Hill read "Honour Your Word."

It was the message of the Nishiyuu walkers to the politicians inside.

Honour the words of your treaties, which say First Nations people have the right to live on the land "as long as the rivers flow."

Honour the words of your constitution that says Aboriginal peoples have an "inherent right" to self government.

Honour the words of the 1763 Royal Proclamation which reserved existing Aboriginal lands for the "several Nations or Tribes of Indians" and required all non-Aboriginal persons living on these lands to "remove themselves forthwith."

Sorry for anti-Roma rant? As It Happens interviewer demolishes Sun News VP

If you think Sun News Network is bad now, just wait until they've got their ruling from th
e Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that their broadcasts must be carried on basic cable television and paid for by cable subscribers.

Any listener could infer they'll be much worse after listening yesterday evening to CBC interviewer Carol Off demolish Sun News Network Vice-President Kory Teneycke's slippery attempt to defend the far-right network's commentator Ezra Levant for his racist diatribe against the Roma people six months ago.

Rob Ford: ‘Intoxicated’ Toronto mayor asked to leave military ball

Mayor Rob Ford was asked to leave a gala event celebrating the Canadian armed forces last month, because organizers were concerned he was impaired.

The request to leave the Toronto Garrison Ball came two weeks before Sarah Thomson, a Toronto businesswoman and former mayoral candidate, created a media storm when she accused Ford of groping her while acting “out of it” at a Jewish political group’s event.

Energy Nominee Ernest Moniz Criticized for Backing Fracking & Nuclear Power; Ties to BP, GE, Saudis

President Obama’s pick to become the nation’s next secretary of energy is drawing criticism for his deep ties to the fossil fuel, fracking and nuclear industries. MIT nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz has served on advisory boards for oil giant BP and General Electric, and was a trustee of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, a Saudi Aramco-backed nonprofit organization. In 2011, Moniz was the chief author of an influential study for MIT on the future of natural gas. According to a new report by the Public Accountability Initiative, Moniz failed to disclose that he had taken a lucrative position at a pro-drilling firm called ICF International just days before a key natural gas "fracking" study was released. Reaction to his nomination has split the environmental community. Advocacy groups such as Public Citizen and Food & Water Watch are campaigning against Moniz’s nomination, but the Natural Resources Defense Council has praised his work on advancing clean energy based on efficiency and renewable power. We speak to Kevin Connor of the Public Accountability Initiative and ProPublica reporter Justin Elliott, who have both authored investigations into Moniz’s ties to industry. [includes rush transcript–partial

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: -

"Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale": Cheryl Wills Uncovers Family’s History from Slavery to Freedom

In this year marking the 150th anniversary year of the Emancipation Proclamation, we speak to NY1 anchor Cheryl Wills who uncovered the story of her great-great-great grandparents, Sandy and Emma Wills. Sandy was a slave who escaped from his master and joined the United States Colored Troops to fight in the Civil War. Wills based her book, "Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale” on thousands of documents from the National Archives. The book’s title comes from a quote by Frederick Douglass: "Who would be free themselves must strike the blow. Better even die free than to live slaves." We speak to Wills one day after the United Nations marked its 6th annual International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: -

The Tories make it clear that they don’t think the provinces can be trusted with job training

When Jim Flaherty threw a wad of cash on the table and walked out of that meeting with his provincial counterparts a year ago December, everyone said it was the end of an era. The provinces complained there had been no negotiations, but that was simply to say the feds had made no demands. Federal transfers would increase in line with the economy, without conditions.

It’s tempting to see the new Canada Job Grant, announced in last week’s budget, in the same, “take it or take it” spirit. There are promises of negotiations, but as before, the feds seem already to have decided what their outcome will be. Only instead of giving the provinces more money, they would be giving them less.

This Is What Democracy Could Look Like

One of the many things that Hugo Chavez, the charismatic and revolutionary president of Venezuela, contributed to the world was his demonstration for people everywhere the difference between democracy and liberal democracy. Chavez's hyperbolic style, his tweaking the tail of the Imperial tiger and his willingness to be just as ruthless as his U.S.-backed opponents, gave Western leaders and journalists lots of ammunition to demonize him.

But what really made them all crazy was precisely the fact that he took liberal democracy -- the term applied to a political system designed to manage capitalism in the interests of the wealthy and corporations -- and turned it into genuine democracy. It highlighted for those struggling for social justice that liberal democracy is an oxymoron -- liberalism being the principle that capitalism (inequality) rules and democracy being its opposite: equality. As witnessed by the outrageous levels of inequality now characterizing Canada, you can have one or the other but not both.

Why'd the Feds Push to Ratify Four Treaties Without Debate?

Last week, the House of Commons Committee on Industry, Science and Technology released its long-awaited report on intellectual property in Canada. The report was the result of months of study with witnesses representing a wide range of industries from pharmaceuticals to universities to entertainment software all making the trip to Ottawa to provide the committee with their views on what works, what doesn't, and what needs reform.

While most of the recommendations are fairly innocuous -- the committee identifies many issues for further study -- one recommendation involves a classic case of policy laundering as the government has manufactured support for provisions found in two major proposed trade agreements that were not even raised by the witnesses that appeared before the committee.

Commons Board of Internal Economy tightens security to MPs’ galleries in House Chamber

The Commons Board of Internal Economy is making changes to boost security around guest access to the members’ galleries in the House Chamber, and to impose time limits on the ability of former Members of Parliament to be reimbursed for resettlement expenses, as revealed by Commons Board of Internal Economy minutes tabled on March 8, 2103, which also shed more light on the 2013-14 main estimate figures.

The March 8 minutes cover the Commons Board of Internal Economy meetings on Nov. 5 and Nov. 26. On Nov. 5, the BOIE, which governs the House administration and approves spending, approved a total of $428,770,693 in main estimates for the House of Commons, which is a $17,164,340 decrease or a 3.85 per cent reduction, from last fiscal year.

In Latvia, a tough-love economy leaves losers behind

RIGA, LATVIA—Economics Minister Daniels Pavluts is pacing the wood floor of his sparsely decorated office, lecturing in near-perfect English on how Latvia had no choice but to embark on Europe’s most ruthless austerity strategy in order to save the state.

“To understand recent history, one has to begin with the end of the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1991,” Pavluts says tersely.

The Russians threw the Germans out of this small Baltic country in 1940 and refused to leave, using it to feed Mother Russia’s insatiable appetite for timber. When the Russians finally pulled out, the Latvians had their hard-fought freedom — and an economically gutted nation.

Canada to immigrants: get ready for your unwanted close-up!

Lots of good news these days if you’re hoping to break into show biz: British music mogul Simon Cowell is now accepting YouTube auditions for his global talent search. And the news is even better if you’re a newcomer to Canada and are yearning to be discovered. Merely through your presence on Canadian soil, you stand an excellent chance of landing on the latest hit show, “Ottawa’s Got Talent.” That exuberant clicking and whirring of camera lenses across the land is our federal government seeking out people with interesting immigration situations to help burnish the Harper team’s image and become media stars at the very same time.

New political power paradigm could be on shaky ground if progressives coalesce, say Big Shift authors

The Tories have built a winning coalition between Ontario’s new Canadian suburbanites and the West, but Big Shift authors Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson admit that the majority governing Conservatives’ mastery of Canada’s new power paradigm could be on shaky ground if progressive voters coalesce around one leader.

Mr. Bricker and Mr. Ibbitson have got tongues wagging in Ottawa with their bestselling book, The Big Shift: The Seismic Change in Canadian Politics, Business, and Culture and What It Means for Our Future, a bold revisioning of Canada’s political landscape.

Government Northern Gateway Pipeline Ads Fueled By Negative PR

VANCOUVER - One of the key concerns for the federal government in a multimillion-dollar Natural Resources advertising campaign was the negative publicity around the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, according to internal government documents.

In particular, the statement of work provided to the ad company a year ago noted that media coverage had been critical of legislative changes that gave the federal cabinet power to override the National Energy Board recommendations on project approval.

Keith Ashfield Called Out Over 'Good Wife' Comment

A Tory cabinet minister has been accused of crossing the line after telling a young woman that she will “make a wonderful wife for somebody,” thanks largely to her baking prowess.

According to the CBC, Fredericton MP and Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield went off-script at a staged event with a New Brunswick family on Friday. Though the photo-op was meant to highlight skills training for young people in the federal budget, Ashfield apparently lost his focus after sampling some baked goods prepared by Grace Moreno, a high school student.

Nishiyuu Journey By Cree Youth Ends As Harper Greets Pandas

Two months and 1,600 kilometres later, a group of Cree youth arrived in Ottawa today, completing their trek from Northern Quebec in support of Idle No More and the Quebec Cree Nation.

They were met with cheers, chants and waving flags as the group stepped onto Parliament Hill. Some attendees tweeted that an eagle circled overhead soon after the trekkers arrived.

Walmart Sues Grocery Workers Union, Others Who Have Protested At Florida Stores

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc has sued a major grocery workers union and others who have protested at its Florida stores, the latest salvo in its legal fight to stop "disruptive" rallies in and around its stores by groups seeking better pay and working conditions.

Wal-Mart does not have union-represented workers in its U.S. stores. Nevertheless, it has long faced opposition from various labor groups including the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), and from a small but vocal group of current and former employees backed by the union and known as OUR Walmart.

Aaron Swartz Prosecutor Carmen Ortiz Admonished In 2004 For Aggressive Tactic

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, under fire over her office's aggressive prosecution of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, was admonished by a federal appeals court in 2004 for advocating a harsher jail term for a defendant than she had promised him in a plea-bargain agreement, according to a court document.

Many Of Wall Street's Toxic Mortgage Security Cooks Ate Own Cooking: Study

Maybe Wall Street fleeced itself.

A new study suggests that, rather than just leading innocent investors to take losses by betting on a housing market they knew would crash, many bankers who cooked up toxic mortgage securities before 2008 were eating their own cooking. They bought second houses and traded up to pricier homes right up until the crash, and then they sold those houses at steep discounts after the bust. (h/t Justin Lahart of the Wall Street Journal.)

Amazing Infographic Tells Story of Every Pakistan Drone Strike

The U.S. drone war in Pakistan is what some of its critics have called a "shadow war," a conflict fought largely in secret and far from public oversight. The CIA is — for now — the main actor behind that war. And because of the secrecy surrounding it, we don't have a lot of statistics on the effects of this war, particularly the exact number of victims.

A beautifully designed interactive infographic released Monday titled "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" gives us an idea of the war's effects using data collected by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the New America Foundation, which have released separate studies estimating the number of people killed by America's drones in Pakistan.

After Cyprus Bailout Deal, Europe's Problems Worse Than Ever

Cyprus may have been saved from disaster, but don't be fooled: Europe is still a hot mess.

In the middle of the night on the continent, officials managed to hastily stitch together a plan to rescue Cyprus and keep it from leaving the eurozone. The deal came just hours before a European Central Bank deadline that could have left Cyprus cut off from short-term capital, beginning the potential unraveling of the entire currency union. It also came just about one week after another hastily stitched-together bailout deal sparked outrage in Cyprus and around the region and created the need for desperate last-minute talks in the first place.

Canada Best Place In G8 To Pay Business Taxes

You may not like paying taxes, or approve of how Ottawa spends the tax revenue it collects, but if you're a business owner, you have it better than your counterparts in other G8 countries, according to a recent study measuring how easy it is to pay corporate taxes.

The study was done by accounting firm PwC, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation.

Cree walkers speak at Parliament Hill after Idle No More trek

A group of young people from the James Bay Cree community of Whapmagoostui, Que., has arrived at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, ending a 1,600-kilometre trek meant to bring attention to aboriginal issues.

Ottawa police are warning commuters to avoid Wellington Street between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday because of the march. Commuters are asked to use an alternate route when possible.

Growing Up: Are Toronto’s new condos built to last?

One in an occasional series on the GTA’s growing density and its effects on life in the city.

Toronto needs its glass consciousness raised.

Building experts say resiliency and energy efficiency are going out the window with all those floor-to-ceiling glass walls being installed in the city’s towering condos.