Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Friday, March 29, 2013

Judge Dismisses Most Claims In Libor Lawsuits, Ruling In Favor Of Big Banks

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Judge on Friday dismissed a "substantial portion" of claims facing a number of banks in a barrage of lawsuits accusing them of interest-rate rigging.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan ruled for the banks, which include Bank of America Corp , JPMorgan Chase & Co and others of allegedly manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate, commonly known as Libor.

The judge granted the banks' motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' federal antitrust claims and partially dismissed their claims of commodities manipulation. She also dismissed racketeering and state-law claims.

Original Article
Author: Reuters

The Korean Crisis: Kim’s Dangerous Game

Because we do not generally associate the Russian political class with under statement, it was easy to miss Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov’s observation, this week, that things in North Korea could potentially “descend into the spiral of a vicious cycle.” If the Russians—who have vastly more knowledge of the new North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, than we do—are concerned that things are about to get worse, we should brace for a long spring.

The crisis on the Korean peninsula has descended so steadily, amid so many other hot zones competing for attention, and with such a sense of déjà vu about it, that it’s easy to lose sight of how North Korea’s threats to the United States and South Korea are now being made, as Scott Snyder of the Council on Foreign Relations put it, on “unprecedented levels and with greater intensity than ever before.” It is now at its most acute moment in years.

Nuclear Power Flood Risk: NRC Insiders Say Agency Continues To Look The Other Way

According to findings made public earlier this month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently uncovered potentially significant flooding vulnerabilities at two Tennessee nuclear power plants and, after a thorough investigation, the agency aggressively sanctioned the errant operator for several safety violations -- although the facilities were permitted to continue operating.

Mike Lee: Background Checks Like Letting Government Know What You Ate For Breakfast

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) likened universal background checks for gun purchases Friday to letting the government access what Americans eat for breakfast or how often they go to church.

"The concern with those is that background checks in and of themselves aren’t going to work unless they are accompanied by some sort of registration system," Lee said during an appearance on Fox News. "But the American people when asked about that are far less comfortable."

The Right Leans In

The mood at the beginning of the meeting matched the weather: gray and dreary. The warm-up speaker told a joke about how local Republicans could merit placement on the endangered species list, which met with polite laughter. Talk of the most recent presidential election elicited audible groans.

Days after Barack Obama took the oath of office for his second term, about 400 GOP donors gathered in a downtown San Francisco hotel to hear Jim DeMint—who had just resigned from the Senate to take a $1-million-a-year job as head of the Heritage Foundation—explain the way forward.

Shocking Rahm's Shock Doctrine

One thousand Chicago Public School teachers and their supporters, including this correspondent, packed Daley Plaza in forty-degree temperatures on Wednesday for a rally protesting the city’s announced plans to close 54 kindergarten-through-eighth-grade schools next year. One-tenth of the protesters were detained and ticketed (though police originally said they had been “arrested”) at a sit-in in front of school board headquarters a few blocks to the south. What they are protesting is genuine shock-doctrine stuff—an announcement utterly rewiring a major urban institution via public rationales swaddled in utter bad faith, handed down in a blinding flash, absent any reasonable due process. Though Mayor Emanuel is learning that the forces of grassroots democracy can shock back too. And boy, does he have it coming.

Canada's Palestine Aid: John Baird Makes No Promises To Renew $300 Million Commitment

OTTAWA - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will be arriving in the Middle East today for a 10 day visit.

He'll start in Jordan where he`ll meet this weekend with King Abdullah and Jordan`s foreign minister before moving on to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Cyprus and Israel.

He also plans to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad where aid to the Palestinians will be a major topic.

I Stand Behind My Tweet Comparing Canada To North Korea

This is a larger, more esoteric blog than merely defending my use of North Korea and Canada in the same sentence. But, okay, I am also defending my use of North Korea and Canada in the same sentence.

Some of the Twitter comment reminded me of something one of my high school teachers told me when I saw her decades later. She said, "I don't get students like you anymore." To which I demurred, insisting students were just as bright now surely. And she tried to explain, "No, I get bright students. They just do not understand irony. I have to explain everything. They are overly literal."

Bee Deaths From Colony Collapse Disorder On The Rise As Researchers Point To Pesticides

Honeybee deaths are on the rise across the world, and researchers are working to find the cause. With as many as 40 or 50 percent of commercial U.S. bee hives lost to colony collapse disorder, according to the New York Times, scientists are eyeing a relatively new class of pesticides as a likely culprit.

Neonicotinoids, which are chemically similar to nicotine, have already been shown to interfere with bees' capacity to learn scents, hampering their efforts to collect food.

Iffy emails key to ACOA inquiry

OTTAWA — Eyebrow-raising emails played a key role in the investigation of Kevin MacAdam’s appointment at the Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency.

Internal ACOA emails made references to special “issues” and “sensitivities” around the hiring of MacAdam, a Conservative staffer.

They also referred to untraceable BlackBerry messages, Public Service Commission investigators found.

York Federation of Students passes divestment resolution against Israel

On March 21, 2013 I was waiting outside the campus restaurant's dance hall at York University. It had been converted into a York Federation of Students meeting room when the originally planned room in the Students Centre reached full capacity. There were at least a few hundred York University undergraduate students attending the meeting on a windy, snowy day at the Keele Campus.

I'm not an undergrad student which is why I had to wait outside the enormous makeshift meeting room, only able to see two large crowds sitting across from one another with Israeli flags and red and white keffiyahs.

Ten intriguing facts about income inequality, unionization and labour rights

Unions are greedy. Unions destroy the economy by prompting companies to move overseas and driving up public debt with their exorbitant salary demands. Unions just want to take as much of the pie as they can get for their members, leaving less for everyone else. So the story goes, if you're a crass free market fundamentalist or, say, a Sun News pundit.

But that narrative is completely backwards, according to most labour rights advocates. And increasingly, they're being backed up by empirical research that suggests strong unions are essential for evenly spreading the benefits of economic growth across all income classes. Some of that research is summed up in a report released this week by the Canadian Foundation for Labour rights titled "How the Ability of Labour Unions to Reduce Income Inequality and Influence Public Policy has been affected by Regressive Labour Laws."

Alberta's Top Judge to Hear High Profile Fracking Case

Alberta's top judge will be the new case manager for a celebrated multi-million lawsuit on the groundwater impacts of shallow hydraulic fracturing by scientist Jessica Ernst against Encana and Alberta regulators.

Chief Justice Neil Wittmann volunteered to take over the case after the Harper government promoted Honourable Barbara L. Veldhuis, a Court of Queen's Bench judge presiding over the landmark case, to the Court of Appeal of Alberta last month.

Fixing BC's Outdated Mining Laws

[Editor's note: British Columbia's economy is growing. Much of that growth rests on expanded resource industries. Yet our laws designed to protect the unparalleled beauty and richness of the B.C. environment have been weakened, both federally and provincially, over the past decade. Over the next few weeks, this Tyee special series in cooperation with the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria, will reveal what B.C.'s leading experts in environmental law say most needs to be fixed, and their specific suggestions for change. To read all their recommendations, download the free electronic publication "Maintaining Natural British Columbia for Our Children: Selected Law Reform Proposals." Today: the need for development planning.]

BC's Real Social Housing Numbers

One of the more contentious issues regarding the B.C. government's record concerns the issue of social housing. To hear Minister Rich Coleman tell it, B.C.'s record has been above and beyond. For the last few years, barely a week has gone by without a government news release (sometimes multiple per week) trumpeting a new housing initiative.

Yet many housing and homelessness activists insist the need for low income housing outstrips new supply, and even the most astute observers of the housing file find it difficult to determine which government announcements are new and which are recycled; which deal with actual new housing, and which merely capture conversions of one kind of housing into another. Much of the time, tracking the housing file feels akin to watching a talented sidewalk magician asking us to follow which shell has the ball.

Hospital parking rates a 'tax' on sick Canadians

Rising hospital parking rates amount to a tax on ailing Canadians, says one medical specialist.

A CBC Marketplace report found many Canadians are missing hospital appointments and experiencing added stress due to the costs of parking at their local health centre.

Rob Ford: Mayor cancels meeting with Toronto Catholic board to discuss his coaching future

Mayor Rob Ford cancelled a Thursday meeting crucial to his fate as coach of the Don Bosco Eagles high school football team.

Ford’s office called the Toronto Catholic District School Board Wednesday to postpone the meeting with education director Bruce Rodrigues that is to be the final step in the board’s review of Ford’s coaching future.

The school board is examining a Sun interview in which Ford made disparaging comments about the school community that have been called inaccurate by the board, parent council members, teachers and even one of Ford’s assistant coaches. The mayor asserted that Don Bosco players come from “broken homes” and would be dead or in jail if not for football.

Mayor Rob Ford will attend Pride flag-raising, says Doug Ford

Mayor Rob Ford will attend the rainbow flag-raising at City Hall that kicks off Toronto’s Pride Week, his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, told a Ryerson University law class Thursday afternoon.

If he does, it would be the first official Pride event the mayor has attended since his election in 2010.

As he did in a surprise appearance last year, the mayor will also go to the flag-raising at City Hall that marks the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17, Doug Ford said.

Stephen Harper’s PR obsession is fostering paranoia and paralysis in public service

Nobody should feel bad for the reporters in the parliamentary press gallery.

During the day, we do interesting work in beautiful buildings, and in the evenings we can guzzle free wine at receptions — although, admittedly, too often it is watery Ontario red.

But as good as we have it, in a way these days we are like frogs in a pot of water on top of a stove. The water is getting warmer and we haven’t really noticed.

Good idea for Canada? How Norway captures oil revenues to benefit Norwegians

Canada is one of the only jurisdictions in the world that allows private, foreign ownership of public oil resources. Norway has held more tightly to its public resources. With a world-class pension fund delivered by oil and gas revenues, it has mastered the balance between its oil and gas industry and its national interests. Now as debates heat up over Canada's oil sands and its economy, critics are calling on Harper's Tory government to learn from Norway's success story.

Norway’s Example of Oil and Gas Boom Done Right

In the pretty harbor city of Stavanger, on Norway’s North sea coast, the seagulls are screeching high above the town square adjacent to a sparkling blue fjord. Here, it’s easy to get a glimpse of the country’s hardscrabble economic past and its booming present day spectacular wealth.

This harbor used to be lined with herring canneries, dozens of them. Piers Croker, the curator of the Norway Canning Museum, says it was the lifeblood of Stavanger.

Local Filipino Canadian magazine editor resigns, citing potential Tory influence on magazine

The former editor of English-language magazine Filipino Canadian magazine Living Today, resigned last week over his publisher's membership in the Conservative Party.

Editor and investigative reporter Yul Baritugo said that his publisher's membership in the Conservative Party would no longer make the magazine an impartial and non-partisan medium.

In the 'Publisher's Note' on the magazine's third page, Reyfort Media Group CEO Reyfort Fortaleza explains his membership in his piece, titled: “Why I joined the Conservative Party”.

Girl, Aged 14, Raped On Double Decker Bus After Shopping Trip In Glasgow

A teenage girl has been raped by two men on a double decker bus as she left a shopping centre with her friend.

The 14-year-old was attacked on the top deck of the 57 bus as it left Silverburn shopping centre in Pollok, Glasgow, at about 10.30pm on Friday.

UCU 'Not Anti-Semitic' Tribunal Rules After Case By Academic Friends Of Israel Campaigner Ronnie Fraser

An academic has lost his case against the Universities and Colleges Union, which he alleged is anti-Semitic, with the furious tribunal slamming those who brought the case as having "a worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression."

Ronnie Fraser, founding director of Academic Friends of Israel, an organisation which the judge said "consists of him, his wife and a computer", had argued that the UCU was institutionally anti-Semitic because it had voted to boycott Israel.

Is Steven A. Cohen Buying Off the U.S. Government?

Most scandals involving the cozy relationship between Wall Street and its regulators play out behind closed doors. Others happen in plain view, and this is one of the latter. In a Manhattan courtroom Thursday, a federal judge held a hearing on whether to approve a legal settlement in which Steven A. Cohen, one of the richest and most publicity-shy men in the country, appears to be buying off the U.S. government, which for years has been investigating wrongdoing in and around his hedge fund, SAC Capital Advisers.

Unless the judge, Victor Marrero, rejects the settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and SAC, which was announced a couple of weeks ago, Cohen will be free to go about his business, which has long been clouded by suspicions of insider trading, once he writes a check of six hundred and sixteen million dollars to the Securities and Exchange Commission. There will be no further sanctions and no admission of wrongdoing. And in fact, Cohen already appears to be celebrating. According to a report in the Times, he has just purchased a Picasso painting, “Le Rêve,” for a hundred and fifty-five million dollars, and an ocean-front mansion in East Hampton, for sixty million dollars.

Eunice Jasica Claims KFC Franchise Reneged Job Offer Because She Is Homeless: Report

A Mississippi woman is claiming she was refused a job she was promised at a KFC franchise because she’s homeless.

Eunice Jasica was hired by a Tupelo, Mississippi, KFC to do “prep work,” according to a document signed by the location’s general manager she reportedly showed to the Clarion-Ledger. But when she came up to pick up her uniform, Jasica says she was told she didn’t have a job.

West Virginia House Of Delegates Calls For Citizens United Constitutional Amendment

The Democratic-controlled West Virginia House of Delegates voted Thursday to call on Congress to enact a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

The resolution, which passed 60-39, asks for Congress to draft a constitutional amendment which would allow for corporations to be regulated in terms of how much money they could donate and spend on behalf of political candidates, The State-Journal reported. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations could not be regulated on campaign spending, deeming that they were covered under the First Amendment to freedom of speech when it came to campaign donations. A number of Democratic lawmakers and others have been seeking to overturn the decision.

North Korea Missile Activity: South Korea Reportedly Detects Increased Movement At Rocket Sites

Following a report that North Korea was placing its rocket units on standby to attack U.S. military bases, South Korea's Yonhap news agency announced that South Korea had detected increased activity at the north's missile sites.

Kim signed the order at a meeting of top generals and said the time had come to "settle accounts" with the U.S., the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

Yonhap quoted a military source as saying, "Sharply increased movements of vehicles and soldiers have been detected recently at North Korea's mid- and long-range missile sites."

On Thursday, the U.S. flew two stealth bombers on practice runs over South Korea, showing force after several threats by North Korea. Swiftly thereafter, KCNA reported that Kim had "finally signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets of the KPA, ordering them to be standby for fire so that they may strike any time the U.S. mainland, its military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea."

Original Article
Author: -

Amazon Acquires Goodreads: World's Biggest Online Retailer Acquires Beloved Book Site

Amazon is buying the web's largest online books community Goodreads, it was announced yesterday. Details of the purchase weren't revealed, but Forbes columnist Jeff Bercovici said that it was "likely to have been in the low eight digits."

Made in the USA? Letter From London

One day, when the queen is dead and Dickens is passing an irrelevant anniversary and the approach of an Olympic Games is consuming funds and space in some other world city, historians engaged in recovering the spirit of London during its greatest post-imperial moment of chauvinism and triumphalism will have no richer resource than the Evening Standard. A tabloid-format newspaper, the Standard—as it’s usually known—has existed in various forms for nearly two centuries, and continues to exert an influence. Ken Livingstone, in his recent memoir You Can’t Say That, suggests that his years in charge of the Greater London Council and, later, the Greater London Assembly (the mayoralty) would have been smooth sailing if it weren’t for the Standard, whose owners, the aristocratic Rothermere family, detested his socialist politics. At the beginning of 2009, soon after the mop-haired, fist-raising Conservative Boris Johnson, with Standard backing, displaced Livingstone as mayor, the Rothermeres sold the paper. The timing might have looked convenient—that is, suspicious—though annual losses as high as £25 million might also have influenced the decision to sell.

This Is What Happens When You Rip a Hole in the Safety Net

America’s social safety net, such as it is, has recently come under some scrutiny. Chana Joffe-Walt’s in-depth exploration of the increase in people getting Social Security Disability benefits at NPR got many listeners buzzing. Then in The Wall Street Journal, Damian Paletta and Caroline Porter looked at the increase in the use of food stamps, called SNAP. All three journalists look at the increasing dependence on these programs and come away puzzled: Why are so many people now getting disability and food stamp payments?

Wayne LaPierre Is Winning

The December 14, 2012, massacre of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School seemed like one of those rare moments when the sheer monstrosity of a preventable tragedy breaks through our national stupor and galvanizes political action. In the days after the shooting, prominent opponents of gun control were jolted into reconsidering their position. “Everything should be on the table,” said West Virginia’s Senator Joe Manchin, a heretofore enthusiastic advocate of gun rights. Public support for an assault weapons ban climbed to
60 percent, and more than 90 percent supported universal background checks for gun purchases. President Obama forcefully urged federal action, laying out a comprehensive gun control plan; he mobilized Organizing for Action, the nonprofit that grew out of his re-election campaign, to push for it. The rhetorical high point of his State of the Union address was a sonorous call for a timely vote on such a bill, because the victims of gun violence surely deserved at least that.

'We Were Handcuffing Kids For No Reason': Stop-And-Frisk Goes On Trial

On Saturday, March 23, sixteen year-old Kimani Gray was buried in Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, surrounded by family and friends. Gray had been killed two weeks earlier by a pair of plainclothes New York City police officers, who shot him seven times on an East Flatbush sidewalk. The officers claim the teenager pointed a gun at them, but witnesses, along with family and friends, vehemently dispute the NYPD's narrative. In the days before Gray’s funeral, hundreds of residents filled the street to display their outrage. Dozens were arrested, some as young as thirteen. As mourners prepared to lower the teen's metallic-blue casket into the ground, a young man in a black T-shirt featuring a picture of Gray broke from the crowd and sat in the grass next to a headstone. Resting his elbows on his knees, he lowered his head and began to cry.

Michael Dell: The Making of an American Oligarch

Before he became the 15th-richest American, Michael Dell was hailed as a corporate wunderkind. His eponymous computer company's "dazzlingly efficient" factory in Austin, Texas, "may be the best hope of keeping blue-collar jobs in the United States," proclaimed the New York Times in 2004. Recently, Dell Inc. has been better known for gobbling up federal contracts and pulling financial shenanigans to line its executives' pockets—all while exploiting tax loopholes, outsourcing production, and laying off American workers.

Ontario Tuition Hike Cap Reduced; Students, Schools Unhappy

TORONTO - In a move aimed at striking a balance between the needs of students and public post-secondary institutions, the Ontario government announced Thursday it is lowering the cap on average tuition fee increases over the next four years.

But the news didn't appear to satisfy either student advocates or representatives for colleges and universities.

Oilsands Environmental Monitoring Data To Be Made Public

OTTAWA - The federal and Alberta governments are finally ready to make research and data from their oilsands monitoring program public.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent and his Alberta counterpart, Diana McQueen, are expected to launch a new data portal next Wednesday at an event at Carleton University in Ottawa.

'Racist' Nanaimo Daily News Letter About First Nations Sparks Outrage

The Nanaimo Daily News has apologized for printing a "racist" letter that stated First Nations have a history that is "notable only for underachievement."

Don Olsen's letter in the Vancouver Island newspaper on Wednesday mounts a pile of criticism on First Nations, saying they "never 'discovered' the wheel," that they never came up with a written language and that they "only 'figured out' a drum and a rattle for musical instruments."

The Other Rosa Parks: Now 73, Claudette Colvin Was First to Refuse Giving Up Seat on Montgomery Bus

At a ceremony unveiling a statue in her honor last month, President Obama called Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus a "singular act of disobedience." But nine months before Parks’ historic action, a 15-year-old teenager named Claudette Colvin did the very same thing. She was arrested and her case led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s order for the desegregation of Alabama’s bus system. Now 73, Claudette Colvin joins us for a rare interview along with Brooklyn College Professor Jeanne Theoharis, author of the "The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks." Theoharis says Parks’ act of defiance may not have happened if not for Colvin’s nine months before. Colvin says learning about African-American history in school inspired her act. "I could not move because history had me glued to the seat," she recalls telling the bus driver and the police officer who came to arrest her. "It felt like Sojourner Truth’s hands were pushing down on one shoulder, and Harriet Tubman’s hand pushing down on another shoulder."

Source: Democracy Now!
Author: -

Drawing blood from stones: The relentless tuition fee hike

Ontario announced a new tuition fee framework today. It's the first time that the Liberal government has changed it in seven years.

In 2006, Dalton McGuinty punched students in the face with a five per cent, on average, fee increase. It was supposed to last four years, but was extended, painfully, until 2012.

During the 2011 Ontario election, the Liberals introduced a grant to help offset the burden of these fees for some students. To those of us who spent days analyzing the Liberal proposal and strategy, it was clear that they had hoped to divert some of the negative attention on their tuition policy by offering a confusing, runner-up prize.

Harper government appears uninterested in Chief Electoral Officer's recommendations

The Conservative government has not consulted Chief Electoral Officer, Marc Mayrand, on possible changes to Canada's elections act.

Nor has the Government acted on recommendations the Chief Electoral officer made before the last election, in 2010.

Had some of those recommendations been implemented before the 2011 election, the Chief Electoral Officer would have had more effective tools to investigate the many abuses that have been reported since then.

All of this came out in a briefing Mayrand held for journalists following the release of his newest report: 'Preventing Deceptive Communications with Electors -- Recommendations from the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the 41st General Election'.

MPs receive 1.6 per cent pay increase, annual salary now $160,200

PARLIAMENT HILL—House Speaker Andrew Scheer advised all MPs on Thursday they will be getting a minimum pay increase of $2,500 each beginning Monday, April 1, to bring their basic salaries up to $160,200 annually.

Mr. Scheer (Regina-Qu’Appelle, Sask.) announced the pay hike, which follows a three-year salary freeze, in an email to MPs as the Commons adjourned for a two-week spring break and the Easter long weekend.

Lennox power plant gets $7 million a month for operating at 1.5 per cent capacity

While the cancellation of gas-fired power plants in Oakville and Mississauga grab headlines, a much older gas plant labours in obscurity in eastern Ontario.

At least, it labours from time to time.

The Lennox Generating Station near Napanee, Ont., has operated at about 1.5 per cent of its capacity over the past five years, according to records from the Independent Electricity System Operator.

Senators under scrutiny kept up spending levels, newly released figures show

OTTAWA—Senators whose travel or living allowances faced scrutiny by external auditors kept up their spending levels despite the growing controversy, according to newly released expense figures.

The Senate Standing Committee on Internal Economy began reviewing secondary living expenses for all senators after media reports alleged some were inappropriately billing taxpayers for their time spent in the Ottawa area, despite living there most of the time.

Global evidence suggests merging CIDA and DFAIT will be a mistake

The merger of CIDA and DFAIT is bound to dilute Canadian development commitments so that it serves the interests of private constituencies rather than the poor.

The merger between CIDA and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade announced in last week’s federal budget has been almost universally applauded in the Canadian media. It is claimed that integration will improve development and foreign policy coherence, advance a progressive trade agenda, expand access to the corridors of power and increase aid’s focus and efficiency. Integration with DFAIT is portrayed as the only cure to solve Canada’s aid woes. That simply isn’t true.

Ted Cruz Accuses Obama Of Taking 'Advantage' Of Sandy Hook, Vows To Stymie Gun Control Legislation

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) responded to President Barack Obama's latest call for action on gun control Thursday, launching criticism at the White House and promising to do everything in his power to stop the administration's push for stricter legislation.

"It is saddening to see the president today, once again, try to take advantage of this tragic murder to promote an agenda that will do nothing to stop violent crime, but will undermine the constitutional rights of all law-abiding Americans," Cruz said in a statement. "I am committed to working with Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and Jim Inhofe -- and I hope many other colleagues -- to use any procedural means necessary to protect those fundamental rights."

Another long journey for justice: Indigenous youth begin walk from Winnipeg to Ottawa

The Journey of Nishiyuu, which arrived in Ottawa earlier this week, was not the only trek for justice led by young Indigenous people in Canada.

Twenty Indigenous youth from Manitoba have set out from the steps of the Legislative building in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

For the group, Youth for Lakes, this was the beginning of a 2000 kilometre trek to Parliament Hill in Ottawa that will take them an estimated 45 days.

"They're doing this for the waters, for the next generations," Melinda Thomas, the mother of one of the organizers, told

Melinda's son, 15 year old Victor Thomas, is part of the group trekking to Ottawa. In Februrary, Victor Thomas led a group of young people from the Skownan First Nation in Manitoba on a walk of more than 300 kilometres to protest the federal government's. That week-long journey ended in the provincial capital of Winnipeg. Now Youth for Lakes, who say they drew inspiration from the Idle No More movement, will make the longer journey on to Ottawa.