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.]

Monday, May 13, 2013

Nohmul Pyramid Bulldozed In Belize For Rocks

A construction company has essentially destroyed one of Belize's largest Mayan pyramids with backhoes and bulldozers to extract rock for a road-building project.

The head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology says the destruction was detected late last week.

Only a small portion of centre of the pyramid mound was left standing.

Mortgage Rules: Canada Could See Shorter Loans, Higher Payments As OSFI Mulls Changes

Landing an affordable mortgage may become even more difficult in Canada if the country’s banking regulator moves forward with rules reducing the length of uninsured home loans.

The move — if it happens — is meant to prevent a housing market collapse in the face of record-high prices, record-low interest rates and the appearance of potentially irresponsible lending practices.

Globalization's Scapegoats

It is a fitting irony that in the same week that the British government agreed to negotiate compensation for the torture of thousands of Kenyans under colonialism, a right-wing party devoted to returning the nation to its former glory would emerge as the major victor in local elections. The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) won 147 council seats in recent midterm elections, coming in third in the national popular vote and perilously close to defeating the ruling Conservatives. It is a party in favor of a monocultural Britain and against immigration, multiculturalism and membership in the European Union. To demand that Britain be Great again, as UKIP leader Nigel Farage does, willfully disregards how that greatness came about and who paid for it. As the nineteenth-century French philosopher Ernest Renan wrote, “The essential characteristic of a nation is that all its individuals must have many things in common and must have forgotten many things as well.”

Congressmen Seek Constitutional Guarantee of the Right to Vote

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made a point of emphasizing during the Bush v. Gore arguments in December 2000 that there is no federal constitutional guarantee of a right to vote for president. Scalia was right. Indeed, as the reform group FairVote reminds us, “Because there is no right to vote in the U.S. Constitution, individual states set their own electoral policies and procedures. This leads to confusing and sometimes contradictory policies regarding ballot design, polling hours, voting equipment, voter registration requirements, and ex-felon voting rights. As a result, our electoral system is divided into 50 states, more than 3,000 counties and approximately 13,000 voting districts, all separate and unequal.”

Why Did Harvard Give a PhD for a Discredited Approach to Race and IQ?

He’s probably the first person ever to lose his job because of his Harvard PhD dissertation: Jason Richwine, let go by the Heritage Foundation on Friday. The problem: he co-authored their position paper opposing immigration reform; and then somebody discovered that his PhD thesis at Harvard’s Kennedy School was dedicated to the proposition that Hispanics have lower IQs than white people. Not even the Heritage Foundation wanted to go there—so after two days trying to answer embarrassing questions, he left quietly.

While Congress Debates Immigration, Deportations Rage On

Congress has a long road ahead on immigration reform. The Senate Judiciary Committee has started to consider some 300 amendments challenging the nearly 900-page long bill crafted by the Gang of Eight. Lawmakers are hopeful that legislation will pass both houses by the end of summer. But from now until then, the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants may continue full force. A group of advocates is now making a renewed call on President Obama to suspend deportations of those people who would gain status in the bill’s final version later this year.

Elizabeth Warren's Student Loan Petition Garners More Than 250,000 Signatures

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is by no means alone in her belief that the U.S. government should give college students the big-bank treatment.

More than 250,000 members have signed a petition demanding Congress set student loan interest rates at the same level as that offered to big banks by the Federal Reserve, a proposal put forth in Warren's first-ever Senate bill last week.

Lindsey Graham: Immigration Amendment For LGBT Couples Would End My Support For Bill

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Monday that he would pull support from his own immigration reform bill if his fellow Judiciary Committee members voted to include LGBT provisions.

The immigration legislation put forward by the bipartisan "gang of eight" doesn't address the problems faced by binational same-sex couples, who under the Defense of Marriage Act cannot petition for green cards for their foreign national partners.

Hospital Pricing Revelations Unlikely To Change Wildly Disparate System

The high and wildly varying prices for hospital services revealed by President Barack Obama's administration last week likely aren't going away any time soon because the antiquated system that generates them is intricately threaded throughout the health care system, according to industry representatives.

Pat Buchanan Calls For ‘Southern Strategy' Against Latinos, Immigrants

Pat Buchanan has a plan to win more white voters for the GOP.

In an article published by the website World Net Daily last week, Buchanan describes increased black voter turnout and Latino demographic growth as a “crisis for the Grand Old Party.” To combat it, the conservative pundit implies that the Republican Party should adopt a new version of the “Southern Strategy” revolving around immigration.

The Southern Strategy, first adopted by Richard Nixon, aimed to cultivate the support of Southern voters in part by appealing to racial tensions while avoiding overt racism. The strategy played a key role in alienating African-American voters from the GOP.

DOJ Secretly Obtains Months Of AP Phone Records; AP Calls It 'Unprecedented Intrusion'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news.

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of calls.

The neoliberal assault on academia

The New York Times, Slate and Al Jazeera have recently drawn attention to the adjunctification of the professoriate in the US. Only 24 per cent of the academic workforce are now tenured or tenure-track.

Much of the coverage has focused on the sub-poverty wages of adjunct faculty, their lack of job security and the growing legions of unemployed and under-employed PhDs. Elsewhere, the focus has been on web-based learning and the massive open online courses (MOOCs), with some commentators celebrating and others lamenting their arrival.

Convicted terrorist deported to Lebanon after 26-year fight

A convicted Palestinian terrorist who once hijacked an airliner in Greece has been deported from Canada -- 26 years after he first arrived here under an alias.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced Monday that Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad, 70, was deported to Lebanon on Sunday.

Coup d'états, cul-de-sacs, and la Cour suprême du Canada

The recent publication of Frédéric Bastien's book La bataille de Londres either delivers a constitutional bombshell or a tempest in political teapot all depending on your perspective. The impact of the book, written in French and published in Québec by Éditions du Boréal, has been felt primarily in la belle province. Its primary focus is the period between the 1980 sovereignty referendum in Québec and the 1982 patriation of the Canadian Constitution. Bastien, a historian, charts the political currents in both Ottawa and London as then prime minister Pierre Trudeau sought to head off further separatist challenges by repatriating the Canadian Constitution -- formerly the British North America Act of 1867, an act of the British Parliament -- eventually replacing it with the Constitution Act of 1982, an act of the Canadian Parliament. The Constitution Act was endorsed by the legislatures all Canadian provinces save that of Québec (then governed by the Parti Québécois under premier René Lévesque).

The U.S. military surge in sexual assaults

Deep in the weeds of the Pentagon's response to a lawsuit detailing a nasty list of sex crimes perpetrated against several women in uniform is a phrase that neatly sums up the U.S. military's view of why civilian courts have no business considering such accusations.

"There can be no question," says the Pentagon's legal brief last year, that the rapes and assaults were "incident to the military service" of the women involved.

Gas fracking and coal exports: Two sleeper issues that will surge following B.C. election

There's been a dearth of substantive policy debated and alternatives offered during British Columbia’s election campaign. Transit, education, health care, social welfare, housing -- these and other burning issues have received too little attention.

 Of more substance has been the debate over proposals to build or expand two tar sands pipelines from Alberta to coastal export terminals. The two leading parties have staked out more or less opposing positions. The Liberals are in favour and the New Democratic Party is opposed (a caveat being the NDP silence on Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that would see a portion of the tar sands product delivered to U.S. refineries just south of the border at Vancouver.)

John Baird, Stephen Hawking and the end of hope

When I was posted to the Middle East about a dozen years ago, there was a truism about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that went like this: “We all know the solution; it’s just a matter of getting there.”

The self-evident “solution” followed the outlines of the Camp David talks led by Bill Clinton, which seemed to point towards a separate Palestinian state at peace with Israel in the West Bank and Gaza. This was all supposed to be negotiated between the government of Israel and the quasi-government of the Palestinian Authority.

In war on fear, missing billions a mere rounding error

It should be no surprise that the federal government can’t account for $3.1 billion in national-security spending. When you are splurging public fear money, as Canada has been since 2001, what’s a few billion?

I’m not the only Canadian concerned about the track we’re on when it comes to security spending in our democracy, where we’ve been overwhelmed by the mythology of threat. Questioning where the money goes is akin to treason. No wonder it goes astray.

Census replacement costs more, gets less info

OTTAWA -- Canadians got their first glimpse of the new National Household Survey last week.

As expected, the documents were stamped with a warning this new survey is less accurate than the old long-form census.

It sparked another round of hand-wringing and political posturing about the value of the survey and criticism of the decision by the Conservatives to scrap the mandatory long-form census.

Unelected. Unaccountable. Unbelievable

Pope Francis has just named hundreds of new saints in a special canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Based on the latest information, it appears that none of them are members of the Canadian Senate.

The Red Faced Chamber has demonstrated again that Liberal David Dingwall was not the only aquarium creature in Canada who thought he was ‘entitled to his entitlements’. They have again demonstrated with Bill Clinton that fellatio is not sex. It all depends on what “is” is.

New Orleans Shooting: Suspect Caught On Surveillance Video Of Mother's Day Parade Violence

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans police hope a $10,000 reward and blurry surveillance camera images will lead to arrests in a Mother's Day shooting that wounded 19 people and showed again how far the city has to go to shake a persistent culture of violence that belies the city's festive image.

Angry residents said gun violence – which has flared at two other city celebrations this year – goes hand-in-hand with the city's other deeply rooted problems such as poverty and urban blight. The investigators tasked with solving Sunday's shooting work within an agency that's had its own troubles rebounding from years of corruption while trying to halt violent crime.

Climate Change To Shrink Animal And Plant Habitats Dramatically, Study Forecasts

OSLO, May 12 (Reuters) - The habitats of many common plants and animals will shrink dramatically this century unless governments act quickly to cut rising greenhouse gas emissions, scientists said on Sunday after studying 50,000 species around the world.

Preventive Measures

In Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi masterpiece “Minority Report,” set in the year 2054 and released nine months after the attacks of September 11, 2001, homicide-squad detectives no longer spend their time tracking down people who have committed murder. Instead, they go after people who are about to commit murder, swooping down to stop them in the nick of time. Spielberg’s police officers don’t fight crime, they fight “Pre-Crime.” They don’t catch killers, they catch pre-killers.

The enormous anti-terror establishment that the United States has created in the years since 9/11 has a similar purpose. Its vast, sprawling, expensive array of governmental, quasi-governmental, and nominally private institutions and their tools—high tech, like ubiquitous surveillance cameras, satellites, wiretaps, computer algorithms, facial-recognition software, drones, and data collection and analysis on a global scale; lower tech, like networks of agents, bags of cash, and airport security checkpoints—are designed primarily to stop acts of terrorism before they happen. That turns out to be a good deal more difficult than investigating such an act once it occurs.

The Baby in the Well

In 2008, Karina Encarnacion, an eight year-old girl from Missouri, wrote to President-elect Barack Obama with some advice about what kind of dog he should get for his daughters. She also suggested that he enforce recycling and ban unnecessary wars. Obama wrote to thank her, and offered some advice of his own: “If you don’t already know what it means, I want you to look up the word ‘empathy’ in the dictionary. I believe we don’t have enough empathy in our world today, and it is up to your generation to change that.”

This wasn’t the first time Obama had spoken up for empathy. Two years earlier, in a commencement address at Xavier University, he discussed the importance of being able “to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us—the child who’s hungry, the steelworker who’s been laid off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town.” He went on, “When you think like this—when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers—it becomes harder not to act, harder not to help.”

The world has never been richer. So why are so many still poor?

Did you hear those two cheers last week from the unlikely direction of progressive economists and their admirers? Who could blame them?

Since 2010, austerity devotees had loudly hailed a study by two Harvard economists, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, that concluded that excessive debt in any country would lead to a catastrophic collapse in growth. Here was the latest excuse for those who lusted after smaller governments and shrunken public expenditures to continue doing what they were doing anyway.

Harper undermining data that informs government decision-making, and he likes it like that

“Lies, damn lies and statistics.” Maybe Prime Minister Stephen Harper was onto something when he abolished the requirement for mandatory participation in Canada’s census collection.

After all, who cares about a weakened system of national data?  The average citizen, who marks the only x on the ballot that counts, likely agrees with the quote made famous by Mark Twain.

Statistics are for geeks. The complex numbers that form the basis for public policy decisions usually cause most people’s eyes to glaze over.

Tories ‘doing away with research’ in more cuts at Agriculture and Agri-Food, say unions

Hundreds of job cuts at Agriculture and Agri-Food announced last week are further targeting science and innovation inside government, say union leaders.

“Basically, they’re doing away with research. If you’re not going to facilitate industry, creating a gimmick for sale in two years, they don’t want to hear from you. Basically every research program that sort of put Canada ahead worldwide in agriculture, these guys just don’t see a value for any more,” said Bob Kingston, president of the Agriculture Union, which represents 235 of the affected Agriculture workers.

Feds’ unaccounted $3.1-billion anti-terrorism spending shows House has lost ability to ‘follow the money,’ say MPs

The fact that the federal auditor general cannot find how or whether $3.1-billion was spent on anti-terrorism activities and the federal government cannot account for it illustrates that Parliament’s system for approving funds and reporting on them is “disjointed and convoluted” and MPs have lost the ability to “follow the money,” say opposition MPs.

“The current controversy over the $3.1-billion ‘MIA’ is a graphic illustration of how MPs have lost the ability to ‘follow the money.’ The estimates are nearly incomprehensible, the departmental reporting is sketchy and inconsistent, and the auditing after the fact often raises more questions than answers,” NDP MP Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, Man.), chair of the Government Operations and Estimates Committee, told The Hill Times. “How do we know if the approved spending met its intended objectives or if it was even used for the approved purpose? We don’t. And I think governments like it that way.”

Government vows to fix widespread ‘irregularities’ in election day voting procedures, but opposition parties say Tories stalling

The federal government says it will introduce legislation to fix widespread “irregularities” in voting day procedures following an Elections Canada report that found there was a “systemic problem” of “non-compliance” in the last general election when registering voters, but opposition MPs say the majority-governing Conservatives are “ragging the puck” on moving forward with amendments to the Elections Act.

“Conservatives just keep ragging the puck on a bill. They have no urgency,” NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley, B.C.) told The Hill Times last week.

Critics warn First Nations Matrimonial Property Rights bill ‘deeply flawed’

The federal government’s fourth bill to address matrimonial property rights on First Nations reserves will likely pass by the end of this month, but critics say it’s “deeply flawed” and doesn’t take into account the resources necessary to support Bill S-2’s implementation.

“Without all the other pieces like housing and mediation, this is not an answer to violence against women. We have to do more and the government needs to have listened. They haven’t listened before, and they haven’t listened in this committee and they’re just ramming it through with really serious repercussions if they would only talk to First Nations women,” said Liberal MP and aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul’s, Ont.), who is currently sitting on the House Status of Women Committee that is studying Bill S-2, First Nations Matrimonial Real Property Rights Bill.

Election charges undermine Harper legacy

According to Elections Canada, it's official: The Conservatives cheated in the 2006 federal election campaign.

The latest evidence came yesterday when formal charges were laid against the Conservative Party itself and assorted senior officials including former campaign chief and current Senator Doug Finley.

We've Hit the Carbon Level We Were Warned About. Here's What That Means

This interactive explainer originally appeared on the Guardian website and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Over the last couple weeks, scientists and environmentalists have been keeping a particularly close eye on the Hawaii-based monitoring station that tracks how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere, as the count tiptoed closer to a record-smashing 400 parts per million. Thursday, we finally got there: The daily mean concentration was higher than at any time in human history, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported Friday.

Labrador byelection pits promised cabinet post against passionate opposition

The federal byelection in Labrador boils down to a choice: a former cabinet minister who says he'll wield influence in Ottawa, versus Liberal and NDP challengers who say they'll chart a new course for political change.

It has also been cast as the first test of how fledgling Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair stack up on the campaign trail.

Henry White, who runs Bert's Barber Shop in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, knows how he'll vote.

Conservatives sending political emails to public servants

OTTAWA — The Conservative party is sending email to some public servants at work promoting the government’s economic action plan and linking them to a website that asks which party they intend to vote for in the next election.

The Union of National Defence Employees has complained about the practice after one of its members received the political solicitation on their public service email account, while another received it at their home email account. The union is still trying to determine how many more such promotional messages have been sent to government emails.

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu slammed for $127,000 bed on plane

JERUSALEM—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will seek alternate sleeping arrangements when travelling after receiving a sky-high bill for installing a customized bed on a recent flight to London, officials close to the Israeli leader said.

Netanyahu found himself facing a public uproar on Sunday after Channel 10 TV reported over the weekend that he had spent $127,000 in public funds on a special sleeping cabin for the five-hour flight to attend Margaret Thatcher’s funeral last month.

How Colleges Are Selling Out the Poor to Court the Rich

Neat fact: If the federal government were to take all of the money it pours into various forms of financial aid each year, it could go ahead and make tuition free, or close to it, for every student at every public college in the country.

Will it ever happen? Ha. Not unless Bernie Sanders somehow leads a Latin American-style coup down Pennsylvania Avenue. But one of the reasons I argued for the idea a couple of months back was that it would allow us to finally stop burning money subsidizing obscenely expensive tuition at dubiously worthwhile private institutions. At the time, I singled out the for-profit college industry, which has been rightfully savaged for devouring federal aid dollars while charging poor students backbreaking prices.

Moms Working At Walmart Earn Less Than They Need To Feed Their Kids

As Mother’s Day approached, Charlene Fletcher, mother of two, found herself occupied with the needs of other families, attending to the crush of shoppers last week at the Walmart in Duarte, Calif., where she works.

On Mother’s Day itself, she would be in the store, making sure shoppers had one last chance to pick up a heart pendant or a personalized mug for mom. For the past four years, Fletcher has had to work every Mother's Day, along with every New Year's Eve, and nearly every weekend.

Peter Kent: Better Oil Price Needed For Emissions Controls To Work

OTTAWA - Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent is in London today to kick off another global tour to sell Canada's record on global warming.

Kent says new controls on oil and gas emissions are on their way, but companies will need a better price for their crude in order to be able to deal with a new regulatory burden.

He says that if the so-called Canada discount can be reduced, then companies will have enough money to invest heavily in new technology that will reduce emissions.

Flaherty defends spending on 'economic action plan' ads

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has defended the Conservative’s continued spending on the ‘economic action plan’ advertisements, saying that Canadians are entitled to know what their government is doing.

The Conservatives recently put out a tender for a major new ad agency contract that could see the ads continue until 2016.

From Guantanamo to Yemen: A Mother's Day appeal for justice

He disappeared more than a decade ago, just 18-years-old and teaching abroad, separated from his family for the first time in life. His mother and father, sick with worry, heard nothing. For all they knew he was dead. Then, one day they opened a newspaper and learned their son was being held in a military prison run by the US of A, accused of -- but never charged with -- being an enemy of the state.

Were Abdurahman al-Shubati a U.S. citizen, his case would be featured on CNN, his face plastered on television screens next to a graphic listing his days in prison without trial. Some go-getting entrepreneur would be selling yellow wristbands with his name and "#solidarity" printed on them. The president, affecting the right level of empathy for the family and strong but stately anger toward his captors, would be telling us: "Never forget" and "There will be justice."

First Nations don't count in Harper's Canada

One way to make a problem go away -- at least temporarily -- is to ignore it.  It's also the way to make problems grow over time.

For most governments, ignoring problems away isn't easy.  It requires a thick skin in the face of criticism, a disengaged electorate, a compliant media, and a lack of immediate consequences.  Sadly, those four conditions exist in Canada.

In Stephen Harper's Canada, the art of wilful ignorance has reached new heights, muzzling independent voices where they can, while attacking those who dare challenge the PMO’s control.  But to dumb down the dialogue and maintain policy based solely on populist ideology, you have to go after the information sources.

The Rise and Fall of John Cummins' Conservatives

B.C. Conservative Party leader John Cummins joined the 51st annual Langley Walk last Sunday, starting the mass event dead last, holding his one-year-old granddaughter Marley in his arms.

Cummins, 71, was joined by his wife Sue and his public relations staffer, a young flight attendant who has known the Cummins family since she was in grade four.

The neophyte media handler, Jaclyn Laic, is on leave from her airline job. Her Twitter hashtag is PRrookieBC.

Chinese hackers caught trying to steal secrets of our new stealth fighter as tens of thousands of cyber attacks are launched on jet manufacturer every week

Chinese cyber spies have been caught trying to steal the secrets of Britain’s most sophisticated combat jet, The Mail on Sunday has learned.

A covert unit within the Chinese Army has been using highly sophisticated cyber weapons in a desperate attempt to acquire classified information about the stealthy Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Senate in ‘crisis’ says former PC senator

The Senate is in crisis, one former member of the upper house said after audits into suspicious spending found that a trio of senators together wrongly collected more than $190,000 in housing allowances.

“It’s a crisis in the Senate,” said Lowell Murray, who sat for 32 years as a Progressive Conservative in the Senate.

Supreme Court Saw Only One African-American Lawyer In Last 75 Hours Of Arguments

WASHINGTON -- In roughly 75 hours of arguments at the Supreme Court since October, only one African-American lawyer appeared before the justices, and for just over 11 minutes.

The numbers were marginally better for Hispanic lawyers. Four of them argued for a total of 1 hour, 45 minutes.

Women were better represented, accounting for just over 17 percent of the arguments before the justices.

A Mother's Promise

The gravity of the moment that comes with holding your child for the first time -- looking into their eyes, rocking them to sleep, allowing their breath to fill your heart, marveling at how nature has taken a part of you and a part of your husband to create someone uniquely beautiful -- the seriousness of that moment, is only eclipsed by the moment you discover your little boy or little girl is forever gone, just a few hours after watching them wave back at you from the school bus window.

Thousands flood Israeli streets in anti-austerity protest

Thousands have rallied in six major Israeli cities including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in protest against tax hikes and other austerity measures presented as part of the country’s new budget.

Rallies on Saturday took place in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Modiin, Rishon Lezion and Ashdod with more than 12,000 people protesting across Israel.

No olive branches in Korea: North fires hawkish general, US sends warships

North Korea has replaced its hawkish armed forces minister with a younger general. The move comes as the US and South Korea launch new naval war games, which Pyongyang decried as “blackmail” and a “provocation.”

General Kim Kyok-sik – who reportedly ordered the 2010 shelling of a South Korean island – was appointed to his post last November. In a Monday report, state news agency KCNA announced that the relatively unknown General Jang Jong-nam is the new minister of the People's Armed Forces. The general was previously the top military commander of a province of North Korea.

Obama ‘prefers Guantanamo status quo’

The deteriorating situation in Guantanamo - where a mass hunger strike has been unfolding for over two months - continues to raise the eyebrows of human rights groups. Prominent activist Medea Benjamin discusses with RT why the prison is still not closed.

Twenty-four hunger strikers are now receiving enteral feeds, with three people "being observed in the detainee hospital," according to Guantanamo Bay Public Affairs Director Lieutenant Colonel Samuel E. House. His most recent report put the official number of hunger strikers at 100.

Effort afoot in court to sue Canadians for illegal downloads

MONTREAL - Massive lawsuits targeting people who illegally download copyrighted content are common in the U.S., where people have been stuck with hefty fines and out-of-court settlements.

Now there's an attempt to bring that to Canada.

At the center of the effort is Canipre, the only anti-piracy enforcement firm that provides forensic services to copyright-holders in Canada.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Roe v. Wade Ruling Flawed

CHICAGO — One of the most liberal members of the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg could be expected to give a rousing defense of Roe v. Wade in reflecting on the landmark vote 40 years after it established a nationwide right to abortion.

Instead, Ginsburg told an audience Saturday at the University of Chicago Law School that while she supports a woman's right to choose, she feels the ruling by her predecessors on the court was too sweeping and gave abortion opponents a symbol to target. Ever since, she said, the momentum has been on the other side, with anger over Roe fueling a state-by-state campaign that has placed more restrictions on abortion.

Rand Paul: Obama Helping 'Anti-American Globalists Plot Against Our Constitution'

Rand Paul on Saturday accused President Obama of working with "anti-American globalists" to "plot against our Constitution."

The email blast was sent on behalf of the National Association on Gun Rights and heavily criticized the president's gun control efforts. Here's a snippet of the email, courtesy of the Washington Post's Ezra Klein.

How corporate Canada is killing free enterprise

If business leaders ever wonder why a chunk of the public disdains business, and calls for higher corporate taxes or sector-specific increases (higher royalty rates for energy and mining, higher stumpage fees in forestry), or just increased business taxation in general, here’s a clue: too many companies are addicted to corporate welfare.

Crony capitalism is problematic all on its own. Addiction to it only reinforces the perception that businesses can’t be bothered to compete on merit, in an open market, but prefer to plead for political favours and protection at taxpayers’ expense.

Brace for Fortress B.C. whoever wins on Tuesday

Most of the past dozen or so years can be seen as the golden era in B.C.’s relationship with the rest of the federation.

Former premier Gordon Campbell went to exhaustive lengths to maintain good relations with other provinces, especially Western provinces, and also with the federal government.

City Hall bike station goes ahead

Naked, sweaty cyclists could soon be bathing in the City Hall parking garage.

On Friday, council voted to restart construction of a bike station in the building’s underground parking lot, a project that gained notoriety when the mayor and his brother fiercely criticized the fact that it will include showers.

Despite Mayor Rob Ford’s objections however, the project passed easily by a vote of 26-5.