Democracy Gone Astray

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

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

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

Thursday, August 22, 2013

News Outlets Continue To Refer To Chelsea Manning As 'He'

The news on Thursday that Bradley Manning wanted to be known in future as a woman named Chelsea led to controversy when several news outlets continued to refer to Manning as "he."

Manning made her announcement in a letter that was first read on the "Today" show. Despite her stated desire, the Associated Press and Reuters both steered clear of using "she" in their pieces on the story.

Walmart Supplier Warehouse Workers Fired For Taking 5-Minute Break, They Say

Ten workers at a Walmart supplier's Southern California warehouse said they were suspended indefinitely Friday after taking a five-minute break in temperatures of more than 90 degrees.

The workers said they believe they were suspended from the Olivet International warehouse in Mira Loma, about an hour east of Los Angeles, in retaliation for raising concerns about working conditions over the last few months. The suspended workers, joined by a couple dozen supporters, picketed Wednesday morning in front of the warehouse to protest the suspensions.

Columbia, South Carolina Criminalizes Homelessness In Unanimous Vote

City council members in Columbia, S.C., recently voted unanimously to criminalize homelessness.

Concerned that Columbia has become a “magnet for homeless people,” and that businesses and the area’s safety are suffering as a result, council members agreed on Aug. 14 to give people on the streets the option to either relocate, or get arrested, according to the city’s “Emergency Homeless Response” report.

Vicki Marble, GOP Lawmaker, Links Poverty To Fried Chicken, BBQ

Colorado state Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins) caused a stir on Wednesday when she said high poverty rates among blacks and Hispanics are connected to diets that include fried chicken and barbecue.

"When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race," Marble said during a meeting of the legislature's Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force. "Sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up. Diabetes is something that's prevalent in the genetic makeup, and you just can't help it. Although I've got to say, I've never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down South and you, I mean, I love it. Everybody loves it."

Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers Whistleblower, Sees Bradley Manning's Conviction As The Beginning Of Police State

The NSA surveillance of millions of emails and phone calls. The dogged pursuit of whistleblower Edward Snowden across the globe, regardless of the diplomatic fallout. And the sentencing of Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for giving a cache of government files to the website WikiLeaks. Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg sees these events as signs that the United States is becoming a police state.

"We have not only the capability of a police state, but certain beginnings of it right now," Ellsberg told HuffPost Live Wednesday. "And I absolutely agree with Edward Snowden. It's worth a person's life, prospect of assassination, or life in prison or life in exile -- it's worth that to try to restore our liberties and make this a democratic country."

Alberta Health Queue Jumping Inquiry Recommends Changes

EDMONTON - An inquiry has found that queue-jumping has occurred in Alberta's health-care system and an environment exists in which it could happen again.

Justice John Vertes says there was no basis to claims that queue-jumping was widespread and politicians were moving people to the front of the line. But there were instances where people got faster care.

Stephen Harper peculiarly silent on Egypt’s coup

The Canadian government’s silence on Egypt’s bloody military coup is deafening.

When soldiers shot and killed hundreds protesting the overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically-elected government, Ottawa’s response was to issue bromides.

It has had no comment on the arrest of democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi and no comment on the Egyptian coup-masters’ decision to imprison their political opponents.

Plan to cut government tax lawyers could hurt tax evasion fight: critics

Only weeks after it vowed to crack down on offshore tax evasion, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is planning to slash the number of lawyers who handle Canada Revenue Agency cases, iPolitics has learned.

The Justice Department has put out a call for 30 lawyers in its Tax Law Services Portfolio to voluntarily take a departure package and leave the public service. The departures are slated to take place in the 2014-15 fiscal year, which begins April 1.

PAFSO says Tony Clement showed bad faith in foreign service officers dispute

Treasury Board President Tony Clement’s response to a proposal to settle a bitter contract dispute with foreign services officers through binding arbitration amounts to bad-faith bargaining, a union lawyer argued Wednesday.

Andrew Raven told a Public Service Labour Relations Board hearing that Clement’s July 23 letter in response to the proposal by Tim Edwards, president of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, was “plainly unreasonable as it requires the union to agree to an outcome on the very issues it wishes to arbitrate.”

Ralph Nader to Canada: Don’t open door to Verizon

This is the text of a letter sent on Wednesday to Prime Minister Stephen Harper by U.S. consumer advocate Ralph Nader concerning the possibility of U.S. telecom giant Verizon entering the Canadian market:

Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

I read with interest that you are considering allowing Verizon Communications to operate in Canada with unique acquisition rights.

Bad idea.

Would Better Regulations Have Prevented the London Whale Trades?

President Obama this week pressed financial regulators to work more quickly on rules aimed at better regulating Wall Street and avoiding another financial crisis. His forceful comments, which came three years after the legislative overhaul known as the Dodd-Frank Act set the stage for the writing of these rules, were the latest reminder that exotic and outsized financial bets by banks continue to pose a massive risk to the global financial system.

Muslims Blacklisted For U.S. Citizenship Under Secret Government Program, Says ACLU

LOS ANGELES -- A government program to screen immigrants for national security concerns has blacklisted some Muslims and put their U.S. citizenship applications on hold for years, civil liberties advocates said Wednesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said in a report that the previously undisclosed program instructs federal immigration officers to find ways to deny applications that have been deemed a national security concern. For example, they flag discrepancies in a petition or claim they didn't receive sufficient information from the immigrant.

Texas Town Considers At-Large District Plan Accused Of Suppressing Latino Vote

The Mayor of the Houston suburb of Pasadena, Johnny Isbell, is proposing to swap two of the town’s single-member districts for at-large districts -- a voting system being challenged by Hispanics across the country who say the system makes it harder to elect Latino candidates.

The proposed change comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate the requirements that certain states pre-clear alterations to their voting systems with the Department of Justice, as the widely read Texan blog Burnt Orange Report notes.

Elizabeth Warren Presses Eric Holder On Mortgage Settlement

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday questioning whether a major government settlement with the nation's largest mortgage companies is merely a way to absolve banks of malpractice under a "timid enforcement strategy."

The letter follows months of criticism from Warren over weak penalties imposed on banks accused of defrauding consumers and investors. She has denounced settlement strategies that allow financial firms to set aside past violations without acknowledging wrongdoing.

Bradley Manning To Barack Obama: I Did It 'Out Of Love For My Country'

FORT MEADE, Md. -- The text of U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning's statement that will be sent to the president, as read by defense attorney David Coombs following Manning's sentencing Wednesday:

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We've been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we've had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

Competition will lead to lower wireless bills, James Moore says

More competition in the wireless marketplace will mean lower cellphone prices for Canadians, Industry Minister James Moore says.

New competitors in wireless, such as Wind, already have brought down the cost of cellphone plans by 18-20 per cent over the past few years, Moore said in an interview with CBC’s Metro Morning. Nevertheless, he said, Canadians still are spending too much.

Native Canadian Women Sold On U.S. Ships, Researcher Says

An American researcher says First Nations women from Thunder Bay, Ont., have been sold on ships in the harbour at Duluth, Minn.

Christine Stark said the port at Duluth is notorious among First Nations people as a site for trafficking women.

The masters student at the University of Minnesota Duluth said she has anecdotal reports of women, teenage girls and boys, as well as babies being sold on ships for sex.

Pamela Wallin Expense Scandal: Senator Ordered To Pay Back $139,000

OTTAWA - Sen. Pamela Wallin's final bill is in — and it's a whopper.

The embattled Saskatchewan senator and former Conservative caucus member was informed Wednesday that she'll have to reimburse the Senate a grand total of $138,970 for ineligible travel expense claims.

Wallin was already on the hook for $121,348 after an independent audit of her travel expenses, released last week. The auditors advised another $21,000 in questionable claims should be reviewed by the Senate's internal economy committee.

California Votes on Driver's Licenses That Allow the Government (and Anyone With $40) to Stalk You

California's Assembly Appropriations Committee is expected to vote on a bill Wednesday that would give residents the option of getting a "driver license on steroids." The enhanced IDs, which are recommended by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), act as an international E-ZPass—complete with a microchip holding a unique ID number that can be read via radio up to 50 meters away—and can be used to drive across borders between Canada and Mexico.

6 Mind-Boggling Facts About Farms in China

Ever since May, when a Chinese company agreed to buy US pork giant Smithfield, reportedly with an eye toward ramping up US pork imports to China, I've been looking into the simultaneously impressive and vexed state of China's food production system. In short, I've found that in the process of emerging as the globe's manufacturing center—the place that provides us with everything from the simplest of brooms to the smartest of phones—China has severely damaged its land and water resources, compromising its ability to increase food production even as its economy thunders along (though it's been a bit less thunderous lately), its population grows (albeit slowly), and its people gain wealth, move up the food chain, and demand ever-more meat.

If You've Ever Traveled to a "Suspicious" Country, This Secret Program May Target You

A previously unknown Bush administration program continued under President Barack Obama grants the FBI and other national security agencies broad authority to delay or squash the immigration applications of people from Muslim countries, according to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Under the program, immigrants can be designated "national security concerns" based on the flimsiest of rationales, such as coming from a "suspicious" country. Other criteria that can earn an immigrant this label include wiring money to relatives abroad, attending mosques the FBI has previously surveilled, or simply appearing in FBI case files.

Will There Be Justice for NYPD Victim Ramarley Graham?

At around 3 pm on a Thursday afternoon in February 2012, 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was leaving a Bronx bodega with his friends, when he was followed by members of the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit of the 47th Precinct of the New York Police Department. Footage from his home’s surveillance camera shows that Ramarley approached the door of his house, in the Wakefield section of the Bronx, unlocked it and walked inside. An officer then ran to the door, followed by another, gun drawn, and tried to kick it in without success. Multiple officers swarmed the house, entering through the back without a warrant and letting others in through the front.

In Chelsea Manning, We Finally Have a Scapegoat for the Iraq War

Update, 8/22/2013: Yesterday, Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Today, Chelsea Elizabeth Manning announced through her lawyer that she will live the rest of her life as a woman, and we have amended our comment from yesterday in conformity with who she is. Chelsea Manning will most likely be imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth, which like all other US military prisons and many civilian ones, does not provide hormone therapy or gender transition surgery to transgender prisoners. These policies should be reversed immediately.

The best way to cope with humiliating military disaster is to find a scapegoat. For the Germans after World War I, it was leftists and Jews who “stabbed the nation in the back”—the Dolchstoßlegende that set the global standard. In the resentful folklore that grows like kudzu around our Vietnam War, American defeat is blamed on the hippies and anti-American journalists who sabotaged a military effort that was on the verge of total victory. (More sophisticated revanchists season this pottage with imprecations against General Westmoreland’s leadership.)

8 Real Spies And Actual Bad Guys Who Got Shorter Sentences Than Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning received a 35-year prison sentence on Wednesday, punishment for leaking troves of classified intelligence to the website WikiLeaks in 2010. The former Army private first class faced a maximum of 90 years in prison, and the prosecution was pushing aggressively for at least 60 years, meaning the final outcome was less harsh than it could have been.

But supporters of Manning -- who has maintained that his actions were driven by his desire to expose brutality and wrongdoing being carried out by America's military and diplomatic corps -- argued that he deserves to be pardoned for his part in the revelations. Anti-war activists and civil libertarians have also commended Manning for his part in the leaks, saying that he helped accelerate the drawing down of U.S. military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan and provided important fodder for the Arab revolutions in 2010 and 2011.

Sonallah Ibrahim: Egypt’s Oracular Novelist

In May of 2011, three months after the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, the Egyptian novelist Sonallah Ibrahim, a wiry man in his mid-seventies with a salt-and-pepper half-fro, was interviewed about the relationship between politics and literature. Asked if he was writing anything about the uprising, Ibrahim demurred. To write about Tahrir would require a great deal of research. “A novel takes time,” he explained, and a good novel “would have to have a firm grasp of the past, the present moment, and the future—what will happen, or what might happen afterwards. All this entails having a total vision.”

History Will Pardon Manning, Even If Obama Doesn't

Sometimes things that are fully expected still have the capacity to shock. That’s certainly the case with the news that the former Army private Bradley Manning has been sentenced to thirty-five years in military prison for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. My colleague Amy Davidson, who has been writing about the Manning story since the beginning, has a post on the verdict, which contains more details. I’ll confine myself to three points:

1. Make no mistake, the sentence is draconian.
Judge Denise Lind, an Army colonel, didn’t give Manning the full sixty years in prison that the prosecution wanted, but the whistle-blower still faces the same sort of prison term handed out to murderers and gangsters. Assuming he follows the rules, he will be eligible for parole after eight years (a third of the sentence minus three and a half years, for time served). Even if he is released then, he will have been in prison for well over a decade.

FBI Is Looking Into Possible Criminal Charges Against Individuals At JPMorgan: Report

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the possibility of leveling criminal charges against individuals at JPMorgan Chase, an unnamed source told Bloomberg News. The FBI is working alongside the Department of Justice in its probe of the bank's energy trades, which was announced on Monday.

JPMorgan, the nation's biggest bank by assets, is also facing a criminal investigation over its actions leading up to the financial crisis. The bank is now facing at least seven ongoing investigations, according to the Wall Street Journal.

You can find Bloomberg's full report here.

FBI Agent: We've Dismantled The Leaders Of Anonymous

The hacker collective Anonymous has not produced as many high-profile cyber attacks as it once did, a drop-off that can be directly attributed to the arrests of the group's core members, an FBI official told The Huffington Post this week.

Starting in late 2010, Anonymous captured worldwide attention through a series of attacks against U.S. companies and government agencies, stealing data and defacing or crashing websites.

Bradley Manning Headed To Prison, While Those Who Authorized Torture Go Free

FORT MEADE, Md. -- Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday for releasing 700,000 documents about the United States' worldwide diplomacy and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Manning was a 25-year-old Army private first class at the time of his arrest. He saw himself as an idealist acting to end the wars, and said in online chats with hacker Adrian Lamo that he was particularly concerned about the abuse of detainees in Iraq. No political or military higher-ups have ever been prosecuted for detainee abuse or torture in Iraq, Afghanistan or at Guantanamo Bay.

Senate Internal Economy Committee knew in August, 2012, there were problems with Wallin's travel expenses

PARLIAMENT HILL—A timeline and key dates in a scathing forensic report on Saskatchewan Senator Pamela Wallin’s impugned travel expenses indicates some of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s top Senate lieutenants, or his staff, kept him in the dark after warning signs about her spending began surfacing internally as early as August, 2012.

According to auditing firm Deloitte’s report into Sen. Wallin’s travel expenses, an internal investigation began after her former executive assistant, Alison Stodin, wrote a letter dated Aug. 24, 2012, to New Brunswick Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen in her capacity as a member of the Senate Internal Economy Committee. The Senate Finance branch conducted an internal review and produced a report “Senator Wallin – Review of Expenditures,” in October, 2012. Following that, the Senate contracted Deloitte in Jan. 3, 2013, to “undertake a review of the appropriateness of Sen. Wallin’s expense claims and to report on monies owing, if any, to the receiver general.”

Pattrick Blackburn, Gay Newfoundland Man Who Was Beaten, Takes To Social Media

Pattrick Blackburn, a gay man living in St. John's, Newfoundland, who was beaten last week, has taken to Facebook and YouTube to speak out about the unprovoked attack.

“It’s really scary when somebody tells you that if you weren’t found 10 minutes before you would’ve bled out and died,” he said in the video which has since been taken down, choking back tears.

Blackburn recounts that a group of men followed him and he could hear one of them uttering a gay slur before he was attacked, he recounts in the video.

Bank of America intern's death puts banks' working culture in spotlight

Calls have been made for an overhaul of the long-hours culture among young staff working for banks in the City of London after the death of a "dedicated" German student who had won a sought-after placement at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Moritz Erhardt, 21, had won a place as a summer intern at the London city offices of the US bank and was nearing the end of his placement when he was found dead in the shower at his temporary accommodation in east London by ambulance services on 15 August.

Sears Canada cuts 245 jobs, some work moves overseas

Sears Canada is cutting 245 jobs, mostly at its head office in Toronto, and moving some of the work overseas.

The reductions will affect 138 of the jobs in the retailer's information technology department, 99 in finance and eight in payroll.

About 200 of the cuts are in the Toronto area, 38 are in Montreal and six in Belleville, Ont.

Uthai Dechawiwatm Sentenced To 37 Years For Death Of Calgarian Leo Del Pinto

Leo Del Pinto's killer is going to jail for a very long time.

Uthai Dechawiwat, a former Thai policeman, was sentenced Tuesday to 37-and-a-half years in prison for the murder of Del Pinto, a Calgary man who was shot dead in a Thailand bar in 2008.

Harper's Northern Tour: 'Glaring Weaknesses' In Arctic Rescue System Put PM On Hot Seat

HAY RIVER, N.W.T. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is touting the Canadian Rangers as a pillar of search and rescue in the North — even as a newly released defence report warns of "glaring weaknesses" in Canada's ability to respond to Arctic emergencies.

The comprehensive Defence Science Advisory Board report describes rescue missions in the Far North as "significant and complex," noting Ottawa wants to cobble together a series of new international partnerships to address the challenge.

Brad Wall Says BHP Potash Project Sign Of Confidence In Economy

REGINA - Premier Brad Wall says BHP Billiton's decision to invest US$2.6 billion in a potash project is a strong vote of confidence in Saskatchewan's industry.

BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) says it will develop the Jansen mine, although at a slower pace than previously expected and with the possible addition of a partner.

Wall says the Anglo-Australian mining company likes the geology and the economic environment in Saskatchewan.

Some financial analysts had said potash projects could be delayed after a Russian company threatened to pull out of a marketing consortium and prices plummeted.

Wall says potash can be a volatile industry and there will be some people who are going to over-react.

The premier says the Jansen investment is good for jobs and the economy.

Original Article
Author: CP

Rick Perry Seeks Obamacare Funding For Texans

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), a longstanding Obamacare critic, is negotiating a $100 million health care deal with the Obama administration, Politico reported on Tuesday.

The Community First Choice Program, aimed at improving the quality of health services for the elderly and disabled, was approved by the Texas legislature earlier this year. Perry health aides are now looking to the Obama administration for funding.

Perry has been a strident Obamacare critic from the beginning, but his spokesman explained that the funding pitch is about aiding people with disabilities, independent of a health insurance mandate.

“Long before Obamacare was forced on the American people, Texas was implementing policies to provide those with intellectual disabilities more community options to enable them to live more independent lives, at a lower cost to taxpayers,” Havens said in a statement. “The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will continue to move forward with these policies because they are right for our citizens and our state, regardless of whatever funding schemes may be found in Obamacare.”

According to Politico, 12,000 Texans are expected to benefit from the program in its first year, beginning in September 2014.

Original Article
Author: Ashley Alman

NSA Can Tap Three-Fourths Of Domestic U.S. Internet Traffic, Wall Street Journal Reports

The National Security Agency has developed surveillance programs that reach more Internet communications of Americans than have publicly been disclosed, according to current and formal officials cited in a Wall Street Journal article posted online Tuesday night.

The NSA has developed a surveillance network that can reach about 75 percent of all Internet traffic in the U.S., officials told the Journal. While the spy agency's filtering programs were designed to mine communications either originating from or ending abroad, the system is likely to gather purely domestic communications as well, the Journal reported.

Egypt’s Dirty War?

When Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist President of Chile, was overthrown by his country’s military—with the awareness, and possible assistance, of the C.I.A.—on September 11, 1973, he committed suicide rather than surrender. By then, Chile’s Air Force had already bombed the Presidential palace, where he had decided to make his last stand. When the smoke cleared, the country’s new leader, the Army commander-in-chief General Augusto Pinochet, told his fellow-countrymen that he had taken the step of removing Allende from office on behalf of the fatherland to save it from Marxist terrorists. “The armed forces of Chile have acted today solely from the patriotic inspiration of saving the country from tremendous chaos into which it was being plunged by the Marxist government of Salvador Allende,” he said. In the days, weeks, and months that followed the coup, thousands of people were hunted down, rounded up, held, tortured, and killed. Their bodies were hidden by, in many cases, secret executioners, all in the name of “freedom” and “the fatherland.”

Snowden’s Legacy: A Public Debate About Online Privacy

As you may have noticed, my friend and colleague Jeff Toobin has a post up questioning whether Edward Snowden’s leaks have really served the national interest of the United States. Having already debated this one with Jeff before in print and on television, I am a bit reluctant to get back into it, but here are a few points I think most people can agree upon.

Firstly, this isn’t primarily a matter of whether U.S. laws were broken. It’s a much larger issue of how far privacy extends in the Internet age, and how the rights of the individual should be balanced against the government’s obligation to counter terrorism and other threats. Under successive iterations of the Patriot Act, and the system of secret intelligence courts it has codified and extended, American intelligence agencies can do a lot of questionable things perfectly legally. Thanks to Snowden, and the documents he leaked to the Guardian and the Washington Post, we know they take every advantage of that opportunity.

Michael Hastings Had Relapsed Into Drug Use At Time Of His Death, Coroner Says

The late journalist Michael Hastings had traces of drugs in his system when he died, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday.

Hastings was killed in a car crash in Los Angeles in June. He was 33.

The coroners who examined him found "traces of amphetamine in his system, consistent with possible intake of methamphetamine many hours before death, as well as marijuana," the Times wrote. "Neither were considered a factor in the crash, according to toxicology reports."

The ultimate verdict: Hastings' death was an accident.

The coroner said Hastings' family had been attempting to get him to go to detox at the time of his death, and that he had relapsed into drugs a month before he died, after 14 years of sobriety.

Hastings' death prompted an outpouring of conspiracy theories. Elise Jordan, Hastings' widow, rejected those theories in an interview with Piers Morgan in early August. She said she thought her late husband's death was a "tragic accident."

Read the full Times report here.

Original Article
Author: Jack Mirkinson

Examining Harper's record and spotting a fake economic recovery

A new report from Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) on job creation in Canada arrived just as the Prime Minister said Monday he intends the next election to be about jobs and the economy. As part of a study of poverty, CPJ has published a set of fact sheets on job creation in Canada since the 2008 recession. It looks at regional and generational differences, assesses job quality and measures newly created jobs against new job seekers.

Anyone who believes what Conservative cabinet ministers have been repeating about job creation in Canada should read the CPJ fact sheets.

Anonymous Hit Back With Cyber-Attack After David Miranda Detention

Anonymous hackers behind the @OpLastResort Twitter account have hit back after the partner of the the first journalist to interview American whistleblower Edward Snowden was detained and quizzed by six agents on his "entire life" while travelling through Heathrow.

Anonymous are believed to have hacked UK sites after David Miranda, the partner of Glenn Greenwald – the journalist at the centre of revelations about US and British security services – was stopped on Sunday on his way home to Rio de Janeiro following a trip to Berlin.

Alberta Sets New Rules On Industry, Aboriginal Consultation

EDMONTON - Alberta has set new rules on how resource industries must deal with aboriginal bands, despite the objections of at least one group that says the policy is designed to keep government in the driver's seat.

"Government has the complete upper hand," Eriel Deranger, a spokeswoman for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, said Monday. "We don't want government to be developing stuff for us; we want to be developing things in partnership with governments."

When Will Solar Get Cheap Enough for Everyone to Use?

The prices of solar cells are falling rapidly, and will keep doing so for the next few years. The big questions revolve around the rate of the price declines. And the panels themselves aren't the only place where cost reductions will be found. America has very high "soft costs"—installation, permitting, marketing etc. Whittling down these expenses will help, too.

Solar is taking off at a breakneck pace (admittedly from a tiny base). Stephen Lacey at Greentech Media provides the striking figures illustrating the exponential growth of solar photovoltaics (PV) in the past few years:

It took nearly four decades to install 50 gigawatts of PV capacity worldwide. But in the last 2 ½ years, the industry jumped from 50 gigawatts of PV capacity to just over 100 gigawatts. At the same time, global module prices have fallen 62 percent since January 2011. Even more amazingly, the solar industry is on track to install another 100 gigawatts worldwide by 2015—nearly doubling solar capacity in the next 2 1/2 years.

5 Terrifying Statements in the Leaked Climate Report

Climate Desk has obtained a leaked copy of the draft Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2013 Summary for Policymakers report, which other media outlets are also reporting on. The document is dated June 7, 2013. We recognize, as we've previously reported, that this document is not final, and is in fact certain to change.

Most media outlets are focusing on the document's conclusion that it is now "extremely likely"—or, 95 percent certain—that humans are behind much of the global warming seen over the last six decades. But there is much more of note about the document—for instance, the way it doesn't hold back. It says, very bluntly, just how bad global warming is going to be. It gives a sense of irreversibility, of scale…and, of direness.

Time to March on Washington—Again

They carried signs that demanded “Voting Rights,” “Jobs for All” and “Decent Housing.” They protested the vigilante killing of an unarmed black teenager in the South and his killer’s acquittal. They denounced racial profiling in the country’s largest city.

This isn’t 1963 but 2013, when so many of the issues that gave rise to the March on Washington fifty years ago remain unfulfilled or under siege today. That’s why, on August 24, a broad coalition of civil rights organizations, unions, progressive groups and Democratic Party leaders will rally at the Lincoln Memorial and proceed to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to honor the fiftieth anniversary of the march and dramatize the contemporary fight. (President Obama will participate in a separate event commemorating the official anniversary on August 28.) The Supreme Court’s decision gutting the Voting Rights Act in late June and the acquittal of George Zimmerman less than three weeks later make this year’s march “exponentially more urgent” with respect to pressuring Congress and arousing the conscience of the nation, says Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, a co-sponsor of the march.

Here's What The Egyptian Military Has Been Buying With Your Tax Dollars

WASHINGTON -- As the number of civilian protesters killed in clashes with Egyptian military forces continued to climb this week, members of Congress began to question the $1.3 billion dollars a year in U.S. foreign aid the Egyptian military receives every year.

On Sunday, both Democrats and Republicans said the deaths of hundreds of supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi were unacceptable. "We need to exercise our influence by saying we're going to [suspend aid] until you restore democracy,” said New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Dwindling Colorado River Forces First-Ever Cuts in Lake Powell Water Releases

More than a dozen years of drought have begun to extract a heavy toll from water supplies in the West, where a report released last week forecast dramatic cuts next year in releases between the two main reservoirs on the Colorado River, the primary source of water for tens of millions of people across seven western states.

After studying the problems facing the river for the past two years, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation – the agency charged with managing water in the West – announced Friday that it would cut the amount of water released next year by Lake Powell in Arizona by 750,000 acre-feet, enough to supply about 1.5 million homes.

Russian Transgender Woman Beaten In Public Park Caught On Tape

A horrifying new video hit the web this weekend, documenting what appears to be a brutal attack on a Russian transgender woman by five men after she had allegedly been ambushed in a public park.

In the video, the victim is repeatedly beaten and kicked over the entirety of her head and body while being dragged around the park by the men for several minutes, at one point by her underwear. The title of the video reportedly translates roughly to a reference of the transgender woman as a "homosexual" and then continues by saying "view from 16 years old." It is unclear whose age to which the number 16 refers.