Democracy Gone Astray

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Pay Gap Is Much Wider Than Most Americans Think: Study

Democrats hoping to use income inequality to drive voters to the polls in November face a critical problem: Americans may not know just how well-off the nation’s rich are.

In a recent study, Americans told researchers they thought CEO pay at major corporations was approximately 30 times more than their own. Actually, CEO pay averages 354 times what a worker earns at the same company.

Americans also said they thought the pay gap between CEOs and workers should be approximately 7 to 1. To achieve that ratio, workers would have to make $1.8 million each year, a separate study concluded.

Raising Most People's Wages

I was in Seattle, Washington, recently, to congratulate union and community organizers who helped Seattle enact the first $15 per hour minimum wage in the country.

Other cities and states should follow Seattle's example.

Contrary to the dire predictions of opponents, the hike won't cost Seattle jobs. In fact, it will put more money into the hands of low-wage workers who are likely to spend almost all of it in the vicinity. That will create jobs.

Why Do Americans Hate Beheadings But Love Drone Killings?

The answer lies in human psychology. And probably like the old observation about history, people who refuse to understand human psychology are doomed to be victims of psychological manipulation. How is it that even members of peace groups have now come to support US bombing? One lady framed the issue like this: "I request that we discuss and examine why the videotaped beheading of a human being is understood to be more egregious than the explosion (almost totally invisible to the public) of a human being by a missile or bomb fired from a drone."

Six Steps to Protect Canadians from Flaws in China Trade Deal

The Harper Cabinet quietly ratified the Canada-China FIPA on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Lately I have received messages from people asking if the FIPA can still be stopped and what else might be done to limits its potential harm.

Sadly, there is no longer anything that any legislature, government, or court in Canada can do to avoid the FIPA taking effect on Oct. 1, 2014. The time for action was two years ago when the FIPA was made public. Many thousands of Canadians responded to this need at that time and since. Yet our institutions -- especially the federal government -- evidently did not.

Worker Groups 'Alarmed' White House May Delay New Minimum Wage, Overtime Rule

WASHINGTON -- It was once part of President Barack Obama's "We Can't Wait" economic agenda. But now the wait might be getting even longer.

The Labor Department is considering delaying a long-awaited rule that would extend new workplace protections to home care workers -- a possibility that has advocates for low-wage workers steamed.

In a letter addressed to Labor Secretary Tom Perez on Monday, more than 40 labor and advocacy groups said that they were "alarmed" by suggestions that officials might delay the new regulations and put a "historic workplace victory in jeopardy."

Peter Van Loan takes a stand against the notion of relevancy

Just after noon on Friday, Paul Calandra, the Prime Minister’s parliamentary secretary, stood and tearfully apologized for his irrelevant responses of earlier in the week. Just after noon today, Peter Van Loan, the Government House leader, stood and argued, essentially, that Mr. Calandra should be free (at least beyond his own conscience) to be so irrelevant again.

Rising to respond to the NDP’s motion that would impose some standard of relevancy on responses offered by the government in Question Period, Mr. Van Loan first used nearly 600 words to expound on what he saw as relative greatness of the Canadian parliamentary system. Perhaps this was Mr. Van Loan’s way of trying to cheer everyone up.

Judge Says Poor Have No Right To Clean Water, Allows Detroit Water Shutoffs To Continue

Saying there is no such thing as a legal right to clean running water, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes dismissed a request from Detroit residents to impose a six-month moratorium on water shutoffs by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) on Monday.
The plaintiffs had argued last week that the DWSD shutoffs over delinquent water bills violated the human rights of impoverished citizens who had no ability to pay what the city says they owe, and who were left without access to clean water by the shutoff policy.

The Supreme Court’s First Decision In Its New Term Is A Decision Making It Harder To Vote

On Monday, the Supreme Court returned from its summer vacation for the “Long Conference,” the day when the justices consider the backlog of petitions asking them to hear cases that built up while they were away for the summer. Yet, despite the fact that the justices typically face hundreds of petitions that they must consider during this conference, five of them still found time on Monday to make it harder for Ohio residents to cast a vote. In a 5-4 decision that divided entirely along partisan lines, the Court allowed cuts to Ohio’s early voting days to go into effect. Notably, this decision came down just 16 hours before polling places were set to open in that state.

Glenn Greenwald: Media Way Overhyped Khorasan Group Threat

When the United States suddenly announced last week that it had attacked a militant group called Khorasan, many observers wondered where, exactly, these people had come from.

"Extraordinary - military strikes against a group no WH official had ever publicly mentioned by name," ABC's Jon Karl noted.
That didn't stop the headlines about the group's fearsome powers from piling up everywhere—along with lots of "explainer" posts so that people could actually know what was being discussed.

Whack-A-Mole: Our Strategy for Permanent War

After Barack Obama announced his high-risk military campaign in the Middle East, some commentators raised the question of why -- given the decade of quagmire in Afghanistan and Iraq -- was there no exit strategy? The answer by now is obvious: There will be no exit.

The Method To Steve King's Madness

The most notorious moment of Representative Steve King's career was cleverly calculated.

The immigration debate had undergone a sea change in favor of reform, with bipartisan Senate passage of a sweeping bill in the months after Hispanics carried President Obama to a resounding reelection victory. The No. 2 Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, kept up the pressure on the House by delivering speeches arguing that young undocumented "Dreamers" were some of the finest in society — high school valedictorians, even, who deserved the same opportunities as native-born children.

Prisons Are Adopting the Walmart Business Model

The nation's biggest and baddest for-profit prison company suddenly cares about halfway houses -- so much so that they want in on the action.

About a year after acquiring a smaller firm that operates halfway houses and other community corrections facilities, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) CEO Damon Hininger announced a few weeks ago that "[r]eentry programs and reducing recidivism are 100 percent aligned with our business model."

Wait, what?

High recidivism rates mean more people behind bars, and CCA depends on more and more incarceration to make its billions. Since when do they actually want people to do well after they get out, instead of being sucked back into the system?

Big Banks Don't Want You To Find Out What People Really Think Of Them

The nation's largest banks and debt collectors are worried that if you learn what people are saying about them, you might like them less. And that wouldn't be fair, they say.

The financial sector is fighting a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposal that would have the agency publish complaints submitted by people who feel they have been mistreated by a lender, debt collector or other financial institution. As it now stands, the agency publishes some small amount of information about the more than 290,000 complaints it has received from aggrieved consumers, but has refused to release the full narratives -- essentially, the details.

Bizarre Trial Accuses Government Of Illegally Bailing Out AIG

A bizarre reminder of some of the most terrifying moments in U.S. financial history just kicked off in Washington: Former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg's hubris-filled case against the government went to trial on Monday. Greenberg claims that the 2008 bailout AIG received from the government was illegal, and he's demanding $25 billion in damages.

Rick Santorum Suggests That Only Muslims Are Violent

Ex-Senator and religious film producer Rick Santorum blasted practitioners of Islam at the Values Voter Summit this past week, contending that the current conflict in the Middle East is a product of an age-old fight between the West and those who see the world in a “fundamentally different” way — namely, Muslims.

Everything You Need To Know About Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Riot police in Hong Kong are deploying tear gas and rubber bullets against at least 13,000 protesters demanding greater democratic reforms. The movement — dubbed the “Umbrella Revolution” for the demonstrators’ use of umbrellas to protect themselves from tear gas — is capturing the world’s attention and leading some analysts to wonder if the event could escalate into a broader push for greater democracy in the region.

Lucia Vega Jimenez Inquest Could Shed Light On B.C. Deportations

VANCOUVER - A coroner's inquest starting Monday into the death of a Mexican national who hanged herself inside a Vancouver airport holding cell offers a rare chance to examine the secretive deportation process encountered by many migrants, says an advocacy group with ties to Lucia Vega Jimenez's family.

The group "Mexicans Living in Vancouver" was formed after the 42-year-old woman attempted suicide in late December, following several weeks in jail and Canada Border Services' Agency custody awaiting her removal. She died several days later.

The Battle Against the Tar Sands Is About to Change

The fight against the tar sands is a big one.

We stand in defense of the land, water, climate and communities against the richest companies on the planet, and a federal and provincial government who are intent on extracting tar sands as quickly as possible regardless of the cost.
Working in Alberta, the belly of the tar sands beast, the odds are often overwhelming but, over the past few months, something has changed.

NDP motion to force relevant answers during Question Period will be quashed by Tories

OTTAWA – An NDP motion which could give the Speaker of the House power to force the government to provide relevant answers during Question Period will be quashed by the government.

The motion, introduced in the House today, would change the rules to extend the same rules to Question Period regarding irrelevant or repetitive comments that are in place for all other debates in the House of Commons. Currently the rules allow the speaker to determine if a question is irrelevant to Parliamentary business, but he can’t play a role to determine if an answer is irrelevant or repetitive.

Tanya Tagaq Talks Missing And Murdered Aboriginal Woman, PETA In CBC National Interview

When Tanya Tagaq won the 2014 Polaris Prize a week ago, Tagaq made international headlines with two words she uttered during her acceptance speech: F--- PETA."
Unfortunately, the ensuing uproar — including PETA's response that the Inuk throat-singer should "read more" — meant that too little attention was paid to the list of 1,200 names of missing and murdered aboriginal women which scrolled past throughout her mesmerizing Sept. 22 performance in Toronto .

Don’t you dare tell me to check my privilege

In the early 1970s, my dad was a singular sort of feminist. As well as working all night in a factory, he had banned my mother from the kitchen for as long as I could remember because, and I quote, ‘Women gets hysterical and you needs to be calm in a kitchen.’ He also adored tough broads: ‘There’s a lady!’ he would yell appreciatively at Mrs Desai when the Grunwick strike came on TV, the Indian women wearing English winter coats over their hard-core saris. ‘Thass a lady too!’ — May Hobbs, the pretty leader of the cleaners’ strike. ‘What a woman!’ he would swoon when the lesbian tennis champ Billie Jean King shrugged off yet another trophy.

Only once in a while did his righteousness get on my wick, like the Christmas when he heard there were some striking bakers nearby and he made my mum pack our Christmas dinner (with all the trimmings!) into Tupperware boxes so he could take it down to the starving brothers freezing around the brazier down on the picket line.

Cities rising: B.C. municipal leaders demand a bigger say over oil pipelines

At the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler this week, one visible sign of rising local government activism against oil pipeline projects from Alberta was on municipal leaders’ wrists: a simple blue band.

Many like Duncan city councillor Michelle Bell wore one.

"People aren’t feeling heard and included in the [NEB] process.  If we have an [oil spill] disaster, it’s something we cannot reverse,” said the Vancouver Island politician.

Hundreds Of Authors Take On Amazon

Forget the image you may have of a writer-as-loner, scribbling alone in some cabin with superglue blocking up the Ethernet cable and noise-cancelling headphones over his ears so as to avoid all contact with anyone in the world, save for the universe conjured by the writer’s imagination. Meet Authors United, an impressive, and impressively huge, pack of published scribes coming together for much the same reason as many disparate people wind up on the same team: to battle a common enemy.

Eastern Ukraine Shelling Kills At Least 12

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Eastern Ukraine has suffered the worst violence in more than a week as fighting between pro-Russian rebels and government troops in the region killed at least 12 people and wounded 32, officials said Monday.

Col. Andriy Lysenko told journalists in a briefing in Kiev on Monday that at least nine troops had been killed in a day and 27 had been wounded.

Before the Law

In the early hours of Saturday, May 15, 2010, ten days before his seventeenth birthday, Kalief Browder and a friend were returning home from a party in the Belmont section of the Bronx. They walked along Arthur Avenue, the main street of Little Italy, past bakeries and cafés with their metal shutters pulled down for the night. As they passed East 186th Street, Browder saw a police car driving toward them. More squad cars arrived, and soon Browder and his friend found themselves squinting in the glare of a police spotlight. An officer said that a man had just reported that they had robbed him. “I didn’t rob anybody,” Browder replied. “You can check my pockets.”

The officers searched him and his friend but found nothing. As Browder recalls, one of the officers walked back to his car, where the alleged victim was, and returned with a new story: the man said that they had robbed him not that night but two weeks earlier. The police handcuffed the teens and pressed them into the back of a squad car. “What am I being charged for?” Browder asked. “I didn’t do anything!” He remembers an officer telling them, “We’re just going to take you to the precinct. Most likely you can go home.” Browder whispered to his friend, “Are you sure you didn’t do anything?” His friend insisted that he hadn’t.

The Revenge of Rand Paul

At 8 A.M. on a Friday in late July, Senator Rand Paul, of Kentucky, stood before a predominantly African-American audience of about a hundred at an Urban League conference in Cincinnati. An ophthalmologist before he was a senator, Paul has spent much of his career in surgical scrubs, but he was dressed nattily, in a charcoal suit and a red rep tie. His typically unkempt curls, which give him the look of a philosophy student lost in thought, were restrained with the help of a hair product. His aides had been promoting the talk for weeks, as part of a yearlong effort to reintroduce himself to political constituencies—on both the left and the right—that may have reason to distrust him. In the next few months, he is planning to deliver a major speech on foreign policy; like race, it is an area in which Paul has encountered strident opposition.

Afghanistan To Sign U.S. Security Agreement, Adviser Says

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A senior adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday that Afghanistan will sign a deal Tuesday to allow American soldiers to remain in the country past the end of the year.

John Podesta, speaking to a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, said he didn't know if newly inaugurated President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai would be the official signing the deal for Afghanistan.

Podesta said he would sign it on behalf of the U.S.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Citizens United Was The Current Supreme Court's Worst Ruling

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed her extreme regret over several of the current Court's rulings in a wide-ranging interview published in The New Republic Sunday evening, including their rejecting the commerce clause of President Barack Obama's health care law, and issuing a huge blow to the Voting Rights Act in their Shelby County v. Holder decision.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is an American Hero

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was considered a judge’s judge when she was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993, an incrementalist whothought Roe v. Wade might have gone too far. Some liberals were wary. But they don’t worry about “R.B.G.” anymore. At 81, Ginsburg has become an icon to the left, inspiring fanwear and Tumblr tributes. Her dissents in the most hotly contested of the Court’s recent cases unabashedly defend progressive principles while taking her colleagues to task. (“The Court falters at each step of its analysis,” she wrote in her dissent of the five-four Hobby Lobby ruling.) Having avoided the spotlight for most of her two decades on the bench, she has emerged as an outspoken critic of the conservative majority, which she has lambasted in media outlets fromNational Law Journal to ElleNow, however, liberals have a new fear: thatGinsburg has stuck around too long, and should have stepped down while President Barack Obama had the best chance of replacing her with a successor who shares her ideals.

We Need to Raise Most People’s Wages to Grow the Economy for the Majority, Not the 1 Percent

I was in Seattle, Washington, recently, to congratulate union and community organizers who helped Seattle enact the first $15 per hour minimum wage in the country.

Other cities and states should follow Seattle’s example.

Contrary to the dire predictions of opponents, the hike won’t cost Seattle jobs. In fact, it will put more money into the hands of low-wage workers who are likely to spend almost all of it in the vicinity. That will create jobs.

Judge Slams Voter Suppression Law — ‘Why Does The State Of North Carolina Not Want People To Vote?’

Voting rights advocates in North Carolina caught a lucky break on Thursday, where it was revealed that the panel of three judges who would consider that state’s comprehensive voter suppression law included one Clinton appointee, Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, and two Obama appointees, Judges James Wynn and Henry Floyd. Last month, a George W. Bush appointee to a federal trial bench in North Carolina allowed the law to go into effect during the 2014 election, the panel of three judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit are now considering whether to affirm or reverse that decision. They heard oral arguments in the case on Thursday.

SaskPower's Carbon Capture Operation Meant To Be An Example To World

REGINA - Saskatchewan's government-owned power utility is set to launch its flagship carbon-capture-and-storage project this week when it cuts the ribbon on a $1.4-billion addition to its Boundary Dam power plant near Estevan.

Billed by SaskPower as the world’s first and largest commercial-scale, carbon-capture operation of its kind, the project outfits part of the coal-fired power station with a mechanism to capture carbon dioxide emissions and transport the gas through a steel pipeline into storage deep underground.

Hong Kong Activists Defy Police Tear Gas As Protests Spread

HONG KONG, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Riot police advanced on Hong Kong democracy protesters in the early hours of Monday, firing volleys of tear gas that sent some fleeing as others erected barricades to block the security forces in the heart of the former British colony.

Stephen Harper and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Week

It is hard to say what was the worst part of Stephen Harper’s horrible week.

Was it his appearance at the United Nations, where his speech was delivered with all the sincerity of a Walmart greeter to a near empty house?

Was it Paul Calandra’s risible performance in the House of Commons, a silly, remorseless apology that only laid bare the bottomless narcissism of this disgraceful MP?  It also showed another important thing — Stephen Harper’s preference for choosing sycophantic boors as his parliamentary secretaries.

Opposition MPs raise concerns over ‘highly political’ ministers’ regional offices

The number and cost of ministers’ regional offices has increased in recent years, and opposition MPs are raising a red flag, saying they’re concerned the offices and staff are being used by the government to give the Conservative Party an electoral advantage.

“These ministerial offices are like black holes. We don’t know what function they’re playing. They’re in communities where access to federal government services are being cut back, and yet these mysterious offices are receiving more funding. People have asked me what do they do, and I have no idea,” said NDP MP Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay, Ont.), who filed an Order Paper question on the mandate, cost and location of ministers’ regional offices last January.

New legislation will impose specific unions on health-care workers in Nova Scotia

(K'JIPUKTUK) HALIFAX - This Monday, Nova Scotia's Health Minister Leo Glavine will introduce legislation that dictates to health-care workers which union they must belong to.
"We will identify who will represent nurses, who will represent technologists, clerical and administration," Glavine told the Chronicle Herald earlier.
The legislation merges nine district health authorities in the province into two, and reduces the number of collective agreements with health-care units to just four, based on classification.

Death and despair in Canada's migrant dungeons

One month after the death of 42-year-old hotel worker and Mexican migrant Lucia Vega Jimenez in Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) custody, I received a call from a young Haitian woman at the same prison Lucia had been in. Unlike most detainees, she did not call to ask for legal advice to fight for her release, nor was she seeking support to stop her deportation. She called to ask me if I could find information on preventing the spread of infection. She had just miscarried.
One month after Lucia's death, another migrant death in detention.

Proposed Law Exposes BC Non-Profits to Attack

Running small non-profit organizations in British Columbia will become much more difficult if the government proceeds with a proposed change that will make it easy for opponents to tie them up in court, say critics of the province's direction.

"They are making life for organizations like ours more complicated," said Jim Wright, the president of the Garden City Conservation Society in Richmond.

Oil and gas pollution committee quietly silenced

OTTAWA—Environment Canada appears to have quietly ended key discussions that were intended to tackle carbon pollution from the oil and gas industry.

A committee made up of representatives from Environment Canada, the Alberta government and oil and gas companies was created in the fall of 2011 to develop options to reduce industrial greenhouse gases from the oilsands sector, the country’s fastest growing source of carbon emissions.

Who wins with income-splitting? Rich Albertans.

If Stephen Harper’s goal was to design a tax policy to make income inequality in this country even worse, he can pat himself on the back. That’s exactly what the Conservatives’ family income-splitting tax scheme will do.

Research from various organizations across the political spectrum has demonstrated already that this tax policy, projected to cost the federal treasury $3 billion in 2015, would be an expensive and inequitable tax giveaway.

Harper OKs potentially unconstitutional China-Canada FIPA deal, coming into force October 1

It's official: Prime Minister Stephen Harper has approved the controversial Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) today.

In a short, two-paragraph news release, International Trade Minister Ed Fast said the deal was now ratified. It will come into force on October 1, 2014, and will be effective for 31 years, until 2045.

Harper sneaks through Canada-China FIPA, locks Canada in for 31 years

In the world of official government announcements, a two-paragraph media releasesent out in the late afternoon on the Friday before Parliament resumes sitting is the best way for a government to admit, "We know this is really, really unpopular, but we're doing it anyway."
That's the way the Harper government, by way of a release quoting Trade Minister Ed Fast, announced that it had decided to ignore widespread public opposition, parliamentary opposition from the NDP,Greens and even lukewarm Liberal criticism, an ongoing First Nations legal challenge, and even division at its own cabinet table and grassroots membership and proceed with the ratification of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA).

Conservatives spike Facebook comments critical of China deal

Conservative staff members deleted comments critical of the Canada-China investment deal that were posted on the party's Facebook page.

Angry notes about the controversial Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) were among more than 100 Facebook comments purged from the party's page in less than a week, an analysis by Postmedia News found.

China Deal Trumps Province, First Nations on Energy Projects: Treaty Expert

One of the nation's investment treaty experts warns that Canada's highly preferential trade agreement with China could have important implications for resource and LNG development in British Columbia and the rest of the country.

The controversial Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA), which the Harper government signed into effect without parliamentary debate, "means that any B.C. government or legislature or courts would now be subject to obligations arranged by the federal government and China under the treaty," says Osgoode Law School professor Gus Van Harten.

New Treaty Allows China to Sue Canada to Change its Laws

Despite public outcry, Stephen Harper, Canada’s prime minister, ratified a controversial treaty on Friday that will allow China to sue Canada in secret tribunals for Canadian laws that interfere with Chinese investments.

Analysts interpret the move as an attempt to ease strained relations between the two nations. This summer, Canada accused China of hacking government computers, and China detained a Canadian couple for “spying.” Wenran Jiang, a senior fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and a special adviser to the Alberta government told the Globe and Mail, “We need something from China prior to the prime minister’s visit, and we’re ratifying this treaty and we’re kicking the ball over to the Chinese side to get something in return.” That “something” is thought to be the release of the couple before Harper visits China in November.

Satellite Conservative Ministerial Staff Costs Soar 70 Per Cent

OTTAWA - The cost of paying Conservative political staffers working in a network of satellite minister's offices ballooned by 70 per cent during the same years the government was asking departments to tighten their belts.

Between 2009-10 and 2013-14, the budget for staffing at the regional offices rose from $1.6 million to $2.7 million, according to figures tabled in the House of Commons this week.

Harper government's new jobs plan gives "firms an incentive to fire workers"

The Harper government's new signature proposal timed for the return of Parliament on Monday "makes it weirdly profitable to fire people," according to an independent analysis by an economist.
Mike Moffatt of the Ivey School of Business at Western University analysed the proposed Small Business Job Credit aimed at companies that pay Employment Insurance premiums equal to or less than $15,000, and found "major structural flaws that, in many cases, give firms an incentive to fire workers and cut salaries."
That's not what the Harper government said last week when it unveiled a plan to save small businesses more than $550 million by effectively lowering EI premiums from the current legislated rate of $1.88 to $1.60 per $100 of insurable earnings in 2015 and 2016.

To Harper, not all child casualties of war are innocent

Before last week, I thought I understood the depth of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s malevolence. I was wrong.

Only now do I appreciate just how ugly this prime minister is. I didn’t think it was possible for even a government as rabidly partisan as this one to add Palestinian children to its long list of enemies. That’s not hyperbole. Truth.

How else can we begin to explain Harper’s failure to help Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish — a University of Toronto professor described by his Israeli colleagues as “a magical, secret bridge between Israelis and Palestinians” — in his efforts to bring 100 innocent victims of the war in Gaza to Canada for medical treatment?

The transformation of Pierre Karl Péladeau

About four years ago, from a podium flanked by Canadian flags, Pierre Karl Péladeau stood in front of a roomful of journalists and proclaimed his concern for the state of his country’s democracy. The president and CEO of Quebecor, one of the country’s largest media corporations, said Canadians were almost dangerously ill-served by the country’s existing television news channels. “Far too many Canadians are tuning out completely or changing their dials to American all-news channels. They’re opting out or switching over. That’s not good for Canadian television. It’s not good for Canadian democracy. And it’s not good for Canada itself,” Péladeau said.

Hedge Funds Are Richer Than Ever

Things are looking pretty good for the superrich.

The largest Americas-based hedge funds are controlling more money than ever before, according to a new analysis by Absolute Return, a hedge fund news site.

Spy watchdog’s past oil ties spark concerns in civil liberties complaint case

OTTAWA - A civil liberties group is objecting to Canada's spy watchdog assigning Yves Fortier to investigate alleged spying on environmental activists, citing a conflict due to his former petroleum industry ties.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association's lawyer has written to the Security Intelligence Review Committee asking that Fortier "recuse himself from any participation" in the matter since he once sat on the board of TransCanada Pipelines — the company behind the Keystone XL project.

Hong Kong Police Use Tear Gas To Clear Protesters

HONG KONG (AP) -- Hong Kong police used tear gas Sunday and warned of further measures as they tried to clear thousands of pro-democracy protesters who had gathered outside government headquarters in a challenge to Beijing over its decision to restrict democratic reforms for the semiautonomous city.

Top Republican Presidential Candidate Says Anarchy May Force Cancellation Of 2016 Election

Dr. Ben Carson, a popular Tea Party activist and Fox News contributor who says he will likely seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016, said on Sunday that he is seriously concerned that there will not be 2016 elections in the United States because the country could be in anarchy by that point. His reasons: the growing national debt, ISIS, and the U.S. Senate’s refusal to consider legislation passed by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

Life in the Ruins

The first advertisement released by Bashar al-Assad during this year’s Syrian presidential election campaign was tagged with the slogan Sawa, or “Together.” It proved to be a misguided choice for a plebiscite marred by widespread ballot stuffing, choreographed pro-Assad celebrations outside the polling stations, and no votes cast by Syrians in rebel-held territories throughout the country. For the incumbent, who won an improbable 89 percent of the vote, the election was a way to demonstrate to friends and foes that he has the wherewithal to survive a civil war now in its third year, no matter the cost—which thus far includes some 190,000 deaths (a third of them civilians, according to the United Kingdom–based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights) and the devastation of much of the country’s economy and infrastructure.