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, September 29, 2014

Al Qaeda-Linked Militants Fire Rocket Towards U.S. Embassy In Yemen

SANAA, Sept 27 (Reuters) - An al Qaeda splinter group launched a rocket attack on the U.S. embassy in Sanaa on Saturday, injuring several guards, to retaliate for what it said on social media was a U.S. drone strike in a northern province the day before.

The rocket landed 200 meters from the heavily fortified embassy, which lies in a compound surrounded by high walls, hitting members of the Yemeni special police force who guard the site. At least two were injured, police said.

Islamic State Shells Syrian Kurdish Town, Defying Air Strikes

BEIRUT/MURSITPINAR, Turkey, Sept 27 (Reuters) - New U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State fighters failed to stop them from pressing their assault on a strategic Syrian town near the Turkish border on Saturday, hitting it with shell fire for the first time.

The U.S. Central Command said the air strikes destroyed an IS building and two armed vehicles near the border town of Kobani, which the insurgents have been besieging for the past 10 days.

Raging GOP Candidate Mike Bost's Past Includes Dog Killing And Mysterious Stolen Gun

WASHINGTON -- Illinois state Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) has made a name for himself throwing extraordinary tantrums during legislative sessions. But he doesn't appear to have contained his notorious temper to the statehouse, according to a review of court and police records obtained by The Huffington Post.

Bost, who is running for Congress this fall under the slogan "Passionate Leadership for Southern Illinois," has a lengthy history with local authorities, including some incidents that suggest "passionate" is a bit of an understatement.

Democracy Protests In Hong Kong Turn Violent

HONG KONG, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Violent clashes between Hong Kong riot police and students galvanized tens of thousands of supporters for the city's pro-democracy movement and kick-started a plan to lock down the heart of the Asian financial center early on Sunday.

Leaders and supporters of Occupy Central with Love and Peace rallied to support students who were doused with pepper spray early on Saturday after they broke through police barriers and stormed the city's government headquarters.

Russia Is One Step Closer To Tightening Grip On Media Even More

MOSCOW, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Russia's lower house of parliament passed a law on Friday aimed at limiting foreign ownership of Russian media holdings to 20 percent, in a move critics say will reinforce the dominance of Kremlin-backed media.

In its second and final readings, the draft law, which targets some of Russia's few remaining independent-minded media outlets, passed with 430 parliamentarians voting for the bill and two against it, the official Russian Gazette reported.

'I Don't Feel Safe Calling The Police': New Yorkers March Against Police Violence

NEW YORK -- Protesters called for the firing of New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton at an anti-police-brutality rally Saturday in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sunset Park.

"I have a 3-year-old daughter and I don't feel safe calling the police,” Claudia Galicia, president of Sunset Park Latino Democrats, told The Huffington Post.

The rally was sparked largely by footage released Tuesday that appears to show NYPD officers slamming 5-months-pregnant Sandra Amezquita belly-first into the pavement.

How Israel Silences Dissent

JAFFA, Israel — On July 12, four days after the latest war in Gaza began, hundreds of Israelis gathered in central Tel Aviv to protest the killing of civilians on both sides and call for an end to the siege of Gaza and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. They chanted, “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”

Hamas had warned that it would fire a barrage of rockets at central Israel after 9 p.m., and it did.

But the injuries suffered in Tel Aviv that night stemmed not from rocket fire but from a premeditated assault by a group of extremist Israeli Jews. Chanting “Death to Arabs” and “Death to leftists,” they attacked protesters with clubs. Although several demonstrators were beaten and required medical attention, the police made no arrests.

Stephen Harper ready to write history in his own image

OTTAWA—What to make of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s performance this week? At home and abroad, he did a week-long march on the world stage.

But make no mistake. It was a performance staged for a domestic audience. With an election a year away and rumours swirling about whether Harper will stay or go, it was an unusually revealing one.

Stephen Harper believes he’s changed the country. And for the first time, he stated it boldly as fact.

How ISIS Uses Oil To Fund Terror

Every week, The WorldPost asks an expert to shed light on a topic driving headlines around the world. Today, we turn to Syria and the Islamic State's massive oil revenues.
News broke last week that U.S. intelligence officials believe the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has grown into one of the wealthiest terrorist groups in history. According to recent estimates, the militants are making as much as $3 million a day, most of it through the illegal oil trade. U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria this weektargetedsome of the ISIS-controlled oil installations in an effort to curtail the militants' revenue stream.

Group With Ties To Kochs Mails Out Incorrect Voter Registration Info To... A Cat?

A conservative group with financial and political ties to the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch sent hundreds of North Carolina voters -- and at least one cat -- incorrect voter registration information, according to the State Board of Elections.

The Raleigh News & Observer first reported Thursday that Americans for Prosperity's North Carolina chapter was responsible for sending an “official application form” to voters that contained erroneous information.

ISIL pushes into Syrian town despite US raids

Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have continued to advance into the Kurdish-dominated town of Ain al-Arab in Syria, despite the US-led air campaign against the self-declared jihadist group.

More than 15,000 residents have fled the northern Syrian town as ISIL fighters pushed deeper, fighting fierce battles with Kurdish armed groups on Saturday.

Ain al-Arab, which the Kurds call Kobane, is close to the Syrian-Turkey border.

Catalonia president orders independence referendum on Nov. 9

The president of Catalonia, Artur Mas, has signed a decree calling an independence referendum for Nov. 9. The secessionist drive of the Spanish region has been rebuked by Madrid, which vowed to block the vote.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called a government meeting Monday that is expected to provide a legal response to Barcelona’s announcement. Madrid plans to challenge the vote in the constitutional court.

Ice Melt Dilutes Arctic Sea’s CO2 Cleanup Role

LONDON—The Arctic ice cap has just passed its summer minimum—and it’s the sixth lowest measure of sea ice recorded since 1978, according to scientists at the US space agency NASA.

For three decades, the shrinking Arctic ice—and the growing area of clear blue water exposed each summer—has been a cause of increasing alarm to climate scientists.

The 10 Commandments of Ebola

In the slums of Monrovia, where the Ebola virus has spun out of control, health authorities have now provided citizens with a new version of the 10 commandments.

The alarming protocol speaks volumes about the deadly pace of an evolving epidemic that has unsettled West Africa, and will have global implications if the virus reaches the urban slums of India or China.

Signaling Post-Snowden Era, New iPhone Locks Out N.S.A.

WASHINGTON — Devoted customers of Apple products these days worry about whether the new iPhone 6 will bend in their jean pockets. The National Security Agency and the nation’s law enforcement agencies have a different concern: that the smartphone is the first of a post-Snowden generation of equipment that will disrupt their investigative abilities.

The phone encrypts emails, photos and contacts based on a complex mathematical algorithm that uses a code created by, and unique to, the phone’s user — and that Apple says it will not possess.

Is Mahmoud Abbas Right That Israel Is Guilty of War Crimes, Genocide in Gaza?

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday at the United Nations that Israel was guilty ofwar crimes in Gaza and even “genocide.”

The US and Israel condemned his speech as “offensive” but did not condemn Israel policy toward Palestinians in Gaza as offensive.

Oil and Gas Companies Are Rigging Wages and Cheating Their Workers

A ProPublica review of U.S. Department of Labor investigations shows that oil and gas workers – men and women often performing high-risk jobs – are routinely being underpaid, and the companies hiring them often are using accounting techniques to deny workers benefits such as medical leave or unemployment insurance.

The DOL investigations have centered on what is known as worker “misclassification,” an accounting gambit whereby companies treat full time employees as independent contractors paid hourly wages, and then fail to make good on their obligations. The technique, investigators and experts say, has become ever more common as small companies seek to gain contracts in an intensely competitive market by holding labor costs down.

Canadian government joins 11th-hour search for John A. Macdonald’s precise birthplace

Barely 100 days before planned celebrations to mark the bicentennial of Sir John A. Macdonald’s birth in Glasgow, Scotland, the Canadian government has joined in an 11th-hour search for the precise birthplace of the country’s founding prime minister.

After a Postmedia News archival discovery earlier this month bolstered the possibility Macdonald was born in what is now a derelict, downtown Glasgow commercial building — a former pub and massage parlour that’s still standing but slated for demolition — Foreign Affairs spokesman John Babcock has disclosed that “in search of further clarity,” officials with the Canadian High Commission in London are working “to verify the conflicting reports and evidence, and we look forward to a conclusive finding of where Sir John A.’s exact birthplace is.”

Revoking citizenship is not the answer for disillusioned youth

Mo3, as friends knew him -- Mohamud Mohamed Mohamud -- from Hamilton and long before that Somalia, died this week in Syria, possibly fighting for ISIS. He was 20. He'd been a bright kid, on student council, got involved in religion, then politics. Sounds familiar. Oh wait, that would be me in high school and the years after. These young people aren't monsters and haven't had their brains or bodies snatched. They're going through adolescence. It's dicey.
He danced in a talent contest in public school, ran for president in high school, played video games, modelled clothing. And he got religious. "He started becoming very overtly religious and yet distancing himself from the Muslim community," said a family spokesman. He even "harshly" criticized other Muslims. It all fits. You realize there are larger meanings. You want to take your place in the world as more than a family appendage. But you need to know you're not just doing what they want you to, so you find a way to distinguish your version of whatever it is.

Canada urged to give as much as it can in fight against ISIS

The world is going to have to give more and do more to fight ISIS, according to the U.S. ambassador to Canada.

In an interview with CBC Radio's The House, Ambassador Bruce Heyman told Evan Solomon that the message from the United States to all of its coalition partners, including Canada, is "we're going to need more at this point to defeat ISIL."

If Toronto wants to ditch racism and homophobia, start with Rob and Doug Ford

In the wake of a mayoral debate in which supporters of Doug Ford, the recent doppelganger replacement for the ailing personality cult front man Rob Ford, ranted their homophobic and racist views, Toronto's media has, rather tentatively, begun to question why Doug Ford does not take a stronger stand against the bigots in his midst.
Edward Keenan in the Toronto Star noted of the debate:
One woman arrived at the debate with an unflattering caricature of the Ford brothers, only to have it torn from her hands and crumpled up, she told reporters. Iola Fortino was removed by police after disrupting the debate with a rant. According to other media reports, she proclaimed that Rob Ford “goes to the family cottage during Pride, that’s why we love him. We need Ford Nation.” 
Later in the debate, another proud Ford advocate, who identified himself to the National Post’s Christie Blatchford as Earl Cowan, shouted: “Go home, Olivia! Back to China!” When challenged by the crowd, Blatchford reported, he followed up with: “She’s Chinese! She’s not Canadian!”

Mahmoud Abbas calls on UN to back deadline for Israeli withdrawal

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has called on the United Nations security council to support a resolution setting a clear deadline for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories as he in effect declared the US-sponsored Oslo peace process over.

In a hard-hitting speech to the UN general assembly in New York, he also accused Israel of “war crimes carried out before the eyes of the world” during the recent 50-day Gaza war that ended in a ceasefire on 26 August, adding that Israel had “perpetrated genocide”.

Gaza war may be over but Jerusalem is still simmering

Tariq Abu Khdeir has been arrested twice this summer. The first time, Israeli police accused the 22-year-old of participating in the riots in July in East Jerusalem’s Shuafat following the kidnapping and murder by Jewish extremists of his 16-year-old cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, whose burned body was found in the Jerusalem Forest.

Last week, the police came again for Tariq, this time at 1.30am, accusing him and two other cousins of throwing stones at the light railway trains that run through East Jerusalem – a charge he denies.

Top Billionaire Campaign Donors Favor Republicans In 2014

WASHINGTON -- The wealthiest Americans are playing a larger role in politics these days, thanks to campaign finance laws loosened by the Supreme Court's conservative majority. Billionaires can now make unlimited contributions to super PACs, or, if they prefer discretion, to nonprofit groups that don't disclose their donors.

U.S. carbon emissions tick higher; Obama tells U.N.: ‘We have to do more’

The Obama administration appears to be losing ground in its efforts to cut U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases, according to new government figures that show pollution levels rising again after several years of gradual decline.

Data released Friday by the Energy Department show American factories and power plants putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere during the first six months of 2014 compared with the same period in each of the past two years. The figures confirm a reversal first seen in 2013, when the trend of steadily falling emissions abruptly halted.

A Pension Jackpot for Wall Street

Most consumers understand that when you pay an above-market premium, you shouldn’t expect to get a below-average product. Why, then, is this principle often ignored when it comes to managing billions of dollars in public pension systems?

This is one of the most significant questions facing states and cities as they struggle to meet their contractual obligations to public employees. In recent years, public officials have shifted more of those workers’ pension money into private equity, hedge funds, venture capital and other so-called “alternative investments.” In all, the National Association of State Retirement Administrators reports that roughly a quarter of all pension funds are now in these “alternative investments”—a tripling in just 12 years.

Bookends of a Presidency

President Obama began his presidency with a call for a “new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” He will end it as a reluctant but unapologetic warrior, using U.S. military force to smash Islamic extremists and the “network of death” they have planted at the heart of the Middle East.

The speech Obama gave in Cairo in 2009 and the address he gave at the United Nations on Wednesday can be seen as bookends. In the heady months after his election, Obama hoped to be remembered as the president who forged a new peace between the Western and Islamic worlds. Now, while not completely abandoning that hope, Obama says there first must be war against jihadist “killers” who understand no language but “the language of force.”

Mount Polley Dam Tension Crack Detected 4 Years Ago, Says NDP Leader John Horgan

A four-year-old report on Mount Polley's tailings pond, which collapsed this summer, notes that inspectors found a tension crack in the earthen dam, and NDP leader John Horgan says he wants to know why the report was hidden away.

Horgan said Friday that the document, "collecting dust" a library shelf in Williams Lake, noted a 10- to 15-metre long tension crack in the dam.

Plastic Microbeads Polluting St. Lawrence River, McGill Researchers Find

They're normally found in face wash, shower gel and toothpaste. But plastic microbeads are now showing up in lakes and rivers.

A team of researchers from McGill University and the Quebec government have discovered these microbeads — often marketed by the cosmetic industry as a way to feel extra clean — at the bottom of the St. Lawrence River.

Albertans Speak Up to Protect Headwaters of North Saskatchewan

Alan Ernst and his wife Madeline were world travellers for most of their adult lives. So when they decided to settle down, they gravitated back to one of the most beautiful places they’d ever seen: the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in southern Alberta.

There, the sharp slopes of one of the world’s most dramatic mountain ranges make a sprawling dive to the foothills, which settle into the continent’s vast prairies.

Stephen Harper says Canadians' metadata not collected

OTTAWA—Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s assertion that Canadian security agencies don’t collect “metadata” has some cybersecurity experts scratching their heads.

That’s because the Communications Security Establishment of Canada (CSEC) is not only legally mandated to collect metadata — data that details the circumstances around electronic communications — but has repeatedly confirmed that they do.

The Prime Minister: The Americanization of Canadian Politics

The Canadian and American systems of government are very different. Although both, at least theoretically, are functioning democracies, the American Revolutionary Framers rejected the Westminster Parliament in favour of a republic based on a formal separation of powers. Whereas no member of the U.S. Congress can serve in the executive (both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had to resign Senate seats in 2008), it is almost unheard of for a Minister of the Crown not to be a member of the legislative branch.

Axed Pan-Am Games Execs To Get More Than $500,000 In Severance

TORONTO - The dismissal of two Pan Am Games executives will cost Ontario taxpayers more than half a million dollars.

Elaine Roper was let go as senior vice-president of human resources earlier this year and will receive a severance payment of $301,451.

Louise Lutgens was dismissed at the same time as senior vice-president of community and cultural affairs and will receive a severance payment of $271,180.91.

First Nation group furious at Province's move to cut trees down for Enbridge pipeline path

Geraldine Thomas-Flurer, a spokesperson for the Yinka Dene Alliance, vowed today to fight the BC government's moves toward granting Enbridge temporary land use permits to cut trees to gather data for the Northern Gateway pipeline, even before the pipeline has been approved.

Thomas-Flurer of the Saik'uz First Nation decried the absence of what she called "proper consultation" by the Province.

BC Cities Demand Review of Thermal Coal Exports

The province's 190 local governments and 26 districts are calling for more government oversight over thermal coal exports in British Columbia, which are set to increase after a recent federal decision.

Delegates at the Union of B.C. Municipalities' annual meeting in Whistler voted in favour of an assessment of the health and environmental risks of coal carried by train from the U.S. through White Rock and Surrey, and by barge to B.C.'s Texada Island -- a corridor beyond the scope of Port Metro Vancouver's own required reviews.

The UBCM resolution states that "there is currently no mechanism that provides oversight or ensures the implementation of mitigation measures to minimize environmental and health impacts of thermal coal transport over coastal waters and by rail."

Pennsylvania Blames Woman For Her Own Rape

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) is distancing herself from her office's response to a former state employee who was raped, saying she does not agree with the assertion that the woman herself is partly to blame for the atrocious crime.

A former state prison clerk filed a federal lawsuit against the state, saying she was brutally raped at work in July 2013 by an inmate with a history of sexual assault, among other crimes. The assault reportedly lasted 27 minutes, and for weeks, her eyes were still red from broken blood vessels.

UK Approves Strike Against ISIS In Iraq

LONDON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Britain's parliament approved air strikes against Islamic State (IS) insurgents in Iraq by a decisive margin on Friday, paving the way for the Royal Air Force to join U.S.-led military action with immediate effect.

Six Cyprus-based Tornado GR4 fighter-bombers were on standby to take part in initial sorties after Prime Minister David Cameron recalled parliament from recess to back military action following a formal request from the Iraqi government.

Ebola Death Toll In West Africa Passes 3,000: WHO

DAKAR, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The death toll from an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has risen to at least 3,091 out of 6,574 probable, suspected and confirmed cases, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

Liberia has recorded 1,830 deaths, around three times as many as in either Guinea or Sierra Leone, the two other most affected countries, according to WHO data received up to Sept. 23.

Fewer And Fewer Unemployed Americans Receive Benefits

WASHINGTON -- Fewer jobless Americans now receive unemployment benefits than at any other point in the past few decades, according to a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

The liberal Washington think tank reports that as of August, just 25.9 percent of jobless workers were receiving unemployment insurance, the lowest rate since 1987. Unemployed workers are only eligible for benefits if they were laid off after an extended period of employment.

Congressman Denies Making Controversial Comments About Gays, Forgets The Entire Thing Is On Tape

Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) is now claiming that he did not make comments supporting anti-LGBT employment discrimination, as reported by ThinkProgress earlier this month.
At a town hall event in Ballantyne, North Carolina, ThinkProgress asked Pittenger: “Do you think businesses should be able to fire someone because they are gay or lesbian?” He replied that businesses should have the “autonomy” to fire workers for being LGBT, and asked rhetorically: “Why should government be there to impose on the freedoms we enjoy?”

Atheists Show Their Sexist Side - What is wrong with the men at the helm of the movement?

Here’s a great way to make a movement: have your most famous and powerful public figures obsess over Henry Higgins’s famous question, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” Why aren’t they more into critical thinking, argument, logic? more rational? Why do they accuse a man of sexual harassment when he’s just trying to chat them up in an elevator at 4 in the morning? Why do they get drunk and then accuse men of rape? Then, having alienated a huge number of actual and potential members, to whom you sound arrogant, vain, sexist and clueless, look around and wonder, Gee, where are the women? They must be even less rational than we thought!

Why Don’t We Have Real Data on Charter Schools?

In several cities throughout the country, there is a fierce conflict raging over the direction of education reform. At the center of this increasingly acrimonious debate is the question of whether or not charter schools—publicly funded schools that operate outside the rules (and often the control) of traditional public-school systems—should be allowed to proliferate. Given their steady growth (from no more than a handful twenty years ago to over 6,000 today), charter schools and their advocates appear to have the upper hand. A new bipartisan bill—the Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Act, sponsored by Republican senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Mark Kirk of Illinois, and Democratic senators Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Michael Bennet of Colorado—would provide new funds to launch, replicate and expand charter schools nationwide.

Municipalities struggle to cover the costs of federal and provincial cutbacks

The world's population is shifting to cities, and that means services traditionally provided by local governments are growing in scale and importance. From public transit and recreation facilities, to drinking water treatment, sewage infrastructure and policing and fire services, local government services are at the centre of our daily lives, our health and economic prosperity.
These services are provided for less than the typical cost of basic telephone and Internet and they are provided by the level of government that has by far the smallest share of tax revenue. (The Federation of Canadian Municipalities tags the local government portion at only eights cents out of every tax dollar.)

Stephen Harper says Canada won't 'stand on the sidelines' of ISIS fight

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada will not sit idly while Islamic State militants in the Middle East threaten to slaughter thousands of innocent people.

"We do not stand on the sidelines and watch. We do our part," Harper said following a meeting with European Union leaders on Parliament Hill Friday.

Denmark, Belgium Join Fight Against ISIS In Iraq

LONDON (AP) -- Denmark and Belgium on Friday became the latest countries to join the U.S.-led coalition that is launching airstrikes on Islamic State group militants in Iraq. Lawmakers in Britain were also debating whether to commit warplanes to the struggle.

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said her government would send four operational planes and three reserve jets along with 250 pilots and support staff to the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq. The deployment will last for 12 months. Lawmakers in Denmark must also approve, but that is considered a formality.

Is Yemen On The Brink Of Civil War?

Shiite rebels in Yemen signed a UN-brokered agreement with other political parties this weekend to form a new government. In weeks of intense clashes, the Shiite Houthi rebels had taken over several major government sites in the capital Sana'a with little resistance from Yemeni military forces.

Despite the signing of the agreement, Yemeni President Rabbuh Mansour Hadi warned in a speech on Tuesday that the country could still be headed for civil war. The statement marked a drastic change in rhetoric since Hadi met with the Huthis on Sunday.

In a HuffPost Live conversation on Wednesday, Yemen analyst and researcher Sama’a al-Hamdani traced the history behind the crisis and explained why the military allowed the crisis to spiral out of control.

Original Article
Author: HuffPost Live | By Rahel Gebreyes

EU rejects Putin demand for Ukraine deal changes

BRUSSELS: The European Union said on Friday (Sep 26) that Russian President Vladimir Putin had written to Brussels demanding changes to a landmark EU-Ukraine accord, but it ruled out reopening the deal without Kiev's consent.

Putin's letter to European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso reportedly threatened retaliatory measures if the EU and Ukraine do not stick to their agreement with Moscow to delay the implementation of the deal until 2016.

Republicans Rallying Behind 'Religious Liberty'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fighting to improve their brand, leading Republicans rallied behind religious liberty at a Friday gathering of evangelical conservatives, rebuking an unpopular President Barack Obama while skirting divisive social issues.

Speakers did not ignore abortion and gay marriage altogether on the opening day of the annual Values Voter Summit, but a slate of prospective presidential candidates focused on the persecution of Christians and their values at home and abroad — a message GOP officials hope will help unify a divided party and appeal to new voters ahead of November's midterm elections and the 2016 presidential contest.

Secret Recordings Expose Cozy Relationship Between Goldman Sachs And The NY Fed

Barely a year removed from the devastation of the 2008 financial crisis, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York faced a crossroads. Congress had set its sights on reform. The biggest banks in the nation had shown that their failure could threaten the entire financial system. Lawmakers wanted new safeguards.

The Federal Reserve, and, by dint of its location off Wall Street, the New York Fed, was the logical choice to head the effort. Except it had failed miserably in catching the meltdown.

Harper's New Climate PR Campaign Is Downright Orwellian

Facing criticism in the lead up to the U.N. Climate Summit, which prime minister Stephen Harper did not attend, the Harper Government released a new public outreach campaign through Environment Canada, praising the country's action on climate change.

The campaign points to four pillars of Canada's climate progress including efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, investing in climate adaptation, "world-class scientific research to inform decision-making," and international leadership in climate action.

Stephen Harper Mocked Over Photos Of Empty Seats At UN Address

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is facing some mockery online after cameras caught quite a few empty seats during his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.

Gerald Butts, chief adviser to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, poked some fun on Twitter Friday.

The Great Statesman PM commanded quite the audience at the UN yesterday. #cdnpoli
— Gerald Butts (@gmbutts) September 26, 2014

The Laffer Curve Laughs All The Way To The Bank For Corporate Canada

Corporate Canada reached a milestone in 2014. For the first time ever, it now has more cash on hand than Canada’s entire national debt – $630 billion and counting.

In other words, Canada’s big corporations could pay off Canada’s entire national debt in one fell swoop with just the cash sitting in their collective bank accounts. And they wouldn’t even have to touch their other assets.

The milestone is being noted by the Progressive Economics Forum, an informal group that regularly posts progressive economic ideas and news on the web. They include David Macdonald, a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives; Toby Sanger, chief economist for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, and Erin Weir, chief economist with the United Steelworkers.

For Harper, the Senate remains the mortal threat

Stephen Harper still seems to think of the Senate of Canada as his court eunuch. It may yet turn out to be his Waterloo.

Is there a single file this prime minister has bungled more sensationally — or a group he has treated with greater contempt?

First, there was the promise of no new Senate appointments. The torrent of his subsequent patronage appointments moved fast enough to generate electricity. By way of alibis, Harper claimed it was all about “reforming” the Senate — something he claimed he could do unilaterally.

State of question period shows ill democracy

OTTAWA -- If the state of democracy is only as strong as its institutions, then this week's question period put democracy on life-support.
Question period has always been a theatre for politicians to make some of their best barbs.
But when Prime Minister Stephen Harper refuses to answer questions almost anywhere else, question period is the one place left where the government might be expected to face some questions it doesn't really want to answer.

Justin Trudeau was right to block Sun for Ezra Levant’s attack

When I was about 10, living in Valleyfield, Que., I delivered the Montreal Gazette and the Montreal Star, riding a bike in the summer and pulling a toboggan in the winter.

My dad, although he never finished high school, loved reading about world affairs and brought us up to share his keen interest in news and politics. Every day, when I finished my routes, I’d read about hockey and baseball and then turn to columnists Charles Lynch and Douglas Fisher.