Friday, September 30, 2011

Supreme Court ruling a slap in the face to Harper

Insite users, supporters and staff members celebrate outside the facility after the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that the supervised injection site can stay open in Vancouver.

The Globe and Mail:

The Supreme Court of Canada has opened the door to supervised drug injection clinics across the country in a landmark decision on Friday that ordered the federal government to stop interfering with Vancouver’s controversial Insite clinic.

The Court was persuaded by evidence that drug addicts are considerably safer administering their own injections under medical surveillance rather than obtaining and injecting hard drugs on the streets of the city’s troubled Downtown Eastside.

"A very clear message to Stephen Harper that the time has come for him to abandon his ideology regarding addiction, HIV and other related matters and move on with the evidence,” said Dr. Julio Montaner adding "B.C. is the only province in Canada where the rate of HIV infection is going down."

Continue reading here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

If Obama won't, young people will lead revolution

30 years ago - Ronald Reagan led a counter-revolution in America against the revolutions of the New Deal and the Great Society. It was a counter-revolution that ripped our economy from the hands of the middle class....and handed it off to the wealthiest corporate CEOs and Banksters in the world - letting America's oligarchs run the show. Now - thirty years later - we know how that counter-revolution turned out - and the backlash - or revolution - against Reagan, and subsequent Presidents who carried on his principles, is underway. The Streets of lower Manhattan are buzzing today with America's next generation of leaders - young people in their twenties - who will inevitably determine the direction of this nation - but first - must wrestle back power from Reagan's oligarchs who work on Wall Street.

This is the revolution that they - and even older Americans - hoped for when Barack Obama pledged to "fundamentally change the United States and the world" when he was elected President in 2008. But so far - this pledge has been unfulfilled. Turns out - Barack Obama was not that much of a revolutionary. But ultimately - it was never about him - it was about us - and in particular it was about the young people - because all revolutions - even Reagan's - don't originate from one man - they originate from the people - from the bottom up. From Jefferson to Lincoln - and from FDR to Reagan - these men who presided over great changes in America didn't create revolutions - they simply seized control of a nation pregnant with revolution and oversaw the transformation - and in some cases guided it. If President Obama discovers his inner revolutionary and steps forward with that voice and message and behavior, he'll get re-elected - and then he will have to carry forward with a revolution. On the other hand, if President Obama doesn't want to be a revolutionary - if he doesn't want to take on the banksters - if he doesn't take on and actually reverse Reagan's counter-revolution - that's fine - because the young people assembled in Manhattan - and all over the nation - will.

It's already started...

Police brutality during Occupy Wall Street protest

"A few trouble makers turned a peaceful protest against Wall St greed into a violent burst of chaos. The trouble makers carried pepper spray, guns, and were wearing badges."

Activists take on Wall Street

Hundreds of demonstrators have been occupying a park in New York's financial district for more than a week in protest against what they call corporate greed and social inequality. Police have arrested about 80 people and used pepper spray on the non-violent activists as they marched on Wall Street. Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler reports from New York.

Harper's mega prisons, despite falling crime rate

Harper's flag protection bill 'tabloid-style politics'


A Conservative bill that would make it a crime to prevent someone from flying the Canadian flag is an unnecessary distraction when Parliament has real work to do, a New Democrat critic said Wednesday.

Continue reading here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Does Goldman Sachs rule the world?

Matthew Vadum, author of the new book "Subversion, Inc." joins Thom Hartmann. The instability among the global economic markets can be blamed on more than just the financial woes of Greece - it also stems from a mental disorder...PSYCHOPATHY! I'll explain how banksters across globe have gone mad trying to rip off the economy!

Would you trust Tim Hudak to give you a needle?

Occupy Wall St. spreads

The Occupy Wall Street protest that began on September 17 is still going. And once the interactions between protestors and police heated up, we finally saw the main stream media begin to pay the movement attention. And now, activists in cities across the US are also joining in, starting small movements where they are. So how much longer do we think this will continue? Sam Seder, Host of the Majority Report at Majority.FM and co-host of Ring of Fire discusses.

Horwath “calls for change”, is heard loud and clear

Ontario NDP:

The winner of CP24′s online poll (“Horwath: 42%, McGuinty: 34%, Hudak: 25%,” tweeted CP24), Andrea Horwath’s star is on the rise – and the press have taken note.

At tonight’s Ontario Leaders’ Debate, Horwath “surprised many” (Leslie Roberts, Global TV) with an “assertive” (Adam Radwanski, Globe and Mail) and “surefooted performance” (Robert Benzie, Toronto Star) – “rais[ing] the bar on the debate.” (Ann Douglas, Toronto Star)

“Don’t give blank cheques to companies,” says Andrea Horwath, distancing herself from both opponents.
– Karen Howlett, Globe and Mail

Horwath speaking about changing priorities…not add extra profits in system (like ceo salaries)
– Katie Franzios, Newstalk 1010

It’s *the* way Horwath differentiates from her opponents bc she’d raise [corporate taxes]
– Genevieve Tomney, CBC

Andrea Horwath is scoring big on the sincerity front. I like her style.
– Ann Douglas, Toronto Star

Hudak [is] coming across as slick and processed right now by comparison [to Horwath].
– Kady O’Malley, CBC

Why didn’t Dalton respond to Catherine, the person who asked the question, when Andrea… remembered her name?
Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun

Continue reading here.

Michael Moore on the Occupy Wall St. protests

Democracy Now!:

Oscar-winning filmmaker, best-selling author,and provocateur laureate Michael Moore joins us for the hour. One of the world’s most acclaimed — and notorious — independent filmmakers and rabble-rousers, his documentary films include Roger and Me; Bowling for Columbine for which he won the Academy Award, Fahrenheit 9/11, SICKO; and Capitalism: A Love Story. In the first part of our interview, Moore talks about the growing "Occupy Wall Street" protests in Lower Manhattan, which he visited on Monday night. "This is literally an uprising of people who have had it," Moore says. "It has already started to spread across the country in other cities. It will continue to spread. ... It will be tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of people ... Their work ahead is not as difficult as other movements in the past ... The majority of Americans are really upset at Wall Street ... So you have already got an army of Americans who are just waiting for somebody to do something, and something has started."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What a Hudak government would look like

Hazardous Hudak:

Toronto - Tim Hudak's PCs will have to cut health care in order to make up for the $14 billion in unfunded promises and tax cuts in their election platform.

Tim Hudak was there when Mike Harris vowed not to cut health care. But together, they didn’t just cut – they took out an axe.

• 28 hospitals closed
• Thousands of nurses fired
• Pregnant women sent to Buffalo to give birth because there were no beds in Ontario
• Emergency Rooms sending ambulances further away because they couldn't handle more patients
• Cancelled monitoring ER Redirect hours because they didn’t want the public to know just how bad it was
• Capped home care hours and fired local health care champions who stood in the way
• Stopped inspecting long term care homes
• Removed standard for at least one bath per week for residents of long term care homes
• Left over 1 million Ontarians without a family doctor
• Ushered in private, for profit clinics to fill the void for MRIs and CT scans
• Refused to screen babies for more than 2 diseases at birth

Continue reading here.

A voice of reason amid the madness

Heather Digby Parton, Opinion, Al Jazeera English:

Elizabeth Warren, a US Senate candidate, has a way of speaking about progressive values that makes people listen.

I hear all this, 'well, this is class warfare, this is whatever'. No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear:

You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did."

- Elizabeth Warren

With those words, Elizabeth Warren cemented her reputation as a person who knows how to speak to Americans about progressive values in a way that seems to have eluded almost every other public figure in America. There's just something about the way she talks in plain prairie English that makes people listen - and scares even the most hardened businessman and compromised politician into paying attention.

Now she's declared her candidacy in Massachusetts, hoping to parlay that ability into a seat in the most powerful big money club in America, the US Senate, and make them listen too.

Her pitch is a modern day populism, aimed at the struggling middle class, the people who are dazed and confused by 30 years of conservative cant and free market policy that hasn't worked for them as its been put into practice. She's refined a story line about how this happened that's both erudite and approachable, using her own history and scholarly work to weave a narrative about America's economic crisis that speaks to people's yearning to understand what happened - and feel some optimism that it can be turned around.

Continue reading here.

Protestors greet Cheney in Vancouver

The Canadian Press:

Vancouver - Protesters waved placards, chanted slogans, banged drums and blew whistles outside one of Vancouver's most exclusive clubs where former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney was promoting his new memoir Monday evening.

Peace activists blocked the front and back entrances to the Vancouver Club, calling for Cheney's arrest for war crimes and booing guests as they arrived at the $500-a-ticket dinner.

Cheney is in town to promote his new book "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir."

At one point, protesters got into a brief scuffle with police when nearly 20 people sat down on a sidewalk, blocking the rear driveway leading into the Vancouver Club.

This past weekend, Human Rights Watch urged the federal government to bring criminal charges against Cheney, accusing him of playing a role in the torture of detainees.

Don Davies, the NDP immigration critic, also argued that Cheney should not have been allowed into Canada.

Davies said the water boarding and sleep deprivation techniques that Cheney authorized violated both Canadian and international law.

Continue reading here.

"Collapse is coming and Goldman rules the world"

A hoax? I don't think so.

Time to rebuild America's infrastructure

Robert Reich:

Anyone with half a brain will see this is the ideal time to borrow money from the rest of the world to put Americans to work rebuilding the nation's infrastructure. Problem is, too many in Washington have less than half a brain.

Continue reading here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tar-sands opponents to descend on Parliament Hill

The Globe and Mail:

Protesters vow to ‘stand up against the Canadian tar sands’ being promoted by Conservative government as safe, ethical source of energy.

Continue reading here.

Ontario NDP Platform: The Full Monty

Erin Weir, The Progressive Economics Forum:

Today, the Ontario NDP presented its comprehensive platform costing, including all policies announced during the election campaign.

A popular theme among commentators has been that platform costings are unrealistic given the deteriorating economic outlook. As Andrea Horwath noted, her platform includes significant contingency funds.

It is also cautiously built on the fiscal framework set out in the 2011 provincial budget. By contrast, the Liberal and Conservative platforms assume extra revenue arising from economic growth in excess of Budget 2011 projections.

Another common refrain among commentators is that the Ontario NDP is emphasizing tax cuts.

In fact, New Democrats would increase provincial spending more than they would reduce taxes. They would invest more in public services than the Liberals and Conservatives.

The NDP would strengthen fiscal capacity by reversing corporate tax cuts and by making permanent the current restrictions on HST input tax credits. (The latter’s fiscal significance going forward is well illustrated on page 5 of the NDP’s fiscal framework document.)

Far from jumping on the tax-cutting bandwagon, Ontario New Democrats have staked out a fundamentally different policy direction than Liberals and Conservatives.

Continue reading here.

Class warfare, Elizabeth Warren style

The Washington Post:

This must-watch clip of Elizabeth Warren aggressively rebutting the GOP’s “class warfare” charge is burning up the internet, and once you watch it, you’ll understand why:

Warren’s camp tells me the event took place in Andover, Massachusetts last month, and you can read the transcript over on Atrios’s blog. The gist is that Warren rebuts the charge that asking the rich to pay a little more in taxes is “class warfare” by pointing out that no one grew rich in America in isolation.

As Steve Benen rightly notes, very few Democrats are able to make the basic case for the social contract quite this effectively. And this is coming from someone who only started campaigning seriously a few weeks ago. So she may have lots of room to grow.

Here’s why I think this video is so important. As I wrote the other day, a Warren candidacy could test the electoral limits of true populism in a way that few other Dems have been willing to venture. Here we’re seeing the beginnings of this — this is a candidate who is starting out with her own voice.

Republicans are planning to paint Warren as a liberal Harvard elitist — they’re already referring to her as “Professor Warren” — in order to make it tougher for her to win over the kind of blue collar whites from places like South Boston that helped power Scott Brown’s upset victory.

But as this video shows, Warren is very good at making the case for progressive economics in simple, down-to-earth terms. Despite her professorial background, she sounds like she’s telling a story. She came across as unapologetic and authorative, without a hint of the sort of defensiveness you hear so often from other Democrats when they talk about issues involving taxation and economic fairness. This is exactly what national Dems like about Warren.

For all I know, Republicans may be able to use her embrace of high end tax hikes and other Obama policies, her bio (she comes from out of state) and her day job to persuade blue collar whites she’s just another pointy-headed tax-and-spend liberal. But this video suggests it isn’t going to be so easy to do that. This contest could be the ultimate test of whether such voters can be won back through unadorned and unabashed class-based populism.

This is going to be one heck of a Senate race.

Saudi Arabia to allow women to vote, run for office

Saudi women pray during Eid al-Adha celebrations on a street in Riyadh in this 2009 photograph. Saudi Arabia's king announced on Sunday, women would be given the right to vote and stand in elections, a bold shift in the ultra-conservative absolute monarchy as pressure for social and democratic reform sweeps the Middle East.


Riyadh — Saudi King Abdullah announced Sunday that the nation’s women will gain the right to vote and run as candidates in local elections to be held in 2015 in a major advancement for the rights of women in the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom.

In an annual speech before his advisory assembly, or Shura Council, the Saudi monarch said he ordered the step after consulting with the nation’s top religious clerics, whose advice carries great weight in the kingdom.

The right to vote is by far the biggest change introduced by Abdullah, considered a reformer, since he became the country’s de facto ruler in 1995 during the illness of King Fahd. Abdullah formally ascended to the throne upon Fahd’s death in August 2005.

Seizing on the season of protest in the Arab world, Saudi women’s groups have also staged public defiance of the kingdom’s ban on female driving. Saudi authorities went relatively easy on the women, who took to the roads earlier this year and gained worldwide attention through social media.

Abdullah said the changes announced Sunday would also allow women to be appointed to the Shura Council, the advisory body selected by the king that is currently all-male.

Despite Abdullah’s attempts to push through some social reforms, women still cannot drive and the sexes are segregated in public.

Continue reading here.

Constitutional Conservatives vs. the Constitution

Tea partiers claim to love the Constitution -- except for the parts they don't.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Legalizing pot #1 issue at White House website

Occupy Wall Street protest escalates on 8th day

The Huffington Post:

Tensions are rising at the Occupy Wall Street protest, currently in its eighth day, as organizers for the protest claim that 80 have been arrested. Eyewitness accounts report that "dozens" have been arrested. Police would not confirm the exact number. Videos and eyewitness accounts show violent clashing between protesters and the police.

WNYC reports that "of the dozens arrested, most were for disorderly conduct, obstructing vehicular and pedestrian traffic, resisting arrest and, in one case, assaulting a police officer, the police said."

The skirmish escalated in Union Square Saturday afternoon, as Twitter users report a huge influx of police officers. This video, below, appears to show female protesters being penned and maced by police officers:

Attacked, restrained and arrested for talking to a cop:

Violent clashes at Union Square:

Mexican woman decapitated for posting on internet

The Associated Press:

Mexico City — Police found a woman's decapitated body in a Mexican border city on Saturday, alongside a handwritten sign saying she was killed in retaliation for her postings on a social networking site.

Morelos Canseco, the interior secretary of northern Tamaulipas state, where Nuevo Laredo is located, identified the victim as Marisol Macias Castaneda, a newsroom manager for the Nuevo Laredo newspaper Primera Hora.

But it was apparently what the woman posted on the local social networking site, Nuevo Laredo en Vivo, or "Nuevo Laredo Live," rather than her role at the newspaper, that resulted in her killing.

The site prominently features tip hotlines for the Mexican army, navy and police, and includes a section for reporting the location of drug gang lookouts and drug sales points – possibly the information that angered the cartel.

The message found next to her body on the side of a main thoroughfare referred to the nickname the victim purportedly used on the site, "La Nena de Laredo," or "Laredo Girl." Her head was found placed on a large stone piling nearby.

"Nuevo Laredo en Vivo and social networking sites, I'm The Laredo Girl, and I'm here because of my reports, and yours," the message read. "For those who don't want to believe, this happened to me because of my actions, for believing in the army and the navy. Thank you for your attention, respectfully, Laredo Girl...ZZZZ."

The letter "Z" refers to the hyper-violent Zetas drug cartel, which is believed to dominate the city across from Laredo, Texas.

Continue reading here.

Wall Streeters smirking and drinking champagne

Wall Street has shown Americans how they feel about protests. This video shows unidentified occupants watching protests from the balconies of Wall Street in amusement while sipping champagne.

"US Day of Rage"

Demonstrations began on September 17 to show U.S. citizens anger over a financial system that favors the rich over all other American citizens. Chanting, "We are 99 percent," thousands of protesters gathered near Zucotti Park, close to Wall Street and began their march. Around 5 pm, while attempting to enter the financial district at 55 Wall Street, they were met by curious onlookers from the balconies who were leisurely watching the protesters and doing the unthinkable--drinking champagne.

55 Wall Street

Who occupies 55 Wall Street? The sprawling, historic Manhattan building is home to the Ciprion Club Residences, a private club as well as residence to Wall Street's élite. Gathered on the balconies of this home of the rich, men in suits and tuxedos as well as women in silk dresses and business suits, casually sipped on their glasses while smiling and taking pictures, seemingly oblivious to the fight of the 99percent. The club has a total of 106 residences (living quarters) and their website asserts, "The club will provide you with everything essential to live the good life."

For onlookers "the good life" is a far different cry then that of the remaining 99 percent. Essential to most Americans is food, shelter, and a job, they don't have time to dress up and sip champagne while their friends and neighbors get arrested for speaking their minds on a public street. (© Christine Dantz 2011)

Human rights group: investigate Cheney for torture

The Canadian Press:

A major human rights group is urging Ottawa to bring criminal charges against former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney for his alleged role in the torture of Canadian detainees when he visits Vancouver next week.

Continue reading here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Inside Story - Who will support the Palestinian bid?

Amid cheers, Palestinian President Abbas made a call for full UN membership, but who in the UNSC will support his bid?

Palestinians bid for statehood

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has outlined the bid for full Palestinian membership to the United Nations. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Abbas said Israel had blocked all efforts for peace - and that now was the time for freedom and independence. From New York, Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna has the story.

Ontario NDP candidates go homeless for a night

Taking it to the streets. Provincial election candidates Michelle Bilek (Mississauga-Erindale NDP), top left, Dalbir Kathuria (Brampton West NDP), bottom, and Patti Chmelyk (Brampton West Green Party) took the challenge from Peel Poverty Action Group to sleep on the streets for one night.

Three provincial election candidates slept outside in the rain on Monday night to experience — albeit for only 10 hours — what it's like to be homeless.

With only sleeping bags and the clothes on their back, Mississauga-Erindale NDP hopeful Michelle Bilek, Dalbir Kathuria (Brampton West NDP) and Patti Chmelyk (Brampton West Green Party) spent the night (from about 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.) in Duggan Park in Brampton.

They were the only candidates in Peel's nine ridings to accept the challenge from Peel Poverty Action Group (PPAG) to see what it's like to be homeless for one night.

The trio was joined by David Cullen, a volunteer with the Brampton Neighbourhood Resource Centre who guided them and talked to them about what it's like to be on the streets. Cullen, who was homeless for 25 years, showed the candidates places frequented by the homeless, including the wooded area where they spent the night.

Bilek, who shared her experience via Twitter, told The News they met a few homeless people during the night. She said it reminded her of a period in her life when she lived in a car.

Bilek said it's still difficult to talk about how, for several months while she was a university student, she slept in her car and relied on friends and family to help her while she tried to keep up with her studies.

Of Monday night's experience, Bilek said: "It was cold and there was a little bit of fear of what was going to happen, if we were safe, but we felt the camaraderie of being together and we knew that by doing this it would bring awareness to the issue of poverty, and homelessness is at the core of it."

She added that herself, the other two candidates and Cullen spent most of the night talking about ways to eradicate homelessness.

Although she woke up cold, sore and barely rested, Bilek said it was one of the greatest, and most eye-opening, experiences of her life.

Unfortunately, she noted, things haven't gotten any better for people in recent years.

"Your pay cheque is not going very far and the cost of living is going up," she said. "We're at a critical time here in Ontario where we have to make a move to adjust and put people first and give them the support systems they need. When you're worrying about your bills all the time, you really can't live."

PPAG officials say about 1,000 people a month use homeless shelters in Peel.

Furthermore, some 15,500 families are on a waiting list for homes they can afford — and they'll be waiting for as long as 20 years.

Stop Stephen Harper's exportation of asbestos

Cathy's father died from work related mesothelioma, and now urges Canadians to stop Harper from exporting deadly asbestos to third world countries, just to make more money.

Michael Moore talks Wall Street protests

Friday, September 23, 2011

An out-of-control Republican caucus?

So what are the political implications of an out-of-control Republican caucus - and are we headed for a government shutdown? Cliff Schecter, PR Strategist & columnist for Al Jazeera, joins Thom Hartmann.

Have the psychopaths taken over America?

So In the aftermath of Troy Davis's execution - it's time for the United States to do some soul searching. Every nation is in constant change - as Grace Slick said, "Life is change" - and our culture changed for the more compassionate and better with the New Deal, and changed again for the more brutal and selfish with the Reagan Revolution. So what's next? Will we become a nation of people who genuinely care for each other, and builds institutions to respect and help each other - or a brutal, libertarian nation where it's "every man for himself," the country is run by psychopaths, and as Ron Paul implied, we're all free to die like dogs in the gutter? The choice is ours - and the coming election will have a lot to do with determining that future.

Media called out on blackout on Wall Street protest

Momentum: Horwath liked most by voters


When the 8,391 Ontarians polled were asked which of the party leaders they would most like to have over to their home for a barbecue, four in ten (37%) chose NDP Andrea Horwath, suggesting that Ontarians would like the opportunity to get to know her better. Fewer chose PC leader Tim Hudak (32%) or Liberal leader and current Premier Dalton McGuinty (31%).

Ms. Horwath appears to have momentum on her side. Since the election campaign officially started on September 7, one quarter (24%) of Ontarians say they have a more favourable view of Andrea Horwath, compared to just 7% who have a less favourable view, representing a net sore of +17.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath appears to be helping her party’s fortunes in the polls. In fact, if she wasn’t the leader of the NDP and somebody else were leader instead, two in ten (16%) say they’d be less likely to vote for the NDP, while just 8% would be more likely. In contrast, if Mr. Hudak weren’t leader of the PC party, one quarter (23%) say they’d be more likely to vote PC, while just 14% would be less likely. A similar story for Dalton McGuinty: one quarter (23%) would be more likely to vote Liberal if he weren’t leader, while 16% would be less likely to vote Grit.

Three quarters (74%) of Ontarians ‘agree’ (28% strongly/47% somewhat) that ‘Ontario is ready for a female Premier’, while just one quarter (26%) ‘disagree’ (6% strongly/19% somewhat) with this premise. Not surprisingly, women (78%) are more likely to agree than men (70%), and younger people are more likely to agree than older Ontarians.

There’s still ample time for impressions to change, however, and with the leader’s debate approaching many Ontarians will be tuning into the election more closely.

Continue reading here.

Elizabeth Warren strikes terror in Limbaugh’s heart

Politics USA:

The message that Elizabeth Warren is delivering in this video is what has Republicans like Limbaugh so terrified:

Limbaugh’s attack on Warren proved just how frightened of her they really are. All it took was the release of one poll showing her leading Scott Brown to send them into full panic mode. What’s scares people like Limbaugh isn’t Warren herself, but her message. Elizabeth Warren has a resume that is chocked full of evidence of her concern for regular Americans and her tireless advocacy for consumer protection against deceptive financial products.

Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Warren implies that everyone who isn’t rich is a parasite on the economy. His message is that the other 98% of Americans exist only because of the efforts of the top 2%. Warren’s advocacy seems to be the kind of return on their investment that many Americans want. In this time of economic sorrow and despair, Warren’s message that the government should be working for most Americans instead of against them is a powerful one.

Elizabeth Warren is refuting the conservative message of selfishness, and elitist “job creators.” The Republican Party is so frightened by Elizabeth Warren that they have deployed Rush Limbaugh to take her down.

As Republicans continue to prolong the recession in order to allow the rich to get richer, many Americans have realized that it is the people like Rush Limbaugh who constantly take more while demanding the right to give less that are the true parasites, not Elizabeth Warren.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

More Bernie: on the Federal Reserve, Wall Street

Ontario NDP: People first, not corporations

The Toronto Star:

Meanwhile, in Toronto on Friday, the NDP’s Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale-High Park) and Michael Prue (Beaches-East York) released the party’s platform on housing and fighting poverty. It includes $1.1 billion over 10 years to create 54,500 affordable housing units, a housing benefit for low-income individuals and families, and an emergency dental care program.

“Other parties may be happy to sit on their hands, but New Democrats are fighting to protect our most vulnerable Ontarians,” Prue told reporters

Continue reading here.

The Ontario NDP also pledged to raise the minimum wage to $11/hr and peg it to inflation, freeze transit fares, and freeze tuition and remove the provincial portion of the interest on student loans.

More information here and here.

Rick Mercer's abestos rant

Rick rants against the evils of exporting asbestos to the third world.

Elizabeth Warren on debt crisis, fair taxation

Elizabeth Warren discussing the debt crisis, fair taxation and other important issues as part of her talking tour.

Bernie Sanders talks unemployment, economy

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ford gives up goal of seizing Port Lands

The Toronto Star:

Mayor Rob Ford and his councillor brother Doug have abandoned their dream of seizing the Port Lands from Waterfront Toronto and replacing neighbourhood-based development with glitzy attractions.

Faced with public uproar and a revolt among council allies, the Ford administration was forced to reach across political divisions and has reached what one councillor calls “a consensus, not a compromise,” for council to vote on as early as Wednesday.

Only two weeks ago, executive committee voted to start negotiations to regain control of the city land, after Doug Ford had revealed plans were afoot to trash a plan subjected to six years of public consultation and the investment of $19 million.

Mayor Ford declared then: “We have to speed up that process so we can all benefit from a beautiful Port Lands,” as councillors viewed a conceptual video featuring a monorail, giant Ferris wheel and a huge shopping centre.

But councillors were flooded with calls and emails from residents worried about a seemingly hasty move. A grassroots lobby effort sprang up and more than 140 architecture, planning and design experts sent council an open letter urging them to stick with current plans.

Contine reading here.

Rick Perry used taxpayer money for family trips

Think Progress:

The Houston Chronicle reports that Perry used at least $294,000 of Texas taxpayers’ money for numerous personal trips, and has no plans to reimburse the state:

At a time when state budget reductions were used to help offset a multibillion-dollar revenue shortfall, taxpayers were billed in excess of $294,000 in security detail expenses for out-of-state trips by Gov. Rick Perry or his wife, according to records released by the Department of Public Safety.

Destinations included the Bahamas in January for a family vacation and trips to Amsterdam, Madrid and New York by Anita Perry alone – visits that Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said were for economic development.

Perry traveled to locales including New York, Washington, California and Las Vegas for events such as promotion of his anti-Washington book, Fed Up!, speeches, duties related to his then-chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association and meetings with business leaders or potential supporters for his presidential bid.

Perry’s campaign pays for the travel costs, but the tab for his security detail is picked up by the state. Perry’s flimsy excuse for using taxpayer funds to finance these trips: “I’m going to be promoting Texas no matter where I go.” The idea that his wife was traveling in Europe to promote “economic development” in Texas is laughable.

Continue reading here.

Lewis Black unloads on hometown


Comedian and “Daily Show” regular Lewis Black grew up outside of D.C. in Silver Spring, Md., and is familiar with the ways of Washington — but that doesn’t mean that he likes what he sees.

With the 2012 campaign well under way, Black is sick of it.

“No other country does what we do. The process is so disturbingly long for no reason. It’s not like they define themselves. It’s not like they get better. … By the time they nominate someone, you already hate them because they’ve been in your face way too long.”

On Barack Obama: “Ineffectual.”

On a potential Democratic challenger: “The way his presidency is run, somebody could run and he might not notice.”

On the GOP field: “The Republican Party, which seems to be going, ‘Oh, boy. Nobody can be stupider than us. We’re as dumb as a group of people can be.’ It’s one of the most unimpressive fields.”

On Rick Perry: “Even further, crazier” than George W. Bush. “We seem to devolve when it comes to leadership. Perry comes along and you go, ‘Wow, they actually found someone who makes Bush look kind of like Bush could be a congressperson.’”

Continue reading here.

Summer of Change: Occupy Wall Street

A short doc about the current OCCUPY WALL STREET action, by acclaimed filmmaker Velcrow Ripper (Scared Sacred, Fierce Light). Shot on Wall Street, NYC on Sept 17, 2011. Ripper asks a giant dime, "how could the global crisis we are facing become a love story?' for his upcoming feature doc, 'EVOLVE LOVE: Love in a Time of Climate Crisis.' In Theaters 2012.

Classic corporate greed

Top Air Canada executives earned an average of $2.24 million a year in each of the last three years, and their compensation has gone way up while they ask workers to sacrifice and passengers to start paying a $25 US "Checked Bag Fee", starting in October.

Read more at Discovery Finance.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Good Fight

Robert Reich:

The president has vowed to veto any plan to tame the debt that doesn't increase taxes on the rich. The Republicans have vowed to oppose any tax increases on the rich. It's a good fight to have.

Continue reading here.

"The most patriotic thing you can do": pay taxes

The Mark Cuban Weblog:

Bust your ass and get rich.

Make a boatload of money. Pay your taxes. Lots of taxes. Hire people. Train people. Pay people. Spend money on rent, equipment, services. Pay more taxes.

When you make a shitload of money. Do something positive with it. If you are smart enough to make it, you will be smart enough to know where to put it to work.

I don’t care what anyone says. Being rich is a good thing. Not just in the obvious sense of benefiting you and your family, but in the broader sense. Profits are not a zero sum game. The more you make the more of a financial impact you can have.

I’m not against government involvement in times of need. I am for recognizing that big public companies will continue to cut jobs in an effort to prop up stock prices, which in turn stimulates the need for more government involvement. Every cut job by the big companies extracts a cost on the American people in one way or another.

Entrepreneurs are needed to create and grow companies to absorb those people in new jobs. If entrepreneurs don’t create those jobs, the government ends up having to spend more money to help them one way or another.

So be Patriotic. Go out there and get rich. Get so obnoxiously rich that when that tax bill comes, your first thought will be to choke on how big a check you have to write. Your 2nd thought will be “what a great problem to have”, and your 3rd should be a recognition that in paying your taxes you are helping to support millions of Americans that are not as fortunate as you.

In these times of “The Great Recession” we shouldn’t be trying to shift the benefits of wealth behind some curtain. We should be celebrating and encouraging people to make as much money as they can. Profits equal tax money. While some people might find it distasteful to pay taxes. I don’t. I find it Patriotic.

I’m not saying that the government’s use of tax money is the most efficient use of our hard-earned capital. It obviously is not. In a perfect world, there would be a better option. We don’t live in a perfect world. We don’t live in a perfect time. We live in a time where the government plays a big role in an effort to help lead us out this Great Recession. That’s reality.

So I will repeat my point. Get out there and make a boatload of money. Enjoy the shit out your money. Pay your taxes.

It’s the most Patriotic thing you can do.

Occupy Wall Street: Just the Beginning?

Occupy Wall Street began on Saturday, September 17th and it's still going. Hundreds of people have spent two nights in Zuccotti Park, which they got permission to occupy and sleep in and the area has been dubbed Liberty Plaza. But how long could this really last? Kevin Zeese, a core organizer of weighs in.

Ford feels the heat: tough service cuts scrapped

The Globe and Mail:

As the mayor backs off the most controversial cuts, numbers, nighties and song are used as weapons to fight the budget axe.

Continue reading here.

Obama's Deficit Plan

The White House has proposed a plan to save 3 trillion dollars over the next decade, but they've tacked on 1.1 trillion in planned war savings to try and push that up to 4 trillion. Then, there's the Buffet Rule where the president will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than 1 million dollars to ensure that they pay at least the same rate as middle-income taxpayers. Republicans have already responded by calling it class warfare. Obama also said if the super committee comes up with only cuts to entitlement programs and no tax increases, he'll veto the plan. Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research discusses.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Layton remembered as Parliament begins

The Montreal Gazette:

Ottawa — The new parliamentary session opened Monday with a moving tribute to Jack Layton, the late NDP leader who lost his battle with cancer over the summer.

Interim leader Nycole Turmel kicked things off by recognizing his widow, MP Olivia Chow's, "courage, grace, composure" in such tough times.

Turmel further described Layton as someone who "worked tirelessly" to help young people and to "build a better relationship with aboriginals."

"In honour of the memory of Jack Layton, we'll continue that work," she said.

In conclusion, Turmel read into the House of Commons record the now familiar lines of "love," "hope" and "optimism" written by Layton in his deathbed letter to Canadians.

Continue reading here.

Yemen crackdown leaves 26 dead

An eruption of deadly violence has broken out in Yemen. Witnesses report that security forces opened fire on an anti-government rally in the capital Sanaa. At least 26 people have been killed, and many other protesters badly injured and at least one of the dead was hit by a rocket propelled grenade. Al Jazeera's Caroline Malone reports.

"This is not class warfare -- it's math"

CBS News:

Taking a defiant tone against Republicans unwilling to raise taxes in order to close the deficit, President Obama today unveiled a $3 trillion long-term deficit reduction plan that relies heavily on raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

"This is not class warfare -- it's math," Mr. Obama said from the White House Rose Garden, addressing GOP critiques of his plan head on.

"The money has to come from some place," he continued. "If we're not willing to ask those who've done extraordinarily well to help America close the deficit... the math says everybody else has to do a whole lot more, we've got to put the entire burden on the middle class and the poor."

The core of Mr. Obama's deficit reduction plan is $1.5 trillion in new taxes. About $800 billion comes from repealing the Bush-era tax rates for couples making more than $250,000. The plan also closes certain corporate tax loopholes and limits certain tax deductions.

The president is also putting forward a measure he's calling the "Buffett Rule" -- named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett -- to compel those making $1 million or more a year to pay the same overall rate as other taxpayers. Taxpayers making $1 million or more often make their fortune through investment income, which is taxed at 15 percent; the top income tax rate is 35 percent.

Continue reading here.

"Occupy Wall Street": Thousands march in NYC

Democracy Now!:

Demonstrators are marching on Wall Street today on the third day of a campaign dubbed "Occupy Wall Street," which began on Saturday when thousands gathered in New York City’s Financial District. Inspired by the massive public protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and Madrid’s Puerta del Sol Square, hundreds have slept outside near Wall Street for the past two nights. We play a video report on the protest by Democracy Now!'s Sam Alcoff and get a live update from the streets from Nathan Schneider, editor of the blog "Waging Nonviolence." We also speak with David Graeber, an anthropologist who participated in the activities. "If you look at who showed up [in Egypt and Spain], it was mostly young people, and most of them were people who had gone through the educational system, who were deeply in debt, and who found it completely impossible to get jobs," says Graeber. "The system has completely failed them... If there's going to be any kind of society worth living in, we’re going to have to create it ourselves."

Washington State Democrats endorse cannabis

Fire Dog Lake:

The Washington State Democratic Central Committee has officially endorsed Initiative 502, which would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in the state for adults 21 years of age and older. You can read the endorsement here. I-502 is a production of the New Approach Washington (NAW) campaign, which is working to get the measure on the ballot in 2012. Receiving the endorsement of the state Democratic party is a huge achievement for the New Approach Washington campaign specifically, and a big step forward for the marijuana reform movement in general.

In Washington, having the endorsement of one of the two major parties in the state is a powerful signal to many voters that this issue is fully mainstream and deserves serious consideration. The endorsement should be a very helpful talking point for the NAW campaign when they are trying to win over undecided Democrats on the issue. It should also make it politically easier for elected Democrats in the state to feel comfortable endorsing the measure.

On a national level, having the Washington Democratic Party willing to endorse a legitimate marijuana legalization attempt should make the major parties in other states more willing to endorse the issue. Simply following another state is always an easier political lift than being out front.

Washington State, with its well run campaign, favorable demographics, and expected high youth turnout in the Presidential election, stands a very good chance of being the first state to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Superstar urges action over Kenya refugees

One of Africa's most celebrated singer-songwriters has urged action for the continent's most pressing humanitarian tragedy. Senegalese star Youssou N'dour visited Dadaab refugee camp in Northeast Kenya, the world's largest refugee camp. At least 12 million affected by famine and drought in the region are desperate for help. Al Jazeera's Bhanu Bhatnagar reports.

Republicans unfazed: 15% of Americans now poor

Right now in our nation, over 40 MILLION people live in poverty...literally struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. But one Republican claims the poor are actually getting richer! I'll take him to task - and reveal the truth about poverty in America.

Syrian human rights abuse

Radwan Ziadeh, the director of the Damascus Centre for Human Rights Studies, talks to Al Jazeera from Washington DC, about human rights abuses in Syria.

Prison lobby locking 'n' loading up on cash

The US needs all the cash it can get just now, and reducing the prison population would save billions of dollars. However, some have a vested interested in keeping as many people as possible behind bars.

Yemeni soldiers kill 15 protestors

Troops loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president, have opened fire on protesters in Sanaa, killing at least 15 people and injuring hundreds. Tens of thousands of protestors calling for an end to president Saleh's 33-year rule took to the streets of the capital a day after protesters stormed Yemen's main university. Al Jazeera's Imran Khan reports.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

If you don't have a job - you're not free

For the last 30 years or so - Republicans have defined what freedom means in America. At the debate this week - Ron Paul told us what it means to be "free" in America. As in - freedom to die alone. Just like what happened to Ron Paul's campaigning manager - Kent Snyder - back in 2008 - when he contracted pneumonia - spent 2 months in the hospital - and died $400,000 in debt - because he didn't have health insurance. Ron Paul doesn't even give his campaign staff health insurance - I guess because he wants them to be "free."

We're free alright - free to go hungry - free to be poor - free to be jobless - free to breathe toxic air and drink dirty water - and free to get sick and die - and all the while, free from the government helping us. We need to once again ask ourselves what it means to be free - because for the vast majority of Americans - this new definition of freedom just isn't working.

Anthropologically speaking - historically speaking - humans have never bought into this bizarre new Republican - or Ayn Rand - notion of "freedom." For thousands of years we've organized ourselves into groups - in families - in tribes - in cities - in nations - just so we could all collectively provide each other enough basic protections and safety to live more free lives. That's the point of a democratic government in a republic like ours - to guarantee our freedom both from government intrusion but also from want, destitution, disease, and from the corporate predators around us. It's in our biology to live in "We" societies.

The education of Paul Dewar

The Ottawa Citizen:

It began at home, where he inherited his belief in social justice from his mother Marion. It continued abroad, where his eyes were opened to international development. He'd settled on a career as a teacher, but plans changed and he has since become an above-average student of politics. Matthew Pearson traces the Ottawa Centre NDP MP's journey from a man who said he'd never run for office to possible party leader.

Continue reading here.

Bernie Sanders on standing up for Social Security

Senator Bernie Sanders has been one of the staunchest supporters for protecting and strengthening Social Security in the United States Senate. He points out time and time again that it has nothing to do with the federal budget deficit and is one of America's strongest programs and success stories.

Oct. 6 election is too close to call

The Toronto Star:

The Ontario election is too close to call after Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak’s rocky campaign start has enabled Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty to close the gap, a new Toronto Star-Angus Reid poll suggests.

The Conservatives, who held a 20-point lead in an Angus Reid survey in May, now sits at 36 per cent with the Liberals at 32 per cent.

The New Democrats had 26 per cent and the Green Party trailed at 6 per cent.

The poll says that the Tories have 25 per cent support in the city compared to 34 per cent for the Liberals, both behind an impressive 35 per cent for the NDP.

But the poll indicates that both he and McGuinty should be wary of Horwath.

She enjoys a 42 per cent approval rating with 27 per cent disapproving compared to McGuinty’s 35 per cent approval and 56 per cent disapproval and Hudak’s 36 per cent approval and 47 per cent disapproval. Schreiner has an 18 per cent approval and 24 per cent disapproval rating.

“We’ve got a lot of momentum,” Horwath said in Sault Ste Marie.

Continue reading here.

Frost Over the World - Palestine's bid for statehood

What impact will the vote on the Palestinian initiative for UN recognition have and what are potential ramifications?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Romeo Saganash running for NDP Leader

Former Cree leader turned New Democratic Party MP Romeo Saganash (see here on the right, with fellow Quebec MP Thomas Mulcair and late NDP leader Jack Layton) will run for the leadership of the party, reports say.

The Montreal Gazette:

Quebec- Former Cree leader turned New Democratic Party MP Romeo Saganash will run for the leadership of the party, reports say.

Saganash is to make the announcement in his home riding of Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou.

He would become the second candidate, after party president Brian Topp's announcement Monday

Continue reading here.

(In French):

Rob Ford's support drops to 27%

The Toronto Star:

One of the biggest polls ever conducted in Toronto shows residents from every corner of the city are overwhelmingly against Mayor Rob Ford’s cuts.

From Doug Ford’s ward in Etobicoke to budget chief Mike Del Grande’s in Scarborough, the results will serve as a sobering warning to councillors within the Ford voting bloc.

A Forum Research telephone survey of nearly 13,000 people reveals that more than three-quarters of Torontonians want their local councillor to protect services rather than comply with the mayor’s wishes. And only 27 per cent of residents say they would vote for Rob Ford if an election was held tomorrow.

More significantly, because of the poll’s size, Forum was able to provide the first authoritative assessment of support on a ward-by-ward level.

Some of the strongest opposition to the current direction at city hall is in the wards of executive committee members.

For example, in Cesar Palacio’s Davenport region, 81.2 per cent of residents want him to fight Ford on cuts. In Willowdale, 82.9 per cent of David Shiner’s constituents are against cutting services.

How has your opinion of Mayor Ford changed since the election? Improved: 17%; Hasn’t changed: 29%; Grown worse: 54%.

If an election was held tomorrow, would you vote for Rob Ford for mayor? Yes: 27%; No: 60%; Don’t know: 13%.

How much do you agree that your councillor should vote in the interests of protecting city services in your community, even if it conflicts with the wishes of Mayor Ford? Overall agree: 77% (59% say they “strongly agree” and 18% say they “agree”. Overall disagree: 14% (“strongly disagree, 5%; disagree 9%). Don’t know: 9%.

Continue reading here.

Republicans: raise taxes on old, poor, disabled

The Missouri GOP is proposing eliminating a tax credit for low-income seniors and disabled people to help pay for a tax cut on corporations. Alyona Minkovski joins Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian of The Young Turks to discuss.

Winner and Losers

History: Black-White relations in the United States

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tax cuts for service cuts in Rob Ford’s Toronto

Ford for Toronto:

After months packed with a weak, barely-heard consultation process and a maddeningly non-specific communication strategy employed by the mayor’s executive committee — who told us that nothing, specifically, was on the table for cuts, except everything —, today we finally received, by way of the city manager, a list of concrete recommendations for service cuts in the 2012 budget.

They amount to, at best, $300 million worth of cuts over the next three operating budgets. For 2012, the best case scenario sees $100 million worth of cuts, mostly coming in areas like transit, planning & heritage, parks & recreation, street cleaning & snow removal, policing and libraries. We could see further cuts to both policing and libraries (including branch closures) in 2013 and 2014.

That $100 million in cuts does very little to fix the city’s perennial structural budget gap. It actually only barely covers the damage done in last year’s budget, when Council voted to significantly reduce revenues by cutting the vehicle registration tax and freezing property taxes. In essence, this fills the hole Rob Ford created and leaves us staring, rather fruitlessly, at the remaining shortfall — the same one that has dogged us since amalgamation.

Ford and his executive committee will attempt to make up the remaining difference — they’d peg it at $664 million, but really it’ll be closer to $350 million — through the forthcoming user fee review (which will undoubtedly recommend that user fees go up sharply) and the so-called efficiency study, which might end up being yet another set of veiled cuts to services. There will also be the inevitable TTC fare increase and a perfunctory property tax increase, though Ford has said he’d like to keep any increase on the low side. (To make up for last year’s freeze, we should probably be looking at something in the neighbourhood of at least four percent, but Ford has floated numbers in the two percent range.)

If it wasn’t clear already, this morning’s announcement should kill any lingering doubt that Ford has, rather spectacularly, violated his campaign promise not to cut city services. Ford voters now must look square in the face at a fiscal reality that says that damn near every dollar of revenue — taxes — removed from the city’s coffers must be complemented with an equivalent cut to service. Most of the 2012 savings come from proposed TTC cuts, including to Blue Night service, which would have a devastating effect on low-income people across the city, particularly in suburban neighbourhoods. Many of the remaining cuts are nickel-and-dime stuff, and little analysis seems to have been done to measure the financial impacts cuts to services can have to other departments or agencies.

City Manager Joseph Joseph Pennachetti has also passed the buck on a number of items, ensuring that we’re still several months away from a real debate about what to cut. Pennachetti recommends sending nearly all of the KPMG budget considerations back to various boards, committees and agencies, where they can be further debated, deputed on, and probably once again referred to executive committee. It’s an endless cycle, which cries out for the kind of fiscal leadership from the mayor’s office we were promised on election night. Rob Ford has sat in council chambers for over a decade’s worth of city budgets: it’s time we heard his ideas for plugging the budget gap. No more hiding behind expensive consultants and endless process.

Deputants to committees, left-leaning councillors and progressives in the city have been called out several times by those in power for merely championing existing programs, instead of proposing solutions to the city’s budget shortfall. What became clear today was that those running the city — Rob Ford, Budget Chief Mike Del Grande, assorted council hangers-on and staff — have no real idea how to balance the budget either. Their last, best hope is to skate through 2012 with assorted surplus revenues, these cuts, and user fee hikes, and then begin a fire sale of city assets — including, as we learned last week, the Port Lands — in the inane hope that using those revenues to pay down capital debt gives them enough room in the operating budget to make things balance.

It’s a bad idea that could significantly damage our city, and it continues to ignore Toronto’s only real path to fiscal sustainability: a coordinated approach to intergovernmental relationships, new sources of revenue — which must include consideration of road tolls and a sales tax — and a massive push for the provincial government to take back the funding responsibilities that rightfully belong to them.

Brunch with Bernie

This Week in Weed: September 11th - 17th - This week in weed a Congressman calls on the Drug Czar to reschedule marijuana, a work group in CO stalls on per se drugged driving limits, and the biggest marijuana rally on the east coast is about to commence.

Ron Paul’s campaign manager: broke and dead


At CNN's Tea Party-indulging debate on Monday, Ron Paul, a medical doctor, faced a pointed line of questioning from Wolf Blitzer regarding the case of an uninsured young man who suddenly found himself in dire need of intensive health care.

Should the state pay his bills? Paul responded, "That's what freedom is all about: taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to take care of everybody—"

He never quite finished that point, letting the audience's loud applause finish it for him. So Blitzer pressed on, asking if he meant that "society should just let him die," which earned a chilling round of approving hoots from the crowd. Paul would not concede that much outright, instead responding with a personal anecdote, the upshot being that in such a case, it was up to churches to care for the dying young man. So basically, yeah. He'd let him die.

As it turns out, Paul was not speaking purely in hypotheticals. Back in 2008, Kent Snyder — Paul's former campaign chairman — died of complications from pneumonia. Like the man in Blitzer's example, the 49-year-old Snyder (pictured) was relatively young and seemingly healthy* when the illness struck. He was also uninsured. When he died on June 26, 2008, two weeks after Paul withdrew his first bid for the presidency, his hospital costs amounted to $400,000. The bill was handed to Snyder's surviving mother (pictured, left), who was incapable of paying. Friends launched a website to solicit donations.

Continue reading here.

Poverty is a Death Sentence

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Elizabeth Warren announces candidacy for Senate

Elizabeth Warren:

Boston, Ma - Elizabeth Warren, a consumer advocate known for standing up to big banks and financial institutions to fight for middle class families, today (9/14) announced she is running for the United States Senate from Massachusetts, beginning her day greeting early morning commuters at a MBTA station in Boston.

“And the reason is straightforward,” Warren said in video released this morning on ”Middle class families have been chipped at, hacked at, squeezed and hammered for a generation now, and I don’t think Washington gets it.”

“Washington is rigged for big corporations,” Warren continued. “A big company, like GE, pays nothing in taxes, and we’re asking college students to take on even more debt to get an education? We’re telling seniors they may need to learn to live on less? It isn’t right, and it’s the reason I’m running.”

“We have a chance to help rebuild America’s middle class. We have a chance to put Washington on the side of families. We can do this together,” Warren says in her announcement video. Warren is meeting with working men and women at stops across the state today and tomorrow, including visits to Boston, New Bedford, Framingham, Worcester, Springfield, Lowell, and Gloucester.

Warren describes her family as living “on the ragged edge of the middle class” when she was growing up. She was the first in her family to graduate college and became a public school teacher. After graduating law school, Elizabeth practiced law from her living room but soon returned to teaching, becoming an expert on bankruptcy and the financial pressures facing the middle class.

After the 2008 financial crisis, Elizabeth led the panel created by Congress to examine how the bank bailout money was being spent. She is widely credited for the original thinking, political courage, and relentless persistence that led to the creation of a new consumer financial protection agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Elizabeth was in charge of setting up the agency, building the foundation to hold accountable even trillion-dollar financial institutions and to protect consumers from financial traps often hidden in mortgages, credit cards and other financial products.

Elizabeth and her husband, Bruce Mann, have been married for 31 years. In addition to two children, Elizabeth and Bruce now have three grandchildren.

Rand Paul: The poor are getting rich

Think Progress:

Census data revealed today that a record 46.2 million Americans were living in poverty in 2010. But in an aptly-timed hearing entitled “Is Poverty A Death Sentence,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) flat out rejected the idea that poverty in the U.S is worrisome. As the Ranking Member of the Senate Health subcommittee, Paul offered a dissertation-length statement on how the correlation between poverty and death is only found in the Third World and to claim such a connection within the U.S. is nothing more than “socialism” and “tyranny.”

Stating that “poor children today are healthier than middle-class adults a generation ago,” he even blamed the poor for their own health problems, suggesting “behavioral factors” like a higher incidence of smoking, obesity, or weak family support structures as the only correlation between poverty and health.

Citing the deficit as a primary priority, Paul questioned whether federal low-income programs are “creating unnecessary and unhealthy dependence on government.” He unequivocally declared that “poverty is not a state of permanence” and that “the rich are getting richer, but the poor are getting richer even faster.”

Continue reading here.

Some reality for Rand Paul:

46 million Americans now living in poverty

Staggering figures were released today from the Census bureau relating to poverty data. In 2010, an additional 2.6 million people slipped below the poverty line. That makes the overall number of people living in poverty in the US a whopping 46.2 million, that's 15.1% of the country. Georgetown University's Christopher Chambers discusses.

Ford support plummeting, poll suggests

The Toronto Star:

Mayor Rob Ford’s handling of the 2012 budget has badly shaken Torontonians’ faith in him, according to a new opinion poll that finds his popular support dropping like a rock across the city.

The Forum Research survey of 1,046 Torontonians conducted Monday after the release of city manager Joe Pennachetti’s recommended budget cuts, pegs Ford’s support at 42 per cent — a big drop from 57 per cent on June 1, and 60 per cent in late February.

Lorne Bozinoff, the Forum president independently tracking Ford’s support each quarter, said the mayor’s “very low” numbers are only likely to sink.

“This drop in support has come without any cutbacks actually coming into effect, we’re only at the idea stage,” Bozinoff said. “This is a ceiling — I think it’s going to get a lot worse for him before it gets better.

“He campaigned on a gravy train, none was found and the reality of cuts to services that residents rely on, often daily, is setting in. That has shaken public confidence in his ability to handle the job of mayor.”

Continue reading here.

Debate proves Republicans still crazy

We'll take a look at the CNN Tea Party Debate with eight of the GOP presidential candidates. We're taking a look at the issues and ask if there was anything particularly Tea Party about this one? TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro discusses.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The march of the neoliberals

The Guardian:

Neoliberalism is grounded in the "free, possessive individual", with the state cast as tyrannical and oppressive. The welfare state, in particular, is the arch enemy of freedom. The state must never govern society, dictate to free individuals how to dispose of their private property, regulate a free-market economy or interfere with the God-given right to make profits and amass personal wealth. State-led "social engineering" must never prevail over corporate and private interests. It must not intervene in the "natural" mechanisms of the free market, or take as its objective the amelioration of free-market capitalism's propensity to create inequality.

According to the neoliberal narrative, the welfare state mistakenly saw its task as intervening in the economy, redistributing wealth, universalising life-chances, attacking unemployment, protecting the socially vulnerable, ameliorating the condition of oppressed or maginalised groups and addressing social injustice. Its do-gooding, utopian sentimentality enervated the nation's moral fibre, and eroded personal responsibility and the overriding duty of the poor to work. State intervention must never compromise the right of private capital to grow the business, improve share value, pay dividends and reward its agents with enormous salaries, benefits and bonuses.

The formation of a Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition in May 2010 was fully in line with the dominant political logic of realignment. In the spirit of the times, Cameron, with Blair as his role model, signalled his determination to reposition the Tories as a "compassionate conservative party", though this has turned out to be something of a chimera.

At the same time, many underestimated how deeply being out of office and power had divided the Lib Dem soul. Coalition now set the neoliberal-inclined Orange Book supporters, who favoured an alliance with the Conservatives, against the "progressives", including former social democrats, who leaned towards Labour. A deal – its detail now forgotten – was stitched up, in which the social liberals were trounced, and Cameron and Clegg "kissed hands" in the No 10 rose garden (the former looking like the cat that had swallowed the cream). The Lib Dems thus provided the Cameron leadership with the fig leaf it needed – while the banking crisis gave the alibi. The coalition government seized the opportunity to launch the most radical, far-reaching and irreversible social revolution since the war.

Continue reading here.