Monday, October 31, 2011

Occupy Wall Street becomes global phenomenon

Occupy movement grows

Democracy Now!:

From Buenos Aires to Toronto, Kuala Lumpur to London, hundreds of thousands of people rallied on Saturday in a global day of action against corporate greed and budget cutbacks, demanding better living conditions and a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources. Protests reportedly took place in 1,500 cities, including 100 cities in the United States—all in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement that launched one month ago in New York City. We go to Athens for a report from a protest at Syntagma Square against austerity measures and corporate greed, speak to an activist in Rome where 200,000 rallied, and go to Japan for a report on the Occupy Tokyo demonstration. We also air excerpts of a speech by Julian Assange of WikiLeaks at Occupy London Stock Exchange.

1% - It's not your bank account but your patriotism

The bankster 1% in Chicago had a little message they wanted to get out to the 99% movement camped out in the streets below. So someone at the Chicago Board of Trade poured leaflets out of the window - to rain down on the demonstrators below. The leaflets read "We are Wall Street, it is our jobs to make money...Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you're only going to hurt yourselves. What's going to happen when we can't find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We're going to take yours." As we all know today - that's not a's a promise - Wall Street has never had a problem taking what's not theirs. Whether it was the trillions they took from the economy when they ran their housing bubble scheme - or the trillions more they took from the taxpayers when they demanded a bailout - Wall Street just churns other people's money and skims their vig off the top. And they've been doing it in a pretty outrageous way - what once was considered both an immoral and even illegal way - for the 30 years since Reagan stopped enforcing the Sherman Anti-Trust act, leading to an explosion on Wall Street of what was then called M&A or Mergers and Acquisitions business.

Iranian parliament to question Ahmadinejad

Iran's parliament has summoned President Mahmoud Ahmandinejad to face questioning over the biggest banking fraud in the country's history. It's thought Ahmadinejad will appear before the assembly within the next ten days. Al Jazeera's Dorsa Jabbari reports.

Peru to investigate forced sterilizations of women

The forced sterilizations occurred during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori in the 1990s.

Amnesty International:

The Peruvian authorities must investigate allegations that a government-run family planning scheme was used to sterilize thousands of indigenous and peasant women against their will.

Continue reading here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

OWS wants Wall Street to hit 'Share' button

As thousands continue to protest across America as part of the anti-corporate 'Occupy' movement, the mainstream media's at pains to point out there's a lack of a unified agenda. Lori Harfenist returned to where it all started in New York, to discover that every demonstrator has a special something to say to Wall Street.

Comparing Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party

Corporate inequality fuels Occupy movement

J.A. Meyerson, a member of the Labor and Outreach Committee for New York's Occupy Wall Street protest group, describes the power of the "tyranny of corporate wealth" and why Occupy Wall Street activists are unhappy with the corporate structures that allow for intense inequalities.

Pay rose with productivity...and then it didn't

Rick Mercer Report: Demise of the Wheat Board

A proven business strategy.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chris Hedges speaking at Occupy Wall Street

Part 1: Last week, Chris Hedges came down to Occupy Wall Street in New York. Hedges gave this compelling talk on the history of radical movements and the power of the people to create change. Here's what he had to say.

Part 2: The second part of Chris Hedges teach-in at Occupy Wall Street on October 9th, 2011. Here, Hedges answers questions regarding: How movements succeed, who to vote for in the upcoming elections, and why it is imperative to maintain a leaderless movement.

Qantas grounds entire fleet

Qantas Airways has grounded its entire fleet of aircraft over a labour dispute - a move it said would cost more than $20m a day. The Australian airline said all aircraft would remain grounded indefinitely until unions representing pilots and ground staff reached an agreement with Qantas over pay and work conditions. Al Jazeera's Andrew Thomas reports from Perth.

Mexican drug gangs take war to the streets

Rival Mexican drug cartel groups are taking their turf wars to the streets of northern Mexico. Residents in the towns of Huejucar, Florencia and Bolanas are getting caught up in the crossfire during street battles between the Zetas and Sinolas gangs. Adam Raney reports from Jalisco.

12 ways Obama could make Occupy happier


President Obama is now trying to tap into the anger of “Occupy Wall Street” and capitalize on it for political gain. It was inevitable that some politician would try to make hay with it.

Given that Obama has basically done Wall Street’s bidding since coming to office, many will rightly point out that it’s a little disingenuous of him. However, here are some things that Obama could do to make a lot of Middle Class Americans feel like he’s actually working for their interests and not the mega-banks:

1. Reinstate Glass-Steagall. America went off track when Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Alan Greenspan convinced President Clinton to let investment banks and commercial banks live under one roof. That was wrong. Bring it back and separate them again.

Continue reading here.

Syrian protesters call for international protection

Activists say at least 44 people were killed by security forces in Syria on Friday. Most of the reported killings were in Hama and Homs - two cities at the heart of the uprising. In many of Friday's anti-government rallies, protesters were calling for international protection. Al Jazeera's Will Jordan reports.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Transit City’s not dead yet: David Miller

The Globe and Mail:

Transit City was declared dead by Mayor Ford long ago and Dalton McGuinty has since agreed to transfer the money earmarked for Transit City’s surface lines on Sheppard, Finch and Eglinton to pay for an underground route on Eglinton alone.

In a widely quoted radio interview in September, Mr. Miller said his plan for light-rail lines on Sheppard and Finch could be turned back on “like a switch” since all the preliminary work was complete. While viewed by many as a real long shot, such statements and the results of the provincial election have fuelled hopes for a rebirth of Transit City. A new online petition is circulating, asking for the transit issue to be put before city council.

“We are not reopening the debate,” says a spokeswoman for the Premier in an e-mail – a statement that appears to leave the matter in the hands of the city. After Mayor Ford’s election, the Premier was careful to steer clear of the divisions on council over transit planning, saying it was up to local government to decide what changes should be made. Reviving Transit City at this point would require the province to go against the wishes of the mayor, an unlikely scenario unless it had the support of council.

Mr. Miller doesn’t see it that way. Building a rapid transit system is one of the biggest issues facing Toronto, he argues, and Transit City a once-in-a-generation opportunity. He has begun to speak out publicly on the issue, saying it is too important for him – as a citizen who is well versed on the issue – to remain silent. That stance has been embraced by some opponents of the mayor, emboldened by the recent success in defeating the mayor and his brother’s bid to take control of planning for Toronto’s Port Lands.

“The question really now is the premier,” Mr. Miller insists. “It’s almost entirely provincial money, so they’ve got the biggest say.”

Continue reading here.

1% Income Grew 275%

According to the Congressional Budget Office since 1979, income for the top one percent of Americans has risen 275%. So you can start seeing why more Americans are starting to support Occupy Wall Street, as a new poll from CBS/New York Times shows that 43% generally agree with the movement's views, with only 27% saying they didn't. Campaign for America's Future's Richard Eskow discusses.

Have Democrats not learned their lesson yet?

Democrats need to take a good, long look in the mirror - because they've forgotten just who the heck they are. Yesterday - the 6 Democrats on the Gang of 12 Super Committee introduced their first proposal - as in their first offer - their starting point heading into negotiations with Republicans over the next month. And in it - they propose cutting $400 billion from Medicare. That's a $400 billion cut from Medicare - the program Democrats created - and fought hard for against Republicans like Ronald Reagan, who even voiced a recording heard by millions of Americans suggesting that Medicare would put us on the road to a Soviet style of socialism. That's a $400 billion cut from Medicare - a program that 78% of Americans want left alone! And that's a $400 billion cut from Medicare that's only going to get worse because - again - this is the first offer on the table from Democrats - so once Republicans start negotiating - then that number is going to get bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Why on earth would Democrats put their second-most prized creation on the table for sacrifice - when everyone knows Republicans aren't going to compromise on raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires no matter what Democrats offer up? Have Democrats not learned their lesson yet?

Unregulated quarrying threatens India's farmlands

India's rapidly expanding economy has created a growing demand for building materials. The stone mining industry has become a large and lucrative business, but corruption and a lack of transparency have had a damaging effect on the environment. Al Jazeera's Nilanjan Chowdry reports from the western state of Rajasthan.

Wounded Iraq veteran awake after head injury


Oakland – An Iraq war veteran badly wounded in clashes between protesters and police on the streets of Oakland was awake and lucid, hospital officials and family members said on Thursday.

Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old former U.S. Marine struck in the head during Wall Street protests on Tuesday night, had been upgraded from critical to fair condition overnight.

Olsen, 24, has become a rallying cry for the Occupy WallStreet movement nationwide and Oakland organizers said they would stage a general strike over what a spokeswoman called the “brutal and vicious” treatment of protesters, including the former Marine.

Olsen “responded with a very large smile” to a visit from his parents, Highland General Hospital spokesman Warren Lyons said at a late-afternoon press conference on Thursday.

“He’s able to understand what’s going on. He’s able to write and hear but has a little difficulty with his speech,” Lyons said.

Continue reading here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

People & Power - The Koch Brothers

Tycoon duos, behind an ununderground campaign to swing the balance of US power for Republicans.

Has OWS Reached a Turning Point?

Last night Oakland mayor Jean Quan, after numerous calls for her resignation, released a statement saying she now supports the Occupy Oakland protesters and will minimize police presence for the time being. It begs the question as to whether or not the Occupy movement is beginning to reach a turning point. The Young Turks' Ana Kasparian weighs in.

Imagine a World without Fox News?

Imagine a world without Muslim fear mongering...or bias corporate ideology. Sure sounds nice huh? In tonight's Daily Take, I'll tell about a world missing one particular "news" network.

“I’m Rob f---ing Ford, the mayor of this city!”

The Toronto Star:

If Rob Ford asks Toronto police for a recording of the 911 call he made Monday morning after he was ambushed at his home by This Hour Has 22 Minutes, they will release it to him.

“And he could do with it whatever he chose,” said police spokesman Mark Pugash.

The contents of that call have stirred fresh controversy for the embattled mayor following a CBC News report alleging that Ford insulted the 911 dispatcher in a profanity-laced tirade.

Ford has admitted to using the f-word in the call, but has denied insulting the female operator, calling the CBC report “absolutely false.”

The CBC is standing by their story. “There were multiple sources who gave us information about the 911 call,” said CBC News spokesman Chris Ball. “We have reconfirmed with our sources and they stand behind what they have told us.”

The mayor initially called 911 when 22 Minutes cast member Mary Walsh, dressed in character as the outlandish and loud-mouthed Marg Delahunty, approached him in his driveway Monday morning.

The episode aired Tuesday night.

This morning, the CBC reported that when police didn’t arrive right away, Ford turned on the dispatcher in a subsequent call, yelling: “You … bitches! Don’t you f---ing know? I’m Rob f---ing Ford, the mayor of this city!”

Continue reading here.

Grayson: It's Class Warfare vs. Class Surrender

Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) appears on MSNBC's The Ed Show to combat the misguided remarks of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) regarding the income gap in the United States. Grayson appeared along with Steven Rattner, former auto advisor in the Treasury Department in the Obama Administration. The interview occurred on October 26, 2011.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Obama still minting money on Wall Street

The Washington Post:

Despite frosty relations with the titans of Wall Street, President Obama has still managed to raise far more money this year from the financial and banking sector than Mitt Romney or any other Republican presidential candidate, according to new fundraising data.

Obama’s key advantage over the GOP field is the ability to collect bigger checks because he raises money for both his own campaign committee and for the Democratic National Committee, which will aid in his reelection effort.

As a result, Obama has brought in more money from employees of banks, hedge funds and other financial service companies than all of the GOP candidates combined, according to a Washington Post analysis of contribution data. The numbers show that Obama retains a persistent reservoir of support among Democratic financiers who have backed him since he was an underdog presidential candidate four years ago.

Continue reading here.

If our leaders were corrupt, would we know it?

Canadian prime ministers have virtually no checks on their power.

Andrew Coyne, Comment, The National Post:

The following was adapted from a speech given by Andrew Coyne on Tuesday night at History Wars at the ROM, the first in a series of three debates on Canadian history, held at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

In other countries executive power is subject to various checks and balances. Who or what prevents a prime minister of Canada from doing as he pleases? The governor general? But he is his appointee. The Senate? He appoints all the senators. The courts? He appoints every member of the Supreme Court, and all the federal court judges, too. The bureaucracy? He appoints the clerk of the privy council, every deputy minister, the heads of all the major Crown corporations, even the ambassadors. The police? He appoints the chief of the RCMP. And so on, hundreds and hundreds of posts, great and small, and nearly all without any independent oversight.

Ah, but the prime minister, as we all know, must command the confidence of the House of Commons. Surely that is the ultimate check on his power. Really? He appoints all the committee chairs (or those in which the government has a majority). He appoints not only the cabinet ministers, but the parliamentary secretaries and the whips. So members of the governing caucus have every incentive to seek his favour, and to fear his wrath. For that matter, he effectively appoints the caucus, since without his signature on their nomination papers, they cannot run. Yet they have no similar power over him: Since 1919, party leaders in Canada have been elected, not by the caucus, as in the classical Westminster model, but by the party at large.

In consequence, Parliament has become a kind of electoral college, its sole purpose to translate the votes of perhaps 40% of the electorate into a majority. A prime minister in possession of such a “mandate” decides what will be debated, and, for how long. He decides when Parliament shall be convened, when it should be prorogued, and when dissolved. And if he has to, he has the nuclear option: the power to declare any vote a matter of confidence, and to insist on fresh elections if MPs are so foolish as to defeat him.

Have these powers been abused? Yes. All of them, with increasing frequency. The powers of appointment are a particular example. The Senate is notorious as a repository for party bagmen. Mulroney appointed his wife’s hairdresser to the Federal Business Development Bank. Chr├ętien made his press secretary governor general. Cabinet itself has become so bloated in size as to be little more than a ceremonial body.

Continue reading here.

Glenn Greenwald on Wall Street, banks, Wikileaks

Democracy Now!:

The prominent political and legal blogger Glenn Greenwald comments on the growing Occupy Wall Street movement. “This movement is about is more important than specific legislative demands … it is expressing dissent to the system itself,” says Greenwald. “It is not a Democratic Party organ, it is not about demanding President Obama’s single [jobs] bill pass or anything along those lines. It is saying that we believe the system itself is radically corrupted and we no longer are willing to tolerate it and that’s infinitely more important than specific legislative or political demands." Greenwald also discusses the possible shutdown of the online whistleblower website WikiLeaks due to a “financial blockade” led by MasterCard, Visa and PayPal. “The reason why all these companies cut off funds is because the government pressured and demanded that they do so,” Greenwald says. “So no due process, no accusation of criminal activity. You could never charge WikiLeaks with a crime — they’re engaged in First Amendment activity — and the government has destroyed them through their pressure and influence over the private sector. WikiLeaks has shed more light on the world’s most powerful factions than all media outlets combined easily over the last year and that’s the reason why they’re so hated."

Michael Moore on Piers Morgan last night

Part 1: Not embedded

Part 2:

Michael Moore, Dr. Cornel West on Wall Street

Democracy Now!:

As Occupy protests against inequality and corporate greed continue across the United States and around the world, we’re joined by Michael Moore, Academy Award-winning filmmaker and activist, and Princeton University Professor Cornel West. "We expect [President Obama] to do the work of the people," Moore says. "The people are not going to go away. So he can either go down as a historic president, who become the FDR of this century, or he can be remembered as the man who was in the pocket of Goldman Sachs." West added, "What we’re trying to do is connect what’s going on on Wall Street with what’s going on in Harlem... If in fact we continue to have this kind of magnificent movement here and around the world, we want to be able to connect the corporate greed not just on Wall Street, but in the military-industrial complex, the prison-industrial complex, and the corporate-media multiplex."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Engineer explains taxes at Occupy Wall Street

This guy is spot on and completely schools the Republican or counter argument of the right-wing.

Rob Ford calls 911 on comedy show

The Toronto Star:

Mayor Rob Ford had a rough start to the week.

He called 911 after being accosted outside his Etobicoke home around 8 a.m. on Monday as he was leaving for a council meeting at City Hall.

The attackers turned out to be from the CBC comedy show This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which specializes in catching politicians unaware. By the time police arrived, the TV crew and Ford had gone.

According to a neighbour, a woman brandishing a microphone jumped out of a dark blue Jeep and ran yelling toward Ford’s driveway with a cameraman in tow.

The woman was 22 Minutes alumna Mary Walsh, in character as her alter ego Marg Delahunty and dressed outlandishly as Marg, Warrior Princess, CBC spokesman Chris Ball confirmed.

Continue reading here.

The Republicans are living on another planet

Where Do We Go From Here?

"Where Do We Go From Here?"

On the one month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, I went to Liberty Plaza to find out where the movement will go next.

Director ED DAVID
Assistant Producer JILLIAN MASON

"I Drive" by Cliff Martinez

Peggy Nash to join NDP race this week

The Toronto Star:

Ottawa — New Democrat MP Peggy Nash (Parkdale-High Park) is about to become the first woman to enter the leadership race.

The Star received a telephone call Monday from Shannon Devine, who works in communications at the Canadian Auto Workers union. She said she was compiling a list of media contacts for the “Peggy Nash campaign.”

The Toronto MP has said she was seriously considering a leadership bid, but had yet to formally announce her intentions.

The announcement is now expected to come later this week.

Nash is currently on her way to Whitehorse with the Commons finance committee for pre-budget consultations and could not be reached for comment.

Her office declined to speak on her behalf.

Nash would be the seventh person to enter the race to replace the late Jack Layton, after veteran party strategist Brian Topp, Deputy Leader Thomas Mulcair, Ottawa MP Paul Dewar, British Columbia MP Nathan Cullen, Quebec MP Romeo Saganash and Nova Scotia pharmacist Martin Singh.

Nova Scotia MP Robert Chisholm told reporters in Ottawa on Monday that he is “leaning very closely” toward entering the race and expects to make an announcement soon. Manitoba MP Niki Ashton has also said she is seriously considering a leadership bid.

Continue reading here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Day 37

Egypt takes first step towards elections

In Egypt, registration closes in a few hours time for candidates in the first elections there since the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf reports from Cairo. More than six thousand people have so far registered to run in the vote for a new upper and lower house of parliament. But as Jane Arraf reports from Cairo, there are fears that next month's open elections could be too open.

Are Republicans scared to death of OWS?

Jamie Weinstein, Daily Caller & Brian Darling, Human Events & Medea Benjamin, Code Pink join Thom Hartmann.

Michael Moore on CNBC talks Occupy Wall Street

US Predator Drones patrol Canadian border

Sunday, October 23, 2011

American class warfare

There's a class war brewing in the United States. That's the stark warning from the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement which is into its fifth week - and shows no sign of giving up. For them, the yawning gap between rich and poor is getting far too wide. And that could cost the government dearly, as Gayane Chichakyan explains.

Poverty rates rising

Alyona discusses the staggering figures on poverty released by the Census Bureau yesterday. In 2010 poverty rose in almost every single state but Congress can't even get a jobs bill passed and discusses how the biggest disparity is right here in the Nation's Capital.

Bernie Sanders moves into America's mainstream

The Guardian:

Bernie Sanders sits in his Senate office and reflects on another unexpected twist in his already unusual political life. As the only self-proclaimed socialist to sit in the US Congress, Sanders is long used to surviving in the political wilderness. But Sanders is now having to get used to a different environment altogether: the mainstream.

His constant slamming of Wall Street, his critiques of big business and the excesses of money in politics, as well as his call for a defence of American jobs, have become hot issues in US politics. The senator from Vermont is now a regular on American TV screens and rapidly becoming a fixture of US politics and a hero to many on the left.

The white-haired and irascible Sanders, 70, who is famed for his blunt outspokenness, almost became bashful at the thought that his exile from the mainstream appears to be ending.

Sanders is unique in American politics. In a country dominated by a two-party system, he is the lone independent in the Senate. In a political landscape where "socialist" is essentially a curse word, he has carved out a successful political career, with a solid base of support in his home state. Tall, with a shock of white hair and a slightly dishevelled appearance even when wearing a smart suit, he speaks with the thick Brooklyn accent of his working-class childhood, even while inhabiting the rarefied atmosphere of the Senate.

Sanders also pounds out the same message every day: the middle class is being destroyed, the government needs to create jobs, the banks are corrupt and big money has bought both political parties and made a mockery of American democracy.

Continue reading here.

Far-right party 'loses ground' in Swiss poll

Downturn in support for Swiss People's Party, which campaigned to stop influx of immigrants, partial results show.

Partial victory for postal workers

The Toronto Star:

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is declaring partial victory in its fight against arbitration imposed by federal labour minister Lisa Raitt.

Federal court judge Luc Martineau ruled this week that the arbitration must be stopped until January. That’s when the court hears the union’s arguments against Raitt’s appointment of former judge Coulter A. Osborne as arbitrator.

“I am satisfied that the union has overwhelmingly established the existence of irreparable harm. There is clear evidence of harm and the instances of harm alleged by the union are not hypothetical or conjectural, as argued by Canada Post,” Martineau wrote in his ruling.

“Labour arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism has traditionally and functionally rested on a consensual basis, with the arbitrator chosen by the parties or being acceptable to both parties. That did not occur in (this) case,” Martineau added.

Continue reading here.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Global Lost Generation

And speaking of revolution - things have taken a serious turn for the worst in Greece as a new round of austerity comes down the pike. But Greece isn't alone when it comes to civil unrest. So what's really causing all the "fed up" protests and demonstrations around the globe?

Tunisians set for key vote

Ten months after a popular uprising toppled its president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and sparked similar movements across the Arab world, Tunisians are heading to the polls for their first democratic elections on Sunday. More than four million people have registered to vote. There are more than 100 registered parties but only a handful stand out as strong contenders. This has led to confusion about how the polling system work - and many people are undecided on who they will be voting for. However, campaigners say it doesn't really matter as long as people vote. Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri reports from Tunis.

Occupy Wall Street song and video

Occupy Wall Street (The Full Version) written by Lendy Pendent (aka Jessica Mashburn).

Retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson on govt. priorities

President Obama has announced that, all US troops would be leaving Iraq at the end of the year, as previously agreed to in 2008. While the President may want it to sound like this was his plan all along, it was just recently that we heard US military officials, including Robert Gates pushing for some troops to stay, and negotiating the details. So could it really be coming to an end? Ret. Col. Lawrence Wilkerson discusses.

Krugman talks Occupy Wall Street on Countdown

From Friday, October 21, 2011.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stop Indefinite Detention

The US Congress should reject provisions in a defense spending bill that would permit long-term indefinite detention without trial of terrorism suspects. Not since the McCarthy era has the US sought to legislate the indefinite detention of people without charge or trial.

Provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would allow the government to hold terrorism suspects indefinitely without any real ability to challenge their detention. They should instead be charged and tried in federal court.

Contact your representatives and demand they reject these detention provisions -- provisions that don't reflect American values.

Michael Moore on BBC's "Hardtalk"

Jeremy Paxman interviews Michael Moore about the global Occupy movement, with a segment by Paul Mason.

Taking on Hermain Cain's dumb claims

Herman Cain says Liberals are out to destroy this country....In my Daily Take - I'll make Herman Cain wish he was out delivering pizzas again.

Texas conservatives reject Harper's crime plan

CBC News:

On a recent trip to Texas, an array of conservative voices told CBC News that Texas tried what Canada plans to do – and it failed.

As recently as 2004, Texas had the highest incarceration rate in the world, with fully one in 20 of its adult residents behind bars, on parole or on probation. The Lone Star state still has the death penalty, with more than 300 prisoners on death row today. But for three decades, as crime rates fell all over the U.S., the rate in Texas fell at only half the national average.

That didn't change the policy — but its cost did.

Faced with a budget crisis in 2005, the Texas statehouse was handed an estimate of $2 billion to build new prisons for a predicted influx of new prisoners.

They told Madden to find a way out. He and his committee dug into the facts. Did all those new prisoners really need to go to jail? And did all of those already behind bars really need to be there?

Madden's answer was, no. He found that Texas had diverted money from treatment and probation services to building prisons. But sending people to prison was costing 10 times as much as putting them on probation, on parole, or in treatment.

Instead, over the next few years, it spent a fraction of the $2 billion those prisons would have cost — about $300 million — to beef up drug treatment programs, mental health centres, probation services and community supervision for prisoners out on parole.

It worked. Costs fell and crime fell, too. Now, word of the Canadian government's crime plan is filtering down to Texas and it's getting bad reviews

Continue reading here.

Michael Moore on Countdown last night

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How the 1% is reacting to the 99%

What exactly is Fox so-called News up to when it comes to coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement? In my Daily Take - I'll ask a very important question about how the 1% is reacting to the 99% taking to the streets.

Greek parliament approves austerity plans

The Greek parliament has approved government plans for further austerity measures, paving the way for the debt-crippled country to receive more bailout loans from international creditors. Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons reports from Athens.

Tea Party to business: don't hire, hurt Obama

Think Progress:

Congressional Republicans have acted shocked and offended at Democrats’ suggestions that they are intentionally sabotaging the economy to try to win back the White House in 2012. Republicans have refused to pass President Obama’s jobs plan — which experts estimate will create at least 1.9 million jobs — and proposed an alternative plan that Moody’s says “will likely push the economy back into recession.”

Now influential Tea Party leaders are throwing caution to the wind and openly lobbying business owners to stop hiring in order to hurt Obama politically. This week, Right Wing Watch picked up on a message Tea Party Nation sent to their members from conservative activist Melissa Brookstone.

In a rambling letter titled “Call For A Strike of American Small Businesses Against The Movement for Global Socialism,” Brookstone urges businesses “not hire a single person” to protest “this new dictator”:

Resolved that: The current administration and Democrat majority in the Senate, in conjunction with Progressive socialists from all around the country, especially those from Hollywood and the left leaning news media (Indeed, most of the news media.) have worked in unison to advance an anti-business, an anti-free market, and an anti-capitalist (anti-individual rights and property ownership) agenda. [...]

I, an American small business owner, part of the class that produces the vast majority of real, wealth producing jobs in this country, hereby resolve that I will not hire a single person until this war against business and my country is stopped.

Continue reading here.

Speaking to the Occupiers

Alyona speaks to three protesters at Occupy Wall Street from very different walks of life about everything from the overall relationship with the police to why their occupying Wall Street. And we'll share with them messages from Occupy DC and Occupy LA.

Scenes of celebration in Tripoli

With the death of Muammar Gaddafi, Libyans throughout the country have taken to the streets in celebration of the end of Gaddafi's four-decade-long rule. With pictures of a dead Gaddafi circulating around 'martyr square,' Libyans celebrate the end of a brutal regime that they say affected all Libyans throughout the nation for 42 years. Al Jazeera's James Bays reports live from Tripoli, where he got the reactions of some English-speaking Libyans.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Canada's secret trade deal CETA

Time is running out to stop CETA -- the Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement being negotiated between Canada and the European Union. Negotiations are being held in Ottawa this week and this could be the final time both parties sit down at the table.

Municipalities across Canada are raising concerns about CETA and the implications for public water, local procurement and democracy.

Here's three things you can do to help stop this dangerous trade deal being negotiated behind closed doors:

1. Share this video
Share this video with your friends. Make sure they know about the dangers of CETA.

2. Join the on-line campaign
Visit to email Prime Minister Stephen Harper and ask him to immediately halt negotiations on this deal.

3. Join a phone mob
Join the phone mob on Wednesday, October 19. Call your local city councillors to let them know that CETA is bad for communities. Ask them to join municipalities across Canada who are passing resolutions and raising concerns about CETA.

Thanks for your help in stopping this dangerous deal.

Grayson on Republican presidential candidates

Alan Grayson exposes just how out of touch the Republican presidential candidates really are when it comes to the economy. The interview on MSNBC's The Ed Show occurred on October 18, 2011.

O'Donnell on government marijuana lies, hypocrisy

“Meanwhile, America is going to continue getting high as it always has. Legally, on booze, and illegally on a lot of things, including marijuana, which is a much, much healthier choice than whiskey. Such hypocrisy carries an even stronger stench than the alcohol-drenched breath of those politicians and judges and prosecutors and DEA officials. I really don’t know how they can sleep at night."

Shaq speaks out against anti-LGBT bullying - In partnership with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), GLAAD has produced a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) series that encourages everyone to be proactive in putting an end to the bullying. Watch the PSAs and check out GLAAD's Amplify Your Voice Resource Kit to find tips and information for educators, parents and youth. For more information about GLAAD's work, please visit,, and

The rise of crazy, violent Republican rhetoric

We'll take a look at Herman Cain's latest statement on immigration, and how he tried to walk it back. We'll take a look at the rise in crazy, violent rhetoric from the GOP. And ask how much further could the rhetoric go? Andrea Nill Sanchez, contributor at Daily Grito joins the discussion.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Movement Too Big to Fail

Chris Hedges, Truth Dig:

There is no danger that the protesters who have occupied squares, parks and plazas across the nation in defiance of the corporate state will be co-opted by the Democratic Party or groups like MoveOn. The faux liberal reformers, whose abject failure to stand up for the rights of the poor and the working class, have signed on to this movement because they fear becoming irrelevant. Union leaders, who pull down salaries five times that of the rank and file as they bargain away rights and benefits, know the foundations are shaking. So do Democratic politicians from Barack Obama to Nancy Pelosi. So do the array of “liberal” groups and institutions, including the press, that have worked to funnel discontented voters back into the swamp of electoral politics and mocked those who called for profound structural reform.

Resistance, real resistance, to the corporate state was displayed when a couple of thousand protesters, clutching mops and brooms, early Friday morning forced the owners of Zuccotti Park and the New York City police to back down from a proposed attempt to expel them in order to “clean” the premises. These protesters in that one glorious moment did what the traditional “liberal” establishment has steadily refused to do—fight back. And it was deeply moving to watch the corporate rats scamper back to their holes on Wall Street. It lent a whole new meaning to the phrase “too big to fail.”

Tinkering with the corporate state will not work. We will either be plunged into neo-feudalism and environmental catastrophe or we will wrest power from corporate hands. This radical message, one that demands a reversal of the corporate coup, is one the power elite, including the liberal class, is desperately trying to thwart. But the liberal class has no credibility left. It collaborated with corporate lobbyists to neglect the rights of tens of millions of Americans, as well as the innocents in our imperial wars. The best that liberals can do is sheepishly pretend this is what they wanted all along. Groups such as MoveOn and organized labor will find themselves without a constituency unless they at least pay lip service to the protests. The Teamsters’ arrival Friday morning to help defend the park signaled an infusion of this new radicalism into moribund unions rather than a co-opting of the protest movement by the traditional liberal establishment. The union bosses, in short, had no choice.

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Occupy Wall Street "will not be co-opted"

Jesse LaGreca, an Occupy Wall Street protester who has become well known for his remarks on ABC news talks to Alyona in NYC.

Occupy Wall Street and legal rights

Michael Ratner, President of The Center for Constitutional Rights, joins Thom Hartmann. Between the violent police tactics - the mass arrests - the suppression of peaceful demonstrations - and the near eviction of Zucotti Park last Friday - there are a number of legal questions surrounding the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Martin Luther King Jr. memorial

A new memorial to US civil rights leader Martin Luther King has unveiled a memorial to honor his contributions to the civil rights movement. Until the 1960s, Black and white Americans were kept separate in public places - including schools and hotels.
But now, people of all races and religions will be able to come and celebrate Dr King's legacy at America's National Mall -- the preserve of memorials to former Presidents and war heroes -- which now welcomes a towering man of peace. Al Jazeera's John Terret reports from Washington

Barack Obama, the US President, has honoured the legacy of Martin Luther King Junior, at the unveiling of a new memorial dedicated to the civil rights leader. In reference to the "occupy Wall Street" protests, Obama said King also fought for economic justice. Tens of thousands of people turned out to witness the dedication of the memorial to Martin Luther King. The first monument honouring an African American on the National Mall, and the first not dedicated to a former President or a war. In his speech the president hailed King's contribution to American life, and noted his work is far from over amid the economic crisis that has left millions out of work, and poverty on the rise, especially in minority communities. Al Jazeera's John Terrett reports from Washington DC.

Gallup: 50% support cannabis legalization

Fire Dog Lake:

For the first time in the decades that Gallup has polled American opinions regarding marijuana legalization, it found that more American adults support marijuana legalization than oppose it. According to Gallup a record 50 percent of Americans think marijuana should be legalized, while only 46 percent think it should remain illegal. From Gallup:

This is an historic moment for the marijuana legalization movement. Gallup is one of the most respected pollsters in the world, and this poll showing a majority in support of legalization will send an important signal to politicians, the media and Americans generally. Marijuana legalization as an issue is now fully mainstream, and the issue has now crossed an important psychological and political tipping point.

According to the poll, cannabis legalization is most popular among liberals and adults under 3o, while legalization is least popular with conservatives and people over the age of 65.

This age gap is good news for marijuana legalization. It means the clear trend we have seen in the past few years of the American people steadily becoming more accepting of marijuana legalization should continue for the foreseeable future, as the older generation is gradually replaced by a young generation.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Times Square interview with Chris Hedges

On October 15th Occupy TVNY met with Pullitzer prize-winning author and journalist Chris Hedges in Times Square, New York City where tens of thousands of people assembled on a global day of action. Chris shares his feelings on where the Occupy movement has come from and where it is heading.

California Medical Association: legalize pot

The L.A. Times:

The state's largest doctor group is calling for legalization of marijuana, even as it pronounces cannabis to be of questionable medical value.

Trustees of the California Medical Assn., which represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, adopted the position at their annual meeting in Anaheim late Friday. It is the first major medical association in the nation to urge legalization of the drug, according to a group spokeswoman, who said the larger membership was notified Saturday

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US abandoning plans to keep troops in Iraq

The Associated Press:

Baghdad - The U.S. is abandoning plans to keep U.S. troops in Iraq past a year-end withdrawal deadline, The Associated Press has learned. The decision to pull out fully by January will effectively end more than eight years of U.S. involvement in the Iraq war, despite ongoing concerns about its security forces and the potential for instability.

The decision ends months of hand-wringing by U.S. officials over whether to stick to a Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline that was set in 2008 or negotiate a new security agreement to ensure that gains made and more than 4,400 American military lives lost since March 2003 do not go to waste.

In recent months, Washington has been discussing with Iraqi leaders the possibility of several thousand American troops remaining to continue training Iraqi security forces. A Pentagon spokesman said Saturday that no final decision has been reached about the U.S. training relationship with the Iraqi government.

But a senior Obama administration official in Washington confirmed Saturday that all American troops will leave Iraq except for about 160 active-duty soldiers attached to the U.S. Embassy.

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Recall Walker campaign in Wisconsin

Democrats in Wisconsin haven't forgotten about Governor Scott Walker. After nearly a year of attacking working people's rights to unionize - and pitting private sector employees against public sector employees - Scott Walker's days of living in the Governor's Mansion in Madison could be numbered. The state's Democratic Party announced yesterday that it will begin sending out recall petitions against Governor Walker on November 15th. That gives Democrats two months to collect the 540,000 signatures necessary to launch a recall election against Walker as soon as he's eligible for recall at the beginning of next year. As Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said, "It has become clearer than ever that the people of Wisconsin - the traditions and institutions of our great state - cannot endure any more of Scott Walker's abuses." So will Democrats in the Badger state put an end to the war on unions that Scott Walker started? Here to give us an update is Graeme Zielinski - Communications Director with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

NDP calls on ethics boss to investigate Raitt

The Toronto Sun:

The official Opposition will call on the ethics commissioner to investigate an possible conflict of interest involving federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt over an alleged free seat upgrade from an Air Canada top executive, NDP labour critic Yvon Godin said.

The call comes after a document released to the media indicated Air Canada's CEO and executive vice-president Duncan Dee apparently upgraded Raitt's flight from economy to business class — almost a $550 value — for free on Sept. 25.

Godin said he now has possession of another electronic ticket suggesting Dee also authorized an upgrade for Raitt's chief of staff, Douglas Smith, on Oct. 10.

A spokesman from Raitt's office said neither the minister — who this week blocked the airlines' flight attendants from striking — nor her chief of staff ever accepted or requested a complimentary upgrade from Air Canada.

The spokesman gave documents to QMI Agency indicating Raitt and Smith used their own points for the upgrade.

But Godin still questions why Dee's name is on the ticket, insisting the documents are proof the minister and her staff received free upgrades.

Godin called Raitt's alleged involvement in the upgrades unethical and a conflict of interest.

"Air Canada is providing upgrading to her at the same time she is legislating workers back to work," he said in a telephone interview from New Brunswick.

"We have to stop ... those things. That's why we have a commissioner of ethics."

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

CBC: O’Leary’s ‘nutbar’ remark breach of policy

The Canadian Press:

CBC’s ombudsman says Kevin O’Leary’s heated remarks during an interview with author Chris Hedges violated the public broadcaster’s journalistic standards.

The watchdog says hundreds of complaints were filed after Mr. O’Leary called the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist “a nutbar” during CBC News Network’s The Lang & O’Leary Exchange on Oct. 6. The remark came during a seven-minute segment about the Occupy Wall Street protests unfolding in the United States.

Mr. LaPointe says CBC News correctly issued a private apology to Mr. Hedges after the interview but should also have apologized on air.

His Oct. 6 interview with Mr. Hedges devolved into an argument after he referred to demonstrators as “nothing burgers,” called the protests “very weak, very low-budget” and said Mr. Hedges sounded like a “left-wing nutbar.”

Mr. LaPointe says e-mailed complaints began to arrive that evening and continued for several days, while video of the exchange was posted widely online.

It’s not the first complaint over Mr. O’Leary regarding an outburst on the news talk show. The National Union of Public and General Employees says it filed a complaint Friday over comments Mr. O’Leary made Sept. 19, when he said that if he were elected prime minister, he would “make unions illegal” and union members should be “thrown in jail.”

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Rant: Dylan Ratigan on big money in politics

An epic moment of truth within the mainstream media.

The 99% - What the movement is all about

Video compilation from the Occupy Wall St. protest in Zuccotti Park October 7, 2011.

Occupy movement: It’s about time

Jim Stanford, Opinion, The Globe and Mail:

Judging from the spirited, friendly, and optimistic crowds at this weekend’s occupation protests, perhaps that sleeping radical giant has finally been awakened. I joined the event in Toronto, with a couple of thousand others who marched through downtown and set up camp on the eastern fringe of the financial district. Nearly a thousand similar events happened around the world – further adding to the surprising momentum sparked by Occupy Wall Street.

Many have noted the diverse, spontaneous, unfocused feel of the protests. Yet the organizers still pulled together all the basics: Porta-Potties, a medical tent, food. Other details will come together with time. If it lasts, the occupation will become a place for the activists to build stronger networks, and a sharper political program.

Most importantly, the occupations may become a symbol of the moral authority that is a precondition for successful social change movements. Despite the carnival-like assemblage of people and causes, they are strongly unified behind an accurate and legitimate single complaint: Namely, that economic and social policies have enriched the 1 per cent, at the expense of the 99 per cent, and that must change. Their activism has been further unified by a constructive, cooperative and peaceful attitude – disarming those who’ve tried to demonize and criminalize protest in our harsh post-9-11 political culture.

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Thousands march in Occupy Bay Street - Toronto

Bay Street is the Canadian equivalent of Wall Street.

Copyright © 2011 Toronto Video Activist Collective

Part of the "Occupy" movement and the Global Day of Action - #OCT15

Thousands march in "Occupy Bay Street" - Toronto, Canada (Turtle Island) - October 15, 2011 #OCCUPY

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Wall Street marches on billionaires' homes

Occupy Wall Street protesters chant outside the Park Avenue home to billionaire David Koch and David Ganek, in New York, on Oct. 11, 2011.

Labor and community activists joined by Occupy Wall St. targets Dimon, Koch and Murdoch on Upper East Side march

New York progressive and community groups joined by Occupy Wall Street protesters marched through one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods on Tuesday, visiting the homes of several billionaires to pressure Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature to extend the life of a surcharge tax on the state’s wealthiest residents.

Besides being good theater — a giant check representing state tax cuts for the rich was left on the doorstep of hedge funder John Paulson’s Upper East Side townhouse — the march amounted to an attempt by veteran community and labor-affiliated activists to harness the intense media and popular interest in Occupy Wall Street to advance a specific progressive policy goal.

“We’re not trying to grab the steering wheel. We’re not trying to say Occupy Wall Street is all about one issue. But this is a concrete example of the kind of policies that are screwed up,” said organizer Michael Kink, executive director of Strong Economy for All, a coalition of unions and community advocacy groups. “I think public opinion is galvanizing around Occupy,” he added.

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Polls: US likes Occupy Wall Street, not Tea Party

The Examiner:

The Occupy Wall Street movement has exploded all over the country as Americans have gathered together to voice their anger at the top 1% who have continued to rob America. According to new NBC/Wall Street Journal and TIME magazine polls, the Occupy Wall Street movement has become more popular than the destructive Tea Party. The polls show an average support of 46% for the Occupy Wall Street movement, while showing only 27% support for the Tea Party. In addition, only 20% of all Americans oppose the Occupy Wall Street movement at the same time nearly double, at 38%, feel negatively about the Tea Party.

Many have said to be "confused" about the message of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but the message couldn't be more clear. Americans are upset, the wealthy continue to get wealthy while the rest of Americans have to pay the bill. Student loans are high, health care cost have risen and with the tax breaks going to the top 1%, programs that Americans are relying on are on the Republican chopping block. The people protesting around the country just want some accountability and fairness across the board. Americans don't want to punish the wealthy, they just want the wealthy to give back to the society that helped them get to the place they are in. Fairness is the message, if you can't see that, you're not paying attention.

Time magazine poll: only 27% of Americans view the Tea Party favourably, while 53% of Americans view the Wall St. protests favourably.

Professor Jeffrey Sachs at Occupy Wall Street

Watch Jeffrey Sachs, leading environmentalist and economist, and a respected Professor at Columbia University, speak out at the growing, inspiring Occupy Wall Street movement. Sachs is one of many professors, celebrities, community leaders, spiritual leaders and public figures who are speaking out in support of the OWS movement and what it stands for.

Get it Right: Legalize Responsibly

'Get It Right' shows the realities behind marijuana laws in Colorado. It's a lot of work for law enforcement with no real impact overall.

Michael Moore talks Zuccotti Park, Wall Street

"They obviously did the right thing because they don't have another choice. It's not really their choice. The choice has been made by the people who are occupying the park and they're not going — we're not going — we're not going anywhere. We are there until we have justice. ... This can't be stopped. Mayor Bloomberg saying 'we've gotta clean the park' is laughable down there because the cleanup that has to take place is two blocks away on the actual Wall Street. ... I just want to encourage anybody who's watching this out there to get involved. ... Everybody out there, get out there and get involved. This is the time. If you've sat on the couch for a long time and said, 'I'm sick and tired of this, these politicians, these fat cats,' this is the time to quit complaining and get up and get out the door and get involved in this. You'll meet all kinds of people. ... Be part of this. And tomorrow is the big day. All around the world, October 15th, demonstrations -- not just in hundreds of cities around the country but all over the world in support of what's going on with Occupy Wall Street." -- Michael Moore live on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Friday, October 14th, 2011

Obama sends 100 combat troops to Uganda

Barack Obama, the US president, has announced he is sending combat troops to Uganda to help efforts against rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army, who Washington accuse of grievous human rights abuses. A force of 100 trainers and advisers will take part in the hunt for Joseph Kony, one of central Africa's most brutal rebel leaders. Many are questioning as why the US, already involved in two long wars, would commit its forces to this mission. Al Jazeera's Anand Naidoo reports from Washington.

Occupy Wall Street activists stand their ground

Occupy Wall Street activists are celebrating after plans to clean up the park they were occupying was postponed. Activists say the decision to carry out a clean up operation by the authorities was an attempt to evict the protesters from Zucotti Park near New York's financial district. Al Jazeera's Cath Turner reports from New York.

Day of 'Occupy' protests begins in Europe

Europe braces itself for a day of coordinated "occupy" protests expressing solidarity with the "Occupy Wall Street" movement in New York. Al Jazeera's Simon Mcgregor-Wood reports from London where protesters are expected to produce the day's biggest turn out and stage a sit in at the stock exchange.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Occupy Wall Street goes global October 15

On October 15th, occupy protests will take place in 719 cities in 71 countries. Aside from the US, countries like Argentina, Russia, Canada, Turkey, Australia, India, and pretty much every country in Europe, to name a few. Just like the Occupy protests underway in the US, this movement will also be peaceful, where people can sit down and talk about ways to improve the current standard of living.

Mayor Bloomberg backs down

The Associated Press:

New York - The official cleanup of a New York plaza where protesters have camped out for a month was postponed early Friday, sending up cheers from demonstrators who feared the effort was merely a pretext to evict them and said the victory emboldened their movement.

Protesters had already been scrambling to clean up the park on their own in hopes of staving off eviction when Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway announced that the owner of the private park, Brookfield Office Properties, had put off the cleaning.

"My understanding is that Brookfield got lots of calls from many elected officials threatening them and saying ... `We're going to make your life more difficult,'" Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show.

There was still some skepticism even after the protesters, who call their demonstration Occupy Wall Street, were told they could stay on.

"I'll believe it when we're able to stay here," said Peter Hogness, 56, a union employee from Brooklyn. "One thing we have learned from this is that we need to rely on ourselves and not on promises from elected officials."

Nonetheless, they declared it a boon to their movement, which blames Wall Street and corporate interests for the economic pain they say all but the wealthiest Americans have endured since the financial meltdown. Since starting a month ago in New York, the movement has spread to cities across the U.S. and the world.

"This development has emboldened the movement and sent a clear message that the power of the people has prevailed against Wall Street," New York organizers said in a statement.

Several protests are planned this weekend in the U.S., Canada and Europe, as well as in Asia and Africa, and the official capitulation in New York could buoy those events.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mulcair in NDP leadership race, 33 MPs support

CBC News:

Quebec MP Thomas Mulcair launched his bid for the NDP leadership on Thursday by highlighting his political experience, calling for a clean and fair competition and making a promise to build and unite his party.

Mulcair kicked off his campaign in Montreal with the endorsement of 33 of his fellow NDP MPs and other high-profile party members including Lorne Nystrom and New Brunswick NDP Leader Dominic Cardy. The strong caucus support for Mulcair comes mostly from Quebec, with four MPs from outside the province, all from Ontario. Thirty MPs attended the event and provided a backdrop for Mulcair as he made his remarks to launch his bid for the leadership.

Mulcair laid out the themes for his campaign and described how Jack Layton, the party's leader who died in August, recruited him to the NDP. They worked together to grow the party in Quebec from one seat, Mulcair's, to 59 in the spring election. Mulcair won a byelection in Montreal for the NDP in 2007, after quitting provincial politics where he served as a cabinet minister in Premier Jean Charest's Liberal government.

Mulcair called on party members to make the competition a clean, fair and honest one. He said his political experience in Ottawa and at the provincial level in Quebec, and his ability to bring people together are among the qualities he has to offer.

Mulcair's political experience was also highlighted by Nystrom, who said that the party's next leader must have "proven parliamentary experience" and "proven electoral experience."

"That is certainly Tom Mulcair," he said. Nystrom said Mulcair is the person who can take on Harper in the House of Commons and who can take the NDP from Official Opposition to government in the next election.

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America's growing anti-intellectualism

Paul Rosenberg, Opinion, Al Jazeera English:

In 1994, the anti-intellectual forces won a substantial victory when Republicans won control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. One of the earliest and most profound changes introduced under Speaker Newt Gingrich was the elimination of the Office of Technology Assessment. The OTA, first established in 1972, provided Congress with objective and authoritative analysis of the complex scientific and technical issues of the late 20th century, and was widely imitated in the establishment of similar legislative offices around the world.

It was both a product and a promoter of a mature analytical approach to governmental problem-solving, which strengthened respect for a dispassionate truth-seeking approach. Its purpose was not to coldly dictate policy outcomes, but rather to provide reliable, common factual and analytical foundations on which people with different interests, opinions and values could depend in an effort to work out commonly-agreeable policies. It was, in short, a concrete expression of the Enlightenment rationality that informed the shared worldview of America's Founding Fathers.

Thus, Gingrich's elimination of the OTA represented a crucial turning away from the idea of valuing, promoting and relying on the power of critical thought as a key ingredient in the process of self-governing.

Although Republicans clearly took the lead in turning away from reason, the list of major blunders since then implicates both parties, with major foreseeable blunders including the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, the Depression-era law preventing commercial banks from involvement in risky speculation, the failure to prevent 9/11 despite substantial forewarning, and the followup response of going to war against people not responsible for the attacks, the passage of the Bush tax cuts, failure to prevent the housing bubble and collapse, and prolonged inaction to the threat of global warming

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Alan Grayson still fighting for the people

Former Florida Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson appeared on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show on Monday to discuss the grievances of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the current economic and social problems facing America, and the hysterical response of conservatives and right-wing media.

What the Wall Street protesters are angry about

The top 1% of Americans own 42% of the financial wealth in this country. The top 5%, meanwhile, own nearly 70%.

Business Insider:

Inequality in this country has hit a level that has been seen only once in the nation's history, and unemployment has reached a level that has been seen only once since the Great Depression. And, at the same time, corporate profits are at a record high.

In other words, in the never-ending tug-of-war between "labor" and "capital," there has rarely—if ever—been a time when "capital" was so clearly winning

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We are the 99% - now, let's get to work

We are the 99% who are tired of footing the bill for running this country since Ronald Reagan dropped the top 1 percent's federal income tax rate from 74 percent down to 28 percent - and we think it's time for everyone to pay their fair share. A Democracy works when the will of the majority is represented - and not just the will of the top 1% - and it's up progressives in America to make that happen - and it starts with clear messaging. The young people in New York City - in Washington, DC - in Boston - in Los Angeles - in Chicago - and in hundreds of other cities across America have invented that message. Now it's time to use it for real progressive change.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bernie Sanders on Republicans stopping jobs bill

Obama launches crackdown on medical marijuana

The Huffington Post:

San Francisco - Three years on, not a single Wall Street banker has been prosecuted after a financial crisis rooted in rampant fraud brought the global economy to its knees. President Obama's Department of Justice has more dangerous miscreants to worry about: medical marijuana shop owners.

The DoJ has launched an assault on medical pot dispensaries, vowing to shut down establishments licensed and regulated by state and local governments, in a reversal of an earlier policy, based on an Obama campaign promise to leave the shops alone as long as they followed state law.

Despite a previous DoJ memo that targeting medical marijuana is an inefficient use of time and resources, this past Friday morning, four California-based U.S. Attorneys and their staffs gathered in front of Sacramento's capitol building to announce an aggressive new crackdown on medical marijuana operations throughout the state -- this one aimed at the landlords who manage buildings in which dispensaries operate.

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Bill Maher on Rachel Maddow

Tea and empathy

Roger Ebert, Opinion, The Chicago Sun-Times:

The Tea Party and the Wall Street demonstrators share the same conviction: They are the victims of theft by powerful institutions. The Tea Party blames government taxation. The demonstrators blame corruption in the financial industry.

The concern about taxation is perplexing, since U.S. tax rates are at a historic low. Indeed, there seems little chance that we can ever begin to pay off the American deficit without raising taxes. Many millionaires, led by Warren Buffet, have volunteered to pay higher taxes.

In the face of such practices, which take money from the pockets of most American, the Tea Party calls for corporate tax rates to be slashed. There is a belief that the richer the rich are, the richer we will all be. One source of financial backing for the Tea Party and its candidates for public office are the billionaire Koch Brothers, who were recently charged with malfeasance, fraud, and illegal sales to Iran.

The Wall Street demonstrators seem to have no particular source of financial support; at this point early in its development it is a genuine grass roots movement that seems to be spreading spontaneously. It's evident that both Tea Party members and Wall Street Occupiers are driven by outrage against a system they see aligned against them. The difference is that the Party's energy, ironically, is aligned against the best interests of its members. This is yet another example of how the right and its Fox News spokesmen create a mythical reality serving the interests of its political allies.

The two party system is broken, Ralph Nader has been telling us for years. Yet his disastrous attempts at forming third parties have resulted mostly in damage to his own cause. Now what we are seeing, I believe, is the formation of two New Parties within the shells of the Old.

Continue reading here.