Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NDP challenges Harper to visit Attawapiskat

Interim NDP Leader Nycole Turmel steps out of a shelter being used as temporary housing in Attawapiskat, Ont., on Nov. 29, 2011.

The Globe and Mail:

The NDP is challenging Stephen Harper to visit Attawapiskat and show he “gives a damn” about the people living on the Northern Ontario reserve.

In back-to-back scrums with reporters Wednesday, Interim NDP Leader Nycole Turmel and Timmins–James Bay MP Charlie Angus, whose riding includes the aboriginal community, demanded the Prime Minister take a look for himself instead of acting like he’s the “victim.”

Mr. Angus and Ms. Turmel toured the reserve Tuesday as Mr. Harper told the Commons the government has already spent $90-million on Attawapiskat. “That is over $50,000 for every man, woman and child in the community,” he said.

That comment outraged opposition politicians, prompting Mr. Angus to accuse the Prime Minister of being callous.

“I am astounded that a month into the crisis nobody is saying, ‘Why isn’t the federal government doing something?’ They are saying, ‘Why are these victims crying out?’” Mr. Angus charged.

“Where there’s a fire, boy oh boy, the politicians run in there and their pictures are being taken. When there’s a flood, you see the leader walk in there and say, ‘We’re going to help and we’re going to bring aid.’ When it’s a first nations community that calls for a state of emergency and a month passes and nobody shows up, that says something,” he argued.

“I would love for the Prime Minister to go there and maybe he won’t talk about money. Maybe he will talk about the people,” Ms. Turmel said. “I want him to go on site and see where the money is going.”

Her cost break-down indicates the people of Attawapiskat each received $6,500 – which is “not even poverty level.”

Eighty per cent of the money has gone for education, she said, noting the school in the community is built on a toxic field.

Continue reading here.

Why we Occupy

Think Progress:

One reason so many people have taken to the streets as part of the 99 Percent Movement is because of the country’s lopsided priorities. The following graphic shows the makeup of federal discretionary spending in the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. As you can see, the military eats up a lion’s share of the spending, while social priorities fall by the wayside.

Banks profit $13 billion off secret Fed loans

Bloomberg reported that the Federal Reserve had given out $7.7 trillion in loans to the nation's largest banks in secret through March of 2009, banks that at the time were publicly talking about their strength and solvency, and who ended up profiting $13 billion off these loans. As former US Congressman Alan Grayson had noted, is the fed supposed to pick winners and losers? Nomi Prins, author of "Black Tuesday" discusses.

Obama has weakened more lobbyist regulations

Democracy Now!:

A new report shows that despite a campaign pledge to get lobbyists out of Washington, the Obama White House has weakened regulation in favor of corporate interests more than the Bush administration. The study, "Behind Closed Doors at the White House: How Politics Trumps Protection of Public Health, Worker Safety, and the Environment,” examines more than a thousand meetings that took place over a decade between lobbyists and a little known regulatory office, then checks to see how proposed rules were weakened to accommodate industry requests. It found the Obama White House changed rules 76 percent of the time, while Bush changed them just 64 percent of the time. EPA rules were changed at a significantly higher rate — 84 percent. We speak to the report’s lead author, Rena Steinzor, professor at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and President of the Center for Progressive Reform.

Attawapiskat residents: life is a constant struggle

The Toronto Star:

Attawapiskat residents struggle with their substandard living conditions, including black mould, inadequate heating and no running water.

Continue reading here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's time to end the phoney war on drugs

William Johnson, Opinion, The Ottawa Citizen:

We are supposedly engaged in a "war on drugs." What war on drugs? It's a war on people - the young, the uneducated and the aboriginals. A phoney war, because it provokes that which it proclaims to repress.

The American-Canadian approach is ineffective and hypocritical. Have we not learned the lesson of the destructive U.S. prohibition against alcohol, its reign of crime and killing? The more repressive the prohibition, the higher the price of the drug, so the more attractive to organized crime. Crime bosses recruit poor saps who sell the drugs on the street. Those who get arrested are easily replaced.

Continue reading here.

Documents: 'Harperization' of govt. communications


Ottawa — Federal public servants were trying to understand the wholesale "harperization" of Government of Canada communications six months before a spokesman for the prime minister emphatically denied any change in policy or practice.

New documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act directly contradict published claims by Stephen Harper's chief spokesman that bureaucrats have not been directed to replace the words Government of Canada with "Harper Government" in departmental news releases and backgrounders.

Top former civil servants say the wording change marks a disturbing new trend in the politicization of the bureaucracy -- and breaches both communications policy and the civil service ethics policy.

The Prime Minister's Office has simply ignored for months repeated inquiries about the motivation for the shift in language.

Jonathan Rose, an expert in political communication at Queen's University, suggests it's a partisan branding exercise designed to "encourage a subtle shift to occur where the government of Canada is equated with a particular party or leader."

"It allows for a more seamless connection between the neutral machinery of the state and the partisan interests of those in government," said Rose.

Canadians should take note, he said.

"The public service is correctly asking questions, as there does not seem to be a clear policy rationale for neutral public servants to do the partisan bidding of a government," said Rose.

Continue reading here.

March on Weapons Manufacture Conference

NYC General Assembly # Occupy Wall Street:

On November the 30th and December 1st Aviation Week and Credit Suisse will be holding the 7th annual Aerospace & Defense Finance Conference in NYC. At the conference 30 of the industry’s top CEOs pitch 2012 and future business plans to Wall St. as wall as present forecasts, business development plans and investment and growth strategies. Speakers from the Department of Defense will also be there as the major client of this industry. This conference comes in a critical year for the industry since on one hand most government programs face massive budget cuts, while on the other the U.S. involvement in war and military operations is growing. Bankers and War Industry profiteers are hoping the Department of Defense will not experience the same austerity measures that public programs that benefit working and poor people have.

As a movement which stands for the 99%, we do not want this group of 1%ers to be able to gather and discuss strategies of how to best make money out the misery, death, and environmental destruction that comes from war. In the morning we will march around the building in an attempt to disrupt peoples entrance into the building and stop the conference from happening. In the afternoon we will have a rally against militarism which benefits the 1% at the expense of the 99%.

Date(s) - 30 Nov 2011
6:30 AM - 6:00 PM

Madison Square Park
Madison Sq. Park near the intersection of 24th and Madison


CONTACT: – Jerry Goralnick – 917-450-6301
TIME: Wednesday Nov 30, There are two marches 6:30am and 4:30pm
LOCATION: For each rally we will be meeting in Madison Sq. Park near the intersection of 24th and Madison. The Conference is being held One Madison Avenue 12th Floor (Park Avenue South between 24th and 23rd streets) New York, NY 10010.
VISUALS: The best visuals should be during the morning march by the main entrance on Park Avenue South – between 23rd and 24th street.

Continue reading here.

$7.7 trillion to Wall Street

Do you know who Elizabeth Duke is? How about Donald Kohn or Kevin Warsh? No? Well - you should. Because while Congress was debating back in 2008 whether or not to bailout Banksters with a $700 billion blank check - these guys and girls were just doing it. They were funneling $7.7 trillion to Wall Street under the table - without one constituent phone call - without worrying about one election - without having to give one explanation.

B.C. NDP Leader has Liberals firing blanks

The Globe and Mail:

These are good times for B.C. NDP chief Adrian Dix.

The party he has led since last April is ahead in the polls, media reviews of his first full legislative session as leader were positive, and last week Mr. Dix hooked a whopper of a political fish, the just-retired, popular, ex-mayor of Port Moody, Joe Trasolini.

Not only is Mr. Trasolini a good bet to win the coming by-election in Port Moody-Coquitlam, no one’s ever mistaken him for a left-winger.

The fact he chose to run for the NDP, despite a previous history of support for and support from former riding MLA Christy Clark, who now just happens to be premier, speaks volumes about the success Mr. Dix has had shedding a reputation he had in some quarters as a prickly, strident leftist.

The just-concluded legislative session showed a different Mr. Dix than many expected. He was measured, pointed in his criticism, supportive of Liberal legislation that made sense, and effective.

His performance frustrated those on the government benches, who had hoped to contrast a personable Premier against a dour Mr. Dix. It didn’t happen.

Continue reading here.

UN: Syrian officials ordering mass atrocities

UN investigators have released a new report accusing senior Syrian government officials and leaders of the country's military and security forces of ordering mass atrocities in efforts to crush anti-government protests since March. The Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria said on Monday that Syrian government forces committed crimes against humanity, including the killing and torturing of children, and held state officials responsible for murder, rape and torture. Imran Khan reports.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Secret Fed loans helped banks net $13 billion

Bloomberg Markets Magazine:

The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

A fresh narrative of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 emerges from 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions. While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.

Continue reading here.

Harper to pull out of Kyoto Protocol next month


Canada will announce next month that it will formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, CTV News has learned.

The Harper government has tentatively planned an announcement for a few days before Christmas, CTV's Roger Smith reported Sunday evening.

The developments come as Environment Minister Peter Kent prepares for a climate conference in Durban, South Africa that opens on Monday, with delegates from 190 countries seeking a new international agreement for cutting emissions.

Issues on the agenda include extending the Kyoto emission targets, a move being championed by Christiana Figueres, head of the UN climate secretariat.

NDP environment critic Megan Leslie called the government's decision to pull out of the Kyoto accord "disappointing."

"It's a really cynical and it's a really cowardly move," Leslie told CTV News.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May called the move "a very damaging act of sabotage."

"It will reverberate around the world," May told CTV. "Canada will be a pariah globally if it goes through with this."

The accord is set to expire next year.

Continue reading here.

Glenn Greenwald on Muslim world regime change

Democracy Now!:

Political blogger Glenn Greenwald recently wrote about retired General Wesley Clark’s recollection of an officer telling him in the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks that the then U.S. Secretary of Defense had issued a memo outlining a plan for regime change within five years in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. We play an excerpt of Clark’s comments and ask Greenwald to respond. “What struck me in listening to that video ... is that if you go down that list of seven countries that he said the neocons had planned to basically change the governments of, you pretty much see that that vision, despite the perception that we have a Democratic president and therefore the neo-conservative movement is powerless, is pretty much being fulfilled,” Greenwald says.

Deadline arrives, protesters remain at Occupy LA

Members of Occupy LA protest on the street in front of City Hall in downtown on November 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.

The Associated Press:

Los Angeles — The deadline for Wall Street protesters to vacate their encampment outside Los Angeles' City Hall has passed and they appear to be staying put.

The park was still packed with hundreds of Occupy LA demonstrators and supporters despite the order by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that the grounds would be closed at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

The atmosphere was celebratory around the encampment. A group of protesters on bicycle circled the block, one of them in a cow suit. Organizers led chants with a bull horn.

Villaraigosa says police will not immediately begin making arrests to provide ample time for protesters to leave.

Still police say they doubt if everyone will go and they do expect to make arrests at some point.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Egypt's plethora of political parties

No matter what one's political leanings may be, Egypt appears to have a party to cater for them. On Monday, Egyptians will make their political choice heard when polls open for the country's first post-revolution election. Over 50 political parties, along with thousands of independent candidates are running in the election. Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on the political choices that Egyptians have not had the opportunity to select from for almost half a century.

Irish continue to suffer amid economic crisis

It has been a year since Ireland called for international support to bail out its banks. Since then, statistics appear to show the economy has stabilised, but the economic situation for people on the ground is very different. There are more than 2,000 abandoned developments, known as ghost estates, as the country's housing boom was found to be built on sand. Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee reports from central Ireland.

Deadly virus found in wild Pacific salmon

In the Pacific northwest of the United States, salmon is the king of fish, supporting a multi-billion dollar industry. However, Canadian scientists have recently discovered a deadly virus infecting the ocean's salmon. The virus has caused concern among US scientists and fishermen. Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds reports from Seattle.

Danny Schechter: Plunder - The Crime of Our Time

Max talks to Danny Schechter about plunder, the crime of our time, inspiring an economic justice movement.

Former Seattle police chief on paramilitary policing

Democracy Now!:

We host a discussion on policing and the Occupy Wall Street movement with Chuck Wexler, director of the Police Executive Research Forum, which helped organize calls among police chiefs on how to respond to the Occupy protests, and with Norm Stamper, the former police chief of Seattle, who recently wrote an article for The Nation magazine titled "Paramilitary Policing from Seattle to Occupy Wall Street." "Trust me, the police do not want to be put in this position. And cities really need to ask themselves, is there another way to handle this kind of conflict?" Wexler says. Stamper notes, "There are many compassionate, decent, competent police officers who do a terrific job day in and day out. There are others who are, quote, 'bad apples.' What both of them have in common is that they 'occupy,' as it were, a system, a structure that itself is rotten. And I am talking about the paramilitary bureaucracy." We are also joined by Stephen Graham, author of "Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism," and by retired New York Supreme Court Judge Karen Smith, who worked as a legal observer Tuesday morning in New York after the police raided the Occupy Wall Street encampment. "I was there to take down the names of people who were arrested... As I’m standing there, some African-American woman goes up to a police officer and says, 'I need to get in. My daughter's there. I want to know if she’s OK.’ And he said, 'Move on, lady.' And they kept pushing with their sticks, pushing back. And she was crying. And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he throws her to the ground and starts hitting her in the head," says Smith. "I walk over, and I say, 'Look, cuff her if she's done something, but you don’t need to do that.’ And he said, 'Lady, do you want to get arrested?' And I said, 'Do you see my hat? I'm here as a legal observer.’ He said, 'You want to get arrested?' And he pushed me up against the wall."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Brazil military masses against drug trafficking

The Brazilian military has sent thousands of troops to the country's Western border to combat drug and weapons smuggling. The operation involving the country's army, navy and air force is meant to target illegal activities and exert more control over its vast borders. Al Jazeera's Gabriel Elizondo reports from Sao Paulo.

Mexico activists call for ICC probe

Human rights activists in Mexico have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate president Felipe Calderon for crimes against humanity. The activists want the ICC to look into the deaths of thousands of civilians who have died since Calderon began his "war on drugs" in 2006. Al Jazeera's Adam Raney reports from Mexico City.

PBS documentary on cancer-killing marijuana

Raw Story:

The cancer-killing properties of marijuana were the subject of discussion in a PBS documentary that aired this week to little media fanfare.

While using marijuana to kill cancer may sound like a wild claim to some, it struck Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti as a great idea. In his studies as professor of pathology and microbiology for the University of South Carolina, he tested synthetic cannabis drugs on cancer cells and developed a formula that was able to completely eradicate cancer cells in a test tube.

A follow-up on mice afflicted with cancer found that up to 30 percent in the test group completely rejected their disease, while others had their tumors significantly reduced. The same drug is now being tested on humans with Leukemia.

But it’s not just Dr. Nagarkatti who sees the medical value of marijuana: it’s the whole pharmaceutical industry. And that’s another point the documentary makes, examining the patents various companies have filed, and what they claim marijuana-based drugs could one day be used to treat.

The video below is just an excerpt from the full documentary, which originally aired in Montana amid a debate about repealing that state’s medical marijuana law. The full, nearly hour-long film is available to watch online for free.

Canadian Red Cross pledges aid for Attawapiskat

The Huffington Post:

The Canadian Red Cross will help bring aid to the Attawapiskat reserve in Northern Ontario where a state of emergency has been declared due to deplorable living conditions.

NDP MP Charlie Angus described a "fourth world" community lacking in basic sanitation or proper water and with families crammed into makeshift tents — with no one coming to their aid.

The Red Cross will be managing donation support for the community as well as providing such necessities as generators, heaters, insulated sleeping mats, blankets and winter clothing.

Donations can be made on the Canadian Red Cross website.

As public outrage grew, pressure piled on the federal government to step in and help those in Attawapiskat. Officials from Aboriginal Affairs say they will be visiting early next week.

Angus, whose blog post on Huffington Post Canada brought the issue to the fore, says the government's slow response is coming much later than it should have.

Angus will visit the community again early next week with interim NDP leader Nycole Turmel.

Continue reading here.

Occupy Love

A taste of the upcoming feature documentary, Occupy Love. This is a community funded film. Please support our crowd funding campaign at

Friday, November 25, 2011

Michael Moore, Naomi Klein: next move for Occupy

Democracy Now!:

How does the Occupy Wall Street movement move from "the outrage phase" to the "hope phase," and imagine a new economic model? In a Democracy Now! special broadcast, we bring you excerpts from a recent event that examined this question and much more. "Occupy Everywhere: On the New Politics and Possibilities of the Movement Against Corporate Power," a panel discussion hosted by The Nation magazine and The New School in New York City, features Oscar-winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore; Naomi Klein, best-selling author of the "Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism"; Rinku Sen of the Applied Research Center and publisher of ColorLines; Occupy Wall Street organizer Patrick Bruner; and veteran journalist William Greider, author of "Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country."

Will police regret Occupy brutality?

Throughout the two plus months of the Occupy movement, there have been clashes between protesters and police. But why is force the first response to peaceful protest? And why is exercising your first amendment rights to speech and assembly, always met with oppression? We'll ask Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief and author of, "Breaking Rank".

Conversations with Great Minds - Bill Moyers

For tonight's Conversations with Great Minds - Thom is joined by an icon of American journalism. Bill Moyers most famous project was Bill Moyers Journal - a weekly television show that was one of the highest rated public affairs programs ever on public television. Between 2007 and 2010 - as many as 2 million viewers tuned in to hear what he had to say every single week. He is the recipient of more than 30 Emmy Awards and 9 Peabody Awards - as well as a slew of other honors. This month he released his latest book - Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues.

Mexico police find 26 bodies in gang killing

In yet another gruesome find in Mexico's drug war, 26 bodies have been found inside vehicles parked on one of the busiest streets in Guadalajara. Experts believe the killings, coming one day after 16 burned bodies were found in a different city, suggest an escalating blood feud between rival drug gangs. Al Jazeera's Franc Contreras reports from Guadalajara.

The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy

Occupy Wall Street protester Brandon Watts lies injured on the ground after clashes with police over the eviction of OWS from Zuccotti Park.

Naomi Wolf, The Guardian:

The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class's venality.

Continue reading here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ontario Labour occupied Bay Street today

Budget cuts may hit needy Americans

Advocates for the poor and often hungry in the US say that problems for the nation's needy could intensify if the agriculture department bows to pressure from congress to reduce food-assistance schemes. Politicians are looking at ways to stimulate the economy and balance the federal budget with a proposed $4.2bn cut in its food-stamps programme that currently assists 45 million people. According to a recent US government report, some 15 per cent of Americans are relying on food stamps. That is a 50 per cent jump from last year at a cost of $65bn per year. Al Jazeera's Kristen Saloomey reports from New York.

Journalist stands up to NYPD

How to successfully Resist Police Intimidation and Defend Your Rights

Occupy TV NY on Nov 22, 2011

An intrepid journalist defends his first amendment rights against a series of attempts to intimidate him by NYPD officers

Mexican voters 'threatened by drug cartel'

Mexican authorities have promised to ensure that next year's presidential elections are not undermined by drug-related violence. The pledge follows the release of an audio recording containing threats by an alleged drug trafficker to people voting in recent state elections in Michoacan. Al Jazeera's Franc Contreras reports from Mexico City.

Occupy Homes

Democracy Now!:

A loose-knit coalition of activists known as "Occupy Homes" is working to stave off pending evictions by occupying homes at risk of foreclosure when tenants enlist its support. The movement has recently enjoyed a number of successes. We speak with Monique White, a Minneapolis resident who is facing foreclosure and recently requested the help of Occupy Minneapolis. Now two dozen of its members are occupying her home in order to stave off eviction. We are also joined by Nick Espinosa, an organizer with Occupy Minneapolis, and Max Rameau, a key organizer with Take Back the Land, who for the past five years has worked on direct actions that reclaim and occupy homes at risk of foreclosure. "The banks are actually occupying our homes," Rameau says. "This sets up for an incredible movement, where we have a one-two punch. On the one hand, we’re occupying them on their turf, and on the other, we’re liberating our own turf so that human beings can have access to housing, rather than them sitting vacant so that corporations can benefit from them sometime in the future."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Whole World was Literally Watching

What the bridge in Selma and University campus in California have in common...

Arrested police chief has advice for Occupy

Captain Ray Lewis, retired Philadelphia PA Police Captain arrested at OWS last week joins Thom Hartmann. Did Seattle police kill an unborn child during a raid on the 99% Movement? A 19-year-old woman claims a swift kick to her stomach by a police officer led to a miscarriage. More on this tragic story - and why the 99% movement is bringout the dark side of the police.

Attawapiskat crisis featured on Huffington Post

Timmins-James Bay NDP MP Charlie Angus, The Huffington Post:

It's been three weeks since Attawapiskat First Nation took the extraordinary step of declaring a state of emergency. Since then, not a single federal or provincial official has even bothered to visit the community.

No aid agencies have stepped forward. No disaster management teams have offered help.

Meanwhile temperatures have dropped 20 degrees and will likely drop another 20 or 25 degrees further in the coming weeks. For families living in uninsulated tents, makeshift cabins and sheds, the worsening weather poses serious risk.

Two weeks ago I travelled to this community on the James Bay coast to see why conditions had become so extreme that local leaders felt compelled to declare a state of emergency. It was like stepping into a fourth world.

Continue reading here.

G20 reveals 'largest ever' police spy operation

Police in riot gear stand guard in front of activists during a protest ahead of the G20 summit in downtown Toronto on June 25, 2010.


Police organizations across the country co-operated to spy on community organizations and activists in what the RCMP called one of the largest domestic intelligence operations in Canadian history, documents reveal.

Information about the extensive police surveillance in advance of last year's G8 and G20 meetings in southern Ontario comes from evidence presented in the case of 17 people accused of orchestrating street turmoil during the summits.

The court case ended Tuesday before it went to trial. Six of the defendants pleaded guilty to counselling mischief and two of those to an additional count of counselling to obstruct police, while 11 people had their criminal charges dropped.

In all, the RCMP-led joint intelligence group — a conglomeration of federal, provincial and municipal police tasked with G8/G20 reconnaissance — employed more than 500 people at its peak, the records show. The group ran undercover operations, recruited confidential informants and liaised with domestic and foreign governments, law enforcement agencies and even corporations.

The JIG's targets included activists protesting the Olympics, the migrant-justice group No One Is Illegal, Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance and Greenpeace.

"The 2010 G8 summit in Huntsville ... will likely be subject to actions taken by criminal extremists motivated by a variety of radical ideologies," reads a JIG report from June 2009, before the G20 summit was scheduled, that sets out the intelligence group's mission. "These ideologies may include variants of anarchism, anarcho-syndicalism, nihilism, socialism and/or communism.

The same document indicates that the RCMP-led intelligence team made a series of presentations to private-sector corporations, including one to "energy sector stakeholders" in November 2011.

Other corporations that received intelligence from police included Canada’s major banks, telecom firms, airlines, downtown property companies and other businesses seen to be vulnerable to the effects of summit protests.

Continue reading here.

Press Fights Back on NYPD Abuse

Last week, as Zuccotti Park was being raided by NYPD, and a day of action and marches followed, there was an attempted media blackout. Journalists were roughed up by police, pepper sprayed, had a barrier tossed at them and even were arrested, despite having the approved police press passes. Now 13 news organizations, including the NYT have sent a letter of protest to the NYPD. So are we seeing a drastic change in the way journalists are treated? Democracy Now! 's Ryan Devereaux discusses.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Obama pardons include cannabis dealer

The Associated Press:

Washington - President Barack Obama on Monday pardoned five people convicted of charges ranging from intent to distribute marijuana to running an illegal gambling business.

And he issued his first commutation, ordering the release of a woman next month after serving 10 years on a 22-year sentence for cocaine distribution.

The actions mark Obama's third set of pardons. He pardoned eight people earlier this year, and issued nine pardons in December 2010.

None of those pardoned was well-known, as was the case with the president's previous orders. The cases date back to 1984, when Martin Kaprelian of Park Ridge, Ill., was sentenced to nine years in prison for conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce, and other related charges.

Obama commuted the 2001 prison sentence of Eugenia Marie Jennings of Alton, Ill. Jennings was convicted in 2001 for distributing cocaine, and sentenced to 22 years in prison. The president ordered her to be released next month, but kept intact her eight years of supervised release.

Others who received pardons:

• Lesley Claywood Berry Jr. of Loretto, Ky., sentenced in 1988 to three years in prison for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana.

• Dennis George Bulin of Wesley Chapel, Fla., sentenced in 1987 to five years of probation and a $20,000 fine for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 1,000 pounds of marijuana.

• Ricky Dale Collett of Annville, Ky., sentenced in 2002 to one year of probation for aiding and abetting in the manufacture of 61 marijuana plants.

• Thomas Paul Ledford of Jonesborough, Tenn., sentenced in 1995 to one year of probation for conducting and directing an illegal gambling business.

Real cuts for citizens, tax cuts for corporations

Martin Regg Cohn, Opinion, The Toronto Star:

The New Democratic Party keeps posing a good question to the Liberal government: If we are all being asked to sacrifice because government expenditures must be reined in, why not shore up the revenue side of the equation to ease the pain?

Ontario is in the process of cutting corporate tax rates to historic lows. In the 2008 budget, the Liberal government announced a phased reduction from 14 per cent to 10 by mid-2013.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath argues that there is still time to reverse the process, preserving hundreds of millions of dollars in foregone revenue at the very time that billions of dollars must be found to balance the budget. The combined federal-provincial tax rate in Ontario is lower than in the U.S., which seems overly generous at a time when corporations are reaping the benefits of the more business-friendly HST.

Still, it’s a populist issue true to the NDP’s roots. Despite the hyperbole from Duncan about “job-killing taxes,” the New Democrats aren’t suggesting punitive measures against corporations, merely a more measured — and measurable — approach that rewards job-creation with specific tax incentives. That’s different from the blank cheque that comes from giving all corporations a break, whether or not they re-invest in new equipment or create jobs.

Continue reading here.

More Conservative wasteful spending on G8

The Globe and Mail:

Canadian taxpayers forked out almost $2-million — including more than $1,600 to remove a bed — to spruce up a luxury Muskoka resort for last year's G8 summit.

The renovations included $500 to remove a small light fixture from one room and $3,000 to raise a large chandelier in the main lobby of Deerhurst Resort.

The Harper government picked up the tab, which also included $1,540 to move furniture in rooms used by the German delegation and $1,650 to remove a king-sized bed and headboard from a room used by the French delegation.

The details were obtained by The Canadian Press through an access-to-information request.

Deerhurst was sold to Skyline Hotels and Resorts for $26-million nine months after hosting the June 2010 summit.

Continue reading here.

Bradley Manning Hearing Date Set

PFC Bradley Manning, accused of leaking classified information to Wikileaks, will have his first day in court at a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade, Maryland on December 16th. In the new "We the People" initiative, the White House promised to answer questions that receive more than 5,000 signatures in an online petition. Despite the petition having more than the necessary amount of signatures, on November 18th, the White House gave an official response online sighting that they are required to decline to comment on specific cases in the military justice system. So how much can we expect to learn when the hearing begins? Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher discusses.

Christian Theocracy: Republican Dream?

This weekend six of the GOP Presidential candidates participated in a so-called "Thanksgiving Family Forum" in Iowa sponsored by The Family Leader and National Organization for Marriage. Two conservative Christian organizations and the focus was on social policy and values. David Silverman, president of American Atheists discusses.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bernie Sanders on The Situation Room

This is how Obama and the Democrats should be talking.

Lobbyists' $850,000 plan to undermine Occupy

Think Progress:

This weekend, the MSNBC show Up! With Chris Hayes broke a stunning story about how Washington lobbyists are scrambling to undermine the protesters on Wall Street and across the country.

Hayes’ report, which can be viewed here, details how the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford (CLGC) compiled a secret plan to undermine Occupy Wall Street for the American Bankers Association (ABA).

The plan, which CLGC was demanding $850,000 to implement, was presented in a secret memo that was leaked to Hayes’ staff. The memo warns that Occupy Wall Street, particularly if it is embraced by the Democratic Party, threatens to “have very long-lasting political, policy, and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye.”

Continue reading here.

Students describe pepper spray attack

Democracy Now!:

A video that spread rapidly online shows University of California, Davis campus police officers pepper-spraying student protesters at close range on Friday at point blank range as they sat together to protest the dismantling of the "Occupy UC-Davis" encampment. The two officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave, and the incident has sparked calls for the resignation of UC-Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, who initially defended the actions of the campus police. Katehi has since said she wants an outside, independent panel to review what happened. We speak with Elli Pearson, one of the students pepper sprayed on Friday. “All I could see was people telling me to cover my head, protect myself, and put my head down. And the next thing I know, I was pepper sprayed,” says Pearson, who notes she was protesting in solidarity with students at UC-Berkeley who were beaten by police, and against tuition hikes at universities across the country. We also talk to Nathan Brown, assistant professor of English at UC-Davis, who wrote an open letter calling for the resignation of Chancellor Katehi following the pepper-spraying incident Friday. “In my opinion, the best way to go about these things as a junior faculty member is to speak up openly,” says Brown, who is not tenured. “In that way, you draw a lot of support, and I think that will be very helpful in protecting me and other people who speak out, if there is any effort of retribution by the administration.”

More Conservatives question Harper on asbestos

The Globe and Mail:

A growing number of Conservative MPs are questioning their government's position on the export of asbestos, with a group of them independently summoning industry experts to a meeting on Parliament Hill last week.

Solid caucus discipline has been one of Stephen Harper's political achievements over six years in power. While open revolt over asbestos hasn't erupted, clear faultlines over government resistance to having the substance listed as hazardous internationally suggest the prime minister may be forced to deal with a rare case of internal dissent.

The first public cracks in the Conservative party line came on Nov. 1, when five Tory MPs broke ranks and abstained from an NDP vote that would have banned asbestos exports.

That was followed last Monday with a private Parliament Hill meeting that saw about a dozen Conservative parliamentarians ask some pointed questions of the Chrysotile Institute and industry scientists over several hours.

Continue reading here.

Top 10 Worst Corporate Income Tax Avoiders

Senator Sanders' Top 10 Worst Corporate Income Tax Avoiders:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Republican Scrooges

Tense standoff in Cairo's Tahrir Square

Protesters have continued to gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square late into the night - with a message of defiance for Eygpt's military rulers. The square, which has been the scene of street battles between riot police and activists demanding an end to Egypt's military leadership, was relatively calm on Sunday night after protesters regained control of the area and began calling for reinforcements. Al Jazeera's Tarek Bazley reports on the day's events.

UK homes hit by rising energy costs

Energy prices in the UK have increased by twenty per cent in 2011 as wholesale of costs of fuels have gone up. This has forced an increasing number of homes into fuel poverty, which is currently defined as spending more than ten per cent of household income on fuel. The number of homes technically in fuel poverty has gone up almost fivefold in the past eight years. Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee reports from Newcastle, the UK's fuel poverty capital.

Occupy gathers steam from nationwide crackdown

Hundreds of arrests, accusations of police brutality and dozens of injuries - this is how the 'Occupy' movement in the U.S. marked its two-month anniversary this week. Officers in riot gear tore down camps and broke up mostly peaceful demos against the unequal distribution of wealth in major American cities. At the heart of the campaign, in New York, a crowd of activists took to the subway and tried to block off the Stock Exchange. Evidence has been emerging of disproportionate police action in response to the rallies. At the University of California, a group of students staging a sit-down protest were pepper-sprayed in the face. In an earlier incident, an officer was filmed beating an Iraq war veteran so hard he suffered a ruptured spleen, although he seemed to pose no threat. And yet, as Anastasia Churkina reports, the crackdown is not deterring protesters.

Arab Spring cradle seethes with fresh unrest

Egypt's Tahrir square is once again the scene of brutal clashes, with police using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse tens of thousands of protesters. The show of anger at a lack of reform comes before crucial elections, and could carry the potential to paralyse the country once again. RT's Paula Slier who's on her way to Cairo, has the latest from neighboring Israel.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Taking a stand for gay rights in Ghana

Whitney, a homosexual, shows a scar he sustained in an attack in Ghana.

The Toronto Star:

Homophobia and gay bashing are at a fever high in Ghana, where “unnatural” sex acts are banned.

Continue reading here.

Whatever Occupy Wall Street Costs - It's Worth It!

Rubert Murdoch's "New York Post" accuses Occupy Wall Street of hurting local businesses. But what hurts local businesses even more? What's a reasonable price to pay to ensure that the bankster 1% doesn't destroy our economy again? In my Daily Take - I'll tell you why whatever Occupy Wall Street costs - it's well worth it.

Patriotic Millionaires Demand "Tax Me"

Karl Frisch of Bullfight Strategies & Charlie Fink, Former AOL Executive. Millionaires and billionaires are descending on a place where they're usually met with open arms...Capitol Hill. But I'll tell you why the message carried by THESE patriotic 1%ers may not be what our politicians want to hear.

Inside Story - Syria's civil war?

Where is Syria heading, and what can a divided international community do about it? Guests of the show: Mustafa el-Labbad, Dimitry Babich, and Abdulhamit Bilici.

Mexico police chief accused of abuses

Considered to be one of Mexico's most successful but controversial police chiefs, Julian Leyzaola, of Ciudad Juarez, has been summoned to appear before a judge. While Leyzaola has not been criminally charged, the human rights prosecutor for Baja California state has accused him of crimes including torturing suspects to get information. Al Jazeera's Adam Raney reports from Mexico City.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Conversations with Great Minds: Chris Hedges

From December 2010:

In this week's conversations with Great Minds Thom Hartmann talks with Chris Hedges, journalist and author of "The Death of the Liberal Class". Chris Hedges says, "The lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, which looks set to make sweeping gains in the midterm elections, is the direct result of a collapse of liberalism. It is the product of bankrupt liberal institutions, including the press, the church, universities, labor unions, the arts and the Democratic Party."

Joe Rogan and the 99% (warning: coarse language)

Joe Rogan details the Occupy Wall Street movement. Audio comes from his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience. Listen to it on Itunes or at his website

Follow me on twitter @TangerineShow

Occupy Day of Action, Protester 'Victory'

A massive day of action, or "Day of Disruption" as they're calling it went down today in New York for the two month anniversary of the OWS movement. The original plan had been to disrupt the New York Stock Exchange this morning, but they were met with a heavy police presence and metal barricades. It was estimated that just this morning, 200 people were arrested. Then, protesters fanned out into the NY subway system. And at 5pm ET they gathered in Foley Square. RT's Lucy Kafanov reports from on the ground.

Unions are key to fighting inequity

Ken Georgetti, Opinion, The Toronto Star:

It is also true that the more equal wage structure in unionized workplaces will set wage and benefit standards that spill over into non-union workplaces. Those non-union workers tend to be better paid when they live in communities with a critical mass of unionized workers earning decent wages. Experts at the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have confirmed the labour movement’s argument that the single best mechanism to narrow the income gap is broad-based collective bargaining.

Lifting up the standard of living for a broadly-based group of Canadians is good for everyone. Being in a union means earning a decent wage so that people can buy a home, a car, raise a family, take a vacation, put their kids through college, and after a lifetime of work, be able to retire in dignity. Decent salaries and pensions are good for small businesses and build a better future for our children. A good standard of living creates strong, vibrant and safe communities. Unions do make a difference by reducing inequity.

Continue reading here.

Journalists enter at your own risk

What last night's raid on Occupy Wall Street did to the nation's fourth estate of journalism. And what it means for our democracy in tonight's Daily Take.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Time for OWS to' embrace the co-op movement?

The Park Slope Food Co-op, in Brooklyn, New York, is one of many American co-ops.

Nikolas Kozloff, Opinion, Al Jazeera English:

Are Americans finally to the point where they are tired of corporations owning everything?

Head into Liberty Plaza in Lower Manhattan, and one is immediately struck by the self-governing nature of the "Occupy" encampment.

A community which adheres to non-hierarchical decision making, Occupy conducts General Assembly meetings which are transparent and open to the public. Meals too are prepared communally, and there's even a public library. On the other hand, it's not as if Occupy is putting novel ideas into practice, since the encampment harks back historically to the co-operative movement.

According to the International Co-operative Alliance, an independent non-governmental organisation founded over a century ago, a co-operative is "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise".

Co-ops, which tend to aspire to other values besides pure profit-making, can be heterogeneous and may range from small-scale businesses to multimillion-dollar enterprises.

Continue reading here.

This Is What Revolution Looks Like

Chris Hedges, TruthDig:

Get back into your cages, they are telling us. Return to watching the lies, absurdities, trivia and celebrity gossip we feed you in 24-hour cycles on television. Invest your emotional energy in the vast system of popular entertainment. Run up your credit card debt. Pay your loans. Be thankful for the scraps we toss. Chant back to us our phrases about democracy, greatness and freedom. Vote in our rigged political theater. Send your young men and women to fight and die in useless, unwinnable wars that provide corporations with huge profits. Stand by mutely as our bipartisan congressional supercommittee, either through consensus or cynical dysfunction, plunges you into a society without basic social services including unemployment benefits. Pay for the crimes of Wall Street.

The rogues’ gallery of Wall Street crooks, such as Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman Sachs, Howard Milstein at New York Private Bank & Trust, the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers and Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan Chase & Co., no doubt think it’s over. They think it is back to the business of harvesting what is left of America to swell their personal and corporate fortunes. But they no longer have any concept of what is happening around them. They are as mystified and clueless about these uprisings as the courtiers at Versailles or in the Forbidden City who never understood until the very end that their world was collapsing. The billionaire mayor of New York, enriched by a deregulated Wall Street, is unable to grasp why people would spend two months sleeping in an open park and marching on banks. He says he understands that the Occupy protests are “cathartic” and “entertaining,” as if demonstrating against the pain of being homeless and unemployed is a form of therapy or diversion, but that it is time to let the adults handle the affairs of state. Democratic and Republican mayors, along with their parties, have sold us out. But for them this is the beginning of the end.

Continue reading here.

Day of Action: Mass arrests, NYPD brutality

Violent arrests are taking place in New York where a huge anti-Wall Street rally is underway. Hundreds of activists are marching across the city, pledging to occupy streets, bridges, the subway in protest against economic inequality.

Occupy Wall Street takes to Wall Street

Demonstrators massed in Lower Manhattan on Thursday morning for a planned march to disrupt Wall Street.

The Wall Street:

Thousands of people massed around Wall Street to start a citywide day of demonstrations marking the protest movement's two-month anniversary, blocking streets and sidewalks Thursday morning and facing an army of police.

Occupy Wall Street protesters encountered police barricades at the entrances to Wall Street, and some sat on the ground or linked arms to block commuters trying to reach the area for the start of the work day.

Some of the police hit and shoved protesters in an effort to clear the way, and one woman pinned to the ground by police was bleeding from her mouth. At least 20 people have been arrested so far.

Police at some locations checked identification before allowing workers to cross onto Wall Street, and protesters endeavored to make the start of the business day difficult for office workers in the area.

"I'm hoping they see that they are being held accountable to the 99%," said Katie Ferrari, a 23-year-old protester, who said she had been linking arms with others to stop workers from passing a barricade at Hanover Street.

Ms. Ferrari, a Queens resident who works as an artist and graphic designer, said police moved aggressively to clear the sidewalk, pushing and knocking over some protesters.

David Fuffman, 30, a protester from Baltimore, explained the reasoning for blocking workers from entering Wall Street. "I think it's an issue of disruption of the status quo," he said. "People trying to get through make them think twice about what they do every day. You also don't have to be in the 99% to not like the way things are going."

Continue reading here.

Mainstream media doesn't care about Occupy

In a BBC interview Oakland Mayor Jean Quan admitted she was on a conference call with 18 other cities, and today the Examiner reported that the cities also had the help of the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, so it looks like the crackdown on cities across the US, may have been coordinated. But while city officials try to tear the camps down, will the movement strengthen? Ana Kasparian, co-host of The Young Turks weighs in.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

OWS protesters reclaim Zuccotti Park

Occupy Wall Street's encampment is gone, but the movement lives on. No one knows, however, just how long it can survive without a literal place to call home. Police cleared Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan early Tuesday and although protesters are being allowed to return, they can bring only a small bag with them. No tents or sleeping bags are being allowed.

US college grads desperate to find work

Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in the US. One person has started the Occupy Student Debt movement. This movement is calling for US Congress to reinstate consumer protections that would keep private lenders from making millions of Americans into default. Marina Portnaya reports.

Government spies on advocate for native children

Since 2007, federal officials have attended 75 to 100 meetings at which Cindy Blackstock spoke, then reported back to their bosses.

The Toronto Star:

Why is the federal government spying on Cindy Blackstock?

When does a life-long advocate for aboriginal children become an enemy of the state?

The answer, it would seem, is when you file a human rights complaint accusing your government of willfully underfunding child welfare services to First Nations children on reserves.

Accusing your government, in other words, of racial discrimination.

That’s what Blackstock, as executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, did in 2007.

Since that time, federal officials attended 75 to 100 meetings at which she spoke, then reported back to their bosses.

They went on her Facebook page during work hours, then assigned a bureaucrat to sign on as himself after hours to check it again looking for testimony from the tribunal.

On at least two occasions, they pulled her Status Indian file and its personal information, including data on her family.

As first reported by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, it’s all there in a mountain of documents, measuring more than six inches high, which she recently received after waiting 1 ½ years for them to be released under access to information legislation.

“I have never had a parking ticket, let alone a criminal record and I have never conducted myself in an unprofessional manner,’’ she told me from Edmonton Tuesday.

Some of the emailed reports that went up the ladder at the former Indian and Northern Affairs openly mocked Blackstock.

In one report of her presentation to a New Brunswick symposium, there was a sarcastic summary of her “tour de force . . . which fired up a ready to be impressed audience.

“She rattled through some general statistics (or gave the impression of doing so) before being whisked off to the airport.’’

It’s hardly the first time that the Conservative government has surreptitiously kept its eyes on aboriginals.

Last month, it was revealed the Canadian military had been keeping watch on activities of native organizations and had delivered at least eight reports over 18 months dealing with everything from a potential native backlash over Ontario’s introduction of the HST to potential demonstrations on the lawn of Parliament Hill.

Continue reading here.

Bill Maher and Ralph Nader for Alan Grayson

Wall Street fears Elizabeth Warren

Alan Grayson (D-Orlando) highlights Elizabeth Warren's campaign which, like Grayon's, raises money from small donors who want nothing in return but good government. The interview, with Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, occurred on MSNBC's PoliticsNation with Rev. Al Sharpton on November 16, 2011.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Challenge to first-past-the-post in Supreme Court


A languishing legal battle against Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system is going all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, where advocates of proportional representation hope their case will be heard by Canada’s top justices.

The Association for the Revendication of Democratic Rights filed an appeal with the Supreme Court on Monday night. Brian Gibb, one of the principle plantiffs in the case, said the motion seeks to declare the current system unconstitutional.

“The essential question that we’re asking of the courts is that the first-past-the-post system does not respect the charter rights of effective representation, and of meaningful participation in the electoral process,” Gibb said.

A favourable decision from the court would end first-past-the-post in Quebec and would affect its use across Canada.

The legal challenge began in Quebec in 2004, where it was unsuccessful at the province’s superior court and its appeal court.

Gibb said he expects the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear the case within the next six months.

Continue reading here.

Greens join legal battle against 'first-past-the-post'

The Montreal Gazette:

Ottawa — A pair of democratic rights groups are teaming up in a legal battle that is urging the nation's top court to strike down Canada's first-past-the-post electoral system on the grounds that it doesn't protect guarantees under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The case would argue that the Constitution protects the right of Canadians to have "effective representation," which goes beyond having the right to cast a ballot.

The two groups, the Association for the Advancement of Democratic Rights and Fair Vote Canada, have also earned an endorsement from Green Party leader Elizabeth May.

May noted that more than 80 per cent of people vote in Scandinavian countries and some other European nations, but she said the lowest voter turnouts in the world occur in countries with first-past-the-post systems, such as Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, where governments can be elected with majorities despite having received less than 50 per cent of the ballots cast in elections.

Despite backing the legal bid, May said people and the politicians would be the best ones to demand changes, noting that the Opposition New Democrats have traditionally supported changing the system.

She also said that Prime Minister Stephen Harper supported this type of democratic reform when he was in opposition, but later while in government told her privately that elected officials would not support reviewing the systems that got them elected.

"I'd like to see proportional representation in place and I think our best way to get there is through public demands."

Continue reading here.

Ending gun registry could fuel firearms trafficking

The Canadian Press:

Ottawa - Scrapping the requirement to register rifles and shotguns could fuel illegal firearms trafficking across the Canadian border, warns an internal federal memo.

It says the move would weaken import controls by eliminating a requirement for border officials to verify firearms coming into the country.

"Such a loophole could facilitate unregistered prohibited and restricted firearm trafficking into and through Canada," says the declassified memo, originally marked secret.

The memo was released under the Access to Information Act to the National Firearms Association and posted along with hundreds of other pages on the organization's website.

Continue reading here.

Lawyers secure Injunction to reopen Zuccotti Park

Democracy Now!:

Nearly two months into Occupy Wall Street, New York City police have carried out a major crackdown on the protesters’ Lower Manhattan encampment, dismantling tents, confiscating belongings, and arresting more than 70 people. At around 1 a.m. local time, police officers in riot gear circled Zuccotti Park—renamed Liberty Plaza by the protesters—ordering them to leave. Although most people complied, a group of around 200 to 300 people refused, locking their arms together in the middle of the park. They were eventually detained after a tense standoff that saw police use pepper spray and hit protesters with batons. Police also dismantled the protesters’ encampment, tearing down tents and tossing the sea of belongings, clothing, tarps and equipment into large dump trucks. During our live broadcast, a judge issued a restraining order prohibiting the city and police from evicting the protesters from the Occupy Wall Street encampment. We get an update from longtime civil rights attorney, Danny Alterman, who helped file the injunction as part of the Liberty Park Plaza Legal Working Group. "We put together a set of papers on the fly, working nonstop throughout the night, and around 3 o’clock in the morning contacted Judge Lucy Billings of the New York State Supreme Court, who agreed to meet us between 5 and 6 a.m. to review our request for a temporary restraining order, restraining the police from evicting the protesters at Liberty Park, exclusive of lawful arrest for criminal offenses, and, most importantly, enforcing the rules published after the occupation began almost two months ago—or otherwise preventing protesters from re-entering Liberty Park with tents and other property utilized therein," Alterman says. Judge Billings signed the order before 6:30 a.m., and a court hearing is set for today.

Legends of the Fail

Paul Krugman, Opinion, The New York Times:

The assertion that Europe’s crisis proves that the welfare state doesn’t work comes from many Republicans. For example, Mitt Romney has accused President Obama of taking his inspiration from European “socialist democrats” and asserted that “Europe isn’t working in Europe.” The idea, presumably, is that the crisis countries are in trouble because they’re groaning under the burden of high government spending. But the facts say otherwise.

It’s true that all European countries have more generous social benefits — including universal health care — and higher government spending than America does. But the nations now in crisis don’t have bigger welfare states than the nations doing well — if anything, the correlation runs the other way. Sweden, with its famously high benefits, is a star performer, one of the few countries whose G.D.P. is now higher than it was before the crisis. Meanwhile, before the crisis, “social expenditure” — spending on welfare-state programs — was lower, as a percentage of national income, in all of the nations now in trouble than in Germany, let alone Sweden.

The other thing you need to know is that in the face of the current crisis, austerity has been a failure everywhere it has been tried: no country with significant debts has managed to slash its way back into the good graces of the financial markets. For example, Ireland is the good boy of Europe, having responded to its debt problems with savage austerity that has driven its unemployment rate to 14 percent. Yet the interest rate on Irish bonds is still above 8 percent — worse than Italy.

Continue reading here.

Herman Cain: Not ready to be Commander-In-Chief

Monday, November 14, 2011

Officials use violence to smear Occupy movement

Yesterday two people were killed at or near Occupy camps, in unrelated incidents. The first was at Occupy Burlington, where a 35 year old veteran shot himself and the second outside of a BART station exit, where the victim was shot in the head. The Oakland Police Officers Association and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan have already signaled that they think it's time for the occupiers to leave. So what needs to happen to keep the Occupy message afloat, instead of in the shadows of violence? AlterNet's Joshua Holland weighs in.

Occupy Portland peacefully resists police, wins

The right to assemble was attacked at many camps throughout the U.S. this weekend. From St. Louis, to North Carolina, Denver, Utah and more. But check out this amazing video from Portland, where thousands defended a park and pushed riot police out. And credit must also be given to the Portland Police, despite still following orders, they stood by a moral code and didn't assault the protesters, unlike in New York City and especially Oakland.

Canada's wheat farmers need your support now

Wheat farmer Norbert Van Deynze talks about Prime Minister Stephen Harper dismantling the Canadian Wheat Board without holding a proper vote amongst farmers.

Harper could violate constitution in CBC attack


Parliament's top lawyer says Conservative MPs could be violating the Constitution if they force the CBC to turn over documents it says are protected under privacy law.

Parliamentary law clerk and counsel Rob Walsh says the move by Tory members of the access-to-information committee could end up in the courts, where he says their attempt is likely to fail.

Walsh says the bid to peek at the CBC's internal files clearly conflicts with a case now before the Federal Court of Appeal which pits the CBC against the information commissioner.

Writing in response to formal questions from the NDP, Walsh says the committee might consider the documents behind closed doors, but even then he fears a leak could compromise CBC's privacy rights and undermine the ongoing legal case.

He says nothing short of the courts' credibility and independence is at stake.

The matter, he warns, could well end up before a judge, where it is not likely to turn out well for those seeking the release.

Continue reading here.

Attawapiskat's housing crisis: Canada's disgrace

Attawapiskat State of Emergency declared Oct. 2011 because of severe housing crisis in community. Footage from November 2011 site visit by MP Charlie Angus, MPP Gilles Bisson, Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Stan Louttit, Deputy Grand Chief Leo Friday, Dr. John Waddell. Attawapiskat First Nation is on the shores of James Bay Ontario.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What is a "me" vs. "we" society?

Your Take, My Take is the segment of the show when we answer your questions, comments, criticisms and opinions heard on "The Big Picture".

Security primary concern for Mexicans

With less than a year until Mexico holds presidential elections, concerns are growing that violence related to the country's drugs war could discourage people from casting their vote. There are similar fears in the western state of Michoacan, where an election will be held on Sunday to choose a new governor. Security is a major concern for the residents of this state, where killings are on the rise. Al Jazeera's Franc Contreras reports from Morelia, Mexico.

The New Progressive Movement

Protesters severely disrupted operations at the Port of Oakland, Calif., earlier this month.

Jeffrey Sachs, Opinion, The New York Times:

Occupy Wall Street and its allied movements around the country are more than a walk in the park. They are most likely the start of a new era in America. Historians have noted that American politics moves in long swings. We are at the end of the 30-year Reagan era, a period that has culminated in soaring income for the top 1 percent and crushing unemployment or income stagnation for much of the rest. The overarching challenge of the coming years is to restore prosperity and power for the 99 percent.

The first age of inequality was the Gilded Age at the end of the 19th century, an era quite like today, when both political parties served the interests of the corporate robber barons. The progressive movement arose after the financial crisis of 1893. In the following decades Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson came to power, and the movement pushed through a remarkable era of reform: trust busting, federal income taxation, fair labor standards, the direct election of senators and women’s suffrage.

The second gilded age was the Roaring Twenties. The pro-business administrations of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover once again opened up the floodgates of corruption and financial excess, this time culminating in the Great Depression. And once again the pendulum swung. F.D.R.’s New Deal marked the start of several decades of reduced income inequality, strong trade unions, steep top tax rates and strict financial regulation. After 1981, Reagan began to dismantle each of these core features of the New Deal.

Following our recent financial calamity, a third progressive era is likely to be in the making. This one should aim for three things. The first is a revival of crucial public services, especially education, training, public investment and environmental protection. The second is the end of a climate of impunity that encouraged nearly every Wall Street firm to commit financial fraud. The third is to re-establish the supremacy of people votes over dollar votes in Washington.

Continue reading here.

Guantanamo still holding prisoners ten years on

It has been 10 years since the US military opened the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and despite President Barack Obama's promise to close it - it is still home to 171 detainees. One of them is Canadian Omar Khadr, the only Western prisoner who has not yet been returned to his home country. Al Jazeera spoke to his sister, who is campaigning for his release. Cath Turner reports from Toronto, Canada.

Walker recall heats up after union win in Ohio

The Associated Press:

Madison, Wisconsin — The resounding rejection of an anti-union law by Ohio voters provides a huge boost for Democrats and union officials preparing for their next major battle -- the attempted recall of Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker -- but their prospects could be clouded by the differences between the two Midwestern states and their election laws.

After the nearly 2-1 defeat of the Ohio law, union opponents of Walker are finalizing plans to gather the more than 540,000 signatures needed to put his recall on the ballot next year. The petition drive is expected to start next week.

After he assumed office this year, Walker pushed through a new law that sharply restricted the bargaining rights of most state employees. The action made him a central figure in a push by conservatives across the nation to weaken public employee unions to ease state fiscal problems. On Tuesday, a similar law championed by Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich was rejected by voters.

But Wisconsin law does not allow a public referendum on such a question, so opponents are hoping to use the recall mechanism to replace Walker and then repeal the law.

The Ohio vote shows that some voters believe that conservative governors have overreached, but it's not clear they would go beyond striking down a specific law to oust a governor.

Continue reading here.