Sunday, September 30, 2012

Organic farmers beat droughts

The recent drought in the United States has damaged crops and driven up food prices. However, organic farmers say that they have fared better, thanks to alternative growing methods. Al Jazeera's John Hendren reports from Ottawa, Illiois.

Anti-austerity protesters rally in Spain

The Spanish parliament building in Madrid remains surrounded by anti-austerity protesters. It is the third demonstration in 5 days against a round of massive budget cuts. Many Spaniards can't understand why banks are getting bailouts while they are being told to tighten their belts. Al Jazeera's Tim Friend reports from Madrid.

No love for Harper's $1.4 Billion in oil subsidies

Sign this petition:

During Open Streets in Hamilton a few inspired Conservatives asked people to compliment $1.4 billion in oil subsidies to the oil industry with money from their own pocket. This seems appropriate since they were paying about $40 each per year in tax dollars anyway. Why not match this generous conservative contribution? Sadly, most Hamiltonians weren't happy with giving handouts to the wealthiest industry on the planet.

When most Hamiltonians declined to support us with money we asked them if they would write a 'thank you' note to Stephen Harper. That didn't go as planned either.

What Green Means: A Better Life for All of Us

Success! As reported in The New York Times, thanks to a potent combination of public pressure, media interest, and federal law, our friends at Google TV Ads have relented and our "Enough!" TV ad campaign is now running nationally. Read more about it here: and donate to put these ads on the air, here:

Man who changed Iceland: message for Greece

The man who forced the government of Iceland to resign and kicked out the IMF representatives from his country, Hordur Torfarson, is now teaching meta-modern democracy throughout Europe.The rest of the world would benefit from following the example set by Iceland: Arresting the corrupt bankers who are responsible for the current economic turmoil.

Full employment contributes above all to achieving human dignity."
''It's nice to be important ,but is more important to be nice.''

The financial crash in Iceland in 6 minutes according to ABC´s 20/20.

Iceland economic crisis documentary

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Oil speculation driving up price of gasoline

(click image for larger view)

Hell No! to Spanish austerity

Max Wolff, Economist / Instructor-Graduate Program in International Affairs, joins Thom Hartmann. Scenes of chaos and violence erupted today in Madrid - as anti-austerity protestors clashed with riot police in the Spanish capital. How much more violence and brutality is it going to take before world leaders finally wake up and realize that austerity is not the answer?

Matt Taibbi on the presidential race

Rolling Stone:

The mere fact that Mitt Romney is even within striking distance of winning this election is an incredible testament to two things: a) the rank incompetence of the Democratic Party, which would have this and every other election for the next half century sewn up if they were a little less money-hungry and tried just a little harder to represent their ostensible constituents, and b) the power of our propaganda machine, which has conditioned all of us to accept the idea that the American population, ideologically speaking, is naturally split down the middle, whereas the real fault lines are a lot closer to the 99-1 ratio the Occupy movement has been talking about since last year.

Mitt Romney is a rich-from-birth Ivy League product who not only has never done a hard day of work in his life – he never even saw a bad neighborhood in America until 1996, when he was 49 years old, when he went into some seedy sections of New York in search of a colleague's missing daughter ("It was a shocker," Mitt said. "The number of lost souls was astounding").

He has a $250 million fortune, but he appears to pay well under half the maximum tax rate, thanks to those absurd semantic distinctions that even Ronald Reagan dismissed as meaningless and counterproductive. He has used offshore tax havens for himself and his wife, and his company, Bain Capital, has both eliminated jobs in the name of efficiency (often using these cuts to pay for payments to his own company) and moved American jobs overseas.

The point is, Mitt Romney's natural constituency should be about 1% of the population. If you restrict that pool to "likely voters," he might naturally appeal to 2%. Maybe 3%.

Romney is an almost perfect amalgam of all the great out-of-touch douchebags of our national cinema: he's Gregg Marmalaard from Animal House mixed with Billy Zane's sneering, tux-wearing Cal character in Titanic to pussy-ass Prince Humperdinck to Roy Stalin to Gordon Gekko (he's literally Gordon Gekko). He's everything we've been trained to despise, the guy who had everything handed to him, doesn't fight his own battles and insists there's only room in the lifeboat for himself – and yet the Democrats, for some reason, have had terrible trouble beating him in a popularity contest.

Obama's policy choices in the last four years have made it impossible for him to run aggressively against the corruption and greed and generally self-obsessed, almost cinematic douchiness that Romney represents.

With 300 million possible entrants in the race, how did we end up with two guys who would both refuse to bring a single case against a Wall Street bank during a period of epic corruption? How did we end up with two guys who refuse to repeal the carried-interest tax break? How did we end with two guys who supported a vast program of bailouts with virtually no conditions attached to them? Citigroup has had so many people running policy in the Obama White House, they should open a branch in the Roosevelt Room. It's not as bad as it would be in a Romney presidency, but it comes close.

Continue reading here.

DNA evidence exonerates death row inmate

A Louisiana man has become the eighteenth death row inmate to be exonerated by new DNA evidence since 1993. Damon Thibodeaux was absolved of the rape and murder of a relative following a seven-year investigation which produced DNA evidence contradicting his confession. Investigators say Thibodeaux's 1997 confession was drawn while under duress by detectives who allegedly took advantage of his exhaustion and fed him details of the crime. The 37-year-old had spent 23 hours per day in solitary confinement awaiting his execution. Al Jazeera's Tom Ackerman reports.

Assange, Wikileaks "Enemies of the State"

Democracy Now!:

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may have been designated an "enemy of the state" by the United States. U.S. Air Force counterintelligence documents show military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or its supporters may be at risk of being charged with "communicating with the enemy" — a military crime that carries a maximum sentence of death. We speak to attorney Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a legal adviser to Assange and WikiLeaks.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Time for a tactical shift in the war on drugs

Mexico's President Felipe Calderon wants a global debate on a "less prohibitionist" approach to the international drug policy. He has called for a transformation in international thinking on drug policy. Is it an admission of failure after six years of bloodshed in his "war on drugs"? Guests: Bruce Fein, Sylvia Longmire, Laura Carlsen.

NFL showing the importance of unions?

Sarah Jaffe, Labor Editor AlterNet & Alison Omens, Media Director, AFL-CIO joins Thom Hartmann. The National Football League is one of the most storied icons of American culture - and a favorite pastime of millions of Americans. But suddenly - with NFL referees locked out - the game is quickly losing it's credibility - and it's respect. Is this ongoing debacle showing all of Americans the importance of unions?

Punishing the people for a crisis in capitalism

Spain has announced its austerity budget for 2013, against a backdrop of a falling economy and 25 per cent unemployment rate. Madrid is expected to outline a further $50bn worth of savings, tax rises, and structural reforms. Al Jazeera's Simon McGregor-Wood reports from Madrid.

Budget cuts target Greece's most vulnerable

Greece's finance minister says three parties in the governing coalition have reached a basic agreement on spending cuts over the next two years. They are expected to present these plans to the IMF and European partners next week. But in Athens, there's growing concern about the social impact of these measures particularly on the physically-disabled Greeks. Al Jazeera's Barnaby Phillips reports from Athens.

Palestine “more brutal” than US south 50 years ago

Democracy Now!:

We continue our conversation with the legendary poet, author and activist Alice Walker, who has also been a long-time advocate for the rights of Palestinians. Last summer, she was one of the activists on the U.S. ship that attempted to sail to Gaza as part of the Freedom Flotilla aimed at challenging Israel’s embargo of the Gaza Strip. Alice Walker also serves on the jury of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, an international people’s tribunal created in 2009 to bring attention to the responsibility other states bear for Israel’s violations of international law. Walker describes her upbringing in the segregated South, then goes on to discuss today’s segregation in the Occupied Territories. “The unfairness of it is so much like the South, it’s so much like the South of 50 years ago, really, and actually more brutal, because in Palestine so many more people are wounded, shot, shot and killed, imprisoned, you know, there are thousands of Palestinians in prison virtually for no reason,” Walker says.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Living Under Drones

Since 2004, up to 884 innocent civilians, including at least 176 children, have died from US drone strikes in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan. A new report from the Stanford and New York University law schools finds drone use has caused widespread post-tramatic stress disorder and an overall breakdown of functional society in North Waziristan. In addition, the report finds the use of a "double tap" procedure, in which a drone strikes once and strikes again not long after, has led to deaths of rescuers and medical professionals. Many interviewees told the researchers they didn't know what America was before drones. Now what they know of America is drones, death and terror. Follow the conversation @WarCosts #UnderDrones

Moyers: corporate-legislative body writing laws

Democracy Now!:

Democracy Now! premieres "The United States of ALEC," a special report by legendary journalist Bill Moyers on how the secretive American Legislative Exchange Council has helped corporate America propose and even draft legislation for states across the country. ALEC brings together major U.S. corporations and right-wing legislators to craft and vote on "model" bills behind closed doors. It has come under increasing scrutiny for its role in promoting "stand your ground" gun laws, voter suppression bills, union-busting policies and other controversial legislation. Although billing itself as a "nonpartisan public-private partnership," ALEC is actually a national network of state politicians and powerful corporations principally concerned with increasing corporate profits without public scrutiny. Moyers’ special will air this weekend on Moyers & Company, but first airs on Democracy Now! today. "The United States of ALEC" is a collaboration between Okapi Productions, LLC and the Schumann Media Center.

Outrage at US drone strikes terrorizing civilians

The Independent:

Despite assurances the attacks are "surgical", researchers found barely 2 per cent of their victims are known militants and that the idea that the strikes make the world a safer place for the US is "ambiguous at best."

Researchers added that traumatic effects of the strikes go far beyond fatalities, psychologically battering a population which lives under the daily threat of annihilation from the air, and ruining the local economy.

"An entire region is being terrorised by the constant threat of death from the skies," said Reprieve's director, Clive Stafford Smith.

"Their way of life is collapsing: kids are too terrified to go to school, adults are afraid to attend weddings, funerals, business meeting or anything that involves gathering in groups."

Some of the most harrowing personal testimonies involve those who have witnessed "double-tap" strikes.

Researchers said people in Waziristan – the tribal area where most of the strikes take place – are "acutely aware of reports of the practice of follow-up strikes", and explained that the secondary strikes have discouraged ordinary civilians from coming to one another's rescue.

One interviewee, describing a strike on his in-laws' home, said a follow-up missile killed would-be rescuers. "Other people came to check what had happened; they were looking for the children in the beds and then a second drone strike hit those people."

Continue reading here.

Thousands "Occupy congress" to stop austerity

Democracy Now!:

Thousands of people surrounded the Spanish Parliament in Madrid on Tuesday to protest austerity measures and the loss of public confidence in elected leaders. The "Occupy Congress" protest came as the conservative administration of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy prepares to unveil further austerity measures on Thursday. After hours of protest, police in riot gear charged against demonstrators with batons and fired rubber bullets. Thirty-five people were arrested, and at least 60 people were injured. We go to Madrid to speak with independent journalist Maria Carrion.

Mitt’s moral justification for selfishness

Linda MacQuaig, Straight Goods:

Once upon a time, “conservative” could be used to describe people — Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower, Robert Stanfield, Joe Clark — who had a vision of society in which a privileged elite dominated, but also had a responsibility to less fortunate citizens and to the broader “public good.”

But about 30 years ago, a new breed of  “conservative” slithered onto the political scene. Stealing the moniker of conservatism, this new breed embraced the inequality of traditional conservatism (driving it skyward) while unburdening itself of the responsibility for others and the public good.

This new breed has proved itself to be self-centred, greedy and indifferent to the public good.
John Kenneth Galbraith cut to the essence when he described this “modern” conservative as engaged in “the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

Continue reading here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Harper rewrites the rules of democracy

Carol Goar, Opinion, The Toronto Star:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper caught Canadians off-guard in April when he sprang a massive, multi-part budget implementation bill on the nation.

Bill C-38, weighing in at 425 pages, went far beyond enacting the provisions of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s 2012 budget. It changed 70 different laws covering everything from environmental reviews to the role of charities. It authorized spending cuts worth $5 billion without telling the public where the axe would fall. (Treasury Board President Tony Clement was to provide details later — but still hasn’t.) The legislation was rammed through the House of Commons before MPs had finished scrutinizing it.

Harper’s implicit message: I have a parliamentary majority. I’m setting the rules now.

His rules strike at the heart of responsible government. He has decided to tax Canadians without allowing their elected representatives a chance to speak for them.

They violate a fundamental tenet of democracy: the government acts with the consent of the people. Canadians never gave their assent to Harper’s just-trust-me approach.

They contravene his own pledge of “open government.” Canadians are still in the dark, five months later, about what the Tories cut. Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page is doing his best to find out, but his effort to get budgetary documents have been stymied.

Now the government is poised to do it again.

On the opening day of Parliament’s fall session, Government House Leader Peter Van Loan announced the first order of business would be another omnibus bill. He wouldn’t say how big it would be or what it would include. All he would disclose is that it would focus on the economy and give the government more latitude to sign free trade deals, export resources and offer business-enhancing tax credits.

Continue reading here.

100 million to die by 2030 if world fails to act

An image of Typhoon Sanba slamming into the coast in Yeosu, about 460 km (286 miles) south of Seoul, on Sept. 17, 2012. As global average temperatures rise due to greenhouse gas emissions, the effects on the planet, such as melting ice caps, extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels, will threaten populations and livelihoods, said a report conducted by humanitarian organization DARA.

Study conducted for governments of 20 developing countries

London – More than 100 million people will die and global economic growth will be cut by 3.2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change, a report commissioned by 20 governments said on Wednesday.

As global average temperatures rise due to greenhouse gas emissions, the effects on the planet, such as melting ice caps, extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels, will threaten populations and livelihoods, said the report conducted by humanitarian organization DARA.

It calculated that 5 million deaths occur each year from air pollution, hunger and disease as a result of climate change and carbon-intensive economies, and that toll would likely rise to 6 million a year by 2030 if current patterns of fossil fuel use continue.

More than 90 per cent of those deaths will occur in developing countries, said the report that calculated the human and economic impact of climate change on 184 countries in 2010 and 2030. It was commissioned by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a partnership of 20 developing countries threatened by climate change.

It said the effects of climate change had lowered global output by 1.6 per cent of world GDP, or by about $1.2 trillion a year, and losses could double to 3.2 per cent of global GDP by 2030 if global temperatures are allowed to rise, surpassing 10 per cent before 2100.

Continue reading here.

Anti-austerity protests get tense in Spain

Police and protesters opposing a new round of government spending cuts have clashed in the Spanish capital Madrid. Thousands of people rallied under the protest banner 'Occupy Congress'. The Spanish parliament is expected to propose new reforms on Thursday aimed at reducing the national deficit. Al Jazeera's Simon Wood-McGregor reports from Madrid.

The myth of self-created millionaires

The Guardian:

We could call it Romnesia: the ability of the very rich to forget the context in which they made their money. To forget their education, inheritance, family networks, contacts and introductions. To forget the workers whose labour enriched them. To forget the infrastructure and security, the educated workforce, the contracts, subsidies and bailouts the government provided.

The crudest exponent of Romnesia is the Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart. "There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire," she insists. "If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain; do something to make more money yourselves – spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising and more time working … Remember our roots, and create your own success."

Remembering her roots is what Rinehart fails to do. She forgot to add that if you want to become a millionaire – in her case a billionaire – it helps to inherit an iron ore mine and a fortune from your father and to ride a spectacular commodities boom. Had she spent her life lying in bed and throwing darts at the wall, she would still be stupendously rich.

Rich lists are stuffed with people who either inherited their money or who made it through rent-seeking activities: by means other than innovation and productive effort. They're a catalogue of speculators, property barons, dukes, IT monopolists, loan sharks, bank chiefs, oil sheikhs, mining magnates, oligarchs and chief executives paid out of all proportion to any value they generate. Looters, in short. The richest mining barons are those to whom governments sold natural resources for a song. Russian, Mexican and British oligarchs acquired underpriced public assets through privatisation, and now run a toll-booth economy. Bankers use incomprehensible instruments to fleece their clients and the taxpayer. But as rentiers capture the economy, the opposite story must be told.

Romney personifies economic parasitism. The financial sector has become a job-destroying, home-breaking, life-crushing machine, which impoverishes others to enrich itself. The tighter its grip on politics, the more its representatives must tell the opposite story: of life-affirming enterprise, innovation and investment, of brave entrepreneurs making their fortunes out of nothing but grit and wit.

There is an obvious flip side to this story. "Anyone can make it – I did without help", translates as "I refuse to pay taxes to help other people, as they can help themselves": whether or not they inherited an iron ore mine from daddy. In the article in which she urged the poor to emulate her, Rinehart also proposed that the minimum wage should be reduced. Who needs fair pay if anyone can become a millionaire?

In 2010, the richest 1% in the US captured an astonishing 93% of that year's gain in incomes. In the same year, corporate chief executives made, on average, 243 times as much as the median worker (in 1965 the ratio was 10 times lower). Between 1970 and 2010, the Gini coefficient, which measures inequality, rose in the US from 0.35 to 0.44: an astounding leap.

Continue reading here.

Joe Scarborough's priceless reaction to Romney

On MSNBC's Morning Joe this morning, co-host and former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough reacts to a clip of Mitt Romney by covering his face and saying "Sweet Jesus."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fracking banned by Quebec government

The Vancouver Sun:

Quebec — The new Parti Quebecois government hasn’t wasted any time hinting about a long-term ban on the shale gas industry.

Quebec’s new natural-resources minister, Martine Ouellet, says she doesn’t believe the controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale, known as “fracking,” can ever be done safely.

She made the remarks Thursday on her way into her first cabinet meeting, less than 24 hours after she was named to cabinet.

“I don’t foresee a day when there will be technology that will allow safe exploitation (of shale gas),” Ouellet said in Quebec City.

“Our position is very clear: we want a complete moratorium, not only on exploitation but also on exploration of shale gas. We haven’t changed our minds.”

Critics fear the method of unlocking natural gas from shale formations will create serious environmental problems — including the contamination of drinking water.

Continue reading here.

Richard Belzer on Teabaggers, crappy media

Richard Belzer, Acto/Author, Dead Wrong: Straight Facts on the Country's Most Controversial Cover-ups, joins Thom Hartmann. Things aren't always how they seem. For example - remember the Tea Party. By the way the media and our politicians treated these droves of teabag-toting, tri-corner hat wearing white Americans - you would think they were a grassroots movement, authentically angry with corruption, debt, and crony capitalism. We know now that they were just economically-disadvantaged Americas, some harboring racist sentiments, that were brainwashed by billionaires and transnational corporations to rally in the streets against their own best interests. That's the real story of the Tea Party - and yet most Americans still don't know it. And since this great Tea Party fiction paid off with oligarchs gaining considerable power in Congress in 2010 - another fiction is in the works. The Koch-funded organization Americans for Prosperity paid for a counter-rally in New York today to push back against the Occupy Wall Street movement. According to Americans for Prosperity's very well paid New Jersey State Director, Steve Lonegan: "The Occupy Wall Street crowd is nothing but a fringe element of malcontents bent on mayhem and's time that someone stood up to the Occupy Wall Street mob."'s time someone stand up to a genuine grassroots movements representing the American Middle Class/ After all - who's shining light on all the troubles the billionaire class is facing. Who knows where this latest AstroTurf movement will go - and if it will see as much success as the Tea Party. But the point is - not everything is as it seems in politics these days.

Our new normal: the mockery of democracy

Lawrence Martin, Opinion, The Globe and Mail:

Allan Gregg, the veteran pollster and commentator, caused a bit of a stir recently when, in a speech at Carleton University, he accused the Harper government of making an Orwellian assault on democracy and reason.

Mr. Gregg’s thesis got another lift with news of the impending arrival of another Conservative Trojan horse bill. We recall their recent omnibus budget bill, the one in which a multitude of non-budget measures were included so as to lessen democratic scrutiny of them. Critics on the left and right – even Sun Media – denounced it as a blatant abuse of process by a Prime Minister who once blasted the Liberals for bringing in a smaller omnibus bill.

No matter – it isn’t stopping him from doing it again. “Being flagrantly exposed as a hyprocite,” the Montreal Gazette bluntly editorialized, “seems not to bother Stephen Harper.” Instead, it appears to embolden him. He tends to double down, as when his government was found in contempt of Parliament last year and he responded with the imposition, in near record fashion, of closure and time limits on debates.

It seems Mr. Harper has concluded that he can continually get away with in-your-face provocations. The media and the opposition parties, he reasons, will move on; at some point, everything becomes old news. Although the latest poll shows Mr. Harper with just a 35-per-cent approval rating (while Barack Obama, with a dismal economy, gets 50 per cent), he may be right. People have short memories.

There’s been the introduction of a big brotherish vetting system wherein the Harper office controls all messaging. There’s been a muzzling of free speech that extends to some of our most distinguished scientists. There’ve been myriad moves, the latest on fisheries and the environment, to disempower regulatory and oversight bodies. The suppression of research and empirical data has become routine in this government, as has the taking of major decisions without public consultation.

The Privy Council Office and public service have become more and more politicized, there being no finer example than the fake citizenship ceremony wherein bureaucrats were used as political stooges. The once powerful committee system has been made more and more anemic. Parliament has been routinely misled, as in the G8 spending fiasco and the F-35 fighter jet deceptions. Lapdogs have been appointed as watchdogs. Sledgehammer tactics have been routinely used to limit debates and intimidate government critics.

Well, at least, you might say, we still have democracy’s holy grail – a free and fair electoral system. But even that’s in doubt, given the allegations, mainly against Conservatives, of vote-suppression tactics.

Continue reading here.

"Harvest of Empire"

Democracy Now!:

At a time of heated and divisive debate over immigration, the new feature-length documentary, "Harvest of Empire," examines the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today. Based on the groundbreaking book by award-winning journalist and Democracy Now! co-host Juan González, "Harvest of Empire" takes an unflinching look at the role that U.S. economic and military interests played in triggering an unprecedented wave of migration that is transforming our nation’s cultural and economic landscape. González is a columnist at the New York Daily News and author of three other books, including "News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media." We’re also joined by the film’s co-director, Eduardo López.

Ford brothers’ disconnect from reality

Doug Ford described the media, collectively, as "a bunch of whiny, sucky little kids" Sunday on the NewsTalk 1010 show he co-hosts with his brother.

No one has ever accused Mayor Rob Ford, or his brother Councillor Doug Ford, of being overly aware of their own buffoonery. Oblivious is more their style. But on Sunday afternoon, their disconnect from reality became more pronounced than usual. All while live on the air.

The Ford brothers co-host a two-hour radio program on NewsTalk 1010 every Sunday afternoon. They spent the first hour of the most recent show recapping their recent trade mission, dozens of city officials and business leaders in tow, to Chicago. Ford had proudly boasted that the trip wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime, comments that were called into question last week after Councillor Michael Thompson said that though he’d travelled to Chicago, he wasn’t paying for it himself. During Sunday’s show, Mayor Ford repeated, without elaboration, his contention that the trip wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything. Just ’cause.

The real drama began after the next news break, where 1010 reporter James Moore (serving as the news anchor on that weekend shift) reiterated what had already been reported — despite what the Mayor keeps saying, Thompson’s comments cast that suggestion into doubt. After the news, when the show came back, the Ford brothers tore into the media. Doug Ford described the media, collectively, as “a bunch of whiny, sucky little kids. They whine and cry and moan and sensationalize and lie through their teeth.” “They’re pathological liars,” the Mayor agreed. He later made clear that “these people” in the media included 1010′s James Moore.

OK, so the Fords are scrapping with the media. Nothing new to see there. That’s their default reaction to pretty much anything. But this was different. I am very familiar with 1010′s studio — I’m there a few times a week to take part in round tables and have the pleasure of hosting a show there, when John Tory is absent, as his fill-in. When the Fords were railing against Moore, he would have been no more than eight feet away, separated from the broadcast studio by a glass window.

Think about that for a second. The Mayor and his brother are saying that the media are babies. That they’re dishonest. That they’re out to get the Fords.

Meanwhile, they’re saying this during the two hours of live air-time that 1010 gives them, once a week, and while within spitting distance of the man they’re responding to, whom they didn’t have the courtesy to identify by name or actually engage in a conversation. Nope. Just declare him a pathological liar, on the air, and move on, all while declaring that the media wants the city to go bankrupt and are always out to get you.

Who, exactly, sounds like the whiny, sucky baby here? (Hint: It’s not the guy reading the news.)

Continue reading here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Educated and jobless in South Africa

In South Africa, an estimated 600,000 can't find employment, forcing many to rely on their families or take part time jobs. Al Jazeera's Tania Page reports on some of those who can't find work in the Limpopo province.

Poll numbers spell trouble for UK's deputy PM

Less than two years ago, UK's Liberal Democrat Party leader Nick Clegg led his minority party into government becoming the country's deputy prime minister. But now Clegg is sitting at minus 48 points support, in large part because of his inability to push for more liberal reforms in the conservative-led government of David Cameron. As his party prepares for its annual conference, Clegg's spot at the top looks more precarious. Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan reports from London.

Contact the Commission on Presidential Debates!

Call 202-872-1020 and demand an answer.

From a nationwide survey of 1535 eligible voters conducted Aug 23rd - Sept 6th 2012. Full results at

What happens if Colorado legalizes cannabis?

The Colorado Independent:

If Amendment 64 passes, it will become almost immediately legal under Colorado law for adults to possess, grow, consume and give away up to an ounce of marijuana. It may take more than a year, however, before adults can purchase marijuana legally in a store.

A poll released in early September by Public Policy Polling shows the amendment continues to lead, currently by a 47-38 margin, with 15 percent still undecided. Passage could enable the state to increase tax revenues by $50 million a year or more while also potentially reducing law enforcement costs.

If the measure passes, the parts of the amendment related to individual behavior go into effect as soon as the governor signs a proclamation certifying the results of the election, which he is required to do within 30 days.

Sections related to the commercial cultivation and sale of marijuana would take effect incrementally but marijuana would be available for sale legally no sooner than late 2013 or early 2014.

Continue reading here.

American farmers turn food waste into fertilizer

The world's biggest economies are set to gather for a G20 meeting next month, where they will decide whether action is needed to bring down soaring food prices. But while some struggle to put food on the table, research shows that the average American throws out about 180kg of food every year. About 40 per cent of all the food bought in the US ends up in the bin. Now, some inner city farmers are trying to help by recycling the waste into fertiliser to grow more produce. As part of our "Feeding the world" series, Al Jazeera's John Hendren reports from Chicago.

Anti-Immigrant "Papers" law takes effect

Democracy Now!:

Last week a federal judge lifted an injunction against a key component of Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070, requiring police to check the immigration status of people they stop before releasing them. On Saturday, hundreds of protesters marched in Phoenix to protest the law, which they say enables racial profiling. As the "show me your papers" law goes into effect, we’re joined by journalist Jeff Biggers, author of the new book, "State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Obama's anti-union manufacturing agenda

The Toronto Star:

Elk gets especially steamed when he turns his mind to the current “competitive wages” mantra. Yet it’s on the back of just such talk that American manufacturers, with the hearty endorsement of the Obama administration, are touting the “re-shoring” of made-in-America manufacturing jobs in this election season.

GE is the largest American company in that game. The company garnered headlines in February when it announced an $800-million investment in Louisville, Ky., and the bringing back of jobs from offshore operations in China. (Via email, a company spokesperson says the number of jobs being returned is not available.) GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt has served since January 2011, as the head of President Barack Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

“The whole idea of industrial unions is to maintain industrial standards. With two-tier wages, industrial standards are effectively out.”

Continue reading here.

Jill Stein on the undemocratic US elections

Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for President joins Thom Hartmann. Part of the reason why there is so much bickering and gridlock in Washington is because the US government is a two-party system. How would our democracy be different with a third major party - and could the Green Party be that party?

Harper spent $750,000 against vets' pension claim

The Canadian Press:

Ottawa — The Harper government spent $750,462 in legal fees fighting veterans over the clawback of military pensions, documents tabled in Parliament show.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney announced in June the government would not appeal a Federal Court of Canada ruling that rejected clawbacks from the pensions of disabled veterans.

The class-action lawsuit involved Manuge and 4,500 other disabled veterans whose long-term disability benefits were reduced by the amount of the monthly Veterans Affairs disability pension they receive.

The ex-soldiers argued it was unfair and unjust to treat pain and suffering awards as income.
MacKay ordered the clawback to end in July, but there are still some veterans who face the deduction.

Ex-soldiers whose additional awards and payments exceed the limit of 75 per cent of their military salary — often those who were most severely injured — say they’re still not being treated fairly.

Those veterans with the most grievous injuries are entitled to receive the maximum benefit, particularly since many can’t work, advocates have said.

Continue reading here.

Stewart Alexander on Fox News Business

Socialist Party USA presidential candidate Stewart Alexander appeared on Fox News Business on September 14, 2012. Alexander remains cool, calm, composed and classy in the face of the hostility and snide remarks of Gary Johnson and typical Fox News blowhard John Stossel.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Palestinian child prisoners abused

Hundreds of Palestinian children are arrested by the Israeli military every year for throwing rocks at occupying forces. They are tried in Israeli Military Courts and human Rights organisations say the trials lack due process and are against international law. Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford reports from Abu Dis in the occupied West Bank.

Australian Catholic Church admits child abuse

Australia's Roman Catholic Church has confirmed that more than 600 children have been sexually abused by its priests since the 1930s in the state of Victoria. The archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, described the figures as "horrific and shameful".

Philippine child labourers enslaved by poverty

The International Labour Organisation says there are more than 215 million child labourers across the world. More than half are in the Asia-Pacific region, with over 3 million of them in the Philippines. The country's government has promised to eliminate child labour by 2016. But generational poverty continues to hold back millions of Filipino families, as the money earned by children goes a long way in helping them get by. Al Jazeera's Jamela Alindogan reports from Surigao del Sur in southern Philipines.

Troops deployed to outskirts of Mexico City

The Mexican government has stepped up its fight against drug gangs as the war on narcotics moves closer to the country's capital. For the first time, troops are visible on the streets of greater Mexico city. Al Jazeera's Adam Raney reports from Mexico City.

Remembering Troy Davis

Democracy Now!:

One year ago today, the state of Georgia executed Troy Anthony Davis for a crime many believe he did not commit. He was put to death on Sept. 21, 2011, despite major doubts about evidence used to convict him of killing police officer Mark MacPhail, including the recantation of seven of the nine non-police witnesses. As the world watched to see whether Davis’s final appeal for a stay of execution would be granted by the U.S. Supreme Court, Democracy Now! was the only news outlet to continuously broadcast live from the prison grounds in Jackson, Georgia. During our six-hour special report, we spoke with Davis’ supporters and family members who held an all-day vigil, then heard from those who witnessed his death by lethal injection at 11:08 p.m.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chaos on Bullshit Mountain!

Simply brilliant!

Canada's NDP fighting for worker cooperatives

Conservatives bury Co-op committee report 
Harper government’s apathy towards Canada’s Co-ops disappointing: NDP
On Monday, the Conservative Government quietly tabled the final report on this summer’s committee hearing into Co-operatives – a  fitting end, given the apathy the Harper government has shown towards this vital economic sector.

“It is pretty shameful how the Conservatives have treated Canada’s Co-operatives,” said NDP Industry Critic Hélène LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard).  “The cancelling of the Co-operative Development Initiative and the scaling back of the Co-operatives Secretariat signals that the Conservatives are not interested in the long term success of this sector. And this in the UN International Year of Co-operatives!”

The government’s recommendations found in the final report fail to address the concerns of the co-operative sector. This prompted the NDP to write a dissenting report, with 6 concrete recommendations, including a call on the government to reverse the cuts to federal co-op programs and to establish a closer working relationship with the sector to cut red tape and build a strong future for Canada’s co-ops.

“The cooperative sector is huge in the agricultural sector and in rural Canada; it adds a stable economic environment which is needed in these turbulent times,” said NDP Agriculture critic, Malcolm Allen (Welland).  “Not only are the Conservatives ignoring this vital sector, but in doing so they are once again showing apathy to rural Canadians.”

Canada’s Co-operatives are an amazing success story with over 9000 co-ops, some 18 million co-op members, 155,000 employees, and assets totaling over $330 billion They are active in many sectors of the economy including finance (insurance and credit unions), retail, housing, health care, agriculture, and food production. 

Drone secrecy put to test in court

A US appeals court is looking into whether the Obama administration can withold documents relating to its drone programme. The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, is trying to get more information on the secretive operations. A lower court had originally ruled that the CIA programme was classified and therefore exempted from making its records public, but an appeals court seems unlikely to stand by classified designation. Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane reports from Washington.

Inside Story Americas - The evolution of Occupy

Tens of thousands were expected but hundreds showed up this week to mark one year since the Occupy movement began its protests in New York. Is it over or has it simply evolved into a new form of grassroots participatory democracy? Guests: Marina Sitrin, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Yates McKee.

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Workers: Romney visit us before Bain outsources

Democracy Now!:

We broadcast from just outside a Freeport, Illinois, factory owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm co-founded by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Workers at Sensata Technologies have set up an encampment called "Bainport" across the street from the facility to protest the company’s plan to close the plant and move it to China, taking 170 jobs with it. The workers have been trying to get Romney to save their jobs. We’re joined by two Sensata workers — Mark Schreck and Tom Gaulrapp — and Freeport Mayor George Gaulrapp, who has supported the encampment and fended off calls for it to be shut down.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The definitive portrait of Thomas Mulcair


Mulcair attended Vanier College, where he says he was “very, very active” in student politics. He was among the leaders of a student strike, which ended, he says with characteristic bluster, when the administration “had to meet all of our demands and come crawling back.” Activism didn’t hurt his grades: he was accepted directly out of Vanier into McGill University’s prestigious law school in 1973 at 18, a rarity. “The first year was quite daunting,” he says. “The reading was monumental.”

To this day, Mulcair’s formidable intellect and ability to quickly master large volumes of written material is often cited by those who work with him on policy files. He did more than hit the books at law school, though, becoming president of its undergraduate students’ association. But Mulcair is less than glowingly nostalgic when he reflects on his McGill years. “The faculty wasn’t very open,” he says. “There was still a 1940s wall between faculty and students.” And for the former Catholic-school social-causes volunteer, McGill’s establishment aura wasn’t entirely congenial. “I wouldn’t have back then, and I still wouldn’t today, describe McGill as progressive,” he says. There were exceptions. The venerable Frank Scott—constitutional law expert, poet, and long-time stalwart of Canadian socialism—gave a guest lecture series that thrilled him. “It was really quite something,” Mulcair says. In contrast to a faculty he often found closed off from the political and social concerns of students, Mulcair says the grand old man was “all openness.”

Yet Scott, a founding figure in the NDP and its predecessor, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, didn’t quite draw Mulcair into his partisan fold. Julius Grey, a Montreal lawyer who has known Mulcair well since the late 1970s, sees his friend as an example of Quebec’s distinctive sub-species of Catholic “centre-left progressive.” Many in the CCF and then the NDP were inspired, like Grey himself, by socialist ideas close to those at the heart of the British Labour Party. But in Quebec, Grey says, Catholic progressives—like Trudeau, his friend Gérard Pelletier, the journalist and politician, and Claude Ryan, whom Mulcair would come to revere—blazed another trail. They were a varied group, but a common denominator was the influence of “personalism,” a French intellectual movement that spread among liberal Catholics in the middle of the last century. It emphasized individual responsibility—rather than, say, class conflict—as the moral underpinning for Catholics seeking reforms such as greater economic equality.

Mulcair says he and Charest worked well together for a time, but their relationship soured. The rift was partly about ideology. In Quebec, the main partisan dividing line is between federalists and separatists. That made the provincial Liberal party home for federalists across a sometimes uncomfortably wide ideological band. Charest, a former federal Conservative leader, governed from well to Mulcair’s right. As premier, he tried to reduce the clout of Quebec’s unions, for instance—one of several steps that angered the province’s left. Charest faced protests on the streets.

From retirement and in failing health, Ryan voiced misgivings to his protege in a final phone conversation. “I remember his words well: ‘The way things are going doesn’t respect Liberalism in terms of social responsibility,’ ” Mulcair says. “He was sending a clear message to me as one of his close acolytes in the new government that he thought it was drifting too far right.”

Continue reading here.

Workers at Bain-owned factory fight outsourcing

Democracy Now!:

"Welcome to Bainport, a taste of the Romney economy" — that’s the message on one of the banners that greets you at the tent city where we broadcast from in Freeport, Illinois. "Bainport" is an encampment set up by workers who face losing their livelihoods when their workplace closes its doors in November and moves to China, taking 170 jobs with it. The workers’ plant, Sensata Technologies, is owned by Bain Capital, the firm co-founded by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Democracy Now! first spoke to the Sensata workers when we met them at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, where they unsuccessfully tried to meet with Romney. Now, they have returned to Freeport and set up a protest camp in a bid to save their jobs. We speak to "Bainport" workers Dot Turner and Cheryl Randecker.

The School of the Americas: Class over?

Campaigners continue to risk jail trying to close one of the most notorious US institutions that sowed regional strife.

Dark energy camera snaps first images

The world's most powerful digital camera has produced its first images. It has taken eight years for scientists and astronomers to design and build the Dark Energy Camera. It has been placed on a Chilean mountaintop, where ultra-clear skies give it an unobstructed view. And as Tarek Bazley explains that now it is operational, researchers have their work cut out for them.

Reporter who revealed secret Romney video

Democracy Now!:

Mother Jones reporter David Corn joins us to discuss how he released the now notorious video of Mitt Romney telling a crowd of wealthy donors in Florida that he does not worry about the 47 percent of Americans who are "dependent" on government and see themselves as "victims." Romney’s comments have divided Republicans with some saying he should stand by his statements, and others suggesting he should renounce them. The Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones, Corn is also the author of "Showdown: The Inside Story of How Obama Battled the GOP to Set Up the 2012 Election."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Romney's views in line with tax policies for rich

Democracy Now!:

In a newly unearthed recording released by Mother Jones magazine, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney tells a crowd of donors that he thinks 47 percent of Americans are "dependent" on government and see themselves as "victims." The video has ignited what could be the biggest political firestorm facing Romney’s campaign to date. We’re joined by Pulitzer-winning journalist and author David Cay Johnston, a former New York Times reporter and is author of several books, including most recently, "The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use 'Plain English' to Rob You Blind." Johnston says Romney’s tax plan is "a plan for dynastic wealth. It is a plan to take care of the already rich It is not a plan, as he claims, to help the strivers who want to get ahead."

Video reveals Romney's dumb ass, ignorant views

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears to think there is no point in seeking peace in the Middle East. At least, that is what he told the people bankrolling his run. It is the second excerpt of what is turning out to be a damaging video for the Republican campaign. Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher reports from Washington.

Cleopatra's language dictionary published

If you have ever wanted to speak the language of Cleopatra, this might be your chance. After 40 years of research, the University of Chicago has published an online Demotic dictionary - the language of ancient Egypt. Beyond showing us how people spoke at the time, the dictionary also tells us how people lived as far back as 650BC - for instance, some documents show that women had the right to own land. Al Jazeera's Gerald Tan takes a look.

Justice denied for Native American women

One in three Native American women have been sexually assaulted. Why is the legal system failing to protect them?

Chicago Teachers Union: deal ending strike a win

Democracy Now!:

Chicago Public School teachers are returning to the classroom today nine days after launching their first strike in a quarter century. On Tuesday, 800 delegates of the Chicago Teachers Union voted overwhelmingly to suspend the strike to put an agreement with the city before the entire membership. The deal calls for a double-digit salary increase over the next three years, including raises for cost of living, while maintaining other increases for experience and advanced education. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis joins us to talk about the strike, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and what this means for education reform across the country. "We’ve been micromanaged into doing things that we know are harmful for children," Lewis says.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Occupy is "dead" according to media

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Movements that may appear to us in retrospect as a unified set of events are, in fact, irregular and scattered. Only afterwards do we see the underlying common institutional causes and movement passions that mark these events so we can name them, as the abolitionist movement, for example, or the labor movement or the civil rights movement. I think Occupy is likely to unfold in a similar way.

And it will not subside quickly. Like earlier great movements that changed the course of American history, Occupy is fueled by deep institutional lacunae and inconsistencies. The mainly young people who are Occupy represent a generation coming of age in societies marked by an increasingly predatory and criminal financial capitalism that has created mass indebtness and economic insecurity. 

At the same time, the policies that once softened the impact of economic change (which some commentators once thought were necessary for the "legitimation" of capitalism) are being rolled back.

Think of the bitter pill of the broken promises to young people who were told that education was the route to security and prosperity and who now graduate to unemployment and huge debts. And this is occurring in the context of amazing revelations of the corruption of always-flawed American electoral procedures.

Then, there is the looming threat of ecological disasters that threaten the future of the planet itself. These conditions reflect deep institutional problems: they are not likely to be solved or even much softened very quickly, and so long as they persist, they will fuel the protests that are an extension and continuation of Occupy, whether we give them that name or not.

Continue reading here.

Rising prices leave UK students hungry

Teachers in the United Kingdom are reporting an increase in children coming to school hungry and with no money to buy food. The problem isn't restricted to the very poor or jobless. Working families on lower incomes are also reportedly finding it increasingly hard to feed their own children. In the latest in Al Jazeera's series, "Feeding The World," Laurence Lee reports from Stockport, near Manchester in England.

Unions, Occupy marks return of Parliament

Occupy protesters marched down Elgin Street last year on the second day of the Occupy Ottawa protest. The protesters are planning to be return today with members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. 

Occupy protesters and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) are planning to take over downtown Ottawa streets Monday afternoon for rallies marking the return of Parliament.

PSAC said it will join Ontario Federation of Labour president Sid Ryan and ”community allies” in a march from Confederation Park to Parliament Hill to protest federal budget cuts and their impact on Canadians.

At around 1 p.m., Gian Piero Ciambella, will carry a banner on his plane which reads “” over the Ottawa-Gatineau area. The RCMP ordered Ciambella to land his plane when he flew the same banner on Sept. 3.

The RCMP thought the plane had breached restricted airspace, but the pilot had, in fact, not done so.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation will also fly a banner over the region Monday related to its campaign for MP pension reform.

Occupy Toronto will also converge on the Hill for its “Stop Harper!” event. The group will organize a “People’s Parliament” following the march, according to a post on its website.

“Please join us on September 17th to stop Harper, demand real democracy, and actually create it!” the post said.

Romney humiliates himself in leaked secret video

A video of Mitt Romney has surfaced in which he makes disparaging remarks about Americans who support US President Barack Obama. The comments by the Republican Party's presidential candidate were recorded at a private fundraiser after the primary season ended. The apparent gaffe is the latest problem to hit a presidential run already in trouble. Romney said he stands by his message even as he conceded the comments were not "elegantly stated'' and that they were spoken "off the cuff." Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher reports fro Washington D.C.

Michigan: key battleground for labour rights

Democracy Now!:

Michigan voters will be asked in November to decide the future of a controversial state law that allows the governor to appoint an unelected emergency manager or corporation to take over financially distressed towns and cities and effectively fire elected officials. The law, which is now on hold, empowers unelected managers or corporations to take over cities and effectively fire elected officials. In addition, another initiative on the Michigan ballot in November aims to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution to stave off future attacks on unions. We’re joined by Paul Abowd, an investigative reporter at the Center for Public Integrity.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chicago teachers strike enters second week

Chicago Mayor Emanuel seek court injunction to force teachers back to work.

The ultimate Mitt Romney flip-flop collection

Know someone who needs to see video proof? Many of Mitt Romney's flip-flops all in one video. Video compiled with clips from interviews, news, public appearances, and more. IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE FAIR USE ACT.  Republican presidential political candidate and former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney has been known to say one thing...and then say another. Includes his changed policy stances over the years on universal health care, the auto bailouts, the bank / Wall Street bailouts, pro-choice (abortion) or pro-life, the minimum wage, gay rights, gun rights & the NRA, immigration / amnesty, gay rights, poverty, government spending & laws, social security & Medicare, the Department of No Child Left Behind, lobbyists / lobbying, campaign donations, economic stimulus, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, global warming, stem cell research, raising taxes, the Federal Reserve / Ben Bernanke, and more.

Ontario NDP soars, but proportional rep needed

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath (QMI Agency files)

Toronto - In the wake of two recent byelections, support for provincial New Democrats is surging while Liberal support is plummeting, says a stunning new poll.

According to a poll commissioned by Broadview Strategy Group, and released Monday, NDP support has soared since the Sept. 6 byelections in Kitchener-Waterloo and Vaughan, and they are now in a virtual tie with the PCs — NDP 36% and the PCs 35%. Liberals are in third place at 22%.

Polling Company Forum Research projects that would translate into a minority Conservative government. The NDP lose seats because the votes are badly distributed for them.

Based on these figures, Forum projects a seat count of PCs, 48; Liberals, 30; and NDP, 29.

The poll also revealed Premier Dalton McGuinty’s popularity is slumping. Only 24% of those polled approve of his leadership of the party.

McGuinty faces a leadership review at the party’s annual general meeting in Ottawa the weekend of Sept. 27-30.

Delegates will be asked to vote on a motion asking them if they want a leadership convention. Of Liberals polled, 39% said they wanted a leadership convention, while 43% of all Ontarians polled said they’d favour a review.

“Nine years in power have caught up to the Liberals quite suddenly,” said Broadview spokesman John Laforet.

“The party brand has taken a number of hits and even Liberals are ready to cast off McGuinty, “ he said.

“This is all the more serious as Liberal delegates prepare to vote on his future at the end of the month,” he said.

He added that in light of the poll’s results, McGuinty might want to consider resigning before the vote, if he is looking for a graceful exit.

While it’s unlikely a majority of party faithful will try to unseat a sitting premier, there are rumblings within the party that it’s time for someone else to take the helm. At the same time, it would be difficult for the party to hold a leadership convention while they are in a minority situation.

Among potential successors, Municipal Affairs Minister Kathleen Wynne enjoyed the greatest support (24%); former health minister and mayoralty candidate George Smitherman had 20% and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan had 18%.

The poll — done on Sept. 14 — surveyed 1,058 people and has a 3% margin of error.

Hollande attempts to reduce atomic power

France's President, Francois Hollande is hosting a green energy summit on how to ween the country off nuclear energy. Atomic power currently accounts for 75 per cent of France's energy output. But in a campaign pledge before the elections, Francois Hollande promised to reduce that to 50 per cent by 2025. The ambitious target has many people questioning whether the country can do it. Al Jazeera's Rory Challands reports.

Occupy Wall Street 1st anniversary

Democracy Now!:

Occupy Wall Street protesters are converging in the financial district in Manhattan to mark the first anniversary of the movement’s beginning. Similar protests are taking place in dozens of cities today.
On Sept. 17, 2011, thousands of people answered the call originally put out by the Canadian-based magazine “Adbusters” to Occupy Wall Street. Protesters slept in Zuccotti Park for nearly two months before the New York City police raided the encampment. We look back at some of Democracy Now!'s earliest coverage of the movement. We interview Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello at Sunday's anniversary concert in New York City’s Foley Square, and get a live update on the action unfolding today in the streets with Citizen Radio’s Allison Kilkenny.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Union groups protests federal cutbacks

The Canadian Press:

Toronto – A national union rallied across Canada on Saturday against government public-service cuts.

Protests, organized by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, included the staging of a so-called “People’s Court” in Toronto that tried an effigy of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Mock trials were also held for efigies of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Ontario Tory leader Tim Hudak and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford over cutbacks to public spending.

In Calgary, a union representing prison guards rallied in front of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Calgary constituency office Saturday to complain about Conservatives’ crime policies. The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers says prison guards are on the frontline of having to deal with the effects of Harper’s tough on crime agenda.

Other scheduled national protests included ones outside two of Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s Nova Scotia constituency offices and the unveiling of a “Defending Quality Public Services” mural in Whitehorse, Yukon.

Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan acted as a prosecutor in the mock trial in Toronto.

He accused the paper-head figure of Harper of driving down wages and eliminating jobs with international free trade agreements.

“You will hear evidence that will tell us how jobs have been destroyed in this country, how free trade agreements have been entered into by these four individuals and their corporate-sector friends — free trade agreements that have shipped jobs offshore, eliminated jobs and driven down wages,” Ryan told the Toronto protest while dressed in a black-and-white court gown.

Continue reading here.

The war on Mexican drug cartels: deadly failure

Mark Karlin: Approximately 50,000 or more Mexicans have been killed since Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched a so-called war on drug cartels.

Money laundering: JP Morgan, others probed

The Associated Press:

New York - Regulators are investigating whether several major U.S. banks failed to monitor transactions properly, allowing criminals to launder money, according to a New York Times story. The newspaper cited officials who it said spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the federal agency that oversees the biggest banks, is leading the money-laundering investigation, according to the Times. The report said the OCC could soon take action against JPMorgan Chase & Co., and that it is also investigating Bank of America Corp. Money laundering allows people to make money – often obtained illegally – appear like it came from another source.

The OCC didn't immediately comment. JPMorgan and Bank of America declined to comment.
The financial industry is struggling to mend its public image. Four years after the financial crisis, banks are getting closer scrutiny. And regulators are under pressure to show that they're not missing any questionable activity.

Continue reading here.

Australia to start stubbing out cigarette sales

Australia could be one step closer to becoming the first country to phase out the sale of cigarettes. Legislators in the state of Tasmania want to ban selling of tobacco for people born after the year 2000. Al Jazeera's Andrew Thomas reports from Sydney.

Pittsburgh fracking ban faces challenge

Democracy Now!:

In 2010, Pittsburgh adopted a first-in-the-nation ordinance banning corporations from extracting natural gas within the city using the controversial technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," over human health and environmental concerns. However, state officials now say the ban on fracking fails to comply with Pennsylvania law and has encroached on the state’s authority to create environmental regulations. We speak with the man responsible for the drilling ban, former Pittsburgh City Councilmember Doug Shields.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Trans Pacific Partnership: corporate domination?

Laurel Sutherlin, Rainforest Action Network, joins Thom Hartmann. Earlier in the Summer - we told you about The Trans - Pacific Partnership - a new so-called free trade deal that the US has been negotiating over with 8 Pacific nations for the last two years. But rather than helping Americans or improving the American economy - the TPP would give foreign transnational corporations unprecedented power to abuse American workers - pollute our environment - and destabilize our markets. When information on the TPP was first leaked - very few Americans knew what it was - and as a result - there was very little opposition towards it. But fast forward a couple months - and that seems to have changed. This week in Leesburg, Virginia - US trade negotiators met with members of the other 8 TPP nations for the 14th round of negotiations. And - for the first time - the meeting was also met by protestors.