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Harper Dodging Investigation with Election Call?

Harper Dodging Investigation with Election Call?
by C. L. Cook
After the 2006 Canadian election, the head of the emerging minority government, prime minister Stephen Harper did something unprecedented. Bucking the tradition begun in England's parliamentary democracy and adopted at Canada's confederation in 1867, Harper changed the way elections are called, dictating Canada would now move to a system of fixed election dates similar to that used in the republic of the United States of America.
Until then, calling an election was at the discretion of the prime minister, within a maximum five year term. That is, the election call is the PM's prerogative in the case of a majority government, wherein the ruling party has a clear majority of seats and votes in the House of Commons, something Harper has yet to experience; or, in the case of Harper's minority Conservatives a vote of no, or non-confidence can force an election should the House reject the government's continuance.

Stephen Harper tried mightily in 2008 to force just such a vote; tabling legislation that clearly went against the policy grain of the official opposition Liberals. Harper even took to the airwaves, taunting Liberal leader, Stephane Dion and daring him to bring down the government. Dion refused to take the bait.
Why Harper would want to bring down his own government, if he really did want it, is an open question.
Update: A forensic audio expert reports  the tapes corroborating the late MP Chuck Cadman's contention Stephen Harper's Conservatives made an improper overture to the independent for his vote in a non-confidence vote against the then governing Liberal party undoctored.
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Declaring Class War in America

Dennis Kucinich on the Democrats’ Bailout Betrayal
by Chris Hedges
The passing of the $850-billion bailout pulled the plug on the New Deal. The Great Society is now gasping for air, mortally wounded, coughing up blood. It will not recover. It was murdered by the Democratic Party.

We are on our own. And don’t expect any help from Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who lobbied hard for the bill and voted for it. Ignore their rhetoric. Look coldly at the ballots they cast against us. We, as citizens, have only a handful of representatives left in Washington, most of whom were left sputtering in rage and frustration on the House floor. The sad irony is that some of them were Republican.
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Planet Earth's "Red Listed" Residents

IUCN Red List Reveals World’s Mammals in Crisis
The most comprehensive assessment of the world’s mammals has confirmed an extinction crisis, with almost one in four at risk of disappearing forever, according to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, revealed at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona.

The new study to assess the world’s mammals shows at least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on Earth are known to be threatened with extinction. At least 76 mammals have become extinct since 1500. But the results also show conservation can bring species back from the brink of extinction, with five percent of currently threatened mammals showing signs of recovery in the wild.
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Canada Votes Papers 2008

Canada Votes Papers 2008
by Canada Votes 2008
Key points and Questions to Ask on 13 Social Policy Issues (Social Planning and Research Council of BC)

2008 Alternative Federal Budget - A detailed alternative budgetary
framework that is both fiscally and socially responsible (Canadian
Centre for Policy Alternatives

Ad Hoc Coalition for Women's Equality and Human Rights - A clear and far-ranging breakdown of where the major parties stand on priority issues affecting women as well as an explanation of those issues and a list of questions for electoral candidates.

Code Blue for Child Care - Campaign for a universal childcare system, including a report card grading each major party's policies on child care

A cross-country, riding-by-riding environmental voting tool.

Vote to Make Poverty History - An online kit featuring eight action
points on how to make poverty an election issue (Make Poverty History, a national campaign to fight poverty)

Food Justice Election Action Kit - Key questions and action points for making food safety and justice election issues.

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Palinettes Connect with Inner Fascist

What I Learned at the Sarah Palin Rally Before They Threw Me Out!
by Linda Milazzo
On Saturday I went to Carson, California, to attend a rally for Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin.
photo Linda Milazzo
For those who aren't familiar with the city of Carson, it's approximately 19 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. In the 2004 Presidential election, Carson, which had a population of just under 90,000, donated three times as much money to George W. Bush than to John Kerry. This year, for the 2008 elections, residents of Carson have given slightly more to Republican candidates than to Democrats by a slim margin of $3,000. Thus the gap between Republicans and Democrats in Carson has narrowed.

The Palin rally, which you may have seen on youtube and TV, was held at the Home Depot ADT Tennis Stadium. Because of the surprising popularity of Mrs. Palin and easy access to free tickets, all 20,000 stadium seats, plus an overflow area were filled. I got a handful of tickets, recruited my friend Rebecca Tobias, Program Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics,
and trekked on out to Carson. 
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Quebec: Police Violence Breaks Up First Nations' Blockade

Quebec: Police Violence Breaks Up First Nations' Blockade 
by solidarite lac barriere
Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory- Yesterday afternoon, the Conservative government and Quebec used riot police, tear gas, and 'pain compliance' techniques to end a peaceful blockade erected by Algonquin families from Barriere Lake, rather than negotiate, as requested by the community.
The blockade on Highway 117 in Northern Quebec began at 6:00am Monday, with nearly a hundred community members of all ages and their supporters promising to remain until Canada's Conservative government and Quebec honoured signed agreements and Barriere Lake's leadership customs.
Around 4pm, nearly sixty Quebec officers and riot police encircled families after a meal and without warning launched tear gas canisters, one of which hit a child in the chest.
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Market News: Into "l'abîme!"

French Premier Francois Fillon: We're on "the edge of the abyss”
by Mike Whitney
Years from today, when the current financial crisis is over, historians are likely to agree that it would have been far better if the Bush administration had declared a state of emergency earlier in the process so that the necessary steps could have taken to avoid a complete financial meltdown. The media could have been used to bring the American people up to date on market-related developments and educated in the bizarre language of structured finance. Knowledge is power; and power can prevent panic.
Now we're in a terrible fix. People are scared and removing their money from the banks and money markets which is intensifying the freeze in the credit markets and driving stocks into the ground like a tent stake. Meanwhile, our leaders are "caught in the headlights", still believing they can "finesse" their way through the biggest economic cataclysm since the Great Depression. It's madness. 
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Intellectual Cleansing Pt. II

Intellectual Cleansing Pt. II
by Media Lens
"I woke up after four hours sleep my head buzzing with recollections of my early years in journalism. I've been sitting and writing ever since, trying to make sense of it all. It's quite therapeutic and more revealing about how the media work than I had appreciated before. Your alert really has set off processes in my head." (Email to Media Lens, October 3, 2008)

A short piece Cook initially sent us on this theme was brilliant, in fact one of the most honest and insightful media analyses we have seen. The key point he made is that crude sackings of the kind we highlighted "are a great rarity":

"Editors hardly ever need to bare their teeth against an established journalist because few make it to senior positions unless they have already learnt how to toe the line."

But Cook didn't stop there. He appears to have spent most of the weekend October 4-5 writing a 6,500-word piece which had the effect of "reframing my career in a way that finally makes sense to me". We have published an edited version of this below. The full article is available on our website:

We would like to express our sincere thanks to Jonathan Cook for the time, energy and thought he has put into his response.
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Zeitgeist Addendum

Zeitgeist Addendum 
by Zeitgeist Addendum
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The Merciful Who Confront the State Without Mercy

The Voyage of Hope: Blessed Are the Merciful Who Confront the State Without Mercy
by William A. Cook
“Hope” was scheduled to sail to Gaza on Thursday, September 25th, but could not because negotiations to buy a boat fell through repeatedly “due to outside pressure.”
Regardless, whatever day “Hope” sails, and it will sail, is a day every Christian and every humane person, regardless of religion, should mark on his or her calendar as the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount live in our day as true believers in the Beatitudes give meaning and life to “Blessed are the merciful for they shall see God and Blessed are the peacemakers for they are the children of God.”
Five physicians from 4 countries, Human Rights lawyers and monitors, a member of the Israeli Knesset, the General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, a veritable Ship of Mercy, will confront the Goliath of Mercilessness that has besieged 1.5 million people in Gaza for almost  two years now making their lives not a state of beatitude, but rather a state of misery – “afflicted unwillingly with painful sufferings.” 
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Fascist Rise in Bolivia (with U.S. Support of Course)

Bolivia: Fascism Seizes Power - Morales Complains        
by James Petras
Bolivian fascists have seized power in five of the richest states in Bolivia, forcefully ousting all national officials, murdering, injuring and assaulting leaders, activists and voters who have backed the national government – with total impunity. Ever since Evo Morales was elected President over 33 months ago, the Bolivian far-right has taken advantage of every concession, compromise and conciliatory gesture by the Morales regime to expand their political power, block even the mildest social reforms and paralyze the functioning of the government, through legal maneuvers and gangs of violent street thugs.

While the Bolivian government has used state repression against peasant squatters and striking miners, it remained a passive, impotent spectator to the right-wing seizure of the Constitutional Assembly, the major airfields in Santa Cruz (forcing the President to flee back to his palace), suspending all public transportation, federal tax collection and public investment and projects. Worse still, paramilitary fascist gangs have repeatedly insulted, beaten, stripped and paraded ethnic Indian peasant supporters of President Morales through the main streets and plazas of the capital cities of the provinces they control.

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