Late last week, as part of a Republican pander-fest for the Jewish vote—what Jon Stewart aptly called a “tuchus kiss-off”—Newt Gingrich, the frontrunner in Iowa and South Carolina, turned on the spigot of his pedantry and called the Palestinians an “invented” people.
Bill Moyers reminds us that repairing American democracy begins with reasserting that corporations do not have the same constitutional rights as citizens. Rarely have so few imposed such damage on so many. When five conservative members of the Supreme Court handed for-profit corporations the right to secretly flood political campaigns with tidal waves of cash on the eve of an election, they moved America closer to outright plutocracy, where political power derived from wealth is devoted to the protection of wealth.
Writing from the very region that produces more clichés per square foot than any other "story" – the Middle East – I should perhaps pause before I say I have never read so much garbage, so much utter drivel, as I have about the world financial crisis.
The response of the Canadian government to the emergency in Attawapiskat shows why indigenous communities are in trouble. The community, situated in far northern Ontario and made up of 1,800 mostly Cree citizens, has announced that its situation is dire, due to a "severe housing shortage". The community has been visited by an opposition MP and filmed. The images relayed back are horrifying. There are generations of families living in flimsy tents or shacks built from mismatched plywood and covered with tarpaulins. Mould seeps through insulation and runs down the walls. Pails of excrement are being thrown in ditches. Children have chronic skin diseases brought on by poor living conditions, others have third-degree burns caused by cheap stoves. A hundred people live in a prefab trailer, crammed into rooms with just four bathrooms for all. The temperature drops a few more degrees below zero every day. It gets as low as -40C in the winter – without the wind chill. Mothers say baby shampoo freezes sitting on the shelf.
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