Showing posts from March 22, 2014

Spain austerity: Huge Madrid protest turns violent

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[The PIIGS - Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain - seem to be a bellwether for the rest of Europe. *RON*]

BBC News, 22 March 2014

Violence has broken out at the end of an anti-austerity protest attended by tens of thousands of people in the Spanish capital Madrid.
Dozens of youths threw projectiles at police, who responded by charging at them.

Demonstrators were protesting over issues including unemployment, poverty and official corruption.

They want the government not to pay its international debts and do more to improve health and education.

Higher Youth Voter Turnout Could Change Election Outcome: Pollster

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[If young people voted at the same rate as everyone else, Harper would not have won a majority and the environment and education would have been top priority political issues. Plainly Harper understands this and this is why his proposed legislation makes it illegal for Elections Canada to encourage people to vote! *RON*]

By Joan Bryden, Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 03/22/2014

OTTAWA - "My vote won't make any difference."

It's a common refrain among those who don't bother to cast ballots in Canadian elections.

But a new analysis of young non-voters in the last federal election suggests they should think again.

If young people had turned out to vote in the same numbers as the population overall in 2011, pollster Nik Nanos says his research suggests they would have changed not just the outcome of the election but the tone and content of the political debate.

Just over 60 per cent of eligible voters actually cast ballots in…

‘March for dignity’: Thousands arrive in Madrid to protest govt austerity

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[Large public protests against austerity in Spain. See also The Italian prime minister hopes to be let off some of Europe’s fiscal austerity. Ukrainians, who just signed an association agreement with the EU, might want to follow this closely! *RON*]
RT (Russian Times), March 22, 2014

Firemen stand in front of demonstrators, some of them waving flags of the Spanish second republic, during a march dubbed "the Marches for Dignity 22-M" to protest against austerity in Madrid on March 22, 2014. (AFP Photo / Gerard Julien)
Thousands of people have trekked across Spain to protest austerity they claim is destroying their country. Under the banner of "no more cuts!" the protesters are calling for an end to the Spanish government’s "empty promises."

Six “columns” of trains, cars and buses, as well as bands of pedestrians have travelled from Extremadura, Andalusia, Valencia, Murcia, Asturias, Galicia and Aragon, among other Span…

The Unwisdom of Crowds

: Why people-powered revolutions are overrated

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[Excellent article on what might be called "crowd/media democracy" versus "real democracy." *RON*]


Kiev’s mass anti-government protests are a thing of the past, but the barricades remain, a shrine to the victims. Visitors trickle through the site, paying homage to the Heavenly Hundred, those murdered in the final days of the struggle. The martyrs’ names are taped to the trees, their photographs covered in mounds of flowers. Children holding little Ukrainian flags pose for photographs in front of these monuments. They don’t smile.

They will remember coming here for the rest of their lives, for this is how nations are built: on legends, on emotions, on stories of heroes. Tales of those who stood for months in the square will be told and retold. But that doesn’t mean that the protesters will necessarily have triumphed. On the contrary, Ukrainians are about to learn that the exhilaration of “people power”—mass m…

Made in Russia: Crimea’s grim human rights predicament

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[The rapid Russification of Crimean laws. *RON*]
Posted on 22 March 2014 by News Team, Amnesty International Blog

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, gives a rundown of the repression that awaits Crimea’s residents.

Two decades of stuttering human rights reform in Ukraine was almost scuppered overnight when, on 16 January this year, the Parliament in Kyiv railroaded through a raft of new legislation to restrict the freedoms of expression, association and assembly.

A virtual carbon-copy of laws adopted in neighbouring Russia in recent years, they were tailor-made to give the Ukrainian authorities increased powers to prosecute those involved in the anti-government protests in Kyiv’s central Maydan Square, as well as silence dissent more widely.

Epigenetics: The Controversial Science Behind Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

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[Why what we eat, are exposed to, and experience today may shape the health of our descendants tomorrow. *RON*]
 By Janell Ross, National Journal, March 20, 2014

When patients hoping to conceive a happy and healthy child visit an expert in Ayurveda—a form of alternative medicine that originated in India several thousand years ago—they are sometimes told to follow a surprising set of orders. If either the man or woman feels thirsty, hungry, sad, angry, or afraid, the couple is told, they should forgo any potential baby-making activity. Only when happy, satiated, and feeling connected to one another should they bathe, dress in fresh white clothing, apply particular oils to their bodies—and then proceed.

To most people with a passing understanding of DNA and heredity, all that prep work may sound utterly absurd. But a fast-growing field of science, known as epigenetics, strongly suggests that what we experience, consume, and encounter from the momen…

Working for the Owners

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[America - by the 1%, for the 1%. *RON*]
Paul Krugman, The Conscience of a Liberal, NY Times, March 22, 2014

I’ve just finished a draft of a long review of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century, which argues that we’re on the road back to “patrimonial capitalism”, dominated by inherited wealth. It’s an amazing book; among other things, it does an awesome job of integrating economic growth, the factor distribution of income (between capital and labor), and the individual distribution of income into a common framework. (It’s all about r-g). One slight weakness of the book, however, is that Piketty’s grand framework doesn’t do too good a job of explaining the explosion of income inequality in the United States, which so far has been driven mainly by wage income rather than capital. Piketty does take this on; but it’s kind of a side journey from the central story.

No matter; it’s still a masterwork. But I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit,…

Democracy Now Discusses Wells Fargo Foreclosure Document Fabrication Manual

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[It would be nice if someone actually went to jail for this, but I suspect this too will simply turn out to be another "cost of doing business" for Wells Fargo. *RON*]
by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, March 22, 2014

It’s good to see that a lawsuit providing critical new evidence of systematic foreclosure abuses is getting the attention it warrants. Democracy Now interviewed Linda Tirelli, who filed a Wells Fargo “Foreclosure Attorney Procedure Manual” in a recent case in New York. This document sets forth in considerable detail how attorneys and other staff members should fabricate documents in the event that they are unable to muster up solid evidence that the bank has standing to foreclose. This manual is a smoking gun for foreclosure defense attorneys opposing Wells. Many judges have been reluctant to side with delinquent borrowers and assume that any bank error are mere sloppiness. This manual shows that the bank has institutionalize…