Showing posts from April 4, 2014

Pitched battles flare at Brussels austerity protest

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[“People have had enough of austerity. They want a concerted effort to tackle unemployment, poverty and inequality.” 25-50,000 protesters from 21 nations met with water-cannons. See also Spanish anti-austerity protests continue, and Greece hopes it can wave goodbye to austerity era, and Ukraine Prime Minister Says 'Kamikaze' Austerity is Price of Independence*RON*], April 4, 2014

The noise of firecrackers and water cannons echoed around Schuman roundabout, the home of the European Commission today (4 April), as a workers’ protest against austerity turned violent, injuring 27 people, eight of them seriously.

March organisers say that 50,000 people came to Brussels from 21 countries across Europe to demonstrate for a massive job investment programme and against austerity policies. Police sources put the figure at 25,000.

“That people came from as far away as Portugal, Bulgaria and Cyprus should send a sobering message to EU …

Minor Changes Made to Blog Format

I've made small changes to the blog format - removing a few features in the hope that the page will load faster.

Then again, I added one feature ("Popular Posts") so, clearly, I can't make my mind up...

If you can't really tell what's different, you aren't deeply missing any of these features! :-) But if you miss any of them, let me know...

If you notice that the page loads any faster and you like that, let me know that as well!


UN Human Rights Committee Finds US in Violation on 25 Counts

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[Time for the righteously indignant to clean their own house. *RON*]
By Adam Hudson, Truthout, 04 April 2014

While President Obama told the country to "look forward, not backward" when it came to Bush's torture program, the United Nations has taken a different route. Recently, the UN Human Rights Committeeissued a report excoriating the United States for its human rights violations. It focuses on violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the country is party. The report mentions 25 human rights issues where the United States is failing. This piece will focus on a few of those issues - Guantanamo, NSA surveillance, accountability for Bush-era human rights violations, drone strikes, racism in the prison system, racial profiling, police violence, and criminalization of the homeless.

Young Owners of Low-Budget GM Cars Weren’t Worth Saving

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[The White House holds GM harmless for negligent homicide. On the crapification of human life under 21st century capitalism. *RON*]
By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, April 4, 2014

Writer libbyliberal describes how the Obama Administration’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration worked with GM for years to cover up the automaker’s ignition system defect that would lead to sudden power system failure. That fault is estimated to have caused at least 13 deaths and over 30 crashes. Lambert described this as a textbook case of crapification:
The style of engineering that went into that part is the same as engineering washing machines so they break down in two or three year, because every component is as light and cheap as possible; there’s no redundancy because everything is optimized for profit. If you can save a penny by shaving material off, you do it. So some MBA drove the decision making process here, and that’s worse than the engineering…

5 Things Conservatives Lie Shamelessly About

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[Conservatives have figured out a neat little rhetorical trick: tell lies so fast your opponents can't keep up. See any article here involving Harper or any Harper Minister. *RON*]

By Amanda MarcotteAlterNet, April 2, 2014

Mark Twain once famously said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Twain wasn’t praising lies with this comment, of course, but modern-day conservatives seem to think he was dishing out advice instead of damning the practice of dishonesty. Conservatives have figured out a neat little rhetorical trick: One lie is easy for your opponents to debunk. Tell one lie after another, however, and your opponent’s debunkings will never catch up. By the time the liberal opposition has debunked one lie, there’s a dozen more to take its place.

Science educator Eugenie Scott deemed the technique the “Gish Gallop,” named for a notoriously sleazy creationist named Duane Gish. The Urban Dicti…

Two Million Too Many: Deportations Under Obama

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[While constantly denigrating Republicans for failing to support immigration reform, Obama has (seemingly, though the statistics are somewhat twitchy) been deporting people from the United States in record numbers. *RON*]

by Tanya Golash-Boza,, Weekend Edition April 4-6, 2014

During the administration of President Barack Obama, there have been over two million deportations. On April 5, 2014, activists are organizing marches around the country in protest.

Meanwhile, detractors are claiming that activists are getting ahead of themselves and that President Barack Obama has only achieved two million deportations because of a change in how removals are counted.

A close look at the numbers, however, shows that President Obama’s immigration law enforcement program is one of the most aggressive in the history of the United States.

McCutcheon, and the Vicious Cycle of Concentrated Wealth and Political Power

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[Robert Reich and now Thomas Piketty are two of the most prominent economists talking about income and wealth inequality today. *RON*]

Robert Reich,, Thursday, April 3, 2014
If wealth and income weren’t already so concentrated in the hands of a few, the shameful “McCutcheon” decision by the five Republican appointees to the Supreme Court wouldn’t be as dangerous. But by taking “Citizen’s United” one step further and effectively eviscerating campaign finance laws, the Court has issued an invitation to oligarchy.

Almost limitless political donations coupled with America’s dramatically widening inequality create a vicious cycle in which the wealthy buy votes that lower their taxes, give them bailouts and subsidies, and deregulate their businesses – thereby making them even wealthier and capable of buying even more votes. Corruption breeds more corruption.

This Machine Can Tell Whether You're Liberal or Conservative

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[The device pictured below bears an unfortunate resemblance to the one used in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. :-) On the physiological and potentially genetic drivers that underpin political ideology. *RON*]

By Chris Mooney, Mother Jones, Apr. 4, 2014

Thomas Jefferson was a smart dude. And in one of his letters to John Adams, dated June 27, 1813, Jefferson made an observation about the nature of politics that science is only now, two centuries later, beginning to confirm. "The same political parties which now agitate the United States, have existed through all time," wrote Jefferson. "The terms of Whig and Tory belong to natural, as well as to civil history," he later added. "They denote the temper and constitution of mind of different individuals."

Tories were the British conservatives of Jefferson's day, and Whigs were the British liberals. What Jefferson was saying, then…

Pierre Poilievre does not speak the truth

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[On the not-so-subtle distinctions concerning the Fair Elections Act that elude Pierre Poilievre and most of the commercial media. "The right to vote is not something the government grants us permission to do, like driving, hunting or practicing medicine. It belongs to each of us, in virtue of our citizenship status. The job of a truly democratic government is to protect our right to vote by securing the conditions that make it possible. The Fair Elections Act does the opposite." *RON*]
By Karl Nerenberg, April 4, 2014

It's an unlikely strategy, but could it work?

The Conservatives have come up with what seems like a very odd response to the tsunami of opposition to their so-called Fair Elections Act.

They are putting Prime Minister Harper's relentlessly slippery Democratic Reform Minister, Pierre Poilievre, in front of virtually every microphone that will have him.

They seem to think the one-time boy wonder MP from suburban Ottawa…