Showing posts from June 9, 2014

Live in austerity, die by austerity

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["...politicians who would live by the sword of austerity, no matter how apologetically they go about doing so, will die by the sword of austerity. Or to put it more accurately, they will be put to the sword by the electorate..." Then see the following story... *RON*]

Shane Doran, The Independent, 08/06/2014
THE stark results of today's Sunday Independent/Millward Brown poll are easily enough summarised: politicians who would live by the sword of austerity, no matter how apologetically they go about doing so, will die by the sword of austerity. Or to put it more accurately, they will be put to the sword by the electorate, while the grinning political opportunists of Sinn Fein stand idly by, waiting to feast on the remains.

Today's Sunday Independent/Millward Brown poll represents the most comprehensive repudiation yet of the never-ending slap across the face of productive citizens that is the essence of the political economics …

Joe Oliver Loves Austerity, Argues World Doesn't Have Enough

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[Say howdy to your new Finance Minister, who evidently missed it when Alan Greenspan realized in 2008 that his ideology doesn't work. "...the minister said he is not concerned that fiscal restraint by the two largest provinces will provoke a national economic slowdown... Oliver also said he's optimistic that weak Canadian exports and stagnant capital investments will recover." *RON*]
By Ross Marowits, CP / Huffington Post, 06/09/2014

MONTREAL - Finance Minister Joe Oliver says he's concerned that provincial governments and Canada's global allies will reverse five years of gains since the 2008-09 recession by taking the pedal off efforts to cut budgetary deficits and debt.

The minister reminded an international economic conference that Canada will post a $6-billion surplus in 2015-2016, but said the average budgetary deficit among G7 countries is 5.9 per cent of gross domestic product.

Oliver applauded Quebec's recent re…

Larry Summers’ Contradictory and Dishonest Defense of Administration’s Bank-Focused Crisis Response

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[Larry Summers lies to make himself look good; quelle surprise! *RON*]
Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, June 9, 2014

If you are going to succeed in rewriting history, a necessary condition is that the public doesn’t remember it very well. Unfortunately, that requirement is not in place for the architects of the Administration’s blatantly bank-friendly crisis responses.

Timothy Geithner’s book Stress Test, in which he tries selling the idea that rescuing the banks was unsavory but necessary, and wanting to hold individuals accountable was a mere desire vengeance, is not only doing poorly in terms of sales, but is producing pushback on multiple fronts. Not only have quite a few reviewers taken issue with Geithner’s sense of priorities and his factual claims, but he’s gotten raspberries from the public. If you look at the one-star Amazon reviews, for instance, a large portion come from people who state that they haven’t read the book but have such antipa…

Should we fight the system or be the change?

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[The story title actually says what it's all about. Good, instructive article. *RON*]
Mark Engler and Paul Engler, Waging Nonviolence, June 3, 2014
It is an old question in social movements: Should we fight the system or “be the change we wish to see”? Should we push for transformation within existing institutions, or should we model in our own lives a different set of political relationships that might someday form the basis of a new society?

Over the past 50 years — and arguably going back much further — social movements in the United States have incorporated elements of each approach, sometimes in harmonious ways and other times with significant tension between different groups of activists.

In the recent past, a clash between “strategic” and “prefigurative” politics could be seen in the Occupy movement. While some participants pushed for concrete political reforms — greater regulation of Wall Street, bans on corporate money in politics, a t…

How a Big Agribusiness Firm Infiltrated the EPA and Made a Mockery of Science

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[Expensive cover-ups have kept a dangerous chemical in America's water supply. It is also legal to use Atrazine in Canada. *RON*]

By Kamil AhsanAlterNet, 5 June 2014

Earlier this year, in an exposé in The New Yorker, Rachel Aviv detailed the story of Syngenta, an agribusiness firm that was sued by the community water systems of six states in a class-action lawsuit over the firm’s herbicide atrazine.
Atrazine is the second most commonly used herbicide in the US and is used on more than 50% of all corn crops. It is one of Syngenta’s most profitable chemicals with sales at over $300 million a year. Banned in the EU, atrazine remains on the market in the US despite scores of scientific publications demonstrating its role in abnormal sexual development. Almost insoluble in water, atrazine contaminates drinking water supplies at 30 times the concentration demonstrated to cause severe sexual abnormalities in animal models.

Recently unsealed cour…

Shining a Light on Government Spy Requests

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[Every 2.7 seconds the Harper government makes a warrantless surveillance request of telecommunication providers, and the large providers appear happy to do so and reluctant to publicly share information on what they do hand over. "Rogers' report, the entire first page of which is just images, sticks to bland generalities and steers clear of offering detailed information except under the broadest of headings. We did learn that the government requested information from Rogers a staggering 174,917 times in 2013 alone. But, as Prof. Michael Geist points out, Rogers shockingly did not even keep track of how many times it handed its customers' private information over to the government without a warrant." *RON*]

David Christopher, Communications Manager for, Huffington Post, 8 June 2014

Canadians have been speaking out in huge numbers about the government's mass surveillance of law-abiding citizens. For some time now…

How Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Victory Began in New York City’s Zuccotti Park

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[Ever since the Occupy movement hit the streets, an explosion of worker unrest—especially among Walmart employees, workers at fast-food chains, janitors, and hospital workers—has shaped the political life of America's cities. *RON*]

Peter Dreier, The American Prospect, 5 June 2014
An idea that only a year ago appeared both radical and impractical has become a reality. On Monday, Seattle struck a blow against rising inequality when its City Council unanimously adopted a citywide minimum wage of $15 an hour, the highest in the nation.

This dramatic change in public policy is partly the result of changes brought about by last November’s Seattle municipal elections. But it is also the consequence of years of activism in Seattle and around the country. Now that Seattle has established a new standard, the pace of change is likely to accelerate quickly as activists and politicians elsewhere seek to capture the momentum. Five years from now, Americans…

The U.S. Chamber of Secrets

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[Who's funding the Chamber of Commerce and its attacks on workers' rights groups? No one knows. *RON*]
By Mariya Strauss, In These Times, 5 June 2014
The National Guestworkers Alliance ... won more than $200,000 in back wages and damages for a group of McDonald’s employees who had been forced to live in a manager’s basement and were paid sub-minimum wages and denied overtime.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s stated mission is “representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions,” but watchdog groups say the U.S. Chamber represents the interests of a select few big industry groups that want to crush worker organizing. In some states, where the local Chamber of Commerce and local business leaders tend to operate from the same playbook as the U.S. Chamber, anti-worker campaigns tend to proliferate. The California Chamber of Commerce, for example, has been actively lobbying to prevent the state legisl…