Showing posts from July 6, 2014

'Yes he can!' How Spanish indignado Pablo Iglesias aims to use a wave of protest to build 'a decent country'

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[Recommended by my friend Jerri. Podemos came out of nowhere to win 1.2 million votes. Pablo Iglesias talks of his hopes for the leftwing fledgling party, born out of the anti-austerity movement in Spain. *RON*]

Ashifa KassamThe Observer, 5 July 2014
Across Spain, everyone has an opinion about Pablo Iglesias. Mere mention of the ponytailed leader of the insurgent leftwing party Podemos (We Can), who is only 35, elicits a barrage of adjectives that range from honest to dangerous.

There was the woman in Barcelona who gushed that "he seems like such a decent person" as she explained why she had cast her first vote in a decade and given it to Podemos. Or the worries expressed by the monarchist from San Sebastián who spent hours waiting on a sunny morning in Madrid to catch a glimpse of Felipe VI on his first day as the new king of Spain. "Iglesias wants to turn Spain into the next Venezuela."

In only a month, Iglesias has gone f…

Billionaire Koch brothers are big oil players in Alberta

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[An informative, long piece on the ultra-right U.S. Koch brothers, relatively little-known to Canadians, and their major role in the Alberta oil patch, where they control at least 1.1 million acres. *RON*]

By: Olivia Ward, Toronto Star, Jul 06 2014

PEACE RIVER, ALTA.—Trevor Newton braves the driving sleet and the boot-sucking bog as he moves along an unmarked path through the Middle of Nowhere.

In Alberta’s northwestern shoulder, it’s easy to slip off the edge from somewhere to nowhere. It’s a land beyond signposts, a scrubby, aspen-lined stretch that wouldn’t be out of place in parts of Siberia. And it’s hard at times to know even who the neighbours are.

A trim, sandy-haired man who spends part of his time on his cattle farm near Vancouver, Newton is chairman of the board of a small oil company. And until recently, he had no idea that he was surrounded by vast tracts of land acquired by Koch — the oil giant at the centre of a political storm in Was…

Does a Christian White-Supremacist Business Have the "Religious Freedom" to Discriminate?

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By Chauncey DeVegaAlterNet, 2 July 2014
[On the Pandora's Box of Hobby Lobby. *RON*]

The slide towards American theocracy was nudged one more step forward by the Supreme Court decision in support of the "freedom" of corporations with "religious" beliefs to restrict the rights of their employees. In essence, religious "beliefs" trump the obligations, rights, and responsibilities that come with being members of the polity and a broader political community.

The NY Times details the logic of the theocrats as:
The 5-to-4 decision, which applied to two companies owned by Christian families, opened the door to challenges from other corporations to many laws that may be said to violate their religious liberty. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the court’s five more conservative justices, said a federal religious-freedom law applied to for-profit corporations controlled by religious families. He added that the req…

Angela Merkel greatest leader in Europe, says Hillary Clinton

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[Former secretary of state says US ready for female leader and she will decide on presidential run by early next year. Meanwhile, she has nothing but praise for the most hard-line austerity advocate in Europe. She apparently considers class warfare to be a case of "breaking through the glass ceiling." She is a right-wing hawk and protector of the interests of the 1%. She either truly believes that she is not - or she is simply a crafty liar who spouts happy-sounding feminist slogans as cover for her actual behaviour. *RON*]
Reuters in Berlin, on, 6 July 2014
Hillary Clinton has called Angela Merkel "the greatest leader in Europe" during a visit to Berlin and said it was high time America had a female leader too – though without confirming that she would seek the job.

In an appearance at a Berlin theatre on Sunday to promote her book Hard Choices, the former US secretary of state also referred to Vladimir Putin, t…

Thousands march in Bust the Budget rallies across Australia to oppose Abbott Government’s budget cuts

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[Tens of thousands attend anti-austerity 'Bust the Budget' rallies across Australia. This was the only coverage of the event I could find that was not from an explicitly leftist news source. *RON*]

THOUSANDS have marched across the nation to protest against the Abbott Government’s budget cuts.

In Melbourne, reportedly the largest rally in the country, union members joined the elderly and their families at the Bust the Budget rally on St Kilda Road opposite the Arts Centre.

Several of the government’s budget measures, including the $7 GP visit co-payment, changes to jobless benefits, a higher pension age and deregulation of university fees have been criticised as unfair.

In Sydney’s CBD, more than 2000 people turned out at Sydney Town Hall to voice their anger. .

The CBC’s a service, not a business

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["In a world of commercial sponsorship of media, both broadcast and online, the CBC’s purpose is to serve its audiences as citizens, rather than as consumers. Its purpose is to create news, information and entertainment that’s judged for its creative, intellectual and artistic integrity, rather than its ability to attract large audiences that can be sold to advertisers." *RON*]

Wade Rowland, Globe and Mail, Jun. 26 2014

Wade Rowland is the author of Saving the CBC: Balancing Profit and Public Interest. He teaches in York University’s communication studies department.

The CBC’s strategic plan to shift priorities from broadcast to digital services and outsource virtually all but news and current affairs programming is, on the whole, a sensible strategy – from a purely business perspective. It saves money by reducing production and distribution costs. Shedding more jobs will further enhance the bottom line between now and 2020; as many as…