Showing posts from October 3, 2014

16 Darth Vaders are running for parliament in Ukraine

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["No, I am your prospective elected representative." I'm not quite sure what to make of this, especially since not all these appear to involve the invariable dark humour of eastern Europe. I am attending a conference for the next 4 days so I probably will post little for now. *RON*]

By Media Mole, The New Statesman, 3 October 2014

Just when we thought the tempestuous political situation in Ukraine couldn't have an even darker side, sixteen men "named Darth Vader" have registered to run in the country's parliamentary elections.

The country will go to the polls on 26 October, and will have a variety of Star Wars candidates to choose from: Yoda and Chewbacca are also running.

Photo: Internet Party

Canada Is The Only UN Member To Reject Landmark Indigenous Rights Document

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[Global consensus, minus one. Injuns might get in the way of untrammeled corporate profit. "Canada was the only country to file its objections, flagging the wording of 'free, prior and informed consent' as problematic. Free, prior, and informed consent is commonly upheld as a key principle in international law. But according to Ottawa, it’s tricky wording that could be interpreted as 'a veto to aboriginal groups and in that regard, cannot be reconciled with Canadian law, as it exists.... As a result, Canada cannot associate itself with the elements contained in this outcome document related to free, prior and informed consent,' the government explained in a statement." *RON*]
Zi-Ann Lum, Huffington Post, 2 October 2014

Canada singled itself out as the only country to raise objections over a landmark United Nations document re-establishing the protection of the rights of indigenous people last week. It was a gesture one pr…

Temporary Foreign Workers Program Overhaul Criticized By B.C. Premier

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[This simply goes to show you how vital it is to the Liberals' (=the corporate = the oil and gas industry's) economic program that the average citizen get screwed. *RON*]
By Tamsyn Burgmann, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 3 October 2014

VANCOUVER - British Columbia Premier Christy Clark has accused federal politicians of "tragically misdirected" policies over the issue of temporary foreign workers, as she pushes for the thousands of skilled labourers needed for her envisioned liquefied natural gas industry.

Clark took a bold stand in a speech to the province's business community Thursday, just ahead of her government's return to the legislature and planned introduction of new LNG laws.

She told the Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon that as federal election campaigning unfolds, leaders in Ottawa must stop playing politics over the controversial program.

"We should not think about people who come from across the wo…

Meet Alykhan Velshi, The Man Who Allegedly Fed Paul Calandra His Non-Answers About ISIS

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["So, it seems as if Canada’s parliamentary carnival is being run by individuals who are purposely trying to derail the national conversation into a den of secrecy, without any respect for the opposition party or the public at large. This trend does not bode well for the future of rational political discourse in Canada regarding pertinent national issues, but moreover it seems to be splintering the Conservative party itself, which begs the question, is this even an effective strategy?" *RON*]
By Patrick McGuire,, 1 October 2014

Canadians with an interest in preserving democracy were shocked last week after Paul Calandra, Stephen Harper’s parliamentary secretary, made a mockery out of Parliament’s question period by answering Thomas Mulcair’s questions about Iraq with an attack against the NDP for their stance on Israel.

Mulcair, at first, made light of the situation—calling Calandra’s attention to the fact that they were discus…

Austerity has been an utter disaster for the eurozone

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[All of the suffering in Europe – inflicted in the service of a man-made artifice, the euro – is even more tragic for being unnecessary, writes Joseph Stiglitz. *RON*]

Joseph StiglitzThe Guardian, 1 October 2014

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the theory,” goes the old adage. But too often it is easier to keep the theory and change the facts – or so German chancellor Angela Merkel and other pro-austerity European leaders appear to believe. Though facts keep staring them in the face, they continue to deny reality.

Austerity has failed. But its defenders are willing to claim victory on the basis of the weakest possible evidence: the economy is no longer collapsing, so austerity must be working! But if that is the benchmark, we could say that jumping off a cliff is the best way to get down from a mountain; after all, the descent has been stopped.

But every downturn comes to an end. Success should not be measured by the fact that recover…

Study finds women worst affected by austerity

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[Doesn't seem like much of a study. 85% of single parents are women, most of whom live in poverty on social welfare, which is being cut radically by austerity programs. Shouldn't have been too hard to document this better. *RON*]
RTE (Ireland), 3 October 2014
New research has found that women have been worst affected by austerity measures over the past four years.

The study, published by the Economic and Social Research Institute and the Equality Authority, examined the effect of Budgets between 2009 and 2013 on men and women.

The report found that the impact of austerity measures in recent years on single women and men of working age, including public-sector pay cuts and tax and welfare changes, were broadly similar.

RELATED AUDIO & VIDEO Watch: Women hit harder by austerity

It found average losses in disposable income of close to 10%.

There were losses of about 5% for single people of retirement age.

Couples of working age lost, on avera…

France Produces a ‘No Austerity’ Budget, Defying E.U. Rules

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["the government — while taking the fiscal responsibility needed to put the country on the right track — rejects austerity..." *RON*]

By Liz Alderman, New York Times, 1 October  2014

PARIS — France declared independence from the European Union’s austerity-budget regime on Wednesday. But a sharp political reaction at home made clear how difficult it may be for President François Hollande to lead the nation’s flagging economy back to steady growth.

Under pressure from the European Union to mend its finances, officials in Mr. Hollande’s cabinet presented a budget blueprint designed to cut 50 billion euros, or $63 billion, in domestic spending over three years. But they refused to implement the cuts any faster than that, warning that doing so would endanger the country’s feeble economy.

“No further effort will be demanded of the French, because the government — while taking the fiscal responsibility needed to put the country on the right trac…

The history of inequality: Breaking the camel’s back

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[Some interesting things that an impressive work of economic history tells you about inequality. *RON*]
The Economist, 4 October 2014

ANGUS MADDISON, who died in 2010, was among the most influential of economic historians; his book on the world economy over the past 2,000 years is a classic. Now, one of the institutions he worked for, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, has teamed up with the University of Utrecht to produce an account of the conditions of life in 25 countries since 1820. It details everything from builders’ wages in 1920s Japan to homicide rates in 19th-century Italy. It bridges the gap between Maddison’s macroeconomic panorama and microeconomic studies by historians such as Peter Laslett, author of “The World We Have Lost”, about early modern England.

For the most part, the findings confirm what is suspected, if not known in such detail. The number of years in education has increased everywhere. Average h…