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Showing posts from November 6, 2014

Belgium Austerity Protest: 100,000 Workers March in Brussels

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[Not a lot of coverage considering more than 100,000 people showed up to protest austerity and there was violence. *RON*]

NBC News, 6 November 2014
One of Belgium's biggest labor demonstrations since World War Two brought some 100,000 workers to the capital Thursday to protest government free-market reforms and austerity measures. For two hours, the demonstrators peacefully marched down the main thoroughfares of Brussels to protest government policies that will raise the pension age, contain wages and cut into public services. Violence marred the end of the march, with police firing tear gas and water cannons. No casualties were immediately reported.

"They are hitting the workers, the unemployed. They are not looking for money where it is, I mean, people with a lot of money," said Philippe Dubois, from Liege. The march opens a month-long campaign by unions, to be capped with a nationwide strike on Dec. 15.

Belgium has a long tradition …

The centre cannot hold under austerity, in Britain or Europe

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[Austerity, by growing the economic divide, increases political polarity. *RON*]
Seumas MilneThe Guardian, November 2014

Six years after the crash, the centre cannot hold. Crisis and austerity are delivering polarisation and political fragmentation, and it’s happening almost everywhere across Europe. In Britain the main parties’ share of the vote is shrinking, while Ukip’s rightwing populists are dragging the Tories towards them. At the same time, the Scottish National Party has mushroomed out of the independence referendum campaign as a self-proclaimed party of the left, commanding a level of support that threatens Labour’s chances at next year’s general election. And the radical Greens have overtaken the Liberal Democrats in the latest polls.

It’s a pattern reflected throughout the continent. In the wake of the 2008 meltdown, incumbents were ejected from office one after the other, regardless of political colour. As cuts in services and living…

Let’s Get Small: The rise of the tiny-house movement.

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[An old article! I would do this if I was living by myself, I think. *RON*]

By Alec Wilkinson, The New Yorker, 25 July 2011

As a rule, people in New York wish for smaller places to live about as often as people on airplanes wish for smaller seats. I used to dream sometimes that I had found rooms in my apartment that I didn’t know were there, and, as I explored them, I felt a serenity that I did not feel in my waking life. I never had a dream where my apartment was smaller, and I don’t think I would feel very good if I did. When I was a child, I wanted a house so big that to go from one end to the other I’d have to ride a motorcycle.

For someone who lives in New York, one of the more enigmatic modern micro-trends is the decision to live in the smallest space possible, in a structure known as a “tiny house.” The occupants of tiny houses tend to be committed, and slightly self-regarding, citizens, who cook on little stoves and have refrigerators like…

How to Help Stop Kinder Morgan

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[Some practical steps you can take to make a difference. *RON*]

Cam Fenton, 350.org, 5 November 2014

In late October the National Energy Board granted Kinder Morgan access to begin work on their TransMountain tar sands pipeline expansion project in a designated conservation area on Burnaby Mountain, despite overwhelming opposition from local residents, Indigenous peoples and politicians.


In response, community members have established a camp and prevented Kinder Morgan from accessing the site. They have been slapped with a $5.6 million dollar lawsuit by Kinder Morgan and are facing an injunction from the company. The good news is that the mobilization is growing and backing up the blockaders. Here are some ways you can support them.

1. Send a message to Kinder Morgan that you stand with the blockade.

Kinder Morgan is already facing mounting opposition on the ground, so let them know that you’re watching and standing with the people protecting Burna…

The EU’s New Climate Commitments Make Canada and the U.S. Look Ridiculous

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[Now we can only hope that our world leaders have any real intention of actually meeting their stated goals, whatever they may be locally. *RON*]

Chris Rose, DeSmog Blog, 5 November 2014
The European Union has reached a new legally-binding climate change agreement that would see greenhouse gas emissions drop by at least 40 per cent of 1990 levels by 2030.

The agreement, signed off in Brussels two weeks ago by the EU’s 28 member nations, is designed to ensure Europe meets its objective of cutting emissions by at least 80 per cent by mid-century.

It also puts Europe in the lead position to help persuade other nations trailing far behind the EU’s emissions-reduction goals to reach a long-sought global climate change accord next year in Paris.

The 2030 climate and energy plan also calls for the share of renewable energy to increase to 27 per cent of 1990 levels while seeing a 27 per cent increase in energy efficiency.

In an official statement, European C…

Chevron’s $3 million backfires in Richmond election

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[Your good news for the day - being too transparently egregious doesn't always pay off. Perhaps the corporatocrats at Kinder-Morgan should be taking notes. *RON*]
By Carolyn Jones, SF Gate, 5 November 2014

Richmond voters handed Chevron a resounding rejection in Tuesday’s election, defeating all four candidates supported by the oil giant despite Chevron outspending its opponents by a 20-to-1 margin.

Voters elected City Councilman Tom Butt as mayor and outgoing mayor Gayle McLaughlin, incumbent Jovanka Beckles and retired teacher Eduardo Martinez to the City Council, giving the panel a potential 6-1 left-leaning majority.

“It’s extraordinary. This is a celebration of democracy,” said San Francisco State political science Professor Robert Smith, who studies Richmond politics. “This means that big money doesn’t always win, that ordinary people can defeat huge corporate power.”

Chevron spent more than $3 million supporting Charles Ramsey, Donna Power…

Long-Form Census: Ted Hsu's Bill To Bring Back Questionnaire Set For Debate

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[Evidence matters more than ideology to a healthy democracy! Evidence for Democracy hopes to flood MPs with messages asking them to support this Bill, which is being debated right now. Click here to send a message to your MP now *RON*]
CP | By Jennifer Ditchburn, The Canadian Press, 5 November 2014


OTTAWA - The Commons will debate a private member's bill to bring back the long-form census, the mandatory questionnaire axed by the Conservative government in 2010.

Liberal MP Ted Hsu's proposal would amend the Statistics Act to make the long-form census a permanent feature of the census process every five years.

Hsu's bill leaves the definition of long-form census open to any "new sources of data or data collection practices" that might pop up in the future, and allows the chief statistician to decide on the percentage of households that would need to fill it out.

Hsu, a former physicist who also worked in the financial sector, sai…

Harper Ignored Mulcair's Concerns Over CSIS Watchdog Picks, Documents Reveal

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["Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company." George Washington *RON*]
By Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 5 November 2014

OTTAWA - The Conservative government appointed two members to Canada's spy watchdog despite objections raised by NDP Leader Tom Mulcair during formal consultations on the nominees, documents reveal.

Correspondence with Prime Minister Stephen Harper shows Mulcair opposed appointing former MP Deborah Grey due to her lack of experience with intelligence issues. He also feared the possibility of conflict of interest in the case of Gene McLean, a former security consultant.

In a third case, Mulcair found lawyer Yves Fortier's inexperience with security intelligence "cause for some concern," but he ultimately did not object to the appointment given Fortier's reputation as one of Canada's foremost commerc…