Showing posts from November 25, 2014

Darren Wilson Wasn’t the First: A Short History of Killer Cops Let Off the Hook

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[An overview of similar cases in modern times of police killings of black men that were not pursued by the US legal system. See also in The Nation, Why it is Impossible to Indict a Cop and Slate, Justifying Homicide. *RON*]
By Flint Taylor, In These Times, 24 November 2014

The U.S. has a long history of allowing police to walk free after vicious racist violence.

The pre-ordained failure of a biased local prosecutor to obtain an indictment against Darren Wilson should not surprise us. But the movement for justice for Michael Brown has brought widespread attention to the nationwide problem of systemic and racist police violence and highlighted the movement that has come together to battle against it.

The Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of African-American teenager Michael Brown is heartless but unsurprising. But it is important to place the case in context with the history of polic…

Harper has abolished First Ministers meetings

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[Our democracy at work. A good illustration of how Canada's Sun King plays the game. *RON*]
By Geoffrey Stevens,, 24 November 2014

Back in the olden days, when prime ministers still deigned to speak to provincial premiers, they would hold gatherings called First Ministers' conferences. This happened fairly often, perhaps once a year, depending on what was happening in the country at the time.

The prime minister would invite his provincial counterparts to Ottawa to talk about the economy, the Constitution, the state of the federation, pensions, medicare or even that old chestnut, the reform of the Senate. The premier of Ontario always sat on the PM's right, the premier of Quebec on his left, with the others placed around the table in the order of entry into Confederation.

If he was in a good mood, which he often was, their genial host would invite his guests home for drinks and dinner. They might pose for a group photograph, th…

Harper Earmarks $5.8B For Federal Infrastructure

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[As an election ploy, Harper is simply re-announcing his 2014 budget as though it represents new spending. *RON*]
By Diana Mehta, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 25 November 2014

LONDON, Ont. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled a $5.8-billion menu of federal infrastructure improvements Monday in an announcement one political rival immediately described as a batch of recycled promises.

The funding, Harper said, would go to projects expected to create jobs and deliver quick results, most of it over the next three years.

The bulk of the spending — $2.8 billion — would go to improvements to historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas.

"We are ahead of track in terms of balancing the federal budget next year," said Harper, who made the announcement at a research facility in London, Ont.

"This gives us flexibility to make additional investments ahead of schedule in a wide range of necessary federal infrast…

Is it time for Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino to be replaced?

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[Fantino is simply one of the most egregious, and he does his master's bidding. The entire government must go; anything else is just shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. *RON*]
 David Pugliese, The Ottawa Citizen, 24 November 2014
No one seems to be happy with Julian Fantino’s recent announcement that the Conservative government will spend $200 million on mental health initiatives for soldiers/veterans.

Some veterans were calling the money, too little, too late. Others questioned whether this was a shell game, noting that Fantino’s department returned $1.1 billion to the Treasury over the years (unspent money).

Opposition MPs went after Fantino for the unspent money, which the Minister says is not “lost.”

“The minister closes regional offices to save money,” said NDP MP David Christopherson. “And yet there was hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for veterans going unspent every year?”

“Do you know what they could have done with that $1…

It's time to seriously tackle child poverty

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[We can't afford our federal information watchdog, or spend money to ensure the safety of oil and gas transport by rail or tanker, or guarantee clean drinking water for Aboriginal people, or health services for refugees, or guarantee benefits to veterans, or erase our shameful record or child poverty. Yet somehow we cobble together the money for wars, bank bail-outs, tax cuts for the rich and subsidies for giant oil companies. But ignore all that because we have a surplus, and we're smiling, so vote for us because we're financially responsible. *RON*]
By Iglika Ivanova,, 25 November 2014

One in five B.C. children lives in poverty. This is the sobering finding of the 2014 BC Child Poverty Report Card released on November 24, the 25th anniversary of a unanimous all-party resolution in Canada's House of Commons to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000.

Child poverty is not just a big-city problem. In fact, the highest …

U.S. income gap a danger to Canada: TD

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[Because our economies are so closely integrated, Canadians companies face increasing pressure from employers in the U.S. to reduce our workers' salaries, the TD report said. *RON*]

By: Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew, The Star, 24 November 2014

The increasing gap between rich and poor in the U.S. is a danger to Canada’s economy, according to a new report from TD Economics.

“Rising income inequality in the United States is a clear and present danger to Canada because there are pressures on our economy to go in the same direction,” Craig Alexander, chief economist at TD Economics, said in an interview.

“We will probably never reach U.S.-type inequality because Canadians would never accept it, but I think there are pressures that could push us in that direction.”

As a result of those pressures, governments must take added precautions to ensure that new policies don’t make the current gulf between high and low-income earners even wider, Alexander said.

“I w…

Ferguson buildings burn to the ground in most destructive riots since Michael Brown’s death

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[What did they expect would happen? See also Race in St. Louis: Bridging the Divide. *RON*]

Associated Press and Washington Post, Reprinted in National Post, 25 November 2014

FERGUSON, Mo. — Chaos returned to the streets of Ferguson after a grand jury declined to indict a white police officer in the death of Michael Brown — a decision that enraged protesters who set fire to buildings and cars and looted businesses in the area where the unarmed, black 18-year-old was fatally shot.

Smoke billowed from some businesses Tuesday morning and shattered glass covered the sidewalks in front of others, but the streets in Ferguson were mostly clear.

Monday night’s destruction appeared to be much worse than protests after August’s shootings, with more than a dozen businesses badly damaged or destroyed. Authorities reported hearing hundreds of gunshots, which for a time prevented fire crews from fighting the flames.

How Russia could derail US natural gas exports

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[This should be well known, but it clearly isn't to Christy Clark. US natural gas producers may be seeing their dream of substantial liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports suffer fatal injury because of Russian exports to the Chinese market, a market that was expected to be the largest and most profitable for LNG exporters. *RON*]
By Kurt Cobb, Christian Science Monitor, 19 November 2014

Russia and China have signed two large natural gas deals in the last six months as Russia turns its attention eastward in reaction to sanctions and souring relations with Europe, currently Russia's largest energy export market.

But the move has implications beyond Europe. In the department of everything is connected, U.S. natural gas producers may be seeing their dream of substantial liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports suffer fatal injury because of Russian exports to the Chinese market, a market that was expected to be the largest and most profitable for LNG …