Showing posts from December 9, 2014

If you want to see the gap between the House of Lords and reality for yourself, then just look at their champagne budget

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[More on the class warfare front. While the rest of the UK faces austerity, the House of Lords spends roughly £65,000 a year on champagne, and refuses to drink anything cheaper. *RON*]

Lee Williams, The Independent, 8 December 2014

Nothing highlights the gulf between the governing class in this country and the rest of us than today's story about champagne in the House of Lords.

It's been revealed that a proposal to save taxpayers money by making the House of Lords and House of Commons share a catering department was rejected “because the Lords feared that the quality of champagne would not be as good if they chose a joint service”.

It might take you a while to digest the sheer breathtaking callousness, arrogance and snobbishness of this. However, once you have passed through the various stages of reaction that I did – slack-jawed disbelief, hysterical laughter, genuine anger – I invite you to share with me a brief analysis of why this illust…

Kenneth Roth on Bush Era Torture and CIA Denials: Obama Can Use Last 2 Years to Prosecute

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[I'm sure there will be much more reportage on this over the next while. For instance: The Debate about Torture We’re Not Having: Exploitation. *RON*]

Human Rights Watch, 9 December 2014
“The Senate report summary should forever put to rest CIA denials that it engaged in torture, which is criminal and can never be justified,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “The report shows the repeated claims that harsh measures were needed to protect Americans are utter fiction.”

Unless this important truth-telling process leads to prosecution of officials, torture will remain a ‘policy option’ for future presidents.

Human Rights Watch is reviewing the redacted summary of the US Senate report and will update this page accordingly.

Police Killing of Unarmed Native American Continues To Receive Little Media Attention

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[Who knows, maybe ongoing publicity will help - though it is perfectly true that this story appears nowhere in the mainstream media. It took weeks for the Trayvon Martin case to gain momentum - though one can certainly argue about whether that ultimately has done any good. *RON*]
Derrick, West Coast Native News, 8 December 2014

The tragic case of Corey Kanosh, 35, has received very little media attention, in spite of the growing outrage over police shootings of unarmed, innocent citizens. In Corey’s case, we are not dealing with an African American man shot by white cops, but an unarmed Native American man who was suspected of crimes that he was later proven innocent of, who was given only seconds before police opened fire on him.

Corey was a member of the Paiute Tribe of Utah. In spite of the historical injustices committed by the State against Native Americans, his story has received virtually no national attention. Now, his friends and family h…

Franck Gervais, Man Accused Of Impersonating Soldier, Gets New Court Date

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[ Just sayin'. What's the difference?*RON*]

By The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 9 December 2014

OTTAWA - A new court date has been set for a Quebec man accused of impersonating a soldier during last month's Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial.

A lawyer for Franck Gervais appeared in court on his behalf on Tuesday, where the case was put off until Jan. 6.

The 32-year-old Cantley, Que., resident was charged shortly after a CBC television interview on Nov 11.

Following the broadcast, Canadian Forces servicemen and veterans raised questions about his identity, and whether he was — or had ever been — a serving soldier.

Gervais faces charges including impersonating a public officer, unlawful use of a military uniform and unlawful use of military decorations.

Lawyer Claude Levesque refused to say how his client will plead, noting that he has not had time to review the Crown's evidence.

Blame Harper for the Shameful Mistreatment of Canada's Veterans

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[On Harper's two-faced, cynical, self-serving, shameless treatment of Canadian vets and Fantino's spineless acquiescence. See also Harper government finally wins gold medal for lying -- to veterans. *RON*]
Ralph Goodale, Huffington Post, 8 December 2014

Yes, Julian Fantino's shambolic performance as Minister of Veterans Affairs has earned condemnation from coast to coast, and he should resign. But he is not the ultimate source of the problem for Canada's veterans. That shameful distinction rests with Stephen Harper.

Mr. Harper's government is a one-man show. Mr. Fantino has no influence, no independence of thought or action. He just does what he's told. That spinelessness -- his failure to stand-up to Mr. Harper -- is Mr. Fantino's greatest offence.

Mr. Harper loudly proclaims his affection for the military. He gets his picture taken with lots of people in uniform. He attends many ceremonies, gives speeches and promise…

Canada To Fall Way Short Of 2020 Climate Change Targets

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[Climate change fairy tales. Harper lies, senselessly and meaninglessly. He had complained that Canada wasn't going to commit itself until the world's largest polluters were at the table. Now that the US and China have signed a pollution agreement he simply continues saying this! *RON*]
By Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 8 December 2014

OTTAWA - Canada remains well short of meeting its international 2020 climate change commitment, Environment Canada reported Monday, even if the economy tanks and global oil and gas prices remain on the skids.

Even under the worst-case scenario, the 2014 Emissions Report says Canada would still fail to cut greenhouse gases 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 — as Canada committed to do under the Copenhagen accord.

The report, which includes measured emissions through 2012, suggests that under its benchmark projection, known as a reference scenario, Canada will get just over halfway t…

UNHCR Urges Canada To Increase Commitment To Syrian Refugees

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[We'll help to bomb their country (giving Harper chest-thumping photo-ops), but will we feed them or give them a home? *RON*]
By Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 9 December 2014
OTTAWA - A global call for help resettling more than 100,000 Syrian refugees must be answered in part by Canada, the United Nations refugee agency representative in Ottawa says.

The latest appeal by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees represents an opportunity, Furio De Angelis said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"Canada is a very important country to the UNHCR not only for the support it gives to refugee programs but also for the leadership that it provides in terms of international standards of global protection," De Angelis said.

"This is another occasion for countries who have a leading role in global refugee protection to really show their strength."

The UNHCR is making a pitch at meetings in Geneva o…

Austerity to shrink U.K. government spending to 1930s levels

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[And on another front of the British class wars: a slice of Prince William and Duchess Catherine's wedding cake was sold for $7,500. *RON*]

By Virginia Harrison, CNN Money, 8 December 2014
Britain will have its smallest government since the 1930s if plans for a decade of austerity take effect.

The U.K. government unveiled new budget goals last week that would mean five more years of cuts as it tries to close a stubbornly wide gap between revenue and spending.

Despite recent strong growth, hefty cuts to welfare programs and frozen public sector pay, Britain is still running a budget deficit of about 5% of GDP. Disappointing tax receipts are partly to blame.

Parliamentary elections are just five months away and the new forecasts from Chancellor George Osborne have drawn heavy criticism from independent forecasters as well as political foes.

The proposals would shrink total public spending to about 35% of GDP in 2019-20, according to the Office of B…