Showing posts from January 26, 2015

On Terrorism, Harper is all Talk and No Walk

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[Politicking with terror. Good timing on this piece, with Harper scheduled to introduce his new anti-terrorism bill on Friday, which increases police-state powers (rightly described here as a vote-grabbing political wedge issue) while offering no new resources. *RON*]
Colin Kenny, Senator, Huffington Post, 25 January 2015

They say politics is show business for ugly people. And with only nine months or so until the writ is dropped, Canadians can only expect the theatrics from their government to reach new heights.

No issue, it seems, will be spared the prime minister's play-acting, not even when it comes to Canada's national security.

The two terrorist attacks in October and the Charlie Hebdo incident in Paris have created a climate of fear in Canada around terrorism.

In order to assuage these concerns, the government recently announced its intention to introduce further anti-terrorism legislation. But there are two ways to stop terrorism: you…

The Mental Health Commission of Canada Is Stuck in Groundhog Day

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[It's not just a matter of committing more money; the real issue is power and politics. The changes that are needed have been known and documented for decades, but they would shake up existing power structures, so they never succeed in getting implemented. Real change requires that demands for the necessary changes be made at the political level; the bureaucracy will never make the required alterations to their own power base. *RON*]

Marvin Ross, Huffington Post, 25 January 2015

What am I missing here? The Mental Health Commission of Canada has just released the first of two reports on indicators showing how poorly we treat those with mental illness in Canada. I really have to ask why, as this is something we already know.

In May, 2006, the Canadian Senate released its study of mental health in Canada called Out of the Shadows At Last.What went into that report was based on more than 2,000 submissions, two online consultations and meeting peopl…

Downsizing democracy: The end of the world as we know it?

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[On the trend toward oligarchy. *RON*]

By Murray Dobbin,, 26 January 2015

If you are searching for significant anniversaries for 2015 one that you might find illuminating is the publication of a book published 40 years ago entitled The Crisis of Democracy. The title would seem fitting today but that's not the crisis its authors had in mind. It was commissioned by a new international boys' club of finance capitalists, CEOs, senior political figures (retired and active) and academics from Europe, North America and Japan. The Trilateral Commission (TLC) could be described as the birthplace of neoliberalism, advancing the theory that progress depends upon "liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade."

Alarmed by the spread of the liberal state and its economic and social interventions, the TLC was fo…

US and Europe ‘ratcheting up pressure’ after phone call reveals Russia behind Mariupol massacre

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[Russia still referring to their troops as 'volunteers.' Things are close to the edge of ominous. *RON*]

Charlies Miranda, News Corp Australia Network, 26 January 2015
AN emergency meeting of European foreign ministers has been called amid an escalation of violence in Ukraine and warnings of a “grave deterioration” in relations between Russia and the EU.

Ukraine today said it now had evidence through an intercepted phone call that proved the Russian-backed militia in Ukraine’s south-eastern port of Mariupol was responsible for the rocket attack that killed 30 civilians and injured 100 others.

Britain’s Foreign Minister Philip Hammond today led the condemnation of the attacks, including one a day earlier in which 13 people were killed after a rocket struck a civilian bus in Ukraine’s embattled east, and called on Moscow to end its support of the rebel militia.

US president Barack Obama also put the blame squarely on Moscow and said his count…

Greeks hand stunning victory to anti-austerity Syriza

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["The verdict of the Greek people renders the Troika a thing of the past." Alexis Tsipras. Greece is now on a collision course with Berlin after handing the general election victory to the far-left party that has vowed to reject austerity. See also Wall Street lower after Greek elections and Euro hits 11-year low after victory for anti-austerity party*RON*]
 By Nick Squires, Telegraph, 25 Jan 2015

Greece set itself on a collision course with the rest of Europe on Sunday night after handing a stunning general election victory to a far-Left party that has pledged to reject austerity and cancel the country’s billions of pounds in debt.

In a resounding response to the country’s loss of financial sovereignty, Greeks gave Syriza 36.5 percent of the vote, according to the first official projections.

It will be able to send between 149 and 151 MPs to the 300-seat parliament, tantalisingly close to a majority.

The final result was too close to cal…

Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It's Not a Democracy

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[An old article, and I posted something about this study at the time it came out, but it's a good one, and it really demonstrates how Reagan and the 1980s were the start of it all: "the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy." *RON*]
By Tom McKay, News.Mic, 16 April 2014

The news: A new scientific study from Princeton researcher Martin Gilens and Northwestern researcher Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn't a democracy any more. And they've found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.

An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individu…