Showing posts from January 30, 2015

Fact-Checking Obama's Top Trade Official: Ten Tall Tales on Trade

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[International trade = the global corporatocracy. US Trade Representative tells multiple, abject lies to Congress about pending so-called trade deals. *RON*]

by Ben Beachy, Counterpunch, 29 January 2015

Yesterday was a difficult day for U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman. He had to go before Congress and explain how the administration’s plan to expand a trade model that has offshored U.S. manufacturing jobs and exacerbated middle class wage stagnation fits with President Obama’s stated “middle class economics” agenda.

Inconveniently for Mr. Froman, it does not.

That did not stop Froman from trying to paint the last two decades of Fast-Tracked, pro-offshoring trade deals – and the administration’s plan for more of the same – as a gift to the middle class.

The facts he cited to support this depiction actually sounded great. They just didn’t have the added advantage of being true.

Here’s a rundown of the top 10 fibs and half-truths that Fr…

We came, we saw, he died

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[A pungent, potent piece on Her Royal Clinton and the Democratic Party: "The intellectual bankruptcy of the Democratic Party is nowhere more evident than in the looming presidential candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Assumptions of the inevitability of her candidacy tend to ignore policy matters, focusing instead on her gender and her twenty years as a Washington insider. Many usually thoughtful people can find nothing more substantial to say in her favour than 'it’s her turn.'" *RON*]
Jackson Lears, London Review of Books, Vol. 37 No. 3, pages 8-11, 5 February 2015
Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton, Simon and Schuster, 635 pp, £20.00, June 2014, ISBN 978 1 4711 3150 9
HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton by Jonathan Allenand Amie Parnes, Hutchinson, 440 pp, £20.00, February 2014, ISBN 978 0 09 195448 2

The rise of identity politics in America was a tragic necessity. No one can deny the legitimacy or urgency of th…

Harper Government Spends $700,000 Fighting Veterans Class-Action Lawsuit

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[Harper clearly hates the members of the Canadian armed forces who die so he can pound his chest and look tough in front of the press. But he will throw anyone under the bus who gets in his way. *RON*]
By Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 28 January 2015

OTTAWA - The federal government has so far spent nearly $700,000 fighting a disgruntled group of wounded Afghan veterans in court— a revelation that on Wednesday rekindled a political controversy the Conservatives had hoped was behind them.

During question period, Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to cast the ongoing court battle as the legacy of a flawed policy that was foisted on Parliament nine years ago by Paul Martin's Liberal government.

"The government is defending a decision of the previous government, supported by all parties in the House of Commons," Harper said, referring to the new veterans charter, which the Conservatives have championed since co…

Damage from cancelled census as bad as feared, researchers say

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[The new slogan of the Conservative Party should be "Ideology Über Alles!" So Click here to sign a petition calling for keeping the Canadian Census Long Form! *RON*]
Tavia Grant, The Globe and Mail, 29 January 2015
The cancellation of the mandatory long-form census has damaged research in key areas, from how immigrants are doing in the labour market to how the middle class is faring, while making it more difficult for cities to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely, planners and researchers say.

Statistics Canada developed a voluntary survey after Ottawa cancelled the long-form census in 2010. Many had warned that the switch would mean lower response rates and policies based on an eroded understanding of important trends. Now researchers – from city planners to public health units – say they have sifted through the 2011 data and found it lacking.

Their comments come as a private member’s bill to reinstate the mandatory long-form…

Snap Poll: How Likely Is War With Russia in the Next 10 Years?

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[Foreign Policy polled 1,000 international relations scholars about immigration, leaving Iraq, and whether the United States and Russia are on a collision course. The more of a regional expert you are, the more pessimistic you are. Also you more likely to believe a Cold War is coming is you trained during the Cold War. Meanwhile, Shells Rain on Ukraine’s Debaltseve as Envoys Wrangle Over Talks, and Russian bombers over English Channel raise stakes with Moscow: "The appearance of the warplanes forced Britain’s Royal Air Force to scramble its own jets and caused civilian air traffic to reroute." *RON*]

By Daniel Maliniak, Susan Peterson, Ryan Powers, Michael J. Tierney, Foreign Policy, 28 January 2015

When it comes to old wars, ongoing wars, and wars yet to come, international relations (IR) scholars mostly agree that leaving Iraq was a good thing. In this they share the public’s opinion.

But the latest Snap Poll of IR scholars — conduct…

End of austerity in the EU?

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[The public interest versus The 1%. Just as austerity advocates claim that reforms are bearing fruit, fears are growing in northern Europe that parties imitating Greece's Syriza may threaten the consolidation consensus. Is the EU about to reject austerity? See also: Podemos Dries Young Spaniards’ Tears Targeting Syriza-Style Win and The world is turning against austerity. Now it's Queensland's turn. And a short and savvy piece in the London Review of Books (thanks Richard!): Syriza’s Victory. Meanwhile, austerity just goes from success to success in Canada: CIBC Layoffs Affect More Than 500, Bank Calls Cuts 'Necessary' while Canadian GDP Shrinks In November, StatsCan Reports, andOttawa Reports $3.3 Billion Deficit For First Eight Months Of 2014-15 Fiscal Year.*RON*]

Christoph Hasselbach, Deutsche Welle, 29 January 2015

Many European governments see Alexis Tsipras' electoral victory in Greece as an accident - and a very …

SCC upholds Canadian workers' right to strike

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[Do you think that, just possibly, Harper regrets getting up the nose of the Supreme Court? :-) This will have repercussions in BC as well, since we also have Essential Services legislation. The RCMP have been loyal soldiers of the Conservative Party so far, so it will be interesting to see their response. *RON*]

The Canadian Press / CTV News, 30 January 30, 2015

OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down as unconstitutional a Saskatchewan law that prevents public sector employees from striking.

By a 5-2 majority, the high court granted an appeal by the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour of the province's controversial essential services law that restricts who can strike.

The ruling will affect public service unions in provinces across the country. Last April, Nova Scotia enacted its own essential services law for health care workers, joining Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia as provinces that have essential services laws…