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Showing posts from February 1, 2015

Canada Unveils New Anti-Terrorism Bill That Moves for 'Unprecedented Expansion of Powers'

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["This radical expansion of national security powers is not sound security policy and presents a real danger to Canadians," says civil liberties advocate. The real issue in many respects is the fact that our intelligence service has eroded our freedoms while being woefully ineffective. *RON*]
by Andrea GermanosCommon Dreams, 30 January 2015

Canada introduced on Friday new anti-terrorism legislation critics say gives spy agencies sweeping powers that threaten the public's civil liberties.

The legislation is the Anti-terrorism Act 2015, which Ottawa Citizen reporter Ian MacLeod described as "the most dramatic package of new laws since the Anti-terrorism Act of 2001."

Among the provisions of the legislation are that it would expand the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)’s powers to "disrupt terrorism offenses and terrorist activity;" make it easier for law enforcement agencies to carry out preventive dete…

‘Group-Thinking’ the World into a New War

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[From the sidelines of the Imperial Collapse Watch. The armchair warriors of Official Washington are eager for a new war, this time with Russia over Ukraine, and they are operating from the same sort of mindless “group think” and hostility to dissent that proved so disastrous in Iraq, reports Robert Parry. See also Paul Craig Roberts piece about this piece, "In America’s make-believe world, neoconservative toadies such as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, set the Group-Think tone, while knowledgeable experts such as Stephen Cohen are tuned out. In effect, America is both blind and deaf. It lives in delusions. Consequently, it will destroy itself and perhaps the world." *RON*]

By Robert Parry, Consortium News, 30 January 2015

If you wonder how the lethal “group think” on Iraq took shape in 2002, you might want to study what’s happening today with Ukraine. A misguided consensus has grabbed hold of Official Washington and has pull…

Syriza Walks Back Initial Defiance

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[As usual, an excellent piece by Yves Smith on not placing too much hope in Syriza. Yet the comments quoted from Ashoka Mody about EU officials overstepping are also highly apt, so there will be some delicate dancing needed all around. *RON*]
By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 1 February 2015

Victims of austerity and their allies around the world may be placing too much hope in Syriza. Despite the demonization of the Greek party as “radical left” in the mainstream press, and the blistering reaction from the German government to its economically sound observations about the need to rethink bailouts, Syriza is no revolution-in-the-making. But because the frustration with and the human costs of the Troika’s destructive policies only continue to mount, the opposition is desperate for a champion, or at least a focal point. Syriza has thus increasingly become an object of projection of both its allies and its opponents. And that seems to be leading to som…

Here's a chart of inflation in the UK since 1510

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[The only thing neoliberals worry about as much as inflation is deflation (e.g., see Weak global economy worries US officials, or It's Not The Oil Price That Is Causing Deflation In The Eurozone, both from today). This chart provides some excellent context on both subjects. Basically inflation isn't a worry except when there is a major war, which creates a sharp contraction in available supplies. And deflation, which Europe is getting in a decided lather about, appears to be pretty much the norm, and is most commonly associated with technological improvements. *RON*]
Myles Udland, Business Insider, 1 February 2015

Want a big picture perspective?

Here's a chart from Deutsche Bank showing inflation in the UK since 1510 (!).

Basically, unless there is a war or a supply shock, inflation has not been the norm.

The question Deutsche Bank wrestles with in the note this chart is included in is whether or not deflation is really such a bad th…

Just Clicking on a Link Could Make You a Target For In-Depth Government Surveillance

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[99.999% of what CSE collects on Canadians is useless. "The spy agency should start offering free online backup services. They seem to be collecting everything anyways." *RON*]
Eva Prkachin, Huffington Post, 31 January 2015

Have you ever used Megaupload or Rapidshare to store or share files online? Because if you have used those services, or any of over 100 other popular file hosting services, there's a very good chance that agents at Canada's spy agency CSE (formerly CSEC) have been rifling through your private, personal uploads.

A report from The Intercept revealed that CSE agents been conducting surveillance on files that people upload using services like Rapidshare and Megaupload. Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher report that CSE analyzed between 10 and 15 million downloads per day from the popular file-sharing services.


Despite the huge volume of data vacuumed up in the effort, CSE only deemed 350 download events "intere…

100,000 flock to Madrid for Podemos rally against austerity

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[One heck of a crowd in the Puero del Sol plaza, Madrid. Inspired by the leftist Greek election victory, support grows for new political order in Spain. *RON*]
Ashifa Kassam, The Guardian, 31 January 2015

Four years ago, Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square belonged to los indignados – an impromptu revolt of thousands, camping out for weeks and rallying against a political establishment felt to be out of sync with the people.

On Saturday, up to 100,000 people again filled the square, determined to show the world that 2015 would be the year that the change demanded by theindignados would come about.

Less than a week after Greece elected an aggressively anti-austerity government, the leaders of Spain’s own insurgent force, Podemos (We Can), urged supporters to take to the streets in a show of strength as it embarks on a tumultuous electoral campaign. “Tick tock, tick tock,” chanted thousands as they occupied the broad avenues of central Madrid, coun…