Showing posts from June 19, 2015

Republican Presidential Candidates Attack Pope’s Climate Change Encyclical

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[At the boundaries of science, religion, politics, the class war and corporatocracy. A new phrase has emerged to describe this phenomenon: Cafeteria Catholicism - the idea that Catholics should be free to choose which aspects of their religion they choose to believe in from a menu. Does this mean we are free to ignore them when they talk about homosexuality and abortion? *RON*]

By Farron Cousins, Desmog Blog, 19 June 2015

Well, The Onion beat me to the punch on this with Frustrated Republicans Argue Pope Should Leave Science To Scientists Who Deny Climate Change, but here goes anyway.

Rick Santorum has some advice for Pope Francis: When it comes to climate change, leave it to the scientists. It's very interesting that Santorum feels that scientists should be deciding whether or not we should take action on climate change, seeing as how he and his party refuse to believe the scientists that are telling us we need to be proactive about climate c…

Despite mourning, statehouse Confederate battle flag remains at full staff

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[This is directly behind the statue of Benjamin (Pitchfork Ben) Tillman, a Reconstruction-era governor and senator, who defended white supremacy and the lynching of African-Americans, saying, “We disenfranchised as many as we could.” “We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will,” Tillman said, from the floor of the U.S. Senate. “We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him.” Quotes taken from Charleston and the Age of Obama. *RON*]

Schuyler Kropf, The Post & Courier, 18 June 2015
The Confederate flag flying at the Statehouse in Columbia became part of the Charleston church shooting story Thursday after the U.S. and South Carolina flags were lowered in mourning but the rebel banner was left flying at its full height.

State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, a black Democratic lawmaker and…

Tax Revenue Collapses in Greece; Government Denies Capital Controls; Citizens Pull €2bn in Three Days

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[The Greeks have begun to stop paying their taxes and are pulling their money from the banks. *RON*]

Mike Shedlock, Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis, 18 June 2015

Knowing that a default is now inevitable, Greek citizens made a decision to stop paying taxes. The result was foreseeable: Greek Government Suffers Collapse in Revenue in May.
The Greek government suffered a collapse in revenue in May after companies and individuals delayed filing tax returns amid fears that emergency levies were imminent in order to secure a deal with bailout creditors.

The news of the sharp drop in receipts comes as eurozone finance ministers held a crunch meeting to discuss the country’s bailout.

Greek government revenues in May were €900m, or 24 per cent, short of the monthly target, according to preliminary budget figures. It had met projections for the previous three months.

But Greece still ran a primary budget surplus — before making payments on the public…

75 per cent of Canadians unaware of TPP negotiations: poll

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[This is a shame, since TPP promises to have an enormous impact on democracy and sovereignty. But it is also only a small surprise, since Stephen Harper refuses to show the full text of the agreement even to Parliament! *RON*]
Mike Blanchfield, Canadian Press / CTV News, 17 June 2015
OTTAWA -- It's the biggest free trade deal Canadians never heard of.

A new poll suggests three in four Canadians have no idea that Canada is one of 12 countries immersed in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The poll was conducted by Environics Research Group for Trade Justice Network, an umbrella group dedicated to challenging the secretive process by which international trade deals are generally negotiated.

Fully 75 per cent of respondents said they had never heard of the TPP before being asked about it by the pollster.

The telephone poll of 1,002 Canadians was conducted June 3-12 and is considered accurate within plus or minus 3.2 percentage points, …

Harper says LNG tankers too dangerous for East Coast, but OK for BC?

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[The Harper government rejected LNG tankers on the Atlantic because of "strong concerns around... the serious environmental, navigational and safety risks of the project," but consider the same thing just fine for BC. *RON*]

By Rafe Mair, Commonsense Canadian, 19 June 2015

I live on Howe Sound in lovely Lions Bay. I have lived my entire life in British Columbia, growing up in Vancouver and spending much of my boyhood on this lovely fjord.

Howe Sound belongs to all of us. It had been all but destroyed by industry until 20 years ago when rehabilitation was started with the closing of mills and Britannia Mines. Thanks to the work of citizen/volunteers it was enormously successful. We now have the salmon runs dramatically increased, herring runs back to where they used to be, and killer whales, which were so prevalent when I was a boy but had all but disappeared, now going past my house regularly.

The Fraser River estuary scarcely needs any i…

James Moore, Conservative cabinet minister, leaving federal politics

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[Tory MP said he's not seeking re-election to spend time with his family and care for his son. He joins the ranks of Peter McKay and John Baird, along with International Development Minister Christian Paradis and Heritage Minister Shelly Glover, along with other lesser lights, who have abandoned the Harper Conservatives in recent days. See Moore, MacKay just latest losses for federal Conservatives. *RON*]

CBC News, 19 June 2015
Industry Minister James Moore will not be running again in the upcoming federal election in order to spend time with his family and care for his young disabled son, according to a statement released on his website Friday afternoon.

"Balancing family responsibilities while in public life is always a challenge. This is particularly true when you have a child with special needs," the statement reads.

"Recently, my wife and I received some difficult news about the health of our beautiful son Spencer."


Q: How can voter apathy be tackled? And what are its causes?

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[Good articles in Aeon this week. Ryne Tipton (a high school student!) argues that voter apathy is a direct result of corporate control and declining democracy. *RON*]

Ryne Tipton, Aeon Ideas, not dated.

“They always say that that everyone should vote but I think that if the poor in Britain or the United States turned out and voted for people that represented their interests there would be a real democratic revolution.” - Tony Benn

Even though some level of voter apathy is common in any democratic system (not everyone is a politics junkie), Western democracies are in something of a crisis due to low voter turn-out. Some (especially rational choice theorists) attribute voter apathy to the very existence of democracy itself. They argue that due to democracy’s collective, non-market nature that it prioritizes the demands of narrow interest groups (their narrow-minded characterization of citizen-based interest groups), that the isolation a voter feels…

How could they?

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[Argues that people are violent because their moral codes demand it. *RON*]

by Tage Rai, Aeon, 18 June 2015
Tage Rai is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Ford Center for Global Citizenship at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Illinois. He is the co-author, with Alan Fiske, of Virtuous Violence(2014).

Some people are ruthless. Some lose control. Yet most violence remains unfathomable. A new theory lights up the darkness

‘When I was 14 years old, this guy beat me down in the streets. And my stepfather took his life right in front of me. And I felt good about it, really.’
Tio, in the documentary, The Interrupters (2011)
In his book Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty (1999), the psychologist Roy Baumeister argues that people believe most perpetrators of violence to be sadists who gain pleasure from the suffering of innocent victims. Especially for the most heinous crimes, we can’t help but see the perpetrators as ‘…

Kate Raworth: Growth is Not Enough (RSA)

Watch the original video here.

[Modern economies are growing, but how can that be a useful measure of economic success when so many people are poorer? *RON*]