Showing posts from July 19, 2015

Wall Street is picking its candidates in the 2016 presidential race — and 2 are already standing out

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[Plutocracy or democracy? Queen Hilary or King Jeb? Wall Street's big-money corporatocrats have annointed their dynastic soul mates. *RON*]

Colin Campbell, Business Insider, 18 July 2015

The latest campaign-finance reports reveal which candidates are raising the most cash from big banks and investment firms.

And two of the biggest winners were the front-runners — Democrat and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Clinton raised about $300,000 from people working at the six largest US banks, "with about $88,000 coming from Morgan Stanley executives alone, and about $62,000 from workers at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co."

However, that's just a small drop in the bucket: Clinton's full quarterly report showed she raised more than $46 million from more than 250,000 donors. In a statement announcing the total, Clinton's campaign manager said th…

Leaving a sour taste: EU foreign office wants to fork out £2MILLION on a new silver dinner set for Brussels chiefs

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[No dreams of empire here, No Sir-ee. Evidently they wore out their cutlery dining on Greece. *RON*]

By Lydia Willgress, Daily Mail, 18 July 2015

Revealed in a tender document from European External Action Service 3,360 place settings alone will cost around 2 million euros (£1.39m) All the plates and dishes will include a motif of a ring of stars in gold  The European Union's foreign office is planning on forking out £2million for a dinner set that can feed 3,360 people.
The European External Action Service (EEAS) has sent a tender document listing the items it is hoping to acquire to potential bidders.

It includes place settings worth around 2 million euros (£1.39m), as well as dinner plates, soup bowls and ice cream dishes.

The plan was last night slammed by one Conservative MEP, who criticised the organisation for its money-handling skills.

Documents Published by WikiLeaks Reveal the NSA's Corporate Priorities

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[Corporatocracy and the surveillance state. "Terrorism is primarily a mechanism to bolster public acquiescence for runaway data collection. The actual focus of intelligence programs center around 'economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation.' Who benefits from this sort of activity? The same large multinational corporate interests that have spent billions of dollars to achieve state capture." *RON*]

By Bill Blunden, Truthout, 18 July 2015

"We are under pressure from the Treasury to justify our budget, and commercial espionage is one way of making a direct contribution to the nation's balance of payments." - Sir Colin McColl, MI6 Chief

For years public figures have condemned cyber espionage committed against the United States by intruders launching their attacks out of China. These same officials then turn around and justify the United States' far-reaching surveillance apparatus in terms of prev…

The Need to Be At War Just Never Stops

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[The US throws more cash into defense spending than China, Russia, U.K., France, India and Germany combined. Typically, Republicans wanted to make the Iran nuclear deal contingent on boosting American direct involvement in Syria. *RON*]
By Tina Dupuy / AlterNet, 17 July 2015

In all of America’s 239 years of existence, only roughly 20 of them have been without warfare of some kind. And no, those are not in a row. We’ve had one or two years, here and there, where we haven’t spent our time bombing foreign countries, bayoneting our brothers in hopes of keeping our slaves or invading Canada (that really happened and more than once). We are a warring people. In the 219 years we’ve been raging and waging, we’ve managed to amass the largest military in the history of gatherings where people dressed alike.

(In fairness to us battle-binging Americans, historian Will Durant surmised, in the entire written history of the world, only 29 of them have been withou…

'Still a racist nation': American bigotry on full display at KKK rally in South Carolina

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[More than 50 protesters brandished Confederate flags and yelled racial epithets in rally that overlapped with black activists’ protest on the statehouse steps. *RON*]
Max Blau, The Guardian, 19 July 2015
Outside the South Carolina statehouse, William Bader stood tall and defiant as he brandished a large Confederate battle flag. It was not unlike the one embroidered on his black shirt, or the one a local honor guard recently removed from a flagpole outside the legislative building where he protested.

Bader, an imperial wizard in the Trinity White Knights, drove hundreds of miles from Kentucky – or, rather, “Klantucky”, as he quipped – to Columbia, all in hopes of defending the flag on a sweltering Saturday afternoon.

“They took our flag, so be it,” said Bader, a member of the Ku Klux Klan for the past two decades. “They’re taking our heritage from us. They’re taking the freedom out of America.”

Income inequality is making your life worse

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["It is imperative that our political system recommit its focus to the issues of education and inequality. If it does not, we will create a permanent lower class, excluded from the opportunities, career success and economic prosperity that once defined the American dream. Our economy will suffer, and so will our democracy." *RON*]
By Bill Clapp & Mauricio Vivero, Seattle Times, 14 July 2015
One-third of children raised in middle-class families will fall out of the middle class by adulthood.

AMERICANS are overwhelmingly concerned about income inequality, according to a New York Times poll released in June. Americans also overwhelmingly support policies to address this issue head on.

We only need to look to Latin America, where the Seattle International Foundation has focused its international efforts for the past 20 years, to get a glimpse of America’s future if we do not.

Latin America is considered to be the most unequal region in th…

Harper's election laws giving Canada a U.S. tinge

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[Interest in the US concerning Harper's US-style electioneering: outspend the competition while blocking your non-supporters from voting at the polls. *RON*]

By Stephen Mahen, National Post / The Star Phoenix, 18 July 2015

There were two news items on Friday that, taken together, suggest the election that takes place Oct. 19 will differ from earlier elections because of the Conservatives' new rules.

The first was a story in which unnamed Conservatives indicated that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not make his traditional summer trip to the Arctic, so that he can campaign across the country beginning after the first leaders debate on Aug. 6. That followed a column suggesting the Conservatives have "a cunning plan to extend the campaign," which will allow them to outspend their rivals. In previous elections, there was a hard spending cap on the whole campaign regardless of its length - a maximum of $21 million in 2011, for exam…

Trump belittles McCain’s war service, sparking stern Republican backlash

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["Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a decorated Vietnam war veteran, was not a war hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese." Whereas Trump avoid capture in Vietnam by employing the brave and brilliant stratagem of staying in the US. Yet his popularity continues to grow. See also: Trump defends McCain comments; rivals call for Trump's exit, and Is this guy serious? Could Republican frontrunner Trump actually win? *RON*]

By Philip Rucker, Washington Post, 18 July 2015 

AMES, Iowa — Donald Trump, the celebrity businessman who has rocketed to the front of the Republican presidential race, flippantly belittled Sen. John McCain’s war service here Saturday, inviting a torrent of criticism from party leaders and other candidates.

“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said of McCain at a summit of 3,000 socially conservative activists. He continued, sarcastically, “He’s a war hero because he…