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Showing posts from September 3, 2015

'Refugees Welcome': As EU Slams Door on War Survivors, People Show Another Way

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[Nice to see. Many EU residents are staging welcome rallies and opening their homes to survivors of war, poverty, and the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean. "We should respect the law of human rights. We should extend our hands to our neighbors." *RON*]

Sarah LazareCommon Dreams, 1 September 2015

In response to the worst refugee crisis since World War II, European governments are tightening their borders and preparing to escalate military targeting of so-called human smugglers. But many people within the European Union are modeling a different approach by holding rallies and opening their homes to welcome refugees of war and poverty who survive the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea.

Over 20,000 people marched through Vienna on Monday to protest the horrific treatment of refugees, the week after the bodies of 71 people were found in a truck on a highway between the Hungarian border and Vienna. In what was billed as a…

Police in Texas Hospital Shoot Patient in the Chest

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[Initially I'm thinking: only in Texas. But that's not true; things generally get more astounding by the day. A hospital that cannot handle an agitated psychiatric patient should not be allowed to have a psychiatric ward. "...over a third of unarmed people killed by on-duty police this year showed signs of mental illness." *RON*]

By Aaron Miguel Cantú, Truthout, 3 September 2015

Christian Alexander Pean, a fourth-year medical student in New York City, had been anxiously texting his father in Houston throughout the morning to inquire about his younger brother, Alan Christopher Pean, a patient at St. Joseph Medical Center in Texas. The night before, on August 26, Alan had called his parents to tell them he was in the middle of a panic attack.
"We knew it was an acute mental health crisis," Christian told Truthout. Alan's parents implored their son to seek help, so Alan, a student at the University of Houston, drove h…

The best of all policies: My wish for the ideal platform

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[This is, basically, Seth Klein's prayer for a minority government. He argues, reasonably, that the NDP and Liberals have platforms with roughly equally idiotic components on the major issues, so they would be forced to fight for only the non-stupid ones if they had to work with others from a minority position. *RON*]
By Seth Klein, rabble.ca., 3 September 2015

I'm often asked which opposition party, with a potential to win the election, has the better platform when it comes to tackling climate change and inequality -- the two great inconvenient truths of our time, and the focus of much of our work at CCPA. (I'm leaving out from this comparison the Conservatives, who have thus far proposed nothing meaningful in this campaign to address either of these urgent issues, and the Greens, who have some very good policies with respect to both, but who have no chance of forming government.)

So here's the thing. When it comes to those core i…

10 Reasons Stephen Harper Should Ignore his own Economic Advice

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[Harper is correct in saying that his record speaks for itself. *RON*]

By Trish Hennessey, Now Toronto, 2 September 2015

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is campaigning to "stay the course" on Canada's economy. There are a lot of reasons why the PM should think again - and the fact that we have been officially in a recession (as of September 1's latest numbers) ranks right up there.

Here are 10 more reasons based on the research of economists Jim Stanford and Jordan Brennan in Rhetoric Versus Reality: Evaluating Canada's Economic Record Under The Harper Government. Their report assesses the economic performance of nine prime ministers going back to 1946. Spoiler alert: it concludes that the Harper government's is the worst in postwar Canadian history (uniforvotes.ca).

1. The incredible shrinking economy

Harper assumed office in 2006 at the height of a hot economic growth streak, but under his watch real GDP growth has been slug…

Congo bans documentary about renowned rape trauma surgeon

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[The conflict in the Congo is one of the world's longest, deadliest, most horrific and least reported by the mainstream media. See also: The Greatest Silence: Rape in The Congo (Official Trailer). *RON*]
Reuters, Yahoo! News, 3 September 2015

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday banned a documentary film about a doctor who treats war rape victims, leading the film makers to say the government was trying to silence debate about sexual violence.

Media Minister Lambert Mende gave no reason for the decision to ban "The Man who Mends Women (L'Homme Qui Repare Les Femmes)", which is about Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege, the founder of Panzi Hospital in the eastern city of Bukavu.

Sexual violence by militias and the army is a defining atrocity of a conflict in eastern Congo that has lasted two decades, and the hospital has treated thousands of rape victims. Several high-level perpetrators have recently bee…

Income Inequality by President - The Results May Surprise You!

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[The grandaddy of neoliberalism: Ronnie Ray-Gun. Income inequality dropped by 12% under Truman. Two interesting things: a) the second larges decreased occurred under Nixon, and b) income inequality worsened the most when the economy was the strongest (i.e., the 1% have skimmed any economic gains that have appeared. *RON*]
By Roger Thomas, Value Walk, 2 September 2015

There may be no better strategy in a presidential election that to blame economic problems on the high earners, also known as the rich.

Of all presidents, the sitting president's rhetoric plays this issue perhaps more than any other.

Question - What do the income inequality figures look like by U.S. President?

Here's a look.

Income Inequality by President - Highest 1% of Earners' Share of the Total Income Pie

The following graphic is the percentage change in the share of the highest 1%'s take of the total income pie. This is the vertical axis.

The horizontal axis is the n…

Sieges in an Age of Economic Austerity: The State Surveillance Costs of Monitoring Julian Assange, More than 12 Million Pounds

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[Always ask yourself: What are the things government says it can't afford? What are the things it actually spends money on? *RON*]
By Binoy Kampmark, Global Research, 2 September 2015


It is, we are told, an age of bitter austerity, where belts are being tightened with dedication, and services cut with thrifty diligence. There are, however, always exceptions to the rule. The surveillance state needs succour; the intelligence services need their daily bread from the bakers in Downing Street. The dogs of war similarly need to be fed. And then, there is Julian Assange.

Assange would be pleased to know that he is an exception to the rules of austerity. He figures in a singular category in the book keeping of Her Majesty’s Government. The British security establishment continue monitoring him with eagle-eyes. There are three Scotland Yard officers on the task at any one time. One is stationed at the steps to the Ecuadorean embassy, just to make su…

Austerity Economics Is Fraying Europe’s Social Contract

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["Reform" = Austerity = Corporatocracy. *RON*]
By Conn M. Hallahan, The Fair Observer / The Corner, 3 September 2015
It’s what former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called a “suicide pact,” designed to humiliate the left-wing Syriza government.

Why construct a pact that everyone knows will fail?

On the left, the interpretation is that the agreement is a conscious act of vengeance by the troika—the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund—to punish Greece for daring to challenge the austerity program that has devastated the economy and impoverished its people.

The evidence for this explanation is certainly persuasive. The more the Greeks tried to negotiate a compromise with the EU, the worse the deal got. The final agreement was the most punitive of all. The message was clear: Rattle the gates of heaven at your own peril.

It was certainly a grim warning to other countries with strong anti-a…