Showing posts from September 10, 2015

As Iran Deal Nabs Necessary Votes, 'War Criminal' Cheney Shouted Down in DC

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[CODEPINK protester interrupted the "notable war criminal" by shouting: "We want peace!" *RON*]
by Sarah LazareCommon Dreams, 8 September 2015
The nuclear agreement between the U.S., Iran, and other world powers cleared an important congressional hurdle in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, but don't expect former vice president Dick Cheney to be happy about it.

Despite holding no elected office, former vice president Dick Cheney has emerged as one of the most visible—and hawkish—opponents of the Iran deal, delivering a blistering speech Tuesday morning alleging that the accord "will give Iran the means to launch a nuclear attack on the U.S. homeland."

“I know of no nation in history that has agreed to guarantee that the means of its own destruction will be in the hands of another nation, particularly one that is hostile," Cheney told the audience at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington, D.…

Under pressure, Harper changes tack on refugee resettlement

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[Under public pressure to cut resettlement red tape, Harper alludes, vaguely, to new moves to do what he repeatedly, snarkily, claimed he had already done. See also: Why Stephen Harper is toast and Canadians Want to Believe a Different Way Is Possible (the Canadian government has assisted a grand total of 622 Syrian refugees from 2013 to date). *RON*]

By: Tonda MacCharles, Toronto Star, 10 September 2015

NEW ANNAN, P.E.I.—Conservative leader Stephen Harper who has repeatedly said he has “already” moved to expedite the resettlement of refugees from Syria switched tack Thursday to say his government will soon announce measures to do just that.

Under growing public pressure to act more swiftly, Harper was asked by reporters after a campaign event Thursday, what specific measures he’d already taken. He said he could have more to say on that question very soon, a signal of a possible upcoming campaign announcement.

Harper was also asked if he would e…

Liar Loans Redux: They're Back and Sneaking Into AAA Rated Bonds

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[Nothing has changed: homebuyers are taking on debt again without much paperwork. Note how Bloomberg refers to this as bearing "no more than a passing resemblance." There's very little different about liar loans this time. It's a loop-hole. If you say you're not going to live in the home they don't even have to ask you what your income is, so you don't even need to lie about it. And these mortgages are going straight into triple-A bonds. Again. *RON*]
Matt ScullyJody Shenn, Bloomberg, 8 September 2015

The pitch arrived with an iconic image of the American Dream: a neat house with a white picket fence.

But behind that picture of a $2.95 million home in Manhattan Beach, California, were hints of something darker: liar loans, those toxic mortgages of the subprime era.

Years after the great American housing bust, mortgages akin to the so-called liar loans -- which were made without verifying people’s finances -- are creepin…

Hungarian bishop says pope is wrong about refugees

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[Xenophobia rising. And so much for papal infallibility. *RON*]
By Griff Witte, Washington Post, 7 September 2015

BUDAPEST — Pope Francis’s message Sunday couldn’t have been clearer: With hundreds of thousands of refugees flowing into Europe, Catholics across the continent had a moral duty to help by opening their churches, monasteries and homes as sanctuaries.

On Monday, the church’s spiritual leader for southern Hungary — scene of some of the heaviest migrant flows anywhere in Europe — had a message just as clear: His Holiness is wrong.

“They’re not refugees. This is an invasion,” said Bishop Laszlo Kiss-Rigo, whose dominion stretches across the southern reaches of this predominantly Catholic nation. “They come here with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar.’ They want to take over.”

Canada slips in global ranking of best places to grow old

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[No surprise here. The reader comments in the original article are fairly rabid. *RON*]
Angela Mulholland, CTV News, 9 September 2015

Canada has dropped to fifth in an annual ranking of the best places in the world to grow old.

Though we slipped behind Germany in this year’s Global AgeWatch Index, Canada still fared better than the U.S and the United Kingdom, which were ranked ninth and tenth respectively. Canada finished ahead of these two countries thanks in part to our generous health care system, and income programs that result in lower poverty rates among seniors.

Yet Switzerland continues to be the very best place to grow old, followed by Norway and Sweden, which do the best job at ensuring the financial security of seniors. All three countries started social pensions over a century ago, allowing these countries to build up their welfare economies.

Toby Porter, the chief executive of HelpAge International, the charity that compiles the AgeW…

Climate change denier Rupert Murdoch just bought National Geographic, which gives grants to scientists

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["Rupert Murdoch is a raging asshole, but he is also a very much on-the-record climate change denier. A climate change denier with now even more power and influence over science grants in the United States." *RON*]

By Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing, 9 September 2015

The National Geographic magazine has been a nonprofit publication since inception in 1888, but that ends today. The long-running American publication becomes very much for-profit under a $725 million dollar deal announced today with 21st Century Fox, the entertainment company controlled by the family of Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch is a notorious climate change denier, and his family's Fox media empire is the world's primary source of global warming misinformation. Which would be no big deal here, I guess, were it not for the fact that the National Geographic Society's mission includes giving grants to scientists.

Homo Naledi, New Human Species, Is Found in South African Cave

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[Great story - this will keep them busy for years! *RON*]

By John Noble Wilford, New York Times, 10 September 2015

Lee R. Berger, a professor of human evolution studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, unveiled a previously unidentified species of the early human lineage — Homo naledi. By REUTERS on September 10, 2015.
Acting on a tip from spelunkers two years ago, scientists in South Africa discovered what the cavers had only dimly glimpsed through a crack in a limestone wall deep in the Rising Star cave: lots and lots of old bones.

The remains covered the earthen floor beyond the narrow opening. This was, the scientists concluded, a large, dark chamber for the dead of a previously unidentified species of the early human lineage — Homo naledi.

The new hominin species was announced on Thursday by an international team of more than 60 scientists led by Lee R. Berger, an American paleoanthropologist who is a professor of human e…

‘How many kids drowned in pools in Canada this summer?’ Tory supporters heckle reporter over refugee question

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[Beneath despicable. *RON*]

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press / National Post, 9 September 2015

OTTAWA — A Conservative supporter at a Stephen Harper campaign event heckled a reporter Wednesday who was asking about the government’s handling of the Syrian refugee crisis.

The government’s response to the crisis is now front and centre in the federal election campaign.

The catcalls came in Welland, Ont., as the Conservative leader was taking questions from journalists, almost a week after the world was riveted by the image of a dead Syrian toddler on a Turkish beach.

A low, collective groan was heard in the crowd before a lone voice was heard to say: “How many kids drowned in pools in Canada this past summer? Do you blame the government for that?”

Three-year-old Alan Kurdi drowned along with his five-year-old brother Ghalib and their mother, Rehanna, in their unsuccessful attempt to find sanctuary in Turkey.

Harper tried to keep his daily question and …