Showing posts from September 12, 2015

Nashville Elects a Mayor Who Is Serious About Jobs, Wages, Poverty

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[A ray of hope: a candidate who trusted the intelligence of voters wins a decisive victory: "... it should cause political candidates and commentators to rethink what can he said and done on a political stage that is too frequently characterized by bluster and bombast." *RON*]

By John Nichols, The Nation, 11 September 2015

Megan Barry mounted a smart and nuanced progressive campaign for mayor of Nashville—so smart, and so nuanced, in fact, that it should cause political candidates and commentators to rethink what can he said and done on a political stage that is too frequently characterized by bluster and bombast.

Even if Barry had not won Thursday’s runoff election for the Tennessee city’s top job, her campaign would have been instructive. Because she did win, with a decisive 55-45 margin over a free-spending hedge-fund manager who suggested she was too liberal to lead a Mid-South city, Barry’s victory…

What Would Happen If We Burned Up All Of Earth's Fossil Fuels?

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[A: "....a 160- to 200-foot sea level rise...., which means basically abandoning most of the major cities of the world." See also: Pacific leaders respond to Australian minister's sea level remarks.*RON*]
Nell Greenfield Boyce, National Public Radio, 11 September 2015

Scientists today laid out a truly worst-case scenario for global warming — what would happen if we burned the Earth's entire supply of fossil fuels.

Virtually all of Antarctica's ice would melt, leading to a 160- to 200-foot sea level rise.

"If we burn it all, we're going to melt it all," says Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science.

The huge Antarctic ice sheet stores more than half of the planet's fresh water, and Caldeira had long wanted to know how much of that ice would melt if people just kept burning fossil fuels until they're gone.

California Legislature Approves Assisted Suicide

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[California may now become the fifth state to allow assisted suicide. The effort to legalize assisted suicide is widespread in the US. "More than half the states, plus Washington, D.C., have put forward bills this year to legalize some kind of assisted suicide.... So far, none of them have become law. *RON*]

By Ian Lovett, New York Times, 11 September 2015

SACRAMENTO — In a landmark victory for supporters of assisted suicide, the California State Legislature on Friday gave its final approval to a bill that would allow doctors to help terminally ill people end their lives.

Four states — Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont — already allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to some patients. The California bill, which passed Friday in the State Senate by a vote of 23 to 14, will now go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who will roughly triple access to doctor-assisted suicide across the country if he signs it. Mr. Brown has given little ind…

Poll finds almost a third of Americans would support a military coup

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[This is the nation in which more people believe in angels than believe in evolution. Online survey shows 29% would support a military coup against their own government while 41% said they could not imagine supporting such an event. *RON*]
Ellen Brait, The Guardian, 12 September 2015
Almost a third of Americans could imagine supporting a military coup against their own government, according to a new poll.

The YouGov survey showed 29% of Americans could imagine supporting a coup. Yet, 41% said they could not imagine supporting such an event.

Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn elected with huge mandate

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[In Canada, this would be roughly equivalent to Linda McQuaig or Naomi Klein being the opposition leader. Election of backbench MP and anti-war campaigner means party now has one of the most leftwing, anti-establishment leaders in its history. See also NY Times' With Jeremy Corbyn Elected as New Leader, Britain’s Labour Party Takes a Hard Left Turn.*RON*]

Rowena Mason, The Guardian, 12 September 2015

Jeremy Corbyn has been elected leader of the British Labour party, in a stunning first-round victory that dwarfed even the mandate for Tony Blair in 1994.

Corbyn won with nearly 59.5% of first-preference votes, beating rivals Andy Burnham, who trailed on 19%, and Yvette Cooper who received 17%. The “Blairite” candidate Liz Kendall came last on 4.5%.

Minutes after his victory, Corbyn said the message is that people are “fed up with the injustice and the inequality” of Britain.

“The media and many of us, simply didn’t understand the views of young p…

How A Different Electoral System Would Affect The Federal Parties

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[The reason that Harper opposes any form of proportional representation is clear. An NDP/Liberal coalition could change this, but they are rabidly fearful of partnering with one another. *RON*]
By Bryan Breguet, Huffington Post, 12 September 2015

What if we had a different electoral system?

The current polls can’t agree on who is first, or second, or third, and the most recent projections show an even closer three-way race than before. This is, however, a result of our electoral system – a system that can occasionally produce unexpected results where a party can win more seats with fewer votes for instance.

Justin Trudeau, who has already promised to try to reform it, favours the alternative vote system. Thomas Mulcair, in the tradition of the NDP, would want to introduceproportional representation. So does Elizabeth May. Stephen Harper is opposed to any reform.

If we had proportional representation, making projections would be incredibly easy. …

Fact check: Harper's warning of refugee security threats is cynical fearmongering

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[Xenophobia on the rise. Harper spends $3.60 bombing Syria for every $1 he (slowly, grudgingly) spends helping refugees getting away from the bombs in Syria. See also: Jean Chr├ętien Says Stephen Harper 'Has Shamed Canada', and Harper Vows To Renew Funds To Combat Terrorism, Radicalization. *RON*]
By Nora Loreto,, 11 September

The claim: Stephen Harper says Syrian refugees are coming from a "terrorist warzone" and need to be screened properly in order to "[protect] Canadians from the security risk." Is this true?

Is security a legitimate concern, or is this simply a stall tactic from a party that is generallyhostile to certain kinds of immigrants?

Canada only country to charge refugees interest on travel loans: advocates

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[Harper just makes you proud to be Canadian, doesn't he? *RON*]
Laura Kane, The Canadian Press / Vancouver Observer, 12 September 2015

VANCOUVER — Canada is the only country in the world to charge interest to refugees on travel loans, saddling struggling newcomers with debt as they try to rebuild their lives, advocates say.

The federal government requires privately sponsored and government-assisted refugees to pay for their own travel costs and overseas medical exams and will loan families up to $10,000.

"Refugees are desperate and eager to repay the loan, as a small gesture of tremendous gratitude and appreciation to the government," said Chris Friesen of the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia. "But at what cost?"

Friesen said families are using more of their food money to pay down the debt.

He said some countries, including the United States and Australia, require refugees to pay back loans for travel costs but d…