Showing posts from September 21, 2015

How to vote Harper out

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[There are some great ideas here - go ahead and use a few of them! *RON*]

By Warren Bell, National Observer, 21 September 2015
#75 of 75 articles from the Special Report:Canada's 2015 Federal Election Campaign - Fund this Report
On Oct. 19, an embattled Stephen Harper still plans on mustering a minority win, according to polls,despite two-thirds of Canadians wanting to see him gone.

The prime minister's base is notoriously organized and ready to vote for Harper's fourth straight term, so he has a good shot.

Given the damage he's already done to Canada's democracy, four more years of Stephen Harper would be disastrous.

It is becoming clear that the majority of Canadians must act, and act together, with the same focus and organization as Harper's "base."

Otherwise, we will be forced to endure more damage to this country's cherished democratic institutions.

Battered by the Duffy affair, an onslaught of omnibus bills, …

Anyone planning a coup should read this first

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[Applied game theory. No matter what the author and the reviewer say this book is at least a little bit of a how-to guide on winning a military coup. A statistical tid-bit: "...80 percent of sub-Saharan African countries, 67 percent of Latin American countries, and 50 percent of Asian countries experienced at least one coup attempt between 1950 and 2000." *RON*]

By Kim Yi Dionne, Washington Post, 10 September 2015

For every failed coup attempt I see from here on out, I will shake my head and wonder why the coup-makers did not read political scientist Naunihal Singh’s book, “Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups.” Though certainly not meant to be a recipe book for launching a successful coup, Singh’s study offers insights that would save potential coup-makers a lot of trouble.

Tomorrow marks the end of the second annual African Politics Summer Reading Spectacular, when we review Morten Jerven’s new book, “Africa: Why Economi…

The WWII-Era Plane Giving the F-35 a Run for Its Money

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[Part of a series on war and technology. A long but fascinating bit of investigative journalism that dumps all over one of the biggest boondoggles ever, one that Stephen Harper is just dying to commit us to: the F35 fighter jet. *RON*]

By John Ismay, Adrian Bonenberger, Damien Spleeters, VICE Motherboard, 18 September 2015

On December 5, 2001, an American B-52 flying tens of thousands of feet above the ground mistakenly dropped a 2,000-pound satellite-guided bomb on an Army Special Forces team in Afghanistan. The aircrew had been fed the wrong coordinates, but had the plane been flying as low and slow as older generations of attack planes did, the crew might’ve realized their error simply by looking down at the ground.

It was not long after the Twin Towers fell, and American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan by an American bomb dropped by an American plane. That this mistake happened illustrates just how poorly the air campaign in the United Sta…

Greek election: Alexis Tsipras defied polls but widespread malaise remains

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[So it ain't over until it's over! "He is implying that he will continue to resist EU austerity measures, and so restore pride to the Greek people, even though he called the snap election in August in the first place to deal with rebel MPs in his own party unhappy because he had agreed to austerity measures. Adding injury to insult, he had done so after 62 per cent of voters rejected bailout terms insisting on austerity in a national referendum that Tsipras had himself called." *RON*]

By Margaret Evans, CBC News, 21 September 2015
The charismatic Greek leader Alexis Tsipras has once more managed to defy both the pollsters and the pundits by winning a decisive victory in Sunday's general elections, his left-wing Syriza party taking about 35 per cent of the vote compared to 28 per cent for the closest challenger.

So many times has his political demise been predicted, only to be proven false, that you could start calling Tsipr…

U.S. training helped mold top Islamic State military commander

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[Appallingly, this has become the usual story. *RON*]

Mitchell Prothero, McClatchyDC, 15 September 2015

Tarkhan Batirashvili was a natural military star when he joined Georgia’s military. He fought the Russians during 2008 war, but left Georgia for Turkey in 2012. In Syria, he’s known as Abu Omar al Shishani, commander in several major victories.

KILLIS, TURKEY - The 15 Chechens looking to cross the border from Turkey to Syria didn’t strike Abdullah as particularly important or unusual.

It was early summer in 2012, and as a smuggler based in the Turkish border town of Killis, Abdullah, who’d fled his home village in Syria because of fighting on the outskirts of Aleppo, was used to secretive groups of foreigners – journalists, aid workers and many recently aspiring jihadists – hiring him to cross Turkish military lines at the border while avoiding what was then still a significant Syrian government presence in northern Syrian.

Ferguson, Mo., on Path to Insolvency, Gets Downgrade to Junk

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[Can you see what is happening here? When Ferguson is forced to take steps that prevent it from supporting its police force through kleptocratic predatory fines against its black population the bond market turns against it. *RON*]
By Yvette Shields, The Bond Buyer, 17 September 2015

CHICAGO - Ferguson, Mo. lost its investment-grade rating Thursday when Moody's Investors Service dropped its rating four notches in a sign of the financial fallout from the fatal 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown.

Moody's dropped the city's general obligation rating to the highest junk level of Ba1 from Aa3 and its lease revenue ratings to Ba2 and Ba3, from A1 and A2, respectively.

The downgrade "reflects severe and rapid deterioration of the city's financial position, possible depletion of fund balances in the near term, and limited options for restoring fiscal stability," Moody's wrote.

The action impacts $6.7 million of outstanding GO …

Our feral, lying, good for nothing media

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[The media is the 1%. On the anti-progressive (and rabidly anti-socialist) bias in the mainstream media. *RON*]

Richard Seymour, Lenin's Tomb, 19 September 2015

You don't see the consensus in all of its suffocating conformity until someone challenges it.

If you want to know what the consensus is made of, just look at what the media considers a gaffe. Corbyn, a republican, doesn't sing the royalist national anthem. Gaffe. Corbyn, a socialist, appointed a hard-left socialist as shadow chancellor. Gaffe. Corbyn refused to answer journalists' questions. Ultra-gaffe. That's just rude. From the Guardian to the Express, from the New Statesman's craven toeing of the Blairite line to the lies in supposedly neutral dailies like the Metro, from The Sun's made-up 'exclusives' to the queue of Labour MPs and liberal pundits lining up to spew bile for the Daily Mail, from Tory attack ads to the Telegraph screaming for …

Do the Greens Split the Progressive Vote? (They do, though they aren’t the only offender)

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[This gives a good analysis but the reality is that Harper won repeatedly because he succeeded in uniting the right and by steadfastly shooting down any move toward proportional voting. Under these circumstances the charge of vote-splitting could be laid against any party that isn't the CPC. *RON*]
Posted by taylewd, Radicus Rants, 11 September 2015

Early this summer Elizabeth May wrote an opinion piece in which she used five ridings selected from provincial and federal elections past to argue that the Greens do not split the vote.

It is her central thesis for the 2015 election campaign, and I’ve heard it repeated by canvassers and candidates alike.

But is it true?

Disclaimer: This is not a hit piece. I have voted Green provincially twice. I live in Victoria, where the Conservatives have arguably their smallest chance of winning of any riding west of Toronto. A vote for Jo-Ann Roberts (GPC) is a vote for Jo-Ann Roberts; to claim otherwise would b…