Showing posts from October 18, 2015

Environmentalists on Both Sides of the Border Eye Canadian Election

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[Canada used to be cool. "To many Americans, Canada seems like a bastion of progressive ideals - a peace-loving nation with universal healthcare and strict gun laws. But on energy and the environment, the Great White North has been a bit of a letdown, particularly since Harper took the reins." *RON*]

By Sarah Tory, High Country News / Truthout, 18 October 2015

This story was originally published on October 13, 2015, at High Country News (

Ever since 2011, when Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper won a majority government for his right-leaning Conservative Party, America's polite northern neighbor has become an enemy of things like global climate agreements, environmental regulations and science in general.

To many Americans, Canada seems like a bastion of progressive ideals - a peace-loving nation with universal healthcare and strict gun laws. But on energy and the environment, the Great White North has been a bit of a let…

Canada: Oil, politics and the media

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[Corporate media and corporate oil: a cozy marriage. This message could only come to use by way of a publisher like Al Jazeera. As millions of dollars flow into pro-oil industry messaging across the country, they have an inexorable impact on journalism. Click here to watch Flo Phillips' video story on The Listening Post. See also: Presentation suggests intimate relationship between Postmedia and oil industry (Postmedia owns both The Sun and The Province). *RON*]

Al Jazeera staff, 18 Oct 2015

Canadians will head to the polls on October 19, and the Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper is fighting for a fourth term in office.
There's so much advertising dollars coming from the oil industry into the media, so naturally they don't want to piss off that sector ... I think it's safe to say that if you look at most of the reporting ... it's not critical in any great degree of the oil industry in this country. -…

Marine Le Pen targets Muslim voters

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[In an extremely bizarre bit of realpolitik, the National Front's Marine Le Pen turns 180 degrees on a dime, making a targeted appeal to Muslim voters, at the very same time that she faces charges of hate speech for a 2010 comment comparing Nazis and Muslims. See: Marine Le Pen to face trial for inciting racial hatred. *RON*]

By Nicholas Vinocur, Politico, 12 October 2015

The National Front party is looking for support in the Paris banlieues.

PARIS — Marine Le Pen’s National Front party wants to conquer a new and unlikely voting bloc: Muslims, whose praying in streets she once compared to the occupation of France by Nazis during World War II.
Next month the anti-immigration FN party will appeal for the first time to French Muslims in the greater Paris region with a direct mailing campaign that aims to drum up support ahead of regional elections in December, officials said.

That’s a strategic shift, if not a total about-face, for a party whos…

With Anti-Muslim Campaign, Canada Has Its Trump Moment

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[We've hit a new low, when fear-mongering Canadian politics is directly compared in the New York Times with the "over-indulgences of the American right". The tale of the niqab has been wending its way around in the global press: see Canadian politicians want to save the nation from the Muslim face veil. *RON*]

By Martin Patriquin, New York Times, 16 October 2015

Montreal — IT is easy to tut-tut the overindulgences of the American right. For Canadians, it is practically a birthright. None of our politicians, many of us would like to believe, would dare invoke the Trumpian galaxy of Mexican rapists, or ponder publicly, as the Republican candidate Ben Carson did, that Europe’s Jews would have fared better against Hitler if only the Third Reich hadn’t instituted gun control.

Yet over the last several weeks of an increasingly caustic election campaign, Prime MinisterStephen Harper and Canada’s ruling Conservative Party have managed to e…

Why Green Is The New Tan At The Army Association's Big Conference And Arms Expo

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[Interesting. This article, and the tweet quoted in it, hint at the idea of greater American military involvement in the Ukraine. Yet, a Guardian article from a few days ago also announced Obama to deploy 300 US troops to Cameroon to fight Boko Haram. Who knows what the correct geopolitical interpretation of this "fashion shift" may be? *RON*]

Tyler Rogoway, Foxtrot Alpha, 12 October 2015

The Association of The United States Army throws its big land warfare expo every year, and this one seems to have some interesting trends. Believe it or not, color tones are one of them, and it has a lot more to do with warfare settings changing than you might think.

Specifically, we’re talking about the color tones that defense contractors use to showcasing their latest weaponry. Green appears to be the new tan when it comes to displaying in-fashion tactical vehicles and weapons.

This is not to say that there is no tan to be found, but there surely is…

Meet the Nobel-nominated priest who rescues African refugees from Mediterranean

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[In contrast with the story on the attack on the German mayoral candidate, this story of a refugee-turned-Catholic priest (and Nobel Peace Prize nominee) shows that a single person can still be a force for good. *RON*]

Fredrick Nzwili, Religion News Service, 13 October 2015

NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) A surge of migrant deaths in deadly voyages across the Mediterranean Sea has become a modern-day refugee crisis.

But the Rev. Mussie Zerai, a 40-year-old Roman Catholic priest from tiny Eritrea, north of Ethiopia, has moved to help migrants trapped in the North African deserts and rickety wooden boats drifting across the sea.

“It is my duty and moral obligation as a priest to help these people. For me it’s simple: Jesus said we must love one another as we love ourselves,” Zerai said in a telephone interview.

The little-known priest, now based in Rome and Switzerland, was among this year’s nominees for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Pope Francis. (The …

Violence and Xenophobia on the German Campaign Trail

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[There has been evidence in recent weeks that public opinion in German in turning against Merkel's generous policy toward Syrian refugees (see Merkel at Her Limit). Yesterday, Henriette Reker, one of Cologne’s leading mayoral candidates, was horrendously attacked by a man with anti-refugee motives. Yet it's hard to know how representative this is of public opinion, since such attacks garner media attention. *RON*]
Adam Chandler, The Atlantic, 17 October 2015
On Saturday, Henriette Reker, a leading mayoral candidate in Cologne, Germany, was stabbed in the neck while campaigning at a market ahead of the city’s elections on Sunday. She was seriously wounded and is currently in stable condition.

According to reports, her attacker was a 44-year-old Cologne man, who had been unemployed for several years. The assailant told police that “he wanted to and did commit this act because of anti-foreigner motives.” Another woman, an aide to Reker, was a…

Worth Every Cent: To Help the Poor, Give Them Cash

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[Many today argue that a large proportion foreign aid is wasted by slow, inefficient, ineffective bureaucracies. A growing body of evidence shows that the simplest, most effective alternative is simply to give cash to the poor. *RON*]

By Michael Faye, Paul Niehaus, and Christopher Blattman, Foreign Affairs, 12 October 2015
In a Foreign Affairs article last year, we wrote what we hoped would be a provocative argument: “Cash grants to the poor are as good as or better than many traditional forms of aid when it comes to reducing poverty.” Cash grants are cheaper to administer and effective at giving recipients what they want, rather than what experts think they need.

That argument seems less radical by the day. Experimental impact evaluations continue to show strong results for cash grants large or small. In August, David McKenzie of the World Bank reported results from a study of grants of $50,000 on average to entrepreneurs in Nigeria that showed …