Showing posts from October 21, 2015

Obama Administration Hits Back at Student Debtors Seeking Relief

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[Obama: the Progressive that wasn't. The US government is becoming student borrowers' worst enemy. As a so-called Progressive, Hillary promises to be even worse. See: Hillary Clinton on Social Security Expansion: Words are Wind. A Cold Wind. *RON*]

Natalie Kitroeff, Bloomberg, 14 October 2015

On a day when Democratic presidential candidates sparred in a national debate over who would do more to help indebted students, the U.S. government launched a new attack on student debtors seeking loan relief.

On Tuesday, the Department of Education intervened in the case of Robert Murphy, an unemployed 65-year-old who has waged a three-year legal battle to erase his student loans in bankruptcy.

Unlike almost every single form of consumer debt, student loans can be erased only in very rare circumstances. Murphy’s case, which is currently being heard in a federal court in Boston, could make things a little easier for certain borrowers. A win for Murph…

Elizabeth May For Environment Minister Petitions Pop Up Day After Election

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[This will never happen. But I do believe that, because of her reputation for integrity and as a hard worker, Elizabeth May will make an outsized contribution to shaping environmental policy under a Trudeau government. *RON*]

By Rhianna Schmunk, Huffington Post, 20 October 2015
Not one but three petitions arguing that Elizabeth May deserves to be Canada's environment minister have popped up, less than 24 hours after she was re-elected in her B.C. riding.

The Green party leader held on to her seat in Saanich—Gulf Islands for a second term Monday night, even as the NDP swept the rest of Vancouver Island.

By the next morning, a trio of petitions had surfaced, lobbying incoming prime minister Justin Trudeau to appoint May as minister of environment.

The Liberals' victory in Canada signals people's desire for anti-austerity politics

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[An interesting analysis. He argues that the NDP didn't lose votes because of the niqab issue (a popular interpretation among pundits) but because they moved their economic policies too much toward the centre, so former NDP voters didn't feel bad about voting strategically once the polls put the Liberals ahead. He also argues, less convincingly, that Trudeau won because of his most progressive policies, so he should focus on this direction and abandon his rightest leanings, which has included support for the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act and Bill C-51. For a similar view on the NDP see: The Left Always Loses by Running Right. *RON*]

Emer O'Toole, The Guardian, 21 October 2015 In a dramatic general election, the Canadian Liberal party has climbed back from a devastating defeat in 2011 to win a majority under the new leadership of Justin Trudeau, and now holds 54% of seats. Amid much relief from the centre and the left, the Conservati…

Going deeper into Canada's 2015 federal election results

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[An interesting analysis of voting patterns. The Liberals won mainly: a) through strategic voting (NDP and BQ voters going over to the Liberals), and b) by getting the votes of new voters, who came out of the woodwork to vote Liberal. Conservative voters clung to their party like grim death. Somewhat hilariously, when you look at second-place finishes, the Conservatives would have won, by far, the greatest number of seats had a proportional representation system been in place. *RON*]

By Daniel Schwartz, CBC News, 21 October 2015

External Links
Elections Canada - Results
LGBT Representation and Rights Research Initiative
(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

Drilling down into the Oct. 19 election results, which gave Justin Trudeau and the Liberals 39.5 per cent of the popular vote and 184 seats in the House of Commons, reveals how new voters tipped the scales.

CBC News has published complete riding …

Why isn't Russia singling out ISIS in Syria? Because it never said it would

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[Russia does not view 'moderate' rebels as any better than their IS counterparts. "Western sources argue that most Russian air strikes have been directed not at the generally acknowledged enemy, the self-declared Islamic State, but against 'moderate' rebels. Those forces have been fighting to overthrow the minority-led dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad for almost four years, with assistance from the CIA, Turkey, and Persian Gulf states." See also: There are a lot of CIA-vetted Syrian rebel groups taking it to Assad and Assad flies to Moscow to thank Putin for Syria air strikes. *RON*]

By Fred Weir, Christian Science Monitor, 14 October 2015

MOSCOW — The videos posted almost daily by the defense ministry show Russian strike fighters in action over Syria, hammering "terrorist infrastructure" with precision-guided munitions. Meanwhile, Russian media reports speak of major gains by Syrian armed forces advancing behi…

Alabama judge orders defendants to give blood to avoid jail

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["What happened is wrong in about 3,000 ways." What's next, a kidney? *RON*]

BBC News, 20 October 2015

An Alabama judge encouraged defendants who could not pay court fines to donate blood rather than spending time in jail, a US civil rights group has said.

"If you do not have any money and you don't want to go to jail, consider giving blood today," Judge Marvin Wiggins said in a recording released by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Some of the 500 defendants gave blood to avoid jail, but their debt remained.

The practice violates the US Constitution, legal experts said.

Judge Wiggins declined to comment on the allegations when contacted by the New York Times.

Meet the man who helped make his friend Canada’s next PM

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[A lengthy, interesting piece on one of Trudeau's key political advisers. How Gerald Butts helped mastermind Justin’s victory. *RON*]

Martin Patriquin, Macleans, 25 September 2015

On a recent sunny morning, Justin Trudeau bounded off his tour bus and into the campaign stop of the morning, a cavernous warehouse on the industrial scrapes of Montreal’s Côte-Saint-Paul neighbourhood. The next 30 minutes were a scripted variation on many of the 40 previous campaign stops: Trudeau shakes hands with business owners and the local Liberal candidate; Trudeau gamely tests whatever widget the business is selling; Trudeau stands in front of a wall of Liberal notables, delivering his campaign spiel and trashing his opposition. Then there is the second-to-last act of the spectacle: Trudeau takes questions from the media.

Gerald Butts stood behind everyone, away from both the media horde and the scads of Liberal staffers scattering about. Tall and slim, his o…

Israel's Netanyahu Makes One of the Most Absurd Claims About the Holocaust Imaginable

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[A real jaw-dropper. A new bizarre kind of Holocaust revisionism has landed, incredibly blaming Palestinians for inspiring Hitler to exterminate the Jewish race. There seems to be an above-average trend toward delusion, outright lying, science-denying and reality-denying among politicians these days, although the level of unreal discourse has always been higher in the Middle East than elsewhere. See also: For Israel, ‘Human Rights’ Has Meant the Right To Dominate Palestinians. *RON*]
By Zaid JilaniAlterNet, 20 October 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not known for his nuance, but his disregard for historical facts themselves took a new turn today as he claimed, in a speech in Israel, that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler actually did not want to exterminate Jews until a Palestinian religious leader convinced him otherwise.

Here's what Netanyahu said:
My grandfather came to this land in 1920 and he landed in Jaffa, and very shortly …