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Showing posts from October 25, 2015

The Man Who Bought the Clintons: the Political Business of Terry McAuliffe

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[Plutocracy and progressive politics in the US. A real eye-popper on the dirty corporate money origins of the Clintons and the political skewering of Al Gore. *RON*]
by Jeffrey St. Clair, Counterpunch, 23 October 2015


In May 1999, the Labor Department brought suit against Jack Moore and John Grau, charging the two men with mismanaging the pension fund for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Moore was the longtime secretary of the union, while Grau was the vice-president of the National Electrical Contractor’s Association, which was partner in the fund. At issue was a series of sweetheart real estate deals in central Florida, which regulators labeled “imprudent”, and cost the fund money. Moore and Grau eventually settled the case for more than six figures. The union was forced to kick in another $5 million to cover the losses to the pension fund. The person at the center of the scandal, however, made out in the deal very well, inde…

Goodbye Middle Class: 51% Of American Workers Make Less Than $30,000 A Year

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[This number is completely mind-boggling. "The federal poverty level for a family of five is $28,410, and yet almost 40 percent of all American workers do not even bring in $20,000 a year." *RON*]
By Michael Snyder, End of the American Dream / WashingtonsBlog, 21 October 2015.


We just got more evidence that the middle class in America is dying. According to brand new numbers that were just released by the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all workers in the United States make less than $30,000 a year. Let that number sink in for a moment. You can’t support a middle class family in America today on just $2,500 a month – especially after taxes are taken out. And yet more than half of all workers in this country make less than that each month. In order to have a thriving middle class, you have got to have an economy that produces lots of middle class jobs, and that simply is not happening in America today.

Labor unions aren't just helpful — they might be 'necessary'

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[The graph, below, is a real jaw-dropper! See also: Weaker Unions Correlated with More Inequality, Higher Pay for Top Earners. *RON*]

Bob Bryan, Business Insider, 25 October 2015

Through boom and bust, the American worker has been faced by two trends over the past few decades: the percentage of workers that are members of labor unions has decreased and the American middle class has slowly been hollowed out.

According to four researchers — Richard Freeman at the National Bureau of Economic Research, Eunice Han at Wellesley College, and David Madland and Brendan V. Duke at the Center for American Progress — the two trends are closely connected.

"The evidence in this paper shows that parents' unionism has a significant relationship with their offspring's well-being," wrote the researches in a paper from the NBER.

The correlation, the study said, could have serious implications in the way that the public thinks about unions.

Malala Yousafzai: ‘I want to become prime minister of my country’

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Kate Kellaway, The Guardian, 25 October 2015

[“As our politicians are doing nothing for us, nothing for peace, nothing for education, I want to become prime minister of my country,” Malala says. She's certainly remarkably brave! On the eve of the release of a film about her life, Malala Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin, relive her remarkable journey from schoolgirl to ‘modern-day folk hero’ and the guilt he still feels about her attempted murder by the Taliban. *RON*]
On an overcast, anonymous morning, journalists assemble outside Claridge’s hotel in London. The plan is not to linger: a coach is to drive us to an undisclosed destination where Malala Yousafzai will be waiting. The security arrangements add edge to the existing sense of expectation at the prospect of meeting Malala Yousafzai and, in my case, her father. Malala, celebrated for her refusal to be silenced by the Taliban in her championship of girls’ education, is about to experi…

Trudeau Extends UN Climate Summit Invite To Elizabeth May, Other Federal Leaders

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[Clever. Who will not show up? He's 'inclusive' but he's also letting them mark themselves publicly for what they do or do not stand for. *RON*]
By Joan Bryden, Canadian Presss / Huffington Post, 24 October 2015


OTTAWA — Whatever else political opponents may say about Justin Trudeau's approach to reducing carbon emissions, they're not likely to curse his lack of inclusiveness.

The prime minister designate has already invited Green Leader Elizabeth May to be part of the Canadian delegation to the United Nations summit on climate change in Paris at the end of next month.

And he intends to invite NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and whomever is leading the Conservative party — be it Stephen Harper or an interim leader — as well, along with various non-governmental organizations and environmentalists, insiders say.

The premiers of all the provinces and territories that aren't facing an election this fall have also agreed to accompa…

This Election Showed Us Racism Is Alive and Well in Canada

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[The Conservatives' election tactics certainly seem to show that racist responses are there to be tapped into among a minority of Canadians. I saw a lot of Facebook comments during the election on the general theme of taking care of 'our own' first - meaning, from the sampling I saw, mainly older white people. We can't allow our politics to be ruled by feelings of fear, loss, division and scarcity. *RON*]
Bilan Arte, Huffington Post, 25 October 2015


The past 11 weeks of the 2015 federal election campaign have been violent for Aboriginal and racialized communities. Along the campaign trail, candidates and Canadians alike have exacerbated existing racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Aboriginal sentiments that, let's face it, have always been present in Canada.

Time and time again we witnessed the people running to represent our country pander to blatant racism, whether it be by arguing against refugee healthcare,threatening to revoke …

B.C. premier's open government promise a complete, utter sham

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[They have another 18-19 months left to do damage with their Liberal-style 'accountable democracy.' If the NDP had any brains, they'd find a reason to force a non-confidence vote (hmm, can they do that with just 36 seats?) and generate an election while the tide of public sentiment is in full force in their direction. *RON*]

Gary Mason, Globe and Mail, 23 October 2015

If you thought there might be some angst inside B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s administration over a scathing report that revealed the extent to which potentially incriminating information is regularly cleansed from the government computer system, you would be wrong. Instead, the result of an investigation by the province’s Privacy Commissioner into this practice was mostly met by shrugs and smirks initially.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone went so far as to suggest that he will likely not stop the practice of “triple deleting” e-mails, a procedure that permanently scru…

Aboriginal Voter Turnout Fuelled By Anger At Stephen Harper, Disenfranchisement

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[A fair lesson to be learned by the Conservative Party. Despite his 'dedicated base' theory of re-election, when you add up all the many 'minorities' he pushed away and angered, they matter. *RON*]
By Chinta Puxley, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 25 October 2015

WINNIPEG — Aboriginal activists who spent months mobilizing First Nations communities say Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's attempt to disenfranchise aboriginal voters backfired and fuelled turnout so high that some reserves ran out of ballots.

Some aboriginal communities saw voter turnout spike by up to 270 per cent in the Oct. 19 election despite the Fair Elections Act which made it harder for someone to vote without approved identification.

In the riding of Kenora, which includes 40 First Nations in northern Ontario, voting on the reserves was up 73 per cent — almost 3,000 voters. At least four of those First Nations ran out of ballots and either used p…