Showing posts from November 22, 2015

The Paris Attacks: a Chronicle Foretold

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[A good piece, via my friend Richard, via his friend Paul. See also: We blew it after 9/11. We’re blowing it again after Paris. This latter one answers the "stupid or evil" question with "stupid" but it is scary either way. *RON*]

by Patrick Howlett-Martin, Counter Punch, NOVEMBER 20, 2015


The mass bombing in Paris points out the inconsistencies in French Middle East diplomacy. In September 2007, President Nicolas Sarkozy received Muammar Gaddafi lavishly for a five-day visit, graciously allowing the Libyan leader to set up his tent in the gardens of the official residence in Marigny when he visited Paris in December 2007 and signed major military agreements worth some 4.5 billion euros. And in 2008, he extended a personal invitation to the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad, to watch the military parade celebrating Bastille Day on July 14. This contrasts with the feverish activism in favor of military interventions to over…

Rebooting the Eurozone: Step 1 – Agreeing a Crisis Narrative

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[A good attempt at coming up with one explanation of the EU crisis that everyone can agree to. The question is, Will They? *RON*]

By Rebooting Consensus Authors, Originally published at VoxEU. Posted on Naked Capitalism, 22 November 2015 by Lambert Strether

* * *
The “Rebooting Consensus Authors” are:

Richard Baldwin, Thorsten Beck, Agnès Bénassy-Quéré, Olivier Blanchard, Giancarlo Corsetti, Paul de Grauwe, Wouter den Haan, Francesco Giavazzi, Daniel Gros, Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Stefano Micossi, Elias Papaioannou, Paolo Pesenti, Christopher Pissarides, Guido Tabellini, and Beatrice Weder di Mauro.

This post seems like a little bit of a departure. First, I’ve never seen a named collective author at VoxEU before. Second, the effort seems to have some juice behind it. For example, somebody drew Krugman’s attention to the post. He writes:
Desperately Seeking Consensus The good people at Vox EU are engaged in a laudable effort to clear the ground for eur…

Gov. Kasich walks back idea of federal agency to promote 'Judeo-Christian' values in Muslim nations

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[This gives you an idea of the level things have deteriorated to: Republicans have been calling Kasich 'the sensible one.' See also: 6 Vile Right-Wing Moments This Week, Islamophobia Edition. *RON*]

By Hunter, Daily Kos, 21 November 2015

Ohio governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich is now walking back his profoundly un-American idea.
One day after urging the creation of a federal agency to promote “core Judeo-Christian, Western values,” Republican presidential candidate John Kasich said on Wednesday he instead would upgrade the existing Voice of America to “engage in the war of ideas” against Islamic State.

Or maybe he's not walking anything back, and instead just clarifying his previous proposal of creating a new federal agency to promote "Judeo-Christian" (that means Christian, kids) values to the filthy non-Judeo-Christians in the rest of the world. Conservatives got twitchy at the notion of creating a ne…

Donald Trump: My Fans Were Right To Beat Up Black Protester

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[When, since the days of Jim Crow and lynchings, would this kind of behaviour by a politician be casually accepted without public outrage? His solution? Ban the media from his rallies. *RON*]

By Aviva Shen, Think Progress, 22 November 2015
After his supporters beat up a Black Lives Matter protester on video, Donald Trump suggested that they may have done the right thing.

The protester, a black man, reportedly started chanting Black Lives Matter at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday. In a video captured by CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond, rally attendees swarm around the man, kicking and punching him as he curls up on the ground.
A black protester at Trump's rally today in Alabama was shoved, tackled, punched & kicked: — Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) November 21, 2015 Trump was asked to weigh in on his supporters’ actions on Fox & Friends Sunday morning. “Maybe he should have been roug…

Authorities missed many 'red flags' before Paris shootings

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[Typical, ineffective bureaucratic bloat. Hundreds of millions - likely trillions - of dollars spent world-wide on surveillance and security. The problems are mainly human failure. The best they can come up with is to call for more money and more people. *RON*]
By John Irish, Robert-Jan Bartunek and Orhan Coskun, Reuters, 22 November 2015

There were multiple chances to stop the men who attacked Paris.

In January, Turkish authorities detained one of the suicide bombers at Turkey's border and deported him to Belgium. Brahim Abdeslam, Turkish authorities told Belgian police at the time, had been "radicalized" and was suspected of wanting to join Islamic State in Syria, a Turkish security source told Reuters.

Yet during questioning in Belgium, Abdeslam denied any involvement with militants and was set free. So was his brother Salah – a decision that Belgian authorities say was based on scant evidence that either man had terrorist intentio…

Killing Canada's grizzly bears

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[Aboriginal Canadians and conservationists vow to end trophy hunt in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest. In Al Jazeera, yet! The tax income from eco-tourism and photo expeditions is much higher than from sport hunting. But: "Some speculate the government fears by ending the trophy hunt it would trigger a backlash from important electoral districts in the province's interior." Someone should also investigate the political contributions of the trophy hunting companies. *RON*]

John Zada, Al Jazeera, 22 November 2015
Central Coast, Canada - Alex Chartrand Jr turns off his boat's engines and reaches for his binoculars. As the vessel drifts he scans an old abandoned logging camp at the far shores of a lake deep in one of the world's last remaining tracts of temperate rainforest.

"I don't see anyone," he says, lowering the binoculars and turning to his partner. "Let's go in there just to make sure.&q…

Cinema chains refuse to show advert featuring Lord's Prayer

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[Are they being purposefully provocative or are they totally tone-deaf to the effect of their actions? I imagine his face would be wearing the same expression if they played the Muslim call to prayer before every showing of Star Wars. "Church of England says it is bewildered by leading chains' stance on advert that was intended to play before new Star Wars film." *RON*]

Haroon Siddique and Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian, 22 November 2015

The UK’s three leading cinema chains have refused to show an advert by the Church of England that features the Lord’s Prayer, citing fears that it could offend people.

The 60-second advert was due to be shown before Star Wars: the Force Awakens, released on 18 December and which has smashed records for advance ticket sales at UK cinemas.

It was cleared by the Cinema Advertising Authority and the British Board of Film Classification, but the Odeon, Cineworld and Vue chains – which control 80% of screen…

Can Canada show us how to fix income inequality? A talk with International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland

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[Good point: "One advantage the Canadian electoral system offers over our own is the relative absence of campaign money. In Canada, the maximum that anyone can contribute to a political party is $3,000 ($2,248 U.S.). In the post-Citizens United U.S., that's barely enough to obtain free parking at a PAC picnic. The limit helps ensure that the voices of ordinary voters aren't swamped by torrents of corporate and plutocratic cash." *RON*]

Michael Hiltzik, LA Times, 20 November 2015
There must be few government ministers anywhere in the Western world better prepared to address issues of economic growth and income inequality than Chrystia Freeland. Now 47, she served as a Moscow bureau chief, Eastern European correspondent and editor in several capacities at the Financial Times — and many other journalistic posts — before leaving journalism in 2013 to run successfully for a seat in the Canadian parliament.

Freeland was named Minister …