Showing posts from June, 2016

Boris Johnson Pulls Out of British Prime Minister Race

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[Both of the Eton- and Oxford-educated rich ninnies who created this mess have now stepped aside to enjoy a happy retirement from politics. *RON*]

Inae Oh, Mother Jones, 30 June 2016

Boris Johnson, a leading proponent for Britain to withdraw from the European Union, announced on Thursday he would not seek to replace David Cameron as the next prime minister.

"Having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in Parliament, I have concluded that person cannot be me," Johnson said at a press conference in London, where he was expected to announce he was officially running.

"My role will be to give every possible support to the next Conservative administration to make sure that we properly fulfill the mandate of the people that was delivered at the referendum, and to champion the agenda that I believe in, to stick up for the forgotten people of this country."

The former mayor of London was widely viewed as a favorite to wi…

CPP Expansion Would Be 'Devastating,' Business Groups Say. Economists Disagree.

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[More self-serving Henny-Penny-ism from Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
By Daniel Tencer, Huffington Post, 21 June 2016

Business groups are objecting loudly to the CPP expansion plans announced Monday, saying they say will cause job losses and reduce wages. But some of Canada’s most prominent economists are lauding the move, and say the bigger problem is the country’s retirement savings crisis.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) called the proposed reforms announced Monday evening “a devastating move for Canadian workers and the economy in general.”

It cited internal polling indicating that 67 per cent of small businesses would feel pressure to freeze or reduce wages after a CPP expansion, and 35 per cent would be under pressure to lay off employees.

Calling a Crime “Inspired By” Terrorism Is a Useless Distinction

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[Comparing warped radical offshoots to mainstream religions or ideologies only alienates those in the mainstream, and doesn't stop the violence. And since, practically speaking, there is nothing you can do to stop an ideology from existing, it is also useless. *RON*]

By David A. Siegel, Political Violence at a Glance, 30 June 2016

Over at HuffPost Joe Young recently argued that it is important to distinguish between “directed by” and “inspired by” when doing our post-mortem after an attack like that on the Pulse Night Club in Orlando. I agree that the distinction is important, but would go further. Knowing that terrorism was directed by a group is important. Believing it to be inspired by a group is not. We’d be better off dispensing with the distinction of “inspired by” terrorism entirely.

In the aftermath of a horror like the Orlando mass shooting, we often turn to religious or political ideologies as explanation. For example, we wonder wh…

U.S. Criticizes Myanmar Over Human Trafficking

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[Sadly, the glow has come off famed Buddhist Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi since she succeeded in rising to political power in Myanmar. *RON*]

By Emmarie Huetteman, New York Times, 30 June 2016

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Thursday listed Myanmar as among the worst offenders in human trafficking, consigning a country President Obama only four years ago brought in from the diplomatic cold to the same ranking as Iran, North Korea and Syria.

The designation, contained in the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report, came just weeks after the Treasury Department lifted a broad array of sanctions on Myanmar, including those applying to state-run banks and businesses. Senior officials argued then that although the country’s human rights record was not perfect, its leaders deserved to be rewarded for their steps toward democratization, and relaxing the sanctions would serve as an incentive for the government to furt…

Canada Mortgage Rule Tightening Would Be Tragic, Says Mortgage Industry

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[Mortgage vendors form a Greek chorus and pull out their hair. The frightening thing, really, is that the Canadian economy is incapable of finding more than one thing at a time to drive itself by - oil or housing - so creating an endless string of bandwagons and bubbles. "Statistics Canada noted that housing accounted for about half of the country's economic growth in 2015." See also: 'This is a bubble. A very big bubble. And it is going to end in tears'.
By Jesse Ferreras, Huffington Post, 29 June 2016

Even George R.R. Martin couldn't dream up the calamity that would befall us if Canada tightened mortgage rules.

That about sums up the sentiment espoused by Will Dunning, chief economist of Mortgage Professionals Canada on Tuesday.

In a stunning news release, he said that tightening lending conditions would have "tragic" consequences for the Canadian economy. He went on to say there's "insufficient p…

'Unprecedented': Scientists Declare Global Climate Emergency After Jet Stream Crosses Equator

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[It's something that "would not happen in a normal world." *RON*]
By David EdwardsRaw Story / AlterNet
30 June 2016

Climate scientists this week expressed alarm after “unprecedented” data showed the Northern Hemisphere Jet Stream crossing the Equator.

In a column on Tuesday, environmental blogger Robert Scribbler noted that the Northern Hemisphere Jet Stream had merged with the Southern Hemisphere Jet Stream.

“It’s the very picture of weather weirding due to climate change. Something that would absolutely not happen in a normal world,” he wrote. “Something, that if it continues, basically threatens seasonal integrity.”

Report: Islamophobia is a multimillion-dollar industry

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[More than $200m spent on promoting fear and hatred of Muslims in US by various groups between 2008 and 2013. "It is an entire industry of itself. There are people making millions of dollars per year from promoting Islamophobia. They often present themselves as experts on Islamic affairs when they are not." *RON*]

Ryan Rifai, Al Jazeera, 24 June 2016

More than $200m was spent towards promoting "fear and hatred" of Muslims in the United States by various organisations between 2008 and 2013, according to a fresh joint report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the University of California, Berkeley.

Released on Monday, the report identifies 74 groups, including feminist, Christian, Zionist and prominent news organisations, which either funded or fostered Islamophobia.

"It is an entire industry of itself. There are people making millions of dollars per year from promoting Islamophobia. They often present th…

Understanding Our Polarized Political Landscape Requires a Long, Deep Look at Our Worldviews

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["Brexit, Trump, the Bernie Sanders phenomenon and more can be explained by examining evolving categories of fundamental beliefs." Interesting research, but descriptive rather than prescriptive. E.g., she can only say "when we are less invested in these social/worldview identities, and we can look at them with more distance and mindfulness, we are less inclined to respond as if we ourselves are threatened when our assumptions about reality are called in to question." How? *RON*]

By Annick de Witt, Scientific American, 28 June 2016
Historians often look at society with the aim of seeing larger, overarching patterns in how humans tend to relate to the world, and how their understanding of reality changes throughout time. These worldviews are the lenses through which people see and filter reality, shaping our world in many seen and unseen ways. Worldviews inform both individual choices as well as our group identities, and they te…

Brexit: Increase in racist attacks after EU referendum

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[A disturbing emboldening of the extreme right. Violence, intimidation and calls of "Go home" directed at minorities from Europeans in England to non-white Britons. See also: Extremist violence on the rise in Germany, and Brexit fuels Rajoy’s victory as Podemos tanks. *RON*]

Incidents of racism and intimidation increasingly reported following EU referendumEU citizens living in England and British minorities have been targetedNumber 10 issues statement that Britain will not "tolerate intolerance"Rights groups encourage people to report hate crime Britain "will not tolerate intolerance", the office of Prime Minister David Cameron has said, after a series of racist incidents were reported following its decision to leave the European Union.

No 10 Downing Street came out on Monday with the warning, less than a week after the country voted to leave the EU in a referendum.

"We should b…

Venezuelans are storming supermarkets and attacking trucks as food supplies dwindle

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["This is savagery," said Pedro Zaraza, a car oil salesman, who watched a mob mass on Friday outside a supermarket, where it was eventually dispersed by the army. "The authorities are losing their grip." "We have not yet seen the climax of the crisis," said Luis Vicente Leon, director of the polling firm Datanalisis, who estimated that retail food outlets in Caracas lack about 80 to 85 percent of their usual products. "Supplies have deteriorated to a very significant degree and it’s probable that things will continue to get worse." "There is no humanitarian crisis," Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez told an Organization of American States meeting last week. *RON*]
By Joshua Partlow and Mariana Zuñiga, Washington Post, 28 June 2016
CARACAS, Venezuela — In the darkness the warehouse looks like any other, a metal-roofed hangar next to a clattering overpass, with homeless people sleeping nearby in the …

Kazakhstan elected to U.N. Security Council for 2017-18

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[How is it possible for the UN to get one thing so right - decrying UK austerity - and another thing so incredibly wrong all in a day? *RON*]

Reuters, 28 June 2016

Kazakhstan was elected to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, beating Thailand in a second round of voting to join Sweden, Ethiopia and Bolivia for a two-year term starting Jan. 1, 2017.

The 193-member U.N. General Assembly elected Kazakhstan with 138 votes in favor over Thailand. Countries need more than two-thirds of the vote to win a seat. A third round of voting is due to take place for the final available seat with Italy competing against The Netherlands.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols, editing by Louis Charbonneau)

The UN declares the UK’s austerity policies in breach of international human rights obligations

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["The UN committee said it was 'seriously concerned' about 'the disproportionate adverse impact that austerity measures' are having on disadvantaged and marginalised individuals and groups." *RON*]

By Anna Leszkiewicz, The New Statesman, 29 June 2016

In a damning new report, the United Nation’s Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has confirmed that the UK government’s austerity measures and social security reform are in breach of their obligations to human rights.

Drawing on evidence from Just Fair, the report considers a number of factors in its decision, including increased reliance on foodbanks, unemployment rates, the housing crisis, mental health care, and discrimination against migrants. The committee reminds the government of their obligations and calls upon them to make changes.

The UN committee said it was “seriously concerned” about “the disproportionate adverse impact that austerity measures” ar…

Federal government invests $150 million for affordable housing in B.C.

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[This sounds good until you realize that much of the money is to keep old buildings from falling apart, that both the feds and the province have abandoned their responsibility in this area for decades, and that the problem was far larger than was reflected in their funding even then. The most you can say is: a) there's an election coming for Christy Clark, and b) this is more than we would have got under Harper. See this old article for an idea of the real size of the problem: Affordable housing crisis affects one in five renters in Canada. *RON*]
The Canadian Press, Vancouver Observer, 27 June 2016

The federal government has announced it will invest $150 million in affordable housing in British Columbia, as real estate prices in the province continue to skyrocket.

The money will be spread out over the next two years and is part of the $2.3 billion the Liberal government pledged to spend on affordable housing in the 2016 budget.

Jean-Yves Duc…

Supreme Court Says No to Guns for Domestic Batterers

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[The SCOTUS strikes two blows for women's rights and lives, after also striking down the Texas abortion access law. AKA the NRA and Clarence Thomas have a sad day. On the last day of the term, the high court rejects domestic abusers' attempt to avoid a gun prosecution. *RON*]

Stephanie Mencimer, Mother Jones, 27 June 2016

Should domestic abusers who get convicted of minor domestic-violence charges get to keep their right to own guns just because their crimes were merely reckless, as opposed to premeditated? That's more or less the question the Supreme Court was considering in Voisine v. US, a somewhat obscure case that was languishing on the court's docket as one of the last cases decided of the term. In a 6-2 opinion written by Justice Elena Kagan, the high court answered that question with a muted "no."

The case challenges a 1996 amendment to the federal Gun Control Act, sponsored and named after the late New Jersey Sen…

‘Three Amigos’ Summit: Just one-in-four Canadians say NAFTA has been good for their country

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[Just like the UK and Brexit, Canadians have no idea what to think about NAFTA. 25% say NAFTA helped the economy, 26% say it hurt, 22% say it's had no impact, and 27% say they don't know - might as well flip a coin.  From the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: "The agreement has destroyed more jobs than it has created, depressed wages, worsened poverty and inequality, eroded social programs, undermined democracy, enfeebled governments, and greatly increased the rights and power of corporations, investors, and property holders. NAFTA has also been used to weaken Canada's sovereignty and promote its economic assimilation by the United States. It has led to greater pressure on Canada and Mexico to conform to U.S. foreign policy objectives." *RON*]

Angus Reid Website, 28 June 2016

Trade, security issues top Canadians’ list of priorities for North American Leaders’ Summit

June 27, 2016 – With U.S. President Barack Obama an…

Having Won, Some ‘Brexit’ Campaigners Begin Backpedaling


Pope says Church should ask forgiveness from gays for past treatment

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[The church should in fact do a whole lot more than ask forgiveness. "I think that the Church not only should apologize ... to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by (being forced to) work. It must apologize for having blessed so many weapons." Meanwhile: A Noah’s Ark in Kentucky, Dinosaurs Included. *RON*]
Philip Pullella, Reuters, 26 June 2016

Pope Francis said on Sunday that Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from homosexuals for the way they had treated them.

Speaking to reporters aboard the plane taking him back to Rome from Armenia, he also said the Church should ask forgiveness for the way it has treated women, for turning a blind eye to child labor and for "blessing so many weapons" in the past.

In the hour-long freewheeling conversation that has become a trademark of his int…

When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers

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[Privatizing public safety, public health. "Since the 2008 financial crisis, private equity firms have increasingly taken over public services like emergency care and firefighting, often with dire effects." *RON*]
By Danielle IvoryBen Protess & Kitty Bennett, New York Times, 25 June 2016
A Tennessee woman slipped into a coma and died after an ambulance company took so long to assemble a crew that one worker had time for a cigarette break.

Paramedics in New York had to covertly swipe medical supplies from a hospital to restock their depleted ambulances after emergency runs.

A man in the suburban South watched a chimney fire burn his house to the ground as he waited for the fire department, which billed him anyway and then sued him for $15,000 when he did not pay.

In each of these cases, someone dialed 911 and Wall Street answered.

Standing on Backs of Global Poor, Filthy Rich Getting Even Filthier

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["For every person with more than $30 million, there are over 4800 people living in extreme poverty... the alliance called on global leaders to reverse cuts to public spending, privatization, tax breaks for the wealthy, and the race to the bottom on human rights." *RON*]

By Nadia PrupisCommon Dreams, 24 June 2016

The wealth gap keeps growing as the world's richest get richer at the expense of the poor, according to a new study released this week by an alliance of major organizations.

The World Wealth Report from Oxfam, Greenpeace, and other groups found that while the total number of millionaires in the world jumped to 15.4 million—up by nearly 5 million since 2009—more than 702 million people remain in poverty around the globe.

"For every person with more than $30 million, there are over 4800 people living in extreme poverty," said Jenny Ricks of the Fight Inequality Alliance. "This gross inequality is a symptom of …

Jason Kenney's bizarre Brexit tweets perfect example of dog-whistle politics

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[As always, hoping gamely to stimulate and ride a global wave of xenophobic fear and hate. And to steer public attention away from the effects of the neoliberal agenda of structural inequality, which is the true cause of people's fear and hate. *RON*]
By David J. Climenhaga,, 26 June 2016

There was head scratching and puzzled disapproval on social media Thursday night at Jason Kenney's seemingly bizarre Twitter celebration of Britain's unanticipated "Brexit" vote, many unhappy returns of which are yet to be enumerated.

Responses from across the political spectrum ranged from perplexed to angry when the former Harper Government cabinet minister and rumoured candidate for the leadership of Alberta's Progressive Conservative Party -- channeling Nigel Farage, Brexit advocate and leader of the crypto-fascist U.K. Independence Party -- tweeted"Congratulations to the British people on choosing hope over fear by em…

Supreme court strikes down strict Texas abortion law aimed at closing clinics

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[This goes to show how big an effect a change in one vote on SCOTUS can have. Major victory for reproductive rights activists paves way to overturn dozens of measures that curtail access to abortion providers across the country. *RON*]

Molly Redden, The Guardian, 27 June 2016

The US supreme court on Monday struck down one of the harshest abortion restrictions in the country and potentially paved the way to overturn dozens of measures in other states that curtail access, in what might be the most significant legal victory for reproductive rights advocates since the right to abortion was established in 1973.

The 5-3 ruling will immediately prevent Texas from enforcing a law that would have closed all but nine abortion clinics. But in a coup for abortion rights supporters, the court also in effect barred lawmakers from passing health measures backed by dubious medical evidence as a way of forcing large numbers of abortion clinics to close.

Justice Ste…

Betraying Progressives, DNC Platform Backs Fracking, TPP, and Israel Occupation

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["At the same time, proposals to support a carbon tax, Single Payer healthcare, and a $15 minimum wage tied to inflation were also disregarded." The Clintons are back in charge, and paying off their debts. "Appointees by Clinton and Wasserman Schulz resoundingly reject numerous proposals put forth by Sanders surrogates." *RON*]
Lauren McCauleyCommon Dreams, 25 June 2016

Despite its claims to want to unify voters ahead of November's election, the Democratic party appears to be pushing for an agenda that critics say ignores basic progressive policies, "staying true" to their Corporate donors above all else.

During a 9-hour meeting in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, members of the DNC's platform drafting committee voted down a number of measures proposed by Bernie Sanders surrogates that would have come out against the contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), fracking, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine…

David Cameron’s Austerity Bomb Finally Went Off

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[Austerity as the true cause of Brexit. "After years of failed economic policy, the British public was ready to lash out." See also: Austerity has no place in post-Brexit Britain ("Lead indicators are already consistent with a recession, Credit Suisse has said" and Now is the time to reject austerity. *RON*]

By Daniel Altman, Foreign Policy, 24 June 2016

Yes, I’m the guy who said the European Union would disintegrate, but I didn’t think it would happen so quickly. And I didn’t imagine that we would have the ill-timed economic policies of David Cameron’s Conservative government to thank.

A big motivation for the vote to leave was the frustration of Britons with their economic situation. When people are in pain, they look for any way to fight back. For the more xenophobic among them, immigrants became the target. For others, it was the establishment, minus the toffish former mayor of London and a few grandees of proto-racist fr…

I want my country back

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[A powerful diatribe on the meaning of the Brexit vote. "This was never a referendum on the EU. It was a referendum on the modern world." *RON*]
By Laurie Penny, The New Statesman, 24 June 2016
This morning, I woke up in a country I do not recognise. David Cameron’s big gamble – the future of Britain against his personal political ambitions – has backfired so badly that we’ve blasted clean out of the EU. By the time I’d put the kettle on, the stock markets were in free fall, Scotland was debating a new independence referendum, Sinn Fein was making secession noises, and the prime minister had resigned.

There’s not enough tea in the entire nation to help us Keep Calm and Carry On today. Not on a day when prejudice, propaganda, naked xenophobia and callous fear-mongering have won out over the common sense we British like to pride ourselves on. Not on a day when we’re being congratulated by Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, and nobody else. Well…

Solar Power to Grow Sixfold as Sun Becoming Cheapest Resource

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[Production costs are dropping radically and the necessary storage and distribution technologies have finally matured to the point of viability. "Solar just gets so cheap under any reasonable scenario." *RON*]

Mahmoud HabboushClaudia Carpenter, Bloomberg, 22 June 2016

Panels may produce 8-13% of global electricity by 2030: IrenaBrazil, Saudi Arabia, Jordan ‘most attractive’ for solar The amount of electricity generated using solar panels stands to expand as much as sixfold by 2030 as the cost of production falls below competing natural gas and coal-fired plants, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Solar plants using photovoltaic technology could account for 8 percent to 13 percent of global electricity produced in 2030, compared with 1.2 percent at the end of last year, the Abu Dhabi-based industry group said in a report Wednesday. The average cost of electricity from a photovoltaic system is forecast to plunge as m…

German government agrees to ban fracking after years of dispute

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[Interestingly, one of the strongest parts of the successful anti-fracking lobby was the beer-making industry, putting forward fears about its centuries-old Beer Purity Laws: German beermakers look like winning their battle to stop fracking. The coalition of opponents revived their proposals after oil and gas companies said last week they would push ahead with projects *RON*]

Agence France-Presse, The Guardian, 24 June 2016

German politicians have approved a law that bans fracking, ending years of dispute over the controversial technology to release oil and gas locked deep underground.

The law does not outlaw conventional drilling for oil and gas, leaving it to state governments to decide on individual cases.

But fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, which blasts a mixture of water, sand and chemicals underground to release shale oil and gas, will be banned.

Only a handful of projects for scientific or non-commercial purposes are likely to meet the con…

How the Gun Control Debate Ignores Black Lives

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[A good older piece I just ran across. Methinks this is not a bug, it's a feature: the omission is not accidental. *RON*]
By Lois Beckett, ProPublica, 24 November 2015
By failing to talk about the majority of gun murder victims — black men — politicians and advocates are missing the chance to save lives.

ON A DRIZZLY AFTERNOON in January 2013, almost a month after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 first-graders dead, more than a dozen religious leaders assembled in Washington, D.C.

They had been invited by the Obama administration to talk about what the country should do to address gun violence. Vice President Joe Biden had been meeting with victims and advocates all day, and he arrived so late that some in the room wondered whether he would come at all. When he finally walked in, the clergy started sharing their advice, full of pain, some of it personal. “The incidents of Newtown are very tragic,” Michael McBride, a 37…

Clinton Appointees Oppose $15 Minimum Wage Amendment in Democratic Platform; Sanders Surrogates Back It

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[As the Cyndi Lauper song put it: "I see your true colors shining through..." Bernie & Hillary DNC drafting committee members clash after Rep. Keith Ellison proposed $15 minimum wage amendment. *RON*]
By Ben NortonSalon / AlterNet, 26 June 2016
The representatives appointed by Hillary Clinton to the Democratic Party’s platform drafting committee voted against a $15 minimum wage amendment on Friday.

The five representatives who were appointed by Clinton’s presidential opponent, Bernie Sanders, supported the amendment.

The proposal was defeated eight-to-six. The only person on the committee aside from Sanders’ surrogates who supported the amendment was California Rep. Barbara Lee.

The Democratic National Committee held a hearing for its platform drafting committee in St. Louis, Missouri on June 24.

On numerous proposed amendments in the hearing, Clinton’s appointees voted together in opposition to Sanders’ appointees, in what looked lik…

A Born-Again Donald Trump? Believe It, Evangelical Leader Says

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[Just when I thought it was impossible to feel more cynical about the US elections they lower the bar further. Perhaps he and Hillary will now have a "pray-off"? *RON*]

By Trip Gabriel and Michael Luo, New York Times, 25 June 2016

Has Donald J. Trump become a born-again Christian?

That is the suggestion of James C. Dobson, one of America’s leading evangelicals, who said Mr. Trump had recently come “to accept a relationship with Christ” and was now “a baby Christian.”

Dr. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and one of the country’s most prominent social conservatives, gave his account at a meeting Mr. Trump had in New York on Tuesday with hundreds of Christian conservatives.

In an interview recorded at the event by a Pennsylvania pastor, the Rev. Michael Anthony, Dr. Dobson said he knew the person who had led Mr. Trump to Christ, though he did not name him.

“I don’t know when it was, but it has not been long,” Dr. Dobson said. “I…

One of Asia’s most abusive armies now deploys armed drones

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[Drones acquired from China, to aid in Buddhist oppression. The thing that still disappoints me more than anything is the continuing hard-hearted response of one of my former heros: Burma leader Aung San Suu Kyi bans use of Rohingya name for oppressed Muslims. *RON*]
Patrick Winn, Global Post / PRI, 21 June 2016

In 2016, practically no nation is too impoverished or dysfunctional to acquire killer flying robots.

Case in point: Myanmar. The war-ravaged nation is now believed to own a dozen-odd drones armed with laser-guided missiles.

The assumed target of these sophisticated contraptions? Mountain-dwelling rebels who trudge through jungle mud with banged-up, black market M-16s.

This is the new normal in guerrilla warfare around the world. Far beyond Pakistan or Yemen, rebels scurrying around with cheap rifles can be blasted with satellite-guided bombs.

Brexit was not about the EU. It was about Britishness

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[This writer's view seems quite true to me. The Brexit vote was an emotional one - largely mean-spirited - not a rational reaction. This is quite clearly shown by the large numbers of people who, after the Brexit vote, started Googling to ask What is the EU? What is Brexit? Also by the fact that the areas that export the most to the EU (i.e., those who will be hurt most badly) were the strongest Brexit supporters. See also: View from Wales: town showered with EU cash votes to leave EUThere is already a trending hashtag of #Regrexit. The other things I predict we'll see as this evolves is that: a) there will be something approaching another recession in the UK and the EU, b) this will harm the poor far more than the rich, but c) it will be used as a pretext for even more austerity, which will harm the poor all over again. Oh, and d) somebody, somewhere will find a way to blame immigrants and refugees for all this. *RON*]
By Raluca Bejan

IMF warns the US over high poverty

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[Class wars. Even the IMF knows that allowing the 0.1% to ride high on the backs of the poor only works for so long. *RON*]

BBC News, 22 June 2016
The US has been warned about its high poverty rate in the International Monetary Fund's annual assessment of the economy.

The fund said about one in seven people were living in poverty and that it needed to be tackled urgently.

It recommended raising the minimum wage and offering paid maternity leave to women to encourage them to work.

The report also cut the country's growth forecast for 2016 to 2.2% from a previous prediction of 2.4%.

Slower global growth and weaker consumer spending were blamed.

US economic growth slowed to an annual pace of 0.5% during the first three months of the year, down sharply from 1.4% in the last three months of 2015.

100 + reasons the BC Liberals must go

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[No amount of information will change the minds of people who vote for Christy Clark. If you're on the fence for any reason, this information may help you make your mind up about the 2017 election. *RON*]
Laila Yule, No String Attached, updated regularly.

*** Stay tuned for the updated, all new version of this list ( with far more than 100 reasons, all documented) in October 2016. If you have suggestions, please add them to the comments, with a link to the news item, government link to substantiate the reason. ***
While the BC Liberals have always been very good at shouting their real and more often alleged wins, they are by far the masters of spin who smoothly deflect their failures into thin air.

The extent to which they will do this is quite phenomenal.

In the period of time since Christy Clark became premier,her skill as a political chameleon driven to garner votes has not gone un-noticed by the press, nor the voters of B.C.

Thankfully, Brit…

The Shockingly Simple, Surprisingly Cost-Effective Way to End Homelessness

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[There's a simple and cost-effective cure for homelessness - it's called housing. Vancouver has been running a Housing First program for people with both a mental illness and a substance use disorder for years now. *RON*]
Scott Carrier, Mother Jones, March/April 2016 Issue

IT'S EARLY DECEMBER, 10:30 in the morning, and Rene Zepeda is driving a Volunteers of America minivan around Salt Lake City, looking for reclusive homeless people, those camping out next to the railroad tracks or down by the river or up in the foothills. The winter has been unseasonably warm so far—it's 60 degrees today—but the cold weather is coming and the van is stacked with sleeping bags, warm coats, thermal underwear, socks, boots, hats, hand warmers, protein bars, nutrition drinks, canned goods. By the end of the day, Rene says, it will all be gone.

These supplies make life a little easier for people who live outside, but Rene's main goal is to develo…

Court chides KPMG, CRA for delay in Isle of Man tax dodge case

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[Plutocratic justice. Four YEARS ago, CBC handed a list of tax dodgers over to the Canada Revenue Agency. Foot-dragging, much? A deal between 2 sides to extend deadlines 'not acceptable,' Federal Court says. "Last year, lawyers for CRA and KPMG admitted they had been having out-of-court discussions. It was later revealed the agency had made a secret amnesty offer to KPMG's wealthy clients, which offered them a 'no penalties' deal to pay the back taxes owing and some modest interest." RON*]

By Harvey Cashore, Kimberly Ivany, Priscilla Hwang, CBC News, 15 June 2016
Related Stories
KPMG insiders warned offshore tax scheme could violate Canadian law
How Canada's richest were told to hide their money from their ex-spouses
Canadian law firm endorsed KPMG Isle of Man tax dodge
Gag order on KPMG-related testimony in Ottawa angers tax experts

External Links
Court's letter to KPMG, CRA
KPMG's letter to court
(Note: CBC doe…

Fully Loaded: Inside the World of America's 10 Biggest Gunmakers

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[Quite the subculture. They manage quite successfully to keep stories about themselves out of the news as a rule. *RON*]
Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones, April 2016

They are all white, all middle-aged, and all men. A few live openly lavish lifestyles, but the majority fly under the radar. Rarely is there news about them in the mainstream media or even the trade press. Their obscurity would seem unremarkable if we were talking about the biggest manufacturers of auto accessories or heating systems. But these are America's top gunmakers—leaders of the nation's most controversial industry. They have kept their heads down and their fingerprints off regulations designed to protect their businesses—foremost a law that shields gun companies from liability for crimes committed with their products.

With this investigation, Mother Jones set out to break through the opacity surrounding the $8 billion firearms industry and the men who control it. While th…

Why Venezuela is a nightmare right now

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[The answer is pretty simple: betting the farm on oil production. A lesson here for Canada, one that typically falls on deaf ears. See also: 87% of Venezuelans say they don't have money to buy enough food. *RON*]

Linette Lopez, Business Insider, 21 June 2016

It's hard to say when things went from bad, to worse, to nightmarish in Venezuela.

But what we can say is that the nightmare is here.

Reports coming from state-controlled media don't tell half the story. These days, Venezuelans turn to Twitter to report and find seemingly endless instances of violence and looting. Last week, 400 people were arrested after 20 stores were looted in the city of Cumana, a Caribbean coastal town. Venezuelans called it "el Cumanazo."

The watch group Observatory for Violence says there could be as many as 10 lootings a day as desperate people search for everything from toilet paper to rice to detergent to beer. There is little water, and a lack…

European far right hails Brexit vote

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[Every right-wing racist whack-job in Europe is out dancing in the streets. Marion LePen: "Now it's France's turn!" Front National leader Marine Le Pen says Britain has begun a movement that cannot be stopped. *RON*]
Angelique Chrisafis, The Guardian, 24 June 2016
Europe’s far-right parties have rejoiced at the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, hailing it as a victory for their own anti-immigration and anti-EU stances and vowing to push for similar referendums in countries such as France, the Netherlands and Denmark.

France’s Front National (FN) hailed Brexit as a clear boost for Marine Le Pen’s presidential bid next spring, as well as a move that gave momentum to the party’s anti-Europe and anti-immigration line.
“Victory for Freedom! As I have been asking for years, we must now have the same referendum in France and EU countries,” Le Pen wrote on Twitter. — Florian Philippot (@f_philippot)June 24, 2016 La liberté des peupl…

Donald Trump in Scotland: 'Brexit a great thing'

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["Mr Trump's words carry some weight, given that shortly after Mr Cameron leaves Downing Street, he could be moving in to the Oval Office." *RON*]

BBC News, 24 June 2016

Donald Trump says the UK vote to leave the EU is "a good thing" as he lands in Scotland
US presidential hopeful Donald Trump has said it is a "great thing" that the people of the UK have "taken back their country" in voting to leave the EU.

His comments came as he arrived at Trump Turnberry for the reopening of the refurbished Open venue golf resort.

Mr Trump added his name to the Ayrshire hotel and golf course after buying the resort for an undisclosed fee in 2014.

Comedian Simon Brodkin later disrupted Mr Trump's news conference by waving golf balls with a swastika on them.

Brexit: Scotland and N Ireland reconsider ties to UK

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[Nationalist leaders in both Scotland and Northern Ireland ponder independence referendums following Brexit. See also: Brexit: 'Surge' in searches on Irish passports, says Google. *RON*]

Al Jazeera and agencies, Al Jazeera, 24 June 2016

A second Scottish independence referendum is "highly likely" and should take place before Britain leaves the European Union, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

Scotland voted to stay in the EU by 62 to 38 percent in a referendum on Thursday, putting it at odds with the United Kingdom as a whole, which voted 52-48 in favour of leaving.

"It is a statement of the obvious that the option of a second independence referendum must be on the table and is on the table," Sturgeon told a news conference on Friday.

"As things stand, Scotland faces the prospect of being taken out of the EU against her will. I regard that as democratically unacceptable," she added.

"I thin…

Britain's financial sector reels after Brexit bombshell

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["...the future of Britain's financial services industry is now hanging in the balance... work to establish fresh terms of trade with European and global partners [will be] 'complex and time consuming...' the Sterling fell to its lowest level since 1985... 'Leave's victory has delivered one of the biggest market shocks of all time ... Panic may not be too strong a word...', 'the reality is much, much starker, we'll have a crash and big layoffs... It's an act of national self-harm." Also: Wall St. slides after shock Brexit vote.*RON*]
Sinead CruiseAndrew MacAskill & Lawrence White, Reuters, 24 June 2016

Britain's 2.2 million financial industry workers face years of uncertainty and the risk of thousands of job cuts after the country voted to quit the European Union, leaving question marks over London's status as Europe's premier financial center.

The 'Vote Leave' campaign front…

EU’s Article 50 could become first Brexit stand-off

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[On some of the mechanics of Brexit, and debate over the same. The so-called exit clause establishes the balance of power for divorce talks. *RON*]

Alex Barker, Financial Times, 24 June 2016
There is one formal route out of the EU: Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. This so-called exit clause is highly contentious and may become the subject of the first stand-off between Brussels and Brexit Britain.

The article establishes the balance of power for divorce talks. It lays down the voting rules for deciding how to part ways, and sets a two-year deadline on talks that can only be extended by a unanimous decision of the other 27 EU countries.

So while starting the formal break-up process is in Britain’s hands, a decision on how and when to end it would not be. For this reason, before formal divorce talks start, Britain would want assurances about future trade arrangements or transition to avoid a Brexit hard-landing.

This is partly why David Cameron, the d…