Showing posts from December 31, 2016

The Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians: Peacekeeping or War Fighting?

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[On the not-so-subtle shift from peace keeping to active warring for the UN. *RON*]
Lise Morjé Howard, Political Violence @ a Glance, 28 December 2016
Peacekeeping was born in the midst of the American civil rights movement and the world-wide tide against colonialism. Ralph Bunche, the first African American to win a Nobel Peace Prize, was one of peacekeeping’s founding fathers. The basic principles of peacekeeping – impartiality, consent of the warring factions, and the use of force only in self-defense – were based on insights from the successful non-violent civil rights and anti-colonial movements of the era, and they remain operational today, according to the UN Department of Peacekeeping’s website.

Why Oil Is the Glue That Bonds Trump and Putin

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[It's a macabre waltz and the oil industry powers are calling the tune. Andrew writes for; nice to see him get broader exposure. *RON*]
By Andrew NikiforukThe Tyee, 30 December 2016

Oil has fueled a bully bromance between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Although this revolutionary union possesses a terrifying petro logic, it promises to be as volatile and tragic as any shotgun marriage. The relationship is, as Trump might well tweet, “unpresidented.”

How, after all, can a president-elect openly admire a foreign leader whose shadowy intelligence apparatus played a significant role in undermining the U.S. election by hacking into the files of the Democratic National Committee?

This dysfunctional story is about oil and carbon. The master resource and its climate destabilizing emissions have arranged the ballroom where Trump and Putin now waltz.

There’s some really good news for low-wage workers this weekend

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[I'm not at all sure how useful this is as a strategic push. To me the real issue is the crapification of jobs, not nickel and dime increases. See also: Why raising the minimum wage in Seattle did little to help workers, according to a new study. *RON*]

By Max Ehrenfreund, Washington Post, 31 December 2016
It has been a difficult year for the left politically, but at least with respect to the minimum wage, progressive activists had major victories — including in a couple of very red states.

As a result, the minimum wage will increase in 19 states as 2016 comes to a close, according to figures compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two more states and the District of Columbia will raise the minimum later in the new year.

Why 2017 will be a make-or-break year for Internet freedom

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[If you'd like to see some campaigns where you can contribute or take action, click here. *RON*]
David Christopher,, Dated 2 January 2017

2017 is here, and it's clear it will be a make-or-break year for Internet freedom. Around the world, our digital rights are under threat as never before. Let's take a look at some of the big challenges ahead.

In Canada, the federal government will soon be publishing its response to the national security consultation that closed in December. It's abundantly clear that Canadians want the government to repeal Bill C-51 and deliver strong privacy rules to make us safe -- but will the government listen, especially against the backdrop of a full-on RCMP propaganda campaign calling for even more invasive spy powers?

It’s not game over. Austria stopped rightwing populism in its tracks

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[Signs of hope. It was to be the last great domino of 2016, but the country showed that victory on the radical right is not inevitable. "Our future does not belong to the Trumps, the Farages or the Le Pens. Hatred can be defeated." See also: The rise of fascism is not inevitable – just look at Bridges Not Walls. *RON*]

Owen Jones. The Guardian, 31 December 2016

In 2016, the tide of rightwing populism has seemed unstoppable. From Britain’s vote to leave the EU after a referendum campaign soaked in foreigner-bashing, to Donald Trump’s elevation to the White House. Britain’s Nigel Farage, France’s Marine Le Pen and the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders were rarely spotted without a smirk etched on their faces.

The last great domino of 2016 was supposed to be Austria. A narrow defeat for the xenophobic right in the second round of the presidential elections in May was annulled, and the Freedom party’s Norbert Hofer looked set to become the first …

China announces ban on ivory trade by end of 2017

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[Great news! As they say, China buys up around 70% of illegal ivory world wide. *RON*]

BBC World News, 30 December 2016

China has announced a ban on all ivory trade and processing activities by the end of 2017.

Conservation groups hailed the decision as "historic" and a "game-changer" for the future of elephants.

The move follows a resolution at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) in South Africa in October.

China has the biggest ivory market in the world - some estimates suggest 70% of the world's trade ends up there.