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Showing posts from February, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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How the next federal budget might change the game on income inequality

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[Nervous rumours are flying on the part of the 1% - it will be interesting how it actually turns out. "Influential economist David Rosenberg is warning of a 'soak the rich' budget this spring. Many business leaders will recoil—but not all of them. Here’s why." *RON*]

Kevin Carmichael, Canadian Business, 22 February 2017 
Bay Street star David Rosenberg, known for his forecasting skills, made the news last week by spreading rumours. The Globe and Mail reported on February 16 that Rosenberg, famous for predicting the U.S. housing bust, told his followers that he had heard that Finance Minister Bill Morneau is planning to “soak the rich” in his next budget by raising taxes on capital gains. “It is a classic move to make everyone poorer, cloaked under the veil of redressing income inequality,” Rosenberg said in Breakfast with Dave, a tipsheet for which Rosenberg’s employer, Gluskin Sheff + Associates, charges $1,000 for an annual su…

Pope suggests 'better to be atheist than hypocritical Catholic'

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[The Church hierarchy must just loathe him; far too Christian for their tastes! *RON*]
Philip Pullella, Reuters, 26 February 2017

Pope Francis delivered another criticism of some members of his own Church on Thursday, suggesting it is better to be an atheist than one of "many" Catholics who he said lead a hypocritical double life.

In improvised comments in the sermon of his private morning Mass in his residence, he said: "It is a scandal to say one thing and do another. That is a double life."

CIA Spied French Elections

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[Here again, this story is dead on arrival with the press, yet imaginary interference by Russia in US elections may lead to World War III. *RON*]

Payman Supervizer, Huffington Post, 17 February 2017

After accusations of intervention and manipulation during the American elections against Russia it is ironic that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) and the United States European Command (USEUCOM) already spied on France in their 2012 elections. Targets have been all parties and their leaders.

Based on the CIA documents published by Wikileaks on February 16, 2017 the

Pablo Escobar’s Son Reveals His Dad “Worked for the CIA Selling Cocaine” — Media Silent

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[Another one of those stories that has been totally ignored by the mainstream media. *RON*]
Claire BernishThe Free Thought Project / Global Research, 23 February 2017

Juan Pablo Escobar Henao, son of notorious Medellín cartel drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar, now says his father “worked for the CIA.”

In a new book, “Pablo Escobar In Fraganti,” Escobar, who lives under the pseudonym, Juan Sebastián Marroquín, explains his “father worked for the CIA selling cocaine to finance the fight against Communism in Central America.”

“The drug business is very different than what we dreamed,” he continues. “What the CIA was doing was buying the controls to get the drug into their country and getting a wonderful deal.”

Farage wants MP fired after failing in knighthood bid

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[Unseemly infighting over imagined blow to Nigel Farage's ego. 😁 *RON*]

Sam Coates, The Times, 28 February 2017

Nigel Farage has called for Ukip’s only MP to be thrown out of the party after he failed to secure the former leader a knighthood.

Mr Farage said that Douglas Carswell, the Clacton MP, had “little future” in the party and had “sought to split and divide Ukip in every way imaginable” since defecting from the Conservatives in 2014.

The long-simmering feud between the pair burst into the open last night after leaked emails suggested that Mr Carswell had made a quip after Mr Farage failed to secure a knighthood.


Want millennial voters? Conservatives must change, researchers say

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[All of the big three political parties openly operate this way now; but that doesn't make it any better. The Cons are essentially saying: "Of course we hate the transgendered and immigrants, but how can we sound different long enough to get voted in?" See also: O'Leary advisers say voters aged 18-24 key to winning Conservative leadership. *RON*]

Janyce McGregor, CBC News, 25 February 2017

Researchers brought a sobering message to the annual convention of the right-leaning Manning Centre Friday: most voters under 35 aren't connecting with the conservative movement, and if it wants to reach them, more than just messaging needs to change.

Making Conservative policies more relevant to millennials — a younger demographic not consistently defined, but most often referring to voters under 35 — has preoccupied a federal party that doesn't want to sit on the Opposition bench for very long. Under interim leader Rona Ambrose, th…

Warned to leave, Kansas shooting victim refused to abandon the ‘country he loved,’ his wife said

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[Trump-driven murderous hatred and the end of the American Dream. Where are your tweets now, Donald? *RON*]

Avi Selk, Washington Post / National Post, 25 February 2017
Before Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s death in a possible hate crime, his family warned him about the dangers of remaining in the United States.

His wife was unsure whether they should stay, even as they planned to start a family in Kansas. “I told him many times we should think about going back (to India),” Sunayana Dumala said at a news conference Friday.

And yet, Dumala said, Kuchibhotla was not fearful. He refused to abandon “the country he loved.”

More families are struggling with poverty in Boston’s affluent suburbs

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[Guillotine watch. Busing the peasants to Versailles. *RON*]

Katie Johnston, Boston Globe, 18 February 2017
Many suburbs around Boston are known for their good schools, picturesque downtowns, and steady stream of residents commuting to well-paid jobs in the city. But interspersed in this idyllic landscape is a growing number of families struggling to get by.

The number of low-income children in many affluent communities is rising at a much faster rate than it is statewide, in some cases doubling over the past decade. Wealthy communities such as Sudbury, Winchester, Hopkinton, Hingham, and Littleton have at least twice as many needy students in their schools as they did 10 years ago, according to an analysis of state data by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council done for the Globe. Other moneyed areas with significant increases in their population of needy students include Wellesley, Duxbury, Lexington, Needham, Belmont, and Westwood.

Le Pen Refuses to Be Questioned by French Police on EU Expenses

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[Nationalist says she won’t be interviewed before election. French police issued non-binding summons to Le Pen Wednesday. *RON*]
Helene Fouquet, Gaspard Sebag & Geraldine Amiel, Bloomberg, 24 February 2017


Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen refused to be interviewed by police investigating her use of a European parliamentary allowance to pay for party work in France.

Le Pen rejected a non-binding summons from French investigators on Wednesday, the prosecutors’ office said, confirming an earlier report in Le Monde newspaper.

When Climate Change Starts Wars

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[Rising temperatures are bringing ethnic tensions to a boil in Central Asia. *RON*]

John Wendle, Nautilus, 16 Fenruary 2017

The Kyrgyz soldier stepped quietly out of the dark green bushes and swung his Kalashnikov rifle in the direction of our car. Another emerged and did the same. Their checkpoint was a skinny log dragged across a broken asphalt road heading toward an ethnic Uzbek village and the disputed waters of the Kasan-sai, a reservoir that irrigates the agricultural heartland of the ancient Fergana Valley. With a sleepy shake of his head, the special forces sergeant waved his rifle and made us turn our beat-up Mitsubishi around. “There won’t be any fighting here,” the sergeant said.
At least not today. The quiet of the hot September afternoon was unbroken as we turned around and slowly ground off through the heat. Driving back the way we came through the parched foothills on the edge of the western Tian Shan range, a spur of the Himalay…

Biologists say half of all species could be extinct by end of century

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[Scientists at Vatican conference are searching for a solution to the manmade ‘major extinction event’. *RON*]

Robin McKie, The Guardian, 26 February 2017
One in five species on Earth now faces extinction, and that will rise to 50% by the end of the century unless urgent action is taken. That is the stark view of the world’s leading biologists, ecologists and economists who will gather on Monday to determine the social and economic changes needed to save the planet’s biosphere.

“The living fabric of the world is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring,” say the organisers of the Biological Extinction conference held at the Vatican this week.

Today's Trumpery

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The United States Used Depleted Uranium in Syria

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[Why has this story gotten so little press attention? *RON*]
Samuel Oakford, Foreign Policy, 14 February 2017

Officials have confirmed that the U.S. military, despite vowing not to use depleted uranium weapons on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria, fired thousands of rounds of the munitions during two high-profile raids on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled Syria in late 2015. The air assaults mark the first confirmed use of this armament since the 2003 Iraq invasion, when it was used hundreds of thousands of times, setting off outrage among local communities, which alleged that its toxic material caused cancer and birth defects.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman Maj. Josh Jacques told Airwars and Foreign Policy that 5,265 armor-piercing 30 mm rounds containing depleted uranium (DU) were shot from Air Force A-10 fixed-wing aircraft on Nov. 16 and Nov. 22, 2015, destroying about 350 vehicles in the country’s eastern desert.

Response to Tom Perez Election

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["The Democratic Party is unwilling and unable to reform itself... demonstrates an arrogant refusal to even acknowledge the problems that sent the party's base streaming toward the exits... has learned no lessons from its catastrophic defeat." See also: Democrats choose Tom Perez as party chairman. *RON*]

Jill Stein, Jill Stein 2016 Web Site, 26 February 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jill Stein Responds to Election of Tom Perez to DNC Chair

Jill Stein, 2016 Green Party Presidential candidate, made the following statement after Tom Perez won the election for chair of the Democratic National Committee:

“The election of establishment insider Tom Perez as DNC chair confirms yet again what so many have been thinking: the Democratic Party is unwilling and unable to reform itself.

After the blatant corruption of the 2016 election where the DNC sabotaged the Bernie Sanders campaign to clear the way for Hillary Clinton, for party elites to select a…

Here Comes the Police State: New Laws Aim for Brutal Crackdown on Protest

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[Many nasty people will spend the next four years tearing down as much as they possibly can. Draconian bills are advancing at state level under cover of Trump's "law and order" platform. See also: Arizona bill would bring stricter penalties for rioters ("rioters," aka protesters). *RON*]
Sarah LazareAlterNet, 24 February 2017

The rise of right-wing populism in the United States—from the White House to state legislatures—has been met with public resistance on a stunning scale. Millions have taken to the streets, staged direct actions and flooded airports to resist a flurry of presidential decrees targeting undocumented, black, refugee, LGBTQ and poor communities. And long before Trump took the White House, the Black Lives Matter movement and indigenous water protectors at Standing Rock were leading the way with sustained mobilizations in the face of staggering repression.

35 Native American Tribes File Lawsuit Against Energy Transfer Partners

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[The protesters have been removed from the DAPL site, but now they are heading for the courts. The Navajo Nation will continue to stand alongside other Native American tribes who face environmental injustice and threats of encroachment on sacred lands. *RON*]

White Wolf Pack via Native News Online, 25 February 2017

On Wednesday, February 22, 2017, the Navajo Nation filed an amicus brief in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia with 34 Federally Recognized Indian Tribes against the Lake Oahe Easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“The federal government must be held accountable for its treaty obligation and in good faith must upholds nation-to-nation relationship with all tribes, including the Navajo Nation,” commented Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye. “We expect nothing less.”

In granting of the Lake Oahe Easement, the U.S. Army Corps violated fundamental trust duties.…

Many paddles, one canoe: Climate leaders gather in Vancouver to resist Kinder Morgan

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[It's a fund-raiser for their court case: I bought a ticket (see link to tickets below). Bill McKibben is coming to Vancouver March 4th, where he’ll be speaking alongside Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and other community leaders. If you need a sense of urgency, see also: Kinder Morgan serves notice to landowners on pipeline route. *RON*]
Andrea Palframan, Vancouver Observer, 24 February 2017

There’s a legend, told by Tsleil-Waututh hereditary Chief George Sla-holt, about a time when the world was slowly being flooded. To escape, Sla-holt told ethnographer Pauline Johnson, the people of Burnaby Inlet built a huge canoe: “the most stupendous canoe the world has ever known.”

For months, the men carved a giant cedar while the women worked to braid cedar bark into a rope large enough to hold the canoe against rising tides. As the waters rose, the canoe was piled with provisions.

Today's Trumpery

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Canada's Trudeau pressured to tackle problem of asylum-seekers

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[Canada's policy under a Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement is to turn back refugees if they make claims at border crossings. *RON*]

Andrea Hopkins &David Ljunggren, Reuters, 23 February 2017

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came under increasing pressure on Thursday to deal with asylum seekers illegally crossing into Canada from the United States to avoid a crackdown by the administration of President Donald Trump.

Trudeau, who stresses that Canada welcomes refugees, has so far avoided political fallout with Trump. The two talked on the phone about the border and other issues on Thursday but neither government gave many details of the conversation.

The Meaning of Kim Jong Nam's Murder

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[If he was responsible for killing his half-brother, Kim Jong Un may have unwittingly underlined the fact to his people that the Kims are mere mortals, too - puncturing the myth of the Kims' holy bloodline. *RON*]

Suki Kim, The Atlantic, 24 February 2017

As the first son of Kim Jong Il, the late leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Jong Nam always posed a threat to Kim Jong Un, his half brother and North Korea’s current leader. Before falling out of favor with his father and going into exile soon after, paving the way for Kim Jong Un’s ascent, Kim Jong Nam was the heir apparent. With the execution in 2013 of Jang Sung Tak, the second in command and the eldest son’s staunchest supporter, Kim Jong Nam was unprotected, with little hope of ever returning home.

Israel says no more visas for 'biased' HRW staff

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[Israeli authorities reject Human Rights Watch request for work permit, accusing it of having a 'pro-Palestinian' agenda. *RON*]

News Agencies, Al Jazeera, 24 February 2017

Israeli has refused to issue a visa for a senior Human Rights Watch staff member, accusing the US-based rights group of pro-Palestinian bias and saying it will no longer grant visas to its staff.

HRW said on Friday that its Israel and Palestine Director Omar Shakir, a US citizen, had received a rejection letter on February 20, months after an application for the permit was submitted by the group on his behalf.

The Israeli foreign ministry said that the organisation was "not a real human rights group", with a foreign ministry spokesman calling it "fundamentally biased" with a "hostile agenda".

Conservatives predict 'real war' with environmentalists

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[Alt-reality. They're talking about the religion of environmentalism and the cult of recycling, that the government is full of fake statistics and the media full of fake news. "They are the scumbags. We are the good guys. Thank goodness, thanks to Donald Trump, the tide's turned, and we are about to witness that." *RON*]

Amanda Reilly, E&E News, 23 February 2017
People who question the science of climate change today told conservative activists they were looking forward to using their bigger platform during the Trump administration to roll back U.S. EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, a panel of prominent global warming skeptics said one of their top targets was the Obama administration's 2009 endangerment finding, the basis for EPA's greenhouse gas regulations.

A German Clash over Trump's NATO Demands

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[Trump's demand that NATO member states pay their fair share has turned into a political hot potato ahead of this year's German elections. But the debate ignores an interesting fact: The German military is in a terrible state. *RON*]

Konstantin von Hammerstein, Spiegel, 24 February 2017
It was really nothing more than a test. Sigmar Gabriel was standing at the lectern inside the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich for his first appearance at the Munich Security Conference in his new role as German foreign minister. And he looked terrible. He was sick and had cancelled many of his appointments, but nevertheless decided not to forego his speech and the Security Conference. He wanted to toss a fly into the NATO soup.

Manning Conference 2017: Conservatives Gather At Annual Event

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[Interesting times when Preston Manning becomes a voice of reason in Canadian politics. *RON*]
Stephanie Levitz, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 24 February 2017
OTTAWA — The man who once successfully harnessed populist sentiment in Canada into political success is warning of what's at stake if today's political leadership fails to do so.

Preston Manning, founder of the Reform party, says the greatest challenge facing political leaders is that people are becoming increasingly disenchanted with government, mainstream media and politics.

He says if there are manifestations of Trumpmania in Canada, the way to fend it off is not Trumphobia.

Trudeau's torture policies no different than Trump's

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[As has become business as usual for the Trudeau government, there is a "yawning gap between its lofty rhetoric and its actual policies." Read, especially the section on "Goodale refuses to rescind torture memos." *RON*]
Matthew Behrens, rabble.ca, 24 February 2017
The Trudeau government suffers from an acute case of cognitive dissonance, either failing to see (or cynically not caring about) the yawning gap between its lofty rhetoric and its actual policies. While a case can be made that this dissonance is apparent on many issues -- Indigenous rights, climate change, women's rights, poverty, racism, refugees and immigrants, electoral reform -- too many Canadians overlook the broken promises and embrace Trudeau simply because he is not Stephen Harper and, more recently, Donald Trump.

This allows folks like Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to get away with remarkable statements like his recent pronouncement that:

Trudeau's Claim That CETA Works For Everyone Contains 'Some Baloney'

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[A neoliberal "win". Academic studies predict 23,000 job losses in Canada and 200,000 job losses in the EU. Average annual earnings would decline by almost $2,500. Benefits will accrue disproportionately to upper income earners, leaving working class people behind. *RON*]
Jordan Press, Canadian Press  / Huffington Post, 23 February 2017
OTTAWA — "At its heart, CETA is a framework for trade that works for everyone.'' — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Sometimes, politicians can say just enough to let the words mean anything to anyone.

Today's Trumpery

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[A daily pastiche of Trumpisms and responses thereto. There were more than 500 stories on Trump in my news feed this morning. *RON*]


Yes, Trump's Aide Really Did Throw "White Power" Sign, Daily KOS [Unreal.]

Trump Says He’ll Build More Nukes; Jeff Sessions Says Yes to Private Prisons, Moyers & Company

Trump’s response to racist shooting in Kansas: silence, Think Progress

Reince Priebus Asked the FBI to Assure Reporters There Was Nothing to the Russia Story. They Refused. Mother Jones

The President of Our Dreams, Russia in Global Affairs

Trump broke 64 promises in his first month in office, Think Progress

The Horrifying Starvation of Yemen Continues

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[Gosh, why on earth do so many 'terrorists' come from Yemen? *RON*]
Daniel Larison, American Conservative, 22 February 2017
The horrifying conditions in Yemen continue to get worse:

Seven million Yemenis are closer than ever to starvation, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the country warned Tuesday, almost two years since a conflict escalated between the government and rebels.

“Seven million Yemenis do not know where their next meal will come from and are ever closer to starvation” in a country of 27 million people, Jamie McGoldrick said.

As Canada Transforms, an Anti-Immigrant Fringe Stirs

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[These groups have always existed here and they've always constituted a tiny fringe element, but I imagine that post-Trump they are emboldened to speak out a bit more and the media is probably searching them out for stories. *RON*]

Craig S. Smith & Dan Levin, New York Times, 31 January 2017

TORONTO — François Deschamps stepped out of his apartment building in the Limoilou neighborhood of Quebec City recently and stopped when he saw a sticker wrapped around a light pole.

“Burn Your Local Mosque,” it read, around a silhouette of a Turkish-style mosque against an orange flame. He snapped a cellphone photo and added it to his collection of anti-Muslim propaganda popping up around the city.

Today's Trumpery

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If Trudeau Really Blames Corporate Elites, Why Did He Sign CETA?

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[Then, with his other hand, he signs away our sovereignty with this kind of crap. The neoliberal "with a heart." *RON*]
Daniel Tencer, Huffington Post, 22 February 2017
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, bedecked in tuxedo and tails, stood before a crowd of some of Europe's richest and most powerful people last week and told them to get in touch with the middle class.

"It's time to pay a living wage, to pay your taxes and give your workers the benefits -- and peace of mind -- that come with stable, full-time contracts," Trudeau told the St. Matthews gala dinner crowd in Hamburg, Germany.

Trudeau wasn't entirely blind to the context of his speech.

Defending the Court Challenges Program

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[On the one hand, Trudeau does stuff like this which, along with reinstating all-Party representation on committees, gives a real boost to Canadian democracy. The program is a powerful symbol of Canadians’ commitment to our Constitution. *RON*]
Carissima Mathen,Kyle Kirkup, Policy Options, 22 February 2017

After much anticipation, the federal government has announced the reinstatement of the Court Challenges Program. Set to cost $12 million over five years, the CCP will assist Canadians with legal challenges to advance and protect their Charter rights. The decision is a welcome one.

The program’s history spans some 40 years. It was introduced in skeletal form in 1978, applying only to minority language rights. In 1985, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney extended it to equality rights challenges to federal laws. Mulroney ended the Program in 1992, but the Liberals under Jean Chrétien resurrected it two years later.

After coming to power in 2006, Prime M…

Outside coastal cities an ‘other America’ has different values and challenges

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[The class losers of neoliberalism. I don't think this surprises anyone - everyone believes this was a major factor in the election of Donald Trump. Although Anthony, interviewed here, has a different take: "Most people in this neighborhood sat idle. We didn’t have a dog in this fight." In any case, beyond the bubbles of the big cities and elite college campuses is an America that has faced a downward trajectory for decades. *RON*]
Chris Arnade, The Guardian, 21 February 2017

Anthony Rice’s house in Youngstown, Ohio is a mile away from a river valley once filled with factories offering jobs. Many of those left in the 1980s, and with them, many residents.

His home is one of the few occupied on the street. Empty lots or boarded-up homes make up most of the block. He points to those remaining, listing his neighbors and their age. They are all over 70. “This neighborhood is okie-dokie, although not much goes down here”, he says. “Stores …

Ireland's Brexit Meltdown

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[Great fear in Ireland of what effect Brexit will have on them; they are strong advocates for a soft Brexit. I have no idea what the photo below has to do with this story! *RON*]
Charlie Cooper, Politico, 22 February 2017

DUBLIN — Forget about the Brexit upside. Just weeks before British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to pull the trigger that begins divorce negotiations, Dublin is convinced that Britain’s departure from the EU will be disastrous and is desperate for the rest of Europe not to forget its plight.

The turning point was May’s admission that Britain intended to leave the single market and probably the customs union, delivered in a speech at Lancaster House in London in January, which set out the prime minister’s vision for a United Kingdom outside the EU.

No One Can Figure Out What's Behind a Mysterious Radiation Spike Across Europe

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[Short answer: It appears to be linked to pharmaceutical manufacture in Eastern Europe. Very similar to an incident from 2011. *RON*
BEC Crew, Science Alert, 21 February 2017
Small amounts of nuclear radiation spread across Europe last month, and no one can figure out why.

First detected over the Norway-Russia border in January, the radioactive Iodine-131 bloom was then found over several European countries, and while unsubstantiated rumours of nuclear testing by Russia have been cropping up, officials say it's most likely linked to an unreported pharmaceutical mishap.

While the radiation spike happened in January, officials in Finland and Francehave only just gone public with information on the incident, announcing that after the spike was detected in Norway, it appeared in Finland, Poland, Czechia (Czech Republic), Germany, France and Spain, until the end of January.

Today's Trumpery

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[A daily pastiche of Trumpisms and responses thereto. *RON*]


Rep. Marsha Blackburn Besieged By Boos At Tennessee Town Hall, Huffington Post
Does he really want the job? It won’t be smooth sailing for Trump’s new national security adviser, news.com.au [Now I read that McMaster is anti-Russian]
Democratic Socialists make headway in U.S. after Trump's win, Reuters [A way in for Bernie or just more polarization?]
Holding Trump Accountable, The New Yorker [The only people with leverage over him won't use it]
Hundreds Form 'Human Wall' in Mexico to Protest Trump, Common Dreams
With Mulvaney in Place, Budget Office Preps 'Hit List' on Public Programs, Common Dreams

No place like home: America’s eviction epidemic

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[Trump will do nothing to make this better and will most likely make things worse. Soaring rents and low wages have hit the poorest families in the US hard. Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond introduces an extract from his heartbreaking book about the crisis. *RON*]

Matthew Desmond, The Guardian, 12 February 2017

Q&A with Matthew Desmond: ‘It’s a problem we need to hate more’
Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare enough to draw crowds. Eviction riots erupted during the Depression, even though the number of poor families who faced eviction each year was a fraction of what it is today. A New York Times account of community resistance to the eviction of three Bronx families in February 1932 observed: “Probably because of the cold, the crowd numbered only 1,000.” Sometimes neighbours confronted the marshals directly, sitting on the evicted family’s furniture to prevent its removal or moving the family back …

How Women's Studies Erased Black Women

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[One reason Hillary failed. *RON*]
Erin Blakemore, JSTOR Daily, 11 February 2017

For many, a single photo defined the Women’s March on Washington: an image of three blond, texting white women standing behind a woman of color who holds a sign that reads “Don’t forget: White women voted for Trump.” The viral image sums up the concerns that the largely white march appropriated the labor of black women. Though the photo’s subject occupies the foreground, she is, in effect, hidden from the other, white participants of the march—an experience that is echoed by the ways in which black women were erased from early Women’s Studies.

The Deadly Reality of Construction Work

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[Why the Trump administration will eventually decide is just loves immigrants - they form a cheap, unregulated, disposable labour pool. *RON*]
Michael Arria, In These Times, 17 February 2017

Construction worker deaths are rising in New York and Latinos are especially at risk.

That’s according to a new report, released last month, by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH). Between 2006-2015, at least 464 construction workers died while on the job in New York. The study also found safety violations at more than 68 percent of construction site inspections. The penalties for such infractions are small.

Released in the shadow of Donald Trump’s controversial executive orders on immigration, the report identifies the specific vulnerabilities of being a Latino construction worker. While Latinos made up just 30 percent of the construction workforce in 2015, they accounted for 57 percent of the fatalities due to falls.

U.S. carrier group patrols in tense South China Sea

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[The saber-rattling grows apace though, in and among the random swivels that characterize Trump's foreign policy, it's also beginning to look like he might be preferring China over Russia at this point. See also: China finishing South China Sea buildings that could house missiles - U.S. officials; ASEAN unsettled by China weapon systems, tension in South China Sea. *RON*]
Matthew Tostevin, Reuters, 18 February 2017
A United States aircraft carrier strike group has begun patrols in the South China Sea amid growing tension with China over control of the disputed waterway and concerns it could become a flashpoint under the new U.S. administration.

China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday warned Washington against challenging its sovereignty in the South China Sea.

Homeland Security unveils sweeping plan to deport undocumented immigrants

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[He's kept the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) program. See the original article to view the government documents involved. *RON*]
Alan Gomez , USA Today, 21 February 2017

The Department of Homeland Security issued a sweeping set of orders Tuesday that implement President Trump's plan to increase immigration enforcement, placing the vast majority of the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation.

The memos instruct all agents — including Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — to identify, capture and quickly deport every undocumented immigrant they encounter.

The memos require undocumented immigrants caught entering the country to be placed in detention until their cases are resolved, increase the ability of local police to help in immigration enforcement, call for the hiring of 10,000 more immigration agents and allow planning to begin on an exp…

Today's Trumpery

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[A daily pastiche of Trumpisms and responses thereto. *RON*]


Trump names H.R. McMaster as national security adviser, CBC [Apparently an interesting choice, described as a thoughtful outsider, careful thinker, with an analytic mind]

Nationwide 'Not My President's Day' rallies continue protests against Donald Trump, ABC News

Liberal voters warn Democratic officials: resist Trump or be replaced, The Guardian

Warning: Canada is not what you think it is, Al Jazeera

Stepping Away from Microscopes, Thousands Protest War on Science, Common Dreams

Senior Trump Appointee Fired After Critical Comments, Associated Press

Shocking extent of Greece’s poverty revealed as EU-enforced austerity cripples nation

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[Neoliberal poster child. The economic situation in Greece is worsening despite massive bailout funds from the European Union with 22.2 percent of the population now "severely materially deprived", according to the research. *RON*]
Jon Rogers, The Express, 21 February 2017

While Greece is not the worst European country for poverty levels - Romania and Bulgaria are worse - the Mediterranean nation is not far behind as third worse, according to figures released by Eurostat.

Across EU countries, poverty levels are falling since 2008, down from 8.5 percent to 8.1 percent in 2015 but Greece’s situation is worsening rather than improving and has nearly doubled in the same period.

Over 75 per cent of households suffered a significant income reduction last year, a survey by business confederation GSEVEE and Marc pollsters found.

Bodies of 74 migrants heading to Europe wash up in Libya

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[This while we also start to see the real face of Canada: 1 in 4 Canadians want Trump-style travel ban, poll suggests. *RON*]

Maggie Michael, Associated Press / CTV News, 21 February 2017
CAIRO -- At least 74 bodies of African migrants have washed ashore in western Libya, the Libyan Red Crescent said Tuesday, the latest tragedy at sea along a perilous but increasingly popular trafficking route to Europe.

The bodies were found near the western Libyan city of Zawiya on Monday, Red Crescent spokesman Mohammed al-Misrati told The Associated Press, adding that he feared more might surface. He said a torn rubber boat, the kind that usually carry up to 120 people, was found nearby.

The Red Crescent's branch in Zawiya said there are bodies still floating out at sea but it has no means to retrieve them.


Pathetic education funding announcement adds up to about half a textbook per student

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[ELECTION BC 2017!! They're basically returning a fraction of what they took away. Critics and teachers quickly pointed out that government's February 19 announcement of less than $50 per student for classroom supplies won't go far enough to make up for years of cuts under the B.C. Liberal government. *RON*]
Patti Bacchus, Vancouver Observer, 20 February 2017

It says something about Christy Clark’s public education record when government thinks kids getting a new textbook (actually probably about half a textbook given today’s prices) is worthy of a news release. Because — sadly — it is. That’s how low this government has sunk when it comes to education funding.

The Real Reason You Can’t Afford a Home

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[Via my friend Richard. A good illustration of a concrete result of the reliance of the economy on non-value-adding financial activities as opposed to real production. Some good reader comments accompany the original article. *RON*]

Geoff Dembicki, TheTyee.ca, 20 February 2017

In cities like Vancouver only a privileged few can afford to own a home. The rent that the rest of us have to pay is going up all the time. The shops, restaurants and gathering spots that give our neighbourhoods life are turning into pricey boutiques and luxury high-rises. And nobody seems to understand why. We blame the new art gallery in a low-income area. The hip coffee shop that follows. The developer who buys up all the surrounding property. Or the foreign buyers who snap up the new condo units before they’re even built. In our confusion, we often blame ourselves.

Life changes you, 60-year study finds

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[I'll take this as a hopeful sign: it's never too late to improve yourself! :-) *RON*]

Rosemary Bennett, The Times, 21 February 2017
Perseverance, stability, conscientiousness: character traits that, once instilled, will last a lifetime.

Not according to a groundbreaking study spanning six decades, which discovered that personalities change “beyond recognition” between adolescence and old age as life takes its toll.

In the longest such study conducted, researchers from the University of Edinburgh found that personal qualities they assumed were innate altered greatly between the ages of 14 and 77.

Today's Trumpery

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How a Ruthless Network of Super-Rich Ideologues Killed Choice and Destroyed People’s Faith in Politics

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["Neoliberalism: the deep story that lies beneath Donald Trump’s triumph" Hey Richard - I finally remembered to post it! :-) Are you going to Friends of Chamber Music tonight? *RON*]

George Monbiot, Evonomics, 18 February 2017


The events that led to Donald Trump’s election started in England in 1975. At a meeting a few months after Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Conservative party, one of her colleagues, or so the story goes, was explaining what he saw as the core beliefs of conservatism. She snapped open her handbag, pulled out a dog-eared book, and slammed it on the table. “This is what we believe,” she said. A political revolution that would sweep the world had begun.

The book was The Constitution of Liberty by Frederick Hayek. Its publication, in 1960, marked the transition from an honest, if extreme, philosophy to an outright racket. The philosophy was called neoliberalism. It saw competition as the defining characteristic of…

Microbes survived inside giant cave crystals for up to 50,000 years

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[Just a very cool thing... Extremophiles hint at possible resilience of life beyond Earth. *RON*]
Ashley Yeager, Science News, 18 February 2017
BOSTON — Microbes found stowed inside giant crystals in caves in Chihuahua, Mexico, may have survived there for tens of thousands of years. The microorganisms, which appear to be vastly different from nearly all life-forms found on Earth, offer a good indication of how resilient life can be in extremely harsh environments, including those found on other planets.

“These organisms are so extraordinary,” astrobiologist Penelope Boston said February 17 during a news conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. They are not close to any known genus scientists have been able to identify, said Boston, director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute in Moffett Field, Calif. Their closest relatives live in caves halfway around the world or in volcanic soils or thrive on c…