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Showing posts from September 22, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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Clearing out the garage!

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Paper ballots are back in vogue thanks to Russian hacking fears

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[Nota bene: *RON*]
Elizabeth Weise, CNBC, 20 September 2017 USA Today
Once about as newsworthy as water meters, the voting machines and computers used to record and tally the nation's ballots are suddenly a hot button issue due to mounting evidence Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

According to the FBI, as many as 39 states had their election systems scanned or targeted by Russia. There's no evidence of votes changed. But given the stakes, some state agencies that run elections are trying to curb any further interference prior to mid-term elections in November.

Their tool of choice: Ensuring systems can't be hacked, and if they are, making those breaches immediately obvious. To do this, some are taking the unusual move of rewinding the technological dial, debating measures that would add paper ballots — similar to how many Americans voted before electronic voting started to become widespread in the 1980…

How Big Money Undermined B.C.'s Climate Leadership — and Its Democracy

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["It is a betrayal of the public purpose of democratic institutions, and it weakens trust in government. A more compelling reason to get big money out of politics would be hard to find." *RON*]
Maxwell Cameron, Huffington Post, 21 September 2017
British Columbia has been called the "Wild West of political cash." The BC Liberal Party raised a jaw-dropping $13 million in political donations in 2016 alone, a good deal of which came from the oil and gas industry. But what kind of influence does big money buy? A recent report by Shannon Daub & Zoë Yunker, prepared as part of the Corporate Mapping Project of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, suggests it buys more than access: it buys the opportunity to secretly influence policy in ways that make a mockery of public consultations. Exhibit A for the corporate capture of democratic institutions is BC's "climate leadership" charade.

In 2015, then-B.C. Premier…

Lynn Beyak kicked out of all Senate committees after First Nations remarks

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[She thinks she's in the US and that she has attained her Trump Moment. See Senator calls for Indigenous people to trade status cards for Canadian citizenship. *RON*]
Canadian Press, Global News, 21 September 2017

OTTAWA — Controversial Conservative Sen. Lynn Beyak has been removed from all Senate committees following remarks about First Nations which have been widely condemned.

Beyak remains a member of the Conservative caucus, but has lost her spots on the Senate’s agriculture, defence and transportation committees.
Sen. Larry Smith, the leader of the Conservatives in the Senate, says in a statement today the decision is an internal party matter and Beyak has been given guidelines going forward.

He did not elaborate on those guidelines and says he considers the matter closed.

READ MORE: Senator calls for Indigenous people to trade status cards for Canadian citizenship

Beyak issued a letter earlier this month calling for First Nations people t…

Finance committee chair Wayne Easter defends the privileged, undermines modest tax reforms

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[This kind of plutocracy differs from the Harper government how, exactly? *RON*]
Murray Dobbin, rabble.ca, 22 September 2017

What is it about progressive politicians going to Ottawa only to end up as arrogant and nasty conservatives? My old friend Pam Wallin was one of the kindest people I knew in Regina in the 1970s when she was a member of the Waffle group in the NDP. She turned into one of the nastiest Conservative senators.

And the last encounter I had with Wayne Easter, Liberal finance committee chair, was in 1991 when he (as head of the National Farmers' Union) and I joined other social activists to demonstrate in front of the Reform Party's policy convention in Saskatoon.

Now it seems Mr. Easter is mostly in the news when defending wealthy individuals and big companies who are getting away with blatant tax avoidance -- or advising others how to do so. He is currently doing his best to undermine his own government's modest tax …