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Member since: Wed Oct 7, 2015, 08:51 AM
Number of posts: 2,208

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Canadian's urged to see government as part of the solution in upcoming federal elections

The Toronto Star had an interesting editorial endorsing Justin Trudeau and the Liberals to out the decade long conservative government led by Stephen Harper. Besides election specific stuff, it made some cogent points about the role of government in a nation's society.

"Beyond the specifics of each party’s policies, voters should also turn away from the Conservatives’ implicit message that Canada as a whole just shouldn’t aspire to much. They have spent so much time and energy whittling away at the very concept of government that they devalue the idea of collective achievement itself.
The Liberals under Trudeau’s leadership are rekindling the sense among Canadians that we can do better, and that government can be an essential part of that effort. As we wrote last week, they offer hope for “those who believe Canada can be more generous, more ambitious and more successful.” That’s no small thing."


"Why One of the Richest Countries on Earth Is So Poor: The Facts that Drive the Sanders Revolt"

"The United States is among the richest countries in all of history. But if you're not a corporate or political elite, you'd never know it.

In the world working people inhabit, our infrastructure is collapsing, our schools are laying off teachers, our drinking water is barely potable, our cities are facing bankruptcy, and our public and private pension funds are nearing collapse. We - consumers, students, and homeowners - are loaded with crushing debt, but our real wages haven't risen since the 1970s.

How can we be so rich and still have such poor services, so much debt and such stagnant incomes?

The answer: runaway inequality - the ever-increasing gap in income and wealth between the super-rich and the rest of us."


"Most Americans believe that the U.S. has the most upward mobility and highest standard of living in the world. We think that the U.S. is the fairest nation on Earth, offering the best prospects for everyday people. (And for anyone who isn't moving up, it's their own fault.)

But the facts in this book will undermine that perspective. While America may have had the most prosperous working class from World War II to 1980, it doesn't anymore. In fact, today the U.S. is the most unequal country in the developed world. We have the most child poverty and homelessness. We have more people in prison than China and Russia. And Americans are less upwardly mobile than most Europeans.

We'll see that our public services don't stack up either. Our health care costs more, covers fewer people and produces worse outcomes. And we are nearly last among developed nations in energy effi¬ciency and overall infrastructure.

No question about it, the top 1 percent never had it so good. But the rest of us are losing sight of the American Dream as runaway inequality accelerates."



These were excerpts from the HuffPo article on the book "Runaway Inequality: An Activist's Guide to Economic Justice"

All I can add is AMEN, brother. AMEN. Well, OK, I can add this --- the bottom 40% of Armerican families are suffering. The Top 1% is doing fantastic. People might argue "but the MEDIAN income has risen!", but looking more closely shows more accurately who has benefited and who has been left behind.

The U.S. Investigation Into The Kunduz Hospital Bombing Is Off To A Rough Start

Source: Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- An American armored vehicle on Thursday barged unannounced into the wreckage of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan that the U.S. bombed earlier this month, reigniting tensions between Washington and the aid organization over the Oct. 3 attack.

The armored vehicle forced its way through the closed gate of the ruined hospital in Kunduz at 1:30 p.m. local time, Doctors Without Borders told The Huffington Post in a statement Friday. The organization said it received no prior notice that American officials would be visiting and only learned after the vehicle's arrival that it contained investigators planning to explore the wreckage. Doctors Without Borders said the move violated a commitment by U.S., NATO and Afghan investigative teams to inform Doctors Without Borders before taking any steps involving the aid organization's team or facilities.

The intrusion may have damaged evidence at the site that could help explain the bombing, the organization says. "Their unannounced and forced entry damaged property, destroyed potential evidence and caused stress and fear for the team," said Tim Shenk, a press officer for Doctors Without Borders. The organization lost 12 staff members and 10 patients in the bombing.
Gen. John Campbell, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has called the bombing a "mistake," and President Barack Obama apologized to the president of Doctors Without Borders. The Pentagon, a joint U.S.-Afghan team and NATO are all investigating the causes of the incident. (Shenk declined to clarify on Friday which of these investigative teams had made commitments to provide notice before visiting the hospital site, but said members of all three teams were on the armored vehicle.)

But the incursion suggests that the government probes may be heavy-handed and ineffective, trampling on the aid organization's rights and, perhaps, on clues that remain at the site of the bombing. Photographs released Wednesday by Foreign Policy magazine showed how precarious the situation is within the ruined hospital, where charred human remains appear to lie on the dusty ground amid broken beds and ruined medical equipment.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/msf-hospital_5620fa51e4b06462a13ba11f

Good lord. I am still shaking my head after reading and posting about this.

FIFA To Investigate If Germany Used Bribes To Secure 2006 World Cup

Source: AP/Huffington Post

ZURICH -- FIFA says allegations that Germany used bribes to secure the 2006 World Cup are "serious" and will be reviewed as part of its ongoing investigation into corruption in soccer.

German newsweekly Der Spiegel reported Friday that the bidding committee set up a slush fund of 10.3 million Swiss francs (about $6 million at that time) that was contributed in a private capacity by former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus.

The money was used to secure four votes from FIFA's 24-member executive committee before Germany won the bid vote in 2000, the report said.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fifa-germany-world-cup-bribes_56213447e4b08589ef472cfd

OMG, bribery you say? In international football? Egads. And a western European, straight shooting, NATO member, and solid neo-liberal country like Germany too? Oh, my. /sarcasm

I thought only despicable and suspiciously, well, non-European Qatar and the generally pariah-ish, militarily resurgent Russia stooped so low to bribe FIFA Officials to be selected as World Cup venues. Go figure. /sarcasm

Will there be calls to never give another world cup hosting to Germany now? Somehow, I don't think so.

Seriously, it would be nice if every single news event was not political fodder for the corporate/neo-liberal media but I don't think we have heard the last of calls like "Lets take the world cup away from Qatar and Russia they are corrupting the sport" when the actual agenda is anti-Muslim and anti-Russian spin.

"The actual strategy behind his (Putin's) Middle East push and why the NYTIMES might be obscuring it

"This line of thinking causes me to reflect on two other questions arising from the Syria conflict.

One concerns the migration crisis combined with incessant insistence that there is, somewhere and the CIA will find it yet, a moderate opposition in Syria. It is time to reconcile these two phenomena.

Were there refugees in any number before the rise of the Islamist anti-Assad formations? Where are the refugees going now that they number in the millions?

Answers: No. As Gary Leupp, a historian at Tufts, argues in a superb piece of commentary CounterPunch also published recently, “The bulk of peaceful protesters in the Syrian Arab Spring want nothing to do with the U.S.-supported armed opposition but are instead receptive to calls from Damascus, Moscow and Tehran for dialogue towards a power-sharing arrangement…. What pro-democracy student activists and their allies fear most is the radical Islamists who have burgeoned in large part due to foreign intervention since 2011.”

Thank you, professor. Now we know why the flow of refugees runs toward secular, democratic Europe and not areas of the nation Assad has lost to rebel militias. The former represents the refugees’ shared aspirations, while the latter fight not as Syrians but as religious fanatics and/or CIA clients. As a friend wrote the other day, “There are likely moderate Syrian forces, but you will I think find them mostly in the coffee shops of Istanbul.” [snip]


Some interesting thoughts from alleged Putin apologist Patrick L. Smith on Syria. The guy makes some cogent points though, this is a hard call -- believe what a apologist for Russia says or believe our corporate media. Hmmm, is it possible to not trust Smith but acknowledge he's making some valid points too? Decide for yourself, read the entire article at Salon:


The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy

"Astronomers have spotted a strange mess of objects whirling around a distant star. Scientists who search for extraterrestrial civilizations are scrambling to get a closer look. In the Northern hemisphere’s sky, hovering above the Milky Way, there are two constellations—Cygnus the swan, her wings outstretched in full flight, and Lyra, the harp that accompanied poetry in ancient Greece, from which we take our word “lyric.”

Between these constellations sits an unusual star, invisible to the naked eye, but visible to the Kepler Space Telescope, which stared at it for more than four years, beginning in 2009. “We’d never seen anything like this star,” says Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoc at Yale.
“It was really weird. We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out.” In 2011, several citizen scientists flagged one particular star as “interesting” and “bizarre.” The star was emitting a light pattern that looked stranger than any of the others Kepler was watching. The light pattern suggests there is a big mess of matter circling the star, in tight formation."


Who knows, eh? Wouldn't it be awesome if this turned out to be actual aliens?

"China overtakes US, now has world's largest middle class" -- thanks to the off-shoring of jobs

"China's middle class has overtaken the United States to become the world's largest, Credit Suisse said Tuesday in its latest report on global wealth. Asia will be the scene for the greatest expansion of the world's middle class, it predicted."



China prospers, the US declines --- thank you 1% for impoverishing our country.

This ain't your Grandpa's China...

Congratulations to China, but much of their amazing growth has been at the expense of American working families.

They used to say "what's good for business is good for America", yes, but that was in the pre-1980's world where businesses invested here at home. Look at the increasing trade deficit that is sucking the economic life out of our country that is the direct result of the 1% no longer caring where they make their profits. That saying should be updated to "What's good for Business is good for the 1%", and THAT will be true until income inequality and globalization's "race to the bottom" off-shoring of jobs and technology are confronted and rolled back.

Trudeau, Mulcair reject any suggestion of backing a Harper minority government

Source: The Toronto Star

Stephen Harper’s only hope of forming a government after next Monday’s election is if his Conservative party wins enough votes to form a majority.
That was the message his opponents tried to send loud and clear on Sunday, when Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair both declared they wouldn’t prop up a minority government with Harper at the helm.
Both Trudeau and Mulcair had said earlier they wouldn’t back a Conservative minority. But with the election exactly one week away and opinion polls suggesting it could be difficult for any party to secure a majority of seats in the House of Commons, it appears likely that whoever comes first in the Oct. 19 vote will need the support of a rival to govern.

Read more: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/10/12/trudeau-mulcair-reject-any-suggestion-of-backing-a-harper-minority-government.html

Steven Harper's conservative government is despised so much that Canadians might break with tradition in the aftermath of this month's Canadian federal elections.

Canada's political system is multi-party structured with 3 major federal parties aligning roughly as conservative, centrist and progressive respectively for the Progressive Conservatives (a historical misnomer for a very right wing party), the Liberals and the NDP (New Democratic Party). Canada has a "first past the post" system where candidates for parliament who receive the most votes in their "riding" (aka district) win, a majority of votes is not required. The federal party with the most elected members to parliament then gets to form the national government. Or at least try. If the "winning" party does not get a majority of the seats in parliament, they must form a government with the support and participation of one or more of the other parties. This means that often a minority government can be formed with the winning party having only ~34% of the vote. This is the dilemma Canadians are facing where the much maligned conservatives look like they will win the most seats in parliament, but not enough for an outright majority. In the past, our polite northern neighbors would routinely have the party with the most seats form the government. But the Harper conservative regime is so despised that the other ~66% of Canadians want all parties not to support the conservatives in forming a government at all. Its a fairly rare occurrence, and while not an expert, I think its like a once in a 100 year event. Hence the call now to reject the conservatives and let the next party in line have the opportunity to form the next government.

Please, any Canadian's participating on DU feel free to correct any mistakes I made in describing this. lol

Russia says it broke up ISIS cell in Moscow

Source: CBS/AP

Highlighting a new terror threat to Russia raised by its air campaign in Syria, security officials said Monday they have thwarted a planned attack on Moscow public transport system by militants trained by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS.)

Sunday's arrest of several terror suspects - some of whom, intelligence officials say, were trained by ISIS in Syria - has brought back memories of the string of deadly bombings that struck the Russian capital just a few years ago.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/russia-broke-up-isis-cell-moscow/

Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind? Russia must have pissed off ISIS. That must be good, right?

"There is power in a union: Here’s how we beat inequality & rebalance our economy"

"Supporting strong unions isn't just smart policy -- it's also smart politics. 2016 candidates, take note.

On Wednesday, a fast-food worker named Terrence Wise introduced President Obama at the White House Summit on Worker Voice. Terrence spoke about his family’s struggle to scrape by on bottom-of-the-barrel wages despite working hard at multiple jobs. The Summit itself was also a reunion for he and his mother, also a fast-food worker. Because they don’t make a living wage, neither Terrence nor his mother had been able to afford to travel across multiple states to see each other in ten years, a point not lost on the President. Terrence’s story was no doubt all too familiar for the millions of Americans watching the promise of the middle class fade away in the face of growing income inequality.

But they haven’t lost hope. Workers like Terrence are on the frontlines of our nation’s fight to address income inequality and rebuild the middle class. From fast-food workers and pharmacists to reporters and adjunct professors, these workers envision a future where they will be able to support their families without relying on public assistance just to cover the basics. And if you ask them how we can achieve that vision, their answer is clear: unions."



As union membership has declined, so has the economic security of working families. It's that simple. It's why the 1% has spent the last 50 years doing everything possible to destroy unions.
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