News for progressives

How to be a good late capitalist

Rabble News - 7 hours 32 min ago
April 23, 2018EconomyThe Capitalist God’s 10 CommandmentsFollow these and the promise of Mammon is yoursCapitalismneoliberal
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The DPRK declares itself a nuclear power

Note by the Saker: please read carefully what this official statement says.  There are two key elements here, first, the DPRK has successfully completed its program of nuclear tests and
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Capitalism is not the problem

Capitalism is not the problem. Capitalism is an Abstraction. The Criminal and War Economy is the problem. YOU are the Solution. by Cameron Pike for The Saker blog Capitalism is
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Sweet Cuban sugar, bitter French whine

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog I have no idea why the French are such a very bitter people. Americans, I could understand: Their people are absolutely thrown to
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The MoA Week In Review And Open Thread 2018-19

The U.S. is currently attempting Color Revolutions by Force in Nicaragua and Armenia. This form of 'regime change' uses the typical 'peaceful demonstrators' schemes and media push but adds an armed element that is supposed to shoot at both sides...
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SITREP: A false flag attack on a USN ship next?

by Nick for the Saker blog The USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group left the east coast Naval Station Norfolk, VA on 11th April. The aircraft carrier is accompanied
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The Cultural Revolution’s solving of the urban-rural divide

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog If there is one thing the election of Donald Trump showed the United States it’s that there is an enormous urban-rural divide. That’s
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A Curious Incident Part XI

by Sushi for The Saker blog The Special Relationship If we examine the position of the UK on the world stage, we observe a pattern of prolonged decline from the
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The Media War On Truthful Reporting And Legitimate Opinions - A Documentary

Early in life I have noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship...
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NYT and WaPo get 2018 Pulitzer for reporting about “Russian election interference” :-)

Guys, this is not a joke! This is the original page: See for yourself below. These guys really have no shame, no sense of ridicule and no idea of
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Syrian War Report – April 20, 2018: Operations In Southern Damascus, Eastern Qalamoun On April 19, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies supported by warplanes of the Syrian Air Force launched a military operation against ISIS in the Yarmouk refugee
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Syrian boy describes Douma ‘chemical attack’ false flag

According to the Russian Ambassador to the UK, this boy and his father will be flown to NY to testify before the UNSC. If that really happens (I predict that
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In pursuit of President Xi Jinping’s, “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.”

By Anne Teoh for the  Saker Blog China, China : Part III In pursuit of President Xi Jinping’s, “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.” Modern Chinese history did not evolve in isolation;
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Syria Sitrep - Cleanup Around Damascus Continues - WMD Rumors Prepare For New U.S. Attack

After the Syrian army liberated Douma, the next Takfiri held areas near the capital Damascus fell in short order. The Jaish al-Islam militants in Dumayr, north-east of Damascus, gave up without a fight. As usual by now the Takfiris were...
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Ten things to know about the 2018 Saskatchewan budget

Progressive economics forum - Sat, 2018-04-21 01:13

I’ve written a ‘top 10’ blog post about the recently-tabled Saskatchewan budget. Points raised in the blog post include the following:

-This year’s budget was quite status quo.

-Last year’s budget, by contrast, included a series of cuts to social spending. Last year’s budget also announced cuts to both personal and corporate income taxes that were subsequently reversed.

-Saskatchewan has one of the lowest debt-to-GDP ratios in Canada.

-This recent budget announced the phase out of a rent supplement program that helps low-income households afford rent on the private market.

Here’s the link to the full blog post.

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From the Saker’s inbox: A little Syrian in dire straits

Yesterday, I got this email in my inbox.  I am reposting it with the permission of the author, removing his name The Saker ——- Hi Saker – For some time
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Moveable Feast Cafe 2018/04/20 … Open Thread

2018/04/20 10:00:02Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of
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Equalizing divorce and promoting women's equality in Canadian law

Rabble News - Fri, 2018-04-20 12:03
Penney Kome

Linda Silver Dranoff became a lawyer about the same time that family law became a specialty, following the first federal Divorce Act. Her memoir, Fairly Equal: Lawyering the Feminist Revolution, chronicles the changes since then, as well as her own role in shaping Canadian family law. Dranoff spent her career as lawyer, writer and activist, lobbying for better legislation through court cases and lobbying. She worked for fair, equitable compensation and support for women and children when marriages ended.

Just by entering law school, Dranoff was already breaking barriers. One of 14 women in her law class of 300, she was also divorced and a single mother. She had been an activist for women's rights since 1957, when she was among 20 women who demonstrated outside the University of Toronto's Hart House to protest being excluded from seeing Stephen Lewis debate U.S. Senator John Kennedy.

The Royal Commission on the Status of Women released its report during Dranoff's second year of undergrad school. She studied the recommendations carefully and, when a women's centre opened nearby, she offered to teach a free course on the history of women's legal issues.  

In law school, she conducted a survey of women lawyers, for a seminar law course. She found women's histories shouted discrimination but the women themselves denied it. A classmate's separate survey of law firms found that 40 per cent of the firms "openly and freely" admitted to discriminating against women candidates.

Dranoff's own challenges in finding a place to article convinced her she was better off "being my own boss and doing it my way."  As a one-person law firm, she practised every kind of law except criminal law. As a feminist, she also worked with the Ontario Committee on the Status of Women (OCSW), and participated in the founding of the National Association of Women and the Law, a network of women lawyers and law students.

Her clients brought her what amounted to a crash course in workplace gender discrimination. "Discrimination against women in pay, promotions, working conditions, and access to non-traditional jobs was systemic...There were almost no affordable and accessible public child-care supports. Women workers who became pregnant had no legal protection..."

Fledgling provincial family property laws were what sparked public outrage, though. The 1971 Irene Murdoch case in Alberta galvanized feminist groups nationwide. A hard-working ranch woman was denied any share of the family property because the deed was solely in her husband's name. Even as Murdoch fought all the way to the Supreme Court and lost, the provinces were already reviewing their laws.

In 1974, the Ontario Law Reform Commission proposed the principle that marriage is an economic partnership -- not a Head of Household relationship with a dependent -- that husband and wife be deemed co-owners of the matrimonial home, and that all property be divided equally in the event of death or divorce. Revolutionary as this principle seems, decades of discovery and fine tuning still lay ahead.      

Linda Silver Dranoff did everything in her considerable capacity to promote the family laws that recognize women's realities. She took one client's case to the Supreme Court on contingency because she believed that (at worst) an adverse court decision would trigger legislative change. She settled cases when possible, and litigated when necessary. She also wrote op-eds, gave broadcast interviews, worked out positions and lobbied with the Ontario Status of Women  Committee, presented briefs to legal and legislative bodies, and wrote regular detailed personal letters to politicians.

When at last the Ontario government adopted an equitable Family Law Act and a Custody Orders Enforcement Act in 1986, Linda Silver Dranoff received due recognition for her indefatigable efforts in promoting women's equality and autonomy. For example, Ontario Attorney-General Ian Scott wrote her to acknowledge "the truly significant contribution you have made to the form of the new law(s)."   Better, in 2000 Ontario adopted a non-adversarial approach to divorce, that protects children as well as women's interests.

Fairly Equal is an engaging book to read, written in a conversational style, with meticulous attention to detail. Dranoff seems to have worked on practically every legal issue affecting women, by herself or, often, alongside well-known legal, community or media women. Her book preserves their names and feats as well.

She also shares some details of her personal life: her first marriage, her longterm long-distance relationship that ultimately foundered, and her happy late marriage to a longtime colleague with a large family. Her parents and extended family helped her raise her daughter Beth while she attended law school. Once of the book's most moving moments depicts Dranoff's graduation from law school, when tiny Beth raced down the long aisle to embrace her mother, to the crowd's applause.    

Women need to keep reminding ourselves how far we have come since the 1950s, when in some provinces, women were still chattel, like children. Herstory too often disappears behind more official stories. Although sometimes the detail in this book can seem overwhelming, as if the reader is wading through old files, the information is always useful and the documentation is essential. And the blow-by-blow descriptions could serve as a manual for future lobbying.

Linda Silver Dranoff's engaging memoir shows a trailblazing feminist in action, carving gender equity into the law to protect women and to create a more caring and just society for all, especially children. Canada needs more such herstories, to document the astonishing progress the Second Wave of feminism made.     

This review appears in the Spring 2018 issues of Herizons Magazine. Used with permission.

Photo: houstondwiPhotos mp/Flickr

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New Kinder Morgan exit strategy hint emerges as tangled Trans Mountain tale twists national knickers

Rabble News - Fri, 2018-04-20 12:00
David J.Climenhaga

Jason Kenney, leader of Alberta's Conservative Opposition party, must've struggled to keep a smirk off his face Wednesday as he bloviated piously about Kinder Morgan President Steven Kean's rumination the time may be nigh to pull the plug on the controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project that has the national knickers in a twist.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, a New Democrat, had just expressed her confidence everything was going swimmingly in the Alberta government's negotiations with the Texas-based energy company to "reduce or eliminate investor risks" and ensure the controversial pipeline expansion to the B.C. Coast moves ahead.

Premier Notley, Kenney declared smugly, "constantly had this tendency to declare victory when we're further and further away from the certainty we need for this project."

For his part, Kean mused that nothing has happened to change his mind about his company's decision 10 days ago to stop spending any money on the $7.4-billion megaproject. It may be, he added, "untenable for a private party to undertake." Ahem!

The timing of the remarks by the former executive of the bankrupt Enron Corp. was interesting, made almost simultaneously with the release of an online survey suggesting a majority of Canadians has now come around to the idea The Pipeline Must be Built, thanks presumably to days of continual encouragement by a variety of actors with access to the media pulpit.

It could have been coincidence, of course. After all, Kean was speaking on a media conference call to discuss the company's financial results. Still, the timing suggested a sense that now may be the moment for Kinder Morgan to apply a little more pressure on the federal and Alberta governments to come up with some cash, or even take the pipeline off his hands.

Perhaps Kean had been reading the New York Times, wherein economics columnist Paul Krugman makes a compelling case the end that is nigh is that of the Age of Almighty Oil.

"Believers in the primacy of fossil fuels … are now technological dead-enders," wrote Krugman, who once won a Nobel Prize in economics. "There is no longer any reason to believe that it would be hard to drastically 'decarbonize' the economy. Indeed, there is no reason to believe that doing so would impose any significant economic cost."

The lobbying goal of the fossil fuel industry, Krugman wrote, is no longer to stop the transition to renewable energy, merely "to slow things down, so they can extract as much profit as possible from their existing investments."

If Krugman is right, that does not bode well for a project like the Trans Mountain pipeline -- whoever owns it. That may explain why Kinder Morgan is starting to act as if it would be just as happy if Edmonton and Ottawa would take the pipeline off its hands for a tidy profit, even if a majority of people in B.C. now support the project, as Wednesday's online poll by the Angus Reid Institute also indicated.

Viva Hugo! Viva Cheson! Hasta la victoria siempre!

Meanwhile, here in Revolutionary Alberta the debate is growing more hysterical by the day, with Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel comparing the Alberta NDP's Bill 12, which would allow the province to turn off the gasoline tap to B.C. if it gets mad enough about that province's NDP government's lack of enthusiasm for the pipeline, to something the late lefty Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez would have gotten up to.

Judging from her tweet, Rempel didn't seem to be aware either that President Chavez has been dead since 2013 or that Kenney, now the captain of her team's local franchise, has been taking credit for Premier Notley's policy.

"We do not want a socialist having consolidated power to control Alberta's natural resources," Rempel fumed, never mind that it's the Constitution that gives the Notley government such power. Twitterists were soon asking Kenney if he's a socialist now.

I suspect Rempel merely got to Kenney's future strategy too soon.

All will be revealed in the fullness of time if she takes it easy. Kenney says right now he supports the idea of sinking federal and Alberta taxpayers' money into a pipeline project for which the business case is controversial. But it's easy to imagine him blaming a lousy investment on the NDP and the federal Liberals in a couple of years.

Indeed, this whole situation remains rife with potential for unintended consequences.

Committed environmentalists will certainly not be broken hearted if retail gasoline prices rise dramatically in B.C. That is as it should be, they will feel, if people are to be encouraged to drive with the environment in mind.

Thinking such thoughts may get you accused of being an "eco-terrorist" by Rick Orman, the oilpatch executive and former Tory cabinet minister who wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to send the army to B.C., but we know from the study of economics that it's likely to work as advertised -- at least if prices get high enough.

Meanwhile, implementation of the bill's provisions will also likely mightily displease fossil fuel shippers, which will win the Alberta NDP few friends in the business world -- something that apparently matters to the party nowadays.

What's more, if the pump price rises in B.C., it may well result in a tax windfall as B.C.'s NDP government -- those "shitheads" Alberta NDP ministers are so angry at -- take their percentage cut.

So another unintended consequence of Bill 12 could be a boost to the finances available to the B.C. NDP -- which would be able to use the extra revenues to please their voters while blaming Alberta for their pain at the pumps.

It's said here the NDP's much-reviled and now apparently abandoned "social licence" strategy was working, and was the only strategy that had the potential to work in the long term.

It was never going to persuade every single British Columbian, but if you look at Wednesday's survey, it had the potential to convince enough.

Not, though, on the timetable both the Notley NDP and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals now seem to be trying to meet, with federal and Alberta elections looming next year.

It is time, perhaps, for Notley to start spending more energy explaining how her government is different from Kenney's UCP, and less on how it's the same!

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog,

Photo: David J. Climenhaga

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