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drive-by planet: Video: George Galloway’s impassioned speech opposing attack on Syria: UK parliament votes NO to military action

One of the highlights of the British parliamentary debate on Syria was the rousing speech delivered by Respect Party MP for Bradford West, George Galloway. He delivered with trademark conviction and elan, stating his opposition to any British involvement in an attack on Syria.

This is part of what Galloway had to say:

It is absolutely evident that if it was not for the democratic revolt that has been underway in this House of Commons and outside in the wider public against this war, that the engines in Cyprus would now be revving and the cruise missiles ready to fly (Read more…)

LeDaro: Barack Obama and Martin Luther King

Was Obama a suitable person to give a speech on the 50th anniversary of MLK’s “I have a dream” speech? MLK may have his own weaknesses as he was human after all, but he was not a hypocrite like Obama.

It was Martin Luther King’s efforts and Lyndon Johnson’s co-operation that brought about the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, which were signed by Lyndon Johnson. However, when it came to the Vietnam war, Martin Luther King spoke out loud and clear that it was an unjust war where innocent people were being killed and American soldiers were (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Open letter to Cameron from European editors: Miranda’s detention threat to freedom of the press

Editors of a number of northern European newspapers have written an open letter to British PM David Cameron stating their concerns arising from the detention of David Miranda – partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald. The writers express concern about the “harassment” of “the paper and individuals associated with it.”

Glenn Greenwald has broken a number of important stories in the Guardian based on documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The editors of Aftenposten (Norway), Helsingin Sanomat (Finland), Dagens Nyheter (Sweden) and Politiken (Denmark) make a number of points worth repeating:

We are surprised by the recent acts (Read more…)

Alex's Blog: Austeria

Informal talk to OMSSA’s 2013 Learning Symposium, held in Ottawa, Ontario from June 16 to 19, 2013.

CuriosityCat: Syria: Showdown time between the West and Putin

High noon at 10 Downing Street

Politicians are becoming more graphic in their descriptions of the warring sides in the Syrian civil war, with the latest spat leading to a shortened meeting between Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK and Russia’s Putin: Talks on the crisis in Syria between British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin broke up Sunday amid “very serious differences.” This week’s G8 summit at Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, got off to the worst possible start as talks between the two leaders immediately stalled. Putin refused to stop providing arms to Bashar (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Syria: Showdown time between the West and Putin

The Canadian Progressive: Pro-business Harper Conservatives coddling tax havens, tax cheats

By: Obert Madondo Twitter: @Obiemad

An Alberta businessman is included in a massive online database of secret tax-haven names released to the public on Friday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. David Ghermezian, the president of the West Edmonton Mall, is linked to a British Virgin Islands-registered company called Regal Mega Malls Development Corp, the CBC News reports.

Ghermezian’s inclusion on this list got me thinking about the pro-business Harper Conservatives and their undisguised determination to coddle tax havens and tax cheats.

The database, first leaked by the CBC and ICIJ in April, indicates that at least 130,000 people globally are (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the recent Munk Debate has helped to highlight Canadians’ preference for a fairer, more progressive tax system – and on a couple of the most important steps we can take toward that end goal.

For further reading…- Ipsos Reid’s polling on public views toward taxing the rich is here. – Stephen Gordon’s response to the Munk Debate (referenced in the column) is here. And I’ll note that there seems to be some difference in determining the tax rate applicable to high-end income: while KPMG’s numbers roughly match Gordon’s, the CRA’s figures actually show Ontario as (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Sunday reading.

- Daniel Boffey catches one of David Cameron’s top aides saying what most Cons leave as an unstated assumption: that recession and depressed wages are good for business (as long as “business” is defined only to mean short-term profits based on exploitation): The prime minister’s adviser on enterprise has told the cabinet that the economic downturn is an excellent time for new businesses to boost profits and grow because labour is cheap, the Observer can reveal.

Lord Young, a cabinet minister under the late Baroness Thatcher, who is the only aide with his (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: At least none of OUR MPs has been found with an orange in his mouth. Not yet.

Former MP?

Nobody skewers their own kith and kin with devastating play of the knife as the British do. My latest chuckle arose reading John O’Sullivan’s article in today’s Globe & Mail entitled Cameronism at an impasse. O’Sullivan once ran (unsuccessfully) for Parliament for the Conservative Party, and was a speechwriter in 10 Downing Street for Margaret Thatcher. Founder of the New Atlantic Initiative in 1996 in Prague, along with Maggie and the poet-politician Václav Havel, O’Sullivan is editor-at-large of the National Review. O’Sullivan recounts with relish the death in 1994 of a Tory MP: The parliamentary constituency of Eastleigh,

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: At least none of OUR MPs has been found with an orange in his mouth. Not yet.

LeDaro: Barack Obama and David Cameron

Wow! These two are great buddies!

The Canadian Progressive: What Paulo Coelho and other global leaders tweeted about at World Economic Forum in Davos

by Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Jan. 31, 2013: Let’s agree in one point: we can have anything, but we CAN’T have everything #wef — Paulo Coelho (@paulocoelho) January 25, 2013 The tweet by Paulo Coelho, the world-renowned Brazilian author of The Alchemist, was one of the most popular of world leaders’ reflections during last week’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, READ MORE

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, updating the respective effects of smart investment and needless austerity in the economic laboratory provided by the 2008 financial meltdown – and noting we have all the more reason to be suspicious of our own austerity buffs at home.

For further background, see…- Jason Kirby’s 2011 proposal to compare the U.S. and U.K. as test cases. – Philip Aldrick on the disastrous effects of austerity in the U.K.- The U.S. Treasury’s comparison (PDF) of growth among different countries up to early 2012.- Reuters on Japan’s sudden surge since its stimulus program

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Alex's Blog: The Age of Austerity

Notes: Keynote talk, CCPA Post-Austerity session, Toronto, January 9, 2013

We are living in the “Age of Austerity” or at least so says David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister. He made this announcement in 2009 at the Conservative convention just before becoming prime minister. This meant, he explained, that he would have to fix the errors, the folly of previous governments. He would restore the economy by cutting spending, reducing the size of government, and shifting resources from public to private.

In 2010, the G20 met in Toronto and, apart from arresting citizens, they were also talking austerity. Canada led

. . . → Read More: Alex’s Blog: The Age of Austerity

CuriosityCat: Europe takes another big step towards the United States of Europe

United States of Europe?

Financial integration is one major step along the road towards eventual political integration into one massive new federal state, the USE (United States of Europe), and yesterday a significant move was made in this direction: Europe’s finance ministers have taken another major step towards closer integration, with a significant transfer of authority from national governments to the ECB, he says.

The EU had already agreed that the ECB would act as chief supervisor of eurozone banks. But the deal gives the ECB powers to close down eurozone banks that do not follow the rules. It also . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Europe takes another big step towards the United States of Europe

CuriosityCat: Anglo-Franco-German ménage à trois: A Federal Europe or a confederation of Nation States?

The European Union

A struggle for the future of Europe is being waged right now by the politicians of the EU. 

Most of the fighting is being done by the leaders of France, Germany and Britain (the Big Three of Europe), with the other medium sized states putting the boot in every now and then but largely shouting encouragement from the sidelines. The big battle that is shaping up is over the contours of the future Europe. Germany: A tighter Union or Else: And the issue has been framed as a choice between two stark contracts: a move towards . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Anglo-Franco-German ménage à trois: A Federal Europe or a confederation of Nation States?

LeDaro: Stephen Harper: What are his motives for joint U.K. –Canadian Embassies?

Sounds like an idiotic idea.

Maybe he was missing George W. Bush as his master and now he wants to be a poodle to David Cameron.

Accidental Deliberations: Juxtaposition

Ah, the memories of Stephen Harper and his bestest international buddy deciding what to do about the economic pain they’ve inflicted on the world: Mr. Cameron, hailing Canada as a model of fiscal probity and pointing to his own deep spending cuts, argued that debt cutting is the only way to fix a disturbing pattern, with economic growth in Europe and the United States stalled. He said the problem is high debts of governments and individuals, and that the fear that they won’t be repaid will spark a loss of confidence and a rise in interest rates.…Mr. Harper said

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Juxtaposition

CuriosityCat: Out of the Mouth of Murdoch

Deep Throat is on the job, bringing you the latest news from around the globe, just for you political junkies out there .. today he reports from London, where the phone hacking saga is grinding remorselessly on, slowly devouring the Murdoch clan and now  nibbling at the feet of Prime . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Out of the Mouth of Murdoch

DeSmogBlog: The Guardian Reveals Key Funder of Global Warming Policy Foundation Is Michael Hintze


Cross-posted with permission from The Guardian by Graham Readfearn, Leo Hickman and Rupert Neate

Michael Hintze, a leading Conservative party donor who runs the £5bn hedge fund CQS, has emerged as a financial backer of the climate sceptic thinktank founded by former chancellor, Lord Nigel Lawson.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation, launched by Lawson in 2009, regularly casts doubt on the science and cost of tackling climate change in the media and has called on climate scientists to show greater transparency, but has refused to reveal details of its donors. Leading Nasa climate scientist James Hansen calls it

. . . → Read More: DeSmogBlog: The Guardian Reveals Key Funder of Global Warming Policy Foundation Is Michael Hintze

Red Tory v.3.0.3: Special Relationships

Unbeknownst to most Americans, Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner (more than five times that of the U.K., for example), foremost supplier of energy, closest ally and supposedly bestest friend in the whole wide world, so why doesn’t our country get the semi-royal treatment that China, India, Mexico and the U.K. does? Why isn’t Our Glorious Leader treated to the pomp and circumstance of an official state visit?

I suppose it could be argued that Stephen Harper isn’t the head of state – that title going of course to Governor General David Johnston, who has

. . . → Read More: Red Tory v.3.0.3: Special Relationships

CuriosityCat: The Eurocrisis – A Gallic snub, No Haircuts & More Stability Funds

What a dramatic few days we have just lived through!  The grandest experiment in modern history – the European Union – has weathered a major threat to its existence, with 27 governments gathering in Brussels, and 26 agreeing on a roadmap for future stability and closer fiscal union. And the one country that is half-in and half-out of the Union smacking down its veto to prevent a full treaty incorporating terms the other 26 have agreed upon, and walking off in a huff, hoping it has protected its major industry. Cameron’s fight to save the City’s role: David Cameron . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: The Eurocrisis – A Gallic snub, No Haircuts & More Stability Funds

Impolitical: Fun Saturday reading

This has to be one of the most epic smack downs of a politician in recent memory: It may be months before the implications of David Cameron’s Europe raspberry become clear; it may be days. Then again they may become clear before going fuzzy again, before suddenly crystallising six weeks down the line in horrifying or mildly encouraging detail. My gut instinct is that this is Not Good, and that Britain appears to have bolstered its lack of economic policy with a lack of foreign policy, but in truth I’m in many more minds than the Conservative party about

. . . → Read More: Impolitical: Fun Saturday reading

CuriosityCat: UK’s Cameron needs to take a lesson from The Gambler

Lissen up, David: Click here!

And listen especially hard when Kenny Rogers has this to say: And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression.Said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,Know when to walk away and know when to run…

Ev’ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin’Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowing what to keep.

Because you lost big in the wee hours of last night. Perhaps you missed . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: UK’s Cameron needs to take a lesson from The Gambler

CuriosityCat: David ‘Two-Speed’ Cameron and the EuroCop

Chancellor Merkel’s glacial crawl towards the creation of an all-powerful EuroCop with powers to veto the budgets of Eurozone nations is beginning to make Prime Minister Cameron a bit nervous.  Cameron is on the outside, looking in, but is itching to give advice to the 17 European Union members of the Eurozone about how to manage their affairs.

But Merkel wants budgetary discipline uber alles: No comments from the peanut gallery …

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Europe is working towards setting up a “fiscal union”, in a bid to resolve the eurozone’s debt crisis. She told the Bundestag . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: David ‘Two-Speed’ Cameron and the EuroCop

CuriosityCat: Angela Merkel tosses Cameron a bone and presses on with Little EU amendments

David Cameron rubbed his hands in glee a few weeks ago when Angela Merkel insisted that the European Union treaty be amended as part of her agreement to save weaker countries from bankruptcy.

Because amendments require 100% approval by all members, Cameron thought that he could bargain with the Iron Chancellor and claw back rights for Britain as the price for his agreement to her changes. But Merkel is made of sterner stuff. She simply tossed him a bone (which some of his own party say is pretty nigh worthless), and pressed on with the idea of having amendments affect . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Angela Merkel tosses Cameron a bone and presses on with Little EU amendments