Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 02:55 AM
Number of posts: 9,386
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 02:55 AM
Number of posts: 9,386
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He is as devious as they come and has used AstroTurf campaigns in the past to put the right wing in power and huge profits in his pocket, part of which he then uses to keep the right wing in power.
Lord Ashcroft, 62
Conservative Party deputy chairman
Education Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. Mid-Essex Technical College
Lord Ashcroft, the Tories' fairy godmother, has donated millions to the Conservative Party since the 1980s, personally guaranteeing its overdraft when it was reportedly £3m in the red. He makes a habit of political donation, and has been accused of wielding undue political influence in Belize, where he has extensive business interests. He does not say whether he pays tax in the UK, and the Electoral Commission is investigating whether his company fits strict rules on overseas donations.
The UK-born 63-year-old's fortune has enabled him to pay millions of pounds in donations to the Tories since the early 1980s.
He has been credited with helping to rescue the party's finances in the past, once stepping in to personally guarantee its overdraft when it was reportedly £3m in the red.
Lord Ashcroft's dealings in Belize have also generated controversy in the past, with some politicians in the central American country having suggested an influence that has been far from healthy.
The tycoon made large donations - rumoured to total about $1m - to the right-wing People's United Party (PUP) when it was in opposition.
In 1998 the PUP came to power after defeating the centre-left United Democratic Party (UDP), and subsequently introduced several pieces of legislation financially advantageous to Lord Ashcroft.
Who really did something really outrageous in the back in 1980s? Dave with a pig? My vote goes for Lord Ashcroft. Back then his main business, Hawley Group, was heavily into contract cleaning. Behind the scenes, Ashcroft funded a political lobby to privatize the cleaning of schools and NHS hospitals—until that point were run by the public sector. The lobby group he funded, called PULSE (the "Public and Local Service Efficiency" Campaign) was set up in 1985 to persuade the public sector to contract out services like cleaning and catering. Ashcroft gave PULSE around £500,000 . The campaign's advisory council included a handful of right-wing Tory MPs including Gerald Howarth, Neil Hamilton, and Michael Portillo, as well as former Westminster Council leader Lady Shirley Porter. It was very successful.
Peter Clarke, the man who ran the privatize-cleaning campaign told the Scotsman newspaper "nothing unlawful nor improper took place," but "this was very successful political engineering," because "Mr. Ashcroft's Hawley Services Group prospered in the new market created by PULSE's lobbying. PULSE appeared to be a popular campaign but in truth it was a money-making venture for Mr. Ashcroft."
Ashcroft's firm, Hawley Group, got a round a third of the new NHS contracts in 1983-1988. After privatization the number of hospital cleaners dropped massively. Their wages and conditions were also cut. Thanks to this privatization, we were left with dirty hospitals and MRSA—trade union Unison estimated the number of hospital cleaners dropped from over 100,000 in 1984 to around 55,000 in 2005, because of the privatization drive. Even the moderate Royal College of Nursing called for an end to the privatization that made Ashcroft rich, asking that cleaning should be brought back in-house to help stop the hundreds of deaths from MRSA and other infections every year.
Ashcroft's companies also moved into hospital catering, which was also privatized thanks to the political campaign he funded: the poor state of hospital food is one of his legacies.
Posted by suffragette | Sat Jun 25, 2016, 12:12 PM (0 replies)
The closeness of the vote is striking.
The Brexit vote just tipped to leave. That means half of the UK were going to be on the other side no matter which way it came out.
Some of that division is in the loosening bonds of the UK itself. The people of England drove the leave vote while people in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain.
Within England, there was a strong difference between large cities and smaller ones, with urban centers opting to stay in and rural areas demanding out.
Whatever direction this takes for the future, there is a deep divide within the UK itself that will need to be addressed.
Posted by suffragette | Fri Jun 24, 2016, 11:40 AM (0 replies)
from shooter's interrogation.
This newly released video is from the 2014 shooting at Seattle Pacific University.
Two points particularly struck me: that Meis was able to confront the shooter because he had to stop to reload and how clearly the motive was hatred. There's no doubt that Meis halted what would have been an even more tragic event that day.
Posted by suffragette | Wed Jun 15, 2016, 03:12 PM (4 replies)
The ex-wife of the 29-year-old man suspected of killing 50 people in a Orlando nightclub early Sunday said that he was violent and mentally unstable and beat her repeatedly while they were married.
“He seemed like a normal human being,” she said, adding that he wasn’t very religious and worked out at the gym often. She said in the few months they were married he gave no signs of having fallen under the sway of radical Islam. She said he owned a small-caliber handgun and worked as a guard at a nearby facility for juvenile delinquents.
The ex-wife said her parents intervened when they learned Mateen had assaulted her. Her father confirmed the account and said that the marriage lasted only a few months.
Posted by suffragette | Sun Jun 12, 2016, 12:58 PM (17 replies)
The article is interesting both for the information it presents and the slant it takes.
The article is about the recent election for the Austrian President. As the article notes, this is a mostly ceremonial role, but the choices being made by the electorate point to a change in the direction they want their leadership to take.
Instead of voting for candidates from the centrist parties, the votes were split between candidates further to the right and left. This demonstrates some dissatisfaction with the centrist political stances that have held sway for a long time.
Van der Bellen,the leftist candidate, won in a very tight race.
However, most of the article is about the right wing candidate and the rise of right wing sentiment and party support there. There's very little about Van der Bellen's views and the policies he and his party will put forth. That scant amount is mostly used in contrast to the right wing views or, oddly, in support of continuance of centrist policies.
Really, would it kill Bloomberg to even acknowledge a few positive aspects of the Austrian people's embrace of a more leftward direction to state policies?
But one thing united Hofer and Van der Bellen despite their ideological differences. Both were protest candidates, mirroring the depth of Austrian dissatisfaction with the status quo. Contenders for the Social Democrats and the centrist People’s Party — the two parties that form the government coalition — were eliminated in last month’s first round of voting.
Those parties have dominated Austrian politics since the end of World War II and winners of all previous presidential elections since then have been backed by one of the two.
Hofer’s strong showing reflects the growth of support for anti-establishment parties across the continent to the detriment of the political middle. Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak, a Social Democrat, described it as “a continuation of a trend.”
“People are dissatisfied with the traditional, standard political parties,” he said on arrival at an EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels. “I really believe it’s time for us to reflect upon it because we must be doing something wrong.”
Posted by suffragette | Wed Jun 1, 2016, 01:17 PM (9 replies)
Looks like this is the reason O'Keefe has been tweeting about having done this. He's been trying to do damage control because he knew this article was coming out this month.
Note: the article has much, much more than just info on O'Keefe's latest ploy. Mayer digs into Brock's network and into the conservative American Rising as well.
“Hey, Dana,” a voice began. The caller sounded to her like an older American male. “My name is, uh, Victor Kesh. I’m a Hungarian-American who represents a, uh, foundation . . . that would like to get involved with you and aid what you do in fighting for, um, European values.” He asked Geraghty for the name of someone he could talk to “about supporting you guys and coördinating with you on some of your efforts.” Requesting a callback, he left a phone number with a 914 area code—Westchester County.
The accidental recording reached farcical proportions when Kesh announced that he was opening Geraghty’s LinkedIn page on his computer. He planned to check her résumé and leverage the information to penetrate the Soros “octopus.” Kesh said, “She’s probably going to call me back, and if she doesn’t I can create other points of entry.” Suddenly, Kesh realized that by opening Geraghty’s LinkedIn page he had accidentally revealed his own LinkedIn identity to her. (LinkedIn can let users see who has looked at their pages.) “Whoa!” an accomplice warned. “Log out!” The men anxiously reassured one another that no one checks their LinkedIn account anyway. “It was a little chilling to hear this group of men talking about me as a ‘point of entry,’ ” Geraghty says. “But—not to sound ageist—it was clear that these people were not used to the technology.”
Geraghty forwarded the voice-mail recording to Chris Stone, the president of the Open Society Foundations. “The Watergate burglars look good compared to these guys,” Stone told me last month. “These guys can’t even figure out how to use an Internet browser, let alone conduct an undercover operation. You read the transcript and you can’t help but laugh.” He went on, “But the issues here aren’t funny. There’s some kind of dirty-tricks operation in play against us.”
O’Keefe portrays himself as a rigorous journalist who is dedicated to furthering “a more ethical and transparent society.” He refuses, however, to be transparent about who is funding him. According to tax records obtained by PRWatch.org, an investigative watchdog group run by the Center for Media and Democracy, in recent years hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to Project Veritas have come through a fund in Alexandria, Virginia, called Donors Trust, which specializes in hiding the money trails of conservative philanthropists. In its promotional materials, Donors Trust says that it will “keep your charitable giving private, especially gifts funding sensitive or controversial issues.” The records obtained by PRWatch.org also show that one donor, a conservative political activist in Wisconsin, contributed fifty thousand dollars just before Project Veritas undertook a sting of one of his political enemies—a state senator.
Posted by suffragette | Fri May 20, 2016, 08:09 PM (2 replies)
Called "Analysing Air Pollution Exposure in London" the report found that in 2010, 433 of the city’s 1,777 primary schools were in areas where pollution breached the EU limits for NO2. Of those, 83% were considered deprived schools, with more than 40% of pupils on free school meals.
A spokeswoman for the newly elected mayor, Sadiq Khan, said that the mayor could not understand why the research was not published when it was completed more than two-and-a-half years ago.
The mayor’s spokeswoman said: “This shocking report reveals a snapshot of the true impact that our polluted air has on some of London’s most vulnerable communities. It is difficult to understand why the last mayoralty decided to cover it up and not fully release it in 2013 – they clearly didn’t want Londoners to know the dire state of pollution in the capital.
“The mayor is fully committed to cleaning up our air and protecting Londoners’ health and is shocked to learn that important scientific evidence like this have been locked and ignored at City Hall.”
This raises two important points to me, both of which are just as relevant in the US as in the UK.
One is the disproportionate impact of negative environmental conditions on people who are economically disadvantaged. From air quality in London to water quality in Flint, people who already have to contend with fewer options and harder choices in every area of life from education to housing and health have to fight even for decent air to breathe and water to drink.
The other is the difference it can make to elect leaders who will address this important issue directly rather than burying this inconvenient fact and focusing on making already wealthy friends richer.
Posted by suffragette | Mon May 16, 2016, 02:07 PM (2 replies)
Brazil’s former vice president, Michel Temer, assumed power as interim president Thursday after the country’s Senate voted to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and begin impeachment proceedings over accusations she tampered with accounts in order to hide a budget shortfall. Rousseff called the move a coup. Temer is a member of the opposition PMDB party and has been implicated in Brazil’s massive corruption scandal involving state-owned oil company Petrobras. He was sworn in Thursday along with a new Cabinet that is all white and all men, making this the first time since 1979 that no women have been in the Cabinet. We are joined from Rio de Janeiro by Andrew Fishman, researcher and reporter for The Intercept, who discusses the role of the United States in protests against Rousseff, and the background of Temer’s new Cabinet members.
AMY GOODMAN: Michel Temer was sworn in Thursday along with a new Cabinet that is all white and all male, making this the first time since 1979 no women have been in the Cabinet. The New York Times reports Temer attempted to appoint a woman to oversee human rights policies, but faced blowback after it became clear she had voted in favor of legislation to make it difficult for women who are raped to get abortions. Temer also offered the Science Ministry to an evangelical pastor who does not believe in evolution, and, when he faced opposition, made him trade minister instead. On Thursday, dozens of women chained themselves to the gates of Brasília’s Planalto presidential palace to support suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you, Andrew, about an article by Greg Grandin about who’s profiting from this coup, as Dilma Rousseff has called it. Grandin wrote in The Nation, a piece that was headlined, "A Slavers’ Coup in Brazil?: Among the many groups pushing for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, one is seldom discussed: companies that profit from slavery." In the article, Grandin notes Rousseff’s Workers’ Party creates a—created a "dirty list" of "hundreds of companies and individual employers who were investigated by labor prosecutors and found to be using slaves." Grandin goes on to write that one of the members of the opposition that’s pushed for Rousseff’s impeachment directly profits from slave labor. According to Grandin, Congressman Beto Mansur is, quote, "charged with keeping 46 workers at his soybean farms in Goiás State in conditions so deplorable that investigators say the laborers were treated like modern-day slaves." Andrew Fishman, what business interests have aligned themselves against Dilma Rousseff? And what about this congressman?
ANDREW FISHMAN: Yeah, and going one step further even, I mean, Greg’s article was about a week ago, and just yesterday, President Temer installed his Cabinet, his ministers. The agricultural minister is a massive soybean farmer who has huge tracts of land, they’ve—responsible for massive deforestation, and he’s been personally linked to slavery. His time in Congress, he actually introduced a bill to try and limit the definition of what slavery actually is, to try and help himself and his partners and his business interests. Slavery is a massive problem in Brazil. Brazil has plenty of social problems. This, slavery, is obviously one that should not exist in the modern world; however, it clearly does here and around the world. If you go out into the interior of the country, which is massive tracts of wilderness, it’s basically wild, wild West out there. There’s very little law. Journalists, activists, anyone who tries to push back against these massive corporate interests, who have benefited greatly under the PT government time in the last 10, 12 years, they are all—they’re all able to use this sort of slavery, because they have no—there’s basically no rule of law to stop them from doing so.
Posted by suffragette | Fri May 13, 2016, 01:07 PM (6 replies)
Originally published May 11, 2016 at 6:16 pm Updated May 12, 2016 at 9:13 am
Even though Monique Tillman, now 17, knew what had happened to her during an encounter with a Tacoma police officer in a mall parking lot two years ago, seeing the video for the first time was staggering.
“I was absolutely in shock, anger and disbelief,” said Tillman, who is black, about the video that shows the white officer pulling her around by her hair, throwing her to the ground, tasing and arresting her.
She was charged in juvenile court with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. Williams claimed she had tried to kick him, de la Cruz said.
He said the charges against Tillman were dismissed by a judge who viewed the video and found no evidence that the officer was investigating a crime when Tillman was stopped and no evidence that she assaulted Williams.
There is video at the article site. Warning: it is brutal.
Note that the Tacoma Police Dept has claimed that even more force could have been used.
Balerud said the officer was performing a corporate function for the mall, not a police function, and abused his power. Tacoma Police Department Public Information Officer Loretta Cool disagrees.
Of the officer, Cool said, "His presence at the Tacoma Mall, even though off duty and paid by mall, he's a police officer and he's acting as a police officer."
He had his car, his uniform, and his Taser. Cool said the second he was called on to order the teens off the private property and turned his lights on, the officer was working on the city's payroll, not the mall's.
A department investigation into the use of force determined the officer could have used more force than he did on the teen when she fought back. Cool said it looked like he was going easy on the girl because of her age and size.
The Tacoma force has been caught for wrongfully tasering a citizen and lying to cover their actions before.
"Police use Taser on deaf crime victim"
KIRO TV’s investigative unit has discovered Tacoma police used force to arrest and handcuff an innocent deaf woman after she called 911 for their help.
Within seconds of running outside to meet police, Officer Koskovich pulled his Taser and fired a two-barbed electric wire into White’s ribs and stomach.
Tacoma police arrested Lashonn on two criminal charges, simple assault and obstruction of a public servant (law enforcement officer). Then they carted her off to jail. She spent 60 hours there – also without an interpreter- before a city prosecutor reviewed her case and asked that charges not be filed at all.
We asked KIRO TV police conduct consultant and former Bellevue police chief Don Van Blaricom to review the conflicting witness and officer accounts of Lashonn’s arrest, plus the officer’s official reports.
He told Halsne the officer’s reports “were obviously written in concert, after the fact, to CYA.”
Posted by suffragette | Thu May 12, 2016, 02:23 PM (0 replies)
The Lummi Nation has prevailed in its fight to block the largest coal port ever proposed in North America, at Cherry Point.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency reviewing permits for the deep water port project, agreed with the tribe Monday that it could not grant a permit for a project that would infringe on the Lummi Nation’s treaty-protected fishing rights.
The 34-page decision was celebrated by community groups and tribes all over the Northwest that opposed the coal port.
The developer, SSA Marine of Seattle, declared the decision “inconceivable” and political, rather than fact-based. Bob Watters, SSA senior vice president and director of business development, said the company was “considering all action alternatives.”
Lummi hereditary chief Bill James, on the beach at Cherry Point, says saving it is to preserve “the tribe’s very way of life.” It’s the site of an ancient Lummi village. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)
Posted by suffragette | Tue May 10, 2016, 01:46 PM (29 replies)