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'No to Austerity': Tens of Thousands Back Syriza at Rally in Athens

Published on
Monday, June 29, 2015
byCommon Dreams

'We believe that this ultimatum to the Greek people and democracy should be rejected,' write international academics

byDeirdre Fulton, staff writer

Protesters participate in a demonstration calling for a "No" vote in the referendum on bailout conditions set by the country's creditors, in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on June 29, 2015. (Photo: AFP)

Tens of thousands gathered in Athens on Monday night, adding their voices to the ranks of the Syriza government officials and international observers who are urging Greek citizens to act boldly and reject the terms of an aid deal offered by Greece's austerity-loving international creditors.

While numerous governments and financial institutions warned Monday that the referendum vote could determine whether or not Greece stays in the Eurozone, other critical implications loom.

A 'No' vote would be a clear rejection of austerity measures as well as other regressive and punitive policies being foisted on Greece by the so-called Troika.

On the other hand, notes Reuters, "a 'Yes' vote would pile pressure on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to resign—given his adamant resistance to opening the door to new elections and possibly a return to the negotiating table with creditors."

In fact, getting Tsipras out of the way appears to be a major goal of the European leaders and lenders, economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote on Monday:

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/06/29/no-austerity-tens-thousands-back-syriza-rally-athens


That is it exactly. We've seen it time after time after time - democratically elected leaders who are passionate about improving the lives of their people so damaged by the IMF, EU and World Bank's devastating austerity programs, are gotten rid of, one way or the other. The powers that be - the 1% of the world who run these brutal programs, cannot have a nation so indebted to them (or as in the case with Libya - not yet indebted to) by their predatory loans - breakaway nations, able to run their own economies and social programs and being successful at it. They want to own completely these indebted nations. My heart is with Greece. They need to do whatever it takes to end the brutal austerity and function free from the demands of their financial overlords as a genuine democratic nation.

WikiLeaks: US, Saudis Planned to Topple Syria's Assad in 2012

By TeleSur

June 29, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "TeleSur" - Whistleblower Julian Assange implicated the United States – along with the Saudi Arabian government – in a plot to overthrow the Syrian government.
Saudi Arabia, the United States, France, and Britain were involved in a secret 2012 deal to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Sunday.

​"Saudi has been one of the dogs of the United States in the Middle East on a leash, and you think the man is walking a dog, but sometimes, if it is a big dog, the dog starts pulling a man," Assange told Russia 1 TV.

Last week, Assange’s whistleblowing website WikiLeaks released a batch of more than 60,000 of what it said were classified Saudi diplomatic cables.

​The leak aimed to prove that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey had a secret deal to topple Syria’s President Bashar Assad as far back as 2012.

Full article: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42279.htm

The Noose Around Syria's Assad Tightens

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/09/2015 11:51 -0400


Tsipras slams EU’s ‘blackmail’ and its attempt to ‘hinder democratic processes’ (and much more).

By Alexis Tsipras
Source: Links.org
June 29, 2015

Yesterday’s Eurogroup decision to not approve the Greek government’s request for a few days’ extension of the program — to give the Greek people a chance to decide by referendum on the institutions’ ultimatum — constitutes an unprecedented challenge to European affairs, an action that seeks to bar the right of a sovereign people to exercise their democratic prerogative.A high and sacred right: the expression of opinion.
The Eurogroup’s decision prompted the European Central Bank (ECB) to not increase liquidity to Greek banks, and forced the Bank of Greece to recommend that banks remain closed, as well as restrictive measures on withdrawals.

It is clear that the objective of the Eurogroup’s and ECB’s decisions is to attempt to blackmail the will of the Greek people and to hinder democratic processes, namely holding the referendum.

They will not succeed.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/tsipras-slams-eus-blackmail-and-its-attempt-to-hinder-democratic-processes/

An End to the Blackmail

For six months now the Greek government has been waging a battle in conditions of unprecedented economic suffocation to implement the mandate you gave us on January 25.

The mandate we were negotiating with our partners was to end the austerity and to allow prosperity and social justice to return to our country.

It was a mandate for a sustainable agreement that would respect both democracy and common European rules and lead to the final exit from the crisis.

Throughout this period of negotiations, we were asked to implement the agreements concluded by the previous governments with the Memoranda, although they were categorically condemned by the Greek people in the recent elections.

However, not for a moment did we think of surrendering, that is to betray your trust.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/an-end-to-the-blackmail/

Europe’s Attack on Greek Democracy

By Joseph E. Stiglitz

We should be clear: almost none of the huge amount of money loaned to Greece has actually gone there. It has gone to pay out private-sector creditors – including German and French banks. Greece has gotten but a pittance, but it has paid a high price to preserve these countries’ banking systems. The IMF and the other “official” creditors do not need the money that is being demanded. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the money received would most likely just be lent out again to Greece.

But, again, it’s not about the money. It’s about using “deadlines” to force Greece to knuckle under, and to accept the unacceptable – not only austerity measures, but other regressive and punitive policies.

But why would Europe do this? Why are European Union leaders resisting the referendum and refusing even to extend by a few days the June 30 deadline for Greece’s next payment to the IMF? Isn’t Europe all about democracy?

In January, Greece’s citizens voted for a government committed to ending austerity. If the government were simply fulfilling its campaign promises, it would already have rejected the proposal. But it wanted to give Greeks a chance to weigh in on this issue, so critical for their country’s future wellbeing.

That concern for popular legitimacy is incompatible with the politics of the eurozone, which was never a very democratic project. Most of its members’ governments did not seek their people’s approval to turn over their monetary sovereignty to the ECB. When Sweden’s did, Swedes said no. They understood that unemployment would rise if the country’s monetary policy were set by a central bank that focused single-mindedly on inflation (and also that there would be insufficient attention to financial stability). The economy would suffer, because the economic model underlying the eurozone was predicated on power relationships that disadvantaged workers.

And, sure enough, what we are seeing now, 16 years after the eurozone institutionalized those relationships, is the antithesis of democracy: Many European leaders want to see the end of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s leftist government. After all, it is extremely inconvenient to have in Greece a government that is so opposed to the types of policies that have done so much to increase inequality in so many advanced countries, and that is so committed to curbing the unbridled power of wealth. They seem to believe that they can eventually bring down the Greek government by bullying it into accepting an agreement that contravenes its mandate.

Full article: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42276.htm

Financial Coup in Greece

By Stelios Kouloglou

May 31, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Le Monde Diplomatique " - Like the traditional Greek song, in Athens “everything changes and everything stays the same”. Four months after Syriza’s victory, the parties that had governed since the overthrow of the military dictatorship — the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) and New Democracy (rightwing) — have been completely discredited. The first radical leftist government since the “mountain government” at the time of the German occupation is very popular (1).

Although the “troika”, hated because of its responsibility for the current economic disaster, is no longer mentioned, its three “institutions” — the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) — continue their policies. With threats, blackmail and ultimatums, a new “troika” is imposing the same austerity on the government of Alexis Tsipras.

With wealth generation down by 25% since 2010 and an unemployment rate of 27% (more than 50% for those under 25), Greece has an unprecedented social and humanitarian crisis. But despite the results of the January elections, which gave Tsipras a clear mandate to end austerity, the European Union continues to treat Greece as a naughty pupil who must be punished by the stern teachers in Brussels, to discourage daydreaming voters in Spain and elsewhere who still believe in the possibility of governments opposed to the German dogma.

This situation is like Chile in the 1970s, when US president Richard Nixon was determined to topple Salvador Allende to prevent leftwing contagion in America’s backyard. “Make the economy scream,” said Nixon, and when it did, General Augusto Pinochet took over.

The silent coup under way in Greece is using more modern tools, including credit rating agencies, the media and the ECB. Two options will remain for Tsipras’s government: to be strangled financially if it keeps trying to implement its programme, or to renege on its promises and fall, abandoned by its voters.

Full article: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42014.htm

The Greek Tragedy: Some things not to forget, which the new Greek leaders have not.

By William Blum – Published February 23rd, 2015

American historian D.F. Fleming, writing of the post-World War II period in his eminent history of the Cold War, stated that “Greece was the first of the liberated states to be openly and forcibly compelled to accept the political system of the occupying Great Power. It was Churchill who acted first and Stalin who followed his example, in Bulgaria and then in Rumania, though with less bloodshed.”

The British intervened in Greece while World War II was still raging. His Majesty’s Army waged war against ELAS, the left-wing guerrillas who had played a major role in forcing the Nazi occupiers to flee. Shortly after the war ended, the United States joined the Brits in this great anti-communist crusade, intervening in what was now a civil war, taking the side of the neo-fascists against the Greek left. The neo-fascists won and instituted a highly brutal regime, for which the CIA created a suitably repressive internal security agency (KYP in Greek).

In 1964, the liberal George Papandreou came to power, but in April 1967 a military coup took place, just before elections which appeared certain to bring Papandreou back as prime minister. The coup had been a joint effort of the Royal Court, the Greek military, the KYP, the CIA, and the American military stationed in Greece, and was followed immediately by the traditional martial law, censorship, arrests, beatings, and killings, the victims totaling some 8,000 in the first month. This was accompanied by the equally traditional declaration that this was all being done to save the nation from a “communist takeover”. Torture, inflicted in the most gruesome of ways, often with equipment supplied by the United States, became routine.

George Papandreou was not any kind of radical. He was a liberal anti-communist type. But his son Andreas, the heir-apparent, while only a little to the left of his father, had not disguised his wish to take Greece out of the Cold War, and had questioned remaining in NATO, or at least as a satellite of the United States.

Full article: http://williamblum.org/aer/read/137

A New Mode of Warfare

The Greek Debt Crisis and Crashing Markets

By Michael Hudson

June 29, 2015

Eurozone financial strategists made it clear that they wanted to make an example of Syriza as a warning to Spain’s Potemos party, and anti-euro parties in Italy and France. The message was supposed to have been, “Avoid our austerity and we will cause chaos. Look at Greece.”

But the rest of Europe is interpreting the message in just the opposite way: “Remain in the eurozone and we will only create money to strengthen the financial oligarchy, the 1%. We will insist on budget surpluses (or at least, no deficits) so as to starve the economy of money and credit, forcing it to rely on commercial banks at interest.”

Greece has indeed become an example. But it is an example of the horror that the eurozone’s monetarists seek to impose on one economy after another, using debt as a lever to force privatization selloffs at distress prices.

In short, finance has shown itself to be the new mode of warfare. Resisting debt leverage and financial conquest is as legal as is resisting military invasion.

Greece: ‘third world’ aid and debt

By Michael Roberts
Source: Michael Roberts Blog
February 22, 2015

One of the cruel ironies of the last minute deal between the Eurogroup and the Greek government for a four month extension to the existing ‘aid’ programme monitored by the Troika is that in any sane meaning it is not aid at all.

In return for staying in the Troika programme for another four months to end-June and keeping to the still to be agreed conditions on fiscal targets, government spending and privatisations, the Eurogroup, the ECB and the IMF will disburse the outstanding tranches of loans under the existing programme. The FT might call this “aid” but it is nothing of the kind. It is not even bailout money for Greek banks. The €11bn funding for that has been returned by the Greeks to the Troika who are keeping it for ‘security’.

.....But most of that will be immediately recycled back to the Troika as repayments of debt and interest for previous loans and government bonds that are maturing. In the upcoming four months, the IMF must be paid back €5.3bn while the Greeks must also roll over short-term T-bills bought by the Greek banks worth about €11bn. So the Troika ‘aid’ will just disappear and the Greek people will see none of it to help with government spending.


This is just like ‘Third World’ aid that used to be distributed by the World Bank and other international agencies back in the 1980s and 1990s. Most of this ‘aid’ ended up in corrupt dictators’ pockets or in repaying previous debt. The people never saw it. And the debt levels stayed where they were, as they do for Greece now.

Back then, eventually the international agencies agreed what was called a Brady debt swap that wrote off a portion of the debt that could never be repaid. No such plan is available to Greece, although Syriza asked for it in their negotiations with the Eurogroup.


Germany owes Greece money for the war – but morality needn’t come into it
Hagen Fleischer

Instead of focusing on the emotionally charged issue of reparations for the second world war, Berlin and Athens should set up a future fund for the joint rehabilitation of a ‘shared’ history

Nazi Germany’s 3.5-year occupation of Greece was bloody and destructive. The Paris reparations conference in 1945 accepted calculations that estimated damage to Greece to amount to 7bn pre-war US dollars. It should be made clear that this wasn’t automatically the suggested reparation payment, as often has been maintained by Greek politicians and journalists: the purpose of the conference was not to come up with absolute sums but to work out percentages of a then still unspecified reparations pool.

Yet it’s important in this case to make a distinction between reparation payments for war crimes and repayments of so-called Besatzungsanleihe: monthly loans demanded from the Greek government in 1942-44 to pay for the maintenance costs of the German army in Greece and further military activity in the Mediterranean, even delivering food from starving Greece to Rommel’s “Afrika-Korps”. In early 1945, in the final days of the Third Reich, a group of high-ranking German economists calculated this “German debt (Reichsschuld) to the Greek state” to amount to 476m Reichsmarks, which would be roughly €10bn today.

This would however require a major change of attitude on Germany’s behalf. Only Berlin has the power to open talks about a historic consolidation with Greece. Until then, we continue to exist with an absurd situation where democratically elected German postwar governments of all colours continue to be in denial about the existence of this debt, which was officially recognised even by the Nazi regime.


Go after your war reparations, for a start.

Greek referendum: euro crisis explodes into dramatic climax

By Jérôme Roos
Source: Roarmag.org

The announcement struck like a bombshell.

Tsipras’ spectacular decision late on Friday to fly back to Athens and put the Eurogroup’s final bailout offer to a referendum — with the government advising voters to reject the deal — has stunned friends and foes alike.

Now, with depositors lining up at ATMs to withdraw cash, the Eurogroup refusing to extend the current bailout program, the ECB capping its emergency liquidity assistance for Greek banks, and Greece set to miss a €1.5 billion IMF payment on Tuesday, the long-awaited endgame is finally upon us. After five long and exhausting years, the euro crisis has exploded into its dramatic climax.

Those who now lambast the Greek government for its supposed “recklessness” in calling the referendum are profoundly mistaken. Yes, as I have argued many times before, Tsipras’ and Varoufakis’ belief that they could somehow extract an “honorable compromise” from the creditors was always extremely naive. But in the end it was the creditors’ utter contempt for democracy that pushed Tsipras with his back against the wall, forcing him to sign up to an agreement that they knew would split his ruling party and government.

Deliberately tabling one outrageous proposal after another, the creditors’ intention was clear from the very start: they were never even remotely interested in any positive “deal”; the only thing they would settle for was Syriza’s complete and total surrender — ideally followed by technocratic regime change inside Greece. Paul Krugman was therefore entirely right when he referred to the creditors’ ultimatum as “an act of monstrous folly.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/zcommentary/greek-referendum-euro-crisis-explodes-into-dramatic-climax/

Get your war reparations from Germany, Greece!

Outrageous Attempt at Killing the Deal with Iran

by Jan Oberg / June 25th, 2015

Internal elite power games in Washington are now putting Middle Eastern and global stability and peace at stake.

Here is the latest attempt at killing a deal with Iran that, to the sensitive reader with a minimum of knowledge of foreign policy and of the Iranian civilization, is little but one long argument for warfare on Iran in nobody’s interest – certainly also not in the interest of the citizens of Israel.

Is it just because it is summer time that intellectuals, media commentators and diplomats as well as friends and allies of the US conveniently have generally kept silent at irresponsible statements like this and the many before it?

Don’t they understand that the nuclear issue as such — not proliferation but possession — is humanity’s most important and that Iran has been the object of revengeful harassment since 1953 and punished for years for not having nuclear weapons?

Without a deal with Iran — a negotiated deal where not only Iran but all parties give and take something — the risk becomes very high that yet another devastating war will break out.

A small group of extremist pro-Israeli Iran-haters in the United States have no right to expose the Middle East, Europe and the world to such a risk in the name of an outdated militarist national security thinking.

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/06/outrageous-attempt-at-killing-the-deal-with-iran/

Iran has the same right to nuclear energy, medicine etc. that every other nation in the world has. It sits on loads of oil, but lacks the refineries to process it and thus does not have the required energy for its population - exactly the same circumstances as here in Canada. Iran has signed on to the NPT long ago and called for a nuclear-free ME. But .... the west needs and wants war. I wish every warmonger would head over to personally fight ISIS and leave peaceful nations alone, but ........ PNAC! 7 countries in 5 years! They make me sick.

The settlers considered the Native Americans extremely belligerent.

After all, they were on 'their' land and had to be removed, those that didn't agree were killed and often tortured in horrible ways. Defense of their land and settlements was met with extreme measures - don't you agree? But they were definitely considered the bad guys (terrorists), just as the Palestinians objecting to their confinement, loss of land, homes, livelihoods, lives are and have been for so many years.

'Terrorists' wasn't a handy word back then, but absolutely it would have been applied exactly the same way.

Real 'Terrorism' - deliberately attacking civilians and civilian targets in the world's largest open-air prison and all the other goodies they've been subjected to that cause fear and utter hopelessness - just as for any other targeted people in the world.

That is WHY. It's not fucking rocket science.

Dutch citizens just sued their government over inaction on climate change ... and they won.

Cheers and cries of pure joy erupted as the judge handed down the ruling in the world's first ever climate liability suit.

886 Dutch citizens, including teachers, entrepreneurs, grandparents and students united to sue their government for its inaction on climate change. In a decision likely to reverberate across the world, the court ordered the state to reduce emissions by 25% within 5 years to protect its citizens from climate change.

A HUGE congratulations to all involved, including Urgenda, the group that brought the suit on behalf of the citizens.

Published on
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
byCommon Dreams

In Historic Ruling, Dutch Court Says: Climate Action is a Human Right

Hague District Court says Dutch government has a legal duty to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2020

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Urgenda Foundation supporters celebrate at the Hague District Court after a historic ruling ordered the Dutch government to slash emissions. (Photo: Chantal Bekker/Urgenda)

In a landmark ruling that many hope establishes a new global precedent for a state's obligation to its citizens in the face of the growing climate crisis, a Dutch court on Wednesday said that the government has a legal duty to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2020.

The decision came in response to a lawsuit, launched in November 2013 by the Amsterdam-based environmental nonprofit Urgenda Foundation along with 600 Dutch citizens, which argued that the government was violating international human rights law by failing to take sufficient measures to combat rising greenhouse gas emissions.

"The state must do more to avert the imminent danger caused by climate change, also in view of its duty of care to protect and improve the living environment," read a statement from the Hague District Court.

Columnist Nick Meynen, who is one of 10,000 Belgians who on April 27 launched a similar case against their government, explained in a piece published by This Changes Everything on Tuesday: "It’s hard to find any country in the world with climate legislation in place that is in line with what the science requires. Somehow, governments have so far managed to get away with that. But the days of empty promises are over."

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/06/24/historic-ruling-dutch-court-says-climate-action-human-right

Stop the privatization of Lagos' water

Corporate Accountability International

June 25, 2015

(no link, an email)

As you read this, millions of people in Lagos, Nigeria are faced with the daily task of figuring out how to get safe water. And we're not talking about a few low-income neighborhoods here. A whopping 90 percent of Lagos' 21 million residents don’t have daily access to safe water. Why? One big reason is that for years the World Bank has promoted the privatization of their city's water systems, strong-arming public officials and preventing the development of adequate public systems. It's outrageous.

And the people of Lagos have had enough. Our allies in Nigeria at Environmental Rights Action are leading a powerful movement to challenge corporate water privatizers and demand the human right to water. And we've got their backs. Just weeks from now, water justice activists from around the world are joining our friends in Lagos to set a roadmap that will protect the human right to water not just in Africa's largest city but around the world.

Millions in Lagos rely on costly or unsafe water sources such as poorly regulated wells, partly because the World Bank has pushed for a corporatized water system and prevented truly democratic public solutions from thriving for decades. For many, water arrives not through pipes to their homes, but through shared standpipes, or in jerry cans or cellophane bags. They're often forced to get their water from unknown sources at a markup charged by the few people who have access.

Recently, intense pressure from members like you and the people of Lagos forced the World Bank to back off yet another move toward privatization of the city's water. And this mighty grassroots movement in Lagos -- and around the world -- is making sure the new governor of Lagos commits to public water systems. The momentum is on our side, but we can't let up now.

Nigerian trade unionists push to stop water privatization

In Nigeria, tens of thousands of people are standing together to protect their water from global corporations. With one voice, they have taken up a call: Our Water, Our Right. They have issued a powerful demand for the Lagos government to reject privatization plans.

As mentioned in PSI’s report “Why Public-Private Partnerships don’t work”, which contains a combination of 30 years of research and assesses the PPP experience in both industrialised and developing countries, PPPs have failed to live up to their promise. They are often an expensive and inefficient way of financing infrastructure and services, since they conceal public borrowing, while providing long-term state guarantees for profits to private companies.

Lagosians like Akinbode Oluwafemi, Director of ERA, are rejecting the privatization plans that the World Bank has spent decades paving the way for, because they know the disastrous results of other World Bank-backed projects: Rates are hiked, workers are laid off, and families find it harder than ever to access clean, safe water.

The Nigerian unions said, “It is well past time that we got serious about resolving these problems. Access to clean and safe water and sanitation services is the minimum that we demand of our government. Is this really too much to ask? Is it even credible that, in the 21st century, we can’t ensure universal access to water and sanitation?”

That is why the stakes are so high. The World Bank and the global corporations it supports want Lagos to set the precedent for who controls water in Africa. The privatization of Lagos' water will put millions more lives at risk across the continent and we cannot let that happen.

PSI stands with the people in Lagos to defend their human right to water and sanitation, challenges the government to stand up to corporate water privatizers and supports Lagosians in their fight to keep their water in their own hands


Water Privatisation: A Worldwide Failure?

2015•02•20 John Vidal The Guardian

Like the IFC, most proposed awarding a single giant water company a long concession in return for providing technical expertise and millions of water connections.

But the companies, banks and donors all left, unable to agree with the federal or local authorities how to satisfy corporate demands, raise the billions of pounds inevitably needed, and convince the Nigerian public that international companies would fulfil their contracts and not make unreasonable profits from the sale of what was widely seen as a public resource.

For Orogobeni, his family, and more than 15 million other Lagosians, the impasse means continuing to pay local water suppliers a hefty premium for unsafe water.

About 80% of Lagos’s piped water supplies are thought to be stolen, only 5% of people receive it in their houses, taps are often dry, sanitation is non-existent across much of the metropolis and the hospitals are full of people suffering diarrheal and other water-borne diseases. All that has changed since the IFC’s abortive 1999 plan is that the demand for water has grown due to the arrival of millions more people in the city.

The latest organisation to have failed to negotiate a Lagos water agreement is the IFC — again. The private arm of the World Bank, which has lent more than $75 billion for water and sanitation projects around the world since 1995, has been in secret talks for more than a year with the city’s private water company about funding another possible private-public partnership (PPP) scheme. But this week it categorically stated that negotiations had broken down and were unlikely to resume for years

Where near-universal access to water has been achieved, it has virtually always been through a public commitment.

The rebuff is a blow to the IFC, which has long been the world’s largest funder of global water projects, providing advice for governments and loans for companies to take over and invest in under-resourced water and sanitation systems in developing countries, often as part of a broader set of privatisation policies. According to the IFC’s data, it completed 847 water projects between 1993 and 2013, nearly half of which were in Latin America.

Full article: http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/water-privatisation-a-worldwide-failure

Univision drops Miss USA pageant over Donald Trump's 'insulting remarks' about Latino immigrants

Trump accused Mexicans of bringing drugs, crime and rapists to the U.S. during campaign speech

CBC News Posted: Jun 25, 2015 12:20 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 25, 2015 12:20 PM ET

FILE - In this June 16, 2013 file photo, Donald Trump, left, and Miss Connecticut USA Erin Brady pose onstage after Brady won the 2013 Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas, Nev. Univision says it is dropping the Miss USA Pageant and says it will cut all business ties with Donald Trump over comments he made about Mexican immigrants. The network said Thursday, June 25, 2015, it will not air the pageant on July 12, as previously scheduled, and has ended its business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization due to what it called "insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants" by Trump, a part owner. (Jeff Bottari/AP File)

Univision is dropping the Miss USA pageant and says it will cut all business ties with Donald Trump over comments he made about Mexican immigrants.

The network said Thursday it will not air the July pageant and has ended its business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, which produces the Miss USA pageant, due to what it called "insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants" by Trump, a part owner of Miss Universe.

Trump says he was only criticizing U.S. policies concerning Mexico, not its people. He says Univision is in default of a five-year contract.

Miss USA presenter pulled out

Univision's decision is the latest in the fallout over Trump's remarks: On Thursday, Puerto Rican actress and Miss USA presenter Roselyn Sanchez severed her ties with the pageant. And on Wednesday, Colombian singer J Balvin cancelled a planned performance.

Full article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/univision-drops-miss-usa-pageant-over-donald-trump-s-insulting-remarks-about-latino-immigrants-1.3127510

What election rules? U.S.-style attack time comes to Canada

Anonymous donors, no accountability, all fair in the PAC-land of pre-writ electioneering

By Chris Hall, CBC News Posted: Jun 25, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 25, 2015 10:39 AM ET


Canada's electoral laws are intended to limit the influence of big money in campaigns by enforcing strict contribution limits, making the names of all donors public and banning donations from corporations and unions.

But a growing number of third parties are exploiting a loophole in the law that puts no serious restrictions on how much is raised or spent before the campaign officially begins.

Engage Canada was started by two former senior Liberal staffers in Ontario, Don Guy and Dave Gene, and Kathleen Monk, an equally prominent federal NDP strategist. Take my word for it, because you won't find any disclosure of who is behind the group from its website.

On the other side is HarperPAC. The name tells you all you need to know.

The group is a "political action committee" in the U.S. mould and dedicated to re-electing the Harper government.

Full article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/what-election-rules-u-s-style-attack-time-comes-to-canada-1.3126670

Richard Sharp: (comment)

Harper has overwheming corporate support, including the corporate media. Not only do they run the attack ads, 49 of the top 50 English newspapers supported Harper in 2011. The Star endorsed Layton.

Harper has also spent a billion or more in government advertising patting himself on the back. So, it's hardly a level playing field.

harper has exploited every loophole in the system after promising better. "you won't recognize Canada when i'm through with it." was more like a threat.

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