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Gender: Female
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 02:55 AM
Number of posts: 12,232

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More about Lord Ashcroft - a combo of Rove and Koch

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
Wealth £1.1bn
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 [$759,000]. 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.

Brexit vote shows deep divide

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.

Video from SPU shooting shows hero stopping shooter and motivation of hatred

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.


Ex-wife of suspected Orlando shooter: ‘He beat me’


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.

Interesting article about political shift in Austria

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.”

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