In Today’s Struggle for Principle with Trump there Will be No Republican Stephen A. Douglas

president Trump legitimizes the most repressive dictatorial regimes while attacking longstanding allies such as Canada

Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Progressive Realist in Wonderland

Stephen A. Douglas

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

As I watch President Trump’s administration attack the law, the Constitution, and violate the civil rights and human rights of citizens as well as people who have come to the United States to flee oppression and danger at home; to threaten freedom of speech and freedom of the press; to categorize political opponents inside and outside of his party as traitors; to legitimize the most repressive dictatorial regimes while attacking longstanding allies; even as he works to destroy the work of American Presidents and diplomats to build a world order that has brought great benefit to the United States and the world by defeating the Nazis, Imperial Japan, and eventually the Soviet Union. He has chosen the choice of being a rogue superpower rather than being the moderating and stabilizing force in the world that it has played since World War Two…

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Yossi Klein Halevi’s “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor” – A Must-Read

I have always believed the people will do a much better job of handling issues, when given the chance to speak with each other, rather than at one another. A minor detail forgotten by our current leadership in many countries.

Rabbi John Rosove's Blog

A disclaimer – Yossi is a friend and one of the more enlightened, fair-minded, thoughtful, kind, and generous of heart people I have met in many years of engagement with Israel.

He is an oleh (immigrant) from New York where he grew up the child of Holocaust survivors and a follower of Rabbi Meir Kahanah. He is hardly the extremist these days. A writer always worth reading in articles or in his three previous books (all of which I read with a voracious appetite for the truths he expresses so honestly and freely), Yossi does not disappoint in his newest book of letters to his Palestinian neighbors.

He writes with an honesty, candor, and historical and emotional perspective that those in the Jewish community on both the right and the left can hear, and hopefully, fair-minded Palestinians can hear as well (he had the book translated into Arabic with an…

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False Flag Alert in Crucial Week to Save Iran Nuclear Deal by Finian Cunningham

Israel is illegally occupying Syrian territory in the Golan Heights since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, yet when its illegal positions are fired on it is Syria or Iran that is condemned.

via False Flag Alert in Crucial Week to Save Iran Nuclear Deal by Finian Cunningham

The People Made the First New Deal. Can the People Make Another?

Thoughts to ponder going forward towards the midterm election this November

Be Freedom

WV-TeachersStrike-ap-imgMassive Protest and Organizing Created the New Deal

The kind of electoral victories we need will take far more than standard electioneering and Facebook debates.  Let’s look at what it took to create the New Deal so we can see just how challenging the task ahead is. During the Great Depression massive organizing efforts and protest movements were necessary just to reform the two-party system. New Deal history strongly suggests that the current dementer v. demexit debate is largely a waste of time until we organize movements powerful enough to upset the existing order.

In our memory Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the standard bearer of the New Deal but it did not start that way.  FDR was a reluctant reformer pushed into progressive action because millions of people were willing to experiment with radical solutions.

Mass movements, third parties and revolutionary parties, labor upheaval, agrarian unrest, powerful populists, discontented veterans, and Democratic congressmen

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Gay or Queer and Why it Matters

Some use it to encompass all non-heterosexual, non-cisgender identities. That’s an understandable use of the term – like I mentioned, I interpret it to be partially about giving space for exploring gender and sexuality, and including so many different groups of people demands that space, demands a challenge to stability. Certainly a wide variety of non-heterosexual, non-cisgender folks are queer.

But though queer might cover some part of that spectrum, it is not limited to it. I am not gay nor lesbian nor bisexual nor transgender. I am not anything other than just queer.

There are people who some of you might call straight, if you looked at them and their partners and impose genders onto them, but who are actually queer. And many gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals do not identify as queer.

Like plenty of the names marginalized people call themselves, queer has a fraught history of reclamation, many controversial political implications, and a universalizing aspect that is too contradictory for some.

Source: 3 Differences Between the Terms ‘Gay’ and ‘Queer’ — and Why It Matters – Everyday Feminism

Adrian Ballou is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism. A genderqueer writer, artist, activist, and educator who does youth development work both inside and outside the classroom, they particularly enjoy writing and facilitating social justice education and youth organizing curriculum.

The West Is Becoming Irrelevant, The World Is Laughing

Worthy of your attention. The military strategists of the countries that are refusing to kneel in front of the barbaric terror of the West, responsible for hundreds of millions of murders and billions of ruined lives, are planning how to defend their countries and the world.

Desultory Heroics

By Andre Vltchek

Source: TruePublica

I was recently told by an Asian friend of mine who is working in Paris: “Lately I stopped following almost all that is happening politically in the United States, in the UK and even here in France. It all feels suddenly so irrelevant, a waste of time.”

Statements like this would be unimaginable only one decade ago. In the past, what came from Washington and (to a smaller extent) from London was monitored with great attentiveness and fear, all over the world.

But all of a sudden, things have begun to change, rapidly. Despite the extremely violent nature of the Western-designed-and-manufactured global regime, which has been over-imposed on so many parts of the world for decades and centuries, increasing amounts of people in Asia, Latin America and Africa stopped worrying and went leisurely to the ‘barricades’, beginning to rebel against the perverseness of the…

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CBC the 800-pound News Media Gorilla

A part of the ongoing public discussion over what can be done as traditional news media are weakened in their ability to do public interest journalism. The answer, according to CBC executives, is: Let’s have more CBC! But the solution to the disrupted news media scene in Canada is not for taxpayers to shell out more to a public provider of news, no matter how high-quality or how high-minded.

The CBC has rapidly become the 800-pound gorilla in news media in many communities across Canada, not just because of its own increased resources but also because of reduced revenues at private media outlets. The result is a distortion of the marketplace that undermines the ability of private firms to transition and to continue to report the very same news and information that CBC executives say it should be publicly funded to provide.

Over the past year, the Winnipeg Free Press has found itself in bidding wars with the local CBC station trying to hire away reporters and editors from the newspaper. The journalists were hired not to do innovative work that was not being done by private media, but rather to report on areas like city hall, the very beats that they covered for the newspaper.

These weren’t journalists shed by indiscriminate layoffs. They were the most valuable resources the paper had in its continued comprehensive coverage of Winnipeg, and the paper had spent considerable money over the years developing their knowledge and skills. In most cases, the CBC won, offering greater security backed by taxpayer funding.

Bob Cox is publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press, also responsible for the Brandon Sun and eight community newspapers in Manitoba. He is currently chair of News Media Canada, the association representing daily and community newspapers across the country.

Source: The 800-pound news media gorilla – Policy Options

(Note: The CBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, is funded in a large part by the government of Canada. Total funding when adding some advertising revenue and cable subscriptions is almost $1.6 billion per year. The government portion is $1.1 billion of the total.

At this point the funding gets very hazy. The CBC will broadcast a special program produced by someone in Canada. Costs related to the program are not included, except for royalties paid, in the overall CBC cost. In almost every case the extra programs receive their funding from several government fully funded sources. Government funded Canada Council for the Arts is one of the big players especially for those who know the application process. The recent Liberal government budget allocated $1.9 billion to it an various other arts funding.)

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Future Prospects of the Conquest of Space

The space travel veteran said in Berlin that the space research conducted over the past 60 years has shown that people face a larger task than the conquest of space: namely, preserving nature on earth.

His point of view was supported by German astronauts Sigmund Jähn and Thomas Reiter.

“If you look down from there on our beautiful planet, you are thrilled by its beauty, on the one hand. But on the other, you are frightened how vulnerable our planet is. And you become very thoughtful when you fly over these many regions where conflicts take place,” Reiter said.

“If we continue this way, we will destroy the ground for the future of the mankind,” Jähn said. “We must understand that any stupid things and crimes that we are doing with our small earth does not go unpunished. So, it is time to protect the earth!” the cosmonaut concluded.

Source: Russian, German Cosmonauts Reveal Future Prospects of ‘the Conquest of Space’

How to think about Vladimir Putin

President Putin with the elected representatives, turned the economy of Russia around, to give Russia back to the people of Russia. The middle class appeared by 2004 and continues to increase to this day. Over 30% of the Russian population is now middle class while the west sinks into poverty. Unemployment is very low so Russia is being careful on immigration. Very little of what he and the elected Duma and Senate have done is told to the western audience. While the west continues to spend trillions on war Russia built a rapid rail system between Moscow and St. Petersburg. A nine hour trip now takes under three environmentally friendly hours.

Source: How to think about Vladimir Putin

Tips for Filing Tax Returns in Canada

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Just when you thought you were off the hook it is time to send in your Tax Returns to the Federal Government. Yes you have paid taxes on everything from a light bulb to a USB drive all year so why more?

Someone has to pay for the 1.7 million Canadian bureaucrats, their health care, their days off and their pensions. Can you remember the last time you called the Canadian government and talked to someone in Canada’s two official languages French and English? You will have a better chance by calling from 7 a.m. ET to 3 p.m Pacific Time. I am not suggesting you call ET although you would have more fun trying. ET is Eastern Time plus 30 minutes in Newfoundland.

Electronic Filing via Internet

It is the fastest method to get it over with quickly. Faster when you have an online account with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Someone told me a few days ago there are more than 3 billion people using the Internet. Yet 20% of the highly Canadian techno savvy population know how to set up an account with CRA. Your account gives you a way to get all of your T slips or reassess an Income Tax Return. Plus look over information regarding CPP, OAS and other benefits. Factually speaking they are not benefits since the money comes from your contributions to various plans such as an RRSP. Hyperlinks above will take you to the CRA website where you can set up your account.

Deadline to Remember

Canada Revenue Agency set April 30, 2017 as deadline for filing your 2016 tax return. Your employer has until the end of February to hand over T slips. If you worked more than one job then call the employer(s) for the T-4 slip(s). There are several billion dollars of unclaimed amounts being held by CRA due to people not filing an Income Tax Return. Last year I completed a return for a 30-year-old who had not filed in 6 years. He was delightfully silly when the money owed to him arrived. If you had deductions and most do have them file your Return. It is your money.

Ways to File and Income Tax Return

Electronic filing with CRA approved software is the best method ever. Here is a list of the software approved to date. Some are free for low-income earners below $30,000.00 for a single person and $45,000.00 for a couple. My non-sponsored recommendation for those who have a simple return is UFile 2016. It should be called Income Tax for Dummies because it is so easy to use. (Place name here … Address here…)

Many other software programs are listed and some require more computer skill. Often times you can also get a discount via the CRA website from the software developer.

Paper Filing

Paper tax returns can be found around the Post Office or Federal government locations such as Service Canada and CRA of course. You require pencils, pencil sharper, paper and lots of patience. The paper manual included with the kit will give your brain a good workout. Last time I had to use paper returns was for a lovely lady who failed to do any tax returns during the previous ten years.

Community Volunteer Income Tax Program

It was initially started in Quebec and Ontario to find out if there was a need for a volunteer program. They were swamped and CVTIP became a national way for Canadians on low incomes to have their taxes prepared and filed with CRA. The low-income markers are slightly different from one volunteer group to another. The CRA guideline is $35,000.00 per individual and $45,000.00 per couple. CVITP does not include those with T-5 financial resources over the amounts stated nor self-employed persons.

The volunteers across Canada assisted people on low incomes by preparing and filed close to 750,000 Income Tax Returns in 2016. We expect a sharp increase this year. Look over this link to find a volunteer group in your town or city. Bring your T slips and make an appointment where it is applicable. Every person involved goes through a clearance process with CRA and police clearance. A copy of the return is printed for you and none of the volunteers or local groups keep your returns on file. If you require a special need or assistance with language ask before you arrive.

A Few Additional Notes

Anyone collecting a pension, a disability allowance or additional funding need to file an income tax return. If you do not file a return your pension or any funding will be cut off in July. This includes GST rebates from July 2017 onward until the return if filed.

Seniors will only receive the CPP amount when the return is not filed by the April deadline. Let us pretend you are receiving $1600.00 a month pension plus the other allowances. Those allowances are the part of the pension you will not receive after July. Your July pension will be reduced to $400.00 +/- a month. I do volunteer after doing taxes for a few decades and it is heart breaking to see an 80-year-old in tears. For those reading this please do whatever is possible to ensure the elders in your family get their returns done on time. Provincial benefits as low as they are will also stop.

The current Federal government has introduced some of what they call poverty reduction into tax system. As I see it through the tax returns it is more than likely going to toss a few 100 thousand people out of their homes. This poverty reduction tax plan has a gaping hole in it someone forgot to research.

Most housing subsidy programs in Canada ask for the amount on Line 150 or Line 236 of your income tax form when applying. Line 150 is your total income and includes any current subsidies and Line 236 is the adjusted amount. These two lines are usually the same amount of dollars. The Federal government is going to increase the amounts on Line 150 and thus Line 236. It will put low-income earners in a higher artificial income bracket and disallow them Local or Provincial Housing assistance.

They claim there will be a decrease in poverty. It will be followed up by a massive increase in homelessness. It is more akin to a double negative balance found in most oligarchies.

Fraudulent Emails and Phone Calls

Best to put a hyperlink to the last scams being used in Canada. A few minutes of your time will make you aware of scams via phone, text messages, email, online and telemarketing.