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Populist wave reaches Ireland: Sinn Fein stuns establishment, becoming first left-wing party to win Irish general election


Comment: Sinn Fein is definitely 'left', but there's more to it than that. It's also nationalist, and wants a referendum on Irish reunification ASAP. But the primary source of its support is likely drawn from a decade of austerity measures and the failure of neo-liberalism.

Needless to say, the entire media-political establishment spent the entire election campaign warning the Irish people that voting for Sinn Fein would mean certain DOOM!...


irish elections 2020 Fine gael
© Reuters / Phil Noble
Polls have closed in Ireland's general election and, with no party securing a strong lead, confusion abounds as voters wait to see which parties will agree to do business with each other to form a coalition.

An Ipsos MRBI exit poll published by Ireland's state broadcaster RTE at 10pm shows FG [Fine Gael], SF [Sinn Fein] and FF [Fianna Fail] tied with a statistically insignificant (given a margin of error of 1.3 percent) difference of 22.4, 22.3 and 22.2 percent of the vote respectively.

A Sinn Fein surge in the run up to election day looks to have translated into votes at the ballot box, allowing party leader Mary Lou McDonald to head into post-election discussions with some serious clout - and possibly even form a coalition either with another major party, or with the Green Party, the Social Democrats and independents - though the 'grand left coalition' still looks like one of the least-likely outcomes.

Comment: It'll be a few days before results are counted, but so far Sinn Fein actually appear to be doing better than even the exit poll suggested, approaching 25% of the popular vote as of 22:00 CET this Sunday February 9th.

Ironically, Sinn Fein themselves apparently didn't believe they were going to do this well, as they didn't field enough candidates to translate their large vote share into a corresponding number of seats!

This means that the two establishment parties, if they hinder Sinn Fein efforts to form a coalition government this time around, will almost certainly lose more seats to them if another election were held later this year.

Ireland still has some way to go before its fractured polity of multiple small parties and independent candidates reunite under strong leadership, as in the 1918 election when (old) Sinn Fein won the vast majority of seats, but something historic may indeed be in motion here.

One thing is certain: Ireland's current leader, Leo Varadkar, is out.


Attention

Van plows through Republican voter registration tent, narrowly misses volunteers - UPDATE: Suspect arrested

van attack florida republican event
© Republican Party of Duval County
Van plows through Republican Party registration table.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is reporting that a van drove through the Republican Party of Duval County's tent while they were registering voters Saturday afternoon.

The Republican Party of Duval County had six volunteers at the Kernan Village shopping center where they were registering voters. JSO reported that around 3:45 p.m., an older brown van, driven by a white man in his early 20s, approached the tent. He then drove right through the table and tent with his van. The suspect then stopped, got out of the van and took a video of the scene, flipped off the victims and fled. As of now, the suspect has not been identified.

Light Saber

Nearly 1,000 attend London Assange rally to see speakers on press freedom

John McDonnell
© Sputnik / Demond Cureton
UK shadow chancellor John McDonnell
Nearly 1,000 attendees gathered in London to show support for the Wikileaks founder on Tuesday evening, just weeks before the detained activist is set to begin attending two crucial court hearings ahead of a final extradition request ruling later this year.

Key speakers at the rally included UK shadow chancellor John McDonnell, Julian Assange defence team member and barrister Jennifer Robinson, Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer, UK shadow justice minister Richard Burgon and New Left Review editorial committee member and renowned activist, Tariq Ali.

Groups supporting the rally included the Stop the War Coalition, Socialist Equality Party, Campaign to Defend Julian Assange, Julian Assange Defence Campaign, among others.

Comment:


Cult

Pope to visit Italian region poisoned by toxic waste dumping

Pope
Pope Francis will mark the fifth anniversary of his ecological manifesto by visiting a southern Italian region where decades of toxic-waste dumping by the mob have polluted the environment and sickened its people.

The diocese of Acerra announced Francis' May 24 visit on Saturday. It said his trip to the so-called "Land of Fires" would be a source of joy and hope for the region's families, and especially their cancer-stricken children.

Italy's National Institutes of Health said in a 2016 report to parliament that residents of the area near Naples suffered higher-than-normal incidents of death and cancer due to exposure to contaminants from illegal dumps and the burning of urban and hazardous waste.

Handcuffs

Israel's police arrest rabbi & sect leader accused of rape & sham healing for money

Rabbi
© THOMAS COEX / AFP
Israeli policemen escort Rabbi Eliezer Berland
Members of a cult-like sect tried everything to prevent officers from bringing to custody a controversial Israeli rabbi thought to have taken advantage of gravely ill people and convicted of sexual assaults on women.

Israeli police have arrested Rabbi Eliezer Berland early on Sunday morning, along with his wife and other top members of his ultra-Orthodox Shuvu Bonim sect. Shortly afterwards, the sect's followers thronged the nearby street, trying to seal it off and stop the vehicle carrying Berland.

Stunning footage from the arrest shows them hurling stones at officers and banging fists on the passing car. Riot police shielded the vehicle as it passed by and tried to stand ground; two of them were injured, local media reported.

Comment: For more on this deviant and his group, see: Charlatan Israeli sex convict rabbi says he can revive the dead, for only $5k

See also: And check out SOTT radio's: The Truth Perspective: How to Numb Your Conscience with Totalitarian Religion


Marijuana

Colorado university to offer cannabis-related degree

Cannabis
A university in Colorado will offer a cannabis-related degree program after receiving approval from the state.

Colorado State University is expected to launch the program this fall at its Pueblo campus about 115 miles (185 kilometers) south of Denver, The Denver Post reported.

The Cannabis, Biology and Chemistry program would focus on the science necessary to work in the cannabis field and emphasize natural products and analytical chemistry, officials said.

"It's a rigorous degree geared toward the increasing demand coming about because of the cannabis industry," College of Science and Mathematics dean David Lehmpuhl said. "Hemp and marijuana has really come to the forefront in a lot of economic sectors in the country. We're not pro-cannabis or anti-cannabis. What we're about will be the science, and training students to look at that science."

Comment: See also:


Family

Time to shut Pornhub down

pornhub logo
© Getty Images
In the last few months, there have been several shocking cases of sex trafficking and child rape films that were hosted on Pornhub. A 15-year-old girl who had been missing for a year was finally found after her mother was tipped off that her daughter was being featured in videos on the site — 58 such videos of her rape and sexual abuse were discovered on Pornhub.

Her trafficker, who was seen in the videos raping the child, was identified using surveillance footage of him at a 7-Eleven where he was spotted with his victim. He is now facing a felony charge.

Also in recent news was the case of 22 women who were deceived and coerced by Michael Pratt, owner of GirlsDoPorn, into performing sex acts on film that were subsequently uploaded to Pornhub. These women sued GirlsDoPorn and won a $12.7 million lawsuit against the company. According to a federal indictment, Pratt and his co-conspirators produced child pornography and trafficked a minor. Pratt reportedly fled the United States for New Zealand and is currently wanted on a federal warrant. But there are other individuals complicit in these crimes that should also be wanted by law enforcement — CEO Ferris Antoon and COO David Tassillo of Mindgeek, the Canadian-based company that owns Pornhub.

Comment: Amen.


People 2

UK gov buries secret report on soaring reliance on foodbanks and welfare system

uk dwp
© Wikimedia - UK Government
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is sitting on its own 'secret' investigation into foodbank use. It should have released it in October 2019. Now, an SNP MP has put the issue back on parliament's agenda. But one campaign group told The Canary that it thinks the DWP 'buried' the report on purpose.

The DWP: foodbank Britain

As the Guardian reported, more and more people in the UK are using foodbanks. The Trussell Trust said that in 2018/19, as many as 3 million food parcels were given out by all UK foodbanks. Around 2% of households in the UK received a parcel. Moreover, the Trussell Trust alone gave out over 800,000 food parcels between April and September 2019. This was a 23% rise on 2018.

The Trussell Trust also says that foodbank use has increased in areas where the DWP has rolled out Universal Credit. And it says that over 60% of people referred to foodbanks have had "problematic experiences with the benefits system". These include:

Comment: Life for the many in the UK has been on a downward spiral for well over a decade, but there's no hiding from the "unprecedented" rise in infant mortality; the rather sudden plunge in life expectancy for the poorest; the surge in foodbank use; the blatant and deplorable signs of childhood poverty; the underfunded and deteriorating National Health Service, as well as the understaffed and overstretched police force - to name but a few of its problems.

See also: Democracy in meltdown: In almost every country, people's faith in democratic systems is at rock-bottom levels

And check out SOTT radio's:


Attention

'He went mad': Soldier livestreams his rampage through shopping mall in Thailand, killing 30, injuring 58

Thai soldier
© NATTAYA NGANIEM/via REUTERS
A person runs away during a Thai soldier's shooting rampage in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand February 8, 2020
A Thai soldier has killed at least 30 people in a mass shooting and injured 58 before taking hostages inside a shopping mall while taking selfies and livestreaming on social media.

The man, who police identified as a junior army officer, opened fire in a shopping center in Korat, also known as Nakhon Ratchasima, in northeast Thailand. Before the attack he killed his commander and two others, stole weapons and ammunition and fled in a stolen Humvee.

Terminal 21 mall was full of Saturday shoppers when the attack occurred. A video posted to social media show people running inside the building and fleeing outside as multiple shots are fired.

Eye 1

Funding for women's group under review after call for ban on man-woman relationships

Tweet Gabrielle Bouchard

Tweet by Gabrielle Bouchard.
The Quebec government says it will re-evaluate the $120,000 annual public funding it gives to the province's biggest women's federation after its president suggested that heterosexual relationships should be banned.

Gabrielle Bouchard, president of the Federation des femmes du Quebec, made the controversial comment Tuesday on Twitter, before issuing an apology on Facebook and during televised media interviews later in the day.

Bouchard says her original tweet was in reaction to news that a man out on parole after being convicted of killing his female partner had been arrested in the slaying last week of a 22-year-old woman in Quebec City.