Showing posts from January, 2014

Foreign Worker Crackdown Driving Companies Out Of Canada: Poll

See the original story here.
[More from the Preppy Grapes of Wrath front. Nothing suspicious about the sound of "a non-profit association that promotes labour mobility" right? Real grassroots. *RON*]
CP | By The Canadian Press

Posted: 01/31/2014 10:45 am EST | Updated: 01/31/2014 11:59 am EST

OTTAWA - A new survey says some businesses have been forced to move projects out of Canada because of the federal government's crackdown on temporary foreign workers.

One Map That Shows The Dangerous Consequences Of Anti-Vaccine Propaganda

See the original article here.

[In my experience the people who believe the conspiracy theories concerning vaccinations are totally impervious to evidence or logic and simply get angry if their views are challenged. By the way, this map should have included Afghanistan and Pakistan, where volunteers who are attempting to administer vaccinations in the villages are being attacked and murdered. *RON*]
Over the past year, federal officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have repeatedly warned that anti-vaccine beliefs are undermining public health efforts across the country. Even very small pockets of unvaccinated people can have dangerous consequences, allowing contagious diseases like measles — which we once believed was totally eradicated in the U.S. — a chance to start spreading again. And other diseases that can be prevented with a vaccine, like some types of cervical cancers, remain a serious problem in areas where people tend to be skeptical about shots.

Hit ’Em Where It Hurts

See the original story here.

[On the decay of the higher education system. *RON*]
The solution to the higher-ed adjunct crisis lies in the U.S. News rankings. By Rebecca Schuman

Courtesy U.S. News Best Colleges
Changes are afoot among us part-time adjuncts who shoulder a hefty majority of college instruction in the United States. We have, for now, the attention of Congress. We’ve got our own snappyhashtags! And we’re methodically organizing ourselves into unions, in my town and yours. Administrations are noticing, and are none too pleased. Sometimes, they go to impressive lengths to prevent a vote. Other times, they just issue veiled threats, saying they’re “concerned” about faculty “ceding their individual right[s]” to the Service Employees International Union, an “outside organization” unfamiliar, “in all frankness,” with “the enterprise of higher education.”

Introducing the World's First Empathy Library!

See the original story here.

[How a library with no books could change the way we read (and bring us closer together). The Empathy Library is a new digital archive where people can point to the books, movies, and other media that help us learn to understand one another. *RON*]

Books, movies, and other media to help you put yourself in someone else's shoes

By Roman Krznaric, a founding faculty member of The School of Life. His latest books are The Wonderbox: Curious Histories of How to Live and How to Find Fulfilling Work. Follow him on Twitter @romankrznaric.

January 27, 2014

We’ve all read books and watched films that have transported us and changed us, that have catapulted our imaginations into lives vastly different from our own. Think of a movie like City of God, which reveals the violent world of two boys growing up in the shantytowns of Rio. Or the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, with its classic line “You never really understand another person until you consider things from his…

The Realms of Impunity

See the original story here.
[“If ministers are prepared to allow GCHQ staffers to be potential accessories to murder, they must be very clear that they are responsible for allowing it.” *RON*]
Counterpunch, Weekend Edition Jan 31-Feb 02, 2014

GCHQ, Privacy and Murder

It will only get worse, but the last few days have been interesting in the accumulating annals of massive surveillance. Britain’s equivalent of the National Security Agency, GCHQ, has been placed under the legal microscope, and found wanting.

The legal briefs who have been advising 46 members of the all-party parliamentary group on drones has handed down a sobering assessment of the GCHQ mass surveillance program: It is, for the most part, illegal. In some cases, it may well patently criminal.

Canada: Violence Against Indigenous Women

See the original story here.
[New Human Rights Watch report on Indigenous Women. Of course, Harper has said that a special investigation is not needed. His answer to the charges that the police are ignoring this issue and have engaged in positive misconduct is to say that if there is a problem, the Aboriginal women involved should report it to the police. *RON*]

Set National Inquiry, Investigate Police Misconduct

JANUARY 31, 2014

(Ottawa) – The Canadian government should set up an independent national inquiry into the violence experienced by indigenous women and girls and create a system for greater accountability for police misconduct, Human Rights Watch said today. Representatives from Human Rights Watch testified on January 30, 2014, before the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women in the Canadian House of Commons. They also urged officials to hold police responsible for misconduct.

Spy agency reportedly kept tabs on passengers at a major Canadian airport: CBC

See the original story here.

[Another Snowden revelation: "Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian told the CBC it's 'unbelievable' CSEC would engage in that kind of surveillance of Canadians saying it 'resembles the activities of a totalitarian state.'" *RON*]

CP | By The Canadian PressPosted: 01/30/2014 10:22 pm EST | Updated: 01/31/2014 9:59 am EST

OTTAWA - Canada's electronic eavesdropping agency reportedly tracked the wireless devices of thousands of travellers by using information gleaned from free internet service at a major Canadian airport.

The CBC is reporting the revelation is contained in a top secret document retrieved by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The network says the document indicates the Communications Security Establishment Canada was given information taken from wireless devices using the airport's free Wi-Fi system over a two-week period.

It's not clear which airport was involved.

High court dismisses Ottawa, B.C. appeal of First Nations fisheries

[I wonder if any government has ever been taken to court by its own people as much as the Harper government? The cost to the public purse must also be staggering. In any case it's beginning to seem that this is the only effective way to actually change Harper's policies. *RON*]

By The Canadian Press Posted: 01/30/2014 1:23 pm EST | Updated: 01/30/2014 1:59 pm EST

VANCOUVER - The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed a federal government application to appeal a British Columbia court ruling recognizing First Nations rights to a commercial fishery.

The decision brings an end to a decade-long legal fight by the Nuu-chah-nulth (New-cha-nulth) nations of Vancouver Island.

The five bands involved argued that fisheries formed the backbone of their trading economy long before the arrival of Europeans.

They say that translates into the right to conduct a modern commercial fishery and not just a subsistence food fishery.

The federal and provincial governments both challenged the claim, with…

CHART OF THE DAY: A Big Question Mark For Investors In US Stocks

[Globalization is starting to play havoc with the idea of a well-diversified portfolio. As the world increasingly becomes one great big inter-correlated finance market, it no longer helps you to hold investments in both Standard & Poor's and emerging markets in the way that it used to! *RON*]

MATTHEW BOESLER JAN. 30, 2014, 4:24 PM

Emerging markets have been in the news a lot this week.

Volatility in EM seems to have finally spilled over into developed markets around the world, like the U.S. stock market — a dynamic the chart below from the Goldman Sachs equity strategy team captures perfectly.

It’s easy – perhaps too easy – for B.C. authorities to seize property worth less than $75,000

[This is becoming a popular funding model for police forces in the US. There appears to be absolutely no due process involved. *RON]


Published Thursday, Jan. 30 2014, 9:30 AM EST, Last updated Thursday, Jan. 30 2014, 2:53 PM EST
By the time Morgan Fane’s client had received the letter from the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office indicating his property was being seized, the deadline to respond had already passed. His $3,000 was gone.

The cash was seized during a roadside stop. Police believed one of the men inside the vehicle was selling drugs and the money was a result of that activity, but charges were never laid.

The office sent a letter to the last-known address for the money’s owner, where a family member signed for it. But by the time that letter made it into the owner’s hands, it was too late. The cash had been forfeited.

Why the rich are freaking out

[Sort of a Preppie Grapes of Wrath? :-D “I think this is going to be disastrous for the city,” one top executive at a large Wall Street bank said on the eve of de Blasio’s election. “The people who pay taxes could move out, the businesses could leave. What’s keeping us here?” *RON*]

The nation’s wealthiest 1 percent appear to be having a collective meltdown. | AP PhotoClose
By BEN WHITE | 1/30/14 5:02 AM EST

NEW YORK — The co-founder of one the nation’s oldest venture capital firms fears a possible genocide against the wealthy. Residents of Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side say the progressive mayor didn’t plow their streets as a form of frosty revenge. And the co-founder of Home Depot recently warned the Pope to pipe down about economic inequality.

Does raising the minimum wage = job losses?

[Here is another good article on minimum wage myths and facts.Small businesses don't mind the idea of higher minimum wages.Even the Harvard Business Review sees the advantages. *RON]


You can change the conversation. Chip in to rabble's donation drive today!

Recently Ontario has decided to raise its minimum wage from $10.25 to $10.94, a full 16 per cent below the poverty line. While the hundreds of thousands of Ontarians who try to subsist on minimum wage are no doubt lining up to thank the benevolent Premier Wynne for inching them that much closer to actually being able to arise from abject poverty through full-time employment, the praise has not been unanimous.

Why Slashing Corporate Tax Rates Was Detrimental to Ordinary Canadians

[The corporate tax rate has been cut almost in half, dropping as a source of government revenues, corporate profits are up as are CEO salaries, yet business investment in R&D and employee training is falling, with taxpayers picking up the training tab, unemployment is persistently high, and such jobs as are being created are part time, precarious, no-benefit MacJobs. *RON*]

Ken Georgetti President, Canadian Labour Congress

A Canadian Labour Congress research report shows that, due to lavish tax breaks, the largest of Canada's non-financial corporations had paid their entire share of taxes to all levels of government in 2012 by the end of January. We call that Corporate Tax Freedom Day.

B.C. Oil Spill Risk Among Worst In Canada: Report

[No surprise here, except possibly to Stephen Harper and Joe Oliver. *RON*]

By Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press Posted: 01/29/2014 3:28 pm EST | Updated: 01/29/2014 6:59 pm EST

OTTAWA - The coast of southern British Columbia and the Gulf of St. Lawrence are the Canadian areas most vulnerable to marine oil spills and among the most likely for a major spill to occur, according to a government-commissioned risk analysis.

The Politely Evil Empire


Two Big Reasons Why Solar Power is Under Siege

[Utilities are being allowed to impose punitive fees on homeowners who go solar. ALEX has jumped into the fray, proposing additional ways of knee-capping alternative energy and casting solar power users as 'free-riders on the system.' *RON]
Thu, 2014-01-30, RUSSELL BLINCH

Forget the U.S. war on coal, that’s not going so well for the team in the charcoal jerseys. The real shooting war has opened up against renewable energy, particularly solar, because of its potentially disruptive nature to vested interests.

Scientists question why Ottawa hired top oil lobbyist to advise government on lakes facility studying pollution

["if you want someone to evaluate what Experimental Lakes Area could do and what the implications of it being transferred to IISD would be, you’d think you’d look to a senior scientist, not someone who’s not a scientist at all and is connected to the oil and gas industry.” *RON]

Stephen Maher, Postmedia News | January 29, 2014 | Last Updated: Jan 29 1:09 PM ET

Todd Korol for National Post. Gerry Protti, a former Encana executive and one of the founders of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, was hired by the department in December 2012 on a three-month “management consulting” contract for $21,000.
One of Canada’s most prominent oil lobbyists was hired to advise the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on the Experimental Lakes Area, a freshwater research facility that the federal government ordered shut in 2012.

Mirabile Dictu! Reid Tells Off Obama on Fast Track, Killing Toxic Trade Deals for 2014

[A small bit of good news. It looks as though the TransPacific Partnership is a dead duck, at least for the duration of 2014. Beyond that it's hard to tell. *RON*]

Posted on January 30, 2014 by Yves Smith

Obama made yet another pitch in State of the Union Address for his gimmies to multinationals known as the TransPacific Partnership and the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Today that idea went down in flames, at least as far as getting the deals done this year are concerned. From Huffington Post:

The Social Disparity Behind America’s Growing Obesity Gap


by Kaisa Snellman | 9:00 AM January 29, 2014, Harvard Business Review

America is bursting at the seams. Two-thirds of adults and more than one third of kids and teenagers are overweight or obese. For children, obesity has more than doubled in the past thirty years, making it one of the biggest public health concerns in the United States.

Hedgies Versus Teachers

So one thing I learned last night is that the right has a new meme: inequality is the fault of the government — you see, it’s all those overpaid government workers.

I made the mistake of replying on the substance, which is that once you correct for education, government workers are paid about the same as their private-sector counterparts; basically, government workers are school teachers, which means that they need college degrees.

But there is a better answer, and a teachable moment here, which gets at the real nature of inequality in America. It’s not about overpaid teachers.

The world’s rich stay rich while the poor struggle to prosper

By John Kay

Thanks to globalisation the centres of major cities now appear similar

Dear Bill Gates,

We have never met, but your annual letter (coinciding with your Davos speech) seemed to be addressed directly to me. Your aim is to critique books with titles such as “how rich countries got rich and why poor countries stay poor”, and I did write a book with almost exactly that subtitle. You go on to say “thankfully these are not bestsellers because the basic premise is false”. I am afraid you are right to say my book is not a bestseller, but wrong to say its premise is false.

Why Do Environmentalists Keep Getting Killed Around the World?


Oil field fumes so painful, Alberta families forced to move

[A Jan. 26th Vancouver Observer story by Mychaylo Prystupa on the extreme effects of bitumen fumes from Baytex Energy’s storage tanks on families near Peace River Alberta. RON]
Severe headaches, dizziness, rashes and loss of memory: all symptoms reported to a new hearing examining health effects of Alberta's rapidly expanding heavy oil industry by Mychaylo Prystupa

Photos submitted by A. Labrecque

Northwest Alberta grain farmer Alain Labrecque recalls the first winter in 2011 when the fumes from oil tanks near his home in the Peace River area seemed to trigger terrible health effects for himself, his wife and two small children.