Showing posts from February 13, 2014

Does Flaherty Care About Tax Fairness?

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[The title itself is very nearly a silly question. Most certainly the Conservative Party does not care about tax fairness; it gives it enough lip service to keep itself voted in by those who don't read anything. All the 800-pound gorillas in the room are studiously avoided, most notably tax havens and profit-shifting to low-tax nations. All this aside, re-introducing a progressive tax scale would be fundamental to creating a fair tax system. Canadians for Tax Fairness are a good group, but this is not mentioned here at all.  *RON*]

Dennis Howlett, Executive Director, Canadians for Tax Fairness. 02/12/2014
When Finance Minister Jim Flaherty stood to deliver his budget speech and promised that the government would, "keep closing tax loopholes so every Canadian pays their fair share," tax fairness activists cheered. And when we found that Budget 2014 had a section titled, "Improving the Fairness and Integrity of the Tax System, and Strengt…

Is the Fair Elections Act unconstitutional? The answer may be in the numbers

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[See also, Elections Canada chief calls government’s electoral reform plans retaliation for clashes with Tories. As Elizabeth May said in the House of Commons on February 12th, "The crisis in Canadian democracy is not that Canadians are voting more than once, it's that they are voting less than once." There have been 8 cases of voter fraud across Canada in the past 22 years in any election or referendum overseen by Elections Canada - that's out of more than 100 million votes (<.00000008 of votes). The new laws proposed by Harper won't put a dent in the flow of money from corporate coffers to the Conservative Party, but it will stop a lot -- about 120,000 -- of pesky persona non grata from voting in each election. The new law, for instance, is particularly concerned to "crack down" on how easy it is for Aboriginal people to vote (no "pipeline vengeance" here, no sir). It will also "crack down" on perm…

Yellen, tapering and a moribund G20

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[We will see if these careful expressions of seemly obscurantism in the face of developing world pain will stay in place when tapering hits Wall Street, not just India, and the CEOs realize they will need to work for a living. *RON*]

By Philip Stephens, February 12, 2014 4:16 pm

Interdependence cannot be wished away; rising world turbulence may yet exact a toll on the US

So there you have it. The US Federal Reserve sets monetary policy to fit conditions in the US economy. If decisions taken by the Fed cause collateral damage elsewhere, well, tant pis. So much for global governance.

Twenty five year follow-up for breast cancer incidence and mortality of the Canadian National Breast Screening Study: randomised screening trial

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[Routine annual mammograms in women under 60 don't reduce breast cancer deaths — these tests are essentially as good as physical examination alone. In some cases, early detection doesn't necessarily mean the cancer can be cured, and in some others, treatments work even if cancer is discovered at later stages. It is also controversial whether the potential benefits of mammograms outweigh the harm done by over-diagnosis and over-treatment. The new findings suggest that "the rationale for screening by mammography should be urgently reassessed by policy makers," the researchers wrote.*RON*]


Objective: To compare breast cancer incidence and mortality up to 25 years in women aged 40-59 who did or did not undergo mammography screening.

Design: Follow-up of randomised screening trial by centre coordinators, the study’s central office, and linkage to cancer registries and vital statistics databases.

Setting: 15 screening centres in six Can…

China's Plan to Clean Up Air in Cities Will Doom the Climate, Scientists Say

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[Good article. Coal-to-gas projects in rural areas would double the carbon footprint of fuel burned in cities, spelling disaster for earth's climate. See also "China smog makes capital 'barely suitable' for life: report" *RON*]
By William J. Kelly, InsideClimate News, Feb 13, 2014

China is erecting huge industrial complexes in remote areas to convert coal to synthetic fuel that could make the air in its megacities cleaner. But the complexes use so much energy that the carbon footprint of the fuel is almost double that of conventional coal and oil, spelling disaster for earth's climate, a growing chorus of scientists is warning.