Showing posts from February 25, 2014

The Fed Cares About Inflation 10 Times More Than It Cares About Unemployment

Read the original article here.

[No surprise here. No erosion of capital and it keeps the proles begging for any job they can find. *RON*]

—By Kevin Drum, Tue Feb. 25, 2014 2:00 PM

Ryan Avent, having exhausted his conventional analysis of the Fed's 2008 transcripts, turns today to a more analytical approach: counting words. I think others have already made this point without numbers, but Avent's most powerful finding is that the Fed cares way more about inflation than it does about unemployment:

There is only one winner in the dual mandate. The word “inflation” (or variants thereof, such as “inflationary”) was mentioned a cool 2,664 times in 2008; “unemployment” pops up just 275 times.

I'm assuming he played fair and also looked for variants of "unemployment," like "employment" or "jobs." In any case, I don't think this comes as much of a surprise to anyone, since it's been obvious for decades that the Fed not only doesn't care about un…

How U.S. evangelicals influenced the Ugandan Gospel of Intolerance


LNG Pipedreams: Global investors getting cold feet?

Read the original article here.
[The evidence continues to mount of a very real risk that the BC Liberal LNG promises are purely fairy tales. See also Natural Gas Has Been Getting Destroyed. *RON*]
by Anna C. Novacek, Posted February 25, 2014 by Common Sense Canadian

The projections supporting the BC Liberals’ prosperity fund rest on the assumption that there will be indefinite demand to buy into BC’s fledgling LNG market. However, as the Common Sense Canadian has reported, the numbers guaranteeing prosperity to Canadians, while assuring maximum profit for investors, aren’t adding up. The indicators below demonstrate examples of a rapidly shifting LNG market and early signs of hesitation from international proponents.

Past Time to Close Loophole That Exempts Oil by Rail Companies from Spill Response Planning

Read the original article here.
[I've given up on trying to post every story on railway oil spills - an entire blog site would need to be dedicated to these stories alone. *RON*]
 JUSTIN MIKULKA, Tue, 2014-02-25 11:37

In 2013, with the rapid expansion in the use of rail to transport crude oil, we learned that there was a huge increase in the the amount of oil spilled as a result of rail incidents.

Just two weeks ago, a train derailed near Pittsburg and spilled 4,000 gallons. More than 1.15 million gallons of crude spilled from rail cars in 2013. And this does not include the 1.6 million gallons that spilled in July of 2013 in Lac-Megantic in Canada.

To put this in perspective, the 2010 Marshall Michigan Pipeline spill — currently the largest and most costly spill on land in US history according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) — only spilled 843,000 gallons.

Harper Says Income Splitting 'Good Policy' Despite Flaherty's Misgivings

Read the original article here.
[Flaherty committed to only mortal sin in Harperland - he spoke the plain truth. Flaherty said we need "to see who it affects and to what degree, because I'm not sure that overall, it benefits our society." Harper got elected, in part, by promising that income splitting would benefit Canadian families, then structured it so that it only benefits the rich, yet he still goes around saying it is good for all families. *RON*]

By Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press, 02/25/2014

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is hinting that the key Conservative campaign plank from the 2011 federal election that earned him a majority may not be pitched overboard after all.

Income-splitting for couples with children under 18 was a multibillion-dollar pledge during the last election — a Conservative promise that would kick in as soon as the government balanced the federal budget.

But Finance Minister Jim Flaherty began publicly questioning the policy even before …

Canada's Richest Have Gotten Richer. The Poorest? Well...

Read the original article here.
[British Columbia families are shown as having the highest average net worth. I wonder what happens if you adjust for the local cost of living? Also whether this is a mean net worth (highly skewed by income inequality) or a median net worth (far closer to being representative). *RON*]

The Huffington Post Canada | Posted: 02/25/2014

A new report on Canadian finances shows the rich have nearly doubled their net wealth over the span of 13 years while the poor have -- you guessed it -- gotten poorer.

Statistics Canada’s survey of financial security, conducted between September and November 2012, revealed the poorest 20 per cent of Canadians have seen their median net worth remain unchanged since 2005, and decline since 1999.

In 2012, the poorest one-fifth of Canadian families had a median net worth of just $1,100, the same as in 2005, and down 15.4 per cent from $1,300 in 1999.

Loyalty Act: Watchdogs Warn Tory Bill Could Hamper Their Work

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[A great way to intimidate and shut up the folks who are charged with being Parliamentary watchdogs. *RON*]

By The Canadian Press, Posted: 02/25/2014

OTTAWA - Parliament's key watchdog agencies say a Conservative bill aimed at exposing potential partisanship in their offices raises problems of basic fairness and could actually stop or hamper their own investigations.

Tory MP Mark Adler's private member's bill would allow any MP or senator to accuse an employee of an office such as the Auditor General's or Elections Canada of partisan conduct and demand an investigation.

It also proposes to force employees of those agencies to make a public declaration of their political activities going back a decade.

That's not sitting well with eight officers and agents of Parliament, who wrote to the Commons ethics committee to register their concerns. Three of appeared before MPs at a hearing Tuesday.

Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, Chief Electoral Off…

Big oil’s chokehold on Canadian democracy

Read the original article here.

[How far will Harper go to neutralize opposition to tar sands? *RON*]

MURRAY DOBBIN | February 25th 2014

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini

With the announcement by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) of formal complaints against the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) for illegally spying on environmental groups opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, should we ask the question: are we there yet?

Well, no.

But it is instructive to reflect once in a while on Mussolini’s musings about the true character of fascism. The word itself has become almost unusable given that for years it has been applied to the guy who cut you off in traffic or your neighbour who refuses to silence his dog. And, absent goose-stepping soldiers and brown-shirts breaking down your door in the middle of the night, people simply don’t think much about f…

The Private Prison Racket

Read the original article here.
[Companies that manage prisons on our behalf have abysmal records. So why do we keep giving them business? *RON*]
By MATT STROUD, February 24, 2014

In October, when California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new contract with Corrections Corporation of America, a Nashville-based private prison behemoth, to open a prison in the desert 100 miles north of Los Angeles, onlookers might’ve wondered if he’d been following the news.

The same could be asked of Wall Street in general. Over the last five years, CCA’s stock price has increased by more than 200 percent and earlier this month Jim Cramer’s investment website The Street praised the company’s “strengths” on Wall Street, enthusiastically rating its stock a “buy.”

As inmate populations have soared over the last 30 years, private prisons have emerged as an appealing solution to cash-starved states. Privately run prisons are cheaper and can be set up much faster than those run by the government. Nearly a tenth of …

Platinum-Level Citizenship

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[Walman argues that the American religious right is achieving success in some parts of the US in attaining a higher level of citizenship than others, one which allows them to pick and choose which laws apply to them. *RON*]


Highly-religious Christians' battle to change the very nature of the First Amendment.

Ask a conservative Christian about the President of the United States, and you're likely to hear that Barack Obama has been waging a "war on religion" since pretty much the moment he took office in 2009. As laughable as the assertion may be, there's little doubt that many have come to believe it, spurred on of course by opportunistic politicians and right-wing talk show hosts whose stock in trade is the creation of fear and resentment. In response, those conservative Christians have mounted a little war of their own, fought in the courts and state legislatures. The enemies include not just the Obama…

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations

See the original story here.
[Typically interesting, informative, creepy piece by Glenn Greenwald. *RON*]
By Glenn Greenwald, 24 Feb 2014, 6:25 PM EST
One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.

Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about “dirty trick” tactics used by GCHQ’s previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on fourclassifiedGCHQdocuments presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”

By publishing these stories one by one…