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Showing posts from March 3, 2014

Pressure Rising as Obama Works to Rein In Russia

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See the original article here.

[The most interesting thing here - the Republican blather is predictable and meaningless (if Obama blew Russia up they would say he hadn't blown it up high enough) - is this supposed quote, "Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. “In another world,” she said." *RON*]
By Peter Baker (Jonathan Weisman contributed reporting), New York Times, March 2, 2014
WASHINGTON — As Russia dispatched more forces and tightened its grip on the Crimean Peninsula on Sunday, President Obama embarked on a strategy intended to isolate Moscow and prevent it from seizing more Ukrainian territory even as he was pressured at home to respond more forcefully.

Working the telephone from the Oval Office, Mr. Obama rallied allies, agreed to send Secretary of State John Kerry to Kiev and approved a series of diplomatic and ec…

Study: You Can't Change an Anti-Vaxxer's Mind

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Read the original article here.

[It has certainly been my experience that people who see dangers and conspiracies in vaccinations are totally impervious to contrary information. A new study examined multiple strategies for communicating about the safety and importance of vaccines. None of them worked. *RON*]

—By Chris Mooney, Mother Jones, Mon Mar. 3, 2014

Vaccine denial is dangerous. We know this for many reasons, but just consider one of them: In California in 2010, 10 children died in a whooping cough outbreak that was later linked, in part, to the presence of 39 separate clusters of unvaccinated children in the state. It's that simple: When too many children go unvaccinated, vaccine-preventable diseases spread more easily, and sometimes children die. Nonetheless, as scientifically unfounded fears about childhood vaccines causing autism have proliferated over the past decade or more, a minority of parents are turning to "personal belief exemptions," so-called "alt…

Wallets Wide Shut

Read the original article here.
[On the reasons why business is sitting on cash reserves rather than doing anything useful with these trillions. Some are unintentionally funny - e.g., businesses worry that demand is still weak, i.e., they won't create any jobs but worry that people won't keep buying their products - hello? Do you see any connection here? Also, the rather explicit admission that such recovery as has occurred is attributable to free funding from the public purse,  not to anything business has done. The business reaction has been to reward themselves royally, sit on the rest of their gains, and fret about the teat drying up. *RON*]
Mohamed A. El-Erian is CEO and co-Chief Investment Officer of the global investment company PIMCO, with approximately $2 trillion in assets under management.
NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA – Some economists, like Larry Summers, call it “secular stagnation.” Others refer to it as “Japanization.” But all agree that after too many years of inad…

We do not have to live with the scourge of inequality

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See the original article here.
[Plenty of mealy-mouthed responses in the Comments section to savour. *RON*]

By Jonathan Ostry, Deputy Director of Research IMF, Financial Times, March 3, 2014

A more redistributive tax system appears to lead to higher growth, says Jonathan Ostry
Rising inequality is widely seen as a plague. But policy makers have been reluctant to take steps to reverse it, fearing that this would distort incentives and stunt prosperity and economic growth.

It is often said that political power is more equally distributed than economic power, especially in democracies, and that this creates pressure to tackle inequality. Some say it is the policy of redistribution, rather than inequality itself, that is antithetical to economic growth. For most policy makers, redistribution has a bad name: a false cure that may be worse than the disease of inequality itself.

Yet economists are divided on the issue. Some emphasise the disincentives to work and invest that result from high taxe…

The Invisibility of Canada’s Diversity

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Read the original article here.
[From late February, but I just ran across it. Not so much "news" as "views" in any case. *RON*]
 by Amira Elghawaby, for New Canadian Media, 25 February 2014

“The world we inhabit is a world of representation. Media do not merely present a reality that exists ‘out there;’ nor do they simply reproduce or circulate knowledge. As active producers of knowledge, media construct and constitute the very reality of our existence.” – Augie Fleras and Jean Lock Kunz, Media & Minorities; Representing Diversity in a Multicultural Canada
Recently, a former Quebec journalist argued that Canada’s mainstream broadcasters were hypocritical for seeming to lend a sympathetic ear to those opposing the proposed Charter of Quebec’s Values.

"Not a kippa, hijab, cross or turban in sight. Religious symbols are, quite simply, not part of the TV news uniform; never have been,” wrote Michael Dean in The Globe and Mail. And while he’s right that there a…

Canada Fails the Test of a Good Society

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Read the original article here.

[What an unreasonable and dislike-able nation we have become. See also this older article on Canada's Growing Culture of Refugee Exclusion. This piece met with a heated response from the Harper government, which isn't worth linking to. *RON*]

Bernie Farber, Human Rights Advocate, Huff Post, March 3, 2014

In a recent press release, Citizenship and Immigration Canada made several troubling assertions about federal policies towards refugees.

First, the government claims "In 2011, there were approximately 6,300 asylum claims from EU countries -- more than from Africa or Asia."

So what? Human rights reports document human rights abuses in the European Union. There is no inherent evil in the regimes in Africa or Asia, nor is there a pass for governments in Europe. Human rights abuses are not tied to any particular continent. In fact, the origin of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees is the Second World War.

Second, the relea…