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Showing posts from March 17, 2014

What Has BC's Carbon Tax Shift Done?

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[Good article on the Carbon Tax -- six years in, measuring the results in five charts. *RON*]

By Alan Durning and Yoram Bauman, 12 Mar 2014, TheTyee.ca

[Editor's note: This is adapted for The Tyee from an article published by the Washington state based Sightline Daily.]

When British Columbia enacted a carbon tax shift in 2008, many thought other jurisdictions would follow with their own ways of cashing in their carbon. Seven states and four provinces were working out the details of a huge carbon cap-and-trade market called the Western Climate Initiative. St├ęphane Dion was about to start promoting his Green Shift. U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain were campaigning with promises of clean energy on the double quick; Obama even pitched carbon pricing in his stump speech. Ottawa was murmuring about following the lead of Washington, D.C. with a carbon cap of…

Britain's five richest families worth more than poorest 20%

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[Oxfam report reveals scale of inequality in UK as charity appeals to chancellor over tax. *RON*]

Larry Elliott, economics editor, The Guardian, Monday 17 March 2014
The scale of Britain's growing inequality is revealed today by a report from a leading charity showing that the country's five richest families now own more wealth than the poorest 20% of the population.

Oxfam urged the chancellor George Osborne to use Wednesday's budget to make a fresh assault on tax avoidance and introduce a living wage in a report highlighting how a handful of the super-rich, headed by the Duke of Westminster, have more money and financial assets than 12.6 million Britons put together.

The development charity, which has opened UK programmes to tackle poverty, said the government should explore the possibility of a wealth tax after revealing how income gains and the benefits of rising asset prices had disproportionately helped those at the top.

Wyoming first state to block new science standards

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[The main problem being that the new science curriculum describes the accepted effects of human-caused global warming as the accepted effects of human-caused global warming. *RON*]

By LEAH TODD Star-Tribune staff writer, March 14, 2014

Wyoming is the first state to block a new set of national science standards, but a week after Gov. Matt Mead signed off on the change, education advocates are still digesting what the action means for the state.

Some say the provision, which came through a last-minute budget footnote, blocks the state from considering any part of the Next Generation Science Standards, a set of K-12 standards developed by national science education groups and representatives from 26 states. Others, including the provision's author, say it prevents the wholesale adoption of the standards as they are written.

Legal teams from the state board of education, the Wyoming Department of Education and the Legislative Service Office are …

Low-Wage Workers Are Finding Poverty Harder to Escape

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[Low-wage earners in 2013 were older than in 1979, more likely to have high school or college educations, and more likely to be racial and ethnic minorities.  In Chattanooga, 27% of residents live in poverty (same as Greece), women head two-thirds of poor households, and 42 percent of its children are poor.  During the last quarter of the 20th century, almost all the factories and foundries closed, leaving only low level service sector jobs. *RON*]
By Steven Greenhouse, New York Times, March 16, 2014

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — At 7 in the morning, they are already lined up — poultry plant workers, housekeepers, discount store clerks — to ask for help paying their heating bills or feeding their families.

And once Metropolitan Ministries opens at 8 a.m., these workers fill the charity’s 40 chairs, with a bawling infant adding to the commotion. From pockets and handbags they pull out utility bills or rent statements and hand them over to caseworkers, who o…

Crimea officially moves to join Russia

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[Region declares independence as Kiev approves partial mobilisation of troops to counter "Russian interference". *RON*]

Al Jazeera and agencies, 17 Mar 2014

Crimea's regional assembly has declared independence from Ukraine and applied to join Russia, saying all Ukrainian state property on the peninsula would be nationalised.

"The republic of Crimea appeals to the United Nations and to all countries of the world to recognise it as an independent state," read a document approved on Monday by the assembly, a day after the region voted overwhelmingly to become part of Russia.

It followed the announcement by introducing the Russian ruble as a second currency alongside the Ukrainian hyyvnia.

Al Jazeera's Barnaby Philips, reporting from Simferopol, said Crimean officials would be travelling to Moscow on Monday afternoon, and that there were already plans to move to Russia's timezone.

Meanwhile in Kiev, Ukraine's parliamen…

Corporate cash stash surpasses national debt

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[Corporations are simply sitting atop of $613 billion in cash in Canada, and amount that is now larger than the national debt. Not creating jobs, not investing in growing their businesses. *RON*]
By Erin Weir, rabble.ca, March 17, 2014

Last week's National Balance Sheet Accounts indicate that the amount of cash held by private non-financial corporations in Canada soared from $591 billion in the third quarter of 2013 to $626 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013. Corporate Canada's accumulated stock of cash now exceeds the federal government's accumulated deficit, which was $612 billion at the end of 2013.

Corporate Canada's cash stash had been on track to exceed $600 billion at the start of 2013, but Statistics Canada narrowed its definition of "total currency and deposits." Even under the new definition, this hoard of dead money surpassed the $600-billion mark by the end of 2013.

The corporate sector's aggressive accu…

Harper government attacks non-profits to muzzle dissent

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[Active efforts to muzzle dissent by the Harper government mean that civil society must maximize the application of imagination, conviction, and resilience to achieve justice in Canada. See Paul Hawken's Blessed Unrest and Cranshaw & Jackson's Small Acts of Resistance. *RON*]
By Meg Borthwick, rabble.ca, March 17, 2014



When you donate to a Canadian non-profit organization, with or without charitable status, did you know that your donor dollars may be used in the latest attack by the Harper government against its critics?

According to fundraising and direct mail campaign expert Harvey McKinnon, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is using the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as his own personal attack dog. "By publicly identifying and throwing suspicion on seven non-profits that are active on environmental issues, the federal government is trying to silence all other organizations that work on these issues … silence any non-profit that advocat…