Showing posts from March 25, 2014

The House's NSA bill could allow more spying than ever. You call this reform?

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[Congress' serial fabricator has the audacity to call his new law the 'End Bulk Collection Act'. Obama's proposal isn't much better. *RON*]

 By Trevor, Tuesday 25 March 2014
The White House and the House Intelligence Committee leaked dueling proposals last night that are supposedly aimed at ending the mass collection of all Americans’ phone records. But the devil is in the details, and when it comes to the National Security Agency’s unique ability to twist and distort the English language, the devil tends to wrap his horns around every word.

The House proposal, to be unveiled this morning by Reps Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, is the more worrying of the two. Rogers has been the NSA’s most ardent defender in Congress and has a long history of distorting the truth and practicing in outright fabrication, whether in touting his committee’s alleged “oversight” or by way of his attempts to impugn the motiv…

Bill 4 Passes: B.C. Parks Now Officially Open…To Pipelines and Drilling

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[Passed quickly and quietly, without any public consultation, this bill will allow pipelines to run through public parks, and mining companies to root around for things to dig up, gas companies to set up fracking, you name it. *RON*]
 by Carol Linnitt, DeSmogBlog, March 25, 2014.

A little-known Bill, the Park Amendment Act, that will drastically alter the management of B.C. parks is set to become law today, creating controversy among the province’s most prominent environmental and conservation organizations. The passage of Bill 4 will make way for industrial incursions into provincial parklands including energy extraction, construction of pipelines and industry-led research.

The Bill, quietly introduced in mid-February, has already met significant resistance in B.C. where the Minister of Environment received “thousands of letters” of opposition, according to Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s Peter Wood. “There has been absolutely zero public…

Invasion of the Data Snatchers

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[What is life going to be like when your entire home is surveilling you? *RON*]

Big Data and the Internet of Things Means the Surveillance of Everything 
By Catherine Crump and Matthew Harwood, Tomgram, March 25, 2014

Estimates vary, but by 2020 there could be over 30 billion devices connected to the Internet. Once dumb, they will have smartened up thanks to sensors and other technologies embedded in them and, thanks to your machines, your life will quite literally have gone online.

The implications are revolutionary. Your smart refrigerator will keep an inventory of food items, noting when they go bad. Your smart thermostat will learn your habits and adjust the temperature to your liking. Smart lights will illuminate dangerous parking garages, even as they keep an “eye” out for suspicious activity.

Techno-evangelists have a nice catchphrase for this future utopia of machines and the never-ending stream of information, known as Big Data, it produces…

10 Poverty Myths, Busted

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[No, single moms aren't the problem. And neither are absentee dads. *RON*]

 By Erika Eichelberger, Mother Jones, March/April 2014 Issue

1. Single moms are the problem. Only 9 percent of low-income, urban moms have been single throughout their child's first five years. Thirty-five percent were married to, or in a relationship with, the child's father for that entire time.

2. Absent dads are the problem. Sixty percent of low-income dads see at least one of their children daily. Another 16 percent see their children weekly.

3. Black dads are the problem. Among men who don't live with their children, black fathers are more likely than white or Hispanic dads to have a daily presence in their kids' lives.

4. Poor people are lazy. In 2004, there was at least one adult with a job in 60 percent of families on food stamps that had both kids and a nondisabled, working-age adult.

5. If you're not officially poor, you're doing okay. Th…

Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?

[The Real News Network commemorates the 30th anniversary of the coal miners’ strike in the UK with a wide-ranging interview with George Irvin, research professor at the University of London. He takes an historical perspective to show how the rise of a low-wage, debt driven economy and the pressure to reduce the role of government have painted Anglo-Saxon capitalism in a corner. *RON*]

Delaware Chief Justice to Shareholders: Drop Dead

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[Good article. It is important for people to recognize that the commonly touted notion that the key obligation of corporations is to maximize shareholder value has only existed for a few decades and has little legal substance - CEOs and their flunky boards take extremely good care of themselves. Click through to some of the links in this article to learn more on this subject. *RON*]
Posted on March 25, 2014 by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism.

We’ve argued that the notion that companies are obligated to maximize shareholder value is a theory made up by economists and eagerly adopted by corporate executives, with little to no foundation in law. We received confirmation of our thesis in the form of a Columbia Law Review article by the chief justice in Delaware, Leo Strine, arguing that shareholder activism needs to be curbed.

As we will discuss, some of his recommendations are contrary to SEC rulemaking under Dodd Frank. This means we have a promine…

Budget watchdog says little evidence of labour shortages, skills mismatches

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[This is why Harper hates statistics and science (i.e., reality in general) - he much prefers to just make stuff up that fits his ideological preconceptions. *RON*]

Huffington Post via Canadian Press, 03/25/2014

OTTAWA - Canada's budget watchdog says there is little evidence of serious labour shortages or a skills mismatch problem in the country.

And the finding by the parliamentary budget office could once again put it on a collision course with the Harper Conservatives.

The government has made much of a skills mismatch to justify measures like the foreign temporary workers program, stricter unemployment insurance eligibility rules and the Canada Jobs Grant, unpopular with the provinces.

But the PBO says there is no evidence to suggest the current situation is any different from that prior to the 2008-09 recession, and that some level of skills mismatch in an economy is normal.

The report does find some pockets of market tightness, particularly in…