Showing posts from April 16, 2014

$1,259: What Corporate Tax Dodgers Cost the Average Taxpayer

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[Regular citizens and small business owners 'footing the bill' for offshore tax havens. "GE filed a federal tax rate of negative 11.1 percent between 2008 and 2012 and actually received net tax payments from the government." *RON*]

Jacob Chamberlain, Common Dreams, April 16, 2014
The average U.S. taxpayer would have to pay an extra $1,259 in taxes per year to make up for revenue lost to offshore tax havens and corporate tax dodgers, according to a report released by U.S. PIRG to mark Tax Day on Tuesday.
That lost revenue must be made up somewhere, the group notes, and that burden falls on average tax payers through cuts to public services, higher taxes, and national debt.

According to the report, Picking up the Tab: Average Citizens and Small Businesses Pay the Price for Offshore Tax Havens, corporations and wealthy individuals evade an estimated $184 billion in state and federal income taxes per year, using "complicated acc…

B.C. Environmental Sweet Gas Assessment Exemption Reversed

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[That was fast. *RON*]

By CP / Huffington Post, 04/16/2014

FORT NELSON, B.C. - British Columbia Environment Minister Mary Polak has done a complete turn around on a decision that would have exempted most of the natural gas produced in the province from mandatory environmental assessment.

After quietly passing an order in council Monday without public debate that would have removed about 99 per cent of the natural gas produced in the province from automatic environmental reviews, the government reversed the decision late Wednesday.

The announcement came on the same day a group of B.C. officials were kicked out of a First Nations forum on liquefied natural gas.

Polak has now apologized for the decision, saying the government failed to discuss the amendment with First Nations, prior to approval.

BC LNG faces growing First Nations opposition

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[Good overview of the position of First Nations toward LNG, which is misleadingly portrayed by the BC Liberal government as being rosey. *RON*]
Posted April 16, 2014 by Damien Gillis in Energy and Resources
One of the biggest myths pervading BC’s energy dialogue goes something like this: While First Nations stand united against the proposed Enbridge pipeline, they overwhelmingly embrace Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

Sure, Premier Christy Clark can tick off a list of aboriginal allies in her effort to build at least five among a dozen terminals proposed for Kitimat and Prince Rupert. Just last week, she announced with great fanfare LNG revenue sharing agreements with two coastal nations - Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams.

But a growing group of hereditary leaders, grassroots members and their allies, even some elected governments, are rising up in opposition – from the fracking fields of northeast BC that would supply the industry, to the various prop…

The problems of HFT, Joe Stiglitz edition

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[On the social inutility of finance. Good notes by Salmon on a good talk by Stiglitz. *RON*]
By Felix Salmon, Reuters Blogs, April 16, 2014

Never mind Michael Lewis. The most interesting and provocative thing to be written of late about financial innovation in general, and high-frequency trading in particular, comes from Joe Stiglitz. The Nobel prize-winning economist delivered a wonderful and fascinating speech at the Atlanta Fed’s 2014 Financial Markets Conference today; here’s a shorter version of what Stiglitz is saying.

Markets can be — and usually are — too active, and too volatile.

This is an idea which goes back to Keynes, if not earlier. Stiglitz says that in the specific area of international capital flows, “there is now a broad consensus that unfettered markets are welfare decreasing” — and certainly you won’t get much argument on that front from, say, Iceland, or Malaysia, or even Spain. As Stiglitz explains:
When countries do not impose…

Smog in India, China is Changing Weather Patterns in US, Finds Study

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[Man-made air pollution in Asia is exacerbating climate change and linked to extreme storm conditions across the Pacific. *RON*]

by Renee Lewis, Al Jazeera America, April 15, 2014

Man-made air pollution kills millions of people every year, but a new study suggests that poor air quality in India and China could be contributing to extreme weather patterns in the U.S. and Canada.

The study by researchers at Texas A&M, the first of its kind to focus on smog in Asia, found that air pollution originating in the region almost certainly affects global weather patterns.

How much of an effect, researchers say, remains to be seen. However, it is likely exacerbating problems already caused by climate change: increasing the intensity and frequency of storms, ice cap melting, sea level rise, and drought.

Scientists have already determined that carbon emissions, or greenhouse gases, contribute to climate change. But the smog in Asia is caused by more than …

Sweet gas, ski resorts get pass from B.C. on environmental reviews

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[Essentially the BC government is relinquishing such governmental control as remains over LNG development to the Federal government - which has slashed review time lines, ratcheted down public participation, and left all final decisions directly to Harper and his cabinet. The BC Oil & Gas Commission, by the way, is run by a former resource industry lobbyist. See also First Nations Bar B.C. From LNG Summit Over Sweet Gas Assessment Exemption*RON*]

By Dene Moore, Vancouver - Canadian Press, Globe & Mail, April 15, 2014

The B.C. government is exempting about 99 per cent of the natural gas produced in the province from automatic environmental assessment reviews.

Under orders in council passed without public debate or fanfare on Monday, natural gas processing plants that produce less than two tonnes of sulphur emissions per day – “sweet” natural gas, as opposed to higher-emission “sour gas” – will no longer face the assessment as of April 2…

“Uncreative” Destruction – The Troika’s Hostile Takeover of Europe

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[Public costs, private profit. Government of the financial sector, for the financial sector. *RON*]
Posted on April 16, 2014 by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism.

By Don Quijones, a freelance writer and translator based in Barcelona, Spain. His blog, Raging Bull-Shit, is a modest attempt to challenge some of the wishful thinking and scrub away the lathers of soft soap peddled by our political and business leaders and their loyal mainstream media. Originally published at Testosterone Pit

After four long years of “service”, the Troika’s frontline role in sustaining and exacerbating crisis conditions in Southern Europe is finally beginning to attract some of the attention it deserves. In my home city of Barcelona, a coalition of left-wing groups recently held an event to raise awareness about the Troika’s “neo-liberalisation” of Southern Europe. Even Europe’s shoe-shine institution, the European Parliament, has promised to launch an enquiry into the Troi…

Where are the jobs without people in Canada's labour market?

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[Harper says we need temporary foreign workers because we can't find people to hire, yet there are 7 unemployed people for each vacancy, double that if you count the under-employed. And they are mainly crummy service sector jobs. Most of Canada's corporations are sitting on their cash surpluses rather than creating meaningful jobs. *RON*]
By Angella MacEwen,, April 16, 2014

Statistics Canada released their latest job vacancy datathis week, giving us the three-month average ending in January 2014. There were 6.7 unemployed workers for every job vacancy, higher than the past two Januaries. Counting un(der)employed workers gives us a ratio of 14.2 un(der)employed workers for every job vacancy.

That's a lot of workers without jobs.

The higher ratio is mostly because of a fall in the number of job vacancies reported by businesses. Breaking down job vacancies by province shows that the difference between 2014 and 2013 is mostly due t…

Giving nonviolence, spirituality and social transformation a chance

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[Information about the May 8-11 conference on nonviolence at Saint Paul University in Ottawa is available by clicking here. *RON*]

By Dennis Gruending, United Church Observer, April 10, 2014

Heather Eaton says that Canadians have much to learn about nonviolence and its effect on social change. Eaton, a professor in conflict studies at Ottawa's Saint Paul University, says that the topic of nonviolence is largely absent in the country's popular and academic circles. “Nonviolence is gaining prominence all over the world,” she recently told me, “but few academics in Canada know how sophisticated it is in theory and practice.”

Using nonviolent resistance, many Aboriginal leaders — particular those within the Idle No More movement — are working for social change. The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have organized blockades for years over issues of land reform. Mi’kmaq and Elsipogtog First Nations communities in New Brunswick are involved in anti-fr…

Despite bad reviews in 2011, Conservatives stick with voluntary census for 2016

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[Because mere reality should never be permitted to interfere with ideology. *RON*]

By CP / Huffington Post, 04/15/2014

OTTAWA - The Conservative government is sticking with a voluntary survey in place of a mandatory long-form census in 2016.

Statistics Canada says the format will remain the same as in the controversial 2011 census period.

There will be a mandatory short form for all Canadian households, and a voluntary National Household Survey for one in three households.

The last survey came back with a 68.6 per cent response rate, compared with 93.5 per cent when the long form was mandatory.

Data from thousands of smaller communities had to be excluded from the release of the 2011 census results because it was not considered reliable.

The Conservatives axed the long-form census in 2010, dismissing a long list of associations and organizations who argued public planners would no longer get an accurate picture of the population and its needs.