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Showing posts from June 10, 2014

Guns in America After Newtown

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[The numbers giving you a numbing sense of unreality. Live by the sword and die by the sword. The US has one gun for every American. No other country on the planet has this many. In second place is Yemen with 11 guns per 20 Yemenis. *RON*]

by John Light, Lauren Feeney, and Karin Kamp, Moyers & Company, June 10, 2014

Here’s a look at some stats on guns — the deaths and school shootings, America’s public opinion and the failed Congressional attempt to take action — in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 27 people, including 20 children and the shooter.
The Victims

Slate editors note in the introduction to their crowdsourced map that attempts to visualize gun deaths in the US (pictured below), determining the actual number of gun deaths each year is “surprisingly hard.” That’s because as many as 60 percent of gun deaths are suicides that usually go unreported by the press.

Goldman Sachs CEO: Income inequality is "destabilizing"

Click here to view the original article and the complete interview on a CBS video.
[Astounding statements (admissions) from the CEO of Goldman Sachs, on the level of "Catch me before I kill again." *RON*]
By Jean Song, CBS NEWS, June 10, 2014

Income inequality is destabilizing and "responsible for the divisions in the country," CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein said on "CBS This Morning" Tuesday.

"The divisions could get wider," Blankfein said. "If you can't legislate, you can't deal with problems. [If] you can't deal with problems, you can't drive growth and you can't drive the success of the country. It's a very big issue and something that has to be dealt with."

He said one way to deal with it would be to "make the pie grow."

"Too much of the GDP over the last generation has gone to too few of the people," he said.

Even economists like Thomas Piketty have said U.S. inequalit…

This Chart May Drive A Stake Through Austerity Cheerleaders

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[There's lots you could quibble with about the meaning of this chart - especially concerning correlation versus causation - but it certainly is a dramatic effect, especially for the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain). It's also interesting that if you take out the heavy stimulus spenders - Sweden, Denmark and Japan - the next biggest self-stimulators (so to speak) are two nations whose leaders claim they are staunch neoliberals - namely, Canada and Australia. *RON*]
Rob Wile, Business Insider, 10 June 2014

Remember 2010, when everyone was arguing about whether governments hit by the Great Recession should be cutting their way back to health?

Here's a chart that shows the cutters were probably wrong.

The Center for Economic And Policy Research's Ben Wolcott has calculated the magnitude of countries' attempts to balance their books through austerity, versus ones that took a less severe approach.

"...If the p…

War Gear Flows to Police Departments

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["During the Obama administration, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft." The militarization of US police forces. Gearing up to impose the requirements of the corporate totalitarian state. *RON*]

By Matt Apuzzo, New York Times, 8 June 2014
NEENAH, Wis. — Inside the municipal garage of this small lakefront city, parked next to the hefty orange snowplow, sits an even larger truck, this one painted in desert khaki. Weighing 30 tons and built to withstand land mines, the armored combat vehicle is one of hundreds showing up across the country, in police departments big and small.

The 9-foot-tall armored truck was intended for an overseas battlefield. But as President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of com…

We're in denial on income inequality: Paul Krugman

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[Yes inequality exists and no there isn't much mobility in the US. *RON*]
Paul Krugman, pennlive.com, Press TV, 9 June 2014 A while back I published an article titled "The Rich, the Right, and the Facts," in which I described politically motivated efforts to deny the obvious - the sharp rise in U.S. inequality, especially at the very top of the income scale.

It probably won't surprise you to hear that I found a lot of statistical malpractice in high places.

Nor will it surprise you to learn that nothing much has changed. Not only do the usual suspects continue to deny the obvious, but they keep rolling out the same discredited arguments: Inequality isn't really rising; OK, it's rising, but it doesn't matter because we have so much social mobility; anyway, it's a good thing, and anyone who suggests that it's a problem is a Marxist.

What may surprise you is the year in which I published that article: 1992.

Which b…

Exporting U.S. natural gas isn’t as “clean” as you think

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[The leakage involved in the production and transportation of LNG largely offsets any environmental advantage it has over burning coal. Yet thus far, when undeniable environmental problems are identified, our Federal and Provincial governments simply design review processes that explicitly exclude them from consideration. *RON*]
By Steven Mufson, Washington Post, 9 June 2014
One of the rallying cries in favor of liquefying and exporting U.S. natural gas has been to help reduce greenhouse gases in other countries, by crowding out coal in Asia and Europe.

Yet tucked into an Energy Department report on LNG exports is a different view: That U.S. exports of LNG to China could end up being worse from a greenhouse gas perspective than if China simply built a new power plant and burned its own coal supplies. The report also says that the climate benefits of exporting LNG to other countries are modest.

The report is titled “Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Perspec…

Skilled immigrants under 'express entry' to fill labour market needs

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[On the one hand, people complained that TFWs should be allowed to emigrate to Canada; now that they can, people complain that immigration policy cannot be driven by market needs. But I agree with Dr. Beiser's remarks - the big issue is that these changes are announced by fiat. Neither the public nor politicians are given the opportunity to debate these concerns publicly before they pass into law and regulation. *RON*]

By CBC /Huffington Post, 06/10/2014

The federal government is addressing one of the main criticisms of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program through a new immigration system it plans to launch in 2015.

Starting in the new year, the government will offer "express entry" to qualified skilled immigrants who want to come to Canada as permanent residents, as a way to fill open jobs where there are no available Canadian workers.

The government has been reviewing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program,​ which has come under increa…