Showing posts from July 4, 2014

Has GDP outgrown its use?

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[I've posted analyses about this before - the answer is "Yes!" *RON*]

By David Pilling, Financial Times, 4 July 2014
Governments and the media obsess about it while statisticians endlessly fiddle – but what is the real point of GDP and can it ever be accurately measured?
What do the price of hair-salon services in Beijing and sexual services in London have in common? The answer is that, depending on how you measure them – or indeed whether you measure them at all – the size of the Chinese and British economies will expand or contract like an accordion.

In April, statisticians working under the aegis of the World Bank determined that China’s gross domestic product was far bigger than they had previously realised. China was, in fact, just about to overtake the US as the world’s largest economy, many years earlier than expected. The reason? Statisticians had been overestimating the prices of everything from haircuts to noodles. As a res…

New Delay for F-35 Jets as Defense Department Grounds Fleet After a Fire

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[The war-happy Harper Government (TM) is in a tizzy, falling over itself to figure out some way to justify the purchase of these lemons for the Canadian military. But we cannot possibly afford necessary medical treatment for refugee claimants. *RON*]


WASHINGTON — The Defense Department has grounded its fleet of F-35 fighter jets after one of them caught fire as it was preparing to take off at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

The grounding is the second in a month and the latest in a long string of delays that has plagued the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft. It comes as the plane was to make its international flying debut during showings to prospective buyers at two air shows in Britain beginning next week.

The cause of the problem at Eglin two weeks ago remains under investigation, the Pentagon’s press secretary, Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, said in a statement Thursday night. “Addit…

Kinder Morgan Skirting Questions About Trans Mountain: City Of Vancouver

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[Even the Province of British Columbia is cheesed off at Kinder-Morgan's unwillingness to answer questions about its pipeline proposal: B.C. Government Calls on NEB to Compel Kinder Morgan to Answer Oil Spill QuestionsTransparent and democratic this process is not. First the review process was rigged so that only a select few people could, after following an onerous application and screening process, be permitted to participate. Then those who were allowed to participate were not allowed to make statements of their own or to ask questions directly, so they were forced to submit questions in writing. Now Kinder Morgan is not bothering to answer these questions in any meaningful manner, saying that the information that is being asked for is secret! *RON*]

CP / Huffington Post, 07/04/2014

VANCOUVER - The city of Vancouver says Kinder Morgan has failed to answer many of the questions put to the company about its proposed Trans Mountain pipelin…

B.C.'s $1-Billion Investment Fails To Improve Primary Health Care

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[This is exactly right. The power structure of health care is such that physicians in hospitals continue to reap the lion's share of resources. Hospitals provide too much service, at too high a cost, far to late in the disease and illness cycle - this model is completely unsustainable. But hospital directors with their large budgets - they are all tellingly referred to as "CEOs" nowadays, just like the banking big boys - are treated with special deference by the ministry of health. And physicians continue to be the most powerful "union" and lobbying group with government. As long as we refuse to challenge this long-standing power arrangement directly, BC will never be as healthy as it could be with earlier and more appropriate interventions and our health care system will remain unaffordable. *RON*]

Kimberlyn McGrail, UBC, Huffington Post, 4 July 2014

By Ruth Lavergne and Kim McGrail

Since 2006, British Columbia has spent mo…

Why do we let the Prime Minister schedule by-elections? And why did so few people vote in Fort McMurray-Athabasca?

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[Democracy as farce. Harper personally scheduled the Fort McMurray-Athabasca by-election for the Monday sandwiched in between the weekend and Canada and - quelle surprise! - obtained a 15% voter turn-out. He can also time these by-elections so as to leave ridings without representation in the House for months on end. *RON*]

Aaron Wherry, Macleans, July 3, 2014

Fort McMurray-Athabasca can apparently claim the worst federal by-election turnout in modern history. With 202 of 203 polls reported in, precisely 15.19 per cent of eligible voters are reported to have cast a ballot.

So how badly should we feel about this?

There is some history here to note. Previous to this week, Fort McMurray-Athabasca had the worst turnout of any riding in the general elections of 2011 (40 per cent), 2008 (36 per cent) and 2006 (48 per cent). In 2004, it registered the 13th-lowest turnout (48 per cent), in 1997 it was third-worst (49 per cent), in 1993 it was 20th from the b…

Tories' Health Care Cuts For Refugees 'Cruel And Unusual': Federal Court

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[Until the 2015 federal elections, the Supreme Court and the Charter are the only thing protecting people in Canada most in need of protection - other than oil executives, that is. Nationless refugee children will get access to needed medical care, so The Harper Government (TM) bleats, "but this will create a policy vacuum!" See also: Canada Refugee Health Care Cuts Ruling Cites Several Tragic Cases. *RON*]

By Steve Rennie, CP / Huffington Post, 07/04/2014

OTTAWA - The Conservative government has another legal battle on its hands after the Federal Court ruled against controversial reductions to health-care coverage for refugee claimants.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says the government will appeal Friday's decision by Justice Anne Mactavish, which denounced the cuts as "cruel and unusual" treatment — particularly to the children of claimants who have sought refuge in Canada.

"We think it is ab…