Showing posts from October 30, 2014

More Surveillance Punishes Canadians, Not Terrorists

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[Well said - "We cannot allow the extreme actions of a few to strip us of the freedoms those soldiers worked so hard to protect. But the Canadian government continues to roll back our rights in the name of security." *RON*
Tom Henheffer, Exec Dir, Cdn Journalists for Free Expression, Huffington Post, 29 October 2014

The potential destruction of terrorism is infinitesimally smaller than the damage done to our rights by a disproportionate attempt to prevent it.

Please. Please remember this. It's even more important now, when that fact is so easily forgotten in the wake of the attack on our Parliament and the tragic deaths of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.

We cannot allow the extreme actions of a few to strip us of the freedoms those soldiers worked so hard to protect. But the Canadian government continues to roll back our rights in the name of "security."

Need an example of a real imminent threat? Look …

Labour consumes most new tax dollars cities collect

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[Ideological fairy tales. Government services always mean people providing services to other people (typically salaries accounting for about 70% of costs, with most of the rest going for running offices). So, a strong majority of the costs are always people costs. Also, using the term labour costs makes people think you mean union costs. It would be interesting to see the split between union and management salary boosts. (Management always assumes they require big raises "in order to stay competitive" while making no such assumption about union staff.) And, where contracting out is concerned, one always assumes that paying someone else to do your work for you will automatically cost 20-25% more than doing it yourself. The contractor has diseconomies of scale for things like purchasing benefits and they factor the unpredictability of their cash flow into their (higher) prices. *RON*]
by Jeff Nagel - Surrey North Delta Leader, 29 October…

We'll Never Know How Much Kinder Morgan Spent In B.C. Municipal Race

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[The Dogwood Initiative was registered as a third-party advertiser for the Municipal Election, but not Kinder-Morgan! *RON*]

Emma Gilchrist, DeSmog Canada / Huffington Post, 29 October 2014

Kinder Morgan has launched an advertising campaign pushing the company's proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that just so happens to coincide with B.C.'s municipal elections -- but Elections BC says the company doesn't need to register as a third-party advertiser.

That's a bit of a puzzler given that Elections BC rules clearly state that anyone who runs ads on an election issue must register as a third-party advertiser and disclose costs within 90 days of the Nov. 15 election.

Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion, which would triple the amount of oilsands bitumen flowing to the B.C. coast, is certainly an election issue, with Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson staking out positions against the project.

Enough With European Austerity, Bring on the Stimulus

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[From the Wall Street Journal no less. Germany isn’t such a success story. Its GDP growth is a paltry 2.2% over 2008-13. Time for Merkel to budge. As you can imagine, it is fun to read the comments, e.g., "Another rant form Dr. Dumb, the WSJ's appointed jester fool.  Just another piece of Keynesian drivel.  Blinder stopped being analytical a long time ago when he bought into an ideology based on big government control of economies. He is just another socialist masquerading as an intellectual professor of economics. The WSJ can certainly find a more credible writer of economics!" *RON*]
By Alan S. Blinder, Wall Street Journal, 29 October 2014

Usually I don’t gripe about other countries’ economic policies—at least not on this page. It’s their own business. Besides, there is normally more than enough bad policy right here at home. But I have to make an exception for current macroeconomic policy in the eurozone, for two main reasons. One…

Is ISIS really a state?

An interesting in-depth report on The Islamic State has just come out, published by The Soufan Group: click here to access the report.

“The self-styled Islamic State is an accident of history, emerging from multiple social, political, and economic tensions in the Middle East and beyond. It has challenged the territorial divisions imposed on the region following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire by carving out for itself a large area of territory. But ultimately, its impact will flow as much from its challenge to established concepts of government, national sovereignty, and national identity.”

I found out about this report by watching the recent episode of Frontline, The Rise of ISIS, which is also very good and informative. It can be watched in its entirety by clicking here.


Harper expected to make announcement on income splitting today

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[The smell of electioneering is in the air. In case you've forgotten, this move, which Harper describes as bringing relief to families, will almost exclusively benefit the very rich and result in a net loss of taxes (i.e., government services). The benefits will be especially great in Alberta. *RON*]

By Jennifer Ditchburn,  The Canadian Press, 30 October 2014

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Joe Oliver will make a major announcement Thursday that is expected to include some of the fiscal measures for families promised in the last election campaign.

Multiple sources tell The Canadian Press the package will resemble the income-splitting commitment that was a centrepiece of the Conservatives’ platform in 2011, made contingent on a balanced budget.

One government insider said to expect the prime minister to roll out “a significant package that will bring relief to families and fulfil previous commitments.”