Showing posts from March 9, 2015

Operation Rent Seeking: How the war on terrorism became a business model.

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[War, US foreign policy and the corporatocracy. While this is something I suppose many people suspected in a general way, I doubt that anyone has heard of all the details outlined in this book review. *RON*]
By Mike Lofgren, Washington Monthly, March/April/May 2015

In present-day America’s politically polarized atmosphere, it is easy to characterize divisive issues like the war on terrorism, the Wall Street bailout, or the Affordable Care Act as symbols of a clash of ideologies. Ideology is present in all of these issues, but it is possible to overrate it as a factor in contemporary policymaking. When I was a congressional staffer, I became acutely aware that elected officials choose issues to put at the top of their agendas mainly for their ability to shake money out of the purses of contributors. The subsequent histrionics in the House or Senate chamber are pure theater for the benefit of C-SPAN and the poor recluses who watch it. Behind every p…

Provider’s Dispute With Viacom Highlights Skirmish Over the Cable Bundle

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["As consumers are less interested in large bundles, somebody is going to get hurt in the process by asking for too much....You are going to see a lot of the smaller cable companies just drop video altogether" *RON*]

By Emily Steel, New York Times, 8 March 2015

An email from a lobbyist landed in Eric Rouse‘s inbox one afternoon last December, catapulting Mr. Rouse, a commissioner of rural Lenoir County in North Carolina, into the middle of one of the fiercest battles being waged across the media business.

The lobbyist represented Viacom, the media conglomerate that is the parent of two dozen networks including MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. The local cable television provider, Suddenlink Communications, had dropped Viacom’s channels from its lineup in October after the two companies had failed to reach an agreement. Viacom wanted Suddenlink to pay significant increases; Suddenlink refused, citing deteriorating ratings at the networ…

12 Things Harper Doesn't Want You To Know About Spying

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[A good summary, this is actually from a slide-show accompanying the article, Anti-Terror Bill Could 'Impinge' Rights, Says B.C. Premier Christy Clark. *RON*]

1. Feds Make Warrantless Requests For Data 1.2 Million Times A Year

According to documents given to Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier, the federal government asks telecom for data on subscribers 1.2 million times a year. That’s one request for every 30 Canadians, every year. Most of those requests don’t involve a warrant, and in 2011 telecoms complied with at least 784,000 of those requests.

2. The Feds Buy Their Phones From The NSA

The federal government spent more than $50 million buying high-security communications technology from the U.S. National Security Agency, according to data unearthed by Vice magazine.

There have been at least 73 contracts for telecommunications equipment procured through the NSA over the past decade.

3. Some Of Canada’s Telecoms Have Built Databases S…

Circumstances of Canadian soldier's death in Iraq strongly suggest Harper Government is lying

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["...the Harper Government has been careful to claim, repeatedly, that the Canadian special-ops soldiers are there as non-combatants to train and advise soldiers of the Kurdish Peshmerga, far behind the front lines of the fight with ISIS. So what was a party of four Canadian soldiers doing Friday inside the combat zone?" How should this make us feel about Ukraine? *RON*]
By David J. Climenhaga,, 9 March 2015

The circumstances surrounding the death of a Canadian special-forces soldier in Iraq are important because they strongly suggest the Harper Government has been lying to Canadians about what our troops are doing in that country.

Whether Canadian soldiers should be in Iraq is a policy question Canadians are entitled to argue about, but there is nothing improper about the Canadian Forces serving abroad -- even in dangerous and potentially lethal fights -- if the Canadian government has determined their presence is appropriate …

Court challenges launched against Site C dam

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[This would bury prime agricultural land and First Nations heritage sites, while mainly providing power for fracking and mining. The non-industrial drivers for this project are minimal. In large part - though this is not mentioned in this article ( is run by unions) - the construction of this project is a grab for union votes by the Liberal party. *RON*]
By Brent Patterson,, 9 March 2015

The Council of Canadians has been opposing the Site C dam since March.
Site C is a proposed 60-metre high, 1,050-metre-long earth-filled dam and hydroelectric generation station that would be located on the Peace River between the communities of Hudson's Hope and Taylor in northeastern British Columbia. It would create an 83-kilometre-long reservoir and flood about 5,550 hectares of agricultural land southwest of Fort St. John. It would submerge 78 First Nations heritage sites, including burial grounds and places of cultural and spiritual s…

Why are women leaving Canada's workforce?

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[An interesting phenomenon with no clear-cut story about why this is so. Things like Harper's support for male-dominated industries (construction, resource extraction, military/security) and lack of support for child care are thought to be contributing factors. This also masks what would otherwise have been substantially higher unemployment rates for women. This also makes me wonder: what is the sex ratio of workers in the Temporary Foreign Workers program? *RON*]
By Toby Sanger,, 9 March 2015

Women left Canada's labour force in record numbers last year. Who are they and why did they leave?

Over 80,000 women left Canada's labour force in 2014, bringing their labour force participation rate down to 61.6 per cent from 62.2 per cent in 2013 (all figures annual averages). This is the lowest rate since 2002, and a reversal of decades of gradually growing gender equality through women's participation in the workforce.

If women…