Showing posts from June 12, 2015

Why Sen is right about what is being done to Greece

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[On power, the thuggish mugging of the Greeks, and the ideological hubris of the European Central Bank. *RON*]
Simon Wren-Lewis, Mainly Macro, 10 June 2015

At first sight the negotiations between Greece and the Troika seem to be simply a battle about resources: how much of the pie that is Greek national income their creditors should receive. There have been many similar types of battle over the years - what makes this one unusual is that the creditors have a unique weapon on their side. With primary surplus approximately achieved, Greece’s bargaining position would normally be extremely strong. The Eurozone creditors would be desperate to salvage what they could from their foolish decision to effectively buy some privately owned Greek government debt. The only reason the Troika is able to call the shots is that it can threaten to eject Greece from the Eurozone. [1]

Part of the deliberate mystification that goes on here is to present Eurozone exit a…

Israel Forgives Itself For Death of Four Palestinian Children

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[Quelle surprise! The "figures who were understood to be militants from Hamas’s Naval Forces, who had gathered in order to prepare to carry out military activities" turned out to be young boys, cousins, playing soccer on the beach. Just one of those things, right? *RON*]

Brendan O'Connor, Gawker, 11 June 2015
During last summer’s war in Gaza, in July, an Israeli missile strike killed four Palestinian boys on a beach. Many witnessed the incident, including journalists. Now, Israel has exonerated itself, the Guardian reports, with the advocate general’s office calling the boys’ death a “tragic accident.”

In the aftermath of the bombing, a Washington Post journalist on the scene reported that the airstrikes had appeared to target a fisherman’s hut. At the time, the Israeli Defense Force said the target had been “Hamas terrorist operatives,” and blamed Hamas for its “cynical exploitation of a population held hostage.”

After “an extensive …

Senate passes C-51. What now?

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[The surveillance state: another Harper-driven blow to democracy. No one admits to wanting this Bill except the Conservatives, yet it passed without a hiccough. The Liberals were particularly helpful in getting it through. Stuart Trew gives you a few reasons for not giving up on C-51 yet. *RON*]
By Stuart Trew,, 11 June 2015

Late Tuesday afternoon, by a vote of 44 to 28, the Senate approved the government's overkill anti-terrorism legislation, Bill C-51, without amendment. (You can see who voted which way at this link.) By doing so, senators ignored an almost airtight consensus in Canada's legal community that the security and information-sharing reforms in the bill won't improve the chances of stopping potential terrorist threats, but will encroach on privacy rights and can be too easily abused by still largely unaccountable state security agencies. After taking a deep sigh, what more is there to say or do at such a moment?

Riverview panel gets an earful: 'Some amount of development is going to have to happen'

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[The Clark government delayed and delayed making a decision about the use of Riverview lands because, far from wanting additional public services and environmental protections, it wants development to be a cash-cow for feeding tax breaks to LNG multinationals. In so doing, they allowed the lands to deteriorate. So, now they stipulate that any proposed use of these lands has to pay for the restorations they made necessary though their deliberate inaction. Share your views at or email: *RON*]

Janis Warren, Tri-City News, 11 June 2015
Plenty of people with plenty to say on the future of the Riverview Hospital grounds have waited a long time to make themselves heard.

On Wednesday, they got their chance at a BC Housing open house.

And attendees didn't hold back on their views for what they want and don't want for the historic, provincial property.

For more than 90 minutes at the Executive Pla…

Taxpayers Should Stop Subsidizing Doctors' Liability Costs

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[On the politics and economics of health care: a little-known issue for Canadian patient rights. One reader commented that this situation is partly due to the fact that Provinces compete with one another to hire doctors and use this practice as a perq to attract new hires. It certainly acts against patients' interests, since it reduces the incentive for physicians to be accountable while making it far harder to patients to afford to pursue legitimate claims against sloppy or malicious doctors. *RON*]

The 50th anniversary this year of the Medicare and Medicaid systems in the United States has predictably prompted a good deal of reflection and even some celebration. They were milestones of healthcare advancement in that country to be sure. But much less reflection seems to happen with the Canadian system, where universal healthcare traces its beginnings back to Saskatchewan in the 1940s.

The Canadian system is, by many indicators and by much pop…

Tories Have Shut Down Debate 100 Times This Parliament: Opposition

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[The authoritarian rule of the corporatocrats is the new black. "While this continued practice is no longer surprising, it remains an appalling affront to the principles of our democracy." Elizabeth May. *RON*]
By Ryan Maloney, Huffington Post, 10 June 2015

When it comes to the controversial practice of curtailing parliamentary debate, opposition parties say Conservatives have hit the century mark.

On Wednesday, 141 Tory MPs voted to pass a time allocation motion on Bill C-59, a 167-page, omnibus budget implementation bill that also contains unprecedented amendments to retroactively rewrite access to information laws.

Time allocation allows the government to limit the length of debate on a bill so that it can be passed at a quicker pace. Opponents of the practice deride it as anti-democratic.

Opposition MPs said it was the hundredth time Tories have played such a card since the start of Canada’s 41st Parliament in 2011.

Former Tory-tur…

B.C. forest wake-up call: Heavy carbon losses hit 10 year mark

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[When the Province of BC calculates its carbon emissions it doesn't include the carbon-absorbing capacity that is lost by logging, fires or the Mountain Pine Beetle. When this is included, BC carbon emissions rose from 188 million tons of CO2 in 1993-2002 to 894 million tons in 2003-2012. *RON*]

Sierra Clubs of BC, 8 June 2015

VICTORIA, B.C. ─ For a full decade, B.C. forests have been releasing dramatically more carbon into the atmosphere than they have absorbed out of the atmosphere.

B.C.’s forests emitted 256 million tonnes of carbon dioxide during the period 2003 - 2012. In contrast, B.C.’s forests absorbed 441 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from 1993 to 2002. This is the key finding of a Sierra Club BC analysis of B.C. government forest carbon emissions data.

Including forest emissions in B.C.’s officially reported emissions results in a massive shift in overall provincial emissions from 188 million tonnes for 1993 to 2002, to 894 million …