Showing posts from June 22, 2015

National Defence Delay On Torture Directive Suggests Internal Challenges

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[Bureaucrats waffling, delaying on both signing off on and making Harper's torture directive public. *RON*]
By Jim Bronskill, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 21 June 2015

OTTAWA - The Defence Department has spent four years drafting a directive on foreign information-sharing — an ongoing delay that points to internal difficulties fleshing out a federal policy many have condemned as condoning torture.

National Defence is one of five federal agencies covered by a 2010 government framework policy that allows officials to seek and share information from foreign partners, even when it may put someone at risk of brutal treatment.

The Canadian Press reported last month that Defence was refusing to release the full text of a draft ministerial directive intended to spell out how the military would put the framework policy into practice.

The department now says that's because it is still working on the directive — a process that began as early as 201…

Canadian wages: Up, down or sideways?

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[In an election year, what has really been happening to workers' wages? Lies, damn lies, and statistics. *RON*]
By Angella MacEwen,, 22 June 2015

We're coming up to a federal election, and one where "The Economy" will likely be a central battlefield. As such, we're going to hear many claims and counter-claims that support the view that Stephen Harper is either the Greatest or Worst Prime Minister ever.

One point of contention is wages. Part of the problem are the units of measurement and analysis -- hourly, weekly, or annual earnings, total vs. market income, median vs. average. So this post is a bit of a stream of consciousness graphing of the ways that we measure income, and what that means.

Weekly wages

We often see graphs of total average wages, rather than median wages or other distributional analysis.

By both the Labour Force Survey (self-reported) and the Survey of Employment and Hours (payroll data), average wa…

World Bank Group: Project Critics Threatened, Harassed, Jailed

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[How the World Bank 'helps' developing nations with projects that will 'protect' them from the evil effects of globalization / the corporatocracy. *RON*]
Human Rights Watch, 22 June 2015

The World Bank has long said that public participation and accountability are key to the success of the development efforts it funds. But the World Bank’s repeated failure to confront intimidation or harassment of people who criticize its projects risks making a mockery out of these principles.
Jessica Evans, senior international financial institutions advocate

(Washington, DC, June 22, 2015) The World Bank Group has done little to prevent or dissuade governments from intimidating critics of the projects it funds, or monitor for reprisals, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 144-page report, “At Your Own Risk: Reprisals against Critics of World Bank Group Projects,” details how governments and powerful companies have threatened, i…

Civilian death toll from explosive weapons soars

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[Who are the real victims? Civilians bear the brunt of the rise in the number of deaths and injuries from explosive devices in conflict zones including Syria, Gaza, Nigeria and Iraq. *RON*]

Julian Borger The Guardian, 22 June 2015

The global civilian death toll from explosive weapons has increased dramatically in recent years, driven in part by the greater use of aerial bombs on populated areas, often by governments including Syria and Israel, according to a report.

Although the international community has taken concerted action to curb the use of chemical weapons, the report by advocacy group Action on Armed Violence(AOAV) confirms that conventional explosives, can be just as devastating and indiscriminate when used against towns and cities.

AOAV’s report, Explosive States, which examines data for 2014, found that when explosive weapons were used in urban areas, 92% of the casualties were civilians, compared with 34% in rural areas. In 2014, the…

Dylann Roof May Have Been Radicalized By the Website Of a Group Associated With Southern GOP Politicians

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[The website is a hodgepodge of re-written media stories designed to give the reader the impression there's a barrage of black-on-white crime. See also White Nationalist Group Defends Dylann Roof's "Legitimate Grievances"Leader of group cited in 'Dylann Roof manifesto' donated to top Republicans, and Republicans Tread Carefully in Criticism of Confederate Flag. *RON*]
By Bethania Palma MarkusRaw Story / AlterNet, 20 June 2015

The man who attacked historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston may have been initiated into the white supremacist movement by an organization that has for years been associated with Southern politicians, mostly Republican, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Dylann Roof, 21, allegedly opened fire on a Bible study Wednesday night at the culturally significant church, assassinating state senator, civil rights leader and pastor Clementa Pinckney and eight o…

Pope Francis suggests those in weapons industry can't call themselves Christian

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[I bet the cardinals thought they were getting a harmless, unassertive old poot when they voted in Pope Francis. Hah! At a rally of young people in Turin, Francis issues his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry, criticising investors as well as workers. *RON*]

Reuters, The Guardian, 22 June 2015
People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said on Sunday.

Duplicity is the currency of today ... they say one thing and do anotherPope Francis

Francis issued his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry at a rally of thousands of young people at the end of the first day of his trip to the Italian city of Turin.

“If you trust only men you have lost,” he told the young people in a longcommentary about war, trust and politics, after putting aside his prepared address.

“It makes me think of ... people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Ch…

America's CEOs Now Make 303 Times More Than Their Workers

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[The gains all flow uphill. A new report will make your blood boil: "CEO pay soared by 997 percent between 1978 and 2014, after adjusting for inflation," versus 10.9% for workers. *RON*]

—By Jaeah Lee, Mother Jones, 22 June 2015

The US economy is rebounding for the nation's top income earners, but not for everyone else, according to a new study from the Economic Policy Institute. Thestudy, published Sunday, finds that chief executives at the country's 350 biggest firms earned an average of $16.3 million in 2014, marking a 54.3 percent increase since 2009. Meanwhile, compensation for typical workers in the same industries as those CEOs fell 1.7 percent over the same time period.

"Those at the top of the income distribution, including many CEOs, are seeing a strong recovery, while the typical worker is still experiencing the detrimental effects of a stagnant labor market," the study authors, Lawrence Mishel and Alyssa Davi…

Eurozone doomed whether Greece leaves or stays, study shows

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["Integrate or disintegrate." The claim is that the single currency is forcing its members further apart and the EU cannot survive in its current form. You have to consider that this was paid for by the Telegraph and a group that advocates for the UK to withdraw from ties with Europe, but I still think it is an important piece. *RON*]

 By James Kirkup, Telegraph, 21 Jun 2015

The Eurozone is doomed and cannot survive in its current form, regardless of what happens to Greece, a major new study shows.

New research demonstrates that members of the single European currency are becoming more economically divergent, making a single rate of interest increasingly unsuitable for the bloc.

The true costs and benefits of staying in the EU - or leaving
• Britain needs to get a better deal from Brussels or leave the EU

Political, social and cultural differences will also make it increasingly hard for the euro members to share a currency. Eventually, the…