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Showing posts from October 5, 2015

Going to Whidbey Island for a few days

The blog will be back on Friday!
*RON*

Historic Pacific trade deal faces skeptics in Congress

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[The Democrats hate it because it gives national sovereignty away to corporations; the Republicans hate it because Obama. *RON*]
By Krista Hughes and Kevin Krolicki, Reuters, 5 October 2015

Twelve Pacific Rim countries on Monday reached the most ambitious trade pact in a generation, aiming to liberalize commerce in 40 percent of the world's economy in a deal that faces skepticism from U.S. lawmakers.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact struck in Atlanta after marathon talks could reshape industries, change the cost of products from cheese to cancer treatments and have repercussions for drug companies and automakers.

Tired negotiators worked round the clock over the weekend to settle tough issues such as monopoly rights for new biotech drugs. New Zealand's demand for greater access for its dairy exports was only settled at 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT) on Monday.

Why The TPP Is Not A Done Deal, And Why It May Never Get Done

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[A good sign. *RON*]

Daniel Tencer, Huffington Post, 5 October 2015


Prime ministers and presidents around the world congratulated themselves Monday after coming to an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a "transformational" deal that, if ratified, would create the world’s largest free trade area, encompassing 40 per cent of the global economy, including Canada's.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper, in the midst of a re-election campaign, certainly wants to sell this as him bringing home a done deal, as something concrete accomplished.

But in reality, what’s been accomplished is the easy part, and what Harper has brought home is completely unprecedented and unpredictable. The TPP is one of a new generation of free trade agreements that are more ambitious — both in scope and geography — than anything that has come before. And in the past few years these agreements have proven to be a political headache, bogged down in regional…

What's wrong with Site C

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[What's right with it? It's unnecessary; it will cost you and I at least $9 billion and the electricity generated will mainly be used to provide subsidized cheap power for fracking wells; the farmers don't want it and it will drown a huge swath of Class A agricultural land; the affected First Nations don't want it and it will drown a number of sacred burial sites. The statement that it will create 10,000 jobs is a lie; it will provide temporary employment in the form of 10,000 person-years of work, thus buying some union votes for cheap for the Liberals. *RON*]
By Marvin Shaffer, rabble.ca, 5 October 2015

Please support our coverage of democratic movements and become a supporter of rabble.ca.

In a tweet no doubt designed to complement an unabashedly political debate taking place in the legislature this week, the Liberal caucus stated that Site C is the most reviewed project in B.C.'s history, it will create 10,000 jobs and will…

"Tough on Crime" strategy does not make for safe communities - New Report

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[Crime rates in Canada have been steadily declining for more than a decade, yet prison populations have been increasing in recent years. Commentators have attributed this disconnection between dropping crime rates and rising incarceration numbers to the Harper government’s tough on crime strategy. Read the full report and summary Fast Fasts, also shown below. *RON*]

The Impact of the Harper Government's "Tough on Crime" Strategy Hearing from Frontline Workers. By Elizabeth Comack, Cara Fabre, Shanise Burgher. 30 September 2015 | Manitoba Office

Crime rates in Canada have been steadily declining for more than a decade, yet prison populations have been increasing in recent years. Commentators have attributed this disconnection between dropping crime rates and rising incarceration numbers to the Harper government’s tough on crime strategy. Since 2006 the Harper Conservatives have implemented legislative and policy changes designed to “…

Children of the Yuan Percent: Everyone Hates China’s Rich Kids

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["As portrayed in the local press, fuerdai are to China what Paris Hilton was to the U.S. a decade ago, only less tasteful." The fuerdai, China’s second-generation rich kids, are the most loathed group in the country. They’re also its future. *RON*]

Christopher Beam, Bloomberg, 30 September 2015


Emerging from a nightclub near Workers’ Stadium in Beijing at 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday in June, Mikael Hveem ordered an Uber. He selected the cheapest car option and was surprised when the vehicle that rolled up was a dark blue Maserati. The driver, a young, baby-faced Chinese man, introduced himself as Jason. Hveem asked him why he was driving an Uber—he obviously didn’t need the cash. Jason said he did it to meet people, especially girls. Driving around late at night in Beijing’s nightclub district, he figured he’d find the kind of woman who would be charmed by a clean-cut 22-year-old in a sports car.

Industrial farming is one of the worst crimes in history

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[The corporatocracy and BigAg. The fate of industrially farmed animals is one of the most pressing ethical questions of our time. Tens of billions of sentient beings, each with complex sensations and emotions, live and die on a production line. *RON*]
Yuval Noah Harari, The Guardian, 28 September 2015

Animals are the main victims of history, and the treatment of domesticated animals in industrial farms is perhaps the worst crime in history. The march of human progress is strewn with dead animals. Even tens of thousands of years ago, our stone age ancestors were already responsible for a series of ecological disasters. When the first humans reached Australia about 45,000 years ago, they quickly drove to extinction 90% of its large animals. This was the first significant impact that Homo sapiens had on the planet’s ecosystem. It was not the last.

About 15,000 years ago, humans colonised America, wiping out in the process about 75% of its large mamma…

Ben Bernanke: More execs should have gone to jail for causing Great Recession

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[I guess he could have said this in 2008! *RON*]
Susan Page, USA Today, 5 October 2015

WASHINGTON — This season, Ben Bernanke was able to sit through an entire Nationals game.

During the financial meltdown in 2008, the then-chairman of the Federal Reserve would buy a lemonade and head to his seats two rows back from the Washington Nationals dugout, a respite from crisis. But often he would find himself huddling in the quiet of the stadium's first-aid station or an empty stairwell for consultations on his BlackBerry about whatever economic catastrophe was looming.

"I think there was a reasonably good chance that, barring stabilization of the financial system, that we could have gone into a 1930s-style depression," he says now in an interview with USA TODAY. "The panic that hit us was enormous — I think the worst in U.S. history."

Canada reaches tentative Trans-Pacific trade deal with 11 other countries

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[Oh no! Sovereignty once again eroded to the advantage of the corporatocracy. It's possible it will still be killed in parliament. See also: Harper warns other parties not to reject TPP if elected*RON*]

Canadian Press, Toronto Sun, 5 October 2015

ATLANTA -- Twelve nations, including Canada, have reached a tentative deal on the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership -- a massive Pacific Rim trading bloc billed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the largest-ever deal of its kind.

After five days of marathon, around-the-clock negotiations, a deal has been reached to create the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would cover 40 per cent of the world's economy.

"Each one of us comes to the table with a clear goal of promoting and defending the interests of our own countries, of our own economies," International Trade Minister Ed Fast told the closing news conference.