Showing posts from November 4, 2015

Justin Trudeau Sworn In As Prime Minister

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[He's invited the public to the swearing-in for the first time in Canadian history. He and his wife took the bus to the ceremony. He's sworn in a small-ish Cabinet that actually looks like the Canada that it's meant to represent (see the full list of Cabinet members at the end of the article). Note some of the Ministries: Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Minister of Youth (Trudeau himself). See also: Stephen Harper resigns as Prime Minister of Canada and The Age of Austerity is (thankfully) dead. And, finally: Trudeau's Swearing-In Was So Badass In 1968. *RON*]
By The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 4 November 2015

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau has launched a new Liberal era with a 30-member cabinet that features predominantly fresh faces and an equal number of men and women.

Fully 18 of the newly minted ministers are rookies who won election for the first time o…

Why It’s OK to Block Ads

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[I use Ad Blocker as well as Disconnect. Unfortunately, this does not spare me from finger-wagging messages from media websites telling me how I'm pulling the silver spoon from out of their heirs mouths. *RON*]
By James Williams, Practical Ethics, 16 October 2015

Over the past couple of months, the practice of ad blocking has received heightened ethical scrutiny. (1,2,3,4)

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “ad blocking” refers to software—usually web browser plug-ins, but increasingly mobile apps—that stop most ads from appearing when you use websites or apps that would otherwise show them.

Arguments against ad blocking tend to focus on the potential economic harms. Because advertising is the dominant business model on the internet, if everyone used ad-blocking software then wouldn’t it all collapse? If you don’t see (or, in some cases, click on) ads, aren’t you getting the services you currently think of as “free”—actually for free? By using …

Demand Creates Its Own Supply

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[Economics for plutocrats. The mongering of the type of idea Krugman describes here creates what John Rawlston Saul called The Unconscious Civilization. *RON*]
Paul Krugman, New York Times, 3 November 2015

One of the intellectually horrifying things about the response to economic crisis was the way many economists, some of them famous, reinvented old fallacies in the belief that they were saying something profound. In particular, quite a few economists seemed utterly unaware that Say’s Law – the proposition that supply creates its own demand, that shortfalls in aggregate demand were impossible – had been refuted three generations ago.

In fact, not only doesn’t supply create its own demand; experience since 2008 suggests, if anything, that the reverse is largely true – specifically, that inadequate demand destroys supply. Economies with persistently weak demand seem to suffer large declines in potential as well as actual output.

The suggestion that …

Mississippi Man Bombs Local Walmart Because It Stopped Selling Confederate Flags

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["Suspect was quickly caught because his getaway car was covered in Confederate flags." Meanwhile, as long as they keep us busy hating one another, the plutocrats win. *RON*]

By Kali HollowayAlterNet, 3 November 2015

A man from Tupelo, Mississippi, decided to show his displeasure with Walmart’s decision to no longer carry the Confederate flag by bombing a local store. Luckily and not altogether surprisingly, the homemade bomb wasn’t assembled properly to maximize damages to the shop. Though it reportedly caused a “loud bang” according to the AP, no one was injured in the incident.

Marshall E. Leonard, who has made a name for himself locally as a fierce defender of the Confederate battle flag, drove to the Walmart outlet around 1:30am on Sunday morning. Police Chief Bart Aguirre, speaking to the Tupelo Daily Journal, said Leonard got out of his vehicle, lit a package on fire and threw it into the shop’s vestibule.

Top ECB officials met bankers in run-up to rate meetings

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[The plutocratic good-old-boys club that runs the world for its own gain, trying, badly, to pretend that it isn't. *RON*]

Reuters, 3 November 2015

* Diaries show wide contact with hedge funds, banks

* Coeure met BNP Paribas on day of Governing Council meeting

* Goldman Sachs, Bridgewater, Moore Capital on list

FRANKFURT, Nov 3 (Reuters) - European Central Bank board members have regularly met with banks and hedge funds privately just days before interest rate decisions, when typical practice prohibits them from discussing monetary policy, documents released by the bank showed.

Executive board members, the inner core of the ECB's 25-member Governing Council, met officials from a host of financial firms over the past year, including BNP Paribas, UBS, BlackRock, Goldman Sachs and think-tanks like Brussels-based Bruegel, documents first published by the Financial Times showed.

The ECB's transparency has come under heightened scrutiny since boar…

TransCanada Asks State Department To Suspend Review Process For Keystone XL Pipeline

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[They are trying to get the decision delayed until Obama is out of office. See also: Obama Won’t Yield to Company’s Bid to Delay Keystone Pipeline Decision. *RON*]

By Katie Valentine, Think Progress, 2 November 2015

Canadian oil company TransCanada has asked the State Department to suspend the review process for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

The company announced Monday that it had sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, asking him to pause the permit application review process for the tar sands pipeline.

“We are asking State to pause its review of Keystone XL based on the fact that we have applied to the Nebraska Public Service Commission for approval of its preferred route in the state,” Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “I note that when the status of the Nebraska pipeline route was challenged last year, the State Department found it appropriate to suspend its review unti…

How one of the most obese countries on earth took on the soda giants

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[Diet, mortality and the corporatocracy. "...excessive consumption of soda kills twice as many Mexicans as trade in the other kind of coke that Mexico is famous for." A long, excellent piece about government pushing back against the largest sugar-pushers like Coca Cola. As debate rages about whether to introduce a sugar tax, this is the story of how Mexico defied its own powerful fizzy drinks industry to impose a tax on soda. *RON*]
Tina Rosenberg, The Guardian, 3 November 2015
Mexicans love their soda. Construction workers go to their jobs in the early morning clutching giant two-litre or even three-litre bottles. Babies in strollers suck on bottles filled with orange soda. In the highlands of Chiapas, Coca-Cola is considered to have magical powers and is used in religious rites.

Why Sweden is introducing a 6-hour working day with full pay!

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[Meanwhile, in Canada: Longer work day cutting into family time: study. See also: Differences in Average Working Hours Around the World*RON*]
By Mairead Walsh, Softworks, 5 October 2015

Last April the government of Gothenburg announced that public sector employees would work less hours in an experiment to improve mental and physical health and increase productivity. Mats Pilhem, Deputy Mayor of Gothenburg, hopes the six-hour staff would take fewer sick days. Now other businesses across the country are following Gothenburg’s decision and implementing the change.

Personally I think it’s about time we shook things up a bit. When you think about it, the so called 9 to 5 or eight hour working day originated out of necessity during the Industrial Revolution in Britain in the 1800s. So much has changed since then in terms of how, when and where we do business, it makes you wonder why so many organisations are holding onto a working day that was crea…