Showing posts from December 30, 2015

RCMP chief’s comments about racism fuel tense relations with officers

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[A typical response for a police association, which like to think of themselves as worlds unto themselves. *RON*]

Gloria Galloway, Globe and Mail, 28 December 2015

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson is making life more difficult for rank-and-file officers by stating publicly that there are racists on the force who he would like to remove from duty, the association that represents the force’s members says. In a strongly worded statement, it said the commissioner’s response earlier this month to questions about racism against indigenous people was rife with sweeping generalizations and puts officers in harm’s way, both legally and personally.
“How is the public supposed to respect officers now, after their own commissioner throws them under the bus?” asked Rob Creasser, a retired Mountie and spokesman for the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada.

The association’s backlash comes on the heels of prolonged tensions between officers and the comm…

El Nino weather: Worries grow over humanitarian impact

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[It cannot possibly be a good thing that basically everything in our world has become 'unprecedented' and 'extreme.' *RON*]
By Matt McGrath, BBC News, 30 December 2015

The strongest El Nino weather cycle on record is likely to increase the threat of hunger and disease for millions of people in 2016, aid agencies say.

The weather phenomenon is set to exacerbate droughts in some areas, while increasing flooding in others.

Some of the worst impacts are likely in Africa with food shortages expected to peak in February.

Regions including the Caribbean, Central and South America will also be hit in the next six months.

The year market economists failed to see coming

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[On the effectiveness of constant cheerleading by the Confidence Fairies. *RON*]
Malcolm Maiden, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 December 2015

Market seers did not cover themselves with glory in 2015.

In fact, Goldman Sachs says in a research note that US economic forecasters basically got everything wrong.

They expected that by March Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen would have announced the first US interest rate hike since 2006, and the first of three in 2015. The first and so far only rate rise came on December 16.

For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions

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[On the plutocratic income-defense industry in the US. *RON*]

By Noam Scheiber and Patricia Cohen, New York Times, 29 December 2015

WASHINGTON — The hedge fund magnates Daniel S. Loeb, Louis Moore Bacon and Steven A. Cohen have much in common. They have managed billions of dollars in capital, earning vast fortunes. They have invested large sums in art — and millions more in political candidates.

Moreover, each has exploited an esoteric tax loophole that saved them millions in taxes. The trick? Route the money to Bermuda and back.

With inequality at its highest levels in nearly a century and public debate rising over whether the government should respond to it through higher taxes on the wealthy, the very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes. Some call it the “income defense industry,” consisting of a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax …

Only 8% of Leaders Are Good at Both Strategy and Execution

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[In my experience this is perfectly true - there are ideas-people and people-people. Is it surprising or not that one in three top leaders are bad at both developing and executing strategy? *RON*]

Paul LeinwandCesare Mainardi & Art Kleiner, Harvard Business Review, 30 December 2015

In a 2013 survey of nearly 700 executives across a variety of industries, our firm asked respondents to rate the effectiveness of the top leaders of their companies. How many excelled at strategy? How many excelled at execution? The results are shown in the chart below. These responses are sobering: Only 16% of top leaders were rated very effective at either strategy or execution. Only 8% were very effective at both, while 63% were rated neutral or worse on at least one dimension.

5 Resolutions B.C. MLAs Should Ponder For The New Year

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[The crapification of democracy. Be sure to hold your breath while waiting for these things to go away. *RON*]
Dermod Travis, Executive Director, IntegrityBC, Huffington Post, 29 December 2015

It's that time of year when many of us consider making a few resolutions for self-improvement. In the spirit of the season, it only seems fitting to suggest five resolutions for the province's MLAs.

1. Buy a thesaurus

An online search in the B.C. government's newsroom turned up 148 results for "highly respected," 361 for "strong economy" and a mind-boggling 1,610 for "world-class."

B.C. is home to world-class infrastructure, world-class safety protocols, destinations for world-class sporting events, world-class wineries, and a world-class isotopes research tunnel.

It's as though there's a control function on the keypads of government flacks for the term or a prize to see how many times it can be worked into…

Austerity is their best weapon: How the rich and powerful sold inequality to the masses

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[Whose interests are actually served by austerity? If you don't know yet, read on. A budget approach cloaked in technical jargon has become a tool of oppression, explains economist Orsola Costantini. *RON*]

Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet / Salon, 30 December 2015

Orsola Costantini, Senior Economist at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, is the author of a new paper which exposes the disturbing history of how a budget approach cloaked in scientific and technical jargon became a tool to manipulate public opinion and serve the interests of the powerful. In the following conversation, she reveals how austerity has been sold to the public through a process that hurts the people, consolidates knowledge and power at the top, and compromises democracy. As economic inequality reaches new heights and austerity programs are debated around the world (most recently, in Spain and Portugal), learn how a lie becomes a political and economic “truth.” *T…

Year in review: Does Canada need the Conservative Party?

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[The Globe and Mail editors ask where all this new-found support within the Conservative Party for a "sunnier and more optimistic" conservatism was was hiding for the last decade. Of course they see no humor at all in the fact that the same question must be asked of the Editors of the Globe and Mail. *RON*]
Editors, Globe and Mail, 30 December 2015
One of the more surprising aftermaths of the election of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals was seeing the speed with which former Conservative cabinet ministers distanced themselves from Stephen Harper and his style of government.

“Clearly we’ve got to turn a page, and we’ve got to reattach Conservative values and principles to the hopes and aspirations of Canadians,” Tony Clement, the former president of the Treasury Board, said the night the Tories handed their solid majority in Parliament to the Liberals.

“We need a conservatism that is sunnier and more optimistic than what we have sometimes …