Showing posts from April, 2016

Ted Cruz Doesn’t Want Any Transgender People In Any Bathroom Anywhere

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[Ted Cruz tells transgendered people to just pee at home. And from the same end of the US Republican insane-o-metre this week: Maine Gov. Paul LePage To Heroin Addicts: Drop Dead. *RON*]
By Zack Ford, Think Progress, 26 April 2016
If Ted Cruz had to use the bathroom after stealing his daughter's cherry, he could use the one right there in the ice cream parlor, but a transgender person enjoying a sundae, he thinks, should have to go all the way home.

Ted Cruz’s tour de transphobia, launched last week to capitalize on Donald Trump’s criticism of North Carolina’s anti-transgender law, has embraced a new extreme position. Speaking to reporters this weekend in Indiana, he actually admitted that he doesn’t believe transgender people should be allowed to use any restroom except the ones in the privacy of their own home.

“Every one of us has the right to live our lives as we wish,” he said. “If any one of us wants to dress up as a woman or man and w…

Pseudoscience in the Witness Box

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[I've seen similar articles in recent years, but this truly is mind-boggling. The FBI faked an entire field of forensic science. And many of their states still have the death penalty? *RON*]
By Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, 23 April 2016

The Washington Post published a story so horrifying this weekend that it would stop your breath: “The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.”

What went wrong? The Post continues:“Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far.” The shameful, horrifying errors were uncovered in a massive, three-year review by the National Association of Criminal Defens…

Uber, Google and others form self-driving car lobby to shape US policy

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[So much for their line of malarkey about "the sharing economy." Google, Uber, Lyft, Ford and Volvo – all developing self-driving car technology – have formed a lobbying group to take on regulation of autonomous vehicles. If your self-driving car, using their software, kills someone they want you to be the one who gets sued. *RON*]
Nellie Bowles, The Guardian, 27 April 2016

If your self-driving car crashes, who gets sued? Google, Uber, and Ford would rather it be you, according to some experts.

Tech companies making self-driving cars could become better protected under the law than those car’s owners, experts warn, as the announcement came of a powerful new coalition of automakers and big tech companies forming to take on US government regulations around self-driving vehicles.

Google, Uber, Lyft, Ford and Volvo, all of which are working on self-driving car technology, will lobby as the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets to bring aut…

Trade Costs of Border Controls in the Schengen Area

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[Trade has been greatly facilitated by the free movement of people, goods and services across countries that is ensured by the Schengen Agreement (e.g., see today's Mobile phone roaming charges cut within EU. Borders have been tightening up as a xenophobic response to the refugee crisis and terrorist attacks and this article shows how much this will hurt Europe economically. *RON*]
By Gabriel Felbermayr, Posted on Naked Capitalism by Yves Smith29 April 2016

Yves here. This is more important than it might seem. One of the key benefits of the European Union has been the ease of movement of goods and people across borders. The refugee crisis has led to a resumption of border controls by quite a few states.

This matters because, as this column confirms, the former friction-free borders produced economic gains for member states. Now that the EU is suffering stress on lots of fronts, not just refugee policy but also increasingly discordant econo…

High ranking Alberta PC official claims Earls restaurants "supports terrorists"

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[Safe to say that some members of the Albertan oligarchy are feeling a wee bit 'sensitive' these days. This fellow, who ran for the leadership of both the provincial and federal PCs, was forced to resign later the same day this story appeared: Craig Chandler quits Alberta PC board after 'Earls supports terrorists' comment. *RON*]

By PressProgress, 29 April 2016

Well, that escalated quickly.

A member of the Board of Directors of Alberta's Progressive Conservatives has levelled a bizarre accusation against Earls restaurants, an "upscale casual dining" chain based in Vancouver.

He claims the restaurant chain "supports terrorists."

Craig Chandler, who was acclaimed as the Alberta Tories' regional director for Calgary earlier this month, made those comments in the wake of an online backlash – with some conservative politicians leading the charge – after the restaurant chain decided to switch to beef raised …

Trump-Sanders Phenomenon Signals an Oligarchy on the Brink of a Civilization-Threatening Collapse

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[Oligarchies win except when society enacts effective reforms. A very good article on similarities with previous economic/political cycles. It looks like some of the works referenced would be good reads, too. *RON*]
By Sally Goerner, Evonomics, 29 April 2016
“The collapse of urban cultures is an event much more frequent than most observers realize. Often, collapse is well underway before societal elites become aware of it, leading to scenes of leaders responding retroactively and ineffectively as their society collapses around them.” – Sander Vander Leeuw, Archaeologist, 1997

The media has made a cottage industry out of analyzing the relationship between America’s crumbling infrastructure, outsourced jobs, stagnant wages, and evaporating middle class and the rise of anti-establishment presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Commentators are also tripping all over one another to expound daily on the ineffectual response of Americ…

Former Tax Lobbyists Are Writing the Rules on Tax Dodging

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[The foxes run the chicken coop. Former tax lobbyists sit as staffers on both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, and will help define any US effort to 'crack down on tax dodgers.' Why should this be a surprise in a government run by Goldman Sachs? See also: Inequality Will Increase Until There’s a Revolution. *RON*]
By Lee Fang, The Intercept, 27 April 16

The secret tax-dodging strategies of the global elite in China, Russia, Brazil, the U.K., and beyond were exposed in speculator fashion by the recent Panama Papers investigation, fueling a worldwide demand for a crackdown on tax avoidance.

But there is little appetite in Congress for taking on powerful tax dodgers in the U.S., where the practice has become commonplace.

A request for comment about the Panama Papers to the two congressional committees charged with tax policy — House Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee — was ignored.

The reluct…

The European Union always was a CIA project, as Brexiteers discover

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[More than anything this shows how high feelings are running around a Brexit (=a British Exit from the European Union). It's understandable that the US whole-heartedly supported a united Europe in the face of active USSR expansion of its sphere of influence after World War II. How does this mean the EU "always was a CIA project?" This sounds a lot like old de Gaulle-style jingoistic blather. And to keep pressing on Obama and the Mau-Mau rebellion - puh-lease! *RON*]

Ambrose Evans-Pritchart, The Telegraph, 27 April 2016

Brexiteers should have been prepared for the shattering intervention of the US. The European Union always was an American project.

It was Washington that drove European integration in the late 1940s, and funded it covertly under the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations.

The Writing Is On The Wall For Alberta's Obsolete Oil Industry

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["Would Premier Notley kindly explain to me how building pipelines to increase the production and the consumption of petroleum can possibly reduce the production of GHG?" *RON*]
Gerard Montpetit, Huffington Post, 28 April 2016

On the French network of the CBC, Premier Rachel Notley is reportedly adamant that a post-carbon Canada can only be achieved through the building of pipelines. She claims that the revenues from petroleum are necessary to finance the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG). Furthermore she scolds people who disagree with her because they are like "une bande de village" -- in other words, country bumpkins.

Would Premier Notley kindly explain to me how building pipelines to increase the production and the consumption of petroleum can possibly reduce the production of GHG? To my mind, this intrinsic contradiction simply does not add up.

I can understand that Alberta faces economic hardships; Prime Minister Justin T…

Socialize the Banks

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[Banking and the public good. Germany and France already have a mix of public and private banks. Postal banks used to be a common thing. And, of course, there are also credit unions. As usual, things we believe to be impossible have already been done elsewhere without difficulty. *RON*]

By Nuno Teles, Jacobin, reposted in Reader Supported News, 27 April 16

Breaking up the banks won’t do. They should be publicly owned and democratically controlled.

Nine years after the onset of the international financial crisis, its effects are still with us.

These days observers worry about banks — European institutions like Germany’s Deutsche Bank, France’s Societé Generale, and Italy’s Monte di Pascoale, not to mention the zombie banks that populate the austerity-ridden eurozone periphery in Greece, Portugal, and Spain. These big banks are widely seen as global capitalism’s next weak link, capable of causing massive financial instability if they go bust.


A majority of millennials now reject capitalism, poll shows

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[Between this poll and millennials' rush of support for Bernie Sanders, some kind of generational change is afoot. *RON*]

By Max Ehrenfreund, Washington Post Blog, 26 April 2016 
In an apparent rejection of the basic principles of the U.S. economy, a new poll shows that most young people do not support capitalism.

The Harvard University survey, which polled young adults between ages 18 and 29, found that 51 percent of respondents do not support capitalism. Just 42 percent said they support it.

It isn't clear that the young people in the poll would prefer some alternative system, though. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. The survey had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

The results of the survey are difficult to interpret, pollsters noted. Capitalism can mean different things to different people, and the newest generation of voters is frustrated with the status quo, broadly speaking.

All the same, that a majority of respo…

What Would Happen If We Just Gave People Money?

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[The idea of the basic minimum income is catching on, with several experiments being launched or contemplated around the world. This provides an excellent detailed overview. *RON*]

By Andrew Flowers, FiveThirtyEight, not dated.

Daniel Straub remembers the night he got hooked on basic income. He had invited Götz Werner, a billionaire owner of a German drugstore chain, to give an independent talk in Zurich, where Straub was working as a project manager for a think tank. He had read an article about the radical proposal to unconditionally guarantee citizens an income and spent a few years casually researching the idea. Straub had heard Werner was a good speaker on the topic, and that night in 2009 he was indeed excellent at connecting with the audience, a sold-out house of 200. “It was a very intense evening; people were paying attention,” Straub recalled.

There will be a huge new 'Panama Papers' data dump

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[This is a democratic step forward, at least. It doesn't say whether this will include all the data, and it doesn't say what level of aggregation is being released, but they are acting before governments get the chance to pull a veil of secrecy around this information that seriously undermines neoliberal austerity policies. *RON*]
Lianna Brinded, Business Insider, 27 April 2016

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is about to unleash a huge data dump about how some of the world's wealthiest and most powerful people hide their cash.

The group has already released a host of information regarding how major figures in politics and business store their wealth in tax havens.

On Wednesday the ICIJ said in an email that on May 9 it would "publish what will likely be the largest-ever release of information about secret offshore companies and the people behind them, based on data from the Panama Papers investigation.

Navigating like a Norwegian: How Norway Dispels the Private vs Public Sector Myth

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[Balancing free markets and strong government. The Scandinavian nations are by no mean perfect. They only have to deal with small, culturally homogeneous populations. In trying to do otherwise, they've experienced right-wing refugee backlash and they haven't been able to sustain pure democratic socialist policies in the face of the global recession. But they still do many things better than we do, and there is plenty we can learn from them. The Economist article they mention below is also good. *RON*]

By David Sloan Wilson and Sigrun Aasland, Evonomics, 26 April 2016

It’s no secret that the Scandinavian nations are doing something right. They consistently lead the world in measures of happiness and quality of life. Political guru Francis Fukuyama called the search for the good society “getting to Denmark”. Even The Economist magazine featured a goofy looking Viking on its cover with the headline “The Next Supermodel”.

How the Nordic countr…

Studies Show Austerity Policies Exacerbate US Suicide Epidemic

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[Victims of the class wars. While plutocrats squirrel their money away in offshore accounts, "When right-wing austerity policies began to ravage Greece in 2010, the suicide rate jumped almost 18 percent. In Athens alone, it soared by 25 percent." Government quislings declaim, "By gosh, we'll look into this one day! (Go back to sleep now.)" Meanwhile, see also: Eurozone Government Debt Falls, Raising Questions Over Continued Austerity. *RON*]

By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program, Truthout, 25 April 2016

According to a new study from the National Center for Health Statistics, the suicide rate in the United States has risen dramatically over the past decade-and-a-half.

Adjusting for age, it jumped 24 percent between 1999 and 2014, with the biggest increases coming after 2006. Thirteen out of every 100,000 people now kill themselves, making suicide one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the entire country.

Corporate Canada's cash in offshore tax havens skyrockets to $270 billion

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[Tax evasion, austerity and the 1%. Here again, Canada Revenue Agency says it will look into this one fine day, while the press has already dug up the numbers, no problemo. How many big political donors would need to be prosecuted if CRA actually did their job? How much austerity would we need if these plutocrats paid their taxes like you and I? *RON*]
Press Progress, 26 April 2016

Canada Revenue Agency, we have a problem.

Despite enjoying one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world, Corporate Canada's stash of offshore cash in the world's top 10 tax havens skyrocketed by $40 billion over the span of one year.

In total, Corporate Canada's cash in those tax haven countries has reached a new all-time high of $270 billion.

Evidence of overvalued home prices grows in a number of markets: CMHC

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[BC Election 2017. Market failure serves the plutocrats: yet the word "speculation" does not appear once in this article. See also how well Christy Clark has fixed the corrupt Vancouver housing market as she promised: Real estate loophole lets wealthy buyers save millions in taxes. *RON*]
Alex Posadzki, Vancouver Observer, 27 April 2016

There is mounting evidence that house prices in a number of Canadian cities — including Vancouver, Saskatoon and Hamilton — are out of whack with incomes and other economic fundamentals, according to the latest report from the federal housing agency.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says it has found evidence of overvaluation in nine of the 15 real estate markets included in its quarterly report released Wednesday.

Overbuilding was identified as a problem in seven of the markets tracked by the report.

"Overvaluation and overbuilding remain the most prevalent problematic conditions observed across the …

A big money BC Liberal donor is mad about topping up Christy Clark's salary

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[BC Election 2017. Venal career politicians are becoming a real curse on our landscape. I wonder if she could be charged with living off the avails of prostitution? *RON*]

Press Progress, 27 April 2016

The head of a firm that has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the BC Liberals isn't too impressed his money has ended up in BC Premier Christy Clark's pocket.

The Globe and Mail reported Wednesday that the BC Liberal Party pays Clark $30,000 to $50,000 per year for work that includes attending BC Liberal fundraising events.

That extra cash is in addition to Clark's nearly $200,000 Premier's salary and taxpayer-funded expenses, which has controversially included private jet flights and a $3,000 dinner at a Victoria oyster bar.

The amount of the stipend – totalling over $300,000 from the BC Liberals since 2011 – was previously undisclosed and in a 2012 interview with The Tyee, Clark first claimed she did not know how much she w…

The Reality of Indefinite Immigration Detention in Canada

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[Sunny Ways. How many people even know that this is how we do things in Canada? "Canada’s approach to migrant detention often amounts to violation of international obligations to prevent arbitrary detention, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, and discrimination." Implemented under Harper, as yet unchanged under Trudeau. See also: Demands for change to Canada's immigration detention system mount in wake of deaths. *RON*]
Gerami Law Blog, 21 March 2016


On Tuesday March 8, 2016, the Toronto East Detention Centre announced the death of yet another immigration detainee. Less than a week later on March 14th, a detainee from Chile died suddenly at Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton.

Critics have long denounced the Canadian system of potential indefinite detention for foreigners (often in provincial jails that house criminals) who run afoul…

Suicide crisis should not become yesterday's news

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[All those deaths. This 'story' has apparently had its 15 minutes of 'fame'. How much grief and misery mixed into the stew of destitution and poverty can a community endure and still survive? *RON*]

By: Beverly Sabourin and Peter Globensky, Winnipeg Free Press, 25 April 2016

For Cross Lake, Pikangikum and Attawapiskat First Nations a springtime of renewal has become the season of death. The statistics are soul-numbing: scores of youth in these communities and others across Canada dying by their own hand — lifeless bodies hanging at the end of a rope.

Activists for aboriginal rights at a sit-in at the Toronto offices of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. The suicide crisis should not be forgotten.

Hundreds more adolescents have attempted suicide, and hundreds more than that have been on a "suicide watch." In many cases, that is all we have been able to do: watch, while this tragic epidemic of death continues.

The Real Hillary Clinton

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[A good summary of the litany of issues. Also good: Gutless Democrats Fear Fights: Why Triangulating Neoliberal Clintonites Back Big Business Over People. *RON*]
By Lila Garrett, TruthDig, 24 April 2016

Recently in the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton supporters have complained vociferously that Bernie Sanders is being too critical. In reality, he’s been far too polite. He’s obviously uncomfortable insulting his opponent, shooting from the hip, using sarcasm instead of facts. Clinton’s comfort zone is all of that. Her sarcasm slops over the brim, and facts vanish like so much fairy dust. She dismisses the effective Sanders, with the solid progressive agenda, as a dreamer, while she, the proud warrior, paints herself as the pragmatist.

Enough of this. Let’s meet the real Clinton.

She has been running hard as an anti-gun candidate. Really? Then why, in 2008, did her then-opponent, Barack Obama, refer to her as “Annie Oakley”? Clinton was far…

Panama Papers: Süddeutsche Zeitung’s (SZ) Claims “National Security,” Press Plays Dead

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[Important. This is already actively being swept under the run; media silence reigns. *RON*]

Patrick Durusau, Another Word For It, 25 April 2016

“National security” is the battle cry of governments seeking to conceal materials from the public.

In an odd turn of events, Süddeutsche Zeitung‘s (SZ), the recipient of the Panama Papers leak, claims the equivalent of national security to withhold the leaked data.

No one doubts the obligation of Süddeutsche Zeitung to protect the identity of the leaker, but specious logic leads SZ astray:
“As journalists, we have to protect our source: we can’t guarantee that there is no way for someone to find out who the source is with the data. That’s why we can’t make the data public,” the team said during an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit, which included journalist Bastian Obermayer, who was first contacted by the anonymous source. “You don’t harm the privacy of people, who are not in the public eye. Blacking…

EU-US trade: Five reasons why a deal looks difficult

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[Why Trudeau's can't-do-enough-for-it support for TTIP might not mean much. *RON*]

Shawn Donnan, Financial Times, 25 April 2016

US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday called for negotiations for a controversial new transatlantic trade pact to be concluded by the end of the year. The two leaders will be making their case again on Monday when the UK’s David Cameron, France’s François Hollande and Italy’s Matteo Renzi join discussions on the sidelines of the Hanover Messe, Europe’s biggest trade fair.

But officials on both sides agree that concluding a deal before the US president leaves office in January next year will be difficult. There are still vast gaps in the two sides’ positions on key issues. The politics surrounding the deal — particularly in Europe — have also become increasingly awkward.

Here are five reasons among many why reaching a deal in the coming months is likely to be difficult:

Discord Pushes Spain Into Fifth Month With No Government

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[The class wars in action. Among the so-called PIIGS - Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain - politics appears to be hanging in limbo at some weird inflection point between neoliberal and anti-austerity supporters, without being able to clearly tilt in one direction or another. Every one of these nations is currently highly divided and having trouble forming a coherent government. See also: New Spain elections loom as coalition talks fail. *RON*]

By Raphael Minder, New York Times, 25 April 2016

MADRID — Belgium famously sealed a dubious notoriety five years ago when it spent 589 days without an elected government. While Spain is not quite Belgium yet, it is getting there.

Spain has started its fifth month without a government, but it is very likely to spend six months or more in political limbo, many analysts now predict, as the Spaniards give the Flemings and Walloons a run for their money in the political discord category.

One word that see…

The blog has finally been seen by 100,000+

[This happened this morning. I didn't know if it would get there before I left on vacation! :-) *RON*]

World heading for catastrophe over natural disasters, risk expert warns

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[With cascading crises – where one event triggers another – set to rise, international disaster risk reduction efforts are woefully underfunded. In terms of getting at root causes, see also: Why We Must Make Green Energy a Public Good. *RON*]
Sam Jones, The Guardian, 25 April 2016
The world’s failure to prepare for natural disasters will have “inconceivably bad” consequences as climate change fuels a huge increase in catastrophic droughts and floods and the humanitarian crises that follow, the UN’s head of disaster planning has warned.

Last year, earthquakes, floods, heatwaves and landslides left 22,773 people dead, affected 98.6 million others and caused $66.5bn (£47bn) of economic damage(pdf). Yet the international community spends less than half of one per cent of the global aid budget on mitigating the risks posed by such hazards.

Robert Glasser, the special representative of the secretary general for disaster risk reduction, said that with the…

Do We Own Money, or Does Money Own Us? Markets, Numbers, and Prices

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[An excerpt from a new book, The Evolution of Money, that provides a good overview of some fundamental problems with our current view of economics. What do we do when the numbers look wrong, when the incentives they produce no longer make sense? "As the Harvard political philosopher Michael J. Sandel explains, 'We have drifted from having market economies to becoming market societies. The difference is this: A market economy is a tool—a valuable and effective tool—for organizing productive activity. A market society, by contrast, is a place where almost everything is up for sale.' In this case: 'What role should money and markets play in a good society?'" *RON*]

By David Orrell and Roman Chlupatý, Evonomics, 23 April 2016

Of all human inventions, money must be the most deceptively powerful. It helped spark the development of writing and the organization of the first city-states. Its use contributed to a great flowering of…

The end of oil as we know it

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[People talk about peak oil, implying that supply is the driving issue. This analysis shows that demand is also being eroded. Trudeau will probably want to make significant environmental compromises with Big Oil while they're down. Before long he won't even need to do that. He shouldn't be compromising with them at all, but politician's time-lines are notoriously short, and this trend is one that takes place over decades. Meanwhile, though: March breaks another global temperature record. *RON*]
Linette Lopez, Business Insider, 25 April 2016

Oil has crashed.

But a short-term drop in the price of oil is nothing compared with the end of demand for oil as we know it.

The more extreme scenario is what Bernstein Research is now talking about. Energy analyst Neil Beveridge is out with a new note that explores the question of demand — with a prediction that the end of oil as we know it is coming in 2030.

It won't be a linear, slow bur…

Justin Trudeau and Christy Clark risk political backlash from millennial voters if they embrace pipeline projects

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[We cannot forget that Trudeau is a Liberal, which is to say, pro-business down to his bones. See also: No sign of traction for Notley's pleas to federal cabinet, where she is pairing pipelines with greater process transparency and the need for a carbon plan. Meanwhile, what does Saudi Arabia get that Trudeau does not? Saudi prince unveils sweeping reform plan for economy. *RON*]

by Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight, 24 April 2016

Anyone who reads Postmedia newspapers can see that the groundwork is being laid for approval of the Kinder Morgan and Energy East pipelines.

This would enable Alberta bitumen to be shipped to Burnaby for export on oil tankers through Burrard Inlet. TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline would transport bitumen across the Prairies, Ontario, and Quebec to its destination in Saint John, New Brunswick.

This has the potential to cause a political earthquake not only nationally, but also here in B.C. This is parti…

Using seawater for heating? Alaska aquarium takes the plunge.

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[This sounds great - I've never heard of this before! Following its switch to a new system, the Alaska SeaLife Center is almost fully heated by seawater and carbon dioxide loop technology instead of fossil fuels. Everything everyone tells you is impossible is already being done by somebody somewhere. *RON*]

By Ben Thompson, Christian Science Monitor, 24 April 2016

In another sign of the global shift from fossil fuels toward innovative clean energy solutions, an Alaska aquarium has switched to a heating system that runs on seawater.

The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC), a public aquarium, research center, and wildlife rehabilitation facility in Seward, Alaska, announced this week that it has successfully transferred 98 percent of its heat supply from fossil fuels to an alternative system that uses ocean water and carbon dioxide (CO2), a shift that the aquarium’s management hopes will lower operational costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Having a child increases your pay — but only if you're a man

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[Women's labour force participation is high in high income nations, even higher in the lowest income nations. The assumption that the woman will be at home, taking care of the children, while the husband needs the added income to take care of her, is wrong. As, of course, is the unwritten rule that you are punishing women with lower wages for being 'at risk' of maternity leave. See also: Straight out of college, women make $4 less per hour than men—and the gap is getting wider. *RON*]
Matthew Nitch Smith, Business Insider, 25 April 2016 Fathers who work full-time earn a fifth more than men without children, according to an earnings report by trade union association TUC.

Mothers in full time work, conversely, experience a wage "penalty," earning 7% less than women without children when variations are accounted for.

The report said that this could be down to a number of factors:

Duffy judgment shines light on Harper’s PMO, state of Canadian governance

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[The CPC has learned absolutely nothing. While top former cabinet ministers scuttle out the back door of parliament to avoid the press, Bergen, former minister of state for social development, says, "He wasn't talking with all of you (news media) folks as much as you probably would have wanted. The narrative then was he's controlling, he's a dictator. It wasn't true. He was a strong, strong leader." Now read: Canadian Press Freedom Suffered Through 'Dark Age' During Harper Era. See also: Some senators regretful of actions, now that Duffy found not guilty, where, unbelievably, a Senator who helped to crucified Duffy blames the media for this. *RON*]
By Bruce Cheadle — Apr 22 2016

OTTAWA — There were no apologies from Conservatives on Friday following a scathing court judgment that exonerated Sen. Mike Duffy of 31 expense-related criminal charges while indicting his former political masters in the Prime Minister&#…

BUSTED: Pro-Clinton Super PAC Caught Spending $1 Million on Social Media Trolls

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[Paid Internet trolls, just like Putin! If we all go out of our way to argue with Clinton trolls online, her campaign will burn through that $1 million in no time at all! ;-) See also: Correcting Correct The Record’s Record. See also: 
Charles Koch: 'It's possible' Clinton is preferable to a Republican for president . *RON*]

Tom Cahill, U.S. Uncut, 21 April 2016

A Super PAC headed by a longtime Clinton operative is spending $1 million to hire online trolls to “correct” Bernie Sanders’ supporters on social media.

Correct The Record (CTR), which is operated by Clinton attack dog and new owner of Blue Nation Review David Brock, launched a new initiative this week called “Barrier Breakers 2016” for the purpose of debating supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders — or “Bernie Bros,” as they’re referred to in Correct the Record’s press official release — on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and other social media platforms.

The “Barrier Breakers” will a…

Federal Court Tells Lawmakers To Shut Up And Deal With Trans People In Bathrooms

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[Happily, the backlash continues... *RON*]

By Ian Millhiser, Think Progress, 19 April 2016
A federal appeals court just dropped a bomb on Southern lawmakers who think it is up to them to decide where trans people pee.

In G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, a divided panel of the United States for the Fourth Circuit held that schools risk their federal funding if they do not permit trans people to use bathrooms that align with the person’s gender identity.

Though the court stopped just shy of immediately ordering a Virginia school district to abandon its anti-trans bathroom policy, the opinion is likely to have sweeping consequences for schools that engage in such discrimination within the states overseen by the Fourth Circuit. Notably, one of those states is North Carolina, the home of a sweeping anti-LGBT law preventing trans individuals from using the appropriate bathroom in many facilities.

Under federal law, “[n]o person . . . shall, on the …

Bitcoin, Schmitcoin. The Real Breakthrough is the Blockchain Behind It.

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[I put in a Google News alert for 'blockchain' - I think this will potentially be huge in future. This article gives a bit of an overview, and here are a few more: It’s not just for banks: The coming blockchain revolution is going to have dramatic ramifications for all of usBlockchain Disruption Will Affect Every Aspect of Daily LifeHow the Blockchain Can Unshackle the World. *RON*]
By Robby Berman, Big Think, 24 April 2016
Lots of us are struggling to wrap our minds around that word “bitcoin.” We’re not quite sure what it is and why it’s a big deal, or if it’s just a scam. It’s not a scam, but it is still evolving, and probably not quite ready for primetime. That’s because it’s still volatile—there’s so little of it in use that it doesn’t take much to jerk the value of each bitcoin up and down—and because using bitcoin requires more effort right now than most people want to bother with. But if you still want want a simple explanation…

Should trade trump human rights when jobs are at stake?

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[See the original article to watch the studied evasions of a former Harper cabinet minister on video. Yet in this matter the Trudeau government fares no better. When it comes to business and jobs it seems you can cross your fingers behind your back when it comes to claiming 'transparency,' nice smiles and Sunny Ways notwithstanding. *RON*]
By Janet Silver Global News, 24 April 2016

“Isolationism is not the answer” if you want to encourage change and promote Canadian values when dealing with countries that violate human rights, former Conservative cabinet minister Ed Holder said as he prepares to lead a group of business leaders to Saudi Arabia Monday.

Holder, the newly-appointed chair of the Canada Saudi Business Council joined Tom Clark on The West Block Sunday to discuss his trade mission to the Middle Eastern country.

Holder said as chair of the council, his job is to promote the Canadian economy and jobs here at home.

When pressed o…

Woman in leading Flint water crisis lawsuit slain in twin killing

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[This is now the second person connected with the Flint water crisis lawsuit to die. Tell me this is just a coincidence. See also: Flint water plant continues to reel with sudden death of foreman. *RON*]

By Gary Ridley, Michigan Live, 25 April 2016

UPDATE: A suspect has been charged for the killings

FLINT, MI – A woman at the center of a bellwether Flint water crisis lawsuit was one of two women who were shot to death inside a townhouse earlier this week.

Sasha Avonna Bell was one of the first of a growing number of people to file a lawsuit in connection to the Flint water crisis after she claimed that her child had been lead poisoned.

Bell was found dead April 19 in the 2600 block of Ridgecrest Drive at the Ridgecrest Village Townhouses. Sacorya Renee Reed was also found shot to death in the home.

An unharmed 1-year-old child was also found inside of the Ridgecrest home when Bell's body was discovered and was taken into custody by child prote…

Why Garbagemen Should Earn More Than Bankers

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[What is your labor worth? How more people are making money without contributing anything of value. *RON*]

By Rutger Bregman, Evonomics, 21 April 2016

Thick fog envelops City Hall Park at daybreak on February 2, 1968. Seven thousand New York City sanitation workers stand crowded together, their mood rebellious. Union spokesman John DeLury addresses the multitude from the roof of a truck. When he announces that the mayor has refused further concessions, the crowd’s anger threatens to boil over. As the first rotten eggs sail overhead, DeLury realizes the time for compromise is over. It’s time to take the illegal route, the path prohibited to sanitation workers for the simple reason that the job they do is too important.

It’s time to strike.

The next day, trash goes uncollected throughout the Big Apple. Nearly all the city’s garbage crews have stayed home. “We’ve never had prestige, and it never bothered me before,” one garbageman is quoted in a local…

Carbon Pricing Becomes a Cause for the World Bank and I.M.F.

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[The devil lies both in the details (too low a price does no good) and in the enforcement - how many environmental agreements have been signed that aren't worth the paper they're printed on? This isn't even a non-binding non-agreement; it's just a fond wish, warmly expressed. *RON*]

By Coral Davenport, New York Times, 23 April 2016

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund are pressing governments to impose a price tag on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions, using economic leverage and technical assistance that institutions like the United Nations cannot muster.

The campaign by two of the largest international lenders comes as world leaders have begun to sign the Paris agreement on climate change, the United Nations accord that is supposed to commit nearly every country to take action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The document opened for signatures on Friday and will remain open for a year.

But the leaders of the…

Canada's Oil And Gas Job Losses Will Be Huge In 2016: Report

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[And the price of gas will come down by half, when? And Trudeau will make an appropriately sized investment in the alternative energy industry in Alberta, when? *RON*]
By Jesse Ferreras, 23 April 2016, Huffington Post

Canada's oil and gas industry could see major job reductions this year. But not all is lost.

The sector stands to lose 16,530 jobs, according to optimistic estimates; but less optimistic projections see the industry shedding as many as 24,425 jobs in 2016, says areport by PetroLMI, a Calgary-based body that gathers labour market data on the petroleum sector.

Those declines would come on top of 28,145 jobs that were lost in 2015. Both years will have seen drops of 12 per cent if the most pessimistic estimates are born out.

The losses will sting hardest in Alberta, the centre of Canada's oil and gas industry, where as many as 16,855 jobs could disappear this year.

Meanwhile, B.C. could lose up to 2,140 jobs, Saskatchewan coul…

Another European city will experiment with giving people unconditional free money

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[The Swiss are holding a referendum, Utrecht is doing a trial, as will Ontario, and Finland has expressed an interest. *RON*]

Will Martin, Business Insider, 19 April 2016

Lausanne is joining the growing list of places looking to experiment with a universal basic income.

Politicians in Lausanne — a city of around 150,000 people in Switzerland — have adopted a motion to carry out a pilot scheme for basic income in the city.

Lausanne's city council has taken on a non legally-binding motion for the experiment, passing it by 39 votes to 37 last week, the Basic Income Earth Network reports.

There aren't any concrete details yet about how any pilot scheme would work, other than that it would be similar to the experiment planned in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

It would only include a small sample of Lausanne's population, and require funding from regional and national governments.

The Green Unreality Show

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[Politicians from 175 countries, including Trudeau, agree to keep doing whatever they intended to do anyway. *RON*]

 By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., Wall Street Journal, 22 April 2016

The climate deal negotiated in Paris and signed in New York Friday is not a treaty. It is not enforceable against the U.S. or anybody else. It waves vaguely at the idea of a $100 billion adjustment fund for poorer countries, to be filled in later by somebody else, maybe.

Like all such international agreements, it’s a giant PR exercise designed to put a global imprimatur on what domestic politicians want to do anyway. In China and India, that’s grow their energy output any way they can. In President Obama’s case, it’s continue to dish out green mandates and subsidies that please his entourage.

Economist Bruce Yandle coined the term bootleggers and Baptists for political coalitions of true believers and their more self-interested fellow travelers. The climate movement is t…