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Showing posts from May, 2016

Drowned baby picture captures week of tragedy in Mediterranean

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[How many dead babies will it take before the West starts doing more about the global refugee problem it created than building more walls and hiring more armed guards at its borders? *RON*]

Steve Scherer, Reuters, 30 May 2016

A photograph of a drowned migrant baby in the arms of a German rescuer was distributed on Monday by a humanitarian organization aiming to persuade European authorities to ensure safe passage to migrants, after hundreds are feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean last week.

The baby, who appears to be no more than a year old, was pulled from the sea on Friday after the capsizing of a wooden boat. Forty-five bodies arrived in the southern Italian port of Reggio Calabria on Sunday aboard an Italian navy ship, which picked up 135 survivors from the same incident.

German humanitarian organization Sea-Watch, operating a rescue boat in the sea between Libya and Italy, distributed the picture taken by a media production company on…

Neoliberalism: Oversold?

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[Because Wall Street Journal and others are publishing 'doubting Thomas' articles about what the International Monetary Fund is actually saying about neoliberalism, here it is, straight from the horse's mouth: "Instead of delivering growth, some neoliberal policies have increased inequality, in turn jeopardizing durable expansion." While you're at it, see: IMF: Greece Is Totally Screwed. *RON*]

Jonathan D. Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri, International Monetary Fund, Finance & Development, June 2016, Vol. 53, No. 2


Click here for the PDF version

Instead of delivering growth, some neoliberal policies have increased inequality, in turn jeopardizing durable expansion.

Milton Friedman in 1982 hailed Chile as an “economic miracle.” Nearly a decade earlier, Chile had turned to policies that have since been widely emulated across the globe. The neoliberal agenda—a label used more by critics than by the architect…

'Huge wake up call': Third of central, northern Great Barrier Reef corals dead

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[The real story is that a UN report calls Australia's behaviour 'disgusting.' Australia's attempt to redact any reference of the Great Barrier Reef from a UNESCO climate change report angers researchers. *RON*]

Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 May 2016

More than one-third of the coral reefs of the central and northern regions of the Great Barrier Reef have died in the huge bleaching event earlier this year, Queensland researchers said.

Corals to the north of Cairns – covering about two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef – were found to have an average mortality rate of 35 per cent, rising to more than half in areas around Cooktown.
The study, of 84 reefs along the reef, found corals south of Cairns had escaped the worst of the bleaching and were now largely recovering any colour that had been lost.

Professor Terry Hughes, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, said he was &qu…

Scientists Say Canada's Proposed LNG Port Threatens Paris Climate Accord

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[Hello, Christy, are you even listening? Ninety climate change experts say the BC project 'will emit at least 11.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year, not including downstream emissions when the gas is burned in Asia.' Supporting such projects will put BC in an economic extinction death-lock. The provincial elections are in 2017. *RON*]
by Nika KnightCommon Dreams, 30 May 2016

Ninety climate change experts from around the world urged Canadian government officials to "take urgent action" and reject a proposed, "unjustified" liquid natural gas (LNG) export terminal to be built on the British Columbia coast, joining with fierce local Indigenous opposition to the controversial project.

"The carbon emissions of the proposed PNW LNG terminal and associated upstream natural gas development would be 'high in magnitude, continuous, irreversible and global in extent.'"

In an open letter (pdf) dated Thursday, the sc…

Canada's energy superpower status threatened as world shifts off fossil fuel, federal think-tank warns

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['Significant disruptions' to oil and gas industries forecast in 10 to 15 years as cost of renewables, energy storage plummet. The precise timeline isn't clear, but the trend is inevitable. Time to start investing in rare earths, essential components to battery storage. *RON*]

By Robson Fletcher, CBC News, 30 May 2016
External Links

Read the full Policy Horizons report (PDF link)

(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

Canada's status as an "energy superpower" is under threat because the global dominance of fossil fuels could wane faster than previously believed, according to a draft report from a federal government think-tank obtained by CBC News.

"It is increasingly plausible to foresee a future in which cheap renewable electricity becomes the world's primary power source and fossil fuels are relegated to a minority status," reads the conclusion of the 32-page do…

Success Means Competing and Cooperating. Adam Smith as You’ve Never Seen Him Before

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[Another good one from Evonomics. On the synergies between public goods and private goods in free markets, and the need for cooperation in addition to competition. *RON*]

By Nicholas Gruen, Evonomics, 23 May 2016

Part one of this essay showed how two dimensions of free riding define what we call “public goods” – things that often fall to governments to supply because markets frequently can’t: Things like defense forces, suburban roads and public fireworks displays.

The ‘non-excludability’ of such goods creates a free rider problem for market provision. It’s hard to charge prices because, once provided, people can free ride on such goods, whether or not they pay. So we invented government to fund public goods through taxation.

But as well as being ‘non-excludable’, public goods are also ‘non-rival’. This article is a public good. Your reading it doesn’t prevent others from doing so. So once they’re provided, public goods provide a free rider oppor…

Why Scientists Are Amazed at Oilsands Smog Levels

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[Air pollution report in Nature shocks even Canada's top researchers. See also: Cutting Emissions Needn't Kill Jobs, Says Oilsands Labour, job-loss fears just 'bunk' to delay needed climate action: Alberta Labour Fed president. And: This is what Donald Trump had to say about climate change. *RON*]

By Andrew Nikiforuk, TheTyee.ca, 30 May 2016

On any hot day Shell and Syncrude tour guides used to call the gasoline-like vapours that wafted from Fort McMurray's huge open-pit bitumen mines "the smell of money."

But a new study in Nature has another name for the stench: air pollution and megacity volumes of it.

In fact the tarsands, already the largest source of climate disrupting greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, have a new grim moniker: "one of the largest sources of anthropogenic secondary organic aerosols in North America."

Researchers define "secondary organic aerosols" or SOAs as gases and particle…

B.C. real estate companies join Christy Clark on trade mission to Asia

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[The very worst, most blatant, two-faced kind of self-interested mongering of the class wars. 'It's bad optics,' says critic, pointing to concern over how foreign investment may be pushing up prices. For more on the 'Let them eat cake' Liberal Party of BC see Housing minister's comments about 'whining' people are insulting: critic ("I guess some people just have to get up and whine every day"). *RON*]

CBC News, 28 May 2016
Representatives of two real estate companies are travelling with the B.C. Premier on a trade mission to Asia, raising questions about the optics of the perceived partnership at a time when many are calling for an end to foreign real estate investment.

The B.C. government lists more than 60 companies taking part in thetrade mission to Korea, Japan and the Philippines as part of the province's strategy to create more international trading partners.
Vancouver home sells for more than $1…

What Milton Friedman Got Wrong: Biologists Destroy Homo-Economicus

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[Homo-economicus vs biological adaptation. A good older piece I ran across while on vacation. Evonomics is a good website. While you're at it, check out True Prosperity: Trickle-Down vs Middle-Out Economics. The real history of economic growth by Eric Beinhocker. *RON*]

By David Sloan Wilson, Evonomics, 13 February 2016


One of the most influential articles published in the field of economics is Milton Friedman’s (1953) “The Methodology of Positive Economics”, in which he argues that people behave as if the assumptions of neoclassical economic theory are correct, even when they are not. One of the most influential articles in the field of evolution is Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin’s (1979) “The Spandrels of San Marcos and the Panglossian Paradigm”, which argues against excessive reliance on the concept of adaptation.

Different disciplines, different decades. No wonder these two classic articles have not been related to each other. Ye…

Fighting income inequality: the role business can play

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[Governments have surrendered their sovereignty to corporations: "In a highly competitive global economy, weak governments are inclined to compete with one another to maintain their market share rather than prioritise basic protections of their own people." *RON*]

Michael Posner, The Conversation, 23 May 2016

In recent months, debates about global economic inequality have reached boiling point. In Britain, voters will soon decide whether to exit the European Union against the backdrop of a growing Brexit movement fuelled by perceptions of an unfair European trading system.

In the US, maverick political candidates of the left and right have garnered outsized attention, each attacking the adverse effects of global trade, especially with Asia. Almost three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union ushered in an era of globalisation, critics are demanding a reconsideration of that model. At the centre of these debates are global busines…

Anti-Austerity protests sweep across Italy, Spain

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[Meanwhile, students protest against the government's budgetary cuts to education and other austerity policies, in Naples, Italy, on May 28, 2016. And Greece's Syriza government imposes harsh austerity measures. *RON*]

PressTV, 29 May 2016

Thousands of Italians have taken to the streets of Rome and several other major cities to express their resentment with the austerity policies imposed by the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

During the Saturday anti-austerity rallies, the demonstrators, mostly students and activists, chanted slogans against the government and accused the premier of triggering a war on the poor people.

The demonstrators also marched in front of the highly guarded German embassy in the capital and threw eggs at the building, decrying the European Union’s austerity policies.

The riot police in Rome blocked the protesters from reaching their final destination, the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Austerity policies do more harm than good, IMF study concludes

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[The results could not be clearer: the costs of austerity outweigh the benefits. Economists give a strong critique of the neoliberal doctrine ushered in by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. Unsurprisingly, in a 'we deny reality and replace it with our Class Wars(TM) ideology' move, Forbes says The IMF Has Not Rejected Neoliberalism Nor Austerity: Rather, They've Examined Them. *RON*]

Larry Elliott, The Guardian, 27 May 2016

A strong warning that austerity policies can do more harm than good has been delivered by economists from the International Monetary Fund, in a critique of the neoliberal doctrine that has dominated economics for the past three decades. In an article seized on by the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, the IMF economists said rising inequality was bad for growth and that governments should use controls to cope with destabilising capital flows.

The IMF team praised some aspects of the liberalising age…

...And, now I'm back! :-)

[I got home last night. Today is for going out for brunch, grocery shopping, loads and loads of laundry, looking through mail, and sitting in the corner drooling while I get over jet lag! See you tomorrow. *RON*]


Off on vacation now...

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[I shall most like resume on Monday 30 May. Cheers, *RON*]


Chronicles of a concerned citizen: three scenes to understand Venezuela

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["Sometimes I feel like a prisoner in my own country." While we can read about events in Venezuela, it's difficult to imagine what it is like living there at this time. *RON*]
Aglaia Berlutti, Medium.com, 24 April 2016

I wake up in the middle of the night and it takes me a few seconds to understand why. It took a second round of gunfire for me to remember the brief shock that thrust me from a deep sleep to fear. A blank, confused fear that required effort to contain. I stay in bed, sitting very still, listening and trying not to panic. The sound of gunfire repeats for a third time.
Later, I will discover that this was a settling of accounts in the Cota 905 neighborhood, which is about three blocks from the building where I live. I will find out that two alleged muggers died, and that a father and a policeman were injured. When I woke up, it had been almost two hours since the shooting had begun. But at that moment, I only knew fear.…

Seven big banks settle U.S. rate-rigging lawsuit for $324 million

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[Risible: this is not even a slap on the wrist. "Seven of the world's biggest banks have agreed to pay $324 million to settle a private U.S. lawsuit accusing them of rigging an interest rate benchmark used in the $553 trillion derivatives market." 324 million divided by 553 trillion is .000000586. Now divide this by 7 banks. A great example of government's new 'get tough' attitude toward misbehaving banksters. *RON*]
Jonathan Stempel, Reuters, 3 May 2016

Seven of the world's biggest banks have agreed to pay $324 million to settle a private U.S. lawsuit accusing them of rigging an interest rate benchmark used in the $553 trillion derivatives market.

The settlement made public on Tuesday, which requires court approval, resolves antitrust claims against Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Barclays Plc (BARC.L), Citigroup Inc (C.N), Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.S), Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) an…

Kenya torches world's biggest ivory bonfire to save elephants

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[I hope this helps, but I have my doubts that this will be effective. The problem is that Kenya has no control over the laws and practices of the (largely Asian) nations who are the buyers of illegal ivory. This may simply serve to ramp up illegal hunts to bring supply back up to meet demand. See also: Leopards have lost 75% of their historical habitat. *RON*]
AFP, ABC News Australia, 30 April 2016
Eleven giant pyres of tusks have been set alight as Kenya torches its vast ivory stockpile in a grand gesture aimed at shocking the world into stopping the slaughter of elephants.

Key points:
105,000 kilograms of ivory and 1,350 kilograms of rhino horn to be torchedBonfires are the largest ever torching of ivoryThe ivory is worth about $130 million on the black market Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta — who was the first to light the semi-circle of tusks expected to burn for days in Nairobi's national park — has demanded a total ban on trade in ivory t…

Free Markets Mean Zero Economic Profit – or a 99% Profit Markup

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[An excellent illustration of the non-existence of "free markets," drawing for examples from the open sewer which is Wall Street's management of Big Pharma. *RON*]
By Bill Black, posted by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism, 4 May 2016

Yves here. Even though Bill Black correctly puts “free markets” in quotes, we feel compelled to remind readers that it is an intellectually incoherent construct. The ideology of “free markets’ pretends that markets can exist without government involvement to insure contract enforcement and certain minimum standards of conduct. We discuss at length how commerce would quickly break down if “free markets” were ever to come into being, since it would be impossible, for instance, to buy any products with any confidence where the buyer as an individual could not verify product quality on his own and he was at risk of product failure (say new car or phone crapping our very shortly after purchase).

By Bill Black, t…

Could an income for all provide the ultimate safety net?

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[A good short primer on the universal minimum income. *RON*]

Tim Harford, The Undercover Economist, 3 May 2016

‘Though the idea of a basic income is far from mainstream, it has had astonishingly broad support’

Last week, I pondered how society should protect or compensate people whose jobs have been lost to the forces of globalisation or technological change. I did not, however, discuss the most obvious idea of all: that we should simply give people money — a basic income for everyone, regardless of what they do or what they need. It’s the ultimate social safety net.

For an idea that is so far from mainstream political practice, the payment of a basic income has had astonishingly broad support, from Martin Luther King Jr to Milton Friedman. It’s on the lips of the policy wonk community too: the Freakonomics podcast recently devoted an episode to the case for a universal basic income. The Royal Society for Arts, a venerable British think-tank, has pu…

Inspection Reports From TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline Expose Risk of Future Spills

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[Trudeau still says we should buy our way out of the carbon dilemma by putting our country at this kind of risk. *RON*]
By Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog, 4 May 2016
The US government agency responsible for interstate pipelines recorded a catalog of problems with the construction of TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline and the Cushing Extension, a DeSmog investigation has found.

Inspectors at the US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) observed TransCanada's contractors violating construction design codes established to ensure a pipeline's safety, according to inspection reports released to DeSmog under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Evan Vokes, former TransCanada materials engineer-turned-whistleblower, told DeSmog the problems uncovered in the reports show issues that could lead to future pipeline failures and might also explain some of the failures the pipeline had already…

Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’

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[Here is a bit from a documentary on Isle de Jean Charles, Louisianna.
*RON*]
By Coral Davenport and Campbell Robertson, New York Times,


ISLE DE JEAN CHARLES, La. — Each morning at 3:30, when Joann Bourg leaves the mildewed and rusted house that her parents built on her grandfather’s property, she worries that the bridge connecting this spit of waterlogged land to Louisiana’s terra firma will again be flooded and she will miss another day’s work.

Ms. Bourg, a custodian at a sporting goods store on the mainland, lives with her two sisters, 82-year-old mother, son and niece on land where her ancestors, members of the Native American tribes of southeastern Louisiana, have lived for generations. That earth is now dying, drowning in salt and sinking into the sea, and she is ready to leave.

With a first-of-its-kind “climate resilience” grant to resettle the island’s native residents, Washington is ready to help.

“Yes, this is our grandpa’s land,” Ms. Bourg …

Chris Christie Vetoes Equal Pay Bill, Calling It ‘Business Unfriendly’

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[There really seems to be a concerted effort on the part of Republicans to roll the social justice clock back to before the 1950s. See also: Doctor, Warned to Be Silent on Abortions, Files Civil Rights Complaint, also: How Limiting Women's Access to Birth Control and Abortions Hurts the Economy. *RON*]

By Bryce Covert, Think Progress, 3 May 2016

New Jersey’s lawmakers want to require employers to pay women the same as men for essentially the same work. But Gov. Chris Christie (R) thinks they went too far.

The bill that passed both chambers of the state’s legislature would have banned employers from paying women less for “substantially similar” work as men, and would only have allowed differing pay rates between genders if employers could prove it was based on something besides sex, such as education, experience, or performance. The similarity of the work would have been determined based on the required responsibilities, effort, and skills for…

Inequality Kills: Top 1% Lives 15 Years Longer Than the Poorest

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[Compare this with the fact, mentioned below, that if all cancer was cured this second, it would only increase the average life span by three years! What greater social justice issue can there be than life expectancy? *RON*]
By By Sam Pizzigati, Other Words, Reposted by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 3 May 2016

Yves here. Notice how the article includes the “Oh those poor people make bad lifestyle choices,” as the reason for shorter lifespans among the poor. While it gives a contrasting set of arguments, it sanitizes them by putting them under the heading of “stress,” such as those that are directly related to economic desperation and despair (suicide and drug addiction), as well as those that are due to living in neighborhoods with environmental hazards or safety issues. I hope other researchers will isolate the impact of higher level of suicides and drug-related deaths among the poor on the averages. Then you have the next order issues of less ac…

Researchers: Medical errors now third leading cause of death in United States

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[This is truly shocking, and the situation is the same in Canada. According to this article, around 23,000 "Canadian adults die annually because of preventable 'adverse events' in acute-care hospitals alone." When you compare that with this Statistics Canada table, this makes medical errors the third leading cause of death, just below cancer and heart disease. *RON*]

By Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post, 3 May 2016
Nightmare stories of nurses giving potent drugs meant for one patient to another and surgeons removing the wrong body parts have dominated recent headlines about medical care. Lest you assume those cases are the exceptions, a new study by patient safety researchers provides some context.

Their analysis, published in the BMJ on Tuesday, shows that "medical errors" in hospitals and other health care facilities are incredibly common and may now be the third leading cause of death in the United States -- claim…

After the leaks showed what it stands for, this could really be the end for TTIP

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[The documents show that US corporations will be granted unprecedented powers over any new public health or safety regulations to be introduced in future. If any European government does dare to bring in laws to raise social or environmental standards, TTIP will grant US investors the right to sue for loss of profits. See also: Doubts rise over TTIP as France threatens to block EU-US deal. *RON*]
John Hilary, The Independent, 4 May 2016
Today’s shock leak of the text of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) marks the beginning of the end for the hated EU-US trade deal, and a key moment in the Brexit debate. The unelected negotiators have kept the talks going until now by means of a fanatical level of secrecy, with threats of criminal prosecution for anyone divulging the treaty’s contents.

Ted Cruz drops presidential bid

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[Thank goodness and good riddance! But now that tweedle-dum is gone all that's left is tweedle-dumber. Just out: Reports: John Kasich Is Dropping Out. *RON*]

By Maeve Reston, CNN, 4 May 2016

(CNN)Ted Cruz bowed out of the Republican presidential race Tuesday following a crushing loss to Donald Trump in Indiana, clearing the path for the real estate mogul to clinch the GOP nomination.
It was a remarkable turn of events in a presidential primary race that seemed destined -- just weeks ago -- to end in a contested convention this summer. Even in the final hours of the race in the Hoosier State, Cruz insisted he was staying in the race until June 7 -- going so far as to attack his rival during a news conference as a "pathological liar" unfit for the White House.
In the end, the growing strength of Trump's candidacy and Cruz's own stumbles in the past two weeks were too much for Cruz to overcome. The Cruz, Kasich and anti-Trump …

How We Got The Electoral College

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[An interest short excerpt explaining how the weird system for choosing US Presidents was originally put in place. The framers of the US constitution were far more concerned that there not be too much democracy involved than with explaining precisely how this system would meet their goals. "It will be the work of intrigue, of cabal, and of faction: it will be like the election of a pope by a conclave of cardinals." Is it time for this antiquated system to get the heave-ho? *RON*]
Delancey Place, 2 May 2016
Today's selection -- from The First Presidential Contest by Jeffrey Pasley. The Electoral College was perhaps the least successful element of the U.S. Constitution. (And not unexpectedly, modifications to the Electoral College process came quickly). The Founders did not want the public to directly elect the President, since previous experiments in direct elections at the state level had reinforced the conclusion that pure democrac…

Refugees revive fading Italian villages

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[This illustrates how refugees can, and do, make a positive economic difference to fading and poverty-stricken areas of Europe. This should be studied closely by other European nations in designing resettlement programs. Domenico Lucano, mayor of Riace, sees the flow of refugees in Italy as an opportunity. Meanwhile: Dozens of Syrians forced into sexual slavery in derelict Lebanese house. *RON*]

Thomas Bruckner, Al Jazeera, 2 May 2016

Riace, Italy - As the continuous influx of refugees is seen as a cause for concern for many European nations, which are employing strict border controls to stop the unprecedented flow of people, one community in the southern Italian region of Calabria has taken a different perspective of the matter.

The village of Riace had seen its population drop from 2,500 to 400 since the 1990s, when people moved to northern Italy for better economic opportunities.

Domenico Lucano, Mayor of Riace, saw the flow of refugees in Italy…

Second refugee at Australian detention centre in Nauru sets herself on fire

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[Australians should be ashamed of their government and outraged at the hellish conditions still maintained at the Nauru detention centre. The young woman, from Somalia, has severe burns and is being treated in a hospital on the island. Where the first dead refugee is concerned: Widow of refugee who set himself alight 'being kept in hotel and denied a lawyer,' and Tragedy on Nauru: we do not need to act like a stupid and brutal nation. Meanwhile, in the vaterland: Far-right AfD says Islam not welcome in Germany. *RON*]

Helen Davidson and Ben Doherty, The Guardian, 3 May 2016

A young refugee woman from Somalia has set herself alight at an Australian detention centre on Nauru, just days after a 23-year-old man, Omid, died of injuries sustained in a similar act.

It comes amid moves by the Australian immigration department to shift detainees out to other mainland facilities, a worsening mental health crisis in the offshore processing centres, …

Leaked TTIP documents cast doubt on EU-US trade deal

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[There are really two stories here. One is the leak itself: the more you are allowed to read about TTIP the worse it sounds. The second, a counter-balancing piece of good news, is that the US and EU seem to be so far apart that its hard to imagine a deal going through. Greenpeace says internal documents show US attempts to lower or circumvent EU protection for environment and public health. See also: What is TTIP and why should we be angry about it? *RON*]
Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 1 May 2016
Talks for a free trade deal between Europe and the US face a serious impasse with “irreconcilable” differences in some areas, according to leaked negotiating texts.

The two sides are also at odds over US demands that would require the EU to break promises it has made on environmental protection.

President Obama said last week he was confident a deal could be reached. But the leaked negotiating drafts and internal positions, which were obtained byGreenpeace

America now has nearly 5 PR people for every reporter, double the rate from a decade ago

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[Meaningful public discourse is necessary for a meaningful democracy. "One of the scariest responses I’ve received to these stats is from two separate professors, who tweeted to me that not one student in either of their most recent journalism classes was actually looking to get into journalism." Add to this the concentration of media ownership by the 1% and you simply cannot depend on mainstream media for news about the world: Concentration of Media Ownership and the Imagination of Free Speech. *RON*]
By Mike Rosenberg, Muck Rack, 14 April 2016

As I’ve spent the last several months looking for a full-time journalism job, I keep noticing something depressing.

When you search job sites for “journalism,” “reporter” or other similar keywords, what you’ll find is a whole bunch of roles that have nothing to do directly with producing the news.

For every one job result for a reporter, photojournalist or TV producer, you’ll get 10 results f…

B.C. continues to neglect climate recommendations, favours LNG projects

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[What the Pembina Institute proposes is a climate test that includes asking two critical questions: is the region on track to meet its climate targets and is carbon pollution from the project being minimized? If either of these questions has a negative answer, the project should not proceed." *RON*]
By Alyse Kotyk, rabble.ca, 3 May 2016

As Trudeau's Liberal government meets its six-month mark of being in office, climate group the Pembina Institute is calling for a clear, comprehensive climate change test for Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) projects.

"Canada's federal government was elected last October on a platform that contained many environmental commitments. One of the most…hotly debated was their commitment to establish a pan-Canadian climate change framework," said Erin Flanagan, Program Director of Federal Policy at the Pembina Institute. "Since the government's election they have confirmed that working with the pro…

It Finally Happened: KKK Grand Imperial Wizard Endorses Donald Trump

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[He's finally found his real demographic. On the other hand, see also: Clintonism screwed the Democrats: How Bill, Hillary and the Democratic Leadership Council gutted progressivism. *RON*]
Addicting Information, 29 April 2016

All the months of speculation that the modern day KKK does indeed endorse Donald Trump can be confirmed as the terrorist organization’s Rebel Brigade Knights Grand Imperial Wizard endorses the GOP frontrunner on live national television.

When asked by reporter Chris Thomas who would be the best one for the job of President of the United States, the Wizard answered:

“I think Donald Trump would be best for the job. The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes in, we believe in. We want our country to be safe.”

Under the guise of now being a “political” group, the word ‘safe’ has now become synonymous with xenophobia, Islamophobia, racism and bigotry – all tenets, still, of the KKK, …

The Permanent Security State

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[Presidents come and go, but the national security bureaucracy never leaves. *RON*]
Michael J. Glennon, Reason, from the May 2016 issue


"The national security bureaucracy is a powerful force," Charlie Savage writes in Power Wars. The influence of this permanent security state, the New York Times reporter shows, is subtle but nonetheless pervasive, and it does not disappear when a new president takes control: A remarkable number of officials held the same or similar jobs under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Key decisions are repeatedly made or influenced by hold-overs and careerists who fight to maintain the status quo. The laws governing their conduct is blurry and elastic, giving them broad power that's exercised with little accountability. They thrive on secrecy. "The permanent bureaucracy gets nothing from transparency and sees it only in terms of risk," an administration official tells Savage. Power Wars provide…

Big Money in Politics Doesn’t Just Drive Inequality. It Drives War.

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[Military contractors have shelled out over $1 million to the 2016 presidential candidates — including over $200,000 to Hillary Clinton alone. *RON*]

By Rebecca GreenOtherWords / Foreign Policy in Focus, 27 April 2016

The 2016 presidential elections are proving historic, and not just because of the surprising success of self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders, the lively debate among feminists over whether to support Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump’s unorthodox candidacy.

The elections are also groundbreaking because they’re revealing more dramatically than ever the corrosive effect of big money on our decaying democracy.

Following the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision and related rulings, corporations and the wealthiest Americans gained the legal right to raise and spend as much money as they want on political candidates.

The 2012 elections were consequently the most expensive in U.S. history. And this year’s racesare predicted to cos…

So far this year, American toddlers have shot at least 23 people — and 11 have died

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[Darwin in action. See also: Big Ammo: Clinton is raising money from gunpowder lobbyists and investors. *RON*]

By Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post / The Province, 1 May 2016

This past week, a Milwaukee toddler fatally shot his mother after finding a handgun in the back seat of the car they were riding in. The case drew a lot of national attention given the unusual circumstances: Little kids rarely kill people, intentionally or not.

But this type of thing happens more often than you might think. Since April 20, there have been at least seven instances in which a one- , two- or three-year-old shot themselves or somebody else in the United States:

On April 20, a two-year-old boy in Indiana found the gun his mother left in her purse on the kitchen counter and fatally shot himself.

The next day in Kansas City, Mo., a one-year-old girl evidently shot and killed herself with her father’s gun while he was sleeping.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's Compensation Soars 69 Percent to $42.1 Million

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[Let's not hear any more about that "maximizing shareholder return" nonsense, okay? *RON*]

Paul Bond, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 April 2016
None of Yahoo's primary executives earned a bonus in 2015.

Yahoo compensated CEO Marissa Mayer with $42.1 million in 2015, mostly due to stock and option awards, according to a regulatory filing on Friday.

Mayer's compensation soared 69 percent year over year, even though Yahoo shares sunk 34 percent in 2015.

None of Yahoo's primary executives earned a bonus in 2015, but that's largely been the case over the past three years. Mayer earned a $1 million salary, $11.8 million in stock awards, $28.2 million in options and $1.1 million through a nonequity incentive plan.

After several years of a turnaround plan, Yahoo announced this year it was seeking strategic alternatives and has fielded bids from Verizon and other suitors interested in purchasing all or parts of the company.

Human Extinction Isn't That Unlikely

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["Across the span of their lives, the average American is more than five times likelier to die during a human-extinction event than in a car crash." - Global Catastrophic Risks 2016. *RON*]

Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 29 April 2016  Nuclear war. Climate change. Pandemics that kill tens of millions.

These are the most viable threats to globally organized civilization. They’re the stuff of nightmares and blockbusters—but unlike sea monsters or zombie viruses, they’re real, part of the calculus that political leaders consider everyday. And according to a new report from the U.K.-based Global Challenges Foundation, they’re much more likely than we might think.

In its annual report on “global catastrophic risk,” the nonprofit debuted a startling statistic: Across the span of their lives, the average American is more than five times likelier to die during a human-extinction event than in a car crash.

Partly that’s because the average person wi…

Baldrey: How Trudeau, Notley and Clark could shape Canada’s energy policies

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[Saying "Yes" to pipelines is not showing the global environmental leadership that Trudeau promised the electorate. And now this: B.C. begins its own oil pipeline review (in my opinion, all for show, to create a bargaining position). *RON*]
By Keith Baldrey, Global News, 30 April 2016

It would have been unheard of mere months ago, but there’s a chance a new political triumvirate is emerging to dominate the energy policies for this country.

The troika may soon consist of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

To say it’s an example of politics making strange bedfellows doesn’t quite capture this group. It features a left-of-centre federal Liberal, a left-wing government that tilts right in Alberta and a coalition B.C. government that alternates between liberal and conservative traits in this province.

Whether these three actually form a common front remains to be seen, but it appears…

Liberals, Federal Officials Sing From Different Songbook On F-35s

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[Priorities. The government still won't say a positive "No" to these ba-zillion dollar wartime white elephants, but free higher education is just a pipe dream. *RON*]
By Murray Brewster, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 29 April 2016
OTTAWA — The Trudeau Liberals may have promised to exclude the F-35 from the competition to replace the air force's aging CF-18 jet fighters, but federal officials meeting the day after last fall's election were singing a completely different tune, documents reveal.

The records, obtained by The Canadian Press, show top Industry Canada bureaucrats met on Oct. 20 and discussed what advice to give the incoming government about the controversial procurement, emphasizing the decision should be based on requirement, not politics.

"A procurement decision like C-18 replacement is primarily driven by the operational needs of the Canadian Forces," said the briefing.

Prior to the election, Trudeau …

So you've ruined a town and poisoned its children—what next? Bill them for your legal costs

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[When the US system works it works well. And when it don't... *RON*]
By Mark Sumner, Daily KOS, 25 April 2016


Darnell Earley was appointed as emergency manager of Flint, Michigan, by Gov. Rick Snyder. As emergency manager he had expansive powers including control over the city’s public works, and while it was yet another Synder-appointed emergency manager who signed the contract to start pumping water out of the Flint River, Earley was the man in charge when the switch over actually happened and lead started leaching into the water delivered to homes.

Earley is, with some justification, under criminal investigation as part of the ongoing Flint crisis. So it’s not surprising that he’s hired a lawyer. What is surprising is what he did with his legal bills.

Former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley tried to bill the cash-strapped city $750 an hour for an attorney to sit with him while he was questioned last month in Washington by a congressiona…