Showing posts from January 4, 2016

Liberals’ broken promises should make for tough election year

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[On the nincompoop which is our premier and the non-entity which is the NDP. *RON*]

By Rafe Mair, Commonsense Canadian, 3 January 2016
This is the time of year and the point in the government’s mandate that analysis of the months to come is de rigeur.

Time will demonstrate that Christy Clark’s big mistake, when assuming the premiership, was not nullifying Gordon Campbell’s Energy Program which has, predictably, enriched large international corporations and bankrupted BC Hydro. Had Clark tackled this issue, with a courage of which we have seen no sign, restored BC Hydro’s obligation to make new power and abrogated thesweetheart deal with the private companies, BC Hydro would be in decent financial shape and site C would still be the pipe dream of pointy-headed BC Hydro energy assessors.
In over her head

Ms. Clark’s second mistake was seeking the premiership in the first place, it now having been clearly demonstrated that she had none of the necessary…

The Great Malaise Continues

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[On The Great Malaise, or The New Mediocre. The only cure is an increase in aggregate demand and government investment. *RON*]
Joseph E. Stiglitz, Project Syndicate, 3 January 2016

NEW YORK – The year 2015 was a hard one all around. Brazil fell into recession. China’s economy experienced its first serious bumps after almost four decades of breakneck growth. The eurozone managed to avoid a meltdown over Greece, but its near-stagnation has continued, contributing to what surely will be viewed as a lost decade. For the United States, 2015 was supposed to be the year that finally closed the book on the Great Recession that began back in 2008; instead, the US recovery has been middling.

Indeed, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, has declared the current state of the global economy the New Mediocre. Others, harking back to the profound pessimism after the end of World War II, fear that the global economy could slip i…

A toast to the luck of the Irish, second time around

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["The idea that we should use the opportunity of a stroke of fortune to build a decent, modest, inclusive and sustainable prosperity was drowned in the wave of self-congratulation. Dame Fortune has given us another chance to build a real republic." Cassandra cries out from the Dublin wilderness - I wish her luck. *RON*]

Fintan O'Toole, The Irish Times, 28 December 2015

Let’s, just for once, raise a new-year glass to the luck of the Irish. It’s a dreadful phrase and whoever thought it up should be strangled with his own smugness. Samuel Beckett obliquely commented on it by naming the miserable slave in Waiting for Godot Lucky. There’s the time-encrusted yarn of the Irish ad for a lost dog: “Three legs, mange, mangled ear, lost one eye, twisted tail, answers to the name Lucky.”

Of course we’re lucky in living in the rich part of the world, with a temperate climate, no volcanoes or earthquakes, and no guinea worms or tsetse flies. And …

China Stocks: Trading Halted for the Day as Circuit Breaker Kicks In

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[Asian shares slide, despite months of government support, as 2016 gets off to a shaky start. See also how China sniffles and the world sneezes: Global stocks sink, China stock trading halted after share prices dive, as well as There could be a flood of selling in China on its way. *RON*]

By Chao Dengu, Wall Street Journal, 4 January 2016

Asian markets tumbled on the first day of trading in 2016, with declines so steep in China that authorities halted all mainland trading before the end of the day.

Analysts cited a number of reasons for the selling, including China’s disappointing manufacturing data, reported earlier Monday, and the coming removal of a ban on major shareholders from selling stakes, put in place during the summer stock crash.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 6.9%, its biggest decline on record for the first trading day of the year, before trading was halted. The smaller Shenzhen Composite fell 8.2%.

The slide in Chinese stocks a…

What's Happening in Oregon Is Nothing Less Than Armed Sedition

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[If the Bundys were black they'd all be dead by now. See also: Armed domestic terrorists take over federal building, but it's OK, they're white, as well as Inside The Backwards Ideology Driving The Right-Wing Militiamen Who Captured A Federal Building. *RON*]

 By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 3 January 2016

"If three years ago any person had told me that at this day, I should see such a formidable rebellion against the laws & constitutions of our own making as now appears I should have thought him a bedlamite—a fit subject for a mad house." —George Washington to Henry Knox, on the subject of Shays Rebellion, February 3, 1787

You have to give Captain Daniel Shays this: When he launched his armed sedition against lawful authority, he at least was invited in. Overnight on Saturday, in an obscure corner of the Oregon wilderness, and contrary to the law, and in defiance of democratic authority, both federal and local, another a…

Economists Take Aim at Wealth Inequality

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[On the top one-quarter of one percent. "For workers at this threshold, who earn at least $640,000 annually, their salaries rose 96 percent from 1981 to 2013, after taking account of inflation... There used to be a premium for working at a big company, even in a lower-level job. That’s not true anymore. The people who have really suffered are lower-level employees at big companies." *RON*]

By Nelson D. Schwartz, New York Times, 3 January 2016

SAN FRANCISCO — When pundits and presidential candidates talk about inequality and the tiny sliver of the population whose fortunes have soared, they often drop names like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Sheldon Adelson and Mark Zuckerberg.

But those are just the most visible members of a larger but less-talked-about cadre of the big winners in today’s economy. This group consists of roughly 250,000 Americans who mainly populate the executive offices and managerial suites of major companies and financial…

Emails: US Government Facilitated LNG Business Deals Before Terminals Got Required Federal Permits

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[On regulatory capture and "how things work." *RON*]

By Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog, 3 January 2016
Emails and documents obtained by DeSmog reveal that the U.S. International Trade Administration has actively promoted and facilitated business deals for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry and export terminal owners, even before some of the terminals have the federal regulatory agency permits needed to open for business.

This release of the documents coincides with the imminent opening of the first ever LNG export terminal in the U.S.hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) era, owned by Cheniere.

The documents came via an open records request filed by DeSmog with the Port of Lake Charles. The request centered around the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the Port signed with the Panama Canal Authority in January 2015.

Judge green lights whistleblower claim against USDA by pesticide researcher

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[On the comfy-cosy relationship between the USDA and pesticide manufacturers - note that Monsanto is not named once in this article. *RON*]

By Steve Volk, Washington Post, 31 December 2015
A prominent scientist in the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service has just cleared the first hurdle in an ongoing whistleblower claim against the agency.

Last week, Judge Patricia M. Miller rejected the USDA’s request to dismiss research entomologist Jonathan Lundgren’s complaint as “frivolous.” The USDA had argued that Lundgren’s complaint was based purely on “speculative and unsupported” allegations.

Miller, an administrative judge with the Merit Systems Protection Board, also set a Jan. 6 status conference for the case and ordered both parties to come prepared to talk about a possible settlement.

[Suspended USDA researcher says agency tried to block his research into harmful effects of pesticides on bees, butterflies]