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Showing posts from January 7, 2016

The Spectacle of the Scaffold – Foucault, Corporal Punishment, and the Digital Age

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[I'd never fully grasped Ta-Naihisi Coates' fixation on The Body in his discussion of race relations, but now I see that this is what he's getting at. *RON*]
Posted by Jed Hovey, Blue Labyrinths, 6 January 2016
Witnesses who described the scene could even be prosecuted, thereby ensuring that the execution should cease to be a spectacle and remain a strange secret between the law and those it condemns. One has only to point out so many precautions to realize that capital punishment remains fundamentally, even today, a spectacle that must actually be forbidden (Foucault 15) The Rodney King beating is among the most famous amateur videos ever recorded, existing in the same category as the Zapruder film. It was also one of the first times the public witnessed police brutality on video. When the verdict came down and the officers involved got off scot-free, the ensuing riot lasted six days, caused more than 50 deaths, set thousands of fires…

Is the whole theory of secular stagnation a hoax?

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[The Bank for International Settlements says the entire strategy of stimulus by global central banks is based on a false premise. Very interesting; not sure I get it 100%. The underlying Claudio Borio paper, which I'll have to take a look at, is here. Meanwhile: World Bank issues 'perfect storm' warning for 2016. *RON*]

 By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph, 6 Jan 2016

The world's monetary watchdog has thrown down the gauntlet. It has challenged the twin assumptions of secular stagnation and the global savings glut that have possessed - some would say corrupted - the Western economic elites.

It has implicity indicted the US Federal Reserve and fellow central banks for perverting the machinery of interest policy to conjure demand that may not, in fact, be needed, and ensnaring us in a self-perpetuating "debt-trap" with a diet of ever looser money.

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) - the temple of monetary …

B.C. rates up in 2016, but 'vast majority' will pay less tax

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[Compare this article with the previous one. The rich make money by deferring their property taxes, while regressive fees (aka 'stealth taxes') such as MSP continue to rise ("MSP rates have risen 39 per cent since 2009"). *RON*]

CBC News, 30 December 2015
The average B.C. resident can expect to pay $100 more in provincial fees and taxes next year, but they may get much of it back in federal tax cuts.

"It's fair to say the vast majority of Canadians ... will have more money in their pocket," Aaron Wudrick, the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, told CBC.

The changes to the federal income tax system will be particularly good news for those in the second income bracket who make between $45,282 and $90,563,

The tax rate will drop to 20.5 per cent from 22 per cent in 2016, which translates to a maximum of $680 for those with income at the top of the range and beyond.

But those who make over $200,000 per …

Defer taxes, make money: The new way to profit on Vancouver real estate

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[A good illustration of the structural inequality I just mentioned. Why is this wealthy man so happy? He's turning a profit by deferring his property taxes: "A lot of people I know take advantage of this program even though they have the money to pay their taxes because the current interest rate is 0.85 per cent. Most people can invest the money and get a better return." Your US-Republican style conservative provincial government (mis-named the BC Liberals) working hard to increase inequality. I'd love to see how much tax Christy's been paying on her multi-million dollar property. *RON*]

CBC News, 6 January 2016

A Vancouver planner and developer says the B.C property tax deferral program is allowing wealthy home owners to make even more money.

Michael Geller also admits he's first in line to take advantage of the situation.

"Most people can invest the money and get a better return," Geller told CBC.

"A …

Do Government-Assisted Refugees Receive More Money For Food Than Canadians On Welfare?

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[Because the people who post this kind of false slander were so worried about welfare rights six months ago. Right. *RON*]
By Susana Mas, CBC News, 7 January 2016
A widely circulated post on social media alleging Syrian refugees receive more money for food than Canadians on welfare is not true, say federal and provincial officials who also debunk other widely circulated claims.

The Facebook post, which also appears on Instagram, began circulating on Dec.18, and government officials say it is the latest in a series of false claims on social media.

The federal Liberals are working to meet a self-imposed deadline of resettling 10,000 refugees by Dec. 31. The latest data on the Immigration Department's website says 6,720 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada since Nov. 4. Of those, 2,586 are on government assistance.

The aim is to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by March 1.

The post claims government-assisted refugees from Syria receive $61 a day f…

What Paul Graham Misses On Value Creation and Income Inequality

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[This is true as far as it goes, but it glosses over a central point. Boynton says, "income inequality isn’t necessarily bad because when people get rich from value creation (as opposed to rent-seeking or taking advantage of poor people), they aren’t taking anything away from anyone else." Her main concern appears to be that the super-rich are driving Yuppies out of San Francisco; kind of a preppie Grapes of Wrath. The point is that huge portion of income inequality has been driven by financial manipulation, precisely the kind of rent-seeking behaviour that Boynton passes over with a wave of her hand. I'd like to propose that, instead of either 'income inequality' or 'wealth inequality' we adopt the term 'structural inequality' to refer to the structures and processes that enable inequality that is unrelated to value creation. *RON*]

By Jen Boynton, Triple Pundit, 7 January 2016

One of the reasons I love busi…

Chinese stocks plunge, triggering another market halt

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[The Chinese 'circuit breakers' are a failure, having become a self-fulfilling prophecy: as the market approaches the cut-off for the circuit-breakers, it triggers a massive sell-off from people trying to get out before the market shuts down, dropping the prices, setting off the circuit-breakers. See also: George Soros Sees Crisis in Global Markets That Echoes 2008. And, of course: Gold is going nuts.*RON*]
Joe McDonald, Associated Press / CTV News, 7 January 2016

BEIJING -- The latest trigger was currency jitters, but Thursday's plunge in Chinese stocks was just one in a series of aftershocks from last year's boom and bust that could shake markets for months to come.

Investor anxiety over economic weakness and a possible glut of unwanted shares flooding the market have complicated Beijing's efforts to withdraw emergency controls imposed after Chinese stock prices collapsed in June.

On Thursday, trading halted for the day aft…

TransCanada's legal action after U.S. rejection of Keystone XL pipeline spurs mixed reaction

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[Calgary-based company seeking $15B under NAFTA challenge. I'm the last person to cheer on TransCanada, but I'm pretty sure the average American has no clue how often and routinely Canada is sued under this agreement. The Hudson Institute also doesn't seem to realize that this action must reflect TransCanada's take on the likely outcome of the upcoming election. *RON*]

CBC News, 6 January 2016 Related Stories
Keystone XL rejection leads TransCanada to sue Obama administration
TransCanada an underdog, but has strong case against Washington

External Links
TransCanada NAFTA Keystone XL pipeline challenge
(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

Reaction is pouring in Wednesday after TransCanada announced its intention to seek legal action against the U.S. administration following the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline in November.

Calgary-based TransCanada says it hopes to recover $15B in pot…