Showing posts from January 11, 2016

Obama will not endorse a candidate in 2016 Democratic presidential race: White House

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[Ouch. Hillary, we feel your pain. *RON*]

By Roberta Rampton, Reuters, 10 January 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama will not publicly endorse a candidate before the 2016 Democratic primary election, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said on Sunday.

"We'll do exactly what has been done in the past," McDonough said on NBC's "Meet the Press." He said Obama will be "out there" campaigning after the primary election to help support the Democratic candidate.

How Americans Got So Fat, in Charts

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[The amount of calories Americans eat has jumped since the 1970s, the kind of calories has shifted, and waistlines have grown accordingly. *RON*]

John Tozzi, Bloomberg, 7 January 2016

Americans should eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while cutting back on added sugars, sodium, and saturated fat, according to new dietary guidelines published by the federal government Thursday. The guidelines, which influence school lunch menus and federal nutrition policy, also recommend eating more seafood in place of other proteins like meat, poultry, and eggs.

Our poor nutrition has contributed to a generations-long national weight gain. Today two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Half are afflicted with chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure that can often be prevented with better diets.

We didn't get this way overnight. The average calories available1 to the average American increased 25 percent, to more than 25…

Apploitation in a city of instaserfs

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[Excellent piece on how the “sharing economy” has turned San Francisco into a dystopia for the working class. *RON*]
Andrew Callaway, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, January/February 2016

If you spend enough time in San Francisco, you’ll notice sharing economy workers everywhere. While you’re waiting to get some food, look for the most frantic person in the lineup and you can bet they’re working with an app. Some of them are colour-coded: workers in orange T-shirts are with Caviar, a food delivery app; those in green represent Instacart, an app for delivering groceries. The blue jackets riding Razor scooters are with Luxe—if you’re still driving yourself around this city, these app workers will park your car.

In the Bay Area, there are thousands of such people running through the aisles, fidgeting in line and racing against the clock. They spend most of their time in cars, where it can be harder to spot them. Oftentimes they’re double-pa…

Memo to the Private Equity Growth Capital Council: No One Outside Your Echo Chamber Believes Your Big Lies Any More

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[We do have some private equity groups in Canada, but we don't seem to have the sheer market size for big groups to really flourish. In Canada, private equity often has close ties with labour groups' pension investment funds (e.g., Teachers' Private Capital). *RON*]
by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 11 January 2016

The unpleasant task of telling a propaganda outfit, um, think tank, that it needs to up its game has fallen to your humble blogger. Specifically, the private equity industry’s official mouthpiece, the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, has taken to issuing such howlers that it is rapidly losing credibility. A think tank with no credibility is of no use to its backers.

The Private Equity Growth Capital Council’s one and only one public relations strategy is The Big Lie. When confronted with a well-documented case against its sponsors’ interest, it responds with the loudest and most brazen statement of the opposite viewpoint…

Fearless champion of the corporate over-dog snarls at CCPA's eye-popping New Year CEO salary tally

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[The average pay of the top 100 CEOs in Canada exceeded the average Canadian working stiff's salary at noon on January 1st! *RON*]
By David J. Climenhaga,, 11 January 2016

The progressive Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' (CCPA) eye-popping annual New Year's comparison of CEO salaries with what the rest of us earn seems to have gotten up someone's nose!

That someone? The fearless champion of the corporate overdog itself, Vancouver's notorious boiler room for market-fundamentalist propaganda, the Fraser Institute.

There is a certain level of irony in this. After all, the idea of illustrating the corrosive effects of income disparity by identifying the moment in the year just begun when the country's Top 100 CEOs will have earned the average Canadian working stiff's salary is just the sort of memorable meme the Fraser Institute was created to come up with … although not in the service of fair taxation or a …

Ottawa to release redacted version of Saudi human-rights study

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[War, venality and the corporatocracy. Trudeau government says, "Why, yes! We would be more than happy to hide all the meaningful bits from Canadians!" *RON*]

Daniel LeBlanc and Steven Chase, The Globe & Mail, 10 January 2016
The federal government will release a portion of its analysis on the human-rights situation in Saudi Arabia, while still refusing to publish details of a $15-billion contract to sell weaponized armoured vehicles to the country’s national guard.
In a statement to The Globe and Mail, Foreign Affairs Minister St├ęphane Dion said he asked his department to reverse course and release a redacted version of its assessment of the state of human rights in Saudi Arabia.

“The [country reports on human rights] are intended for internal use and are classified. I would be pleased to release, upon request, unclassified versions,” Mr. Dion said of the analysis the government insisted last week would be kept under wraps.

The govern…

Electoral reform and the corporate media

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[The 1% (in the guise of the bought and sold mainstream media) has come out with both fists swinging against electoral reform. And why not? For nearly ten years "Sixty per cent of the population was unable to rid the country of the Dark Lord." *RON*]
By J. Baglow,, 11 January 2016

It didn't take long for Big Media to denounce plans for electoral reform, a promise that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to want to keep. Lining up with the Conservatives, their initial salvo was on a question of process: they are demanding a referendum on any proposed changes to the creaky first-past-the post (FPTP) system. Now comes the second phase -- outright dissembling, with the clear aim of misleading the public at the outset of what will likely be months of discussion.

Let's dispose of the referendum question first. The media have never much liked them before. The Quebec sovereignist referenda, for example, were fraught with Anglo…

Postscript: David Bowie, 1947-2016

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[People say this a lot, but it's true in this case: this is the end of an era. *RON*]
By Hilton Als, The New Yorker, 11 January 2016.

This was not supposed to happen. Ever. Because he had been so many people over the course of his grand and immense career, it was inconceivable that he wouldn’t continue to be many people—a myriad of folks in a beautiful body who would reflect times to come, times none of us could imagine but that he could. He always got to the unknown first.

David Robert Jones was born, in Brixton, to working class parents, on January 8, 1947, and the Brixton of his day was a changing place—home to members of the “Windrush generation,” West Indians who, like immigrants everywhere, had come to England looking for a better way. And the music those islanders bought to their new island no doubt influenced the artist who always wanted to be an artist; indeed, Bowie’s need to perform—to be recognized as different—made itself known …