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Showing posts from January 13, 2016

Canada’s dollar dips below 70 cents U.S. for first time since spring of 2003

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[The US dollar has become a currency refuge. Our currency’s historic low was 61.79 cents US in January 2002. *RON*]

Peter Henderson, Canadian Press / Macleans, 12 January 2016

TORONTO – Oil and the Canadian dollar breached two benchmarks Tuesday, with crude briefly dipping below US$30 a barrel and the loonie slipping beneath the 70-cent U.S. level during a volatile day on the markets.

At one point in early afternoon trading, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate fell as low as US$29.93 before it regained some ground to settle at US$30.44 a barrel. That was still down 97 cents from Monday’s close.

The Canadian dollar hovered above and below the 70-cent U.S. mark throughout the day, at one point dropping as low as 69.85 cents U.S., before ending the day at 70.14 cents U.S. — down 0.17 of a cent and its lowest level since April 2003.

Oil prices have dropped precipitously over the last year and a half, falling from above US$105 in June 2014 to levels not …

Cologne attacks: Germany to make foreign deportations easier

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[The reporting thus far is short on crucial specifics, e.g., is Merkel in any case talking about stripping citizenship from immigrants, or would this only apply to refugee claimants whose cases are still being processed? German has taken a very different approach than Canada, where we specifically do not admit single Syrian men as refugees. *RON*]

BBC World News, 12 January 2016
Cologne sex attacks
Cologne's profound impact on Europe
Feeling vulnerable in Cologne
Cologne sex attacks: Women describe 'terrible' assaults
Cologne sex attacks: Search for answers
Is German far-right rise an echo of the past?
Germany has announced plans to make it easier to throw out foreign criminals and strip sex attackers of refugee status.

The decision follows hundreds of sexual assaults and robberies on women in Cologne on New Year's Eve by men of mainly Arab and North African origin.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas said no-one could put themselves above the l…

The Top 5 Reasons MoveOn Members Voted to Endorse Bernie (with the Most Votes and Widest Margin in Our History)

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[This must give the Clintonistas pause. MoveOn is populated by a group Hillary thinks she has a lock on: left-leaning (but not too much) middle classers. Also, look at point number two: Hillary also believes she is the natural first choice for women and blacks. *RON*]

By Ilya Sheyman, Executive Director, MoveOn.org, 12 January 2016

With a record-setting 78.6 percent of 340,665 votes cast by the MoveOn membership, Senator Bernie Sanders has won MoveOn.org Political Action’s endorsement for president with the largest total and widest margin in MoveOn history.

MoveOn.org only endorses candidates based on votes by our members. Our only previous presidential endorsement during a Democratic primary was for Barack Obama, in early 2008. In 2004, no Democratic candidate reached the threshold for an endorsement.

Here are 5 of the top reasons MoveOn members support Bernie and will mobilize to get out the vote on his behalf in Iowa, New Hampshire, and other cru…

Inside the Police-Industrial Complex

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[The corporatocracy meets the police state. At the 2015 convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a view of the public-private partnerships that have come to shape modern policing—and to complicate questions of reform. *RON*]
Jacqui Shine, Pacific Standard Magazine, 12 January 2016
The great thing about trade shows, no matter the industry, is that you’re only ever a few steps away from a bowl of free candy. Bridal, automotive, tech, home and garden—whatever larger things are on offer, every conference runs on the complimentary sugar rush. And at this trade show, I needed it. The exposition hall at the 2015 convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, held over four days in late October, was a particularly overwhelming full-body experience.

The IACP conference is not only a professional development event; it also features a trade show with more than than 650 exhibitors. The vastness of the proceedings was …

Oil could crash to $10 a barrel, warn investment bank bears

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[Less than a year ago the consensus among the Very Serious People was that oil would only be weak for six months and it would now be back at $100. See also: Oil dips below $30 a barrel, lowest level in 12 years. *RON*]

By Mehreen Khan, The Telegraph, 12 January 2016

Oil prices have crashed to below $30-a-barrel amid warnings the rout could reach as low as $10 and bring down petrol prices to levels last seen in 2009.

Standard Chartered became the latest major bank to downgrade its oil outlook to $10, joining the likes of Goldman Sachs, RBS and Morgan Stanley in making ultra-bearish calls as prices have collapsed by 15pc this year.

Brent crude has now slipped to a fresh 12-year low of $30.41 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate - the US benchmark - is trading at $29.93 - a level last seen in December 2013. Analysts warned the oil market remains fundamentally out of balance as record over-supply and stagnant demand weighs on traders.


The 5 Things You Need To Know About Canadian Economic Inequality

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[Inequality is growing; it is fuelled by wealth concentration at the top; its roots are sociological; it is slowing our economy; it is negatively affecting our health and longevity. See also: How the Government Underestimated the Extent of Income Inequality, and Americans are working fewer hours—and it’s making income inequality worse*RON*]
Carolyn Shimmin, Knowledge Translation Coordinator with EvidenceNetwork.ca and the George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation, Huffington Post, 11 January 2016


Certain segments of society encounter persistent disadvantages and lack of opportunity across the country. This can affect everything from health outcomes of individuals and entire communities to social cohesion. It can also impact the economic growth of the country and the social mobility of Canadians.

However, the extent of inequality -- including what drives it and what to do about it -- is hotly debated among policy makers, economists and…

How the Liberals can tackle income inequality

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[Pretty obvious stuff: close tax loopholes; end corporate welfare; close down programs the Liberals fought against when they were the opposition. But these steps would mean opposing the interests of the corporatocrats and plutocrats. *RON*]

By: Carol Goar, Star Columnist, 13 January 2016

It has become a Canadian New Year’s ritual.

On the first working day of January, economist Hugh Mackenzie of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives publishes a list of the country’s 100 highest-paid corporate executives, showing their salaries, bonuses, stock options, shares, pensions and other perks. He then calculates how long it will take these CEOs to earn the average salary of a full-time Canadian worker. This year’s duration: three hours and 18 minutes.

As soon as his report is out, a chorus of market-friendly economists pipes up claiming his methodology is flawed, his findings are misleading and there’s nothing wrong with rewarding talent. “These hig…

‘The Zhaos’ — The Demarcation of a Divide

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[An article on the fundamental social division in China - Old Party families versus a billion wannabes. *RON*]

By Song Zhibiao, Qiao Mu, and Mo Zhixu, published: January 6, 2016

As the year 2015 was drawing to its end, a new expression was born on China’s social media: “the Zhaos” (“赵家人”). New phrases pop up regularly online in China, but “the Zhaos” has been hailed as revolutionary. Never has an expression captured the essence of China’s politics and economy with such pithiness and precision—that a class of people thinks China belongs to them, acts like its owner, and is indeed the owner. Compared to the phrase “your country,” (an inversion of the official reference to China as “our country”) which has been in vogue for a while, “the Zhaos” brings into focus a critical divide that has never been encapsulated. It is, many believe, destined to permanently enter the Chinese lexicon. This article presents a compilation of explanations and uses of th…