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Showing posts from January 16, 2016

The New Inequality Debate

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[Good piece on the political (i.e., power oriented) origins of inequality: "markets are creatures of government and politics rather than a default state of nature.". *RON*]
Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect, Winter 2016.


More mainstream economists now find that the income mal-distribution reflects the political sway of elites, not economic imperatives. 
More and more mainstream economists have lately discovered a phenomenon that their discipline too often assumes away. They have discovered power. And this fundamentally changes the nature of the debate about inequality.

In the usual economic model, markets are mostly efficient. Power is not relevant, because competition will generally thwart attempts to place a thumb on the market scale. Thus if the society is becoming more unequal it must be (a favorite verb form) because skills are receiving greater rewards, and the less-skilled are necessarily left behind; or because technology is ap…

Trudeau's Gender-Balanced Cabinet Idea Proves Popular, But Not With Conservative Men: Poll

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[60% of Conservative men think it was a bad idea to appoint equal numbers of men and women to Cabinet. *RON*]
By Ryan Maloney, Huffington Post, 15 January 2016


A new poll suggests that while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to name a gender-balanced cabinet is popular among Canadians, there's one group that remains resistant to the idea — Conservative men.

The numbers from Abacus Data, released to The Huffington Post Canada Friday, show 75 per cent of respondents support Trudeau's much-discussed move to name an equal number of men and women to his inner circle.

Fifty-one per cent think a 50/50 gender split in cabinet sends a positive message about politics, while 10 per cent say the impact is negative. Thirty-nine per cent believe the split makes little difference.

Vancouver Safe-Injection Site Approved By Feds After 14 Years

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[Now that the hillbillies have been ejected from government... *RON*]
By The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 15 January 2016


VANCOUVER — After years of intense political opposition to safe-injection sites, Health Canada has granted approval for the operation of a second clinic in Vancouver. The Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation has run a safe-injection site for its clients since 2002, but the approval gives the clinic an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
The centre cares for HIV patients who may also have complex health and social issues, including mental illness and addictions. Health Canada says international and Canadian evidence shows that safe-injection sites have the potential to save lives and improve health without increasing drug use and crime in surrounding areas. Centre executive director Maxine Davis says the clinic's exemption shows the federal government understands that supervised injection reduces the harms of…

The silent victims of austerity: Ireland appears before UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

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["...the shameful fact is that the proportion of children living in consistent poverty almost doubled during the crisis years after 2008, making children the silent victims of austerity. One Irish child out of every three is deprived of some basic necessities." See also: George Osborne’s austerity policies put economic growth under threat. *RON*]

The Editors, The Irish Times, 16 January 2016

No state can reasonably call itself a republic if it does not do all in its power to give every one of its children a decent start in life. This week Minister for Children James Reilly appeared before the United Nations committee monitoring the State’s implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which Ireland ratified without reservation in 1992. The previous such examination was in 2006, so the minister’s appearance marked a decade of progress – or lack of it – for Irish children. As he seemed to accept, it was at best an ambivalen…

‘Enormous consequence’: N.S. doctors issue draft standard on assisted death

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[It's not like they're in uncharted territory. Assisted suicide is legal in the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland. In the United States it is legal in Oregon, Montana, Washington, Vermont, and California. *RON*]
The Canadian Press, The Chronicle Herald. 16 January 2016

Dr. Gus Grant knows people are waiting to die — he’s heard from them.

On Friday, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia released the draft standard of practice for physician-assisted death.

The same day, the Supreme Court of Canada granted a four-month delay for the federal government to produce a law, meaning the ban of the practice will be lifted in June.

The court also granted an exemption for people wanting to apply to seek an assisted death in the meantime. Willing doctors must be ready, said Grant, the college’s registrar and CEO.

“I have emails from patients saying, ‘I’ve waited years for this, I’m suffering, please help me access this right.’ And so…

Nine more scandals of Christy Clark

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[The next BC election is tentatively scheduled for May 2017. Read the first list of scandals as well if you need 18 reasons to not vote Liberal. *RON*]
Sarah Miller, Huffington Post, 15 January 2016


It doesn't seem like that long ago I compiled my first list of scandals of Christy Clark, but the queen of controversy has shown little signs of slowing down, so here goes part two:

1. Deletegate
Recently it came to light that Clark and her government officials have a bad habit oftriple deleting emails and records that should be protected under the Freedom of Information Act. This isn't the first time this problem has come up during Clark's time in office. Back in 2012 concerns were raised about the increased number of Freedom of Information requests receiving responses claiming related documents couldn't be found.

2. Laura Miller's resignation
The B.C. Liberal executive announced her resignation after three criminal charges were o…

Hillary Clinton Strategist Attacks Bernie Sanders’ Anti-Wall Street Ad While His Firm Works For Wall Street

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["Just below the listing of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, Benenson’s firm lists Clinton's campaign, the Obama campaign and top Democratic Party groups as clients. Those clients are listed under a section in which Benenson’s firm says it works on 'advising leaders who shape the world.'" *RON*]
By Andrew Perez and David Sirota, International Business Times, 14 January 2016

Hillary Clinton’s campaign held a conference call Thursday with reporters to deride Bernie Sanders for airing an ad that criticized Wall Street firms and the politicians who accept their donations. Though the ad did not mention Clinton by name, the conference call featured her top strategist Joel Benenson portraying the spot as an inappropriate attack on Clinton, whose 2016 campaign has accepted $5.7 million from executives in the financial industry.

On the call, Benenson accused Sanders of going negative, asserting the U.S. senator from Vermont had “…

Shipping’s globalisation woes

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[Deflation needs to be on our radar screens. "For signs of how tectonic plates of the global economy are shifting, look at the Baltic Dry Index." Likewise, see: Drop in venture capital funding illustrates rising caution. *RON*]

 Gillian Tett, Financial Times, 14 January 2016

This week, the eyes of investors have been fixed on tumbling oil prices. Little wonder: with oil now costing as little as $30 a barrel, 15 per cent down since the start of the year, energy markets are signalling trouble ahead — particularly given the continuing turmoil in China.
For another sign of how the tectonic plates are shifting in the global economy, try looking at the Baltic Dry Index, which measures the cost of shipping raw materials such as coal, metal and fertilisers across the globe.

Normally, this does not attract much public attention; after all, in an era where investors are obsessed with capital flows — or the latest digital gadgets — it seems rather…