Showing posts from January 19, 2016

Propaganda “Has Rendered the Constitutional Right of Free Press Ineffectual”

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[One more time: the mainstream media is The 1%. *RON*]
By WashingtonsBlog, 18 January 2016.

Americans’ trust of the media is at an all-time low. But most Americans still don’t understand that the U.S. mass media is untrustworthy because it’s completely manipulated to promote propaganda.

Noam Chomsky points out that big status quo-loving corporations own the media, cater to other big status quo-loving advertisers, and filter out stories which question the status quo.

Extreme media consolidation has made the problem worse than ever before.

As many have documented, the media presents a very tiny range of opinions, but then pretends that it is giving the full spectrum of opinions on topics … as a way to dumb down the population.

Lawrence Davidson – history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania – notes:

So well does this process work that it is probably the case that many news editors and broadcasters and most of the public taking in their r…

Global Tensions Threaten to Upstage World Economic Forum in Davos

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[Davos has always been a conspiracy theorist's wet dream. "The declared mission of the World Economic Forum, which begins on Wednesday, is 'improving the state of the world.' But then, problem-solving is not really the point. More than anything, Davos, at about 5,120 feet, is about high-altitude networking." *RON*]

By Liz Alderman, New York Times, 18 January 2016
PARIS — The declared mission of the World Economic Forum, which begins on Wednesday, is “improving the state of the world.” But the perennial question is whether sequestering a few thousand of the global elite in the Alpine ski resort of Davos, Switzerland, can really achieve that lofty goal.

Tensions reminiscent of the Cold War keep flaring with Russia and in the Middle East — not to mention over the Korean Peninsula. Europe is struggling to cope with a refugee crisis that risks fracturing the European Union, even as the bloc tries to counter a rising security threa…

IMF cuts global growth forecasts

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[The latest World Economic Outlook report cuts growth forecast and calls on states to step up public investment or risk derailing recovery. "Risks to the global outlook remain tilted to the downside and relate to ongoing adjustments in the global economy: a generalised slowdown in emerging market economies, China’s rebalancing, lower commodity prices, and the gradual exit from extraordinarily accommodative monetary conditions in the United States. If these key challenges are not successfully managed, global growth could be derailed." *RON*]
Larry Elliott, The Guardian, 19 January 2016
The International Monetary Fund has added to concerns about the health of the global economy by cutting its growth forecasts for the next two years and warning that recovery from the financial crisis could be derailed altogether if key challenges are mishandled.

The Washington-based body said world output would be 0.2 points lower in 2016 and 2017 compared …

The TPP will cost Canada 58,000 jobs -- and won't grow the economy

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[New study shows TPP will only add 0.28% to GDP over 10 years, while killing 58,000 Canadian jobs. So, as the article asks: We are trading our sovereignty for, what, exactly? *RON*]
By Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood,, 18 January 2016

Even the loudest advocates of the Trans-Pacific Partnership concede that the macroeconomic benefits for Canada will be small, as we have written before. Canada's former trade minister promised a $3.5 billion boost to the Canadian economy -- a fraction of a percent -- if the massive trade treaty goes ahead. The most optimistic forecasts, including a recent report from the World Bank, point to an increase of around one per cent to the Canadian economy by the year 2030.

Nevertheless, business groups, right wing think tanks and other TPP cheerleaders have beensinging the deal's praises, downplaying its clear harms and calling for its timely ratification. These commentators would have us believe that Canada has …

Thomas Mulcair Vows To Stay NDP Leader, Despite Calls For Resignation

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["It wasn't there for us"?! This face is now forever associated with blowing things badly; we'll see what happens when they hold a leadership convention. Fifty percent plus one vote is laughable, however. It's exactly the kind of thing he said during the election that put his party solidly in last place. *RON*]
Althia Raj, Huffington Post, 19 January 2016

OTTAWA — Thomas Mulcair faced the national media Monday, hoping to make his case for why he deserves to stay on as party leader as calls for him to step aside mount.

Mulcair said he was energized after the Christmas break and excited to get back to work with his colleagues fighting against inequality and injustice. He laid out the NDP’s latest call to arms, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, a massive free-trade deal among Pacific nations that the Liberal government appears poised to sign, but which, Mulcair suggests, threatens thousands of good jobs in Canada.

Despite …

Disturbing echoes of 'Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Arguments' heard in Alberta #kudatah talk

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[Isn't BC supposedly the homeland for political nut-bars? *RON*]
By David J. Climenhaga,, 19 January 2016

Anti-NDP petitioners tacitly supported by the Wildrose Party who imagine they can magically and instantly overthrow the government of Premier Rachel Notley in a "#kudatah" on the day the Legislature resumes sitting appear to have been influenced by the beliefs of extremist fringe groups going by such names as Detaxers, Freemen and Sovereign Citizens.

It is impossible to know for certain because the petition organizers have so far refused to divulge their strategy in detail.

If this is the case, though, it should be cause for grave concern by the Official Opposition, because it would mean they have thrown in their lot with people associated with a movement that according to the Wikipedia "a survey of law-enforcement officials and agencies across the United States concluded … was the single greatest threat to their com…

A fund to combat housing unaffordability in B.C.

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[BC class wars. Experts ask the provincial government to create a B.C. Housing Affordability Fund. It took Christy Clark about five minutes to reject this idea in favour of giving more money to people who can already afford a house. Compare this with the preceding article on wealth inequality health, mental health and mortality. *RON*]

UBC Reports, Vancouver Observer, 18 January 2016

Economists at UBC’s Sauder School of Business and Vancouver School of Economics, along with colleagues from Simon Fraser University, are calling on the provincial government to address housing affordability in the Lower Mainland with a tax targeting property owners without ties to the local economy.

The group, led by real estate economists Thomas Davidoff, Joshua Gottlieb and Tsur Somerville, is recommending that the provincial government create a B.C. Housing Affordability Fund (BCHAF). Local residents would receive money raised through an annual surcharge on owners …

Growing up poor alters children's brains and increases likelihood of depression - study

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[There is so much research showing the negative effects of poverty and inequality on mental health, physical health and mortality. The terrible thing is that this information is routinely ignored in public debate on policy in favour of 'affordability' and 'balanced budgets.' *RON*]

By Adam Boult, The Telegraph, 18 Jan 2016

Growing up in poverty can lead to altered brain connectivity and a greater risk of clinical depression, according to a new study by researchers at Washington University St. Louis.

"Our past research has shown that the brain's anatomy can look different in poor children, with the size of the hippocampus and amygdala frequently altered in kids raised in poverty," said study authors Deanna Barch and Gregory Couch.
"Poverty is one of the most powerful predictors of poor developmental outcomes for children." Joan Luby, Washington University's Early Emotional Development Program. Researchers …