Showing posts from January 25, 2016

Canada Will Sign TPP Deal, But That Doesn't Mean It'll Ratify It: Freeland

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[Trudeau and the Liberal Party is the smiling half of the Janus-face of the corporatocracy. Now they say "Signing does not equal ratifying." What will they say when the ratify? *RON*]
By Andy Blatchford, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 25 January 2016

OTTAWA — The federal government has confirmed that it intends to sign the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal at a meeting next week in New Zealand.

But when it comes to ratification of the 12-country treaty, the Liberals are still perched squarely atop the fence.

"Just as it is too soon to endorse the TPP, it is also too soon to close the door," International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland wrote Monday in an open letter posted on her department's website.

"Signing does not equal ratifying.... Signing is simply a technical step in the process, allowing the TPP text to be tabled in Parliament for consideration and debate before any final decision is made.&q…

Tony Abbott's climate claims debunked: researcher dissects 2013 statement

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[Sophie sounds like she'd be fun to meet: "It drives me mental that these sorts of statements go unaddressed." Sophie Lewis was so annoyed about the way science was ignored in the political debate about climate change she went to work to disprove the myths. *RON*]
Michael Slezak, The Guardian, 22 January 2016

Climate scientists are regularly infuriated by the things politicians say. But it’s not often they publish a scientific paper tearing a politician’s comments to shreds.

Being within a mile of Whole Foods or Trader Joe's will make your house more valuable

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[Food and classism. It answers the question: Are you our kind of person? Do you have money to burn on over-priced food fads, and want to do so conveniently? *RON*]

Bob Bryan, Business Insider, 25 January 2016

A lot of factors can impact the value of a home.

Schools, parks, and even public transportation can all impact a neighborhood's average house price.

And according to analysis by Zillow, an online real estate marketplace, one of the increasingly important factors is the presence of a high-end grocery store.

"Zillow found that homes grow more rapidly in value if they are closer to a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods," the company said in a release.

Time to Say Goodbye to Long Bull Market?

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[As "the bull market stumbles into its seventh year," the Confidence Fairy has a 'moment.' "U.S. stocks are flashing lots of bearish signs; investors aren’t panicking." My gosh, before you know it, WSJ might begin speculating that the world ain't flat. *RON*]
By Ben Eisen and Dan Strumf, Wall Street Journal, 24 January 2016

Several market indicators are fueling expectations for further declines in U.S. stocks as investors grapple with the turbulence that has marked the start of the year.

Thursday and Friday brought a pause to January’s selling, pushing the S&P 500 to its first weekly gain this year. But several gauges of the stock market’s strength, such as the performance of transportation shares and the proportion of stocks down more than 20% from recent highs, are flagging.

These signals, combined with the S&P 500’s 6.7% drop so far in 2016, have reinforced Wall Street’s dour outlook as the bull market stum…

The Seven Stages of Establishment Backlash: Corbyn/Sanders Edition

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[How the old school political bison circle round when they smell a threat. *RON*]
Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, 21 January 2016

The British political and media establishment incrementally lost its collective mind over the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the country’s Labour Party, and its unraveling and implosion show no signs of receding yet. Bernie Sanders is nowhere near as radical as Corbyn; they are not even in the same universe. But, especially on economic issues, Sanders is a more fundamental, systemic critic than the oligarchical power centers are willing to tolerate, and his rejection of corporate dominance over politics, and corporate support for his campaigns, is particularly menacing. He is thus regarded as America’s version of a far-left extremist, threatening establishment power.

The Contempt That Poisoned Flint’s Water

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[It's hard to believe that they believed anything they were saying themselves. Though the Department of Enviromental Quality appears to have been, simply, stupid. *RON*]

By Amy Davidson, New Yorker, 22 January 2016

Even before the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, was found to be tainted with lead—before water from some areas tested at more than twice the level considered to be toxic waste, and public-health officials said that every last child in the city should be treated as if the child had been poisoned—the governor’s office knew that the water was discolored, tasted bad, smelled strange, and was rife with “organic matter.” They knew, as one memo sent to Governor Rick Snyder in February, 2015, noted, that “residents have attended meetings with jugs of brownish water.” Officials figured that a reason it looked that way was the presence of rust. And they thought that was just fine. They wished, in fact, that the residents would realize ho…

The servants making $150,000 a year

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[Welcome to the pointy end of wealth inequality! Usually associated with a long-gone era, butlers are among Britain’s hottest commodities: half of those trained in the UK work abroad and the best easily earn $150,000 or more. *RON*]

By Pádraig Belton, BBC News, 20 January 2016

Downton Abbey may reference an era a century past. But Carson’s real-life butler descendants – armed with Blackberries as well as silver polish – are more stylish than ever.

New York Review of Books on How Oligarchs Use Philanthropy to Advance Their Social Agendas (and a Shout Out to NC)

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[Both this article and the Massing article in the NY Review of Books are interesting. I didn't know there was so much material and sites on the subject. The ultra-rich avoid paying taxes, create charitable organizations that allow them to define what that common good is on our behalf, while getting a further tax break for their generous act of undermining democracy with the will of the plutocrats. *RON*]
By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 25 January 2016

I’m late to highlight an important essay in the New York Review of Books, How to Cover the One Percent, by Michael Massing. It focuses primarily on the 0.1% and describes how they are using philanthropy as Trojan Horse for social engineering. Massing stresses that these efforts to promote personal policy agendas go almost entirely unnoticed, in a striking contrast to how attentive the media is to political donations by the super-rich. Here’s his thesis:
Over the last fifteen years, the number …