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Showing posts from January 27, 2016

Top Canada watchdog worried about pesticide linked to bee deaths

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[Regulatory capture and the corporatocracy. "The federal health ministry's agency responsible for pesticide regulation can grant a five-year provisional license to some products to give manufacturers time to provide more information. Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand said nine products had been remained conditionally registered for more than a decade, even though the agency had not gathered the data it required. Eight of the nine belong to the neonicotinoids class" *RON*]
By David Ljunggren, Reuters, 26 January 2016

Canada's official environmental watchdog on Tuesday expressed concern that authorities were allowing the long-term use of pesticides linked to bee deaths despite not having enough information about the products.

The federal health ministry's agency responsible for pesticide regulation can grant a five-year provisional license to some products to give manufacturers time to provide more information.

Environment…

Uganda: When Democracy Doesn’t Count

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["...the United States provides aid and sells weapons far more often to autocratic regimes than to democracies; even China partners with democracies more than America does. This pattern is particularly clear in sub-Saharan Africa." *RON*]
Helen Epstein, New York Review of Books, 25 January 2016
In 1940, Franklin Roosevelt told Americans that, by arming Britain against the Nazis, we’d serve as an “arsenal for democracy.” But during the cold war, the opposite was often true, and apparently still is. According to two recent studies, the United States provides aid and sells weapons far more often to autocratic regimes than to democracies; even China partners with democracies more than America does. This pattern is particularly clear in sub-Saharan Africa. For a brief period after the cold war, America used foreign aid and other measures to pressure many countries to democratize; some, like Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia, now hold more or less c…

10 Months of the U.S.-Backed War on Yemen

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[The usual arrant nonsense from the US government. The general public clearly has its head firmly planted up its own wazoo. "The Saudis aren’t committed to calming down sectarian divisions in the region. They are deliberately stoking them, and the U.S. is foolishly helping them to do it." *RON*]
By Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, 25 January 2016


As if to show how meaningless the administration’s “concern” about Yemeni civilian casualties is, John Kerry was in Saudi Arabia this weekend to affirm U.S. support for the relationship with Riyadh and its Gulf allies and their unnecessary war on Yemen:

US Secretary of State John Kerry has reiterated Washington’s support for Saudi Arabia’s ongoing war on Yemen, which has so far claimed the lives of at least 8,000 people.

This is hardly the first time that Kerry has endorsed the Saudi-led coalition’s war, but it’s a useful reminder that the U.S. fully supports the intervention and has bee…

“You’ve Got to Cozy Up”: More Politicians Admitting That Money Controls Politics

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[Old now, but I just ran across it, and it's a good collection of quotes! *RON*]

Jon Schwarz, The Intercept, 18 August 2015
Three weeks ago I posted a collection of quotes from politicians acknowledging the obvious reality that money has a huge impact on what they do, and asked anyone with more examples to send them to me.

You really came through. Here are 15 more great examples, with credit to the people who suggested them.

Please keep them coming; I’m looking specifically for working politicians who describe a tight linkage between money and political outcomes. And I’d still love to speak directly to current or former politicians who have an opinion about this.

I’ll continue to add all of them to the original post, so you can bookmark that for the complete collection.

The Fearful World of Network News in 2015

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["...few stories unrelated to terrorism or to the Middle East (or both) have attracted attention.…Europe received prominent coverage. However, the three biggest European stories (Charlie Hebdo, the refugee crisis, the Paris concert massacre) can be portrayed as spillovers from Mideast tensions. All three of these major European storylines fit neatly into fearful narratives made by domestic politicians." *RON*]
By Jim Lobe, IPS News, 26 January 2016
WASHINGTON, Jan 26 2016 (IPS) - If your view of world events outside the U.S. was shaped in substantial part by watching the evening news shows on the three major U.S. networks last year, you’d probably want to stay home.

Terrorism and the bloody wars of the Middle East dominated the network news coverage of the world outside our borders last year, according to the latest annual summary of the authoritative Tyndall Report, which was released just last week. Domestically, it was pretty scary, t…

Ministers making millions as property values surge

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["Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson’s home rose $578,000 to $3.7 million, while International Trade Minister Teresa Wat’s two homes rose $365,000 to $1.8 million. Premier Christy Clark’s property rose $160,000 to $1.73 million. None of those ministers returned calls for this story. The total wealth the B.C. cabinet declared in real estate is $27.8 million." *RON*]

Jon Woodward, CTV News, 25 January 2016

Surging real estate values added $2.3 million to B.C. cabinet ministers’ personal wealth this year alone, as the government says coming measures to ease housing affordability won’t include any that lower prices.

One minister saw her four properties jump $765,000, more than five times a minister’s salary. Another saw gains on a portfolio of eight homes. On average, ministers made $103,000 – more than an MLA’s salary, according to a review of public records by CTV News.

It’s natural for those ministers to welcome their own wealth …

Canada doing less to reduce income inequality than it has for 30 years

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[All bad news. Our after-tax GINI coefficient has been rising, which shows that our tax policies are increasing income inequality. Redistribution is lower than in the OECD and the Nordic nations and has been dropping since 1994. Our level of tax revenues to GDP is the lowest it has been since 1980. Our level of cash transfers to GDP is now lower than or nearly the same as that of the US and well below the members of the OECD. *RON*]
By Edgardo Sepulveda, rabble.ca, 26 January 2016


One consequence of Canada becoming a low taxation country is that we are now doing less to reduce income inequality than at any time since the mid-1980s. This note analyses Canada's taxation and transfers system from a historical and international perspective, focussing on how changes in Canada's fiscal redistribution over the last two decades have increased after tax income inequality.

Figure 1 presents "market" and "after tax" income Gini co…

Christy Clark's LNG Comments 'Paternalistic' And 'Mindless': First Nations Leaders

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[Keep her in the courts; it's the only thing she understands. She's always on the look-out for a content-free rhetorical angle on things. See also: B.C. LNG minister says 'we're not afraid' of federal environmental tests ("Coleman said B.C. passed legislation that requires LNG operations to meet emissions benchmarks or face penalties. But environmental groups say B.C. won't meet its targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions one-third below 2007 levels by 2020"). *RON*]
By Dirk Meissner, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 26 January 2016
VANCOUVER— Premier Christy Clark had sharp words Monday for what she calls the "forces of No'' in British Columbia who mount resistance efforts to government initiatives purely out of a fear of change.

First Nations leaders quickly shot back at the premier, labelling her comments "paternalistic'' and "mindless.''

Clark made the statements during a…