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Showing posts from February 27, 2016

Does Philanthrocapitalism Make the Rich Richer and the Poor Poorer?: Income inequality and philanthropy

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[It's not a new idea; it isn't contributing to higher contributions in developed nations; it isn't more efficient in any clear way; income inequality continues apace; it puts decision-making about the public good in the hands of plutocrats and removes it from the democratic sphere. *RON*]

By Linsey McGoey, Evonomics.com,  23 February 2016


The first time Bill Gates met Puff Daddy, the rapper and fashion entrepreneur, the encounter was a tense one.

The meeting took place in New York, where Gates had been hanging out at the back of a bar with Bono and other friends. Puff Daddy approached Gates and his coterie. He stood before Gates and nodded.

‘You are a motherfucker.’

Gates’s eyes darted at the man. It’s doubtful the world’s most generous philanthropist hears comments like this too often.

Diddy continued his train of argument: ‘You are a motherfucker. What you are doing on immunization in Botswana? Motherfucker.’

Gates leaned back in his chai…

Apple Versus the G-Men

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[The FBIs demand for a back door is a dangerous one. *RON*]
H. T. Goranson, Project Syndicate, 24 February 2016

VIRGINIA BEACH – Apple’s refusal to unlock the iPhone linked to the extremist attack in San Bernardino, California, in December has triggered a public battle with the US Justice Department and the FBI – a dispute with far-reaching implications for data privacy worldwide. But the case is not as straightforward as it seems.

Speaking as someone with a long presence in the US intelligence community, I believe that the FBI has already gained access to Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone. It is an older Apple model using technology that, in other contexts, has already been compromised.

Here’s another strange thing about the FBI’s demand of Apple: Why would the United States government stoop to a public debate on this issue? The FBI is the country’s most powerful law-enforcement organization, and Apple will ultimately be forced to comply with its request…

Uber and the economic impact of sharing economy platforms

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[Great thinking of the kind that Uber will fight tooth and nail. Consumers enjoy the cheaper taxi services provided by Uber, but the company has proven divisive among taxi drivers. Regulators should allow Uber to operate, but under stricter regulations, to ensure that consumers reap the benefits, and drivers operate on a level playing field. *RON*]


By Georgios Petropoulos, Bruegel.org, 22 February 2016

The ‘sharing economy’ matches people who want to share assets online. Rather than buying a power drill that I only need for 15 minutes, for example, I can just rent one from someone else who’s not using theirs. Such efficiency gains may come at cost for the traditional economy. Manufacturers of power drills might see profits shrink due to the drop in demand and may even be driven out of the market.

However the costs and benefits associated with sharing economy platforms depend on the business models in place.

Uber is one of the fastest growing startup…

No Trudeau veto for Site C

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[Here comes the new boss, just like the old boss? Just a couple of days ago we posted a story on how Site C Dam Permits Were Quietly Issued During The Federal Election by the Harper government. There was widespread speculation about how the Trudeau government would respond to this, since First Nations strongly oppose the project and one of his key election promises was to forge a new nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations. Now it appears they will do nothing, despite the fact that the project cannot proceed without further approvals from Ottawa. Clearly, some sort of binding deal was cooked up with Christy Clark. *RON*]

Jonny Wakefield, Alaska Highway News, 24 February 2016


The Liberal government looks unlikely to block the Site C dam, after months of speculation over whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would reverse the Conservative government's decision to approve the project.

In the House of Commons this week, Green Party and NDP…

Big Chunk of Trump Voters Think Freeing the Slaves After the Civil War Was a Bad Idea

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[A companion piece to innumerable Trump stories, but particularly: 16% of Trump Supporters in South Carolina Willing to Tell Pollsters They Are Openly White Supremacist. A new poll suggests that nearly 20% of Trump voters long for the Confederacy. See also: Measuring Donald Trump's Supporters for Intolerance and finally White Supremacists Mobilize For Donald Trump. *RON*]

By Robin ScherAlterNet, 24 February 2016
A new set of public opinion survey results reveal the extent to which Trump’s current campaign success is rooted in his supporters' pre-existing religious, social and racial intolerance.

According to data gathered from YouGov and Public Policy Polling, Trump’s conflation of race and religion with current problems facing the United States has proven key to his campaign strategy. In this regard, reported the New York Times, Trump has bridged the conservative divide “uniting parts of the party that have been on opposite sides of r…

Israel’s Putinisation

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[Via my friend Harry, a sad tale. "Ahmad Tibi, a long-standing Arab member of the Knesset, once remarked that 'Israel is democratic towards Jews, and Jewish towards Arabs.' For many years, that soundbite nicely captured the contradictions of 'Jewish democracy': fair elections, press freedom, cantankerous debate and due process for some; land theft, administrative detention, curfews, assassinations and 'muscular interrogations' for others... Israel is increasingly 'Jewish towards Arabs', but it’s also on its way to becoming less and less democratic for Jews... On the Israeli right, a lingering attachment to liberal ideas inherited from Europe is enough to mark you as a 'mole'." *RON*]
By Adam Shatz, London Review of Books, Vol. 38 No. 4 · 18, pp. 11-12, February 2016
Ahmad Tibi, a long-standing Arab member of the Knesset, once remarked that ‘Israel is democratic towards Jews, and Jewish towards Ara…

Austerity-weary Ireland votes in parliamentary polls

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[A mini-collection of articles on rising popular push-back against neoliberal austerity policies. In addition to the ongoing opposition in Spain, Portugal and Italy, see also: SNP MP claims austerity will cause 2nd Scottish independence referendumSaudi pivot to austerity could stoke civil unrest, and Jamaican Opposition Ousts Govt as Voters Reject Austerity. *RON*]

AFP, France24, 26 February 2016


Ireland votes on Friday in a parliamentary election that could see it become the latest eurozone country to face political instability as anger against hardship and austerity weakens the outgoing government.

Polls indicate that the coalition led by Prime Minister Enda Kenny's Fine Gael may struggle to form a majority for a second term due to a potential collapse in support for junior partners Labour, whose centre-left base has been alienated by austerity cuts.

Under the coalition, Ireland became the eurozone's champion of economic growth after…

Key Bombardier C Series order in doubt after Republic filing

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[This is a follow up to a story on Bombardier posted here on 17 Feb. Bombardier shares slid from $4 at year and a half ago to a low of 80 cents. They're now $1.06, but can be expected to drop again. The Republic order (Republic pilots have been reported to make less than baristas) was always considered by insiders to be largely wishful thinking. This company is one of the biggest welfare queens in Canada, and is constantly getting handouts from the feds. *RON*]

Greg Keenan and Nicolas Van Praet, The Globe and Mail, 26 February 2016
Republic Airways Holdings Corp., says it plans to streamline its operations by operating only Embraer E170 regional jets, putting the future of the biggest single order for Bombardier Inc. C Series jets into grave doubt.
The airline holding company was scheduled to be the North American launch customer for the CS300, the larger of two C Series models, with planes that were scheduled to be delivered last year. Republ…