Showing posts from June 17, 2016

Here's Why Everyone Should Get a Basic Income

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[He makes a good case for the argument that a universal basic income would reinvigorate our nation's founding principles while providing new scaffolding for the American Dream. It looks like this could be an excellent book. *RON*]
By Andy Stern, AlterNet, 14 June 2016
The following is an excerpt from the new book Raising the Floor by Andy Stern with Lee Kravitz (Public Affairs, 2016):

At first blush it seems almost un-American—a universal basic income (UBI) that grants an income to every US citizen without any obligation to work or perform a socially mandated task. In a country that celebrates hard work as the path to fulfillment and riches, the idea of getting money for nothing—even if it’s just enough to keep you and your family off the debt collector’s call list and above the poverty line—is heresy. And yet, in some ways, UBI is as idealistic, optimistic, and American as the Declaration of Independence and its foundational principle that “…

The politics of Metro Vancouver real estate — money and votes rule

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[Christy won't do anything about our hyper-inflated housing market because: a) she makes a ton of money from transfer taxes (the better to balance the budget my dear), and b) rich house owners vote more often, and more often Liberal, than poor people. If that means the average Joe has to flee the city, so be it. *RON*]

By Michael Smyth, The Province, 16 June 2016

To unravel the politics of Metro Vancouver’s red-hot, real estate market, just follow the money. And the votes.

Premier Christy Clark has resisted aggressive intervention in a hyper-inflated market that’s soured the dream of home ownership for non-millionaires.

Why has Clark fiddled while the market burns? Maybe it’s the $12 million donated by real estate tycoons and property-development companies to Clark’s governing Liberal party over the last decade.

But here’s another reason Clark might not want to spoil the real estate profit-palooza: the vast sums of money flowing into government …

A weekend in Marseille

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[As the global economic situation worsens and inequality grows, politics grow increasingly polarized and urges toward violence in all forms seeks an outlet. *RON*]

Leon Neal Monday 13 June 2016

MARSEILLE, France -- I was feeling like a total fool as I queued in line at the hardware store, waiting to pay for my safety goggles, toughened cap and heavy duty decorator’s mask. After all, I was heading to a football tournament, not a war zone. The upcoming assignment should have been more Gazza than Gaza but it wasn't to be.

My initial brief was to follow the England fans, documenting the face painting, colour and "fluff" as they travelled around France, following the England team in the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament.

Thank the Financial Crisis for Today’s Partisan Politics

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[Financial crises cause political polarization simply by weakening the current government and strengthening the opposition. *RON*]

By Amir Sufi

The historian Joseph J. Ellis describes the early days of the United States as “a decade-long shouting match” characterized by “shrill, accusatory rhetoric, flamboyant displays of ideological intransigence, intense personal rivalry, and hyperbolic claims of imminent catastrophe.” In more recent times, the Vietnam War and Watergate deeply divided the country, and the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were marked by sharp partisan conflict.

But while political polarization has been all-American since the start of the US, its current upswing threatens to make it the worst in history. Sharp divisions between Republicans and Democrats have created gridlock in Washington, DC, between the president and Congress and within Congress itself. The political scientists Christopher Hare, now a…

Government Manipulating Hydro Finances, Says Former Civil Servant

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[Classify this one under 'banana republic.' This is big. I sincerely hope this story has legs. Richard McCandless calls on regulator to publicly probe Crown corp's books. Their legally dubious accounting system hides expenses, appearing to reduce taxes and balance the budget while actually loading costs onto users of BC Hydro and ICBC. "The fundamental question boils down to who represents the public interest? From my research, this government has manipulated the financial details of our public power utility to meet its balanced budget objectives, and to set lower than necessary rates during election years... for political advantage."*RON*]

By Andrew MacLeod,, 15 Jun 2016

A former senior British Columbia civil servant says the provincial government has manipulated BC Hydro's finances for political gain.

In a June 10 presentation to a B.C. Utilities Commission panel in Victoria, Richard McCandless called on the …

Canada experiments with digital dollar on blockchain

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[Canada at the forefront of experimentation with blockchain and a possible e-Loonie. "Country's central bank poised to embrace technology behind bitcoin." *RON*]

By Philip Stafford, Financial Times, 13 June 2016

Canada is exploring the creation of a digital version of its currency as central banks examine whether modern technology can create a new medium of exchange.

The Bank of Canada, the country’s central bank, revealed in a private presentation in Calgary on Wednesday that it was working with the country’s biggest banks to develop an electronic version of the Canadian dollar.