Showing posts from August 3, 2016

6 Major GOP Voting Restrictions Have Been Blocked in 2 Weeks

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[Good news. The Republican war on voting rights is backfiring. And, though, some were federal courts, all this action took place within the states themselves. *RON*]

By Ari Berman, The Nation, 1 August 2016
In the past 10 days, courts have issued six major decisions against GOP-backed voting restrictions in five different states.

On Friday, an array of new voting restrictions were struck down in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Kansas. This followed rulings the previous week softening voter ID laws in Texas and Wisconsin and striking down Michigan’s ban on straight-ticket voting. When you include a court decision in Ohio from May reinstating a week of early voting and same-day registration, anti-voting laws in six states have been blocked so far in 2016.

Here are the recent decisions:

In North Carolina, the US Appeals Court for the Fourth Circuit struck down the state’s voter-ID law and reinstated a week of early voting, same-day voter registration, o…

Why Americans Are So Angry Despite America’s Strong Economy

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[The simple answer: we realized that, despite a growing economy, the profits aren't headed our way. Yet the pollsters don't get it: Americans’ Economic Gloom Festers as Stocks Hit New High: Gallup Stumped. (Nice scores for Canada!) *RON*]

Michael Green, Harvard Business Review, 2 August 2016

One thing we know for certain from the presidential primary campaigns is that a lot of people in America are not just unhappy with the status quo — they are angry about it. Media outlets frequently report that the economy is foremost among concerns of the average citizen, and according to traditional economic measures the United States is doing pretty well. The economy is growing steadily, the unemployment rate is below 5%, and on GDP per capita America still is one of the richest countries in the world. So what’s the problem? The answer, according to the recently released Social Progress Index, is that the United States is not turning those positive …

Who Killed BC Hydro?

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[Rafe Mair is almost always excellent; this is the best piece on Hydro I've seen in ages (even if what is revealed about Andrew Weaver makes me sad). *RON*]
By Rafe Mair, Common Sense Canadian, 2 August 2016

This is the story of the death of our province’s once greatest institution, BC Hydro. Though the public power utility began its life under Socred Premier WAC Bennett in 1961, the story of its demise starts circa 2001, under the newly-minted Liberal administration of Gordon Campbell.

Today, this once thriving institution is de facto bankrupt, without counting the $8.8-plus billion set aside for Site C Dam (a number surely to double, as we have seen with Newfoundland’s Muskrat Falls) – this catastrophe when customers haven’t required any increase in electricity for more than a decade, while rates increased by 30%.

Here’s Why Black People in Canada Are Healthier Than Those in the U.S.

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[Researchers say it doesn’t have to do with socioeconomic status or Canada’s health care system. But it seems a big stretch to then conclude that this means there is less racism in Canada, especially if you look at the original article's Abstract, where you discover that "aboriginal-white inequalities were larger in Canada." The article itself states that " What differs across the two countries are the magnitude  of inequalities and the racial groups affected by them. " *RON*]

Olivia Campbell, Take Part, 1 August 2016

In the U.S., health disparities are blunt realities: Black infants die at more than double the rate of white babies, middle-aged black men run double the risk of heart attack of white peers, and, overall, blacks experience higher rates of diabetes, certain cancers, and asthma. Socioeconomics has long been blamed as one of the core causes of these wide, persistent health disparities, but the truth may lie elsew…

Canada’s economy is growing at the slowest pace in 60 years and the only thing holding us up is housing

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[Well, this is not so good. *RON*]

Theophilos Argitis, Bloomberg News / Financial Post, 2 August 2016

Canada is in the midst of one of its weakest expansions ever, and only the housing boom keeps it from getting worse.

That’s one of the key takeaways from Friday’s GDP report. Two years since oil prices started plunging, Canada’s economy is almost completely reliant for growth on bank lending and the hot Vancouver and Toronto housing markets generating fees for brokers.

Real estate and financial services now account for 20 per cent of the economy, levels not seen in the data since the early 1960s. That could be a problem, with household debt at a record and policy makers scrambling to slow price gains that are making homes unaffordable for all but the wealthiest buyers.

Canada’s economy shrinks 0.6 per cent in worst month since 2009 recession
Canada the G7 dark horse as IMF projects improved growth in 2017

Ottawa rewrites mandate for screening arms exports

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[Sunny ways. Ottawa's arms export policy no longer mentions any restrictions on sales. It states that human rights consultations about such exports are optional. It allows exports whose use differs from what was intended, and hides the names of exporting companies. *RON*]

Steven Chase, The Globe and Mail, 31 Jul. 2016

The Canadian government has quietly watered down its own mandate for screening the export of military goods, rewriting parts of the only substantive public statement available on Ottawa’s responsibilities for policing foreign sales.
The Report on Exports of Military Goods from Canada, published by the department of Global Affairs, offers the best insight into Ottawa’s export-control policy when it comes to screening deals to sell defence products to foreign customers. A separate export-control handbook provides more of a technical manual for exporters.

The wording in these annual reports, in particular on whether Canada can ship…