Showing posts from August 31, 2016

Fun in the woods was had by all...

[We had a good time romping about in the woods with our neighbours, while staying at their rural trailer camp for a few days! *RON*]

Labor unions and income inequality in America

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["In every state, the top 10 percent of earners gained control over a larger share of the wealth at the same time union membership declined. (See figure below.) There is a causal relationship between the density of union membership and income inequality over the long run. A 1 percent increase in union membership reduces the income share to the top 10 percent by 0.000514 percentage points." See also: 'I'm in a Union—You're Welcome': How Having Strong Labor Unions Helps Everyone Who Works Earn More. *RON*]
David Trilling, Journalist's Resource, 29 August 2016
The issue: Since the Occupy Wall Street movement took over New York’s Zuccotti Park in 2011, income inequality has become a major political issue in the United States. Less often discussed is the role labor unions play in protecting workers’ wages.

In America, according to an estimate from Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, the top 1 percent of earner…

Austerity-Mad Red States Received More Federal Aid

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[Political Hypocrisy 101. Analysis of 2014 budgets finds that states that voted against Obama twice were the greatest beneficiaries of federal money. Welfare queens, Louisiana and Mississippi, receive more than 40% of total state revenue from the federal government. *RON*]
By Lauren McCauleyCommon Dreams, 30 August 2016
Governments of Republican-leaning states are seemingly always banging the drum of austerity: decreasing corporate taxes, slashing spending, and cutting programs. But red states' ideology and their preferences at the voting booth are not reflected in their state budgets, as a new study found that those locales are the greatest beneficiaries of federal money.

According to an analysis by The Hill reporter Reid Wilson of new data (pdf) published by Pew Charitable Trusts on Monday, "the average state that voted against [President Barack] Obama twice relied on federal funding for an average of 33.8 percent of its budget."…

Voters challenge economic orthodoxy on trade, austerity

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["From Brexit to Trump and even at the IMF, neoliberal policies are under attack...  Neoliberalism is hardly ready to gasp its final breath — there are far too many vested interests to sustain it amid widespread economic illiteracy.  But at least it is being recognized for what it is — one of many competing economic theories and one that has been shown to have pernicious and destructive effects. " *RON*]
By Darrell Delamaide, MarketWatch, 31 August 2016
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — When International Monetary Fund economists earlier this summer openly questioned the conditions that the lending agency usually requires with its bailout loans, progressives hailed it as though the wicked witch from “The Wizard of Oz” had doused herself with a bucket of water.

“What does it look like when an ideology dies?” Guardian economics commentator Aditya Chakrabortty asked, referring to the package of orthodox economic tenets known as “neoliberalism.”

An a…

State aid: Ireland gave illegal tax benefits to Apple worth up to €13 billion

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[I imagine this will be quite the tempest in a teapot for a while. With a bit of luck this will represent the beginning of the kind of international cooperation that's needed to put the kibosh on this Gigantor-scale tax evasion. I wouldn't hold your breath for the US Congress or Senate to go along with any quid pro quo, however. *RON*]

European Commission, Brussels, 30 August 2016

The European Commission has concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to €13 billion to Apple. This is illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Ireland must now recover the illegal aid.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Member States cannot give tax benefits to selected companies – this is illegal under EU state aid rules. The Commission's investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to…

Chinese TV host accuses Canada’s tourism body of pressuring to remove program on First Nations

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[The timing is totally suspect, but tit for tat seems fair to me, if Trudeau elects to mount his high horse. *RON*]

Nathan Van der Klippe, Globe and Mail, 29 August 2016
A high-profile Chinese television personality has accused Canadian tourism promoters of censoring discussion of Canada’s indigenous issues days before the first official visit to China by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

On Friday, online video site iQiyi was scheduled to post an episode ofXiaosong Qi Tan, a weekly Chinese talk show. The episode included an interview with a Canadian First Nations chief and touched on Canada’s human rights record.

But the program was pulled after officials with Destination Canada acted in an “arrogant and powerful manner, threatening to use legal, diplomatic and political means” to halt its broadcast, according to the host, Gao Xiaosong, a well-known Chinese singer, songwriter, director and producer.

He levelled his accusations on Weibo, the Chinese so…

The Death Toll in Yemen Is So High the Red Cross Has Started Donating Morgues to Hospitals

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[Scrap Bill C-51. Saudi Arabia's war on Yemen is killing thousands of innocent civilians and putting millions more at risk of starvation. Meanwhile, Canada prepares to send more weapons to the Saudis. Some US congressmen are trying to block such arms shipments from their own country. Read also about the blockades of food and critical supplies; this is taking as high a toll as direct military action. See also: Bill C-51: A Threat to the Rule of Law? *RON]

Alex Emmons, The Intercept, 25 August 2016

ALMOST A YEAR and a half into Saudi Arabia’s U.S.-backed bombing campaign in Yemen, the humanitarian toll has become so extensive that the International Committee of the Red Cross has taken the unusual step of donating entire morgue units to Yemeni hospitals.

“The hospitals were not able to cope,” said Rima Kamal, a Yemen-based spokesperson for the Red Cross. “You could have more than 20 dead people brought into one hospital on one single day. The mo…