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Showing posts from September 17, 2016

Religion in US 'worth more than Google and Apple combined'

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[Having looked at corporate oligarchy, let's turn for a minute to the world's largest collection of oligarchs. The 'faith economy' is worth $1.2tn a year in the US alone – more than the combined revenues of the 10 biggest tech firms in America, a study shows. *RON*]

Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian, 15 September 2016

Religion in the United States is worth $1.2tn a year, making it equivalent to the 15th largest national economy in the world, according to a study.

The faith economy has a higher value than the combined revenues of the top 10 technology companies in the US, including Apple, Amazon and Google, says the analysis from Georgetown University in Washington DC.

The rise of the superstars

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[The current issue of The Economist carries a special report on the rise of oligarchy, which I notice they prefer to describe as 'The rise of the superstars'! "A small group of giant companies—some old, some new—are once again dominating the global economy, says Adrian Wooldridge. Is that a good or a bad thing?" *RON*]
Adrian Wooldridge, The Economist, 17 September 2016

ON AUGUST 31ST 1910 Theodore Roosevelt delivered a fiery speech in Osawatomie, Kansas. The former president celebrated America’s extraordinary new commercial power but also gave warning that America’s industrial economy had been taken over by a handful of corporate giants that were generating unparalleled wealth for a small number of people and exercising growing control over American politics. Roosevelt cautioned that a country founded on the principle of equality of opportunity was in danger of becoming a land of corporate privilege, and pledged to do whatever…

The transatlantic trade deal TTIP may be dead, but something even worse is coming

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[With TTIP looking like a dead duck, international trade activists are turning their eyes toward Canada's CETA agreement with the European Union as representing a new way for the corporatocracy to embed privatization, promote oligarchy, and circumvent democracy . *RON*]
George Monbiot, The Guardian, 6 September 2016
Is it over? Can it be true? If so, it’s a victory for a campaign that once looked hopeless, pitched against a fortress of political, corporate and bureaucratic power.

TTIP – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – appears to be dead. The German economy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, says that “the talks with the United States have de facto failed”. The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, has announced “a clear halt”. Belgian and Austrian ministers have said the same thing. People power wins. For now.

But the lobbyists who demanded this charter for corporate rights never give up. TTIP has been booed off the stage but another…

‘Ghost Forests’ Appear As Rising Seas Kill Trees

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["The mid-Atlantic is sinking faster than nearly anywhere else. The Gulf Stream has been shifting northward, bringing warmer water to the region, accelerating sea level rise. Meanwhile, groundwater pumping and natural geological processes are causing lands to sink." See also: Automakers must stop selling gas-powered cars by 2035 to fight climate change*RON*]

By John Upton, Climate Central, 15 September 2016

OCEAN COUNTY, N.J. — Jennifer Walker stepped off her kayak into a wall of riverside grass. She steadied herself and stooped to scoop soil into a jar, then disappeared into the thicket for more. Analysis of amoeba fossils in the researcher’s samples may help to explain why, jutting above the head-high marsh grass a couple hundred feet further back, cedar forest was dead.

Bare trunks of dead coastal forests are being discovered up and down the mid-Atlantic coastline, killed by the advance of rising seas. The “ghost forests,” as scie…

Canada in the Congo

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[This is quite the version of events. It makes me feel there is much to be learned about Canada's role in Africa. The core of this story hinges on the difference between the US-Canadian and French-Belgian (and local) narratives. The more or less complete re-interpretation of Romeo Dallaire is especially interesting. This conflict is so complex (it's been referred to as Africa's World War) that is may be impossible to get an objective account. See also an incidental bit of interesting Congolese history: Spies in the Congo by Susan Williams review – the race to build the atomic bomb*RON*]
By Yves Engler, Counterpunch, 16 September 2016

Canadian officials have long done as they pleased in Africa, loudly proclaimed this country’s altruism and only faced push back from hard rightists who bemoan sending troops to the “Dark Continent” or “dens of hell”.

With many Canadians normally opposed to war supporting anything called “peacekeeping”…

B.C. premier says big changes coming to MSP premiums

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[Don't fall for this. The public has complained about this for years, but Christy suddenly becomes aware of this long-standing inequality at election time! A) This is a cynical election ploy - it won't happen unless and until she's re-elected. B) She has a history of promising voters the moon at campaign time then developing political Alzheimers after the election. C) She's already 'reformed' MSP previously and it was worse than useless (B.C. eliminates MSP premiums for children, but many others to pay more). D) MSP is a hidden regressive tax. It should be eliminated and rolled into the income tax. *RON*]

By Richard Zussman, CBC News, 16 September 2016

A day after cancelling a planned four per cent increase to Medical Service Plan premiums, Premier Christy Clark said the government is set to make some big changes to the health care fee.

The province will not remove the monthly premium, but is considering fees based on in…