Showing posts from May, 2017

Today's Trumpery

[A daily pastiche of Trumpisms and responses thereto. *RON*]

Trump said just 6 false things in the last 10 days, his least dishonest stretch as president, The Star [from a running tally of 250 lies so far]
Trump administration plans to minimize civil rights efforts in agencies, Washington Post
Trump has reportedly decided to withdraw from the Paris climate deal, Business Insider
While Congress Obsesses Over Russia, Americans Being 'Left Behind', Common Dreams
Six Things Trump's FCC Chairman Doesn't Want You to Know About Net Neutrality, Truthout
Awakening from the Trump Nightmare, Moyers & Company [In post-modern democracies, there is one and only one boss: public opinion. And the signs of public disgust are mounting.]

Canada's Income Inequality ‘Surged Under Harper': Analysis

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[Unsurprising, perhaps, but useful documentation to counter the 'alternative facts' crowd. It will be interesting to track this during the Trudeau administration. *RON*]
Daniel Tencer, Huffington Post, 29 May 2017
Poverty and income inequality increased in Canada during the Harper era — but whether or not the policies of the previous Conservative government are to blame remains an open question.

Between 2006 and 2015, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in power, after-tax earnings among Canadians grew from a median of $62,700 to $69,100 — an increase of 10.2 per cent, according to Statistics Canada data released on Friday.

“But the gains were very unfairly distributed,” wrote economist Andrew Jackson in a blog post asserting that inequality "surged under Harper."

Crunching StatsCan's numbers, Jackson — a former economist at the Canadian Labour Congress and now a senior policy advisor at the Broadbent Institute — determined…

Planned border cellphone, social media password searches for visitors to U.S. causing concern

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[More headaches and delays in the offing. *RON*]
Jim Bronskill, Canadian Press / Global News 30 May 2017

Canadian privacy could be imperiled by apparent U.S. plans to demand cellphone and social media passwords from foreign visitors, a federal watchdog says.

In a letter to the House of Commons public safety committee, privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien warns the recent pronouncements from the Trump administration could mean intrusive searches – even at preclearance facilities in Canada.

READ MORE: What you need to know about digital searches at the border

In February, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly suggested at a hearing that American officials could ask people entering the U.S. about the Internet sites they visit as well as passwords to help assess their online activities.

Kelly’s proposal prompted an American coalition of human rights and civil liberties organizations and experts in security, technology and the law to express “deep…

Kinder Morgan Canada shares fall in debut amid political uncertainty in B.C.

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[B.C. NDP and Greens, poised to take power, oppose the pipeline expansion. Kinder-Morgan shares opened below their IPO. See also: Pipeline 'facts and evidence do not change,' PM says as B.C. poised for new government. *RON*]

The Canadian Press Posted: May 30, 2017 10:03 AM ET Last Updated: May 30, 2017 5:51 PM ET Shares in Kinder Morgan Canada fell in their debut Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange as political uncertainty swirled around the company's flagship Trans Mountain expansion project.

The newly listed shares dipped to as low as $15.75 before recovering to close at $16.24, but still below the $17 they were priced at in their initial public offering.

At $1.75 billion, the IPO was on track to be the fourth largest in the Toronto Stock Exchange's history. Kinder Morgan said it fulfilled the final requirement for it to proceed with the Trans Mountain expansion.

The Houston-based company had originally set a higher target price …

Tobacco kills 7 million a year, wreaks environmental havoc: WHO

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[As Canadians know, the WHO statement that jacking up prices and taxes is an effective control measure is only true within sharp limits. *RON*]
AFP, CTV News, 30 May 2017
Smoking and other tobacco use kills more than seven million people each year, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, also warning of the dire environmental impact of tobacco production, distribution and waste.

The UN agency said tougher measures were needed to rein in tobacco use, urging countries to ban smoking in the workplace and indoor public spaces, outlaw marketing of tobacco products and hike cigarette prices.

"Tobacco threatens us all," WHO chief Margaret Chan said in a statement.

"Tobacco exacerbates poverty, reduces economic productivity, contributes to poor household food choices, and pollutes indoor air," she said.

In a report released ahead of World No Tobacco Day on Wednesday, WHO warned that the annual death toll of seven million people had j…

Rep. Adrian Smith On Farm Subsidies And Food Stamps

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[US Taliban. Christian Congressman is not sure all Americans are entitled to eat. And while we're at it: Baptist Pastor Defends Slavery As Beneficial And Biblical. *RON*]

Scott Simon, National Public Radio, 27 May 2017

Scott Simon speaks to Rep. Adrian Smith, a Republican representing a vast rural district in Nebraska, about his views on the Trump administration's proposed cuts to food stamps and farm subsidies.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST: The proposed budget the Trump administration released this week proposes major cuts to many social services, including food stamps and disability programs. We asked listeners to tell us what programs they rely on.

ANGIE SCHULDIES: My oldest daughter was born with hearing loss. And because she's on Medicaid, we've had all the services that she's ever needed. And if Medicaid is cut back too far, then I don't know how we'll afford another surgery.

GWEN VALCOURT: We foster kiddos. And if WIC wa…

Today's Trumpery


Why 3,000 Scientists Think Nuclear Arsenals Make Us Less Safe

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[Apparently, it takes rocket scientists to tell us that nuclear weapons aren't good for us. Despite what you hear in the news, an atomic war between the superpowers is still the biggest threat. *RON*]

Max Tegmark, Scientific American, 26 May 2017

Delegates from most United Nations member states are gathering in New York next month to negotiate a nuclear weapons ban, and 30 Nobel Laureates, a former U.S. Secretary of Defense and over 3,000 other scientists from 84 countries have signed an open letter in support. Why?

We scientists like to geek out about probabilities, megatons and impact calculations, so we see the nuclear situation differently than many politicians and pundits. From the public debate, one might think that the cold war threat is over and that the most likely way to be killed by a nuke is by being attacked by Iran, North Korea or terrorists, but that’s not what nerdy number crunching reveals. Those media-dominating scenarios cou…

Firm behind Dakota Access pipeline faces intense scrutiny for series of leaks

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[Corporations are fueled by sociopathic venality; they have no sense of obligation to maintain the public good except that which is forced upon them by the rule of law and government regulation. Documents suggest that a major spill from the Rover pipeline in Ohio described as 2m gallons of ‘drilling fluids’ might now be more than twice as large. *RON*]

Sam Levin, The Guardian, 25 May 2017

The oil company behind the Dakota Access pipeline is facing intense scrutiny from regulators and activists over a series of recent leaks across the country, including a major spill now believed to be significantly bigger than initially reported.

Documents obtained by the Guardian suggest that a spill from the Rover pipeline that Ohio regulators originally described as 2m gallons might now be more than twice as large. The revelation was included in a legal challenge activists filed on Wednesday to block the natural gas pipeline run by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP…

Is Big Government Bad for Freedom, Civil Society, and Happiness?

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[Despite neoliberal enthusiasm for the notion, the world fails to fall apart when governments force public goods upon an unsuspecting public! *RON*]

Lane Kenworthy, Evonomics / Lane Kenworthy's Blog

Public goods, services, and transfers boost living standards, reduce insecurity, improve health, and equalize opportunity. But in the course of achieving these valuable goals, do government programs impinge on freedom, weaken civil society, and reduce happiness?

Critics of modern government often assert that they do. “The state can gravely threaten the space for private life,” says Yuval Levin. “It can do so,” he explains, “by invading that space and attempting to fill it, and by collapsing that space under the weight of government’s sheer size, scope, and cost. Both dangers have grown grave and alarming in our time.” Several decades earlier, Milton and Rose Friedman warned of a “major evil” of public social programs: “their effect on the fabric …

B.C. Greens and NDP strike deal for ‘stable’ minority government

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[That's a lot of power in the hands of Andrew Weaver, aka Man of the Moment. Official details of the agreement come out today. We still need to see how Christy Clark reacts and ditto for the Lieutenant Governor. *RON*]

Paula Baker, Global News, 29 May 2017
The B.C. Green Party has reached an agreement to support the NDP and “create a stable minority government.”

The announcement was made jointly by the party leaders, Andrew Weaver and John Horgan, Monday afternoon.
Andrew Weaver
I am thrilled to be working with John Horgan and the @bcndp so that BC can have a stable minority government for four years. #bcpoli …2:35 PM - 29 May 2017Negotiations between the Greens, NDP and Christy Clark’s Liberals have been ongoing since the May 9 election, which resulted in a minority government.

The election did not produce a clear winner in the 87-seat legislature, with the Liberals taking 43 …

Pope appeared open to idea of a residential schools apology: Trudeau

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[hy·poc·ri·sy. noun the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behaviour does not conform; pretence. synonyms: dissimulation, false virtue, cant, posturing, affectation, speciousness, empty talk, insincerity, falseness, deceit, dishonesty, mendacity, pretence, duplicity. Trudeau busily wrings an apology from the Pope when all he has done for Aboriginals is to launch a failed inquiry and approve oil pipelines against their will. *RON*]
Joanna Smith, Canadian Press / CTV News, 29 May 2017
VATICAN CITY -- Canadians are anxious to reconcile with Indigenous Peoples, Justin Trudeau described telling Pope Francis on Monday as he asked the pontiff to apologise for the role the Catholic Church played in the tragedy of residential schools.

The Pope -- himself no stranger to the cause of social justice, he noted to Trudeau -- seemed open to the idea, the prime minister said as he related the broad strokes of their pri…