Showing posts from January 2, 2017

The 99 best things that happened in 2016, from Ebola’s eradication in West Africa to saving the manatees

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[Lest we despair, we'd better remember a few of these! *RON*]
Angus Hervey, Quartz via, 27 December 2016

Our media feeds are echo chambers. And those echo chambers don’t just reflect our political beliefs: they reflect our feelings about human progress. Bad news can be a bubble too, so here’s some good stuff that also happened in 2016.

Some of the biggest conservation successes in generation

1. British Columbia protected 85% of one of the world’s largest temperate rainforests, home to the wonderfully named ‘Spirit Bear.’ Reuters

2. In February, Peru and Bolivia signed a $500 million deal to preserve Lake Titicaca. HNGN

12 Investigative News Stories of 2016 Exposing Corporate Greed

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[Corporatocratic pseudoscience and climate denial. From fake news to phony Twitter support, 2016 was dominated by plenty of falsities surrounding climate change and energy development. DeSmog remains dedicated to uncovering this misinformation—and disinformation—clouding the national conversation on climate change. *RON*]
By Ashley Braun, DeSmogBlog / EcoWatch, 30 December 2016

We've put together a list of 12 of our most important and influential stories covering these issues from the last year.

In addition to shining a light on what's false, we also seek to reveal what's true: the enduring dark money influence of the Koch brothers, the international military ties of the firms policing the Dakota Access Pipeline, the differences between the trains carrying ethanol and the "bomb trains" carrying oil.

Jean-Claude Juncker blocked EU curbs on tax avoidance, cables show

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[The real meaning of free trade to the corporate welfare queens. Leaked papers reveal that as Luxembourg’s PM, the European commission president obstructed the bloc’s tax reforms efforts. See also: Sweetheart tax avoidance deals to receive greater scrutiny from the EU. *RON*]
Simon Bowers, The Guardian, 1 January 2017
The president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, spent years in his previous role as Luxembourg’s prime minister secretly blocking EU efforts to tackle tax avoidance by multinational corporations, leaked documents reveal.

Years’ worth of confidential German diplomatic cables provide a candid account of Luxembourg’s obstructive manoeuvres inside one of Brussels’ most secretive committees.

The UBI already exists for the 1%

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[The Universal Basic Income for the rich lies in the rents it extracts from labour's share of the national income. *RON*]

Matt Bruenig,, 1 January 2016

The universal basic income — a cash payment made to every individual in the country — has been critiqued recently by some commentators. Among other things, these writers dislike the fact that a UBI would deliver individuals income in a way that is divorced from working. Such an income arrangement would, it is argued, lead to meaninglessness, social dysfunction, and resentment.

Demand Curve

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[On parvenus versus patricians: Class Wars in the US, marketing-style. Why doesn't Hermès want you to buy their amazingly expensive bag? Brooke Unger gets his head round the economics of the world’s most desirable accessory. *RON*]
Brooke Unger, 1843 Magazine / The Economist, August/September 2016  

On a flight from Paris to London in 1983 Jane Birkin, an Anglo-French chanteuse and actress, spilled the contents of her overstuffed straw bag, including her Hermès diary. Jean-Louis Dumas, Hermès’s chief executive at the time, gallantly picked it up. They chatted about overflowing containers in general and her inadequate weekend bag in particular. Dumas, who had not only exquisite manners but also a fine nose for opportunity, designed a receptacle to her specifications that has become the world’s most expensive handbag. Prices start at $7,000; in June Christie’s Hong Kong sold a matte Himalayan crocodile-skin Birkin with a ten-carat diamond-studd…

Today's Trumpery