Showing posts from March 30, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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

Trump Eases Combat Rules in Somalia Intended to Protect Civilians, New York Times
Behind Trump’s Bloody War in Yemen: A Saudi Offensive Against Iran, AlterNet
I am an Arctic researcher. Donald Trump is deleting my citations, The Guardian
BREAKING: Donald Trump Doesn't Care About Science, Mother Jones [Chief Technology Officer is a vacant position and the staff in the office is down to one person.]
Trump administration seeks mainly modest changes to NAFTA: WSJ, Reuters [Minor? He wants beefed up arbitration panels and a 'free trade agreement' that permits tariffs!?]

Trump administration sought to block Sally Yates from testifying to Congress on Russia, Washington Post

How Low-Paying Jobs and Weak Safety Nets Reduce Innovation and Productivity

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[Seems darned obvious once you say it, but it's counter to the current 'spin' so it's not top-of-mind for anyone: Low labour costs discourage investments in labour-saving technology, potentially reducing productivity growth.. And, given the structure of our social safety net, automation tends to increase poverty and inequality rather than unemployment. *RON*]

Ryan Avent, Evonomics, 25 March 2017

People are worried about robots taking jobs. Driverless cars are around the corner. Restaurants and shops increasingly carry the option to order by touchscreen. Google’s clever algorithms provide instant translations that are remarkably good.

But the economy does not feel like one undergoing a technology-driven productivity boom. In the late 1990s, tech optimism was everywhere. At the same time, wages and productivity were rocketing upward. The situation now is completely different. The most recent jobs reports in America and Britain tell t…

The Multibillion-Dollar U.S. Spy Agency You Haven’t Heard of

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[Never heard of 'em, though I've seen a video on ARGUS. How President Trump might turn an all-seeing spy apparatus on innocent American citizens. *RON*]
James Bamford, Foreign Policy, 20 March 2017

On a heavily protected military base some 15 miles south of Washington, D.C., sits the massive headquarters of a spy agency few know exists. Even Barack Obama, five months into his presidency, seemed not to have recognized its name. While shaking hands at a Five Guys hamburger restaurant in Washington in May 2009, he asked a customer seated at a table about his job. “What do you [do]?” the president inquired. “I work at NGA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,” the man answered. Obama appeared dumbfounded. “So, explain to me exactly what this National Geospatial…” he said, unable to finish the name. Eight years after that videotape aired, the NGA remains by far the most shadowy member of the Big Five spy agencies, which include the CIA and…

North Dakota pipeline spill larger than previously thought

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[Oil companies lie about the size of spills - say it ain't so! Couldn't happen here though. An initial appraisal of the Belle Fourche Pipeline spill in December estimated that 176,000 gallons of oil had been released from the leaking pipe. But now, officials are saying that number was actually about three times larger – 529,839 gallons of leaked oil. *RON*]

Weston Williams, Christian Science Monitor, 26 March 2017

Last December, the Belle Fourche Pipeline in western North Dakota ruptured. At the time, the company estimated that 176,000 gallons of oil had been spilled before the pipeline was shut down.

But according to an updated estimate, the amount of oil that leaked from Bell Fourche was significantly higher, making it one of the largest pipeline spills in the state's history.

According to North Dakota's spill investigation program manager Bill Suess, the new estimate is that 529,839 gallons (or 12,615 barrels) of oil that have le…

Clark Liberals siphoning millions of dollars in WCB funds that should go to injured workers, and improved workplace safety measures, says BCFED

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[Corporate welfare queens vs. worker rights and public health. Another one that didn't make it into our oh-so-unbiased local media. BC ELECTION 2017!!! *RON*]

BC Federation of Labour, 29 March 2017 | News Release

Vancouver - Premier Christy Clark’s plan to siphon tens of millions of dollars in funds for injured workers and gift it to employers is an outrageous political move and comes at a time when more needs to be done to keep workers safe on the job and fairly compensate those who are killed or injured, charges BC Federation of Labour President Irene Lanzinger.

The move on WCB funds was announced late this morning and would take effect after the May 9 provincial election.

“The money that the government and employers are appropriating should instead be used to improve benefits for workers killed and injured on the job that were slashed by the BC Liberals,” Lanzinger says.

“On the job, workers’ daily experience is that government and employers …

Europe’s biggest banks register €25 billion profit in tax havens

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[I haven't seen this story being covered elsewhere. Tax evasion is lucrative business for banksters - surprise! *RON*]
Oxfam International, 27 March 2017

Europe’s 20 biggest banks are registering over a quarter of their profits in tax havens – well out of proportion to the level of real economic activity that occurs there, according to a new report by Oxfam and the Fair Finance Guide International today.

The report, ‘Opening the Vaults,’ suggests the discrepancy may have arisen because some banks are using tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of tax, to facilitate tax dodging for their clients, or to circumvent regulations and legal requirements.

The research was made possible by new EU transparency rules that require European banks to publish information on the profits they make and the tax they pay in every country they operate. The report finds:
Tax havens account for 26 percent of the profits made by the 20 biggest European banks …