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Showing posts from March 31, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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Asset sales plan secures EU backing for $130 billion Dow, DuPont merger

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[How on earth is this not an anti-trust case? Because we live in a corporatocracy. *RON*]

Foo Yun Chee, Reuters, 27 March 2017

Dow Chemical and DuPont won the blessing of the European Union for their $130 billion merger on Monday by agreeing to sell substantial assets including key research and development activities.

The European Commission had been concerned that the merger of two of the biggest and oldest U.S. chemical producers would leave few incentives to produce new herbicides and pesticides in the future. The deal is one of a trio of mega mergers that will reshape the industry and consolidate six companies into three.

Asset sales would ensure competition in the sector and benefit European farmers and consumers, the Commission said.

"We need effective competition in this sector so companies are pushed to develop products that are ever safer for people and better for the environment," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vesta…

Special prosecutor appointed to B.C. campaign fundraising probe

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[David Butcher QC will advise the RCMP and its investigation into alleged campaign fundraising violations. Note that this is the same impartial investigator who was assigned to investigate Clark's multicultural 'quick wins' scandal, and who resolved that to Christy's great satisfaction by throwing one staffer under the bus while ignoring the political bosses who gave the orders. *RON*]

Karin Larsen, CBC News, 30 March 2017
David Butcher QC has been appointed special prosecutor to provide legal advice to the RCMP in its investigation into indirect political contributions and other alleged contraventions of the B.C. Election Act.
Earlier this month Elections BC announced it would investigate alleged campaign fundraising violations after media reports of lobbyist contributing to the B.C. Liberal Party as individuals, and then being reimbursed by a client of company.

Elections BC referred the investigation to the RCMP to ensure it wou…

Want to solve income inequality? Simple: pay workers more

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[Count on the Irish to get to the heart of things. We accord the 'dismal profession' too much respect and listen to too much of its baloney. *RON*]
Chris Johns, Irish Times, 28 March 2017

Economic forecasts aren’t what they were. Not much attention has been paid to them since the crystal ball gazers failed to spot the global financial crisis. Forecasts of an immediate recession in the UK after last June’s Brexit vote were wide enough of the mark to shred what little respect is left for the dismal profession. It is almost anachronistic to see headlines proclaiming the latest forecasts of the likes of the IMF and the OECD. Who pays attention to this stuff any more?

If, indeed, nobody listens to forecasters, then the harm that they can do is probably minimal. Their work is, at most, an academic curiosity. To the extent that they are needed, forecasts feed into corporate and government planning cycles: budgets need projections of revenues an…

Drought doesn't cause famine. People do.

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[Deaths by famine are eminently preventable if the situation is acted upon early, and the warning signs are well known. During the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII, what has stopped such early action is politics. *RON*]

Sophie Chou, Public Radio International, 27 March 2017

The United Nations announced this month that more than 20 million people in four countries are teetering on the edge of famine, calling the situation “the worst humanitarian crisis” since the end of World War II.

The key for avoiding the worst outcomes? Political will, experts say.

Modern famines are different from those the world faced 60 to 70 years ago. In the past, with less warning and less international support, more people died from hunger. In the early and mid-20th century, famines killed millions in Europe and Asia, in areas with much larger populations than areas which suffer from food insecurity today.

According to estimates from the World Peace Foundation, the dea…

The All-Male Photo Op Isn’t a Gaffe. It’s a Strategy.

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[A good piece. Many people have limited access to the New York Times, so I'll occasionally post some of their stories separately, even when they are Trump pieces, so they can be accessed by everyone in full. *RON*]

Jill Filipovic, New York Times, 27 March 2017

During the great Republican health care debacle, President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with the far-right congressional Freedom Caucus to discuss, among other things, stripping out requirements for insurance companies to cover maternity, newborn and pregnancy care. After the meeting, Mr. Pence tweeted a photo of two dozen men sitting around a table. Kellyanne Conway was reportedly in the room, but in the picture the vice president circulated, there was not a woman in sight.

For liberals, the photo seemed like an inadvertent insight into the current Republican psyche: Powerful men plotting to leave vulnerable women up a creek, so ensconced in their misogynistic world they don’…