Showing posts from February 7, 2018

Today's Trumpery


The Arctic is full of toxic mercury, and climate change is going to release it

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[Because all that methane in the permafrost wasn't enough to worry about. *RON*]

Chris Mooney, Washington Post, 5 February 2018

We already knew that thawing Arctic permafrost would release powerful greenhouse gases. On Monday, scientists revealed it could also release massive amounts of mercury — a potent neurotoxin and serious threat to human health.

Permafrost, the Arctic’s frozen soil, acts as a massive ice trap that keeps carbon stuck in the ground and out of the atmosphere — where, if released as carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas would drive global warming. But as humans warm the climate, they risk thawing that permafrost and releasing that carbon, with microbial organisms becoming more active and breaking down the ancient plant life that had previously been preserved in the frozen earth. That would further worsen global warming, further thawing the Arctic — and so on.

That cycle would be scary enough, but U.S. government scientists on Mon…

Icahn: The market will one day 'implode' because of these wacky funds using so much leverage

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[The same venal plutocrats who agreed that they were wrong, for five minutes, back in 2008, have tripled down on their same-old ways, and will continue to do so until they are stopped by a) the government, or b) an even bigger financial implosion. There are too many exotic, leveraged products and one day these securities are going to blow up the market, Carl Icahn tells CNBC. The billionaire investor says, "The market itself is way over-leveraged," and at some point could "implode." But for now, he believes, "This thing will probably bounce back." *RON*]
Matthew J. Belvedere, CNBC, 6 February 2018

Billionaire Carl Icahn told CNBC on Tuesday there are too many exotic, leveraged products for investors to trade, and one day these securities are going to blow up the market.

The market is a "casino on steroids" with all these exchange-traded funds and exchange-traded notes, he said.

These funds, especially the leve…

No fixed address: More Vancouverites are opting to live in vehicles, but is it sustainable?

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[Sky-high rents and a lack of affordable housing are forcing a growing number of locals to live in RVs, cars and camper vans. See also: Photo of RV community under SkyTrain has "Van" City abuzzChurch looks to welcome homeless to Marpole housing site.  *RON*]

Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier, 6 February 2018

It is not where Gord Hocking wants to lay his head for much longer.

But after he lost his room two years ago in a social housing building at Main Street and East First Avenue, where he lived for five years with his disabled girlfriend Geraldine, the 48-year-old carpenter had enough of sleeping on the street and bought a used tent trailer for $600.

It was home for a while, until it began to leak.

So Hocking worked out a deal with the owner of a 1979 Dodge motorhome parked on the same industrial strip where he set up the trailer. He now lives inside the school bus-sized unit with Geraldine, who was evicted two weeks ago from their old…

Can it happen here, of course: Canada and Trumpism

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[As usual, the wishy-washy, neither-here-nor-there quality of Canadians is our saving grace. I've put a hold on the book Could it Happen Here?: Canada in the Age of Trump and Brexit with my local library. *RON*]

Jeff Shantz,, 6 February 2018

With the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and the rise of far-right neo-fascist groups in various Western liberal democracies, it is reasonable that people would ask about social characteristics that contribute to the return of, and/or growth of, fascism and to ask if it could happen, or is happening, in their country. Such is the case in Canada, where many progressives are asking if a Trump could emerge and assume control of the government. How is a period of questioning authority giving rise to authoritarianism?

Note that this is not about the emergence and mobilization of neo-fascist groups -- these are clearly already present in Canada. Nor is it about manifestations of white supremacy (eve…

We will use sanctions to punish you, says Brussels

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[The EU is demanding unprecedented unilateral powers to punish Britain with sanctions if it breaches the terms of the Brexit transition. *RON*]

Bruno Waterfield, Oliver Wright & John Walsh, The Times, 7 February 2018

Brussels is demanding that Theresa May submits to powers allowing the European Union to ground flights, suspend single market access and impose trade tariffs on the UK during the Brexit transition period.

Under the proposals, the EU would have unprecedented legal powers — without the oversight of European courts — to punish Britain unilaterally if it breached the terms of the transition.

The prime minister has also been warned by Brussels that she must make a legal commitment to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland within weeks or the EU will “stall” Brexit trade and transition talks. Both issues are expected to be discussed by ministers this afternoon when the cabinet’s Brexit sub-committee meets to try to reach agreement…