What To Do About ISIS

Here is an superb analysis of what to do against ISIS after the Paris massacre.
Charlie Rose pulled together a team of experts with diverse view points. They include:
1)Peter Baker NYTimes Washington political reporter.
2)Roger Cohen NYTimes Opinion Page writer
3)Matt Olsen, former director of the National Counter-terrorism Center in Washington
4)Bernard-Henri Lévy, French philosopher and writer
5)Michael Weiss, senior editor at The Daily Beast and co-author of “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.” His insights on whats happening on the ground and who the players are in Syria and Iraq are invaluable in the discussion.
The discussions and analysis are quite frank and pointed. See for yourself:

Be sure to watch Charlie Rose on PBS Wednesday Nov 18th for the follow on show discussing the situation. There should be top flight observations and analysis again. This is some of the best reporting on Syria, ISIS and Repercussions of the Paris Attacks and what decisions have to be made in Europe, US and Middle East.

Apple Abandons Web Designers

Two years ago, Takethe5th did a story on how Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and the Microsoft Minions did a 20 year continuous shafting of Web Developers. Well, in the Web World times change at a Back-to-the-Future pace. Now Apple under CEO Tim Cook has taken over the shit-on-you toilet  and is shafting all those Web Designers and Developers that have shown impressive loyalty to a proprietary brand in hardware,

True Steve Jobs was proprietary right from the beginning in hardware,  development tools and software for his Mac/OS and iOS operating system software. But Steve took a cross platform approach on the Web side supporting WebKit browser engine, CSS3 early, HTML5 early, clean DOM, and close to JavaScript/ECMAScript standard. But look what has happened under Tim Cook’s “leadership”.
1)Apple Safari becomes worst browser for HTML5:
web1Two years ago Apple Safari lead Microsoft Internet Explorer by a wide margin in HTML5Test.
web2Now Apple Safari has replaced Microsoft Edge/Internet Explorer at the bottom of the stack.

But the list of Apple transgressions against Web standards is growing longer by the year:
– Apple delays force Google and Opera out of Webkit – see here and here
– Apple barely support ContentEditable for HTML Editors – see here:
– Apple abandons WebSQL followed by Google – see here
– Apple refuses Pointer Events W3C Recommendation, Google follows as seen here:

Rick Byers of Google states: No argument that PE is more elegant. If we had a path to universal input that all supported, we would be great with that, but not all browsers will support PE. If we had Apple on board with PE, we’d still be on board too. The equation has shifted for us.

– Apple supports Application Cache API less crucial audio files – see here
– Apple undoes HTML5 Form Validation because it is only vendor who won’t halt the submission of an invalid form – see here.
– Apple does not support WebRTC – real time communication – see here.
– Apple support for ECMASCript/JavaScript 6 lags way behind all major vendors – see here.
– Apple Safari on Windows has not been updated for 3 years and counting
-Apple Safari on iPad
In general the Web Developer community sees Apple as the new Microsoft, stifling Web standards:

We need to stop letting Apple stifle the work of browser vendors and standards bodies. Too many times, we’ve seen browser vendors with the best intentions fall victim to Apple’s reluctance to work with standards bodies and WebKit’s dominance on mobile devices. We cannot let this continue to happen.

from the jQuery team

Apple has a very, very strong influence over what standards get adopted and what standards do not. Partly it’s market share, partly it’s developer bias (see, for example, how other vendors eventually felt forced to start supporting the webkit prefix due to vendor prefix abuse).
Apple simply does not play well with other vendors when it comes to standardization. The same sort of things we once criticized Microsoft for doing long ago, we give Apple a pass on today. They’re very content to play in their own little sandbox all too often.

from Tim Kadlec

So congratulations to Web Designers and Developer, for all your loyalty to Apple hardware and software, Tim Cook has seen fit to return the favor by becoming worse than Microsoft in proprietary implementations and stifling hard won Web standards.

An American Theme ?

This situation has a strong echo in contemporary America – foisting work and loss on others. Almost all Business Executives that once made 15-20x times the average overall compensation of their employees. now enjoy a ratio of  over 300x . These same business executive are holding over $2 trillion dollars in earnings overseas. Just returning one third of that would spark a resurgence in the American economy.of massive proportions. Meanwhile many of those executives are working hard to lower wages and benefits, eliminate “redundant” workers by automation and outsourcing. Wall Street Bankers after getting rescued to the tune of hundreds of billions of public dollars,rewarded that same public generosity with miniscule to no mortgage relief for millions of underwater mortgage holders while  retaining most of the executives who committed the fraud. And IT executives at Apple who depended on loyalty of their Graphic and Web Designer/Developers for their survival and the surging growth of the iOS family, now are short changing those same groups with their adoption of a deeply proprietary stance in both hardware, software and Web standards. Thank you Tim Cook [652 x average Apple workers salary]and company.

Titanic Split Threatens the GOP

The Grand Old Party is coming apart at the seams.
For the past 10 years the Republican  party has played loyal supporters to its 1% sponsors [think NRA, Climate Change deniers, Wall Street, etc, etc] while allowing its Tea Party rump of 40-50 House members to dictate policy that is increasingly unpopular with the GOP’s own members. On major issues the GOP has drifted ever further away from both national and GOP’s own popularly-supported positions. These are major national issues like background checks and  other gun control measures, action on global warming, Christian prayer in schools, campaign finance overhaul, etc. It is now a case  in which the GOP ignores the majority wishes of its own party supporters let alone national sentiment.

Instead the GOP has voted for unpopular measures with multiple votes such as  56 votes against Obamacare and repeated threats to shutdown the government despite the political damage that the 2013 shutdown of the government inflicted on the party. Part of this is frustration arising from the fact that in 2014 the GOP gained  majorities in the Senate [54 to 46 seats] and padded its lead in the House [247 to 188, a whopping 59 vote advantage]. So now the  NO GOP Congress could set its own agenda by overriding any Presidential vetoes with big majorities in both the Senate and the House.

But the notorious NO GOP Congress of 2008-2001 which had successfully defeated all of President Obama’s attempts to revive the economy, act on Climate change, or reset Gun Background check laws in the light of the Sandy Hook massacre, etc  – all had been successfully thwarted by the GOP. But one of the crucial ingredients for disabling Obama’s policies was the unprecedented use of the cloture vote in the Senate. Used sparingly on matters of national import [3-4 time/year] upto 1970s, cloture use quadrupled from 1980 to 2000 and then doubled again  with heavy  GOP use from 2006 to 2010 .

The cloture vote required 60 votes in the Senate to pass a measure subject to Cloture opposition. Votes on Infrastructure programs  to revive the Economy plus Climate Change bills among many others were defeated by the GOP in the 2006 to 2010 era  even though the Democrats had Senate and House  majorities at that time. So now that Democrats lost a Senate majority, they used the same Cloture tactics on the GOP for several recent bills associated with the Iran Deal. The result has been the Democarats have   insured that a Presidential veto on GOP rejection of the Iran Treaty could not be reversed so the Iran Deal would ultimately pass.in Congress despite fervent GOP opposition.

Congressional Stalemate Leads to GOP Chaos

But these recent Republican stalemates have sparked a  revolt among an ultraconservative elite in the GOP, the Tea Partiers now re-dubbed as the Freedom Caucus.[read this superb article]. This is a group of 40-50 GOP Congressmen who have the following common characteristics:
1)They are all white and, except for 1 Congresswoman, all male;
2)They represent severely gerrymandered districts that guarantee them 13% or better  Republican majority advantage in every election;
3)They have recourse to business and PAC money substantially larger than any GOP primary opposition or Democratic election time opponents;
4)They come from across the Southern Tier of Red States;
5)They benefit from the fact that GOP moderates [read those who  support some compromises with the Democrats] have been eliminated from their and nearby districts. So their no-compromise ethos can be easily adopted;
6)They can call upon information and organizational support from radical GOP Think Tanks;
7)They have been prepped in the arcane rules of House legislation so they can use House processes similar to the Cloture rule in the Senate, to effectively control the House agenda.

Their aggressive, no-compromise actions have lead to the current GOP Chaos, the latest and deepest split within the Republican party. The so called GOP establishement in both the House and Senate resent the fact that this comparatively small group,the Freedom Caucus, is now dictating policy. This resentment  is made worse because Donal Trump, the non-GOP Establishment  candidate for President in 2016 has manged to lead the polls for 6 months while espousing policy and attitudes that echo and often  go beyond the Freedom Caucus positions.

Nowhere is this chaos and internal conflict more evident in the deposing of John Boehner as House Speaker followed his heir apparent, Kevin McCarthy having to withdraw from the race to become the new Speaker. After such a ruthless move, nobody wants to take on the position including Paul Ryan, GOP Vice Presidential candidate. Time Magazine describes very well the perilous situation for both the GOP and the Nation:

In the current House, every bill represents a potential opportunity for the Freedom Caucus to depose the speaker if they are unhappy with the bill he has put forward, which is likely to be the case at least some of the time. If the Speaker puts forward a bill to continue funding the government, he can be deposed. If he tries to avoid a default on the nation’s debt, the same outcome is possible once again. The Ex-Im Bank reauthorization, the Federal Aviation reauthorization, tax extenders vital to the business community and a multi-year transportation infrastructure bill: all must-pass items by the end of the year—some, like the debt ceiling by early November. And yet little or no negotiating for a solution on any of these issues is taking place because of the chaos surrounding the House leadership elections.

The divisions between the Freedom Caucus/Tea Party and the Republican establishment are so deep they could now cleave the party in two.

A Third Party for Tea

Do not dismiss the notion of the GOP splitting and forming a third party. In 1912, the GOP split into the GOP and Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose party for that years’s Presidential election. And the historical record shows Third Party candidates taking the Presidency.So the precedent has been set.

Already current GOP front runner Donald Trump has not ruled out running as an independent. And given the amount of money that Trump can bring forward plus the huge $100 million money bags in  opaque Super PAC dollars available, the emergence of a third party for Congressional seats or even Presidential office cannot be totally discounted. Yes, the implications for the GOP in the 2016 Presidential election would be dire given a party in divorce proceedings. But given the chaotic conditions unleashed by the Supreme Courts disastrous Citizens United decision, the 1%,  dread  Bernie and Hillary’s policies on drastically limiting campaign finance. So, the elites might want to preclude that outcome if they could find a good stalking horse.

In sum, the US federal government has been dysfunctional since the election of Barack Obama because of the deliberate sabotage campaign sponsored by the GOP and their investors. The Republicans have been determined to show that government does not work by deliberately scuttling the recovery and effective policy proposals. NYTimes Paul krugman describe the GOP as Money Crazy, but that reflects the nature of their 1% sponsors. The chilling prospects of a Manchurian Candidate-like scenario now looms larger with the Chaos in the GOP as a symptom of the larger duress on the current US political system.

3 Abominable Obama Policy Decisions

The GOP Leadership is prepared to tell you that Barack Obama is the worst President in US History because they need  a scapegoat  for George W. Bush disastrous incumbency. Just consider the consequences of  Bush decisions. Bush systematically ignored all the September 9/11 warning signs preventing his administration from ‘connecting the dots that blasted into the World trade Center Towers and changed American History and policy for decades. Bush  literally and figuratively flew over the Katrina ravaged New Orleans setting a new standard for ignoring the needy.

Bush’s DOJ and other finacial agencies were so crippled in fighting Wall Street excesses that the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 was made devastatingly worse. And Bush ceded so many military and foreign policy  decisions to Dick Cheney that he, with his Gang of Draft Dodgers Neocons,  conjured up the Iraq War myths and got the US embroiled in disastrous  sectarian wars in the Mideast. So the GOP recriminations on Obamacare and Deficit Spending are wasted breath especially considering the GOP  have some very legitimate targets – let us call them the 3 Obama Abominable Policy decisions.

3 Decisions by the President were early, awful … actually, abominable. First, Obama gave a pass on investigating and prosecuting the Bush administration for building up its false case for the Iraq War. Clearly there was evidence for malfeasance but the political wisdom in the name of bipartisanship was “do not prosecute”. The supreme irony is that as GOP’s reward for these “pardons” was to plot during Obama’s inauguration by the GOP Congressional leadership their brutally Partisan and largely successful NO Sabotage Strategy against Obama.

The second abominable decision was similar in scope. Presidential advisers Larry Summers and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner argued that the Wall Street Banks were too weak and so the Wall Street executives responsible for the Financial Bubble and the need to break up the banks and clear house of the financial wrong doers in effect had to be left left intact. Suffice it to say for these mercies the Obama administration was rewarded with very limited reduction in mortgage amounts by these same banks. And then to add to the insult, the Banks just bailed out to the tune of hundreds of billions of government dollars, committed  a series of scandalous robosignings of mortgage foreclosures followed by LIBOR interest rate manipulations, massive illegal tax shelters for the wealthy and money laundering for drug lords and political tyrants.  In essence this decision set the tone for the kid glove treatment accorded to Wall Street executives..

The third abominable Obama decision was the appointment of Eric Holder as Attorney General. Before he was appointed, Eric Holder had worked as Covington & Burling partner – “no law firm has done more to protect Wall Street executives from the consequences of their criminal activities than Covington & Burling.  Their roster of clients includes every mega-bank in America: JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Bank of America.” And Eric delivered for his banking clients while Attorney General – no prosecutions or disqualification of HSBC executives for blatant money laundering; no action against banks executives at JPMorgan-Chase,  Citigroup, Ally Financial, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and others for mortgage frauds and  foreclosure illegal robosignings; no executive prosecutions just fines for Barclays, Credit Suisse , JPMorgan-Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland for Libor interest rate fixes; again just fines for Credit Suisse for tax evasion manipulations; just fines against BNP Paribas for evading financial sanctions, just fines for Bank of  Americas  for gross mortgage misconduct , and similar treatment of fines but no white collar prosecutions or disqualification of bank executives of ever working for any financial institutions for their financial  crimes from 2007 thriough 2011. This is the US Attorney General aiding and abetting defiance of the Rule of Law by Wall Street executives.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder REUTERS/Gary Cameron

So now what does the NYTimes tell us? The Justice Department after having the white collar crime barn door propped open for 6 long years by Attorney General Eric Holder is now going to be working hard to get white collar financial crime prosecutions. But who will be opposing the US Justice Department in getting those financial white collar convictions – why of course, ex-Attorney General Eric Holder who now works for his old law firm of Covington & Burling as a partner defending Wall Street Financial Executives.

Meanwhile the Justice Department under Eric Holder was responsible for allowing Police Actions against Blacks to get out of hand so we have the Black Lives Matter crisis. Congratulations Barack Obama you have not just General Shinseki at Veterans Affairs, Department of Health’s Katherine Sibelius, but most despicably Attorney General Eric Holder as proof that a)Government does not work,  b)the Democrats can rival the GOP for government executive incompetence of the highest order, and c)most tellingly, big money talks bigtime in the Beltway.

But even, more amazing is the fact that the GOP lets all these issues slide and rather emphasizes that Obama fails because  “he is not born in the US”, Syria/Libya/Benghazi “failures”, Obamacare “sucks”, the Iran deal betrays Israel and false Deficit concerns. No wonder the American public is increasingly skeptical of the Beltway politicians as reflected in the latest Presidential polls. Bernie Sanders has hit the Beltway nail right on the head –  by allowing unfettered corporate and wealthy  elites  to flood money into not just Beltway but politics at every level – government is subject to ever more  corrupting and corrosive effects and has become ever more dysfunctional and unable to deliver good policy for the majority of Americans.

Incoming Jobs Tsunami: WTF! Economy

timorIn the past week, Takethe5th has been describing the incoming Jobs Tsunami in which AI and massive processing capabilities now take over a large chunk of white collar as well as blue collar jobs. Well here is a conference by Silicon Valley Guru Tim O’Reilly called the Next Economy which confirms the pervasive nature of the Jobs Tsunami. It is Tim’s fundamental argument that grabs attention – “Every industry and every organization will have to transform itself in the next few years, in multiple ways, or fade away.

Here is a sample of the topics to be discussed:

WTF?! In San Francisco, Uber has 3x the revenue of the entire prior taxi and limousine industry.

WTF?! Without owning a single room, Airbnb has more rooms on offer than some of the largest hotel groups in the world. Airbnb has 800 employees, while Hilton has 152,000.

WTF?! Top Kickstarters raise tens of millions of dollars from tens of thousands of individual backers, amounts of capital that once required top-tier investment firms.

WTF?! What happens to all those Uber drivers when the cars start driving themselves? AI technologies are flying planes, driving cars, advising doctors on the best treatments, writing sports and financial news, and telling us all, in real time, the fastest way to get to work. They are also telling human workers when to show up and when to go home, based on real-time measurement of demand.The algorithm is the new shift boss.

WTF?! A fabled union organizer gives up on collective bargaining and instead teams up with a successful high tech entrepreneur and investor togo straight to the people with a local $15 minimum wage initiative that is soon copied around the country, outflanking a gridlocked political establishment in Washington.With a mobile era epithet, WTF!, Tim O’Reilly underlines the massive scope of incoming change in Work and Business. It is Silicon Valley powered and who better to observe that scene.

State of Canadian Labor Relations and Media Coverage



Friday, July 3rd,  there was a two day wildcat strike at Toronto’s Pearson Airport. On a busy summer weekend 37 then 50+ workers called in sick on Friday and Saturday disrupting traffic at the Airport. Here was the coverage of the event in the Toronto Newspapers:

Toronto GlobeandMailToronto StarToronto SunNational Post
Toronto GlobeandMail

Scores of passengers saw their plans disrupted Friday when about 100 flights at Toronto Pearson International Airport were cancelled and many others delayed as a result of an apparent protest by workers facing job losses when a refuelling contract changes hands later this year.

A union spokesman says 30 of 47 workers scheduled for the Friday morning shift called in sick, while others refused to work overtime. Just 17 of 56 workers showed up in the afternoon with one shift remaining to provide fuel for the rest of the day’s flights. “Basically these guys are all going to lose their jobs Oct. 1 and so I think frustration is the key phrase,” ….

A number of airlines are switching their refuelling business to Aircraft Service International Group (ASIG) in Toronto as of Oct. 1 and have already moved to Swissport in Montreal as of July 1.Trbovich said employees of Consolidated Aviation Fueling Services will have to apply for the same type of job at ASIG at lower wages and with no pension. Workers currently earning between $18 and 23 per hour will start at minimum wage up to a high of $14.

Toronto Star

A wildcat job action by workers who refuel aircraft has delayed or cancelled dozens of flights to and from Toronto Pearson International Airport on Friday.

“We are experiencing some delays and cancellations due to discussions between the airlines and the aircraft fueling company,” the airport said on its webpage. “Please check with your airline regarding flight information before proceeding to the airport.”

Delays of more than four hours were reported on Friday morning and flight delays and cancellations could get far worse throughout the day for various airlines using the airport.

As the disruption extended late into Friday afternoon, Air Canada issued a tweet announcing that change fees would be waived for flights on July 3, 4, and 5. This follows an announcement from earlier today allowing changes to Friday flights to be made without charge.

The Star went on to describe the disruption suffered by several passengers but no mention was made of the the loss of pay, pensions and even jobs to be suffered by the fuel workers on Oct 1.

Toronto Sun

Dozens of employees responsible for fuelling planes at Pearson airport called in sick Friday morning over a job action dispute which left passengers stranded.Employees with Consolidated Aviation Fuelling Services held a “sick-in” to protest job losses after Air Canada announced it was switching fuel providers….

Air Canada is switching its Toronto and Montreal fuel providers from Consolidated Aviation to ASIG in Toronto, effective Oct. 1, and to Swissport in Montreal, effective July 1. Trbovich says the fuelling staff are worried about job losses, benefits and pensions. “The airline walked away from the contract and can’t say they are the victim in this,” Trbovich said.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick says the airline isn’t involved in the labour dispute and that the disruption involves all airlines at the airport.”This is not a labour disruption between the airlines and their fuelling company,” Fitzpatrick said. “This is a labour disruption at Consolidated Aviation Fuelling Services which is affecting all airlines at Pearson. Delays and cancellations can be expected as a result and passengers should check on the status of their flight before getting to the airport.” The fuelling employees should be able to find work with the new company as their jobs are highly skilled and require strict security clearances, Fitzpatrick said.

Note like the Star, the Toronto Sun did not cite the fact that the fueling employees faced a cutback in wages of greater than 50% to just above minimum wage with no pension benefits despite the fact that “their jobs are highly skilled and require strict security clearances”. Given that assessment by Air Canada’s Fitzpatrick the obvious follow-up questions were whether Fitzpatrick would take a  new  PR job with a 50% drop in wages with no benefits and would the new minimum-wage employees enhance the security and reliability of fueling for domestic Air Canada flights.

National Post

More than two dozen flights were cancelled at Toronto’s Pearson Airport on Friday after a group of disgruntled staff did not show up to put fuel in the planes.More than 45 departing flights were cancelled as of Friday afternoon. The fuelling company, Consolidated Aviation Fueling of Toronto (CAFTL), said 60% of its employees unexpectedly took the day off. In a statement, CAFTL said the disruption is believed to be a “worker led response” to the airlines’ decision to cut ties with the company.

“We’re trying to contact our people to go back to work and they’re not doing it,” said Bill Trbovich, a spokesman with the International Associated of Machinists, which represents the CAFTL employees. “We didn’t condone it, OK? We didn’t know this was happening.” In October, CAFTL will no longer be the exclusive fuelling service at Pearson — with airlines independently entering into agreements with other companies.

Air Canada — one of the worst-affected airlines on Friday — issued a travel alert for Toronto Friday, citing an “airport disruption” and offering to waive penalties for passengers willing to change their travel plans.

“This is not a labour disruption between the airlines and their fueling company,” Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said in an email. “This is a labour disruption at (CAFTL) which is affecting all airlines at Pearson.” Air Canada plans switch to ASIG for fuelling in Toronto on Oct. 1. In a statement Friday, Air Canada said the CAFTL employees that lose their jobs “would be able to apply for jobs at ASIG.”

“The airlines are saying they were innocent victims in this, which is a crock of sh-t,” Trbovich said. “They started it.” Thirty-five arriving flights were also cancelled, but not because of the dispute, the airport said. The fuelling-related cancellations make up less than 4 percent of the 841 scheduled departures from Pearson on Friday.

The National Post also failed to tell its readers that the fueling employees could have their jobs back at 50% less wages and no pension benefits.

Summary of News Coverage

Toronto is served by four major newspaper but only the Toronto GlobeandMail got the story right, telling the crucial facts about the cut in wages with no benefits being offered by the new Fueling company that has taken over already in Montreal and will be taking over Oct 1 this year in Toronto. The 3 major Toronto TV news networks[CBC, CTV and Global] also got the story right but only in later broadcasts and web stories. Curiously, the Toronto Sun which did not tell the wage and benefits rollback story did describe Air Canada PR spokesmen as saying ” their jobs are highly skilled and require strict security clearances”; so why hire a contractor that pays these highly skilled workers minimum wage and no benefits?

Finally, in the online commentary sections of the newspapers  one found that the reaction was largely sympathetic to the fueling workers because the commenters filled in the crucial wage gap information. But there were some Donald Trump Wannabee Trolls that scoffed at any injustice or danger insisting that the free markets would quickly correct for any over reach. “The airlines that were affected by the refueling problem should replace Consolidated Refueling with a non-union supplier and then the employees who booked off sick can be without a job permanently” or “ok yes the new company pays less, should government guarantee them wage levels? what level? 30, 50 or how about 100 an hour etc. no pal the free market works things out,, your industry going down hill, back to school etc, people have to adjust to reality.

Raiding the Consumption Commons

Like most developed countries in Europe and North America, Canada relies on Domestic Personal Consumption for 70% of its economy. A vigorous, consuming Middle class is vital to the prosperity of all Canadians. But this “labor disruption” is another example of the  Canadian Business laser-like focus on driving down labor costs regardless of consequences. True, it is only a very small set of workers and wages. However, given the existing nearly 7% unemployment rate in Canada and a contracting economy [once again the IMF downgraded Canada economic growth, this time from 2.2% to 1.5%] Canada can ill afford a business sector that is relentlessly cutting wages, benefits and jobs.

But even of greater concern is the Tsunami of new AI Automation that will be hitting developed economies over the next 5 years that will result in even more cutbacks in major job categories from train and truck driving, legal counsel, financial analysis, medical tests and interpretation, to story writing and project management. This next job cutting wave will effect white color workers as broadly and deeply as blue color jobs. Being able to secure a living wage is going to become ever more challenging. Worse, gaining a living wage without having to go into debt to get the education and  training  required is tough enough; but there is the added risk the jobs just trained for may disappear. This  is going to be the social and economic challenge of the next 20 years not just in Canada but throughout the World.

More worrisome is the fact that Canadian Business seems as oblivious and uncaring of the imminent jobs dangers as portions of the  Canadian media and government. Even  some of the public believes the punishing fiction that business markets are perfect and faultless allocators of wages and capital forgetting the recurring history of business triggered depression and financial turmoil, child labor and  draconian working conditions plus the passing of environmental costs onto the public. The libertarian ideal that the best government is less government is constantly at odds with harsh business reality of costs being passed onto governments, public and other businesses.


Bernie Sanders on Guns

You know that Senator Bernie Sanders is making inroads on the Democratic Presidential Primary when you see the latest polls on Iowa and New Hampshire which show Sanders narrowing the gap with front runner Hillary Clinton. Also stories in liberal websites like TheDailyBeast.com  have become more like Hillary attack ads such as the following graphic:
dbeastThe headine is Bernie Sanders parrots the NRA . Reading the piece one would get the impression that Senator Sanders votes en masse against gun control. This is far from the facts. Politifact shows that Sanders has a long history  of voting for gun control measures about half the time with votes for background checks and banning the sale of assault rifles occurring often. It is no surprise that Sanders gets a D rating from the NRA. But it is a surprise that theDailyBeast omits these facts  leaving it up to readers to get the more balanced view of facts from The Tampa Bay Times Politifact website which shows in detail all of the Bernie Sanders votes on gun control. Also In contrast, a more complete story by NPR shows a much more nuanced view of how Sanders the politician has approached gun control; particularly in recent years.


After reading this and other stories, political analyst Cliff Schecter has dropped a couple of big notches in my assessment of his ability to deliver a  political analysis with probity and fairness. Ditto for theDailyBeast and their coverage of the 2016 Presidential races. In contrast, I have found the Tampa Bay Politifact organization to be like the CBO-Congressional Budget Office,  a good source of balanced accounting and fact checking information.  And if you are looking for a summary of all the latest 2016 Presidential polls,RealClearPolitics does a top notch job both in summary and details. Yes Dorothy, there are some reliable media sources for basic political information.

Bernie Sanders Is The Real Deal

Reading Salon, CNN, NPR,  NYTimes, Washington Post, theDailyBeast, Politico and other popular political websites this Spring into Summer, one can see the transformation of Bernie Sanders as Democratic 2016 Presidential candidate with “no chance” thru “picking up steam” to “the real deal”. Will Bernie do an Obama on Hillary? Two months ago that would be deemed demented wishful-thinking. Now on the 4th of July, the odds given Hillary’s financing advantage and huge Democratic institutional support are still long. But clearly they are out from under  the Mission Impossible epithet.

Just look at the latest trends in the polls regarding the key primary races in Iowa and New Hampshire:
pollsiowaThis summary of polls is from RealClearPolitics.com.

Notice the trend in the Quinnipiac polls. In February Sanders has barely 5%. Two months later in April he is up to 15%. In June his numbers have more than doubled again to 33%. The same pattern occurs in New Hampshire which is the second 2016 primary state:
pollsnhThis summary of polls is from RealClearPolitics.com.

The contest is even closer in New Hampshire. But is also noteworthy that Sanders gains have come as much from other democratic candidates as from Hillary. Here is a good summary of why Bernie Sanders is popular in New England.  But even of greater interest is the coverage that Sanders is getting in the foreign press – here is a series of articles in Britain’s the Guardian which underlines the increasing polling popularity of the candidate and how that is translating into large campaign crowds and  funds.

Salon.com’s Sophia Tesfaye has written the best assessment of Bernie Sanders popularity. His strong  positions on  the Veteran Affairs Debacle, Occupy Wall Street Wealth Disparity issue, College Student Debt, Citizens United Unleashing Malevolent Campaign Financing Trends in US politics, and reinforcing Obamacare. These are all issues that in the current political paralysis other candidates turn a blind eye to. But even more important is the notion that Sanders is is returning to Hope and Change issues with renewed public support: “Sanders’ campaign, surely more so than that of any of the Republican candidates, seems to be gaining traction more for the ideas he espouses than because of a cult of personality.Granted, many supporters have pointed to Sanders’ straightforward manner and willingness to call out bad actors as refreshingly appealing, but unlike with Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Chris Christie, it isn’t just a brash style that’s being sold. Sanders makes a direct effort to address many of the issues that have arisen since the Hope & Change campaign of 2008 and it appears as though he is tapping into very real and long-simmering sentiments in the Democratic base.” So Bernie Sanders is a throw back to what the country is yearning for – politicians willing to address issues that have been left behind in the new era of complete obstruction and sabotage politics.

Twitter on Race

President Obama’s election in 2008 supposedly ushered in a Post-Racial Era in America. But actually Race ugliness vis a vis the President started early in 2008 with the birther nonsense caused by Hillary Clinton supporters sending out  thousands of emails calling into question Obama’s citizenship. The controversy crossed the aisle and was picked up by the GOP  through the Drudge Report and extended the controversy into 2011.

But perhaps the turning point in the  Post-Racial Era was signalled by GOP representative Joe Wilson shouting “You Lie” at President Obama in a Joint Session of Congress in 2009 – an unheard of event . This coincided with the backroom machinations by Senator Mitch McConnell who back in 2008 as Obama was being inaugurated formulated a policy of sabotaging any bipartisanship with Blanket Legislative No-votes to deny any policy victories for President Obama. The calculation by Senator McConnell was that failure to deliver infrastructure jobs, tuition and tax relief, and other Obama relief programs could be stalled in the Senate[with cynical repeated use of the cloture vote requiring 60 vote majorities] while the GOP could disguise their tactics by calling for more bipartisanship from the President. In the 2010 and 2014 elections the tactic worked as the Presidents popularity fell and  the GOP gained control of the Senate while enlarging its majority in the House.
Then a series of shootings by police and pseudo-police across the USA erased any notions of a Post Racial breakthrough as witnessed by the number of unarmed blacks killed by police over the last year:

Apr 30 2014 in Milwaukee Dontre Hamilton shot 14 times by a police officer outside a Starbucks.
May 31 2014 in Cleveland Ohio an unarmed black couple, Timothy Russell and Melissa Williams, are shot at 100 times. After stopping after 25 minute traffic chase,  shooting had subsided but Officer Brelo got on the hood of the car and shot through the windshield 15 more times.  5  were fatal shots. A white Cleveland judge just cleared Brelo of any charges.
Jul 17, 2014 in NYC Eric Garner is choked to death by police even after calling out 11 times “I can’t breath”.
Aug 5 2014 in Dayton Ohio John Crawford is shot by police because he was carrying a bb-gun.
Aug 9 2014 in Ferguson Missouri is shot death despite being unarmed. DOJ declines to prosecute.
Aug 11 2014 in Florence California unarmed Ezell Ford is shot dead by police officer, once in the back.
Aug 12 2014 in Victorville California  Dante Parker, father of 5, is tased to death. Investigation ongoing.
Nov 13 2014 in Cleveland Ohio Tanisha Anderson is killed when police bash her head against the pavement.
Nov 20 2014 in NYC unarmed Akai Gurley shot by police in stairwell walking with his girl friend.
Nov 22 2014 in Cleveland Ohio 12 year old Tamir Rice was shot within 10 seconds of police arrival on the scene as police officers “mistake” a toy gun for the real thing.
Dec 2 2014 in Phoenix Arizona Rumain Brisbon is shot dead by police when a bottle is mistaken for being a weapon.
Dec 30 2014 in Bridgeton New Jersey Jerame Reid is shot dead while exiting with hands up from car.
Mar 6 2015 in Madison Wisconsin unarmed Tony Robinson is shot 3 times by police officer.
Mar 30 2015 in Vineland New Jersey  Phillip White dies in police custody,. There is ongoing investigation.
Apr 2 2015 in Tulsa Oklahoma unarmed Eric Harris was shot when officer  “mistakenly” used gun instead of taser.
Apr 4 2015 in Charleston South Carolina unarmed Walter Scott is shot in the back by police officer.
Apr 19 2015 in Baltimore Maryland Freddie Gray dies of spinal cord injuries in police van.
18 unarmed Black deaths by police provide ample proof that the racial divide, especially in policing, is still well entrenched.

Finally Salon magazine did a story about the President getting a Twitter account. I had a bad feeling:
And Twitter followers did not disappoint my expectations of bad Tweets  for POTUS – lots of trolls, name-calling, 140 characters of incivility and an ample layering of racial hate mongering. And so there you have it, Racism is alive and well in the USofA!

Ted on Jobs

This Ted Talk by Andrew Mcafee is supercalifragilisticexpialidociously optimistic about jobs:

AI Driving Away with Trucking Jobs

AI Driving Away with Trucking Jobs

There are four existential wicked problems of increasing danger facing the World:
1)Man made climate change that demands  wrenching alterations in how energy is produced and used worldwide;
2)Income inequality growing at exponential rates in both developed and developing countries. The ever more concentrated wealth  concentrated in the elite 1% is undermining basic political processes within and between countries worldwide;
3)Long festering religious strife that fosters increasingly violent and widespread slaughters of “infidels”;
4)the increasing scarcity of jobs as AI and automation move ever higher in the job hierarchy taking over not just blue color manual jobs but now white collar knowledge  jobs in service, analysis and decisionmaking. These loss of jobs are not being replaced by new and better jobs but rather few and poorer paying positions. Unemployment rates and schooling debts among youth now reach into every continent and at alarming levels. This lack of employment and opportunity for betterment permeates all societies and feeds Wicked Problems 2) and 3).

Now tell me again why we should not prepare for Lack of Jobs Becoming the Tipping Point to International Crises? And just when Government needs to formulate a very intelligent response to the problem – the GOP has destroyed the  workings of  government. Just like the GOP’s Starve the Beast Policy initiated by Ronald Reagan which  was designed to create deliberate and massive deficits so across the board cutbacks would have to be made to everything but tax relief for the wealthy  and defense spending. Now the new focus by the TeaParty and Senator McConnell is to sabotage government elective and legislative processes so “we have proof that government is not working” and we can force our agenda. So 6 more years and counting of bitter, divisive, and partisan politics [the very things the electorate wanted to eliminate back in 2006 and 2008] means government will be ill-prepared to cope with the coming Massive Job Drought. And the Executive Suite embraces the Job Drought because they can reduce their marginal wages costs to zero.   Wow, sounds like the recipe for economic and social disaster.

Crains – A third of the $3trillion knowledge worker economy is up for grabs by AI substitutes.
TechRepublic – AI taking away more jobs than it creates
Pew Research – some very educated projections on the state of the IT + AI art to 2025
Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford – Silicon Valley expert’s dire warning
Shadow Work by Craig Lambert – the unpaid, unseen work left after AI takes over
The Second Machine Age by Byrnjolfsson and McAfee – states the job-technology problem but no help
Lights in the Tunnel by Martin Ford – First look at AI+Computing automating away knowledge jobs
Zero Marginal Cost Society by Jeremy Rifkin – economic implications of production revolution
Race Against the Machine by Byrnjolfsson – First look at  the 2nd machine age
No Ordinary Disruption by Dobbs et alia – another Pollyanna look at the problem