Monthly Archives: September 2015

Finnish child care is a world beater. So why do some critics still say universal care hurts kids?

BY MAIJU PAANANEN | SEPTEMBER 30, 2015, published at Rabble in Canada

8136562063_9430ec6563_z
Image: Flickr/Ian D. Keating

Child care has become a key issue in Election 2015. To support the public interest and political debate, the Childcare Resource and Research Unit’s blog, Child Care Now, will be published each week between August 12 and October 19. This is the seventh entry in the series. Read the first part here.

As an early childhood researcher newly arrived from Finland, the current Canadian debate about universal childcare has been somewhat baffling. In Finland, universal early childhood education and childcare (ECEC) means that if a child’s parents want her/him to attend, the municipality in which they live is obliged to provide them with a place irrespective of the parents’ work/life situation. Childcare is heavily publicly funded, with a maximum monthly parent fee equivalent to a few hundred Canadian dollars per month. Fees, which are based on parent income and family size, cover approximately 14 per cent of the total cost of ECEC. In international comparisons, the quality is considered quite high.

Continue reading Finnish child care is a world beater. So why do some critics still say universal care hurts kids?

Sweden is shifting to a 6-hour work day

by Bec Crew at  Science Alert published September 30, 2015

*Packs up life, books plane ticket*

working-office_1024

Despite research telling us it’s a really bad idea, many of us end up working 50-hour weeks or more because we think we’ll get more done and reap the benefits later. And according to a study published last month involving 600,000 people, those of us who clock up a 55-hour week will have a 33 percent greater risk of having a stroke than those who maintain a 35- to 40-hour week.

With this in mind, Sweden is moving towards a standard 6-hour work day, with businesses across the country having already implemented the change, and a retirement home embarking on a year-long experiment to compare the costs and benefits of a shorter working day.

“I think the 8-hour work day is not as effective as one would think. To stay focused on a specific work task for 8 hours is a huge challenge. In order to cope, we mix in things and pauses to make the work day more endurable. At the same time, we are having it hard to manage our private life outside of work,” Linus Feldt, CEO of Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus, told Adele Peters at Fast Company.

Continue reading Sweden is shifting to a 6-hour work day

Gaius Publius: What’s Called “Capitalism” Is Far from Any Model of Capitalism or Market

By Gaius Publius, published September 30, 2015 at Naked Capitalism

food-chain-pyramid-life-science

Predators and prey. The homeless and left-behind are at the bottom (“decomposers”). Most of everyone else is in the next layer up (“producers”). The rest, from the well-off to the wealthy, are “consumers.” Interesting how that language works, isn’t it? (source)

by Gaius Publius

A recent piece I did on the British Labour politician Tony Benn featured a speech that offered a “history of neoliberalism” (click here to read and listen). Near the beginning of the speech, Benn said, “This country and the world have been run by rich and powerful men from the beginning of time.” Consider that for a moment, what that means about the arc of human history.

Near the end of his short talk, referencing the Thatcher (and Reagan) counterrevolution against the great populist gains of the 19th and 20th centuries, he said that this is “what the whole [modern] crisis is about, the restoration of power to those who’ve always controlled the world, the people who own the land and the resources and all the rest of it.”

Continue reading Gaius Publius: What’s Called “Capitalism” Is Far from Any Model of Capitalism or Market

Open Letter to Phyllis Schlafly From 13 Year-Old Madison Kimrey

by Kimberley Johnson, published April 17, 2014

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.46.11 AM

Dear Ms. Schlafly,

I’m a teenage girl who has been reading about you quite a bit in the news lately. It seems to me that you have absolutely no idea what women of my generation are all about. I can understand that because I often deal with older people who think that their generation is superior and my generation is the worst thing ever just because we’re different. Really though, I think since you want to be all up in the public eye, it would really do you a lot of good to understand things from the perspective of one of the young women who will be taking over this country soon.

I’ve been thinking about how I can explain what feminism means to my generation in a way you might not have thought of before. I wanted to try to work from something we have in common, and it’s been kind of hard to find something I have in common with you. Then, it came to me. I bet you wear a bra.

Continue reading Open Letter to Phyllis Schlafly From 13 Year-Old Madison Kimrey

Jeb Bush: “Of course the rich will get richer…”

by Bud Meyers, published September 29, 2015 at the Economic Populist

“That’s just the way it is.”

That’s more or less how Jeb Bush defended his tax plan to Fox News Sunday after he was slammed for giving lopsided tax breaks to the wealthy. He told Chris Wallace: “The simple fact is 1 percent of people pay 40 percent of all the taxes. So of course, tax cuts for everybody is going to generate more for people that are paying a lot more. I mean that’s just the way it is.”

More proof that Jeb Bush may care not so much for this country as he does for the very rich. Besides gutting government regulations, he also wants to cut taxes — the standard Republican mantra, (just like his brother George), so no surprises there. But why would Jeb lie about his tax plan on a Sunday when the Pope was still in town?

Watch the 3-minute YouTube clip below; and listen very carefully to the words he chooses and how he uses them — especially towards the end (You can watch the full interview at Fox News here.)

Normally a typical politician (when they don’t accidentally tell the truth) will deny, deflect, discredit, exaggerate, embellish, obfuscate and lie. But Jeb Bush had accidentally told the truth. In Jeb Speak he had said: “Of course the rich will get richer … that’s just the way it is.” (That’s just the way it is, since the Earth and Heavens were first created.)

Continue reading Jeb Bush: “Of course the rich will get richer…”

The Painful Facts, State-by-State: How We’re Victimized by Corporate State Tax Avoidance

by Paul Buchheit, published September 28 at Common Dreams

taxwealthy-a
When it comes to tax-dodging, the biggest companies are the worst. (Photo: Yuri Keegstra/flickr/cc)

Corporate data from numerous sources, including annual reports directly from the companies themselves, has been merged and matched and managed into two spreadsheets that reveal state-by-state corporate tax avoidance. The results show how people all over America are being deprived of revenue that should be going to education and infrastructure.

1. Most of the State Tax Avoidance is by the Largest Companies

Before considering individual states, it will be instructive to consider the total state tax payments (and non-payments) by 45 of the nation’s largest corporations. The data is derived from “current state tax” figures in the 10-K forms submitted to the SEC by the companies themselves.

Continue reading The Painful Facts, State-by-State: How We’re Victimized by Corporate State Tax Avoidance

For A Majority Of Americans, US Government Has Lost Legitimacy

by Paul Craig Roberts, published on September 26, 2015

Noam Chomsky (33:30 point on the video) tells us that in the November 2014 Congressional elections, US voter participation was at the level of 1830 when only white male property owners had the vote.

A September 25 Gallup Poll tells us why:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/gallup-60-of-americans-want-a-new-political-party-but-why-a-crisis-of-legitimacy/5478211

Continue reading For A Majority Of Americans, US Government Has Lost Legitimacy

Majority in U.S. Maintain Need for Third Major Party

by Justin McCarthy, published September 25, 2015 at Gallup

Story Highlights

Six in 10 say third party needed for adequate representation
Current figure matches high from 2013
Seventy-eight percent of independents say third party needed


WASHINGTON, D.C. — A majority of Americans, 60%, say a third major political party is needed because the Republican and Democratic parties “do such a poor job” of representing the American people. This matches the high set in 2013. Since 2007, a majority of Americans have generally called for a third party, with the exception of the last two presidential election years.

d_mzki2sc0m55kvbnna7aw

These latest results come as both the Democratic and Republican parties are experiencing formidable challenges in the 2016 presidential race from unlikely corners of their ranks, including several candidates who have never been elected to a political office. On the Democratic side, independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has drawn a large following from left-leaning Americans. In the Republican nomination contest, real estate mogul Donald Trump has rocked his GOP competitors with personal attacks and unconventional political statements, and Dr. Ben Carson and former business executive Carly Fiorina are now among the front-runners for their party’s nomination. None of these candidates has said they will seek a third-party bid for the presidency if they don’t receive the nomination, but their popularity supports the idea that Americans may be willing to consider candidates outside of the pool of typical politicians.

Continue reading Majority in U.S. Maintain Need for Third Major Party

Gallup: 60% of Americans Want a New Political Party. But, Why? A Crisis of Legitimacy

by Eric Zeusse, published September 26, 2015 at Global Research

choice-158159_1280-400x400A Gallup poll issued on September 25th is headlined “Majority in U.S. Maintain Need for Third Major Party,” and it opens: “A majority of Americans, 60%, say a third major political party is needed because the Republican and Democratic parties ‘do such a poor job’ of representing the American people.”

When Gallup started polling on this matter in 2003, only 40% wanted a different major party from the two existing major parties.

The only other time when as high as 60% wanted a new major party was in October 2013, when the government shut down — something that now threatens to repeat. No other period had a percentage this high.

78% of independents want there to be another “major” party; 47% of Democrats do; 45% of Republicans do.

The way the question has been phrased is: “In your view, do the Republican and Democratic parties do an adequate job of representing the American people, or do they do such a poor job that a third major party is needed?”

Consequently, for example, these findings have nothing to do with a desire of Americans for another Ralph Nader or Ross Perot; this would instead need to be “a third major party.” It would, in other words, need to be a party not of mere protest, but instead, one that has a real chance to win the White House, and Congress: i.e., a real and serious political contender.

A substantial majority of Americans think that each of the two existing major parties does “a poor job,” “of representing the American people.”

Continue reading Gallup: 60% of Americans Want a New Political Party. But, Why? A Crisis of Legitimacy

The GOP Mantra: Less Taxes, Less Regulation, Less Government

by Bud Meyers, published September 20, 2015

The GOP likes to say they are for getting the government jack boots off our necks, as if American citizens are being oppressed by a tyrannical government every day in their daily lives. But yet, for over 200 years, people from all over the world continue to come here — and by any means possible, sometimes risking their lives. Why?

When most Americans first wake up in the morning, are they dreading government oppression? Or are they dreading having to go to work for an over-demanding, mean and overbearing boss — while barely earning enough money to pay for food and rent? One example of “better” government (not “less” government) might be a government law to raise the federal minimum wage, because their boss is too cheap and/or too greedy to pay them a fair and living wage.

Would a good example of “less” government oppression and tyranny be to eliminate all speed limits, stop signs, school zones, crosswalks and traffic lights as they’re driving to their crummy job?

If Americans really gave this some serious thought and asked themselves: “How is government [laws and regulations] bad for me and how is government good for me?” — many people might be surprised at how much better off they are WITH “government” — and that “better” government (not “less” government) is really what we need. After all, there’s always room for improvement.

Continue reading The GOP Mantra: Less Taxes, Less Regulation, Less Government