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The Misanthropic Bird: The Road to Employment

Exaggeration has always been part of story telling, particularly of days long past. My father would grumble of ‘kids these days’ not knowing real difficulty if it bit them in the ‘tukus’ in an attempt to teach me a life lesson.

A favorite anecdote of his was him having to walk some ten miles to school through a twenty foot snow drift with no shoes over broken glass – a doubtful scenario, but effective nonetheless. My in-laws once disclosed that when they graduated from university in the 1960s’, they were immediately offered a job in their fields. Both of these (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century

I feel like I don’t have to read this one with all the press it’s getting. Maybe next summer.  This is the gist I’ve gotten so far:

 Michael Rozworski wrote a piece about it recently. In brief: the basic thesis of the book is that capitalism has a tendency towards the concentration of wealth in few hands.  And there’s a discrimination inherent in the system that ensures whites are better able to make it at least into the middle.

In Canada right now, our distribution looks like this: * the top 10% owns 58.2% of the wealth, up (Read more…)

Christy's Houseful of Chaos » politics: the importance of “paid journalism” or my response to Sudbury wikileaks.

Something made me very angry today. I read an editorial in one of my local newspapers (The Northern Life). The editorial is defending one of the reporters against accusations made on an anonymous website that calls itself “wikileaks Sudbury.” Wikileaks Sudbury makes me very, very angry.

The Wikileaks article lacks anything convincing. Does it say anything beyond that we should take the anonymous person’s interpretation (what the blog wants to call a “lengthy investigation of many reports”) as so-called proof that Darren MacDonald is the on the city’s payroll? Where are the details? The point-by-point analysis (Read more…)

Things Are Good: When Investing, Millennials Care More Than Previous Generations

Millennials are savvy investors who care about the planet and social justice. Previous generations have treated their investments as risky and didn’t care about the environment or other important issues. Some financial advisors are shocked to find out that not only are young investors interested in creating a better world, but that they are risk-adverse due to the economic disasters previous generations created.

The financial advisers at British firm deVere Group recently surveyed baby boomer, Generation X and millennial investors to get a sense of their priorities. The group discovered that while all three were scared away from risk by (Read more…)

The Misanthropic Bird: Mad As Hell

I got up this morning to a fog rolling into the city. It’s not from rain, or from temperature change or any other natural reason for a hazy day. It’s because I live in Beijing, and the pollution levels are on the rise today. Jumping a few dozen points between 8:00 and 9:00am. The AQI is 249 at the time of writing this.

I made tea, and watched the latest episode of VICE, which only further disgruntled me with its expose on the scrapers working legally and illegally in America’s industrial towns, taking apart once booming factories to sell the (Read more…)

The Misanthropic Bird: The Republic of Capitalism: A Chinese ‘Every Man’ talks Morals and Money

Now a growing player in the global market and a curious destination to many, China’s capitalist whitewash has been holding our attention. But how has China’s economic growth affected the working class? Mr. Lee* shares his experiences growing up in China, its newfound wealth and the dichotomy of morals and money.

***

It’s a quarter past two in the afternoon when I text Mr. Lee who is uncharacteristically late for our meeting. He’s coming to my Beijing apartment, as he felt it safer than a public space; someone could be listening. He’s confused by the elevator, and wants me to (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Bitcoins – How to Start Mining

This guide describes an indirect way to mine Bitcoins at home. You’ll need to understand how to edit a batch file and run it in the folder with a program you’ll also download.

It’s become unrealistic to discover Bitcoins before specialized ASIC miners find them, so to get around this problem you can mine Litecoin-derived coins and automatically exchange them for Bitcoins. You’ll need a newish gaming computer in order to use this method. A cheap Walmart laptop will not suffice, nor will a low-end office or home desktop. You’ll need an OpenCL or CUDA capable video card (GPU).

First (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Bitcoins – Where to Start?

Someone recently asked me (okay, multiple people did) where to start to learn about getting Bitcoins? You can start here at my blog, now. A better place to look will be at one of the links below in my 15 minute introduction. Don’t put off learning, it’s the Napster of the financial world, it will change how we do banking, like Napster changed how we get and share music.

You could download the bitcoin.org client first. It’s an easy install, it’s where I began, but stalled out… 2 years ago. What’s easier I think is getting a wallet at (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: The rise of Bitcoin: and the challenge to the global domination of big money

The following article was written on October 25. I wanted to read it over once more before publishing it, then got busy with other things and forgot about it. In the roughly six weeks that have passed since the writing of this article, the Bitcoin prices have gone from roughly $200 to over $700. There […]

The Misanthropic Bird: Blood and Ketchup

Heinz ketchup has been a staple in the refrigerators of most North Americans for decades. A ‘go to’ brand of condiments that have become a integral part of family gatherings, summer BBQs and supplied by many top food chains. But a cloud has been cast on the squeaky clean company, that goes by the name of Warren Buffet.

The supposed philanthropist purchased the Heinz company back in February, and under it’s new ownership will now close three of its factories – American locations Florence and Pocatello, and its Leamington plant in Canada, at a loss of 1350 jobs. With the (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Writings of J. Todd Ring 2013-11-12 19:39:07

Even “the wastes” of nature are never wasted, and never a waste. Time spent among chandeliers and caviar may be a waste; time spent chasing money or seeking status may be a waste; devoting one’s precious, short life to the accumulation of material things may be a waste; but it is never a waste of […]

Writings of J. Todd Ring: NAFTA, “Free Trade” and the TPP: Fast-Track To Full Corporate Rule

“Twenty years ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law. At the time, advocates painted a rosy picture of booming U.S. exports creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and economic development in Mexico, which would bring the struggling country in line with its wealthier northern neighbors. Two decades later, those […]

Melissa Fong: Why Bitcoins aren’t going anywhere: Drugs and Coffee

Bitcoin is going nowhere. I promise you that it won’t and I’m positive that I won’t be eating my words at a later date.

I’m going to tell you why: 1) Drugs and 2) Coffee:….

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: TD;CSR. OMG No Way!

2012 was a strong year for TD, despite ongoing economic challenges and market volatility. Our total adjusted earnings were more than $7 billion dollars — up more than $600 million, or about 10 per cent, from 2011.

-Colleen Johnston, Group Head and Chief Financial Officer, TD Bank Group

Through a generous contribution of $350,000, TD Bank Group is helping Aboriginal students at the University of Regina realize their educational potential.

$350,000 / $7,000,000,000 = 0.005%

Thank-you to TD Bank, generously sharing the wealth of their outstanding profits from oil and gas.

The TD Bank Group gift will be divided (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: On Russell Brand’s Politics

I want to look at a few things Russell Brand has to say – in print and on video (quotations below are from both).  As Elizabeth Renzetti said in yesterday’s Globe & Mail, he’s resonating with people.  But, as she also suggests, he’s not going far enough clearly enough for others to follow.  It reminds me of the Canadian film The Trotsky in which a young rebel tries to encourage a student protest.  (*spoiler alert*)  In the end, they all decide that he hasn’t really thought it through all the way, but who cares?  It’s clear we so desperately need (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: US government shutdown, and other fairy tales and political theatre

I’m not sure what to make of the hoopla going on in the US right now. I’m inclined to think it’s all just political theatre, as Gerald Celente calls it, designed to distract the people from the real issues – the central one being, who controls the government and the nation? Wall Street, the big […]

Writings of J. Todd Ring: The deeper reasons for the “war on drugs”

There is a deeper reason for the war on drugs, which is the central reason for the policy, even outweighing profits from private prisons and seizure of property by law enforcement officers, both of which no doubt are also significant and strong motivations for keeping the “war on drugs” going. Nearly thirty years ago, Chomsky […]

LeDaro: Money Can’t Buy Happiness

Ask Wild” Willie Seeley of Manahawkin, New Jersey. He is a lotto winner. He wants his life back.

Willie Seeley poses for a photo outside his home in Manahawkin, N.J., on Sept. 20, with the new GMC pick-up truck he bought with winnings from a Powerball jackpot he shared in August.

“Wild” Willie Seeley of Manahawkin, New Jersey, has one piece of advice for the winner of last week’s $400 million Powerball pot in South Carolina: Run. “Just disappear,” he said, speaking from hard-won experience. “Get lost while you still can.”

Read more here.

LeDaro: Mike Duffy: Minimum punishment

He should walk in front of the Parliament with a sign: “I am a thief I stole money from the taxpayers.”

Things Are Good: No Strings Attached: Giving Cash to Poor People

GiveDirectly is a charity that just gives money to poor people in Kenya. There isn’t anything complicated about the idea: it’s just straight up handing out cash with no deliverables. The NPR recently investigated the operation.

Planet Money reporters David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein went to Kenya to see the work of a charity called GiveDirectly in action. Instead of funding schools or wells or livestock, GiveDirectly has decided to just give money directly to the poor people who need it, and let them decide how to spend it. David and Jacob explain whether this method of charity works, and (Read more…)

LeDaro: Kevin O’Leary loves money – Shark Tank

Kevin O’Leary:Money,money,money,money,money,money,money,money,money,money,……………..

A Puff of Absurdity: On Hedges’ Empire of Illusion

“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”  - James Baldwin 

Thus begins Chris Hedges‘ Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, a collection of five independent parts that lead to the same place.  We’re in denial – thick and deadly.  It’s similar to Jane Jacobs‘ Dark Age Ahead, but I can’t, for the life of me, find my heavily annotated copy of the (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: On Raising the Minimum Wage

So, the argument goes something like this:  If you raise minimum wage, corporations will pay for that cost by raising prices, thereby increasing inflation, and we’ll all be poorer for it as everything gets more expensive.  The problem isn’t wages, but inflation. Therefore, we should not increase minimum wage.

It follows, that it’s necessary that some people work full time yet live well below the poverty line because otherwise, if we raise their wages, they’ll end up even poorer because everything will costs so much more – right?  So, we’re actually helping people by maintaining a lower wage for them (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: On Solar Panels

By request – how well does using solar panels work?

Well, it’s hard to say.

I covered my roof with panels under the Ontario MicroFIT (Feed-in Tariff) program that ends next year.  So far I think it’s only in Ontario, but some other provinces are thinking about it.  The power I generate from the panels goes directly back to the grid, and I’m paid about 55 cents a kWh and will continue to be for the duration of my 20 year contract.  So far this summer, even with all the rain, it translates to about $300-400/month.  So the cost of (Read more…)

350 or bust: We’ve Been Lied To About The Real “Bottom Line”

Forget everything you’ve been told about economics, and learn about the “externalities” our entire economy ignores. Canadian geneticist and climate hero Dr David Suzuki explains the fallacy of conventional economics, in an interview done for the BBC. Posted by Sustainable Man: * David Suzuki.org New Economics Foundation