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  1. Fox News turning a new leaf? Even they reported that Trump made a mistake and added another article of impeachment live. Bret Baier: Hearing 'turned on a dime' after Schiff read the president's tweets live The second public hearing in House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into President Trump "turned on a dime" when House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., read the president's tweets about witness Marie Yovanovitch in real-time, "Special Report" host Bret Baier said Friday. Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, pointed her finger at Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani while detailing her sudden removal from her diplomatic post during Friday's nationally televised testimony. During her appearance, Yovanovitch, a career diplomat who served both Republican and Democratic presidents, relayed her story of being suddenly recalled by Trump in May, saying she believes Giuliani played a key role in telling people she was not sufficiently supportive of the president. “I do not understand Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me, nor can I offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me,” Yovanovitch said. She argued the efforts against her by the president's allies hindered her work. “If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States,” Yovanovitch said. Appearing on "America's Newsroom" with host Bill Hemmer, Baier said that he had started watching the hearing "thinking that Ambassador Yovanovitch was going to be a sympathetic witness." "The Democrats would tell her story about how she was recalled," he said. "But, as we noted, she serves at the pleasure of the president and I started to say that she didn't see the call. She didn't hear the call," he told Hemmer. "You know, this is tangential to the actual argument." "However, this whole hearing turned on a dime when the president tweeted about her real-time," Baier stated. He said that when Schiff stopped Democratic questioning to read the president's tweets and get her response, it enabled him to then "characterize that tweet as intimidating the witness or tampering with the witness, which is a crime." "Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors," the president wrote. Adding: "They call it 'serving at the pleasure of the President.' The U.S. now has a very strong and powerful foreign policy, much different than proceeding administrations. It is called, quite simply, America First! With all of that, however, I have done FAR more for Ukraine than O." Trump’s comments ignited an outcry from Democrats: Schiff read Trump's anti-Yovanovitch tweet during the hearing, and called it “witness intimidation.” "Adding, essentially, an article of impeachment real-time as this hearing is going on," Baier explained. "That changed this entire dynamic of this first part of this hearing and Republicans now are going to have to take the rest of this hearing to probably try to clean that up."
  5. Even while they are trying to prove him guilty, Trump does his best to prove he's guilty. Trump Gave Democrats Their Made-for-TV Moment in Friday’s Impeachment Hearing He managed to undercut the GOP's attempt to keep things boring. WASHINGTON — Democrats wanted a made-for-TV moment from Friday’s impeachment hearing. And President Trump, true to his reality television background, did all he could to assist. Just as former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was testifying about feeling threatened by the president's smear campaign against her, Trump fired off a fresh insult on Twitter, attacking her track record as a diplomat and blaming her, evidently, for sparking conflict in hardship posts abroad. Read: Trump Tried to Intimidate Marie Yovanovitch as She Testified About His Intimidation In one tweet, Trump all but undercut the GOP’s strategy, which was to make Yovanovitch’s day on Capitol Hill so boring that the television audience would change the channel. His outburst was so off-message that even Fox News’ Brett Baier characterized it as “adding, essentially, an article of impeachment, real time” such that Republicans would have to “take the rest of this hearing to probably try to clean that up.” And that was pretty much the size of things on Friday, the second day of live public testimony of Trump’s impeachment inquiry. Republican members of Congress and Trump’s own White House tried to keep things dull, as if backing up the message that nothing out of the ordinary had happened — while Trump fired off a schoolyard taunt at his own ambassador on Twitter. Otherwise, Republicans vacillated between burying Yovanovitch in minutiae, and attempting to describe her experience under Trump as ultimately positive. Specifically, they tried to paint a happy ending for Yovanovitch, by portraying her as landing a cushy teaching gig at Georgetown University after she was recalled from Ukraine. Read: Trump’s White House Either Lied About Ukraine Anti-Corruption Call in April — or It’s Lying Now Earlier in the day, the White House tried their own hand at counter-programming by releasing a rough transcript of a previous call between Trump and Zelensky that was dull and lifeless. That release appeared intended to deflect from the other call between the two presidents — in which Trump slammed his own ambassador, Yovanovitch, as “bad news” and said ominously that she’s “going to go through some things.” Democrats, meanwhile, struggled to find other newsworthy moments, but ultimately appeared to decide they couldn’t compete with Trump’s own bombast. By the end of the day, they’d foisted up Trump’s tweet as an exhibit in the very hearing itself. Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell slammed it as “disgusting.” The audience in the chamber seemed to agree — and ended Yovanovitch’s hearing with a standing ovation for the career foreign service officer.
  7. Perspective... November 13, 2019 I Don’t Know WHO to Believe In This Impeachment Hearing by Devorah Blachor This impeachment is so confusing. Both sides are making contradictory claims and it’s almost impossible to know who to trust. On the one hand, you have George Kent, a career Foreign Service officer whose entire family served in the armed forces, including an uncle who was at Pearl Harbor and survived the Bataan Death March, and on the other hand, you have a bone spurs draft dodger whose dad got arrested at a KKK riot. “This is the kind of magazine you keep on your bookshelves with your favorite books.” — Cece Bell, author of El Deafo There’s this fellow Bill Taylor who served as a Captain and company commander in Vietnam and who was awarded a Bronze Star, but then again, Donald Trump’s first wife Ivana and numerous other women have said that he sexually assaulted them. If only American politics weren’t so partisan, I might be able to make sense of it all, but I can’t. At the hearing, I saw two serious, professional men who both served under Republican and Democrat administrations. Yet just last week, President Trump was ordered to pay two million dollars for using charity funds to pay off his business debts and promote himself. How can a voter like me be expected to know who is more credible? These men testified under oath that the president tried to withhold military aid to a crucial ally unless the Ukranian president made a phony and defamatory speech about Joe Biden, and I admit that does sound slightly damning. At the same time, there’s a white supremacist working closely with Donald Trump who orchestrated the immigration policy which separated thousands of children, including babies, from their parents. Politics are so complicated! The world needs a 3-lb, 680-page humor anthology. What sounds more believable? That career diplomats with everything to lose would make up a story implicating the most powerful man in America? Or that the president’s butt-dialling, criminal-loving lawyer was involved in something nefarious? I wish this would be easier! I’m no political scientist, but it seems to me that a man who has told 13,435 lies and has equated Nazis with people protesting Nazis, and who publicly stated he’d date his own daughter, and who tried and failed to buy Greenland is at least as honest as the many people, both Republican and Democrat, who have testified against him in this impeachment hearing. You know, everyone keeps repeating this story about Ben Franklin over and over again  —  you know the one  —  about how in 1787, as the Constitution was adopted, Americans gathered on the steps of Independence Hall. When they saw Franklin, they asked, ‘What do we have, a republic or a monarchy?’ and Franklin replied, ‘A republic, if you can keep it.’ But what did Ben Franklin even mean by that? Was he trying to say that a Democracy is only as strong as its institutions and that if the people in power become nakedly corrupt and are not checked, that Democracy becomes a hollow pretense that’s no better than a despotic monarchy? Or did he mean that the newly founded nation was a banana republic? Subscribe to our National Magazine Award-winning, somewhat accurately named, McSweeney’s Quarterly today. Someone help me! I’m utterly baffled! How will we ever get to the bottom of these impeachment hearings? I fear that America will be lost amidst the fog of uncertainty, destined to wander in the wilderness of chaos for a very long time indeed. A very, very long time.
  8. By saying that those who pay taxes, and/or own property should be the ones able to vote, won't that cut off the 1% from being able to vote as usually they don't pay tax and any properties they occupy are held by 'holding companies' to shield them from tax liabilities?
  9. This says too much... More US school-age children die from guns than on-duty US police or global military fatalities, study finds Gun deaths of school-age children in the United States have increased at an alarming rate, with 38,942 fatalities among 5- to 18-year-olds from 1999 to 2017, according to a new study by Florida Atlantic University's Schmidt College of Medicine. Indeed, spikes in gun deaths over the past decade amount to epidemics, researchers said. "It is sobering that in 2017, there were 144 police officers who died in the line of duty and about 1,000 active duty military throughout the world who died, whereas 2,462 school-age children were killed by firearms," said Dr. Charles Hennekens, the study's senior author and an academic adviser at the medical college. The study, to be published in the American Journal of Medicine, found that children are being gunned down in staggering numbers, with the death rate six to nine times higher than other developed nations. The gun deaths included 6,464 children between the ages of 5 and 14 years old (an average of 340 deaths per year), and 32,478 deaths in children between 15 and 18 years old (an average of 2,050 deaths per year), according to the study. Of the deaths, 86% involved boys, the study found. Black children accounted for 41% of those killed, though in recent years they've comprised just 14% of the US population, US census data show. "Among blacks, the annual average percent change of 9.5% for firearm-related mortality among 5 to 14-year-olds from 2013 to 2017 exceeded the 7.8% for overall deaths among 15 to 24-year-olds during the early years of the human immunodeficiency virus epidemic from 1987 to 1995," the study said. The research should have public policy implications, Hennekens said. "We need more analytic studies on this, but in the meanwhile, we believe that trying to combat the epidemic of homicide due to firearms without addressing firearms is like combating the epidemic of lung cancer due to cigarettes without combating cigarettes," he said. "To me, it's tragic that this is going on." Racial inequities have emerged, study finds Black children between 5 and 14 years old began to experience statistically significant increases in gun deaths in 2013, the study found. And from 2013 to 2017, racial inequalities in firearm deaths between blacks and whites jumped significantly. The study found these listed causes of death among the children: 61% from assault; 32% from suicide; 5% accidental; and 2% undetermined. In the 5-to-14-year-old age group, accidents accounted for 12.8% of cases (830 deaths); suicide, 29.6% cases (1,912 deaths); assault, 54.8% cases (3,545 deaths); and undetermined, 2.7% (177 deaths), according to the study. US leads the world in child gun deaths For those 15 to 18 years old, the cause of death was listed as accidental in 3.5% of cases (1,121 deaths); suicide, 32.9% (10,688 deaths); assault, 62.3% (20,247 deaths); and undetermined, 1.3% (422 deaths). The study used data from the Multiple Cause of Death files of the US National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The researchers found statistically significant increases in gun deaths beginning in 2009, with what they termed an epidemic among 5- to 14-year-olds. A second epidemic, beginning in 2014, involved those in the 15-to-18-year-old age group. The epidemics continued through 2017, the most recent year of available US mortality data. The study said the epidemic poses clinical, public health and policy challenges. It singled out the 1996 Dickey Amendment as a major factor prohibiting analytic studies on the issue. In 1996, Congress removed $2.6 million -- the amount the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spent on gun research the year prior -- from the CDC's budget and passed the so-called Dickey Amendment, named after late Republican Rep. Jay Dickey of Arkansas. Critics said the amendment ultimately led to the CDC halting gun violence research. A study last year in the New England Journal of Medicine found that death by gunshot was the second-highest cause of death in the United States in 2016 among children and adolescents, ages 1 to 19. The United States led the world in 2016 in the rate of firearm deaths in youth among countries with available data. The rate in the US was 36.5 times higher than in a dozen comparable high-income countries around the world; the rate of firearm deaths was five times as high compared with a sampling of low- to middle-income countries.
  10. Do Americans Know How Weird and Extreme Their Collapse is Getting? Even the Dark Ages Would Laugh at Where We’re Going Here’s a tiny question. Do Americans know how extreme, bizarre, and weird American collapse is getting? How far off the charts it is? Forget the charts of “normal” — I mean the charts of history. Even the Dark Ages, ancient Rome, and the barbarians might laugh, astonished, at the backwardness of America in 2018. Doubt me? Indulge me — while I prove it. Consider a tiny but telling and particularly awful example. There’s a GOP candidate in North Carolina, I read today, who proclaims that “God is a white supremacist.” Now, you might laugh. It’s funny, in an absurd kind of way. But do we call such a belief? What does it take for a mind to think such a thing? It’s not simple fascism — because fascism, at least the sort we know of in history, tends to reject the church. That’s because, of course, Nietzsche preached a different gospel: that Christian values make people weak, that only the strong survive, and that the job of the strong is to dominate the weak. Fascism is simply an expression of this perverse belief system, this ideology, and in that way, it tends to demonize religion — just as the Nazis did, ruling over a church they despised with an iron fist. So what is it? Theocracy? Well, it’s not theocracy either — again, at least as we know it. Because in theocratic systems, God is an equalizer. You’re oppressed until you’re pious and faithful, maybe beaten, starve, punished, jailed, as in Iran or Saudi Arabia — but when you are pious, then you’re accepted into the community of believers. In other words, even in hardcore theocracies, God isn’t a racist (LOL) — he might be a vengeful, terrible, angry God, but he’s an equal opportunity abuser. He might call for women and gays and minorities to suffer terribly — but when they renounce their sin, and they’re pure, then they belong to society too. But “God is a white supremacist” is a belief so strange, so bizarre, so fundamentally new in history that it goes even further than that. The question, then, is this: how far back in history do we have to travel to find a God who’s a racial supremacist? Who damns people purely for the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their “race”? Well, we’d have to go back past the colonial era — because even in, for example, South America and Africa and Asia, God could save everyone — religion was a colonial instrument (and I don’t mean that in a pejorative sense, just a historical one) — not just whites or Aryans or whomever. Sure, you might never be an archbishop — but the church would happily accept you into a congregation. What about the Dark Ages? In fact, we’d have to go back past the medieval era, too — because even then, the same logic applies. God was angrier, and more menacing, demanding inquisitions and tests of faith — but nobody was beyond redemption. Even the medieval church had black saints! Do you see how bizarre, extreme, and gruesome all this is getting? We’re already in the Dark Ages — but what America’s producing today is even more unenlightened than the actual literal textbook Dark Ages. How funny. How strange. How sad. Let us continue, until we reach an answer. Let’s go all the way back to antiquity. What about Greeks and Romans? They weren’t monotheists — but were their Gods racial supremacists? Did Athena and Artemis damn black people and Asians, just for the color of their skin? Of course not. The most obvious classical example is Anthony and Cleopatra — neither of whom “converted” in any modern sense, but Cleopatra obviously wasn’t white, and Anthony obviously wasn’t Egyptian. In fact, by this time, Rome was a mixture of all kinds of people — and its Gods rejected no one. So now we’ve gone back — all the way back in human history to the very dawn of civilization. And we haven’t found one example of a statement as weird, grotesque, and bizarre as “God is a white supremacist!!” That doesn’t mean that religions didn’t do terrible things, or even racist things — of course they did. But that is not the same as a racist God. But nowhere do we find such a belief. Even the ancients, it appears, aspired to higher moral and ethical values than racist Gods. Even they’d find such a thing fantastic, foolish, and laughable, probably. (You might have thought by now — “it’s barbarism!” Ah, but it would be too easy to call this barbarism. Barbarians, the poor things, aren’t even this uncivilized. Their gods are violent and wrathful, but like the Vandals or the Visigoths or the Vikings, they weren’t racists, really, nor were they fascists, just warrior Gods, and besides, many “barbarians”, like indigenous Americans, had peaceful naturalist deities, probably far more civilized than their colonizers.) What is such a thing, then? It’s entirely new in human history, more or less. Now, it’s dangerous to say that something is “new”. History’s a cycle, not a line. So when might we have found beliefs like this? Probably in times of great crisis. Imagine a series of failed harvests, season after season. The priests stand atop a great pyramid, and cry, “it is their fault! The Gods demand their blood!” And so the human sacrifices begin. A scenario like that is what would produce a racist God — but for the same reason, when the harvest returns, Gods, who must be impartial beings probably have the darkness of those days scrubbed from them, and go back to being Gods of mercy and justice and so on. So if “God is a white supremacist!” is new — at least in the sense that it’s the kind of gruesome thing we only see in periods of genuine collapse — what do we call it? It’s not fascism, as we’ve already discussed, nor is it theocracy. It’s more like a bizarre, strange, toxic cocktail of the two — which are already toxic cocktails of their own, fascism of liberalism and conservatism, theocracy of state and church. So it’s a finely distilled poison, which we might call theofascism. And that is what America is really inventing now. Once upon a time, it invented great and amazing things. Moonshots, chemotherapies, highways. Yet, even at those times, it was also inventing terrible things, too, which, mostly, it brushed under the rug — Jim Crow laws, segregation, and so forth. Now, though, the balance has changed. America isn’t inventing great things anymore (no, Facebook doesn’t count. Are you kidding?) It seems instead to be inventing new ways to destroy, ruin, and shatter things. What things? Democracy. Reason. Civilization. Truth, justice, equality. It is creating poisonous cocktails, so dangerous, so bitter, so toxic, that they are off the charts of history. Things like theofascism — which is just one ideology of ruin. But there are many more, if we look closely at American collapse. The idea that we should arm teachers, instead of protect kids from school shootings — militant capitalism. The idea that people should have to crowdfund insulin — techno-Darwinism. The idea that people should never be able to retire — neofeudalism. The idea that freedom is just the weak being exploited by the strong — neo-authoritarianism. Those are four more weird, ruinous, baffling ideologies — and just like theofascism, we’d have to go a long, long way back in human history to make sense of them. All these ideas are so strange, self-destructive, and fatally absurd, that they’re off the charts of history, all the way back to the dawn of civilization. Do you think the Romans would have let their kids hack each other to bits in the Colosseum? That the Vikings would have let hedge funds buy and sell the lives of their young and old with impunity? Do you think the Victorians would have stopped people from having insulin if they had it? Of course not — they were already pioneering public parks, libraries, and transport. American collapse is off the charts — in the weirdness and totality of its cruelty. So let me ask again: do you think Americans know how weird, extreme, and bizarre American collapse is getting?
  11. I will admit this is a slanted point of view, however, it does highlight quite succinctly the current disfunction of Alberta and conservative politics. Preston Manning, the bad penny of Canadian politics, turns up again on Alberta’s sovereignty-association panel David Climenhaga Posted on November 10, 2019, 2:41 am 9 mins Preston Manning is the bad penny of Canadian politics. So no one should be surprised he’s turned up again! Good rarely results from Mr. Manning’s interventions in politics, which never seem to end, so don’t expect positive results from his appointment by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney to what might accurately be called the Firewall Commission but will be officially known as the “Fair Deal Panel.” Former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney in 2016 (Photo: Mike Feraco/NATO Association of Canada, Creative Commons). The nine-member panel is charged with finding ways to overcome Alberta’s perpetual case of péquiste envy, thereby allowing this province to negotiate side deals with the rest of Canada like Quebec does while at the same time asserting its imaginary right to run Confederation the way it wants notwithstanding the contrary wishes of voters in other provinces. This psychological condition appears to be recurring, although not chronic. That is, it only flares up when Liberals are in power in Ottawa. “Fair Deal” Panel member Donna Kennedy-Glans (Photo: David J. Climenhaga). It’s particularly bad right now, though, because Prairie Conservatives are still having a tantrum over losing a federal election they’d expected to win. They are seeing their ambition to amend the Constitution to entrench property rights and make Canada more like the United States under Donald Trump turn to ashes in their mouths. It is exacerbated further by the inability of Alberta voters to figure out the success of their Quebec counterparts has something to do with Quebeckers’ ability to sniff the political winds and always elect some MPs from the party that’s going to form the government. The trouble is, as with Mr. Manning’s successful attack on Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney’s proposed constitutional reforms in 1992, a lot of damage can be done to the country by his meddling. So Mr. Kenney’s announcement at the Manning Conference (but of course) in Red Deer yesterday portends bad things for the whole country, instead of just Calgary, where in recent years the 77-year-old former Reform Party leader has been concentrating his diminishing influence on removing progressive Mayor Naheed Nenshi from power, so far without much success. “Fair Deal” Panel member Drew Barnes (Photo: David J. Climenhaga). It’s hard to guess exactly what the purpose of this exercise is, since its premise that Alberta is the redheaded stepchild of Confederation, mistreated by all, is demonstrably false. Its goal may be keeping Mr. Kenney in the public eye as Canada’s real opposition leader to further his prime ministerial ambitions. That assumes such ambitions can somehow co-exist with behaviour that would seem to automatically rule him out as PM with voters in most parts of Canada. Or perhaps it’s intended to provide a distraction from United Conservative Party budget-cutting measures that are proving surprisingly unpopular. As with much of what Mr. Kenney does, this policy does seem to be designed to create scapegoats the UCP can identify as the source of Alberta’s self-inflicted economic troubles. Firewall Letter signatory Rainer Knopff (Photo: David J. Climenhaga). The main point, though, seems to be to resuscitate the dumb ideas from the 2001 Firewall Manifesto signed by the still unfulfilled Stephen Harper, his future political advisor Tom Flanagan, Alberta’s future finance minister Ted Morton, political scientist Rainer Knopff and a couple of lesser lights associated with the University-of-Calgary-based Conservative brain trust. As followers of Alberta politics know, these neoliberal tales from the political crypt are hauled out every few years by admirers of Mr. Harper’s harshly ideological early years, before he became prime minister and was forced to learn to practice realpolitik. If you were wondering why Mr. Harper didn’t push these ideas during the decade he and Mr. Kenney were powerbrokers in Ottawa, you must not have been paying attention to the cyclical nature of the worst Western Conservative ideas, which as noted above only seem to recur when Liberals are in power. In power, political reality required the federal Conservatives to act like a normal political party, a lesson both its current leader and Mr. Kenney seem to have forgotten. So among the big ideas to be pushed by the panel are many plagiarized from the Firewall Letter premier Ralph Klein sensibly tossed into the recycling bin, never imagining it would keep getting recycled. These include: Setting up a separate Alberta pension plan to replace the Canada Pension Plan, now with the addition of a new twist, looting Alberta pensioners’ retirement security to prop up the dying fossil fuel industry Opting out of the province’s tax-collection agreement with Ottawa, presumably just to show that we can, a move that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars Firing the RCMP and setting up a provincial police force perhaps less inclined to investigate UCP leadership vote-rigging scandals Demanding Alberta participation in the negotiation of treaties and other areas of exclusive federal jurisdiction Forcing local boards and agencies not to make deals with Ottawa without Conservative political oversight Opting out of pharmacare and like programs, because, you know, free markets … Firewall Letter signatory Ted Morton (Photo: David J. Climenhaga). Readers will get the general picture. As author Dave Cournoyer pointed out, Mr. Klein did set up his own panel on Alberta’s role in Confederation, and it debunked many of the Firewall suggestions now resurfacing with Mr. Kenney’s encouragement. So it’s hard to imagine how anything good can come from a panel seemingly designed to raise expectations, and then inevitably fail, thus setting the stage for mischief at least, and possibly sedition. In addition to Mr. Manning, panel members include former civil servant Oryssia Lennie, now an apparatchik of the neoliberal Canada West Foundation; Fraser Institute fellow Moin Yaha; former Alberta Regional Assembly of First Nations Chief Jason Goodstriker; Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes, who should now get over his snit about being left out of Mr. Kenney’s cabinet; and Donna Kennedy-Glans, a former minor Progressive Conservative minister and author of several blog posts with a nasty separatist tone asking questions like, “has Trudeau committed treason?” That one left many Albertans wondering … “Has DKG gone off her head?” Two other low-profile UCP MLAs also grace the panel. You can read the rambling press release for the complete member list and additional insights into what Mr. Kenney may be thinking. There is good news for Quebeckers, British Columbians and denizens of the National Capital Region, at least. Alberta will open offices in Quebec, B.C. and Ottawa so that citizens in those places will have an address at which to gather to let Alberta officials know what they think of Mr. Kenney’s policies on reproductive rights, LGBTQ issues, collective bargaining and, of course, global warming inaction. Support ALBERTAPOLITICS.CA Categories Canadian Politics (313) St. Albert (26) Geopolitics (53) News Satire (5) Alberta Politics (1,431) Media (32)
  12. First AC A220 rolls out of paint shop....
  13. The other side of the coin, and the most important thing is the second last line... Craig Wong, The Canadian Press, at 11:11 on November 8, 2019 OTTAWA - The number of people working in Canada edged lower in October following two months of big gains as the manufacturing and construction sectors lost jobs. Statistics Canada said Friday the economy lost 1,800 jobs in October, following gains of 54,000 jobs in September and 81,000 in August. The number of full-time jobs fell by 16,100, offset in part by a gain of 14,300 part-time jobs, while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.5 per cent. Economists on average expected the economy to add a total of 15,900 jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv. Scotiabank deputy chief economist Brett House said the October jobs numbers were the weakest since July, but added that one soft month won't have much impact on the Bank of Canada's stance, particularly after the strong gains in the two months that preceded it. "On details, the mix of full-time and part-time jobs changes was poor," House said. "But we continued to see strong wage gains, at over twice headline inflation, which reflects the fact that Canadian businesses continue to cite labour shortages as the most important constraint on their growth." Despite the small decline in the number of jobs, wage growth in October held steady. Average hourly wage growth, year-over-year, for all employees was 4.3 per cent for the month, the same as September. The manufacturing sector lost 23,000 jobs, mostly in Ontario, while the construction sector lost 21,000. Employment in the "other services" industry also fell by 18,000. The losses were offset in part by an increase of 20,000 jobs working in public administration and 18,000 in finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing. The jobs report comes after the Bank of Canada's decision late last month to keep its key interest rate on hold at 1.75 per cent. In making its decision, the central bank said inflation was on target and the domestic economy has held up well in many respects, even though it's feeling the negative effects of slowing global growth. Josh Nye, senior economist at Royal Bank, said the future direction of the Bank of Canada will depend on the resilience of the Canadian economy, particularly in consumer spending and housing. "A healthy labour market is key to both and there is little sign of deterioration in today's report with the unemployment rate remaining low and wage growth continuing at a strong pace," Nye said. Regionally, B.C. added 15,000 jobs, while Newfoundland and Labrador added 2,700 jobs. The number of self-employed workers in October fell by 27,800, while public sector employees rose by 28,700. The number of private sector employees fell by 2,700. On a year-over-year basis, employment was up by 443,000, an increase of 2.4 per cent. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2019.
  14. In case you really wanted to know how good Trump is for the heartland... Aug 30, 2019, 11:28am Amid Trump Tariffs, Farm Bankruptcies And Suicides Rise Chuck Jones Senior Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Markets I cover technology companies, worldwide economies and the stock market Share to facebook Share to twitter Share to linkedin Pat Sheldon, a corn and soybean farmer from Percival, Iowa. (Annie Gowen/The Washington Post via ... [+] Getty Images) The Washington Post/Getty Images Farmers are pretty much under stress all the time since many factors that affect their livelihood are outside of their control. However, over the past few years the combination of lower prices, rain that has created havoc with their ability to plant and finally China freezing the imports of U.S. grown crops due to President Trump’s tariffs has unfortunately created almost the perfect storm against them. Corn and soybeans are the largest cash crops grown in the U.S. per NASS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. In 2018 the value of corn was $51.5 billion, with soybeans second at $39 billion. The next largest crop was hay, a distant third at $17 billion. For comparison the value of apples grown in the U.S. was about $4 billion and oranges was $2 billion. U.S. crop cash receipts USDA, Economic Research Service, Farm Income and Wealth Statistics. March 6, 2019 Body blow to farmers Today In: Money After China made its announcement that it would stop importing U.S. agricultural products American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said, “China’s announcement that it will not buy any agricultural products from the United States is a body blow to thousands of farmers and ranchers who are already struggling to get by.” He added, “In the last 18 months alone, farm and ranch families have dealt with plunging commodity prices, awful weather and tariffs higher than we have seen in decades. Farm Bureau economists tell us exports to China were down by $1.3 billion during the first half of the year.” PROMOTED Forbes Insights Grads of Life BrandVoice | Paid Program Four Takeaways From Our Conversation With ‘American Factory’ Directors Julia Reichert And Steven Bognar Forbes Insights Forbes BrandVoice | Paid Program $15 Off The Super-Smart WeMo Light Switch Forbes Insights Grads of Life BrandVoice | Paid Program How Reimagining Retail Jobs Could Solve For Retention Issues. Impact of China trade war on agricultural products USDA FAS, Farm Bureau Calculations Duvall pointed out, “Now, we stand to lose all of what was a $9.1 billion market in 2018, which was down sharply from the $19.5 billion U.S. farmers exported to China in 2017.” U.S. ag shipments to China USDA, Farm Bureau China bought $9 to $10 billion in soybeans per year China had been buying 30-35 million tons of soybeans, which is 22% to 25% of total U.S. production. In 2018 the U.S. produced: · 4.6 billion bushels of soybeans · One bushel weighs 60 pounds · Equaling total production of 276 billion pounds · Or 138 million tons China buying 30-35 million tons: · Is 22% to 25% of the total U.S. production · Or 1 to 1.15 billion bushels · At a price of $8.50 per bushes this equates to · $8.5 to $10 billion in revenue from China to U.S. farmers Soybean price chart Corn farmers are also being impacted by Trump China had not had nearly the same effect on corn farmers. However, in early August when China announced that it would stop importing U.S. agricultural products corn prices dropped by about 10%. Corn prices The recent decision by Trump’s EPA to exempt an additional 31 small oil refineries from incorporating ethanol, which is made from corn and accounts for 40% of total corn use per the USDA, will put even more stress on farmers. US CORN PRODUCTION ETHANOL U.S. corn production uses Farmer loan delinquencies and bankruptcies are rising across the U.S. The American Farm Bureau Federation, also known as the Farm Bureau, published a report in July that dove into farm loan delinquencies and bankruptcies based on Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and U.S. court data. The information showed that, “the delinquency rates for commercial agricultural loans in both the real estate and non-real estate lending sectors are at a six-year high and … were above the historical average of 2.1%.” Farm loans past due FDIC Call Report Data, Farm Bureau Calculations The Farm Bureau report showed that farmer bankruptcies had risen in every region of the U.S. for the year ending in June except for the Southwest. Wisconsin, Kansas and Minnesota led the nation in Chapter 12 filings; bankruptcy filings in Kansas and Minnesota increased so significantly in the past year that they reached the highest levels of the past decade Farm bankruptcies by region U.S. Courts, Farm Bureau Calculations While Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on China and its subsequent retaliation is not the only reason for the stress farmers are under, it is a self-inflicted wound. John Newton, the Chief Economist at the Farm Bureau, summarized the farmer’s situation as, “The deteriorating financial conditions for farmers and ranchers are a direct result of several years of low farm income, a low return on farm assets, mounting debt, more natural disasters and the second year of retaliatory tariffs on many U.S. agricultural products.” 2019 farm income should be in the bottom 25% of the past 90 years In another report from Newton, his analysis shows that while farm income in 2019 should increase by 10% from 2018, that would put it in the bottom 25% of the past 90 inflation-adjusted years. His analysis also includes direct payments from the Trump Administration’s Market Facilitation Program, and while it is not on the chart, 2018’s was even lower than 2019’s projected result. Inflated-adjusted net farm income USDA ERS, Farm Bureau Analysis Farmers live off of thin margins Farmers have high fixed costs including the land that they own, the equipment they must buy and the seed they need to grow their product. However, their revenue is variable and can change based on factors totally out of their control. The chart below shows farmer’s rate of return on their assets has fallen to under 2% for the past 6 years and for 2019 Newton projects it to be 1.3%. Rate of return on farm assets USDA ERS, Farm Bureau China will find other suppliers or grow more crops themselves Farmers are probably the first to realize that they will have lost a lot of Chinese market share to other countries or that China will start to grow more of the crops they have been importing. It has taken decades to grow the Chinese market but a significant amount will be lost in just a few years due to Trump’s tariffs and China’s retaliation. A USDA study shows that Canadian shipments of wheat to China have grown over 400% in two years. The report said, “Canada’s share of total Chinese imports of wheat has rocketed above 60% in marketing year 2018/19, up from 32% in marketing year 2017/18, as U.S. wheat exports to China have plunged and Australian exportable supplies have fallen sharply.” Top destinations for Canadian wheat exports USDA, Global Trade Atlas The Farm Bureau provided these facts. From 2017 to 2018, U.S. agricultural exports to China fell more than 50 percent, dropping to $9.1 billion In 2014, U.S. agricultural exports to China exceeded $24 billion From 2000 to 2017, U.S. agricultural exports to China increased by 700% U.S. agricultural exports to China USDA, Farm Bureau China will also increase the amount of soybeans it grows itself. It will be difficult to almost impossible for U.S. farmers to find a market for the amount of soybeans that China won’t be buying. Hu Xijin tweet Twitter All of this has led to increased stress levels for farmers The Farm Bureau and Morning Consult did a survey of rural adults and farmers to understand multiple aspects of mental health for this population. One of the findings was that 91% of farmers and farm workers think financial issues impact the mental health of farmers. Mental health issues for farmers and farm workers Morning Consult, Farm Bureau Dr. Michael Rosmann has a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology, serves as a counselor for farmers and ranchers and spends 15 to 25 hours a week, seven days a week responding to requests for help. He wrote an article in The New Republic in April that describes the types of phone calls and situations he helps people with. He passed along that, "When the AgriWellness Inc. board holds telephone conference calls (usually every few weeks), the state coordinators of services for farmers have a similar message—that the number of calls to their hotlines or to them personally have increased slowly and fairly consistently over the past three years. They reported more concerns about farmer bankruptcies and suicidal contemplation until about July when the farmers became busier with crops that were maturing.” Suicide data is anecdotal but prevalent It takes quite a while for the Centers for Disease Control to collect national violent death data, which are based on coroner reports. Municipal coroner reports are funneled to their respective states and then to the CDC. However, multiple people involved in the farming community have spoken out about increased suicides in the past few years. National Farmers Union has seen more farmer suicides A Newsweek article in May detailed a Fox News interview with Patty Edelburg, vice president of the Washington-based National Farmers Union, which represents about 200,000 U.S. farms. In the interview she said, "It has been insane. We've had a lot of farmers—a lot more bankruptcies going on, a lot more farmer suicides. These things are highlighting many of the news stories in our local news." She added, "We have more commodities, more grain sitting on the ground now because we lost huge export markets. We've lost export markets that we've had for 30 years that we'll never get a chance to get back again. Farmers are hopeful to get their crops in the ground this year but really hopeful we have a place to sell it come fall." Soybean farmer in Minnesota has seen increased suicides In a CNN interview in May, Minnesota soybean farmer Bill Gordon said, “With these added tariffs farmers are not getting their credit lines renewed, banks are coming in and foreclosing on their farms, taking their family living away and it's too much for some of them. We have seen a definite increase in the suicide rate and depression in farmers in the U.S., especially in the Upper Midwest.” Even a corn maze in Wisconsin is highlighting the issue Govin’s Meats & Berries/Govin’s Farms created a corn maze this summer to highlight the concerns it has about suicides and to provide a way for someone to get help. Corn maze Govin’s Meats & Berries/Govin’s Farms Facebook page Farm Progress hearing of more suicides A Farm Progress article in May reported that, “those of us in the field know we’re hearing about more of them.” The reporter added, “I can think of two farmers I know who’ve committed suicide in the past year.” Farm Aid saw a 30% increase in calls last year Farm Aid’s mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. It released a statement in June that included, “Based on a 30% increase during 2018 in calls to their farmer hotline and feedback from family farm partners around the country, Farm Aid says it will continue to prioritize farmer stress.” It added, “Increased calls to Farm Aid’s hotline and our work with partners around the country confirm that farmers are under incredible financial, legal and emotional stress. Bankruptcies, foreclosures, depression and even suicide are some of the tragic consequences of these pressures. America’s family farmers — reduced in numbers since the Farm Crisis of the 1980s — have approached endangered status. At Farm Aid, we spend our time on the phone with anxious farm families who cannot make ends meet, and who will not be able to improve their situation simply by working harder. Confusion and lack of resolution on policies like trade, immigration and healthcare accelerate the crisis.” This could be worse than the farm crisis of the 1980’s. A March opinion column in SC Times noted, “Times have not been good for farmers the past several years. Many have compared it to the farm crisis of the 1980s. Others think the situation for farmers is even worse now than 30 years ago.” In the column, Jennifer Fahy, a communications director for Farm Aid observed, "The farm crisis was so bad (in the 1980s), there was a terrible outbreak of suicide and depression." But today, she said of stress and farmer suicide, "I think it's actually worse."