Zooming In On The Cash

May 15, 2020

For all of the security concerns, the China concerns, and the techno hiccoughs, Zoom is coining it when it comes to corporate valuation.  As shown in this chart from Visual Capitalist, it is now more valuable than the seven largest airlines in the world.

What this really shows is the flippancy of stock markets.

The full article has a lot of detail comparing these industries.  Well worth the view.


Wise Words

May 15, 2020

 

In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are only consequences.

 

 


Nakba Day

May 15, 2020

On Nakba Day — the day of the catastrophe — we remember the millions of Palestinians violently displaced from their homes at the creation of Israel in 1948.


The Land of the Free?

May 14, 2020

The so-called Land of the Free just got a little bit less free.  The US Senate approved amendments to the Patriot Act that allows law enforcement agencies to search your internet browsing history without a warrant.

“The power grab was led by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell as part of a reauthorization of the Patriot Act, which gives federal agencies broad domestic surveillance powers …

Dayton Young, director of product at Fight For the Future, told Motherboard. “Any lawmaker who votes to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act is voting against our constitutionally-protected freedoms, and there’s nothing patriotic about that.”

Moves like this are just the tip of the iceberg. Fascist-leaning dictators and institutions around the world have used the covid-19 pandemic as a cover to vastly increase their powers over ordinary citizens. While this movement is overt in such countries as Hungary, Turkey, and Brazil, it is no less prevalent in the US, the UK, and Canada where subtle (or not so subtle) shifts in the dynamics of power tend to happen without a lot of fanfare.

We are on a slippery slope to totalitarianism.


Changes To Media Consumption, By Generation

May 13, 2020

From Visual Capitalist comes this fascinating dissection of how each generation is changing its cultural habits during the covid-19 crisis:

Select image for a much larger, clearer view.

The article also includes this breakdown of “Internet Activities” which shows some definite trends, by generation, that should keep social scientists busy for a while:

The full article has a lot more detail on trust, and media subscriptions. I recommend the read.


On Theft: An Anarchist POV

May 12, 2020

There is a valuable piece at boingboing.net about an anarchist group’s view of crime and punishment.

The Firestorm Bookstore Co-op is an anarchist enterprise in Asheville, North Carolina.  Their storefront was recently broken into and $150 stolen from the cash register. The damage to the store added $450 to the loss.  Their reaction?

“No, we didn’t call the police. There really isn’t anything law enforcement could do for us that we couldn’t do ourselves and if someone is desperate enough to risk their freedom for $150, maybe we’ve all failed them. It’s tough feeling vulnerable, and seeing our storefront broken open brought up a lot of emotions, including anger — but incarceration is not justice and punishment can only multiply harm.”

Worth thinking about.

 


Vancouver Housing Strategy: Letter to Council

May 11, 2020

A few says ago I wrote a piece about Cllr. Hardwick’s Motion to recalibrate the Vancouver Housing Strategy which is, at this time, operating with faulty assumptions and creating bad policy, exacerbating an already bad housing crisis in the city.  I have today written Council in support of the Motion:

This email is to support Councillor Hardwick’s Motion to recalibrate the Vancouver Housing Strategy.

For many years the City of Vancouver has approved the building of far more housing units than those required by even the most liberal reading of both Provincial and StatsCan population growth estimates for the city.  This was pointed out to the previous Council and City staff as far back as 2016 when building approvals (and subsequent construction) exceeded those of the growth estimates of the Regional Context Statement by many thousands of units.  A number of reputable peer-reviewed studies have confirmed those observations.

These warnings were ignored by the previous majority, and their refusal to recalibrate at that time led directly to the empty homes scandal that still plagues us and, indirectly to the elimination of the previous majority party from civic government at the last election.

The explanation given before – and still percolating among too many groups, including some close to City Hall – is that these huge and unnecessary amounts of supply will somehow create affordable housing.  The facts over the last decade have proven that to be entirely wrong, and Vancouver is now one of the least affordable cities in the world.

It will be argued by some (notably those with a pecuniary interest) that this Motion seeks to create an upper limit to the amount of new housing units to be approved and built in Vancouver.  I don’t see it as such.  There is no doubt that we need to build a lot more PBR and other genuinely affordable housing units (unlike the vast majority of approvals to date) and I for one will continue to lobby for that.

However, what this Motion and the taxpayers do demand is (a) that the City’s Housing Strategy be informed by nationally accepted population estimates, and (b) that the City be totally transparent with the data citizens need to track and understand the housing policy and approvals going forward.

The Motion comes before Council tomorrow though, as the final Motion on the agenda, it probably won’t be debated until Wednesday.  I hope that many of you will support this Motion either by writing to Council and/or agreeing to speak (remotely from home by telephone) when the Motion is brought forward.