Showing posts from February 27, 2014

Bureaucrat Ducks Vital Question on Flawed DOT-111 Tank Cars at Oil By Rail Safety Hearing

See the original story here.

[It quite painful to watch the video. This bureaucrat is congenitally incapable of giving a straight answer to a simple question. *RON*]
 JUSTIN MIKULKA, Thu, 2014-02-27 12:38

On Wednesday February 26th, the long-awaited congressional hearing on oil-by-rail safety finally occurred. The main portion of the hearing featured representatives from the relevant government agencies as well as industry, such as the American Petroleum Institute’s President and CEO, Jack Gerard.

For those following crude-by-rail safety, there are several pressing issues, but the one question everyone wants to know the answer to is when will the government stop allowing the inferior and unsafe DOT-111 tank cars to be used to ship crude oil?

At the hearing, Robert Sumwalt of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) testified that “multiple recent serious and fatal accidents reflect substantial shortcomings in tank car design that create an unacceptable public risk.”

Not much …

Federal snooping agency gets big budget increase, watchdogs face cuts

Read the original article here.

[Making his priorities perfectly clear. *RON*]

By Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press, 02/27/2014

OTTAWA - The budget of Canada's electronic eavesdropping agency will almost double this year as it prepares to open swanky new Ottawa headquarters.

Estimates tabled in Parliament on Thursday show Communications Security Establishment Canada will receive $829 million in 2014-15, up from just under $444 million this year.

It includes a one-time increase of $300 million for a contract payment related to delivery of the spy agency's new facility, and over $100 million related to maintenance of the complex, built through a public-private partnership.

The headquarters includes a vast data storage unit the size of a football field, extensive new office space and a public meeting centre near the entrance to the campus.

In addition, just over $6 million will support CSEC's mandate of gathering foreign intelligence and protecting federal computer systems.

At the sa…

Exxon CEO Wants to Keep Fracking Out of His Backyard

Read the original article here.

[No comment required. *RON*]
 By Marcia G. Yerman
The Internet has become a stomping ground for outrageous stories that are destined to go viral. The latest one concerns Rex Tillerson, Chief Executive and Chairman of ExxonMobil Corporation. It's the kind of material that late night comedians dream of.

Tillerson has become part of a legal suit against the potential construction of water tower near his property. He actually showed up at a town meeting in Bartonville, Texas, to express his distress and dismay. He owns a horse ranch that covers 83 acres, as well as a home situated nearby on an 18 acre spread, that are in close proximity to the proposed construction. The tower would measure 160 feet high, or the equivalent of 15 stories. The lawsuit that Tillerson is a part of, along with former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, claims that its placement is illegal within the context of local zoning ordinances.

And the purpose of the tower? To store water fo…

Unions Are Dying. What Will Replace Them?

Read the original article here.
[Unions aren't dying - they've been killed off by a four decades of regressive repeals of the legal protections that labour requires to express its power without being squashed like a bug. What is needed is to re-assert those fundamental protections. Who else would stand up for labour besides labour? Big government? That's one really bad idea. *RON*]

—By Kevin Drum, Thu Feb. 27, 2014 8:09 AM GMT

Last week, Evan Soltas wrote a column that basically told liberals to give up on unions. "Unions can no longer solve labor’s woes," he wrote. "That’s not terrible, because the way unions gave workers power created its own problems."

In response to criticism from Michael Wasser, he wrote this:
The heart of the matter, it seems to me, is whether union decline is basically irreversible....If the decline is permanent, [] Wasser's claim about uniqueness has no independent policy implications — it's merely a statement of pessimism. …

Win! Tsilhqot'in Nation stops the New Prosperity mine

See the original article here.

[The fact that a proposal is known to be environmentally harmful and opposed by First Nations has not stopped Harper previously - he must be preparing to horse-trade for support on pipelines. *RON*]
The Council of Canadians congratulates the Tsilhqot'in Nation for their successful protection of Fish Lake against a twice-proposed open-pit gold and copper mine.

Yesterday, the federal government issued a media release stating, "The Minister of the Environment has concluded that the New Prosperity Mine project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated. The Governor in Council has determined that those effects are not justified in the circumstances; therefore, the project may not proceed."

Williams Lake chapter activist Keith Monroe says, "We are relieved by the government decision not to approve this project. After participating in two federal environmental asses…

UK spies 'intercepted webcam images of Yahoo users'

Read the original article here.

[More via Snowden. Things are getting more than a little beyond the pale. *RON*]

27 February 2014 Last updated at 10:27 ET

British spy agency GCHQ intercepted webcam images from millions of Yahoo users around the world, according to a report in the Guardian.

Yahoo denied prior knowledge of the alleged programme, describing it as a "completely unacceptable" privacy violation.

According to leaked documents, sexually explicit images were among those gathered - although not intentionally.

In a statement GCHQ has said all of its actions are in accordance with the law.

The Localization Movement. Creating a Viable Local Economy. Challenging the New World Order

Read the original article here.
[Localization is part of a trend that is looking for alternatives to globalization and the environmental and human degradation that goes along with it. This article addresses the question of how to create broader buy-in on the concept. *RON*]
By Richard K. Moore,, Global Research, February 27, 2014,

A number of different initiatives are being pursued at the grassroots level, all aimed at building resilient and sustainable communities. These include local currencies, buy-local campaigns, Transition Towns, farmer’s markets, community gardens, local co-ops, and others. Such initiatives are springing up all over the world. The movement is growing geographically, but unfortunately it is not succeeding in significantly transforming very many local economies.

Activists are leading the initiatives, and early-adopters are participating, but most people are not typically getting involved. Without widespread participation in …