Showing posts from May 1, 2014

The Art of Satyagraha

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[See Michael Nagler's web site here - - it has many useful and interesting resources, including some excellent free online video courses on nonviolence. *RON*]

 By David, May 1, 2014

Michael Nagler has just published The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action, a quick book to read and a long one to digest, a book that's rich in a way that people of a very different inclination bizarrely imagine Sun Tzu's to be. That is, rather than a collection of misguided platitudes, this book proposes what still remains a radically different way of thinking, a habit of living that is not in our air. In fact, Nagler's first piece of advice is to avoid the airwaves, turn off the television, opt out of the relentless normalization of violence.

We don't need the art of war applied to a peace movement. We need the art of satyagraha applied to the movement for a peaceful, just, free, and sustaina…

Kinder Morgan: Oil Spills' Economic Effects Are Both Good And Bad

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[Well, here we have the Harper job creation program revealed at last! Never mind that the tax payer will normally end up paying for most clean-up costs. By this logic, mass murders are sort of cool too - just think of the added work for funeral homes. Unbelievable thinking. *RON*]

The Huffington Post Canada, 05/01/2014

There is at least something of a bright side to oil spills, pipeline company Kinder Morgan says.

In a recent submission to the National Energy Board, the company says marine oil spills “can have both positive and negative effects on local and regional economies” thanks to the economic activity generated by cleanup operations.

“Spill response and clean-up creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and clean-up service providers,” the company says.

The comments appear in a 15,000-page application to the NEB to triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain Pipeline, which carries oil from Alberta to Port …

Latest on oil train that crashed and burned in James River and downtown Lynchburg

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["The volatility of Bakken oil is a highly sensitive topic because of possible criminal or financial liability for the oil train explosions that have been occurring.... Most oil companies and shippers in North Dakota are refusing to share information with the U.S. Department of Transportation about the exact chemical makeup and characteristics of the oil they extract. And they are balking at improving the safety of their oil tanker fleets." While you're at it, see BP pipeline sprays ‘oily mist’ over 33 acres of Alaskan tundra*RON*]

By Roger Annis, Vancouver Observer, May 1st, 2014
The latest North American oil train crash occurred yesterday in the heart of the city of Lynchburg, Virginia. Fourteen wagons of crude oil derailed from a CSX train in the middle of the afternoon.

A city spokeswoman said three or four wagons caught fire. The burning wagons spilled their loads into the James River. The surface of the river was on fire fr…

Harper spares Canada's multi-billion-dollar banks from competition

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["Canada has one of the most concentrated, least competitive banking sectors in the world, according to a newly released report from the IMF. This lack of competition allows the Big Six to get away with charging some of the highest banking fees in the world." *RON*]
By Linda McQuaig,, May 1, 2014

Few myths are more carefully nurtured by Canada's elite than the notion that Canadians are well served by our six big banks.

Stephen Harper rarely misses an opportunity to suggest that our banks saved us from calamity when the 2008 financial crisis pushed the world into recession. (It's true that Canada's more regulated banking sector did hold up better than the unregulated casino banks of Wall Street.)

Still, beyond the confines of the business class and the Harper Conservatives, it would be hard to find an ordinary Canadian who wouldn't be delighted to see our century-old banking oligopoly face some actual -- what's…

OECD Calls For Tax Overhaul To Tackle Income Inequality

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[Research body says very rich should pay more tax. *RON*]

By Paul Hannon, Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2014

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Wednesday called for an overhaul of the tax system in developed economies to ensure the very rich pay a large share of their incomes, and help limit or roll back the sharp increase in income inequality that has occurred over recent decades.

The Paris-based research body said governments should consider abolishing deductions and exemptions that are disproportionately favorable to high earners, taxing forms of remuneration such as stock options in the same way as wages, and raising a greater share of the total tax take from charges on real estate.

In a report on income inequality, the OECD also said the treatment of taxes on inheritances should be reviewed, and ways to tax income from capital in the same way as income from work should be examined.

"Without concerted policy action, the g…

Hell Is an Understatement: A report from the bloody, crumbling Central African Republic

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[Eye-opening, lengthy article on conditions on the ground in Central African Republic. *RON*]

By Graeme Wood, New Republic, 30 April 2014

Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), has never been known for the reliability of its public utilities. Most trash is picked through by scavengers, and the remaining mango pits, scraps of plastic, and rusty bottlecaps pile up on dirt roads or get blown into fetid open sewers. But since December, along a desolate stretch of the Avenue de France, the Red Cross has operated an on-demand, white-gloved sanitation service that, within an hour of being called, will show up to collect human bodies, whether chopped up or left intact.

The Avenue de France marks a divide between two neighborhoods, and the human remains belong to those who have, for one reason or another, strayed too far in the wrong direction. The road itself is devoid of foot traffic—a no-man’s-land where both sides can deposit thei…

Antibiotic-resistant superbugs now a global epidemic

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[First global review of fatal antibiotic-resistant superbugs reveals problem of epidemic proportions: World Health Organization sounds the alarm. *RON*]
By Debora MacKenzie, New Scientist, 20 April 2014
For similar stories, visit the Micro-organisms and Epidemics and Pandemics Topic Guides

Bacteria that resist antibiotics are widespread around the planet, concludes the first global review of antibiotic resistance

To make matters worse, the World Health Organization, which produced the report, has revealed that there is no globally standardised way to assess and share information on drug-resistant infections – something the WHO will now make a priority.

"Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating," says Keiji Fukuda, head of health s…

A number is never just a number: Middle-class angst

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[Statistics on income inequality and the disappearance of the Canadian middle class. *RON*]
 By Jill Hennessy (Hennessy's Index),, 1 May 2014
47: Percentage of Canadians who self-identify as middle class. That's down from almost 70 per cent in 2002. (Source)

$1,600: The decline in median market household income between 2008 and 2011. In 2008 median market family was $49,300. (Source: CANSIM 202-0201)

5: Percentage increase in the market income of the richest 20 per cent of Canadian households in 2011 compared to 2006. (Source)

6: Percentage drop in the market income of the poorest 20 per cent of Canadian households in 2011 compared to 2006. (Source)

59: Percentage increase in the number of Canadians who were working for the minimum wage in 2012 compared to 2006. That's a large increase and it doesn't appear to be going down post-recession. (Source)

RCMP uncover over 1,000 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women: source

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["...the report’s release is being held up by the federal ministry of public safety Canada and was supposed to come out March 31." *RON*]

By Kenneth Jackson, APTN National News, 30 April 2014

An RCMP project aimed at tallying the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women has uncovered “over 1,000” cases, APTN National News has learned.

The RCMP was able to determine over a 1,000 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women with the help other police forces across the country, according to a person with knowledge of the project, who asked not to be named because they’re not the official spokesperson on the project.

As part of this project, the RCMP reached out to over 200 police forces across the country to get a peek in their files to compile their statistics.

APTN was told the project was complete and the report’s release is being held up by the federal ministry of public safety Canada and was supposed to come out March 31.


Cautionary note: top Canadian scientists urge go-slow approach to fracking

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[You probably shouldn't hold your breath while waiting for Harper and Clark to adopt a "go slow" approach to fracking. *RON*]

By Bob Weber, CP / Huffington Post, 30 April 2014

A report from a panel of top Canadian scientists is urging a go-slow approach to the booming industry of hydraulic natural gas fracking.

So little is known about the long-term impacts of extracting gas by fracturing rock beds with high-pressure fluids that scientists and regulators need to start now to understand how to develop the resource safely and cleanly, said co-author Rick Chalaturnyk, an engineering professor at the University of Alberta.

"Perhaps cautionary is the right philosophy," he said. "We really do stand a chance to put in place the regulatory framework to answer the questions around environmental impact."

Chalaturnyk was part of a panel formed by the Council of Canadian Academies, an independent organization that brings togethe…

Parents want B.C. to make vaccinations mandatory for public school students

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[Vaccine 'truthers' are among the most recalcitrant conspiracy theorists out there. No amount of public education will change their minds. *RON*]

By Susan Lazaruk, The Province, April 30, 2014
B.C. should follow Ontario’s lead and make childhood vaccinations mandatory for public school enrollment, say parents in an online petition to Premier Christy Clark.

The petition, which had more than 200 signatures Tuesday afternoon, asks Clark to amend the public schools law to ensure parents provide proof they’ve vaccinated their children before they attend public schools, except where exempted for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.

The largest outbreak of measles in B.C. in nearly 30 years, mostly in the Fraser Valley, has been declared over but health officials are still urging parents to ensure their kids’ shots are up to date, especially this week, which is Immunization Awareness Week in Canada (until May 3).

Spying on Canadians: What can we do?

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[An overview of the extent to which government and corporations are in bed with one another and actively engaged in spying on Canadian citizens while denying that this is so. *RON*]
By Joyce Nelson,, April 30, 2014
Environmental and First Nations activists are increasingly appalled by the continuing revelations that they are being spied on by police and the Canadian security establishment on behalf of the corporate sector.

First Nations activist Ambrose Williams recently told The Georgia Straight that last year, when he and other anti-fracking activists left Vancouver in a three-vehicle caravan bound for New Brunswick, they were followed and watched by police during the entire cross-country trip. They were heading East to reinforce the Mi'kmaq protestors fighting Texas-based SWN Resources. The company has been exploring for shale gas on unceded Mi'kmaq territory in that province.

As The Georgia Straight's Carlito Pablo reporte…