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Showing posts from May 7, 2014

Harper has tarnished Canada’s reputation for ‘sustainable governance’ – new report

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[The Harper government continues to downgrade Canada's international reputation. *RON*]
By Karl Nerenberg, rabble.ca, May 7, 2014

The Harper government must be getting used to negative report cards from respected international bodies.

The latest comes from the Bertelsmann Foundation, based in Germany.

It says that "a strong case can be made that the quality of governance provided by the government of Canada deteriorated" since Harper got his majority in 2011.

Bertelsmann is especially critical of Canada’s environmental performance in the Harper majority era.

The Foundation points to the Conservatives’ omnibus budget bill of 2012, which gutted federal environmental oversight of major projects while, at the same time, announcing Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Accord.

These and other retrograde environmental measures "tarnished the government’s reputation for sustainable governance, both domestically and internationally,"Be…

House Committee Votes Unanimously to Rein In the NSA

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[Some good news for once. *RON*]

—By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, May. 7, 2014

It's pretty hard to find non-depressing news out of Washington DC these days, but this genuinely qualifies:

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted 32-0 to approve an amended version of the USA Freedom Act, a bill that would require the National Security Agency to get case-by-case approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before collecting the telephone or business records of a U.S. resident.

....The USA Freedom Act, introduced last October, would prohibit bulk collection under the business-records provision of the Patriot Act, the law cited by NSA and Department of Justice officials as giving them authority for the telephone records collection program exposed by leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The bill would also prohibit bulk collection targeting U.S. residents in parts of another statute, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance A…

Boko Haram attacks town in Nigeria; police offer reward for schoolgirls

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[It's hard to know what the most effective responses to Boko Haram's outrages should be, but I don't think offering financial rewards should be among them. It's impossible to tell how much of this money would make its way into the Boko Haram coffers, and fund-raising is certainly one of their goals in kidnapping these young women - along with increasing recruitment among fanatics in the general population and the suppression of secular education. *RON*]

By Newsdesk, PBS.org, May 7, 2014
Islamic militants attacked a town in northeastern Nigeria, killing hundreds, an official said Wednesday, while police offered a $300,000 reward for information leading to the release of nearly 300 kidnapped schoolgirls.

The militant group Boko Haram is suspected of looting and setting ablaze buildings in the town of Gamboru Ngala, on the border with Cameroon, reported the Associated Press.

Borno state information commissioner Mohammed Bulama said the…

Government = Protection Racket for the 1 Percent

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["America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened… The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy." *RON*]
by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, Moyers & Company, April 21, 2014

The evidence of income inequality just keeps mounting. According to “Working for the Few,” a recent briefing paper from Oxfam, “In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.”


Koch brothers, big utilities attack solar, green energy policies

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[The Kochs versus Mother Earth. *RON*]

By Evan Halper, LA Times, 19 April 2014
WASHINGTON — The political attack ad that ran recently in Arizona had some familiar hallmarks of the genre, including a greedy villain who hogged sweets for himself and made children cry.

But the bad guy, in this case, wasn't a fat-cat lobbyist or someone's political opponent.

He was a solar-energy consumer.

Solar, once almost universally regarded as a virtuous, if perhaps over-hyped, energy alternative, has now grown big enough to have enemies.

The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and some of the nation's largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to roll back state policies that favor green energy. The conservative luminaries have pushed campaigns in Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona, with the battle rapidly spreading to other states.

Will the 'Culturally Compatible' Immigrant Please Stand Up?

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[Racism in Canadian politics, present and past. "Kenney slipped up while unrolling the red carpet for the Irish, not long after he cancelled 300,000 patiently-waiting skilled workers' applications. 'The employers in Canada are increasingly identifying Ireland as a great source of talent, hard-working, highly-educated folks who are culturally compatible,' Kenney said." *RON*]

The Nudge Report, Huffington Post, 05/07/2014


Jason Kenney may no longer hold the immigration file, but the longest continually serving Immigration Minister in Canadian history still has considerable influence in the multiculturalism, labour, and temporary foreign worker files. Initially elected as a candidate of the Reform Party of Canada, Kenney has evolved into a key strategist for Harper's Conservatives.

The Reform Party's early immigration policy proposals were laid out in a pamphlet called Blue Sheet which was issued in 1991. It stated that R…

B.C. Liberals Have No Time To Debate 'Serious Issues'

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[The fairy tales which are British Columbia politics. The Liberals current legislative agenda bears absolutely no correspondence to what was said during the election, and in fact, often contradicts those statements directly. "...no one expects that an election campaign can touch on every issue, but when it does and the party that wins completely reverses course, voters might feel like they were taken for fools." *RON*]
Dermod Travis, Executive Director, IntegrityBC, Huffington Post, 04/14/2014

"Today's BC Liberals" may have taken a little inspiration during last year's election campaign from former Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell when she bluntly stated in 1993 that "an election is no time to discuss serious issues."

It's why British Columbians could be forgiven for thinking that they missed something during the campaign after seeing some of the legislation introduced during the current session of the …

Environmentalists Barred Again From Oilsands Hearings

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[The idea that environmental groups should be excluded if they are "not directly affected" by this particular proposal completely obviates the concept of the public good. *RON*]

By Bob Weber, CP / Huffington Post, 05/06/2014


EDMONTON - The Alberta government has again barred environmental groups from hearings on an oilsands proposal in what conservationists say is a pattern of restricting public input on resource development.

The move to deny standing to the Oilsands Environmental Coalition at hearings on a proposed new development by Southern Pacific Resource Corp. comes after a similar decision last fall was overturned by a judge.

The judge urged the government to err on the side of openness when it decides who has the right to speak.

"The government hasn't learned its lesson from last time," Simon Dyer of the Pembina Institute, one of the groups in the coalition, said Tuesday. The institute is a non-profit think-tank f…