Showing posts from May 15, 2014

What are China’s ambitions in escalating dispute with Vietnam?

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[Uhmmm... empire? *RON*]
Judy Woodruff, PBS Newshour, May 14, 2014

Judy Woodruff talks to Kenneth Lieberthal of the Brookings Institution and Gordon Chang, a columnist, about the historical rupture and motives underlying a dispute over a Chinese oil rig placed in waters claimed by Vietnam.
I’m joined by Kenneth Lieberthal. He was senior director for Asia on the National Security Council staff in the Clinton administration. He’s now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution focusing on China. And Gordon Chang, he’s a columnist for and author of “The Coming Collapse of China.”

And we welcome you both back to the NewsHour.

Gordon Chang, what exactly happened in the South China Sea that got the Vietnamese so upset?

GORDON CHANG, Columnist, Well, this is pretty simple.

The Chinese towed a billion-dollar oil rig about 130 miles off of Vietnam’s coast and they have started to drill. Now, this is clearly within Vietnam’s e…

Stephen Harper changes version of events around phone call by Beverley McLachlin

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["...the government has lost control of the story and is trying now to backtrack in the face of near unanimous condemnation." In other words the name of the game is public perception and scoring political points; the truth has absolutely nothing to do with it. *RON*]
By: Tonda MacCharles Ottawa Bureau reporter, Published on Wed May 14 2014

OTTAWA—Prime Minister Stephen Harper has revised his version of events around what he and his office first characterized as an “inappropriate” and “inadvisable” phone call by the country’s top judge over a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Now Harper suggests he foresaw a court challenge and legal issue he previously said “surprised” him and his advisers because it had “never arisen” before. Earlier, Harper had characterized a call by Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin as inappropriate, just as any minister’s call to a judge would be on a case that was before the courts.

On Wednesday, …

Supreme Court's Harkat ruling is a profound injustice

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[It would be interesting to read a more detailed and specific interpretation of this ruling, in order to help lay people understand how judicial punishment based on "hearsay, innuendo and secret information" can be deemed constitutional and the result of a due process of law. As the authors point out, how can Canadians be in favour of a law that allows arbitrary detention, the use of secret information, indefinite detention and deportation to torture and, more generally of a two-tiered justice system? *RON*]
By Dylan Penner,, May 15, 2014

The Supreme Court decision Wednesday to uphold the Security Certificate process is devastating news for Mohamed Harkat, his wife Sophie, and his family. The ruling is a serious blow to human rights in Canada and preserves a deeply undemocratic practice.

Despite some reports, the Supreme Court did not rule that Harkat is or has ever been a terrorist. In fact the court didn't even rule that h…

Optimism about CETA 'souring'

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[Ah globalization! It's sort of funny in it's own twisted way. In the rush for all the corporate and national parties involved to see who they can screw, they wind up at an impasse when they realize that everyone is attempting to screw everyone else simultaneously. *RON*]
By Scott Harris,, May 15, 2014

An article in Embassy about the (non) progress on resolution of the final outstanding issues in the Canada-European UnionComprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) says:
"Trade watchers are worried that pushback over European Union trade negotiations with the United States could be spilling over into the EU's trade talks with Canada. There is also mounting frustration among those who had expected Canada and the EU to wrap up their talks months ago, with one source close to the talks who asked not to be named saying that the government 'has kind of lost their cheerleaders.'"Growing opposition in Europe

It's Not A Conflict Of Interest If It Happens In B.C.

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[This is part of the growing corporatocracy in BC and Canada, in which politicians benefit corporate insiders and, in turn, feather their nests for when they leave politics. This damages democracy by giving corporations undue sway in how political decisions are made. *RON*]

Dermod Travis, Executive Director, IntegrityBC, Huffington Post, 05/15/2014

When conflict of interest legislation is drafted to go out of its way to ensure that it won't actually find any conflicts of interest, it shouldn't come as a surprise if it rarely does. And that pretty well sums up the legislative reach of B.C.'s declawed Members' Conflict of Interest Act.

So no great shock when Conflict of Interest Commissioner Paul Fraser decided last month that B.C. Premier Christy Clark hadn't violated the act for failing to disclose -- or for that matter remember -- her past business relationship with RCI Pacific Gateway Education.

Fraser didn't bother to wait…

Pipeline firms to pay all costs, damages in new spill safety rules

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[The way I read this ("The National Energy Board will... take over spill response should the pipeline company be... unwilling to do so") all the oil companies need to do to circumvent this utterly toothless regulation (not even a law) is say "no." As is also stated in a related article in the Vancouver Observer, "It's not just about holding companies liable," Sterritt said. "They just really haven't figured out how to clean this stuff up." *RON*]

By Dene Moore, CP / Huffington Post, 05/14/2014

VANCOUVER - The federal government announced new measures Wednesday to ensure pipeline companies pick up the tab for any spills, as cabinet prepares to announce its decision on the contentious Northern Gateway pipeline project.

Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said the new rules are not tied to any particular project but put in place an unmatched regime for pipeline safety.

"Even in the most extr…