Showing posts from May 19, 2014

Christy Clark's Never Ending Campaign

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[BC's premier is still in election mode, so a fast-growing job sector (consisting of one big happy family of Liberal supporters) is spin agencies. With a spin-department costing $26 million taxpayer dollars per year, see the item two stories down about the Clark government clawing back $128/month in child support payments from a single mother living on a government disability pension. *RON*]

By Bob Mackin, 14 May 2014,

The bus bearing the Debt-Free B.C. slogan and Premier Christy Clark's face stood parked the day after the BC Liberals won a surprising return to running the province.

Now it was time for Clark, who had been premier for 26 months, to roll-up her sleeves and get governing. But that's only happened in fits and spurts, because when one campaign ended, another began. And another after that. In fact, there's plenty of evidence that British Columbia has become a parallel universe where the politician in charge …

IMF Pegs Canada's Fossil Fuel Subsidies at $34 Billion

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[This story is from the same edition of The Tyee as the following one, in which the BC Liberals claw back $184/month in child support payments from a single mom who lives on a government disability pension. In such corporate giveaways we're a world leader, a fact rarely noted when federal budgets are debated. *RON*]

By Mitchell Anderson, 15 May 2014,
While Canada slashes budgets for research, education and public broadcasting, there is one part of our economy that enjoys remarkable support from the Canadian taxpayer: the energy sector.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that energy subsidies in Canada top an incredible $34 billion each year in direct support to producers and uncollected tax on externalized costs.

These figures are found in the appendix of a major report released last year estimating global energy subsidies at almost $2 trillion. The report estimated that eliminating the subsidies would reduce global carbon emi…

Single Mom Slams Clark on Clawbacks: 'She Has Zero Idea'

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[Christy Clark's famous Families First agenda in action. "We want to make sure we're fair across the system," by taking your child support away whether you live in poverty or already make $180,000 per year, like single-mom Christy Clark. *RON*]

By Andrew MacLeod,, 15 May 2014

Jessica Sothcott could work and earn as much as $9,600 a year without it affecting the amount she receives in disability payments, but every dollar she receives in child support from her daughter's father is deducted in full from what the government will provide.

"I was shocked," said the mother of two who was at the British Columbia legislature with her 14-year-old daughter Rosalie on Wednesday to draw attention to the issue.

Sothcott said she raised the matter with the office that administers the province's Person With Disability benefits. "When I finally got on PWD, I went there and I said, 'Why are you taking my child…

Environment Journal Editor Responds To Conservative Media Storm Over Rejected Climate Manuscript

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[The ongoing effort to turn science into politics, which has, in turn, already been turned into economics. *RON*]
 Graham Readfearn, DeSmogBlog, 18 May 2014

THERE’S an old proverb that suggests it’s always the lie that gets half way around the world while the truth is still pulling its boots on.

But if evidence from the latest conservative media beat-up on climate science is anything to go by, even if the truth is only a couple of blocks behind, the myth can just keep on running.

We’re talking about a story that sprinted out of the blocks from the offices of The Times newspaper in Britain.

The newspaper’s environment editor Ben Webster was writing about the University of Reading’s Professor Lennart Bengtsson (pictured), who had a research manuscript rejected by the prominent Environmental Research Letters journal earlier this year.

Webster’s front page story claimed Bengtsson’s research had been “deliberately suppressed” because it didn’t sit we…

Amazon stands by Boy Scouts; GLAAD, gay Scouts to deliver over 120k petition signatures to Amazon HQ

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[I keep finding more reasons to not buy from Amazon. I had already stopped buying from them because they lease cloud storage to the NSA and CIA for the purpose of spying on the world at large. *RON*]
By Seth Adam, GLAAD, May 19, 2014

In a puzzling move, online retail giant Amazon is standing firm in its charitable support of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The Boy Scouts, which unapologetically discriminates against gay and lesbian adults, is among the organizations included in the AmazonSmile program, which allows shoppers to direct 0.5 percent of their purchase totals toward a charity of their choice.

This, despite the fact that the AmazonSmile participation agreement clearly stipulates that eligible organizations are those that "do not engage in, support, encourage, or promote [...] intolerance, discrimination or discriminatory practices based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability,sexual orientation [emphasis added], or age."…

Rules for Carcinogen Precursor Limited by Lack of Monitoring, Research

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[The by-now usual story. There is, somehow, no money available to research and monitor the industrial chemicals that are killing us. *RON*]
By Gabe Rivin, North Carolina Health News, May 19, 2014
Managers at water-treatment plants know bromides are a problem, but the science of how much bromide is needed to start forming carcinogenic byproducts is still unclear.

In the Dan River, in north-central North Carolina, a carcinogen precursor flowed freely through the water. The chemicals landed in two municipal drinking-water plants, temporarily causing the water to be tainted for thousands of residents.

That same precursor flowed freely in the Allegheny River, in Pittsburgh, causing the same problem for an even greater number of residents. In both cases, the chemicals, bromides, had been produced by energy industries. North Carolina’s source of bromides was Duke Energy’s Belews Creek Steam Station, a 2,240-megawatt coal-fired power plant that releases its…

‘Dark money’ floods in to US election

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[Billionaire versus billionaire, fighting for control of the US government. The mid-terms are on course to out-spend the Presidential election. *RON*]

By Richard McGregor, Financial Times, May 19, 2014
Long used to opposing candidates bitterly facing off in elections, US voters are being offered a different choice for this year’s congressional polls – the spectacle of billionaires battling each other head on.

Tom Steyer, a billionaire Democrat-aligned investor who is deploying his fortune to highlight the threat of climate change, is airing TV advertisements attacking not the Republicans but fellow billionaires Charles and David Koch.

Mr Steyer’s advertisements targeting the two industrialists are largely a stunt aimed at lifting the brothers’ public profile and demonising their role in backing conservative causes. But underlying the Democrats’ anti-Koch campaign is a genuine trend – of a huge growth in spending on politics by wealthy Americans out…

The Birth of a Eurasian Century: Russia and China Do Pipelineistan

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[On gas pipelines, BRICS as an emerging superpower, and the Cold War 2.0. For some background, see also Business Insider's Here's The Proposed Gas Pipeline That Has Russia-China Relations Stronger Than Ever. *RON*]
By Pepe Escobar, posted by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism, May 19, 2014

Yves here. I’m a big fan of Pepe Escobar’s work at Asia Times, so I’m delighted to have the opportunity to run one of his posts here. Astute readers will no doubt point out that some of the elements of the Russia-Chinese emergent plan, such as reliance on gold-backed currencies, are sorely misguided. But the bigger point is that the two nations are looking hard for ways to undermine the US economic hegemony. And in any struggle, plans seldom survive first contact with the opposition. Much depends on how well each side adapts to and exploits changing conditions.

By Pepe Escobar, a roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT, and a TomDi…

Film Company Accused Of Foreign Worker Fraud, Extortion

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[“Not every case is going to get dealt with." Austerity defines justice as a scarce resource to be doled out only to the few. Despite Harper's pronouncements, the government is plainly incapable of "getting tough" on abusers of the Temporary Foreign Workers' program because, as the staff themselves say, the CBSA's investigative capacity has been cut to the bone and then some. *RON*]

CBC via Huffington Post, 05/19/2014

An Iranian couple are going public about how a B.C. business charged them $15,000 to come to Canada — a violation of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program rules — for jobs that turned out to be non-existent.

“We came for job. But they didn't give us,” said Sareh Aminian, who said her husband was only given one day’s paid work. “It makes me crazy.”

The couple entered Canada in March 2013, under contracts with Parvaz Film Corporation originally signed in 2011 and 2012.

Company owner Sherry Soltani and her hus…