Showing posts from June 3, 2014

Total shelves $11-billion Alberta oil sands mine

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[Woo-hoo! An $11 billion tar sands project was cancelled in large part because of the lack of progress with Keystone XL. Evidently this story garnered such little attention in the mainstream media that I've only discovered it five days later. *RON*]

Carrie Tait, Calgary — The Globe and Mail, May 29, 2014

The Joslyn oil sands mine has been shelved indefinitely, a result of rising industry costs that made the $11-billion project financially untenable.

French energy powerhouse Total SA, along with its partners in the Joslyn north oil sands project, unanimously decided to put the project on hold because of rising cost pressures across the entire energy industry, said André Goffart, the head of Total’s Canadian division.

“Joslyn is facing the same challenge most of the industry world-wide [is], in the sense that costs are continuing to inflate when the oil price and specifically the netbacks for the oil sands are remaining stable at best – squeezing …

Tech Titans on Income Inequality and Their “Stingy, Stingy” Industry

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[San Francisco, the heart of the tech industry, now has the fastest-growing income inequality in the country, a gap on par with Rwanda's. A good companion-piece to the following article on Jeff Bezos at Amazon. *RON*]
 By Nellie Bowles,, May 31, 2014

Marc Benioff, the philanthropist and billionaire founder of Salesforce, may have been the angriest man at last week’s Code Conference, held at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

Onstage, Benioff launched into a fervent monologue, calling out the audience for failing on a range of social initiatives. The income discrepancy was growing, and techies were being too stingy. Benioff called out conference presenter Re/code for not having a charitable component, and asked people there to raise their hands if their companies had charity programs. Fewer than half did.

“You’ve got to show that we are part of the solution, not just part of the problem,” said Benioff, his voice risi…

Amazon and the dark side of American capitalism

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[This is approximately Reason #426 to not buy stuff from Amazon. *RON*]
By Brian Cooney, OpEdNews Op Eds 6/3/2014

In his latest book (Mindless: Why Smarter Machines are Making Dumber Humans) Simon Head describes how large corporations such as Amazon are using computer-based monitoring systems that maximize efficiency by creating inhuman working conditions. Amazon is one of the most admired corporations in the world, and Jeff Bezos is rightly seen as an entrepreneurial genius.

Yet, says Head, Amazon "treats employees as untrustworthy human robots and relies on intimidation to push them to the limit." At the many Amazon warehouses ("fulfilment centers") scattered around the country, every aspect of workers' activity is measured and timed, and they are quickly terminated if they fail to meet constantly escalating quotas.

The work often results in painful long-term injuries, as in the case of Connie Milby, a 51-year old employ…

Seattle votes for $15 minimum wage

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["One councillor said the vote sends a message heard around the world." Unsurprisingly, however, I've seen nothing about this in Canadian mainstream press. *RON*]
BBC News, 2 June 2014

The Seattle city council has voted unanimously to raise the city's minimum wage to the highest level of any major US city - $15 (£9) per hour, twice the national minimum.

Wages would begin to rise next year, ultimately reaching $15 from Washington state's minimum of $9.32 over three to seven years, depending on the business.

One councillor said the vote "sends a message heard around the world".

US minimum wage is $7.25, although 38 states have set higher levels.

The states of California, Connecticut and Maryland have recently passed laws increasing their respective wages to $10 or more in coming years.

Nationally, US President Barack Obama has called for a $10.10 federally-mandated minimum wage, which would require action by the div…

Euthanization or rehab for oiled wildlife?

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[Oil industry-funded agency criticizes Ottawa for not supporting policy to kill wildlife that's heavily oiled after a spill, for species that are not endangered. I.e., don't hold your breath waiting for that World Class Oil Spill plan. *RON*]

By Peter O'Neil, Vancouver Sun, June 2, 2014

OTTAWA — The image of an oil-soaked mammal struggling to stay alive has always pulled at the public’s heartstrings around the world after devastating oil spills.

But should Canadian governments, industry and wildlife management groups take the “tough” decision and recognize that valiant efforts to save — rather than euthanize — these creatures isn’t always the best use of limited resources during a crisis?

That was the touchy question raised by the Western Canada Marine Response Corp., the federal government-sanctioned but industry-funded organization responsible for West Coast spill cleanups, in a submission last year to the federal government’s tanker …

Cyberbullying Bill Should Be Split In 2, Urges Privacy Czar Nominee

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[The Harper government tried precisely the same tactic once before, attempting to smuggle through warrantless spying on Canadian citizens inside some Trojan Horse anti-Child Pornography legislation. They were defeated on that occasion by a massive public backlash. *RON*]

By Jim Bronskill, CP / Huffington Post, 06/03/2014

OTTAWA - The man nominated to be Canada's next privacy commissioner had his first run-in with the Harper government over Internet surveillance Tuesday — even before he was confirmed for the ombudsman's post.

Justice Department lawyer Daniel Therrien told a House of Commons committee the government's cyberbullying bill should be split in two to allow greater scrutiny of measures that would expand online monitoring.

The Conservatives swiftly dismissed the idea.

Civil libertarians say the cyberbullying bill will erode Internet privacy and make it easier for government to spy on the activities of law-abiding Canadians.


Dear Prime Minister: we 300 scientists find Northern Gateway review flawed

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[Canada - the land of Freedom From Information. *RON*]

Mychaylo Prystupa, Vancouver Observer, Jun 3rd, 2014

On the eve of Ottawa's decision on Northern Gateway pipeline, 300 scientists say a recent federal review of the project was deeply flawed.

In what may be the most stinging criticism against the Northern Gateway project yet, a group of 300 scientists have submitted an open letter to the Prime Minister Harper urging him to reject a recent federal review recommending the passage of the oil sands pipeline.

It's signed on by a who's who of Canada's scientific establishment, Canada Research chairs, PhD candidates, as well as researchers as far away as Oxford, Stanford and Harvard.

They state that the scientific basis of a recent Joint Review Panel report, which recommended in December that Enbridge's $7 billion pipeline be approved, was "deeply flawed" and "biased."

“They excluded all kinds of really important …

Canadian Forces spent virtually all of 2013 watching Idle No More protesters

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[I could get a lot more exercised about the fact that they're lying and spying illegally on Canadians if they didn't also seem to be about as effective as the Keystone Cops. *RON*]
Justin Ling, National Post Staff, June 1, 2014 As First Nations activists shut down roads and bridges in protest last year, the Counter-Intelligence Unit of the Ministry of National Defence was watching. Closely.

All the while, behind the scenes, they were preparing to tell the media they were doing no such thing.

The Canadian Forces spent virtually all of 2013 keeping eyes on the Aboriginal protesters, out of fear that they could pose a threat to military personnel or intercept weapons shipments, according to documents obtained under Access to Information laws.
The discussion about what to do about the movement began on Jan. 8 of last year, in an email chain within the J2 section of the Canadian Joint Operations Command — military jargon for the intelligence win…