Showing posts from June 6, 2014

Poll finds rising opposition in B.C. to Kinder Morgan mega-pipeline proposal

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[As mentioned in a previous comment about the apparently shifting tide of public opinion about pipelines. *RON*]

By Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun, 4 June 2014
Opposition to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has risen since the beginning of the year, a poll suggests.

Opposition has grown by six points since January (from 42 per cent to 49 per cent opposed) with women and young people (18 to 34) most opposed, according to a the Insights West poll released Wednesday.

Forty-two per cent favoured the project and 10 per cent weren’t sure.

Among women, 56 per cent opposed the proposed expansion, while 72 per cent of young people opposed it.

Support is highest among men (52 per cent) and British Columbians 55 and over (55 per cent).

In the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, most residents (51 per cent) are opposed to the project, while roughly two-in-five (38 per cent) support it, the poll found.

As well, 82 per cent of British Columbians are awar…

Slightly revised page format...

The photo at the top of the page is of the people who gathered at the recent anti-pipeline rally at Sunset Beach in Vancouver (evidently Vancouverites like the colour blue).

The wee blurb just under the photo is intended to be a bit more descriptive of the blog - Ron's News is meant to share select news stories (i.e., we're all drowning in information) with a progressive slant.

On the upper end of the menu bar that runs down the right side of the blog there are now two Pages you can visit:
News - where the news articles are, andQuotations - where I'm keeping track of quotes I like when I run across them (let me know if you have any more details on the sources of any of these quotes. :-) *RON*

What Have We Learned About Austerity Since the Great Recession?

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[A very nice overview from the Center for American Progress of what is known, empirically, about the austerity-versus-stimulus debate. *RON*]
By Michael Madowitz, American Progress, May 30, 2014 Endnotes and citations are available in the PDF and Scribd versions.
Download the report: PDF
Read it in your browser: Scribd

The global collapse of tax revenues was one of the major challenges that policymakers confronted during the Great Recession. The Bush and Obama administrations both responded to recessions early in their terms by stimulating the economy. Governments typically counter the shortfall of demand that occurs during a recession by reducing taxes or increasing spending, an approach that former President John F. Kennedy once defended by asking, “Don’t you remember your Economics 101?”

Other governments, however, had made budget commitments that gave them less latitude in their fiscal policy approaches. Instead of stimulating the economy, they …

You won't believe how easy it is to start protecting your privacy with these free tools

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[Edward Snowden has said that widespread use by members of the general public of advanced, and readily accessible, cryptographic tools is key to reigning in the advance of the corporate and political surveillance state. The few times I've looked at some of these tools I've found them clumsy and awkward. presents a selection of the available armamentum. I'll try them out and periodically post a note about how they are to use. Please feel free to share your own experiences. *RON*]
By David Christopher,, 5 June 2014

Please support our coverage of democratic movements and become a monthly supporter of

Today is June 5 -- 12 months to the day since whistleblower Edward Snowden first exposed how spy agencies like the U.S. NSA and Canada's CSEC are monitoring law-abiding citizens on a vast scale.

To mark the occasion, OpenMedia is joining with our friends at Fight for the Future to support Reset the Net,…

Guilty: Tribunal finds that Canadian state shares responsibility for mining injustices in Latin America

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[Canada has more mining corporate home offices than any other country in the world, and they are involved in some egregious human rights violations in places like South America. Harper loves them and can't seem to do enough to support them, including bending Canada's foreign policy and aid policies to make their lives easier. *RON*]
By Jennifer Moore,, 5 June 2014

By act and by omission, the Canadian state has been found guilty for its role in human rights violations in Latin America as a result of its efforts to spur, sponsor and protect Canadian mining investments abroad, along with five Canadian mining companies.

From May 31 to June 1, an expert tribunal gathered in Montreal for the first ever Permanent Peoples' Tribunal (PPT) in Canada. The PPT is an international initiative established in 1979 to give visibility to underreported human rights violations "where national and international justice systems are found to be…

The Origins of Boko Haram

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[As the title suggests, an excellent briefing on the background of Boko Haram. *RON*]
John Ford, The National Interest, 6 June 2014

How a fanatical militant group grew to terrorize Africa’s most-populated country.

Boko Haram appeared in the consciousness of most Westerners for the first time in April of this year. But the group is not a new arrival on the scene. It has been a growing force in Nigeria for over a decade and has deep roots in the country’s social development going back even further. Its rise is not an accident and signals the emergence of a dangerous, militant religious movement that threatens Nigeria’s survival as a nation-state.

Boko Haram’s story begins with a preacher named Mohammed Marwa, born in 1927. At about age eighteen, he moved to Kano, in what is today northern Nigeria, and began a career as a preacher. His sermons were extreme and often bizarre. He raged against Western culture and its popularity in Nigeria so virulently t…

Toxic mercury levels near oil sands 13 times higher than normal

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[Canada, the land of freedom from information. "So, where in God's name is public health?" A doctor asks why, despite repeated findings of neurotoxic mercury in the area, the federal and provincial governments have done little to study the health impacts. *RON*]
By Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer, Jun 5th, 2014
A new Environment Canada study has found high mercury levels in a 'bull's eye' area around oil sands developments in northern Alberta, CTV reported yesterday.

The study, which was reviewed and published in Environmental Science and Technology journal, suggests that the oil sands are "a source of airborne (mercury) emissions to local landscapes and water bodies."

Mercury -- a dangerous neurotoxin which can cause impairment in speech, hearing and walking, and lead to severe disabilities in infants -- was found to be 13 times higher than normal around 60 km north of Fort McMurray, close to Fort McKay. Scient…

California State Senators Who Voted Against Fracking Moratorium Took 370% More From Oil Industry

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[Our democracy is being usurped and we are becoming part of a corporatist state. When corporations are people with human rights and money is considered to be free speech, big changes are needed if we and our planet are not going to be completely at the mercy of the profit-making motive. *RON*]
 By Mike G, DeSmogBlog, 5 June 2014

Even though a sizable majority of Californians favor a moratorium on fracking until its impacts on the environment and human health are better understood, California's fracking moratorium bill, SB 1132, died in the state Senate last week, voted down for the final time on Friday evening.

Four Democrats joined all 12 Republicans in voting nay on Friday, while five more Dems abstained, making the final vote 16 to 16. A simple majority of the 40-member body was needed to pass (three Senators are currently suspended and unable to vote).

Big Oil spent big to defeat this bill. The Western States Petroleum Agency, widely regard…

Financial Post: Kinder Morgan pipeline now faces uphill battle

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[The tide may be turning with respect to public opinion on large oil and gas projects. I've seen several stories in the last week, e.g., an Op Ed in a large newspaper suggesting that Harper might dump the Enbridge proposal, a poll showing Canadians strengthening opposition to large oil and gas projects, and this bit quoted from the Financial Post in which Kinder Morgan itself describes their pipeline expansion proposal as changing from a "slam dunk" to an "uphill battle." *RON*]

Posted by Common Sense Canadian, June 5, 2014
Read this June 3 story from The Financial Post, detailing how Kinder Morgan’s plans to triple oil transport to its tanker terminal in Burnaby have gone from a “slam dunk” to an uphill battle.
CALGARY — Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada, expected questions and concerns about oil-spill response capabilities, tanker safety and pipeline routing when the Canadian unit of the Texas-based company…