Showing posts from July 31, 2014

Report: CIA Officers Read Senate Emails

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[Who's in charge of the hen house? Despicable and frightening in a democratic state. Feinstein finally has he smoking gun. *RON*]


WASHINGTON (AP) -- CIA officers improperly accessed Senate computers, read the emails of Senate staff, and exhibited a "lack of candor" when interviewed by agency investigators, according to a declassified CIA inspector general's report.

The document, released Thursday by the CIA, is a summary of an internal CIA investigation that prompted CIA Director John Brennan to abandon his defiant posture in the matter and apologize to Senate Intelligence Committee leaders.

Brennan has convened an internal accountability board chaired by former Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., that will examine whether the CIA officers should be disciplined, said his spokesman, Dean Boyd.

The agency officers searched Senate computers without permission for information gathered in th…

McDonald’s Already Knows How to Manage Its Franchisee Labor Practices

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[This ignores the possibility that MacDonalds steers as far away from this issue as possible because it is well aware of the fact that employee abuse is built into the business model. See also: Fast-Food Workers Just Took McDonald’s Down a Notch. *RON*]

by Christine Bader, Harvard Business Review Blogs, July 31, 2014

The National Labor Relations Board ruling on Tuesday that McDonald’s could be held responsible for labor conditions in its franchisees’ operations has business groups and lawyers crying foul. McDonald’s says it will appeal, contesting the determination that it exercises “significant control” over the practices of its franchisees.

But McDonald’s is already going through great lengths to ensure good working conditions in the other direction in its value chain. It should do the same for franchisees.

Its sustainable supply chain program employs staff around the world to strengthen sustainability and working conditions in the operations …

Study shows link between B.C. extraction industries, domestic abuse

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[Nothing surprising here. Rising rates of crime in general, but especially drug sales and use, alcohol fuelled violence, and prostitution all correlate with the boom-town phenomenon. But are these being counted as part of the Province's LNG cost-benefit analysis or Harper's analysis of the public good concerning tar sand development? *RON*]

Andrea Woo, Globe & Mail, Jul. 24 2014

An increase in domestic and sexual violence against women is among the troubling social impacts of resource extraction industries, according to a B.C. victims’ services association behind a new $40,000 initiative aimed at drawing awareness to the issue.

Tracy Porteous, executive director of the Ending Violence Association of B.C. (EVA BC), pointed to recent Canadian and international research showing that factors such as a largely transient and male work force, increases in drug and other substance use and income disparity between sexes associated with such i…

Site C dam a threat to $8.6 billion in ecological values in B.C.: report

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[Site C is seen as "necessary" because of anticipated massive increases in the need for electricity once the government's hoped-for fracking projects are up and running. BC Hydro is also stymied in being able to provide alternative forms of energy by policies of the Liberal government that explicitly prevent them from doing so. *RON*]
By Vivian Luk, The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 07/30/2014

VANCOUVER - Major development projects such as the Site C dam in British Columbia's Peace River watershed could threaten up to $8.6 billion in ecological values, suggests a report commissioned by the David Suzuki Foundation.

Faisal Moola, a chief scientist with the environmental group, said the 56,000-square kilometre watershed is a "Fort Knox" of ecological wealth, with ecosystems providing benefits including clean air, clean water, carbon storage and flood and erosion control.

BC Hydro is proposing an $8-billion hydroelectric d…

West Vancouver city council passes unanimous motion to ban LNG tankers in Howe Sound

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[Resistance continues to pile up. "We have good reason to be concerned - this is a volatile, dangerous cargo," Councillor Bill Soprovich said. *RON*]

Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer, Jul 30th, 2014

West Vancouver council has passed a unanimous motion to ban tankers carrying liquified natural gas out of Howe Sound.

The motion takes aim at Woodfibre LNG, a $1.7 billion LNG facility in Squamish that would ship 40 LNG tankers to Asia every year. It was passed on July 21, after Council heard from a delegation about the potential environmental impact of a large LNG plant on Howe Sound.

"We have good reason to be concerned - this is a volatile, dangerous cargo...We should pull all stops out to prevent this (plant) from being placed at Woodfibre," councillor Bill Soprovich said, to loud applause.

The motion called on federal government to ban the passage of LNG tankers in the waters of Howe Sound.
Opposition to LNG project sparks calls…

Steven Blaney's Statement On Gun Ownership 'Right' Full Of Baloney

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[I enjoy reading Terry Pedwell's (well researched) "Baloney Meter" pieces; this is the first one I've seen that comes out saying that what a Minister says is full-out baloney! :-) Good! - Canada is not the United States, we don't want to carry automatic weapons over our shoulders into fast food restaurants. *RON*]
By Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 07/31/2014

OTTAWA - "To possess a firearm is a right, and it's a right that comes with responsibilities." — Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney at a news conference in Powassan, Ont., while announcing planned changes to Canada's gun laws, July 23, 2014.

The Canadian Press has examined Blaney's statement and put it to its baloney meter test — a dispassionate examination of political statements that culminates in a ranking of accuracy.

Spoiler: On a scale from "no baloney" to "full of baloney," the claim would appear, from…

Charities and the limits of political action under the Harper government

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[Compares Harper's heavy-handed, vindictive political application of the tax system to approaches that are used in the UK and Australia where, for example, the courts have established that "promoting public debate on political issues is, by definition, in the public benefit, and therefore charitable." *RON*]

BY Pro BonoBrian Iler,, 31 July 2014

Environmental Defence. PEN Canada. Amnesty International Canada. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Canada Without Poverty. The David Suzuki Foundation.

What do these organizations have in common -- aside from all doing great work?

All are registered charities.

All have been publicly critical of Stephen Harper's government.

And all are undergoing audits of their political activities by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

What's this about? Here's what you need to know.

When organizations seek charitable registration from government in order to entice donors who would l…

Free-traders panic over German challenge to investor-state dispute-settlement

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[A good piece on the ins-and-outs of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms in so-called free-trade agreements - or, corporatocracy by another name. *RON*]
By Jim Stafford,, 31 July 2014

In my many years documenting and critiquing the overblown claims of free trade proponents about the supposedly self-regulating, efficiency-promoting, mutually benefiting effects of globalization, I've encountered some real doozies. (My PhD dissertation consisted of a critique of the theoretical and empirical basis of neoclassical CGE trade models, and the construction of quantitative models based on alternative theoretical foundations; I've never been able to lock up that nerdy side of my personality ever since!) The more troubled the global economy becomes, despite (or because of) decades of free trade medicine, the more rose-coloured are the predictions of the gains expected from the next free trade deal. The promised gains from t…

Could BC Become a 100% Renewable Energy Region? Part 2

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[Good-to-know information about the feasibility of sustainable energy in BC. Part 1 was here. *RON*]
By Guy Dauncey, BC Sustainable Energy Association Blog on July 25, 2014

Last week I started to explore the possibility that British Columbia could become a 100% renewable energy region, as 140 regions in Germany are planning to become.
This week, we look at transportation. Is it possible that we could get where we want to be and ship our goods where they need to go without any use of fossil fuels?

Helsinki, capital of Finland, is taking a big step in this direction, with its goal that by 2025, nobody will need to own a car in the city at all, thanks to an advanced integrated ‘mobility on demand’ network of shared bikes, transit, LRT, and computer-automatedKutsuplus minibuses that adapt their routes to take you wherever you want to go.

The cars, trucks, ferries and planes that we use to go about our daily lives are 38% of the cause of global warming i…