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Showing posts from August 25, 2014

Think Political Donations Are Benign? You Must Be a Politician

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["We can't be bought, OK?" Nobody else, not corporations, unions nor the public, believes this. Corporations do not donate, they invest with the clear expectation of a return. *RON*]

By Paul Willcocks, TheTyee.ca, 25 August 2014

The public believes big political donations from corporations and unions buy special treatment from government.

The people writing those big cheques think so too. They spend the money expecting it to pay off in future.

The only people who don't believe that are the politicians getting the cash.

Maybe the Mount Polley mine disaster will finally force them to question the effect of unlimited contributions by special interests in this province.

Imperial Metals has given at least $233,000 to the BC Liberals since they have been in power. Billionaire Murray Edwards, a major shareholder, arranged a dinner in Calgary that raised more than $1 million from energy and mining companies for Christy Clark's Liberals.

Cutting Carbon Pollution Saves More Money Than It Costs By Making People Healthier

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[Self-explanatory. *RON*]

By Katie Valentine, Think Progress, 25 August 2014

The health benefits of policies that aim to reduce carbon emissions can more than pay for the costs associated with implementing these policies, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change and completed by researchers from MIT, looked at three different models for policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the U.S. — a clean energy standard, a policy aimed at emissions from transportation, and a cap and trade program — all of which were created to resemble policies already proposed in the United States. The researchers found that, in one scenario, the health care-associated savings — mostly from things like avoided hospital visits and reduced spending on pollution-related illnesses — from a carbon-reducing policy were more than 10 times the cost it took to implement the policy.

“If cost-benefit analyses of climate policies don’t …

Federal government puts polar briefings on ice

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[Harper is still hard at it. Newly released federal documents show Tories have been thwarting scientists' efforts to keep Canadians informed on Arctic ice levels. *RON*]

By Margaret Munro, PostMedia News, 18 August 2014

Federal scientists who keep a close eye on the Arctic ice would like to routinely brief Canadians about extraordinary events unfolding in the North.

But newly released federal documents show the Harper government has been thwarting their efforts.

In 2012, as the Arctic ice hit the lowest point ever recorded, scientists at the Canadian Ice Service were keen to tell Canadians about the stunning ice loss.

“Less ice doesn’t mean less danger. In fact the opposite is true and there is greater need for ice information,” Leah Braithwaite, the service’s chief of applied science said in an August 2012 memo to Norman Naylor, a strategic communications adviser at Environment Canada.

Braithwaite and her colleagues — aware of the national…

Free Trade Agreements Attack Democracy And Human Rights

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[On ensconcing the corporatocracy into international law. *RON*]
Michaël Lessard, Huffington Post, 25 August 2014


On August 21, the first day of the Peoples Social Forum at the University of Ottawa, a conference discussed a very current issue: the "free trade" agreement between Canada and the European Union. Six representatives of prominent civil organizations (provincial, federal and international) were heard, of which three are based in Quebec.

These spokespersons consider that these agreements do not truly seek to improve trade between countries, but instead are considered treaties that give new special rights to corporations, which undermine the democratic rights of peoples.

Trapping democracies with non-return valves

Larry Brown (National Union of Public and General Employees, NUPGE) wants the people to know that "free trade" agreements usually include what is nicknamed check valves (non-return valves) that aim to stop gover…

S&P 500 passes 2,000 for the first time

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[This is basically just the result of free money. The comment by the investment banker is the only one that is to the point: "It's just a number and we need to see the economy, earnings and revenues expand and justify the achievement of the S&P rising above 2,000 points." *RON*]

By Michael Mackenzie and Nicole Bullock, Financial Times, 25 August 2014
The S&P 500, the world’s largest equity market and a bellwether of the US economy, rose above the 2,000 threshold for the first time on Monday.

The extension of the equity bull run that began more than five years ago comes as investors expect the US Federal Reserve to nurture a sustainable recovery for the economy by maintaining a near zero interest rate policy well into next year.

It rose as much as 0.7 per cent to an intraday high of 2,001.95, propelled in part by firmer equity markets in Europe after Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, suggested the central ba…

Dow Chemical vs. Greenpeace: Corporations Spy on Nonprofits with Impunity

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[The article notes that, "It is crucially important that organizations and individuals continue to challenge such practices in court while also bringing notice of them to the media and to the public at large." Yet, ironically, the story gets no play except in Counterpunch.org and Ron's News! *RON*]

by Ralph Nader, Counterpunch.org, 25 August 2014

Here’s a dirty little secret you won’t see in the daily papers: corporations conduct espionage against US nonprofit organizations without fear of being brought to justice.

Yes, that means using a great array of spycraft and snoopery, including planned electronic surveillance, wiretapping, information warfare, infiltration, dumpster diving and so much more.

The evidence abounds.

For example, six years ago, based on extensive documentary evidence, James Ridgeway reported in Mother Jones on a major corporate espionage scheme by Dow Chemical focused on Greenpeace and other environmental and food ac…

Job concerns dominate Jackson Hole debate

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[Nations seem to be floundering in the attempt to make sense of unemployment from within their existing economic and ideological frameworks. I believe the constant refrain of "It's complicated!" actually means things aren't turning out as they expect. Japan, struggling with protracted deflation, is incapable of saying that a government financial stimulus is needed to stop the downward spiral. Instead they offer, basically, gobbledy-gook: "For wages to increase at an appropriate pace in the future, it is necessary to have some kind of co-ordination mechanism." *RON*]

By Robin Harding, Financial Times, 24 August 2014.
Mario Draghi sat next to Janet Yellen at lunch in Jackson Hole, and when he got up to speak, he began by observing that his speech was actually rather similar to hers.

The stereotype, said Mr Draghi, is that all Europe’s unemployment is structural – and thus permanent – while all US unemployment is cyclical …

Darren Wilson’s Former Police Force Was Disbanded for Excessive Force and Corruption

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[The Washington Post gives additional insight into the background of the officer who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. *RON*]

By Prachi Gupta, Salon.com, 24 August 2014

While news outlets and commentators have attempted analyze every action of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen shot to death six times in Ferguson, Missouri two weeks ago, we seem to know very little about his shooter, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Wilson, who just months ago won a commendation in a Town Council ceremony, now remains under the police’s protection and hasn’t spoken about the incident.

But as the public continues to search for answers, the Washington Post has published a report on Wilson’s career, including a brief biography, that offers some insight into Wilson’s past.

According to officials interviewed by the Post, Wilson maintained a clean record, but the Post reports that his first job “was not an ideal place to learn how to police.” He enter…