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Showing posts from October 21, 2014

World's Scientists Call On Stephen Harper To Restore Science Funding, Freedom

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[International protest against the Harper policy of replacing evidence with ideology. "We really hope that this appeal to what the world thinks of Canada is something that will strike a chord." *RON*]
By Emily Chung, CBC News / Huffington Post, 20 October 2014


Hundreds of scientists around the world are asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper to end "burdensome restrictions on scientific communication and collaboration faced by Canadian government scientists."

The call was made in an open letter drafted by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that represents U.S. scientists and uses science to advocate for environmental sustainability.

The letter was signed by more than 800 scientists outside Canada from 32 countries, at institutions ranging from Harvard Medical School in the U.S. to the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

The letter says "a rapid decline in freedoms and funding" for Canadian gover…

Technology and Inequality

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[The winners have climbed the ladder and pulled it up after themselves. “My reading of the data is that technology is the main driver of the recent increases in inequality. It’s the biggest factor” “You have people begging in the street on University Avenue [Palo Alto’s main street]” “It’s like what you see in India” “Silicon Valley is a look at the future we’re creating, and it’s really disturbing.” *RON*]

By David Rotman, MIT Technology Review, 21 October 2014

WHY IT MATTERS

Income inequality hinders economic opportunity and innovation.

The disparity between the rich and everyone else is larger than ever in the United States and increasing in much of Europe. Why?
The signs of the gap—really, a chasm—between the poor and the super-rich are hard to miss in Silicon Valley. On a bustling morning in downtown Palo Alto, the center of today’s technology boom, apparently homeless people and their meager belongings occupy almost every available public benc…

EU can't let austerity override investment - Austria's Faymann

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[Now Austria has joined the anti-Merkel, anti-Brussels fray. Once the statistics for Germany's last quarter (ending in September) appear, we shall hear whether or not they are formally in yet another recession. *RON*]

Reuters, Vienna, 21 October 2014

(Reuters) - The European Union cannot afford to let fiscal belt-tightening halt investment needed to spur slowing economies, Austria's leader said on Tuesday, setting up a clash with Brussels over Austria's 2015 budget deficit target.

Chancellor Werner Faymann told reporters after a cabinet meeting that the European Commission's call for Austria to run a structurally balanced budget next year was "an interesting opinion that we don't share".

"Frugality is good, but austerity is not an end in itself to spur an economy," the Social Democrat said.

He was speaking as the Austrian central bank revealed its leading indicator suggested the export-dependent economy would …

Exports Be Doomed: The Eurozone’s ‘New Austerity Model’

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[Having cut services, the "New Model" involves attacking wages and so exacerbating income inequality. And who will then pay for the remaining services? Certainly not corporations, who must run free in Caribbean tax havens with the wind in their hair. So services must be cut further, and so on. *RON*]

by Jack Rasmus, Counterpunch.org, 21 October 2014

In the coming weeks and months, as the Eurozone economy weakens still further, it is likely that debates and splits within the Eurozone capitalist elites will continue to intensify.

The Eurozone economy has never really recovered from the 2008-09 financial crash and recession. Austerity policies—that played a major role in preventing a sustained Eurozone economic recovery for the past five years—are now evolving into still newer forms.

Events in the recent past in Spain, measures approved in just the past week by the newly formed Renzi government in Italy, and proposals being debated at this ve…

Solar tour finds Albertans want their place in the sun

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[Alternative sustainable energy is ready for prime time! *RON*]
By Mike Hudema, Greenpeace Blogpost, 20 October 2014


This past week has been amazing.

Tell Alberta Premier Jim Prentice to Go Solar!

Together, with journalist and author Andrew Nikiforuk, Bold Nebraska superstar Jane Kleeb and solar gurus Randall Benson and David Isaac, we have been travelling Alberta talking about solutions and pushing the province to catch up and embrace its tremendous potential to lead in clean energy.

What I’ve learned from travelling Alberta’s two largest cities, three rural communities and two First Nations is that, even in Canada’s most climate polluting province, people are hungry for change.

People want to get off the boom and bust fossil fuel roller coaster. They want to take control of their energy choices and are tired of being chained to energy systems that pollute the air and water, create health problems in their community and are accelerating a global clim…

Clean Energy in the Here and Now

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[As cast by mainstream media - under the hypnotic influence of petro-advertising dollars - alternative energy is invariably portrayed as not read for prime time. It's important to be aware that alternative energy is decidedly ready to roll - it just needs big corporations and their collusive government partners to get out of their way. *RON*]
Cara Pike and Tzeporah Berman, Climate Access, 17 October 2014

If there is one story that fossil fuel companies and the government representatives they fund don’t want North Americans to hear is that the transition away from dirty, carbon intensive energy sources is already underway and delivering benefits to communities and individuals.

Whether it is the Keystone XL pipeline project in the United States and the many pipelines being proposed that would crisscross Canada to deliver heavy crude from the tar sands; the development of coal export terminals; or efforts to expand shale gas drilling – the domina…

Rise of ‘social licence’: Claiming they speak for their community, protest groups are undermining the law

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[A nice try at getting things exactly backwards. Seeing democracy in action puts fear and loathing into the hearts of the corporatocracy. I particularly like the way voters are cast as "special interests." *RON*]
Jen Gerson, National Post, 17 October 2014
It started with the War in the Woods, mass protests that quashed plans for clear-cutting in Clayoquot Sound.

Then came decisive demonstrations over airports, cellphone towers, wind farms, biotechnology — and one gas plant so hated by Ontario residents that the Liberals under former premier Dalton McGuinty allegedly spent $1-billion to cancel it.

Now it’s pipelines versus the people: protests over Alberta’s oil sands, and the metal tubes meant to carry its bitumen to market.
The outcome is uncertain. But dozens of recent developments have been overturned by the rise of “social licence” — the idea that community buy-in is as important, or more, than regulators’ approvals.

Or is it just NIM…

Polish ex-minister quoted saying Putin offered to divide Ukraine with Poland

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[Putin has a reputation for being quite the amateur historian. I think he has created an environment around himself where there is no one to tell him when the historical implications he draws with such enthusiasm are a crock. *RON*]

Reuters, Warsaw, 20 October 2014
(Reuters) - Poland's parliamentary speaker, Radoslaw Sikorski, has been quoted as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to Poland's then leader in 2008 that they divide Ukraine between themselves.

Sikorski, who until September served as Poland's foreign minister, was quoted telling U.S. website Politico that Putin made the proposal during Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk's visit to Moscow in 2008 - although he later said some of the interview had been "overinterpreted".

"He wanted us to become participants in this partition of Ukraine ... This was one of the first things that Putin said to my prime minister, Donald Tusk, when he visited Mos…