Showing posts from November 4, 2014

Crude oil at four-year low after Saudi Arabia price cut

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$82 a barrel!! Hello? Mr. Harper? Are you paying attention? *RON*

BBC News, 4 November 2014
Crude oil prices have hit a four-year low after Saudi Arabia unexpectedly cut the price of oil sold to the US.

Brent crude fell to near $82 a barrel in midday trading, as worries about global growth also spooked investors.

Earlier, the European Commission reduced its growth forecasts for the eurozone.

Investors are concerned about the US oil industry, in the face of slowing growth and lower prices.

Some worry that low oil prices could hurt domestic US producers dependent on high prices for profitability.

The price cut also sent shares in many energy firms lower, pushing down all three US share indexes.

Canada's UN stance on native rights embarrassing

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An indication of the high quality of our Canadian mainstream media is that this story comes to us by way of a Phoenix, Arizona newspaper. *RON*

By Doug Cuthand, The Star Phoenix, 3 October 2014

The recent United Nations World Conference on Indigenous Peoples was a historic event because it was the first time that representatives of first people from across the globe met to discuss the implementation of the Declaration of the Rights of Aboriginal Peoples.

Unfortunately, it fell in the shadow of the media spotlights directed on the UN conference on climate change and events in the Middle East, as well as the opening of the fall sitting of the UN General Assembly. The UN was a busy place, and this historic indigenous conference was reduced to a footnote.

However, Canada's participation at the world indigenous conference was both distressing and embarrassing.

The Harper government snubbed the conference by sending a public servant, Colleen Swords, t…

Particulates From Coal Mining Community Trigger Signs Of Cancer In Lung Cells

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I've sent the link to this article to Port Metro Vancouver. Human lung cells exposed to particulates from homes near mountaintop removal mining sites show cancerlike properties and promote tumors in mice. *RON*

By Deirdre Lockwood, Chemical & Engineering News, 3 November 2014

To expose and extract coal seams buried deep under mountains, miners blast through rock with explosives in a method called mountaintop removal mining. In Appalachia where such mining is widespread, people who live or work near mines have a greater incidence of lung cancer than the general population. Scientists have hypothesized that exposure to dust from mountaintop removal mining can cause cancer, but until now, they haven’t demonstrated the link experimentally.

Now, a team of researchers has shown that human lung cells exposed to airborne dust from homes within a mile of a mountaintop removal mining site adopt cancerlike properties and, when implanted in mice, ca…

Inconvenient questions for Stephen Harper about the attack on Parliament Hill

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[If it's the evil jihadists who hate our freedoms, you need to ask yourself why Stephen Harper is so eager to destroy those very same freedoms. *RON*]
By Murray Dobbin,, 3 November 2014

Two weeks after the senseless murder of a soldier on Parliament Hill (and another earlier in Montreal) there are several things we know and many we don't. Obvious questions have been asked and inconvenient ones have been left aside. We know -- and indeed could predict one second after the shooting -- that Stephen Harper would use it as an excuse to expand the security and surveillance state he has been constructing. We know that the shooting was not a terrorist act, but a criminal one, regardless of what the RCMP and CSIS, eager to enhance their political role and resources, are saying. (Within an hour of the shooting, an over-eager CSIS official was declaring, hopefully, "this will change everything.")

Questions of root causes

We know th…

'Party of One': An Indictment of Stephen Harper

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[Seeking a documented record of eight years of deliberate misrule? This is your book. I'm 11th on the list but I've put a hold on this at my local library. *RON*]

By Crawford Kilian, 30 Oct 2014,

Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada's Radical Makeover. Michael Harris. Viking (2014)

If the news cycle is 24 hours, the public's attention span is that of a gerbil on crystal meth. Today's outrage is next week's shrug and next month's blank stare.

Conservative politicians not only understand this phenomenon, they revel in it. They've even turned it into a talking point. Asked by reporters about the current scandal, they don't even bother to defend themselves. They just smirk and say, "Most Canadians don't care."

Public apathy only deepens as the scandals increase, creating a kind of learned helplessness. The citizens who should be the eagle-eyed guardians of their own interests become mere by…

Kinder Morgan serves legal papers to pipeline opponent via Facebook

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[Texas multi-national oil company sues locals for 'trespassing' in their public park. The battle over Burnaby Mountain is heating up. Several residents were hastily served with legal notices claiming they have been interfering with Kinder Morgan's survey work. See also: Top 5 ways you can support the Kinder Morgan pipeline blockade*RON*)

Mychaylo Prystupa, Vancouver Observer, 1 November 2014
The battle over Burnaby Mountain took an unusual turn Friday in a Vancouver courtroom where it was revealed that Kinder Morgan had served several residents with legal papers using hasty methods.

“I was served papers via Facebook,” said Burnaby resident Adam Gold on Friday, outside the B.C. Supreme Court.

The Texas-based pipeline giant is applying for a quick court order that would prevent local residents from interfering with the company’s controversial pipeline survey work in Burnaby for the proposed $5.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline e…

So, What’s Wrong with Austerity Anyway?

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[The short version. Economist David MacDonald breaks down austerity. Also see this Guardian piece, Memo to George Osborne: austerity has failed*RON*]

Noelle Didierjean, The Link, 4 November 2014

In light of Friday’s protest against austerity, The Linkvchatted with David Macdonald, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. He explained how low-income Canadians are screwed over by austerity, why big business stands to profit, and alternatives to cutting in the public sector.

In a nutshell, what are the implications of austerity?

Government spending makes up part of the GDP measure, so when government spending goes down it pulls down the GDP measure. Austerity means that the government is cutting back on its spending. What that means is they’re reducing their contribution to the growth in the economy.

The provinces have seen much bigger cuts in their revenues, particularly because there’s been a huge decrease in corporate in…

Don't forget to vote in the upcoming municipal elections!

[You can find information online (click here) on where your local candidates stand in relation to the oil and gas industry. Visit your local City Hall web site for information on polling stations and early voting. Some general information on Municipal Elections - who can run, how to support candidates, who can vote, etc. - is available here. *RON*]