Showing posts from November 10, 2014

Premier Prentice plans to move forward with Northern Gateway pipeline

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["Prentice said he and B.C. Premier Christy Clark are on the same page," while simultaneously saying that BC sharing in Alberta's royalties, "certainly is not up for discussion," and "Enbridge has signaled [it] does not intend to make a final decision to break ground any time soon." *RON*]
Bill Graveland, CP / CTV Edmonton News, 8 November 2014 
Alberta Premier Jim Prentice says he'll "do what needs to be done" to help move forward the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline and to gain access to Asian markets for the province's oil and gas.

Prentice was asked Friday if he would take a direct role in negotiating with chiefs in the areas of northern B.C. where the pipeline is supposed to run.

"I'm not going to get into that today, but I'll tell you this — our prosperity in this province depends on our ability to access global markets. Otherwise we don't get global prices and I w…

California City Bans Homeless From Sleeping Outside: If They Leave, ‘Then That’s Their Choice’

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["In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread." Anatole France *RON*]

By Bryce Covert, Think Progress, 10 November 2014
Last week, the city council of Manteca, CA unanimously passed two ordinances aimed at clearing out the homeless population.

One will ban people from sleeping or setting up encampments on any public or private property as of December 4, although the homeless won’t be jailed or fined. It will, however, allow the police to tear down any homeless sleeping areas as soon as they appear without having to be invited by the property owner, as was the case previously.

Explaining why the ordinance is necessary, Police Chief Nick Obligacion said, “The goal is actually to correct the wrong. So, if the correction is them leaving Manteca, then that’s their choice.” He also opposes any sort of shelter for the homeless.

The other ordinance bans public …

What Could Possibly Go Right? Four Months Into Iraq War 3.0, the Cracks Are Showing

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[As the author says: “War is the continuation of state policy by other means.” But what happens to a war in the absence of coherent state policy? *RON*]
By Peter Van Buren, Naked Capitalism, November 10, 2014 posted by Yves Smith

Yves here. This post, which discusses the barmy US idea that we can create an effective Iraq army having failed in two previous efforts, fails to use a key word: mercenaries. Normally, if you aren’t willing or able to have your own citizens act as soldiers, the next best solution was to hire mercenaries. History shows that does not generally work very well, even though it probably does beat doing nothing. Here, the idea of training locals to do our dirty work, out of allegiance to “Iraq,” a made-up country consisting largely of tribal and ethnic groups that don’t play well together in times of upheaval, is questionable on its face, independent of our poor history with this experiment. But the US seems to be in “if the onl…

Oil Sands Companies Under Pressure Following Wildlife Deaths

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["We're so sorry... that we got in trouble. Because we don't want to get in trouble... Where investors might hear about it." *RON*]
By Andy Tully,, 9 November 2014

Three oil sands companies say scores of birds were killed after landing at their waste facilities in east-central Alberta, Canada, even though their avian deterrents were operational at the time.

All three companies – Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL), Syncrude and Suncor – said the birdsbegan landing the morning of Nov. 4 and that their wildlife deterrents were working properly at the time. However, a dense fog was reported at the time, which may have disoriented the birds, contributing to their deaths.

All told, 122 waterfowl died on the companies’ tailing ponds, where waste from oil extraction is dumped, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) reported on Nov. 5. CNRL reported finding 60 dead birds at its Horizon site, and Syncrude said it had to euthaniz…

Porsche To Sell Out Of Priciest-ever Model By December

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[Things continue to be tough for the struggling 0.1% See also 2 Fat White Truffles Just Sold For $125,000. *RON*]

By Andreas Cremer, Reuters / Business Insider, 10 November 2014

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's Porsche expects to sell out its most expensive model ever by early December, bolstering earnings as the sports-car maker grapples with rising capacity costs.

"We are close to the finish line" in selling all 918 of the 918 Spyder Hybrid model which starts at 768,026 euros ($958,880.461), Porsche sales chief Bernhard Maier told Reuters on Monday, citing strong demand from North America.

Only a small double-digit number of the plug-in hybrid model, the price of which can rise up to 947,716 euros in Germany on optional equipment - was still available, Maier said in an interview.

Production of the 918 Spyder, unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show, has been limited to 918 cars to underscore the exclusivity of the vehicle and the br…

Canadian consulate belongs to group told by "Dr. Evil" to "win ugly" against environmentalists

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[Maybe we're inured to the egregiousness of the Harper government. Surely this would have been front page news everywhere ten years ago? The Western Energy Alliance includes over 400 members representing the oil and gas energy sector from around the world. The Canadian Consulate appears to be the only government-related organization listed on the group's website.]
Jenny Uechi, Warren Bell, Vancouver Observer, 8 November 2014

The Canadian Consulate is a member of the Western Energy Alliance, which sponsored a now-infamous talk by energy consultant Richard Berman telling the group's members, mostly oil and gas companies, they had to prepared to "win ugly" in an "endless war" against environmentalists. The talk was taped and leaked by a disgruntled member of the group to the New York Times.

Berman, founder and chief executive of Washington-based Berman & Company consulting firm, was raising $3 million from energy…

Kinder Morgan Overplaying Economic Benefits, Downplaying Costs: Report

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["...difficult to see how the NEB can approve this pipeline while fulfilling its obligation to uphold the public interest." KM would provide less than 0.2% of BC employment during development and about 50 permanent jobs when complete. "B.C. government coffers will get a tiny benefit from the Trans Mountain expansion, with Alberta and oilsands producers the main beneficiaries. Property tax benefits for B.C. communities along the route would average less than one per cent of current total municipal revenues." KM estimates a spill would cost $100-300 million, whereas actual costs would be in the multi-billion dollar range. *RON*]
By Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 10 November 2014

CALGARY - A new report says Kinder Morgan is overplaying the economic benefits, and downplaying the costs of its proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Simon Fraser University's Centre for Public Policy Research teamed with T…

Austerity and the misspent QE trillions

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[Good brief summary of the critique of austerity. *RON*]
By LEO SCHULZ, Left Foot Forward, 10 November 2014

Austerity has enriched multinational companies and the owners of financial and real assets, while grinding down the value of earned income, pensions and benefits

There were two big responses to the great financial crisis:

Governments borrowed heavily to pay to bail out financial institutions engorged with toxic debt, fearing that the alternative would be an economic depression of vast proportions. And central banks attempted to re-stimulate economic activity by pushing interest rates down to the lowest levels in modern history and then kept them down through a policy known as quantitative easing.

Between 2007 and 2014, national government debt rose in the US by 98.5 per cent and in the UK by 151 per cent. Over the past six or so years, just short of £4 trillion has been spent on QE by its leading proponents, the US, the UK and Japan.

The result…