Showing posts from June, 2015

Iceland Just Jailed Seven Bank Executives for Market Manipulation

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["By jailing these executives of Iceland’s failed Kaupthing Bank, the country showed the world how to deal with corrupt banks." *RON*]
By True Activist, Nation of Change, 27 June 2015
In one of the biggest cases of its kind, seven prison sentences for market manipulation today.

According to The Iceland Monitor: “By fully financing share purchases with no other surety than the shares themselves, the bank was accused of giving a false and misleading impression of demand for Kaupþingi shares by means of deception and pretense.”

They were accused of trying to artificially inflate share prices in 2008 by using the bank’s funds to buy shares.

The Iceland Review reported: The court case began in late April, and the hearings were the most wide-ranging and complex in Icelandic legal history. Over 50 witnesses were called, and testimony lasted for many weeks. They were quizzed on the nine defendants’ suspected illegal trade in their own bank’s shar…

California Approves Strict New Vaccine Requirements for Children

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[The vaccine war. I'm strongly in favour of this move (the rights of the community as a whole, and of the elderly and of infants specifically, outweighs those of conspiracy theorists), but I can see how this will be in and out of the US court system forever. *RON*]

By Priyanka Boghani, Front Line, 30 June 2015

California now has one of the strictest vaccination laws in the country, after Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation that eliminates the state’s personal and religious belief exemptions.

The law requires children who attend a school or daycare center in California to be vaccinated for childhood diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough. Children who are unable to receive vaccines due to an immune-system deficiency or certain allergies could still acquire a medical exemption from the requirements.

While public health officials and supporters of the law say it would improve immunization rates and s…

Furlong defence buries the big picture at slander trial

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[The 1% stick together. "Had the name ‘John Furlong’ not been attached to their sworn statements, few would question their veracity today." *RON*]

Sandy Garossino, Vancouver Observer, 29 June 2015

"Where’d you go to school? Asking any other Canadian this is the most casual and even entertaining way of entering a conversation. Ask a First Nations person my age or older and you’re opening up a Pandora’s box of pain. Think about that for a second.” — Joseph Boyden

To see how far Canadians still must travel in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, one need look no further than Vancouver’s Courtroom 54, where the epic legal confrontation between Laura Robinson and John Furlong was heard by Justice Catherine Wedge.

Robinson is suing Furlong over inflammatory statements he made following publication of her report chronicling accusations of abuse by former students at a Catholic school. Furlong had earlier dropped his…

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Works Globally to Fight Antismoking Measures

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[The spate of recent international trade agreements, culminating in TPP, show us that groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have nothing, really, to do with national interest but rather serve the interests of the globalized corporatocracy. *RON*]

By Danny Hikim, New York Times, 30 June 2015

KIEV, Ukraine — A parliamentary hearing was convened here in March to consider an odd remnant of Ukraine’s corrupt, pre-revolutionary government.

Three years ago, Ukraine filed an international legal challenge against Australia, over Australia’s right to enact antismoking laws on its own soil. To a number of lawmakers, the case seemed absurd, and they wanted to investigate why it was even being pursued.

When it came time to defend the tobacco industry, a man named Taras Kachka spoke up. He argued that several “fantastic tobacco companies” had bought up Soviet-era factories and modernized them, and now they were exporting tobacco to many other countries. It…

Kinder Morgan donation scholarships refused by Kwantlen students

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['University' (sorry, I can't type that without the sneer quotes) says it will receive $300K in donations from pipeline company over 20 years. Students said 'no' to Kinder Morgan. How will this company ever get the social license it needs? *RON*]

By Gian-Paolo Mendoza, CBC News 26 June 2015
Related Stories
Paying the way- group says Kinder Morgan is buying its way to approval
Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion could cost Canada $22.1B, says SFU study
Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline rejected by Tsleil-Waututh First Nation
Trans Mountain pipeline: intervenors remain committed despite unlevel playing field

Students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University are vowing to refuse scholarships to be funded by a $300,000 donation agreement between the university and Kinder Morgan if the Trans Mountain expansion project is approved.

Justin Trudeau says B.C.’s pristine north coast no place for oil tankers

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[He's positioning himself to gain strategic BC votes and steal thunder from the NDP and Greens. Is it enough and is it specific enough? Will he gain as many votes as he loses by this approach? (Read the comments under the original article.) *RON*]

By Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun, 29 June 2015

In an exclusive interview with Vancouver Sun reporter Larry Pynn, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau outlined his plans for economic prosperity, if there is meaningful dialogue. He eschewed the idea of allowing tankers to roam the the waters of B.C.'s North Coast as part of the Northern Gateway pipeline plan.

VANCOUVER — Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said Monday in Vancouver that he is opposed to oil tankers on B.C.’s north coast.

He told a news conference at Jericho Beach Park that “it’s important we keep our most pristine and important coastal areas protected” and that “everyone here in B.C. knows that the Great Bear Rainforest is not a place for an o…

Canada’s economy shrinks for fourth month, raising spectre of recession

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[Another reason to feel great about all that tax money being spent on Harper's Action Plan ads. This is the direct result of Harper putting so strong an emphasis on the oil and gas industry. Four consecutive months of economic decline meets most people's definition of a recession. But, since there is no universally accepted definition, they get away with calling it the 'spectre' of a recession instead. *RON*]

Gordon Isfeld, Financial Post, 30 June 2015

OTTAWA — Canada’s economy began the second quarter of 2015 the same way it finished the previous three-month period, continuing to contract as the collapse of oil prices squeezed output in the energy sector and the hoped-for turnaround in manufacturing again failed to materialize.

That will be discouraging news for the Bank of Canada, which has been looking for signs of a rebound in this country and in the United States after a harsh winter start to the year — greatly aggravated by …

The Economics of the New Jim Crow

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[A companion-piece to the article on this week's church-burnings. "Racism is evolving into an insidious form of quiet economic subjugation." *RON*]
by Paul Buchheit,, 25 June 2015
In 1931 the New Republic reported on a lynching in Mississippi: “Jim [Ivy] was staked with heavy chains and dry wood was piled knee-high around him. Gasoline tanks were tapped for fuel. Three men set the wood and Jim on fire. I saw the flames climb high on Jim. Jim screamed, prayed and cursed; he struggled so hard that he snapped one of the log chains that bound his ankles to the stake. I was looking into his eyes that second. They were popping with pain and terror…the flames reached up and burned his screaming voice into silence. The mob turned to go. It was about time for supper.”

In Birmingham, Alabama on September 15, 1963, four 11- to 14-year-old girls were in the basement restroom of the 16th Street Baptist Church when a bomb went off.…

My Big Fat Greek Bank Black Hole: No Deposit Insurance

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[Good summary and sharp analysis of recent events. Including why the Greek banks are toast: a €3 billion deposit insurance fund to cover €130 billion in deposits. Also, Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz: Greece's creditors have 'criminal responsibility' for chaos. Finally, might Puerto Rico be the next Greece?: Puerto Rico now belongs to Wall Street*RON*]
by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 29 June 2015

It’s hard to find an official who is comporting himself very well in the wake of the Tsipras surprise announcement of a referendum on July 5 for a then-defunct bailout offer.* Obama called Merkel to make it look like he was Doing Something. Jack Lew called Tsipras to tell him to Do Something, apparently not having gotten the memo that Tsipras has tossed the matter over to Greek voters and there is no way he can reverse course now. Tsipras sent a notes to Eurozone heads of state on Sunday, asking them to override the decision of their fina…

Who’s Burning Black Churches? Arsonists Hit At Least 3 Southern congregations in the last 7 days

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[Back To The Future: welcome to 1955. "It worked for granpappy, why shouldn't it work for me?" Here, PBS points out three more black churches that have been torched this week: Black churches in the South reportedly targeted by arsonists. *RON*]

By Bethania Palma Markus,  Raw Story / AlterNet, 28 June 2015

Last week’s shooting at Charleston’s Emanuel AME was perhaps the deadliest attack on a black church since the 1963 church bombing by the Klan in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four children. Since then, another specter from America’s violent racist history is again rearing its head – setting black churches ablaze.

At least three have been intentionally set on fire in recent days, according to a survey of news reports compiled by the Daily Kos.

On Monday, someone set fire to College Hills Seventh Day Adventist Church in Tennessee, according to local WATE. The arsonist placed bales of hay outside the church doors and lit them ablaz…

States Are Fighting to Keep Towns From Offering Their Own Broadband

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[Mainstream media and politicians are the corporatocracy and the 1%. *RON*]
By Leticia Miranda, ProPublica / TruthOut, 29 June 2015

Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission voted to ease the way for cities to become Internet service providers. So-called municipal broadband is already a reality in a few towns, often providing Internet access and faster service to rural communities that cable companies don't serve.

The cable and telecommunications industry have long lobbied against city-run broadband, arguing that taxpayer money should not fund potential competitors to private companies.

The telecom companies have what may seem like an unlikely ally: states. Roughly 20 states have restrictions against municipal broadband.

And the attorneys general in North Carolina and Tennessee have recently filed lawsuits in an attempt to overrule the FCC and block towns in these states from expanding publicly funded Internet service.

North Caroli…

Antonin Scalia Compares Death Penalty Opponents to Marie Antoinette

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[Criticism of capital punishment reflects "a let-them-eat cake obliviousness to the needs of others," he says. See also It’s ‘The Chemical Equivalent Of Being Burned At The Stake.’ And Now It’s Legal. And, if you just can't get enough Scalia, see The 10 Most Wild Lines From Antonin Scalia’s Extreme Dissent Over Gay Marriage, or Read the 7 Most Ridiculous Lines from Justice Antonin Scalia's Obamacare Dissent. *RON*]

—By Patrick Caldwell, Mother Jones, 29 June 2015

The Supreme Court's Monday ruling in favor of a controversial lethal injection drug gave the court's dissenting liberal justices an opportunity to argue against the constitutionality of the death penalty in general. That led conservative Scold-In-Chief Antonin Scalia, to reach deep into the history books—from Shakespeare to the Enlightenment to the French Revolution—to attack one of the dissenters, Stephen Breyer, for his opposition to capital punishment.


How Activists Won Reparations for the Survivors of Chicago Police Department Torture

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[Over much official outrage and denial, Chicago just became the first US city ever to pay reparations to victims of police torture. *RON*]

By Flint Taylor, In These Times / TruthOut, 29 June 2015

The 20-year reign of police torture that was orchestrated by Commander Jon Burge - and implicated former Mayor Richard M. Daley and a myriad of high ranking police and prosecutorial officials - has haunted Chicago for decades. In These Times has covered Burge and the movement to achieve a modicum of justice for his victims very closely over the years (you can read our past coverage here, here, here, here, andhere). Finally, on May 6, 2015, in response to a movement that has spanned a generation, the Chicago City Council formally recognized this sordid history by passing historic legislation that provides reparations to the survivors of police torture in Chicago.

The achievement was monumental. And given that Friday was the International Day in Support of…

Greece debt crisis: Banks to remain shut all week

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[See also a piece that should have been written by The Onion, but unfortunately wasn't: Greece debt talks: EU chief feels 'betrayed.' *RON*]

BBC World News, 29 June 2015

Greek banks are closed and will stay shut for the week, after the country's debt crisis took a dramatic turn.

But cash machines are due to reopen in the afternoon and there are reports of fresh queues.

Greece decided on Sunday to shut banks and restrict cash withdrawals after the European Central Bank resolved not to extend emergency funding.

It followed the failure on Friday of talks with Greek creditors on continuing with the bailout programme.

A Practical Vision of a More Equal Society

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[This looks like it could be good. I have asked my local library to buy it. *RON*]

Thomas Piketty, New York Review of Books, 25 June 2015 ISSUE

Inequality: What Can Be Done? by Anthony B. Atkinson
Harvard University Press, 384 pp., $29.95
Toward a New Radical Reformism

Anthony Atkinson occupies a unique place among economists. During the past half-century, in defiance of prevailing trends, he managed to place the question of inequality at the center of his work while demonstrating that economics is first and foremost a social and moral science. In his new book, Inequality: What Can Be Done?—more personal than his previous ones and wholly focused on a plan of action—he provides us with the broad outlines of a new radical reformism.

There’s something reminiscent of the progressive British social reformer William Beveridge in Atkinson’s reformism, and the reader ought to enjoy his way of presenting his ideas. The legendarily cautious English scholar …

Rich People Are the Worst: The 1%'s Vile New War on Us All

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[The wealthy and their GOP apologists talk about poor people as the takers. They have it completely backward. *RON*]
By Sean IllingSalon / AlterNet, 24 June 2015

Rich people rarely tell you how they really feel about poor people. Occasionally, though, you get a glimpse. Earlier this week, the Washington Post published a story about Rancho Santa Fe, a small but extremely wealthy enclave in Southern California. Like the rest of California, the people of Rancho Santa Fe are dealing with a drought. As you might imagine, that means water is scarce and conservation is critical. For the denizens of Rancho Santa Fe, however, conservation is someone else’s problem, namely poor people.According to Steve Yuhas, who lives in the area and hosts a conservative talk-radio show, privileged people “should not be forced to live on property with brown lawns, golf on brown courses or apologize for wanting their gardens to be beautiful.” Oh, the humanity! In case i…

Pope Francis recruits Naomi Klein in climate change battle

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[The odd couple in many ways. Good choice, though. Social activist ‘surprised but delighted’ to join top cardinal in high-level environment conference at the Vatican. *RON*]
Rosie Scammell, The Guardian, 28 June 2015
She is one of the world’s most high-profile social activists and a ferocious critic of 21st-century capitalism. He is one of the pope’s most senior aides and a professor of climate change economics. But this week the secular radical will join forces with the Catholic cardinal in the latest move by Pope Francis to shift the debate on global warming.

Naomi Klein and Cardinal Peter Turkson are to lead a high-level conference on the environment, bringing together churchmen, scientists and activists to debate climate change action. Klein, who campaigns for an overhaul of the global financial system to tackle climate change, told the Observer she was surprised but delighted to receive the invitation from Turkson’s office.

“The fact that they…

Ornette Coleman and a Joyful Funeral

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[Not many left now of his stature from his generation of jazz players. *RON*]
By David Remnick, New Yorker, 27 June 2015

As John Coltrane was dying of liver cancer, he made it known that he wanted a relatively spare funeral. The service was held on July 21, 1967, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, on Lexington Avenue and Fifty-fourth Street, and was presided over by the “minister for the jazz community,” John Garcia Gensel. The funerals of African-American notables have a tendency to stretch out—the astonishing service, in Charleston, for the Reverend Clementa Pinckney went more than four hours; the service for Rosa Parks, in 2005, went nearly seven—but not this one. At Coltrane’s request, Ornette Coleman—backed by two bassists, Charlie Haden and David Izenzon, and the drummer Charles Moffett—closed the ceremony by playing one number, a raging version of “Holiday for a Graveyard.” Later that evening, at the Village Vanguard, Coleman played one of Co…

Greek debt crisis: Banks to stay shut, capital controls imposed

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[See also ECB to Stop Emergency Support of Greek Banks on Monday; Bank Holiday Likely, and KRUGMAN: Europe is crazy to let Greece implode, but, given this, Greece is doing the right thing. *RON*]
BBC World News, 28 June 2015
Greek debt crisis What are capital controls?Is Greece's exit from the euro inevitable?
Peston: ECB to turn off emergency Greek help
Greece on the brink

Greek banks will be closed and capital controls will be imposed, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says.

Speaking after the European Central Bank (ECB) said it was not increasing emergency funding to Greek banks, Mr Tsipras said Greek deposits were safe.

Greece is due to make a €1.6bn (£1.1bn) payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday - the same day that its current bailout expires.

Greece risks default and moving closer to a possible exit from the eurozone.

Greeks have been queuing to withdraw money from cash machines over the weekend.

5 Things You Should Know About Bill C-377

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[Realpolitik in the surveillance state. Unions should agree to this the moment the Conservative Party of Canada agrees to do the same thing. *RON*]
By The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 26 June 2015
OTTAWA - The Senate was locked in debate Friday about the fate of a contentious union finance disclosure bill, known as Bill C-377. Here are five things to know about the bill.

1.What would it do? The bill would require unions, labour trusts and employee associations to disclose any transaction of more than $5,000, along with the names of the payer and payee, to the Canada Revenue Agency, which would post the information to its website. That rule could apply to anyone who receives cash from a union, including private contractors hired to do work, such as construction, maintenance, or photocopying. Unions would also have to disclose any executive or officer who earns more than $100,000 (similar to provincial "sunshine" salary disclosure lists…

Guerrilla marketing campaign shows insanity of Vancouver real estate market

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[Yesterday we worked long and hard in the garden. I came home pooped and simply forgot to post any news! :-) Tony Savino posted signs around Kitsilano offering to pay $2M for old houses on large lots. *RON*]

CBC News, 26 June 2015
Related stories
Vancouver real estate prices not the fault of foreign buyers, says new report
#Donthave1Million protesters rally against high cost of housing
Vancouver real estate prices pushing millennials to leave city: report

Just when you thought the Vancouver real estate market couldn't get any crazier, posters spotted on the city's West Side indicate there may be more madness yet to come.

The signs, simply typed on white card, with just a phone number across the bottom, read, "We buy old houses on 33' lots for $2 million."

The signs are the work of real estate agent Tony Savino who calls what he is doing "guerrilla marketing".
Savino told CBC News that he put up five signs in Kitsilano on…

Terrorist Attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait Kill Dozens

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[No indication these attacks were purposefully coordinated. But on Tuesday, an Islamic State spokesman had called on the group’s followers to escalate attacks during Ramadan and to turn the month into a time of "calamity for the infidels." *RON*]
By Ben Hubbard, New York Times, 26 June 2015

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Terrorists attacked sites in France, Tunisia and Kuwait on Friday, leaving a bloody toll on three continents and prompting new concerns about the spreading influence of jihadists.

In France, attackers stormed an American-owned industrial chemical plant near Lyon, decapitated one person and tried unsuccessfully to blow up the factory.

In Tunisia, gunmen opened fire at a beach resort, killing at least 27 people, officials said. At least one of the attackers was killed by security forces.

And the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in one of the largest Shiite mosques in Kuwait City during Friday prayers. The bomb …

Here’s how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill

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[Corruption and the corporatocracy. Or, the best democracy money can buy. "How can we expect politicians who routinely receive campaign money, lucrative job offers, and lavish gifts from special interests to make impartial decisions that directly affect those same special interests? As long as this kind of transparently corrupt behavior remains legal, we won’t have a government that truly represents the people." *RON*]
C Robert Gibson and Taylor Channing, The Guardian, 27 May 2015
A decade in the making, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is reaching its climax and as Congress hotly debates the biggest trade deal in a generation, its backers have turned on the cash spigot in the hopes of getting it passed.

“We’re very much in the endgame,” US trade representative Michael Froman told reporters over the weekend at a meeting of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on the resort island of Boracay. His comments…

The Bankruptcy of America’s Elites

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[Lengthy but good discussion on how grown-ups aren't watching the store any more. *RON*]
By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 26 June 2015

If someone had used the word “elites” in 2006, they would have been seen as a hair-on-fire hysteric, long on conspiracy theories and short on sober understanding of How Things Work. But as the 1% and 0.1% amass more and more of total income and wealth, so too have they come to believe their interest diverge from those of the rest of us (and in a literal sense, they often do, since in too many cases, their wealth rests at least in part on predatory conduct). And now that that gap has become obvious, it has reshaped the role of the ruling class, as in the people who are in charge of the administrative apparatus of society. While some members of these top income groups play a direct role in running powerful organizations (CEOs of large an/or strategically important businesses, for instance), it also includes much …

Fracking Linked to Increased Infant Mortality

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[Pennsylvania has issued more than 10,000 drilling permits over the past decade. Infants and children may be paying a heavy price. *RON*]
By Reynard Loki / AlterNet, 25 June 2015

A new study has linked fracking to a higher incidence in infant mortality, perinatal mortality, low-weight births, premature births and cancer in infants and children.

Funded by the Pittsburgh Foundation and written by Joe Mangano, co-founder and president of the Radiation and Public Health Project, a nonprofit educational and scientific organization that studies the relationship between low-level, nuclear radiation and public health, the study used data from state agencies to examine eight heavily fracked counties in Pennsylvania — four in the northeast and four in the southwest region of the state, counties that account for the majority of the state's natural gas drill wells and gas production. In all categories but child cancer, increases were greater in the northe…

Half of Europe’s electricity set to be from renewables by 2030

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[Yet somehow in North America we say this is simply impossible, that we cannot stop using oil and gas, and that it is slightly treasonous to say so. Leaked EU paper predicts fast renewables growth to around double current levels. Meanwhile, Bill Gates has announced he will invest $2bn in renewable technologies initiatives, yet he rejected calls to divest from the fossil fuel companies that are burning carbon at a rate that ignores international agreements to limit global warming. *RON*]

Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 26 June 2015 Europe will likely get more than half of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of the next decade if EU countries meet their climate pledges, according to a draft commission paper.

A planned overhaul of the continent’s electricity grids will now need to be sped up, says the leaked text, seen by the Guardian.

“Reaching the European Union 2030 energy and climate objectives means the share of renewables is likely t…

Donald Trump refuses to release birth certificate and passport records

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[Hypocrisy thy name is Trump, and thou has a bad hair-do. The Republican presidential candidate had called Barack Obama the country’s ‘least transparent president’ for refusing to release the same documentation. See also Mexican Piñata Maker Takes Revenge on Donald Trump. *RON*]

Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian, 26 June 2015 Presidential hopeful Donald Trump has refused to release his long-form birth certificate and passport records, despite demanding the same from Barack Obama during the 2012 election.

The Guardian contacted the Trump campaign to request the birth certificate and passport records of the Apprentice host, but a spokeswoman refused to share the documents.

In October 2012, Trump, a prominent figure in the “birther movement” – a loose affiliation of people who claimed Obama was born outside the US – accused Obama of being “the least transparent president in the history of this country” for refusing to release the very details Trump is now …

Environment lawyers challenge B.C.'s Kinder Morgan pipeline conditions

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[Clark says she will not support Kinder Morgan unless it is proven to be good for BC, yet the current review process, that she supports and refuses to supplement with a BC review, isn't intended to look at this. *RON*]

The Canadian Press / Vancouver Observer, 25 June 2015

VANCOUVER — A group of environmental lawyers is calling on the British Columbia government to do its own evaluation of Kinder Morgan's proposed $5.4-billion pipeline expansion instead of deferring its questions to the National Energy Board.

Lawyers from Ecojustice say the province has signed away its responsibility to assess the impacts of the proposed expansion project by harmonizing the approval process with the NEB, and the only to ensure that the pipeline benefits B.C. residents is by withdrawing from that process.

Premier Christy Clark outlined five conditions in 2012 that the pipeline company must meet before B.C. will agree to the Trans Mountain project.

However, Ec…

Australian inequality rising as top 20% increase wealth and income – report

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[Top earners are now pulling in five times as much as those at the bottom and the wealthiest have 70 times the assets of the poorest. *RON*]
Lenore Taylor, The Guardian, 21 June 2015
Australia’s rich are getting richer, and while inequality here is not as extreme as in the US or the UK, it is heading in that direction, according to a new study by the Australian Council of Social Service.

Australians earning in the top 20% of incomes receive five times as much as those in the bottom 20%. A person with accumulated wealth in the top 20% has 70 times as much as a person in the bottom 20%.

And the gap is widening, the study found, with the share of both income and wealth going to the top 20% increasing.

IMF Backs Steps to Cut Income Inequality, Boost Growth

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["You do not have to be an altruist to support policies that lift the incomes of the poor and the middle class. Reducing excessive inequality — by lifting the ‘small boats’ — is not just morally and politically correct, but it is good economics." *RON*]
By William Mauldin, Wall Street Journal, 17 June 2015

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde called on officials around the world to make changes to tax regimes, clamp down on corruption and take other steps to reduce income inequality, which she blamed for weighing on global growth.

“The poor and the middle class are the main engines of growth,” Ms. Lagarde said at a speech in Brussels on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, these engines have been stalling.”

I Am an Adjunct Professor Who Teaches Five Classes -- and I Earn Less Than a Pet-Sitter

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[76% of instructional staff appointments in U.S. higher education are now not even full-time jobs. *RON*]
By Lee Hall / The Guardian / AlterNet, 23 June 2015

Like most university teachers today, I am a low-paid contract worker. Now and then, a friend will ask: “Have you tried dog-walking on the side?” I have. Pet care, I can reveal, takes massive attention, energy and driving time. I’m friends with a full-time, professionally employed pet-sitter who’s done it for years, never topping $26,000 annually and never receiving health or other benefits.

The reason I field such questions is that, as an adjunct professor, whether teaching undergraduate or law-school courses, I make much less than a pet-sitter earns. This year I’m teaching five classes (15 credit hours, roughly comparable to the teaching loads of some tenure-track law or business school instructors). At $3,000 per course, I’ll pull in $15,000 for the year. I work year-round, 20 to 30 hours we…

In Historic Ruling, Dutch Court Says: Climate Action is a Human Right

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[Although the story's from yesterday, so far I don't see this being reported anywhere other than here at Common Dreams. Hague District Court says Dutch government has a legal duty to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2020. *RON*]
By Lauren McCauleyCommon Dreams, 24 June 2015

In a landmark ruling that many hope establishes a new global precedent for a state's obligation to its citizens in the face of the growing climate crisis, a Dutch court on Wednesday said that the government has a legal duty to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2020.

The decision came in response to a lawsuit, launched in November 2013 by the Amsterdam-based environmental nonprofit Urgenda Foundation along with 600 Dutch citizens, which argued that the government was violating international human rights law by failing to take sufficient measures to combat rising greenhouse gas emissions.

"The state must do more to avert the imminent danger caused…

CEO pay at US’s largest companies up 54% since recovery began in 2009

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[The corporatocrats continue winning their hard-waged class war. While America’s CEOs have seen their compensation soar in the past six years, the average annual earnings of employees haven’t budged (in fact it shrunk in inflation-adjusted terms). *RON*]
Suzanne McGee, The Guardian, 25 June 2015

Psst … want to earn a CEO’s hourly wage? You can. You’ll just have to toil for about five weeks to do it, without a single day off.

According to the latest annual survey by the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank, CEOs at the 350 largest companies in the country pocketed an average of $16.3m in compensation each last year. That’s up 3.9% from 2013, and a whopping gain of 54.3% since the recovery began in 2009.

The average annual earnings of employees at those companies? Well, that was only $53,200. And in 2009, when the recovery began? Well, that was $53,200, too. In other words, while the CEOs have seen their compensation soar by 54%, the t…

The solidarity fridge: Spanish town's cool way to cut food waste

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[The next thing after community libraries? Everyone from vulnerable families to peckish builders are taking leftover goods left dropped off by local people in Galdakao. See also the link, below, to the story France to force big supermarkets to give unsold food to charities. *RON*]
Ashifa Kassam, The Guardian, 25 June 2015
The large white fridge sits prominently on a pavement in Galdakao, a small city on the outskirts of Bilbao.

A wooden fence has been built around it, in the hope of conveying the idea that this is not an abandoned appliance, but a pioneering project aimed at tackling food wastage.

For the past seven weeks, Galdakao, population 29,000, has been home to Spain’s first “solidarity fridge”, in which residents and restaurants can drop off leftover or unused food otherwise destined for the bin. Anything left in the fridge can be picked up by anyone who wants it. “I would guess we’ve saved between 200 and 300kg from the rubbish bin,” said …

John Baird Hired As Strategic Adviser To Canadian Global Engineering Firm Hatch

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[On top of their extremely healthy severance and pensions, the rats, having abandoned the Harper ship, are now cashing in with the corporatocracy, tit for tat. *RON*]
By The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 24 June 2015

TORONTO - Former federal cabinet minister John Baird has been hired as a strategic adviser to Hatch, an engineering and consulting firm for resource companies.

Hatch has its global head office in Mississauga, Ont., and operates in 150 countries around the world.

The company says Baird's experience in international affairs will help Hatch as it expands in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors.

Baird presided over a number of federal portfolios, including foreign affairs, environment and transport and infrastructure.

It's the latest corporate appointment for Baird since he announced in February that he was leaving Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet and resigned his seat in the riding of Ottawa West-Nepean.


Access-To-Information Requests Of Feds Stretch Back To 2009

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[Information+transparency=democracy. "...information delayed is information denied.... Combined with rampant redactions of material when it is finally released, the system is being used to suppress information rather than access it." *RON*]
By Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 25 June 2015

OTTAWA - It's been said the wheels of justice turn slowly, and a new look at Canada's creaky access-to-information system appears to bear that out.

According to data collected as part of a Liberal question in the House of Commons, Justice Canada is the federal department with the longest running, active access-to-information request — an unfulfilled inquiry that dates back more than six years.

Under the Access to Information Act passed by Parliament, departments are supposed to respond to requests for government records within 30 days, although in practice long delays have become routine.

Liberal MP David McGuinty placed a ques…

Last-ditch Greek rescue hopes dashed as Alexis Tsipras faces austerity ultimatum

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[From the Bound To End Horribly department, Dreams of Empire division. I think this is the third, final last-ditch talks that have been abandoned. It's not just - as the Telegraph puts it - there are fundamental differences between these groups. Creditors are constantly adding demands. They now want more cuts from the cash-strapped country and they want direct control over what gets cut! See also: Greece Gives Europe What It Wants, Europe Says No Anyway. *RON*]

By Mehreen Khan, and Matthew Holehouse, The Telegraph, 24 Jun 2015
Greece's eurozone future was thrown into fresh turmoil on Wednesday night as talks broke down after creditor powers demanded further austerity measures to release the funds the country needs to avoid a debt default.

Dashing tentative hopes that an agreement could be struck at European Union leaders summit on Thursday, a meeting of finance ministers was suspended after only an hour as Prime Minister Tsipras was summ…