Showing posts from July, 2015

“Ted Cruz gives me the willies”: Camille Paglia analyzes the GOP field — and takes on Hillary Clinton

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[Excellent interview. Paglia dismisses Rubio, Jeb and Rand in part three of this Salon interview, but warns Dems not to overlook Scott Walker. On Hillary: "Oh, I don’t see Hillary as even getting as far as the debates!... I don’t think Hillary wants to be defeated, so what I’ve been predicting all along is that there will be a 'health crisis,' and she will withdraw.... Hillary has accomplished nothing substantial in her life. She’s been pushed along, coasting on her husband’s coattails, and every job she’s been given fizzled out into time-serving or overt disaster." *RON*]

David Daley, Salon, 30 July 2015

In the first two parts of Salon’s conversation with Camille Paglia, we covered Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton, the return of the ’90s sensibility, and then the rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

Today Paglia trains her devastating insight and wit on the rest of the GOP field — look out Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. She …

Officers at Sam DuBose scene involved in death of another unarmed black man

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[Black injustice tipping point. Five years before University of Cincinnati officers Eric Weibel and Phillip Kidd corroborated the seemingly false account of an officer now charged with murder, they helped as Kelly Brinson was shocked and shackled. See also: 5 Black Women Have Been Found Dead in Jail in the Last Month. *RON*]

Ryan Felton and Oliver Laughland, The Guardian, 31 July 2015
Two police officers who corroborated a seemingly false account of the fatal shooting of Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati were previously implicated in the death of an unarmed, hospitalised and mentally ill black man who died after he was “rushed” by a group of seven University of Cincinnati police officers.

Kelly Brinson, a 45-year-old mental health patient at Cincinnati’s University hospital, suffered a psychotic episode on 20 January 2010 and was placed inside a seclusion room at the hospital by UC officers. He was then shocked with a Taser three times by an officer an…

New vaccine could be the 'beginning of the end' for Ebola

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[Excellent news! *RON*]

AFP, Business Insider, 31 July 2015

Paris (AFP) — An Ebola vaccine provided 100% protection in a field trial in hard-hit Guinea, researchers and officials said Friday, mooting "the beginning of the end" of the killer West African outbreak.

The world is "on the verge of an effective Ebola vaccine," the World Health Organization (WHO) said, hailing the results from the first efficacy test of the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine among people living in a high-danger zone.

"This is an extremely promising development," added WHO chief Margaret Chan.

"An effective vaccine will be another very important tool for both current and future Ebola outbreaks."

US wage growth at slowest pace since 1982

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[This may put the kibosh on Yellen's plans to raise US interest rates, but witness the weasel words: "Instead of raising rates only when it had seen 'further improvement' in jobs, the central bank said on Wednesday it would do so when it had seen 'some further improvement'." (emphasis added) Also, for those who still deny there is an issue concerning the gap between productivity increases and workers' wages, just check out the graph below. *RON*]

Kadhim Shubber and Eric Platt, Financial Times, 31 July 2015

Expectations of a Federal Reserve rate rise in September took a knock on Friday when data showed quarterly US wage growth at its lowest level for more than three decades.

Wages and salaries for US workers rose by the smallest amount for a quarter since 1982, potentially clouding hopes of policymakers that the recovery is set to shift into a higher gear.

The numbers from the Department of Labor, which showed a 0.2…

Donald Trump: 'I think I'd get along very well with Vladimir Putin' – video

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[See also Russia's 'tin pot despot' Putin ordered spy's London murder, UK inquiry told.At his Turnberry golf resort in western Scotland for the first day of the Women's Open, Donald Trump delivered comments on the United States' relations around the world. A new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released shows nearly a quarter of Republicans surveyed said he would be their choice as the party's presidential nominee in 2016. *RON*]

Canadians Need to Know the Truth About the TPP

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["...three-quarters of Canadians hadn't even heard of the TPP.... There's a good reason for that: the TPP has been negotiated completely in secret." Talk to your friends, and their friends, and their friends! See also: TPP Trade Deal Proposal Would See CBC, Canada Post Exist Solely For Profit and (in case you still believe it has stalled out), Trade Negotiators Reach Environmental Accord. *RON*]
Maude Barlow and Sunjanta Dey, Huffington Post, 30 July 2015

This week, ministers from 12 countries representing 40 per cent of the world's economy will meet to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the largest trade agreements ever. As talks are rushed to conclusion, Canada is still fighting to have its supply management system excluded from the deal.

We wish the government well in its quest to protect supply management, but we wish it would go to bat for other core Canadian values and industries.

Unlike our European and eve…

‘The quarter is looking ugly': What economists are saying about Canada’s shrinking economy

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[Can you already hear Joe Oliver's denials and Stephen ("I'm an economist, you know") Harper saying "It's not my fault!"? See also: Shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone: As PM, Stephen Harper's economic performance is a bust!. *RON*]

Financial Post Staff, Financial Post, 31 July 2015

The Canadian economy shrank for the fifth consecutive month in May, by 0.2 per cent from April, strengthening the probability that the country was in recession in the first half of the year, according to Statistics Canada data released on Friday.

Economists had said that even if there had been no change in gross domestic product for May, which is what they had forecast, it would have required extraordinarily strong growth in June to avoid a second quarterly fall in GDP.

Here’s what they are saying after the surprise decline:

Douglas Porter, chief economist BMO
“Bottom Line: Yet another downside surprise for the Canadian economy, which al…

Alaskans to Commemorate Anniversary of Mount Polley Mine Disaster as Similar Accidents Predicted to Increase

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["...half of the serious tailings dam failures in the last 70 years occurred between 1990 and 2009.... Alaskan groups and local politicians are now pushing for the matter to be referred to the International Joint Commission for a ruling under the Boundary Waters Treaty.... There have been no fines, no criminal charges, no approved long-term water treatment and management plan and the company still gets permitted to operate. It’s a disgrace." See also: B.C. Approves Partial Reopening of Mount Polley Mine Despite Major Unanswered Questions About Tailings Spill. *RON*]

By Judith Lavoie, DeSmog Blog, 30 July 2015

One year after 24 million cubic metres of mine sludge and water swept into rivers and lakes below Imperial Metal’s Mount Polley mine in B.C., Southeast Alaskans will gather to commemorate the tailings pond breach and bless the Stikine River.

Those at the Aug. 2 gathering in Wr…

The War Nerd: Don’t be fooled -- Turkey is attacking the Kurds

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[Today's must-read. "The Turkish raids were almost insulting in their bait-and-switch: One little strike on Islamic State, or a nice vacant lot that might once have been visited by IS . . . and then 300 sorties, with the best US air-to-ground ordnance you can buy, killing God knows how many hundreds or thousands of Kurdish socialist fighters." *RON*]

By Gary Brecher, FROM THETHE WAR NERD DESK, Pando, 29 July 2015

This member-only article was unlocked for you by Paul Carr. For unlimited access to all of Pando, become a Pando member for just $10 a month.

If you’re a trusting type, you might be cheering for the Turkish Air Force, which according to the more gullible news services has finally decided to strike Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria.

Don’t believe it.

It’s not IS the Turkish planes have been bombing. Here’s a breakdown of the actual targets of the Turkish airstrikes:
The attack on IS was a single sortie against limited targets…

UBS Deal Shows Clinton’s Complicated Ties

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[Shillary. After the secretary of state’s involvement in tax case, total donations by UBS to the Clinton Foundation grew from less than $60,000 through 2008 to a cumulative total of about $600,000 by the end of 2014, according the foundation and the bank. The bank also joined the Clinton Foundation to launch entrepreneurship and inner-city loan programs, through which it lent $32 million. And it paid former president Bill Clinton $1.5 million to participate in a series of question-and-answer sessions with UBS Wealth Management Chief Executive Bob McCann. *RON*]
By James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, Wall Street Journal, 30 July 2015

A few weeks after Hillary Clinton was sworn in as secretary of state in early 2009, she was summoned to Geneva by her Swiss counterpart to discuss an urgent matter. The Internal Revenue Service was suing UBS AG to get the identities of Americans with secret accounts.

If the case proceeded, Switzerland’s largest ban…

Germany Just Got 78 Percent Of Its Electricity From Renewable Sources

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[It can be done Mr. Harper. "The expansion of renewables and another weather phenomenon — a relatively mild winter — led to Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions falling for the first time in three years in 2014, a 4.3 percent year-over-year drop. Greenhouse gas emissions are now down to their lowest level since 1990." *RON*]

By Ari Phillips, Think Progress, 29 July 2015
On Saturday, July 25, Germany set a new national record for renewable energy by meeting 78 percent of the day’s electricity demand with renewables sources, exceeding the previous record of 74 percent set in May of 2014.

According to an analysis by German energy expert Craig Morris at the Energiewende blog, a stormy day across northern Europe combined with sunny conditions in southern Germany led to the new record, the exact figures of which are still preliminary. Morris writes that most of Germany’s wind turbines are installed in the north and most of its solar panels are i…

'Grassroots' Canada Action Carries Deep Ties to Conservative Party, Oil and Gas Industry

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['Grassroots' campaign turns out to be awash with oil industry and Conservative party insiders - pure astroturf. *RON*]
Carol Linnitt and Donald Gutstein, DeSmog Canada, Huffington Post, 29 July 2015

"Our messages are not resonating," Natural Resource Minister Greg Rickford told a room full of oil and gas executives in a luxury Rocky Mountain resort last fall. "You are fighting an uphill battle for public confidence."

Rickford, who attended the meeting at the request of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), encouraged the executives to do more to spread the oil industry's message to the Canadian public.

"Much of the debate over energy is characterized by myth or emotion," he said, suggesting scientists and campaigners critical of development in the Alberta oilsands were "crowding out the real facts."

Rickford made no mention of Canada's international climate commitments, but h…

Harper Says High Debt Levels A Sign Of Consumer Confidence, As Consumer Confidence Drops

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["Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canadian consumers’ high debt loads are a sign of confidence in the economy. But Harper’s comments come as two separate measures of Canadian consumer confidence showed steep declines in recent weeks." *RON*]
By Daniel Tencer, Huffington Post, 29 July 2015

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canadian consumers’ high debt loads are a sign of confidence in the economy.

But Harper’s comments come as two separate measures of Canadian consumer confidence showed steep declines in recent weeks.

Though the government is concerned about some borrowers’ ability to pay, overall Canadians’ balance sheets “are good,” Harper said in an interview with Bloomberg Wednesday.

“We don’t believe there’s any data that suggests any kind of a pending crisis there,” he said.

“People have confidence in their ability to afford larger houses in the future, but obviously for those who are over-extended we’ve urged some caution.”

Federal Election 2015: How A Long Campaign Will Benefit The Cash-Rich Tories

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[The Conservatives have full coffers because of their support from those they have in turn supported - the oil and gas industry, mining, and so on. They have cut the per-voter subsidies which made up a big part of the base for parties such as the Greens. They have put strict limits on third party advertising, so that unions and environmental groups are very limited in what they are able to say about Harper during this extended campaign. And, as per the previous story, he has made it difficult for up to four million Canadians who don't strongly support him (the elderly, Aboriginals, the homeless) to vote at all. *RON*]
CBC / Huffington Post, 30 July 2015

A lengthy 11-week federal election campaign could give the Conservatives, armed with a significant war chest, a marked edge over their political rivals.

​"Politics is a lot like war. You want to starve your opponent and be able to bomb the heck out of them," said Toronto-based politic…

Millions of Canadians denied the right to vote in 2015 federal election

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["If the stay of the new amendment is not ultimately granted and quickly, as many as four million Canadians -- including numerous students, Aboriginals, elderly living in care facilities, and homeless individuals -- may be unable to vote in the federal election due to an inability to prove both residence and identity." *RON*]
By Pro BonoPriya Sarin,, 30 July 2015

Last week, the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice each ruled on separate Charter challenges to legislation affecting the rights of certain groups of Canadians to vote in the October 2015 federal election. Surprisingly, both courts permitted the impugned provisions at issue to continue in force and effectively denied these groups the right to vote.

The main focus of this article is the Court of Appeal's decision regarding the right of Canadian expatriates to vote; however, I will …

Who's afraid of $50 oil? (Answer: Canada's oil industry)

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["It's in the interest of banks, for one, to see the notoriously cyclical drilling industry make it through this current downturn as intact as possible, even if it means renegotiating breached debt covenants." Yet look what happens to Greece; in that case, suddenly, this is a moral issue. *RON*]

By Paul Haavardsrud, CBC News, 29 Jul 2015
It may be high summer on the calendar, but Canada's energy companies are already looking towards the coming winter.

What they see is looking worse now than it was even a month ago.

After a rough start to the year that saw companies lay off thousands of workers amid falling crude prices, lower cash flow and wounded share prices, a spring rally in oil was stirring hopes the dreaded other shoe might not drop.

A July-long slide took oil prices back below $50 a barrel, so a rally is looking less likely.

The Video of Police Killing of Sam Dubose Is Apparently so Bad Cincinnati Is Preparing for Riots

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[Black Injustice Tipping Point. The decision has just been made to release the video publicly. Even the police chief admits what the video shows is "not good." See also the just released: Police officer indicted for murder in fatal shooting of Samuel Dubose. *RON*]

By Shaun King / Daily Kos, 28 July 2015

After a routine traffic stop by a University of Cincinnati Police Officer, Sam Dubose ended up dead with his face blown off. The officer was wearing a body camera, but the city refuses to release in the video. In the meantime, everybody who sees it is deeply disturbed, including the citywide police chief.

Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said he's seen the unreleased footage from a University of Cincinnati officer's body camera during last week's fatal shooting and "it's not good."

"The video is not good," Blackwell said. "I think the city manager has said that also publicly. I'll l…

Inequality and Labor Market Institutions

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[Guess who thinks that unions reduce income inequality? The International Monetary Fund, that’s who. A new IMF Staff Discussion Note, Inequality and Labor Market Institutions, says "The decline in unionization is related to the rise of top income shares and less redistribution, while the erosion of minimum wages is correlated with considerable increases in overall inequality." But at the AFL-CIO Now blog, Tula Connell notes, "Long a bastion of pro-employer policies, the IMF is not willing to go so far as to recommend the obvious. Acknowledging its findings can 'suggest that higher unionization and minimum wages can help reduce inequality,' the IMF dodges the logical conclusion to pursue such policies, saying its data 'do not constitute a blanket recommendation for more unionization or higher minimum wages.'" *RON*]

Florence Jaumotte and Carolina Osorio Buitron, International Monetary Fund, July 2015.

The rise of …

Learning the wrong pipeline lessons

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["The lessons learned from these tragic spills shouldn’t be how to improve regulatory oversight or how to build supposedly better pipelines. The lessons learned must be that piping tar sands oil over delicate wild areas and through human communities can never be done safely. The lessons learned must be to leave fossil fuels in the ground and shift to a low-carbon economy, one based on renewable, clean energy such as solar and wind. The fossil fuel industry is right. We will learn from these spills—and it will be the death knell for their industry." *RON*]

by Larissa Stendie, Georgia Strait, 26 July 2015

The similarities are deeply troubling.

Last week, a contractor happened to be walking by Nexen’s Long Lake pipeline and discovered a spill of 31,000 barrels of tar sands oil. Five years ago today, a utility worker happened to be walking by Enbridge’s Line 6B near Michigan’s Kalamazoo River and discovered a spill of 27,000 barrels of tar s…

Elizabeth May: Pharmacare Would Save Canadians Billions

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[This story might also have mentioned that, of all countries in the world that have a single-payer medicare insurance program, only Canada does not also have a pharmacare program. *RON*]
By The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 29 July 2015

OTTAWA - The federal Green party is making a national pharmacare plan a key plank of its election platform.

The party says it would make affordable medicine a reality for all Canadians while saving billions of dollars.

The plan would expand and co-ordinates the patchwork of public and private plans that already provide drug insurance to 22 million Canadians.

Green party Leader Elizabeth May says the plan would ensure two million Canadians have access to prescriptive medications that they otherwise could not afford.

She says the Greens will work with all federal parties, provinces and others with a stake in health care to implement the plan - the second phase of Canada's universal health system.

Moreover, the par…

Premier Clark's claims of thousands of LNG jobs 'grossly overstated' — CCPA report

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[Statements that, if made by businesses, would be punishable as fraud are routinely made by politicians - why is this allowed? This is well known from experience with the industry around the world. Petronas' own estimates (also believed to be highly optimistic) show that about 3,500 workers would be required at peak construction but the plant will only employ 200 to 300 full-time permanent workers. After a quick search on Google News, I could only find one article, by the Globe & Mail, from the mainstream press on this story: B.C. LNG job numbers overstated, report claims. *RON*]
Vancouver Observer, 28 July 2015

Premier Christy Clark may be touting massive job opportunities with the B.C.-based LNG industry, but the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released a "reality check" report that disputes the numbers.

Clark has stated that the LNG industry as a whole would create …

UN Committee supports charities in fight for freedom of expression

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[A pathetic retrograde government, busily turning us into a banana republic. *RON*]
By Megan Hooft,, 29 July 2015

Canada has received a rebuke from a United Nations treaty monitoring body for its lack of respect for human rights. The Human Rights Committee (HRC) released a lengthy list of issues it cited as concerning as part of its concluding observations on the country's review of civil and political rights.

Included was an important reference to the federal government's efforts to silence human rights organizations and advocacy through the Income Tax Act (ITA) -- a welcome expression of support for charities under audit.

Canada Without Poverty (CWP) had taken this issue to Geneva earlier in July to raise awareness of the "advocacy chill" and the threatened environment charities have been forced to work in for years. The organization is one of many charities being audit…

The 1 percent declares war on Puerto Rico: The austerity push that unmasks neoliberalism

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[Governor says island's debt is "not payable." But a hedge fund-backed report says education cuts will do the trick. "Through recommending Puerto Rico cut an already-impoverished society’s access to quality education in order to satisfy financial markets, the report shows how neoliberalism’s 'form of reason' ends up applying an intellectual gloss to what would otherwise be recognized as base avarice." *RON*]

Elias Isquith, Salon, 19 July 2015

Earlier this summer, I spoke with UC Berkeley professor Wendy Brown about “Undoing the Demos,” her recent book on neoliberalism. Much like her book, I thought the whole conversation with Brown was edifying. But there’s one idea of Brown’s in particular that I’ve found myself returning to frequently in the time since we spoke. It’s the concept of neoliberalism as not only an economic and political system, but also as a kind of mindset — or, as she called it, “a whole form of re…

American Capitalism Isn't Broken After All

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[Nothing in Lawrence's analysis changes what is demonstrated in the original graph. Workers' wages are not keeping pace with the general increase in productivity they helped to create, so their purchasing power has dropped and they will have a harder time affording many of life's basics. He simply de-emphasizes the real-world impact on worker's lives by shifting the technical argument to narrower and narrower terms. *RON*]
By Clive Crook, Bloomberg View, 26 July 2015

One of the best-loved stories about the squeeze on middle-class incomes in the U.S. concerns the long-term divergence between wages and productivity. This goes as follows: Wages have stagnated for decades even as output and profits kept going up. Owners of capital grabbed all the gains.

For those who tell this story, the issue is justice not growth. What's the point of striving for efficiency if the benefits don't flow to the living standards of everyday Americ…

The Yellen Subsidy: Fed Chair Pumps for Keeping Financiers Fat Over Filling Potholes

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[Banksters and the corporatocracy in full action. As Yves Smith says, "the financial services industry is so heavily subsidized that it should not properly be considered private enterprise." *RON*]
Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 27 July 2015

The last few years has witnessed a rising tide of academic studies that have concluded that financial systems in advanced economies like the US have become outsized and are a drag on growth. One of the most recent and particularly devastating pieces came out of the IMF. That study found that Poland’s banking system was at the optimal level of product sophistication and penetration.

Since the financial services industry also so heavily subsidized that it should not properly be considered private enterprise, these articles are an indictment of how the sector operates. Banks should be regulated like utilities, or at least have their subsidies greatly reduced.

Yet the Fed is firmly against taking even mild …

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Trust ‘Organic’ From China

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[Canada has imperfect but reasonably good regulations concerning what can or cannot be called organic (see this government web site for details), though no country is without 'slippage' in their controls. *RON*]

By Irene Luo, Epoch Times, 26 July 2015

After numerous food scares in China, the Chinese have become disillusioned with the communist regime’s ability to properly regulate the food industry. And the contaminated food does not just stay in China. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regularly refuses shipments from China for “filth,” unsafe additives, veterinary drug residues, and mislabeling. In 2007, melamine-tainted pet treats from China reportedly killed thousands of cats and dogs in the United States.

The answer for some victimized Chinese is now organics—a guarantee that their food products will be produced in an environmentally responsible way and not be grown with pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, growth…

Joe Oliver 'Overstepped' With Comments On Bank Of Canada Policy: Expert

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[We should switch to the US model. In the States, the President can publicly criticize the Federal Reserve chair, but cannot fire the chair over policy disagreements. In Canada, the Bank of Canada governor is employed directly by the Finance Minister, but tradition dictates that they do not criticize one another in public. Oliver is trying to have things both ways by publicly contradicting the governor while still being able to force the governor's resignation. *RON*]
CP / Huffington Post, 27 July 2015

OTTAWA — The federal finance minister raised eyebrows last week by publicly sharing his opinion on monetary policy — not necessarily because of his view on the matter, but because some believe he ventured too far onto the Bank of Canada's turf.

In response to a reporter's question, Joe Oliver said the policy measure known as quantitative easing was "not on the table" as a response to Canada's ongoing economic downturn.

The co…

Victoria shuts down Yellow Giant gold mine in northwestern B.C. over pollution spills

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[Gold mining operations commonly leak arsenic. Gitxaala First Nation plans legal action against the Yellow Giant operation, but the environment ministry claims the risk to humans and other animals is minimal. *RON*]

By Gordon Hoekstra, Vancouver Sun, 27 July 2015

The province has shut down the small Yellow Giant underground gold mine on Banks Island in northwest B.C. for spilling pollution on land and into creeks, lakes, and a wetland.

The B.C. environment ministry said the discharge reached the ocean through a creek, several beaver-dam-created wetlands and Banks Lake before entering the ocean at Surrey Bay, but it is not believed it will harm humans or animals.

The Yellow Giant incident is the latest of several mine waste spills — although much smaller in magnitude — since the catastrophic dam failure at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley gold and copper mine in August 2014. There have been small spills at the Myra Falls and Copper Mountain mines in th…

Hillary Clinton Refuses to Take a Position on the Keystone Pipeline

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[Shillary. Maybe she's paying Donald Trump to run? ;-) "I think it's bogus. Look, the notion that she can't talk about it because the State Dept. is still working on it makes no sense. By that test, she shouldn't be talking about Benghazi or Iran or anything else either. The more she tries to duck the question, the more the whole thing smells." Bill McKibben. *RON*]

—By Tim McDonnell, Mother Jones, 27 July 2015

Hillary Clinton took a strong stance on clean energy Monday, telling a crowd in Des Moines, Iowa, that her efforts to tackle climate change would parallel President John F. Kennedy's call to action during the space race in the 1960s.

"I want to get the country back to setting big ambitious goals," Clinton said. "I want us to get back into the future business, and one of the best ways we can do that is to be absolutely ready to address the challenge of climate change and make it work to our advant…

RCMP tracked Toronto activists with fake Facebook profile

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[Aside from being objectionable, this seems both ineffective and amateurish. Mounties created bogus profile so as to reach out to protest groups from Black Lives Matter Toronto to Idle No More. *RON*]

By: Laurent Bastien Corbeil, Toronto Star, 27 Jul 2015

Has a waddle of penguins ever “liked” your Facebook page? If so, your account may have been monitored by the RCMP.

Officers with the national police force used a Facebook profile to pose as a broke student so as to communicate with protest groups in Toronto, according to documents obtained under the Access to Information Act.

‘Sea Slaves’: The Human Misery That Feeds Pets and Livestock

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[There are now more than 30 million people world wide existing in some form of slavery. To some extent we can exert consumer controls - e.g., do not buy Thai prawns. This kind of activity, though, clearly requires new national and international laws. Men who have fled servitude on fishing boats recount beatings and worse as nets are cast for the catch that will become pet food and livestock feed. *RON*]
By Ian Urbina, The New York Times, 27 July 2015

SONGKHLA, Thailand — Lang Long’s ordeal began in the back of a truck. After watching his younger siblings go hungry because their family’s rice patch in Cambodia could not provide for everyone, he accepted a trafficker’s offer to travel across the Thai border for a construction job.

It was his chance to start over. But when he arrived, Mr. Long was kept for days by armed men in a room near the port at Samut Prakan, more than a dozen miles southeast of Bangkok. He was then herded with six other migran…

Rick Perry calls for more guns in cinemas following Lafayette shooting

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[This comes in the wake of news that there are now more gun deaths than automobile deaths in the United States. Perry, US Republican hopeful for 2016 presidential race, says ‘gun-free zones’ are a ‘bad idea’ and citizens should be allowed to carry weapons while watching movies. *RON*]

Ben Child, The Guardian, 27 July 2015 US presidential hopeful Rick Perry has said filmgoers should be able to take their guns into cinemas in order to help stop fatal shootings.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, gun rights proponent Perry was reminded by host Jake Tapper of the killings in Lafayette, Louisiana on Thursday evening at a screening of the Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck. The former Texas governor, who is running for the Republican ticket for the 2016 presidential election, said “gun-free zones” were a “bad idea” and questioned whether allowing people to carry firearms in public spaces might have saved lives during recent fatal shooting incide…

Bursting Shanghai stock bubble resembles Nasdaq fall in 2000

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[Having already lost 30% of its value in one month, wiping out $3 trillion worth of wealth, the stock market in China took yet another swooning 8.5% fall today. This includes state-owned PetroChina, the country’s biggest oil producer, which fell 9.6 percent. In the journal Foreign Policy, the view is that "The government’s meddling will have lasting consequences for the stock market itself, setting an awkward precedent that will take years to overcome." Stephen Harper and Christy Clark, are you paying attention? *RON*]

By Adam Shell, USA Today, 27 July 2015

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. Well, a stock chart of the plunging Shanghai composite index has an eerie resemblance to the tech-stock plunge of the Nasdaq composite index back in 2000.

Bursting stock market bubbles, it appears, all look the same.

While Wall Street was asleep the Shanghai composite, a popular stock index in mainland China, suffered its worst one-day drop sinc…

Canadians get on board the torture train

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[Perhaps it shouldn't, but this story shocked me. It's hard for the public to get a clear picture of social issues while the mainstream media is, in fact, part and parcel of The 1% and actively pushes the views of the corporatocracy. The time and effort involved in finding and scanning and reading the alternative press is simply not possible for many, for most. From now on, where they exist, I'm adding links at the top of my postings to where you can donate to the many alternate press sources that I use. *RON*]
By Matthew Behrens,, 27 July 2015
Just before the annual orgy of Canada Day self-celebration, the Pew Research Center released a poll revealing that over one-third of Canadians supported the use of torture. This was no late April Fool's joke, but rather a shocking figure that was part of a global survey on U.S. foreign policy and the use of what has been referred to as "enha…

Bernie Sanders talks income inequality, race relations before 4,500 at Kenner rally

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[I wish Elizabeth Warren had also ran. Neither she nor Sanders have a snowball's chance of winning, but we can already see, in Clinton's sudden emphasis on regulating Wall Street and reducing income inequality, that Sanders' simple presence has dramatically altered the quality of the presidential debate. See: US income inequality rises up political agenda. Also, tell me, which other candidate would go to Louisiana to talk about racism, civil rights and gun control? *RON*]
 By Kevin Litten, | The Times-Picayune, 27 July 2015

Racial divisiveness, income inequality and the ills of Wall Street were familiar touchstones for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders Sunday (July 25) as he whipped up a thunderous crowd of 4,500 at a rally in Kenner.

It was an unusual sight: A liberal White House hopeful stumping in red state Louisiana so early in a race. The first state primaries are in February; Louisiana's, in March.

But similar t…

Spain Mayors Spin Tale of Two Cities With Anti-Austerity Stance

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[The recent municipal and regional elections in Spain saw some marked victories for anti-austerity parties. Next, the world will be watching for the outcome of their national election, coming in November. (National elections are also on the way in Portugal.) Meanwhile, business is keeping a sharp eye on how things are going in Madrid and Barcelona, where anti-austerity parties now run the government. Reactions range from "We met with some of Carmena’s team and they were open minded, ready to listen and reasonable" to "Current investors are paralyzed and future investors have been scared off." *RON*]
by Maria TadeoSharon R Smyth. Bloomberg Business, 26 July 2015

Ruling Madrid and Barcelona is a tale of two cities as their new mayors forge their own styles of government even though both emerged from the same anti-austerity movement as Podemos.

In Barcelona, Ada Colau has frozen hotel openings in a bid to prevent the city from b…

The bad news for Western drought: 'monster' hot El Nino on the way

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["Many meteorologists are chalking up today's weird and wacky weather in the West to the fact that this is an El Nino year, referring to the cyclical Pacific Ocean phenomenon that disrupts global weather patterns. The problem with that, according to Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips: 'It's not even arrived in Canada yet....' Adding to the concerns is that this year's El Nino is gearing up to be what some scientists are calling a 'super' El Nino, or a 'monster' one. *RON*]
By Cara Cruz, CBC News, 24 July 2015

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NOAA report shows hottest June, hottest six month…

Secrecy around TPP trade deal fuels suspicions and worries

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[TPP is like a constitution for the global corporatocracy. We are meant to believe that, even though all details of the agreement are being kept assiduously hidden from us, it is for our own good. Harper and Obama cannot wait to get TPP passed. *RON*]
By Paul Handley, AFP / Yahoo! News, 25 July 2015

Washington (AFP) - Higher costs for needed generic drugs. Longer copyright protections than the global standard. Foreign investors empowered to overrule governments. A more tightly-regulated Internet.

Those are just some of the potential pitfalls from any deal that could emerge from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-country free-trade and investment pact shrouded in secrecy as negotiations head into the final stage in Hawaii next week.

A handful of draft chapters of the TPP, leaked via Wikileaks, have highlighted the proposed treaty's heavy emphasis on expanding protections for corporate rights and assets like intellectual property -- patents, c…

Why don’t natives get jobs just like everyone else in Canada?

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[No comment required. *RON*]
West Coast Native News, 26 July 2015

Idle No More: Dear Cindy

Via — Elyse Bruce

Two weeks ago, this message was sent to my blog by Cindy. Her comments were riddled with a number of incorrect comments and negative stereotypes that I felt needed to be addressed in a calm and rational way. Here’s an unedited screenshot of what Cindy wrote:

Rather than put it through on the messages, I thought I’d address the inaccurate claims made by Cindy in a blog article.

Oil groups have shelved $200bn in new projects as low prices bite

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[Hey Mister Harper, Hey Ms. Clark, are you paying attention? *RON*]

Christopher Adams, Financial Times, 26 July 2015

The world’s big energy groups have shelved $200bn of spending on new projects in an urgent round of cost-cutting aimed at protecting investors’ dividends as the oil price slumps for a second time this year.

The sell-off in oil has been matched by a broader slump in copper, gold and other raw materials, pushing the Bloomberg commodities index to a six-year low over concerns of weaker Chinese growth and rising supplies across the board.

The plunge in crude prices since last summer has resulted in the deferral of 46 big oil and gas projects with 20bn barrels of oil equivalent in reserves — more than Mexico’s entire proven holdings — according to consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

Among companies postponing big production plans while they wait for costs to come down are UK-listed BP, Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, US-based Chevron, Norway’s Stat…

America's Top Killing Machine

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["There are about 320 [million] people in the United States, and nearly as many civilian firearms." An older but a good piece I ran across for the first time today while reading another Atlantic article. Gun deaths are poised to surpass automobile deaths in the United States this year. It would be interesting to compile a list of how many countries there are where in the world this is true. *RON*]

Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 12 January 2015

For the better part of a century, the machine most likely to kill an American has been the automobile.

Car crashes killed 33,561 people in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Firearms killed 32,251 people in the United States in 2011, the most recent yearfor which the Centers for Disease Control has data.

But this year gun deaths are expected to surpass car deaths. That's according to a Center for American P…