Showing posts from January 25, 2015

No jail for band executive who stole $725,000 from B.C. First Nation to cover her gambling debts

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[What reason can the judge give for this decision? Having no enforcement on collecting the money is ridiculous. Sounds like the province just wants to wash its hands of the whole thing - oh well, just let them fail on their own. *RON*]
Derrick, West Coast Native News, 24 January 2015

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — A 51-year-old woman has been ordered by a British Columbia judge to serve a conditional sentence in the community for stealing almost $725,000 in federal government funds to cover gambling debts.

Theresa McCook, a former executive director of the Kwadacha First Nation, had already pleaded guilty to theft over $5,000 when she was sentenced in provincial court in Prince George on Thursday.

The court heard that for over a year McCook invoiced the federal government for programs that were never offered.

Judge Michael Brecknell says the scheme fell apart in May 2010 when the band’s chief pointed out to auditors a suspicious cheque.

The Crown asked for a …

Why we turned off our comment boards today

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[From On the state of public discourse on the Internet. Likewise, see Federal Parties Struggle To Stay On Top Of Offensive Facebook Comments. *RON*]

We’re turning off our comment boards.

Not permanently, probably. But Internet comment boards are often nasty, vitriolic places, and ours are no exception.

The same platform that provides an opportunity for civil dialogue and an exchange of ideas also provides a platform for racism, bigotry and hatred. Those aren’t the types of conversations we want to host on our website. Consider this a cooling off period for those who wish only to inspire fear in others.

We don’t pretend to know the solution to the problem. How do we foster a sense of community and encourage people to express themselves without simply providing a way to amplify hateful and often threatening remarks?

We’ve taken steps in recent months to clean up our comment boards, including shortening the amount of time they remain op…

The Davos oligarchs are right to fear the world they’ve made

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[Escalating inequality is the work of a global elite that will resist every challenge to its vested interests. The photo accompanying the article provides a good guess at where things are headed. "Crocodile tears about inequality are a symptom of a fearful elite. But change will only come from unrelenting social pressure and political challenge." *RON*]
Seumas MilneThe Guardian, 22 January 2015
The billionaires and corporate oligarchsmeeting in Davos this week are getting worried about inequality. It might be hard to stomach that the overlords of a system that has delivered the widest global economic gulf in human history should be handwringing about the consequences of their own actions.

But even the architects of the crisis-ridden international economic order are starting to see the dangers. It’s not just the maverick hedge-funder George Soros, who likes to describe himself as a class traitor. Paul Polman, Unilever chief executive, f…

Boko Haram attacks northeastern Nigerian city, dozens killed

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[Again the news anchors are silent. #WherearethehastagsforNigeria? *RON*]

By Associated Press, Daily Mail, 25 January 2015
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — In fierce fighting Sunday, Nigerian troops clashed with Islamic extremists who attacked Maiduguri, the biggest city in northeastern Nigeria. Dozens of combatants have been killed and wounded, soldiers and hospital workers said.

At the same time the insurgents continued scorched-earth attacks on villages some 200 kilometers (125 miles) to the south in Adamawa state, slitting throats of residents, looting and burning homes and abducting dozens of trapped women and children, according to Vandu Kainu and other escaping survivors.

The attacks come as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital nearly 1,000 miles (more than 1,500 kilometers) southwest of Maiduguri, for meetings with President Goodluck Jonathan and his chief rival over fears of violence around critica…

Greece votes on whether to dump austerity, take on lenders

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[This story just came out, so I guess it will be later today or tomorrow before we start hearing about the definitive outcome of the Greek election, and whether Syriza gets in. See also Business Insider's Greece Is About To Make A Leap Into The Unknown (as opposed to being crushed by the known). *RON*]
By Angeliki Koutantou and James Mackenzie, Reuters, 25 January 2015 9:58am EST

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greeks voted on Sunday in an election expected to bring to power the radical leftist Syriza party, which has pledged to take on international lenders and roll back painful austerity measures imposed during years of economic crisis.

Barring a huge upset, Syriza, which has led opinion polls for months, will be the biggest party and aims to form the first euro zone government openly committed to cancelling the austerity terms of its EU and IMF-backed bailout program.

"In Greece, democracy will return," the party's 40-year-old leader Ale…

Heating your home for just $10/month? It’s already happening in New Brunswick!

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[More and more people are investing in these industries, very much despite Stephen Harper and his one-trick pony petro-state. See also Why plummeting oil prices may hasten Canada's shift to renewable energy. Sadly, but predictably, "The Liberals are currently the least aggressive (opposition party) on renewable energy" and they still support Keystone XL. *RON*]
By Jon MacNeill, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, 19 January 2015

Just how big of a difference can energy efficiency really make in a home? You need only ask the Naugler family on Fredericton’s north side.

The Nauglers are the owners of the first super energy-efficient Passive House built in New Brunswick. They pay just $100/year – or roughly $10/month – to heat their two-storey home thanks to the myriad of energy efficiency measures used during construction.

And while we’re at it, how about another uplifting energy story, this time from rural New Brunswick?

Meet Rudi …

Five Years After Citizens United, Billionaires Are Buying Democracy

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[I've been reading more about Bernie Sanders than by him, lately, with all the hype leading up to the next presidential election. I've seen the points he makes made elsewhere, but they absolutely bear repeating, e.g., "Across all federal elections since Citizens United was decided in 2010, there has been more than $1 billion in super PAC spending, reports the Brennan Center. Just 195 individuals and their spouses gave almost 60 percent of that money -- more than $600 million." Via my friend Richard. *RON*]
By Bernie Sanders, OpEdNews (Reprinted from Reader Supported News), 23 January 2015
Five years after the Supreme Court's disastrous 5-4 decision in Citizens United, there's a lot to be angry about.

With election spending out of control, and super PACs empowering giant corporations and billionaires like no time since the Gilded Age, Big Money is not just influencing who's elected to office in this country, but what …