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Showing posts from February 23, 2015

How Michele Bachmann Inspired Factcheck.org to Debunk Lies About Science

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["It's thanks to Michele Bachmann." I've added the Annenberg Foundation's SciCheck site to my news feed. *RON*]

—By Kishore Hari, Mother Jones, 20 February 2015

Four years ago, Michele Bachmann slammed Rick Perry—then the governor of Texas—for his executive order mandating HPV vaccinations. "I'm a mom of three children," Bachmann said during a GOP presidential debate. "And to have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat out wrong."

Bachmann, who at the time was a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, expanded on her allegations the next day. "I will tell you that I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Fla., after the debate," she said on the Todayshow. "She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter. It can have very dan…

Will America's Shale Boomtowns Bust? A Report from the Heart of North Dakota's Fracking Country

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["Then came the swoon [and]...a strange cognitive dissonance." A very interesting piece that I'm sure refelcts the future of Alberta. *RON*]
By Jennifer Reingold, Fortune, 2 March 2015 edition
We’re standing on a windswept, snow-covered expanse of frozen ground in western North Dakota, imagining a future that is hard to picture here. Gesturing toward a grassy field, hatless in the 10-degree chill, Terry Olin and Ellen Simone Weyrauch, the principals of a real estate development firm called Stropiq, lay out their vision for Williston Crossing. They’ve planned a $500 million, 219-acre complex with 900 residential units, a hotel, a water park, and tons of big-box retail. As soon as Stropiq gets the expected approval from the county, it will break ground later this year and hopes to finish the first phase of construction by 2018.

Just 10 years ago the area was an American Empty Quarter, with nothing but a few grain farms and the occasion…

Bill C-51 Will Make It Easier To Throw Canadians In Jail Without a Charge

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[Excellent point: "...the intrusions of a census are deemed unacceptable while the disastrous privacy consequences of Bill C-51 are pushed as imperative." *RON*]
Yan Roberts, rabble.ca, 22 February 2015

In early February, Canada's Parliament voted down a bill to bring back the mandatory long-form census. The Conservative government's position was that the census was too intrusive. Remember that word: intrusive. Two weeks later they are arguing for the need of mass surveillance and other drastic civil liberty erosions that Bill C-51 brings. The inconsistency is disturbing when the intrusions of a census are deemed unacceptable while the disastrous privacy consequences of Bill C-51 are pushed as imperative.

The Conservative government first axed the mandatory long-form census in 2010, citing concerns about personal freedoms. Canada's then Industry Minster, Tony Clement, argued the census was intrusive to Canadians "who ju…

Kenney rejects call to increase oversight of national-security agencies

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[Increase CSIS powers, but not their oversight. Not even Jean Chr├ętien, Paul Martin, Joe Clark or John Turner like what he's up to. Transparency is not exactly Stephen Harper's middle name - it encourages far too much accountability and democracy for his liking. See also New Federal Policy Quietly Tightens Lid On Cabinet Secrets. *RON*]
Steven Chase, The Globe and Mail, 22 February 2015

The federal government is rejecting calls for more independent oversight of Canada’s national security agencies even as it speeds passage of legislation that would give sweeping new powers to spies and police in the name of fighting terrorism.

Parliament will vote Monday night on the Anti-Terrorism Act after the Conservatives limited second-reading debate for the legislation to three days. The bill will be sent to a Parliamentary committee for scrutiny. The Tories want the controversial legislation to become law before the summer begins.

On Sunday, Defence …

Russian offers Iran latest anti-aircraft missiles: TASS

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[Russia scans the horizon for new pals. See also Russia Lurking In India as Dassault Celebrates in Egypt and Grexit could open door for Russia, China. *RON*]

Vladimir Soldatkin, Reuters, 23 February 2015

(Reuters) - Russia has offered Iran its latest Antey-2500 missiles, the head of Russian state defense conglomerate Rostec said on Monday according to media reports, after a deal to supply less powerful S-300 missiles was dropped under Western pressure.

Sergei Chemezov said Tehran was now considering the offer, TASS news agency reported.

Russia scrapped a contract to supply Iran with S-300 surface-to-air missiles under Western pressure in 2010, and Iran later filed a $4-billion international arbitration suit against Russia in Geneva, but the two countries remain allies.

The United States and Israel lobbied Russia to block the missile sale, saying it could be used to shield Iran's nuclear facilities from possible future air strikes.

There was no imm…