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Showing posts from February 24, 2015

Snowden Calls for Disobedience Against the U.S. Government

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[How to oppose Big Brother. Nicely stated. *RON*]
Posted on February 24, 2015 by WashingtonsBlog

In a question and answer session on Reddit earlier today, Edward Snowden wrote: The progress of Western civilization and human rights is actually founded on the violation of law. America was of course born out of a violent revolution that was an outrageous treason against the crown and established order of the day. History shows that the righting of historical wrongs is often born from acts of unrepentant criminality. Slavery. The protection of persecuted Jews. But even on less extremist topics, we can find similar examples. How about the prohibition of alcohol? Gay marriage? Marijuana? Where would we be today if the government, enjoying powers of perfect surveillance and enforcement, had — entirely within the law — rounded up, imprisoned, and shamed all of these lawbreakers? Ultimately, if people lose their willingness to recognize that there are time…

Tebartz van Elst: God knows what to do with €31m mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

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[Religion as corporatocracy. From the front lines of the class war - good for the Pope! :-) *RON*]
Tony Paterson, The Independent, 23 February 2015
A Japanese koi-fish breeding pond worth €213,000, wall-mounted iPads to close the curtains or even call up a prayer, an opulent bathroom fitted with a Jacuzzi and a “wellness” shower are just some of the luxuries Germany’s disgraced “Bishop of Bling” had enjoyed.

The pampered lifestyle that Limburg’s former Catholic Bishop, Tebartz van Elst, had envisaged for himself in his self-designed palatial residence not only failed to amuse his parishioners – it also embarrassed a Pontiff famous for siding with the poor.

Pope Francis removed the “Bishop of Bling” from his post in March 2014 after it was revealed the bishop had spent at least €31m of secret church funds on rebuilding and re-furnishing his residence.

Almost a year on from Bishop van Elst’s abrupt departure, his former diocese now finds itself landed…

HSBC CEO – My Pay Was so Outrageous I Had to Use Tax Havens to Hide it from My Peers

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[A new nadir from the hilariously obvious scams department, "Combining Panama and Swiss tax havens to ensure secrecy is the new 'transparent' in banking." *RON*]
By Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives. Posted on Naked Capitalism by Yves Smith24 February 2015

Yves here. This tidbit from HSBC reveals a new low in the standards of banking, which given how low those already are, amounts to an accomplishment of sorts. Perhaps we should create a Stuart Gulliver Award for other instances of creative extreme seaminess. Nominees?

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives

Greetings from Quito, where I will be spending four months teaching at IAEN about effective regulation and building ties with UMKC.

The latest twists on the latest HSBC tax evasion and tax avoidance scand…

Bid To Make O Canada Lyrics Gender Neutral Opposed By Tories

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[The Tories cite public opinion in this matter ("How can we possibly support this bill after that clear message?"), yet ignore it when a majority of the public opposes pipelines. Likewise, they pass a Bill to spy on Canadians saying this is essential to our security, yet cancel the Long-Form Census because it is a violation of our privacy. Consistency thou are a jewel. *RON*]
CBC / Huffington Post, 23 February 2015


A Liberal backbencher's bid to make O Canada more gender neutral by replacing the reference to "all thy sons" with "all of us" in the English lyrics seems set for defeat after several Conservative MPs — including the parliamentary secretary to the heritage minister — spoke out against it during the opening round of debate on Monday morning.

In an impassioned address to a sparsely populated House of Commons, Ottawa Vanier Liberal MP Mauril Belanger argued that the change was not just necessary, but overd…

F-35 Procurement Troubles May Hurt Military's Relations With Allies

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[It's been exactly 10 days since Lockheed announced price-cuts on their pig-in-a-poke F-35 since no one outside of the US will buy them. A pig with lipstick is still a pig, even if it was at half price. But it sure didn't take the Harper government long to jump all over this one.*RON*]
CBC / Huffington Post, 24 February 2015


The widening fallout from a botched program to replace Canada's aging CF-18 fighter jets may be damaging the military's relationships with its international allies.

A defence briefing note says hundreds of arrangements the military has with allies to share facilities and services are being called into question, and must be reviewed as if they were formal supply contracts.

The arrangements now are subject to a time-consuming procurement process that is tying the department in knots and leaving the military sometimes unable to commit to joint operations internationally.
"Increasingly, Canada is viewed as a ch…

Shell pulls plug on long-delayed Alberta oil sands mine

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[
This will make the Athabaska Chipewyan First Nation very happy - they have been fighting this development for at least 7 years now. I don't think you can call this a 'victory' on their part, though. This is pretty plainly an economic decision on Shell's part, brought on by the precipitous drop in oil prices. Note that the oil company is also hinting that they will be back eventually, "The Pierre River mine remains a very long-term opportunity for us, but it’s not currently a priority" *RON*]
Jeff Lewis, The Globe and Mail, 23 February 2015


Royal Dutch Shell PLC has scrapped plans for a long-delayed oil sands mine, becoming the latest company to pull the plug on a major Alberta expansion as crude prices hover near multiyear lows.

The global oil giant said on Monday it is withdrawing an application with federal regulators to build its Pierre River mine north of Fort McMurray, Alta., effectively killing a 200,000 barrel-a-d…

Despite Kinder ruling, NEB wants pipeline emergency response plans made public

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[Spin-doctoring. This is very much a political move on the part of the NEB, not a principled one motivated by the public interest. Note that the court ruling was made long ago, but that this reaction only came after the news story on the ruling broke and public reaction was strongly negative. NEB remains a profoundly undemocratic organization that is undeserving of public support. *RON*]
David Geselbracht & Laura Kane, The Globe and Mail, 20 February 2015

The National Energy Board wants companies in Canada to make their emergency response plans public for existing pipelines, even though it has ruled Kinder Morgan can keep its plans secret from British Columbians.

"Our chairman is not very happy. Canadians deserve to have that information,” said Darin Barter, a spokesperson for the NEB.

"There's a public will for that information, and industry needs to find a way to make it public.''

Companies are not required to disclose th…