Showing posts from March 12, 2015

Tar Sands by Rail Disasters: The Latest Wave in the Bomb Train Assault

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[There is no safe way to transport dilbit - leave it in the ground. People respond by saying "Show me the alternative that's ready to roll as a replacement today." Don't they realize why there is no alternative ready to roll today? Vote ABC - Anything But Conservative - in the next federal election. *RON*]

 Justin Mikulka, DeSmog Blog Canada, 9 March 2015

With the first crash and explosion of a unit train of tar sands oil in Canada in February, we learned that the conventional wisdom among people covering the oil-by-rail industry regarding the flammability of tar sands oil has been dead wrong. A second derailment and explosion on March 7th involved synbit, which is a form of bitumen diluted with synthetic crude oil.

While there are many examples of this mischaracterization of the dangers of moving tar sands by rail that can be found in the press, here at DeSmogBlog we didn’t have to look far. In an article last year about how to…

Maybe Obama's Sanctions on Venezuela are not Really about his "deep concern" over Supression of Political Rights

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[That favourite American Top Ten tune: oil and realpolitik. "As for Obama’s decree that Venezuela now poses an 'extraordinary threat to the national security' of the United States, is there anyone, anywhere, that wants to defend the reasonability of that claim? Think about what it says about our discourse that Obama officials know they can issue such insultingly false tripe with no consequences.... Absolutely nobody expects the 'deeply concerned' President Obama to impose sanctions on the Saudis — nor on any of the other loyal U.S. allies from Egypt to the UAE whose repression is far worse than Venezuela’s.... Venezuela is one of the very few countries with significant oil reserves which does not submit to U.S. dictates, and this simply cannot be permitted." *RON*]
By Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, 11 March 2015

The White House on Monday announced the imposition of new sanctions on various Venezuelan officials, pronoun…

Arkansas Republican Gave Adopted Girls to Rapist Because They Were ‘Possessed By Demons’

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[This person helps to make important policy decisions for the most powerful nation on earth. *RON*]
By David FergusonRaw Story / AlterNet, 11 March 2015

The story of Arkansas state Rep. Justin Harris (R) — whose family adopted a pair of girls then “re-homed” them to another household where one of the girls was raped — has taken a bizarre turn with allegations that the Harris family gave the girls up because they believed the children could communicate telepathically and were possessed by demons.

The Arkansas Times reported on Wednesday that sources close to the family dispute many of the assertions Harris and his wife Marsha made last Friday at a press conference at the Arkansas state capitol.

The Harrises said they were never made aware that the girls were violent or that they posed a risk to a household with other children. Rep. Harris claimed that the family received no aid from the Department of Human Services (DHS) and that when they attempte…

Diane Finley, PMO Under Fire For $1-Million Violation Of Conflict-Of-Interest Rules

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[This corruption story deserves to be big, but we shall see... *RON*]
Althia Raj, Huffington Post, 11 March 2015

OTTAWA — Opposition parties demanded to know Wednesday why the Prime Minister’s Office influenced a $1 million funding decision that the ethics watchdog said broke conflict-of-interest rules.

“What was Nigel Wright doing in the approval process?” NDP leader Thomas Mulcair asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the Commons.

Diane Finley, the minister of human resources and social development at the time, had dared to go ahead and approve a failing project only after she had discussed it with Harper’s then chief of staff, Mulcair said.

“There were 167 projects submitted, and only five were chosen,” the NDP leader said. “Four fulfilled all the criteria, but the fifth was managed by a good friend of the Conservatives. According to the evaluation of the department, it was one of the worst projects out of the 167. Guess which one was chosen?”

A d…

Ottawa cashes in on income inequality

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[What is class warfare if not the rich riding the backs of the poor? "Because income inequality has increased, Canada sits at a slight surplus, said the report. That surplus could grow to $1.8 billion if inequality continues to rise, said the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer." *RON*]

Paul McLeod, Calgary Chronicle Herald, 10 March 2015

Under the existing tax system, the federal government would actually make more money as income inequality rises, says parliamentary budget officer Jean-Denis Frechette.

In a surprising report released Tuesday, Frechette concluded the tax revenues generated from severe income inequality outweigh the increased cost of social transfers.

But on the lower end of the scale, the opposite is true. In recent years, Ottawa lost up to $650 million per year due to income inequality, said the parliamentary budget officer.

Because income inequality has increased, Canada sits at a slight surplus, said the repo…

Piketty on the pointless cruelty of European austerity

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[Der Spiegel has drunk the coolaid. See also Here's why Thomas Piketty doesn't think Republicans are 'really serious' about income inequality. *RON*]

By Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing, 11 March 2015

The economist says that the US's post-crisis job creation record and the EU's lagging record demonstrates that austerity cripples recoveries.

More interesting is the hostility from the interviewers from the generally left-leaning Spiegel, who are practically caricatures of German deficit hawks, seemingly reading from a stern script about "personal responsibility" and Greek "mismanagement."
Piketty: We may have a common currency for 19 countries, but each of these countries has a different tax system, and fiscal policy was never harmonized in Europe. It can't work. In creating the euro zone, we have created a monster. Before there was a common currency, the countries could simply devalue their currencies to …

Stephen Harper's War on Women

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[A rant, but well justified. See also Twitter users ridicule Harper's 'anti-women' comment, as well as Austerity has cost Quebec women nearly $7 billion. *RON*]

By Antonia Zerbisias, Toronto Now , 11 March 2015

Sunday was International Women's Day, and all I got from Prime Minister Stephen Harper was a lousy media release.

Oh yeah, there was also the it-would-be-funny-if-it-weren't-so-blatantly-opportunistic tweet from Defence Minister Jason Kenney, who insinuated, complete with photos of Muslim women in chains, that ISIS would "enslave" all us ladies as soon as the terrorist menace reached our shores. That means "Be afraid, very afraid," and don't pay attention to that loss of civil rights hiding behind the curtain of the so-called anti-terrorism bill. Turns out the photos were from ceremonial processions symbolizing the prophet Mohammed's granddaughter, who was taken in chains to Damascus after h…

The Canadian military’s war against a soldier’s family

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[Secretive, engaging in hidden investigations and false smear campaigns; pure vindictiveness. Who do they remind you of, Mister Harper? The military must be so proud of their mentor. *RON*]

 David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, 11 March 2015

It’s hard to see Sheila Fynes as threatening.

The diminutive 67-year-old has a pleasant demeanour and likes to serve homemade cookies to guests.

But for some in the Canadian Forces, she became one of the most hated individuals in the country.

Fynes’s crime was that she wouldn’t shut up. She, and her husband Shaun, refused to stop speaking out about the suicide of their Afghan veteran son, Stuart Langridge. For seven years they continued to ask embarrassing questions and push for accountability from the Canadian Forces and military police.

In response, some in the Canadian Forces conducted a behind-the-scenes smear campaign. In more than 25 years covering the military, I’ve never seen such a vindictive attack.

The cataly…