Showing posts from March 21, 2015

A Family Business of Perpetual War

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[The corporatocracy also drives a tank. Terrific, and eye-opening, piece on the current inner workings of the military-industrial complex. While we're at it, let's recall that the Washington Post is now owned by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, which provides cloud-resources to the CIA and NSA. *RON*]
Robert Parry, Consortium News, 20 March 2015

Exclusive: Victoria Nuland and Robert Kagan have a great mom-and-pop business going. From the State Department, she generates wars and – from op-ed pages – he demands Congress buy more weapons. There’s a pay-off, too, as grateful military contractors kick in money to think tanks where other Kagans work, writes Robert Parry.

Neoconservative pundit Robert Kagan and his wife, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, run a remarkable family business: she has sparked a hot war in Ukraine and helped launch Cold War II with Russia – and he steps in to demand that Congress jack up military spending so Americ…

New study points to link between weedkiller glyphosate and cancer

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[Hard to say how this will end up. If the conclusions gain acceptance, Monsanto could go the way of the dodo (think asbestos companies). Yet reactions include this one by the German government: “Unfortunately, this review does not meet the standards used by respected agencies around the world” and by an Australian chemist “This sounds scary and IARC evaluations are usually very good, but to me the evidence cited here appears a bit thin.” *RON*]

Clive Cookson, Financial Times, 20 March 2015

The World Health Organisation’s cancer agency has declared the world’s most widely used weedkiller a “probable carcinogen” in a move that will alarm the agrochemical industry and amateur gardeners.

The assessment by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of glyphosate, which is used in herbicides with estimated annual sales of $6bn, will be of particular concern to Monsanto, the company that brought glyphosate to market under the trade name Roundup in…

COAL: When legally liable, companies don't dispute global warming

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[In public speeches they say "In the late 1980s, environmental alarmists and liberal politicians and elitists attempted to scare us with the terrible consequences of 'acid rain,'" Murray said during a speech last year. "Today, their platform is 'global warming.'" In their legal corporate filings they say "There is concern in particular about the emissions of GHGs [or greenhouse gases], such as carbon dioxide and methane. Combustion of fossil fuels like coal and gas results in the creation of carbon dioxide, which is currently emitted into the atmosphere by coal and gas end users, such as coal-fired electric power generators. As a result, there have been and are expected to be numerous GHG emissions initiatives that could reduce the demand for coal." *RON*]

Corbin Hiar & Manuel Quiñones, E&E News, 19 March 2015

U.S. coal companies that are publicly skeptical of man-made climate change acknowledg…

Canadian Bar Association Denounces Anti-Terror Bill

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[Okay. So, every practicing lawyer in Canada understands that this is a bad Bill. *RON*]
By Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 20 March 2015

OTTAWA - The Conservative government's anti-terrorism bill contains "ill-considered" measures that will deprive Canadians of liberties without increasing their safety, the Canadian Bar Association says.

The bar association objects to the planned transformation of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service into an agency that could actively disrupt terror plots.

It argues the bill's "vague and overly broad language" would capture legitimate activity, including environmental and aboriginal protests — and possibly put a chill on expressions of dissent.

The most worrying element of the bill is a provision that would give judges the power to authorize CSIS violations of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the association says.

It potentially brings "the entire Charter…

Science vs Spin: Dilbit Sinks in the Real World, But Not in Studies Funded by Oil Industry

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[When it comes to the perennial question of whether diluted bitumen from the Alberta tarsands sinks or floats, there are two distinct answers: one from industry and one from everybody else. In related news, Enbridge fined for two counts of causing environmental and safety hazards, and one for making unapproved design changes to a storage tank: $264,000 in National Energy Board penalties this month for Enbridge*RON*]
 Justin Mikulka, DeSmog Blog, 19 March 2015

“Once the oil started to sink, it made things a lot more difficult on our recovery.”

Those were the words of Greg Powell of the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency during his presentation on March 10th at the National Academy of Sciences conference on the Effects of Diluted Bitumen on the Environment. Powell was one of the people involved in the response and clean up of the Kalamazoo River tar sands dilbit spill in 2010 where an Enbridge pipeline cracked and spilled approximately one milli…

Alberta’s Heritage Savings Fund infographic: What if we saved?

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[Fun question of the week. What would Alberta look like if it was set up to enrich Albertans more than (or as much as) corporate oil giants? Hint: the provincial government is doing very, very badly when even the Chamber of Commerce speaks out about this. *RON*]

Kaitlyn Mason, Calgary Chamber of Commerce, 17 March 2015

This week our policy analysts, Lauren Babuik and Iqbal Ahmed, look at how Alberta's Heritage Savings Fund compares to the fiscal discipline demonstrated by the growth of Norway's Goverment Pension Fund (GPF) and Alaska's Permanent Fund.

Lauren Babuik and Iqbal Ahmed are policy analysts at the Calgary Chamber.