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Showing posts from April 1, 2015

Judge Rejects Panetta Review FOIA Because Review Is True

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[Judge denies FOI access to CIA report explicitly because it is doesn't attempt to hide the truth. *RON*]
By Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel, 31 March 2015

Fresh off approving the phone dragnet for what might be the last time, Judge James Boasberg rejected Jason Leopold’s FOIA for the Panetta Report. Ultimately, Boasberg upheld a broad Exemption 5 deliberative privilege claim.

But his discussion to justify that claim is pretty funny. Basically, he says CIA doesn’t have to release the report because (presumably unlike everything else CIA has released on its torture) this report was frank and truthful.
[R]equiring disclosure of the Reviews would cause the sort of harm that the deliberative-process privilege was designed to prevent — i.e, inhibiting frank and open communications among agency personnel. [snip] Had the SRT known that the Reviews could become public, its members would likely have been tempted to highlight on the information that would pain…

Walmart, Lowe’s, Safeway and Nordstrom Are Bankrolling a Nationwide Campaign to Gut Workers’ Comp

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[The foxes need a bigger chicken coop. "ARAWC’s mission is to pass laws allowing private employers to opt out of the traditional workers’ compensation plans.... Employers that opt out would.... be allowed to write their own rules governing when, for how long, and for which reasons an injured employee can access medical benefits and wages." *RON*]
by Molly Redden in Mother Jones, posted in Moyers & Company, 31 March 2015

Nearly two dozen major corporations, including Wal-Mart, Nordstrom and Safeway, are bankrolling a quiet, multistate lobbying effort to make it harder for workers hurt on the job to access lost wages and medical care — the benefits collectively known as workers’ compensation.

The companies have financed a lobbying group, the Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers’ Compensation (ARAWC), that has already helped write legislation in one state, Tennessee. Richard Evans, the group’s executive director, told an …

HBO’s Scientology Exposé Shows the Cult Is Much Crazier and More Ruthless Than You Might Imagine

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['Religion' as venal corporatocracy. This one will be programmed into my PVR as soon as I finish here this morning. Director Alex Gibney lifts the lid on an international racket steeped in mystery. *RON*]

By Lynn Stuart Parramore / AlterNet, 31 March 2015


In America, salvation is big business, and he who dies with the most souls wins. Plenty of lives are wrecked along the way, but no matter. When consumer capitalism meets religious yearning, the sky’s the limit of what can you can get away with. That’s the subtext of Alex Gibney’s latest film,Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and screened on HBO on March 29.

L. Ron Hubbard, or LRH, as he liked to style himself, was an American of unprepossessing origins in search of meaning and money. Possibly he found the first, and is just now cavorting with intergalactic spirits in the sky. Most definitely he found the second, r…

Former Blackwater gets rich as Afghan drug production hits record high

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[Half a billion dollars straight down the crapper. Opium poppy cultivation is up in Afghanistan despite the infamous mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater being paid $569m by the Pentagon to stop it. *RON*]
Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian, 31 March 2015
In a war full of failures, the US counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan stands out: opiate production has climbed steadily over recent years to reach record-high levels last year.
Yet there is a clear winner in the anti-drug effort – not the Afghan people, but the infamous mercenary company formerly known as Blackwater.

Statistics released on Tuesday reveal that the rebranded private security firm,known since 2011 as Academi, reaped over half a billion dollars from the futile Defense Department push to eradicate Afghan narcotics, some 32% of the $1.8bn in contracting money the Pentagon has devoted to the job since 2002.

Brian Jean, Stephen Harper Handle 'Brown People' Remarks Quite Differently

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[Where is Harper's personal denounciation? Conservative MPs are not allowed to speak "off script" so should we believe that these people are floating Harper's opinions at arm's length for his base? Remember that neo-nazi groups cheered Harper on when he gutted our hate speech legislation. This is all part of his ideology which claims that there is no such thing as structural injustice. *RON*]
By Ryan Maloney, Huffington Post, 31 March 2015


In contrast to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the new leader of Alberta's Wildrose party has taken swift action after a party member's remark about "brown people" sparked controversy.

On Sunday, Brian Jean — a former Conservative MP who was elected leader of Alberta's official opposition last weekend — removed a Wildrose candidate over an "inappropriate" remark he made during the leadership announcement.

Bill Jarvis, who was set to run for the Wildrose in C…

Another Major Getting Out Of The Oil Sands Business

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[PetroChina, the Asian country’s largest oil major by market value, no longer wants a stake in Canada’s oil sands. And so the collapse continues. A temporary change or the beginning of the end for Canada's dirty oil sands? *RON*]

By Cecilia Jamasmie of Mining.com, posted at OilPrice.com, 29 March 2015

PetroChina (NYSE:PTR), the Asian country’s largest oil major by market value, no longer wants a stake in Canada’s oil sands as the ongoing collapse in crude prices has made the sector less attractive and more costly.

In a Thursday filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company announced it was “actively engaged” in talks to swap North American assets with international oil companies, acknowledging the negotiations were mostly focused on Canada’s oil sands, which require high crude prices to be profitable.

The move includes an almost 10% cut in exploration and production spending compared with last year, joining the rest of the industry i…

Alberta’s New Head of Climate Change Plan, Diana McQueen, Blows Smoke While Province Fails to Act

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["It was a bewildering statement, like something out of a poorly scripted political drama. The idea that within the next five years, Alberta — the province responsible for over 35 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 — would meet its emissions targets would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic." See also The sooner Alberta weans itself from its resource addiction, the better. *RON*]
James Wilt, DeSmog Blog, 30 March 2015

“We will continue to have a strong economy while meeting the 2020 [climate] targets … and we will meet those.”

It was a bewildering statement, like something out of a poorly scripted political drama. The idea that within the next five years, Alberta — the province responsible for over 35 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 — would meet its emissions targets would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic.

But that’s what was said.

And by Diana McQueen, a former minister of en…