Showing posts from April 27, 2015

Rising Police Aggression A Telling Indicator Of Our Societal Decline

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[Detailed piece on rising US police violence. *RON*]

By Chris Martenson, Peak Prosperity, 26 April 2015

My first Uber lift was in South Carolina. My driver was from Sudan originally, but had emigrated to the US 20 years ago. Being the curious sort, I asked him about his life in Sudan and why he moved. He said that he left when his country had crumbled too far, past the point where a reasonable person could have a reasonable expectation of personal safety, when all institutions had become corrupted making business increasingly difficult. So he left.

Detecting a hitch in his delivery when he spoke of coming to the US, I asked him how he felt about the US now, 20 years later. "To be honest," he said, "the same things I saw in Sudan that led me to leave are happening here now. That saddens me greatly, because where else is there to go?"

It’s time to face some uncomfortable ideas about the state of civilization in the United…

Move Over Shale, Solar Is Shining Brighter With Each Passing Day

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[Developments show how booming demand and support for solar is shaking up the energy paradigm. *RON*]

by Jon QueallyCommon Dreams, 26 April 2015
Move over dirty fossil fuels, the solar revolution is coming.

That, at least, is the buried headline contained in new reporting from Reuters on Sunday which looks at the ability of the solar industry to upend the world's energy system in ways similar to recent innovations which allowed oil and gas companies to squeeze previously unattainable deposits from underground shale formations.

With a focus on Japan, Reuters catalogs how the rising capacity and falling prices of solar energy—even as it currently survives without contributions from a fleet of dormant nuclear plants —has led the country to turn off its "giant oil-fired power plants" one after another.

Paul Krugman Blasts Right-Wing 'Truthers' Who Refuse to Admit They Were Wrong . . . About Anything

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[When in doubt, just deny, deny, deny. "Refusing to accept responsibility for past errors is a serious character flaw in one’s private life. It rises to the level of real wrongdoing when policies that affect millions of lives are at stake." See also One Reason Economists Don’t Get Any Love: They Refuse to Take Any Blame for the Great Crash. *RON*]

By Janet Allon / AlterNet, 27 April 2015

"Truthers" is a word that has come to mean its exact opposite, describing groups of people, generally nutcases, who dig deeper into denial the more evidence mounts to show their claims are wrong. Paul Krugman sees more and more "trutherism" in the right-wing flank of American politics these days, and it is having a pernicious effect on the country.

Krugman begins his Monday column:
Imagine yourself as a regular commentator on public affairs — maybe a paid pundit, maybe an supposed expert in some area, maybe just an opinionated billi…

Assisted Suicide Canada: Federal Consultation Hasn't Materialized

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[It's called 'playing to your religious base.' The Supreme Court threw out Harper's legislated prohibition on doctor-assisted suicide and ordered him to write a new law permitting this after consulting with Canadians. Harper said he would comply, but he rejected a proposal for an all-party committee that said it would have a report ready by this summer, and has done nothing at all since then. Time is running out, the election is looming, and he refuses to ask the court for an extension. *RON*]
By Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 27 April 2015

OTTAWA - Two months after Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to consult widely on doctor-assisted dying, the federal government has yet to reveal how it intends to canvass Canadians' views on the emotional issue — much less how it intends to legislate on the subject.

And time is running out.

When the Supreme Court struck down the prohibition on physician-assisted dy…

Austerity Push Hurt Women Most by Reinforcing Pay Gap, UN Says

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[It's no surprise that people who start from a weaker economic position will be hurt most by austerity policies; but it's important that it be documented - which, by policy and intent, we can no longer do in Canada since Harper killed the Long-Form Census. You can help fight against this by supporting Evidence For Democracy. *RON*]
bSangwon Yoon, Bloomberg Business, 27 April 2015

Austerity programs enacted after the 2008 global financial crisis, often featuring deep cuts in public spending, hurt women more than men and helped to reinforce rising income inequality, the United Nations said.

A report from the UN women’s empowerment division on Monday looked at how broad policy measures taken by governments can have unequal and often gender-specific consequences -- but don’t have to.

“Macroeconomic policies can pursue a broader set of goals, including gender equality and social justice,” UN Women said in the 337-page report entitled “Progress …

Frustrated Tar Sands Industry Looks for Arctic Export Route

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[With the Keystone XL and other pipeline projects running into stiff opposition, Alberta’s tar sands industry is facing growing pressure to find ways to get its oil to market. So, with all that pesky ice gone (thanks, global warming!) now we can finally ship tar sands oil through the Arctic. *RON*]

by Ed Struzik, Yale Environment 360, 7 April 2015

The Alberta tar sands industry — and the governments that depend on tar sands tax revenues — are facing an increasingly pressing problem: How to get the growing flow of oil sands bitumen to market. And with proposed pipelines to the south, east, and west facing stiff opposition, tar sands interests are now investigating another controversial option — heading north and shipping their product via the Arctic.
Enlarge To the south, the proposed $10 billion Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport Alberta tar sands oil through the heartland of the U.S. to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico, faces the possibil…

Enbridge pulled into Duffy scandal, turns tables on suspended senator

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[You know things look bad for Enbridge when a noted Calgary Herald columnist says that Northern Gateway is probably dead. Also see: Mike Duffy's 'unsolicited contacts' drew Enbridge warning to PMO. I think the damage to their reputation is done no matter what Enbridge says at this point. *RON*]
 Stephen Ewart, Calgary Herald, 25 April 2015

The allegation? Astonishing. The response? Even more remarkable.

The scandal surrounding Mike Duffy reached the oilpatch this week over the contentious issue of pipeline politics following a media report that Enbridge Inc. had engaged in secret lobbying of the Prime Minister’s Office through the now suspended Conservative senator.

Enbridge called the allegations in the National Observer story“completely false.” However, the company went on to portray Duffy as a self-important meddler who tried to insert himself into the process for its Northern Gateway project while also seeking work for one of his …