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Showing posts from April 30, 2015

Revealed: Alberta’s ploy to break First Nations' pipeline opposition

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[Notice that this report is from the UK, not the (gutless) Canadian, press. Premier Jim Prentice angled for Alberta’s First Nations to sign a pact that would turn them into pro-pipeline lobbyists in exchange for oil and gas profits.]
Martin Lukacs, The Guardian, 29 April 2015

The Alberta government escalated its campaign to build tar sands pipelines under Premier Jim Prentice by seeking to have First Nations become full-blown proponents of the projects in return for oil revenues.

Documents obtained by the Guardian show that under a proposed agreement the province would have funded a task force of Alberta First Nations and government officials to “work jointly on removing bottlenecks and enabling the construction of pipelines to tide-water in the east and west coasts.”

The push was part of a broader diplomatic offensive launched by Progressive Conservative Premier Jim Prentice after he came to power in late 2014, making approval of pipelines his hig…

'Am I being executed?' Brazilian killed by Indonesia unaware until end, says priest

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[The poor schmuck didn't even realize he was being executed. The priest who counselled Rodrigo Gularte – who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder – says he tried in vain for three days to explain to the inmate he was about to die. Just five countries - China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the USA - carried out the overwhelming majority (88%) of known executions in the world last year. Iran and Saudi Arabia have executed minors. Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia perform public executions. Also see a story from today: A shocking number of mentally ill Americans end up in prison instead of treatment. *RON*]

Michael Safi, The Guardian, 30 April 2015 A Brazilian man executed by firing squad along with seven other prisoners in Indonesia on Wednesday had no idea he was about to be killed until his final minutes, the priest who counselled him has said.

He also revealed that Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino wom…

Report Says American Psychological Association Collaborated on Torture Justification

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["The involvement of health professionals in the Bush-era interrogation program... enabled the Justice Department to argue in secret opinions that the program was legal and did not constitute torture, since the interrogations were being monitored by health professionals to make sure they were safe." There are some good comments on the original article: "Why does this article call psychologists and health professionals 'dissidents' because they oppose torture? Any decent human being opposes torture. The article, rather, should call those who colluded with the Bush regime by their rightful name: criminals." *RON*]

By James Risen, New York Times, 30 April 2015

WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Association secretly collaborated with the administration of President George W. Bush to bolster a legal and ethical justification for the torture of prisoners swept up in the post-Sept. 11 war on terror, according to a new re…

Ben Bernanke scores another Wall Street payday

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[Washington = Wall Street = The 1%. *RON*]
By Matt O'Brien, Washington Post, 28 April 2015
If anyone deserves two seven-figure sinecures, it's Ben Bernanke.

The former Fed Chair put his academic work on the Great Depression to the best possible use when he saved the financial system in 2008, and then went further than any other central banker to try to bring unemployment down. But now he's putting that expertise to the best possible financial use by not only signing on to advise the $25 billion hedge fund Citadel, but also the $1.5 trillion bond fund Pimco. (Don't worry, though, these are the only two consulting gigs he says he'll take). Now Bernanke hasn't disclosed the terms of his compensation, but it's safe to say that if hedge funders are willing to pay him $200,000 just to dispense his wisdom over dinner, they'd be willing to pay him a lot more to do so on a regular basis.

It's yet another example of the r…

Living Wage In Metro Vancouver Jumps To $20.68/Hour: Study

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[This doesn't include savings for retirement, childrens' education or home ownership. *RON*]
By Rhianna Schmunk, Huffington Post B.C., 29 April 2015


Vancouver's sky-high cost of living is no secret, and a new report released Monday has found that the living wage in Metro Vancouver is only going up.

Calculated by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the report says two working parents living in the area would each need to earn $20.68 an hour to support two children — and that just covers basic expenses like food, rent, child care, and transportation.

That's up 58 cents from 2014 for an increase of 2.9 per cent, outstripping Vancouver's inflation rate of 1.1 per cent.

“The Metro Vancouver living wage rate demonstrates what many families already know: costs are increasing at a rate much faster than any increases in wages,” says Deanna Ogle, the campaign organizer with the Living Wage for Families Campaign in a news release. &…

Tribunal Hears Regulatory Capture Behind B.C.’s Decision to Increase Rio Tinto Alcan Pollution in Kitimat Airshed

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[The salary of the senior Ministry of Environment official in charge of reviewing the application by Rio Tinto Alcan to dramatically increase its sulfur dioxide emissions was bought and paid for by Rio Tinto which "in the end got exactly what it wanted" - no conflict of interest there, no sir! *RON*]

By Carol Linnitt, DeSmog Blog, 28 April 2015

The B.C. Ministry of Environment was too concerned with the interests of Rio Tinto Alcan when it granted the company a permit to dramatically increase the release of sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions in the Kitimat airshed, attendants of a tribunal heard in Victoria on Monday.

“This case raises the specter, in a very real way, of regulatory capture,” Chris Tollefson, lawyer for the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre, argued in his opening statement.

Tollefson said the B.C. Ministry of Environment put senior official Frazer McKenzie in a conflicted position when it allowed Rio Tinto Alc…

Behind Closed Doors, Canada’s Rickford Calls Oil Firms to Action

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[A good illustration of how fully intertwined the oil industry is with the Harper government. It's a bit discouraging to see how much time our public servants spend on the matter of oil patch propaganda. *RON*]

by Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg Business, 28 April 2015

Canada’s resource minister is privately urging oil and gas executives to get outside the board room and pitch projects to the public, boost spending on environmental research and work more closely with aboriginal groups to win the public relations battle over energy.

Greg Rickford spoke to a closed-door meeting of about 40 to 50 oil and gas executives in October -- a speech that went through several drafts as bureaucrats worked to make it more “pointed on what is needed from industry,” prepared remarks and e-mail documents obtained by Bloomberg through an Access to Information request show.

In the private address, Rickford congratulated industry on its achievements and touted his governm…