Showing posts from July 3, 2015

Harper gov’t appoints another oil and mining exec to NEB

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[The corporatocracy putting on a farcical show of being a democracy. *RON*]

By Mychaylo Prystupa, National Observer, 3 July 2015
The game is "rigged," critics say and the National Energy Board is now a "pipeline approval" machine.

The Harper government’s appointment this week of a Calgary resource development executive to the National Energy Board (NEB) has federal opposition parties decrying his background as a Conservative Party volunteer, and the overall pro-pipeline agenda of the federal government.

On Tuesday, Conservative Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford appointed Calgary engineering PhD Murray Lytle. "Dr. Lytle brings many years of experience in the oil, gas and mining fields and will prove to be a valuable asset for the National Energy Board as it continues to fulfill its mandate to ensure the safety and security of Canadians and the environment,” said Rickford in a statement.

Half of the board’s 12 members a…

Commonly prescribed drugs affect decisions to harm oneself and others

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[I've never heard about this line of research. The drugs used to combat depression by raising dopamine and/or seratonin levels also increase level of selfish/sociopathic behaviour. *RON*]
Medical Press, 2 July 2015
Healthy people given the serotonin-enhancing antidepressant citalopram were willing to pay almost twice as much to prevent harm to themselves or others than those given placebo drugs in a moral decision-making experiment at UCL. In contrast, the dopamine-boosting Parkinson's drug levodopa made healthy people more selfish, eliminating an altruistic tendency to prefer harming themselves over others. The study was a double-blind randomised controlled trial and the results are published inCurrent Biology.

The research provides insight into the neural basis of clinical disorders characterized by a lack of concern for others, such as psychopathy. Serotonin and dopamine levels have both been linked to aggressive and antisocial behavior

Sister Of Alleged Charleston Shooter Complains Massacre Ruined Her Wedding Day, Seeks Donations

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[Astounding. *RON*]

By Judd Legum, Think Progress, 2 July 2015
The sister of the alleged Charleston shooter, Dylann Roof, is upset that her brother being charged with slaughtering nine people has ruined her dream wedding. She’s appealing to the public for donations so she can reschedule.

Amber Roof’s wedding was scheduled for June 21, four days after the massacre at Emanuel AME Church.

“We were ready! We had planned out every detail for months and months. It was going to be the PERFECT day!,” she writes.

Fast Food CEO Blames Low-Wage Workers for Poverty

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[Poverty, corporatocracy and the class war. Andy Puzder neglects to mention that it’s the poverty wages his company pays its workers that force them to rely on the social safety net. "Puzder make more in one day ($17,192) than one of his minimum-wage employees would earn after working full-time for an entire year ($15,130). This system was created by people like Puzder and political leaders who, like him, blame the very people who are just trying to make ends meet." *RON*]

By Deepak Bhargava, The Nation, 2 July 2015
To be “poor” in America isn’t an identifying characteristic or a defining trait, like being forgetful or creative or tall.

This article originally appeared at

Being a low-income American comes from being paid a low income.

It seems like a basic point, but it’s one Andy Puzder needs to review. Puzder is CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc., which employs more than 20,000 people and worldwide owns, operates, and franchis…

Shell Arctic oil drilling to commence within weeks

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[Prices are in the sub-basement, demand is low, over-production is already rampant. Plus, the only reason arctic drilling and transport is remotely feasible now (although probably not until prices reach $100 again) is that global warming caused by the oil and gas industry has made these waters navigable. *RON*]

By Richard Anderson, BBC News, 3 July 2015

Oil and gas giant Shell is expected to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic within the next two weeks.

Thirty ships left Dutch Harbor in Alaska on Thursday for the Arctic to support two initial exploratory wells.

The company has already committed about $7bn (£4.5bn) to the controversial project, and is confident it will find huge quantities of oil in the region.

But if the initial wells do not find oil, Shell will contemplate walking away from the region entirely.

The US Department of the Interior gave the green light to Shell to commence Arctic oil exploration in May this year, and the Anglo-Dut…

Free Expression Is Slipping Away

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[Nicely done; well researched and well written. *RON*]
Alice Klein, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, 3 July 2015

Canadians can no longer afford to take our rights for granted.

Free expression is democracy. Without it, political choice is a farce. You can have all the elections you want and they will mean nothing without the secure right to express, share information and advocate for your views. But the boundaries of these rights of citizenship are always vulnerable, and right now, political, technological and commercial forces are converging into a chilling anti-freedom force.

Canada's federal government has been no friend of the right to know since Prime Minister Stephen Harper came to power. It was a shock back in 2008 when Linda Keen, then president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, was fired for publicly disclosing safety concerns and refusing to restart the Chalk River nuclear reactor. This doesn't surprise us now beca…

A World Without Work

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[Agree or disagree; a thought-provoking piece forwarded by my friend Harry. "For centuries, experts have predicted that machines would make workers obsolete. That moment may finally be arriving. Could that be a good thing?" *RON*]

Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, July/August 2015 Issue

1. Youngstown, U.S.A.

The end of work is still just a futuristic concept for most of the United States, but it is something like a moment in history for Youngstown, Ohio, one its residents can cite with precision: September 19, 1977.

For much of the 20th century, Youngstown’s steel mills delivered such great prosperity that the city was a model of the American dream, boasting a median income and a homeownership rate that were among the nation’s highest. But as manufacturing shifted abroad after World War II, Youngstown steel suffered, and on that gray September afternoon in 1977, Youngstown Sheet and Tube announced the shuttering of its Campbell Works mill.…

Canada in recession, heading to 70¢ dollar: analyst

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[See also, of course, 'We're not in a recession,' finance minister says. *RON*]
Via Bloomberg News, Ottawa Citizen, 2 July 2015
Sapped by the oil slide, Canada’s economy appears headed toward recession, economists warn — and one says we’re already there.

Emanuella Enenajor of Bank of America Merrill Lynch says the Canadian economy appears to have shrunk by 0.6 per cent in the second quarter after a drop of the same amount in the first, “suggesting a recession.”

Enenajor also predicts the Canadian dollar will tumble to 70 cents U.S. by the end of the year.

Other analysts are being more cautious, though many say a surprise contraction in gross domestic product in April brings the risk of recession closer and could force Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz to again cut interest rates.

Chomsky: Greece Faces "Savage Response" for Taking on Austerity "Class War"

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["What’s going on with the austerity is really class war. The Greek debt, relative to GDP, has actually gone up during the period of the policies that are supposed to overcome the debt." See also: Greece is being deliberately humiliated for daring to question austerity, Caroline Lucas says, and Austerity is Killing the European Union. The Tremors of “Exits” are Everywhere, and The elites are determined to end the revolt against austerity in Greece and The inhuman economics of the Greece-EU catastrophe. *RON*]
Amy Goodman, Pablo Iglesias, Noam Chomsky, Democracy Now!, 1 July 2015

Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author. He is institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught for more than 50 years.

As Greece defaults and faces a referendum this Sunday on a new bailout package, watch Noam Chomsky on Europe’s "savage response" to the pushback against au…

George Orwell, human resources and the English language

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["The HR industry misuses language as a sort of low-tech mind control to avert our eyes from office atrocities and keep us fixed on our inboxes.... Could the industry’s name itself – human resources – be an Orwellian slight? A wink-wink label designed to conjure up images of the pigs of Animal Farm harvesting the life force of their lackeys?" I couldn't agree more. Modern organizations are run, Stalin-style by the holy triumvirate of Human Resources, Media Relations and Finance. *RON*]
James Gingell, The Guardian, 3 July 2015

In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of human resources’. All issues are human resource issues, and human resources itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.

OK, that’s not exactly what Orwell wrote. The hair-splitters among you will moan that I’ve taken the word “politics” out of the above and replaced it with “human resources”. Sorry.

But I think there’s no denying that …