Showing posts from August 15, 2015

The Closing of the Canadian Mind

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[It's not, as Marcheau contends, that the Harper regime has been "bland and purposeless." I wish it was that innocuous. It has been a case of creeping totalitarianism under the growing rule of the plutocrat. *RON*]

By Stephen Marcheau, New York Times, 14 August 2015
THE prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has called an election for Oct. 19, but he doesn’t want anyone to talk about it.

He has chosen not to participate in the traditional series of debates on national television, confronting his opponents in quieter, less public venues, like the scholarly Munk Debates and CPAC, Canada’s equivalent of CSPAN. His own campaign events were subject to gag orders until a public outcry forced him to rescind the forced silence of his supporters.

Mr. Harper’s campaign for re-election has so far been utterly consistent with the personality trait that has defined his tenure as prime minister: his peculiar hatred for sharing information.


Neo-liberalism Expressed as Simple Rules

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[A good older piece I ran across while clicking through another article a few times. Neoliberalism = 1) Because markets, and 2) Go die! :-D *RON*]
By Lambert Strether of Corrente, Naked Capitalism, 17 March 2014

Neoliberalism (a.k.a. The Washington Consensus) is the dominant ideology of the political class in Washington D.C., shared by both legacy parties. In fact, it’s not clear there is another ideology, which is why we get seemingly weird policymaking processes like RomneyCare morphing into ObamaCare, even as proponents of each version of the same plan hate each other, “narcissism of small differences”-style. Of course, in neo-liberalism’s house are many mansions, many factions, and many funding sources, so it’s natural, or not, that an immense quantity of obfuscation and expert opinion has accumulated over time, making fine distinctions between various shades of neo-liberalism.

In this brief post, I hope to clear the ground by proposing two sim…

US Military Uses IMF and World Bank to Launder 85% of Its Black Budget

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[Banksters and secret US military and intelligence projects. In case this all sounds unlikely to you, also watch this video of Representative Cynthia McKinney nailing Rumsfeld to the wall with questions on the same theme, which he deflects. *RON*]

Jake Anderson, Antimedia, 13 August 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) Though transparency was a cause he championed when campaigning for the presidency, President Obama has largely avoided making certain defense costs known to the public. However, when it comes to military appropriations for government spy agencies, we know from Freedom of Information Act requests that the so-called “black budget” is an increasingly massive expenditure subsidized by American taxpayers. The CIA and and NSA alone garnered $52.6 billion in funding in 2013 while the Department of Defense black ops budget for secret military projects exceeds this number. It is estimated to be $58.7 billion for the fiscal year 2015.
What is the black budget? O…

Low Oil Prices Pose Threat to Texas Fracking Bonanza

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[Christy Clark, are you paying attention? *RON*]

By Clifford Krauss, New York Times, 14 August 2015

KARNES CITY, Tex. — No place in Texas produces more oil than Karnes County, but suddenly the roaring economy here is cooling fast, chilled by the plunging price of crude.

Workers who migrated from far and wide to find work here, chasing newfound oil riches, are being laid off, deserting their recreational vehicle parks and going home. Hay farmers who became instant millionaires on royalty checks for their land have suddenly fallen behind on payments for new tractors they bought when cash was flowing. Scores of mobile steel tanks and portable toilets used at the ubiquitous wells are stacked, unused, along county roads.

“Everybody is waiting for doomsday,” said Vi Malone, the Karnes County treasurer. “Everything was good, and everybody was getting these big checks, and everybody waited for their land to be leased, and then it all came to a screeching h…

Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace

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[Techno-slaves who derive their self-worth from killing themselves to make Jeff Bezos even filthier rich than he already is. "The company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers, redrawing the boundaries of what is acceptable, to get them to achieve Mr. Bezos’ ever-expanding ambitions." *RON*]

By Jodi Kanton and David Streitfeld, New York Times, 15 August 2015

SEATTLE — On Monday mornings, fresh recruits line up for an orientation intended to catapult them into Amazon’s singular way of working.

They are told to forget the “poor habits” they learned at previous jobs, one employee recalled. When they “hit the wall” from the unrelenting pace, there is only one solution: “Climb the wall,” others reported. To be the best Amazonians they can be, they should be guided by the leadership principles, 14 rules inscribed on handy laminated cards. When quizzed days later, those with perfect scores earn a virtual award …

Federal Election 2015: Harper Leaves Door Open For Canada To Join Ballistic Missile Defence Program

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[From world's greatest peacekeeper to this. *RON*]
By The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 14 August 2015

HAY RIVER, N.W.T. — Stephen Harper left the door open Friday for a re-elected Conservative government to join Washington's controversial ballistic missile defence program, an initiative rejected almost a decade ago by Paul Martin's Liberals amid fierce NDP opposition.

The notion quietly resurfaced two years ago and since then has been endorsed by a Conservative-dominated Senate defence committee with the backing of two former Liberal defence ministers.

Speaking Friday, Harper seemed to lay down a new condition, saying a re-elected Conservative government would only give the green light to ballistic missile defence if it felt Canada's security was in jeopardy.

Criticizing Israel's Politics Isn't Anti-Semitism

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["Israel, while claiming to be a 'Jewish state,' does not mean 'all people of Jewish descent.' Most of the world's Jews have chosen to reside outside of Israel. Many Jewish people, including in Canada and in Israel, also oppose a state that gives exclusive privileges based on ethno-religious background, as Israel does currently." See also: How Netanyahu Has Turned Members of US Congress Into His Marionettes. *RON*]

Tyler Levitan, Huffington Post, 14 August 2015

The recent announcements that NDP candidates Morgan Wheeldon and Jerry Natinine will not be representing the NDP as candidates in the federal election should disturb Canadian progressives.

The Conservatives and the Liberals have for many years accused those who criticize Israel's behaviour of being anti-Semitic. They have adopted the thinking of staunch defenders of Israel, who maintain that critics of Israel's violent birth, and its continuing policie…

Conditions Released by National Energy Board Demonstrate their intent to Approve Kinder Morgan Pipeline Proposal

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[A terrific blast against the NEB review process of the Kinder Morgan proposal by Burnaby mayor Corrigan. *RON*]

City of Burnaby, Derek Corrigan, 14 August 2015

On Wednesday, August 8, the National Energy Board released draft conditions for Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

“The fact that these conditions have been issued prior to any argument taking place is an astonishing affront to all of those intervenors who are still participating in the so-called ‘review’ process and it proves that the dozens of intervenors who have withdrawn because of their concerns about the fairness of the process were right to do so,” says Mayor Derek Corrigan.

“The Board says that they have released these conditions ‘having now considered the entire evidentiary record to date.’ Given that all of their conditions nevertheless relate to approving the proposal as requested by Kinder Morgan, it makes it clear that they are summarily dismissing, in advance of…