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Showing posts from November 6, 2015

Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline, Ending 7-Year Saga

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[A major league win for environmentalists and a huge blow for the Canadian oil and gas industry. Time for Trudeau to begin investing in alternative energy. *RON*]
By The Associated Press, Huffington Post, 6 November 2015

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has rejected Canadian energy giant TransCanada's application to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

That's according to three sources familiar with the decision who aren't authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The decision caps a 7-year saga that became one of the biggest environmental flashpoints of Barack Obama's presidency.

Killing the pipeline allows Obama to claim aggressive action on the environment. That could strengthen his hand as world leaders prepare to finalize major global climate pact next month that Obama hopes will be a crowning jewel for his legacy.

Yet it also puts the president in a direct confrontation with Republicans and energy advoca…

Jobs report crushes expectations, unemployment rate plunges to 7-year low

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[This story utterly misses the point. They trumpet the drop in unemployment rates while failing to comment at all on the following: "The labor-force participation rate stayed at a 38-year low, with just 62.4% of American civilians over the age of 16 working or looking for work." The so-called unemployment rate hit a low because it does not count as 'unemployed' people who have given up entirely on looking for work. *RON*]

Akin Oyedele, Business Insider, 6 November 2015

The October jobs report was a blowout.

Data out Friday morning showed that the US economy added 271,000 jobs in October. It was the strongest pace of employment growth this year and nearly 100,000 jobs above the consensus forecast for 182,000.

The unemployment rate dropped to 5%, its lowest level since 2008. Economists consider a 5% rate to indicate full employment. The labor-force participation rate stayed at a 38-year low, with just 62.4% of American civilians ove…

Ad Blockers and the Next Chapter of the Internet

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[If there is a war brewing between customers and marketers, and marketers only exist when there are satisfied customers, Doc Searls assumes it's not difficult to guess who will win. If so, whither the Facebooks of the world, which only exists to push ads? *RON*]

Doc Searls, Harvard Business Review, 6 November 2015



On September 29, 2015, Techdirt posted “You Can Now Turn Off Ads On Techdirt,” explaining all the reasons why they were granting readers the power to not see ads. Perhaps most telling was this line: “We’re going to allow you to decide how you best want to support this site and trust you to figure out the best way, rather than forcing the choice upon you.” But note who still holds the power, or agency, in this non-negotiation: it’s the publisher, not the reader.

Among the well over 100 comments that followed, nearly all were approving, though less of Techdirt’s policy than of the ad and tracking blockers readers already had in place.…

U.S. Journalists Who Instantly Exonerated Their Government of the Kunduz Hospital Attack, Declaring it an "Accident"

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["I genuinely don’t understand why the White House or Pentagon bothers to spend money on official spokespeople. It’s such a redundant function given how many in the U.S. media eagerly perform that role." *RON*]

Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, 6 November 2015

(updated below – Update II)

Shortly after the news broke of the U.S. attack on a Doctors without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, there was abundant evidencesuggesting (not proving, but suggesting) that the attack was no accident: (1) MSF repeatedly told the U.S. military about the precise coordinates of its hospital, which had been operating for years; (2) the Pentagon’s story about what happened kept changing, radically, literally on a daily basis; (3) the exact same MSF hospital had been invaded by Afghan security forces three months earlier, demonstrating hostility toward the facility; (4) the attack lasted more than 30 minutes and involved multiple AC-130 gunship …

Syria will be the next Vietnam-style war if Obama doesn't learn from history

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[The domino effect is an illusion: truer words were never spoken. For those who care to look closely, the similarities between America’s role in the two conflicts are strikingly similar. *RON*]

Erik Goepner and A Trevor Thrall, The Guardian, 6 November

Syria has the potential to become America’s new Vietnam – so, as Barack Obama sends the first 50 special operations troops to Syria to engage the Islamic State, we must be wary of history repeating itself.

The original mistake with Syria, as with Vietnam, was for leaders in Washington to believe that civil wars and insurgencies taking place halfway around the world represent a critical national security interest. Back then, the illusory “domino theory” – the idea that if one nation went communist it would start a chain reaction leading all the other nations in the region to do the same – justified the decision to engage in a tiny nation that itself represented zero threat to the United States. A ver…

Rachel Notley sticks to her fiscal guns at 'state of the province speech'

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[Along with the election of Trudeau, this is evidence of governments pursuing both a more Keynesian economic policy style and, crucially, obtaining at least begrudging business support for these shifts. "'In my view, this is part of government's role, to act as a shock absorber during difficult economic times,' she added, a view for which there is a certain sympathy among chamber types even if it makes hard-core conservatives grind their teeth." See also: Socialist politician credits Bernie Sanders after re-election in Seattle. *RON*]
By David J. Climinhaga, rabble.ca, 6 November 2015



Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley yesterday continued a tradition of "state of the province speeches" to chamber of commerce audiences long beloved by the province's Progressive Conservative premiers.

PC premier Jim Prentice gave the last one to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce in December 2014 and said the state of the province …

Lawyers sent to silence watchdog: BC NDP

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[Christy Clark sent in a goon squad to try to silence Elizabeth Dunham before she released her damning report on secrecy in the Clark government. The Clark government doesn't deny it; they just ignore the charge. See also: Defining access to information and why it matters. *RON*]

By Stefania Seccia, 24 hours, 5 November 2015
When B.C.’s privacy watchdog was getting ready to release her bombshell report about triple-deleting emails by government political staffers, she was greeted by Ministry of Justice lawyers attempting to impede the report’s release.

BC NDP MLA Carole James raised the issue in the legislature Wednesday, and said the ministry had sent lawyers who “told her not to release the report.”

“My question is to the Minister of Justice,” she said. “Why did she ask lawyers in her ministry to stall off the commissioner’s report?

"Sending lawyers after the commissioner is truly a new low.”

Telus cuts 1,500 jobs as it raises shareholder payments

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[Telus does an extremely bad job of explaining why, when both its profits and dividends are up by more than predicted, it is cutting 1500 jobs. Will the new Trudeau government ask them why this is so?*RON*]
By David Friend, Canadian Press / Hamilton Spectator, 5 November 2015
Telus president and CEO Darren Entwistle says a plan to reduce its workforce by 1,500 positions is essential for the telecom company if it plans to continue growing its business.

"I can tell you this is not a discretionary activity, but one out of necessity," he said in an interview Thursday.

Telus said the job cuts, which represent about three per cent of its overall staff complement, would come mainly through voluntary departures and early retirements, with roughly half of them occurring before the end of this year. The remainder will be completed during the first quarter, the company said.