Showing posts from March 19, 2016

Environmental assessment OK for proposed Woodfibre LNG project near Squamish

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[The Feds announced they're including upstream emissions in their evaluations of LNG proposals: Federal government defines ‘upstream emissions’ for proposed energy regulations. This didn't stop them from rubber-stamping this pet project of Christy Clark's. The thing that was promised, that would really stop such projects, was to include downstream emissions. The Feds are dragging their feet on that one. Meanwhile it remains to be seen whether the company will actually go ahead with the project in the current energy market. *RON*]

By Canadian Press, The Province, 18 March 2016

OTTAWA - The federal government says an environmental assessment has determined that a proposed liquefied natural gas project near Squamish, B.C., is unlikely to cause significant adverse effects.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says the Woodfibre LNG Project underwent a thorough, science-based assessment and that her decision was based on indigenous tradit…

U.S. Military Personnel To Be Punished For Bombing Doctors Without Borders Hospital In Afghanistan

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[Yet "none of them will face criminal charges... the punishments are largely administrative. They range from simply being told not to do something again to letters of reprimand... no generals were among those who will see disciplinary action." *RON*]
By Beenish Ahmed, Think Progress, 18 March 2016
More than a dozen military personnel will be disciplined for a their part in carrying out an airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan that killed 42 people. Although none of them will face criminal charges, U.S. defense officials told the Associated Press on Wednesday that a range of punishments will be meted out for the October bombing.

“I can tell you that those individuals most closely associated with the incident have been suspended from their duties and were referred for administrative action,” said Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command.

While the disciplinary action has not yet been announced pub…

Brazil tumbles like 'House of Cards' in crisis

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[Massive recession, massive corruption. See also: Lula injunction overturned in Brazil as protesters dispersed, impeachment session starts. *RON*]
By Daniel Gallas, BBC World News, 17 March 2016

The plot to Brazil's political crisis has become so complicated that even makers of political drama 'House of Cards' joke they are now following events.

There is even an online quiz where one has to guess: did it happen in Brazil or in House of Cards, or both?

But this is no laughing matter in Brazil.

This is the country's toughest political crisis since the early 1990s, when its first democratically-elected President in the modern era, Fernando Collor, was removed from power.

On Wednesday night the crisis took a bizarre turn, as a judge revealed phone conversations between President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and suggested they are trying to obstruct the course of an investigation into corruption.


'Lying Through His Lead-Free Teeth': Gov. Snyder Berated on Capitol Hill

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[Snyder continued to deny responsibility for the city water's catastrophic lead levels and resulting public health fiasco. 'Plausible deniability only exists if it's plausible,' congressman tells Governor Rick Snyder during hearing. *RON*]

By Nika KnightCommon Dreams, 17 March 2016

Republican Governor Rick Snyder was in the hot seat during the second of this week's congressional hearings about Flint's water crisis and sparks flew as he continued to deflect blame.

Two sitting representatives even went so far as to publicly call for Snyder's resignation.

Democratic lawmakers skewered the Michigan governor for his role in creating the crisis, his delay in responding to it, and his failure to take action to help the people of Flint who are still suffering from sky-high levels of lead in their water.

Snyder continued to deny responsibility for the city water's catastrophic lead levels and resulting public health fiasco.…

10 of the Worst Big Pharma Company Rip-Offs — and Their Plan to Keep the Gravy Train Rolling

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[Martin Shkreli isn't the only one putting high prices on life saving drugs. See also: Big pharmacies are dismantling the industry that keeps US drug costs even sort-of under control. *RON*]

By Martha RosenbergThe Influence / Alternet, 17 March 2016

When did you become aware of the obscene prices the pharmaceutical industry is charging for drugs? For many it was when a smirking Martin Shkreli, founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals, testified on the Hill in February about his price hike of the antiparasitic drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750, after which he called lawmakers “imbeciles” in a tweeted goodbye.

For others it was the roll-out of Gilead Sciences hepatitis C drug Sovaldi in 2014 at $84,000 for a 12-week course of treatment.

“Let’s hold our position whatever competitors do or whatever the headlines,” a Gilead executive said in an internal email, an impressive commitment to price-gouging in the face of public opprobrium. The Senate Finan…

What’s Behind the Rise in Income Inequality? Technology or Class Struggle?

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["In sum, much of the rise in inequality is the result of class struggle, as capitalists and their managers have attempted to recover profits out of wages." *RON*]

by Matt Vidal, Counterpunch, 17 March 2016

Over the past three decades, income inequality has risen in most of the 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. A recent analysis of 22 OECD countries from 1985 to 2013 found that inequality increased in 17 of them (including the US, UK, Canada and Germany), underwent little change in four (Belgium, Netherlands, France, Greece) and declined in only one (Turkey). Over the same period, in the 17 richest countries GDP growth primarily benefitted the top 10% of the population, with the bottom 40% receiving little from a quarter century of growth.

The prevailing explanation for rising inequality – the mainstream economics explanation – is that technology did it. There are no capitalists making inves…