Showing posts from December 22, 2016

Over 1 million Canadian retail workers won't earn a living wage this holiday shopping season

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[The crapification of labour. I also heard on TV that Telco Telemarketing here in Vancouver locked it doors on its employees this morning, some of whom have been with them for decades, 3 days before Christmas. *RON*]
20 December, Press Progress

Canadian retailers are expecting billions in revenue this holiday shopping season, but the low-paid retail clerks and cashiers who ring in those sales might wish their employers left their stockings a little fuller.

Nearly two million Canadians will be working in the retail sector this holiday season and one-fifth of those workers earn the minimum wage – a number that has almost doubled since the late 1990s.

Exxon Mobil is Fighting to Keep its Dangerous Chemicals in Children's Toys

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[Of course, Trump just named Rex Tillerson, Exxon's CEO, as Secretary of State. See also: What’s Good for Exxon Is Bad for the Country: Does Rex Tillerson know the difference between corporate imperatives and national interests? *RON*]

Sharon Lerner, The Intercept, 20 December 2016, 9:49 a.m.

MOST OF US KNOW Exxon Mobil Corp. as an energy giant, which makes sense given that it is the world’s largest publicly held oil and gas company. Rex Tillerson, the company’s CEO, has spent his entire professional life prioritizing Exxon Mobil’s corporate interests over human rights, the environment, and the diplomatic interests of the U.S., all of which has prompted many journalists and commentators to point out that his appointment as secretary of state is not just a terrible idea but a joke seemingly ripped from the pages of a Marxist comic book.

The Billion-Dollar Ultimatum

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[The secret threat that makes corporations more powerful than countries. The gaping maw of the corporatocracy is the nightmare known as the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism in 'free trade' (!) agreements. International corporations that want to intimidate countries have access to a private legal system designed just for them. And to unlock its power, sometimes all it takes is a threat. Part two of a BuzzFeed News investigation — read the whole series here. *RON*]

Chris Hamby, BuzzFeed News, 30 August 2016

In a remote tropical forest in Indonesia’s Spice Islands, villagers planned their last stand.

A foreign gold-mining company was preparing to gouge out a massive pit from the mountain that had sustained these farmers and fishermen for generations. To protect their way of life, the villagers planned to hike to the summit and refuse to leave.

SEEDING DOUBT: How Self-Appointed Guardians of “Sound Science” Tip the Scales Toward Industry

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[Pseudoscience and the corporatocracy: lying to make a buck. Pretty well anyone can call themselves a 'scientist' nowadays. That should change and lying scientists should have both their ability to call themselves scientists and to practice this profession permanently removed. *RON*]

Liza Gross, The Intercept, 15 November 2016
AT A TIME when public mistrust of science runs high, and non-experts are hard-pressed to separate fact from industry-sponsored spin, Sense About Science, a charity based in London with an affiliate in New York, presents itself as a trustworthy arbiter. The organization purports to help the misinformed public sift through alarmist claims about public health and the environment by directing journalists, policymakers, and others to vetted sources who can explain the evidence behind debates about controversial products like e-cigarettes and flame retardants.

Pentagon Special Ops Killing of Afghan Women was "Appropriate" Use of Force

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[This is shocking. I picked up some articles I missed earlier this year by going through a whole bunch of "Best of 2016" articles. *RON*]
Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept, 1 June 2016

AN INTERNAL DEFENSE DEPARTMENT investigation into one of the most notorious night raids conducted by special operations forces in Afghanistan — in which seven civilians were killed, including two pregnant women — determined that all the U.S. soldiers involved had followed the rules of engagement. As a result, the soldiers faced no disciplinary measures, according to hundreds of pages of Defense Department documents obtained by The Intercept through the Freedom of Information Act. In the aftermath of the raid, Adm. William McRaven, at the time the commander of the elite Joint Special Operations Command, took responsibility for the operation. The documents made no unredacted mention of JSOC.

Smog refugees flee Chinese cities as 'airpocalypse' blights half a billion

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["I finally saw the blue sky. It was wonderful!" Thousands head to pollution-free regions as haze descends on the country’s northern industrial heartland. See also: Amid smoggy days in London, growing calls to clean up Europe’s toxic air. *RON*]

Tom Phillips, The Guardian, 21 December 2016

Severe toxic smog blankets Beijing and China’s industrial heartland
Tens of thousands of “smog refugees” have reportedly fled China’s pollution-stricken north after the country was hit by its latest “airpocalyse” forcing almost half a billion people to live under a blanket of toxic fumes.