Showing posts from June 29, 2017

Today's Trumpery

[Welcome to the monkey house. A daily pastiche of Trumpisms and responses thereto. *RON*]

Seymour Hersh: Trump Ignored Intel Before Bombing Syria, Naked Capitalism ["I had a hell of a time getting it published."]
 Naomi Klein: Kill the Trump Within, The Nation
The Constitution vs. Trump, Al Jazeera
Trumpcare would devastate LGBTQ health, Think Progress
Trump's Russia lawyer faces conflict-of-interest questions over $296m Kushner deal, The Guardian
Bill Moyers: All of Donald Trump's Lies, AlterNet

B.C. leading rise in private school enrolment across Canada

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[Class wars, literally and figuratively. Enrollment is highest in BC where 16 years of cutbacks and politically-induced labour strife has seen private school enrollment jump. And on the heels of the decimation of the public education system, Mike de Jong ecstatically announces B.C. Liberals tout $2.8B surplus, reduced debt on eve of expected defeat. If that impresses you, I have a watch I'd like to sell you. *RON*]

CBC News, 27 June 2017
More parents across Canada are choosing to send their children to private or independent schools, according to a new study from the Fraser Institute.

The study found that every province recorded a decline in total K-12 enrolment between 2000–2001 to 2014–2015, except Alberta, which had an increase of 11.6 per cent.

But despite the falling number of students across Canada, every province saw enrolment in private or independent schools grow over the study period — except New Brunswick, which saw a decline of 12.…

Ontario commits $85 million to clean up ‘gross neglect’ at Grassy Narrows

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[Generations sickened by mercury poisoning from a paper plant prompt province to agree to fund cleanup. How can the politicians possibly just be figuring this out fifty years later? *RON*]

David BruserRobert BenzieJayme Poisson, The Star, 27 June 2017

The Ontario government is committing $85 million to finally clean up the mercury-contaminated Wabigoon River that has poisoned the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation and nearby Whitedog First Nation for generations.

The “comprehensive remediation action plan” will also involve finding all contaminated sites that could be leaking mercury into the river.

At Queen’s Park, Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray did not mince words.

“If you ask me when would I like to have done this? Fifty years ago,” Murray said in an interview Tuesday. “I have never seen a case of such gross neglect. I am embarrassed as a Canadian that this ever happened and I can’t understand how people for 50 years s…

Southern Co. Suspends Kemper "Clean Coal" Project, Warns Investors It May Recognize Losses up to $3.4 Billion

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["Clean coal" was always an oxymoron and bound to fail. I wonder if Fanning and Southern Company can be sued for fraud? *RON*]

Sharon Kelly, DeSmog Blog, 28 June 2017

In a major blow to proponents of “clean coal” technology, Southern Co., parent company of Mississippi Power, announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing today that it's throwing in the towel on efforts to generate electricity from coal and will instead use only natural gas at its flagship Kemper County, Mississippi power plant.

The project, which relied on a “gasifier” to turn a cheap and common grade of coal into fuel, is over, at least for now, Southern said.

“On June 28, 2017, Mississippi Power notified the Mississippi PSC that it is beginning a process to suspend operations and start-up activities on the gasifier portion of the Kemper IGCC.”

Further, Southern warned that it may record a $3.4 billion loss for the project in the second quarter of 2017, depe…

A million bottles a minute: world's plastic binge 'as dangerous as climate change'

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[Refuse plastic bottles! Annual consumption of plastic bottles is set to top half a trillion by 2021, far outstripping recycling efforts and jeopardising oceans, coastlines and other environments. *RON*]

Sandra Laville and Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, 29 June 2017
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change.

New figures obtained by the Guardian reveal the surge in usage of plastic bottles, more than half a trillion of which will be sold annually by the end of the decade.

The demand, equivalent to about 20,000 bottles being bought every second, is driven by an apparently insatiable desire for bottled water and the spread of a western, urbanised “on the go” culture to China and the Asia Pacific region.

More than 480bn plastic drinking bottles were sold in 2016 across the world, up from ab…

Canada 150 Protesters Try To Erect Teepee on Parliament Hill, Nine Arrested

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[There's a good deal of push-back from the Aboriginal community to the whole concept of Canada 150. *RON*]
CTV News, Red Power Media, 29 June 2017

Demonstrators looked to stage a peaceful protest by erecting a teepee on Parliament Hill Wednesday night, as the city gears up for Canada Day events.

A group of roughly 80 people carrying poles for a teepee tent were stopped by RCMP, Ottawa Police and Parliament Hill security at about 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Police held on to the poles in an attempt to stop the group from entering the Parliament Hill grounds.

Activists told reporters they wanted to have a sacred fire for four days on the Hill, and were looking to protest the Canada 150 celebrations.

“This discrimination, this stereotyping and dehumanization of our people needs to stop,” said Jocelyn Wabano-Iahtail, one of the protest organizers.

The group has refused to leave and asked police, “Do you want another Oka?” in reference to the Oka Crisis, a land…

The Rise of the Thought Leader: How the superrich funded a new class of intellectual

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[A review of Dan Drezner’s book The Ideas Industry (I bought a copy after reading this), which skewers a new class of public intellectuals, the "thought leaders", who typically earn large sums of money from institutions funded by the super-rich, to promote superficial ideas which glorify wealth. Examples include Thomas Friedman, Parag Khanna, Niall Ferguson. "Thought leaders all share a core view that extreme wealth and the channels by which it was obtained are not only legitimate but heroic." *RON*]

David Sessions, New Republic, 28 June 2017
Writing in one of Mussolini’s prisons in the 1930s, the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci jotted down the fragments that would become his theory of intellectuals. New classes, like the European bourgeoisie after the Industrial Revolution, he proposed, brought with them their own set of thinkers, which he called “organic intellectuals”—theorists, technicians, and administrators, who became …

Canada’s Secret to Resisting the West’s Populist Wave

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["In Britain, among white voters who say they want less immigration, about 40 percent also say that limiting immigration is the most important issue to them. In the United States, that figure is about 20 percent. In Canada, according to a 2011 study, it was only 0.34 percent." *RON*]

Amanda Taub, New York Times, 27 June 2017

TORONTO — As right-wing populism has roiled elections and upended politics across the West, there is one country where populists have largely failed to break through: Canada.

The raw ingredients are present. A white ethnic majority that is losing its demographic dominance. A sharp rise in immigration that is changing culture and communities. News media and political personalities who bet big on white backlash.

Yet Canada’s politics remain stable. Its centrist liberal establishment is popular. Not only have the politics of white backlash failed, but immigration and racial diversity are sources of national pride. And wh…