Showing posts from January 12, 2015

Losing Streak Continues for U.S. Coal Export Terminals

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[Because coal export options are being routed in the US, and because of the low price of oil, you can virtually count on Harper and Clarke doing their best to try to take advantage of the situation by pushing to expand coal export facilities in BC. This is an important time to proactively register your opposition by visiting the Beyond Coal web site and signing their petition. *RON*]
By Katherine Bagley, InsideClimate News, 12 January 2015

The U.S. coal export industry continued its losing streak as 2014 ended and 2015 began. A coal terminal project in Louisiana lost its permit in state court, and one in Washington ran into a stiff legal challenge. Last month, the company behind several other planned terminals sold its remaining projects to a high-risk investment firm at a major loss.

The developments continue a string of victories for environment groups fighting the export of coal to developing economies such as China. Of 15 proposals to build ma…

The Serengeti strategy: How special interests try to intimidate scientists, and how best to fight back

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[This is a link to an interesting article on the techniques used by special interest science denialists to stifle individual scientists and ideas about how scientists can fight back. *RON*]

By Michael E. Mann, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 2015, Vol. 71(1) 33–45


Much as lions on the Serengeti seek out vulnerable zebras at the edge of a herd, special interests faced with adverse scientific evidence often target individual scientists rather than take on an entire scientific field at once. Part of the reasoning behind this approach is that it is easier to bring down individuals than an entire group of scientists, and it still serves the larger aim: to dismiss, obscure, and misrepresent well-established science and its implications. In addition, such highly visible tactics create an atmosphere of intimidation that discourages other scientists from conveying their research's implications to the public. This 'Serengeti strategy'…

NAFTA Scrutiny Of Oilsands Tailings Ponds Opposed By Canada

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[Democracy hard at work (not) in service to the corporatocracy. "Mexico and the U.S. will go along with efforts to stop a formal investigation. If that happens, it would be the third time in a year Canada has stopped North American Free Trade Agreement scrutiny of its environmental record [the previous two cases involved polar bears and farmed salmon]... it's clear that Environment Canada, the department involved, is trying to stop further investigation into the tailings ponds.... The three countries.... can also vote keep the reasons for their decision secret." *RON*]
CBC / Huffington Post, 12 January 2015

Canada is trying to stop NAFTA's environmental watchdog from taking a closer look at the environmental effects of the huge tailings ponds produced by Alberta's oilsands, and it appears Mexico and the U.S. will go along with efforts to stop a formal investigation.

If that happens, it would be the third time in a year Canada …

Pope calls for more market regulation, denies he is Marxist

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[When in the history of Catholicism has a Pope ever written a book with a title like "Pope Francis: This Economy Kills"? You go, Pope! *RON*]

By Philip Pullella, Reuters, 11 January 2015

(Reuters) - - Pope Francis has called for more regulation of financial markets and rejected suggestions that his criticisms of unbridled capitalism smack of Marxism.

"Markets and financial speculation cannot enjoy absolute autonomy," he said in an interview published in La Stampa newspaper on Sunday, calling for greater ethics in the economy and a better distribution of the earth's resources.

"We cannot wait any longer to resolve the structural causes of poverty in order to cure our society of an illness that can only lead to new crises," he said.

Conservative Catholics, particularly in the United States, have criticized some of his past pronouncements on the economy, with several openly calling him a Marxist. But the Argentine …

Fitch downgrades Russia’s credit rating to 1 notch above junk level

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[In practice this means that no Russian corporation will be able to get a higher credit rating. So, see also, Russia faces wave of bankruptcies if interest rates don't fall. And, to see how ineffective this all is, see Russia peace talks in doubt as ruble falls. And, like the proverbial million monkeys typing for a million years, Francois Hollande finally has something sensible to say. *RON*], 12 January 2015

The international ratings agency has knocked Russia’s credit rating down a peg, while warning that ‘growth may not return until 2017,’ as the national economy struggles amid sanctions and tumbling oil prices.

Fitch Ratings Inc, with dual headquarters in New York and London, downgraded Russia’s credit rating to BBB- from BBB, which is just one step away from the non-investment field.

While not yet the worst rating, Fitch nevertheless predicted a rough road ahead for the Russian economy, which has witnessed a dramatically weakened …

Austerity or Prosperity? Canada's $626 Billion Question

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[That's the amount of cash Canadian corporations hoard while Tories refuse to stimulate jobs. See also If Every Norwegian's a Millionaire, Why's Alberta in Hock? *RON*]

By Murray Dobbin,, 12 January 2015

Imagine for a moment two societies living side by side. One has discovered the wheel and uses it. The wheel makes life easier for workers and boosts the economy for everyone. Prosperity reigns. The society next door is well aware of the wheel and watches as its neighbours move inexorably ahead, becoming wealthier, more efficient and healthier while creating more leisure time for cultural activities.

But the ones who reject the wheel aren't those who do the work in this society. Those who refuse it are the governing elite, the priests, the official advisors and scribes who have incorporated a moral objection to the wheel into the state religion.

Use of the wheel is thus proscribed by faith, not reason. All practical argume…

Fox News guest apologizes after backlash over ‘utterly ridiculous’ claim that Birmingham is totally Muslim

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[Talk about helpful. Nothing but the facts from Fox News: "there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in." See also This map shows every attack on French Muslims since Charlie Hebdo. *RON*]

Associated Press / National Post, 12 January 2015

LONDON — A news commentator who told Fox News that the British city of Birmingham is “totally Muslim” has apologized for a comment that’s drawn ridicule from the city’s residents.

Steven Emerson, whose website describes him as a leading authority on Islamic extremist networks, told Fox News in a live broadcast Sunday that “there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”

His comments quickly drew derision online, with Shabana Mahmood, a British lawmaker from Birmingham, calling them “utterly ridiculous.” Official figures show that Birmingham’s Muslims make up about 22 per cent of th…