Showing posts from July 30, 2015

The War Nerd: Don’t be fooled -- Turkey is attacking the Kurds

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[Today's must-read. "The Turkish raids were almost insulting in their bait-and-switch: One little strike on Islamic State, or a nice vacant lot that might once have been visited by IS . . . and then 300 sorties, with the best US air-to-ground ordnance you can buy, killing God knows how many hundreds or thousands of Kurdish socialist fighters." *RON*]

By Gary Brecher, FROM THETHE WAR NERD DESK, Pando, 29 July 2015

This member-only article was unlocked for you by Paul Carr. For unlimited access to all of Pando, become a Pando member for just $10 a month.

If you’re a trusting type, you might be cheering for the Turkish Air Force, which according to the more gullible news services has finally decided to strike Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria.

Don’t believe it.

It’s not IS the Turkish planes have been bombing. Here’s a breakdown of the actual targets of the Turkish airstrikes:
The attack on IS was a single sortie against limited targets…

UBS Deal Shows Clinton’s Complicated Ties

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[Shillary. After the secretary of state’s involvement in tax case, total donations by UBS to the Clinton Foundation grew from less than $60,000 through 2008 to a cumulative total of about $600,000 by the end of 2014, according the foundation and the bank. The bank also joined the Clinton Foundation to launch entrepreneurship and inner-city loan programs, through which it lent $32 million. And it paid former president Bill Clinton $1.5 million to participate in a series of question-and-answer sessions with UBS Wealth Management Chief Executive Bob McCann. *RON*]
By James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, Wall Street Journal, 30 July 2015

A few weeks after Hillary Clinton was sworn in as secretary of state in early 2009, she was summoned to Geneva by her Swiss counterpart to discuss an urgent matter. The Internal Revenue Service was suing UBS AG to get the identities of Americans with secret accounts.

If the case proceeded, Switzerland’s largest ban…

Germany Just Got 78 Percent Of Its Electricity From Renewable Sources

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[It can be done Mr. Harper. "The expansion of renewables and another weather phenomenon — a relatively mild winter — led to Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions falling for the first time in three years in 2014, a 4.3 percent year-over-year drop. Greenhouse gas emissions are now down to their lowest level since 1990." *RON*]

By Ari Phillips, Think Progress, 29 July 2015
On Saturday, July 25, Germany set a new national record for renewable energy by meeting 78 percent of the day’s electricity demand with renewables sources, exceeding the previous record of 74 percent set in May of 2014.

According to an analysis by German energy expert Craig Morris at the Energiewende blog, a stormy day across northern Europe combined with sunny conditions in southern Germany led to the new record, the exact figures of which are still preliminary. Morris writes that most of Germany’s wind turbines are installed in the north and most of its solar panels are i…

'Grassroots' Canada Action Carries Deep Ties to Conservative Party, Oil and Gas Industry

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['Grassroots' campaign turns out to be awash with oil industry and Conservative party insiders - pure astroturf. *RON*]
Carol Linnitt and Donald Gutstein, DeSmog Canada, Huffington Post, 29 July 2015

"Our messages are not resonating," Natural Resource Minister Greg Rickford told a room full of oil and gas executives in a luxury Rocky Mountain resort last fall. "You are fighting an uphill battle for public confidence."

Rickford, who attended the meeting at the request of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), encouraged the executives to do more to spread the oil industry's message to the Canadian public.

"Much of the debate over energy is characterized by myth or emotion," he said, suggesting scientists and campaigners critical of development in the Alberta oilsands were "crowding out the real facts."

Rickford made no mention of Canada's international climate commitments, but h…

Harper Says High Debt Levels A Sign Of Consumer Confidence, As Consumer Confidence Drops

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["Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canadian consumers’ high debt loads are a sign of confidence in the economy. But Harper’s comments come as two separate measures of Canadian consumer confidence showed steep declines in recent weeks." *RON*]
By Daniel Tencer, Huffington Post, 29 July 2015

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canadian consumers’ high debt loads are a sign of confidence in the economy.

But Harper’s comments come as two separate measures of Canadian consumer confidence showed steep declines in recent weeks.

Though the government is concerned about some borrowers’ ability to pay, overall Canadians’ balance sheets “are good,” Harper said in an interview with Bloomberg Wednesday.

“We don’t believe there’s any data that suggests any kind of a pending crisis there,” he said.

“People have confidence in their ability to afford larger houses in the future, but obviously for those who are over-extended we’ve urged some caution.”

Federal Election 2015: How A Long Campaign Will Benefit The Cash-Rich Tories

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[The Conservatives have full coffers because of their support from those they have in turn supported - the oil and gas industry, mining, and so on. They have cut the per-voter subsidies which made up a big part of the base for parties such as the Greens. They have put strict limits on third party advertising, so that unions and environmental groups are very limited in what they are able to say about Harper during this extended campaign. And, as per the previous story, he has made it difficult for up to four million Canadians who don't strongly support him (the elderly, Aboriginals, the homeless) to vote at all. *RON*]
CBC / Huffington Post, 30 July 2015

A lengthy 11-week federal election campaign could give the Conservatives, armed with a significant war chest, a marked edge over their political rivals.

​"Politics is a lot like war. You want to starve your opponent and be able to bomb the heck out of them," said Toronto-based politic…

Millions of Canadians denied the right to vote in 2015 federal election

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["If the stay of the new amendment is not ultimately granted and quickly, as many as four million Canadians -- including numerous students, Aboriginals, elderly living in care facilities, and homeless individuals -- may be unable to vote in the federal election due to an inability to prove both residence and identity." *RON*]
By Pro BonoPriya Sarin,, 30 July 2015

Last week, the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice each ruled on separate Charter challenges to legislation affecting the rights of certain groups of Canadians to vote in the October 2015 federal election. Surprisingly, both courts permitted the impugned provisions at issue to continue in force and effectively denied these groups the right to vote.

The main focus of this article is the Court of Appeal's decision regarding the right of Canadian expatriates to vote; however, I will …

Who's afraid of $50 oil? (Answer: Canada's oil industry)

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["It's in the interest of banks, for one, to see the notoriously cyclical drilling industry make it through this current downturn as intact as possible, even if it means renegotiating breached debt covenants." Yet look what happens to Greece; in that case, suddenly, this is a moral issue. *RON*]

By Paul Haavardsrud, CBC News, 29 Jul 2015
It may be high summer on the calendar, but Canada's energy companies are already looking towards the coming winter.

What they see is looking worse now than it was even a month ago.

After a rough start to the year that saw companies lay off thousands of workers amid falling crude prices, lower cash flow and wounded share prices, a spring rally in oil was stirring hopes the dreaded other shoe might not drop.

A July-long slide took oil prices back below $50 a barrel, so a rally is looking less likely.