On Memorial Day, US Troops at War with ISIL near Mosul - By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – – On Memorial Day, it is as well to remember that US troops are still at war. Afghanistan is our nation’s longest suc...
7 hours ago
". . . The EKOS Research poll gives the NDP 28 per cent support nationally, second spot behind the Conservatives at 34 per cent and ahead of the Liberals at 24 per cent, a week before the May 2 federal election.
"The pollsters project the NDP are poised to win 53 seats in Quebec and 100 across the country – a huge breakthrough that would reshape Canada's political landscape – compared to 131 seats for the Conservatives and 62 for the Liberals. The Bloc Quebecois would be hammered down to 13 seats in Quebec. . ."
"Be afraid, Canadians. Be very, very afraid. That’s the message Stephen Harper has put up front at the outset of this federal election campaign. What we should fear, according to the Conservative leader, is the looming coalition.
"The “socialist-separatist” coalition, the “unstable” coalition, the “reckless” coalition, the “illegitimate” coalition. In a Sunday campaign speech Harper invoked the coalition bogeyman fully 21 times. . . "
"This is in the Broughton Archipelago, under a Marine Harvest salmon farm. The bubbles are methane. The waste is heaped in mounds devoid of life other than bacteria. This was once a productive crab ground. The Norwegian company just moved its livestock to another site and are carrying on business as usual. The federal government gave this site a licence to operate despite this obvious pollution, the province who is supposed to be managing our seafloor has done nothing."The Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) (farmedanddangerous.org) asks you to make the protection of wild salmon a campaign issue in BC. Let candidates in your riding know that in order to get your vote, you need to hear an action plan around transitioning the aquaculture industry to more sustainable practices. The following recaps describe sannounced policies but the CAAR website provides greater detail and links.
Green Party of Canada
The NDP MP for New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody, Fin Donnelly, tabled a private member’s bill (C-518) in May 2010 called The Wild Salmon Protection Act that requires a shift to closed containment technology for the salmon aquaculture industry. Donnelly presented a petition of over 9,000 signatures to parliament in support of his bill and well-known Canadian actor William Shatner has spoken in support of the proposal.
Liberal Party of Canada
“…implement measures to quickly phase out open-ocean net-cage fish farms and ensure that this aquaculture industry does not continue to harm wild fisheries.”
“A moratorium on new open-ocean net-pen salmon farms and a phase out of existing farms within 10 years.”
“…fallowing of sea pens during wild-hatch salmon runs.”
“Require that the management and conservation of wild fisheries take precedence over aquaculture, wherever there are conflicts.”
“Require evaluation of threats to fish stocks and include provisions to protect fish stocks and the marine environment.”
The Green Party makes no mention of closed containment aquaculture in its Vision Green policy document or on its website.
The document does reference Pacific salmon as a general policy emphasis with the statement: “A Liberal government will also recognize the fundamental importance of Pacific salmon for the economy, cultures and way of life on Canada’s west coast, and will ensure its conservation is the first priority in fishery issues there” but there are no specific details provided.
There is no reference to aquaculture or closed containment in the Liberal platform released to date.
federal budget tabled March 22nd.
"Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books."Recommend this post
"The debate over Republicans’ insistence on continued tax breaks for the superrich and the corporations they run should come to a screeching halt with the report in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal headlined “Big U.S. Firms Shift Hiring Abroad.” Those tax breaks over the past decade, leaving some corporations such as General Electric to pay no taxes at all, were supposed to lead to job creation, but just the opposite has occurred. As the WSJ put it, the multinational companies “cut their work forces in the U.S. by 2.9 million during the 2000s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million, new data from the U.S. Commerce Department show.”Continue reading Robert Scheer at Truthdig or read more of Northern Insights about General Electric in British Columbia. Recommend this post
"General Electric, which was bailed out by taxpayers and which stored so much of its profit abroad that it paid no taxes for the past two years, was forced to tighten up, but while cutting its foreign workforce by 1,000 it cut a far more severe 28,000 in the United States. . ."
". . . Afghanistan is a long way from home, but the issues we are addressing here – building democracy, reducing poverty, fighting terrorism, celebrating pluralism – matter for the entire world. . . We must build a successful alternative there in order to defeat extremism and terrorism everywhere. . .
"We will continue to support the brave men and women of the Canadian forces in their valiant efforts to secure and stabilize the volatile southern region. Thanks to their efforts, the fragile peace that reigns over most of the country has been extended to large parts of Kandahar province.
"Now it’s time to consolidate those security gains on the ground and use them to advance reconstruction, because the long-suffering Afghan people desperately need hope for a better future for their families and communities. . .
"Today our government is deepening Canada’s commitment to Afghanistan with a major infusion of new trust funds to accelerate the reconstruction and development process. The majority of these funds will support proven Afghan national programs. . . also nurture economic growth. . .
". . . our government is consolidating and enhancing the security gains Canada and our allies have made in Afghanistan. . . . with our troops continuing to expand the secure areas in the Kandahar region, and with our deeper commitment of aid for reconstruction and development, I believe we all have very good reason to be optimistic that progress will continue in the coming year."
". . . I wish that the media had shown the same resolve when Karzai waffled earlier this week about Kabul Bank, and how the losses — according to some reports, totaling nearly a billion dollars — are just as much the fault of the international community as they are of those who engineered them.
"The Afghan president went so far as to suggest that the international firms who failed to spot and stop the shareholders of Kabul Bank be prosecuted alongside the perpetrators.
"Had the consultants given better advice, hinted Karzai, those in charge at Kabul Bank, who included his own brother and the brother of his vice-president, would have known better than to grant themselves huge unsecured loans to speculate on luxury property for themselves in Dubai; they would never have traded on their high-level government connections to escape scrutiny; and, of course, they would have faithfully returned the money they had so cavalierly squandered.
". . . Karzai-bashing is “a dangerous game” in a climate where voters and taxpayers have a diminishing appetite for the war in Afghanistan. Bad news could easily tip the scales in favor of calls for withdrawal.
"So, in order to keep the home front happy, the international community collaborates with the Afghan government to downplay the scale of the problem.
" 'They are more than complicit,' fumed one international consultant. 'They are co-conspirators.'
"Afghanistan is now tied with Burma for the dubious distinction of Second Most Corrupt Nation in the World, according to Transparency International’s latest index. Only Somalia ranks lower . . .
". . .In my own experience, which encompasses nearly seven years in Afghanistan, corruption ranging from almost the unbelievably petty to the truly dangerous has been an almost daily factor of existence. . ."
"Harper pitched the end of Canada’s decade-long combat mission in the country and the new three-year training mission as a relatively secure means of helping the Afghan government defeat the Taliban. But several recent attacks, including one at a secure compound that will reportedly house Canadian soldiers in the years to come show that “you can’t eliminate the danger,” Harper said on the campaign trail Saturday.
". . . In the 2008 election campaign, the Conservative leader committed to a full withdrawal of Canadian forces from Afghanistan by this year. But he reversed course last fall with the support of the Liberal party. . . "
The incremental cost of the mission in Afghanistan to the Government of Canada from 2001 to 2011 is currently estimated to be approximately $11.3 billion. This includes estimates for mission close-out costs, but excludes post-2011 costs for veterans’ disability and health care.
". . . Canada has spent $7.7 billion to $10.5 billion on costs related to its mission in the past six years, and may spend $13.9 billion to $18.1 billion by the end of the 2010-11 budget year, according to The Fiscal Impact of the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan tabled by parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page on Thursday.
"However, a lack of government consistency and transparency has made the figures difficult to estimate, and they likely understate the full costs of the mission, the report says."
". . . 'I was told … that it is in the government’s best interests to have soldiers killed overseas rather than wounded because the liability is shorter term,' [Fired Veterans' Ombudsman Col. Pat Stogran (ret)] said.
"For the former Canadian commander in Afghanistan, it was a revealing answer to a stunning problem. The government’s treatment of soldiers and Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers who have sacrificed their limbs, mental health and lives for the country was a question of dollars and cents.
"In some cases, said veterans who joined Stogran at a news conference Tuesday, Ottawa is even using tax dollars to avoid paying compensation to veterans. . . "
“I certainly hope so,” he replied.Source: Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%, Joseph Stiglitz, Vanity Fair
"These facts confirm my impression that greed is now seen as a virtue in America. I'm not surprised by the greed of the One-Percenters. I'm mystified by the lack of indignation from so many of the rest of us."Source: The One-Percenters, Roger Ebert's Journal
|A New Era for British Columbia, BC Liberals Platform 2001|
"Awarded to Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein of ProPublica for their exposure of questionable practices on Wall Street that contributed to the nation’s economic meltdown, using digital tools to help explain the complex subject to lay readers."As the U.S. housing market started to fade, bankers and hedge funds scrambled for ways to maintain the lavish bonuses and profits they had become so accustomed to, repackaging mortgages in complex securities called collateralized debt obligations. The booming CDO market masked how weak the housing market was, and exacerbated its collapse.
"But several years after the financial crisis, which was caused in large part by reckless lending and excessive risk taking by major financial institutions, no senior executives have been charged or imprisoned, and a collective government effort has not emerged.Recommend this post
This stands in stark contrast to the failure of many savings and loan institutions in the late 1980s. In the wake of that debacle, special government task forces referred 1,100 cases to prosecutors, resulting in more than 800 bank officials going to jail. Among the best-known: Charles H. Keating Jr., of Lincoln Savings and Loan in Arizona, and David Paul, of Centrust Bank in Florida.
"Former prosecutors, lawyers, bankers and mortgage employees say that investigators and regulators ignored past lessons about how to crack financial fraud."
Wonderful and stunning news that I wholeheartedly support!! I would very much like to host a fundraiser for residents of Surrey/WhiteRock/Delta/Langley in the near future to assist Susan’s fight for justice, and will post detail as soon as things are in motion!! Please email me directly if you would like to be involved!Keep an eye on Laila Yuile's website and stay tuned about the fundraiser. Blog readers can make a difference on an important matter of justice. Recommend this post
I ask you, who will fight for you if your home, your business, was next?
"On April 30, the Salt Spring Forum welcomes one of the world’s most courageous investigative journalists to Salt Spring Island. As the co-founder and host of DemocracyNow!, Amy Goodman's broadcasts are carried on more than 900 television and radio stations across the United States and Canada.Here is one example of her work:
Amy was the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize' for “developing an innovative model of truly independent grassroots political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media.”
Her fearless investigative journalism has earned her many awards, and also some enemies. She was badly beaten by Indonesian troops in East Timor, arrested at the Republican National Convention, and detained by officials at the Canadian Border. She speaks truth to power - and does so with inspiring eloquence, passion, and intelligence.
On Saturday, April 30 at 12:00pm Amy will be speaking at GISS about the importance of independent media in a time of war. Her talk will be followed by a moderated discussion and book-signing. Tickets are $20, ($15 for Forum Members) and available from our partners - Salt Spring Books, Salt Spring Coffee, and Salt Spring Air.
If you would like to become a Member, you can do so at the event, and the Forum will retroactively apply the Member's discount to your Membership fee. You can visit www.saltspringforum.ca for more details.
Before coming to Salt Spring, Amy will be speaking in Vancouver to an audience of 800. That event has already sold-out at $75 per person, so I expect tickets to see her on Salt Spring will go quickly. I am encouraging everyone to purchase theirs a soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
"As many as 5,000 children in Pennsylvania have been found guilty, and up to 2,000 of them jailed, by two corrupt judges who received kickbacks from the builders and owners of private prison facilities that benefited. The two judges pleaded guilty in a stunning case of greed and corruption that is still unfolding.
Judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan received $2.6 million in kickbacks while imprisoning children who often had no access to a lawyer. The case offers an extraordinary glimpse into the shameful private prison industry that is flourishing in the United States. . . "
"By way of an update I am about to tell you how badly things there have gone since media attention focused on Broadmead and Mrs. Palamarek. This isn’t pretty. . . "Compare the sad case of authorities imprisoning one kind old person who has harmed no one and puts no person at risk while other authorities push a child killer back into the community, even that which is home to the grieving mother of his three dead children. Sadly, the Palamarek case has similar roots to the situation of Allan Schoenborn.
"For several years, I have called for legislation to establish an independent seniors’ representative, and I will establish this post when elected Premier.
"Similar to the Independent Children's Represenative, a provincial seniors’ representative would keep a government accountable, and would serve as an advocate for patients in care, their families, and the staff who care for them.
"Front line workers seniors and their families could turn to the representative to address concerns around quality of care and impact of government decisions, The representative would also monitor and determine if B.C. programs and services are delivering the care seniors require, and if underlying government policy is improving or undermining seniors’ health care."Read also: How things work, when they don't work and An Old problem: elder abuse
"Stephanie Goodwin's letter comparing the incident at Fukushima with Chernobyl highlights that we can't depend on Greenpeace to provide factual information on environmental issues.Once more Vancouver Sun editors serve up dogmatic drivel from a nuclear industry flack who is at odds with scientific consensus, again. As a news reader, if you prefer worthwhile content, look beyond the Vancouver newspapers for a steady diet of real journalism. To the Financial Times, for example.
"Two credible sources make it clear the Fukushima incident is nowhere near the same magnitude as Chernobyl.
"In an interview with National Public Radio in the U.S., Evan Douple of the Hiroshima-based Radiation Effects Research Foundation stated, "There just isn't any evidence that there are enough exposed people at high enough doses to expect to see any health effects that are measurable . . . "
Fukushima crisis on par with ChernobylMoore provides us with a quote from Dr. Evan Douple of The Radiation Effects Research Foundation (formerly the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission) but the expert is quoted differently and more extensively in the New York Times where Dr. Douple said,
By Jonathan Soble, Michiyo Nakamoto and Gwen Robinson in Tokyo
Published: April 12 2011 04:06 | Last updated: April 12 2011 07:44
"Japan has raised its assessment of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station to the most serious level on a seven-step international scale, equivalent to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
"The country’s nuclear regulator said on Tuesday it had increased its assessment by two notches on the International Atomic Energy Agency scale to reflect the potential impact of continued leaks of radiation on human health and the environment.
“ 'We have not stopped the release of radioactive material from Fukushima Daiichi station, so there is a concern that [the eventual contamination] could be equal to or greater than Chernobyl,' said Junichi Matsumoto, an official at Tokyo Electric Power, the plant’s operator.
“ 'If 100 per cent of the radioactive material escaped from the reactors, it is possible that the accident would exceed Chernobyl,' he said
"there was no indication of a threshold, or a level below which acute radiation exposure would have no effect, or a smaller effect than would be predicted based on higher exposures."More from the Financial Times, April 13, 2011
"Rather, said Japanese officials, the move to upgrade the crisis reflected the first comprehensive contamination estimate since the plant was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
"Prize quote of the day was from Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, who said: “In contrast with Chernobyl, we have been able to avoid direct health risks… The assessment level of 7 may be the same, but in terms of its shape and content, the process has been different.”
"What he meant, said experts, was that the plant had so far released so much radiation on a cumulative basis over one month – as opposed to the massive amounts of radiation released by Chernobyl in a short time – that the government felt compelled to boost the accident’s severity rating.
"Disturbingly, as the Wall Street Journal noted on Wednesday, a spokesman for plant operator Tepco admitted on Tuesday that the total level of radiation released could eventually exceed that of Chernobyl.
"Equally disturbing was the explanation from one nuclear safety expert, who told the FT’s Cookson that the upgrading “does not mean the situation today is worse than it was yesterday. It means the event as a whole is worse than previously thought”.
"Once again the Special Prosecutor has kept a BC Liberal politician from being persecuted by police and media. Jane was stopped at a roadblock after a night of drinking with government colleagues and an apparently inexperienced police officer failed to recognize her. That led to the embarrassment of arrest after being forced to blow repeatedly into a breathalyser. She should have been allowed to proceed home and, if police really needed a breath sample, Jane could have given one the next day.It is pretty clear that Jane Thornthwaite was just unlucky in this case. Many people drink and drive without being caught. Thornthwaite’s lawyer Don Muldoon told Judge Carol Baird Ellan that she had consumed alcohol that night but showed no signs of intoxication. A wry observer might suggest that showing no signs is itself a sign of a practiced drinker. However, there must have been indications of intoxication that led to those pesky breathalyser test results, which were well over the legal limit of the day and twice the level of today.
"Unfortunately, reporters found out about her arrest and pressured Ms. Thornthwaite for a statement. Flustered and under pressure, she admitted to drinking and driving and apologized. Luckily, our system allows for a Special Prosecutor to be appointed when Liberal politicians might be harassed by an ignorant and overenthusiastic local prosecutor who doesn't understand how government officials should be handled.
"Fortunately, Mark Jette took his time and considered all the options in a case that required intense review, lasting over a year. No doubt, Mr. Jette sacrificed greatly to handle the file. He is after all, a very successful and senior lawyer. He showed his skill by convincing Jane to plead guilty to a minor motor vehicle act charge that might not even have been proved in court. Doing it this way allows the crown to apply the fine that Ms. Thornthwaite generously agreed to pay to Mr. Jette's legal costs. Everyone's a winner."
"My actions were inexcusable. Drinking and driving is dangerous and completely unacceptable; I know that and make no excuses for what I did.June 25, 2010 Ms. Thornthwaite said,
“I know what I did was wrong and I will take full responsibility for my actions . . ."
"Not guilty."Gordon Campbell said:
"People make mistakes, and I've made them myself,". Recommend this post
Did Koch Industries write the budget deal? Or is it just a coincidence that so many of the the things Republicans demanded -- and got -- just happen to line up with the financial interests of the billionaires who fund the Tea Party and much of the “conservative movement?” Cutting money for the EPA, alternative energy efficiency, high-speed rail, efforts to fight climate change -- even prohibiting NOAA from creating a Climate Service ... it reads like an oil tycoon's wish list. . ."From Talking Points Memo (TPM):
"In addition to programs protecting the environment, programs aimed at boosting energy efficiency for power plants and transportation also were major targets. Energy efficiency and renewable energy were cut by $438 million while fossil energy R&D was reduced by $226 million and nuclear energy funding was cut by $56 million. Funding for high speed rail [cut entirely] . . . "
WASHINGTON - April 12 - Anti-environmental provisions that remove Endangered Species protections for endangered gray wolves and another that seeks to strip the government of its authority to protect some of America’s best undeveloped natural public lands are in the budget bill to be voted on by the end of this weekFrom Noam N. Levey, Los Angeles Times:
While the White House and the Senate averted a disastrous government shut-down last week, they failed to block amendments that sacrifice one of America’s most important wildlife safeguards. The amendment to remove ESA protections for wolves marks the first time in history that a species will be delisted by Congress.
"AUGUSTA, Maine— In their drive to cut medical assistance to the poor while pushing tax breaks benefiting the affluent, congressional Republicans are following the lead of a group of governors who have championed this approach to balance state budgets.Recommend this post
"In January, a ProPublica investigation found that large amounts of "fugitive" emissions were left out of common comparisons between coal and gas and that if these emissions were counted the advantages of natural gas dwindled. Our report found that the Environmental Protection Agency's emissions estimates from hydraulic fracturing in shale formations were 9,000 times higher than the agency had previously estimated. We also quoted Robert Howarth, a Cornell University professor, saying that he would soon release research that showed that the emissions from gas were even worse.Studies Say Natural Gas Has Its Own Environmental Problems, Tom Zeller Jr., New York Times
"More details of Howarth's research, which is reportedly scheduled to be published in the journal Climatic Change, were released by The Hill and The New York Times this week. Howarth's conclusion -- that shale gas production is actually far dirtier than coal in terms of greenhouse gas emissions -- is attracting national attention."
"The problem, the studies suggest, is that planet-warming methane, the chief component of natural gas, is escaping into the atmosphere in far larger quantities than previously thought, with as much as 7.9 percent of it puffing out from shale gas wells, intentionally vented or flared, or seeping from loose pipe fittings along gas distribution lines. This offsets natural gas’s most important advantage as an energy source: it burns cleaner than other fossil fuels and releases lower carbon dioxide emissions.
" 'The old dogma of natural gas being better than coal in terms of greenhouse gas emissions gets stated over and over without qualification,' said Robert Howarth, a professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell University and the lead author of one of the studies. Mr. Howarth said his analysis, which looked specifically at methane leakage rates in unconventional shale gas development, was among the first of its kind and that much more research was needed."
"Drawn from rock through a controversial "fracking" process, some hail the gas as a "stepping stone" to a low-carbon future and a route to energy security.
"But US researchers found that shale gas wells leak substantial amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
This makes its climate impact worse than conventional gas, they say - and probably worse than coal as well.
" 'Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon, and is comparable over 100 years,' they write in a paper to be published shortly in the journal Climatic Change. . ."
"You don't want to drink fracking fluids"(*) As in Silkwood vs Kerr-McGee Corp.
|Fracking in Farmland|
Fracking royaltiesCan readers help? Recommend this post
Someone needs to investigate the current BC policy on royalties for fracking. I have heard from a reliable source that the policy of a much reduced royalty rate for the initial production from a new well (to compensate for exploration/drilling costs) is being inappropriately granted to each of up to 20 or 30 fracking horizontals from a single vertical. Net loss to the province around $1 billion annually.
"was involved in a collision just after 10 p.m. Saturday night between his Jeep and a motorcycle driven by Orion Hutchinson, 21, on a quiet two-lane street. Witnesses say the officer left the scene of the crash, and later blew over the legal limit for alcohol.The victim's urgent need was not Monty Robinson's first concern.
"After the crash, [a] woman saw the officer hand his driver's licence to another witness before leaving the scene on foot with his two children who were in the car. He didn't appear to attend to or check on the injured Mr. Hutchinson, she said.
"He got out of his Jeep, handed his licence to somebody and ran down the road with a kid in each hand," the witness said. "Maybe he could have saved that kid's life? He's a policeman, he must have had first-aid training."
Untrained witnesses then attempted to perform CPR on Mr. Hutchinson until emergency crews arrived, guided by a 911 call-taker over a cellphone, the witness said. Mr. Hutchinson died at the scene.
"Based on the evidence before me I am satisfied on a balance of probabilities that your BAC was due to alcohol you consumed before or while operating or having care or control of the motor vehicle.Robinson petitioned the BC Supreme Court to overturn the suspension. Mr. Justice Mark McEwan concluded,
"I am satisfied that before or while operating or having care or control of a motor vehicle, you consumed alcohol that caused you to have a BAC of over 80 mg% within 3 hours after you operated or had care or control of a motor vehicle on October 25, 2008.
"I therefore confirm your driving prohibition, as required by s. 94.6 of the Motor Vehicle Act. You are prohibited from driving for 90 days, commencing December 11, 2008. You may resume driving once you have obtained a driver’s licence from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia."
"Placed in the context of all the other evidence, including the inherent inconsistency in the petitioner’s statement at the scene, the adjudicator’s credibility determination was within her jurisdiction and well within the standard of reasonableness. There is accordingly no basis on which this court may intervene. The petition is dismissed."Citizens can only wonder why anonymous bureaucrats in the Criminal Justice Branch judged Robinson not guilty of impaired driving causing death instead of allowing charges recommended by police to be heard in open court. Taken with knowledge of the CJB's pattern of procedure in all cases involving police as potential defendants, the Attorney General's treatment of police Cpl. Robinson, is simply business as usual. Of hundreds of citizen deaths following police interaction, the number of serious charges against law enforcement officers stands at zero.