Saturday, October 29, 2011

TransCanada : an "American company"


Hey, did you think TransCanada, the company intending to extend the Keystone XL pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to the Free Tariff  Zone refineries in Texas, was a Canadian company? 
Me too. Must be something about the name. And the fact that articles about TransCanada always refer to it as "Alberta-based".

However TransCanada's own K-XL Know the Facts webpage begs to differ. Debunking the "Myth" that  TransCanada is a foreign company operating in the US :
"Like many American companies with operations in Canada, we are incorporated and registered in both Canada and the United States. We currently have 1,631 talented employees in 33 U.S. states. Our U.S. operations are headquartered in Houston and will be responsible for the U.S. construction of Keystone XL."

Huh. 

Now as we already know via Inside Climate NewsKoch exports 25% of all tarsands crude to the US.
In 2009, Flint Hills Resources Canada LP, an Alberta-based subsidiary of Koch Industries, applied for—and won—"intervenor status" in the National Energy Board hearings that led to Canada's 2010 approval of its 327-mile portion of the pipeline. 
The company's Flint Hills subsidiary already has an oil terminal in Hardisty, Alberta, the starting point of the Keystone XL. It sends about 250,000 barrels of diluted bitumen a day to a heavy oil refinery it owns near St. Paul, Minn., making that refinery "among the top processors of Canadian crude in the United States," the company website says.

Yesterday that same National Energy Board, Canada's presumed energy regulator, rejected the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union's request to hold a new hearing into K-XL. 
CEP, which opposes K-XL on the reasonable grounds it would rather see tarsands refineries built in Canada, maintained "the project had violated its permit by not starting construction by a March 2011 deadline". However, according to the NEB, TransCanada's 'earth moving' activities in Canada apparently counts as a start. 

Meanwhile, south of the border, three environmental groups filed a lawsuit against TransCanada earlier this month for mowing a 110 ft wide swath clear across the state of Nebraska prior to receiving the official US go ahead for K-XL to begin. TransCanada responded that mowing grasslands and moving endangered beetles out of the way of the proposed pipeline doesn't count as a start.

So far, no matter which side of the border you're on, things really do go better for Koch. 
And for TransCanada, an "American company".

Update : From Harvard Business School : a short history of TransCanada Pipelines
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Stupid Senate Pet Tricks


Harper-appointed Senator Nicole Eaton is calling for a private members bill to replace the beaver with the more "stately" polar bear as the national symbol of Canada.


In her remarks to the Senate, the former National Post gardening columnist from the Eaton department store family referred to the beaver as "a has-been", "a dentally defective rat", and "a big rat that doesn't reflect our new values".


Apparently overlooked in the flurry of CBC, G&M, CTV, National Post, and Vancouver Sun coverage of her remarks is the source of her enmity for beavers and the presumed reason why she feels Canada should agree to her request for "a national emblem makeover" :
"We have a cottage on Georgian Bay (in Ontario), and beavers eat away our dock every year. There are thousands of trees around, but no, they choose our dock," Eaton said.
Okey dokey then. Brought to you live from the Canadian chamber of sober second thought.
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Never again," said Harper


.... last Friday“Never again will Gadhafi be in a position to support terrorism or to turn guns on his own citizens."

No, because as you can see from the pictuure above, that was our job.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Steve gets his long gun wedge on


Never mind that rifles and shotguns are the weapon of choice for spousal homicides (71% in the last decade, of which the majority of victims are women), or that 14 of the last 18 officer shooting deaths were committed with a long gun, or that the long gun registry last year cost less than 40 Gazebos ($1Gazebo =$100K) and less than one one-hundredth of what just one of the Cons nine new war on invisible crime bills will cost next year ($4M vs $458M) .... the important thing for Steve is that the long gun registry is a nice wedge issue with which to divide the official opposition and a fuck you to the rest of us not happy about his party's NRA-Canada long gun registry connection.

Bonus :Cowboys For Social Responsibility reports (via the gun lobby National Firearms Association) :
 "the bill removes the requirement to call and confirm transfers". 
That means that a gun shop doesn't have to check if a buyer's licence is valid before he or she sells a weapon powerful enough to penetrate soft body armour.
As a consequence, criminals with fake firearms licenses and domestic abusers with a firearms licence card they shouldn't have can walk out of a gun shop with a shiny new gun, no questions asked.
And about those transfers :


CBCTransfers of firearms registration to a new owner, July - September 2011

  • using the internet, 142,516
  • over the phone, 76,002
  • total 218,518

Glen McGregor at the Ottawa Citizen, writes about the bill's clause mandating destruction of all records of registered long-guns.
Glen doesn't much care for the destruction of government data and has published, sans names and addresses of course, 7 million records from the 2007 gun registry database. Go, Glen!
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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Harper's very own "Mission Accomplished"


video

As already noted by Pogge, Campbell Clark at the Globe and Mail is just awesome proud of Steve winning his first ever war of his very own  : 
 With Libyan liberation, a political victory for Harper
"Stephen Harper’s first war victory was clinched in a few sudden hours when Moammar Gadhafi was captured and killed and his last bastion of Sirte fell.  
Although Mr. Harper has led a nation with forces in combat since he took office in 2006, this was not a war he inherited but one he chose ..."
 Clark then quotes from Steve's victory speech :  
“Our government shall be speaking with our allies to prepare for the end of our military mission in the next few days,” he said.
Although as is clear from the clip above (full speech here), what Steve actually said was :
"Our government shall be speaking with our allies to pretend to prepare for the end of our military mission in the next few days."
Just an unfortunate slip of the tongue surely. 
Like when Government House Leader Peter van Loan told CBC's The House last month that the Conservative government wants to extend Canada's military role in Libya beyond the scheduled end date, a statement 'government sources' quickly denied the next day.

War in Africa is an investment.

As returning US Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz put it last month " in a State Department conference call with about 150 American companies hoping to do business with Libya" :
“We know that oil is the jewel in the crown of Libyan natural resources, but even in Qaddafi’s time they were starting from A to Z in terms of building infrastructure and other things” after the country had begun opening up to the West six years ago, he said. “If we can get American companies here on a fairly big scale, which we will try to do everything we can to do that, then this will redound to improve the situation in the United States with respect to our own jobs.”
R2P - the responsibility to protect investments.


Of course we don't talk about our humanitarian intervention like that up here when we're sponsoring regime change we can believe in! - in countries with the bad luck to be situated on top of what is clearly NATO's stuff to fight over.

"Never again," said Steve yesterday, will Gadhafi "be in a position to support terrorism or to turn guns on his own citizens."
Sure. Here's a list of 10 things likely to be missing from any future G&M account of Steve's war.

Rather heartening however is the G&M readers' response to Clark's article, with the majority of the 960 comments under it using terms like "delusional" and "jingoistic" and "colonialism".

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Canadian Wheat Board : The Cons being cons

On Tuesday AgMin Gerry Ritz stood in the middle of a suburban Ottawa farm behind a desk hung with the sign "Marketing Freedom" and announced the end of the Canadian Wheat Board single desk monopoly.
             " ... freedom to choose ... marketing freedom ... market forces ... jobs, jobs, jobs ... "

There were questions.
Chris Rands, CBC : "Back in 2007 the prime minister was in Churchill and he said the fate of the Wheat Board is in farmers' hands, so why aren't you opening up to the farmers to have a vote to say whether the wheat board should be removed as a single desk?"
AgMin Gerry Ritz : "Well we actually had that vote, Chris, on May 2nd. We campaigned in all rural areas across western Canada on an open voluntary wheat board. Farmers sent us back here with that mandate; we're following through." 
Rands (referring to farmers' plebiscite in which 62% voted in favour of keeping the CWB) : "But you didn't like the results. You called the vote flawed, if I recall?" 
Ritz : "No, I'm talking about the general election, May the 2nd. That's our mandate. Thank you."

NDP Pat Martin to Gerry Ritz in the House : "13 times the US went to the WTO to complain about the Wheat Board and 13 times the WTO ruled that there's nothing unfair about Canadian farmers acting collectively in their own best interests. The question is : why is American agribiz so willing to kill it and why are they [the Cons] so willing to do it for them?"

Outside the House, Pat Martin related that three years after Australia privatized their single marketing desk, it went bankrupt and was bought out by Cargill. As a non-profit marketing board with no assets and without its monopoly, the CWB is not in a position to compete with big agribiz.

Prior to the May 2 election, farmers were told by Gerry Ritz there would not be any attempt to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board without a vote.

They were conned. He meant the general election.

Friday Update : Hill Times :

Majority-governing Tories shut down Wheat Board debate, third time to cut off debate since House resumed.

"The majority-governing Conservatives used their majority Thursday to cut short debate on the controversial bill to eliminate the 76-year-old Canadian Wheat Board, the third time it has muscled legislation through the House since Parliament resumed in September."
The other two times being the massive crime omnibus bill and the end of government subsidies for political parties.
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The George and Bill Show comes to Surrey

[updated below]

And hey, you could win a CBSA cash reward!

George W. Bush in Surrey 
Thursday Oct. 20
Tickets - $599 per head. No media allowed.


Thursday, October 20, 11:00 am
Gather at the parking lot outside the Bay, Guildford Mall, SW corner of 152 St. & 104 Ave.
If you are coming from Occupy Vancouver at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Amnesty International is organizing a contingent leaving from there at 9:15am at taking the Skytrain to Surrey.
Transit :Take the Expo Line to Gateway Station in Surrey, then the 332 bus to Guildford, exit 104 Ave and 150 St. , walk to 152 St.


But remember what CBSA says : Don't try to make the arrest yourself. That's the RCMP's job. 
#Arrestbush


Update
Via Stephen Hui at the Georgia Straight : the Surrey Regional Economic Summit's proud corporate sponsors at left. Click pic to read.

Brigette DePape spoke to the 200 or so demonstrators outside.


Glob showed vid of Occupy Vancouver folks arriving.


Inside : BC premier Christy Clark attended, Kevin Falcon's former flackman was one of the organizers, and honorary chair of the summit Surrey mayor Diane Watts was interviewed about torture.








Matt Eisenbrandt in Embassy Mag : The case for Canadian prosecution of George W. Bush

"The government has recently taken a very public position that Canada should not be a safe haven for alleged torturers and war criminals. To open its doors yet again to Mr. Bush sets a disturbing double standard."
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Tiananmen Square and Occupy Wall Street


From Garnotte at Le Devoir
h/t Lagatta at Bread and Roses
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New mandaTory minimum sense on marijuana

Dan Gardner blasts the Cons' proposed 'war on drugs' mandatory minimum sentences for growing pot :
  • Six months mandatory jail time for growing six pot plants.
  • Nine months mandatory jail time for passing a joint from one plant grown in the privacy of your own home if you are a renter.


I assume this represents the Cons' attempt to 'harmonize' Canadian policy within the security perimeter deal, or as US AG Eric Holder put it in his "Beyond the Border" speech : the need for "certain sentencing laws" to be "updated".
This, even as more than a dozen US states are currently repealing mandatory minimum sentences.and reducing sentences.


Besides, notes Gardner, they don't even deliver what they promise :
"The standard argument in favour of mandatory minimum sentences is that they deliver certainty. ... 
But mandatory minimums don't actually do away with discretion.
They merely transfer it from judges, by restricting their ability to choose the sentence, to prosecutors, who choose the charge. The system is still ambiguous, uncertain, and unpredictable. It's just ambiguous, uncertain, and unpredictable in a different way."
From the discretion of judges to the better nature of prosecutors. 
What could possibly go wrong?
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h/t Pogge
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Update :  Terry Milewski, CBC : Texas Conservatives reject Harper's crime plan
'Been there; done that; didn't work,' say Texas crime-fighters
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

All day, all week, occupy your streets!



h/t Boris

But that's just the US, right? No reason for us to protest up here in Canada, origin of the Occupy movement.

NOW Mag : The Arsenal of Corporatocracy : Why We Should Occupy Bay Street

  • A person making $45,000 a year and a person making $1 billion essentially pay the same tax rate.
  • A person making $130,000 a year and a person making $1 billion a year pay the exact same tax rate.
  • A person making $45,000 a year pays a higher tax rate than a multi-billion dollar corporation

Muldoon began this by lowering the corporate tax rate from 36% to 28%. By next year it will be down to 15%, for those that pay any at all.

Meanwhile, over at The Onion ...
Nation Waiting For Protesters to Clearly Articulate Demands Before Ignoring Them
 "If they don’t have a clear power structure organized around specific demands first, then I'll never be able to completely tune them out due to a political conflict of interest or an inability to comprehend complex, detailed economic concepts. These people really need to get their act together." 
Once Occupy Wall Street has a concrete set of objectives in place, the majority of Americans said they would go back to waiting for the sluggish economy to recover while blindly accepting things the way they are."
For everyone else  : How to Stream Live From a Mobile Phone

Occupy Vancouver vid and photos from: West End Bob @ The Beav and Jymn @ Let Freedom Rain

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Canadian owners of Zuccotti Park to evict Occupy Wall Street protesters tomorrow

                                                                      [updated below]
A New York subsidiary of the Toronto-based Canadian asset management company that owns Zuccotti Park has written to the NYPD asking them to evict the Wall Street protesters who have occupied the park since Sept. 17.
Commissioner Raymond W Kelly                                        October 11, 2011
New York City Police Department
One Police Plaza
Room 1400
New York, New York 10038
Facsimile: (646) 610-5865 
Re Zuccotti Park 
Dear Commissioner Kelly: 
As you know, for over three weeks, Zuccotti Park (the "Park") has been used by "Occupy Wall Street" and other protesters as their home base. The Park is owned by a Brookfield affiliate and was recently renovated at Brookfield's considerable expense as an amenity for the general public. It is intended to be a relaxing tree-filled oasis in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Lower Manhattan. We fully support the rights of free speech and assembly, but the manner in which the protesters are occupying the Park violates the law, violates the rules of the Park, deprives the community of its rights of quiet enjoyment of the Park, and creates health and public safety issues that need to be addressed immediately. 
Within the Park, the protesters have set up living spaces with tarpaulins, mattresses, sleeping bags, tables, bookshelves, gasoline-powered generators and other items that are inconsistent with the rules and normal use of the Park.  At all hours of the day and night, protesters are sleeping on benches and walkways, blocking normal normal pedestrian access to the general public and preventing cleaning and maintenance workers from performing necessary upkeep. When not blocked by protesters, the walkways throughout the Park are blocked by various items and equipment brought to the Park by protesters.

We are extremely concerned about dangers posed by damage that may have been incurred within the Park and by materials and equipment brought into the Park by the protesters.  Brookfield protocol and practice is to clean the Park on a daily basis, power-washing it each weeknight, and to perform necessary inspection, maintenance and repairs on a regular, as-needed basis.  Since the occupation began, we have not been able to perform basic cleaning and maintenance activity, let alone perform more invasive repairs. For example, if the lenses to the underground lighting have become cracked, water could infiltrate the electrical system, putting occupants of the Park at risk of an electrical hazard or causing short-circuiting which would result in repairs requiring the Park to be torn apart for re-wiring. Any such repairs would force the Park to be closed to the public for indeterminate periods of time, depriving the city of a vital green space. Moreover, we are concerned about the fire safety hazard that gasoline and the gas-fired generators pose to the Park's occupants. 
After weeks of occupation, conditions at the Park have deteriorated to unsanitary and unsafe levels. The Park has no toilets and while the existing trash receptacles have always been more than adequate to accommodate normal waste in the Park, those receptacles are no longer even close to sufficient and the resulting trash accumulation is attracting rodents. 
Additionally, we have received hundreds of phone calls and e-mails from concerned citizens and office workers in the neighbourhood.  Complaints range from outrage over numerous laws being broken including but not limited to lewdness, groping, drinking and drug use, to the lack of safe access and usage of the Park, to ongoing noise at all hours, to unsanitary conditions and to offensive odors.  We have received complaints of harassment, one woman stating that she was verbally abused in front of her 5-year-old child and complaining that she had a package stolen from her as she tried to cross the Park.

We are also concerned with the constant deliveries of materials to the Park. Delivery vehicles have now been appearing on a daily basis with packages of all shapes and sizes for the Park's occupants. None of these deliveries are being screened by our security team or the police for suspicious or harmful materials.  The Park's location in the financial district makes this activity particularly concerning. 
For all of these reasons, we cannot currently ensure that the Park is safe nor can we perform the necessary cleaning, inspection, damage assessment and repairs.  In light of this and the ongoing trespassing of the protesters, we are again requesting the assistance of the New York City Police Department to help clear the Park so that we can undertake this work at the earliest possible time.  We will defer to the Department's judgment on how best to accomplish this, but the Department's intervention is necessary both to ensure our ability to comply with our obligations a owners and to make the Park safe for the neighborhood and public.

Once we have completed our cleanup and maintenance, we would ask that the Department assist Brookfield on an ongoing basis to ensure the safety of all those using and enjoying the Park. 
As you know, we have discussed this situation with you and/or others under your command on a daily basis seeking assistance.  The situation continues to worsen and we need your assistance to ensure public safety. 
I appreciate your time and consideration in addressing this important and pressing matter. Please call me at (212) 417-7063 with any questions or if you wish to discuss our request further. 
Sincerely,
[signed : CEO Richard B. Clark]
Brookfield Office Properties
Brookfield Global Real Estate

Sheesh. If anything needs cleaning up here, it's Wall Street, not OWS.

Reality check from a comment left at the New York Observer  
(h/t greenvie at Bread & Roses) :
"the right to assemble and protest does, in fact, trump private property rights when the private property in question is commonly used as a public amenity as Brookfield itself has admitted.  Brookfield did not create the plaza out of altruism, but rather created the plaza in exchange for significant allowances in building height restrictions from the City of New York.  In other words, they were required to build a PUBLIC plaza in order to build their building.   
The real constitutional question we should be asking is why the protesters are not allowed to camp on Wall Street itself - a public street and a public right of way which is somehow off limits to our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech - as if it is located in another country and not subject to the constitution.  But then again, it kind of embodies what the protesters are complaining about anyway, doesn't it ?"

Chairman of the board of directors for Toronto parent company Brookfield Asset Management Inc. - assets $120-billion - is Frank McKenna. Other directors include Jack Mintz, Jimmy Patterson, the Vice Chair of Rogers Comm., the former Chair of HSBC, the CEO of Canada Oil Sands and Chair of Syncrude.
New York Mayor Bloomberg's girlfriend Diana L. Taylor is a director of the NY subsidiary office Brookfield Office Properties which sent the letter to the NYPD.

Dear Occupy Toronto :  : Brookfield Office Properties in Canada :
Brookfield Place, 181 Bay Street, Suite 330, Toronto, Ontario M5J 2T3
Tel: 416-369-2300 
Just sayin'.

Leadnow.ca has a petition to stop the eviction, due to begin at 7am Friday, and to make Canadians aware of a Canadian corp's role in the eviction.

OWS responds : "Tell Bloomberg: Don’t Foreclose the Occupation.
Join us at 6AM FRIDAY for non-violent eviction defense."


Friday AM Update : WSJ
"Bloomberg says the city was notified shortly before midnight that Brookfield wanted to postpone the cleanup of Zuccotti Park. He says the property owner hopes to work out an agreement with the protestersBloomberg also says Brookfield has received "lots of calls" from elected officials siding with protesters."
Wow
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Friday, October 07, 2011

Chris Hedges smacks down Kevin O'Leary



Yesterday CBC continued its ongoing snide, dismissive, and condescending coverage of the third week of Occupy Wall Street with an interview with author/activist/Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges on its "inside the business world" show, the Lang and O'Leary Exchange.  After the by now obligatory opening protestations of puzzlement as to what OWS is all about - "low budget" and "pretty nothing burgers" as blowhard host Kevin O'Leary described it - he then responded to Hedges' patient explanation by calling him "a left wing nutbar".

Since Holly Stick kindly left me the link this morning, Let Freedom Rain has posted a link and commentary on O'Leary's FoxNews behavior but I'm putting the vid and a transcript up here because Hedges' argument bears repeating and also because, as appalling as O'Leary's behavior certainly was, even more appalling is that O'Leary affects to be completely unable to follow Hedges' logic as to what exactly went wrong that caused OWS to happen.
He and other CBC talking heads either don't get it or pretend not to get it but you got it right away, didn't you? A more damning example of how completely dissociated our state broadcaster is with the plight of the 99% I cannot imagine.

CBC link here. Transcript follows ...

The show opens with a clip of Obama talking about Occupy Wall Street :
"I think it expresses the frustrations that the American people feel that we have the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country, all across Main Street. And yet you're still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on abusive practises that got us into this problem in the first place."
Introduction to Hedges and Occupy Wall Street movement ...

O'Leary : So what exactly is everyone complaining about? And also give me a sense of how much momentum this movement has because it's pretty nothing burgers so far - just a few guys, guitars. Nobody knows what they want - they can't even name the names of the firms that they're protesting against - very weak, low budget.

Hedges : I wouldn't agree with that assessment at all. They pulled thousands of people into the street last night and here in Washington when everyone marched past the Bank of America, they were shouting Shame! Shame! Shame! They know the names of these firms and they know what these firms have done not only to the American economy but to the global economy, and the criminal class who runs them.

Fill-in for Lang : Well Kevin made this point that nobody knows what they want. What do you say to that? We know that this is a very diverse group, there are many different agendas at play ... what is the sense you have of what this movement would like to see happen?

Hedges : They know precisely what they want ; they want to reverse the corporate coup that's taken place in the US and rendered the citizenry impotent and they won't stop until that happens and frankly if we don't break the back of corporations, we're all finished anyway since we're rapidly trashing the ecosystem on which the human species depends for survival. This is literally a fight for life - it's that grave, it's that serious. Corporations, unfettered capitalism, as Karl Marx understood, is a revolutionary force  - it commodifies everything - human beings, the natural world which it exploits for profit until exhaustion and collapse. The bottom line is we don't have much time left - we are on the cusp of perhaps another major banking crisis in Europe, defaults in Greece, followed by Spain, Portugal. There's been no restrictions, no regulations on Wall Street - they've looted the US Treasury, they've played all the games that they were playing before and we're about to pay for it all over again.

O'Leary : Listen don't take this the wrong way but you sound like a left wing nutbar. If you want to shut down every corporation, every bank, where are you going to get a job? Where are you gonna work? Where's the economy gonna go?

Hedges : Corporations don't produce anything and

O'Leary : Oh really!?

Hedges : No. Financial corporations on Wall Street

O'Leary : Are you driving a car to the protest?

Hedges : They are speculators. I'm talking about the financial institutions like Goldman Sachs. They don't manufacture, they don't make anything - they gamble, they use money, and they believe falsely that money is real as we dismantle our manufacturing base and send jobs over the border to Mexico and finally into the embrace of China.

Fill-in for Lang : Well I see that you and Kevin could get into an actually huge argument here.

Hedges : Well you know I don't usually go on shows where people descend to character assassination. if you want to discuss issues, that's fine but this sounds like Fox News and I don't go on Fox News. Either you discuss the issues and ... look, you have had very eloquent writers - people like John Ralston Saul in Canada who have laid this out with incredible lucidity - and to somehow attack this critique by calling someone a nutcase engages in the kind of trash talk that's polluted the corporate airwaves.

O'Leary : Excuse me, let's debate the issues then. ...

Hedges : You were the one who started it - you were not debating the issues.

[crosstalk] ...I did not call you a nutcase, I called you a nutbar.

Hedges : You said [I] sounded like a leftwing nutcase .. bar

O'Leary : Yes, bar, nutbar.

Hedges : That's an insult.

O'Leary : Are you left wing in leaning at least would you say?

Hedges : No, I would say ..

O'Leary : You're a centrist?

Hedges : Can I finish?

O'Leary : Please.

Hedges : I would say that those who are protesting the rise of the corporate state are in fact on the political spectrum the true conservatives because they're calling for the restoration of the rule of law. The radicals have seized power and they have trashed all regulations and legal impediments to a corporate reconfiguration of American society into a form of neo-feudalism. And that's what we're really asking for - is the restoration of the rule of law.

O'Leary : Ok, but you don't see any value in the banking system providing a financial infrastructure ...

Hedges : That's not what I said.

O'Leary : I'm asking you.

Hedges : A banking system that functions as a banking system should. And in Canada you do not have a banking crisis because you did not tear down the walls between commercial and investment banks and turn all of your banks into hedge funds. If, instead of handing massive sums of money to CitiBank, Wells Fargo - which are basically zombie banks that still hold tremendous toxic assets - we had created ten regional banks with $10 billion each and leveraged them 10 to 1, people could have been saved. Six million people have been pushed out of their homes because of foreclosures and mortgages. We could have reinvested in communities, small businesses which cannot get credit would have gotten credit. Instead they're just sitting on the capital and not lending it.

O'Leary : So we're certainly giving you an opportunity to speak your mind. Just so we can come full circle, what do you suggest should be done with Goldman Sachs specifically?

Hedges : They should be prosecuted. When you shove sub-prime mortgages on families that you know can't repay it and then you dice up those mortgages as assets and sell them and bet against them through AIG, that's fraudulent activity.

Fill-in for Lang : Alright, well thank you so much for joining us - we like to hear your thoughts.

Hedges : Well it'll be the last time.
Update : Dianne Buckner was the other co-host. h/t to Christine in comments
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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - Day 19






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Yeah, that terrifying-looking kid definitely needs arresting.
h/t enigma4ever



Ditto this armless man.







So what is it they want? a puzzled media asks over and over again. What are their demands?

After a 30 second ad - sorry! - and a quick rundown on the events of Day 19, Keith Olberman reads the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City, voted on by all members of Occupy Wall Street on Sept 29.

Dear thickie media : Hope this helps ....




Update : Great pix at Cryptome of the huge daytime crowds. Introducing Lieutenant Brian Connolly and his now famous nightstick.
Very moving : We Are the 99 Percent

And finally Occupy Portland : This is how it's supposed to work.
#OWS ...

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Hey Joe, where you goin with that gunk in your hand?

While in Washington oildrumming up K-XL support with US senators yesterday, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver plumped for the Keystone XL pipeline in his keynote address to the 4th Annual United States Energy Association (USEA) Energy Supply Forum.
Here is the quote chosen by Natural Resources Canada "for broadcast use" :

“The future of North America’s economy and our national security is inextricably tied to energy,” said Minister Oliver. “Clearly, it is in both of our interests to ensure that our future oil supply remains stable, secure and developed in an environmentally responsible way.”
Our future oil supply? Really, Joe?
We're still going with the tarsands = North American security model?

For starters, Canada imports half of its oil for domestic use - over a million barrels per day - from various "conflict oil" states, while exporting 65% of its "ethical oil" tarsands crude to the US.

Dear Joe : How does the K-XL proposal to export tarsands - owned in part by the Chinese state - to Texas to be refined by Saudi's Aramco refinery in a Foreign Trade Zone [read: no import/export duties or taxes] so that it can then be shipped off to Europe and Latin America have anything to do with "our national security"?

Exporting Energy Security : Keystone XL Exposed
Interesting report. It contends that there is currently a glut of domestic oil in the US due to increasing vehicle efficiency and slow economic growth, so the real purpose of the K-XL is to make tarsands crude available to the FTZ refineries in Texas which are specifically set up to turn it into diesel for export.

Nothing to do with national security, nothing to do with energy independence, nothing to do with gasoline prices at the pump.
So who is it all you guys are working for again?

The Guardian : Koch company declared 'substantial interest' in Keystone XL pipeline
"In recent months Koch Industries Inc., the business conglomerate run by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, has repeatedly told a U.S. Congressional committee and the news media that the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline has "nothing to do with any of our businesses."
But the company has told Canadian energy regulators a different story.

In 2009, Flint Hills Resources Canada LP, an Alberta-based subsidiary of Koch Industries, applied for—and won—"intervenor status" in the National Energy Board hearings that led to Canada's 2010 approval of its 327-mile portion of the pipeline.

In the form it submitted to the Energy Board, Flint Hills wrote that it "is among Canada's largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters. Consequently, Flint Hills has a direct and substantial interest in the application" for the pipeline under consideration.
The Koch brothers own nearly all of Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the United States. The energy and manufacturing conglomerate earns an estimated $100 billion in annual revenue from its network of subsidiaries—a mix of oil, gas, pipeline, chemical, fertilizer and paper and pulp companies. In addition to its Canadian operation, Koch's Flint Hills subsidiary operates oil refineries in Alaska, Texas and Minnesota as well as a dozen fuel terminals in the Midwest and Texas.
The Koch brothers have donated millions to Republican candidates and conservative movements, bankrolling groups involved in Tea Party causes and in campaigns to deny climate change science and the need for cleaner energy."
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Monday, October 03, 2011

Steve plugs for Harper Hudak Ford TeaCon trifecta

At a barbecue this summer at Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's house, Steve lays out his hopes for a federal provincial GTA TeaCon sweep :



Flaherty endorses Hudak for premier; the National Post endorses Hudak for premier.

US Tea Party consultant Michael Prell, who bills himself as a "strategist for the Tea Party Patriots," has joined the campaign of Tim Hudak. (h/t Sabina Becker)

So how is Hudak's Ontario election campaign going? Oh, about as you would expect, as this Ontario Cons campaign flyer distributed across greater Toronto this last weekend shows :


Quotes are lifted completely and misleadingly out of context, I'm sure you will not be surprised to learn, from Corporate Television Vehicle and the Toronto District School Board Curriculum Resource Guide. Repeat : Resource Guide.

G&M : "The sex-ed curriculum being taught in schools is the one that has been in place since 1998 when the previous Tory government introduced it, and remains unchanged, the Liberals said in a statement on Monday."

That teeny tiny type at the bottom of the campaign flyer?
Click to enlarge : "Authorized by the C.F.O. for the Ontario PC Party."

Go, Hudak! Go, US Tea Party strategists!
Go, Harper Hudak Ford TeaCon Trifecta!
It's an election! Just make shit up!


Coincidentally, Charles McVety's Institute for Canadian Values(sic) - McVety himself being the very poster child for the need for anti-bullying programs in schools - ran a weirdly disgusting anti-gay anti-trans ad in the National Post on Sept 28 that the Natty Post later apologized for. Yesterday a similar version of the same McVety ad reappeared in the Toronto Sun.
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Update : Toronto Standard : Fact-checking Hudak's "Homophobic" Flyer
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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Tony Gazebo's new bizcard




Apparently Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird did not much care for the wordmark "Canada" being larger than his name on his business card so he had it deleted altogether and some goldleaf embossing added instead.



We can hardly wait to see Tony Gazebo's response on his new Treasury Board bizcard.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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