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Divernan's Journal
Divernan's Journal
December 20, 2013

Chinese Goliath has invested BILLIONS in private Canadian energy interests.

The peoples of the First Nation and Canadian environmentalists are truly David versus Goliath, particularly with Prime Minister Harper's conservative government support for this dirty oil pipeline.
From the OP link:

"The Northern Gateway Project is being vehemently opposed by Indigenous Peoples who will not put their territories, waters and communities at risk," Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. "We are prepared to go to the wall against this project. We have no choice."

Meanwhile, China's growing economy is hungry for Canadian oil. Chinese state-owned companies have invested billions in Canadian energy in the past few years.

"They follow this quite closely," said Wenran Jiang, an energy expert and special adviser to Alberta's Department of Energy.

He said Canada's regulator hasn't put any major conditions on the approval.

Here is an excellent, detailed and really shocking article spelling out how Canadian PM Harper has gutted environmental regulation, assessment, oversight and enforcement across the board in Canada, and in particular in regard to the dirty oil pipeline:

The Harper Conservatives and Their Dirty Oil Pipeline

The Harper Conservative majority government has “streamlined” the environmental assessment process to speed up development, by removing 3,000 projects from review by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA). Of course, nationwide, the big one that is still in there is the Enbridge “Northern Gateway” pipeline to carry tar sands crude from Alberta to Kitimat, BC, which this Alberta-based government wants very badly.

What is at stake environmentally is discussed in an Oct 7th Toronto Star article titled ‘Why Northern Gateway shouldn’t go near Great Bear Rainforest,’ by John Honderich, Chair of the Toronto Star‘s Board of Directors. It points out that recent legislation weakening the federal government’s obligation to do environmental protection is more than anything else aimed at preventing environmentalists, native groups, and the BC provincial government from blocking or delaying the construction of this pipeline which is intended to carry dirty tar sands oil from Alberta to Kitimat, BC to go onto oil tankers bound for the Asian market. The article notes that “the fierce opposition of the Coastal First Nations to the project is well known” and their rights to the land have never been ceded. The tankers departing from Kitimat would pass through dangerous waters: first the 2-3 km wide 70 km long Douglas Channel and then around 27 km long Gil Island with the channel narrowing by half. It was at the northern tip of Gil Island where in 2006 the BC Ferry Queen of the North missed a turn, ran onto the rocks, and sank. It is true that cargo vessels, e.g. ore carriers, have been carrying commercial cargo along this route for decades, but modern supertankers have never done so, and they are six to seven times as long as a typical ore carrier and need at least half a kilometre to alter course. Furthermore, a load of bauxite sinking to the bottom of the channel is much less of an environmental threat than “a supertanker disgorging millions of litres of molasses-like bitumen.” This area is the world’s second largest temperate rainforest, called the Great Bear Rainforest because of the spectacular population of black, grizzly, and kermode bears that live off the abundant salmon runs. By comparison, tankers loading at Valdez, Alaska and going out through Prince William Sound have it easy and safe: the exit from Valdez Arm and past Bligh Reef (where the Exxon Valdez went aground) into open Prince William Sound is about 30 km, and the tankers are always escorted by tugs. Two tugs escort each laden tanker through Prince William Sound and remain at Hinchinbrook Entrance until the vessel is twenty-seven kilometres out to sea. Will tugs escort tankers from Kitimat to the open sea? The nearest Coast Guard is in Prince Rupert, 135 km northwest of Gil Island.

There has been an informal moratorium on all oil tanker traffic off the coast of BC since 1972, renewed by the House of Commons in 2010 after the Harper government said there was no official moratorium. As for the Northern Gateway pipeline, all we have been told is that Enbridge, the pipeline’s owner, says it has a foolproof plan to manage all this. The area is one of the richest and most productive ecosystems on the planet, all based on the salmon. It is critical habitat for seventeen types of marine mammals, including the endangered blue, fin, right, sei and orca whales. Rivers critical for sixty percent of BC’s multi-million-dollar salmon catch run through the region.

During this year there has been a gutting of Environment Canada and Fisheries & Oceans Canada. Scientists whose research might conclude environmental damage have been fired. (Not “de-funded” because some of them are internationally renowned and could attract funding, and the Harper government doesn’t want that.) Government scientists are now followed around at international conferences by “minders” who make sure they don’t speak out of turn. Submitted papers that don’t follow the industry line are excluded. I experienced that personally – a submitted paper critical of massive dispersants use, as happened in the Gulf of Mexico, was rejected for a regular session of an Environment Canada conference in Vancouver, as too political and not really a technical paper. However, many papers promoting the use of dispersants were presented by industry and government attendees. The UK newspaper The Guardian published an article by their US environment correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg about a revolt by Canada’s leading scientists against sweeping cuts to government research labs and the government’s pro-industry policies, saying that Harper is accused of pushing through a slew of policies weakening or abolishing environmental protections – with an aim of expanding development of natural resources such as the Alberta tar sands. (N.B.: This is not Canadian partisan opinion.)

[The Oct 7th Toronto Star article is at : www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1267961—why-northern-gateway-shouldn-t-go-near-great-bear-rainforest ]
From issue #63

December 9, 2013

Clinton's made over $50 million in fees from Big Corporate interests since leaving oval office.

We're talking personal income - not to mention the millions corporations have shelled out to the Clinton Foundation. Corporations consider those speaking fees/"donations" to be "good value" as the Brits would say, in that they will reap far more in tax cuts & loopholes, gutted safety regulations, no-bid govt. contracts, etc., should Hillary get in the Oval Office.

You'd think with over $50 million and a bad heart, he might choose to relax and enjoy what life he has left. What gives him joy is making ever more money and living the jet set life with the other one percenters.

December 5, 2013

Those few social issues are de minimis tokens compared to rampant corporate/1% favoritism.

And dangled to serve as low cost distractions. We have been jerked around for years by threats posed by Obama's catfood commission and multiple negotiations when it's deliberately "leaked" that chained CPI and other cuts to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are always on Obama's negotiating table and part of his grand plan. We're expected to tug our forelocks like a bunch of serfs and be grateful that so far the status quo has remained and these threatened changes have not been implemented? Meanwhile the current index used to calculate COLA in no way accurately or fairly reflects or properly weights the budget elements for seniors/retired Americans. Yes the formula for COLAs should be changed, but to make it MORE in line with financial reality, not less so.

ACA will be a great improvement for many, but it is NOT single payer and benefits Big Insurance by forcing many to buy their policies.

Protecting gays & women in the military is the right thing to do, but it conveniently does not cost the govt. anything to do so, and attracts no MIC special interests lobbying against it because there's no profit in those discriminations, and making the military more attractive to women/LGBT increases the reserve of cannon fodder for wars.

And America's "minimum wage" (emphasis on the MINIMUM) remains inhumane and disgraceful.

The last legislated increases in the federal minimum wage, in 2007 and 2008, raised it by steps from $5.15 in 2006 to $7.25 in 2009. That produced the highest purchasing power for the minimum wage since 1981 — but that was still less than its value in 1967.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/12/04/4668634/minimum-wage-increase-gets-a-push.html#storylink=cpy

If the minimum wage had grown at the same rate as the earnings of the top one percent of Americans the federal wage floor would be more than triple the current hourly minimum of $7.25. Instead, the minimum wage has been lower than a poverty wage ever since 1982.

The New York Times compiled those and other basic facts about the minimum wage into an infographic. Together with demographic data about who actually holds minimum-wage jobs — less than a quarter of the minimum-wage workforce are teenagers, and nearly four in ten are over the age of 30 — the graphic makes the fundamental case for fighting inequality and economic hardship by raising the minimum wage. The horizontal red line in the Times graphic indicates the hourly wage necessary for a single parent working full-time with one child to avoid poverty.


In the years since Bill Clinton left office, he's increased his personal (personal, NOT the Clinton Foundation) wealth by over $50 million. But the purchasing power of minimum wage employees has remained below the poverty level. What's wrong with this picture? Who's part of the one percent? Does anyone seriously believe that corporations and big money interests would be paying his exorbitant personal speaking fees OR contributing to his Foundation if they did not anticipate the possibility that the Clintons would regain the White House and remember who bankrolled them personally and politically?

November 24, 2013

Warren doesn't have Clinton's tangled web of financial/political payback obligations.

In college Mrs. Clinton was president of the Young Republicans & supported election of several moderate Republicans - John Lindsay, Edward Brooke; interned for Rep. Gerald Ford and the House Republican Conference and campaigned for Nelson Rockefeller. In 1968, when she was 21 and after years of political involvement, she attended the GOP convention in Miami where she was upset by Nixon's dirty tricks campaign attacks on Rockefeller & left the GOP party.

In Carl Bernstein's 2007 book, A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton (Alfred Knopf. ISBN 0-375-40766-9), he quotes from a letter she wrote to her youth minister, "she described herself as "a mind conservative and a heart liberal." (p. 50). Bernstein states she believed this combination was possible and that no equation better describes the adult Hillary Clinton.

I think Bernstein's opinion is valid. However, over the years, her support for liberal issues has become quite muted and taken a very distant back seat to her commitment to the MIC, Big Banking and the other "big" corporate interests which have funded Clinton family activities since Bill left office, to the tune that he now has accumulated a personal wealth of over $50 million dollars, in addition to all the millions "donated" to the Clinton Foundation and funding the very lavish life style the Clintons lead while involved in any remotely connected Foundation activities. Here are headline & sub-headlines of a recent article:

Bill Clinton's charities spent more than $50m on travel expenses in the past decade even though he regularly uses a billionaire pal's private jets. Former President Clinton runs a number of charities under his name that are focused on eradicating world health problems
An internal audit showed that the charities spent more than $50m on travel expenses since 2003, including $12.1m in 2011 alone
Rooting out inefficiencies in time for Hillary to decide whether she is going to run for office in 2016

This article is very detailed with fascinating examples of how the Clinton Foundation threw money donated for charity into expenses like flying a politically active movie star and her dog first class to an event. It also illustrates how the Clintons have failed to separate their non-profit charity from political involvement benefiting GOP candidates:

By using grocery-store magnate John Catsimatitis’ plane for trips- like his recent one with Chelsea to South Africa last month- the charities either pay a discounted rate to Catsimatitis or he writes the expense off as a charitable donation.

Such close ties to the Republican billionaire also shows another reason why the Clintons have been actively staying away from the ongoing New York City mayoral race, as Catsimatitis is running as a Republican against a number of Hillary Clinton’s former colleagues from her days in the Senate- not to mention her longtime aide Huma Abedin’s husband, Anthony Weiner.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2398355/Bill-Clintons-charities-spent-50m-travel-expenses-past-decade-regularly-uses-billionaire-pals-private-jet.html#ixzz2lZEZDaRQ

The Clintons have the most tangled political/financial web of any US political dynasty ever. And all those invisible strings leading back to the corporate "donors" to the Clinton Foundation will be in place and calling the shots if there is another Clinton presidency.

See also:

November 18, 2013

Clinton's campaign song: Let's Do the Time Warp Again!

Try to quote accurate, current numbers/stats, including links, would you PLEASE?

I just caught Rocky Horror Picture Show on cable over Halloween, and your inflated numbers brought to mind this song: Let's Do the Time Warp Again. The world has changed and the web is enlightening people about corporate greed. A lifelong Republican neighbor, with whom I generally avoid any political conversation, spontaneously brought up how frightened she is for her adult kids and young adult grandkids by corporate greed and politicians selling out to corporate interests.


It's just a jump to the left,
and then a step to the right.
Put your hands on your hips;
and bend your knees in tight ...

We need a candidate who appeals to independents and young voters, and Clinton's approval ratings with those 2 groups dropped to 35% and 38% respectively. She couldn't take the primary in 2008 and she's become more identified with corporatist/militarist interests since then. You know it. I know it. Major potential voting blocks know it. The only thing keeping her in the game are the bloated contributions made possible by Citizens United.
November 17, 2013

Squeeze play on Boeing machinists/union is reality elites failed to feel

A column in today's Seattle Times discusses how Boeing's machinist union was let down by WA. Governor Inslee and Senator Murray. Bottom line, record profit-making corporation says give up your pensions and significant part of health care benefits, or we're out of here, and the corporation was cheered on by Washington's governor, senator and other lifetime pensioners holding public office.


Boeing, you get $9 billion. Politicians, you get a “big win” to hail at news conferences. And workers, you get to cancel your pensions. Deal?

Last Sunday I noted how the head of Boeing, Jim McNerney, is set to draw a pension that pays a quarter-million dollars per month. Gov. Inslee, Sen. Murray and the rest of the public officials extolling this deal also have nice, safe pensions. That’s fine, but they ought to know how grating it sounds when this same elite class finds it imperative that workers — and only the workers — should unwind their retirement security.

“I know change can be hard,” Boeing commercial jet president Ray Conner sympathized. Especially when only one party to a deal is being asked to change!

People say the Machinists are blind to how good they have it. Probably so. But be honest: If your boss said to you, “Hey we’re making record profits, and paying ourselves phantasmagorical amounts, but to remain a going concern we must cut your retirement,” how would you react?

November 17, 2013

"More Fun With Bill & Hill" or, w/friends like Bill, who needs enemies? Explosive piece.

A biting examination and analysis of Bill Clinton's motives for his comments re President Obama, published in today's international New York Times edition.


BEFORE President Obama administered his fix to the Affordable Care Act last week and even before it was clear that he was leaning that way, Bill Clinton piped up, opining that Obama should honor his claim that Americans with insurance they liked could keep it. This advice wasn’t exactly solicited. And inasmuch as it gave detractors of Obama and Obamacare a fresh cudgel, it wasn’t terribly helpful, either.
. . . . . . .
You can alternately view what he (Clinton) said as payback. He’s no doubt aware of a widely publicized nugget from the new book “Double Down: Game Change 2012,” which reports that Obama finds him a tad insufferable, the guest who overstays his welcome, and has said that he’s best savored “in doses.” So he gave Obama a dose all right. It was more vinegar than honey, with just the slightest trace of arsenic.
. . . . . .
Or you can view what happened last week in grandly strategic and utterly gallant terms, which is where things really get interesting and which may be the most accurate appraisal of all. Clinton is looking to 2016, and he’s helping Hillary. It’s less dicey for him than for her to second-guess Obama, which could wind up being a prerequisite to succeeding him. His presidency at this particular moment looks more and more like one of those unlucky Florida homes perched unsuspectingly over a sinkhole. Soon only the top of the chimney will be visible.
. . . . . . .
And in precisely the way that he sometimes makes Obama seem tepid, he could outshine Hillary, inadvertently or not. A friend of mine who went to a public event of hers last week was blown away by how not blown away he was. Amid all of the Hillary hullabaloo, he’d forgotten that she’s no dynamo on the stump. Many Democrats overlook this, but not the ones whispering sweet encouragements in Elizabeth Warren’s ear. Part of what they see in Warren — and part of what they believe could make her a spoiler — is a sizzle that doesn’t come as naturally to Hillary.
November 16, 2013

Japan postpones removal of Fukushima atomic fuel rods

Source: Euronews

The operators of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have postponed the extremely complicated and difficult task of removing damaged atomic rods.

Kazuaki Matsui, the executive director of Japan’s Institute of Applied Energy said: “It’s very difficult to remove a spent rod because parts of the wall and the bottom of the reactor are all melted. We’ve never had to deal with this before so that adds to the complication.”

Meanwhile, decontamination workers say mismanagement is to blame for the delay of radiation removal work.

The inital plan called for the clean-up in the affected towns to be finished by March this year but the government now says the work will be delayed by as much as three years.

Read more: http://www.euronews.com/2013/11/15/japan-postpones-removal-of-fukushima-atomic-fuel-rods/

Earlier this month a delay of "a couple of weeks" was announced to allow for a "test" removal. At that time, by way of robot video, new leaks were discovered, as well as that one of the fuel assemblies was damaged and bent out of shape. The current delay is apparently indefinite. In other words, nobody's figured out what to do!

Postponed: Fuel removal attempt at Fukushima Unit 4 delayed, possibly for weeks — Gov’t safety agency wants tests conducted, as another ~M5 quake hits Eastern Japan http://enenews.com/postponed-fuel-removal-attempt-at-fukushima-unit-4-delayed-possibly-for-weeks-govt-safety-agency-wants-tests-conducted

The Japan Times, Nov 4, 2013: Tepco to conduct fuel removal test at reactor 4 [...] Tokyo Electric Power Co. will conduct a fuel removal test at the No. 4 reactor building of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant, delaying the start of the actual operation by up to two weeks, sources close to the matter said Monday.

November 16, 2013

Conlin Concedes: Seattle Elects Sawant as First Socialist Councilmember

Source: KUOW-FM, Puget Sound/Seattle radio

Longtime Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin conceded his seat to challenger Kshama Sawant late Friday after Sawant's lead widened to 1,640 votes, or 50.3 percent.

Sawant becomes the first Socialist elected to the city council. Her grassroots campaign focused on a $15 minimum wage, rent control in a city with rising rents, and a millionaires' tax to fund transportation. Sawant has a Ph.D. in economics, and has taught economics at Seattle Central Community College. She's been active in the Occupy Seattle movement.

Sawant ran as a Socialist Alternative. She previously ran unsuccessfully for House Speaker Frank Chopp's seat in 2012. She won 29 percent of the vote in that race, which put her on the map. She had been steadily gaining on Conlin since election night when she trailed by more than 7 percent of the vote.

At City Hall on Friday night, Conlin said it’s not alarming to have a Socialist on the Seattle City Council because “when we think of socialism, we think of Sweden, and that's a pretty good model."

Read more: http://kuow.org/

You go Seattle! Cutting edge again!
November 14, 2013

777X In Danger: Machinists Reject Boeing Contract

Source: KUOW Puget Sound/Seattle

Boeing’s machinists have rejected the company’s proposed contract, with 67 percent of union members opposed.

Members said they are calling the aerospace giant’s bluff – they expect the company to renegotiate the contract deal instead of building the 777X jet somewhere else. At least 20,000 area Boeing jobs are at stake. The vote, which was closely watched by state lawmakers, was about more than just compensation for the 31,000 machinists. Boeing had repeatedly threatened that it would move production of the 777X out of state if the machinists didn't approve the contract.

Under the proposed eight-year contract, Boeing would stop contributing to the machinists’ pensions in 2016, and workers’ health care costs would increase. If the machinists had approved the contract, they would have received a $10,000 bonus by the holidays.

Whether the company was bluffing ahead of the vote was difficult to gauge. The machinists in the Puget Sound region are highly skilled, a fact highlighted by the delays and technical problems that turned the 787 Dreamliner – built in South Carolina – into a public relations nightmare.

Read more: http://kuow.org/post/777x-danger-machinists-reject-boeing-contract

I'm proud of the union members who refused individual bribes/"bonuses" of $10,000 each to vote against a contract which stripped them of their pensions & jacked up health care costs. Boeing is in deep shit in the operation it moved to South Carolina with masses of untrained, unskilled workers, costs overrides, canceled contracts, etc.

Airbus is beating Boeing's ass in recent sales and is considering opening an operation in Washington state to take advantage of the wealth of experienced workers shafted by Boeing.

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