Posts from our progressive community

My Tribute To Those Who Fly At Night To Save Lives

Montreal Simon - Sat, 06/18/2016 - 00:29

These ORNGE air ambulances are a familiar sight in my neighbourhood, taking off or coming into land at the Toronto Island Airport.

And I like having them around, because my heroes are those who risk their lives to try to save the lives of others.

But three years ago one of them crashed in northern Ontario.

And it couldn't be a more tragic or more Canadian story.
Read more »

A Last Stand for Lelu

Creekside - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 21:05

The B.C. provincial government is trying to green light the construction of a massive LNG terminal on Lelu Island in the Skeena Estuary – Pacific Northwest LNG, backed by Malaysian energy giant Petronas  –  without the consent of the people who rejected a $1.15 billion dollar deal from Petronas to gain that consent.

The undersigned First Nation leaders and citizens of the Nine Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams hereby declare that Lelu Island, and Flora and Agnew Banks are hereby protected for all time, as a refuge for wild salmon and marine resources, and are to be held in trust for all future generations.Our ancestral knowledge, supported by modern science, confirms this area is critical to the future abundance of the wild salmon our communities rely on. It is our right and our responsibility as First Nations to protect and defend this place. It is our right to use this area without interference to harvest salmon and marine resources for our sustenance, and commercially in support of our livelihoods.We hereby extend an invitation to all First Nations, the governments of Canada and British Columbia, and all communities that depend on the health of Lelu Island, Flora and Agnew Banks and the Skeena River estuary, to join us in defending this unique and precious place, and to protect it for all time.Signed, on this day January 23, 2016, in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada.

Friday Evening Links

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 19:21
Assorted content to end your week.

- Ed Finn reminds us that "free trade" agreements have always served to increase the wealth and power of those who already have the most at the expense of social interests. And Scott Sinclair and Angella MacEwen each offer their take on Parliament's hearings into the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

- Meanwhile, Zach Dubinsky reports on another set of unfair deals which have allowed corporations to send profits offshore to avoid paying taxes with (primarily the Cons') government approval.

- But in case anybody expected the Libs to live up to any different set of principles, Mia Rabson points out Robert-Falcon Ouellette's craven politicking around a basic income - consisting of seeking media attention for his support for at least studying the concept before going along with a party-line vote against it. (And it's particularly striking that even the Con members of the finance committee were willing to support the motion - leaving the Libs alone to shoot it down.)

- Frances Baum, David Sanders, Matt Fisher, Julia Anaf, Nicholas Freudenberg, Sharon Friel, Ronald Labonté, Leslie London, Carlos Monteiro, Alex Scott-Samuel and Amit Sen examine the influence of multinational corporations on the health of individuals, while pointing out the desperate lack of any meaningful assessment on an organizational basis. 

- Finally, Teuila Fuatai discusses how Canada's employment insurance system is set up to disadvantage mothers in lower-earning families.

Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 16:25
Lumineers - Stubborn Love

Oh, I Don't Know, I Suppose They Think Slavery Isn't Good Enough for Them.

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 07:00
Young Americans are giving up on capitalism. That's the angle of an article from Foreign Policy. The report paints a grim but familiar scenario.

Imagine that you’re twenty years old. You were born in 1996. You were five years old on 9/11. For as long as you can remember, the United States has been at war.

When you are twelve, in 2008, the global economy collapses. After years of bluster and bravado from President George W. Bush — who encouraged consumerism as a response to terror — it seems your country was weaker than you thought.

In America, the bottom falls out fast. 

The adults who take care of you struggle to take care of themselves. Perhaps your parent loses a job. Perhaps your family loses its home.

In 2009, politicians claim the recession is over, but your hardship is not. Wages are stagnant or falling. The costs of health care, child care, and tuition continue to rise exponentially. Full-time jobs turn into contract positions while benefits are slashed. Middle-class jobs are replaced with low-paying service work. The expectations of American life your parents had when you were born — that a “long boom” will bring about unparalleled prosperity — crumble away.

Baby boomers tell you there is a way out: a college education has always been the key to a good job. But that doesn’t seem to happen anymore. The college graduates you know are drowning in student debt, working for minimum wage, or toiling in unpaid internships. Prestigious jobs are increasingly clustered in cities where rent has tripled or quadrupled in a decade’s time. You cannot afford to move, and you cannot afford to stay. Outside these cities, newly abandoned malls join long abandoned factories. You inhabit a landscape of ruin. There is nothing left for you.

Every now and then, people revolt. When you are fifteen, Occupy Wall Street captivates the nation’s attention, drawing attention to corporate greed and lost opportunity. Within a year, the movement fades, and its members do things like set up “boutique activist consultancies.” When you are seventeen, the Fight for 15 workers movement manages to make higher minimum wage a mainstream proposition, but the solutions politicians pose are incremental. No one seems to grasp the urgency of the crisis. Even President Barack Obama, a liberal Democrat — the type of politician who’s supposed to understand poverty — declares that the economy has recovered.

America's young, the 18-29 year olds are turning against capitalism, at least the predatory capitalism that is the hallmark of neoliberalism.

According to an April 2016 Harvard University poll, support for capitalism is at a historic low. 51 percent of Americans in this age cohort [18-29] reject it, while 42 percent support it. 33 percent say they support socialism. The Harvard poll echoes a 2012 Pew survey, in which 46 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds had a positive view of capitalism, and 47 percent a negative one. While older generations had a slightly more positive take on capitalism — topping out at 52 percent for the oldest cohort, citizens over 65 — youth had a markedly different take on socialism. 49 percent viewed it positively, compared to just 13 percent of those 65 or older.

Does this mean that the youth of America are getting ready to hand over private property to the state and round up the kulaks? No. As many of those who reported on the Harvard survey noted, the terms “socialism” and “capitalism” were never defined. After meeting with survey takers, John Della Volpe, the director of the Harvard poll,told the Washington Post that respondents did not reject capitalism inherently as a concept. “The way in which capitalism is practiced today, in the minds of young people — that’s what they’re rejecting,” he said.

American youth seem to be rejecting modern predatory capitalism that preys on their generation. What they seek is some restoration of New Deal democracy, what I like to call progressive democracy. 
Things older generations took for granted — promotions, wages that grow over time, a 40-hour work week, unions, benefits, pensions, mutual loyalty between employers and employees — are increasingly rare.

As a consequence, these basic tenets of American work life, won by labor movements in the early half of the twentieth century, are now deemed “radical.” In this context, Bernie Sanders, whose policies echo those of New Deal Democrats, can be deemed a “socialist” leading a “revolution”. His platform seems revolutionary only because American work life has become so corrupt, and the pursuit of basic stability so insurmountable, that modest ambitions — a salary that covers your bills, the ability to own a home or go to college without enormous debt — are now fantasies or luxuries.
You do not need a survey to ascertain the plight of American youth. You can look at their bank accounts, at the jobs they have, at the jobs their parents have lost, at the debt they hold, at the opportunities they covet but are denied. You do not need jargon or ideology to form a case against the status quo. The clearest indictment of the status quo is the status quo itself.

The crushing reality depicted in this article breathes life into Chris Hedges' contention that America is in a simmering, pre-revolutionary state. He argues that it's not a matter of if but when and then how bad will it be. Remember the Arab Spring uprisings were a result of several forces but youth disaffection was one of the most powerful. Sanders and Trump have shown that their country has a broad-based discontent that, when properly led, could be the kernel of open unrest that takes hold and spreads. 
Neoliberal capitalism with its hellspawn of globalism, inequality and oppression never was the "trickle down" cornucopia of prosperity and ease. It was, instead, a "trickle up" phenomenon where wealth was gradually sapped from the working classes, winding up in the laps of the 1%. It only took just 30 years for America to reach the point of economic feudalism.

Justin Trudeau and the Un-Googling of Stephen Harper

Montreal Simon - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 06:57

As you probably know I have been extremely pleased by the systematic way Justin Trudeau and his Liberals have been demolishing Stephen Harper's foul legacy.

Scrapping his monuments, deep sixing his fascist crime bills, taking out the garbage, and improving our image in the eyes of the world.

And in that regard this is another excellent move.
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An Impressive Debut

Politics and its Discontents - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 05:31
I don't feel much like writing lengthy posts these days. In the final analysis, as my literary friend Hamlet would say, they are just "words, words words." However, every so often I come across a video that seems more than worth sharing, as in the following.

Now is the season of commencements, and Grade 8 graduate from Arlington Heights Jack Aiello sets a new standard that will likely be hard to match for years to come. Showing a real capacity for mimicry and a surprisingly
mature understanding of U.S. politics, Jack uses the current presidential race to full advantage, as you will see. His Trump is priceless, and if you watch to the end, you will be stunned by his Bernie Sanders.

Recommend this Post

When Politics Becomes Reality TV

Northern Reflections - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 04:30

Kevin O'Leary wants to lead the Conservative Party of Canada. But, before they hand him the keys to the kingdom, the Conservatives would do well to examine the fate of another star of reality television -- who is spontaneously combusting. Micheal Harris writes:

Frothing-at-the-mouth populism is face-planting south of the border. The Donald is not only getting the big “F— you Donald Trump” from rocker Neil Young. He’s not only being told that he’s a fascist democracy-killer by the likes of Johnny Depp — in effect, according to the actor, the “last” president of the United States Americans will ever have if they’re foolish enough to elect him. He isn’t just being called out as a fake and a fraud by the Republican establishment, including the party’s last presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.
The polls seem to indicate that Young and Depp are not alone in their opinion of Trump:

Despite the Rosie O’Donnell treatment Trump has meted out to Hillary Clinton, the first woman running for the White House in American history leads the Donald by 12 points nationwide. Trump owns a 70 per cent disapproval rating with women; with Mexican Americans, the Donald’s disapproval soars to 89 percent — and when it comes to African Americans, the reality TV star is about as popular the Zika virus, with a stunning 94 per cent disapproval rating.
And then came Orlando:

Orlando was a train-wreck for Trump. Obama, he hinted, had not taken forceful action to stop domestic terrorism because he sides with Muslim extremists. It was an odd moment — a presidential candidate actually suggesting that a sitting U.S. president was in some way complicit with terrorists — was a traitor. As Bloomberg News reported, that “landed with a thud for the majority of Americans, with 61 per cent disagreeing with that suggestion.”

Trump also displayed what a horse’s ass he is when it comes to informed analysis of world events. In referring to the Orlando shooting, the Donald talked about the danger of allowing “thousands and thousands of Syrians into the country.” But the shooter Omar Mateen was an American citizen, born in Queens, New York. And his parents didn’t come from Syria, but Afghanistan.
You don't have to be smart to make it on Reality TV. You just need to be controversial -- the more the better. And, in the final analysis, everybody loses -- including the star.


Donald Trump and the Ask The Gays Outrage

Montreal Simon - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 02:18

As if it hasn't been a brutal enough week for the LBGT community. So many deaths, so much grief.

And so much anger over the way people like Donald Trump are using their tragedy and their pain to try to hurt others.

By whipping up hatred against Muslims, Mexican-Americans, refugees and others, while ignoring the hatred that killed their brothers and sisters. Homophobia, the beast that lives in so many.

So as you can imagine, this was like adding insult to injury.
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Let’s call this a Thursday rant…

Trashy's World - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 08:08
(… well, technically I am writing this on Wednesday night but it won’t pop up till tomorrow..) Rant # 1 – People on social media who make a fulltime job of bitching and complaining about everything. Like, EVERYTHING! A sampling from a scan of my City of Ottawa feeds this evening: There aren’t enough bike […]

Thursday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 07:54
This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Rafael Gomez and Juan Gomez offer a look at the state of Canadian workplace democracy, as well as some useful proposals to improve it.

- The New York Times editorial board points out how the U.S.' temporary worker programs are predictably being abused by employers to lower wages. And Sean Silcoff and Michelle Zilio report that the Trudeau Libs are going out of their way to make it easier for Canadian employers to do the same - even as their Labour Minister claims (at least in front of an audience of workers) that she'd prefer to rein in our reliance on temporary foreign workers.

- Rachel Obordo highlights the challenges facing young workers trying to pay increasingly inaffordable rents out of limited wages. Rayhanul Ibrahim discusses the contrast in spending patterns based on income, with the inability of poor individuals to afford durable goods standing out as a particularly stark difference. And Jim Tankersley points out that exactly that gap may exacerbate recessions as poorer people without sufficient social supports feel compelled to put off any spending during economic downturns.

- Andrew Nikiforuk examines some of the consequences of fracking which have resulted from dangerous development in the absence of meaningful study or regulation. And Katie Herzog discusses why we can expect the future to be shaped by renewable energy investment rather than by fossil fuels.

- Finally, Gus Van Harten studies the special privileges the Trans-Pacific Partnership would hand to the investor class at the expense of the general public.

New column day

accidentaldeliberations - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 07:36
Here, on the Senate's recent attempts to claim any relevance to Canadian politics, and what they should tell us about the failures of our actual elected representatives.

For further reading...
- OpenParliament's status report on Bill C-14 (featuring the votes from the House of Commons) is here. Catherine Tunney reported on the Senate's debate on amendments to Bill C-14, while John Paul Tasker follows up on its final vote.
- The report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce seeking to undermine provincial governance is here (PDF). And for background as to the absurdity of demanding wholesale limitations on government based on a small number of "barriers" which could best be addressed individually, see here, here and here among other examples.
- And finally, for more on the Trudeau Libs' refusal to develop a federal policy on climate change, see my past discussion here and here

The Amazing Youth Vote and How the Con Media Got It Wrong

Montreal Simon - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 05:33

About a year before the last election I decided the most useful thing I could do was to try to get as many young Canadians to vote as I could.

So together with many other people and organizations all over the country, I set out to convince them that if they didn't vote our country might die.

And their future could die with it.

And although I knew from the election results that it did work, now it's official.
Read more »

No Referendum

Northern Reflections - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 05:13

There is a lot of chatter -- particularly from the Conservatives -- about holding a referendum on electoral reform. Gerry Caplan doesn't think a referendum is a good idea. He writes:

To raise issues related to democracy is to raise the question of referendums (or referenda), which are favoured by the Conservatives. They insist only a referendum can legitimize something as fundamental to our democracy as changing our voting system. Presumably the Conservatives also believe a referendum would end up supporting the FPTP status quo, as they themselves do.
But there’s a huge problem here. As any sensible political scientist will attest, the legitimacy of a referendum depends to a substantial extent on the clarity of its language. It must not be too complex or raise issues that most voters will find baffling and thereby diminish the credibility of the result.
Consider the question which was used a few years ago in Ontario:
“Which electoral system should Ontario use to elect members to the provincial legislature?“The existing electoral system.
“The alternative electoral system proposed by the Citizens’ Assembly (Mixed Member Proportional).”
How many Ontarians were really familiar with what the Citizen's Assembly had proposed? The best solution -- after having a fair hearing on the subject in the revamped  parliamentary committee -- is to  choose one system and give it a trial run. If it doesn't work, it can be abandoned or tweaked. If it does work, we should keep it.
Image: the

The G20 Summit and the Police State in Toronto

Montreal Simon - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 02:36

It's been almost six years, but I'll never forget that weekend. The weekend of the G20 Summit in Toronto.

When they turned my neighbourhood into an armed camp, more than 1,000 people were arrested.

And I felt like I was living in a police state.

Read more »

The Trudeau Government and the Case of the Injured Veterans

Montreal Simon - Wed, 06/15/2016 - 22:43

As you know I think Justin Trudeau and his government are doing an amazing job of destroying Stephen Harper's foul legacy.

And have have made this country a better place to live in, as well as restoring our image abroad.

But that doesn't mean that I agree with everything they are doing.

And I definitely don't agree with this decision. 
Read more »

Pay to Play in BC with Postmedia real estate

Creekside - Wed, 06/15/2016 - 20:28

In June 2013, the ailing Vancouver Postmedia papers The Sun and The Province dumped 100 employees plus two out of four floors of their downtown Vancouver offices. 
Colliers International, "the biggest player in the domestic commercial real estate industry", subleased the two now empty floors.

The previous year, Colliers and Postmedia had launched their joint venture "Property Post", described in their presser as providing :
"up-to-the minute news, commentary, information and videos that are accessible via the Financial Post website and the online business sections of The Vancouver Sun, the Calgary Herald and the Edmonton Journal.

Property Post also features content provided by Colliers, including twitter feeds, videos, and industry reports. Property listings will be a key component, allowing Colliers to use the site to market properties on behalf of its clients."Ok, so it's a publisher-advertiser symbiotic partnership, similar to the one Postmedia proposed to CAPP a year later, providing Postmedia with revenue and Colliers with eyeballs :
"It is absolutely exciting," said Sudeep Balasubramanian, manager of digital sales at The Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers. "What we realize in terms of our digital strategy is that it is no longer just about selling advertising on a website.Postmedia will support the site with editorial content that will be anchored by the Financial Post, and each of The Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, and Edmonton Journal newsrooms. It will also showcase commentary by Financial Post business columnist Gary Marr, Postmedia reporters, and freelance writers." While enthusiastic quotes from Colliers spox are liberally sprinkled throughout both papers, it's not always easy to tell whether it's an embed when they wander into straight news stories. This story from last week, for instance, on evictions and demolitions as 106 office towers go up in Burnaby : 
Demovictions' rising as Burnaby towers do the same : quoting David Taylor of Colliers International :  "Burnaby has faced “less public opposition during rezoning” because ...the land is “primarily occupied by older rundown apartments where tenants have, seemingly, less influence with the city than single-family homeowners."Or this one about money from China being laundered through real estate : 
Chinese police run secret operations in B.C. to hunt allegedly corrupt officials and laundered money
"Kirk Kuester, executive managing director of Colliers International Vancouver, said the pool of money from Mainland China seeking investments in Metro Vancouver is so vast right now that he has to turn away potential clients.
“The money is staggering, quite honestly,” Kuester said. Kuester said, for example, that on Wednesday he had two or three potential clients with “half-a-billion” in private funds ready to put to work, but there are simply not big enough deals to satisfy them."In addition to two former floors of the former Pacific Press, Colliers International has ten offices in China.
Two years ago the BC Libs sold off 370 acres of Crown land on Burke Mountain at "$43 million less than its market value to allow Christy Clark to balance the budget", according to the NDP and a bureaucrat's leaked memo.
Colliers International won the marketing contract which saw the "fire sale" land bid go to WesBild. 
WesBild director Hassan Khosrowshahi has given $900,000 in donations to the B.C. Liberal Party since 2000, while Colliers International has only enriched the Libs by just over $100,000 in donations over 10 years. 

In BC there are no restrictions on private fundraisers or corporate donations or foreign donors or foreign ownership of farmland.  Last year the BC Liberals raked in $10 million in donations. 

Betrayal. The Debasement of the Liberal Government of Justin Trudeau.

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 06/15/2016 - 16:27

You just can't get much lower than to betray Canada's wounded veterans. Yet now we have Justin giving us another unwanted glimpse of his true Harperian nature.

His government is doing something that will rightfully disgust most Canadians. It is going to court to repeat the Harperian argument that Canada does not have a social contract or covenant to care for our war wounded.

My father lived with the benefit of that covenant from 1944 until his death seven years ago. He was horribly wounded in WWII while serving as an infantry lieutenant. Canada - at least my Canada as distinguished from this prime minister's - was on his side from the day he left the military hospital right to the day he died when we had to call to say the cleaning lady would no longer be needed.

The only way the relationship between the disabled vet and the nation can work is a covenant. Harper thought he could have somebody do some math and just write a cheque, sending the disabled vet on his way. That's not the way it works.

A veteran usually takes some time to recover, to get back on his feet (if he still has them).  Then he might do pretty well for a while, ten or twenty years. Maybe, maybe not. He may be just fine one day and collapse in a pool of blood at death's doorstep the next. And then as he gets old those wounds return. The normal aging process and decline can  quickly turn tougher, more dangerous.

The VA people used to be proactive. They didn't wait for you to ask. They checked, found out how you were doing and what you needed, figured out what they could do to help. If, as in my dad's case, the veteran winds up caring for his elderly spouse, that can be a real bugger. When that happened the VA people stepped in to shoulder part of the load.

It's the government that makes the call to send these people into harm's way. When they make that decision, knowing that some will die and some will be maimed, the country takes on a solemn responsibility to those soldiers and to their families. These people can be ordered into situations where their death is probable, at times even certain. We don't put civilians in that situation. There's a difference. It's in that fundamental difference that the covenant arises. It is beyond shameful for a government to deny it.

I Know. I'm Sorry. Still, It Has To Be Said.

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 06/15/2016 - 10:22

I'm posting this because it illustrates the predicament we've got ourselves in and what might be entailed to get ourselves out of it. I know you don't want to read this but it's important, vitally important and so I feel obliged to post it anyway. I almost feel like I should be apologizing for this.

The planet is reeling from loss of biodiversity. This is a problem that reaches from lowly microbes to the largest lifeforms on Earth. Species are falling extinct at rates wildly above normal and far beyond sustainable. Surveys of non-human life of all sorts, marine and terrestrial, have found that life on Earth has declined by half since the 1970s. Our stocks of terrestrial life and down by half. Our stocks of marine life are down by half. In case you're wondering, they're still in decline also.

Along comes E.O. Wilson, a world class biologist, who has a way to fix all this. He wants us to set half the world aside for all other forms of life. Humans get half. Nature gets half. That goes for our oceans too.

The reason why half is the answer, according to Wilson, is located deep in the science of ecology.

“The principal cause of extinction is habitat loss. With a decrease of habitat, the sustainable number of species in it drops by (roughly) the fourth root of the habitable area,” Wilson wrote via email, referencing the species-area curve equation that describes how many species are capable of surviving long-term in a particular area.

By preserving half of the planet, we would theoretically protect 80% of the world’s species from extinction, according to the species-area curve. If protection efforts, however, focus on the most biodiverse areas (think tropical forests and coral reefs), we could potentially protect more than 80% of species without going beyond the half-Earth goal. In contrast, if we only protect 10% of the Earth, we are set to lose around half of the planet’s species over time. This is the track we are currently on.

Nice idea but there are snags. The biggest snag is that humanity, as we're constituted today, can't live with just half of Earth. The reason that our stocks of marine and terrestrial life have plummeted by half over the past four decades is because of us. We're taking so much of everything that there's not enough for everything else and so their numbers have to plummet.
In an essay for Aeon, Robert Fletcher and Bram Büscher, both social scientists with Wageningen University in the Netherlands, dub Wilson’s idea “truly bizarre.”

“For all his zeal, (misplaced) righteousness and passion, his vision is disturbing and dangerous,” they write. “It would entail forcibly herding a drastically reduced human population into increasingly crowded urban areas to be managed in oppressively technocratic ways. How such a global programme of conservation Lebensraum would be accomplished is left to the reader’s imagination.”

Did you get that? Wilson's solution would be truly dystopian beginning with a massive cull of humanity. Some calculations have concluded that Earth's human carrying capacity is just under 3 billion. Half an Earth then might need us to get down to 1.5 billion. We're nearing 7.5 billion now so that would be a cull of most of humanity and as much as 80%. Or we could go full-bore Blade Runner and cram billions more into chronic urban density.
The point, however, is that the way we're living now will not continue. This graphic from 2014 produced by the Global Footprint Network illustrates our ecological dilemma.

In 2014 we had reached the point where we, mankind, were consuming the equivalent of 1.5 times our planet's capacity for renewable resource replenishment. We needed one and a half planet Earths to support our consumption. Today that has reached the 1.7 point. By 2050 we'll hit 3.0 - except we won't. 
In the course of hunting down that graphic I came across this post from October, 2014 about a gathering of Nobel laureates who met annually to evaluate the state of our planet. They called for "revolutionary change" saying there was no other path.
The state of affairs is “catastrophic”, Peter Doherty, 1996 co-winner of the Nobel prize for medicine, said in a blunt appraisal.

From global warming, deforestation and soil and water degradation to ocean acidification, chemical pollution and environmentally-triggered diseases, the list of planetary ailments is long and growing, Doherty said.

...The worsening crisis means consumers, businesses and policymakers must consider the impact on the planet of every decision they make, he said.

Underpinning their concern are new figures highlighting that humanity is living absurdly beyond its means.

...“The peril seems imminent,” said US-Australian astrophysicist Brian Schmidt, co-holder of the 2011 Nobel physics prize for demonstrating an acceleration in the expansion of the universe.

We are poised to do more damage to the Earth in the next 35 years than we have done in the last 1,000.”

It's well known that people, even progressives, tune out to reports dealing with the environment or climate change. The "head in the sand" approach guarantees one result and only one.

Making Sure Connie Can't Give Them the Slip, Except He Might Have Already

The Disaffected Lib - Wed, 06/15/2016 - 09:29

Is he still Lord Black of Crossharbour? Doesn't really matter. The Canada Revenue Agency has slapped a lien on Conrad Black's Toronto mansion to secure the $31-million he apparently owes in Canadian and U.S. taxes.

Documents filed in Federal Court proceedings related to the liens reveal that Mr. Black, who gave up his Canadian citizenship to sit in the British House of Lords, has little money left in his Canadian bank accounts and has made no attempt to renew a temporary residence permit that expires in September.

The documents say that Mr. Black, who has sold all his property in the United States and Britain, has refused to provide a bank letter of credit to secure his income tax debt on the sale of his Toronto mansion at 26 Park Lane Circle.

“It is open to Black, and would be relatively easy to move his funds, including liquidated equity from Park Lane, offshore and relocate abroad at any time, thereby jeopardizing the collection of his tax,” the revenue agency said.

Mr. Black owes $12.3-million in taxes to the Canadian government and $19.3-million to the U.S. tax department, according to the documents. As of March 11, 2016, he had balances of $38,900 and $6,834 U.S. in his Canadian bank accounts, despite large lump-sum payments made to him over the previous two years.

...The documents also show an unusual arrangement in the sale of Mr. Black’s mansion, which is now on hold. The undisclosed price was $14-million, which was $5-million less than an appraisal commissioned by Canada Revenue Agency.

Revenue investigator Jon-Paul Rebellato said in the court documents that the unnamed buyer agreed to lease the mansion back to Mr. Black at an annual rent of $155,000. The sale included a verbal agreement with the purchaser to give Mr. Black 50 per cent of the proceeds of any future sale of the property.

Mortgages on the 23,000-square-foot house, nestled on 6.6 acres, amount to $13-million.

Something, as you might have guessed, is not right here. Connie's tapped? No money in the bank. A 14-million dollar property subject to a 13-million dollar mortgage? The guy owes 31-million in outstanding taxes. AND HE'S NOT BANKRUPT? His creditors, the Canadian and U.S. governments haven't petitioned Black into bankruptcy so they can go after his worldwide assets, find out where everything (if there is anything) is hidden?

Something is not adding up.


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