Criteria for links

I have decided to yank some of my blog’s links. The reason for that is that those links lead to sites where there is no opportunity for open public interaction (commenting). Sites that allow only Facebook users to comment are included in my ban. You besmirch your progressive credentials when the commenting you allow on your website disallows all but Facebook users.

It may be the case that some sites are more amenable to allowing commenting than others. I have done my best to judge whether a site can be forgiven for talking at us rather than communicating with us and allowing public reader commenting. To be more accurate, Sites that allow commenting are not necessarily sites where authors communicate with readers, while readers are communicating with each other, but I will assume that authors are free to. There’s not a whole lot of interaction between journos and readers even where it’s allowed, probably for a variety of reasons, including ego and professional considerations.

My blog gets little attention, so it may not matter in the least to those affected. I really don’t care. I do what I do regardless. A yanked link may or may not indicate that I have a problem with the individual or organization (and, obviously, If I had the link to begin with, then I find something of value there). Some of the sites I’ve yanked links for (A Socialist In Canada – Roger Annis), I quite like. Regardless, If you want me to advertize your site, then demonstrate (as in ‘do’) democracy on your website and don’t give me excuses for not doing so.

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See Below This Sticky (OpenMedia etc) For NEW CONTENT

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The Avalanche – Snapshot 8 – Dec 7, ’17

“Fukushima Darkness – part 1 of a 2-part series” by Robert Hunziker

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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The radiation effects of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant triple meltdowns are felt worldwide, whether lodged in sea life or in humans, it cumulates over time. The impact is now slowly grinding away only to show its true colors at some unpredictable date in the future…

According to Japanese government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) estimates, decommissioning is a decade-by-decade work-in-progress, most likely four decades at a cost of up to ¥21 trillion ($189B). However, that’s the simple part to understanding the Fukushima nuclear disaster story. The difficult painful part is largely hidden from pubic view via a highly restrictive harsh national secrecy law (Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, Act No. 108/2013), political pressure galore, and fear of exposing the truth about the inherent dangers of nuclear reactor meltdowns. Powerful vested interests want it concealed.

Following passage of the 2013 government secrecy act, which says that civil servants or others who “leak secrets” will face up to 10 years in prison, and those who “instigate leaks,” especially journalists, will be subject to a prison term of up to 5 years, Japan fell below Serbia and Botswana in the Reporters Without Borders 2014 World Press Freedom Index. The secrecy act, sharply criticized by the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations, is a shameless act of buttoned-up totalitarianism at the very moment when citizens need and, in fact, require transparency…

Meanwhile, the world nuclear industry has ambitious growth plans, 50-60 reactors currently under construction, mostly in Asia, with up to 400 more on drawing boards. Nuke advocates claim Fukushima is well along in the cleanup phase so not to worry as the Olympics are coming in a couple of years, including events held smack dab in the heart of Fukushima, where the agricultural economy will provide fresh foodstuff.

The Olympics are PM Abe’s major PR punch to prove to the world that all-is-well at the world’s most dangerous, and out of control, industrial accident site. And, yes, it is still out of control…

…Which prompts a question: What criteria did the International Olympic Committee (IOC) follow in selecting Japan for the 2020 Summer Olympics in the face of three 100% nuclear meltdowns totally out of control? On its face, it seems reckless…

Indeed, Japan is a totalitarian corporate state where corporate interests are protected from liability by layers of subcontractors and by vested interests of powerful political bodies and extremely harsh state secrecy laws. As such, it is believed that nuclear safety and health issues, including deaths, are under-reported and likely not reported at all in most cases.
= ====

The scam perpetrated here by the professionals who make up the International Olympic Committee is horrendous. While all the scammers involved will profit from the Olympics in 2020, the athletes who they will ‘honor’, and the attendees (including, amazingly and presumably, many of the scammers themselves) at the games, will be sacrificed, given over to whatever ill effects may come from exposure to an environment that has experienced a nuclear meltdown at a nuclear plant that, as author Robert Hunzicker notes, is not at all under control.

“Fukushima Darkness – Part 2 of a 2-Part Series” by Robert Hunziker

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The impact of Fukushima Daiichi’s nuclear meltdown extends far and wide, as the hemispheric ecosystem gets hit by tons of radioactive water. Additionally, surreptitiousness surrounds untold death and illness, yet it remains one of the least understood and deceitfully reported episodes of journalism in modern history.

At the same time as Japan passed its totalitarian secrecy act in December 2013, it passed an obstructive Cancer Registration Law, which made it illegal to share medical data or information on radiation-related issues, denying public access to medical records, with violators subject to fines of two million Yen or 5-10 years in prison, a pretty stiff penalty for peeking into medical records, giving the appearance of somebody running scared.

Furthermore, and more egregiously yet, a confidentiality agreement to control medical information about radiation exposure was signed in January 2014 by IAEA, UNSCEAR, and Fukushima Prefecture and Fukushima Medical University. Thereafter, all info of illness from radiation is reported to a central repository run by Fukushima Medical Centre and IAEA. In turn, the Fukushima Centre for Environmental Creation was created in 2015 to communicate “accurate information on radiation to the public and dispel anxiety.” Ahem!

60 Minutes‘ Scott Pelley (11/19/17) introduces a report on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen–without mentioning the US role in the conflict.

“Ignoring Washington’s Role in Yemen Carnage, 60 Minutes Paints US as Savior” by Adam Johnson

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In one of the most glaring, power-serving omissions in some time, CBS News’ 60 Minutes (11/19/17) took a deep dive into the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and did not once mention the direct role the United States played in creating, perpetuating and prolonging a crisis that’s left over 10,000 civilians dead, 2 million displaced, and an estimated 1 million with cholera…

Meanwhile, Iran’s involvement in the conflict—which, even by the most paranoid estimates, is far less than the United States’—is placed front and center as one side of the “war.”

Some would say that Iran’s involvement is actually zero.

CNN (11/14/17) does not bring up the US role in allowing people to be sold.

“Media Erase NATO Role in Bringing Slave Markets to Libya” by Ben Norton

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

CNN (11/14/17) published an explosive story in mid-November that offered a firsthand look at the slave trade in Libya. The media network obtained terrifying video that shows young African refugees being auctioned, “big strong boys for farm work,” sold for as little as $400.

The flashy CNN multimedia report included bonuses galore: two videos, two animated gifs, two photos and a chart. But something was missing: The 1,000-word story made no mention of NATO, or the 2011 war that destroyed Libya’s government, or Muammar Qadhafi, or any kind of historical and political context whatsoever…

While it is true that slavery and human trafficking happen in other countries, this widespread media narrative depoliticizes the problem in Libya, which has its roots in explicit political decisions made by governments and their leaders: namely, the choice to overthrow Libya’s stable government, turning the oil-rich North African nation into a failed state ruled by competing warlords and militias, some of which are involved in and profit from slavery and trafficking…

Corporate media reporting on Libya largely mirrors reporting on Yemen (, 11/20/17, 8/31/17, 2/27/17), Syria (, 4/7/17, 9/5/15) and beyond: The role of the US government and its allies in creating chaos abroad is minimized, if not outright ignored…

Looking back at Libya’s anti-Qadhafi rebels, both during and after the 2011 war, it is very clear that hardline anti-black racism was widespread in the NATO-backed opposition. A 2016 investigation by the British House of Common’s Foreign Affairs Committee (Salon, 9/16/16) acknowledged that “militant Islamist militias played a critical role in the rebellion from February 2011 onwards.” But many rebels were not just fundamentalist; they were also violently racist.

“Assaults on Journalists in West Bank and Occupied Jerusalem” by Vanessa Beeley

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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The Journalist Support Committee condemned the Israeli occupation forces’ attacks on Palestinian journalists who were carrying out their professional duty in covering rallies and protests in the West Bank and Occupied Jerusalem, in rejection to the US decision in appointing Jerusalem as the capital of the occupation on Thursday, 7 December 2017.

The committee confirmed that the Israeli occupation forces attacked the journalists who were covering demonstrations in the area of Beit El, Ramallah, among the attacked journalists was the crew of Al-Manar TV and BBC journalist Iman Oraykat who was carrying out a live coverage of the marches when she suffered from suffocation and found it difficult to complete coverage due to the density of the gas bombs launched by the Israeli forces.

In addition, the Israeli forces restricted and prevented journalists from coverage, as was the case with Palestine TV’s cameraman, Alaa Haddad in Hebron, and Al-Ghad TV channel which was prevented from completing its coverage and ordered to move to another place in an attempt to conceal the truth from the world.
— === ===

“The World Responds To Trump’s Jerusalem Decision” by Geopolitics Alert

“A Loud Whoompfing Sound”

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Professional Scam Artists part 12

Susan Skaarup a DND employee (Canada)

“Ottawa MPs inundated with pleas from Phoenix victims” by Julie Ireton

An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Julie Ireton follows:

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Susan Skaarup is one of the thousands of federal government workers caught up in the stressful, ugly confusion caused by the failure of the Phoenix pay system…

Skaarup’s not alone in seeking out help from her elected representative.

A large number of public servants, especially in the National Capital Region where the federal government is the biggest employer, are likewise turning to their MPs in the hopes of getting their pay problems resolved.

For Skaarup, it hasn’t worked…

While it was the previous Conservative government that set the stage for Phoenix and hired the contractors to build it, [Conservative MP Pierre] Poilievre is quick to note it was the Liberals who “pulled the trigger” to mobilize the new pay system before it was ready…

“If I were in some of these situations I would also be impatient,” [Gatineau MP Steve] MacKinnon said. “We understand all that, it helps to animate and fuel our motivation to get this problem solved.”

While she waits for that to happen, Susan Skaarup has had to put travel and retirement plans on hold. She realizes it could take months or even years for her pay, benefits, pension deductions and taxes to return to normal.
= =====

Phoenix pay system victims

“Phoenix creators helped build failed pay system’s business case” by Julie Ireton

An excerpt from the above linked to article follows:

Two companies that were awarded tens of millions of dollars in contracts to help create the new federal pay system played a part in recommending the Phoenix project in the first place, CBC News has learned.

This appearance of a conflict of interest in the very early days of the project is raising flags for those who monitor federal procurement and accountability.

The internal government report that recommended a new pay system in 2009 relied heavily on two studies — one from IBM and another from PricewaterhouseCoopers. These were two of the companies that went on to help develop Phoenix for a combined price tag of more than $200 million — and counting.

“That’s a cause for concern,” said Christopher Stoney, who follows procurement and accountability issues as a professor at the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University. “[It’s] clearly getting into areas here of conflict of interest.”

“This one chart shows developers rushing to the OMB before it’s too late” by Simon Cameron

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Appeals made to the Ontario Municipal Board have more than doubled, according to new data released by the City. The sudden rush of applications comes as developers anticipate that upcoming provincial legislation will result in a less favourable system…

Perhaps anticipating a more difficult time getting their projects approved, developers have been bringing appeals in droves.

“Developers racing to OMB ahead of new provincial planning rules” by Jennifer Pagliaro

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

City officials are warning that developers are rushing en masse to appeal problematic applications to the powerful provincial tribunal that oversees land-use planning in order to avoid a less-favourable system…

At a public meeting on a proposed development last week, [Joe] Cressy said a representative for a developer told the room: “We’re sorry for subverting the process, and we know that this is not an application that you or the city can support. But we needed to quickly submit an application given the uncertainty at the provincial level.”…

Earlier this month, council requested the province make the new rules retroactive so they apply to appeals submitted after the new legislation was first introduced at Queen’s Park on May 30.

But Friday, a spokesperson for Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro told the Star that won’t be the case…

“For far too long, the OMB has decided how Toronto’s neighbourhoods will grow without any regard for our residents’ quality of life,” said Matlow. “We need to address overcrowded schools, packed subways, a lack of affordable childcare and other social supports that make a community livable before new condos are approved in areas like Yonge and Eglinton.”

Geoff Kettel, co-chair of the Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations, which represents dozens of residents’ groups, said they’ve been watching the reform process closely and with anxiety.

“Income tax changes at budget time are always effective as of the announcement date. It is stupid for a government to introduce an important reform but let affected entrepreneurs have a six-month loophole in which to accelerate the ventures that the legislation is meant to prevent.”

“Good riddance to the Ontario Municipal Board” by Susan Lloyd Swail

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

For 25 years, Environmental Defence has been asking for OMB reform. Thankfully, this time our voice was joined by a chorus of municipal councillors, mayors, ratepayers and planners who were spending too much time, staff resources and taxpayer money fighting developers at the OMB and together we were heard…

But it’s not all good news, and some additional improvements will be needed in the proposed legislation in order to address outrageous cost awards. For too long, huge cost awards have penalized citizens for participating and intimidated other ratepayers from considering becoming a participant at the OMB…

As with any quasi-judicial proceeding, ensuring a fair hearing is of utmost importance. That’s why it’s so significant that the province is levelling the playing field for future appeals. The cost of participating in an OMB hearing put citizens at a clear disadvantage as they often lacked the financial resources and expertise to put forward a case for consideration. Developers and municipalities could set aside funds in their budgets to pay for OMB hearings, whereas bake sales were often how citizens paid their way. When members of the public did put forward a case, they often failed to base their evidence on planning merits because they lacked the capacity to get professional advice and support.

Goreway has been fined $10 million and repaid a “substantial portion” of the inappropriate payments received — but a report does not specify how much and says that information will remain confidential at Goreway’s request. (Darren Calabrese / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

“Brampton power plant ‘gamed’ Ontario electricity system for millions, fined $10M” by Rob Ferguson

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

A Brampton gas plant that the government admits “gamed” Ontario’s electricity system for $120 million in overbillings will pocket $10 million despite a $10 million fine and $100 million repayment order.

part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11

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The Avalanche – Snapshot 7 – December 3, ’17

“Can you say ‘conflict of interest’? Not at the UN.” by Murray Dobbin

…Just last week, for example, the auditor general went public, exposing the Trudeau government’s refusal to provide the information he needs to determine the level of subsidies we provide to the industry. But we retain some optimism when it comes to the UN. After all, the most credible voice on climate change is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It provides scientific advice to governments, who in turn negotiate targets at the UN Climate Conference — the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The problem is that the UNFCC negotiations are being compromised by the very oil giants that continue to create the climate crisis…

In 2016 the climate warmed 50 per cent faster than the previous year, and was the hottest year ever recorded. But in the “hear-no-evil, see-no-evil” world of the UNFCCC, the priority of urgent action on climate change is being corrupted by herculean efforts to accommodate the most powerful corporations in the world. According to Kathleen Ruff who attended the meetings as a Canadian delegate of the CAI, by the end of the Bonn meetings, “the U.S., the EU, Australia et al. had forced the eradication of the words “conflict of interest,”, “integrity”, “reputation”, and “safeguard” from the proposal by the countries of the Global South.” Members of NGOs requested permission to demonstrate at the Bonn meetings. They were given permission on condition that they “avoid using ‘Stop Corporate Capture’ or any other reference to corporate/companies/private sector or corporations to ensure that the atmosphere of respect during the sessions is maintained.”

“British University BANS List of “Politically Incorrect” Words” by Stuart Hooper

“Did Al Qaeda Dupe Trump on Syrian Attack?” by Robert Parry

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

A new United Nations-sponsored report on the April 4 sarin incident in an Al Qaeda-controlled town in Syria blames Bashar al-Assad’s government for the atrocity, but the report contains evidence deep inside its “Annex II” that would prove Assad’s innocence.

If you read that far, you would find that more than 100 victims of sarin exposure were taken to several area hospitals before the alleged Syrian warplane could have struck the town of Khan Sheikhoun…

Currently, the West and its mainstream media are lambasting the Russians for not accepting the JIM’s “assessment,” which blames Assad for the sarin attack. Russia is also taking flak for questioning continuation of the JIM’s mandate. There has been virtually no mainstream skepticism about the JIM’s report and almost no mention in the mainstream of the hospital-timing discrepancy.

JIM means Joint Investigation Mechanism.

Robert L. Herbst and Jonathan Kuttab

Robert L. Herbst:
Jonathan Kuttab:

“Jewish Historical Society channels Joe McCarthy, and cancels JVP event on Balfour” by Philip Weiss

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

More tragic news of the reactionary Jewish establishment. The American Jewish Historical Society in New York was set to host a discussion later this month of the Balfour Declaration by civil rights lawyer Robert Herbst, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, and Palestinian lawyer Jonathan Kuttab.

Then the event came under attack from far-right Israel supporters. David Horowitz’s organization billed the panel as “THE AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY HOSTS DESTROY ISRAEL EVENT,” citing the sponsorship of JVP, which supports boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, and Kuttab’s endorsement of a single democratic state between the river and the sea.

So much for open inquiry. Today the AJHS, whose parent executive has already come under pressure for his non-Zionist views, folded. It posted an opaque statement on its website, cancelling the discussion as well as a reading of a play that deals with the Jewish relationship to Israel.

David Horowitz is partially right. It’s not quite a ‘destroy Israel’ event. It’s a ‘destroy Nazi Israel’ event. Those planning to present and discuss at the event aren’t interested in destroying Israel, but they are interested in peace, which, if they see it realized in Israel, would spell the end for ‘Nazi’ Israel, which is to say the evil character of Israel today. What’s wrong with that?

“A Loud Whoompfing Sound”

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Professional Scam Artists part 11 by David Bruser and Jesse McLean, with data analysis by Andrew Bailey

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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Suncor said that while its violations are “unacceptable,” public money it received helped the company increase biofuel and wind energy production in Canada.

On Canada’s east coast, New Brunswick-based Irving Pulp and Paper was convicted in 1998 and again in 2010 after pleading guilty to violating the federal Fisheries Act. The fines totaled $125,000, and the company landed in a federal Environment Offenders Registry. The 1998 conviction stemmed from an incident where about 15,000 gallons of green liquor — a pulp production byproduct — discharged into the Saint John River. The company is before the courts on new charges that the mill once again violated the Fisheries Act. Irving has pleaded not guilty.

Irving said the company has worked hard to meet and surpass environmental regulations. A spokesperson pointed to the mill’s solid waste reductions, energy efficiency and the tens of millions of dollars spent by the company on numerous environmental initiatives, including efforts to reduce air emissions.

Both companies received vastly more from governments than they paid in pollution fines.

The public money is most often given to companies as interest-free loans, subsidies intended to make the plants more competitive or environmentally friendly, electricity rebates, payments for services and research grants.
– ==== ====

This member of the public doesn’t want to see biofuels (the insane practice of producing food not for human consumption but for vehicle fuel) produced anywhere, anytime. Yes, Roughage is also used, but not only. Putting that aside, The article presents a good, clear look at the professional scam artists – good Corporatocracy citizens – who operate with impunity. The article makes it clear that this problem will not go away. Even the example given of what could be a model for the federal government, namely the city of Toronto, reveals that corporations just can’t be prevented from exploiting and abusing citizens.

The authors ask: “How tough do you get on environment violators when they are also large employers operating in towns and cities that depend on them for jobs and a tax base to fund schools and other essential services?” Which is about the same as the authors declaring that neoliberal capitalism (almost absolute freedom for corporations) doesn’t work.

Then there’s this obscenity:

“Ontario government fails to stop Nestlé’s billion-litre water grab” That was the headline of the November 30th email I received from the Council of Canadians. I’m already boycotting Nestlé, so I won’t bother signing a pledge to do so, which people are invited to do on the CoC website. But I did pass on (sign and send) a form letter, via petition, which I read and agree with, to the gangster Liberal Party politician who represents my riding, apparently. And I added a few words:

Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti,

The following form letter reflects my concerns perfectly. I understand that in our Corporatocracy, corporations are actually running things, but are any of you within the machinery of the gangster corporatocracy RESISTING? How many instances of criminality by corporate Canada do Canadians need to have brought to their attention before they wake the hell up? You are no doubt aware of the Toronto Star expose dealing with taxpayer-funded polluters. Instead of being properly penalized, corporate polluters (destroyers) get handouts of OUR MONEY!!!!

The form letter:

I am shocked that Nestlé is allowed to continue pumping millions of litres of water per day from its main well in Aberfoyle, Ontario despite the fact that the corporation’s permit to do so expired over a year ago.

Nestle’s permit to pump water from a well in Erin, Ontario expired at the end of summer but the Wynne government has not posted Nestlé’s renewal applications for either of these permits.

As you know, the Ontario government must consult with the public and obtain free, prior and informed consent from Indigenous peoples before Nestlé permits can be renewed. However, your government has not made Nestlé’s renewal applications public, or held public consultations on them.

Two-thirds of people in Ontario want your government to phase out permits for bottled water takings. Simply increasing the fees charged for permits will not do anything to protect vulnerable aquifers.

Therefore I urge the Ontario government to:

1. Post and hold public consultations on Nestlé’s water pumping applications, including seeking the free, prior and informed consent of affected Indigenous peoples.

2. Phase out current permits for single-use bottled water facilities and implement a permanent moratorium on new permits for such facilities.

3. Review water fees for all other industrial water users, hold a series of public consultations on water priorities, and fund job retraining for workers in the bottled water industry.

With a critical provincial election on the horizon, this is an opportunity for the Wynne government to demonstrate to Ontarians that it is serious about protecting community water sources.

Water is life. As my MPP, I urge you to speak out and take a position to phase out bottled water for good. I believe that these principled actions combined with strong leadership are critical to protecting water in Ontario today and for future generations.

part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10

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Young Yemeni victim. Is your country okay with this?

Please read: “9 Things the MSM Doesn’t Want You to Know About the War in Yemen.”

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