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April 7, 2010 Environment

Secret Meeting Planned, then Cancelled, between ENGOs and Tar Sands Companies

Invitees included Tzeporah Berman, World Wildlife Fund, ForestEthics

March 18, 2009 Weblog:

Calderón's Ambassador to Canada has Blood on his Hands

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Francisco Barrio Terrazas, Mexico's new ambassador to Canada, assumed the cushy diplomatic posting on February 26th, 2009. He had previously served as mayor of Ciudad Juarez, known as the Murder Capital of North America, and later as governor of Chihuahua state.

That's right ladies and gents.

Representing the regime of Felipe Calderón in Canada is a man who governed a city where more four hundred women have been killed since 1993. Many of the women killed were sexually assaulted first. Barrio Terrazas refused to call for an investigation until 1998.

"We can't accept that Canada, a model country that's culture is based on the respect of human rights and rule of law, could shelter a person who tolerated the murder and rapes of women and girls," reads a statement concerning Barrio Terrazas' appointment from May our Daughters Come Home, a women's group based in Juarez.

As if that weren't bad enough (because it certainly is), Barrio Terrazas has an equally distinguished past as governor of Chihuahua:

"During the Fox administration, the drug cartels penetrated the federal police and the security apparatus in Mexico in unprecedented levels, when (Barrio Terrazas) was the man in charge of making sure the federal bureaucracy operated without fraud, waste and abuse," Tony Payan from the University of Texas at El Paso told the Canadian Press.

» continue reading "Calderón's Ambassador to Canada has Blood on his Hands"

March 1, 2009 Weblog:

February Economic Armageddon: Recap

The meltdown of the economy is becoming so common and widespread it has been hard to keep track of everything that is going on. Briefly:

  • In Canada, media empires including
    CTV, Torstar, Quebecor and Canwest continue to flounder along with a whole host of other media outlets across the continent.
  • At the same time, Canadian pension funds, most of the big banks, Nortel, Walmart Canada, GM and a number of agricultural and mining industries are being hit with massive losses.

South of the border, thing are looking a little rough for the folks in the halls of power.

  • Barack Obama is strutting out the biggest budget in US history which looks to (supposedly) raise taxes on the upper classes, cut Medicare to give more people health care and rip into Pentagon spending, military contractors and agri-business. The US economy meanwhile contracted 6.2% in the last 3 months of 2008.
  • The "Sage of Omaha", Warren Buffet is sage-no-more having admitted to $11.5 billion in losses.

» continue reading "February Economic Armageddon: Recap"

November 1, 2008 Weblog:

Credit Crisis and Africa

The Rwandan New Times has an interesting article on how global economic problems are affecting African industry.

The continent’s tourism sector, remittances from abroad and Aid flows will dramatically fall as a result of the global crisis.

“African governments will have to reduce their expenditure because they are not going to get as much aid. Governments should prepare themselves by concentrating on domestic growth to sustain the economies because ultimately even the export market will be affected and there will be reduced sales,” said Betty Maina, Executive Director of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.

September 26, 2008 Weblog:

Inside the Deal to Save the US Economy

A strange and incredible amount of information is flowing from the Guardian about the inner workings of the $700 billion deal between Republicans and Democrats to bail out the US economy.

It's tough to judge what is real and what is fake but there some incredible stuff coming out.

According to one report, a deal had been reached by all parties until a group of hard-right, free-market Republicans met privately with McCain and threw a new "free-market" proposal into the mix.

Their behaviour at the meeting was a study in contrasts, according to press accounts. Obama, granted deference by his fellow Democrats, led off the debate.

Then [Republican minority house leader] Boehner made his move, throwing down a plan that differed wildly from the one under discussion. McCain, asked for his opinion, stayed silent - and that, according to those at the meeting, was taken by his fellow Republicans as a sign of his support for the Republican revolt.

Ironically, a Republican on the Senate banking committee, Richard Shelby, was doing his best to paraphrase the thesis of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine; that in a state of crisis the ideas lying around are the ones which get used:

"They're trying to push this in an emotional state, saying the sky's falling on our heads," he said. "Every time we have rushed to judgment in the past, we have paid for it."

September 23, 2008 Weblog:

American Investment Industry Vanishes

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With the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the sale of Merrill Lynch and the subsiqent transformation of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the titans of Americas investment industry has now been wiped off the map.

How bad is it and what does it mean?

A couple of US Congress members who had a nice little chat with the US Fed Chairmen and the US Treasury Secretary had this to say last Friday:

"We’re literally maybe days away from a complete meltdown of our financial system, with all the implications here at home and globally. Somber doesn’t begin to justify the words. We have never heard language like this."

But is it all a smoke-screen designed to give the Fed and Treasury complete control over bail-out money? According to economist Paul Krugman:

"Mr. Paulson insists that he wants a "clean" plan. "Clean," in this context, means a taxpayer-financed bailout with no strings attached — no quid pro quo on the part of those being bailed out. Why is that a good thing? Add to this the fact that Mr. Paulson is also demanding dictatorial authority, plus immunity from review "by any court of law or any administrative agency," and this adds up to an unacceptable proposal."

September 18, 2008 Weblog:

Anti-Capitalists on the Sub-Prime Crisis

Many popular anti-capitalists are interviewed in the Guardian regarding their view on the current sub-prime crisis.

Chris Harman - Socialist Workers Party

"The whole system is unwinding; the other day we saw the biggest nationalisation in the history of humanity and that still wasn't enough.

"This could be a big moment for the left. But we really need to stand up and use the "c" word, say this is a crisis of capitalism and that people are suffering."

Sheila Rowbotham - Socialist feminist

"The problem now - unlike in the 1880s, when people discovered the ideas of socialism, and in the 1930s, when it seemed that communism was the solution - is that the left doesn't have a coherent alternative vision."

Hari Kunzru - Novelist

"In New York apparently, 12,000 jobs went, just like that, and Wall Street represents 20% of the city's jobs and something like 90% its tax base. So there's a definite sense here of systemic crisis.

"This will only genuinely become a crisis of capitalism if people generally become aware that much of the growth and prosperity produced by capitalism is a fiction."

September 7, 2008 Weblog:

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae "Nationalized"

Over $5 trillion in troubled mortgages have been taken over (read: nationalized) by the US government. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the two largest mortgage providers in the US) have been put into "conservatorship" in order to stop them from collapsing.

This is the biggest government bailout in US history and comes on the heels of Royal Bank chief executive Gordon Nixon saying that the global financial system has been "pushed to the brink".

November 25, 2007 Environment

Can Pew's Charity be Trusted?

US foundations give millions to Canadian environmental groups

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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