AOC demands Trump’s impeachment amid probe into his Scottish resort

Donald Trump (left) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Donald Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-CortezGetty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has issued a fresh call to impeach President Trump amid reports of a House investigation into a military stop at his Scottish golf club.

“The President is corrupt and must be impeached,” the freshman Democrat posted on Twitter Friday.

The tweet was a response to news that a U.S. military air crew slept over at Trump’s Turnberry golf resort in Scotland early this year – fueling Democrats’ suspicions that he is profiting from government use of his properties.

The House Oversight Committee has been probing the matter since April, according to Politico.

AOC has called for Trump’s impeachment several times since she took office in January.

“Opening an impeachment inquiry is exactly what we must do when the President obstructs justice, advises witnesses to ignore legal subpoenas, & more,” she tweeted in June. SOURCE

Greta Thunberg is winning hearts and minds — and some old men hate it


Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist from Sweden, meets with María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, president of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly on Aug. 30. UN Photo by Manuel Elias

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier marked Greta Thunberg’s arrival in North America by viciously attacking the teenage climate activist, calling her mentally unstable in apparent reference to her having Asperger syndrome.

Bernier doubled down in a subsequent volley of tweets, in the manner of the self-described “very stable genius,” U.S. President Donald Trump.

It was an odious bookend to the criticism levelled at Thunberg during her sailing voyage, which kicked off in earnest when New York Times contributor Christopher Caldwell denounced her climate activism as “radical” and undemocratic in “The Problem With Greta Thunberg’s Climate Activism.”

Caldwell gamely rationalized his criticism, stating, “Kids (Thunberg’s) age have not seen much of life. Her world view might be unrealistic, her priorities out of balance. But in our time, and in her cause, that seems to be a plus. People have had enough of balance and perspective. They want single-minded devotion to the task at hand.”

Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish teenager who began protesting government inaction on climate change outside the Swedish parliament last August, has catalyzed the global school strike for climate movement (sometimes called Fridays for Future). After stealing the show at the COP24 climate change conference, she inspired an estimated 1.4 million students, including thousands of Canadian youth, to join her in a global student strike this past March 15.

Bernier, Caldwell and all the critics in between have been widely pilloried, but a more sympathetic view is warranted.

Older men are known to experience anxiety on realizing they lack what society’s vigorous youth possess. Psychoanalytic theory tells us their coveting of younger generations’ environmental conscientiousness leads to feelings of inferiority, and defensive or compensatory behaviour.

Seeing past the green-eyed monster

Not wanting to give oxygen to the outbursts of a sixth-rate Canadian party leader (according to 338Canada.com, Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada is polling sixth behind the Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, Green party and Bloc Québécois), I’ll focus on the New York Times piece, which paints its argument with a substantial intellectual veneer.

I’m not sure whether Caldwell is more of a Hatha or Ashtanga man, but his rhetorical yoga is supple, and he shows sublime command of advanced contortions. The root of his argument seems to be that the future should not be the purview of the young and the restless, but the old and the bloviating.

Alas, the days of sinecure-holding think-tank personalities imposing a tight monopoly on American public discourse are over. Social media has thrown the Overton window wide open, and in this newly free marketplace of ideas, Thunberg and company are running the table.

There can be nothing more democratic than an idea winning hearts and minds on the strength of its own merits in a deregulated marketplace, nor anything more dangerous to self-appointed gatekeepers of serious debate.

Sadly, Caldwell conflates his punditocracy with democracy — a Freudian slip? — and cobbles some logic for fearmongering’s sake. In truth, activism is the beating heart of a healthy democracy; the only threat it presents is to Caldwell’s favoured ancien regime. MORE

RELATED:

Why this Canadian politician threw shade on Greta Thunberg
Why is Greta Thunberg so triggering for certain men?

 

Who were the winners and losers under Liberal climate policy?


Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Pro- and anti-pipeline activists, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photos by Cole Burston and Alex Tétreault

The Winners

  • Kinder Morgan

Texas-based energy company Kinder Morgan experienced what most infrastructure companies could only dream of: federal taxpayers taking a dog of an asset in its portfolio off its hands. With little hesitation, the Liberals ponied up $4.4 billion to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline along with the rights to expand its capacity. It might get built, it might not. It might prove profitable, it might not. But for the executive team at Kinder Morgan, this Kinder Surprise Egg wasn’t made of chocolate, it was made of gold.

  • Oilsands producers

The next time a bust of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is used as a pinata at a party in Fort McMurray, the brandishers of bats may want to ask themselves this question: what exactly did the Liberals do to the oilsands to deserve such ire? It sure wasn’t the carbon tax, from which many oilsands facilities are exempt from paying a dime. More, the Liberals couldn’t even muster up the courage to be as clean as the global competition through policies like requiring oilsands to match the carbon intensity of conventional oil. And then there are those subsidies to the fossil fuel industry of at least $1.6 billion annually. The Liberals promised to do away with these but ended up keeping the chequebook open. So put down the bat and spark up a joint instead — thanks to the Liberals, unfettered emission of that type of smoke is legal, too.

  • Carbon-tax economists

Ever wonder why 11 out of every 10 economists love the carbon tax? It might have something to with the fact that the Liberals have kept 11 out of every 10 economists busy for the past four years researching, analyzing and proselytizing the carbon tax. A cottage industry has blossomed of carbon-tax economists in academia, think tanks, private consulting and government. And it doesn’t stop at a single tax. Since the federal tax is a backstop for tax regimes of provinces and territories that don’t meet the federal standard, there are up to 14 different carbon-tax scenarios to play with in Microsoft Excel. The pocket-protector set has reached their nirvana.

  • The clean-tech industry

Why have boring when you can have bling? Like giddy venture capitalists, the Liberals have been enamoured with early stage clean technologies and Budget 2017 allocated over $1.3 billion for research, development and demonstration projects. The jury is still out on whether this was money well-spent or whether the quest for “game-changing technologies” is simply an excuse to delay action using technologies we already have. It’s notable that Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s climate plan also touts the glories of yet-to-be-invented climate gadgets. So be on the lookout for a DeLorean powered by Mr. Fusion if either party wins the election.

The Losers

  • The atmosphere

If climate gods do exist, they’d no doubt be perplexed by the “climate-change leader” press lines flowing from Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s Twitter account. After all, climate gods focus singularly on the one metric that matters: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. When the Liberals were elected in 2015, Canada’s GHG emissions were 722 million tonnes (Mt). In 2017, the most recent year of official data, they were 716 Mt, a mere 0.8 per cent drop. With oilsands production up another 10 per cent in 2018, combined with a healthy economy nationally, history could very well show that GHGs were flat to increasing during Trudeau’s term. If climate gods do exist, then watch out for thunderstorms at Liberal campaign events.

  • The clean-energy industry

Investments in clean energy, like wind and solar power, continue apace globally but have nose-dived in Canada, plummeting 34 per cent in 2018 and set to fall further in 2019. Although this is largely due to the cancellation of provincial programs by recently elected conservative governments, the federal Liberals largely failed to step in to keep the industry thriving. The Liberals also failed to reform Canada’s antiquated monopolistic electricity market with regulatory changes that provide market access to third-party clean-energy suppliers. These failures are especially embarrassing given that clean-energy investment is on the rise in Donald Trump’s America due to federal tax credits and competitive electricity markets. The bigger the hands, the bigger the clean-energy industry. Ouch!

  • Ordinary technologies and ordinary people

Retrofitting buildings with energy-efficient windows, insulation and heat sources; capturing methane in agriculture and waste operations; and sequestering carbon through tree planting and agricultural soils: these are cost-effective measures using available technologies that can be undertaken by regular people like homeowners, farmers and foresters. Despite the ease of these measures and their appeal to a broad cross-section of Canadians, these approaches were largely ignored by the Liberals during their past four years in office.

The bad news for the Liberals is that if voters ask themselves whether they were a winner or a loser under Liberal climate policy, then the Liberals may just find themselves joining the ranks of the losers on election day. SOURCE

 

 

Trans Mountain not prepared to respond fast enough if oil tank boils over in Burnaby: regulator


FILE: A aerial view of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain tank farm is pictured in Burnaby, B.C., is shown on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward

Trans Mountain isn’t ready to respond in time to some emergency worst-case scenarios on Burnaby Mountain

The Canada Energy Regulator has ordered Trans Mountain to speed up its response times to some emergencies by two hours

It is also ordering Trans Mountain to do unannounced test drills, as staff have so far always been pre-warned

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) — Trans Mountain isn’t prepared to respond fast enough if a tank boils and spills over on Burnaby Mountain, according to the Canada Energy Regulator

In an audit from earlier this year, the National Energy Board — recently renamed the CER — ordered Trans Mountain to respond two hours faster than its current emergency response goals.

The company’s current plans are to mobilize staff and contractors from off-site to fight fires within six hours, but a boilover on Burnaby Mountain could happen in just over five.

A boilover could happen if oil heats up and flows over the top of the tank, sending hot and molten crude oil out 10 times the diameter of the tank, covering the entire tank farm, the surrounding communities, Gaglardi Way and Burnaby Mountain Parkway. There’s also a possibility the other tanks could also catch fire, as would the surrounding forests, homes and buildings. MORE

 

BC Supreme Court grants Tsilhqot’in injunction to stop exploratory drilling by Taseko

The outcome of the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s court case regarding infringement of Aboriginal rights will need to be decided first, judge said


A BC Supreme Court decision Friday, Sept. 6 has halted an exploratory drilling program from proceeding in the vicinity of Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), 185 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake pending the outcome of another court case filed by the Tsilhqot’in Nation on infringement of Aboriginal rights. Loretta Williams photo

The Tsilhqot’in Nation’s injunction has been granted to stop Taseko Mines Ltd. from carrying out exploratory drilling near Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) and surrounding area for its proposed New Prosperity Mine about 185 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake.

A decision on the injunction was handed down Friday, Sept. 6 in B.C. Supreme Court.

Xeni Gwet’in Chief Jimmy Lulua said the injunction will remain until the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s own court case against the provincial government for issuing the proposed drilling permit to Taseko is heard.

“We have rights to hunt and fish in that area and protect our cultural and sacred grounds,” Chief Lulua said. “They have to prove that they won’t impact any of those at all — that’s what will be heard in court. We don’t have a court date yet.”

Lulua said he is relieved by Friday’s decision to grant the injunction.

“It was our last Hail Mary,” he told the Tribune. “There was no other option and if we lost it would have definitely been a hairy situation. A lot of our people are fierce and when you look at our situation, our fish stocks are not in the rivers right now.”

The decision, he added, shows that courts are starting to recognize Aboriginal rights and title. MORE

 

Alberta can delay wage arbitration talks with unions, Appeal Court says

Alberta’s public sector workers are looking at all options if the UCP government attempts to roll back rights. As Tom Vernon reports, the vow comes after the court of appeal sided with the government on Bill 9.


Watch the video

The Alberta Court of Appeal has sided with the provincial government in its bid to delay wage arbitration for tens of thousands of public sector employees.

In a split decision released Friday, the judges set aside an injunction granted by a lower court in July that had been blocking the delay.

Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservative government passed the law in June to defer arbitration until at least November.

The government said it first needed to hear from a panel looking at the province’s finances. That panel’s report, released earlier this week, said the province has habitually overspent and restraint is needed.

READ MORE: Alberta panel says savings to be found in health, education changes

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees challenged the legislation, arguing the law violated three-year contract agreements that froze wages in the first two years, but had a provision for binding arbitration in the third year.

The union sought the injunction to give it time to pursue a separate legal challenge questioning whether the legislation is unconstitutional. That court action is ongoing.

Workers affected include teachers, nurses, social workers, hospital support staff, prison guards, conservation officers, toxicologists, restaurant inspectors, therapists and sheriffs. MORE

The Federal Government Picked a Fight With First Nations Kids. Three Years and Millions in Legal Fees Later, They Lost.

‘Canada’s conduct was willful and reckless’, Human Rights Tribunal sasy as it awards First Nations kids maximum compensation

2019-09-04_thumb

The federal government lost its three-year long battle before Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal to avoid compensating Indigenous families and youth for discrimination in Canada’s child welfare system.

F. N. Caring Society@CaringSociety

BREAKING: Another HUGE win for First Nations kids! The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ordered the Canadian gov’t to pay compensation to First Nations children, youth & families harmed by the child welfare system. Full ruling: http://fncaringsociety.com/sites/default/files/2019_chrt_39.pdf 

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The fee is to go towards compensating Indigenous families and youth harmed by the discrimination in Canada’s child welfare system or who were denied services owing to the discriminatory implementation of Jordan’s Principle.

Jordan’s principle, among other things, obligates the government to provide substantively equal access to housing, health and other services to Indigenous children and to safeguard the interests of children.

In its ruling, the tribunal found “Canada’s conduct was willful and reckless resulting in what we have referred to as a worst-case scenario under our Act.”

Cindy Blackstock

CDN Human Rights Tribunal finds Canada “wilfully and recklessly” discriminated v. First Nations children in a “worst case scenario” Awards maximum damages. Read the ruling: http://fncaringsociety.com/sites/default/files/2019_chrt_39.pdf 
Summary of the ruling: http://fncaringsociety.com/publications/victory-first-nations-children-and-families-tribunal-orders-compensation-2019-chrt-39 
More info: http://fncaringsociety.com/i-am-witness 

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The federal government’s legal battle has a lengthy history.

Soon after Trudeau’s Liberals formed government, the Tribunal issued a ruling that the federal government’s chronic under-funding of First Nations children on reserves was discriminatory, with 38% less being spent on kids on reserve compared to children in other communities across Canada.

The tribunal said funding for First Nations children needs to be equalized in comparison to kids elsewhere in Canada.

Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society which initially filed the human rights complaint, estimated compensation to First Nations kids could amount to nearly $1.7 billion.

Jorge Barrera

NEW: Ottawa must pay tens of thousands of dollars to every First Nations child who was placed in the on-reserve child welfare system, following a Friday ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that also provides compensation to some of their parents and grandparents.

Blackstock says the federal government’s full legal costs between 2016 and 2019 are not known because the government hasn’t released that information.

“It was at least 12 million as of 2016,” Blackstock told PressProgress, referring to the 9-year-long legal battle with Harper government over her initial complaint between 2007 and 2016.

In 2017, the Liberal government decided to fight the Human Rights Tribunal’s ruling, arguing it can’t force the government to give equal funding to Indigenous kids.

In December 2017, former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould disclosed that the Liberal government spent over $800,000 in lawyer’s fees between 2016-2017 fighting the Human Rights Tribunal’s 2016 ruling to implement Jordan’s Principle.

That amount is likely larger today. MORE

Federal probe finds ‘co-ordinated’ social media bots in Alberta election

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney discusses the accomplishments of his government in its first 100 days in office, in Edmonton on Wednesday August 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney discusses the accomplishments of his government in its first 100 days in office, in Edmonton on Wednesday August 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON — A federal agency investigating the recent Alberta election has found evidence the campaign featured tactics including co-ordinated, false social media postings.

In a report released late Friday, the Rapid Response Mechanism — created by the G-7 to monitor foreign influence on democratic elections — identified social media accounts that demonstrated “co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour.”

The agency was created by the G7 at the 2018 conference in Charleboix, Que. It is intended to strengthen co-ordination between members in identifying, preventing and responding to threats to G7 democracies from foreign actors using social media to meddle in elections.

The agency is based in Canada.

On its website, it says it investigated the Alberta vote to see if foreign players were involved.

“The Alberta election was identified as being at risk of interference because of the extent to which environmental issues were debated,” it says.

No organized influence was exerted from outside the province’s borders, it found. However, Albertans seemed keen to use those tactics themselves.

“(We) identified communities that demonstrated a suspicious account creation pattern that is indicative of troll or bot activity,” the report says. “It was mainly comprised of supporters of the United Conservative Party.

“The pattern was not identified within communities of supporters of the Alberta Liberal Party or Alberta New Democratic Party.” MORE

RELATED:

Suspicious accounts spread disinformation in Alberta election, federal report says

Sustainability101 and Why Our Economic System Utterly Fails to Address It

One hundred foxes and one hundred rabbits live on an island. What’s the price of a rabbit as the species decline?


Photo by Sander Wehkamp on Unsplash

What is sustainability? And why do we need it?

These questions are the most basic, yet rarely discussed in traditional textbooks. So let’s explore them with a simple thought experiment.

One hundred foxes and one hundred rabbits live on an island. The foxes eat the rabbits. Can the lives of both species be sustainable?

You don’t need to be a scientist to figure out that if the foxes eat the rabbits too quickly, more quickly than they can reproduce themselves, then we have a problem. The rabbits will become extinct, and then the foxes will have nothing to eat and will also become extinct. This is an example of a ecosystem that is not sustainable.

To be sure, other ecological outcomes are possible, depending on how many foxes vs. how many rabbits there are, and how fast each species can reproduce. Typically there are only a few foxes and many rabbits, but with 100 foxes the supply of rabbits surely won’t last more than a few meals.

Now to add an important twist to this story, let’s ask another basic question. What is the price of a rabbit as their population declines?

Economics, at least the kind traditionally taught in school, talks about price as a function of demand and supply. In this case, we would have an ever-increasing demand for rabbits and a declining supply.

In theory, the price of a rabbit should go up as the rabbit population declines, right?

Unfortunately, the law of the jungle is that it is a free-for-all game. The foxes simply outrun the rabbits. And both of them go extinct as a result. OUCH!?!


With this basic knowledge, we may ask how sustainable is the ecosystem that currently supports our way of life? The bad news is that almost everywhere we look today, there are danger signs.

Imagine the ocean without fish. Only less than 1% of the global ocean is protected right now, and business as usual means that in 50 years there will be no commercial fishing, because the fish will simply be gone. Just like the rabbits in our story.

Even worse, the things that our very life depends on such as clean air or safe water are in danger. 9 out of 10 people worldwide are already breathing polluted air.

Southern California, a place famous for its temperate weather, suffered the longest streak of bad air in 2018: a 87-day-in-a-row summer without a single day of clean air. We’re talking about lung-damaging gas in smog that triggers asthma and other respiratory illnesses so bad that children can’t play outside.

It is clear that our ecosystem are being stressed to unsustainable limits.

…While free market ideologies are certainly not shy of claiming the credit for the growth in our society, paradoxically it is precisely the same economic machinery that is leading us astray and accelerating our own ecological destruction. MORE