Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson on the Koch Brothers’ toxicity —

     In “the science of success,” Charles Koch highlights the problems created when property owners “don’t benefit from all the value they create and don’t bear the full cost from whatever value they destroy.” He is particularly concerned about the “tragedy of the commons,” in which shared resources are abused because there’s no individual accountability. “The biggest problems in society,” he writes, “have occurred in those areas thought to be best controlled in common: the atmosphere, bodies of water, air … “     But in the real world, Koch Industries has used its political might to beat back the very market-based mechanisms — including a cap-and-trade market for carbon pollution — needed to create the ownership rights for pollution that Charles says would improve the functioning of capitalism.     In fact, it appears the very essence of the Koch business model is to exploit breakdowns in the free market. Koch has profited precisely by dumping billions of pounds of pollutants into our waters and skies – essentially for free. It racks up enormous profits from speculative trades lacking economic value that drive up costs for consumers and create risks for our economy.     The Koch brothers get richer as the costs of what Koch destroys are foisted on the rest of us – in the form of ill health, foul water and a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it on this planet. Now nearing 80 – owning a large chunk of the Alberta tar sands and using his billions to transform the modern Republican Party into a protection racket for Koch Industries’ profits – Charles Koch is not about to see the light. Nor does the CEO of one of America’s most toxic firms have any notion of slowing down. He has made it clear that he has no retirement plans: “I’m going to ride my bicycle till I fall off.”

From "Inside The Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire" (by Tim Dickinson for Rolling Stone).
Photo:  A 1996 explosion of a Koch-owned pipeline in Texas killed two teens. (United States National Transportation Safety Board)

Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson on the Koch Brothers’ toxicity —

     In “the science of success,” Charles Koch highlights the problems created when property owners “don’t benefit from all the value they create and don’t bear the full cost from whatever value they destroy.” He is particularly concerned about the “tragedy of the commons,” in which shared resources are abused because there’s no individual accountability. “The biggest problems in society,” he writes, “have occurred in those areas thought to be best controlled in common: the atmosphere, bodies of water, air … “

     But in the real world, Koch Industries has used its political might to beat back the very market-based mechanisms — including a cap-and-trade market for carbon pollution — needed to create the ownership rights for pollution that Charles says would improve the functioning of capitalism.

     In fact, it appears the very essence of the Koch business model is to exploit breakdowns in the free market. Koch has profited precisely by dumping billions of pounds of pollutants into our waters and skies – essentially for free. It racks up enormous profits from speculative trades lacking economic value that drive up costs for consumers and create risks for our economy.

     The Koch brothers get richer as the costs of what Koch destroys are foisted on the rest of us – in the form of ill health, foul water and a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it on this planet. Now nearing 80 – owning a large chunk of the Alberta tar sands and using his billions to transform the modern Republican Party into a protection racket for Koch Industries’ profits – Charles Koch is not about to see the light. Nor does the CEO of one of America’s most toxic firms have any notion of slowing down. He has made it clear that he has no retirement plans: “I’m going to ride my bicycle till I fall off.”

From "Inside The Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire" (by Tim Dickinson for Rolling Stone).

Photo:  A 1996 explosion of a Koch-owned pipeline in Texas killed two teens. (United States National Transportation Safety Board)

This image comes from Laura Schocker’s summary of the damage done by sleep-deprivation, written for The Huffington Post.

This image comes from Laura Schocker’s summary of the damage done by sleep-deprivation, written for The Huffington Post.

     This criticism of the Canadian government comes not from China or Iran, but from The Lancet.

During recent years, Canada’s reputation as a global citizen has slipped, in recent months more precipitously than ever before, and in new directions.

~ from an article by Chris David Simms for The Lancet. 

     This criticism of the Canadian government comes not from China or Iran, but from The Lancet.

During recent years, Canada’s reputation as a global citizen has slipped, in recent months more precipitously than ever before, and in new directions.

~ from an article by Chris David Simms for The Lancet

This article from 2012 provides a glimpse into our future if the FIPA comes into force.
China turns to courts in business disputes with western governments (by Shawn McCarthy for The Globe And Mail)

     Having already lost several high-profile NAFTA cases, governments could face substantial new challenges as an anticipated flood of Chinese investment washes over Canada in the next decade and the newcomers use all legal means to protect their interests.     That’s already happening internationally. Take the case of Ralls Corp., a Delaware-registered company owned by two Chinese nationals who are executives in the country’s largest wind turbine manufacturer.     Ralls this week added President Obama to a lawsuit filed in U.S. district court after the American government ordered it to halt construction of four small wind farms in Oregon because the sites were too close to a navy training site. The company – which was seeking to place wind turbines supplied by China’s Sany Group at the site – complained Mr. Obama and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) had violated its “right to equal protection under the law.”     The lawsuit is “pretty ballsy and gives you a flavour of where the Chinese firms are standing,” said Milos Barutciski, co-chair of the international trade and investment practice at Bennett Jones LLP. 

Photo:  Wind turbines near Arlington, Ore. A Chinese firm is suing President Barack Obama and the U.S. government for blocking a wind farm near a U.S. Navy base in Oregon.  (Jamie Francis/The Oregonian)

This article from 2012 provides a glimpse into our future if the FIPA comes into force.

China turns to courts in business disputes with western governments (by Shawn McCarthy for The Globe And Mail)

     Having already lost several high-profile NAFTA cases, governments could face substantial new challenges as an anticipated flood of Chinese investment washes over Canada in the next decade and the newcomers use all legal means to protect their interests.

     That’s already happening internationally. Take the case of Ralls Corp., a Delaware-registered company owned by two Chinese nationals who are executives in the country’s largest wind turbine manufacturer.

     Ralls this week added President Obama to a lawsuit filed in U.S. district court after the American government ordered it to halt construction of four small wind farms in Oregon because the sites were too close to a navy training site. The company – which was seeking to place wind turbines supplied by China’s Sany Group at the site – complained Mr. Obama and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) had violated its “right to equal protection under the law.”

     The lawsuit is “pretty ballsy and gives you a flavour of where the Chinese firms are standing,” said Milos Barutciski, co-chair of the international trade and investment practice at Bennett Jones LLP.

Photo:  Wind turbines near Arlington, Ore. A Chinese firm is suing President Barack Obama and the U.S. government for blocking a wind farm near a U.S. Navy base in Oregon.  (Jamie Francis/The Oregonian)

     Today, we remember the death of Salvador Allende.
     In 1970, then-US President Richard Nixon wanted Allende stopped.  Nixon gave instructions to the US CIA to consider an Allende-led government in Chile to be unacceptable.  Nixon authorised $10 million to be used against Allende:  to stop Allende from coming to power; or, failing that, to unseat him; via whatever means necessary. 
     In early September 1973, following Nixon’s instructions, the US CIA had succeeded in creating violent divisions between Allende and various opposition groups.  Allende wished to resolve the political tensions in the country via a referendum on his policies, but he was never able to deliver the speech which called for such a referendum — because on 11 September 1973, the day that that speech was to be delivered, the Chilean military staged a coup d’état. 
     Allende was forced to instead deliver a farewell speech, with explosions audible in the background, via live radio from the Palacio de la Moneda — “Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society.”
     Moments after the radio speech was delivered, the Palacio de la Moneda was overrun by soldiers loyal to Augusto Pinochet.  Pinochet’s military junta was immediately recognised as the government by American diplomats, and the US CIA helped the junta close its fist around Chile. 
     Pinochet stayed in power for 17 years as the leader of a brutal dictatorship — one which killed between 1,200 3,200 people, interned up to 80,000 people, and tortured as many as 30,000, in its efforts to stamp out popular resistance to its rule. 
     As the junta was an ally of the USA, the crimes committed by Pinochet’s men against common Chileans never triggered an armed intervention by American troops.

     Today, we remember the death of Salvador Allende.

     In 1970, then-US President Richard Nixon wanted Allende stopped.  Nixon gave instructions to the US CIA to consider an Allende-led government in Chile to be unacceptable.  Nixon authorised $10 million to be used against Allende:  to stop Allende from coming to power; or, failing that, to unseat him; via whatever means necessary. 

     In early September 1973, following Nixon’s instructions, the US CIA had succeeded in creating violent divisions between Allende and various opposition groups.  Allende wished to resolve the political tensions in the country via a referendum on his policies, but he was never able to deliver the speech which called for such a referendum — because on 11 September 1973, the day that that speech was to be delivered, the Chilean military staged a coup d’état

     Allende was forced to instead deliver a farewell speech, with explosions audible in the background, via live radio from the Palacio de la Moneda — “Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society.

     Moments after the radio speech was delivered, the Palacio de la Moneda was overrun by soldiers loyal to Augusto Pinochet.  Pinochet’s military junta was immediately recognised as the government by American diplomats, and the US CIA helped the junta close its fist around Chile

     Pinochet stayed in power for 17 years as the leader of a brutal dictatorship — one which killed between 1,200 3,200 people, interned up to 80,000 people, and tortured as many as 30,000, in its efforts to stamp out popular resistance to its rule. 

     As the junta was an ally of the USA, the crimes committed by Pinochet’s men against common Chileans never triggered an armed intervention by American troops.

     The Scandinavians are doing this “oil” thing properly — 

Norway’s current Conservative-led coalition government justifies one of the world’s highest tax rates on oil company profits this way: petroleum and natural gas are finite resources that generate higher profits than other enterprises and therefore command higher taxes.They pour like a river of gold into the Norwegian Pension Fund Global, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.Norway’s government takes 78 per cent of oil company profits in tax, which quickly runs to billions of dollars a year. The fund multiplies through investments in stocks, bonds and property holdings.It is quickly closing in on $1 trillion, just 18 years after Norway made an initial investment of around $345 million in 1996.

     — so what’s our excuse? 
     Quoted section from an article in The Toronto Star:  The Norwegian government’s high take of oil company taxes and worldwide investments will pay dividends for citizens. In Canada the story is very different.  Is Norway’s nest egg a lesson for Canada?  Article and photo by Paul Watson, Star Columnist, Arctic Bureau, published on Sat Aug 23 2014.

     The Scandinavians are doing this “oil” thing properly —

Norway’s current Conservative-led coalition government justifies one of the world’s highest tax rates on oil company profits this way: petroleum and natural gas are finite resources that generate higher profits than other enterprises and therefore command higher taxes.

They pour like a river of gold into the Norwegian Pension Fund Global, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.

Norway’s government takes 78 per cent of oil company profits in tax, which quickly runs to billions of dollars a year. The fund multiplies through investments in stocks, bonds and property holdings.

It is quickly closing in on $1 trillion, just 18 years after Norway made an initial investment of around $345 million in 1996.

     — so what’s our excuse? 

     Quoted section from an article in The Toronto Star:  The Norwegian government’s high take of oil company taxes and worldwide investments will pay dividends for citizens. In Canada the story is very different.  Is Norway’s nest egg a lesson for Canada?  Article and photo by Paul Watson, Star Columnist, Arctic Bureau, published on Sat Aug 23 2014.

     “Supermoon” sounds like something frat boys would do.  The proper term is “Perigee Full Moon” —

A Proxigean or Perigee Full “Supermoon” as reckoned by our preferred handy definition of “a Full Moon occurring within 24 hours of perigee" … the rising Moon will appear 33.5’ arc minutes in diameter as opposed to its usually quoted average of 30’ in size … The Moon reaches Full on Tuesday, September 9th at 1:38 Universal Time (UT), which is 9:38 PM EDT on the evening of the 8th. The Moon reaches perigee at less than 24 hours prior on September 8th at 3:30 UT—22 hours and 8 minutes earlier, to be precise—at a distance 358,387 kilometres distant. This is less than 2,000 kilometres from the closest perigee than can occur, and 1,491 kilometres farther away than last month’s closest perigee of the year, which occurred 27 minutes prior to Full Moon.

     — in short, a “Perigee Full Moon” occurs when a “full moon” happens around the same time as the moon’s orbit brings it as close as possible to Earth, making the moon look big and fat, which will immensely please photographers.  
Read more:  Get set for the supermoon 3 of 3 for 2014 (by David Dickinson, Universe Today)

     “Supermoon” sounds like something frat boys would do.  The proper term is “Perigee Full Moon” —

A Proxigean or Perigee Full “Supermoon” as reckoned by our preferred handy definition of “a Full Moon occurring within 24 hours of perigee" … the rising Moon will appear 33.5’ arc minutes in diameter as opposed to its usually quoted average of 30’ in size … The Moon reaches Full on Tuesday, September 9th at 1:38 Universal Time (UT), which is 9:38 PM EDT on the evening of the 8th. The Moon reaches perigee at less than 24 hours prior on September 8th at 3:30 UT—22 hours and 8 minutes earlier, to be precise—at a distance 358,387 kilometres distant. This is less than 2,000 kilometres from the closest perigee than can occur, and 1,491 kilometres farther away than last month’s closest perigee of the year, which occurred 27 minutes prior to Full Moon.

     — in short, a “Perigee Full Moon” occurs when a “full moon” happens around the same time as the moon’s orbit brings it as close as possible to Earth, making the moon look big and fat, which will immensely please photographers.  

Read more:  Get set for the supermoon 3 of 3 for 2014 (by David Dickinson, Universe Today)

Be ready to take back every “blonde” joke you’ve ever made:  research published in 2011 indicates that female warriors were relatively common among the Vikings; meanwhile modern societies are still arguing over whether women should even be allowed to serve in combat roles, and modern societies often pay women less than men for the same jobs. 
We might have more advanced tools today, but in many ways we’re still playing catch-up with people from a millennia ago.
The “TL,DR” version of the study was summarised by USA Today in a post here.

Be ready to take back every “blonde” joke you’ve ever made:  research published in 2011 indicates that female warriors were relatively common among the Vikings; meanwhile modern societies are still arguing over whether women should even be allowed to serve in combat roles, and modern societies often pay women less than men for the same jobs

We might have more advanced tools today, but in many ways we’re still playing catch-up with people from a millennia ago.

The “TL,DR” version of the study was summarised by USA Today in a post here.

Derek Thompson breaks down how to break out of The Procrastination Loop in this piece for The Atlantic. 

Image by timojneumann on Flickr.

Derek Thompson breaks down how to break out of The Procrastination Loop in this piece for The Atlantic. 

Image by timojneumann on Flickr.

I’ll remember Joan Rivers for screaming that she didn’t want to hear about civilian casualties.  Good riddance.

I’ll remember Joan Rivers for screaming that she didn’t want to hear about civilian casualties.  Good riddance.