Archive for profit motive

Maine town to Big Oil: We don't want to bathe in bottled water

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tar sands maple leaf oil Maine

Portland-Montreal Pipe Line (PMPL) is owned by a Canadian subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Suncor Energy Inc., "both heavily involved in extracting petroleum from oil sands," per a report by the Los Angeles Times. And now PMPL wants to start exporting toxic tar sands crude goo from Canada through South Portland, Maine. You all know what tar sands is, right? If not, please scroll through my many, many posts here to learn about the very real dangers of tar sands pipelines.

You'd think by now that impending climate change disaster and that other infamous, short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting would be a wake-up call. But no-o-o. Pollution be damned. Fresh air and water? Pfft! The health and well-being of anyone who gets in their way? Meh.

But there is a town in Maine that's not afraid to put up its dukes. The L.A. Times has the story:

On Monday night, the South Portland City Council, including Blake, is expected to pass an ordinance that would prevent the export of crude oil from the waterfront. The product of a relentless 18-month campaign by residents and Maine environmental groups, the measure is a response to plans by Portland-Montreal Pipe Line, or PMPL, to reverse the flow of its import pipeline in order to export oil sands crude from Canada, the same petroleum that would run through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline in the Great Plains.

"This isn't an anti-Portland pipeline company measure," Blake said. "It's anti-dirty oil." [...]

Communities along the pipeline route, from Vermont to Maine, also grew alarmed by spills of oil sands crude into Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010 and then in a subdivision in Mayflower, Ark., in 2013... The Portland-Montreal pipeline six times crosses the watershed for a major tributary into Sebago Lake, the drinking water source for the greater Portland area.

That can't end well.

One resident's take says it all: "All you need is one break, not even a huge break, and hundreds of thousands of people are going to be drinking and bathing in bottled water."

Bingo.

Please read the entire article at the link.

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Retailer: "If we can minimize the humans in our company, then we prefer that."

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retailer caviar vending machine

Unemployment continues to be a problem in this country, despite the recent good news and drop in the jobless rate to 6.1 percent. But there is at least one retailer who is apparently shrugging off and/or disregarding our nation's jobless situation. The retailer in question happens to be from-- le ahem-- Beverly Hills, California.

In today's Los Angeles Times, there's a lengthy article about how U.S. vending machines are on the upswing. And by upswing, they're not just talking quantity, but also quality. Vending machines are movin' on up(scale), and retailer after retailer is reaping the benefits. And the profits.

Even if it means laying off the very consumers who need work so they can, you know, keep consuming.

At first glance, burrito-spewing vending machines didn't seem like a bad idea. Nor did caviar-to-go. Yes, caviar. To go. From vending machines. Pardon moi, "automated boutiques." Food on the run is a convenience that is addicting to those who are short on time. So, sure, why not expand the roll of coin-operated machines that serve fast-food sandwiches, cupcakes, and pizzas? And caviar. All that easy access sounded okay to yours truly... until I read this:

After closing her Beverly Hills store in 2010, Stern began looking into vending machines. Her company typically sells to grocery stores and restaurants but wanted direct access to customers, too. [...]

The machines now pull in 10% of the company's total sales. The boutiques send emails when supplies are low and can also be remotely operated via smartphone to help shoppers who run into problems.

"If we can minimize the humans in our company, then we prefer that," Stern said. "When you have physical employees, you don't have a life. Ask any restaurant or supermarket business."

Let them eat caviar.

pizza vending machine retailer

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TransCanada to small town: Here's $28K. Now shut up about tar sands pipeline project.

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tar sands maple leaf oil

TransCanada is buying an Ottawa town's silence, and it will only cost them a few thousand dollars. TransCanada has aggressively pursued a rather unique "no comment" policy about their gigantic tar sands pipeline proposal. Why? It has to be because TransCanada knows that the project, which is bigger than our own Keystone XL project, is a disaster waiting to happen. Scroll through my many, many posts here to learn about the very real dangers of a tar sands pipeline.

By paying off an entire town, TransCanada can sidestep some of the challenges to the pipeline’s approval. Well, for five years, anyway.

TransCanda's new PR slogan should be, "Money talks so opponents don't have to!"

Via Think Progress:

A small town in Ottawa, Canada will be receiving $28,200 from energy company TransCanada Corp. in exchange for not commenting on the company’s proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline project, according to an agreement attached to the town council’s meeting agenda on June 23.

Under the terms of deal, the town of Mattawa will “not publicly comment on TransCanada’s operations or business projects” for five years. In exchange for that silence, TransCanada will give Mattawa $28,200, which will ultimately go towards buying a rescue truck for the town. [...] If approved, Energy East would carry about 1.1 million barrels of tar sands crude across Canada each day. That’s more than Keystone XL...

tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

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Big Pharma accused of fraudulently pushing painkillers to "a population of addicts"

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it's all about the money Big Pharma

Big Pharma is pushing deadly drugs and addicting my home state of California. Allegedly. Painkillers like OxyContin are involved in more than 16,000 deaths every year. Traffic accidents are now taking a back seat to meds when it comes to causes of deaths.  Per an article in the Los Angeles Times, two counties are now suing drugmakers for violating California laws against false advertising, unfair business practices and creating a public nuisance.

Big Pharma encourages patients, including veterans and the elderly, to request painkillers when they have everyday headaches, arthritis and back pain. Allegedly. The reason the headline includes the phrase "population of addicts" is that heroin use has also increased as a result of all the prescriptions, because it not only creates a similar high, but it's also cheaper, per the lawsuit.

The drug manufacturers say the narcotics they push are safer than they are.

not funny hahaha no

The L.A. Times:

Two California counties sued five of the world's largest narcotics manufacturers on Wednesday, accusing the companies of causing the nation's prescription drug epidemic by waging a "campaign of deception" aimed at boosting sales of potent painkillers such as OxyContin. [...] The companies employed tactics similar to those used by the tobacco industry to "conceal their deceptive marketing and conspiratorial behavior," the suit states.

One such tactic involved the use of leading physicians — known within the companies as "key opinion leaders" — to spread the message to their peers, it says. The drug makers allegedly recruited and paid those physicians to give speeches and write policy papers.

Another marketing ploy was to create and co-opt patient advocacy organizations and medical specialty societies, the suit says. The companies used these front groups to promote narcotic painkillers and to write treatment guidelines that expanded the market, it says.

It was the drug makers' "marketing — and not any medical breakthrough — that rationalized prescribing opioids for chronic pain and opened the floodgates of opioid use and abuse," the suit says.

it's all about the money 2

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"Our addiction to the ways of the past are destroying us. For humanity, intervention is needed."

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oil addiction environment climate change

Climate change is a fact. That this country has a dangerous addiction to fossil fuels is also a fact (See: Pres. Obama, just say no to addiction to (tar sands) oil. Please.). That Big Corporations are shortsighted, self-serving, and greedy at the expense of our health and welfare is also a fact.

You know what's fiction? That climate change doesn't exist. That climate change isn't man-made. That shifting to clean, renewable energy won't affect the impending disaster that is climate change. That if we don't do that soon, we'll be just fine, thankyouverymuch.

If you support gradual-- and accelerating-- devastation; if you're okay with coping with the increasing frequency and intensity of deadly hurricanes, "Snowmageddons," frackquakes, floods, and fires; if you don't object to pouring billions into cleaning up the messes Mother Nature is and will continue to create due to our self-indulgent and willful reliance on and acceptance of dirty crude oil, tar sands, methane, and coal, then you support a toxic, grim future for all of us, our children, their children, and so on.

As a spiritual leader, I often counsel people regarding personal problems such as addiction. ("Climate change is already affecting all of U.S., report says," May 6)

I have been preaching about global climate change for years. In the Jewish tradition, there is a teaching that it took Noah 120 years to build the ark so people would ask him what he was doing and hopefully heed his warning.

We are getting closer to our "120 years," as scientists and others have been sounding the alarm for years. How much longer will we think that money trumps doing the responsible and moral thing regarding fossil fuels?

Having the know-how to change, having the knowledge that we need to change, and seeing destructive forces at work but refusing to change: these are tell-tale signs of addiction and suffering that I counsel in my career.

Our addiction to the ways of the past are destroying us. For humanity, intervention is needed.

Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

Pasadena

This year's National Climate Assessment will do little to sway those in Congress who are in denial about the contribution of human pollution to the changes seen around the globe. Even those who admit that our emissions into the air might add to the problem say that our efforts would be insignificant, so why go to the expense and trouble.

We should ask them, "Even if human-caused pollution has no effect on climate, why would we want to continue to pump such massive amounts of poison into the air?"

Richard Green

San Clemente

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Charles Koch is a "greedy jerk": La Cucaracha

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citizens united check republic billionaires Koch brothers dark money

A major advantage of having a Twitter pal like the wonderful Lalo Alcaraz (@LaloAlcaraz) is that he generously shares his work with us. In his comic strip today, Lalo zeroed in on one of the Koch brothers, Charles Koch. Only one, Lalo?

But Charles Koch is well worth a snarky strip devoted only to him, not to mention to his corporate billions dedicated to ultra-conservative causes. Thanks to the Supreme Court and their two disastrous decisions-- Citizens United and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission-- the door has opened wider to billionaires influencing (and by that I mean buying) elections, candidates, and votes. By increasing the role money plays in American politics, SCOTUS has once again chipped away at what's left of our democracy, allowing the wealthiest Americans the potential to determine election outcomes.

Despite those legal victories, the Koch brothers insolently play the victims, all the while pumping unlimited cash into the veins of anti-women's rights, anti-civil rights, anti-voting rights, anti-gay rights, and anti- workers' rights Republicans.

Of course, that doesn't mean we can't beat them. We did in 2012. Say it with me now: Get Out The Vote.

And with that, here's Lalo's latest:

la cucaracha Charles Koch

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"Only intensive push in next 15 years can stave off climate change disaster"

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tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

The New York Times has an unnerving article about a United Nations report that "only an intensive worldwide push over the next 15 years can stave off" a potential climate change disaster later this century:

The report did find some reasons for cautious optimism. The costs of renewable energy like wind and solar power are now falling so fast that their deployment on a large scale is becoming practical, the report said. In fact, extensive use of renewable energy is already starting in countries such as Denmark and Germany, and to a lesser degree in some American states, including California, Iowa and Texas. [...]

Yet the report found that the emissions problem is still outrunning the will to tackle it, with global emissions rising almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century than in the last decades of the 20th century.

That was posted today. Yesterday, MSNBC's Alex Witt interviewed  John Fiege, the director and producer of "Above All Else," a documentary about lives affected by the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline project. Juxtaposing these two reports in one post-- one on impending climate change disaster and the other on a short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting-- should be a wake-up call. But will it be?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Witt: If completed, the [Keystone XL] pipeline could stretch 2,000 miles from the oil fields of Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast. Deep in the heart of Texas, a group of rural land owners and student activists came together in an unlikely union to protest the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The property owners claim they were manipulated into signing over their land to TransCanada. The energy company for its part is saying the pipeline is a job creator that will ensure North America's energy independence. What happened next is chronicled in a new documentary titled "Above All Else."...

Fiege: The companies building the pipeline were surprised to see such strong opposition from people who lived there. The thing in east Texas, they don't like a foreign company coming in and taking their property and they know how to fight back so it is an interesting conflict...

The folks who signed, as they learned more about what the Keystone XL pipeline is, and that its whole purpose is to transport tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, they didn't know that when they signed the agreement. They also didn't know that the company did not have the permits it needed to build the pipeline. So they felt like they were manipulated and lied to...

You know, another example of an oil project touted as being "state of the art, cutting edge" was the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf Coast that BP ran that exploded. We've heard this over and over again, where oil companies claim they're using state of the art technology-- they probably are-- but we see this over and over again that this infrastructure is not safe. ...

That's one of the main stories the film tells. If you're an individual, if you're an American and you want to fight back against this and you object to a foreign corporation taking your land and you want to do something about climate change, you are putting yourself at great peril and you're going to be crushed by these enormous corporate powers that have emerged and really taken an outsized, you know, section of power and wealth in our society. I think one thing this film chronicles is really a wake-up call for folks in the middle of the country and the reddest parts of red states who don't think this is a good system to have and feel completely disempowered.

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