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Activists Crash Press Conference to Challenge Trudeau on Climate Policy

Former Trudeau supporters Hayley Zacks and Jake Hubley were arrested after confronting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his support of the Alberta tar sands and approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, despite posturing as a ‘climate crusader’


biography

Hayley Zacks is a student and campaigner in Vancouver, BC. Her work focuses primarily on stopping major oil and gas infrastructure from impacting the West Coast. She is currently working on a Combined Honours as a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Sustainability, and International Development, with a minor in Indigenous Studies.

Jake Hubley am 24 year old community organizer in Vancouver. Jake is from Halifax, Nova Scotia, originally named Mi’ki’maki (“MI-KI-MAGI”) as the traditional unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq (“MIG-MAWK”) peoples. He has stayed in Vancouver to devote his efforts to stopping the Kinder Morgan pipeline and Tar sands expansion threatening our future.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: This is Dimitri Lascaris for The Real News Network. Despite the elaborate posturing at the just concluded COP23 Climate Summit in Bonn, Germany, not everyone is buying that Canada is a climate champion. The Trudeau government continues to support the Alberta tar sands, which is not only the largest industrial project on the planet, but is also the dirtiest and most polluting. Former NASA scientist, Dr. James Hansen, has called the continued exploitation of the tar sands “game over for the planet, and necessarily for the human species.”On November 15th, to express their peaceful opposition to Justin Trudeau’s commitment to the tar sands industry, two Canadian youths were arrested in Vancouver, B.C. at a press conference where they challenged the Prime Minister on his climate policies and his government’s approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. If that expansion is completed, Kinder Morgan’s trans mountain pipeline will carry far more highly toxic, diluted bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to Canada’s west coast, where it will be transported by tankers to other countries, including the United States.When these two youths confronted Trudeau, they stated that this most recent election was the first national election in which they were old enough to vote, and that they voted for him because he promised climate action. But now, they said, he’s pushing through the trans-mountain pipeline expansion and betraying his commitment to protect their generation and subsequent generations.With us to discuss the Kinder Morgan pipeline controversy, Trudeau’s climate policy and their arrest are the two protestors themselves. Joining us from Vancouver is Haley Zacks, a 20 year-old climate campaigner with Stand.earth in Vancouver. Also joining us is Jake Hubley, a 24 year-old community organizer from the city of Vancouver. Thank you very much, both of you, for joining us today.HALEY ZACKS: Thank you for having us.DIMITRI LASCARIS: So Haley, I’d like to begin with you. First of all, could you tell us please what the purpose of this November 15th press conference was?HALEY ZACKS: Justin Trudeau went in Vancouver to meet with the U.N. Ministerial Defense Committee, so he was there as part of this conference. And the specific part that we were attending was a press conference to discuss the previous commitments made to the U.N. by Prime Minister Trudeau. However, he was in Vancouver and since he’s approved the pipeline about a year ago, the Kinder Morgan pipeline, he hasn’t met with the public; he’s just been doing press events or private events. So, we decided to take the public to him through this press conference.DIMITRI LASCARIS: Were you invited to this event, or did you find creative ways to get yourselves inside?HALEY ZACKS: We found creative ways to get in.DIMITRI LASCARIS: So, Haley, what did you say to the Prime Minister when you had the opportunity to speak to him?HALEY ZACKS: I said that Jake and I are youth that voted for Justin Trudeau in our first ever federal election, and we voted for him on his promise for change and those promises were real climate action and reconciliation with indigenous nations in Canada. And then he went and approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline and you cannot meet those commitments to climate action and reconciliation when approving a detrimental tar sands pipeline that’s going through indigenous territory.And I also mentioned that we’re young people and we’re scared of what climate change means for our generation and future generations. And approving a pipeline that is going to produce 8.8 million gallons of CO2 of emissions equivalent to 2.2 million cars on the road means that he’s not taking climate change seriously.DIMITRI LASCARIS: And Jake, what did the Prime Minister say, if anything, in response to these comments?JAKE HUBLEY: He gave us his nice eyes and his smile and at the end kind of when we were being dragged out, he said something along the lines of, “It’s so great to see young people fighting for what they believed in. Please continue your activism.” Which to me, if he’s really supporting activism, he wouldn’t be shoving a pipeline down our throats at the same time.DIMITRI LASCARIS: And he encouraged this activism as you were being removed from the premises?JAKE HUBLEY: That’s right, yeah.DIMITRI LASCARIS: And so, Jake, what did the police say to you? What was their explanation for arresting you, in effect?JAKE HUBLEY: So, the police removed us in interest of safety. The charges we were going to be charged with were criminal mischief and obstruction of justice. There was also a couple loose things said around using a fake ID, which we used as freelance journalists to get into the conference. And then our charges were later dropped outside.DIMITRI LASCARIS: And what explanation, Haley, did the police give to you and Jake for dropping the charges? And were you released with any conditions attached?HALEY ZACKS: We were released with the condition that if we committed any sort of, the police officer that we were dealing with said “anything as stupid” as we had done that day, that these charges would resurface. So, anything that we’re charged with in the future – if we are caught protesting or obstructing construction for the Kinder Morgan pipeline – that we could have these charges reappear on our criminal records. The charges of obstruction of justice and criminal mischief could reappear.DIMITRI LASCARIS: Now Jake, it’s emerged that Justin Trudeau was, in fact, courting the oil sector while campaigning in 2015, and he never promised to curtail oil sands and tar sands production; he was just selective in disclosing his true intentions. Does that surprise you? Were you under the impression that the Prime Minister would have a much more progressive policy on the environment?JAKE HUBLEY: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, his campaign was really to appeal to my generation; the generation who voted for him and gave him power to be leadership, and that sounded like strong climate action, real change, and renewed reconciliation with First Nations, and that’s simply not happening. He also promised to implement UNDRIP, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. That, so far, isn’t happening. One of those, something within that is free, prior, and informed consent for First Nations, particularly around economic projects. And meanwhile, he has approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which goes through indigenous territory without their consent.DIMITRI LASCARIS: Now, Federal Environment Minister, Katherine McKenna, was sending out tweets from COP23 in Bonn about the pitfalls of coal. There was a lot of discussion by the Canadian delegation about coal. And according to Minister McKenna, “Burning coal is responsible for 41 percent of our global emissions.” In addition, when President Trump announced the US would pull out of the Paris Accord, the Canadian government issued a statement which said, “We are deeply disappointed that the United States federal government has decided to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Canada is unwavering in our commitment to fight climate change and support clean economic growth.”Now, this whole business about coal, Minister McKenna at COP23 took what appeared to be a leading role in forming an anti-coal alliance, which a number of states signed on to. But in an interview with Der Spiegel in the German language, she acknowledged that even under this plan – if, in fact, it is implemented – Canada would still be generating energy powered by coal beyond 2060; for some period of time beyond 2060. When you add it all up – and my question’s really to the both of you – taking into account the initiatives in regard to coal and any other environmentally friendly initiatives that the Trudeau government has pursued, do you think that this is a government that is really pursuing a different course of action from its predecessor under Stephen Harper, or are the differences largely rhetorical and cosmetic?HALEY ZACKS: If I could start, I would say that a lot of them have been cosmetic. I think that what’s important to recognize when we’re talking about COP is that the commitments that Justin Trudeau made in Paris in his first COP as Prime Minister were actually Harper’s commitments. So, those aren’t strong promises at all if we understand what the previous government was about in terms of climate change. So, one was that Justin Trudeau is only tied to the commitments that the Harper government had made to keeping promises to COP. And then the second being that even just the Kinder Morgan pipeline alone stops us from meeting the bare minimum commitments that we made in Paris. The emissions and the impact of building this pipeline will stop us from ever being able to meet our very minimal commitments to tackle climate change. So arguably, anything else we’re doing is being outweighed by the fact that we’re emitting way beyond what we should be.DIMITRI LASCARIS: So Jake, let me sort of approach that same question in a different way by talking about another pipeline project, the Keystone XL pipeline, which was temporarily shut down after it was detected that it was leaking on Thursday morning. 210,000 gallons of oil spilled in South Dakota from a leak in the pipeline near the town of Amherst, and this came right before the Nebraska Public Service Commission made 3 to 2 decision on Monday to approve a more costly alternative route for Keystone XL. People like President Trump and some people within Canada that are promoting the interests of the tar sands industry say that these pipelines create jobs and that they’re safer than transporting oil by train. How would you respond to those arguments, Jake?JAKE HUBLEY: I think there’s a lot of things, and I think with that spill, first of all, I think the upped the amount that was spilled; it was closer to 900,000 barrels. I’m pretty sure. Haley, you can correct me if I’m wrong.HALEY ZACKS: 900,000 liters, 800,000 liters. Sorry.JAKE HUBLEY: 800. But you know, the first thing I wrote after that was a post on Facebook, “My mouth is getting tired from all the I-told-you-so’s.” And I think that’s echoed in all the indigenous communities, especially at Standing Rock, who said this is going to happen again. It’s happened so many times, not only in our history of fossil fuel use, but especially with the trans-mountain and Kinder Morgan here. Over 80 tons in their history, and here we go again. It spilled and people’s water tables are at risk. What was the second part of that question?DIMITRI LASCARIS: My first part of it was about job creation. I suppose one cynic could argue that the jobs being created are in the oil spill cleanup business. But the second part of my question was whether this is, in fact, safer than transporting oil by train. And I think, in light of the statistics you’ve cited, there’s good reason to question that particular assumption or claim. But in terms of jobs, do you think there’s any merit at all that sort of permanent, good jobs are being created by the construction of these pipelines?JAKE HUBLEY: Yeah. In terms of jobs, what we’re seeing with Kinder Morgan is they give you these big job numbers and they’re based on really crappy economics, saying “for every one worker on the pipeline, we might have three to five workers in various Tim Horton’s there, the copy shops,” that kind of thing, and really it’s 50 permanent jobs for that whole project. And those jobs are temporary, they’re insecure especially with the fluctuating oil market, and they take people out of the communities and away from their families, which at the same time not only are they taking them away from their families, but a lot of oil workers aren’t super proud of what they’re doing.I mean, everyone has to make a living. There’s groups like Iron and Earth, who’ve been doing an amazing job at trying to advocate for the retraining and repurposing of oil workers for renewable energy so that they can have jobs in their communities and jobs that they can be proud of. And there are many statistics already that show that even in the solar industry alone there’s over 200,000 jobs, and with climate leadership in Canada there could be that many in the solar industry. Meanwhile, there are only about 23,000 jobs in the tar sands.So frankly, investing more into fossil fuels – which is a very fluctuating and dying industry, and one which has to die if we’re not to have catastrophic global warming take us – it’s actually investing in more insecure jobs for people that take them out of their families when we could be investing in long term, secure jobs in people’s communities in renewable energies for the long term. So it’s actually it’s an investment against oil workers, ironically enough, in my opinion.DIMITRI LASCARIS: And Haley, do you have anything to add to Jake’s thoughts on the job creation potential and the safety of pipelines, tar sands pipelines?HALEY ZACKS: Yeah. I think that Jake summed it up really nicely, and I think the one thing I’ll add is also all the jobs that are risked when you build a pipeline through a community. So it’s been assessed in Vancouver that the number of jobs that could be risked by a potential oil spill are in industries ranging from travel and tourism, to banking jobs that rely on having buildings directly on the water, to small businesses and restaurants. Like, the amount of jobs that would be risked in any area that is impacted by the pipeline if there is an oil spill. And as we’ve seen, it’s not if but when, like we saw with Keystone. There’s bound to be an oil spill and it’s risking way more jobs than it’s creating.JAKE HUBLEY: If I could just add, the fisheries industry is a huge one there as well. The salmon industry alone, as far as I know, is a $900 million industry a year for B.C., while also being a sacred food source for indigenous folks here who aren’t consenting to the pipeline in our community, and which are very crucial for our forests.DIMITRI LASCARIS: Well, this has been Dimitri Lascaris speaking to Vancouver based climate campaigners, Haley Zacks and Jake Hubley, who were arrested for peacefully dissenting from the Trudeau government’s climate policies at a press conference on November 15th. Thank you very much for joining us today.HALEY ZACKS: Thank you.JAKE HUBLEY: Thank you.DIMITRI LASCARIS: And this is Dimitri Lascaris for The Real News Network.

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This viral tweet about Thanksgiving and Native Americans deserves our attention.

A tweet that’s gone viral days before Thanksgiving shows exactly why the indigenous communities of South Dakota didn’t want oil pipelines on their lands.

“Just a reminder last year on Thanksgiving that Natives were being tortured with dogs, illegal scare tactics, being run over by angry white [people] all to protect our water,” the tweet reads. “And this year on Thanksgiving they are now cleaning up 200,000 gallon oil spill on a South Dakota reservation.”

Just a reminder last year on Thanksgiving that Natives were being tortured with dogs, illegal scare tactics, being run over by angry white ppl all to protect our water and this year on Thanksgiving they are now cleaning up 200,000 gallon oil spill on a South Dakota reservation

The tweet, published on Nov. 16 by user @lilnativeboy, has amassed over 100,000 likes and tens of thousands of retweets because of its powerful — and entirely sobering — message.

The tweet is referencing 2016 protests on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation that turned violent.

Last fall, indigenous demonstrators — or self-identified “water protectors” — rallied to protect the local land and water from construction on the 1,172-mile-long Dakota Access Pipeline. In November that year, when officials became agitated with their ongoing presence, the demonstrators were sprayed with water and tear gas in freezing cold weather. That same fall, security dogs reportedly bit protesters on multiple occasions.

Police spray Dakota Access Pipeline protesters with water and tear gas in freezing temperatures http://smithmag.co/99EDvs 

Between then and now, a lot has changed; most notably, an oil-friendly Trump administration took the reins in Washington, approving the final pipeline construction permit needed in February 2017.

Trump has opened the floodgates (so to speak) on a number of oil infrastructure projects; among them is the also controversial Keystone Pipeline, which is disrupting much of the same upper Midwest region as the Dakota Access.

One year later and with Thanksgiving upon us, demonstrators’ fears and predictions have come true as the viral tweet alludes to.

Over 200,000 gallons of oil has leaked in South Dakota, Keystone pipeline creator TransCanada confirmed on Nov. 17. The leak, the largest in the state to date, follows another leak in April from the Dakota Access Pipeline that tainted the land with nearly 17,000 gallons.

“It is a below-ground pipeline, but some oil has surfaced above ground to the grass,” Walsh said of the most recent environmental setback. “It will be a few days until they can excavate and get in borings to see if there is groundwater contamination.”

 

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Charles Manson dead at 83; here’s why his health crisis was shrouded in secrecy

The 83-year-old cult leader died at 8:13 p.m., according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Michele Hanisee, president of the Assn. of Deputy District Attorneys, issued a statement Sunday saying that Vincent Bugliosi, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted Manson, “provided the most accurate summation: ‘Manson was an evil, sophisticated con man with twisted and warped moral values.’

“Today, Manson’s victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death,” Hanisee said.

Why was so little information released?

Local law enforcement in Bakersfield confirmed Wednesday that he had been hospitalized, but state prison officials had declined to comment on his condition, citing federal and state medical privacy laws that preclude the agency “from commenting on protected health information for any inmate in our custody.”

This marked the second time Manson, an inmate at Corcoran State Prison, was hospitalized this year. In January, he spent several days in a Bakersfield hospital. The prison system would not comment on his condition, but sources at the time said he had a “serious” illness.

The most recent image of Manson, taken in August, 2017

How does California deal with sick inmates?

Though officials did not comment on where specifically Manson was being treated or why, the corrections department’s regulations provide a glimpse of how tightly coordinated the process must be.

“They remain under CDCR custody and 24-hour supervision during this time,” said Vicky Waters, a department spokeswoman. “CDCR also notifies and works with hospital security and law enforcement.”

Inmates are “routinely” taken to outside hospitals for medical care ranging from scheduled surgeries to emergency trauma, she said. The department’s protocol provides up to four levels of review by a medical services committee for cases in which an inmate receives emergency care outside the prison walls.

California Correctional Health Care Services has contracted with several Central California hospitals to provide services to prisoners, including Adventist Medical Center Hanford, Bakersfield Memorial Hospital and Mercy Hospital Bakersfield.

No Bakersfield hospital would comment. But some reporters in Bakersfield last week saw a prison department van parked in front of Mercy Hospital.

What did we know about security measures for Manson?

Given Manson’s crimes and his numerous problems as a prisoner, it was likely significant security measures were employed. But officials would not comment. When Manson was hospitalized in January, several prison officials were seen at the the hospital.

Manson incurred more than 100 rules violations since 1971, when he and other members of his so-called family were convicted of killing pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other people during a bloody rampage in the Los Angeles area during two August nights in 1969.

Over the years, he was cited for assault, repeated possession of a weapon, threatening staff, and possessing a cellphone.

Officials have said over the years that he spat in guards’ faces, threw hot coffee at a prison staffer, started fights, tried to cause a flood and set his mattress ablaze.

In 2014, Manson and Afton Elaine Burton, a 26-year-old Manson devotee, were granted a marriage license, but it expired before the two could marry. She had faithfully visited him in prison for seven years.

Manson’s next parole hearing had been scheduled for 2027.

Via. www.latimes.com

 

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Half of adults have high blood pressure in new standard

Anaheim, Calif. – New guidelines lower the threshold for high blood pressure, adding 30 million Americans to those who have the condition, which now plagues nearly half of U.S. adults.

High pressure, which for decades has been a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom one of 90, drops to 130 over 80 in advice announced Monday by a dozen medical groups.

The change means an additional 14 percent of U.S. adults have the problem, but only 2 percent of these newly added people need medication right away; the rest should try healthier lifestyles, which get much stronger emphasis in the new advice. Poor diets, lack of exercise and other bad habits cause 90 percent of high blood pressure.

“I have no doubt there will be controversy. I’m sure there will be people saying ‘We have a hard enough time getting to 140,’ ” said Dr. Paul Whelton, a Tulane University physician who led the guidelines panel.

But the risk for heart disease, stroke and other problems drops as blood pressure improves, and the new advice “is more honest” about how many people have a problem, he said.

Currently, only half of Americans with high blood pressure have it under control.

The upper threshold for high blood pressure has been 140 since 1993, but a major study two years ago found heart risks were much lower in people who aimed for 120. Canada and Australia lowered their cutoff to that; Europe is still at 140 but is due to revise its guidance next year.

The guidelines were announced Monday at an American Heart Association conference in Anaheim.

The guidelines set new categories and get rid of “prehypertension”:

Normal: Under 120 over 80

Elevated: Top number 120-129 and bottom less than 80

Stage 1: Top of 130-139 or bottom of 80-89

Stage 2: Top at least 140 or bottom at least 90

That means 46 percent of U.S. adults have high pressure (stages 1 or 2) versus 32 percent under the old levels.

How common it is will roughly triple in men under 45, to 30 percent, and double in women of that age, to 19 percent.

For people over 65, the guidelines undo a controversial tweak made three years ago to relax standards and not start medicines unless the top number was over 150. Now, everyone that old should be treated if the top number is over 130 unless they’re too frail or have conditions that make it unwise.

“The evidence with this is so solid, so convincing, that it’s hard to argue with the targets,” said Dr. Jackson Wright, a guidelines panel member from University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Older people “have a 35-to-50-fold higher risk of dying of a heart attack or stroke compared to younger people.”

But the Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Steven Nissen said he’s worried.

“Some more vulnerable patients who get treated very aggressively may have trouble with falls” because too-low pressure can make them faint, he said.

Certain groups, such as those with diabetes, should be treated if their top number is over 130, the guidelines say. For the rest, whether to start medication will no longer be based just on the blood pressure numbers. The decision also should consider the overall risk of having a heart problem or stroke in the next 10 years, including factors such as age, gender and cholesterol, using a simple formula to estimate those odds.

Those without a high risk will be advised to improve their lifestyles — lose weight, eat healthy, exercise more, limit alcohol, avoid smoking.

“It’s not just throwing meds at something,” said one primary care doctor who praised the new approach, the Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Robert Stroebel. If people continue bad habits, “They can kind of eat and blow through the medicines,” he said.

The guidelines warn about some popular approaches, though. There’s not enough proof that consuming garlic, dark chocolate, tea or coffee helps, or that yoga, meditation or other behavior therapies lower blood pressure long-term, they say.

The government no longer writes heart guidelines, leaving it to medical groups.

 

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Best Buy Vs Target: Best ‘Black Friday’ 2017 Deals

 

 

Black Friday 2017 is racing towards us as the holiday sales season picks up pace. But where are the best deals and how do deals compare between the biggest retailers? Having sorting through masses of sales data it is time to put them to the test, starting with Best Buy BBY +1.34% Vs TargetTGT +2.5% where there are significant product and delivery pros and cons… 

Best Buy

Best Buy Black Friday 2017 sales have already started

My thanks to BestBlackFriday.com which has worked with me to collate these deals and create order from the inevitable annual chaos

ADVERTISING

inRead invented by Teads

Where Best Buy Black Friday Beats Target Black Friday 2017

Thanksgiving Opening Time: Best Buy doorbusters will start on Thanksgiving at 5pm while Target’s Thanksgiving sales begin at 6pm.

Live Sales: Best Buy is still running some of the Black Friday sales it released with its ad scan right now (see live deals) while Target only had deals the day it posted its ad scan.

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Premier HDTV Deal: Best Buy is offering a Sharp 50-inch LED 2160p Smart 4K Ultra HD Roku TV for $179.99 (save $320) – product link. As I previously noted, this very well may be the best deal during the entirety of Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017.

Samsung Smartphones Deal: Best Buy is offering a sale where you can Save $300 on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8 Plus with qualified activation – product link. Target is offering a similar deal, but its $300 savings are via a $300 Target gift card. For the shopper who might not want to spend their $300 savings at Target, I give the nod to Best Buy.

GoPro HERO5 Black 4K: Both Target and Best Buy are offering the GoPro HERO5 Black 4K (product link) for $349.99 with a free $50 gift card to each respective store. However, Best Buy’s Black Friday ad states a Wi-Fi remote is included.

 

Where Target Black Friday Beats Best Buy Black Friday 2017

Black Friday Opening Time: Both Best Buy and Target will close the night of Thanksgiving or early Black Friday morning before reopening on Black Friday. Best Buy will open up at 8am while Target will open up at 6am, giving you more time to arrange Target into your Black Friday shopping spree.

Store Credit/Debit Card: Target’s REDCard very well may be the best store credit or debit card of any merchant. Unlike Best Buy’s store card, which gives cash back, Target will give REDCard holders 5% off every purchase immediately including those made on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Target also is promising REDCard holders will receive early access to Black Friday deals at Target.com starting on November 22. (sign-up link)

Xbox One S 500GB Console: Both Target and Best Buy are offering the popular Xbox One S 500GB Console (product link) for $189.99. However, Target is also giving shoppers who make this purchase a $25 Target gift card.

Google Home Mini Smart Speaker – Chalk: Target is offering the Google Home Mini Speaker for $29 with a $10 Target gift card (product link). Best Buy is offering it for $29.99 with a $10 Best Buy gift card. While the difference is only $0.99 I am still giving Target the win here – a saving is a saving.

Apple Watch Series 1: Target has Apple Watch Series 1 prices (product link) starting at $179.99 in their Black Friday ad while Best Buy has the same item starting at $199.99

Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: Target is offering a $250 Target gift card with the activation of an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus (product link) while Best Buy is only offering $200 in savings.

Where Target Black Friday Ties Best Buy Black Friday 2017

Shipping: Best Buy and Target will both offer free shipping with no minimum this holiday season, including orders during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Amazon Echo (2nd generation) – Both Target (product link) and Best Buy (product link) are offering the 2nd generation Amazon Echo for $79.99 on Black Friday.

Sony Playstation 4 1TB Console Black – Both Target (product link) and Best Buy (product link) are offering the Sony Playstation 4 1TB Console Black for $199.99.

To follow more of my daily Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals analysis bookmark my Forbes page or navigate to it and click the ‘Follow’ button to subscribe to my posts and receive notifications when new ones are published.

You can also find a selection of my Black Friday 2017 coverage below, and if you want to be notified by breaking deals as they happen click the ‘Follow’ button on my Forbes page to receive email notifications of new articles.

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‘We weren’t ready’ to close deal: Trudeau defends Canada’s actions on TPP

Trudeau says he didn’t snub other Pacific leaders, Japanese PM cancelled leaders’ meeting amid disagreement

By John Paul Tasker –

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says more work needS to be done to reach a final agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says more work needS to be done to reach a final agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending Canada’s actions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, asserting the country simply was not ready to put pen to paper on a final agreement because of lingering concerns around culture and the automotive sector.

“We weren’t ready to close it yesterday,” Trudeau told reporters at the closing news conference for the APEC summit in Vietnam.

Trudeau said he didn’t snub other TPP leaders when he skipped a planned meeting to discuss the deal, as there would have been little point in having such talks when there was still so much distance between the countries on certain chapters.

Trudeau and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had bilateral talks immediately before that planned meeting. After some disagreements between the two during the tête-à-tête, Abe told the other waiting leaders that the meeting was off, and Trudeau went on to meet with Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg.

‘Sabotage’

“The scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Abe … went long, we obviously had a lot to talk about, and at the end of the meeting it became clear it was in everyone’s interest to postpone the meeting on TPP11,” Trudeau said as an explanation.

While some countries might be eager for a deal, notably Australia, New Zealand and Japan — their respective national news outlets quoted government sources expressing disappointment at Trudeau supposedly “screwing” and “sabotaging” a final agreement by being a no-show — Trudeau said they should never have expected to leave Vietnam with an agreement in hand.

“I wasn’t going to be rushed into a deal that was not yet in the best interest of Canadians. That is what I’ve been saying at least for a week, and I’ve been saying it around TPP12 for years now and that position continues to hold,” he said of the original trade pact that was negotiated under the former Conservative government.

Indeed, since his arrival in Vietnam, Trudeau has said he wouldn’t cave to “pressure” from others, telegraphing that Canada did not have its pen in hand heading into Danang, the site of the APEC conference.

Vietnam APEC

Trudeau is greeted by well-wishers as he arrives at the International Media Center for a press conference held on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in Danang, Vietnam. (Na-Son Nguyen/AP Photo)

The original agreement — the so-called TPP12 — is being renegotiated now after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew America in January.

Still ‘important work to be done’: Trudeau

The 11 countries still party to the deal reached an agreement late Friday on a series of “core principles,” importantly a pledge that each member would uphold strict environmental and labour standards, and that they would dump intellectual property provisions initially demanded by the former Obama administration.

International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne made an 11th hour visit to the hotel of Canadian reporters in Vietnam late Friday to tout the progress made on TPP despite the cancelled leaders meeting.

But Trudeau said there is still much “important work to be done,” namely on the creation of a gender rights chapter, changes around rules of origin — a part of the deal with particular salience to the auto parts sector — and issues surrounding Canada’s protection and promotion of culture.

On the issue of autos, Canada faces a particular challenge. Under the original TPP, in order for a car to enter Canada tariff-free, 45 per cent of it must have originated in a TPP member nation (auto parts themselves must have a regional content value of 35 to 45 per cent).

These numbers are a reduction from the 62.5 per cent regional value content called for in NAFTA.

Trudeau Asia 20171110

International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne speaks with the media in Danang, Vietnam. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

It would be hard to resist Trump’s demands for greater American content in autos when Canada (and Mexico, which was also a signatory of TPP12) has allowed Asia to maintain a lower bar.

Japan, a major exporter of autos, has sought to keep the terms of the original deal despite Canada’s opposition.

Flavio Volpe, the president of the Auto Parts Manufacturing Association, said, “We can’t be in two boats at once.”

Volpe said Canada’s insistence on changing rules around autos is in the country’s best interest.

“TPP terms as they now exist are not positive to Canadian-based auto parts manufacturing — 100,000 people that work for hundreds of Canadian firms will be happy to read today that their government has chosen to do the difficult work of negotiating in their interests instead of against them,” he said.

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Hillary Clinton Gave 20 Percent of United States’ Uranium to Russia in Exchange for Clinton Foundation Donations?

They say “Allegations of a ‘quid pro quo’ deal giving Russia ownership of one-fifth of U.S. uranium deposits in exchange for $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation are unsubstantiated.”

PUBLISHERS NOTE:  Read ALL OF what they wrote.  It sure seems to me that the facts they site do not support this conclusion – SU

CLAIM

Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s approval of a deal to transfer control of 20% of U.S. uranium deposits to a Russian company was a quid pro quo exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation.See Example( s )


RATING

 FALSE

ORIGIN

In the months leading up to the 2016 United States presidential election, stories abounded about the relationships between the Clinton Foundation and various foreign entities.

May 2015 saw the publication of a book called Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, an exposé of alleged Clinton Foundation corruption written by Peter Schweizer, a former Hoover Institution fellow and editor-at-large at the right-wing media company Breitbart.

A chapter in the book suggests that the Clinton family and Russia each may have benefited from a “pay-for-play” scheme while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, involving the transfer of U.S. uranium reserves to the new Russian owners of an international mining operation in exchange for $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation.

The mining company, Uranium One, was originally based in South Africa, but merged in 2007 with Canada-based UrAsia Energy. Shareholders there retained a controlling interest until 2010, when Russia’s nuclear agency, Rosatom, completed purchase of a 51% stake. Hillary Clinton played a part in the transaction insofar as it involved the transfer of ownership of a material deemed important to national security — uranium, amounting to one-fifth of U.S. reserves (a fraction re-estimated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at closer to one-tenth of the United States’ uranium production capacity in 2017) — thus requiring the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), on which the U.S. Secretary of State sits.

During the same time frame that the acquisition took place, the Clinton Foundation accepted contributions from nine individuals associated with Uranium One totaling more than $100 million, Schweizer claimed in Clinton Cash. Among those who followed Schweizer in citing the transaction as an instance of alleged Clinton corruption was GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who said during a June 2016 speech in New York City:

Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved the transfer of 20% of America’s uranium holdings to Russia, while nine investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Trump’s campaign repeated the allegation in a September 2016 press release, and again in an October 2016 television ad stating that Clinton “gave American uranium rights to the Russians”:

An image circulating via social media during the final months of the presidential campaign asked the question, “So Hillary, if Russia is such a threat, why did you sell them 20% of our uranium? Are you a liar, or a traitor, or both?”

clinton-uranium

The Uranium One deal was not Clinton’s to veto or approve

Among the ways these accusations stray from the facts is in attributing a power of veto or approval to Secretary Clinton that she simply did not have. Clinton was one of nine cabinet members and department heads that sit on the CFIUS, and the secretary of the treasury is its chairperson. CFIUS members are collectively charged with evaluating proposed foreign acquisitions for potential national security issues, then turning their findings over to the president. By law, the committee can’t veto a transaction; only the president can.

All nine federal agencies and the Utah Division of Radiation Control were required to approve the Uranium One transaction before it could go forward. According to The New York Times, Clinton may not have even directly participated in the decision. Then-Assistant Secretary of State Jose Fernandez, whose job it was to represent the State Dept. on CFIUS, said Clinton “never intervened” in committee matters. Clinton herself has said she wasn’t personally involved.

Despite transfer of ownership, the uranium remained in the U.S.

A key fact ignored in criticisms of Clinton’s supposed involvement in the deal is that the uranium was not — nor could it be — exported, and remained under the control of U.S.-based subsidiaries of Uranium One, according to a statement by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

NRC’s review of the transfer of control request determined that the U.S. subsidiaries will
remain the licensees, will remain qualified to conduct the uranium recovery operations, and will continue to have the equipment, facilities, and procedures necessary to protect public health and safety and to minimize danger to life or property. The review also determined that the licensees will maintain adequate financial surety for eventual decommissioning of the sites. Neither Uranium One nor ARMZ holds an NRC export license, so no uranium produced at either facility may be exported.

The timing of most of the donations does not match

Of the $145 million allegedly contributed to the Clinton Foundation by Uranium One investors, the lion’s share — $131.3 million — came from a single donor, Frank Giustra, the company’s Canadian founder. But Giustra sold off his entire stake in the company in 2007, three years before the Russia deal and at least 18 months before Clinton became secretary of state.

Of the remaining individuals connected with Uranium One who donated to the Clinton Foundation, only one was found to have contributed during the same time frame that the deal was taking place, according to The New York Times — Ian Telfer (also a Canadian), the company’s chairman:

His donations through the Fernwood Foundation included $1 million reported in 2009, the year his company appealed to the American Embassy to help it keep its mines in Kazakhstan; $250,000 in 2010, the year the Russians sought majority control; as well as $600,000 in 2011 and $500,000 in 2012. Mr. Telfer said that his donations had nothing to do with his business dealings, and that he had never discussed Uranium One with Mr. or Mrs. Clinton. He said he had given the money because he wanted to support Mr. Giustra’s charitable endeavors with Mr. Clinton. “Frank and I have been friends and business partners for almost 20 years,” he said.

In addition to the Clinton Foundation donations, the New York Times also cited a $500,000 speaking fee paid to former president Bill Clinton by a Russian investment bank in June 2010, before the Uranium One deal was approved:

The $500,000 fee — among Mr. Clinton’s highest — was paid by Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin that has invited world leaders, including Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, to speak at its investor conferences.

Renaissance Capital analysts talked up Uranium One’s stock, assigning it a “buy” rating and saying in a July 2010 research report that it was “the best play” in the uranium markets.

The timing of Telfer’s Clinton Foundation donations and Bill Clinton’s Renaissance Capital speaking fee might be questionable if there was reason to believe that Hillary Clinton was instrumental in the approval of the deal with Russia, but all the evidence points to the contrary — that Clinton did not play a pivotal role, and, in fact, may not have played any role at all. Moreover, neither Clinton nor her department possessed sole power of approval over said transaction.

Foundation has admittted disclosure mistakes

One fault investigations into the Clinton Foundation’s practices did find was that not all of the donations were properly disclosed — specifically, those of Uranium One Chairman Ian Telfer between 2009 and 2012. The foundation admitted this shortcoming and pledged to correct it, but as the Guardian pointed out in its May 2015 discussion of Clinton Cash, the fact that it happened is reason enough to sound alarm bells:

It is also true that large donations to the foundation from the chairman of Uranium One, Ian Telfer, at around the time of the Russian purchase of the company and while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, were never disclosed to the public. The multimillion sums were channeled through a subsidiary of the Clinton Foundation, CGSCI, which did not reveal its individual donors.

Such awkward collisions between Bill’s fundraising activities and Hillary’s public service have raised concerns not just among those who might be dismissed as part of a vast right-wing conspiracy.

An enormous volume of interest and speculation surrounds the workings of the Clinton Foundation, which is to be expected. Given the enormous sums of money it controls and the fact that it is run by a former U.S. president who is married to a former U.S. secretary of state and presidential candidate, the foundation deserves all the scrutiny it gets, and more.

At the same time, for the sake of accuracy it’s crucial to differentiate between partisan accusations and what we actually know about it — however little that may be.

Update

On 17 October 2017, The Hill reported obtaining evidence that Vadim Mikerin, a Russian official who oversaw the American operations of the Russian nuclear agency Rosatom, was being investigated for corruption by multiple U.S. agencies while the Uranium One deal was up for approval — information that apparently was not shared with U.S. officials involved in approving the transaction. The Hill also reported receiving documents and eyewitness testimony “indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow,” although no specifics about who those Russian nuclear officials were or how the money was allegedly routed to the Clinton Foundation were given. In any case, none of these revelations prove that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participated in a quid pro quo agreement to accept payment for approval of the Uranium One deal.

On 24 October 2017, the U.S. House intelligence and oversight committees announced the launch of a joint investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Russian purchase of Uranium One.

 

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