Sandra Finley

Aug 192017
Julian Assange in 2016 (Carl Court / Getty Images)

Julian Assange in 2016 (Carl Court / Getty Images)

Far-right blogger and provocateur Chuck C. Johnson said on Thursday that he helped arrange a highly unusual meeting between Orange County GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange this week.

Rohrabacher said in a statement that he plans to bring information to President Trump from the three-hour meeting, which took place Wednesday in London at the Ecuadorian Embassy, where Assange has been living in asylum since 2012.

He would not detail that information to The Times, but in an interview Thursday morning with the Daily Caller, Rohrabacher was more explicit, saying he and Assange talked about “what might be necessary to get him out” and suggested they discussed a presidential pardon in exchange for information on the theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee, which were published by WikiLeaks before the 2016 presidential election.

“He has information that will be of dramatic importance to the United States and the people of our country as well as to our government,” Rohrabacher told the Daily Caller. “Thus if he comes up with that, you know he’s going to expect something in return. He can’t even leave the embassy to get out to Washington to talk to anybody if he doesn’t have a pardon.”

Johnson, who is known for being banned from Twitter after he asked users for help “taking out” a civil rights activist, said that he and Assange attorney Jennifer Robinson also were in the meeting.

Johnson wrote in an email to The Times that the meeting was the result of a “desire for ongoing communications” from both Rohrabacher and Assange. Rohrabacher spokesman Ken Grubbs said the congressman alerted the White House about his planned trip to visit Assange. The White House has not confirmed whether it was aware of the meeting ahead of time.

Rohrabacher’s office said that during the meeting, Assange repeated his claims that the Russian government was not involved in the theft of Democratic emails.

The release of the emails put Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on the defensive and are among the incidents that led to investigations by the Justice Department and multiple House and Senate committees into potential ties between President Trump’s campaign and election meddling. Multiple U.S. intelligence agencies think Russia was involved in the theft of the emails.

In a statement, DNC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said, “We’ll take the word of the U.S. intelligence community over Julian Assange and Putin’s favorite Congressman.”

Assange, who has been criticized by many U.S. officials for WikiLeaks’ alleged ties to Russia, remains in asylum at least in part because British authorities have threatened him with arrest for jumping bail after Sweden made sexual assault allegations against him. Those allegations since have been dropped, but Assange, who is Australian, also could face legal problems in the U.S. The Washington Post reported in April that federal prosecutors were weighing whether to bring charges against members of WikiLeaks, in part over information leaked by Chelsea Manning, the U.S. soldier convicted of handing over diplomatic cables to the organization.

Rohrabacher, who has long been criticized for his fondness for Russia, believes he is the only congressman who has visited Assange.

Shortly after the trip was revealed, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called for Rohrabacher to step down from his post on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he chairs a subcommittee on Eurasian affairs.

Grubbs called the Democratic committee’s call “absurdly but predictably partisan.”

Grubbs also said Rohrabacher paid for the trip to London — which he took while many of his House colleagues are working and holding town hall meetings in their districts — with personal funds.

Aug 162017

An opportunity for a better approach to sewage treatment?

There is a much less expensive and common sense approach than the current one.  . . .  Truly!

(This posting is under development.   If you have thoughts on it, please let me know.  Thanks!)

My curiosity and activism over sewage treatment began in the 1970’s.   I was young and from a land-locked community that didn’t have a river or ocean for dumping of sewage.  My memory goes as far back as the “honey wagon” that weekly traveled the back alleys where residents put out their “honey pail”.   Pure sewage.  The wagon was pulled by a horse.  I don’t know where it was emptied or how it was cleaned out.

What I couldn’t figure out, years later in Halifax, was why there were so many condoms on the rocks at Point Pleasant Park.  The light started to dawn when, on a beach on a fine summer day, I saw the little kids playing in the water with small, plastic, pastel-coloured “submarines” that looked an awful lot like tampon tubes.   But that didn’t make any sense because I couldn’t imagine that mothers would let their children play with discarded tampon tubes washed up on the beach.   . . .  in the end, and through the years,  I learned a lot about sewage “treatment” that I didn’t really want to know!

The links below work, even if they show that they don’t.

THE STORY TODAY:  Bowser votes on sewage treatment 

From the article:

  • the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) has decided on recommending “marine disposal” over ground disposal for sewage in the village of Bowser.
  • the proposed sewage pipe would extend about 2 kilometres into the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and mainland B.C.).
  • RDN Chair Bill Veenhof said the effluent, “will be treated to meet or exceed Canadian federal and provincial standards.”   (My question is always “what specific standards?”  Level 1 sewage treatment is the use of a screen to catch objects such as condoms and plastic tampon tubes that are flushed down toilets, so they don’t go out to sea.  Is that what we’re talking about?  I asked the RDN.  The answer is NO  – – –   read on.)
  • Estimated cost of the proposal for Bowser’s sewage treatment:

The Newspaper reports $10.7 million   But see below, “Reconcile” with the Engineers’ Report.  Capital cost:  $11,272,000 to $11,921,000

The newspaper says:

$4,262,962  wastewater treatment plant  (don’t you love the language – – “waste water”.  But that’s water that we and others eventually “recycle” through our bodies, through drinking it and through plants and animals that we eat.  We don’t get “new” water (think of “acid rain” or “2,4-D rain in southern Alberta, or mercury levels in fish). According to how we use the word,  it seems to me that all water is “waste” water – – it has gone through many different bodies over the centuries.)

$3,877,154 for the collection system

$2,541,395 for “marine outfall”  (which sounds like some kind of accident).  In plain language:  $2.5 million for a trenched pipe that carries the waste water 2 kilometres out to sea.

RECONCILE with the Engineers’ Report:

The numbers from the Engineers’ (Stantec) Report, (page 2), sent by the RDN (appended)  Bowser Village Wastewater Service Area Draft Design Report – April 2017:

as much as a million dollars more than the newspaper reported.

Wastewater Treatment Plant   $4,091,000
Collection System   $4,052,000
Marine Outfall (Option A or B)   $2,341,000 to $2,990,000
Permitting, Archaeological, Engineering  $788,000
TOTAL     $$11,272,000 to $11,921,000
The newspaper excluded the
Permitting, Archaeological, Engineering  cost  of  $788,000.
And other numbers vary somewhat.
These are the CAPITAL COSTS.  They do not include annual operating costs that local property owners will have to cover without federal and provincial grants.  Bowser’s population (2016) is 188.

Linguistically, what is the relationship between the words affluent and effluent?

Ironically, the archaic use of “affluent” is  (of water) flowing freely or in great quantity.  Archaic  noun: a tributary stream.

Take the Latin word fluere which means to flow.

Add “af” and you get AFFLUENT,  flowing toward.

Add “ef” and you get EFFLUENT,  flowing away from, a use that didn’t start until the mid-19th century (industrial revolution).

liquid waste or sewage discharged into a river or the sea.
“the bay was contaminated with the effluent from an industrial plant”
Ha ha!  the Affluent have clean water, affluent flowing out their kitchen taps.   And (the appended article on the floating cities (cruise ships):  the Affluent dispose of their Effluent into unregulated Canadian waters!

 POPULATION OF BOWSER, the Community contemplating the $11 million dollar sewage treatment:   The Design Report from the Engineers. page 1:

The new wastewater system being proposed will be required to service the existing developed properties in the Bowser Village Centre, and provide sufficient capacity to allow for future service to the Future Use Area. Using the 2016 population of 188, which has been extrapolated from Statistics Canada data, and applying a 5% annual growth rate, results in a 2036 design population of 499 . . . .

From the RDN, August 16, 2017 (before I knew the actual population number.  I was asking questions.):

  • It is “not for sure” that the project is going ahead.
  • The Design Report from the engineering consultants is for:

Level 2 (“secondary”) treatment.

They are recommending “Sequencing Batch Reactor” technology.   (Sandra speaking:  In general,  “batches” of sewage go through a sequence of roughly five steps referred to as:  fill, react, settle, decant and desludge.

1.   fill a tank with a batch of sewage

2.   react  it.  There are a couple of meanings.   Aerate (bubbles of oxygen to multiply aerobic bacteria; add other ingredients – – basically cause reactions that form  non-soluble compounds) which then leads to the next step . . .

3.   settle – – the non-solubles settle out

4.   decant  – – To decant is to gradually pour a liquid from one container into another, especially without disturbing the sediment.  Wine and beer makers know the term.   The water on top of the sludge exits   (*this is when it goes through the UV Reactor).   The “waste water” then travels through the sewage outfall pipe 2 kilometres out into the other container, the Salish Sea.

* Which brings up the other meaning of “React”.

UV disinfecting is included in the Design Report.  UV disinfecting replaces the use of such chemicals as chlorine to kill organisms (disinfect) the “waste water”.   UV radiation at the right dose and amount of time affects the DNA of organisms, making them incapable of reproducing.   When the “settle out” step is finished, the waste water passes through a container often called a Reactor.  It contains the UV lamps that disinfect the water.  More info:  a.   (1999; it describes UV disinfection in understandable language).  OR  b.

So a “Sequencing Batch Reactor”  takes sewage, settles out the debris and anything that can be made to sink, draws off water (decants), disinfects the water (UV radiation), and runs it out to sea through a $2.5 million “sewage outfall”.

The RDN points out that tertiary filtration is part of the proposal.  “Tertiary” means third level.    Explained above:  “primary treatment” means you put a screen over the sewer pipes to prevent solids like condoms from entering the disposal field, river, or ocean.   Secondary treatment means you go a step further (the basic RDN proposal).  Tertiary water treatment encompasses the removal of inorganic compounds like nitrogen and phosphorus, whereas  – – “Tertiary Filtration” in a Secondary treatment system is aimed at removing the fine suspended solids that don’t settle out.   The water will be run through Granular Filters, for example, silica sand, anthracite, gravel, garnet.

One last step in the sequence:

5.   desludge – – remove the sludge at the bottom of the tank.   Where will it go?

 from the Engineers’ Report, page 1:    . . .   it is hauled off-site to the French Creek Pollution Control Centre (FCPCC) for further processing.

Someday I’d like to view the “further processing”.

See below, APPENDED,  the email from the RDN that has the documents.

  • . . .  An $11 million dollar project for tax-payers and local property owners, for a local population of 188, projected to be 499 by 2036 ??

Bowser area residents have their own septic fields.   The area has pristine beaches and attracts increasing traffic.

It may be Land Developers who want sewage treatment, financed by Federal, Provincial grants; and by local residents  (by all tax-payers)?

Makes me wonder two things:

      how are tax-payers going to cover the cost of sewage treatment for everyone in the country?   Fair is fair.

      the bigger question:   how is it that sewage treatment in First Nations communities with far larger populations isn’t funded?


(coming – – the obvious alternative makes economic sense.  What the RDN is proposing makes no economic or practical sense that I can see.)


RAW SEWAGE, WEST COAST WATERS  (a couple of examples):


  • Cruise on down to our dumping ground

. . .    the ship’s owners admitted fouling Canadian waters three times. The infractions cost Celebrity Cruises $100,000 in fines in Washington. In Canada, it paid nothing.

“The excuse was, ‘We’ll pay the fine in Washington but we won’t pay the fine in Canada because Canada doesn’t care,'” said Ross Klein, a social-work professor at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and a leading critic of the cruise industry. “Even if you’re brain-dead, it’s obvious if you’ve got to follow regulations in California, Washington, and Alaska, and you don’t in Canada, what are you going to do in Canada? That in itself speaks volumes.”

The Mercury’s inconsistent treatment is indicative of how the cruise industry has evolved on the Pacific coast, with each jurisdiction applying its own standards to the ships. At one end of the run is Alaska, which, thanks to an August 2006 referendum, has by far the toughest laws. At the other end is Washington state, which has a memorandum of understanding with the industry that is at least strong enough to allow the state to fine ships like the Mercury when they dump in Washington waters.

In the middle is B.C., which depends on its federal government to protect the coast. Canada has never fined a cruise ship for a violation and is unlikely to do so under current guidelines. “It’s a green light to empty your holding tank between Washington state and Alaska,” Klein said. Canada’s weak guidelines and lack of enforcement send a clear message to cruise-ship owners about how they are to regard B.C., he said. “It means it’s the toilet bowl.”

THE MERCURY IS JUST one of 33 Vancouver-based cruise ships that will be churning through B.C. on the Alaska run this summer, which actually kicked off on April 8 with the arrival of the Zaandam. Altogether, they will make about 300 trips and carry an estimated 930,000 passengers, each paying an average of $1,500, up the coast and back. Many of the ships carry more than 2,000 people, making them the equivalent of floating cities, with all the consumer needs and wastes you would expect from a luxury resort of that size. (The next generation of ships, the first of which will be ready in 2009, will carry more than 8,000 passengers. Besides the liquid waste, each person on a cruise produces 3.5 kilograms of garbage per day, Klein said, much more than they would in their land-based lives.) Much of the ships’ time in the province will be in the confined waters of Hecate Strait, the Inside Passage, and between Vancouver Island and the mainland.

“There is a great concern that Canada could become a dumping ground,” said Fred Felleman, a Seattle-based researcher who consults on cruise-ship issues for the Bluewater Network, a national organization fighting marine pollution. With the relatively contained waters and vulnerable whale populations, he said, that’s a worry. “I don’t believe there’s any place we should be dumping sewage sludges, but if you have to dump sludges, you don’t want to do it in the Inside Passage.”

But the current rules are likely making it more and more attractive for the cruise companies to do just that. “It’s going to be Haro Strait, Georgia Strait, or Queen Charlotte Sound, would be my guess.”

CONCERNS:  how little we know – –



Sent: August 16, 2017 5:10 PM
To:  (Sandra Finley)
Cc: Alexander, Randy
Subject: Bowser Village Centre Wastewater Project

Greetings Sandra,

Thank you for your phone call today regarding the Bowser Village Centre Wastewater Project.  I have forwarded your comments to the project team.

As discussed, this email is to provide some additional resources.

The proposed system design will provide secondary treatment through Sequencing Batch Reactor technology, with added UV disinfection of the treated effluent. The treatment technologies and treatment levels in the design were selected to meet and exceed federal and provincial regulatory requirements. The “Bowser Village Wastewater Service Area Draft Design Report – April 2017” describes the technologies considered, including tertiary filtration. (See Technical Memo 1, pages 175-194 of the PDF linked above.) The Wastewater Treatment System FAQ sheet provides information about the proposed treatment system as well.

Please note project updates and resources are available at


Deanna McGillivray

Special Projects Coordinator, Wastewater Services

Regional District of Nanaimo

Aug 072017

(The links work;  I don’t know why the line is through them.)

Please help stop more corporate takeover; Politicians who sell us out.  Add your name to the petition: 

Christy Clark lost her position as Premier of B.C., in large part due to her servicing of corporate interests, and the money flowing into the B.C. Liberal Party because of that.  People from across Canada helped with the campaign to create awareness of the corruption of democracy in B.C..  And won.  The unseating of the Clark government sent a message across Canada.   By signing the petition to stop yet another servicing of corporate interests by a Provincial Government,  this time in Saskatchewan,  we grow our strength another notch.

Canadians will pitch in (the petition), but people in Saskatchewan should be phoning their MLAs.  If they don’t,  they should not complain when the Government proceeds with the privatization, and their communications (phone, internet) bills start going up, to the levels in B.C. and other regions of Canada.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  — –

The direct cost to the people of Saskatchewan, if the privatization of Sasktel (a crown corporation) goes ahead, will be huge.   What the people have built over the decades will be sold at a fraction of its value;  and people will be paying the rates charged in other provinces.  (I just did some comparisons because of phone service for my daughter.)

The CCPA graphs make it clear, and show  it will be bad for the rest of Canada, too – – the private carriers will have a stranglehold on the whole country.  Worth taking a look.  With thanks to Simon Enoch:

CCPA  – Behind the numbers  ]

Saskatchewan MP Erin Weir started a petition to ensure the privatization doesn’t proceed.  I signed it.  As I see it, we need to do WHATEVER we can, to stop further concentration of power and wealth and especially when it’s the communications sector in a democracy that will take another direct hit.  THE PETITION (once again):

My reply to a friend (next) shows my cost for service in B.C. (where what used to be public service is now privatized), compared with Sasktel (communications are considered to be a service, like schools and roads, that citizens joined hands, decades ago to provide, through their government).

= = = = = = =
On Sat, 5 Aug 2017, Sandra Finley wrote:

RE:  Subject: Should we start calling Brad Wall a liar?  (looks like Privatization of Sasktel in the works?)

We should start calling Premier Brad Wall an employee of Large Corporations.

My daughter has been on her father’s Sasktel family package for cell phone coverage.

While in Sask I purchased cell phone coverage on a Sasktel plan.

And I still have and use my Sasktel email account.

Both are superior (in cost and service) to anything I can get in B.C. where there isn’t a crown corporation for communications service for citizens.

Saskatchewanians should wake up.  Look at the costs:

  • Cell phone coverage in B.C. is usually through Telus.   I don’t think there’s much competition, except through outfits like Virgin Mobile.   Virgin has franchisees.  I tried them last year.  It was not good – – they don’t have the depth in resources to work out problems, even when they are THEIR technical problems.   And you have little recourse to corrective action.  Shaw, the other internet provider, does not offer cell phone service.
  • The rates at Telus in B.C. are easily DOUBLE the costs of Sasktel’s service, as far as I can determine from the Telus website.  (NEW:  the CCPA analysis received since I had Telus under consideration, supports my conclusion.)
  • Premier Wall will hose the citizens of Sask.   But he’ll come out just fine, thank-you.  (Follow the money, honey, if you want to make sense of that which doesn’t make sense  (selling off Sasktel).)  The pay-offs to Officials when they are no longer in power, are magnificent.   Wall will be rewarded by Cameco, by the Oil & Gas industry,  by whoever buys Sasktel if that sale goes through, and by American interests.   Seats on corporate Boards of Directors provide lucrative retirement income, if you’ve been nice to them while you were in power.
  • If you compare the Shaw product listings for Internet  (“bundles” for example) and their billing,  the Sasktel bills spell out what you are paying for, and it all adds up.   Shaw product info and billing are designed to confuse,  and they are always changing things.  You can’t just sign up for what you want and rely on that.  For example, you are often signing up for something that is good for 6 months or a year,  and then the rate automatically increases, with no notice.   You have to phone them.   And be savvy:  if you know how to play your cards,  when you start suggesting that you want to check out what you can get elsewhere, the front-line personnel hand you over to their “loyalty team”.
  • In this way, I recently had my current bill cut by one-third (from $146 to $95).  And on an on-going basis, at least until their next automatic increase,  I will pay more than $35 less per month than I was  ($110 vs $146).  I would not have gotten those rates, if I had not learned from the same experience last year.  You can’t trust them, and if you don’t know about the “loyalty team” and how it operates, the front-line responders to your questions, do not tell you that the rate is actually flexible – – by a lot!  They just sound sympathetic, and then repeat the current rate.
  • They try to document your call as a complaint about the August 1st  rate increase sanctioned for the mobile phone industry by the CRTC.  I had to repeat my instruction NOT to record my complaint as such, because that was not what it was.  I knew nothing about that increase ($7).  I called because I wanted to understand my current bill  (which, as I mentioned, was ultimately cut by one-third by the “Loyalty Team”  – – all I did was to be nice and keep asking questions about my bill that made no sense).  But you see – – they will report all these complaints as being the fault of the CRTC, nothing to do with them.
  • Another factor:  You have to have THE TIME to stay on the line, and not hang up in frustration when put on hold  (I just work on something else while I’m waiting).  Working parents, for example – – do they have the time and the assertiveness, AND the information to KNOW that you can get a better rate?   As usual,  those who cannot afford the higher rates are the ones who are paying them.
  • I don’t get it why people don’t talk to their neighbours, spread the word, organize, and get into the streets if necessary, or just sign the petition – – they aren’t going to stop another fiasco (the privatization of Sasktel) if they don’t.   It’s almost as though they LIKE to be victims?  . . .  The price of  de-boned chicken is very high, in comparison to chicken with the bone in!


I hope that Premier Wall and his colleagues are outed and stopped.  Wall worked for the Grant Devine Govt  (the most corrupt in the history of the Province;  some of them went to jail.)  They are the ones who ended the dental programme for children through the schools – – they completely dismantled it, sold off all the equipment that had been bought (by the citizens) and installed in the schools.  They should never have gotten away with doing that – – they were not re-elected, but that doesn’t matter:  once gone,  citizens do not get it back.   And note that the cost of dental service continues to escalate because of insurance.   I really don’t know how families who don’t have dental insurance plans can afford dental care for themselves and their children.  A healthy mouth contributes enormously to a healthy body, and the reduction of medicare costs.

On that cheery note,

I hope you are doing well!


= = = = = = = = =

Sent: August 4, 2017 3:31 PM
Subject: FYI: Should we start calling Brad Wall a liar?

Should we start calling Brad Wall a liar?  ]

July 18, 2017

Regina—The steady flow of rumours about privatizing Saskatchewan’s beloved Crown corporations is making it increasingly difficult to conclude that Brad Wall was truthful during the 2016 election, says Unifor.

“Brad Wall misled voters,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “If the Sask Party wants to dismantle public services and sell off Crown corporations that took generations to build, they should have the decency to run an election on the issue.”

On April 26, 2016 the Sask Party promised the CBC in writing [ ]  that no Crown corporations covered under The Crown Corporations Act would be privatized, but later amended that legislation with Bill 40 [  ] to enable unprecedented privatization. This week Minister Dustin Duncan confirmed that backroom talks are underway to privatize Sasktel.  [  ]

“Brad Wall has no mandate to sell off public assets that generate millions in dividends for the people of Saskatchewan,” said Joie Warnock, Unifor Western Regional Director. “Selling-off Crown corporations would be a disaster for the long-term health of hospital and school funding.”

Among other sectors, Unifor represents thousands of Crown corporation workers at SaskTel, SaskEnergy, SaskPower, and SaskWater.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at or 778-903-6549 (cell).

= = = = = =

‘Really bothered about this’: Potential sale of gov’t-run low-income housing units raises concern  –  August 3, 2017 ]

Sask. budget hikes sales tax to 6%, kills provincial bus company  –  March 22, 2017  ]


Aug 052017
Ann Mortifee, CM is a Canadian singer, composer and librettist, author, storyteller, and keynote speaker. Her music blends folk, musical theatre, pop, sacred and world music. Wikipedia

In my opinion, the range and power of her voice and talents is extraordinary.   I am surprised when people don’t know her name.

From her CD  Healing Journey,  the lyrics for



We were born to live, not just survive

Though the road be long and the river wide

Though the seasons change and the willows bend

Though some dreams break, some others mend


We were born to give and born to take

To win and lose and to celebrate

We were born to know and born to muse

To unfold our hearts, take a chance and choose


We were born to love though we feel the thorn

When a ship sets sail to return no more

Though a door be closed and we feel the pain

To chance it all and to love again


We were born to reach, to seek what’s true

To surrender all to make each day new

We were born to laugh and born to cry

To rejoice and grieve, just be be alive


We were born to hope and to know despair

And to stand alone when there’s no one there

We were born to trust and to understand

That in every heart there’s an outstretched hand


We were born to live, to be right and wrong

To be false and true, to be weak and strong

We were born to live, to break down the walls

And to know that life is to taste it all

Aug 052017

Ladakh is an old Buddhist Kingdom, high in the Himayalas, now a part of India.  The capital city is Leh.

It has lessons for us.

Series of Youtubes:    (The links work, even if they show as not)


1.  I watched    Ancient Futures, Learning from Ladakh.  You will see pictures of Helena Norberg-Hodge as a young woman:,   December 2012, an hour.

2.   Curious about Helena Norberg-Hodge, I then watched her TedTalkThe Economics of Happiness   (June 2011,  18 minutes)

3.   Culmination, very worthwhile:   Helena Norberg-Hodge Full Interview – A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity   (August 2015, an hour, 14 minutes.)



Two excerpts from #1, if you just want a sample.   These do not take you to the level of thinking that is in #3, the Culmination:

a.   economics:  June 2014, under 2 minutes.

b.   introduction (first 4 minutes of the film):, June 2011


Aug 022017

Background?    There is a very good German video that explains how “the monster payday” works.   Note the date:

2015-11-16 YouTube: German Public TV tells Europeans re ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlements).   Canada? U.S.? What are we seeing?

The recent report below related to Argentina is evidence of how widespread the problem is.   Canadians point out that WE are the most sued under the Free Trade “deals”. The Argentinians are in the same boat with us.

I sat in on an American Trade Justice webinar.  With the re-negotiation of NAFTA in progress, strategically, they are hitting on one theme which they think is all that their population can handle, the ISDS clauses.   Thankfully,  I think Canadians have been in a state of “growing awareness” for years now, so it’s possible to address the ISDS clauses, plus other egregious clauses.

The above German YouTube posting has some links to more information.   Or, enter  “ISDS” into the”search” box (upper right corner) to generate more postings.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


A monster payday in Argentina shows a flaw in Trump’s NAFTA renegotiation

David Dayen

A COMPANY THAT SPECIALIZES in bankrolling lawsuits has won a huge payday from the government of Argentina, in one of the biggest examples of financiers using the secret courts embedded in trade agreements as casinos.

Burford Capital, the world’s largest firm for “litigation finance,” will earn $140 million on a $13 million investment in an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) case against Argentina over the nationalization of Aerolineas Argentinas, the nation’s flagship airline. The case was brought under Argentina’s bilateral investment treaty with Spain; the investors in the airline were Spanish.

Under ISDS, part of over 3,000 trade agreements worldwide, corporations can sue governments for changes in law or regulation that violate trade agreements, and win awards equaling “expected future profits” they might have otherwise gained. The idea was to protect investors from seizure of assets, outside the court system of the offending government. But instead of helping companies resolve legitimate disputes over seized assets, ISDS has increasingly become a means for rich investors to speculate on lawsuits, winning huge awards and forcing local taxpayers to foot the bill.

Donald Trump did not seek to eliminate ISDS in his negotiating objectivesfor reimagining NAFTA. He will only try to add some transparency mechanisms, such as making hearings and final rulings publicly available. The Burford Capital award reveals why that is wholly inadequate.    . . .

Please read the remainder of the article at: 



David Dayen

david.dayen AT


Aug 022017

Radio on.    Happened to catch this reply to a question:


Max Greenfield, CBC programme “Q”,  at the 16:52 minute mark:

Who is to say?   . . .   Life, in general, is more fun if  (chuckling) you kind of get out of the way and just sort of let it happen

 and be excited by whatever it has in store for you.

That seems to be the way that I’ve approached things, even though (chuckling) at times it’s been like

Nooo!!   and – – you know – – the frustration happens  and I think

any sort of frustration I’ve had about it,  or whatever that might have been,

were the only times where I’ve been, sort of like, getting in the way of it all.


Jul 312017

Many thanks to Al Jazeera for the report on the hacked emails.   The problem for Canadians – – look at the related postings.  It’s a little hard to imagine that what goes on in Washington isn’t going on in Ottawa, given the major players.


2016-04-16 Court Challenge to Saudi Arms contract by Constitutional lawyer Daniel Turp – – interview on The House.

2016-02-05 Ottawa to face court challenge over $15 billion Saudi arms deal, G&M

2016-01-07 Canadian Arms Sale Pours Fuel on Saudi-Iran Fire, Chronicle Herald

2016-07-28 Canadian company sold armoured vehicles to South Sudan: UN Report, Globe & Mail

UAE envoy to United States wielded considerable clout over think tanks run by senior officials under Barack Obama.

UAE ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba gained favours from Obama administration veterans by paying them large sums of money [AP]


The latest batch of leaked emails from the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States Yousef al-Otaiba has revealed the extent of influence the UAE held over various US think tanks, and in turn US foreign policy.


The Intercept reported that Otaiba, through the UAE embassy in Washington, DC, had gained substantial favours from Obama administration veterans by paying them handsome sums of money.


The emails are part of a collection of hacked correspondences leaked last month belonging to Otaiba’s Hotmail account, which he had used for official business.


One of the documents obtained was an invoice from an influential national security think tank, which billed the UAE embassy for research papers in return for facilitating the UAE’s purchase of large military-grade weapons from the Missile Technology Control Regime.


Under former President Barack Obama’s term, the MTCR prohibited the sale of such weapons beyond the US’ closest allies. However, the Center for New American Security think tank was part of a campaign to allow the UAE to buy these weaponries, specifically drones, The Intercept reported.


The CNAS had billed an invoice to the UAE embassy for $250,000 for a paper on “the legal regime governing the export of military-grade drones”.


Michele Flournoy, a senior Pentagon official in the Obama administration, wrote an email to Otaiba on June 24, 2016.


“Yousef: Here is the CNAS proposal for a project analysing the potential benefits and costs of the UAE joining the MTCR, as we discussed,” she wrote. “Please let us know whether this is what you had in mind.”


Otaiba replied two weeks later.


“Thank you for the report,” he wrote. “I think it will help push the debate in the right direction,” referring to moving his country’s agenda forward.


In a different set of emails, Flournoy asked Otaiba to intervene in his country’s interior ministry in order to assist in the promotion of selling electronic surveillance technology from a US-based firm, Polaris Wireless, to the UAE.


It is not clear where the hackers, who refer to themselves as “GlobalLeaks,” are from but they responded to The Intercept’s inquiry by saying they were “not affiliated with any country or religion”.


Source: Al Jazeera News