First Nations chief received $55,000 from Tides Foundation

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Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam looks on before musician Neil Young’s “Honor The Treaties” concert series at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg, Manitoba, January 16, 2014. (REUTERS/Trevor Hagan)

A left-wing lobby group in San Francisco wired ,000 to the bank account of an Indian chief in Northern Alberta, paying him to oppose the oilsands.

And sure enough, that chief – Allan Adam, from the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation – earned his money. Last weekend, he flew to Toronto to sit on a stage next to Neil Young, the folk singer who was in town to demonize Canada’s oil industry.

Now, ,000 might sound like a lot of money to pay, just to rent a politician for a day if all the chief did for his money was to appear on stage in Toronto beside Neil Young. But to the Tides Foundation, it’s well worth it. Think of Adam as an actor, hired to play a part in an elaborate theatrical production.

Neil Young had his role: he’s the American celebrity who can draw crowds of fawning Baby Boomer journalists. But at the end of the day, he’s just another millionaire celebrity. When he talks about the oilsands, he quickly reveals himself as a low-information know-nothing.

Adam brings what Young can’t: authenticity. Young likes to wear an Indian-style leather vest, but Adam really is an Indian, and he really lives near the oilsands.

Adam didn’t do a lot of talking in Toronto. He was more of a prop than an actor. See, the Tides Foundation is from San Francisco. And Neil Young lives on a 1,500-acre estate near San Francisco. Without Adam, this would have just been some California millionaires coming up here to boss Canadians around. That’s why they had to hire Adam, to aboriginalize their attack on Canada. It was political sleight of hand, to distract from the fact that this was a foreign assault on Canadian jobs.

Tides could have hired an actual actor, like maybe Lorne Cardinal, who played the Aboriginal policeman in the comedy series Corner Gas. But they didn’t hire an actor. They hired an elected public official. That’s the problem.

Adam’s official title is “chief.” But it’s not a religious or cultural title. Under the Indian Act, that’s just the legal title given to the elected mayor of an Indian Band.

The Tides Foundation put ,000 into the bank account of a mayor to get him to take a particular political position. Depending on what Tides was getting the Chief to do, the payment might well have been a bribe. But we won’t know, because no one is talking about the ,000 payment.

How is it acceptable that a foreign lobby group can simply deposit cash into a bank account of a Canadian politician? Who else is being paid cash to oppose the oilsands?

This fact almost escaped detection. It was buried in the Tides Foundation’s 138-page filing with the IRS, who only disclosed it to get a tax break. Even then, it was shrouded in secrecy.

The money was paid to a numbered company, 850450 Alberta Ltd. Only a search of Alberta’s corporate registry revealed that 850450 Alberta Ltd. was owned by another company, called Acden Group Ltd., that had changed its name twice in the past four years. Adam and other band politicians were directors and shareholders, in trust for the band.

The payment was well-hidden – and Adam certainly didn’t disclose it when he was on stage with Young.

The same IRS disclosure shows Tides made 25 different payments to Canadian anti-oilsands activists in a single year, totaling well over a million dollars. And that’s just one U.S. lobby group. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund out of New York, spends million a year in Canada, with an explicit campaign strategy of fomenting Aboriginal unrest, through protests and lawsuits.

If a foreign oil company – say, ExxonMobil – was depositing secret payments in the bank accounts of MPs, it would be a scandal. Those MPs would face an RCMP investigation, Exxon would likely be charged with bribery, and the media on both sides of the border would have a field day.

Yet none of those things will likely happen with Adam.

Because the Tides Foundation knows that the Canadian media and even the police are cowards when it comes to Aboriginal politicians. They don’t dare hold them to account, for fear of being called racist. If you doubt this, look at the continued success of Theresa Spence, Attawapiskat’s chief.

Tides got its money’s worth.

This column was written for Sun News January 19 2013.

Ezra Levant

Mixed-Bag Net Neutrality Ruling from DC Circuit

The following quote may be attributed to Mike Wendy, President of MediaFreedom.org:

Alexandria, VA, January 14, 2014 – Today, the DC Circuit threw out core aspects of the FCC’s Net Neutrality regulation, vacating both the anti-discrimination and the anti-blocking portions of the rule, and in doing so determining that the Commission illegally imposed FDR-era phone regulations on broadband providers against the will of Congress.

MediaFreedom is heartened by this part of the ruling, which, importantly, confines the FCC to its duty of implementing law and policy, not creating it on its own as it sought to do with Net Neutrality.

But the Court’s determination is a mixed-bag, too.  And this may have deleterious effects on network investment and innovation going forward. More specifically, the Court both granted deference to the Agency as it sought to more broadly interpret its role in promoting the widespread deployment of broadband; and it more-or-less invited the Commission to reclassify broadband / information services as telecommunications services, thus allowing the FCC, albeit with some delay, to fully regulate broadband providers as old-time telephone monopolies.

FDR-era regulations did not grow the Internet.  In fact, it was the very lack of that regulatory paradigm, fueled by the advance of technology, which led to the medium’s tremendous success.  MediaFreedom remains hopeful that the three Majority Commissioners agree.  Depression-era phone regulations for broadband providers would greatly depress network investment and innovation, “breaking” the Internet as we know it.  The Commission should carefully consider if such “consumer protection” is worth it as it decides on its next steps.

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Media Freedom

Seen on the Street: Broadband Competition

Last year, Tech Eeyore, Susan Crawford (picture at right), claimed that “Big Cable” companies – like Comcast – have plainly won the “broadband war,” with their size, access to programming and technological know-how (among other factors) simply stopping former telcos – like Verizon – in their tracks from competing.

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As she notes in her book, “Captive Audience”:

“…Digital technology now provides the key differentiator on the high-speed Internet access side of Comcast’s business, where its future growth and dominance lie: only Verizon’s FiOS service, which uses fiber-optic lines…represented competition with Comcast’s DOCSIS 3.0 data services.  But in March 2010, Verizon indicated that it was suspending FiOS franchise expansion around the country.  Cities like…Alexandria, Virginia, that had hoped to get FiOS would be left out in the cold…

“Verizon stopped expanding for a simple reason. Its existing phone lines are made of twisted copper wire.  To build FiOS, it has to install a complete second network – roll in the trucks, rip up the streets, and put in fiber – essentially cannibalizing the existing network on which it still sells DSL service…Comcast, meanwhile, only has to swap out some electronics to shift its existing cable network to DOCSIS 3.0 services.  Much, much cheaper. And a death knell to potential competition, even though FiOS services are objectively better because uploads and downloads across its fiber optics are evenly fast…”  (Emphasis added)

A death knell to competition?

Verizon has stopped expanding?

Alexandria has been left out in the cold?

Umm, sure.

These pictures, taken by me last Friday and yesterday (pictured below), show Comcast and Verizon broadband trucks servicing different clients in Alexandria, VA.  They would seem to contradict Ms. Crawford’s broad assertion that, well, “Big Cable” has won the “broadband war.”  As other pictures I have posted in the past show (here, here, here, and here), the dynamic, cross-technology marketplace continues its amazing growth, confounding people like Crawford who believe competition does not exist and the marketplace is somehow “broken.”

It is anything but “broken.”

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These trucks and their technicians are busy as beavers, competing head-to-head for customers (this is not to mention what’s happening on the wireless side, which only adds to the competitive picture). Consequently, the ones truly winning the so-called “broadband war” are consumers, making their choices from lots of options, and in doing so forcing companies to meet their desires.

Who needs a warm jacket if this is being “left out in the cold”?

Bring on the competition, boys!  It’s getting hot and heavy.

Media Freedom

Update: Obama Announces Reforms and Proposed Changes to NSA Surveillance

To recap: Last year, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed several surveillance programs by the agency. There was a public outcry and protests and criticism from civil liberty and privacy advocates, among others. The surveillance program that received the most attention concerned surveillance and collection of phone records by the NSA. The Review Group on [...]
Privacy Lives

Feeding India’s energy needs

Josh Skurnik reports on Canada’s trade relations with India and the potential for oil exports

This report aired on The Source January 16 2013.

Ezra Levant

Oilsands misinformation

Lorrie Goldstein comments on the misinformed anti-oilsands stance of many celebrities.

This report aired on The Source January 15 2014.

Ezra Levant

FREEDOM OF SPEECH SALUTES 10 OUTSTANDING WOMEN OF 2013…

These 10 Outstanding Women have embarked on becoming a new class of leaders for the City of New Albany and that means “Commitment to our community.”

It means taking a proactive stance, through involvement in our community that makes a difference.

It means standing as an example for the rest of the community.

It means being leaders, mentors, judges, elected official, advocates, educators, businesswomen, citizens activist, city or county employee, children’s advocate that calls on citizens to respond, inspiring all citizens of our community to want to make a difference and get involved.
 
So, let us tell you about these 10 Outstanding Women:

* She is the first female judge in Floyd County history. She served 15 years in the Floyd County prosecutor’s office as chief deputy prosecutor.

* Her tireless effort to establish a safe place for teenagers to meet, thus keeping our children safe and off the streets

* They’re bipartisan approach to all citizens makes their offices the most taxpayer friendly in the City County Building

* Successful businesswoman who is dedicated to helping local citizens while protecting the rights of New Albany taxpayers, families and children.

* Devotion to improve education

* Gives hope to the disadvantaged

* CASA
- child advocate

* Demonstrates outstanding leadership and acts with courage and nerve

* She is the second youngest judge elected in Floyd County.

These 10 Outstanding Women of New Albany impact each and everyone of us.
Freedom Of Speech is proud to take this opportunity to thank everyone of you for your hard work and acknowledge the tremendous debt this community owes to everyone of you.

We’re well aware how difficult and sometimes unrewarding it can be but you can be assured what you 10 Outstanding Women do is “appreciated and is important.” 
 
They are a great example of Leadership in New Albany.
Without question, these 10 women have had a significant impact on this city we call home:

Lana Aebersold – County Council, and Business Woman 

Shirley Baird – City Council woman


Lois Endris – Floyd County Recorder

Maria Granger – Superior Court Judge

Rebecca Gardenour - Floyd County School Board member, Educator, Retired Social Worker, and Court Appointed Special Advocate and CASA Coordinator 

Diane McCartin – Benedetti – Former Council President

Amy McCord – Clere – A true Educator of Foreign Languages

Anna Schmidt – Private Citizen – Taxpayer Advocate

Letty Walters – Private Citizen, sits on several local boards 


LeAnne Wiseheart - Former School Board member, CASA member and Real Estate Appraiser

Freedom Of Speech would like to say: We applaud these 10 women and many other women in our community who also work hard to make our community a better place to live. It comes down to individuals making a difference for what they believe in. It shows to the rest of us what is possible.

Congratulations!
Freedom Of Speech Staff

footnote: The following names are listed in alphabetical order only.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Russia fails to attend tribunal hearing on ‘piracy’ seizure of Arctic Sunrise

The seized Arctic Sunrise under Russian Navy guard in Murmansk Harbour.
Photo: Greenpeace

FOLLOWING a hearing at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), where the Netherlands brought a case seeking the release of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and its crew, Greenpeace International general counsel Jasper Teulings has praised the Dutch government for its “strong stance
Café Pacific – David Robie | Media freedom and transparency

Hill: Senators increase data privacy calls

The Hill reports on an increase in privacy legislation under consideration in the U.S. Senate:  Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) took to the Senate floor on Wednesday to call for action on data privacy, in the wake of a data breach at the shopping giant Target over the holidays. [...] She hasn’t been the only one [...]
Privacy Lives

Scandinavian media and press freedom travels

A light-hearted moment for a police squad during a demonstration in Vilnius. Image from
the Lithuanian National Press Agency exhibition at the Helsinki Town Hall, Finland.
Photo: David Robie

CAFÉ PACIFIC’S publisher David Robie has been travelling widely on sabbatical across Scandinavia and France in the past few weeks, meeting media freedom campaigners (such as at Reporters Sans Frontières),
Café Pacific – David Robie | Media freedom and transparency