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Dedicated to the Restoration of Progressive DemocracyThe Mound of Sound
Updated: 38 min 29 sec ago

Victory at Standing Rock?

4 hours 13 min ago

The US Army Corps of Engineers has thrown in the towel. After months of determined protests, the Dakota Access Pipeline has been stopped in its tracks.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Moria Kelley said in a news release Sunday that the administration will not allow the four-state, $3.8-billion pipeline to be built under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir where construction had been on hold.

Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said her decision was based on the need to "explore alternate routes" for the pipeline's crossing.

A Nation Without Vision

Sat, 12/03/2016 - 12:45

Little attention was paid when Justin Trudeau proclaimed Canada the world's "first post-national state." The New York Times reporter interviewing our prime minister found the remark "radical." It was, it is, and by all signs it will continue into our future under Trudeau.

How to make sense of it? What does it mean to be a Canadian in Trudeau's Canada? Well, how did it feel to be Canadian under Lester Pearson? How wonderful did it feel to be Canadian under Pierre Elliott Trudeau? Why does it feel so wretched to be a Canadian under Justin's premiership? Does it ever.

I remember when Pearson made us proud as he earned the Nobel Peace Prize for our nation's development of peacekeeping. We were doing good around the world. And then he gave us our distinct maple leaf flag, devoid of the symbols of another land.

Then came Pierre Trudeau, just in time for our Centennial, who made us prouder of our nation than we ever had been. He pursued Pearson's vision and strengthened it with his own. He fought back the separatists in Quebec. He patriated our constitution. Best of all, Pierre Trudeau bequeathed Canadians the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that has preserved our liberal democracy against the assaults on our democratic rights by subsequent prime ministers, most recently his own son.

Those were prime ministers of courage and vision and belief in Canada and her people. It is by them that we must measure those who follow them, including Justin Trudeau.

In many ways the Dauphin is a smiley-faced continuation of the guy he displaced. Harper had the personality of a cancerous lung. Justin is easier on the eyes, friendlier, nicer and always holding out a welcome promise of sunny ways and better times.

If we were to judge Justin Trudeau by his promises and his assurances he'd be an amazing prime minister but we should never hold those promises and comforting words at higher value than he himself does and that is not at all.

Justin has made a mockery of the Canada of Pearson and Pierre Trudeau. It began with his sale of $15 billion worth of armoured death wagons to the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East; the state that unleashed the most murderous, virulent strain of radical Sunni Islam that it continues to spread in madrassas around the world today; the nation directly responsible for so much suffering and death in Iraq, Syria and Yemen that remains ongoing today. That's not the Canada of Pearson and Pierre Trudeau. That's the Canada of Stephen Harper and, now, Justin.

I had thought Justin would be Canada's last, best chance to implement real action in the fight to contain climate change. He promised we would slash emissions. He promised to clean house at the industry captured National Energy Board. He promised no pipelines without First Nations support and "social licence" which he said could only come from communities. Yet in the span of his first year what has he done? Harper's rigged National Energy Board is now Justin's rigged National Energy Board. First Nations oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline and we hope that their court action will prevail over Trudeau. As for social licence, the communities this pipeline will pass through and where it will terminate and those communities exposed to the risk of an ocean spill have spoken - loudly and clearly - and they stand opposed to it.

What of all those promises that Trudeau's most ardent followers seem to have quickly forgotten? Trudeau's word, so solemnly given, meant nothing. He lied and in lying he betrayed those who believed him and degraded Canada.

We in British Columbia have had quite a year of Trudeau. From the Site C dam, to the disastrous Woodfibre LNG project, to the Kinder Morgan pipeline, Justin Trudeau and his clown car full of cabinet ministers have supported the environmental degradation of British Columbia. They are Stephen Harper's and Joe Oliver's wet dream. Sitting on our side of the Rockies it's easy to see the other side, Canada, as a predator.

I'm pretty sure that the pipeline secret police Harper created are still in business, that incestuous merger of private pipeline security and intelligence operatives and their federal collaborators in the RCMP and CSIS. Pierre Trudeau fought to protect the privacy of Canadians. Justin continues Harper's work to eliminate those protections.

The assisted dying law, remember that? The Supreme Court of Canada, relying on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, was crystal clear in the Carter case. It was a per curiam decision, all nine judges speaking with one voice. And what did Justin do when it came time to embody that clear decision in legislation? He placed his government above the law. He put his government at odds with, outside the law. He decided that the rule of law only applies when he chooses to follow it.

Yes, we live in a post-national Canada. That much was made clear when Morneau announced that young Canadians should accept a future of "job churn" and life in the precariat. Why? Because that's the price inevitably demanded of neoliberalist globalization. Any doubt about that was put to rest when the governor of the Bank of Canada said that the old jobs, the good jobs that built our once robust and broadbased middle class, are gone for good. Poloz said that Canada's future was in the services sector competing with poverty wage India for outsourced IT work or filling vacancies as chambermaids, restaurant servers and tour guides for the tourism industry.

That isn't accidental. It's not inadvertent. It's the direct and perfectly foreseeable result of globalization that underlies Trudeau's post-national Canada.

I don't know if Justin has taken a good, hard look at the world around him, the world to which he wants to shackle Canada in his post-national nightmare. It's a world in social, political, economic and environmental turmoil and upheaval. Liberal democracy, in nations once beguiled into swallowing the same elixir that has taken hold in Justin, is in retreat.

Dark nationalism (as opposed to the positive, progressive nationalism we knew under our great prime ministers of the past), is taking hold from America to Europe to the Middle East and into Asia Pacific. One response to this is the wave of rearmament spreading through the Middle East and Asia.

Meanwhile dark winter heatwaves underway in the Arctic reveal that we may have crossed or on the verge of crossing no fewer than 19 climate tipping points that, collectively, may launch the world into unstoppable, runaway global warming.

Military commanders from around the world including groups within the United States itself are frantically warning of imminent climate crises that dramatically raise the risks of uncontainable warfare.

Even though we're having a hell of a time in the Arctic, Canada is one of just a handful of countries, all of them northern, that are uniquely advantaged to sustain what is coming. Yet Justin is oblivious to that and, instead, wants to bind us ever tighter to the world of turmoil and conflict.

That Justin Trudeau has shown his hand so blatantly, so quickly is remarkable. That too is a warning. Those who ignore it may come to regret it and sooner than they imagine.

Justin has no vision. Those who embrace globalisation and the post-national state eschew vision. Like cattle swept away by a raging river, they just have to go with the flow.

Many of us smugly dismissed Harper as an aberration. We were wrong.

Here's One You Might Not Have Heard Of - the "Technosphere"

Sat, 12/03/2016 - 10:52

Think of it as everything man has built on Earth that's still standing. That includes the pyramids and everything older provided it's still around.

Now I'm going to throw out a number that's pretty hard to digest - thirty - trillion - tons. That's the estimated weight of the stuff we've built. Those pyramids, sure, but also the Trump Tower, all our roads and houses and bridges and airports, your car, your kid's bike, everything manmade.

But how is one to make sense of 30 trillion tons. This might help. 30 trillion tons represents 50 kilograms of stuff for each square metre of the Earth's surface.

Technosphere is a new term and according to the study published in journal The Anthropocene Review, it comprises of all the human-made structures including houses, factories and farms to airplanes, rockets, computer systems, tablets, smartphones and CDs, to the waste in landfills and spoil heaps that have been built to keep humans alive.

Humans have been having a huge impact on the planet through their activities and that’s where the Anthropocene concept has its roots in. It is an epoch that highlights the impact humans have made to the planet and it provides an understanding of how we have greatly changed the planet ever since our species started dominating.

Technosphere has its roots in the biosphere, but over the years it has gained so much of ‘weight’ and development that it has become a phenomenon of its own. Further, it is having a parasitic effect on the biosphere – like all human activities have on our planet.

Professor Mark Williams at the University of Leicester says “Compared with the biosphere, though, it is remarkably poor at recycling its own materials, as our burgeoning landfill sites show. This might be a barrier to its further success — or halt it altogether.”

According to Wiki, the average human body weight is just over 80 kilos which adds an extra 600-billion kilos of insatiable, voracious consumers all on its own. Maybe Elon Musk is right. Maybe we should get ourselves a new planet.

Yeah, They Really Were "Gullibillies"

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 12:24

Krugman on Trump, "Millions of Americans have just been sucker punched. They just don't know it yet."

"The white working class is about to be betrayed," Krugman declares in no uncertain terms. "The evidence of that coming betrayal is obvious in the choice of an array of pro-corporate, anti-labor figures for key positions. In particular, the most important story of the week — seriously, people, stop focusing on Trump Twitter — was the selection of Tom Price, an ardent opponent of Obamacare and advocate of Medicare privatization, as secretary of health and human services. This choice probably means that the Affordable Care Act is doomed — and Mr. Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters will be among the biggest losers."
Trump famously promised to "drain the swamp," a phrase the Gullibillies took to mean whatever they wanted. To some it was jailing Hillary for imagined crimes. Others thought he would reform Congress or break up the incestuous relationship between Wall Street and Washington. Guess what? They were had.
So, you don't know my brother John? He lives in San Francisco, he's as smart as a whippet and when I called this week he had a question – "what do George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have in common?"

"Goldman Sachs," he answered his own question, with an implied baboom!

John's right. It seems that no recent aspiring or elected US president dares to broach the White House without their hand being held by someone who has done time at this obscenely rich, multinational corporate behemoth. Still building out his cabinet team, Donald Trump already has recruited three of them and there's speculation more are in the pipeline.

But far from yanking a plug to empty [the Swamp], Trump is happily doing bombshells in the murk, gathering in playmates whose corporate and political credentials, not to mention their multibillion- and multimillion-dollar fortunes, suggest little empathy with the "forgotten men and women" that Candidate Trump promised to protect from rich guys looking after rich guys and, as they go, demolishing the financial regulations that might have prevented the Great Recession – or which were reinstated in its aftermath, in the hope of preventing a repeat of the 2008 financial collapse from which the US is still recovering.
...Not only were they too pally with "crooked" Hillary Clinton, who he claimed was "under their total control", but according to one of Trump's TV ads, Goldman Sachs and its ilk comprised a "global power structure" that was "responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.

"Our movement is about replacing a failed and corrupt political establishment with a new government controlled by you, the American people," Trump declared.

...Paul Waldman writes in The American Prospect: "So in order to take on that global power structure, Trump is hiring a bunch of billionaires and Wall Street tycoons, cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy, scaling back regulatory oversight of Wall Street, and offering an infrastructure plan that consists mostly of tax breaks to corporations to encourage them to build projects that they'll then charge the public tolls in order to use."
...America's estimated 500 billionaires might be unlikely candidates for a White House team that working-class Americans were promised would look out for them – at his last campaign rally in Michigan, Trump told supporters: "We're fighting for every citizen that believes that government should serve the people, not the donors and not the special interests."

But already Trump, the first billionaire President-elect, has appointed three more billionaires to a team that, even incomplete, is the richest administration in modern American history – prompting Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank to dub it "Trump's Team of Oligarchs".
Trump got elected on the "stupid" vote and they were warned that he believed he could do anything, even grab them by the p##sy. They didn't have long to wait for their turn.

The Generals - Again - Sound the Warning Siren on Climate Change.

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 11:38

Climate change is on the mind of every professional military across the world. They know it impacts the threats they face and multiplies the challenge they must meet to defend their nations.

In the run up to the American election, two "commanders" groups, one made up of US generals and admirals,  the other made up of senior commanders of the US and other nations, warned of the threat climate change posed to world security.

Now, another military warning that, unless we act immediately to eliminate carbon emissions, we will experience mass migration on a scale most a decade ago would have thought unimaginable.

“Climate change is the greatest security threat of the 21st century,” said Maj Gen Munir Muniruzzaman, chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on climate change and a former military adviser to the president of Bangladesh. He said one metre of sea level rise will flood 20% of his nation. “We’re going to see refugee problems on an unimaginable scale, potentially above 30 million people.”

He's talking 30 million migrants from Bangladesh alone. That's just a fraction of the global figure. A lot of those eyes will be looking for safe refuge, preferrably in some large, relatively unpopulated territory.


Getting It Right - Sadly

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 11:33

He didn't say a word about changing into Harper.

Three years ago Damien Gillis of The Common Sense Canadian speculated that Justin Trudeau might be worse than Harper for Canada's environment. Now it turns out he was right. Three debacles, all of them in British Columbia, show that Trudeau is not the leader he pretended to be.

...barely a year into his reign Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is batting almost .1000 when it comes to approving controversial energy projects, from liquefied natural gas plants in Squamish and Prince Rupert to permits for the Site C dam — and now Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3.

In that 2013 editorial, my main concern about the new Liberal leader was that his energy and trade policies were nearly identical to those of former prime minister Stephen Harper — they just looked and sounded better coming from Canada’s prodigal son.

Moreover, I already had the sense Trudeau wasn’t guided by a clear set of values, making him vulnerable to persuasive political advisors and powerful lobbies. With Harper, I noted three years ago, at least we had “a sense that his zeal for expanding Canada’s fossil fuel industries through foreign ownership is something in which he believes on a deep, ideological level.” With Harper, you knew exactly what you were getting — he loathed environmentalists and didn’t care much for “radical” First Nations either.

...His first year in office was all about trying to have his cake and eat it, too.

In Paris, he committed Canada to serious climate action. “Canada is back, my friends,” he crowed.

More like right back to where we started.
Since then, we’ve seen him default to Harper’s climate targets and approve pipeline and LNG projects which ensure it is impossible to meet even those low standards.

Trudeau campaigned on rebuilding Canada’s relationship with First Nations, but on respect for Indigenous title and rights, especially when it comes to energy projects, he’s all but forgotten them. His government pledged to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, then earned rebukes from leaders like Grand Chief Stewart Phillip when Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr dismissed one of its key principles: free, prior and informed consent to any development on traditional territories.

Finally, the contorted thesis of the Trudeau government appears to be that it’s possible — even necessary — to grow the fossil fuel economy in order to facilitate the transition to a green economy.

...Though he makes frequent mention of his “B.C. roots,” Trudeau clearly does not understand this place one lick, especially its wild coastline. No one who does believes for a second that it is possible to recover anything from a major spill, especially one involving bitumen.

...Trudeau has proven adept at running from the left and governing from the right.

Yet there is a reckoning headed his way — perhaps bigger than even his predecessor faced. Because while no one expected wine and roses from Harper, Trudeau gave them high hopes.

The disappointment is that much greater when it’s rooted in a deception — just ask former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell about the HST and BC Rail, or look back to the Liberal sponsorship scandal of the early 2000s. Trudeau’s cutesy tweets, shirtless photo-ops and million-dollar smiles will prove no match for this kind of outrage.

The approval of Kinder Morgan has awakened B.C., and there’s no end to the Vancouverites and other supporters ready to stand on the line.

Think Idle No More meets Standing Rock meets Occupy meets the War in the Woods meets Burnaby Mountain — all unfolding in a major urban centre, under the watchful eye of tens of thousands of camera phones, drones and social, grassroots and mainstream media.

At this point I would usually add a para or two of personal thoughts. Not this time. I'm too damned angry with that lying thug of a prime minister and his cheap threats.

An Impassioned Plea to Tear Down the Walls of Inequality from Stephen Hawking.

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 23:05

The neoliberals who have driven the western world into the ditch over the past three decades need to decide whether to rehabilitate liberal democracy or allow themselves to be erased from memory by generations of strongman rule.

Yeah, Justin - you too.

First up, theoretical physicist extraordinaire, Stephen Hawking. In an opinion piece in The Guardian, "This Is the Most Dangerous Time for our planet," Hawking warns, "We can’t go on ignoring inequality, because we have the means to destroy our world but not to escape it."

Referring to Brexit and the Trump victory, he writes it was, "the moment when the forgotten spoke, finding their voices to reject the advice and guidance of experts and the elite everywhere."

The concerns underlying these votes about the economic consequences of globalisation and accelerating technological change are absolutely understandable. The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.

...We need to put this alongside the financial crash, which brought home to people that a very few individuals working in the financial sector can accrue huge rewards and that the rest of us underwrite that success and pick up the bill when their greed leads us astray. So taken together we are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing. It is no wonder then that they are searching for a new deal, which Trump and Brexit might have appeared to represent.

...It is also the case that another unintended consequence of the global spread of the internet and social media is that the stark nature of these inequalities is far more apparent than it has been in the past. For me, the ability to use technology to communicate has been a liberating and positive experience. Without it, I would not have been able to continue working these many years past.

But it also means that the lives of the richest people in the most prosperous parts of the world are agonisingly visible to anyone, however poor, who has access to a phone. And since there are now more people with a telephone than access to clean water in sub-Saharan Africa, this will shortly mean nearly everyone on our increasingly crowded planet will not be able to escape the inequality.

...For me, the really concerning aspect of this is that now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together. We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.

Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it. Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.

Be honest. Does it sound to you as though your government was on this course, resolved to save liberal democracy, humanity and the environment, or on another course fretting about spreading as much bitumen as conceivably possible to every Third World-grade power generation technology that demonstrates how completely oblivious they are to the reality setting in today, now. 

Nikiforuk - "Kinder Morgan Approval Insults Democracy, Science and Economic Logic"

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 14:23
 If there's anyone able to give prime minister Slick a boot in his petro-ass, it's The Tyee's columnist, Andrew Nikiforuk.

Alberta-born Nikiforuk is Canada's hands down best writer on the Tar Sands and the bitumen initiative. He's been delving into it for years.

Excerpting his analysis would only detract from it so follow this link to read it for yourself.

When you're done ask yourself what kind of a man we have in this prime minister who would do this to Canada, our young people and generations of Canadians to come.

In defending his decision to push bitumen to tidewater, Trudeau remarked that there's "not a country on Earth" that wouldn't exploit such a bitumen bounty. If he's right, he's just admitted there's not a hope in hell we'll arrest catastrophic, runaway climate change even though we've been warned, repeatedly warned, that's an extinction event.

Trudeau will go through the motions of revenue-neutral carbon pricing which, at this point, is simply pushing food around on a plate and then he'll say he's done something meaningful to fight climate change.

Harper saw to it that the pipeline process would be a stacked deck. He did that by allowing the fossil energy giants to capture the regulator, the National Energy Board. Trudeau promised voters he would clean house but the Harper National Energy Board remains industry captured as the Trudeau National Energy Board. Trudeau is as corrupt as Harper.

Free Trade, Okay. In What?

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 08:31

Ever since the FTA, the Free Trade Act between Canada and the United States, Canada has inked a succession of trade deals - NAFTA, separate deals with countries such as Panama (that worked out well, eh?), and most recently CETA, our trade deal with the European Union or what may remain of it in a few years.

We were sold on the idea by Mulroney who assured us that free trade meant more jobs and better wages all around. There would be prosperity for everyone, more than we could dare imagine.

So, where are all these wonderful, high-paid jobs today? It seems they haven't materialized. Yet, according to the Dauphin, the answer to that is more free trade, as much as we can sign on to.

Canada's multi-billion dollar monthly trade deficit suggests that we're importing a lot more than we're exporting. That can't be a good thing, can it? Buying more than you're selling is like spending more than you're earning. How does that end up?

However if you're a devout neoliberal, like prime minister Slick, globalism is sacrosanct even if it isn't working, even if it's blowing up in your face,  even if more open minds have proclaimed it a giant, failed experiment that damages economies and fuels inequality. If you're our prime minister, you'll keep driving the national bus into that ditch, again and again and again. Sort of like how they pitched the Trans Pacific Partnership by telling us we would be worse off if we didn't sign on. Now globalism has become a matter not of more jobs and better wages and ever greater prosperity. It's now about being slightly less worse off with it than without it.

Look, let's face it. He's not an intellectual. He's not his dad. The Greater Scheme of Things is more than a few notches above his pay grade. Think of him as Trudeau-Lite.

Now we've got to worry about the governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz. It seems Steve has done undergone some sort of mental tide change about Canada's economy.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s story of the Canadian economy has been sent to rewrite. There are no sleeping beauties in the revised tale: if the factory in your community closed during the Great Recession, it is likely staying closed. (Although if it has exposed brick, some hipsters might come along and turn it into shared workspace.) If there was a Prince Charming who thought he could make money doing whatever that facility used to do, he probably would have shown up by now. It is time to move on.

...When he was appointed three years ago, Poloz assumed non-energy exports and business investment would take over from household spending and housing as drivers of economic growth. That hasn’t happened to the extent the central bank thought it would. Officials have spent a lot of time this year trying to understand why their assumptions were off. It appears Canada suffered from a lack of champions; companies and entrepreneurs with the combination of guts and capital to make it in a tougher global economy. But if Poloz is right, the wait may be over. Canada’s heroes have arrived.

Poloz said ...that if anyone is using a “sleeping-beauty model” to think about exports, then they are misguided. Many of Canada’s exporters already were struggling to keep up and the financial crisis finished them off. That event wiped out billions of dollars worth of manufacturing potential. (in his speech,Poloz put the figure at $30 billion.) Think of it this way: if Canada’s manufacturing industry was once a full-sized pickup, it now is a a compact SUV.
[Poloz said]  ...the central bank has identified a new Prince Charming. Poloz’s narrative now stars the services industry, and in particular information technology (IT) and tourism. The central bank surveyed a group of IT companies and found they were more confident than the average Canadian company, probably because most of them were reporting sales growth in the double digits. Tourism spending has been rising steadily for more than two years.)
The central bank governor reckons Canada has a comparative advantage in services. “We have the necessary ingredients: a highly educated labour force supported by strong universities and colleges; entrepreneurs with access to business incubators; a beautiful and interesting country that many would like to visit; a multicultural workforce that helps us to serve domestic and international markets,” he said in his speech. That advantage is enhanced by a depressed currency. The weaker dollar isn’t an unambiguous gain for a Canadian company that wants to make things. Modern manufacturing requires buying robots and other expensive equipment and building facilities overseas, so Canada’s exchange rate makes expansion harder for some companies. But for IT firms, consultancies, and tour guides, the exchange rate is a windfall. Said Poloz: “That comparative advantage has been strengthened by the decline in the Canadian dollar in the past couple of years—a symptom of falling resource prices, and a facilitator of the rotation of growth from resource production to other sectors.”

So the future lies with the IT guys, tour guides, chambermaids and the folks who man the counters in fast food joints (sorry, I forgot that last one has already gone to guest workers). To Poloz' credit, his outlook does sound like a pretty good prognosis of a smaller economy nation state in the grip of neoliberal globalism.
And, by the way Steve, how does Canada's weak dollar compare to that other country that provides bargain basement IT services - India? If you're going to grab a big chunk of the global IT market, it's India and countries like it you'll be bidding against. Oh well, there will still be a demand for tour guides and chambermaids. 

If This Is So Goddamned Important

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 01:43

If this "pipeline to tidewater" is so goddamned important, why do the beneficiaries have so little skin in the game?

Why isn't Alberta defusing the dilbit bomb by refining the toxins and the heavy metals and the carcinogens and the petcoke out of their crud on-site, in Alberta? It's one thing to subject the BC coast to a conventional oil catastrophe, a la the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound (that's still not cleaned up) but it's an order of magnitude worse to create the conditions of a dilbit disaster. Alberta can refine their vile shit at home but they would rather "externalize" that cost by massively increasing the risk to coastal British Columbia. And that petro-pimp Trudeau, in the most despicable betrayal of the province and people of British Columbia, is going along with it.

I don't know but if we're going to gamble with the marine ecology of coastal British Columbia for generations to come, shouldn't the players be putting some money on the table? Big money.

How about this? In the event of a spill, both Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ottawa will immediately transmit every and all royalties they receive from fossil energy to British Columbia until all contaminants are cleared, including from the seabed. Every last dime. Think of it as "polluter pays." We're all into that, surely.

And, to make sure they'll be serious about cleaning up their mess, why not have Alberta agree to cede to British Columbia all that area stretching from the foothills of the Rockies to the BC border including Jasper and Banff? If the spill isn't cleaned up within ten years that territory is permanently forfeit by Alberta.

Right now, Ottawa and Alberta and Saskatchewan have no skin in the game when it comes to the catastrophic risk they want British Columbia to endure. That's bullshit.

I Got Myself a Date

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 01:21

I'm almost giddy to announce that I've finally got myself a date. It wouldn't be gentlemanly to tell you who she is, not yet at least.

Where would you go for a first date? How about jail?

My friend and I have decided that our first date should be spent in the Greybar Hotel along with as many friends as we can muster to join in. It's all for a good cause - doing what we can to stop Trudeau's perfidious betrayal of our province in his quest to pimp bitumen to Asia.

A lot of people, especially those I know from back east, think this is about an "oil" pipeline. They've been fed that line for so long they believe it. Maybe they just don't want to know.

I've been a lifelong law-abiding citizen, more than 60-years. No charges, no convictions. Only now I have to contemplate being convicted for my convictions to do what's right for my community, my society and generations to come of British Columbians of the coast.

I thought long and hard about this during the Harper years. Who wants to run afoul of the law, especially if you're not looking to "get away with it"? Not me, certainly. That said, I know it's the right thing to do and it's the necessary thing to do. Besides, we've already got our song.

Just When We Thought Harper Was Gone

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 14:07
I guess we somehow knew all along -

Preserving the legacy of Stephen Harper and Joe Oliver - bringing bitumen to tidewater. Makes me feel a lot more British Columbian and, strangely enough, a lot less Canadian.

A Pipeline Plebiscite in 2017?

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 12:27

BC premier, Christy Clark, wasted no time in coming aboard. One day after Trudeau announced his government's approval of the Kinder Morgan megapipeline project into the Lower Mainland, Clark has said that Trudeau is close to fulfilling her conditions for approval.

Clark is no friend of coastal British Columbia or the Lower Mainland since she got thrown out of her posh Vancouver riding and was forced to seek refuge in Kelowna.

Until now the opposition NDP has been languishing, unable to connect with BC voters. Clark may be about to fix that problem, giving the NDP traction. Same, same for the British Columbia Greens if Andrew Weaver can get his head out of his backside on the BDS issue.

My New Year resolution this year will be to work to make BC a Liberal-free zone in 2019.

In today's Tyee, the headlines read, "Trudeau Just Sacrificed BC for Big Oil," and "Climate Change, Not Spills, the Real Kinder Morgan Disaster: Trudeau's Orwellian pipeline approval ignores looming threat to our grandchildren," are the stuff to get the blood to boil.

Trudeau also has the National Observer snapping at his greasy heels. "British Columbia Prepping for Battle After Major Pipeline Approvals," and, "Trudeau Pipeline Approval Could Harm Relations for 'Generations' Says Chief Thomas."

Trudeau has declared war on British Columbia. Trudeau, like Trump, is waging war on mankind.

This is only going to intensify as the media revisits the old stories of just what bitumen is, the associated dangers, and the peril coastal BC is exposed to so that Alberta won't have to refine their toxic crap on-site, in Alberta.

The fight is on.

This Is Trudeau's Idea of a Bitumen Supertanker Route

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 23:49

"In this recent government-commissioned risk-analysis report on tanker traffic safety in Canada, figure 3 shows in vivid red the “very high risk zone on Southern Vancouver Island. Within that area lie 17 of the province’s 33 Ecological Reserves which have a marine component within their boundaries. The report indicates that the Kinder Morgan proposal would essentially double the volume of oil passing through an already vulnerable marine environment, the area south of Vancouver Island where Washington-bound oil tankers are common. The Trans-Mountain project website indicates there will be up to 34 tanker visits per month in this already crowded marine vessel area by 2017."

"Four marine Ecological Reserves in particular at the Southern tip of Vancouver Island would be directly exposed to contamination in the event of a marine accident in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The most northerly and only colony of breeding and pupping elephant seals in Canada is in the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Also it is a winter haulout site for two species of sea lions, and a birthing colony of harbour seals. . Three seabird species have nesting colonies on the island and the subtidal marine life in the Rockfish Conservation zone has extremely high biodiversity values. The risk for these rare colonies and populations from increased tanker traffic within a few kilometres is very high. Containment of an oil spill in adverse weather conditions and with tidal currents running daily up to 7 knots make clean up in this reserve impossible. Moreover, the population of marine birds and mammals is highest in the winter months."

The supertanker route threads the archipelago formed by BC's Gulf Islands and the adjacent San Juan Islands of Washington State. From there it's out through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, literally scraping American territorial waters. 


Tue, 11/29/2016 - 14:57

That's it. Prime minister Slick has greenlighted the Kinder Morgan pipeline initiative that will ship 900,000 barrels of toxic, lethal dilbit a day across British Columbia, through the Lower Mainland municipalities, and into an armada of supertankers that will become a daily feature as they ply the waters of Burrard Inlet, Coal Harbour, English Bay and coastal British Columbia.

All that business about First Nations approval and social licence, like just about everything else that has come from Trudeau, was a pack of lies. All that bold talk about fighting climate change - more lies. Bastard.

Trump Has Germans Thinking a Lot About Democracy

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 10:33

The German people have not forgotten their past and president-elect Donald J. Trump has them revisiting those painful memories of a darker time.

An article in Der Spiegel asks "How Much Mussolini Is There in Donald Trump?" The writer reviews a number of fascism checklists and the results aren't promising for American democracy. He concludes that Americans should wait - and hope.

The article was obviously written before Trump's latest tweet on protesters who may burn the American flag:

"Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!

"— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016"

Of course, since 1989 the US Supreme Court has held that burning the Stars and Stripes is protected under the First Amendment. Trump, however, has repeatedly shown how little he cares for the First Amendment or dissent generally. 
Which brings us to former justice Robert Jackson's warning:

Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 09:51

Executive pay might be the biggest scandal of the day in Big Business. We regularly read of CEOs earning five to six hundred times the average wage of their employees.

The Brits are tossing about the idea of having shareholders decide matters such as executive compensation. Take the decision-making out of the hands of the bloated boards of directors and transfer that power to where it belongs - those who own the companies.

Monbiot Tackles Neoliberalism's Death Grip on the West

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 09:28

Neoliberalism has been the default operating system of western governments, Canada included, since it was ushered in during the Thatcher/Reagan/Mulroney era.

Justin Trudeau is a neoliberal as were his predecessors over the last three decades.  Canada remains in the clutches of neoliberalism and no one, no leader, no party is putting forward an alternative vision.

We see the muddy footprints of neoliberalism in the latest news about how most of the new jobs in Canada are low wage, real precariat stuff and how huge our monthly trade deficits have become. We make increasingly less of the stuff we want to buy and foreign demand for the stuff we do make isn't great enough to even the books. No wonder Slick is so desperate to build bitumen pipelines to the coast. Silly bugger.

In today's Guardian, George Monbiot argues that neoliberalism is what has put America's democracy in such dire peril.

The events that led to Donald Trump’s election started in England in 1975. At a meeting a few months after Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Conservative party, one of her colleagues, or so the story goes, was explaining what he saw as the core beliefs of conservatism. She snapped open her handbag, pulled out a dog-eared book, and slammed it on the table. “This is what we believe,” she said. A political revolution that would sweep the world had begun.

The book was The Constitution of Liberty by Frederick Hayek. Its publication, in 1960, marked the transition from an honest, if extreme, philosophy to an outright racket. The philosophy was called neoliberalism. It saw competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. The market would discover a natural hierarchy of winners and losers, creating a more efficient system than could ever be devised through planning or by design. Anything that impeded this process, such as significant tax, regulation, trade union activity or state provision, was counter-productive. Unrestricted entrepreneurs would create the wealth that would trickle down to everyone.

[Hayek] begins the book by advancing the narrowest possible conception of liberty: an absence of coercion. He rejects such notions as political freedom, universal rights, human equality and the distribution of wealth, all of which, by restricting the behaviour of the wealthy and powerful, intrude on the absolute freedom from coercion he demands.

Democracy, by contrast, “is not an ultimate or absolute value”. In fact, liberty depends on preventing the majority from exercising choice over the direction that politics and society might take.

...Thatcherism and Reaganism were not ideologies in their own right: they were just two faces of neoliberalism. Their massive tax cuts for the rich, crushing of trade unions, reduction in public housing, deregulation, privatisation, outsourcing and competition in public services were all proposed by Hayek and his disciples. But the real triumph of this network was not its capture of the right, but its colonisation of parties that once stood for everything Hayek detested.

Bill Clinton and Tony Blair did not possess a narrative of their own. Rather than develop a new political story, they thought it was sufficient to triangulate. In other words, they extracted a few elements of what their parties had once believed, mixed them with elements of what their opponents believed, and developed from this unlikely combination a “third way”.

...As I warned in April, the result is first disempowerment then disenfranchisement. If the dominant ideology stops governments from changing social outcomes, they can no longer respond to the needs of the electorate. Politics becomes irrelevant to people’s lives; debate is reduced to the jabber of a remote elite. The disenfranchised turn instead to a virulent anti-politics in which facts and arguments are replaced by slogans, symbols and sensation. The man who sank Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency was not Donald Trump. It was her husband.

The paradoxical result is that the backlash against neoliberalism’s crushing of political choice has elevated just the kind of man that Hayek worshipped. Trump, who has no coherent politics, is not a classic neoliberal. But he is the perfect representation of Hayek’s “independent”; the beneficiary of inherited wealth, unconstrained by common morality, whose gross predilections strike a new path that others may follow. The neoliberal thinktankers are now swarming round this hollow man, this empty vessel waiting to be filled by those who know what they want. The likely result is the demolition of our remaining decencies, beginning with the agreement to limit global warming.

Neoliberalism Out, Neofascism In?

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 09:00

Cornel West says America is in for a makeover, Trump style.

White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites. Yet these same citizens also supported a candidate who appeared to blame their social misery on minorities, and who alienated Mexican immigrants, Muslims, black people, Jews, gay people, women and China in the process.

This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future.

Look Justin, Cut the Bullshit

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 08:23

Today's the day when we learn whether the federal government will put our north coast in jeopardy or merely threaten our south coast with disaster.

Which pipeline will Trudeau approve? Will it be the Enbridge Northern Gateway or the expanded Kinder Morgan line through the Lower Mainland? Maybe it'll be both. Maybe he'll kill off both, the least likely option.

Whether it's Enbridge or Kinder Morgan or both, the decision will be heavily larded with Trudeau's favourite bullshit line about how it is the federal government's sacred duty to get Canadian resources to market. Sure, fine, but let's take a minute to scrape the crap off that before swallowing it whole.

The devil is in the details and Trudeau's definition of "resources." The resource he'll tell you he wants to move is Athabasca oil. That's a damned lie. What he wants to move is something much more than oil. It's bitumen.,

There's oil in bitumen and with enough processing, refining, it can be extracted and turned into burnable petroleum products. The end product, heavy oil, is bad for the environment, bad for the planet, an affront to Trudeau's promise to cut carbon emissions, but that's only part of the problem.

The bigger problem is what else makes up bitumen. The stuff is jam packed with other goodies such as petcoke, abrasives, acids, heavy metals and various carcinogens.  Even after initial upgrading the sludge has to be mixed with light oil, diluent, just to help it move - with the benefit of added heat and high pressure - through pipelines.

Now if Slick had a shred of honesty in his bones he would admit that the greatest jeopardy comes from getting dilbit to market instead of shipping fully refined heavy crude. He would admit that, when his dilbit reaches Asia, that heavy-carbon petcoke is refined out and also burned for power generation.  He would admit that the heavy metals, acids, and carcinogens no one is willing to refine out on site in Alberta are what pose the gravest risks to BC's marine ecology. He would admit that they're willing to put our coast at such great, long-term (generational) risk because no one wants to foot the refining bill in Alberta.

This is where you see the real face of Justin Trudeau and it's ugly. The rest of Canada may be willing to swallow his bullshit but we can't get past the smell.