Friday, November 14, 2014

Nov. 14: Taking up where Nov. 13 left off.

This is my second attempt to use up all the notes I have on current events. And, before I even start, I must admit I forgot an excellent book for those who want to get a sense of what it's like to be in a war.  It's Farley Mowat's  "And No Birds Sang' It's about the little heard of, but very difficult, struggle to push Hitler's armies out of Italy.

Now, we go to stories the Irving Press missed  ( partly because it used up so much space showing pictures of "entrepreneurs" getting hall of fame awards).

 KM oil (Kinder-Morgan Oil) is suing environmental protesters. Well, it has a good reason. You see, KM wants to build a pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. for export. It means, among other things, blasting a tunnel through a mountain in the Rockies, and loading very large numbers of ships on our Pacific coast with the world's dirtiest crude oil.

Some people in Burnaby thought this might not be a good idea. So they went to a public park and held up placards - which, so far, has been legal in a free country. There was no fighting. No blocking. Just holding up placards.

 KN is suing for 5.6 million in expenses plus 88 million per month for lost revenue. Oh, and they also want to lay assault charges on the grounds that some of the protesters gave them dirty looks.

Just in case Alec Bruce finds out about this and writes a column about how stupid the protesters are and how safe oil pipelines are, consider a few points, nothing bleeding heart, nothing gullible, just obvious to anyone.

1. Climate change is happening. There is not the slightest doubt of it. We see it in changing weather patterns. We see it (or rather don't see it) in the ice that covered the Arctic for a million years or more.
2. Further climate change will, among other things, destroy vulnerable food producing areas - like California. It will also kill animal life - including us.
3. Oil companies (and news media like the Irving press) have long sponsored denial campaigns, arguing that it's all perfectly safe - despite the fact that they know points 1. and 2. very well, and have known it from the start.
4.We have very little time left to slow the change down so as to get breathing space to develop new energy.
So far, we have wasted a quarter century of that little time. The oil companies were behind much of that wastage of time. The reason the time is so limited is that there comes a point when the change cannot be slowed down or stopped. We don't know when that point is. But we know it's soon.
5. If we cut down on using oil, but export it, then it still gets burned and still changes the climate.
6. To build a pipeline takes time and money - especially if it requires a tunnel through the Rockies.
Then it takes time to make all that money back, plus a profit. In other words, the oil industry expects to keep making trillions of dollars for years to come - and well past any estimate of the deadline to slow down the use of fossil fuels.

So let's forget the blather about tough regulations or how drilling has been proven safe. Let's even forget about the question of where to dump all the trillions of litres from shale gas drilling.

The people who run the oil industry - and other fossil fuel industries - have, most of them, been born to the idea that they can have whatever the want. But the reality is that none of us can have whatever we want. People who are born very rich often have a sense of arrogance and greed and entitlement. And the commercialization of our world encourages that sense in a great many of the rest of us. Even Nov. 11 has become commercialized in poppy-covered ads for private business -as in "Free Remembrance Day Buffet at Moncton Casino".

But arrogance and greed and entitlement can turn humans into fools. The KM pipeline is not a short term deal. Like New Brunswick shale gas, corporations will keep drilling and pumping out greenhouse gasses long past that little time we have left to deal with the problem.

Meanwhile, we will see very little of the profit from it all. As it is, the drift of money has become a torrent from us to the very rich, and is intensifying all over the world. Much of the money ends up in shady banks in remote islands or tiny states like Luxembourg that offer great deals to avoid taxes.

Take what you want. By all means. Take anything you want. But be ready to pay for it. And the price here will be human lives and whole cities - and perhaps even the decay of the hallowed halls of fame lined with the pictures of proud entrepreneurs.

Since the Irving press will never admit any of this, try
Israel has extended its laws to cover land it has taken for settlements. That's illegal. That's not legally Israeli territory. Israel has kicked out the Palestinians who lived there and has settled Israelis on it. But, legally, that land is still Palestinian. And Israel has notified Palestinians living in another 3,000 acres of Palestine that they have to leave their homes so Israeli can move in more of its settlers. That makes it pretty obvious why Israel has never wanted peace with Palestine. It intends to create a greater Israel which will include Palestine and, quite possibly Lebanon, and then other states. The people kicked out of their homes and their countries might throw rocks at Israelis and shake their fists. If so, they will be called terrorists and killed.

Then, check
This is a video about Israeli troops routinely beating jailing, sexually abusing, torturing and even killing Palestinian children. And it's been condemned for this by the UN. I'm careful in using information clearing house because I don't trust all of that site's sources. But this one is a video by Australian Broadcasting Corporation which is pretty good as news media go.
Meanwhile, nothing about any of this has appeared in the Irving press.
There's another interesting and VERY important story which appeared on CBC, but not in the Irving press. For as long as I have known, the US has be able to force the rest of the world to use the US dollar as the standard medium in international trade. But no more.

Canada has signed a deal with China to use the Chinese remnibi and the Canadian dollar in trade. Many other countries in Europe and around the world are doing the same. Given the huge American level of foreign indebteness, this is becoming a very serious blow to the value of the American dollar. For a fuller explanation, see www.informationclearinghouse,info/article40210.htm

I have often spoken of how Bush and Obama have destroyed the US constitution. I may even have mentioned that the US intervention in Iraq is illegal.  It is a illegal under American law and international law; and its the kind of thing we hanged Naziis for.  Yeah. I know. I'm just a radical. So check out the following opinion from Senator Rand Paul who is both a Republican and a far right-wing one, even by Republican standards.

(He loads the blame on Obama, though Obama is just a continuation of Bush, and both were creatures of the very, very wealthy.
The Irving press has been (sort of) covering Canada's role in WW1. In that context, I may have said I found it remarkable that they missed the outstanding performance of Canadian troops in the last hundred days of the war - and they missed the remarkable man who commanded the Canadian army in France. (This is the same press that babbles on Nov. 11 about how patriotic it is, and how it honours our veterans on Remembrance Day.)

The remarkable man was General Arthur Currie. Most generals in World War 1 were career officers of long experience and, often, with battle experience before the war. Currie entered the war with only the very limited experience available to a young school teacher who became a businessman. He joined the militia which met once a week for drill, and was largely a social affair. He started as a private.  I know of no other general in World War One with so little military background.

When war was declared, the Canadian government chose this most obscure and inexperienced man to be its field commander. His superior. British officer was General Haig, a lifetime soldier and a pompous ass who, though he threw lives away by the hundreds of thousands, kept his post throughout the war. After it, he was rewarded with an earldom and a fortune.

Currie had a shaky start. He was one the least experienced men ever to become a general of any army. But he had a good role model in his immediate British superior, General Byng (who later became governor-general of Canada. And Currie was a man with a marvelous ability to learn on the job. He became one of the few generals on either side in that war capable of original thinking, of phenomenal attention to detail - traits that brought enormous successes while, at the same time, saving the lives of many of his soldiers.

After the war, the British prime minister confided that he had intended, if the war lasted longer, to fire Haig, and to put Currie in command of all Imperial troops in Europe. It's a unique and quite amazing story. But I guess none of the "rememberers" of the Irving press ever heard of this amazing Canadian soldier.

The Irving press also never told us why WW1 was fought in the first place. In fact, many historians have by now concluded that there was no good reason to fight it at all. Yes, we are always lied to about the reasons for war; and the real reason often is sheer stupidity and incompetence.  BBC did a docudrama on this one. It's called "37 Days". It's still available, but only on the web, so far as I know, and for a price. It's at itunes, and Amazon.U.K.
Now, it's late. And I'm tired. And I have to rest before the intellectual challenge of reading tomorrow's Moncton Times and Transcript.

And so to bed.


  1. Hi, How exactly does an oil company like KM sue environmentalists? Do they sue individuals (that would be hard to do) or do they sue specific environmental groups?
    I recall during that memorable summer of 2013 that SWN registered a suit against several protesters, identified as John and Jane Doe and it turned out that they were a few of the peaceful protesters that were arrested and released almost immediately. That's how they singled them out I guess. I'm not sure what came of that. Is it realistic to sue a nameless group of people?

  2. The story wasn't quite clear on that. But the sense I got was that they named individuals. That's even more insane than naming the organization because there is no environmental organization in the world that could possible pay even the courts costs that are claimed - let alone the damages. And, unless there were Irvings among the protesters, there were certainly not individuals charged who could meet them.
    Expect to see a lot of this in future. Most "free trade" deals now give private companies the right to sue individuals and whole countries that interfere with their profits - even if the interference is to save the lives of local people.

  3. As Wiki says: A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.
    They (SWN Resourses) had threatened, to the extent of serving the individuals, 10 anti-shale protesters this past calender year with intent of recouping their projected losses due to the protests and blockades. More and more the judiciary are frowning upon the frivolous, bullying methods being employed by these types of corporations.