Big Day Tomorrow, If the Youth and Independents Turnout in Iowa, Bernie Wins and So Do We All

Sander's rally in Iowa last night. The youth is our future.

Tomorrow Iowans gather in homes, gymnasiums, libraries, taverns and even grain elevators for caucuses to select their favorite for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations. Both races are close but the Democratic race which has Hillary and Bernie 3 points apart is within the margin of error, so is being called a toss up. The pundits say that turnout will determine the winner, but in a caucus where the delegates are won in proportion to the support each candidate gets whether Bernie or Hillary wins by a couple of points is meaningless really.

What really matters is the symbolism. Bernie is the outsider, the underdog and Hillary is the Democratic Party's establishment candidate. Hillary, a former first lady and former secretary of state, wins a majority among caucus goers who are 65 and older, Catholics and moderates. Bernie, a U.S. senator representing Vermont, wins a majority of those under 35, first-time caucus goers and political independents. In a New York Times/CBS news national poll this month, the senator from Vermont attracted 60 percent of Democratic voters under 45, while Clinton's support in this more youthful demographic stood at 31 percent. On college campuses across Iowa, and the nation in general, Hillary is a tough sell.

“This race is as tight as can be,” said David Axelrod, a senior political commentator for CNN and an architect of Barack Obama's successful 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. “It comes down to who can grind it out on the ground on Monday night,” said Axelrod, "Turnout is everything. If turnout is within a normal range, Hillary likely wins. If it goes higher, approaching 200,000, it will be a good night for Bernie."

This split in supporter's demographics is the biggest issue because whichever one eventually wins the Democratic nomination will need to have very long 'coattails' to accomplish their campaign's promises considering that the House is now dominated by the neanderthal Republicans. Consequently, without a Democratic landslide neither Hillary's modest changes or Bernie's revolutionary ones will go anywhere.

When asked by NBC News' Chuck Todd about his impact on House races Sunday, Bernie said: "I think our campaign is the campaign that is generating excitement and energy that will result in a high voter turnout. Republicans win when voter turnout is low. Democrats win when voter turnout is high." Here then is why Iowa is so important and why the size and composition of the turnout is so important to political junkies stateside and everywhere else.

Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight.com, America's leading national pollster, asks rhetorically 'What Happens If Bernie Sanders Wins Iowa?' And answers: 'If you’re dreaming of Bernie Sanders beating Hillary Clinton, you know how the movie begins (he wins Iowa on Monday, how it ends (he accepts the nomination to a Simon & Garfunkel tune), and one of the major plot lines (black, Hispanic and moderate Democrats, who for now prefer Clinton to Sanders, begin to #feelthebern. You also know who the hapless villain is: Democratic party elites (aka “the establishment”), who will be fighting Sanders every step of the way.

The divisions between the Democrats and Republicans are as deep as they've ever been in my 68 years. The candidates on both sides prove it, there is no middle ground. If it ends up with a Trump vs. Sanders showdown in November [and i hope it does], because of America's financial and military dominance, the results will effect us all. If Bernie wins and the youth and independent voters also pull in enough progressive Democrats along with him, it could change not only America, but the world.

It's a big dream, but if we don't first dream big how can we fulfill those dreams. Tomorrow is a big day for us all.


Trudeau's Interim Enviro Assessment Process Designed to Greenwash an Approval of KM Pipeline

Liberal cabinet members Carr and McKenna announcing interim policy

Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government announced a number of additional steps and additional time to Canada's widely ridiculed National Energy Board [NEB] review process a couple days ago and i've been reading as much as i can about the details from both proponents and critics of Trudeau's new scheme.

Many times during the election campaign last fall Trudeau promised that he'd overhaul the NEB while also saying that one of the jobs of a Prime Minister was to help resource industries get their products to market. Also unfortunately, during the announcement ceremony by cabinet ministers Carr and McKenna by Trudeau himself, we've heard countless versions all saying: "..that their main goal is to find a regulatory mechanism that will permit the approval of the pipelines." Which sure sounds like they've already reached a conclusion, now all that's left to do is justify it.


The Liberals have added to the existing NEB process 5 principles of the new interim environmental assessment process:

1. No project proponent will be asked to return to the starting line — project reviews will continue within the current legislative framework and in accordance with treaty provisions, under the auspices of relevant responsible authorities and Northern regulatory boards;

2. Decisions will be based on science, traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples and other relevant evidence;

3.The views of the public and affected communities will be sought and considered;

4.Indigenous peoples will be meaningfully consulted, and where appropriate, impacts on their rights and interests will be accommodated; and

5.Direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions linked to the projects under review will be assessed.


As i see it, the minute the Liberals [or any government] changes the review process in mid-stream they are opening the door to both lawsuits within Canada and, more importantly, NAFTA challenges through its damned ISDS mechanism. The Liberals are apparently trying to avoid this NAFTA challenge by not returning ongoing reviews to "square one". They are trying to appear to fulfill the Tsilhqot'in decision's ruling that they must consult and accommodate those FNs. Consulting ENs that have signed treaties by sending in vassals to listen changes nothing. Those FNs who haven't signed treaties have the right to refuse to accept the govt. at which time the govt/s simply has to go to court and prove that the project under discussion is in the 'national interest' [ a totally subjective point].

On the other hand changing the review process in mid-stream, does have serious, objective and adjudicated consequences.

IMO, instead of this new interim process making the situation more fair, it makes it less. Now Kinder Morgan's lawyers have a built in reason that they can launch a NAFTA appeal on if the Liberal cabinet denies their application. They'll just say 'we did what was demanded by the process we signed up for and we invested a lotta money doing so'. This logic is very little different from the logic TransCanada is using in it's NAFTA challenge against the US for its rejection of the KXL.

So this interim process, designed to make opponents feel loved, is basically a guarantee for Kinder Morgan that in the end, though that 'end' will take a few extra months, their pipeline will be approved. i wouldn't be surprised if someday an FOI request or ? proved that the Liberals have already made a deal with Kinder Morgan to keep quiet as part of their guarantee of eventual acceptance of their pipeline.

The Trudeau Liberals go on to assure us all that whatever decision they reach after gathering all this new info from the consultation process, the existing NEB process, science, traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples, the views of the public and affected communities and other relevant evidence, will be decided by what they consider to be in the 'national interest' - which is totally subjective. For instance, right now the chant of jobs, jobs, jobs seems so loud it would trump all others but in the fossil fuel ending long-run where Canada has pledged to keep GHG emissions low wouldn't almost all those jobs be eliminated, won't Canada's future employment be in 'green' jobs like conservation, efficiency, sequestering carbon through prairie restoration and small scale organic farming? Wouldn't the national interest be better served by retraining most of those losing fossil fuel industry jobs?

The reality is that whatever information is placed before Trudeau's cabinet they will decide the KM expansion is in the 'national interest' both because as elite Canadians they will, like most all humans, cherry pick those bits they like and reject those they don't - it's called confirmation bias. Who knows what will happen in reality, the Canadian cabinet could grow a set of cajones, they could reject China's demand that Canada must build a pipeline to the west-coast, they could just abrogate NAFTA...but they won't they'll approve the idiotic Kinder Morgan twinning not because it's in the 'national interest' but because it's in their own short term best interests which is getting re-elected in 3+ years from now.


Bernie Sanders' Support Among Independent and Young Voters Key to Having 'Long Coattails' in Nov.

The times they are a changin' for Bernie vs. Hillary and maybe much more. The large CNN poll released a couple day ago that shows Bernie leading 51 to 43 over Hillary in Iowa and 60 to 33 in New Hampshire have changed the complexion of the Democratic race and produced a groundswell of enthusiasm throughout the media inside America and out. Sanders also is the strongest Democrat against the leading Republican candidates according to almost all polls.

Bernie's lead in Iowa and N.H. is growing based on his positions which reflect the hopes of the vast majority of young and independent voters as well as true progressives everywhere. For instance today's article at Common Dreams - 'Porter Ranch 'Climate Disaster' Shows Need for National Fracking Ban: Sanders' - isn't just hype aimed at environmentalist voters, Bernie has been on the ground 'saying and doing' his whole life. Same for equal rights, same for inequality, same for...well...every position he espouses. Whether you agree with his positions or not [and i do] almost everyone agrees Bernie is the real deal.

Bernie, like Donald Trump [in almost exactly opposite directions] is tapping into the same river of discontent with the elites running through the entire developed world, including America. The differences between the two on the issues is mirrored by their characters. Where Trump appeals to working class resentment and fear of immigration, Bernie appeals to the hope of a progressive future for us all. As Susan Rose said, in one of the best sentences i've read on the topic earlier today: "It's a very ugly time... but out of the carcass of collapse, a Phoenix will rise and in such times of crisis, enormous, unprecedented change occurs. This time, much of it may point to a new Progressive Era."

Most importantly, IMO, Bernie's enthusiastic support by both the young and independent voters is the key. At the moment neither hope nor fear would gain traction in a US congress that's a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bankers and Billionaires' Club, an undisputed fact by both sides of America's political crevasse. The only way Sanders or Trump could carry through with their promises, be they a Mexican border fence or Medicare for all, is if they have 'long coattails' and bring in with them a huge change in the makeup of Congress itself. Bernie, i'm glad to say, has the support of exactly the voters necessary to accomplish that - the young and the independents.

Today is a great day for Bernie. Bernie has the opportunity and momentum to change the course of American politics and policy,.if he does he could change the world.


Canadian's Long Descent Into Low Paid Jobs and Fears For Their Kids Future Began With Free Trade

One of Canada's many once productive factories now abandoned

Nearly a half century ago i came to Canada as a refugee from one of the Empire's attempts to dictate events in Southeast Asia. What i found was a wonderful place full of all kinds of people who lived very well and happily together. There were plenty of jobs harvesting and processing the huge banquet of resources that were as varied as the people. Sure, like everywhere, there were problems but by and large a healthy, hard working, person could raise a family and have a good life.

Canadians used their abundant resources, now often called commodities in our financialized world, to manufacture the things that other Canadians bought and sold. Canadiams built their homes from the lumber other Canadians cut down and cut up into lumber, they ate Canadian fish caught by Canadian fishermen [and women], baked bread with Canadian wheat and drank Canadian beer.

It was a great community, but that was then. Now things have changed, our resources are commodities and their value is their global market price not the quality of life they provide. Now when a refugee arrives or young person leaves school there's no deckhand jobs in the fishing industry, no chokermen jobs in the woods, no need of much of anybody except to flip burgers or dispense lattes. Now our Prime Minister goes to Davos and begs the billionaires to invest in Canada. What happened? What turned a hard working happy people into fear-filled, debt ridden, people worried that they and their children will soon have nothing?

It started turning bad when interest rates began to climb and the people listened to the bankers who said that all would be fine if they just put their savings and pension plans into the market. It kept getting worse after Brian Mulroney, somehow, convinced enough voters that 'Free Trade' would make them rich and Canada entered the FTA with the US. Within months the manufacturing industries, despite being built by Canadians, started laying off people and moving the jobs to low wage places in the US. Soon interest rates started soaring and people lost their homes to the banks as well as their jobs.

Within a few years the new solution was to have a better Free Trade scheme that included Mexico - NAFTA - and more well paid jobs moved further south along with the corporations who now could manufacture the stuff Canadians needed in low wage Mexico and pocket the profits. The Free Trade schemes eliminated hundreds of thousands of well paid jobs and destroyed our manufacturing base. It did a great job of making the rich richer and left millions ordinary Canadians wondering what happened to their good life.

Next chapter, next scheme, that Free Trade also played a role in, was putting all our eggs in the commodities market game. Canadians were assured by the experts that with manufacturing in decline the market and especially oil exports would save us.  Instead increasing oil exports raised the value of the loonie far beyond what it would have been were the economy to have remained balanced like it was before Mulroney's Free Trade scheme  which further eroded the manufacturing sector [Dutch Disease]

Now here we are the oil price, along with all our once provident commodities, has tanked. Many of the factories that once provided good jobs and a stable market for our commodities have closed, the equipment/machinery is gone, the manufacturing sector can't respond to the plunging value of the loonie and create the jobs necessary the way the economic experts assured us it would. So now we'll watch our new Prime Minister smiling and ass-kissing the billionaires in Davos in the hopes that...that what...that some miracle will happen?

It may someday, but for now commodity prices are plunging and the over extended world is facing a wave of epic debt defaults. Hell, things look so gloomy even Walmart is closing 269 stores. Apparently homeless people don't go shopping no matter how much Walmart rolls back prices. Now even the people who work at Walmart, people who once lived good lives will be hurt badly just as they and so many others have been by the Free Trade schemes of the past or will be if Canadians accept the next crock of lies named the TPP which a study out just yesterday by researchers at the UN and Tufts University says will cost Canada another 58,000 jobs while providing a mere 0.28 per cent increase to GDP growth - effectively zero change -- over the next ten years.

Canada will remain at the mercy of the global cabal at The Bankers and Billionaires' Club until they either rise up to overthrow the system or the system collapses.


As Usual, the Corporate MSM Refuses to Publish Articles Exposing the US's Syrian War Propaganda

State Senator Dick Black

Republican Virginia state Senator Dick Black, an x-Marine war hero and lawyer who worked on Executive Orders for the US President said in an interview with RT a few days ago that "I believe that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are the two greatest dangers to world peace,” Adding “It is Saudi Arabia, through the Wahhabist doctrine, that is spreading terrorism across the globe. It’s not Iran, it’s not Syria or any other country.”

Senator Black says "the civil war in Syria would never have happened without the efforts of Saudi Arabia and Turkey". He said the war in Syria was not a domestic uprising or part of the Arab Spring, with civilians seeking democracy. Instead, he called it an uprising of hardcore jihadists, aided by the CIA and MI6, with the help of Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Saudi Arabia was able to control governments across the world with its financial strength, and the Turks had their own agenda with regard to Europe, Black argued.

Senator Black goes on to say: “Virtually all arms, ammunition, equipment, supplies, jihadists, medical support – all of it comes from Turkey. Right now, ISIS sends 44,000 barrels of oil per day – stolen barrels, most of it from Syria – across the border into Turkey. The State Department has publicly said that there’s only a trickle of oil that gets into Turkey, but I have personally spoken to Kurdish activists … [who] observed hundreds of ISIS oil tankers carrying stolen Syrian oil into Turkey on a daily basis.” and that, "Turkey is actively assisting the ISIS rebels and helping the Al-Nusra rebels which are linked with Al-Qaeda.”

According to ZeroHedge, the only large media outlet willing to carry Black's story, "Black is shouting from the rooftops that Washington's Mid-East policy not only amounts to lunacy, but in fact makes the world a more dangerous place... Black is suggesting that the US knowingly and openly supports the two governments that pose the greatest threat to global peace and security...And he's exactly right."

Black's statements would hardly qualify as 'news' considering that media outlets around the globe that aren't controlled by the US corporations have been saying the same thing for some time now. It's the same for any information that doesn't toe the US propaganda line. The real story here is that the corporate media in capitalist countries must toe the Empire's propaganda line or face an advertiser boycott by the crony capitalists. What good are hollow pronouncements about freedom of the press when the newsrooms are under the thumb of the advertising departments.

Another connection never allowed to be spoken of by the corporate media is the fact that there is no question that Israel is playing a prominent role in the attempted destruction of the Syrian state, and is guilty of destroying the lives of millions of people through their support of anti-Assad mercenaries.  Syrians are now the second largest refugee population on the planet according to a UN report (only second to Palestinians), all thanks to the NATO/Israeli/Saudi/Turkey/Arab Emerites axis of weasels which has funded and supported rebel armies in Syria.

Another example is the MSM's silencing of the former commander of US Special Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, Former Lt. Gen Michael Flynn, who says that "without the Iraq war, the Islamic State wouldn’t exist today." in an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel, adding: "The U.S. attempts to pretend there are “moderate rebels,” a claim that is refuted by the U.S.’s own former point man in Syria, “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) Col. Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi. In the video below he was open about his daily communication and collaboration with extremist jihadists from the “Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham” (ISIS) and al-Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra.

Another example [in case you need more] comes from the U.S.’s own former point man in Syria, “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) Col. Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi. In the video below he was open about his daily communication and collaboration with extremist jihadists from the “Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham” (ISIS) and al-Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra.


Behind the Beheadings, the Treachery, the Israel, Turkey, Saudi Alliance Lies the US Petrodollar

Image courtesy of Global Research

It's 'well' proven by Russia's extensive investigations and corroborated by an independent Norwegian report which concluded: "Exports happen in a well-established black market via Turkey...Many of the smugglers and corrupt border guards, who helped Saddam Hussein avoid international sanctions, are now helping ISIS export oil and import cash."

But where is the oil going? Someone has to buy it. The answer is provided by Al-Arby's extensive investigation which lays out in detail how oil is transported from ISIS-controlled wells to Israel via Turkey saying: "ISIS sells Iraqi and Syrian oil for a very low price to Kurdish and Turkish smuggling networks and mafias, who label it and sell it on as barrels from the Kurdistan Regional Government.

An estimated 20,000-40,000 barrels of oil are produced daily in ISIS controlled territory generating $1-1.5 million daily profit for the terrorist organization. Israel is the main purchaser of ISIS oil, in August, the Financial Times reported that Israel obtained 75% of its oil supplies from Iraqi Kurdistan and a large proportion of that oil originates in ISIS controlled territory. Several sources have confirmed that Israel has purchased most of its oil supplies from ISIS militants who stole it from Syria via tanker truck convoys including the excellent, detailed and well researched article titled 'Islamic State oil trade full frontal: 'Raqqa's Rockefellers', Bilal Erdogan, KRG Crude, and the Israel connection' by Tyler Durden.

And if that's not enough to curdle your milk this article titled Israel, 'Saudi Arabia, Turkey And Jordan Consider Alliance', will. It says that Israel is considering partnering with several 'moderate' Arab states in a US-brokered defense alliance that would be aimed at containing Iran, Syria, Yemen and Shia dominated parts Iraq.

At the core of all this is the US petrodollar. Why? As RT explains: "Essentially the American's power is dependent on the Saudi regime. It may appear that the issue is oil, but it's much more than merely the supply of the black stuff. More importantly it is the petrodollar system by which global oil trade is conducted. When US President Franklin D Roosevelt held his landmark summit with Saudi’s founding monarch, Ibn Saud, in early 1945 the two leaders set in motion the petrodollar arrangement by which the soon-to-be world’s top oil producer would sell in perpetuity the commodity denominated only in the US dollar."

"For the next seven decades, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Sunni Arab oil kingdoms have helped maintain the petrodollar system. Without this system, the US currency would cease to be the world’s reserve currency. Without that status, the US would collapse in bankruptcy."


For a more detailed look at the sinister motives behind this treachery here's a short reading list of articles by Middle East expert Dan Sanchez.

Toward a Colonial End Zone with No Gray Zone...
We know what the jihadis’ end game is. They plainly tell us in their official publication. ISIS, in the tradition of its forefathers Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, wants to use terrorist provocation to polarize the entire world into two irreconcilable enemy camps. By eliminating any “gray zone” between “the crusader camp” and “the camp of [Salafist] Islam,” the terrorists seek to precipitate an apocalyptic “clash of civilizations,” out of which they will arise victorious.

The Saudis Go Full ISIS In Their US-Backed Takfiri War on the Shia
It is no mystery why the Saudis are such brothers in arms with the Bin Ladenites, sharing both their hyper-sectarian aims and their gruesome methods. The Wahhabist Saudis and the Salafist terrorists are both “Takfiris”: theocratic, fundamentalist Sunnis who justify sectarian persecution and bloodshed on the grounds that their victims are not true Muslims, but apostates. Both the Saudis and ISIS regularly behead people for apostasy.

War Is Realizing the Israelizing of the World
Since 2006, the Saudis have been obsessed with waging a proxy jihad against what it conceives as a burgeoning Iran-led “Shia Crescent” (including Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah, and Yemen) that threatens their interests in the region. This anti-Shia vendetta has been supported by its fellow Gulf sheikhdoms, the US, the EU, Turkey, and Israel.


Why Canadians Shouldn't Be Surprised to See New ISIS' Videos Featuring Canadian Made LAV 111s

Canada's LAV 111

Canada's recent decision to go ahead with the $15B arms deal with Saudi Arabia is about much more than jobs for Canadians, it's about complicity in the barely covert arming and bankrolling of ISIS and the Al Nusra Front [aka. the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda] by the US in its endless pursuit of global domination. How and why is a complicated story. Up here in Canada most people want to believe that Justin Trudeau is going ahead with this because 'a deal is a deal' not because he's under pressure to continue being part of this international charade by the US and it's criminal allies...hopefully this will change...

Let's start with a recent statement by former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Wesley Clark which explains that the existence of the Islamic State helps Sunni countries Turkey and Saudi Arabia geostrategically, by countering the Shi'ite powers: Iran, Iraq and Syria. Clark's statement is only news because it's being said by him, in fact it's generally [sic] accepted that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey and Qatar - three of the United States' biggest allies in the region - are bankrolling ISIS terrorists.

As the Wall St. Journal said: “Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have delivered arms and funds to rebel groups in Syria". According to the Journal, increased weapons shipments to anti-Assad elements aim to “challenge the intervention of Russia and Iran on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, US officials and their counterparts (from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf States) in the region. Then there's the New York Times who reported that "The American-made TOW antitank missiles began arriving in the region in 2013, through a covert program run by the United States, Saudi Arabia and other allies to help certain CIA -vetted insurgent groups battle the Syrian government.

Also, a former senior security policy analyst in the office of the US Secretary of Defense Michael Maloof said: “In the case of Syria [TOW anti tank missiles-ed.] have been supplied clandestinely under CIA operation through Turkey to various fighters that they have identified as being moderate,” Maloof added. “But these moderates are generally with the Free Syrian Army, and most of them have gone to join the Islamic fighters of either Al-Nusra or Daesh [ISIS].” This is backed up by security analyst and former counter-terrorism intelligence officer Charles Shoebridge who says: “And of course Saudi Arabia has been in the forefront supplying Syrian rebel groups, including to what in the West should really be called extremist rebels groups, with these fairly sophisticated and certainly powerful weapons...last year a very large consignment of these weapons in the thousands were shipped to Saudi Arabia by the US as part of the arms supply.”

These CIA shipments included automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition, anti-tank weapons, and roadside bombs. This deadly delivery service continues to this day. The chief role of the Saudis and Qataris has been to bankroll the weapons shipments. Turkey’s chief role in this aspect of the deception has been to transmit the weapons through its border with Syria. Turkey also acts as a safe haven for training the anti-Shia forces. As a captured ISIS fighter trained in Turkey explains, "ISIS thinks it’s safer here than Syria" But Turkey's greatest contribution to ISIS and Al Nusra is Turkey's role in ISIS illegal oil trade which Russia has presented ample proof of and has been corroborated in an independent Norwegian report which concluded: "Exports happen in a well-established black market via Turkey...Many of the smugglers and corrupt border guards, who helped Saddam Hussein avoid international sanctions, are now helping ISIS export oil and import cash.”

Toyota Hilux vehicles - part of the ISIS' persona

So the routes and connections are both well established and well documented. Now for a parallel... Remember the pictures of ISIS' fleet of white Toyota Hiluxes? And the question of 'Where did they come from? Italian correspondent Vittorio Dini chased this down through a labyrinth of smoke and mirrors finding out that, much like the LAV 111's Saudi Arabia purchased from Canada under the former Harper regeme, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar used the Abdul Latif Jameel Company to import 285,000 Toyotas in 2013, many of these were Hiluxes that were transported from Saudi Arabia to Turkey then onto Syria and Iraq to support  the Islamic groups in Syria fighting against Al-Assad regime, especially ISIS and Al Nusra.

So here we are, the CBC  reported two days ago that Justin Trudeau had been advised in a briefing book to deepen Canada's ties with Saudi Arabia and said that was why the Liberals are standing by $15B arms deal with the Saudis. The briefing was from the defense department not the dept of finance. Consequently my advice is for Canadians to be un-surprised to see another installment of ISIS' parade videos featuring their black flags waving out of their shiny LAV 111s with perhaps a couple of the Saudis mowing down Yemeni Shia, or anybody else that opposes their sadistic rule, as an opening act.


Global Stock Markets Plummet - Don't Worry, Be Happy

The global stock market's plunge today may have the speculator class drinking doubles but not me. Not the birds or the bees, not the flowers, not the trees. In fact it's just the opposite. Douglas Porter, chief economist with BMO Financial Group, said in a note to clients.“It is shaping up to be another (wildly) negative day in global equity markets.” But outside of those whose life revolves around their portfolio the world kept revolving, the flora, fauna, microbes, minerals, forces and faeries - the real world - enjoyed another (wildly) positive day in paradise.

The New York Times reported "A downbeat Chinese manufacturing report sent stocks spiraling on Monday, previously prompting the country’s market to close early. It also set off a global rout, with stocks in Europe and the United States getting hit. Apparently, "The S&P/TSX composite index was down for a seventh consecutive day, off 278.59 points at 12,448.21 and in New York, the Dow Jones plummeted 392.41 points to 16,514.

China’s economy which has been steadily slowing due to shrinking demand for its manufactured goods. This in turn has created a months long downturn in demand for the basic commodities that go into the mostly needless crap [discretionary spending] that consumers in the west usually waste their money on which in turn helped drop the price of under-demanded and over-supplied fossil fuels.

Don't worry, be happy...remember that...the oceans got a tiny bit less acidified because of today's selling plunge on the markets, a tiny bit less greenhouse gas got deposited into our common air supply, a few less plankton died creating a bit more oxygen for those of us who use it. The stock market isn't the real world, it isn't even the real economy, the stock market is part of what's killing the real world. Living simply, is the secret to enjoying a full and happy life not chasing phantom wants.


Justin Trudeau's First Big Mistake - Going Ahead With $15 Billion Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

'Real Change' the Saudi arms deal isn't

Adam Barratt, director of communications for Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion, said on Monday a $15 billion contract with the government of Arab country would still go ahead. He said:  “A private company is delivering the goods according to a signed contract with the government of Saudi Arabia. The government of Canada has no intention of cancelling that contract." The Trudeau Liberals decision to go ahead with the $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia while at the same time condemning the Whabbist kingdom's mass execution of their opponents, including a peaceful Shia cleric leader Nimr al-Nimr, is hypocricy.

This action, far from being the 'real change' promised by Trudeau in his recent election campaign, is exactly the same position as his deposed predecessor Harper took  in a similar situation almost a year ago. At that time Sweden canceled its arms deal with Saudi Arabia after a human rights dispute.

Also in today's news the article: 'No Deal? Germany May Cancel Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia'. So if the Swedes can do it and the Germans can do it, it isn't illegal in world tade terms...it's a matter of choice...and Trudeau has made the wrong one.

According to Global Research – an independent research organisation based in Montreal – the deal, which dwarves any other military exports brokered by the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), for an undisclosed number of Light Armoured Vehicles to be manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), based in London, Ontario is the largest military exports contract in Canadian history. The GR report claims that federal rules oblige Ottawa to examine whether arms shipment to countries with poor human rights records would endanger the local population.

This despite the facts, quoting the Global Research article that:
Fact 1: The deal is, by far, the largest military exports contract in Canadian history.

Fact 2: Canada’s trade policies state that Canada “closely controls” military exports to governments with “a persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens.”

Fact 3: Saudi Arabia is one of the worst human rights violators in the world.

Fact 4: Documentary evidence shows that the Saudi regime uses Light Armoured Vehicles against civilians.

As an old friend commented earlier today in an email exchange on this topic: "It’s not what they say, but what they do." i agree completely and suggested that it' time to start a list eh!


The Upcoming Canadian Climate Summit Will Have to Choose Between Reality and False Hope

Larger version available at: Renewables And Carbon Pricing Are
the New Climate Denial
 by Bill Henderson

In the next couple of months Canadians will face a deluge of 'decarbonization' terminology before, during and after the upcoming Canadian Climate Summit. The graph above is as good a place as any to start trying to wade through the swamp of false hope that the politicians and a compliant mainstream media will use everyday to obscure what John Michael Greer, the Archdruid, explains are the core issues up for debate when he says, "The consequences of continuing to treat the atmosphere as a gaseous sewer for humanity’s pollutants are becoming increasingly hard to ignore, but nearly everything that defines a modern industrial economy as 'modern' and 'industrial' produces greenhouse gases, and the continued growth of the world’s modern industrial economies remains the keystone of economic policy around the world. The goal pursued by negotiators at this and previous climate conferences, then, is to find some way to do something about anthropogenic global warming that won’t place any kind of restrictions on economic growth."

Today's report will look at decarbonization's alternatives and possibilities and provide a reading list of articles by some of the best known environmentalists. Basically they all agree, the belief that we can avoid the most catastrophic levels of climate disruption without changing our fundamental way of life is a false hope.

The graph above shows us that re-newables are a very small part of our current energy usage. As every form of energy production has a footprint the next most important issue IMO is comparing their different footprints. EDF Energy's site does a good job overall but, like in so many things in our world, the devil is in the details and where one draws their line in the sand between what is included or not is very devil-ish. For instance do they count the externalized costs onto our health care systems and onto the cost of the acidification of our oceans, the costs of re-building as we retreat from the rising oceans and many others including the cost of cleaning up the environment that our descendants will eventually have to pay.

Next assignment in the de-swamping of de-carbonization would be a critical review of the studies done by a team of acclaimed scientists who all have no dog in the fight. This peer reviewed study does just that. In it they say: "Dozens of scenarios are published each year outlining paths to a low carbon global energy system. We examine 17 scenarios using a diverse range of techniques and assess the pace of energy system transformation entailed by each scenario. These studies present comparatively little detail on strategies to de-carbonize the industrial and transportation sectors, despite the importance of these sectors."

What i learned from this excellent study of studies is that each scenario has both technical limitations and real world political limitations that are at least as confounding as the technical ones. The authors conclude: "To be reliable guides for policymaking, these types of scenarios clearly need to be supplemented by more detailed analyses addressing the key constraints on energy system transformation, including technological readiness, economic costs, infrastructure and operational issues, and societal acceptability with respect to each of the relevant technology pathways."

Another study, not included above, by Mark Jacobson and his research group at Stanford University concludes: "While the expansion of renewable energy promises a boom in “green jobs” and may help facilitate the “just transition” alluded to in the Paris text, large renewable energy projects can be highly resource- and capital-intensive. For example, to meet the ambitious renewable energy goals proposed would require some 1.7 billion new energy installations worldwide, from modest rooftop systems to massive solar and wind farms." While Jacobson and his colleagues have demonstrated the feasibility of meeting all current energy needs by mid-century with genuinely renewable energy (no nuclear, no biomass, no new mega-hydro), some questions remain as to both the environmental and economic feasibility of an expansion of renewables on that scale.

So the importance of the politics at the Canadian Climate Summit can't be overstated. The making of choices between scenarios always includes choosing economic winners and losers as well as spinning those competing choices in a way that the wide range of constituents in each jurisdiction can accept, which, as always, will hinge on the myth that we might live a lifestyle similar to our current one powered by non-fossil fuel sources.

The chorus will include lines about how de-carbonization will save us from the karma of our consumer culture's gluttony and how unenforceable promises will accomplish it. In reality the politicians, like the scientists and elites, generally know the scope of change needed to avoid environmental calamity between now and 2050 crashes the markets, bankrupts pension plans and mutual funds, crashes capitalism and causes panic among the many.

Though beyond the core issues of today's report is the reality that the narrow focus on climate change and GHGs has allowed us to not look at the fact that even if some miracle technology comes along that allows us to have our energy cake and eat it too all that will mean is that the other forms of environmental degradation will continue or worsen.


Reading List:

Renewable Energy Will Not Support Economic Growth by Richard Heinberg

Too Little, Too Late by John Michael Greer

Six Myths About Climate Change that Liberals Rarely Question by Erik Lindberg

Baby Lauren and the Kool-Aid by James Hanson


Canada's GCF Contribution at COP21 Another Corporate Scheme Like Trading of Emissions Offsets

The last big-time North American politician told their constituents the truth about the obvious connections between fossil fuels, atmospheric carbon pollution and their consumer lifestyles was when Jimmy Carter delivered this televised speech on July 15, 1979 Titled 'Crisis in Confidence', after which he was roundly condemned by the mainstream media and soon lost by a landslide to Ronald Reagan who denounced Carter and reassured Americans that the age-old beliefs they held about the grandeur of the United States were not myths and that it was "Morning in America".

Since then no politician who stood any chance of winning any election above dog catcher dared say, as Carter did, "...there are no short-term solutions to our long-range problems. There is simply no way to avoid sacrifice." Instead each has echoed George H.W. Bush who famously declared: “The American way of life is not up for negotiations. Period.”

Now up here in Canada our new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Real Change' is coming on all fronts. But is it? ?...Time out for another drink of Kool-Aid...Do he and the Liberals really mean they are going to tell the Canadian people that they must sacrifice some of their entitlements so that Canada can do its share in making the Earth's environment slightly less polluted? Of course not.

About two weeks ago one of Canada's leading neanderthal media outlets - Sun Media - published an editorial titled 'The folly of Canada's carbon targets' which evenhandedly bashed the preceding federal governments for promising pollution regulation changes then backing down as soon as they had to make anyone sacrifice anything. The Sun Media then went on to conclude: "The only way for the Liberals to achieve the Harper targets without wrecking our economy, would be to buy billions of dollars of carbon credits on the fraud-ridden international carbon markets. Is that what they have in mind? A very good question eh.

So i figured reading about the Green Climate Fund that Trudeau got so much praise for promising $2.65 billion over 5 years to just before COP21 started was a good place to start. What i learned was that the financial sector and private sector energy companies are trying (very successfully in their closed doors meetings) to get a slice of the money earmarked for helping poor countries mitigate and adapt to climate change. This has meant that much climate finance is being channeled through the financial sector. The UK has been instrumental in pushing for the creation of a private sector facility (PSF) as part of the UN Green Climate Fund (GCF) which is meant to become the main channel for rich countries to disburse climate finance. While developing countries want the PSF to focus on supporting small green businesses, the UK wants PSF money to be channeled through financial intermediaries (including big private sector banks) to big corporate projects. It seems the power of the fossil fuel and financial sectors is likely to ensure that big business will receive much of any climate finance promised to the Green Climate Fund, including the portion Trudeau has promised.

Yikes...next i read up on International Carbon Markets including about how Al Gore and his carbon credit huckstering partner David Blood, both principals  at Generation Investment Management (GIM) are making a fortune on commissions from emissions trading of carbon offsets. 'The inconvenient truth of carbon offsets' by environmentalist Kevin Anderson is an excellent explanation of carbon offsets and why a person should wear hip waders when listening to Al Gore's versions of greenwashing.

But there's many other stinging critiques of the sewage stink that emanates from the International Carbon Market, none better than 'COP21, the 'No Hope Climate Summit' by Alex Scrivener [a must read IMO] which breaks down the internal workings and the reason the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) can't work saying "Climate change will never be solved through negotiations dominated by corporate interests. these same governments use bullying and bribery tactics to ensure that the interests of their corporate friends takes precedence over the fight against climate change."

Another piece by the Forest Ecology Network says: "Using the free market model, the polluters too often make the decision that the cost of reducing their emissions through the utilization of best technologies, conservation, and higher efficiency standards are prohibitive. It is cheaper to pollute and buy credits than it is to change their production processes. There are also examples of companies which for financial reasons have made cost saving technological changes, usually energy related. These changes have not only saved them money, but have also created carbon credits, which can be sold for huge profits. As an example, a company in China spent 5 million to build an energy-producing incinerator, which generated 500 million dollars of excessive profit through carbon credits. While rewarding carbon-reducing technologies makes sense, a 495 million dollar profit is over the top!"

"There are often potential secondary ecological and human impacts in the creation of carbon credits. The most striking example is a case involving a 220 square mile plantation of Eucalyptus and pine in Andean Ecuador. This carbon credit-generating plantation has resulted in the destruction of a native forest, the introduction of damaging invasive species, a reduction in biological diversity, the release of massive amounts of soil carbon, and the displacement of indigenous peoples. Many of the large hydro projects around the world also have similar devastating impacts."

Then there's the Guardian article which focuses on the EU emissions trading scheme, one of the oldest and largest, which includes 11,000 power stations and industrial plants that produce half of Europe’s total carbon emissions. It too says "...opponents of emissions trading programs also argue that companies are likely to purchase carbon offsets instead of reducing emissions by adopting new technologies or changing their operating practices."

So, considering that Canada has put almost all of its economic eggs in a plummeting fossil fuel market whose over supply by indebted tight oil producers and OPEC's attempts to monopolize markets in advance of Iran's re-entry, dropping demand for needless consumables everywhere due to consumer debt and the fear of the potential of renewable competition to depress demand in the long term...will Trudeau have the cajones to tell Canadians, as Carter tried to do, that the only possible solution to global pollution of all kinds is to live simply and stop over-consuming?

Why are the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec smiling?
They just figured out they didn't have to tell their voters to sacrifice.

Not a chance. He'll meet with the Premiers as promised. They'll hammer out a set of vague promises and legally non-binding commitments based on whatever bullshit they agree most Canadians will believe and they'll back it up, just as Ontario and Quebec already have, with promises to buy offsets for whatever is outstanding. They will never stand up on their hind legs and admit that over-consumption is the problem, they will never admit that the scope of the changes necessary to make anything like Trudeau's  'real change' happen would crash the stock markets and the pension plans, mutual funds, bank accounts, of all Canadians and with them the greatest boondoggle of all times - capitalism.