BC's LNG Fantasy Smells Like Bullshit Perfumed With Lies Because It Is

The Terrace Daily is an excellent, no holds barred, website that has recently been all over BC's LNG boondoggle. The article titled  'BC's LNG Corporate Welfare Scheme' is a must read for every BC resident because it exposes so clearly the financial lies being told by Christy Clark's government about the LNG 'windfall' that is in reality another stinky pile of capitalist bullshit being perfumed by lies so that, like the sale of BC Rail, IPP, raw log exports and so many other piles of capitalist crap, it passes the smell test temporarily. Unfortunately the BC NDP seems suffer from anosmia as they too support the fracking-LNG-pipeline-Site C boondoggle.

As the Terrace Daily says, "BC's LNG scheme is a welfare industry on steroids". The LNG industry in Australia has taken the industry bait that has resulted a huge LNG cost blowout with estimated costs to build the facilities needed at $150 billion now expected to double. The Aussie boondoggle reeks of an investment binge based on massive over-investment, hugely inflated asset prices, cheap finance on faulty ROI assumptions, labour market distortions on irrational expectations. The Australian Government will probably never get back their investment of public tax dollars let alone see the 'windfall' they promised their citizens.

In reality, as another Terrace Daily article says, "Natural Gas deposits are everywhere, China itself has a 300 year domestic supply, Russia is awash in natural gas in Siberia, a new pipeline from Kazakhstan directly into eastern China has just been completed, this gas line is advertised to supply natural gas to 600 million Chinese people alone, that is almost half of China`s population, the natural gas supplier for that pipeline is Kazakhstan and Russia, Canadian gas will never flow through that pipeline(s) system and spur lines......Why is that point important? It`s important because 50% of the Chinese market for our gas is already gone."

At the same time BC's MSM is awash in bullshit claims of streets paved with the $trillions of LNG dollars and jobs-jobs-jobs. Behind the scenes it's tax breaks, subsidies, capital write-offs and bribery going on. If the LNG industry is so damned profitable why won’t they build it on their own dime? Why do corporations like Apache, Chevron, Shell, EnCana and Nexen want to be re-classified as a manufacturing industry so they can write off all provincial taxes plus a 30%?.

The reason that BC's wildly 'profitable' LNG industry isn't actually going for it is because the world is awash in Natural Gas and finding countries to sign long-term energy buying contracts is impossible, there are no buyers. One corporation, Cheniere energy in the USA, has signed long-term energy buying contracts with Asia, at about 1/3 of BC's proposed selling price. At $6 dollars per unit, the price BC must get to be viable, BC won't be able to sell its LNG to Asia or anywhere. The project will never make money or even pay back all the initial subsidies, let alone supply BC Governments substantial revenues.

Finally, for today, there's the issue of a cheap supply electrical energy, LNG exporters require massive amounts of electricity to freeze natural gas, BC's LNG producers won't, like others already do, use their own gas to generate electricity, they want Site-C dam built and they want IPP's expensive power, they want this expensive power for virtually free because they say it's the only way they can compete with other countries. Sure smells like bullshit to me!


Beppe Grillo's Success Could Cripple the Auterians and Rattle the Bankster Empire

Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement reveals that The Banksters' Empire Wears No Clothes

All over this world 'the people' are uniting against the banksters' agenda. They demand decent jobs for decent pay, they demand that the rich to pay for the greed and stupidity that created the trillion-dollar bailouts that caused all this austerity bullshit. Italy, England, Spain, Portugal and Greece have tried to fix their sovereign debt problems on the backs of the poor, and 'the people' know it, they reject it, they know the rich see the tsunami on the horizon, they know the Banksters' Empire Wears No Clothes

Beppe Grillo, the charismatic 64-year-old comedian from Genoa whose anti-political non-party, the Five-Star Movement, has led his mostly young, untried and unknown candidates to a position of kingmaker in the Italian elections. Beppe Grillo, who's 5 Star Movement got over 25% of the vote, vows to bring a referendum on Italy's continuing involvement in the eurozone currency among other things. And Grillo has promised his populist following that he won't join forces with any established political parties.  Instead he scatters ripe insults over rival leaders like confetti: Mr Berlusconi is the "psycho dwarf", Nichi Vendola, leader of Left, Liberty and Ecology, is "a hole without a doughnut", Mr Monti is "Rigor Montis".

The Italian election results are seen as a clear rebuff to the austerity approach that was forced upon the Italians by the previous technocratic government led by German diktat Mario Monti. Yesterday world 'markets' tumbled at prospect that the sanity demonstrated Italy's citizens could lead to a domino effect whereby first the rest of southern Europe, then the rest of the world would wiggle out from under the banksters' boot heel and regain their freedom.

The Empire wants us all to forget what caused this disaster they call the Sovereign Debt Crisis. So perhaps a quick review is in order. The banks - who are actually a corporate mask their shareholders wear - mostly in America but lottsa other places too, lent huge sums of money they didn't actually have to bogus developers, scam artists and on mortgages the borrowers couldn't afford. Then, knowing full well these 'investments' were worthless, they bundled them up and sold them as 'securities' to other banks around the world who gobbled them up because they thought they were a free lunch. But instead of a free lunch the world's greedy banksters had bought hot air.

So instead of losing their shirts, like good little capitalists should, they went whining to their previously bought and paid for politicians to bail them out of the greed and stupidity built quicksand they were sinking into. Few governments, certainly not those of southern Europe, had enough money to bail out their local banksters so they, the sovereign governments, sold worthless bonds for trillions of dollars to fund managers, central banks the IMF and Whirled Bank who convinced themselves that surely these bonds were the long promised free lunch that would bail them out and cover their bad bets. As soon as those bonds starting coming due it became apparent these sovereign governments had no way to pay back those debts either.

At that point there were few options left. One was to let the banks collapse [remember Leyman Brothers?] and watch the 'markets' do the dominoes fall which meant that the savings and pensions of almost every voter in the world would be vaporized, which in turn meant the end of the kick back gravy train for the politicians-an obvious non-starter. Or, like the Americans, they could just print more money and give it to the banks so they wouldn't start the dominoes falling. Or, like the Germans, Dutch, Austrians, the IMF and Whirled Bank, they could demand that the capitalist owned debtor governments cut back their spending and use any revenue they collected for pay back the make believe money that started all this fiasco - the plan we know as austerity.

So here we are, the lifeblood of 'the people' of the world is being sucked dry to pay the interest on the debts of the banksters. The banksters meanwhile were making huge 'profits' and using them to pay huge bonuses to the shareholders and themselves [because they so obviously deserve it]. Then, when all seemed to be going well, the peons were quietly bleeding, when along comes, as Peter Popham calls him, "the ranting, foul-mouthed, tousle-haired figure of Beppe Grillo, an accountant before he became a cult comedian," who's mercurial ascent has shown 'the people' everywhere there is a route out from under the banksters' boot heel. Now the 'markets' are worried, now the austerians are trembling. Whadda shame, hopefully there'll be no turning back now that Beppe Grillo has shown 'the people' that the Banksters' Empire Wears No Clothes.


Tipping Points, Black Swan Events, Punctuated Equilibrium and the Paleo-Temperature Record

The paleo-temperature record of the last 700,000,000

The paleo-temperature record of the last 700,000,000 looks a lot like looks like the graph of a maniac depressive's life. A life filled with small straws breaking the backs of already heavily laden camels, a life that finds equilibrium for a little while then plunges or skyrockets when some unforeseen tipping point gets crossed, a predictably unpredictable life where black swans appear willy-nilly, the kind of life that theoretical scientists would find impossible to model.

The Earth's climate is at least as complex as a manic depressive's mind. Both have billions of interconnections - hardware - that are subject to a type of self correcting feedback akin to software. James Lovelock's Gaia principle, which proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet is an excellent example of one intricate feedback software the Earth seems to be 'running'. Acculturation and personal expectation are examples of the types feedback software maniac depressive's 'run' that allow them to continue getting out of bed some mornings and down off the ceiling on others.

The trouble is that even if our Gaian Earth's self-regulating daisy world is real it'll take so long to work in human terms that all of us maniac depressives, and everybody else, will be reduced to a sedimentary line in the geologic record before our Mother returns to the live able range for our type of bio-hardware. Consequently, during those times of emotional stasis between the ceiling and bed, it's probably a good idea to try to learn a lesson or two from that paleo-temperature record pictured above.

Theoretical sciences like climate change predictions don't totally float around ungrounded. There is hard, re-producible, evidence that CO2 and other gases gas trap energy of certain wavelengths from escaping into outer space - the greenhouse effect - that the theoretical scientists base their predictive models on. Modeling though is as much an art as a science in that models are built by combining some bits of hard science with rear view mirror testing. The art, in climate science modeling, is in finding the set of variables that best fits with that past maniac depressive type of paleo-temperature record.

As any member of a maniac depressive's family can tell you anticipating what will happen next is far more of a gamble than a prediction. There's wind blown straw and black swans gliding everywhere both between our ears and in our atmosphere. So, just as it happens that a maniac depressive's family often tries to find a safe psycho-pharmaceutical intervention to help keep their loved-one floating midway between ceiling and bed, we too would be well advised to find an intervention before our much loved Mother Earth meets its next black swan or crosses an environmental tipping point.

Just as a psycho-pharmaceutical intervention isn't a cure for manic depression neither is The Precautionary Principle a cure for our consumption induced environmental nightmare, but...Taking an easy crash course in the hard science part of climate change [while one's hovering between ceiling and bed] might be a good place to start. Next might be to learn a bit about the growing part methane is playing in our Gaian drama.

Scientists are convinced that a major methane release is an almost inevitable part of the feedback software. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, 25 times as powerful as CO2. Recently scientists studying the geological history inside ancient Siberian caves say that evidence suggests a global temperature increase of just 1.5ÂșC could trigger massive melting of the northern hemisphere's permafrost, unleashing gigatonnes of carbon and methane into the already warming atmosphere.

Personally, mr. mud wouldn't trade any of my life's punctuated equilibrium for a minute.Feeling really high and really powerful while up on the ceiling has more than made up for the down time,. i can't imagine a life in the middle, especially one pharmacologically prescribed, no ups no downs, life on the plains, no thanks. But others in my family might have a different opinion. Mother Earth too cares not one iota if the temperature soars or plummets, she's in it for the long haul. But we mere mortals are all connected to our families near and far now and in the future so we care what happens to them and owe it to them to be cautious with their futures. After all, they too deserve a chance to choose to live their lives however they choose, be it fluctuating between the ceiling and the bed or on the plains, just like crazy old mr. mud has had.


17 Year Surface Temp. Pause Meaningless As 90% of Planetary Warming Happens in the Oceans

Over 90% of all Global Warming happens in its oceans.

Two days ago the headline saying that climate change chief, Rajendra Pachauri had acknowledged a 17-year pause in global temperature rises caught my attention. Dr Pachauri said "The climate is changing because of natural factors and the impact of human actions. If you look at temperatures going back 150 years, there are clearly fluctuations which have occurred largely as a result of natural factors: solar activity, volcanic activity and so on."

Next i searched the topic a bit and found lottsa sensational headlines and news articles in the MSM confirming that a report released recently by Britain's Met Office was the source of all these stories. But what i didn't find was any critique with a clear analysis. So yesterday morning i sent off a provocative email to a long time climate change campaigner friend who, with any luck, would rise to the bait and send me the answers and story links i was looking for. It, a combination of lazy-ness and stupidity [my long suit], worked.

Soon a semi-scathing reply arrived with two great links in it. One from The New Scientist is a question and answer setup that outlines a growing awareness among climate scientists of the importance of natural variability in predicting climate change, especially in the short term, where it can completely obscure the global warming signal. The other from Skeptic Science titled 'Resolving Confusion Over the Met Office Statement and Continued Global Warming' and is even better IMO as it explains in graphic detail why global surface temperatures are not an adequate measure of global warming.because more than 90% of the overall warming of the planet goes into heating the oceans.

As Professor Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Science at America’s Georgia Tech university, and others, have been pointing out for a long time natural influences can and do act to dampen global surface warming saying, "Climate models are very complex, but they are imperfect and incomplete. Natural variability  [the impact of factors such as long-term temperature cycles in the oceans and the output of the sun] has been shown over the past two decades to have a magnitude that dominates the greenhouse warming effect."

But, as my friend pointed out, the Greenhouse Gas Effect isn't based on models and error bars, it's long established, reproducible hard science and natural variability can mask short term effects in both directions. Other studies that considered the warming of the oceans (both shallow and deep), land, atmosphere, and ice, and showed that global warming has not slowed in recent years despite the dampened surface warming trend. Many others point to the recent spate of El Nino events and unusual number of La Nina's as proof of the fact that out current 'pause' is just that, a pause, and that sooner or later the built up potential energy in the oceans will cause another rapid acceleration of surface temperatures.

Distrust of climate models is widespread. They are by their nature only useful as guides toward further scientific research. Any regulations or theories based solely on the results of models are, like Icarus, bound to fall because of they're underlying simplified assumptions about systems that are far more complex than can be modeled. Black Swan events, tipping points and punctuated equilibrium bedevil the linear relationships that models produce. But that's another topic for another day. Right now it's time for my best friend and i to go visit the Blue Herons and the punctuated equilibrium of the waves and wind followed by the serial study of the tipping point of a six pack into a one ended cylinder of hard, brittle, transparent material [glass]


Why the Disastrous Effects of a Tar Sands Pipeline Spill are the Real Problem Not CO2 Pollution

Canadian Tar Sands crud it is much heavier than any conventional crude oil. It must be diluted with a chemical cocktail [that itself is deadly when it evaporates upon hitting the atmosphere in the case of a spill] in order to allow it to be pumped through the pipelines. Once the chemicals evaporate the heavier than water tar sands crud just sinks. In July 2010 the first major spill of tar sands crud spilled out of a burst pipeline in Marshall, Michigan and polluted over 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River. NPR.org sent a reporter to that part of the Kalamazoo River two years later, here's a synopsis. In it Professor Steve Hamilton of Michigan State University explains explains why two years and $900 million later it still wasn't cleaned up.

Last week 50,000 well meaning environmental activists led by 350.org and the Sierra Club marched in Washington D.C. to attract attention to the issue of building the Keystone XL pipeline. Sierra Club director Michael Brune, Bill McKibbon of 350 and others spoke eloquently about the CO2 and Climate Change effects that Keystone would cause. On the other hand a few days earlier members of Bold Nebraska were being arrested there while protesting the real issue - the destruction of the Ogallala Aquifer - that a spill would cause.

The Keystone pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Alberta to refineries in Texas that are already running at capacity refining almost exactly the same type of tar sands crap from Venezuela. The refineries are Saudi owned and their profits go back to Saudi Arabia. The products refined there now are sold and shipped to the highest global bidder, the product refined from the Alberta crap would be too. So the only logical argument CO2 wise is that by keeping the Alberta crap in the ground and never burning it the atmosphere would benefit because Venezuela's crap would just get refined somewhere else.

But it's a spurious argument because world demand for energy won't go down so this small portion from Alberta will just be replaced by some other source and that source could well be coal which is far worse. Coal creates 1 1/2 times as much CO2 per unit of energy generated as tar sands crud. Or by fracked gas which because of the methane leakage in the field and at the boreholes of up to 9% is worse than tar sands crud too.

Yesterday's widely read article titled '5 Reasons Why the Keystone XL Pipeline is Bad for the Economy' is an example of why economic values are so often in the eye of the beholder. Not once does it mention the long term costs that a tar ands crud pipeline spill would create. The Ogallala Aquifer isn't the only huge body of water, what about the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers? What about all the other smaller aquifers and ground water. TransCanada itself predicts that a big spill will only occur once every 10 years along the entire length of its pipe, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, an area that right now feeds millions or maybe billions of people. Where will the water to grow that food on the America's central plains come from once the Keystone spills?

Exactly the same argument is true up here in BC where once again the disastrous effects of a tar sands pipeline spill are the real problem not the CO2 pollution that would be created by burning the crap. The difference is that up here we're faced with two pipeline proposals - the Northern Gateway Project and the Kinder Morgan Expansion - both of which threaten our groundwater and our aquifers. Both of which also threaten BC's dangerous and unspoiled coastline's entire ecosystem. A spill of tar sands crap on land would endanger BC's fish and fisheries, forests and forestry industries, tourism and the reputation it relies on, plus it would carve a huge scar through the Great Bear Rainforest and other forests doing untold damage to BC's prized bio-diversity. A spill transporting the crap along the pristine coastline would be akin to a crime against nature.

"Individuals have international duties which transcend the national
obligations of obedience. Therefore [individual citizens] have the duty
to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity
from occurring" -- Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal, 1950


Environmentally and Economically BC's Natural Gas Export Fantasy is About to 'GO BOOM'

Today's article at The Tyee by Andrew Nikiforuk 'The Making of a Natural Gas Glut' is an excellent summary of how and why the LNG, Fracking, Pacific Trails Pipeline and the Site C Dam add up to an economic disaster for BC. It references Deborah Rogers' report for the Post-Carbon Institute which shows "how the financial investment con-artists have manipulated the industry for their own benefit [what's new eh] and that rapid decline rates and poor recovery levels means limited revenue for resource owners such as the people of British Columbia and recommends that governments such as British Columbia that have actively served as cheerleaders for shale gas development with public subsidies need to urgently revisit their public policy." Instead though the government of BC is doubling down.

BC's, and many other jurisdictions', fantasy scenarios center on the huge China and other Asian markets buying LNG from them. Even before all these fantasies started it became obvious that fracked shale gas was everywhere. Before places like BC got much past the exploration stage world gas prices started to plummet. From Texas, to Australia, to Russia, to the Bakken, and lots in between, fracked shale gas is everywhere and the smart money is selling fast. The big users like China will have their own fracking operations or will import it from Russia which has the biggest reserves in the world and can supply China much more cheaply than we can. Australia will also be able to deliver LNG to Asia much cheaper than BC can.

Then there's the far greater issue of the long term environmental costs that every living thing in BC would end up paying if the government and investors are allowed to once again hoodwink its present citizens into another resource boondoggle. Leaving aside the CO2 pollution caused by the leakage of methane [between 4% and 9% where testing has been done] and the envioronmental cost of the resources embedded in this fantasy there's still the obvious...

Fracking requires huge amounts of water to extract the natural gas from the shale. The gas export fantasy starts with taking hundreds of millions of litres from the Williston reservoir every few weeks [which would cut it's eclectic generating capacity] and injecting it along with a mysterious mix of chemicals under thousands of square miles of healthy watershed resulting in the destruction of huge amounts of drinkable water in an increasingly thirsty world. Why? Not for jobs as these capital intensive fantasies create very few jobs and even less spin off jobs, but for short term profits for the investment crooks.

Turning natural gas into liquid requires huge amounts of electricity. BC plans to build three liquid natural gas plants near Kitimat but the electricity needed for just one LNG plant is equivalent to that needed by three Catalyst Paper mills -- B.C.'s largest electricity user. The Kitimat LNG plants would use about 1,600 megawatts of power to liquefy its billions of cubic feet of gas for export, that's equivalent to one and a half Site C dams. BC's government has said that the ecologically disastrous Site C Dam would be built at a cost of at least $8 billion borrowed dollars to power the Kitimat LNG fantasy.

Then there's the Pacific Trails Pipeline which would First Nations and environmentalists are protesting because it too will end up costing big bucks and destroy a huge swath of virgin forest. All this 'lost' in the name of short term financial 'gain'  for a few already rich greedy investors before the bubble bursts. As Ed Deak say, "Anybody who proposes and supports this fantasy is either a crook, or a goddamn fool."


Canada's Coal Follies Featuring Baird's Deceptive Claims and BCs Huge Export Footprint

BC currently exports more CO2 emitting fossil fuels than Alberta and if all of BC's plans and all of Alberta's pipelines both to get built, BC would be even further ahead.

John Baird said yesterday, "We're the only country in the world that's committed to getting out of the dirty coal electricity generation business." Of course he didn't mention that Canada, especially BC, exports most of its coal to Asia so it can be turned into atmospheric CO2 over there.

As The Dogwood Initiative's article 'Coal, BC's Dirty Secret' says, "Canada's justification that this coal is being burned elsewhere is disingenuous, the accounting rules veil which jurisdictions are truly responsible for producing and exporting toxic products that warm the planet and threaten the future of our children and grandchildren. It’s similar to Colombian cocaine cartels or Asian heroin growers claiming they have no responsibility, because most of their addictive products are consumed in other countries. Imagine if they said, 'We don’t use it, we just sell it.'”

He didn't mention that coal is by far the dirtiest fossil fuel, and gives off by far the most carbon dioxide per unit of energy generated thereby making coal the worst of the worst of greenhouse gas emitters. British Columbians are proud of their province's green image. For the most part, B.C.’s rapidly growing, multi-billion-dollar coal industry has gotten a free pass probably because it conflicts with Lotus Land's carefully cultivated green brand.

Some of that cultured ignorance is unraveling now with the recent Port of Vancouver's controversial passing of regulations that would double its current coal exports. The coal now planned to be exported from Port Metro Vancouver would release approximately 110 Mt of heat trapping pollution into the atmosphere making Metro Vancouver the single largest exporter of global warming pollution in North America. By way of comparison, if the Northern Gateway pipeline were built, the exported oil would pump 7O Mt CO2/yr into to the atmosphere. In short, Port Metro Vancouver's coal export proposals are just as serious a threat to the climate as pipeline plans.

As Dr. Erica Frank, a professor of public health at the University of British Columbia, points out, "The trouble with coal includes the fact that at one end of the supply chain, it causes invisible water pollution. At the other end, it vanishes in smoke, adding to our climate-change woes." Then there's the health risk and respiratory health concerns along the entire rail journey of increased diesel fumes and of coal dust from trains and stockpiles near homes in North Vancouver.

There's plenty of deceivers performing in Canada's Coal Follies. There's plenty more in the rest of Canada's fossil fuel industry too. Plenty of well intentioned but mis-informed environmentalists too. In the coming days Christy Clark's crackpot budget, financed by bogus fracked gas and Site C dam deceptions, will be the focus along with why the it's the water destroying spills that are the tar sands biggest nemesis and more on how King Coal is BC's Dirty Secret.


'Bold Nebraska' Opposes the 'New' KXL Pipeline Route Because it Still Crosses and Endangers the Ogallala Aquifer

The comments made by farmers and ranchers from 'Bold Nebraska' who were arrested Wednesday after joining the Nebraska Sierra Club, Nebraska Farmers Union and many others outside the White House in protest against the Keystone XL pipeline are very informative. They show clearly that the farmers and ranchers of Nebraska have not been hoodwinked by the meaningless re-routing of the damned Keystone XL pipeline or the approval of the new route for the pipeline by Nebraska's Republican Governor.

As one letter from a Kearney, Nebraska rancher, Amy Schaffer, to the Kearney Hub newspaper titled 'Why I oppose pipeline' says in part," I stand with my dad and the many other Nebraskans who have become guardians of the Ogallala Aquifer for the next generation of Nebraskans. I stand with all of the Nebraskans who have been misled, misrepresented, misinformed, taken advantage of, and used by TransCanada. My heart goes out to each and every one of these people and I will continue to be their voice and stand with them until the bitter end. The people will prevail. We will win and we will defend the future of Nebraska, the Ogallala Aquifer."

The 'new route' will still cross the Ogallala Aquifer and will still cross the environmentally sensitive sandy soil around the Sandhills. The 'new' route avoids the Sandhills of southwest Holt County but it still crosses through northern Holt County, where the soil is often sandy and permeable. In some parts of the new corridor, the groundwater lies so close to the surface that the pipeline would run through the aquifer instead of over it. The 'new' route is a public relations gambit by the oil and pipeline industries designed to re-frame the issue long enough to give Obama the political space to approve it. But the bullshit gambit hasn't worked, at least in Nebraska.

Nebraskans, and many others, understand that the entire purpose of shipping the oil down to the Gulf is to refine it down there, and to export it - not to supply the US with oil, but rather to increase the profits of the oil companies. They understand that the Keystone XL will carry tar sands oil, which is far more corrosive and difficult to clean up than regular crude oil. Nebraskans know that the biggest objection to all these tar sands pipeline proposals, including the Northern Gateway Project up here in BC, is that the tar sands crap and the condensate needed to make it pump-able are a huge danger to both the surface and underground water supplies that all life, including yours and mine, depend on.


The Avoided Costs, Externalities, That Capitalism Hides are Really Robbing from the Future

Yesterday's article at Adbusters 'Can America go "Forward' on Climate"?' agrees with, and even uses the same type of terminology, as many of my raps on climate change. It takes on "the root of our climatic, environmental problem: the exploitative economic paradigm we operate, the political stagnation that goes with that, the social inequalities we are forced to endure, the cult of hyper-consumption that defines American culture – it is this systemic destructiveness that endorses ravenous fossil fuel use in the first place." Concluding that, "Until Obama, and the activists putting pressure on him, stop confounding the symptoms with the disease, there will be a stark limit to how effective, enduring and powerful a revolutionary movement can be." Right on!

Climate change doesn't stand alone in a vacuum, it's part of the matrix of consumer capitalism. As long as people demand stuff beyond their needs capitalists will find a scheme that allows them to externalize the actual costs involved in producing whatever crap the humans are demanding. The externality of CO2 pollution is actually robbery from the future well being of every living thing to secure undeserved 'profit' in the present for a few greedy bastards and is a symptom of the disease of consumption. None of the symptoms can be cured unless the underlying disease is.

CO2 pollution is just one of many externalities that capitalism uses to dodge the full costs of production. The excellent book by Raj Patel titled 'The Value Of Nothing' offers a book full of explanations about how capitalism's reliance on hidden unpaid costs is really the basis of all 'profit'. He cites the unpaid cost of producing a workforce to be exploited in the first place. How around the globe the unpaid work of rearing children, maintaining a household and civic engagement  -often called 'women's work' - would, if accounted for, actually cost the economy nearly $20 trillion, or about half of the world's total GDP.

Another example we can all relate to immediately is what the real cost of a BigMac would be if the actual carbon footprint of the 550 million of them sold in the US every year were included. Things like the cost of cleaning up the 2.66 billion tons of CO2 emitted, the cost of environmental impact on soil and water and the costs of diet related illnesses like obesity, diabetes and heart disease. McDonald's avoids these costs [and a lotta others] that's why a BigMac costs $4 at the drive through instead of $200.

Another is the rare earth metals in every cell phone. Cell phones are often 'free' if you sign up for a long term plan. But are they really 'free'? Of course not. Just like McDonalds, the corporations may not be paying the costs of environmental degradation in Africa where they are mined or the social costs of the wider ecological destruction of what not so long ago was a sustainable agricultural lifestyle among the people there who now toil in the mines, but someone must pay those externalized costs someday.

The externalities that capitalism hides so it can declare a quarterly profit for its shareholders [the only thing that matters to capitalists] is actually robbery from the future. Here's a great 3 minute video about another of the disgusting externalities of capitalism. This video should be seen by the entire world.


Killing Bill C-30 is Meaningless, Canada and the US Have Long Been in 'Security' Lock Step

Two days ago Canada's Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced that the Conservative Government was killing Bill C-30, its controversial online surveillance bill. But Canadians should take the time look carefully at the wording of the regulations that replaces it, like, "Emergency Wire Tap", for "Imminent harm, such as a kidnapping or bomb threat". In addition 'security' authorities "can listen without a warrant if they feel like harm may come from or to one of the parties involved. They are obligated to tell you at 90 days from when this starts.... unless they choose to extend it to 3 years before they notify you." Yikes.

Next look into the information already publicly available about the U.S.-Canada deals on 'Perimeter Security'.  There's 'The Integrated Cross Border Law Enforcement Operations Act', embedded in Bill C-38, which has been passed. It's part of 'The Beyond The Border initiative' which is "intended to foster the sharing of intelligence and, among other measures, the deal aims to address threats at the earliest possible opportunity as well as build on cross-border law enforcement programs and enhance emergency and cyber infrastructure." Yikes x 2

Then there's the US's 'Cyber-Intelligence Sharing & Protection Act' (CISPA), which commits [Bill C-12] Canada to “real-time information sharing” between cyber-security operations on both sides of the border. Every Canadian who thinks for a second that every thing they type, every call they make, isn't being recorded some place by one of the vast US 'security' operations is being naive. Yikes x 3

When it comes to 'security' the US and Canada are lock step and have been for a long time. It was common practice for one ally, like Canada for instance, to collect info from another country, like the US, then 'advise' the other of dangerous information however it was obtained. The US will continue to do it for Canada just as they had for years before documents obtained by FOI requests in the US forced the hand of that government to pass laws codifying these arrangements.

Never could understand why the Harperites opened themselves up to public criticism by introducing Bill C-30, other than as a sop to their ultra-conservative base, because they already had all legislation in place that they needed to legally farm out their domestic Internet spying and warrant-less wiretapping. The Canadian 'security' agencies - CSIS and the RCMP - can and will continue to take whatever information they are given and use it anyway they want, just like information taken through torture.


International War Crimes and Other Stuff Kemosabe Obama, the Drone Ranger, Didn't Mention Last Night

The best critique of last night's speech by the Drone Warrior in Chief that i read today is by Norman Solomon and titled 'What Obama Said (and What He Meant) About Climate Change, War and Civil Liberties'. It covers many of the platitudes the silver tongued horse's ass spun last night, it's not overly long and well worth reading. One point he didn't touch on was very well critiqued by The Christian Science Monitor in their article about the liar's claim that Obamacare has slowed the rise of health costs when the facts clearly show that the key provisions don't kick in until 2014 and that slower spending is related to a weak economy. Also an informative read.

The prize for the most accurate and concise description goes to the comment at Common Dreams, "Obama takes center stage, mouths a script of meaningless platitudes, the Congress and Senate applaud like the Corporate-paid trained seals they are, and Corporate-owned media pundits on Fox and MSNBC spend the next week waxing rhapsodic and dissecting the meaning of nothing."

Of course, the horse's ass didn't mention the UN's investigation of the US's drone warfare program and other forms of targeted killing conducted in counter-terrorism operations of individuals and groups [including US citizens] anywhere in the world which it says is indefensible. A United Nations investigator has recently said. "The US policy of using aerial drones to carry out targeted killings presents a major challenge to the system of international law that has endured since the second world war"

The content of Bill Moyers and Michael Winship's article for the Huffington Post last week was good, but the title, 'Barack Obama, Drone Ranger' has inspired hundreds of us to use the Drone Ranger moniker for the Obomber. The Mud Report, having done at least a six-pack of further research has decided that the use of Kemosabe is a totally appropriate first name for at least two reasons:

1:) Tonto certainly is Spanish for "stupid" or "fool." And Tonto, who was not so tonto, responded by calling the Lone Ranger "qui no sabe" (with an Indian accent), which roughly translates from Spanish as "he who knows nothing" or "clueless."

2:) Gary Larsen immortalized the genre of kemosabe jokes with a Far Side cartoon in which Kemosabe turns out to be "an Apache expression for a horse's rear end."

Ah, Kemosabe.


'State of the Union' - A Fearful and Gullible Many are Ruled by A Rich and Greedy Few

This Vietnam veteran knows the truth about the 'State of the Union'

We were all taught as kids that 'actions speak louder than words'. Tonight the Liar Obama will be telling his fearful and gullible countrymen exactly what his spin doctor advisers tell him will sound the best. Being an impressive speaker well trained in the art of platitudes it'll undoubtedly be another set of thinly disguised jingoistic lies. Ever notice how much lawyer and liar sound alike? They come from the same linguistic root. Obama is a Harvard lawyer well trained in advocating for either side of any issue. Here's a sad list of the things he's advocated for in his past 'State of the Union' addresses and what he's actually done in each case.

A person would get far a more accurate picture of what Obama intends to do by simply flipping every statement he makes. Probably the best anyone could hope for in this address is that their favorite issue isn't mentioned at all. There used to be a time when i wouldn't watch W's speeches because it was obvious he'd do what he was saying. Now don't watch Obama's because it's obvious he won't.

Some things you won't hear the liar in chief speaking about tonight are torture, drone warfare, indefinite detainment, warrant less wiretapping of citizens, secret black prisons, secret military units or unconstitutional secret powers the government says it needs to protect your 'freedom'. He won't talk about corporate person hood, taxpayer funded banker bonuses, homeless veterans or home foreclosures either. But you will hear about gun violence and some empty promises about changing gun laws. You'll hear that some of the troops will be coming home from Afghanistan but nothing about how 11 years of useless war there will end with lottsa dead but little real change. Blah-Blah-Blah

As Jack Nicholson said in the movie 'A Few Good Men', Americans don't want the truth because they "can't handle the truth". The truth is The State of the Union is desperate. The truth is in America today the fearful and gullible many are ruled by a rich and greedy few. What American author Sinclair Lewis wrote about in his satirical 1935 novel 'It Can't Happen Here' is exactly what is happening in America today. It'll be happening before your eyes on TV tonight.


Why 80% of Americans Distrust Government and Why They're Lined Up to Buy More Guns and Ammo

The most recent poll by the Pew Research Center found 80% of Americans don't trust the government. Their conclusions and those of The Atlantic focused on traditional economic and political stuff including a deep recession, high unemployment and polarized Congress. All very 'liberal', very non-controversial, very shallow. None mentioned torture, drone warfare, indefinite detainment, warrant less wiretapping of citizens, secret black' prisons, lying to declare war, secret military units or the many other unconstitutional secret powers the government says it needs to protect our 'freedom'.

The current situation didn't start with the recent acceleration of tyranny. Everybody my age - 65 - remembers the Gulf of Tonkin lies used by Johnson, remembers Watergate, remembers Clinton's cigar, remembers Colin Powell's lies about WMD in Iraq [informed by Egyptian torture victims] and probably has read all about the Pearl Harbor Conspiracy that convinced our parents to fight in WW2. Consequently many, if not most, Americans my age at least question the government's story about 9/11 too.

None in the lamestream media are willing to talk about the escalating un-authorized state surveillance. Most Americans understand that the reason for state authoritarianism is to preserve the worker-exploiting, planet destroying, corporate profit-making system. Things would be a lot easier for the state 'security' organizations if people would just hurry up and agree to mandatory RFID chip implants. But for now the FBI probably isn't monitoring you totally without permission. Remember the Terms and Conditions for that major website that you accepted without reading? Smile for the camera.

Here's a few links to some recent examples of why my fellow Americans distrust the government and why they're lined up to buy more guns and more ammo:

The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State by Chris Hedges - Hedges and others are in court fighting Barack Obama's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Section 1021(b)(2), which permits the military to detain anyone, including U.S. citizens, can be imprisoned indefinitely by the military and denied due process until 'the end of hostilities.” In an age of permanent war this is probably a lifetime. Anyone detained under the NDAA can be sent, according to Section (c)(4), to any “foreign country or entity.” This is, in essence, extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens.

Google Report Shows 'Disturbing Growth in Government Surveillance' - Most recent Transparency Report from web giant reveals 136% increase in user data requests from US since 2009  Right now it's legal for the US government to access almost anything that you have online without a warrant and at anytime.

What the FBI Doesn't Want You To Know About Its "Secret" Surveillance Techniques

Obama Granted Sweeping Power in 'Secret' Cyber-Wars - U.S. President Barack Obama has been granted sweeping powers to order preemptive cyber-strikes on any given country, anonymous officials involved in a "secret legal review" of U.S. cyber warfare rules, told the New York Times. Obama now 'proverbial judge, jury and executioner’ of cyber-strikes.

Only the Whistleblower Goes to Prison - Former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison for revealing in 2007 interviews that that Abu Zubaydah and other terrorism suspects were being waterboarded, making him the first CIA insider to confirm reports of torture during interrogation. He later spoke out forcefully against what he had witnessed: "There are things we should not do...One of them, I now firmly believe, is torture." Kiriakou, who did not take part in any torture, thus becomes the only former U.S. official to go to jail for torture.

More tomorrow on Kemosabe Obama, The Drone Ranger [Gary Larsen translation of Kemosabe - "an Apache expression for a horse's rear end."]


The Thrill of the Hill, Making the Curve and Flying Down Glenn St. Back in the 50s

One of the two most highly prized possessions of a boy growing up in Adams Mass. in the 50's was his sled.

Went to bed last night thinking about the blizzard hitting the Northeast US and remembering how often snowstorms past had led to some of the greatest times we all had as kids growing up in Adams, Massachusetts back in the 1950s. First among those memories is the hundreds of days spent out on the hills near my neighborhood with my friends and our sleds.

Next was that any good sized snow storm meant the schools would be closed for a day or two. Snow storms were more mysterious to us back then before satellites, before lottsa stuff. The local radio station usually told us when one was coming but exactly when and how big was left more to the imagination. And we all had imaginations. We all were able to go to sleep, like i did last night, dreaming of snow instead of worrying about school work undone or tests unprepared for. Manys the time an unprepared scoundrel like me was saved from disgrace, and maybe a beating with the ruler, by a foot of snow.

A boy growing up back then in Adams had two prized possessions - a bike and a sled. When i was about to turn 8 my grandfather renovated an old Flexible Flyer down in his basement workshop and presented it to me at Christmas. It was the best sled i'd ever seen. Unlike now, back then the quality of a thing was judged by how well it worked not by its shiny newness. Back then everybody of every age knew a great sled. Everybody knew great sleds didn't come from stores. Great sleds were flexible not only in name but in function, great sleds were long, strong and easy to steer. New sleds had colorful paint, but they were stiff and made of lighter gauge steel.

The sled and its rider, combined with the hill, provided the thrill. Adams, has some great hills but the hill we of the Crandell St. gang rode on big snow days started at the end of the long twisting dirt driveway up to Daniel's place. We'd hike up the snow covered road and careen back down to the Crandell/Glenn St. corner. On big snow days like this the town didn't plow Glenn St. because it was to steep for even the plow so we'd try to make the corner and continue down the hill toward the hwy. to Cheshire. The thrill was that you had to be going fast enough to make it across the flat part at the turn but going a bit to fast landed you in the ravine on the far side of the corner.

Sometimes you'd make it, sometimes not [not usually meant a bit of blood and bruises], but either way, after each rider had come down we'd all turn and head back for another ride. Each time we walked the hill we'd pack the run with our boots. Each ride down would further pack the trail of our rails. By late day we'd all be flying on our Flyers, having to drag our feet in places to keep from flying off into the woods. What great days those were. What great memories they are. Sure hope the kids are still flying down that hill today.


The Guardian of the Malaspina Abides

Pancho and the reclining Guardian of the Malaspina

Like history, most of our days don't repeat themselves but they do rhyme. Most days after reading, researching and writing a rant my best friend and i go for a long walk to the beach or forest nearby. Lately we've been going to Palm Beach down beyond Lang Bay and explore its 1/2 mile of ever evolving beach along the Malaspina Strait.

Many days this time of year Palm Beach is totally human-less, some days a few other folks and their best friends are there enjoying the same meditative and leisurely walk. Every day the wind, tides and waves have re-sculpted the beach anew. Every day the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees are different, so are we. Every day though rain or shine, windy or calm, high tide or low, its calming effect allows me to remember that the wind and water connects us all.

At the far end of Palm Beach the Eagle River ends its run down from Lois Lake at its estuary and joins the sometimes pacific Malaspina Strait. At all but the highest tides uncountable birds make their living around the estuary. Different species of ducks in the different seasons, resident and itinerant Canadian geese, bald eagles, blue heron, tiny sandpipers, hawks, ravens, crows, hundreds of seagulls and the occasional group of vultures when the shore has salmon caresses or a dead seal washed up make every visit there unique. Many days the roar of the sea lions out at their favorite rocky outcropping past the Stillwater Bluffs is louder than the seagulls or the waves. Occasionally further out in the strait a pod of orcas might be seen enjoying a tasty meal of seal or salmon. Clams of all sorts inhabit the sandy sections, oysters and starfish the rocky bits.

The Malaspina is a small wonderful living part of the greater miracle we are immersed in. The local First Nations call the reclining lady in the picture above The Guardian of the Malaspina. Her silhouette only comes into view down by the estuary. As usual, in the picture she's adorned with seagulls and though it looks like my best friend Pancho is looking out at her in reality it's she who's watching out over us. Some days the seagull poop runs down her cheek just so and she appears to be crying, but every day she abides.


Organic Agriculture and Perennial Grasses Would Save Lake Winnipeg, the Planet... and Us

As today's article by Baden-Mayer and Cummins says, "We have the technology to save the planet".  We've had it for thousands of years, it's called organic farming. By abolishing factory farms, GMO crop cultivation, and making the transition back organic farming, we could sequester 100 percent of our other greenhouse gas emissions. In addition farm and ranch land can become a significant sink for the sequestration of existing greenhouse gasses, literally sucking excess greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and sequestering them safely in the soil, where they belong.

The opponents are, as always, those who are making money from the current poisonous system. But they're full of it, as Vandana Shiva says, "Biodiverse organic farms produce more food and higher incomes than industrial monocultures. Mitigating climate change, conserving biodiversity and increasing food security can thus go hand in hand." An acre of land, farmed using organic methods that include composting and cover crops, can naturally sequester up to 7,000 pounds of CO2 per year.

Forests are another huge potential sink and recycler of CO2. But instead, we burn those forests, releasing huge amounts of previously locked up carbon, to make way for biofuel production and to plant genetically modified crops fed with chemical fertilizers resulting in more CO2 emissions. Our current short sighted, profit driven, decisions may fuel agribusiness profits and financed banker's bonuses but they, our decisions-our choices, also have long term consequences for the survival of our descendants as well as short-term consequences for us now.

An excellent example is Lake Winnipeg which was named last week by the Global Nature Fund as its 'threatened lake of the year' for 2013, saying it is under threat from agricultural run-off and sewage discharges which stimulate large amounts of blue-green algae. Scientists have warned that we needed to decrease the nutrients causing the toxic blue-green algae blooms since 1969. As Alex Salki, chair of the LWF Science Advisory Council says, "Perhaps more than we recognize, Lake Winnipeg has a strong global connection because of its home in Canada’s [and the US's] vast prairie region known as the World’s Breadbasket".

The agricultural runoff and sewage coming from North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba dumps more than 40,000 pounds of phosphorus into Lake Winnipeg each day via the Red River and its watershed. There is a solution, the Perennial Solution. Perennials are thrifty. The long roots of  perennial grasses hold on to soil, water, and re-sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Research has proven that if the world's 8.3 billion acres of pasture and rangelands were transitioned to perennial grasses they would be able to sequester thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide per acre per year and create zero deadly runoffs into the world's rivers, lakes and oceans.

Sounds like an win-win solution, but instead we poison ourselves and our planet by falling for the capitalist-banker lies about the wonders of a better world through chemistry. Don't believe it or them, eat organic, save your compost, start a little garden in your yard or on your balcony. Become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.


The Environmental Debate Has Been Re-Framed as Economics. What about the Web-of-Life?

What was the 'value' of an oil soaked sea otter after Exxon Valdez spill?

Yesterday's report in Ottawa by Scott Vaughan, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, was clear, the Harper government’s disaster planning has not kept pace with the rapid expansion in the energy sectors. Vaughan said, “some serious questions exist about the federal capacity to safeguard Canada’s environment.” Then went of to say, "...it raised questions about how the dramatic Fisheries Act changes passed last year will affect the 'financial liability of corporations' that are in a position to damage fish habitat." Why is the Commissioner of the Environment not focused on the environment, on the underlying web of life that sustains us all, including the accountants?

In addition to the liability exposure of corporations, Vaughan's report touched on how 'compensation plans' needed to repair habitat damage "...needed to be re-evaluated to figure out if they have the right capacity, in the rare event there may be a tanker accident.” Later he talked about hydraulic fracking saying, "...there is a need for the industry to tell Ottawa what chemicals are being used, so federal authorities can determine whether they pose a human health risk." What about the effects on the rest of the environment? You know, how all of life needs clean water, not just humans. ? Or how when the underlying web of life we are immersed in, and call the environment, is poisoned we are too?

The whole focus of the environmental equation has been re-framed as an economic issue. It isn't. The economy is an unreal human intellectual construct whose purpose is to function as a tool we use to help enhance quality of life. The environment is real, it is life. We've allowed the debate to be hijacked by the accountants and economists. Where once upon a time The Wall st. Journal would have narrowly focused, 'idiot sevant' style, on every issue in relation to its corporate profit potential, now every type of media has joined the idiot's parade. Last night, on CBC's 'The National', Amanda Lang pronounced that there is a difficult choice between environmental protection and growth in the Canadian economy, then showed Harper in Parliament responding to Vaughan's report by saying,  "The federal government  is reviewing the liability requirements."

The CBC, like every mass media outlet, is in the business of selling advertising space. They know that their viewers are pre-brainwashed into allowing, even demanding, the accountant's framing to reign. All of them give the people what they want and Canadians want to know how their damned RRSPs, mutual funds and pensions will be affected in the short term not if there will be a livable planet to hand down to future generations.

As the MarineBio Conservation Society article on Marine Wildlife and Pollution spells out, "The long-term effects of oil spills are far more subtle and difficult to assess than the short-term effects. The presence of persistent toxic chemicals on the beaches, in the water, and in the food web may result in a variety of impacts on wildlife, including impaired reproduction, decreased resistance to disease, anemia, eventual development of cancerous tissue growth (particularly in fish), neurological damage, and birth defects in offspring. The extent to which such effects occur in the years after an oil spill is largely unknown."

Guess they didn't get the memo about telling 'em what they want to hear eh!


'Gimme It Now' Has Replaced Planning, Saving THEN Buying the Things You Need

Canadian consumers 'Idle Lots More' in their unpaid-for wheels at the Peace Arch Border Crossing 

Canadian consumers continue to pile up debt, especially auto loans and installment loan borrower debt [loans for big-ticket consumer items]. All forms of consumer debt - defined as all personal debt except mortgages - were up in total over 6% in the last 3 months of 2012. Alberta and BC leads the parade of fools each with over $37,000 per person - including children. Even though Albert Einstein warned us that,  "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.", Canadians are determined to keep trying convinced that soon retail therapy will come to their rescue.

Canadian consumers act like 2 year olds, gimme, gimme it and gimme it now. Plastic money enables consumer debt addiction but it's still the addicts themselves doing the over-consuming and racking up the debt. They've got to stop blaming everyone else, look in the mirror, and ask themselves:.What happened to planning, saving and then buying whatever you need? When did my wants become needs? When exactly did i become a pawn of the finance industry?

All addicts have a narrow field of vision, they see only what gets them their next fix, never the bigger picture. Global capitalism is powered by addicted and debt ridden consumers. Worse than Pavlov's dogs they line up to get their next fix of plastic Chinese crap, another big screen TV, a 'smart' phone or more designer bling at the malls and at the borders to get to even better malls. And for what? Addicts never remember that their last fix didn't fill the emotional hole, but remain convinced the next one will.

Meanwhile, the boats full of manufactured dreams float into port from China and the boats full of Canadian resources float back to pay for them. Debt addicts, extractors, bankers, pollution, climate change, species extinction, starvation and billionaires all connected in the vast matrix of global consumer capitalism. Turn on, tune in, drop out - Timothy Leary's sage advice, delivered in the psychedelic 60's - is still good advice today.


Public Pension Plans Should Divest from Corporations Logging Old Growth Forests and Exporting Raw Logs

The logging company being blockaded from logging old growth trees on Cortes Island - Island Timberlands [IT] - is owned directly and indirectly by what have become some of the largest players in the in the investment world, public pension plans and investment boards. Who are the fat cats that own Island Timberlands? Turns out the fat cats are us as Craig McInnes's article in the Vancouver Sun recently explained.

Turns out BC's public servant' pension plans are managed by the B.C. Investment Management Board [bcIMC] who have $92 billion invested on their behalf including a 25% stake in Island Timberlands. Another 25% of IT is owned by the Canada Pension Plan [CPP]. The other 50% is owned by Brookfield, an Bermuda based Corporation not subject to Canadian laws or taxes, of which the CPP and bcIMC are also major owners. So anyone who stands to benefit from the CPP or bcIMC is in effect a part owner of the company trying to log on Cortes Island, cool eh.

David Vipond, Director of Collective Agreements with the BC Government Employees Union, said recently, "The only companies we have ever divested stock from was weapons and antipersonnel mine manufacturers because it was illegal. If people want to challenge the company’s practice, they can propose their own shareholder resolution at the company’s AGM.” Sounds like a great suggestion David. Sounds like if public pensioners organized themselves they could use their ownership in Island Timberlands to leverage change IT's behaviour and, by either divesting in IT or threatening to, stop IT from future logging of old growth forests and stop IT from its current practice of exporting of them as raw logs to US sawmills.

Sounds like Doug Pearce, CEO of bcIMC, would love to hear what BC's public service pensioners think of bcIMC's ethics. Certainly he'd like to hear about how Cortes Islands residents have launched a campaign aimed at the mills which buy SFI-certified raw logs and the retailers which sell the lumber: Home Depot, Lowe’s and ProBuild amongst others.

This is an excellent example of how divestment can be used as an effective tactic within a broader strategy against the corporate extractors plundering our planet. Divestment in this type of ill-gotten gains could cost the divestors, in this case the public pensioners, a small amount in the short term but in the long term their kids and grand kids might still have a live-able planet and be thankful to them for it.


Fosil Fuel Industry Divestment - an Effective Tactic or a Risk Free Road to Self-Esteem?

Divestment isn't a new idea. The recent adoption of the tactic by some unions, student groups and others involved the protest movement against the fossil fuel industries isn't the best use of it though IMO. The divestment tactic was very effective in pressuring the racist apartheid regime in South Africa into negotiations that led to the dismantling of the apartheid system. The tactic  started being used in 60's but had very little effect until the US government  instituted regulations mandating it in the 80's.

Moving their money, was the key concept then as now. But until the percentage of investor ownership in the corporations under pressure became large enough the effect was minimal. Scale is really the key to the strategic success of the divestment tactic.. Investors will always refuse to alter their portfolios at the risk of diminished returns. Investors back then had many other options to move their investments into so moving involved very little risk to their bottom line. The same is true today. An analysis of the risk for the 234 college endowment funds across the country who have divestment campaigns undertaken by their students released on Tuesday by the Aperio Group found that when all fossil-fuel companies were excluded the additional risk increased by about 0.01 percent.

The big difference is that the fossil fuel industry is a wide ranging, highly 'profitable' multi-trillion dollar industry and all the university endowments and union pension plans put together only hold a tiny fraction of those stocks. Every dime divested by them is simply an investment for a different buyer, nothing actually changes, except the self-esteem of those who now feel they are making an effort. The pension and endowment funds would just use the money from the sales to buy other investments in a slightly different sector of the matrix that underlies corporate capitalism. Divestment would have to target the whole matrix underlying global capitalism which is far beyond their reach.

The fossil fuel divestment campaign might become a tool that helps to re-focus the conversation about energy, but in reality it's not going to make a damn bit of difference. As long as consumers remain convinced they are entitled to consume, global capitalists will have no trouble raising the capital they need to fulfill those demands.. It would be far more effective, IMO, for all those folks to live simply and consumed less.

But, there are areas where the divestment tactic can an effective weapon in the Green Dragon's overall strategy against the matrix supporting the unfolding ecological disaster. Divestment was successful against South Africa because the investors had little to lose but the corporations had a lot to lose in public relations, good will and stock value because the volume of divestment was potentially so large it was driving down market prices.

Every mineral extracted, every economic exchange, every dime invested in corporate capitalism, happens because of the demand of consumers. The fossil fuel divestment movement may be help symbolically to advance the awareness of individual consumers as to their backdoor involvement in the dastardly businesses and it could allow participants to temporarily feel better about themselves, but otherwise, it's meaningless.

There are though some excellent examples of where the holdings by union pension plans, and others, of certain individual corporations are so large that the even the threat of divestment would cause those corporations to change their behavior. More on that manana.