Category Archives: Neoliberal Economics

BC’s New Landscape and Ecology Eradication Projects!

Once upon a time, before we knew much about ecology and systems theory, corporations just went around raping and pillaging the countryside, polluting whatever they wanted.

Shhh, there’s a secret new law: it’s open season for corporations to rape and pillage our environment.

This came back to me grotesquely in a Mad Men episode a few years ago when Don Draper takes his family out for a picnic in the countryside. When they finished, they packed up to go back to the car to drive home and left all their garbage on the grass. And the sight of that made my eyes bug out. We’ve come a long way, baby.

That’s what corporations do, maximize shareholder wealth and minimize obstacles to littering and destroying things. But in recent decades citizens in democracies have forced governments to introduce REGULATIONS [an evil word in this neoliberal world] and processes to evaluate, review or approve certain corporate behaviour.

Granted, we aren’t in a place where we are bouncing about revoking corporate charters, like we ought to when they behave badly, but at least we assess things.

Granted again, the Joint Review Panel approved The Enbridge Landscape and Ecology Eradication Project, granted again again with 209 boxes to check. We knew that was a scam environmental review process, but it is what it is. Sigh.

Less democratic countries would have totally corrupt review processes, filled with bribery or the dictator simply quietly working for the corporation that needs to pillage something. Or no review processes. Or ones with scopes so narrow that there would be no risk that the corporate pillage project might fail.

Countries that are quietly drifting into Soft Fascism often find ways to undermine public participation or oversight of corporate misbehaviour.

Maybe on a quiet day during a week when the legislature isn’t sitting so there can be no democratic debate, a government could release a quiet little missive from cabinet just, you know, completely exempting corporate landscape and ecology eradication projects from environmental oversight. Who really needs environmental assessment anyway when the scope isn’t really a risk to corporate will, or is just plain corrupt.

Those soft fascist banana republics are really quite bad. Aren’t you glad you don’t live in one, in those dark, wild west eras of corporate rights and freedom?

Sorry. Welcome to British Columbia, 2014:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Environmental lawyers say removal of an important oversight leaves environment and communities at risk

VANCOUVER – The BC government has quietly passed two Orders in Council removing the requirements for environmental assessments of sweet natural gas processing plants and ski and all-season resorts. The Orders, which were deposited yesterday, were made without public consultation and despite widespread concern about the social and environmental effects of both industries.

“These regulatory changes only heighten the crisis of public confidence in BC’s environmental assessment process,” says Jessica Clogg, Executive Director & Senior Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law Association. “Environmental assessments are supposed to allow the public and regulators to better understand and avoid potential risks. Removing the requirement for an environmental review is not in the public interest.”

via BC axes requirement for environmental assessment of ski resorts and natural gas facilities | West Coast Environmental Law.

So you can see, two kinds of projects that have significant capacity to rape and pillage the ecology get to have no environmental oversight.

This is also an example of Executive Overdrive. Where the leadership of government [as opposed to the legislature or the courts] decides to do something that in a moral sense oversteps its limits. Changing the law without legislative oversight is the executive branch of government, the BC Cabinet in this case, shifting into overdrive to get its way. Executive overdrive is a constant companion to soft fascism.

So, it’s open season on the environment, brought to you by Contempt, Corruption and the Soft Fascist Banana Republic of British Columbia.

And some of the reaction was swift and indignant:

What Yoko Ono Knows About Fracking

Today we are fresh off the tar soaked heels of Enbridge’s lie and spin machine in Kitimat, leading to a vote AGAINST their toxic future.

In Kitimat, in a non-binding plebiscite, the people of Kitimat, but not the first peoples who live outside the town boundary, voted about 60-40 to kick out Enbridge.

They’re liars, don’t you know, making up a fake map of BC’s coast to pretend that oil tanker risks are lower than they are.

But it also turns out that Yoko Ono knows a thing or two about fracking and carbon energy.

And we also know this about the oil and gas industry:

#Jessica #Ernst worked for over three decades as an #environmental #biologist doing #research and independent consulting for the Alberta petroleum industry. One of her main clients was the EnCana Company, which began large-scale fracking in the region of her home community of Rosebud Alberta in the early years of the 21st century.

In 2007 Jessica Ernst the scientist became Jessica Ernst the whistle blower. Bringing forward evidence that her own water well and those of her neighbours had been severely contaminated, Jessica sued the EnCanada Corporation. She also sued the forerunner of the Alberta Energy Regulator as well as the Alberta government itself.

- Imagine There’s No Fracking

Click this link right above here to read the rest. It’ll blow your oilwell.

It is time to force our politicians to scrap carbon energy and move to a post-carbon energy infrastructure: wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, etc.

It’s time.

Let’s Occupy a green energy future and defeat climate breakdown!

Poor Kids, Poor Families and Shame

“When Centennial’s students found out Seymour couldn’t hold a pyjama day because many students didn’t have pyjamas, they fundraised to buy every Seymour student a pair last Christmas.”

- When the Field Trip’s Too Pricey, Students ‘Self-Exclude’

BC’s disgusting and preventable child poverty crisis. Let’s stop coddling the rich!

When parents receive letters from their kids’ school asking for donations for playground upgrades or library books or technological devices, a certain segment of the population sighs, grows a few more grey hairs and dies a little bit inside.

Parents who are struggling financially cannot afford the luxury of even a tax-deductible donation to the school their children attend.

Sometimes, parents are confused. Don’t we pay taxes? Aren’t taxes structured in such a way that those who are more well-off shoulder a bit more of a burden for social services than the poor and struggling? That’s called a progressive tax system, but it is hated in our neoliberal era of tax cuts, austerity, privatization and social service cuts. The BC Liberal Party hates the poor and has been bashing them for most of this century.

But these are often just abstract policy debates. The reality is that there are real families, tens of thousands of them in BC, and real children who suffer and are often ashamed, too ashamed to trot out their poverty at school.

Who teaches them to be ashamed?

Continue reading

Calling For An Occupy Vancouver General Assembly

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6099/6239420254_945d9827b0_o.jpg[UPDATES below]

It’s now Friday, April 4, 2014.

Greetings, world, the reboot of the Occupy Movement, the Worldwide #WaveOfAction [follow it live in Twitter here], has begun in a variety of places around the world! And it will last for 3 months while it evolves its next phase.

But as it turns out, Vancouver will be fashionably late.

Here’s what’s up:

Continue reading

Honing In On Friday’s #WaveOfAction

We need to think about two things for this Friday’s Occupy Movement reboot in the Worldwide #WaveOfAction:

  1. When thinking about pursuing social, political and economic equality, what is the list of things we need to change, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally?
  2. Who do we need to build coalitions with to listen to them, support them, empower them; and who will convene the meetings?

And instead of wondering who’s got your back, figure out whose back you need to protect.

There are two days left. No rush, because Friday is just the start of the 3-month Wave that culminates on July 4th; and you know what THAT day means.

Is Your Job Bullshit?

Work should be liberating, not enslaving!

It’s Saturday so it’s the weekend so you’re not working.

But that’s just an incorrect hypothesis. Lots of people are working this weekend. In fact, weekends don’t mean much to billions of people. They are a luxury, relatively speaking.

But your job may be bullshit, in the context of how our society could/should be operating. We should have way more leisure time if we managed human economic activity more intelligently.

Continue reading

Canada Seeks the OECD Record for Income Inequality

America: Where the rich get richer faster than in so many other places!
America: Where the rich get richer faster than in so many other places!

Yesterday I wrote about the rebooting of the Occupy Movement in 10 days. I’m very excited.

And to help you understand why this is such a big deal, especially in Canada, it’s important to see how Canada is increasingly becoming the poster child for income inequality. We are not nice and neighbourly and friendly. We are increasingly unequal society. Unless we step up and say that we’re mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it any more, the rich in Canada will continue to pad their pockets with income at the expense of all of us in the working classes.

Here’s how this works:

Continue reading

Occupy Wall Street Returns. Friday, April 4!

most-interesting-revolution-www
Occupy Returns! Friday, April 4!

Ladies and gentlemen, citizens of the world, the 99%: Occupy Wall St. returns on Friday, April 4, 2014.

And not for one day. But we’re starting with 3 months. Let’s call it a trial marriage.

After all, if it fails, the despotic corporate totalitarians who run the world will continue to steal our money and make everyone all too intimately familiar with the word “precariat.”

Here are 8 reasons why you should be thrilled with this, as I am: Continue reading

Stephen Harper Fired Jim Flaherty Because of Income Splitting Disloyalty

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty speaks with reporters as he leaves question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, March 6, 2014. Flaherty says he is leaving the federal cabinet and returning to the private sector.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
The smile: it’s fake. He was fired.

Seriously, is it me or did Stephen Harper fire Jim Flaherty over his disloyalty over the income splitting policy disaster?

Certainly, I haven’t read EVERYthing written this week about dude going back to spend more time with his family private sector, but the finance minister was perhaps the strongest credible threat to Harper’s executive overdrive control over his domain [echo echo echo].

Here’s how this played out:

Continue reading

Stop. Obeying. The. Rich. NOW!

monopoly-manOnce upon a time, we were taught to envy and respect our “betters,” like the rich.

No more.

They’re taking our money and throwing us under the bus every day. And it’s not even just the super-rich or those in America, it’s the aspirational rich; they’re just as toxic.

This stops now, it’s time to ramp up the Occupy Movement again, and for good this time:

The super-rich of the 21st century no longer think that you and I are needed for their continued success.

And in some ways, they have given up on America, period.

As Paul Buchheit brilliantly  points out over at  AlterNet, “As they accumulate more and more wealth, the very rich have less need for society. At the same time, they’ve convinced themselves that they made it on their own, and that contributing to societal needs is unfair to them. There is ample evidence that this small group of takers is giving up on the country that made it possible for them to build huge fortune.” 

Buchheit goes on to say that, “The rich have always needed the middle class to work in their factories and buy their products. With globalization this is no longer true… They don’t need our infrastructure for their yachts and helicopters and submarines. They pay for private schools for their kids, private security for their homes. They have private emergency rooms to avoid the health care hassle. All they need is an assortment of servants, who might be guest workers coming to America on H2B visas, willing to work for less than a middle-class American can afford”

Unfortunately, these millionaires and billionaires who have given up on America and on the working class are in control of the political process in this country.

There Once Was a Time When the Super-Rich Needed a Middle Class to Be Successful — Not Any More | Alternet.