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JimD

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Canada - The Americanization there of
« on: April 17, 2014, 09:11:18 PM »
For Terry and to start a dialogue about the growing conservatism being manifest in wealthy countries around the world.  See Australia and the austerity movements in Europe. None of this bodes well for dealing with AGW.

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What Happened to Canada?

The left has long admired Canada as an enclave of social democracy in North America: for its openly socialist electoral parties, its robust welfare state, and its more moderate policy profile. Recent developments, however, have thrown that reputation into question. The country is helmed by a prime minister, Stephen Harper, known for his brazenly right-wing views and executive unilateralism. Both federal and provincial governments have embraced austerity and eroded public services. And Canada’s newly aggressive exploitation of its natural resources has it trampling on civil liberties and reneging on its international obligations like, as Foreign Policy put it, a “rogue, reckless petrostate.”

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What is happening in Canada is part of a much larger trend: the formidable disciplinary forces of late capitalism are exerting themselves everywhere, including in other western democracies, where governments are scaling back social programs while lavishing tax concessions and subsidies on industry. The European Union and the United States are similarly absorbing market shocks on behalf of business while allowing downturns to undermine the poor and working class. If Canada is becoming indulgent of, even slavish toward, its resource industry (the biggest contributor to GDP), it is arguably no more so than the United States in relation to its banking sector, which was never brought to heel despite causing the 2008 collapse.

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Just how has this agenda secured such a hold on government? And why haven’t Canadians voted it out at the polls?

The answer has to do with a deliberate attempt, by a handful of media outlets and political strategists, to push the entire Canadian political spectrum to the right, importing rhetoric that bears little relationship to the country’s own intellectual history.

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To prosecute its G8 status as one of the world’s largest economies, Canada seems willing to play the short-term strategy of reaping resource-based profits instead of developing sustainable growth or economic diversity. And to do so, it appears willing to comprise civil liberties, democratic integrity, and environmental safety no less than other, less developed countries that rely on resource extraction.

The evidence is chilling. The government has required Environment Canada scientists to obtain permission before speaking to the media, sent government escorts to accompany researchers participating in international conferences, and reclassified entire swaths of research findings as “confidential.” Meanwhile, as protests have arisen to the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipeline projects, the government has sent spies to intimidate community organizers, and reclassified Greenpeace and aboriginal groups as “extremist threats.” Documents obtained through freedom of information requests reveal that the Canadian government has even shared intelligence information with resource companies about admittedly peaceful groups and individuals posing “challenges to projects.”

In addition, the government has shuttered dozens of libraries and environmental research centers, and in December literally burned or landfilled centuries’ worth of materials on Canadian natural resources such as forests and waterways under the mendacious pretext of digitizing records, and at significant cost.

Comments?

http://nplusonemag.com/what-happened-to-canada
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

SATire

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Re: Canada - The Americanization there of
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2014, 09:28:11 PM »
[...] and the austerity movements in Europe. None of this bodes well for dealing with AGW. [...]
Sorry JimD for beeing off-topic in the first reply - how is "austerity" in Europe a "movement"? Why do you think it is not well for dealing AGW? Here some poeple think that austerity is close to sustainability and de-growth: Just do not buy more stuff than you can afford without loan and be content with what you have...

Maybe you could explain that thing for me in a PM or some other thread you consider fitting better since I do not want to mess up your topic.
 

JimD

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Re: Canada - The Americanization there of
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2014, 10:20:32 PM »
SATire

It is not really off topic.

I mean 'movement' in the sense that it has become the standard financial strategy enforced by the world's dominant financial institutions.

The Austerity I am speaking of is the kind imposed by the IMF, World Bank, ECB and the like.  It is primarily used as a form of a weapon against the poor and debt laden.  Greece for example and Ukraine for another.  It is primarily the neo-modern financial arm of the colonial empires.  It strips wealth out of a country and saddles the populace with an unpayable debt.  The elites of the target countries are bought off or coerced into making the arrangements - once again as we saw in Greece and are seeing in Ukraine.

This form of financial force has been widely used by the rich countries for decades now and its use since the 2008 financial crises has escalated rapidly.  The end result of such practices is that countries are forced to privatize their national assets and sell them at a cut rate price into the hands of wealthy foreign interests who now own a part of that nation's sovereignty.  This mechanism serves to transfer wealth into the hands of the rich at the expense of the poor. 

Providing a hot war is avoided in Ukraine the loan agreements there will strip most national assets, especially their farm land, away from the locals and put it in the hands of large multi-nationals and very wealthy investors.  The loans will have to be paid by the citizens via large cuts in their pensions, much higher energy rates and higher taxes.  All this while their industries are largely gutted as they are uncompetitive in the global market. 

The sustainability and degrowth concepts are of a different type/purpose and we are simply using similar wording and language to describe them.

The austerity I was speaking of will kill the ability to deal with AGW because it is not about the sustainability and degrowth concepts you brought up.  What it is all about is controlling and gaining in the financial wars and conflicts between large financial blocks (the empires).  Look at what this situation has meant to Greece and Spain.  How are they going to deal with AGW going forward?  As the worlds wealth is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands the ability for individual countries or actors to exercise free will in decisions about AGW becomes very restricted as they are forced into survival mode.  He who has the money gets to make the decisions.  Is it to the very wealthy's advantage to spend their wealth solving AGW for everyone or for themselves?   Should they be able to use this wealth to develop and deploy technology allowing their continued prosperity what need have they of others?  Lords and serfs, feudalism.

As you know, I don't believe there is any meaningful chance of solving AGW while maintaining industrial civilization. I see other's in positions of power who are very smart and capable people acting in ways that indicate they have come to the same conclusion.  I don't believe there will be any attempt to save everyone.  The most powerful actors on the global stage will work as hard as they can to control the most wealth and resources to the bitter end with the intention that this gives them the best chance going forward.  The rest of us are just excess.

What I was pointing out with the original post was the concerted efforts over a long period of time to breakdown the social functions found in countries like Canada and various ones in Europe.  This occurred in the US sometime ago and it is being exported.  The international nature of wealth and the interleaving of the interests of the very wealthy go a long way to facilitating this makeover in the social contract.  They intend to eliminate that contract.  As it is for the populace of the US now it will be so for the Canadians and the Europeans in the future.  We will not become more like you; you will become more like us. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

SATire

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Re: Canada - The Americanization there of
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2014, 11:27:38 PM »
JimD - I think we will not become more like you any more. The reasonable poeple here did hit the max. in 2008/9 and will not buy junk bonds / US house loans and that stuff anymore. Also some poeple here consider the Greek & Spain crisis a bursting bubble and typical problem you have to face if you get back to normal consumption - just do not buy more than you can afford. In principle that crisis is considered a cure and not a problem. Unfortunately some Wall street companies did take advantage from that story. Ukraine is surely different (at least from European point of view). Surely they have a rotten economy - but EU is in danger to lose face, so it will pay for very different reasons: Not as a teacher like in Southern Europe but as a new neighbour to rely on. And another reason to help Ukraine is to play against Putin a bit - who is by some poeple ranked quite bad, but not as bad as e.g. Bush (similar dominant but acting more reasonable).
No - things are much more difficult/complex/colored in subtle shades of gray on this side of the ocean and I would not be surprised to read 3 different opposing opinions against every single of my points here soon. And I probably could agree to 2 of them and could still argue against all 3 from an other point of view - things are complicated and dynamic.

But if I concentrate on AGW then I have to say: Austerity is welcome. Ukraine is going in the right direction - they counteract their threat both in east and west. USA is leaving Europe (your 3rd class partner) while explaining us clearly, what they think of us. No real problem.
The real problem is: Poeple are feeling much to comfortable and see no good reason to change the basis of their life or economy right now. But they know that time is approaching due to AGW and ressoucres and unfairnes in the world, which can not last very long anymore. It is time to prepare and to practice for austerity in a much more extreme way...

JimD

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Re: Canada - The Americanization there of
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2014, 05:47:07 PM »
SATire

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No - things are much more difficult/complex/colored in subtle shades of gray on this side of the ocean and I would not be surprised to read 3 different opposing opinions against every single of my points here soon. And I probably could agree to 2 of them and could still argue against all 3 from an other point of view - things are complicated and dynamic.

Very true and I understand completely.  I would very strongly disagree with your assessment of Greece and I am one of those who think that the primary country responsible for the big problems in the EU and what is happening in Greece, Spain and Italy is Germany.  I am well aware that Germans in general think what you said above.

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Also some poeple here consider the Greek & Spain crisis a bursting bubble and typical problem you have to face if you get back to normal consumption - just do not buy more than you can afford. In principle that crisis is considered a cure and not a problem.

And to me this is an outrageous interpretation of the facts.  And this

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Not as a teacher like in Southern Europe but as a new neighbour to rely on.

is an example of the extreme arrogance (this is not meant to be pointed at you personally but of German opinion in general) of power over the weak as is typified by statements made by Americans all the time.  A country that has material responsibility for the problems in another holds the opinion that the weaker one just needs to be taught the proper way to conduct itself (or it needs to be 'civilized' as they openly said in colonial times).   

In the EU Germany is the main predator in my (and a lot of other's opinions) and the Southern countries are defacto colonies of Germany.  The stripping of national assets and privatization forced upon the Greeks primarily at the behest of Germany is the exact colonial austerity function I was describing.  Germans preaching to the Greeks is exactly like the US preaching to many other countries.   Just like Americans Germans run their economy with the sole goal of maximizing their wealth and take advantage of weaker states at every opportunity.

On Ukraine it is clear that the overthrow of the elected government was orchestrated by the western powers (primarily the US).  German press reports provide solid evidence that the shooting of protestors and the police was done by the opposition not the elected government.  This was a coup.  It was orchestrated for strategic and financial reasons.  Germans are not comfortable with this attempt to strip resources as they have very strong financial ties to Russia via their businesses and risk losing those assets if the situation gets out of hand.  The US is not concerned all that much about German investments as ours in Russia are not as extensive.  England is very dependent on Russian money invested through their financial district and see threats as well. 

Whether a country 'likes' what is going on is almost always directly related to whether it is going to make money or lose money.  The German economy is likely to get hurt with the Ukraine situation and the US will likely end up owning a bunch of valuable assets purchased at a deep discount.  In Greece austerity makes the Germans money but the austerity will impoverish the Greeks for at least a generation.  The most rapid improvement to the Greek economy would be withdrawal from the EU, dropping the Euro and going back to the drachma, and default on the loans.  They should have done this long ago.     

As to you not thinking that other countries will become more like the US I think the evidence on that is not in agreement with you.  German economic actions with other countries is predatory just like the US's is, you push austerity on others to your benefit and to their cost just like we do.  But the general thesis I made is clearly not proven even though there is good evidence to support it.  I point it out to get others to think about it.  We will see what happens as time goes forward.

But I return to one of my main points which states that as constraints on the global system get tighter and affording the costs of maintaining industrial civilization becomes more problematic and human nature will assert itself and people will look to taking care of themselves first as is the norm.  Thus putting the stake in global efforts to deal with AGW.  We will see I guess.
 
So, yes it is a complicated situation.    Interesting discussion.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

SATire

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Re: Canada - The Americanization there of
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2014, 09:06:41 PM »
JimD - very nice analysis. I think you understand quite well how poeple think here. But there is a major difference between a "German super power in EU" and an "USA super power in the world": Germans usually are not aware that fact. They just think, that austerity is sustainable and thus a good thing to practice. And they are trying to practice it at home, in their families and thus in their governments, which must be run similarily to poeple running their families and companies, which are often also "family-companies". And so they think what is a good way of life for us should also work for others. And they think if we should not spend money we do not have we also should not give it someone else. For that reason quite a lot of poeple here would have been very happy if either Southern Europe would have left the common currency or Germany would have left it - if that still is an issue here we will see in next month's EU elections in the number of votes AfD will get.

It is a social economy here - and it can be social because we exclude foreigners from that social transfers. The agreement for social transfer would be killed, if poeple outside of this agreement benefit to much or by automatics dictated from outside (Brussel is considered outside, still). That is an important difference to countries who are open to foreigners - for the very same reasons they normaly do not have a social economy (Sweden again is a bit different - they always try harder even if they know (or because they know?), that it is hard).   

To adress the relation between Russia and Germany - that is much more complicated. Economic relation ships are important (Russia is one of the 4 most important countries for Germanies trade, among USA, China and - surprise - not at least Swizerland). But also history is important: Both GDR and WW2 (we know what we did there in WW2 - it was very much different to what we did to any other country short of Israel - and also what we did especially in Ukraine...). But what is happening now is very difficult to understand for us - that boarders of countries in Europe are changed by military actions was considered not possible anymore. That will change the future relationships significantly...

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Re: Canada - The Americanization there of
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2014, 09:53:18 PM »
As you know, I don't believe there is any meaningful chance of solving AGW while maintaining industrial civilization. I see other's in positions of power who are very smart and capable people acting in ways that indicate they have come to the same conclusion.  I don't believe there will be any attempt to save everyone.  The most powerful actors on the global stage will work as hard as they can to control the most wealth and resources to the bitter end with the intention that this gives them the best chance going forward.  The rest of us are just excess.

Hence using peoples money (taxes) to build a security apparatus to control and manage them instead of using it to try to address the problems of the day.

If we don't want to be "excess", we have to be prepared to stand up and intelligently fight our corner. Nobody else will.

What I was pointing out with the original post was the concerted efforts over a long period of time to breakdown the social functions found in countries like Canada and various ones in Europe.  This occurred in the US sometime ago and it is being exported.  The international nature of wealth and the interleaving of the interests of the very wealthy go a long way to facilitating this makeover in the social contract.  They intend to eliminate that contract.  As it is for the populace of the US now it will be so for the Canadians and the Europeans in the future.  We will not become more like you; you will become more like us.

It isn't a one way process - I don't think everyone is precisely converging on America - but rather on a police state model combining the worst of most of the nations being looked at. For instance the UK has historically been very heavy on surveillance cameras for both people in public areas but also to monitor traffic journeys and where people are driving.

This seems to have started to come into the US in a big way (and at a pace faster than I would have expected), so in that sense the US is becoming more like the UK. On gun control - if they enact anything - the US would also be converging on the UK rather than the reverse.

On some issues - lack of welfare, undermining the social security contract, removing freedoms - I think one could argue that many nations are converging on the US, but even here the US is showing some changes (for instance Obamacare reflects at least a theoretical attempt to converge slightly the other way).

The apathy to massive state surveillance and erosion of rights and attacks on the social safety nets suggests people will comply in their fate. Indeed, divide and conquer is the rule of the day - turn groups against each other and prevent more united and cohesive responses (which can be crushed with the police state when they emerge).

Doomed to failure in the end of course, and to inflict additional damage upon civilisation in terms of pushing the ultimate collapse floor lower. That's the price paid for clinging onto the old paradigm all the way down.

JimD

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Re: Canada - The Americanization there of
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2014, 10:00:34 PM »
SATire

I would point out that one cannot have it both ways in terms of being integrated and also being separate.  Which is how I perceive the German desire.  The EU just does not work properly because of this problem.

If we were talking about a EU citizen who spent their personal money in a profligate way and one thought they should suffer the consequences, as seems to be the gist of German opinion about the Greeks, one would have a good point.  But that is not what happened in Greece.

But Greece cannot be both a state of the EU and a sovereign country any more than Germany can.  If you have a union you deal with it as if that is what you have.  If you are separate countries you deal with it that way.  What you actually have is neither.  So when it is to Germany's advantage to treat Greece as a fellow state they do so and when it is to their advantage to treat them as a independent country (and a colony) they do so.

What happened in Greece was a government failure facilitated by the large western banking interests (many of which were German).  The German banks and the leaders of Germany were fully aware of the mistakes being made by the Greek government.  The Greek people basically had no idea any more than the US population had any idea what the banks were doing to us before the 2008 crash..  The problem in the solution is that the EU, the banks and the German government saw when the debt got so high that the only intelligent thing from a sovereignty perspective for the Greeks to do (and what would be by far the most beneficial thing for the Greek people) would be a sovereign default.  BUT, this would have resulted in the failure of many large banks and huge losses to wealthy bond holders.  Huge pressures as exerted on the leaders of Greece and serious intervention occurred by EU leaders to get the leaders of Greece to agree to austerity measures which consisted of privatizing national assets and saddling the impoverished Greek people with unpayable debt thus saving a bunch  of banks and wealthy bond holders.  Basically a bailout of the rich placed on the backs of the poor.  colonialism.

Your comments about foreigners from elsewhere in the EU being deliberately excluded are proof of point about not having decided whether the EU is a union or not.

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To adress the relation between Russia and Germany - that is much more complicated. Economic relation ships are important (Russia is one of the 4 most important countries for Germanies trade, among USA, China and - surprise - not at least Swizerland). But also history is important: Both GDR and WW2 (we know what we did there in WW2 - it was very much different to what we did to any other country short of Israel - and also what we did especially in Ukraine...). But what is happening now is very difficult to understand for us - that boarders of countries in Europe are changed by military actions was considered not possible anymore. That will change the future relationships significantly...


There is no need to phrase it that way, Israel did not exist until 1948.  IF the German people were living strictly by principle they would have opposed the US instigated coup of a democratically elected government (corrupt or not).  By supporting US actions they are complicit in all of the subsequent problems.  The partitioning of Ukraine, the possible cold war between the west and Russia, the 'austerity' measures which will impoverish the regular citizens while the oligarch's and western businesses prosper, and all the rest of the consequences.

I must say I cannot comprehend how anyone would think we have reached a civilizational point where borders are sacrosanct.  Look how many borders in Europe have changed since the reunification of Germany.  And Germany participated/instigated some of those changes as we know.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: Canada - The Americanization there of
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2014, 10:10:16 PM »
ccg

I largely agree with what you said.

But on the point about surveillance we must keep in mind the NSA and what they were doing.  Less conspicuously perhaps than all of England's surveillance cameras but more pervasive  in a way.  We exported that capability to England.

Yes we are all really converging on the police state (or fascist model) or both with a feudalism orientation. Sort of like in the 1920-1930's that was the trend.  Harsh times tend to result in most going in the same direction (human nature rearing its ugly head again?).

Those making out best on Obamacare seem to be the health insurance companies - as would make sense as their lobbyists wrote most of the legislation.   A typical result in our system.  Real healthcare reform would be socializing the entire system - which is not going to happen - ever. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

SATire

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Re: Canada - The Americanization there of
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2014, 10:37:29 PM »
JimD - please re-read my post above again with this 2 informations:

Replace "Israel" by "jews" - Germans killed >6 millions of them and a lot of them where from Ukraine and Russia... The cruels Germany did in Ukraine were quite extreme: Poeple thought they would be freed - but instead they were killed because we were there to look for land, our "living space in the east"...

Second - the colony thing in EU. We are an Union of independent nations/states. In the years 2000-2008 all investments flew into the south. Living standard grew rapidly and reached high values in the South while in Germany we had struggeling economics and high unemployment (the old man, if you remenber). Agenda 2010 was performed - resulting in reduced wellfare, lower wages and finaly the division of social democratic party. Since 2009 the pendulum is swinging back - again extreme, but at least it crossed the "normal position". Investment money went back from southern Europe (and from USA) and unemployment got very low. These pendulum things have nothing to do with colonisation. We had our crisis in the early 2000's and now they have it in Southern Europe.

Everybody will have to fix his own problems. What is the main problem in Europe is competition for lowest taxes, lowest wages and that stuff - that is allways hitting the poeple and helping the few just to solve own problems on the costs of someone else. That was also the main problem in Greece - a lot of poeple have to pay to keep the few rich, which still pay nearly no taxes there. Why should poor poeple in Germany pay for that unfairness?

We are indepentend countries in Europe under a common set of rules. Similar as good neighbours you would not like to give away your house to a bank just to help your neighbour to get lower interest rate for his loan. Such very simple reasonable behaviour has nothing to do with austerity nor colonisation.   

JimD

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Re: Canada - The Americanization there of
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2014, 06:46:38 PM »
SATire

I respect your viewpoint,  however I disagree with it strongly.  Just as the US population is frequently blinded by its beliefs from what reality and the rest of the world sees, the same can be said about everyone.  I think this is the case here.

I highly doubt we will change each others minds.

It was an interesting discussion.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

SATire

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Re: Canada - The Americanization there of
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2014, 04:27:14 PM »
Just as the US population is frequently blinded by its beliefs from what reality and the rest of the world sees, the same can be said about everyone.  I think this is the case here.
Uhh - that was hard. I am sure that is not the case - at least not to that extreme extent. Keep in mind EU is not an Union like USA and the Euro is not similar to NAFTA (was the latter a reason to talk about colonies?). Here still the poeple have some power and governments can not give away that power to governments of other countries. If the poeple do not want more Union, we will not get more Union - whether we like that or not.

And as explained above: Do not take the statements given above as absolute - the viewpoints vary with the focus like AGW, economics, fairness, solidarity.... There are also different and also some extreme viewpoints available (e.g. conservative/right: every nation takes care for itself, liberal: EU taxpayers have to rescue the banks by law, socialist/left: Eurobonds would help us so we can spend more money and let the banks default and not the governments, some statements from Greece: Germany must pay because of WW2, while others in Greece trying hard to get back on their own feet (e.g. as Ireland and Portugal did). Furthermore, the situation was disturbed by emotions e.g. pictures of "Nazi-Merkel" or "lazy Southern" did not help to calm down poeples opinions.

Very similar to recent problems between USA and EU in the Ukraine case (that "fuck the EU" - diplomacy) - No, under such boundary conditions an americanization of Europe is very unlikely, the TTIP is nearly dead - at least the crazy investment protections and the gen-stuff, which are both looking like colonization here.


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JimD

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Re: Canada - The Americanization there of
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2014, 09:45:23 PM »
Don't know what else to call it.

A Government Of Thugs’: How Canada Treats Environmental Journalists

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......In all, I was delayed for about 45 minutes — a relatively painless experience — but I did get the feeling I wasn’t the only one being hassled in Canada for an association with environmentalism. Indeed, as interviews with multiple reporters and activists show, the federal government places numerous obstacles in the way of those who try to disseminate information about the Canadian tar sands. Many believe this has amounted to a full-on war.

There are logical reasons why impeding environmental journalists could be in Canada’s interest. The tar sands are the third largest oil reserve in the world, and production is currently accelerating so quickly that the government predicts capital investments will reach $218 billion over the next 25 years. Part of that investment could come from the Keystone XL pipeline, the controversial proposal that, if approved, would bring up to 830,000 barrels of Canadian crude oil per day down to refineries in the U.S.
............

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/05/23/3428984/canada-war-on-environmentalists/
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein