9.19.2014

Project Fear Rules, Hope Drools in Scottish Referendum and Most of Modern 'Civilization'


Here's a few fun stats from yesterday - one day in a thousand where a delusional old iconoclast could 'believe' again:

The young and the poorer voted Yes. The post-referendum poll from Lord Ashcroft does a good summary of who voted how and why. However, the most telling distinction is the following:
Voters aged 16-17: YES: 71%; NO: 29%
Voters aged 65+: YES: 27%; NO: 73%

and,

The Sydney Morning Herald's post vote polling showed the most important statistic IMO: "More than half of No voters said fear for the future was the most important factor affecting their vote, while 80 per cent of Yes voters said they voted because they were hopeful for the future."

So 'project fear' worked, again. Many fearful and older Scots were afraid of how an independent Scotland might change their lives. The ‘No’ campaign’s slogan ‘Why take the risk?’ played a big part in fostering this view. ‘Yes’ campaigners say ‘project fear’ was a unconcealed effort by the British establishment to win at any cost.

The pollsters got it right in Scotland. Living here in Canada i've seen how wrong the pollsters can be recently. The 'gold standard' for political polling here in Canada has been telephone polls for decades, that's what pollsters are trained to do, what the media is trained to report. But the younger generations, the cell phone loving, social media addicted folks don't have home phones and the poor don't even have homes let alone phones. So, my fantasy was that the 'AYE' campaign would be underrepresented in the Scottish polling, but...

In the end i'm grateful to have had nearly a full day of mystery where the future might have changed, where a crack in the Wall St, wall may have appeared. It felt good. From the look on the faces of so many young Scots it won't be the last vote they have.

9.18.2014

Is September 18th Scottish Independence Day? Excitement Mounts Across Scotland.

Spontaneous march to Scottish parliament Wednesday evening 

There's 2 hours to go before the polls close in Scotland and Vancouverite, Jackie DeRoo, a self confessed "Democracy Tourist" has been in the midst of the madness that is Scotland these last few days. Spontaneous marches like the one above to Scottish parliament last night are erupting all around her, Jackie says she's "witnessing the biggest commonwealth event in 100 years."

Checking out the Scottish independence referendum LIVE UPDATES in between chores, there's some neat pictures and other stuff. But from what i can gather from across the timezones is that the AYEs believe they've won [though i'm sure the Unionists are skulking around thinking they've won as well]. Time will tell but emotionally the AYEs have it by far in Scotland today.

Living here in Canada i realize how wrong the pollsters have been recently. The 'gold standard' for political polling has been telephone polls for decades, that's what pollsters are trained to do, what the media is trained to report. But the younger generations, the cell phone loving, social media addicted folks don't have home phones and the poor don't even have homes let alone any kind of phone. The pollsters are looking through old scratched glasses and the old demographic does favor the Unionist side because the older folks are the more they feel they have to protect the stuff they've earned through a lifetime of work. Very valid, for them, but not of those less enfranchised.

9.17.2014

AYE Scotland, Will Be the Domino Cascading Toward Liberty That the Banks and Elites Fear

Everyday folks everywhere understand that anything the banks, corporations and politicians are so unanimously against can't be all bad. In a few hours the polls will open in Scotland. The Scottish are on the brink of perhaps changing the course of world history. Watching it unfold from Canada, where twice i saw how the elites made hollow promises in advance of the Quebec referendums, and twice saw those promises evaporate, it's 'like deja-vu all over again'.

Take heart supporters of liberty in Scotland in the last 150+ years 50 independence votes like yours have taken place, the score is 44- YES only 6-NO [including the two i watched here in Canada].

An AYE in Scotland over the next hours won't in itself cave in or cripple the elites, but their momentum toward liberty creates domino effect the minds of other dreamers, other liberty lovers. The Catalans are watching in droves, billions of others are watching silently. There must be a crack in the Wall St. wall somewhere, let's hope it's AYE Scotland today, everywhere soon.


"On 18th. September, 2014, between the hours of 7am and 10pm, absolute sovereign power will lie in the hands of the Scottish people. They have to decide whether to keep it, or give it away to where their minority status makes them permanently powerless and vulnerable." – Jim Sillars

8.16.2014

Mining Engineers and Experts All Know The Solution to Tailings Pond Failures is Dry Stacking

Design of the Dry-Stack Rock Buttress at the Rosemont Copper Mine south of Tucson, Arizona.

There is a viable, safe alternative to depositing mining 'waste' in tailings ponds - Dry Stacking. Every mining expert, every mining engineer, every mining manager, including all of those involved in the recent Mount Polley tailing pond failure, know about dry stacking, it's not new, it was first written up in the mining journals in 1903. In fact, one of the world's foremost experts lives, works and writes out of Vancouver - Jack Caldwell. Jack's article 'Thirty Years of Tailings Seepage History from Tailings & Mine Waste' was the centerpiece of the global conference on mining wastes, Proceedings Tailings and Mine Waste, held in Vancouver, BC, November 6 to 9, 2011. Jack has written extensively on the Mount Polley tailing pond collapse [linked to here].

There is a growing use of the practice of dewatering tailings using vacuum or pressure filters so the tailings can then be stacked. More and more mines are choosing to filter press their tailings and place the tailings in a stack. Dry Stacking is increasing because of the need to reduce water consumption; the need to limit seepage from the tailings; and the imperative to build a stable stack not subject to slope failure, breaching or collapse. The water savings reduces the impacts on the environment and leaves the tailings in a dense and stable arrangement and eliminates the long-term liability that ponds leave after mining is finished.

AMEC, Mt. Polley's British engineering firm, also oversees the Raglan Mine, a large nickel mining complex in the Nunavik region of northern Quebec, where, as AMEC reports,  "Approximately 700,000 tonnes/year of tailings are deposited over the estimated remaining life of the mine of about 15 years, with the possibility of increasing the production rate and/or the length of mine life. Tailings solids comprise about 70% silt sizes. Immediately prior to filtering, the tailings stream is thickened, with thickener underflow at 60-65% solids. Filtered tailings are loaded on trucks, hauled to Tailings Repository, dumped, spread and compacted to form a stable stack with 5H:1V side slopes." Obviously AMEC is/was well qualified to design a filter-pressed tailings stack operation for Imperial Metals...but, we'll get to the but in a minute.

The Greens Creek Filter-Pressed Dry-Stack operation.

Another great parallel to the situation at Mount Polley is exemplified by the Greens Creek Mine on Admiralty Island, in the Alaska panhandle. Once again mining expert Jack Caldwell has been involved here for decades. Jack says, "The first I heard of filter pressing of tailings was way back in the early 1980s. We had concluded that a conventional tailings facility would not work at the proposed Greens Creek Mine on Admiralty Island, in the Alaska panhandle. There was too much water from rain and too large an earthquake to use conventional hydraulic deposition. Andy Robertson suggested use of filter presses to make a dried---or at least low moisture content solid. There was much skepticism at his suggestion. As of today the dry stacking operation is 33years old, the filter-presses are pressing away. In the summer of 2010 Greens Creek's dry stack operation opened its seventh expansion."

Dry Stacking is happening all around the globe where ever progressive governments and far-sighted corporations understand the long term economics of mining, where ever they understand what externalized costs are and who always ends up paying them. By definition:"If external costs exist, such as pollution, the producer may choose to produce more of the product than would be produced if the producer were required to pay all associated environmental costs."

Here comes the but, All the experts agree but say, "There are potential merits to dry stacked tailings these systems are often cost prohibitive due to increased capital cost to purchase and install the filter systems and the increase in operating costs (generally associated electricity consumption and consumables such as filter cloth) of such systems."

Like so many other issues where short-term corporate and banking interests are allowed to escape paying the full cost of their operation through limited liability or because regulations are shoddy [often due to corrupt governments being bought off by moneyed interests] the corporate management does their job which is to maximize shareholder's quarterly profits.

So when you hear or read something about the Mount Polley collapse and the cost of remediation [estimated at $400millionCdn] remember that you'll pay that cost as soon as Imperial Metals' $15millionCdn insurance policy runs dry. Remember too that you and your children are paying for every environmental disaster that spewed pollution into the commonly owned biosphere since the corporations and banks figured out how to run this racket.

Commodity prices are soaring, corporate profits are soaring, but the corporations never have any dough for precaution, the governments never have any dough for social justice or schools, or safety inspectors or ...tomorrow the prime mover of buts, the free trade but...or is that butt?

8.15.2014

Mt. Polley's Toxic Slurry, Above and Below Water, Will Poison the Biosphere for Generations to Come

Hazeltine Creek was 2 meters wide before the Mt' Polley disaster

The Mount Polley tailings pond failure will be a 5 billion litre lump of coal in our common environment's stocking for generations to come [if our descendants survive that long]. As Brian Olding, an environmental consultant who authored a report on the Mount Polley Mine in 2011 says, “Water will continue to run through literally tons of this sediment and grass will grow through the sediment. Imagine if a moose eats that grass, and then an aboriginal person comes and shoots that moose. Then we have a food contamination issue on our hands.”

i grieve for the First Nations hunter and his family. i grieve too for the moose and it's moose family. i grieve for my kids and grandkids and yours too. What Brian is lamenting is the same thing Harvey Scott, with the Keepers of the Athabasca, worries about when reflecting on the long-term effects created when on Oct. 31, 2013, 670,000 cubic metres of water and 37,000 cubic metres of sediment poured out of a containment pond at the Obed mine. That much smaller spill devastated two small creeks and sent a murky sediment plume floating down the Athabasca River. Harvey says, " Toxic sediment will continue to wash down the river to the Peace-Athabasca delta and slowly make its way up the food chain. Each time there's a surge or a spring freshet, some of the sediment will flow down that far."

The Obed mine spill is similar to last week's Mount Polley spill in that the bulk of the sediment flowed into the forest and stream banks below the dam. In the long run the biggest problem won't be the drinking water but the sediment that is distributed along the shore lines and on the lake bottoms.

Toxic slurry was deposited far in the forest

The portion of the slurry [slurry contents list here] deposited on dry ground will be dried by the sun and wind making it able to be blown all over the place. We will all breathe it, our kids will breathe it and play in it, our crops will be affected by it and there will be no way to accurately know what effects are taking place much less who to blame them on. The portion that is underwater will be stirred up over and over again by storms and dredging operations. The particles will be ground up by the stirring into smaller and smaller particles that will slowly be taken up in the aquatic food chain downstream and every lifeform will drink and eat it from now on.

Huge kudos go to Vancouver-based geotechnical engineer Jack Caldwell who wrote in his article 'Mt Polley Tailings Failure: Lies versus the Truth',  "I can accept that the water and all it nasty constituents will be diluted by the rivers and lakes into which the water is flowing.  But what of the solids?  They are in the river, on the banks, and now in the lake.  Will it ever be possible to clean this up, or will these tailings have to be allowed to wash by rain into the lake to join the bottom sediments?"

Jack's words are corroborated by Ramsey Hart, Canada programs coordinator with MiningWatch Canada who says, "Certainly most toxicity is associated with sediments. Those aren't going anywhere; they're now distributed through the watershed."

Jack Caldwell has written four articles since the Mount Polley disaster, each short article focuses one or more of the most important issues surrounding the collapse and explains in clear non-technical language what the spin doctors from the corporation and government are trying so hard to obscure. [articles available here, here, here and here]. As Jack says, "Nobody but me is prepared to say why it failed.  I suspect it failed because there was too much water in the dam, the corner gave way, an upstream slide occurred, and the disaster ensued.   They are saying nobody could have anticipated this.  Rubbish.  It was entirely predictable given the facts.  It is just nobody had the courage to speak." Jack has the expertise and the courage to speak. Hopefully today's Tyee article on mine safety that quotes Jack extensively is the forerunner of many to come.

Finally, the Tyee had another interesting article today titled 'Tailings Dams "Have Not Breached," Says Minister... Except When They Have' which in addition to listing all the breaches the guberment dis-information ministers want the press not to focus on, also shows how willfully ignorant Queen Christy's ministers are.

The sad reality is that Bennett, in this case, and the political class generally can say anything they want in the age of truthyness. There's always a semantic bush they can hide behind if/when they get pressure from a lawsuit. In the end they know that the majority of citizens only want to hear 'don't worry, be happy' so they can continue consuming needless crap with the lowest possible guilt level.

8.11.2014

Only An Independent Investigation of Mt' Polley, With Subpeona and Indictment Power, Can Work

Mount Polley Tailings Pond Disaster

Yesterday Stephen Hume of The Vancouver Sun added his voice to those of First Nations, Gerald MacBurney, a former foreman who worked on the tailings pond, Brian Olding, the environmental consultant who carried out the 2009 assessment for the company and local First Nations groups, Jack Caldwell a reknown independent mining expert and others [including mr. mud] in demanding an independent review of the Mount Polley tailing pond collapse.

Hume's article offers a simple logical argument saying, "The dam didn't fail because of an act of god or black magic by some anti-mining necromancer. The dam failed because of its design, or its construction methods and materials, or its flawed operational management. While the mining company Imperial Metal is accountable for the design, construction and operational management of the dam it deploys to contain its hazardous mine waste, the provincial government is responsible for ensuring that the design is adequate, the construction methods are fully up to current safety code, and the dam is properly operated. Adding, "Clearly, this did not happen. So the prescribed design, the construction methods and materials or the operational management standards and the government’s approval, monitoring and enforcement protocols must be inadequate in some way."

Considering that both the original engineering firm that designed, built and maintained the original compound  warned Imperial Metals of the impending problems when they abandoned ship and the engineering firm that took over, AMEC said the railings pond's level was to high and instructed the company to bring in five million tonnes of rock to shore up the outside of the dam in order to handle the increased amount of water in the tailings pond two things seem apparent: 1. the company didn't listen or didn't want to hear what the engineers were saying. 2. the engineering firms aren't going wear this disaster or the liability for it.

Likely B.C. resident Gerald MacBurney worked at Mount Polley for seven years, the last two as a foreman directing work on the tailings dam says "the company never carried through, perhaps only bringing in one million tonnes of rock because they didn’t want to take their large equipment - big haul trucks that can carry as much as 120 to 200 tonnes - away from delivering ore to the mill." MacBurney said he raised the issue with bosses numerous times, at one point warning one of them that if the rock wasn’t brought in, the dam would break. His concerns increased after what he calls a breach in May 2014. He says he saw water spilling over the top of the dam, (while Imperial Metals says there was no breach). He quit the next month.

MacBurney's story is consistent with internationally respected independent mining  expert Jack Caldwell's assessment of 'What caused the Mount Polley tailings pond failure?'  Jack's long career brings a historic perspective when he says, "My first impression is that this is in a direct line of failures from Bafokeng, through Merriespruit, to now. Nothing has changed, this failure looks just like the failed Bafokeng dam looked when I went out to see it the week after it failed way back in the earlier 1970s. As at Bafokeng, I suspect it was a combination of overtopping, piping and basal failure. We will probably never know for sure as the evidence is washed away to the lake or strewn on the ground downstream of the failed facility. Thus some still claim that at Bafokeng the bulldozer sent to raise the embankment induced liquefaction of the wet tailings."

Wonder what the operator of this stranded Cat has to say eh!

Jack Caldwell ends his comments where a truly independent investigation should start theirs, "Can’t help but notice the stranded bulldozer at Mt Polley. Had it gone up there to raise the embankment? Maybe the driver of the bulldozer we see perched on the edge of the failure zone saw something. If he did, you can be sure he is safely under wrap and key at this time."

Then there's the independent report conducted by Brian Olding, the environmental consultant who carried out the 2009 assessment for the company and local First Nations groups, that issued several warnings about the safety of the tailings pond and dam. Olding says in a very good interview by the CBC [available here], "The pond levels were already getting too high five years ago. I requested a structural engineering company be involved, and that was nixed," Olding said. "They did not want to deal with that problem at that time."

The B.C. Ministry of Environment also revealed to reporters that it had warned the mine operator of exceeding safe drinking water guidelines in the tailings impoundment, including high levels of selenium, sulphate, and molybdenum. Long before the May warnings about the height of the tailings pond itself.

All in all Imperial Metals had plenty of warning and even though they knew what the potential danger was they not only continued with business as usual Imperial jacked up production in the months just before the disaster as the Vancouver Sun reported: "Imperial has increased production at Mount Polley. The company reported in its second-quarter financial report that throughput at the mine’s processing mil was up to 23 per cent to 23,404 tonnes of rock per day and meal production totalled 12 million pounds of copper, up 46 per cent, 11,867 ounces of gold, up 24 per cent and 33,813 ounces of silver,up 35 per cent from the same quarter a year ago."

There's more to the tangled web of financial sewage and there's the whole issue of why the industry ass kissers in the B.C. government are so desperate for royalties and party contributions that they'll do anything and everything for a buck. But those parts will have to wait for the next Mud Report because my finger is tired and, the highest priority in my life, my best friend needs to go for a walk. So fully independent it must be 'cause the guberment has plenty to be scared of a deep pockets fed by your tax dollars for the liability lawyers to chase and Imperial Metals, no matter how willfully ignorant and dastardly they may be will have their bankruptcy ducks in a row.

8.08.2014

Mt. Polley Tailings Pond Failed Because Corps Serve Shareholders and Govts Don't Serve Citizens

Mount Polley Mine's tailings pond disaster

The failure of Imperial Metals' Mount Polley Mine's tailing pond is the largest failure of a tailing pond in mining history. A tailings pond's job is to allow the heavy metals and other chemicals materials used to extract the more profitable minerals to sink and settle at the bottom. So when the asshole CEO of Imperial Metals says he'll drink the water after the solids settle he's just relying on people's naivete to work its magic. The main problem, the main danger long-term and short is the 'slurry' at the bottom. Personally i'd rather he invite all his capitalist friends and their government enablers over for a 'slurry' BBQ.

The truth is though that the executives at Imperial Metals were doing their job by avoiding every cost they could, by having the lowest liability insurance B.C.'s laws allow. That's capitalism. Every member of every corporate board of directors, CEO etc. is to maximize shareholder profits.  Time and time again the courts have ruled that if a corporations directors or executives choose to, say serve the public good, instead of the shareholder's profits they are in breach of the law. So the assholes running Imperial Metals were just doing their jobs.

The government's job, on the other hand, is to serve the best interests of the citizens - the public good.
over the last couple days article after article has shown that the both the B.C. and Canadian governments have actually done exactly the opposite. Jenny Uechi's article at The Vancouver Observer yesterday titled 'Understaffing, deregulation to blame for Mount Polley tailing pond disaster: critics' lays out the details of the B.C. government's history is this matter. very well: “The government isn't inspecting the mines, and the mining companies know it,” said Glenda Ferris, a longtime advocate for environmentally safe mining in British Columbia who has previously consulted with government and First Nations on mining issues. Ferris said the BC government has relied excessively on the mining industry to self-regulate itself as ministries underwent budget cuts in the 1990s, meaning that the problem could be systemic.

"You know, it's all about money,"  Xat'sull (Soda Creek) First Nation Chief Bev Sellars told the Vancouver Observer. She said the provincial government appeared to have let companies go on many violations and breaches in recent years. "The bottom line is, how much money can the mines make? How much money can they donate to political parties?"

Rafe Mair's piece 'Mount Polley Mine proves Liberal de-regulation doesn’t work' goes a step or two further by explaining the corporate 'truths'. But another unanswered question is what will happen if/when Imperial Metals goes bankrupt, as the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic did after the crude train explosion at Lac Mégantic, ultimately leaving taxpayers on the hook.

Remember how the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic paid the first cleanup costs and hung their heads in shame? Meanwhile in the background they were getting their ducks lined up so they would be prepared to file bankruptcy when the rest of the liability bills started to roll in. Right now Imperial Metals is undoubtedly doing the same thing behind the scenes - that's their job. The other mines they own will be being sold off to corporations outside of Canada. Those corporations will then lease back the machinery etc. to Imperial Metals.

Just like the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic, these guys will pay up to the extent of their liability insurance $13million Queen Christy said last night on Global TV. During the time it takes to go through that paltry bit Queen Christy will crow just like Harpo and Marois did about being tough on the villains. Then, oops, Imperial Metals will go bankrupt just like the railway line did and the taxpayers will pay the rest. One investment analyst who wants to remain anonymous said, "I'd watch for some kind of mysterious flipping of ownership of Red Criss Mine in the next few days."

8.06.2014

Obama Betrayed His Oath, the Constitution and International Law by Arrogantly Excusing Torture

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing - Edmund Burke 

It's been 5 days since Obama arrogantly acknowledged during a White House briefing that "We tortured some folks." The evil asshole tried to excuse the immoral and illegal acts by asking everyone to remember "how afraid people were at the time". The arrogant asshole's next sentence should have been something like: "I am immediately resigning the presidency because I have betrayed my oath of office, the Constitution, the law, US citizens and the world."

Every day since i've expected to see the Congress ordering Obama's impeachment, expecting to see the Federal Marshals leading Bush, Cheney and Rumsfield out in handcuffs. Water boarding isn't a new thing, its use has been documented in numerous cases for centuries, it's been a favorite of torturers since at least the Spanish Inquisition. After WWII the US held war crimes trails, found Japanese officers guilty of torture for their use of waterboarding and executed them. During the Vietnam era the US put American soldiers on trial as torturers for using waterboarding, they were found guilty and received stiff sentences.

Waterboarding is torture! This has been clearly established in the UN Convention Against Torture [ratified by Ronald Reagan in 1987] and is illegal as well as immoral because Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113C of the US Code makes its use under any circumstances illegal. Yet, Obama, a Constitutional lawyer who vowed to prosecute those responsible for torture on numerous occasions during his '08 campaign, has had his toady Holder indict no one much less sent anyone to jail for these crimes.

Obama said at this obscene briefing that he had forbidden the use of SOME of the '"enhanced interrogation techniques” [torture] and had ordered closed SOME of the Bush-era rendition and black sites (offshore prisons). SOME is meaningless lawyer jargon, always remember, torture is still going on now. Not just in Guantanamo, but at many black sites all over the world.

One real journalist, Tom Engelhardt, asked yesterday: Who rules Washington? in his article 'The Rise to Power of the National Security State'. In it he says, "As every schoolchild knows, there are three check-and-balance branches of the U.S. government: the executive, Congress, and the judiciary. That’s bedrock Americanism and the most basic high school civics material. Only one problem: it’s just not so."

'The Fourth Branch' - NSA's Clapper and CIA's Brennan

Now there's 'The Fourth Branch' who has usurped the reins of power in Washington by using the tricks taught them by J.Edgar Hoover. Who in his decades running the FBI compiled a black file on every prominent person. Like Hoover, the spooks at the 17 different 'intelligent agencies in the U.S., know that everyone has done things in the past that they do not want exposed today. Clapper and Brennan learned well that once you've found any individual's soft underbelly they are easy to control. 'The Fourth Branch' uses the carrot of bribery and the stick of the embarrassing exposure of their dirty secrets to control whoever or whatever they choose.

"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.
In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains
seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we
must be aware of change in the air, however slight,
lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."
- Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas 

8.04.2014

What Better Day Could There be to Start Real Forestry Conservation Than Today, B.C. Day.


Today is B.C. Day hereabouts. The Southwest coastal rain-forest of British Columbia [B.C.] is a magic place to live [been here over 40 years myself] and the home of many lovers of the biosphere including David Shipway, a Cortes Island resident and small woodlot manager. Recently an old friend and long time forest industry worker sent me an article David wrote about forestry conservation titled 'Quality Always Takes Time'. It's beyond great...it's perhaps the best essay i've ever read.

In it David lovingly explains the Basic biology of wood - "Cells are created on an annual cycle by the living protoplasm of the cambium layer surrounding a tree, which divides to form both bark and wood. Sapwood consists of active woody cells that are still forming their cellulosic walls, and conducting sugars, nutrients and water for the whole tree. Heartwood is formed when the the prosenchyma (fluid conducting) cells cease conducting sap, and the parenchyma (food storage) cells die. The residual resins and terpenes become crystallized, and the wood, usually darker in colour, serves primarily as stable core structure for the tree to continue growing bigger."

Then goes on to explain how and why this matters from an economic, ecological, environmental point of view. But more importantly he explains how the short-term capitalist approach to our forests, and almost everything else in our consumer culture, reduces the quality of our lives as well as the world we live in.

As David says, "That means that the science and stewardship of forest carbon must become primary. We must culturally incorporate and celebrate the "slow wood" patience of growing more durable mature heartwood. If we are lucky our great grandchildren will still be able to make inheritable high-quality wooden artifacts. This is a tall order in an age still caught up in ponzi economics, but it's becoming increasingly apparent that ignoring it may make our whole civilization obsolete in much less time than it takes for a Douglas Fir tree to grow to middle age."

The old friend who sent me this gem is named Bill, Bill the Boomman. Bill has worked for 4 decades in a log sorting operation in Howe Sound. During that time he has seen, as we all have, the change in the age and quality of the logs being harvested by B.C.'s forest industry. Bill says,"This old boomman - me - thinks that the present second growth timber harvesting is a rip off of future generations: immature, regrowing forests with poor timber quality harvested way too soon for the benefit of a very few today. Loss of timber opportunity in the future; loss or at least severe diminishment of nature's services - water and carbon esp. Poor forestry that shouldn't be allowed except that local and provincial economies had become dependent on timber volumes and timber revenues that could only be met through re-cutting these forests way too early." [i totally agree - ed.]

During the over 30 years i enjoyed working as a carpenter and builder/renovator of custom homes, large and small, i too learned that the quality of the wood in my hands was the most important factor in the long-term quality of the home i was building and how that home would stand up to the slings and arrows of time. Quarter-sawn heartwood stays put. It's dimensionally stable, it doesn't cup and check. As time marched on through the decades i watched as the quality of the lumber in my hands deteriorated.

My own house, and many others i worked on, featured re-finished wooden paned windows as often as possible. These beautiful windows were often being thrown out by city developers who thought they were to 'old' to be of any value and certainly to 'old' to be used in the plastic condo complex that the beautiful home they were tearing down was to replace. We'd often scoop up a truck load of them at All-Around Demolition in Burnaby and use them in our projects. The trees these 'old' windows were built out of was, clear, tight grained first growth, 500+ year old Douglas Fir and often had been in the house nearly 100 years before i got hold of them. They are still perfect, straight, tightly joined all those years later. We'd scrap off the old paint, redo some of the putty, maybe replace a pane or two. Then prime them and paint them again before installing them in their new casements. There they'll be next century waiting for the next generation of tradesman to come along and gussy them up a bit. That's the quality David Shipway is explaining in his article.

As i said at the top, today is B.C. Day hereabouts, B.C.'s forests sustained the First Nations here for thousands of years before the Europeans arrived. They still could be sustaining quality jobs, sequestering greenhouse gasses, and providing for quality lives if instead of ignorantly pursuing short-term shareholder profits we began today to practice real conservation of real forests instead of the impudent lies of banker driven tree farm bullshit.

What better day could there be to start than today, B.C. Day.

8.01.2014

Calling the Criminal Capitalists Attacking Argentina Vultures Maligns the Birds. They are Terrorists!

Well meant protests denounce hedge fund criminals.
While maligning millions of innocent vultures

The crux of the story is that Argentina has once again, as it did 12 years ago, refused to make predatory payments to criminal 'holdout creditors' which according to U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa they must do. Argentina's spirit of resistance was reflected very clearly in a speech delivered by Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner earlier this week. She asserted that the historic summit recently between the BRICS and Unasur [Union of South American Nations] represented a reformulation of a new global order, in which "there are new actors who don't want to smash your head in, but rather want to cooperate with you." She solemnly vowed that she will not concede. She said, "I wish to say to each and every Argentine, that this President will not sign anything that compromises future generations of Argentines, as others did."

Why should Argentina 'concede'? Argentina's foreign debt began at $27 billion. Over the course of the 22-year period, from 1980 to 2002, Argentina paid in accumulated interest payment - only interest, not repayment of principal, only interest -  $120 billion. This is more than four times what they originally owed. And at the end of that period, what they owed was $142 billion. So they owed $27 billion, they paid $120, and they ended up owing $142. The debt increased six-fold. That's called bankers' arithmetic, Argentina calls bullshit [me too].

How can that happen? Well when you control the carnival, it's easy, you just raise interest rates. If you are old enough to remember the 80's you remember that in just a couple of years interest rates went from a couple of percent to 19, 20, 23%. What do you do if you're a debtor? Economist Dean Baker,  co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), explains that,"While individuals and corporations are granted the protection of bankruptcy law, no such mechanism exists for sovereign governments. " So Argentina defaulted 12 years ago. These hedge funds paid "a small fraction of [the debt's] face value. Their intention was to use their political connections to get a favorable ruling from the courts, with the hope of being able to extract something close to the face value of the defaulted bonds from Argentina's government. This is exactly what 'vulture funds' do." Baker said.

Who are these 'holdout creditors'? They are hedge funds NML Capital and Aurelius Capital Management. NML Capital is a subsidiary of Elliot Management run by billionaire Paul Singer. And guess who has millions invested with Singers' firm, Elliot Management? The Romneys. Paul Singer is, according to Greg Palast's in depth article titled 'The Vulture', the worst criminal capitalist on the planet. It's a great read but make sure to have a bucket handy 'cause you be nauseous throughout.

Singer, and hedge funds generally, are the modern colonialists except that borders are meaningless. These criminals are just as happy to suck the life blood out of the their next door neighbor as a foreign country. For instance Detroit: The main hedge fund involved in the Detroit operation right now, destroying that city, is Aurelius Management, the same assholes involved in Argentina just as they're also involved in Puerto Rico, which is being driven over the edge as well.

Argentina is basically saying, "We don't owe you anything. You've been paid many times over. Go Fuck Yourself!" Iceland did too. Now if Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland had too maybe by now the IMF/World Bank/Wall St. thieves would be in jail making deals with huge guys covered in tattoos where they should be.

Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, i'm the International Head of The Vampires and Vultures Anti-Defamation League. i feel it's my duty therefore to object strongly when these hedge fund criminals are associated with my cousins and colleagues. Vultures are a type of scavenger, not criminals. There are countless species who live by scavenging from tiny bacteria to jackals and vultures. They serve a noble purpose in the web of life that supports us all. Vampires too, excluding perhaps the Twilight type, feel maligned by any association with capitalists.

In the end these symbolic associations of various types of capitalist assholes with fauna not only malign the innocent creatures but also serve to gloss over the truth - these hedge fund criminals are more accurately described as terrorists.