Front Page News

Fry

This was on twitter:

You know what really needs to be front page, national news? Indigenous people turning down $1 billion of dirty money.

Here is more:

Thanks for all the Fish.

 

This is a revolutionary act, telling the money to walk because it maters not where the environment and culture are concerned. Too bad it took the rest of us so long to figure out that those First Nations we beat up so badly might have had the right idea in the first place and that Wal-Mart doesn’t wash when the devastation hits.

 

 

Blues On Top Of Blues

BBKI guess when you’ve become an icon, you get the big news. CBC Newsworld was full of B.B. King’s passing, and a lot of it was truly gag-worthy as the level of faux reverence, long faces and script-reading ratcheted up to full stun, including touching testimonials from the likes of Kelly Clarkson. (?) Really? Nice words from Eric Clapton via Skype, though.

I went to see What’s New, Pussycat? with a Bill, Stella and Leah when it was a new movie. Leah’s mother drove us, then left us to hang out for a second showing of the movie, meaning that we were walking east on Geary Blvd. late at night on our way back to Stella’s place on Hayes around Steiner before Bill and I would turn north on Divisadero to get back to my place. It was after two when we got to the turn on Divisadero, and, being fitted, we were both hungry, so we went into this burger and barbecue place, the only thing open. We must have looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights as the reception from the all-black crowd was not particularly welcoming with an added tinge of WTF at the sight of two white boys somewhat off course.

Sensing a certain hostility, we ordered burgers to go, but in the wait, the jukebox was going full-bore and it was King playing, though it took me a couple of days after to run down the song, hence the artist. This was something of a revelation for a couple of whippersnappers steeped in Beach Boys, Beatles and Stones. I had the pleasure of seeing King live on a couple of occasions while still living in the Bay Area, the whole routine where the band would come out and do a number or two before bringing King on stage with flourish and fanfare, and he played from a fairly well-stocked catalogue with panache and freshness that belied the several hundred dates he was playing each year. The last time I saw him in the Bay Area was at Winterland (I think) and he still did some of the same routine, but he seemed much more relaxed and the connection to the crowd was much more direct. He mentioned in his inter-song patter that he’d been listening to some jazz and proceeded to ruff up some Django on the spot.

That December, Magic Sam died of a heart attack at 32, and I was sad. He went early and left a lot of possible career on the table. If you get a chance, check out King’s appearances at the Crossroads Festival to get a feel for the decline that must have been difficult for the man. Noting his passing is fine, but I know I’ll just keep on celebrating the music from the early jump stuff à la Louis Jordan right through duets with EC.

Let’s see, who’s next?

The Teacher

CC

How ironic, the Clarkish one in the rôle of teacher. Ms. Clark has come up with another doozy in the wake of the Notley election in Alberta, to the effect that she has a lot to teach Alberta about carbon and climate change, and that, in fact, she has much to teach the rest of the country. Presumably this is because we have a carbon tax and they don’t, but she fails to mention that the carbon tax was a ploy by her predecessor to hog tie Carole James, making her either agree with the rampaging Liberals, or gainsay them in a move that would alienate her from voters in the greener shades of the spectrum, politics pure and simple. Herself hasn’t helped to redefine BC as anything other than a carbon furnace with the continued shenanigans related to the Pacific Carbon Trust, to dedicating agricultural land to carbon offset projects, and mostly her giveaway support of the gas industry, particularly the fracking end of it..  Her government has consistently missed opportunities to support alternative energy, despite indications that wind, solar, tidal and geothermal energy all hold great promise. She is an object lesson in what not to do, even as she waggles her finger at the rest of the country from the standpoint of someone who, without any reasonable explanation, seems to consistently dodge the consequences of both her actions and her inactions.

 

Consult: Another Term Rendered Useless

File 154

Update: (05/01) Gary Mason says that the BCTF would do well to raise the white flag.

Bully for Gary, and not a surprising comment from one out to feather his own nest and who represents the entrenched economic failures, not to mention the moral and ethical failures occasioned by the drinking of the Radian Kool-Aid. Anyone who cares for the maintenance and enhancement of public services, who cares for children and the possibility of constructive and enlightening experiences in the public school system, or who cares about the value of a signed contract or the process of consultation and negotiation should be in there hammer and tong as a countervail for the heinous larceny practised by Clark & Co.

 

Today’s release of a ruling by the courts in B.C. that determined that the Province had, indeed, consulted with the BCTF regarding class size and working conditions proved that much of our language has lost and real meaning. It would be hard outside of the niceties of the law, to argue that there was any real consultation when the MoEd basically sat on its hands through the whole process,including through two lower court rulings, and to this day, through the smug babbling of Clark about this being an opportunity, the Province hasn’t offered the slightest change in position.

In essence, the court has decreed that no contract has any validity. I imagine Phil Hochstein and his little posse are licking their chops in anticipation of testing the private-sector contract waters.

The only bright side is that the idea might later be turned around to imply that none of the Free Trade, NAFTA, CETA, FIPPA and TPP provisions about investor-state relations means anything, either, and that we as citizens can do whatever we damn well please within our several layered jurisdictions.

Any of the political class, particularly BC Liberals and FedCons who says anything about defending Canadian values has “a mouth full of gimme and a hand full of much obliged.” it’s hogwash. Their pink shirts are the sheep’s clothing for a pack of lupine bullies.

This is part of the Fraser Institute clique’s plan to privatize schools, to keep the public schools in as much penury as possible and subsidize private schools that cater to the clog at the top of the Cremeville bottle.

This decision must clearly be a proper interpretation of the law (we’ll see if the Supremes want to weigh in as soon as the BCTF files an appeal), but it fails miserably any sniff test of ethics or morality.

“Oh, Mon dieu, promets-moi que l’enfer existe!”

(Dear God, promise me that there is a hell!)    —Luc de la Rochellière

It’s All For Sale

415

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An article from the SFGate site (here) discusses the selling of phone numbers with the 415 area code, just the latest chapter in the theater of the absurd run of indices that our society has come unglued in its passion for image and the projection of wealth. Prestige, I believe, is the word they use in the early part of he piece: you get to project that you are whatever “old” San Francisco/Marin is as opposed to being a Johnny-come-lately 628 peon. Not only are we stupid about the projection of our image and the use of whatever wealth we’ve gathered, we’re stupid enough to have enough devices that require phone numbers to necessitate overlay area codes, in addition to sawing off the 510 and 650 areas. Yep, we’re getting there fast, but do we like where we’re getting?

 

 

Budget Kabuki, or is it No?

K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, we can all breathe a sight of relief! Joe Oliver presents us with this plan to garner a fourth mandate, no, wait, it’s a fiscally responsible record of taking Canada to new heights of job security, low inflation, plentiful energy, insulation from the woes of the world, lower taxes and greater benefits, a chicken in every pot, two cars in every garage…

Never mind the financial gyrations undergone in aid of making this sow’s ear look like a silk purse, another load of sops to the wealthy, also eaten up by the wannabe wealthy, wherein it would be a kick to see all the fudginess and outright prevarications in this document highlighted in, say, fluorescent purple to make it look even sexier.

 

Never mind that, if the campaign hadn’t started already, this document and its much-hyped and long-delayed release surely sounds the shotgun that would have set candidates scurrying for their prospective ridings to climb up for real on their hustings, but no, there are still a few pennies in the coffers for the current administration to scrape together for another buy of ads for ConCampaign, er, information of government programs.

 

Never mind that the prospects for a coalition seem as remote as ever, and that there has, in fact, been a coalition, but mostly of Trudeau siding with the Cons, not surprising given the track record of previous Liberal administrations in being squarely in the camp of crony capitalists, and besides, JT is not the leader of HM Official Opposition, so why should he oppose?

 

Never mind that there could very well be Voter Suppression, Version 2 (or is it 3, or 4, or…) going on at this very moment, in addition to which the offerings are so uninspiring as to promote the apathy that constitutes the number one vote suppressor.

 

The really sad part is that many people actually believe the claptrap the Oliver and Co. have cobbled together in the guise of a budget..

The Road to Oblivion

“One of the world’s greatest problems is the impossibilty of any person searching for the truth on any subject when they believe they already have it.” 
 
Dave Wilbur
James Lunney: Christianity under siege

James Lunney, National Post
Monday, Apr. 13, 2015

The past year has seen unprecedented attempts to diminish, discredit and suppress a Christian world-view in law, medicine and academia. That was the message from Christian leaders a few weeks ago in Ottawa. At the same time three politicians, all Christians, were publicly condemned as ignorant and unscientific for daring to disagree with an intolerant fundamentalist religion. Questioning theory vs. fact is the unpardonable sin for adherents of evolutionism.

Bigotry and intolerance are the trademark of militant atheism and its adherents’ campaign against God. Conrad Black exposed as much in his eloquently written and defended articles recently. As a multi-racial, multicultural, multi-faith society, Canada has been known to a world in conflict as a standard for respect for diversity and inclusion. However, a religious defence of science seems to be the vehicle for the most vitriolic, pejorative, vulgar campaigns of intolerance and ad hominem attacks in Canada today.

These public shaming assaults are not in keeping with the nature of scientific inquiry or the character of an otherwise extraordinarily tolerant nation. They are the hallmark of scientism and evolutionism bearing all the hallmarks of religion, but unrestrained by any modicum of respect for anyone who contradicts the tenets of the faith. In this regard militant atheism is more akin to militant Islam than any of Canada’s multi-faith communities.

Evolutionism is losing its grip as biological sciences have outstripped any rational defence of the origins of life or the complexities of the simplest cell ever coming into being by random undirected events or natural processes. Darwin was a brilliant naturalist; his keen observations have inspired great advance in our understanding of how living things are related. However the world of the cell was beyond anything Darwin could have imagined.

The notion that belief in God is incompatible with pursuit of science is a falsehood clung to by a dwindling cadre of atheists in the science community today. It began with Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, a brilliant scientist in his own right; and the father of eugenics. While Gregor Mendel, was laying the foundation for modern genetics, Galton was promoting the concept that belief in God was an impediment to the advance of science.

The concept of Non-Overlapping Magesteria is a sanitized repackaging of Galton’s legacy adopted by the American Academy of Sciences. While atheists have made great contributions to science, the identification of the DNA molecule by Watson and Crick does not diminish the contribution of Francis Collins, an evangelical Christian who led the effort to decode the three billion base pair sequence of human DNA. Collins wrote in The Language of God: “DNA is the most efficient information storage system known to man!”

Science is agnostic. There is room for people of all faiths or no faith to contribute to science; indeed that is the historic record.

It was the NDP who shut down my attempt to put this on the record in the House of Commons. Ian Capstick, former NDP strategist and communications director, stated on national TV that he had to “take me down.” He describes himself as a militant atheist. Rick Nicholls was savaged in the Ontario legislature, while Gordon Dirks was targeted in Alberta, but not because either is a threat to science. Rather, they failed to affirm evolutionism, the religion of the militant atheist.

Capstick boldly states he is going after the charitable tax-exempt status of the church. Does he speak for Tom Mulcair? Who is funding the campaign to disparage a Christian worldview and pressure the Canada Revenue Agency to strip churches of their charitable status? Is it the big banks and corporations that wrote to law societies trying to shut down the TWU law school?

Who are the 22 members of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons who unilaterally moved to strike down doctors’ long-standing Charter rights to refuse to provide services that would violate their conscience? Dr. Chris Simpson, president of the CMA, says eliminating conscience provisions is not acceptable; but Ontario doctors, like Trinity Western University, are now compelled to launch costly Charter challenges to defend their rights.

Evolutionism is based on a false construct from another century; it is as repugnant as any other form of bigotry. If this campaign for a godless Canada were successful, the Canada that would emerge is one that few Canadians would recognize and most would not want to live in. The “shabby, shallow world of the militant atheist”; it couldn’t be better stated.

National Post

James Lunney is independent member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Alberni.

Martyrdom has always been a proof of the intensity, never of the correctness of a belief.
—Arthur Schnitzler

 

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
—Hubert Humphrey

 

The following was published in the local paper as an editorial piece. David Black, the owner of Black Press, hence, the owner of the paper, is a proponent of pipelines to the Coast from the Athabaska Tar Sands and the installation of refineries on the Coast itself.

 

 

No carbon footprint, no life

Green lobby wants to shut down industry

– See more at: http://www.avtimes.net/no-carbon-footprint-no-life-1.1819631#sthash.bQgfMT00.dpuf

Diana West in The Death of the Grown Up challenges us to look accurately at the world around us and stop our delusional thinking.

She focuses on a number of interesting things including: a loss of parenting, nonjudgmental multiculturalism, and politically correct self-censorship as well as today’s victim, hero reversal.

But I want to talk about the biggest delusion of our day – the delusional idea that going green will benefit our lives.

Sure there are many sincere individuals who want to keep things clean, to be less wasteful and who wish to ensure that future generations can live a good life.

People with these beliefs are not a problem, they’ve only been mislead. This I call small green thinking. The earth doesn’t care if you pick something up and put it down in a different place.

No, it’s the strident activist, the BIG Green folk who are a problem.

These are the people that think there are too many people on the earth, that our factory system is environmentally destructive, that our energy use is killing the planet. In other words, that all our development is bad and needs to be stopped. I call them the Luddites of our era.

Truly, in a scant 300 years our lives are now 20 times richer than our ancestors. Mostly because some very bright individuals learned how to tame the energy embedded in fossil fuel. Because they shared their discoveries and inventions with their fellow man, the world changed – for the better.

We live in a man-made world.

Roofs keep us dry. Walls and windows and central heating keep us warm. Roads and cars and airplanes cause us to forget how our ancestors travelled. Our modern medicine system means we will die after 80 years of life rather than 30 as those ancestors did.

Today in the developed world, virtually everyone lives a better life than even the aristocracy of the past. As Milton Friedman said, “The ancient Greeks needed no running water; they had running slaves. Measured in human energy output, our energy use equates to some 90 people working for us. That is because we feed fuel into machines.

Today we have the equivalent of some 90 people working for us because we feed fuel into machines.

Everything that enriches our lives, and that we can afford, comes to us cheaply through the doors of a factory. The doors BIG Green wants to slam shut.

The destruction of enterprise begins if we fail to add ‘free.’

We would not expect good results if we put ignorant people in charge of brain surgery or rocket science….mechanics or construction, yet we have given the ‘right to impede’ to those who lack the ability to do or the desire to think about what they oppose.

BIG Green has lost its way.

These folks want to end the industrial world. They don’t look at the world from a human health consideration. Their view is distorted by what my friend Alex Epstein calls the ‘perfect planet premise,’ that a world untouched by man is paradise.

Well in truth, without man’s intervention, called ‘natural,’ life is more accurately described by Thomas Hobbes: “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

And it’s happening today.

Development is being opposed at every level in the name of saving the planet…from man rather than for man.

For proof we have the ranting of the BIG Green leaders. An interesting book, Merchants of Despair, by Robert Zubrin, provides a wealth of documentation. It’s your life…don’t let them steal it.

No carbon footprint means no life. Exploit the earth or die.

 

 

I suspect that Dr. Lunney and Mr. Seinen have both lived lives of reasonable ease and speak their truths for fear that anyone might impinge on their right to profit from the misery of others. Each is entitled, as are we all, to his own views, but it strikes me that neither should be allowed to intrude into the area of public policy. I would amend Mr. Seinen’s final statement to the following:

 

Exploit and die.

 

 

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
— John Kenneth Galbraith

Cut You Loose

F&S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A book, once it is printed and published, becomes individual. It is by its publication as decisively severed from its author as in parturition a child is cut off from its parent. The book “means” thereafter, perforce, — both grammatically and actually, — whatever meaning this or that reader gets out of it.

 

-James Branch Cabell, novelist, essayist, critic (14 Apr 1879-1958)

 

So works of art (books) are severed from the author, right, I understand that part, and that they become very much an “eye of the beholder” type of a phenomenon, but I;m not altogether convinced that the same applies to a child and its parents. While I’ve watched generations of children and young adults move toward a spiritual and intellectual, as well as economic “parturition”, I’ve been keenly aware of the continued influence of parents, partly through what seem like genetically determined behaviours (parent-teacher conferences often make this abundantly clear), but there are also clear influences governed more by social interactions in the family and, eventually in the circle of friends, a marriage, a working group and society in general. Interesting thought. A part of the book taking on a life of its own has often come up in literature classes where the instructor has the magic “right” interpretation and generally deems all else to be specious, thereby losing much respect and credibility among the offending and offended students: this is a realm where anyone can posit anything without the slightest need for documentation or justification. It could get lively in here…

From Facebook, a take on kids being kids, apparently from Tommy Chong:

Chong on kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… and a musical coda:

 

An Outlook That Seemed Lost

Increvable

 

Not a terribly exciting or engaging image, I have to admit, lifted, though, from this post on Libération yesterday morning in the course of the daily read-around. I’ve been engaged in the process of writing an Energy Descent Action Plan for out local Transitions initiative, a process that seems to drag on and in which few seem keen to participate, but one of the recurring themes is that we use too much of just about everything, and much of our usage is wasteful, literally, as we purchase and use goods that are built to fall apart or become obsolete and require replacement. I suspect that many of us have had the experience of having to replace a relatively recent major appliance because of the failure of an electronic module or because there are already no replacement parts available. Almost equally pernicious is the situation where an item can be repaired, but where the cost of doing so makes for little economic advantage over simply throwing it out and buying a new one. Hence the “excitement” over the above image, as it represents a washing machine labelled by its designer as  “L’Increvable” , which is more or less meant to convey the idea of bullet-proof. His idea is that the machine should last a lifetime, that it should be user-serviceable (given a certain level of tool savvy), and that all parts be easily replaced and repairable. This way of doing things is a fair approximation of the opposite of the way most  design and manufacturing is done, our current mode being predicated on an unlimited stream of materials and energy and a sucker population willing to accumulate large amounts of valuable material in landfills. Clearly, our current mode is suicidal as we move toward a world population of eight billion and as more and more of the world’s inhabitants are less and less willing to accept the deprivations of poverty to supply the consumer society in other parts of the world.

There rests the question of developing a species-wide awareness and ethos that will allow for a decent life for all. Can we dial back on our consumption so that others might have the wherewithal to live a life without want? Current indicators don’t hold out a lot of hope, particularly when the people in charge of the zoo seem set on a path of division and a desire to sequester as much of the available store of resources as possible for the use of a chosen few. It’s difficult to imagine the mass of humanity developing the mutual aid outlook as long as that mass is scrambling just to survive and facing interference and opposition form the people they should be helping and who should be returning the favour.

One of the best ways to reign in our over-consumption is to build durable, repairable and recyclable goods, and to encourage others to do the same. The insane chase after levels of material wealth that we’ve been sold is best illustrated in the tech sector where whatever gadget you buy is out of date about the time you finish the transaction to remove it from the store. New software requires the purchase of new hardware, and hardware seems to generate the need for software upgrades as tech companies bootstrap the upgrade ladder to waste and obsolescence. The same phenomenon appears in most phases of our existence, where single-serve coffee makers replace other methods of brewing that are perfectly adequate, but just aren’t the latest fad. This, of course, follows on the notion that we should have uninterrupted access to the beverage of our choice at all hours of the day and night, and we’re trained from an early age to expect this pampering because we deserve to have only the best. We just don’t stop to ask ourselves what that “best” is as we abandon civic duty and critical analysis in favour of accumulation.

Those of us who live in the lap of some version of North American luxury can celebrate the creation of a truly durable washing machine, but that celebration is also about having clothes to wash, an abode to house the machine, the clothes, and us, and clean water to do the washing, along with a host of other pre-conditions that don’t hold in many places in the world. Recently, my brother told me he had to replace the speed control on his stand mixer, and that he had to rig up a rheostat arrangement because there didn’t seem to be any parts of this particular machine. I had been through a similar vexation with a dishwasher three or four years ago, though that’s where the similarity ends. The dishwasher was less than three years old and no parts could fix it. It has become a dish drying rack for dishes we wash by hand and we seem to be none the worse for it. The stand mixer was purchased in 1950, and, with the installation of the rheostat, is now fully functional. Perhaps l’Increvable is a sign of a return to an outlook that will allow us a little breathing room in our quest to balance our lives in a way that will see future generations stretching our for centuries. Without that rebalancing, the prospects for life beyond a generation or two seem pretty discouraging. Too bad for us.

 Living as if there were no tomorrow, we are converting a carefree metaphor into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

                               —John Whiting

One who knows “enough is enough” always has enough.

—Tao Te Ching

A Certain Aura

https://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/

https://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/

Campbell Clark has an article in this morning’s Globe and Mail with the title Harper’s Economic Halo Is Hard To Dim. Mr. Clark likely hasn’t talked to the thousands being laid off from the Oil Patch who might still be gainfully employed if we were engaged in the clean energy transition that other countries are undertaking. He likely hasn’t talked to the multitudes stuck in dead-end low wage employment or to those who can’t afford to live in Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto or a myriad of other places where housing is out of just about everyone’s realistic financial grasp, or the TFWs that have been brought in to ensure that the wages will stay low. I doubt that many of those Canadians mired in gobs of oozing debt will see that halo encircling the holy pate of the Prime Minister. Even Stephen, the man himself, seems to be campaigning on other than his much lauded (can you hear the snickers from the peanut gallery?) economic acumen. The Globe outdoes itself in Kowtowing to the Conservative Côterie. And, in passing, is it just me, or does the juxtaposition of the author’s two names say something ominous to those of us in BC?