May 25, 2018

Death Juice


Today they cut the coal barges loose. This is to poison the water, poison the river ecology, poison the people’s drinking water. Just as every step of the fossil fuel caldera, from its conception in psychotic minds to the emission of carbon dioxide and toxic air pollutants, is fully toxic in intent and action.
“The Department of Environmental Protection said coal does not post an imminent threat to downstream water intake or aquatic life, but it will continue to monitor the situation as cleanup begins. The DEP is assisting local emergency responders in the effort.”
We’ve heard that before. Just selecting one of the host of atrocities, they said the same thing about the 2014 coal poison dumping into the Elk River. The immediate result was an epidemic of acute sickness among anyone who drank the water. Months later the water was still so toxic even the government was still calling it undrinkable. The long term health effects can only be the subject of speculation until they manifest. Same for the massive destruction aquatic life, which also began immediately and whose long run ecocide we can only guess. As we know, we cannot look to science to give us accurate projections since establishment science is ideologically committed to productionism and technocracy, as well as absolutely corrupt in all the regular venal ways. For both reasons we know scientists are fundamentally dishonest where it comes to anything which could compromise these ideological and sordid commitments. No, science is no help to beleaguered humanity. Our only options are abolitionist action, or passive waiting for the collapse of the congenitally toxic civilization, tallying the destruction along the way. The one thing which is impossible is to find any sanctuary of health, well-being, peace, and humanity within the framework of a civilization based on total war at every point.
Back in the old days James Hansen denounced coal death trains. The whole basis of life on Earth is targeted for deportation. He was much lambasted, including among “environmentalists”. Perhaps with the increasingly frequent detonation of oil train bombs, Hansen’s comparison no longer looks so far-fetched even to them.
Here too Monsanto’s in on the explosive pyromaniac action.
What are oil and gas pipelines? To convey the extracted product of massively genocided lands (for example, the Alberta tar sands extraction zone is one of the vastest deathscapes on Earth, a land which not long ago was one of the most bountiful and beautiful bases of life on Earth); to slash through forests, wetlands, communities (including militarized police assaults); then continually to leak with locally devastating effects; and on to the final usage of fossil fuels: To poison farmland and food, continue mass murder on the roads, and drive climate chaos on to its ultimate cataclysm.
The tar sands give death in so many ways. They too are dumped into rivers to poison the people and everything that lives in water.

December 20, 2015

Corporate Fossil Fuel Extraction vs. Freedom


Three grassroots fights against the water-poisoners and incipient destroyers of our lands and communities. Sometimes with the full collaboration of traitor local “authorities”, sometimes with virtuous local representatives siding with the people.
In every case – fracking, the tar sands, shale oil – it’s a big lie that the devastation has anything to do with “energy independence”. On the contrary, the fact of this cancerously expanding pipeline infrastructure is proof that the extracted fuels are commodities for export. The communities ravaged by extraction and pipeline or bomb train transportation get nothing. Stability, security, prosperity, happiness can never be found on the path of the relentless, infinite corporate havoc. On the contrary, what little is left of these will only be wiped out completely.
Note how the Kelo case disproves the lie that capitalism has anything to do with “property rights”. Under capitalism only the biggest, most powerful players have any rights at all, to property, speech, or anything else. Again, freedom, rights, justice, morality will never lie with the corporation. The corporate can never represent anything but the absolute destruction of these.

April 2, 2009

Tar Sands

Filed under: Globalization, Peak Oil, Tower of Babel — Tags: , , , , , — Russ @ 2:26 am


A year ago, just as the provincial government of Alberta embarked upon a $25 million advertising campaign to “rebrand” the Alberta tar sands project as eco-friendly, reality dealt their propaganda a major setback when it was reported that a flock of 500 ducks had innocently went to their deaths when they landed upon one of the dead seas euphemistically called “tailings ponds”. There was nothing unusual about waterfowl deaths: workers have attested to a steady attrition of ducks, geese, and wading birds. Only the size of the incident turned it into a PR disaster. Now a year later we learn that this flock was in fact much larger than originally reported, as large as 1600 birds.
As horrific as the environmental ravages of the tar sands, the social and economic assaults have been just as bad. The tar sands are a prime example of the drive to compensate for the effects of Peak Oil, that the best and easiest resource has been depleted, by using corporatism, class war, and externalization of costs to render the worst/hardest not as bad or as difficult for a power elite.
The Canadian government, in a bizarre display of 3rd worldism, has dedicated the country to becoming an American oil colony. Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a characteristic statement announced Canada as an “emerging energy superpower” with “growing oil deliverability”. What this has really meant is to dump  any concept of the public good, and true capitalism as well, in favor of extractionist rent-seeking.
The corporatist master plan for this was laid out in the 1990s “Declaration of Opportunity”, which in classic fashion promised prosperity and self-sufficiency but has delivered only instability, fear, and servitude. The Declaration called for massive subsidies, including extreme deregulation and privatizations, to artificially construct this industry. A gold rush would then heat up the whole economy.
What this has meant in practice is the classic colonial petrostate pattern. Canada’s economy and environment are being mined for the export of raw materials, while the gold rush has driven up prices in general. The result has been to further the hollowing out of Canada’s legitimate manufacturing economy, which has faced a sort of stagflation, all for the benefit of tar sands feudalism, a small corporate and political elite merely accumulating wealth they have redistributed to themselves.
This has extended to the liquidation of democracy. Under Canada’s current political system (a “two-party” pseudo-democracy much like that of America), where both parties are hard-core tar sands boosters, there is no political space for dissent from the tar sands regime, no way to vote against it.  Secrecy and censorship, the exclusion of public input, as well as the open flouting of the will of the voters (a 2007 Pembina poll found that 71% of Albertans want a moratorium on new projects) have been rampant.
NAFTA tightens the stranglehold. Under existing globalist regulations Canada is required to export a set amount of oil to America. (The result has been that Canada must now import oil from the Middle East among other places for its domestic use. This state of affairs is a refutation of the lie that globalization increases capitalist “efficiency” or rationality. Just like with any other capitalist-government nexus, all globalization does is help existing elites concentrate wealth and rig all systems in the interests of themselves.) This is now being extended in the proposed Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), whose goal is complete North American energy integration, consolidation of power, placing the energy industry largely outside the law and into the realm of unaccountable bureaucracy, with Canada and Mexico treated as American mines. This is the essence of corporatist autocracy-seeking. It’s an end run around democracy, environmental and labor regulations, in Canada’s case even energy and national security planning, against any kind of public interest. The SPP seeks security and prosperity only for this corporatist cabal, which fully comprises the titular “partnership”.
Peak Oilers should recognize how socioeconomically and ideologically the tar sands and aggrofuels represent attempts to consolidate what’s often called the Fortress world or some similar term. The SPP would be a major step toward this.
We can say Canada basically exports not just bitumen and syncrude, but water, natural gas, uranium, boreal forest and muskeg, ecosystems, wildlife, clean air to breathe and water to drink, fertile farmland, intact communities, the social and economic security and prosperity of an entire country, all to enrich a handful of glorified gold-panners and fill American SUV tanks.
The basic tar sands math: 1. Take all the things just listed, 2. destroy them, 3. all to produce syncrude (and uranium for nuke expansion* necessitated by the diversion of natural gas from power generation to tar sands processing), 4. in order that Americans can fill their gas tanks, 5. which perpetuates America’s oil addiction and energy insecurity and renders Canada’s insecurity even worse (when Canada could easily achieve energy autarchy if it had a rational, responsible plan), 6. all of this, from the inaugural forest and peatland destruction to burning gasoline at the end stage, pumping ever more carbon into the atmosphere.
This kind of aggression vs. the earth and society will only get more intense for as long as an elite insists on organizing civilization around these frivolous, destructive cars.
[* One of the truly bizarre aspects of the tar sands Tower of Babel is how, as the processing depletes natural gas and spews carbon, nuclear expansion is supposed to magically solve these problems, even as it exacerbates all the others and creates new one. As Canadian journalist and tar sands commentator Andrew Nikiforuk wrote, “Canada may well become the first nation to use nuclear energy not to retire fossil fuels but to accelerate their exploitation.”]