Monthly Archives: July 2014

Middle East Apocalypse Now

©2014 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee

[caption id="attachment_2801" align="aligncenter" width="400"]A missile launched A missile Launched      photo Public domain[/caption]  

Middle East Construction: The Predictable Road to Destruction


The Middle East is festering in boils  and burning.  Israel again has troops on the ground in Gaza in  a reciprocal attack on Hamas, who have been lobbing rockets into Israel from rocket launchers located in crowded civilian areas in Gaza  "when and as they wish." 

Like it or not,  Israel has chosen to defend itself by attacking. Children and innocent civilians are dying. With over 500 fatalities so far, there is no tangible sign of a cease fire or peace accord.

Are you surprised?  Why would anyone be surprised at an apocalypse now? 

What did world leaders really  expect as an outcome, when the State of Israel was magically created in 1948 by desperate political 'one-solution- fits all"  politicians over the objections of the Arab world?  Was it that then, as now,  we were 'desperate' to be seen to be 'doing something' ?

The Problem

Where Palestinians reportedly—note, reportedly, but let's allow clever historians, revisionists and others to battle  that out) had lived for centuries,  the plan for the formation of the State of Israel  was hatched a few years earlier,  a recommendation of the  Balfour Declaration (1917)  by The League of Nations and the Peel Commission (1936).   Undoubtedly, a collection of Brits, historians, learned and miscellaneous interested legal persons were involved in that historical decision.  We would guess  a few religious fanatics and the usual old boys and court jesters might have had some influence on the outcome. No matter.

Happy Hour

Let's tune in on a typical conversation during Happy hour down at the Old Bloke's  Club (1936) . Tinkling glasses, pipe tobacco smoke, maroon leather easy chairs and a crackling fire in Ye Great Fireplace.  Sounds good. )

"I say, old chap, I hear they're fighting over that bad potato-land, that hell-beaten pile of sand in Palestine, do tell?   "tch -tch  pip-pip, I hear  we  somewhat obligated to the problem, aren't we..?"

"Do tell!   Listen, old chap, we should just get on with dividing it into two pieces of sand, like that chap Balfour recommended, that ought to do it."

"Pip-pip!  Double the trouble, if you ask me, old boy!  Have you ever ridden a camel?"

"Disgusting noisy creatures, no, but  no doubt, old man, but it's still  a jolly good idea, I say, a brilliant plan if I ever saw one! —I mean to form a state, not to ride a camel, that is....details can be worked out later, since  we command the sand  as they say,, that plan would be most  brilliant, I say!  What ever could go wrong?  Ta-ta-for now old boy!"

Let us tune in once again to The Old Boy's Emporium  (still stubbornly called The Old Bloke's Club  by stiff upper-lipped loyalists)   a few years later  (1947)

"I say, old chap, did you see the latest in Palestine, the Arabs are restless again, attacking Jews and all, 'tis an unsavoury situation, isn't it?  Uncivilized, I say, we can't have that, let's invite a few of the best to the Emporium, old man, give them a tipple or three,  and get on with setting up a separate state for the Jews,  shall we,  —but only Israel shall be recognized as a state." "Genius, pure genius, old boy! Let's do it,  Israel it is!'

" do know  that will be a guaranteed sore spot in that land of sand forever,  don't you, old man?"

"Of course, my good man, but it's a genuine desert, chaps, complete with  camels and donkeys, and hot-headed people running every which way—they won' t know the difference..... but then,,,,they do seem to be wanting  some organization, don't they?"

"Nevertheless, men, tut-tut ....we can civilize Palestine as we have all over the globe,  so  pip-pip, tally-ho, onward and upward, Israel it is, apocalypse or no! "

And so the story goes—and the proverbial lines were drawn in the ever-shifting sands of Palestine. The State of Israel was thereby planned in the  'traditional' territory called  Palestine , where it was fully well known and understood that Arabs were unable to play well with others unwilling to accept the division of territory and imposition of a separate state for the Jews.  Arabs would  understandably be forever angry at the  creation of an official  foreign state for Jewish "foreigners" arbitrarily plunked in the middle of their desert. No matter, hindsight is always perfect.   Palestine was divided in 1948. May 14th, 1948 to be exact, the day the door to hell and endless misery was invented and left unlockedlike it or not. David Ben-Gurion (reportedly Zionist, but let's not go there, either) became the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel. The desert bloomed and madness began to consume mind, soul, and sand. The fuse that was lit  has been burning more reliably than an Eternal Flame—Pre-apocalypse, that is.

Requiem for Humanity in Despair

In hindsight, "blame" and  "I told you so" and expressions of outrage don't quite cut it when children are dying, and thousands of rockets are flying both ways and the destruction of war is in full progress.  The infrastructure and future of an incredibly poor country is being destroyed, and there is no end in sight. In reality, there has never been peace, and from all appearances, never will be.   How totally predictable. How foolish.  The Middle East needs to be reinvented, but will we learn from history? 


Is that Incoming I hear?

Posted in Humanity, Major Issues, Politics | 2 Comments

Strip-Mining The Oil Sands

©2014  by Raymond Alexander Kukkee [caption id="attachment_2764" align="aligncenter" width="768"]A huge pit, strip-mining with gigantic minint truck andequipment Strip-mining Oil Sands  in  Alberta                      photo by Mark Ralston[/caption]  

"Strip-mining:  The removal of  economically less-valuable cover, vegetation or other natural layers from the  environment to expose and enable the profitable exploitation and extraction of large, highly profitable deposits of coal without digging a shaft."  

  Strip-mining.  Let's face it.  It's an ugly combination of words, because it is an UGLY process.    It begins with stripping, the systematic, complete, and violent removal of  protective layers, whether it be in the act of rape or  exploiting  nature. Strip-mining is the most destructive resource extraction process in the world. Strip-mining was ugly in the historical destruction of  Appalachia. Condemned as a symbol of greed and ugliness that remains visible in those areas, strip-mining has returned to North America with a vengeance under  the  euphemism "development"   of the Athabaska oil Sands.

No Excuses Allowed

Let's take the gloves off  and allow  no excuses.    It is somehow now deemed "acceptable"  to allow the uncontrolled denuding and strip-mining  of thousands of square kilometers of Canada's oil sands for profit, leaving barren, oil-soaked lands and poisoned water. The oil  is not for the beneficial use by Canadians.  Strip-mining the oil sands is not for Canadians by any stretch of the imagination, nor is the pipeline structure for the benefit of Canadians. It does not lower outrageous gasoline prices for Canadians. It sadly fails all  international expectations of management of the environment climate control and the reduction of the use of fossil fuels.  The potential for irreversible, horrendous environmental spills,  pipeline breaks  and catastrophes is so high it is almost sublime.  The oil sands already inflicts the largest carbon footprint in history at a time when Carbon dioxide levels in the environment are already the highest they have been in over  800 years.  Imagine that.  Scientific data falls upon stubborn, deaf ears, closed minds blinded by indifference, ego and huge profits for international petroleum giants derived at any cost. International oil companies including  Shell and  China's CNOOC, a communist  state-owned oil giant that was enabled by the outrageous approval of the sale of NEXXEN--(conveniently including a significant percentage of the total  oil sands resource )are laughing already.  They are now  "developing" the oil sands as they choose to do, under relaxed environmental laws courtesy of the Harper government.

'Development' of the Oil Sands

  Let's call it what it IS.  STRIP-MINING of Canada's oil sands. A dirty, ugly environmental disaster already in process, and clearly the most horrific environmental disaster willfully perpetrated on the globe today. Further expansion of  oil sands projects in Alberta will be further exacerbated and enabled by the highly-controversial construction of the potentially disastrous  Northern Gateway Pipeline through First Nations lands and  pristine British Columbia to a 'marine terminal' at Kitimat  --to load and ship crude oil by heavy tanker traffic  through ecologically-sensitive coastal and  inland waters.

Remember the  Exxon Valdez. How clever. The Exxon Valdez disaster which dumped many millions of gallons of crude oil on the west coast  was never  cleaned up. Why? It is impossible to clean up a disaster of that scale. Much crude oil sinks to the bottom and cannot be recovered. It remains there today, over 20 years later, contaminating pristine coastal waters. They played in the surf,   "mopped up " a few beaches for the media, and washed a few seabirds off with dish soap.  Isn't that encouraging?


The Harper Legacy and the Sell-Out of Canada

Why was the Northern Gateway pipeline approved?  To  hurry up  the export of that precious Canadian resource  to China and  Asia. To accelerate Canada into "world oil producer" status   Should Canadians swell with pride?   No. Why?

Let's grow up and face facts. It is a foregone conclusion the pipeline had to be approved to make China happy and can be "justified " because the CNOOC-Nexxen deal was already made in spite of the fact that the majority of thinking Canadians opposed that sale,  oppose  further expansion of the tar sands, and oppose  the potentially  disastrous Northern Gateway  pipeline  project itself. The sad fact is, the expansion of strip mining of the oil sands  and pipeline projects have been expressly approved  by Stephen Harper and his Conservative government  as a matter of legacy for Mr. Harper  and his coiffed ego. To save face for the sell-out of Canada. To make his rich friends happy.  Should Canadians collectively be outraged?  You can bet on it. Let's tell Stephen.   

Dear Prime Minister Harper:

Strip-mining Canada's oil sands was always an outrageously bad idea and an environmental disaster.   Approving the sale of Nexxen to CNOOC was your worst idea yet. Fact is, you sold out Canada.   When the resource is depleted, China and it's puppet petroleum giants will walk away laughing at you, Sir, and Canadians will be left with your legacy--millions of square kilometers of worthless, barren, oil-soaked land, poisoned, toxic water, mutant fish and wildlife,— and very sick people.

Your response, Sir, can  also not begin to address the  problems your obsession with fossil fuels is causing, the  issue of climate change and flooding which is already happening. Further to that, Mr. Prime Minister,  STRIP-MINING of the tar sands land mass is irresponsible and no less criminal than strip-mining of mountains for coal in the Appalachian mountains. --For profit, for export, for greedy foreign profiteers, —and certainly not for Canadians. It is a crime against humanity.

The thoughtless expansion and destruction of  unique oil sands habitat is systematically destroying a huge organic mat,  a natural sponge that WAS capable of soaking up and holding hundreds of trillions of gallons of water.  Try it yourself at 24 Sussex Drive. A simple kitchen sponge will hold a half liter of water and allow it to evaporate slowly. Do you not understand how much water WAS, but is no longer being controlled by the destroyed oil sands areas?

How much longer should Canadians be tolerating this foolishness, considering alternative clean energy is available?

Your legacy at this point  is a bad joke, --with all due respect, Mr. Prime Minister. What will you tell your grandchildren when millions of gallons of crude oil  end up in B.C rivers?  Which excuse will you use when the Douglas Channel is irreversibly coated with crude oil?   Will you throw up your hands, whining, and say  "WE made a mistake?" Perhaps you'll use  "I  did not understand what strip-mining was" as an excuse,  or  ' I  needed a legacy to feel important?"    Which will it be? Some "Harper legacy," Sir—again, with all due respect.   Mr. Prime Minister, please try again.  Canadians expect and deserve better. 

Do what is right for Canadians.  On July 1st on Canada Day,  you suggested you care for Canada and Canadians. Prove it.  ##


Is that Incoming I hear?

+ Photo credit:  Oil sands mine  by  Mark Ralston

Tags: #strip-mining,  #oil sands, # Stephen Harper,  #environment  #major issues, #HarperLegacy  #tar sands,

Posted in Business, Economic issues, Environment, Ethics, Major Issues, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments