Humble Dogs

That they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts. Matthew 13:15b

Archive for the category “Politics”

Compromise on Gay Issues Inevitable

Was a compromise on gay issues inevitable, even in most churches? Conservatives have not succeeded in the argument against accepting gay sex or tolerating gay marriage by mainstream culture. Canada has made the “rights” of homosexuals the official law of the land and the United States of America are doing the same, state by state, with little effective opposition. President Obama has made the Gay agenda a priority of his administration according to his inaugural address.

Barack Obama giving inaugural address

Barack Obama giving inaugural address

Excerpts:

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.

Many church denominations have capitulated and now endorse the legitimacy of gays and lesbians and have given full rights of membership even to ordination into the priesthood. Orthodox Biblical teaching became lost as more and more clergy were entering the church through liberalized university studies instead of scripture based seminaries.

How long will it be before all churches will be prohibited from “anti gay” teaching by law and be forced into accepting the homosexual lifestyle and practice? This could easily be done by withholding tax exemption status from churches who do not conform to government regulations. Would the laity of most churches except holding out against the monitary impositions imposed on them? I have doubts that there are enough scripturally sound church congregations.

Most larger cities hold Gay Pride days in their communities each year. These events are a source of much needed income for many businesses in proximity to the events. Many of these businesses are owned or managed by Christians who welcome the increase in sales and business. There are some holdouts but, very few. Many a professing Christian will join in the festivities for a day of fun. This could be the sign of a change in Church / State relationship. Perhaps the trend for house churches will become the norm, who knows.

The main argument for the legitimacy of homosexuals is; “I was born this way”. I won’t and can’t argue with that because it is true. It is also true for peaodophiles, kleptomaniacs, pyromaniacs, and alcoholics just to name a few “gene” based human traits. All persons were born into sin. “But, homosexual activity is between consenting adults and therefore is not hurting anybody.” Again, by law, that is true, but morally, a sin is still a sin. A lie is still a lie whether it is a whopper or just a consoling of oneself. Homosexual practice is contrary to God’s moral standard. God loves the gay or lesbian person, he just hates the practice of homosexual behavior. God even loves the peaodophile, the alcoholic, the kleptomaniac, the pyromaniac, the sexual predator, the murderer. God even loves you, – and me, as wretched as I am.

Thank you Jesus for being the propitiation for our sins.

A concern I have is that one day a “smart” lawyer in making a name for himself will take the arguments of the gay community and use the fact that peaodophiles should warrant the same rights as homosexuals. Since peaodophiles were born that way they cannot be held accountable for their “natural” or “God given” behaviors.


Photo Credit  – familysecuritymatters.org  I do not necessarily endorse this website for all content.

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Obama Can Force Oil Sands to Clean Up Their Act

Keystone XL pipeline now awaits the decision from President Obama for the go ahead.

The pipeline, when completed would carry oil sands heavy crude oil from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast. It is well documented that the extraction and consumption of the oil would significantly worsen global warming and contribute to increasing overall environmental and ecological damage to a vast part of northern Canada.

Governor of Nebraska Backs Route for Pipeline
By JOHN M. BRODER
Published: January 22, 2013

WASHINGTON — The governor of Nebraska on Tuesday approved a revised route through the state for the Keystone XL pipeline, setting up a decision for President Obama that pipeline opponents say will be a crucial test of his intentions on climate change. Read more…

All Religion Is A Lie

My original title for this post was Death and Taxes.

John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Romans 1:18–21 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. ..

As we surf through the myriad of websites and blogs on the internet, we can’t help but come across a host of differing opinions and explanations telling us how in methods and ways to reach the ultimate goal in life, that being discovering the final answer – who, what and where is god.

It has been said that there are only two things you can be sure of – Death and Taxes. That is basically true, for secular living. Both are part of the two most divisive topics – Religion and Politics. The two taboos for congeniality.

In politics the debate is: Resolved, We have a debt problem, who will pay?
In religion the debate is: Resolved, We have a debt problem, who will pay?

But, one might say, they’re both the same debate. That is absolutely true. On the human plain it’s called politics, on the spiritual plain it’s called religion. We cannot separate the two; Our politics will become our religion and vise versa, our religion will become our politics.

Both Political and Religious resolutions depend mostly on compromise, basically a halfway solution that only mitigates the immediate emergency, the present problem. “We will deal with it as best we can for now.” Although compromise is often a necessity to reaching political agreement, compromise is not truth, it is a cover up.

Compromise in religion comes from not knowing the truth. Let us make up some explanation, decorate it with what people want to hear and call it “XYZ”. People become so used to being told lies that they can no longer discern the truth. There is the manifestation of the problem – lies sooner or later can and all too often become believable, especially when they contain an element of truth. In reality, they are all a covering up for lack of truth.

Covering up is what people do best. They lie. Soon, knowing that compromise, or half truth, is always a way out, compromise becomes the norm, lying becomes the norm. I recall a sales seminar I once attended, the speaker stated; “When dealing with a prospective customer, stretch the facts but never say an outright lie.” Lying is the reason advertising sells. Not that all advertising or promotion are lies, it is that everyone is looking to resolve a situation or a problem. Everyone is looking for an easier way out and advertising promises a solution in the product it promotes, whether true or not.

Cover up, or lying is the number one blemish on the human character. Every one of us is guilty and is what gets nearly every person into hot water at some point in their lives. Lying can be causal to; the disgrace of politicians, the ruin of corporate profit, the demotion of rank or position, the blemish on reputation, the break up of marriage and family, the end of friendships, the down fall of church leaders.

After the lie comes the denial. The inability to come clean, admit the mistake, confess. Then comes the defense or excuse making. His fault, her fault, I was under pressure, the devil made me do it, etc. Lying to amend the lie can be endless.

Every religion comes to the same crucial point of dogmatic failure, the inability to get past personal debt, our sin, who will pay and how. Every religion has to come to a compromise of one mode or another to either allay the penalty of sin or deny the debt of sin altogether. Every religion needs a lie to be believable.

There are mystic religions that depend on contortions and meditations that will transform you to a whole new consciousness. “Everybody say Oohm”.
There are cosmic religions that promise the powers of universal goddesses who will transform your life to peace and serenity. “It’s all in your mind, think harder.”
There are reincarnate religions that promise rebirth in another form. “Can I be a tortoise next time around, they live longer.”
There are destiny religions that place your life on the shuffle of a deck of cards. “I don’t like your reading. I demand a re-shuffle.”
There are planetary religions that place your destiny in the cosmic alignment of the stars at birth. Or is that conception? “What sign was I born under? – It said Maternity on the door.”
There are prosperity religions that promise riches and great wealth as long as you pay in accordance of your desire. “You need more faith son, donate another hundred”.
There are penitence religions that require one to earn the reward of forgiveness. “Hey, Senor, how much for impure thoughts?”
There are ‘sign’ religions that ask you to develop a certain sign of faith. “Keep babbling, soon it will come.”
There are ceremonial religions than demand traditions and laws be obeyed. “Here is your path to heaven.”
All these religions are no better as a path to God and Righteousness than the agnostic, god is unknown and unknowable, or the atheist  the rejection of belief in the existence of deity.

What all these religions miss is the reality of God. God doesn’t want ceremony, he doesn’t rule in law, he is not one with or part of the universe, every star is a work of His hand. He is not a god of chance or luck, He doesn’t give out rewards for being good. His favor is not conditional on signs or practices of penitence. He doesn’t reveal Himself to any special class of believer or show favor one over the other.

God is a God of grace, it’s all free, and all He wants of you or me or anyone, anywhere, is be in honest relationship with Him. All of the guilt, all of the penalty, is paid in full, by Him, in the person of Christ Jesus, God who came to live with us, paid the ultimate price that we might have free and complete access to God as one with Christ, a part of the Family, the Holy Brotherhood, a kinship in and through His Spirit. As a bride is one with her husband, we, the church, as members of the body of Christ are one with God and in full inheritance of the Kingdom of God.

Through Christ Jesus, God has shown us His relationship between God and man, His promise, His covenant:
2 Corinthians 3:6 “He (God) has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Christianity is a relationship not a religion. Christianity is a relationship between God and man, demonstrated man to man and has as the foundational fabric – love. Love of God, love for each other. An unconditional love, forgiving, comforting, forbearing, providing, as a bride is to her husband, husband is to his bride.

Matthew 22: 35-40;
“One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

John 13:35 quotes Jesus saying, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
I Peter 4 says, “Love each other; share with and care for each other; serve each other.”

Tertullian, 3rd century Roman historian, reported that the Romans would exclaim about Christians, “See how they love one another!”

If you feel that I am off track with what I have said in this post, please, I want to hear from you.

Love and the Single Mom

Her husband lost his job as construction foreman after the building downturn 5 years prior and in the following year accepted a lower pay job with a private contractor in a small town just outside a military base. They were happy there, got to know their neighbors, attended a local church, along with their two children, they just wanted to fit in. Then the unthinkable happened when one day at work he was killed in a machinery accident. The contractor he worked for did not provide insurance coverage and after the accident, mom and children were left nearly destitute. With only social services to rely on, she was forced to leave the family home and move to a small apartment.

Social services provision not being sufficient to live on, she was forced to work part time at a local diner. Having to leave her children unattended for several hours each day while she worked, the authorities threatened to remove her children from her care. Sometime in her despair  she was offered a drug to hide the pain, she was hooked. Now in deepened desperation and in dire need for money, the woman felt the only way she could manage, was to resort to prostitution. The army base nearby provided ample customers for her illicit services. Her self worth crumbled, she became ashamed to be seen in public.

At the church she attended, she was beginning to feel very uncomfortable. The greeters at the door, although polite, did not seem welcoming anymore. She began to notice people stare in her direction. No one asked her to help out at any of the festivities in which she had participated previously when her husband was alive. No one even comes over to talk with her any more.

Her son has quit soccer and is now a victim of bullying at school. Her daughter is skipping classes and the police have picked her up twice for shop lifting. She has become exceedingly depressed.

I know this woman. I believe you know her too. She arrives just as the service starts, sits near the back of the church and leaves before the service ends. She is a single mom, one of possibly the most ostracized group in the country. To clarify; Not all single moms give in to drugs nor will many resort to prostitution but, well over half are left close to defined poverty. Almost all need help in some way. Most single moms will leave the church. Institutional counselling cannot provide the the care and attention mom and family require.

Consider:

  • The single mom is one of the fastest-growing identified groups of our population, why has the church ignored them for so long?
  • By “appearances” the perceived make-up of most churches is run by and for married couples with adequate incomes.
  • It is difficult for many single moms to ‘Break the Ice’. They feel they will be a burden and their meager contributions just cannot measure up to the standards.
  • There is a stigma attached to being a single mom. “How dare she get pregnant.” or “How dare she get a divorce.”
  • There is often a shield put up by married women to protect husbands and family from the single mom.
  • How has the condemnation of abortion without guidance and support led to the huge numbers of pregnancies ending in abortion?
  • How has the lack of adequate counsel (for both girls and boys) led to so many young girls becoming single moms.
  • How has inadequate marriage and family counselling from the church led to so many divorces?
  • How has the condemnation of divorce without concrete support led to so many single moms leaving the church?
  • Apart from seasonal support at Christmas, often through secular agencies, single moms are very much forgotten.
  • The emotional state and spiritual condition of single moms is as important, if not more so, than the food and clothing.
  • The most precious gift the church can offer a single mom and family is to be welcomed as Christ welcomes.
  • Will single moms place a burden on the church? No!
  • Will single moms use much of the resources of the church? Yes, Be glad in it!

For more information for what the church can do for single moms, type in or copy, ‘single moms and the church‘ to your search engine.

In my peruse of the internet I came across this blog entry:

Illegal Immigrants

Richard Rohr
December 18, 2011

This morning after celebrating the 8AM Mass here at Holy Family parish in Albuquerque, I had finished talking to folks in the vestibule and aisles, when I noticed one middle aged woman standing to the side weeping. I approached her and realized she could not speak English, so I invited another lady to translate her Spanish. She was holding a baby, but said she had three more under 13 at home.
Read more…

Rants of a Christian Enviromentalist

I am an environmentalist. I believe all people have a role to play in protecting the environment and the eco-systems we live in. Even more so for us who claim a dedication to Christian principles. We were created by God to be stewards of all He created.

Earth

View from Space

Genesis 1: 28; And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth”.

It is that word, “DOMINION”, which means REGENCY. God granted us regency in His creation. We, mankind, are to, use the land, the seas and all God has abundantly supplied but, we are to watch over it, take care of it, and return it to Him unsullied. God has asked us to be conservationists, environmentalists, ecologists and take care of this earth. Perhaps, at least in part, it is our failure to look after this earth that the final act of the creation story is to create a new earth, one fit for His Holy Kingdom.

I will admit, I get very judgmental over environment issues, especially towards those whose authority is to look after the affairs of our Country, Province/State, or community. Yes, I am referring to politicians  I live in Alberta, Canada and I realize that even though I am retired, much of the benefits I enjoy come from the resource revenues created by the Oil Sands industry. Some call it the Tar Sands, probably a more fit name but, that is another debate.

The last thing I want in this matter is to have the Oil Sands shut down. That would serve no one. What I would like to see is proper management applied to this resource. Both the Federal and Provincial Governments know the problems with pollution, they have conducted numerous studies, they know the solutions and yet due to heavy lobbying pressure by the oil companies involved, they choose to do nothing environmentally constructive. They boast about the monies the project brings in, they spread economic fear that unnecessary meddling will create economic disaster.

What I don’t understand is why the laws to protect the environment and ecology which are already in place are not enforced over the industries involved with the oil sands.

Several months ago a government authorized study conducted by the Univ. of Alberta confirmed that pollution, directly attributed to oil sands operations, is having a detrimental effect on the environment and the ecology in a wide path, mainly east,(prevailing winds) surrounding the Fort McMurray, Wood Buffalo region. These reports were not released to the public and scientists who worked on the report were put under gag order. The report was eventually leaked by a subordinate several weeks later.

I wrote to my Member of Parliament, Blaine Calkins, on this matter and received this reply:

Dear Mr. Tilley,

Thank you for your letter concerning the recent study done by Environment Canada that confirmed the studies done by Dr. Schindler.

As Environment Canada noted in their report, the levels of containments found in the samples were consistent with contaminants that have been found in areas with no development. Consequently, Environment Canada has decided to do further tests in an effort to better understand the levels of contaminants in the Oil Sands area.

“…the levels of contaminants found in the samples were consistent with contaminants that have been found in areas with no development.” Of course they are consistent – they are the same contaminants blown there by winds coming off the oil sands.
In other words; “We will continue to do nothing.”

I also asked him about the ‘Gag Order’ muzzling the UofA scientists, he replied:

With regards to your comments about monitoring reports being kept secret, and scientists being ‘gagged’, it simply isn’t happening. The process of making reports public is not new, and has not been changed by our Government.

OK, Let’s hear from the scientists themselves after the report was leaked. Watch the following news video.

Government Hides Proof of Oil Sands Contamination
http://www.albertaprimetime.com/Stories.aspx?pd=4450

Original Air Date: Monday, November 05, 2012
The public is learning Environment Canada knew of oil sands contamination and muzzled its scientists. What fallout will those revelations cause?

We speak with David Schindler, international acclaimed and outspoken environmental biologist from the University of Alberta.

Tar Pit #3

Tar Pit #3

This week a new report was released by Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario This time the report was published directly to major news sources. This report confirms the findings of the previous UofA reports of last November.

Oil sands development polluting Alberta lakes: study 
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/oil-sands-development-polluting-alberta-lakes-study/article7014184/

Oil Sands Polluting Area Lakes 
http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/393673-report-oilsands-polluting-area-lakes

Oil sands pollution ‘clearly evident’, government-funded study says 
http://business.financialpost.com/2013/01/07/government-funded-study-concludes-toxic-hydrocarbons-from-oil-sands-pollute-lakes/

Margaret Munro, Postmedia News | Jan 7, 2013

Leading federal and academic scientists have uncovered “compelling” evidence that Alberta’s oil sands operations have been sending toxins into the atmosphere for decades.

Industry’s role as a decades-long contributor of PAHs to oil sands lake ecosystems is now clearly evident
The team has found “striking” increases in contaminants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at the bottom of six lakes up to 90 kilometres from the massive oil sands operations in northeastern Alberta.

PAHs began to climb in the lake sediments in the 1970s and are now up to 23 times higher than 1960 levels. It says the increased PAHs coincided with oil sands development and the compounds have a distinct “petrogenic” fingerprint different from PAHs generated by natural phenomenon like fire.

Levels of the toxins have almost tripled since the 1960s in Namur Lake, the most remote lake tested. It is about 90 kilometres northwest of oil sands operations in a provincial park known for its fishing. The PAHs are up to 23 times higher in the other lakes, which are within 35 kilometres of the oil sands operations.

“Given the planned expansion of the oil sands, the trend will likely accelerate in future,” says co-author John Smol, a Canada research chair in Environmental Change at Queen’s University.

Government and industry response is; “that many pollutants found in the lakes and rivers of northeastern Alberta are naturally occurring and leached from the bitumen deposits themselves.”

In other words; “We choose to do nothing.”

An Environmental Disgrace

The Oil Sands and Canada’s Environment

I came across this series of photos while reading an article in the Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/ They are part of the Garth Lenz’ touring exhibition, “The True Cost of Oil”, which has played a major part in the fight against Alberta Tar Sands Mining.

As a Christian, I believe that environmental protection is an extremely important part in serving God. God made us stewards of this land and all the creatures that live on it. Without a clean and livable environment life, as we know it, can’t exist.

This presentation is directed at Alberta Canada’s oil sands. The single largest source of pollution in the world. Alberta contains only 3% of Canada’s fresh water, Yet, due to oil sands mismanagement, the oil sands pollute 22% of Canada’s fresh water, almost the entire Athabaska basin.

What does environmental devastation actually look like? At TEDxVictoria, photographer Garth Lenz shares shocking photos of the Alberta Tar Sands mining project — and the beautiful (and vital) ecosystems under threat.

Here are several photos from the video presentation:

Click on photo for larger view.

Syncrude Upgrader and Oil Sands

Syncrude Upgrader and Oil Sands

The refining or upgrading of the tarry bitumen which lies under the oil sands consumes far more oil and energy than conventional oil and produces almost twice as much carbon. Each barrel of oil requires 3-5 barrels of fresh water from the neighboring Athabasca River. About 90% of this is returned as toxic tailings into the vast unlined tailings ponds that dot the landscape. Syncrude alone dumps 500,000 tons of toxic tailings into just one of their tailings ponds everyday.

Boreal Forest and Coast Mountains

Boreal Forest and Coast Mountains

Boreal Forest and Coast Mountains / Atlin Lake, British Columbia | 2001
This area, located in the extreme northwest of British Columbia, marks the western boundary of the Boreal region. On the border of the Yukon and Southeast Alaska, the western flank of these mountains descends into Alaska’s Tongass Rainforest and British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. Far from the oil sands, the greatest remaining coastal temperate and marine ecosystem is imminently threatened by the proposal to build a 750-mile pipeline to pump 550,000 barrels per day of oil sands crude to the coast. Once there, it would be shipped through some of the most treacherous waters, virtually assuring an ecological disaster at some point in the future.

Tailings Pond in Winter

Tailings Pond in Winter

Tailings Pond in Winter, Abstract #2 / Alberta Tar Sands | 2010
Even in the extreme cold of the winter, the toxic tailings ponds do not freeze. On one particularly cold morning, the partially frozen tailings, sand, liquid tailings and oil residue, combined to produce abstractions that reminded me of a Jackson Pollock canvas.

Aspen and Spruce | Northern Alberta | 2001

Aspen and Spruce | Northern Alberta | 2001

Aspen and Spruce | Northern Alberta | 2001
Photographed in late autumn in softly falling snow, a solitary spruce is set against a sea of aspen. The Boreal Forest of northern Canada is perhaps the best and largest example of a largely intact forest ecosystem. Canada’s Boreal Forest alone stores an amount of carbon equal to ten times the total annual global emissions from all fossil fuel consumption.

Tar Sands at Night

Tar Sands at Night

Tar Sands at Night#1 | Alberta Oil Sands | 2010
Twenty four hours a day the oil sands eats into the most carbon rich forest ecosystem on the planet. Storing almost twice as much carbon per hectare as tropical rainforests, the boreal forest is the planet’s greatest terrestrial carbon storehouse. To the industry, these diverse and ecologically significant forests and wetlands are referred to as overburden, the forest to be stripped and the wetlands dredged and replaced by mines and tailings ponds so vast they can be seen from outer space.

Dry Tailings

Dry Tailings

Dry Tailings #2 | Alberta Tar Sands | 2010
In an effort to deal with the problem of tailings ponds, Suncor is experimenting with dry tailings technology. This has the potential to limit, or eliminate, the need for vast tailings ponds in the future and lessen this aspect of the oil sands’ impact.

Tailings Pond Abstract

Tailings Pond Abstract

Tailings Pond Abstract #2 | Alberta Tar Sands / 2010
So large are the Alberta Tar Sands tailings ponds that they can be seen from space. It has been estimated by Natural Resources Canada that the industry to date has produced enough toxic waste to fill a canal 32 feet deep by 65 feet wide from Fort McMurray to Edmonton, and on to Ottawa, a distance of over 2,000 miles.
In this image, the sky is reflected in the toxic and oily waste of a tailings pond.

Confluence of Carcajou River and Mackenzie River

Confluence of Carcajou River and Mackenzie River

Confluence of Carcajou River and Mackenzie River | Mackenzie Valley, NWT | 2005
The Caracajou River winds back and forth creating this oxbow of wetlands as it joins the Mackenzie flowing north to the Beaufort Sea. This region, almost entirely pristine, and the third largest watershed basin in the world, will be directly impacted by the proposed Mackenzie Valley National Gas Pipeline to fuel the energy needs of the Alberta Oil Sands mega-project.

Black Cliff

Black Cliff

Black Cliff | Alberta Oil Sands | 2005
Oil sands pit mining is done in benches or steps. These benches are each approximately 12-15 meters high. Giant shovels dig the oil sand and place it into heavy hauler trucks that range in size from 240 tons to the largest trucks, which have a 400-ton capacity.

Oil Sands Upgrader in Winter

Oil Sands Upgrader in Winter

Oil Sands Upgrader in Winter| Alberta Oil Sands | 2010
The Alberta oil sands are Canada’s single largest source of carbon. They produce about as much annually as the nation of Denmark. The refining of the tar-like bitumen requires more water and uses almost twice as much energy as the production of conventional oil. Particularly visible in winter, vast plumes of toxic pollution fill the skies. The oil sands are so large they create their own weather systems.

Boreal Forest and Wetland

Boreal Forest and Wetland

Boreal Forest and Wetland | Athabasca Delta Northern Alberta | 2010
Located just 70 miles downstream from the Alberta oil sands, the Athabasca Delta is the world’s largest freshwater delta. It lies at the convergence of North America’s four major flyways and is a critical stopover for migrating waterfowl and considered one of the most globally significant wetlands. It is threatened both by the massive water consumption of the tar sands and its toxic tailings ponds.

Tar Pit #3

Tar Pit #3

Tar Pit #3
This network of roads reminded me of a claw or tentacles. It represents for me the way in which the tentacles of the tar sands reach out and wreak havoc and destruction. Proposed pipelines to American Midwest, Mackenzie Valley, and through the Great Bear Rainforest will bring new threats to these regions while the pipelines fuel new markets and ensure the proposed five fold expansion of the oil sands.

Stand for Social Justice

Jeff Denis, Assistant Professor of Sociology at McMaster University analyzed the First Nations demonstrations well when he said;

“For non-native people, Idle No More is a matter of social and environmental justice. When corporate profit is privileged over the health of our lands and waters, we all suffer. When government stifles debate, democracy is diminished. Bill C-45 is just the latest in a slew of legislation that undermines Canadians’ rights. In standing against it, the First Nations are standing for us too. If our government , PM Harper in particular, does not respect Indigenous and treaty rights, then the very legitimacy of the Canadian state — and thus of all our citizenship rights — is in doubt also. That’s what Idle No More is about.”

Mr. Harper has absolutely not a moral fiber in his body. He knows that a meeting with the Chiefs can only lead to repealing the government’s 2 omnibus bills passed earlier this year. They knew before passing the legislation that they had a constitutional obligation to meet with First Nations, they didn’t. The senate also knew the same before approving the two omnibus bills, they approved them both regardless. The Governor General knew the legislation needed First Nations consultation first, he gave both Royal Assent dispite the constitutional law. Does the matter now need to be settled in court?

Of Lies and Democracy

Two very telling articles on http://www.ipolitics.ca

 Lying lies and the politicians who tell them 

By Paul Adams | Dec 16, 2012

In between the diplomatic deception and the outrageous, pointless lie, there is a vast array of intermediate-level cases that are more ambiguous, morally and politically.

Politicians may have a theoretical duty to be truthful to the public, but they also are engaged in a bitter contest with ruthless political opponents, vying for the attention of an often disengaged public.

In this atmosphere, politicians may present a partial or misleading version of the facts, which they regard as truthful (perhaps only technically) but others see as lies: “an economy of truth”, as Edmund Burke famously called it.

I really like the following line:

“… a storyline designed to give an intellectual pedigree to a policy adopted for tactical reasons…”

 

How Harper exploits Canadians’ ignorance of parliamentary democracy
By Frances Russell | Dec 7, 2012

Canada has the most dysfunctional and undemocratic parliament in the British Commonwealth. Canadians have been reduced to electoral democracy, not parliamentary democracy.

Democratizing the Constitution — Reforming Responsible Government, a new book by political scientists Peter Aucoin, Mark D. Jarvis and Lori Turnbull, defines electoral democracy as “a system in which the electorate decides who forms the government and the prime minister then governs as a virtual autocrat until the next election … The concentration of powers … cannot be permitted to remain in the hands of a single individual who is able to undermine democratic governance at his or her will.”

Canada should follow the lead of its sister Commonwealth countries Britain, Australia and New Zealand and codify the principles of parliamentary democracy to ensure the players — voters and politicians — understand the playbook and stay within the rules.

 

Chinese Control Oilsands

In a December 10 column, “Nexen sale decision-making seen through different prisms” Andrew Coyne asks:
“Would someone please explain just what it is they think the Chinese are plotting to do to us? Starting with: How does China acquire this death grip on the oilsands in the first place?”

Here is a possible scenario of how China does just that:

The US is in dire financial trouble and much of that is the trillions in debt they owe to and borrowed from China.

Phoenix Energy Holdings Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of PetroChina Co. Ltd. is already in partnership with TransCanada Corp. to build a new $3-billion, 900,000 barrel-a-day Grand Rapids Pipeline System south to service the US market. Couple that with the existing pipelines, supplies the US all the oil they need. This pipeline is a guaranteed “GO” by Harper and co.

In five years, the US, under a Republican administration, will broker a deal with China which will ease the burden of debt China holds over the USA. Why not forgive a large portion of the debt? China will never collect on it anyway. Besides, they need their biggest trade customer to remain fiscally solvent.
Part of that deal is to supply the US with cheap bitumen crude from Canada which will force the barrel price of oil sands crude to below $50.
At this price, Chinese companies will be the only producers who can afford to continue oil sands operations.
In exchange for cheap Canadian oil, China will import crude oil from Alaska, also at a discounted price; better oil, shorter distance.
The Northern Gateway Pipeline through BC is started but never completed. Many investors abandon the oil sands for lack of profitability.
Golden opportunity for China to take over under Harper’s “exceptional circumstances.”
Safety will decrease, pay will decrease, exodus of Canadian workers, Chinese workers brought in as “temporary”.
New energy technology will replace majority of fossil fuels within 20 years, possibly nuclear and thermal.
Over $400 Billion projected costs to clean up after the oil sands bitumen demand runs out in 20 years.
The only promise that the Conservatives will be able to say they kept is the 20 year promise to reduce fossil fuel greenhouse gases.

Workers Needed in BC

Does any Canadian want to work underground in a coal mine for $12/hr?
Apply at Dehua International Mines, Tumbler Ridge BC.

The median starting wage for coal mining in Canada starts at $55,000 per year / $25.00/hr.
Peace River Coal Inc. an operation nearby typically pays its employees 10% over median.
Sherritt International in Alberta pays approx. 12% over median.

Canadian Dehua International Mines Group Inc., a consortium of Chinese companies has put up $1 billion to develop metallurgical coal from B.C.’s northeast. After posting publicly for miners and offering $12 to $15 /hr. and getting no Canadian takers for the jobs, they are now bringing in up to 400 Chinese temp workers at 15% less pay, $10 – $11 /hr. Its hiring policy has the support of Canada’s federal government, which has already approved temporary visas for the Chinese workers, and the provincial government, which sets regulations regarding mine operation and safety.
The Chinese management at Murray River has stated that Canadian miners don’t know longwall mining and preference is given to workers who speak Mandarin.

This is union busting at it’s lowest degree. Not only is the government permitting this atrocity, the Chinese miners will be paying bare minimum income tax on their wages if any at all. The coal that is mined is sold directly to China at a discounted price leaving less royalties paid in Canada and, because of the below market price, most likely a trumped up loss on the books of Dehua International Mines meaning no corporate taxes paid either. It is a lose – lose – lose for Canada.

Just another brilliant example of resource management by the Feds.

Seeing the safety and performance records of Chinese owned companies, can they really be trusted?

Yukon Zinc Corp., another Chinese mining company operation has been closed for safety reasons by the Yukon Government after several deaths over 3 years and a massive cave-in occurring February 2011.

Two imported Chinese workers have already been killed while erecting a storage tank at a Chinese site in the oil sands.

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