Oilsands, Slaves, and Two Visitors

The season’s opening pair of little yellow, black-headed Wilson's warblers arrived this morning, right on time, end of April for Western Canada, in the lilac rammage by the fence.

Hitting the wall
In energy news, the Alberta oilsands seeks public money to make it work. Imperial Oil scientist and advisor to the Alberta government, Clement Bowman, an accomplished oil-field expert, credited with "unlocking the commercial potential" of the tarsands, is lobbying the Canadian government to come up with the money to solve "the huge environmental problems associated with the resource," namely, carbon dioxide emissions, massive water divergence, a nuclear power plant, and an obliterated prairie ecosystem. He adds that unless these environmental issues are solved, "the oil sands have almost hit the wall."

So there you have it. The "wall" is profitability. So, the globalized "free-market" solution is to socialize the costs (insist that tax payers solve the environmental problems) and privatize the profits, the thin little margin that must be preserved to make oil company executives and shareholders richer.

A few of the cost subsidies for the taxpayers to make the tarsands project work for the oil industry: infrastructure, roads, public health, hydro lines, a nuclear power plant to boil the bitumen, insurance for the nuclear power plant, decommission and clean up the dead plant later, store the waste, pay for research to make nuclear power safer, research to "solve" the huge environmental problems, actually solve those problems, and then pay for the clean up for all the problems that aren't solved, decimated prairies and a destroyed west coast fishing industry and marine environment when a supertaker full of Alberta crude spills its load into Douglas Channel near the planned oil terminal. The list is too long to include in full detail.

How is it that certain "costs" don't appear on the operating budgets of these billionaire companies? How is it that natural assets, in-situ or depleted, don't appear on anyone's balance sheet? Why? Because it wouldn't be profitable. All this public subsidy is necessary for the capitalist geniuses to avoid "hitting the wall."

Kids for sale
Now, in a related story, we hear today that China has an open child slave trade, kids 7 to 18 "sold like cabbages," to supply the burgeoning Chinese industrial machine. According to the Chinese Southern Metropolis Daily, factory managers purchase children in a Sichuan street market and ship them to the Pearl River Delta industrial heartland.

So, this is the face of modern industrial capitalism: exploit every advantage, plunder public assets, hire child slaves, and freely trade "cheap" products made by the child slaves in big, community-killing box stores in the rich west. Don’t forget the magic formula for globalized economic success:

Socialize the costs; privatize the profits
Bingo: shareholders "make" money. This state of affairs signals absolute social "dysfunction," the economic world gone mad, literally insane, sociopathic, disconnected from even the most basic shared concepts of social and environmental ethics. The innocents, most of humanity, represent the post-traumatic stress victims, traumatized by witnessing the abuse to their mother. One key to surviving abuse is to resist going insane with the abusers. In simple terms: don't hit the wall with the sociopathic maniacs drunk on power. Take a breath. Make a plan. Get some help.

My visitors
Those little yellow warblers are still around, flitting about brush and buds. They seem to be settling in for the summer. Thank Gaia for the little, priceless blessings that nourish sanity.

From Rex Weyler’s blog: http://rexweyler.com/2008/04/30/oilsands-slaves-and-two-visitors/

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