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The Wandering Joe: Crimea and Misdemeanours

Bad puns aside, the recent intrigue in Crimea has been responsible for more nonsensical political blustering than any single international incident in the past decade. It has been a curious exercise to sit back and watch everyone work themselves up and deliver half-baked analyses based on laughably outdated assumptions. Please note that all of my assumptions are fully baked.

Lest I sound arrogant, I’m not going to excoriate everyone who has commented on the new ‘Cold War’, nor should I. But I am going to address those people who are attempting to understand this as a Russia vs. the West (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: WWCD? What Would China Do?

We’ve been getting this manicured image of Russia, isolated, standing alone against the world over its occupation of eastern Ukraine and, especially, Crimea.   Then again, we do tend to see ourselves, the West, as the world.

Vlad Putin sees the world differently.  He sees China and he’s looking for China’s support over the Ukraine business to offset Western opprobrium.  The situation in Ukraine was discussed Monday at consultations in Moscow between Chinese deputy Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping and his Russian counterpart, Grigory Karasin.“The Chinese side expressed understanding of Russia’s analysis of reasons behind the deep political crisis in (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: If the U.S. Was in Russia’s Position, How Would It React to Russian Meddling in Canada or Mexico that Threatened America’s Security?

The Ukraine sits right on Russia’s doorstep.  It is the land route to Russia’s Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol by which the Russian navy can access the Mediterranean.  Severing Russia’s naval access to the Med is thought to be why the U.S. has been meddling in Ukrainian affairs, funding the pro-western group that topped the country’s pro-Russian president, leaving the country bloodied, badly divided and at risk of separation or worse. 

Quite predictably we’re awfully quick to turn all sanctimonious in our admonitions to Putin in Moscow.   How would we react if the shoe (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: If Plants Can’t Grow, What Fate Awaits a Hungry People?

Smog in China has become so severe that it’s interfering with photosynthesis.

Chinese scientists report that China’s smog-clogged atmosphere has taken on aspects of “nuclear winter” and could wreak havoc on the country’s already stressed food supply.

Beijing and broad swaths of six northern provinces have spent the past week blanketed in a dense pea-soup smog that is not expected to abate until Thursday. Beijing’s concentration of PM 2.5 particles – those small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream – hit 505 micrograms per cubic metre on Tuesday night. The World Health Organisation recommends (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: A Must Read – Why America Is Not in Decline, Except at Home.

America hasn’t really declined.  America simply went global and, in the process, turned its back on working-class Americans, blue and white collar.  A globalized America is an America of the 1%.  The rest who still believe are suckers.

That’s the premise of a fine essay in Politico by Sean Starrs, a PhD student at York University.

The author argues that Americans see decline when they’re in fact witnessing the impacts engineered into globalism.  America, or at least one segment of it, is actually doing very well indeed.  He contends we’re getting deceived by now obsolete metrics.

(Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: BC’s Big Favour? LNG Exports and GHG Emissions

The hype on LNG has grown to staggering proportions. I have not had much time to debunk all of the government’s grotesque exaggerations and outright falsehoods. But Christy Clark’s claim that BC is “doing the world a favour” by exporting LNG to Asia made me write this oped, which got picked up in today’s Vancouver Sun:

Is LNG B.C.’s big favour? It’s unlikely exports will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions

Is British Columbia “doing the world a favour,” as Premier Christy Clark put it, by developing a liquefied natural gas export industry? Or is this just wishful thinking (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What’s With Pipeline-Loving Old Men?

High 5′s to people are aren’t old men! [on average, 19 times out of 20, +/- 3.6% of the time.]

My apologies if you’re a man, or over 55, but those two demographics love the Big Oil, and they’re giving you all a bad name!

Here’s why.

I know lots of men and people over 55 who know that moving to a post-carbon energy infrastructure is the only sustainable future. The problem is convincing their peers that getting rid of their Lexus [it used to be Hummer] is in everyone’s best interest.

Maybe it’s because some of those (Read more…)

Things Are Good: China’s Wind Turbine Industry Booming

For years China has been trying to improve its sustainable energy production but to do so Chinese companies had to rely on patents and techniques from the rest of the world. Due to an increase in demand (and production knowledge) China is now poised to make the best, most efficient, and easiest to maintain wind turbines.

Already, the amount of wind energy outputted in China puts the rest of the planet to shame.

However, since China’s total generation is more than that of all European Union countries combined, wind’s percentage is large in absolute terms.

Liming Qiao, China director of (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: F-35: Lies from Lying Liars #cdnpoli

The F-35 was going to be a plane made with Chinese parts, despite US law forbidding that.… this just adds to the ridiculousness. Russia probably has deal w china to remotely disable these.— jeff cliff (@jeffcliff1) January 04, 2014 - Alberta politics: Redford Tories big international travellers in January 2014

TweetAlberta’s Progressive Conservative MLAs are kicking off another year of international travel as Premier Alison Redford, cabinet ministers and backbenchers check their luggage and rack up the air mile points with flights touching down at all points across the globe. Departing on January 9, Ms. Redford will circle the globe on a sixteen day trip […]

CuriosityCat: From My Quotes Cupboard – China’s social threat

The real social threat to China’s stability is demographic. As a result of the One-Child policy introduced in 1979, China by 2030 will have a significantly more elderly population than its comparably large neighbour India. The share of the population aged sixty-five and over will be 16 per sent, compared to 5 per cent in 1980. And the gender imbalance in provinces like Anhui, Hainan, Guangdong and Jiangxi is already quite without parallel in a modern society, with between 30 and 38 per cent more males than females. The next Chinese revolution, if there is going to be one, will (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Enbridge: What Now? We Escalate Our Fight

Some breaking news occurred yesterday, the Joint Review Panel of the National Energy Board approved the Enbridge pipeline, but with 209 conditions. To quote a teenager from 1994: “Big whoop.” Also, big whoop goes out to the awesome pictures of soon to be decimated pristine wilderness on the report cover.

What do you think of the Enbridge approval and where things will go?

What do I think of the approval? Disappointed and hardly surprised. When Joe Oliver starts talking about something being “science-based,” I remember how his party has people who believe dinosaurs and humans walked the earth (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: U.S. feeds Japanese militarism

China, with its paltry aid to the Philippines and its announcement of a new air-defense zone over the East China sea, has not been making friends in its region these days. But the country to worry about in the Far East is not China. It is Japan.

Countries such as China and South Korea that have suffered the horrors of Japanese imperialism must feel chills up their spines as they take note of

The Disaffected Lib: If This is Fact, We Need to Rethink Our Bitumen Policy, Pipelines Included.

Word is coming out of the discovery of a truly massive, shale oil field in Australia that’s expected to produce from 233 upwards to 400-billion barrels of crude oil.   That’s crude oil, not bitumen.

Even at the lowest range, 233-billion barrels considerably exceeds Canada’s 175-billion barrel petro-reserves, most of which are high-cost, high-carbon bitumen.

As Richard over at Canadian Trends points out, the recent accord with Iran is compounding the recent slump in WTI crude, magnifying Alberta’s “carbon bubble” problems. 

What impact will the Coober Pedy bonanza have on Canada’s high risk energy resources?   You may think (Read more…)


CAN CHINA INNOVATE ?     The immense weight of China dominates much economic prognostication these days. Will it overtake the USA and become the dominant power of this century ? What are its strengths and weaknesses ? In the November 18 edition of Time Magazine Michael Schuman looks at this question from the perspective of China’s need to learn innovation. Not simply to produce. This is one area in which it is well behind the USA, to the great comfort of American apologists.

      China is facing a period of transition and needs to adjust.

     “China is a victim of its (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Repeat after me: Justin Trudeau is making rookie mistakes… have you got that?

Justin Trudeau at left, with some boring white guy in a tie that’s too wide. Don’t ever underrate the power of pixie dust! Below: The same boring guy with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and with well-known cage fighter Patrick Brazeau. Weirdly, everyone in these pictures appears exactly as illustrated!

Repeat after me: Rookie mistakes. Rookie mistakes. Rookie mistakes…

Do you think if we say it enough times, it’ll be true?

Plus, don’t forget Ladies’ Night, Red China and marijuana… I mean, like, really, is this a meme yet?

The entire Canadian punditocracy now seems to have jumped on the Justin-Trudeau-is-a-totally-flaky-rookie (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Poisoning the Great Barrier Reef

Australia has become one of the most affluent countries in the world.  It’s economic miracle is anchored to a much larger economic miracle to the north, in China.   Australia has been reaping a vast fortune selling coal to China.

How much coal?   Enough to deposit about a million tons of the stuff annually onto Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

This has gone on for the past decade and is set to almost quadruple in the coming years as Australia accelerates its great coal rip off.Australia’s coal industry admits that it loads 50 million tons of coal every (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Coyne Skips The Trudeau #cdnpoli Taboo

One of the not-so-solemn duties of the blogosphere is to hold the Main Stream Media in check when they go a little astray. I’m not sure if I should hold Andrew Coyne’s hand as I walk him back to where he was a week ago, or if I should slap it for being caught in the Conservatives’ propagand acookie jar. Mmmm, raisins.

Here’s where Coyne was last week:

.@acoyne: We’ve grown used to seeing prime ministers sealed inside an impenetrable bubble, but a whole party? #CPC13— (@thecanadacom) November 04, 2013

Here he was (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Staple Theory @ 50: Daniel Poon

We continue our special series of commentaries marking the 50th anniversary of the publication of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth,” with the following contribution from Daniel Poon. Daniel is one of Canada’s leading experts on the theory and practice of industrial policy, and the successfull industrialization experience of East Asia. He is an economic affairs officer with the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), previously worked as a researcher with the North-South Institute (NSI), and was a Fellow with the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation. Here he applies lessons from Asia’s experience, and (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: I Was Never Really Afraid of China Until I Read This

Chas Freeman, who served as Richard Nixon’s interpreter in his breakthrough 1972 visit to China, says the real danger from China is that it might just decide to become another United States.

Some might say that America’s problem with China boils down to a well-founded fear of China becoming more like us. Does the world have room for another country that is strong at arms, but a bit weak in the head?Might a powerful China seek to exempt itself from international norms or show indifference to the views of other countries? Might it develop a bloated military budget like (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: How Did It Ever Get to This? China’s Economic Miracle Lashes Back

China, the People’s Republic Whereof, is in for some tough sledding.  From quickly mounting threats from its freshwater crisis to air pollution, warming, sea level rise, food insecurity, overpopulation it seems that China is getting overtaken by events.  Environmentally, China is a ticking time bomb.

A recent tragedy, an 8-year old girl living near a highway in the coastal province of Jiangsu diagnosed with lung cancer,  has stirred up unrest.   Once again the central government has vowed to wage war on air pollution but that’s a promise that has been heard before.

Here are a few photographs of (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: This Is Not Good, Not At All.

Chinese researchers are catching proper hell for playing around with potentially lethal viruses, developing hybrid variations of influenza  that would be easily transmissible between mammals.  The Chinese claim they’re only developing these hybrids so they can create vaccines against them   Their Western counterparts say that’s bullshit.

Robert May, former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, told The Independent: “They claim they are doing this to help develop vaccines and such like. In fact the real reason is that they are driven by blind ambition with no common sense whatsoever. The record of containment in labs like this (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Where Canada Is Going

It’s very important to Canada’s economy that we send a resource (we can’t use without killing the planet) to Communist China so their economy can continue to pollute at record pace as they ship unneeded goods to the United States and Canada so we can bury them in our landfills when we aren’t burning them to create electricity to power our other throw-away devices.


Rogue PM

I’ve predicted for a year or so that the power brokers in Ottawa will soon sense that Harper isn’t their meal ticket any longer and jump bandwagons to Trudeau because they are not (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Another Harper Myth Shattered

The Harper government has set blue collar Canada on a race to the bottom.  It is virulent in seeking to suppress unionism and collective bargaining and has been repeatedly found all too willing to permit droves of guest workers to be imported to fill jobs that should go to Canadian workers.

When it comes to allowing employers to bring in low-wage guest workers the justification given is that there’s a labour shortage in Canada.   This is then leveraged into a scheme that not only fills the mysterious gap with foreign workers but allows the employer to pay them (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: 3D Printing: The End of China’s Manufacturing Edge?

Mars probe component made by 3D printing

That grim phalanx of leaders of the Chinese Communist Party must be poring over research papers prepared for them, wondering how soon 3D printing descends upon the manufacturing powerhouses of the world, and wipes out their low-cost advantages. Take this article about one use of 3D printing, a result of the AMAZE cooperation:

Using traditional techniques to fashion metal objects often wastes precious raw material. Whereas additive manufacturing – building parts up layer-on-layer from 3D digital data – has the potential to produce almost “zero waste”. “To produce one kilo of metal, (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: 3D Printing: The End of China’s Manufacturing Edge?