We cultural critics easily jump to conspiracy theory explanations (the media must be making up nonsense to support their corporate masters!) but the more likely answer, the more chilling one, is that those who are paid to express their opinions, or to make political decisions, for instance, are actually no better off than the rest . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Climate Change Mitigation and the Tyranny of Small Minds
As promised, I am steadfastly avoiding discussing the Globe & Mail, and its latest partisan salvo — a preposterous endorsement of the BC Social Credit-turned-Liberal Party that reads like it could have been written by said party’s PR hacks — doesn’t help matters. (The Globe describes the NDP leader as a “business-minded socialist,” which is . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Why Conservatives are Missing from the Climate Change Debate
One of the most irritating features of government-by-press-release is the “re-announcement” — the enthusiastic proclamation, with full fanfare, of something that has already been proclaimed before, often many times. Today the Conservative government engaged in this practice, or, just as conveniently, had the media do it for them by playing up a funding announcement for . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Canada’s New National Research Council: Same As the Old One, Digging a Deeper Hole
Today’s column comes to you courtesy of Rex Murphy. When I was growing up, I remember listening to Rex on the radio and liking him. Later, he turned to newspaper columns, and I think it was only then that I realized what a dunce he was. And is. After poking fun at the Europeans for . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: The Stupidity of Rex Murphy and the Impending Extinction of Humanity
You probably don’t need me to tell you that selling a controlling stake in this country’s largest energy resource to a foreign dictatorship is not really a good plan. We don’t even trust our own government with that kind of thing. I honestly thought we had a chance on this one. I guess the Harper . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Canada’s Oil Sands Run Red
The Conservative Broadcasting Corporation has just published a howler of an article which appears to be basically an uncritical reprint of some pro-industry schmozzling intended to suggest that climate change is a relatively minor problem easily solved with some minor biotech tweaks. The author for this piece of trash is Max Paris.
There’s a minor . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: CBC’s Science Illiteracy Fuels Downplaying of Climate Change
An extraordinary exchange took place in the House of Commons environment committee a few days ago. It was so extraordinary that it made the news, but only just. A little more exposure, and the 26-year-old yahoos who run the Prime Minister’s Office would have been wishing they’d ordered the whole thing done in camera, just . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Conservative MPs: Climate Change Not Relevant to Environment Canada’s Mandate
This weekend’s warm-up natural disaster, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake west of the Queen Charlotte Islands, should but won’t serve as a vital wake-up call to the federal and provincial governments: British Columbia is in an extremely hazardous position geologically, and it is only a matter of time — on geological timescales, a very short time — . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Queen Charlottes Earthquake Highlights Weaknesses of Neoliberal-Style Government
Sixth Estate’s budget coverage continues; previous reports are on the MP pension reform scam and the removal of 30 of Canada’s 47 longest rivers from protected status as navigable waters.
As I noted previously, the Navigable Waters Act is being renamed the Navigation Protection Act and the environmental protection which the federal government once extended, . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Budget Fall 2012, Part 4: 28 Canada’s Largest 43 Lakes Removed from Navigable Waters Protection
Continuing Sixth Estate’s fall 2012 budget coverage, which began with a look at what appears to me to be some appalling chicanery in the MP pension “reform” scheme, I thought it would be nice to look at the end of the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Symbolic of the shift in emphasis by this government, the . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Budget Fall 2012, Part 3: 30 of Canada’s 47 Longest Rivers Removed from Navigable Waters Protection List
Years ago now, the big argument in the climate change community was about how to lower emissions. The left favoured regulation. But, in order to draw in right-wingers who insisted that regulation kills profits, the goalposts shifted. The right invented ideas like “carbon taxes” and “cap-and-trade systems” because it argued that market incentives would encourage . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Conservative Government Abandons Market Principles on Climate Change File
You may remember, as I do, how quickly even the most fervent anti-science hyper-skeptics went into fits of excitement over the announced discovery of the Higgs boson earlier this summer. I doubt any of them could tell you what a Higgs boson is, beyond the fact that some wag once called it “the God particle,” . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: National Post: Climate Change is Bogus. Warp Drive, on the Other Hand…
Many years ago now, a young Stephen Harper angrily threw out his Liberal Party membership and, after a few years of wandering in the western wilderness, emerged as a leading light of the newly established Reform Party under Preston Manning. The singular reason for his crossing the floor, we are told, is that he was . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: The Northern Gateway Pipeline and the New National Energy Program
Another day, another Canadian oil company swallowed up by its foreign competitors. Oh well, right?
Here’s a fun fact from history: Stephen Harper used to be a Liberal activist, even after he moved to Alberta. He abandoned Trudeau over the National Energy Policy, and the NEP still provokes howls of outrage from right-wingers across the . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Petro-State Politics Threaten Democracy, Sovereignty, Common Sense
What else can one say?
“I get on my knees every day and I’m saying an extra prayer now. If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it,” [U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom] Vilsack told reporters revealing that 78 per cent of US corn and soybean crops had . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Religion is Incompatible With the Survival of Humanity
As usual, the highlight of the National Post’s Junk Science Week, in which the paper features and defends the finest in bogus pseudoscience, was an attack on climate change. (This year, other fine entries included an endorsement of the theory of infinite resources and a suggestion that smoking, obesity, and hypertension make you less likely . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Canadian Climate Survey 4: Climate Change Denier’s University is an Oasis from Climate Change
Every year, the National Post‘s columnists host “Junk Science Week,” a series of posts which is devoted to pawning off as wise commentary the finest in junk science, usually a series of ill-informed denials of climate change. (The Post says they’re debunking junk science, but somehow the positions they defend usually wind up being junk . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: National Post’s Junk Science Week Endorses Theory of Infinite Resources
512 years after Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for suggesting that Earth orbited the Sun and that the Sun was just one among innumerable stars (forget your schoolbooks: Galileo was a comparative conformist, and the Church went light on him), a disturbing percentage of Americans are still struggling to catch up to the . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: One-Quarter of Americans Still Living in Geocentric Universe
You may have read a little while ago about a study in Nature showing that as scientific literacy increased, “liberal” people became more concerned about climate change, but “conservatives,” oddly, became less concerned about it. In other words, the more conservatives know about science, the less likely they are to think that climate change is . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Only 60% of Conservatives Think a 20-foot Sea Level Rise Would be a Problem
This year there have been great exultation from the pro-business sector about the fact that the shale gas revolution, new Arctic prospecting, and various other schemes mean the “peak oil” debate is over. And in a way I happen to agree. I think that the peak oil debate is less important than the peak humanity . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Basic Math on Our Energy Future
Seriously. At what precise point did rationally planning for the future on the assumption that the next generation isn’t always better off become the province of greedy tax-and-spend socialists, and gleefully burning through our remaining resources out of the belief that the future will always save us become religious doctrine for so-called conservatives?
The following . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: When Did Rationally Planning for an Uncertain Future Become “Socialist”?
As I said last week, BC’s new Animal Health Act is crystal clear — unusually clear, which is nice for laypeople like Cabinet ministers and bloggers. Section 1 defines animals — as any member of the animal kingdom, including humans. Section 16 states that “any person,” including any member of the public, can be sent . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: When Law Meets Scientific Illiteracy
On behalf of Westerners with an IQ above 85, let me just say that Tom Mulcair does not owe me an apology for stating the obvious truth that the currency adjustments caused by our massive oil exports have consequences for other sectors of the economy. And let me also say that this doesn’t help, either:
. . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Let’s All Feel Sorry for the Tarsands Industry
Well, maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Actually I’m not even sure what that title is supposed to mean, which exactly duplicates my feelings upon reading Environment Minister Peter Kent’s recent attempt to up the government’s ante against the environmental sector by accusing environmentalist organizations — all of them, in general — of engaging in . . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: Foreign Money Laundered through Lobbyists to Influence the Canadian Government
Residents of British Columbia may have seen in the news today that the provincial government inadvertently placed a confidential draft report on the future of the forest industry on a publicly accessible website. That report is available as a PDF here, and I will keep a copy in case that link also, um, gets misplaced.
. . . → Read More: The Sixth Estate: BC Confidential Report on Elimination of Forest Conservation Laws Available as PDF