November 6, 2011

QotD: The Occupy movement

Filed under: Cancon, Media, Politics, Quotations — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 15:01

There are lessons in this history for the leftist protester. The Occupy movement is bristling with changes it wants made (I’m told we’re not supposed to call them “demands”); these changes won’t, and shouldn’t, happen outside the ballot box. The goal of protest in a liberal-democratic society must therefore be to advance one’s pet issue further ahead on the agenda of the sympathetic, for when they do attain power, and to weaken the morale of moderates on the other side. One must locate specific injustices rather than nebulous cosmic ones, confronting them and defying their perpetrators directly. Deeds will accomplish more than any amount of eloquence. And it should not be necessary to claim to be a majority (let alone a majority of 99-to-one); one individual suffices, where he has a true claim to our attention.

It’s not really clear, anyway, how an “Occupation” that is meeting no serious resistance from authorities anywhere is supposed to elicit sympathy. The main effect of the movement so far seems to have been an elaborate proof-by-demonstration that Canadian municipalities are incredibly respectful of political protest and fawningly deferential to the Charter of Rights. So . . . hooray?

Colby Cosh, “Want political change? Talk to a farmer”, Maclean’s, 2011-11-06

The “shale gale” blows away Canada’s illusions of being an “energy superpower”

Filed under: Cancon, Economics, Environment, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:50

Terence Corcoran pours cold water on the notion that this is the moment for Canada to become a major player in the world energy markets:

In recent weeks, Canada — a self-proclaimed global energy superpower — has been trying to throw its weight around over the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada Corp.’s $7-billion project to ship oil sands production from Alberta to Texas. In Houston on Tuesday, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver let the Americans know that Canada had other options. “What will happen if there wasn’t approval [of Keystone] — and we think there will be — is that we’ll simply have to intensify our efforts to sell the oil elsewhere.”

Canadian oil executives, who have a lot invested in the superpower notion, are also issuing aggressive-sounding statements aimed at the United States. A headline in The Globe and Mail Friday sounded like a threat: “Oil patch to U.S.: OK pipe or lose our oil.” The story didn’t quite back up the headline, but the sense was that Canada was developing alternatives and that China is the big alternative.

[. . .]

While Canadian government and industry officials have a lot invested in the idea of energy superpowerdom, few outside observers share the vision. Canada barely rates a mention in The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World, Daniel Yergin’s new book on the world energy market. A few pages are devoted to the oil sands, mostly to review the high costs and technical difficulties. “As the industry grows in scale, it will require wider collaboration on the R&D challenges, not only among oil companies and the province of Alberta, but also with Canada’s federal government.”

Far more impressive for the world’s energy future will be the impact of shale gas and shale oil. The “shale gale,” as Mr. Yergin calls it, has already transformed the U.S. gas market and shale oil could be next. Since Mr. Yergin’s book was written, the shale revolution has swept Europe and is about to transform China’s energy market.

Redefining “anarchism” to mean “statism”

Filed under: Government, Liberty, Media, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 12:41

Mark Steyn in the Orange County Register:

I don’t “stand with the 99%,” and certainly not downwind of them. But I’m all for their “occupation” continuing on its merry way. It usefully clarifies the stakes. At first glance, an alliance of anarchists and government might appear to be somewhat paradoxical. But the formal convergence in Oakland makes explicit the movement’s aims: They’re anarchists for statism, wild free-spirited youth demanding more and more total government control of every aspect of life — just so long as it respects the fundamental human right to sloth. What’s happening in Oakland is a logical exercise in class solidarity: the government class enthusiastically backing the breakdown of civil order is making common cause with the leisured varsity class, the thuggish union class and the criminal class in order to stick it to what’s left of the beleaguered productive class. It’s a grand alliance of all those societal interests that wish to enjoy in perpetuity a lifestyle they are not willing to earn. Only the criminal class is reasonably upfront about this. The rest — the lifetime legislators, the unions defending lavish and unsustainable benefits, the “scholars” whiling away a somnolent half-decade at Complacency U — are obliged to dress it up a little with some hooey about “social justice” and whatnot.

[. . .]

America is seizing up before our eyes: The decrepit airports, the underwater property market, the education racket, the hyper-regulated business environment. Yet, curiously, the best example of this sclerosis is the alleged “revolutionary” movement itself. It’s the voice of youth, yet everything about it is cobwebbed. It’s more like an open-mike karaoke night of a revolution than the real thing. I don’t mean just the placards with the same old portable quotes by Lenin et al, but also, say, the photograph in Forbes of Rachel, a 20-year-old “unemployed cosmetologist” with remarkably uncosmetological complexion, dressed in pink hair and nose ring as if it’s London, 1977, and she’s killing time at Camden Lock before the Pistols gig. Except that that’s three-and-a-half decades ago, so it would be like the Sex Pistols dressing like the Andrews Sisters. Are America’s revolting youth so totally pathetically moribund they can’t even invent their own hideous fashion statements? [. . .]

At heart, Oakland’s occupiers and worthless political class want more of the same fix that has made America the Brokest Nation in History: They expect to live as beneficiaries of a prosperous Western society without making any contribution to the productivity necessary to sustain it. This is the “idealism” that the media are happy to sentimentalize, and that enough poseurs among the corporate executives are happy to indulge — at least until the window smashing starts. To “occupy” Oakland or anywhere else, you have to have something to put in there. Yet the most striking feature of OWS is its hollowness. And in a strange way the emptiness of its threats may be a more telling indictment of a fin de civilization West than a more coherent protest movement could ever have mounted.

The profile of the “angry college student”

Filed under: Economics, Education, Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 12:20

Victor Davis Hanson diagnoses some of the underlying issues that are motivating the student component of the Occupy movement:

Then there is a wider, global phenomenon of the angry college student. In the Middle East, much of the unrest, whether Islamist, liberal, or hard-core leftist, is fueled by young unemployed college graduates. Ditto Europe in general, and Greece in particular: The state subsidizes college loans and the popular culture accepts an even longer period between adolescence and adulthood, say between 18 and 30 something. Students emerge “aware,” but poorly educated, highly politicized, and with unreal expectations about their market worth in an ossifying society, often highly regulated and statist.

The decision has been made long ago not to marry at 23, have two or three kids by 27, and go to work in the private sector in hopes of moving up the ladder by 30. Perhaps at 35, a European expects that a job opens up in the Ministry of Culture or the elderly occupant of a coveted rent-controlled flat dies.

Students rarely graduate in four years, but scrape together parental support and, in the bargain, often bed, laundry, and breakfast, federal and state loans and grants, and part-time minimum wage jobs to “go to college.” By traditional rubrics — living at home, having the car insurance paid by dad and mom, meals cooked by someone else — many are still youths. But by our new standards — sexually active, familiar with drugs or alcohol, widely traveled and experienced — many are said to be adults.

Debt mounts. Jobs are few. For the vast majority who are not business majors, engineers, or vocational technicians, there are few jobs or opportunities other than more debt in grad or law school. In the old days, an English or history degree was a certificate of inductive thinking, broad knowledge, writing skills, and a good background for business, teaching, or professionalism. Not now. The watered down curriculum and politically-correct instruction ensure a certain glibness without real skills, thought, or judgment. Most employers are no longer impressed.

Students with such high opinions of themselves are angry that others less aware — young bond traders, computer geeks, even skilled truck drivers — make far more money. Does a music degree from Brown, a sociology BA in progress from San Francisco State, two years of anthropology at UC Riverside count for anything? They are angry at themselves and furious at their own like class that they think betrayed them. After all, if a man knows about the construction of gender or a young woman has read Rigoberta Menchu, or both have formed opinions about Hiroshima, the so-called Native American genocide, and gay history, why is that not rewarded in a way that derivatives or root canal work surely are?

Class — family pedigree, accent, clothes, schooling — now mean nothing. You can meet your Dartmouth roommate working in Wall Street at Starbucks, and seem for all appearances his identical twin. But when you walk out the door with your environmental studies degree, you reenter the world of debt and joblessness, he back into the world of good money. Soooo unfair for those of like class.

NFL week 9 predictions

Filed under: Football — Tags: — Nicholas @ 12:07

My team is enjoying a bye this week, so I’m not passionately interested in the outcomes of today’s games except for my NFL pool. I like the favourites in almost all the games this week (danger sign number 1) except for Seattle (danger sign number 2), and that’s mainly because I don’t think Dallas will beat the spread.

    @Buffalo vs New York (NYJ) (2.0) Sun 1:00pm
    @Dallas vs Seattle (11.5) Sun 1:00pm
    Atlanta vs @Indianapolis (7.0) Sun 1:00pm
    @Kansas City vs Miami (4.0) Sun 1:00pm
    @New Orleans vs Tampa Bay (8.0) Sun 1:00pm
    San Francisco vs @Washington (3.5) Sun 1:00pm
    @Houston vs Cleveland (11.0) Sun 1:00pm
    @Tennessee vs Cincinnati (3.0) Sun 4:05pm
    @Oakland vs Denver (8.0) Sun 4:05pm
    @New England vs New York (NYG) (9.0) Sun 4:15pm
    @Arizona vs St. Louis (2.5) Sun 4:15pm
    Green Bay vs @San Diego (5.5) Sun 4:15pm
    @Pittsburgh vs Baltimore (3.0) Sun 8:20pm
    @Philadelphia vs Chicago (7.5) Mon 8:30pm

Last week 10-3 (8-5 against the spread)
Season to date 74-42

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