...and what can I say? I can say that's a great song by the Clash. And I can say that, although the USA is the reigning world power, it - they - still manage to bore the hell out of me. 


Why? Predictability.


Everything is like a badly written script from a bad movie. Right now, I've had enough of the presidential campaign. 42 days more to go. 42 days of bad acting and bad writing and bad reporting. Yippee!


I don't know about other people outside of the US but the painstaking scrutiny that these two candidates (and why can't there ever be a legitimate  3rd or 4th candidate? And why do people have to register to vote?) is stunningly numbing. Such as, why did some candidate use this phrase or word? Where do all these so-call knowledgeable media experts crawl out from?


I try to follow this campaign with some degree of interest and consistency but it's completely boring and repetitive. Today's word of choice was choice. Seems one candidate (I won't say which - you have a 50/50 chance) first used the word choice in his campaign.


This is news? How? The whole premise of an election is choice. You weigh whatever options you have and vote. Which is really just another word for choose. You make a choice.


So Americans have to make a choice. And I have to make a choice. To pay attention because no matter who's elected America is still the biggest fucking bully on the block.
 
 
Soon we approach the anniversary of the occupy movement, or at least the beginning of the movement on Wall Street, in the financial heart of the U.S. It's fair to ask now what did the movement of 99% accomplish if anything. I think that it did have an impact on many things, particular in America but there are still questions and issues to examine.

Occupy definitely brought to the public attention the gross inequality of the economic system in which most, a vast majority, is in the hands of a few people and institutions. I still recall how one wall street banker, after nearly bankrupting the bank that he presumably was the highest ranking official, was dismissed. He left that bank but not before receiving an approximately $10 million golden boot in the butt. Nice reward for abject failure, Although I don't know specifically if he followed in the footsteps of his predecessors and moved to consulting of even a staff job in the White House.

Occupy helped to expose this kind of injustice. I guess this is what passes for democracy in the U.S., in my eyes one of the most undemocratic democracies in the world. 

But by raising these issues, the interwoven, near seamless links between big banks and the White House, it sparked a major uproar against the oligarchy. It educated thousands, if not millions, of people about this gross inequality. They put this on the political and politicians had to address these issues and answer, in one degree or another, them. Definitely, a shift in the political landscape.

The same happened in Canada, but to a lesser degree. Is this economic entanglement still in place in Canada? It appears to be business as usual, but then again the Harper government does not have a sterling track record of listening to the public. It much prefers playing the stern father, passing down wisdom without much, if any, debate. Well, take solace Canada, an election will roll around and they will be tested on this record and hopefully be put out of business.

Occupy also gave so many people hope that the system could change and that people have the power, if they speak loudly and in concert, to change these inequalities. Whether that remains in place is debatable but the seeds were planted. I hope they bloom in the future.

But what hasn't occupy done. My main criticism is that they have failed to keep the issues on the front pages. It seems the movement has after winter lost momentum and traction it gained. This seems like a pattern among grass roots organization - how does it keep up the fervor that brought it to the public. I may be wrong about this in other places but where I live the movement has indeed dwindled from a river to a stream. Bless those who are still dedicated and working away.

I also think the movement had a glorious opportunity to get folks involved who would never dream of demonstrating but agreed with many occupy issues. Getting out the suburbs, getting these people involved through doing something in suburbs through community events, townhall meetings among other ideas.

So after a year, the results are mixed. However, I hold out hope. But even that is tenuous.
 
 
Amazing. 


What else to say about the recent advertising about the cleanliness and economic benefits of tar sands development by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). While not quite reaching the level of saturation, these ads are frequent, maddening and astonishing. But I have to admit, it takes a lot of balls on the part of CAPP to actually promote the tar sands (I know they're actually called the oil sands or something but let's go with common nomenclature here) as somehow environmentally benign.


I could spend many sentences describing the environmental damage already done by this strip mining for oil but let's just say that common sense dictates that it's almost indescribable. This is a huge, billion dollar, water gulping piece of devastation that has been going on now for decades. My opinion admittedly but, again, I could spend oodles of space outlining what this disastrous process has wrought. But again let's agree that it's tremendous and it's already done.


What's done is done and it's in the past now.


Which is what I find most offensive about the CAPP/tar sand ads. They trumpet how new processes are cleaner, safer, more economically beneficial. OK, let's assume that from now on there will be no more environmental harm, let's assume the rose-coloured glasses CAPP wears are actually a glimpse into a reality I can't see. 


Great, no more pollution, no more ugly scarred, scraped hectares by the thousands, no more fresh water misused. Good for the oil industry for changing all of their ways of extraction, refinement and transportation (still sounds like a fairy tale though). That's the message of these ads - the oil industry developing (that's another hard word to swallow when it comes to the tar sands).


And whether you swallow that line of reasoning (another word that's hard to swallow when it comes to the tar sands) or you don't, it misses such a large question I am left agog at how little CAPP thinks of the intelligence of the average Canadian.


With decades of damage done, what are they going to do about cleaning up that mess. How are they going to go back years to reclaim land and water that essentially is lost. 


The environmental fight around the tar sands, isn't about the past - that's just ammunition now for those against further development. The battle is about what will, literally, happen on the ground in the years to come.


And I don't find any comfort in CAPP's vastly condescending propaganda.



 
 
Well a little more than a month since the last blog. Have i learned anything. A few things I suppose. 


It's not easy being friends when some undescribed torment arrives and neither can really figure out what that is. It's a sad thing but probably happens more often than we know. The question becomes how to resurrect something that is slipping away before it slips away forever. I take my share of the blame, in fact I probably deserve most of the blame. But when it feels like the world is crashing in on your head, I suppose it's difficult to be more than concerned and isolated about yourself rather than others. For this I apologize, as I must do.


I also wasn't kind as I would of liked this summer. Again that is something that just sort of a slipped away. The first person I wasn't kind with was myself. An no other kindness can really flow from that state. So my mission of exercising a more kind approach to humanity in general. However, I remain somehow committed to this, but must find a reasonable to jump start my engine. Amazing how quickly something can slip into the past if it's something that you let drift. I hope for better in the months ahead.


I read a book entitled 'The Now Effect' which made me wonder about my ability to actually put mindfulness into action in my life. Maybe this is a reflection of some personal turmoil that looms on my horizon. Hopefully, this will change and I can get back to focusing on each moment rather than counting the end of moments until these matters are resolved. Wish me luck, I hope that good luck will come to pass.


That's probably enough of an overview of my summer and my woes. Not a lot of fun and probably more than a little self indulgent. Sometimes a little self indulgence is a weight off my shoulders and that's about all the little nags of the summer.


Maybe. But there's still Enbridge to rail on about.