Fear and Loathing at Stephen’s House – Part 4: Selling Out Our Natural Resources

Who owns our natural resources?

Does our country own them?

Do the individual provinces own them?

Do our citizens own them?

Do the corporations who buy or lease the land on which they are found own them?

If you’re not sure of the answer – which scenario seems to be most appropriate?

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Lets use oil as our first example.

Canada produces 3.6 Million barrels of oil per day (or 1.314 billion barrels per year). This equates to about 37 barrels of oil per year per Canadian citizen.

By contrast, the United States produces around 9.4 Million barrels of oil per day (or 3.431 billion barrels per year). We did the math, and in the United States, this comes to around 11 barrels of oil per year per American citizen.

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Why do these numbers matter? They matter, because I believe that our country (and all that it contains) belong to all of us.

Why does American gasoline cost less than gasoline purchased in Canada?

Sure… ‘world markets’.

In what world is selling out our country in the form of pissing away our natural resources a good idea? By allowing multinational oil companies to enjoy the profits while Canadian citizens endure the high-cost of heating oil, gasoline, and diesel – we’re allowing our economy and Harper’s oligarchy to prolong our dependence on fossil fuels and curb any advancement toward the greener technologies that we all need.

When new technologies reach the consuming public – the cost of those goods goes down as they are more widely adopted. Personal computers are a prime example – as they became more widely available, the tech improved and the cost went down. The same thing will happen with green technology. We could operate on micro-grids. We could all run self-sustaining households. But large corporations (with the aid of oligarchies around the world) prevent that from happening.

Stephen Harper sold out our country. Supported by the omnipresent public-service oligarchy operating in the shadows; the good things that the Harper administration has done for this country will never outweigh the bad things that his arrogant system of governance has done to destroy our nation.

Our nation; and in essence our world; needs leaders that tell the truth. We need leaders that answer questions; instead of dodging them. We need leaders that are more concerned with engineering a blueprint for the next century than continuing to play partisan politics in the arena of public opinion to cement a legacy of manufactured sound-bites for future generations to suckle on.

RESOURCES

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PART 5

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Oblivious in Dubai: Part 15

Salazar brings a serving tray to our room with twelve bottles of Budweiser atop it. A tip, a handshake, and he was gone. He did request, though, that we not let anyone see the beer.

My comrade had paid for the hotel and the beer; but I had to leave shortly to catch my plane.

We get into the beers then start talking about life and the state of the World’s affairs; talking about how we each just left an active war zone in which we were doing otherwise ‘normal’ jobs.

I don’t remember much after that.

“Nothing is true; everything is permitted.” – Assassin’s Creed maxim and primary guideline.

I recall the conversation being honest and eye opening; but I shall not reveal the nature of that discussion here.

The world is an interesting place. As long as you’re polite; most of the time you’ll be alright. Somehow I made it to the airport; though I don’t remember much of the trip.

Following along sequentially; the things I recall are still-images. Images flash of the stained-wood walls of the lobby; a snapshot of my Comrade carrying one of my bags to the taxi; a parting hug; and then of regaining coherence at the check-in line at the airport.

Familiar Canadian Comrades were also waiting to check in. Beverages were had once we traversed through this exceptionally large line. To Frankfurt and then to Montreal before we’d part ways.

Most of the rest of my journey is a blur until shortly before landing in Germany at six o’clock in the morning. The time of day is largely irrelevant while travelling over 30 hours in one shot; it just affects what’s found on the menus of the places you stop to eat. The blur, after analyzing my previous behavior and looking for patterns; was probably filled with tasting the beers of the world until I passed out and pissed myself on the plane.

At least I thought I’d pissed myself.  I’d not pissed myself before; so there was no reason to believe my bladder would cave for no reason.

Perhaps it was the cabin pressure?

I found a can of beer on the floor that had spilled all over my pants; alongside it a couple of empty Coors cans… and a full one. Sweet, I’ve got another beer.  I crack the beer and drink the Gravol; the plane should be landing soon.

When in Deutschland; eat what the Germans eat.

Sausage, beer, and a few tabs of Gravol.

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Part 16
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Oblivious in Dubai: Part 13

Five days later…

I board in Halifax; connect in Toronto; and land after sunset in Dubai.

I work my way through the fantastical arrivals process at the Dubai International Airport. Deplane; head down the escalator; stand on conveyor belt after conveyor belt as old ladies pass by in electric golf carts chaperoned by portly airport employees. Fleeting eye-based interactions with those passing me on the parallel track heading in the opposite direction.

Ads… ads… so many ads.

Posters and billboards and signs, oh my. Miles of rubber track; broken into hundred meter sections; separated by ceramic tile-work. Step off of one belt – click, click, click, click, click – step on to the next. The wheels of my carry-on bag strike the grout between the tiles in an almost musical fashion. The soothing pattern I notice may only be soothing as a result of my exhaustion and jet-lag.

The beer included on the trans-Atlantic flight probably contributed to my acknowledgement of this beautiful, rhythmic pattern.

Ascend an escalator to customs; passport stamped; proceed to baggage.

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Waiting for our bags to hit the pick-up conveyor; I browse the duty-free liquor store. So much sauce; so much bank; so much confiscation if I tried to take it on base.

Not that I had any desire to; I wanted to take it back to Canada with me – but I was heading in the opposite direction.

Make a mental note to stop here on my next flight home.

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Grab my bags then work my way through the hoards of people leaving the airport. We funnel into an underground taxi-queue; shuffling past the booths of car-rental companies.

While standing in line, I see a dwarf who appears to be from India or Bangladesh. A few feet away are a young child of three or four and his father. The boy is sitting in the basket of the luggage cart while laughing hysterically and pointing at the vertically challenged man who did him no harm.

The father laughs along with the child; making no effort to stop the unwarranted abuse.

The lack of politically correct behavior disturbed me.

I get into my cab; hand the driver the business card from the hotel I was at only a week before; and we depart. He calls his dispatcher for directions.

We arrive and I greet the doorman. Salazar comes outside and raises both arms. “Salazar!” I yell.

Salazar smiles and waves me over as he approaches me. We shake hands; each asking how the other is; and he shows me to my room.

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Enter Oblivious in Dubai Part One or move on to Oblivious In Dubai Part Fourteen

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Oblivious in Dubai: Part 12

Sitting at the gate; evening sun shining through the glass window overlooking the tarmac; awaiting my final flight home.

Overpriced shops abound. I noticed some pashmina scarves hanging on a display rack; $18 a piece. Just a few short days ago I bought ten of these very same scarves from an Afghan man at the Bazaar for twenty American dollars; a few hundred miles from the goats that the fibre was sourced from. I chuckle and shake my head at international commerce.

Sitting in my seat; awaiting the call to board; I meet two white American couples. One couple with two adopted Chinese daughters around three years old.

The two wives and one of the husbands amuse the children. I ask the second man if he wants to see some pictures.

I start off with photos that I’d taken of my life on the base; my tent, my room, my friends.

Then I show him a video, filmed from a Humvee, of an IED exploding between two vehicles in a convoy.

He gasps; visibly shaken.

That’s what we ask our guys to walk into.” I say.

I show him another video; filmed by terrorists. This video is of a masked man firing a mortar while shouting the takbir. He drops a dud into the mortar tube and blows himself up by accident.

I laugh and tell the man, “It’s funny to watch those bastards fuck up.”
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We board; take off; and make our way home in the middle of the night.

A kind friend; whom I’ve known for many years; picks me up at the airport and takes me back to her house so that I can surprise my family the next day.

We smoke some grass and I start going through my bags. I give her and her room mate first grab at the pashminas.

They retire to bed; I crash on the couch without much hesitation.
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I wake up the next morning and it’s a beautiful day. Both my friends are at work; so I take a long shower then step outside for a cigarette. Barefoot I sit on the stoop; passionately puffing my Marlboro and letting the fresh grass work it’s way between my toes and under my feet.

I never knew one could miss grass so much.

I’m amazed at the cars racing past. They’re not going all that fast; but I was used to a 15 km/h speed limit. Speed is relative.

Later that day, my friend picks me up and we head into the community to pick up her room mate from the eye doctors office she worked at. As I wait in the car; I get a hankering for caffeine, so I head to the Tim Hortons on the other side of the parking lot.

Much to my synergistic amazement, surprise and joy; a friend I’d grown up with worked at the coffee shop. A friend that I had no idea lived in the area (two hours from where we grew up) and whom I had no idea worked at any coffee shop, let alone this one.

We were both visibly startled but it was the good kind of startled. The kind of startled that one experiences when one of the first people they encounter upon return from a war is an old childhood friend.

I order my sandwich, bagel and coffee; and she takes her break so we can sit out back of the coffee shop and talk.

Very full circle.

Meanwhile; my two other friends were searching the parking lot for me. The plan was to drive me two hours to our home town to surprise my family. I happened upon another old friend and got caught up in old times.

It’s chance encounters like this that make me believe in some sort of divine invisible hand directing some of what we experience. How was it that this old friend happened to work in the same shopping plaza as a completely unrelated old friend; in a city lying two hours from our home town? How was it that she happened to have the morning shift that day? How was it that I chose to go to that coffee shop instead of the many we’d passed on the way to where we were; or the many we’d pass on our journey home? Too many coincidences to be anything but divinely inspired.

If it was coincidence; how many times do we casually enter the radius of someone we once knew and have no idea? 

Part Thirteen

Welcome to my mind.

There are writings on here from several writers who enjoy the freedom of publishing their work under a pen name. Feel free to send your own sample (if you feel it compares to the content on this page) to info@nukesofknowledge.com. Please limit initial submissions to <500 words.

Make sure to like us on Facebook as well.

If this is your first time here, I would recommend starting with Oblivious in Dubai. That story is true and will give new readers an idea of the type of person you’re dealing with. This person may appear a bumbling idiot; wandering around the world drunk and alone; but he wasn’t alone. He drank and smoked, went on adventures with or otherwise chilled with a lot of random people from cultures all over the world.

People are just people; anywhere you go. The differences between us are very small and trivial; generally we all seem to struggle with the same type of shit on a social level. Humans are resilient and they adapt. Humans adapt to their environment.

Generally speaking; the differences between people break down to language, diet and mythology. Whether economic ideology or religious rhetoric; it’s all hypothetical brain-storm type stuff that I’m going to classify as “mythology”. Diet is largely based on ones local environment. Finally – we have language; which is also pre-determined based on where one happens to be born.

All of these things are just interesting ideas that one or a few of us came up with at some point during our 200,000 year evolution. One-at-a-time nuggets of societal evolution.

Each of those things are cultural; and cultures should be shared. We shouldn’t kill each other over silly cultural and tribal differences. There’s no need for violence in 2014. The level of globalized interconnection and shared media present in our world should be enough for us to see how human everyone else is.

The point I’m trying to make is that if you take the extremism out of a fifteen year old bible thumper from the belt; and the extremism out of a fifteen year old mujahid; you’ve got two average, male, teenage brains thinking about tonight’s game or about the girl they like.

Take ten people from each of the habitable continents and put them on the same roller coaster. They’re going to have a great time together.

We’re all riding on the same cosmic roller coaster through the universe. Our species has spilled a lot of blood over this marble we all live on. From far enough away, we’re indistinguishable from ants. If you’ve ever watched a video of an ant colony; you most certainly will have noticed how well ants get along.

There are exceptions to this of course; there have been wars between ant colonies; intercontinental invasions; and competing factions fighting for control of limited resources.

I guess ants get along when they have to; but completely destroy a competing tribe for control of property and resources when they deem it in their best interests.

Perhaps ants are a lot like us.

Sincerely,

JG Oblivious
NoK Contributing Editor

P.S. Enjoy the page.

Fear and Loathing at Stephen’s House – Part 1: Prologue

Originally Written in 2013

Puppeteering your cabinet-cronies and back-bench pawns into canned and practised sound-bytes from the sidelines of a war is effortless. Organizing a cookie cutter reel of propaganda and manufactured situations; not a problem. A few hours of film and then we can all fly home in time for the game.

If only inspiring your countrymen were so imperative to you, Mr. Prime Minister. To inspire those who will grow to replace you; instead of focusing on the theatrics and temporary impact of your performance, insofar as it ensures job security for you and your friends; requires much more tact, precision and craft of mind.

According to your “Government’s” commitment; we’ve pledged a little over forty-two million in aid to the Syrian crisis in October of 2013.

Source: Canada Outlines Humanitarian Assistance in Response to Syrian Crisis

That’s a little more than a dollar per Canadian citizen. One dollar came off of each of our pay-cheques last week; and a little bit more next week; to pay for that.

One extra coffee; doesn’t sound like much does it?

If America contributed that amount of money; it would be closer to thirteen and a half cents per person.

If China contributed that amount of money; it would be closer to three cents per person.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be helping people; I’m saying maybe there are people in Canada that could use that 42 million dollars before we hand it over to someone in Syria. It’s our money after all.

A dollar from each of us for the better of us all.

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PART 2

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Oblivious in Dubai: Part 11

JFK Airport; New York, New York.

The delays in Dubai caused me to miss my connecting flight. The kind old man in Dubai who changed my flights warned me that this was a possibility.

We land; de-plane, and start going through customs. There are hundreds of people in front of me; many families, many children; all brown.

This is what I worried about; I didn’t want to believe that racial profiling exists. Unfortunately it does; and at this particular airport; it was in full force. Hundreds of non-caucasian people lined up ahead of me.

At customs; there were three lanes starting on the right; US Citizens; Diplomats; Non-US Citizens. There were almost no Americans on the flight; nor diplomats. While travelling; I always wore my NATO badge and passport around my neck. The Department of Homeland Security agents started at the front of the line and began working their way back. I watched them checking the identification and bags of children and families. It didn’t appear friendly; at all.

One of the men makes his way to me. “What’s that?” he says as he grabs my badge. He reads it.

“Where you coming from son?” he asked.

“Kandahar, sir.”

“How long?” he asked.

“Three months so far, first trip home.”

“Where you headed?” he asked.

Halifax, my flight’s in about 30 minutes.

“Go there, someone should be there in moment. Tell her you’re connecting to Halifax and she’ll show you where to go. You’d better hurry.” he pointed to the Diplomat queue, which was empty.

I go over; she doesn’t even look at my passport. He must have called someone to meet me there. She knew exactly where I was headed and who I was.

“Go down there, quickly.” she points, “Take a left and check your bags. You’re going to have to get on the airport subway.” she says. “When you check your bags; ask for directions.”

I thank her and start running.

Turns out that travelling through JFK Airport while on leave from a theatre-of-war is a pretty smooth experience; despite the racial profiling I’d witnessed.
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Lost on the airport-train; I missed my flight. Two flights missed in two days; I’m quite good at this.

I get to the gate and have to go through security again after slipping outside for a cigarette. There are uniformed US soldiers; armed to the teeth; standing by some of the exits.

Little extreme, no?

I’ve got hours laid over; to sit and wait in this airport. This trip home was only for a week; really only five days.

I search for a power outlet to plug in my laptop. I find one beside a series of elevators; no benches or seats in site. I set up camp with my back against the wall and my legs across the floor; beside the electrical outlet.

Can’t get on Wi-Fi; pain in the ass.

I give up, get up; and walk through security for one last time in search of food.

Coffee; Sausage ‘n’ Egger, hash browns. A feast fit for champions and scholars.

Part Twelve

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