Archive for International Affairs

Happy About Keystone? Have A Look At What Makes You Happy

by John Weckerle

President Trump’s revival of the Keystone pipeline has been celebrated by a wide variety of people, largely on the bases of the supposed jobs that it would somehow magically create, and the benefits that it would somehow mystically bestow on – well, the good, hard-working people who get those jobs. The claims of job creation have been debated ad-infinitum and, for all intents and purposes, it’s fairly apparent that the jobs in question would be short-term construction jobs associated with installing the pipeline, and a small number of pipeline maintenance positions. Given that the oil transferred from Canada would be processed using existing refinery capacity in the southern U.S., job growth in the U.S. as a result of the pipeline would appear relatively small and relatively short-term.  Of course, jobs associated with extraction would be located at the tar sands deposit that would feed the pipeline, and those tar sands are located in Alberta, Canada.

According to this MSN photojournalistic article  (and we very strongly suggest that our readers read the article and go through all the stunning images), Canada’s little operation is likely to consume up to 54,000 square miles of pristine wilderness, and the photography in the article gives a very good depiction of what the area will be turned into. For perspective, 54,000 square miles equates roughly to the size of the States of New York and North Carolina. Not only would the scar left behind by this profit-inspired effort be visible from space, it would likely be visible from the moon, Mars, Krypton, and Vulcan.

We will leave our readers the space to consider their support (or the opposite) for this pipeline, but we will say this: the idea of leaving a large-state-sized hole in Nature for the purpose of lining a relatively small number of people’s pockets seems repugnant to us. Congratulations to all those who have supported the Keystone Pipeline – at least now you have had a good look at what you supported.

Pakistan and Israel To Nuke Each Other

by John Weckerle

Okay, not really, but we figured that the fake news enthusiasts out there would appreciate the title – and those who disdain fake news will very likely get a bit of a kick out of this story.

As reported by The Hill, “Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted, ‘Israeli def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh.Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too AH.'” This was in response to an “article” posted on AWD News which “Moshe Yaalon, Israeli Defense Minister” as saying “‘As far as we are concerned,that is a threat,if, by misfortune, they arrive in Syria, we will know what to do,we will destroy them with a nuclear attack.'” Moshe Bogie Ya’alon is actually the former defense minister.

We checked both gentlemen’s Twitter accounts and confirmed that Mr. Asif was correctly quoted by The Hill.  Mr. Ya’alon’s twitter feed is problematic; not only are most posts in Hebrew, which your editor has not yet learned, but they are posted as images (an apparent attempt to get around Twitter’s character limits) and thus could not be run through a translation app; we are therefore unable to assess any reaction Mr. Ya’alon may have expressed on Twitter to the idea of Pakistan’s involvement in the conflict with ISIS.

For those not familiar with Twitterspeak, Mr. Asif’s tweet more or less translates to “Israeli defense minister threatens nuclear retaliation presuming a Pakistani role in Syria against Daesh. Israel forgets that Pakistan is a Nuclear state, too, AH.” We find the final abbreviation to be perhaps the most amusing aspect of the story, perhaps even more so than the fact that Mr. Asif was taken in by the fake news story to begin with.  Those unfamiliar with this particular abbreviation may find an explanation here.  Apparently, the manners and decorum of international political discourse have taken a page from that seen during our recent electoral cycle.