Monday, December 12, 2011

Dec. 12: The TandT as a school for pimps

Just when you think you've seen them all...

Today's front page of today's TandT has the same story it did on Saturday. And it was written by the same reporter. It was obvious the first time this was a piece of gush  to push the sales of a book written by an ex-Brunswickmedia exec. The second version is  pretty much the same gush, with just a few  changes in the wording.

There's a cutesie note that this was a man who wasn't afraid to stand up to Irving but - surprise - they almost always agreed.

Oh, another surprise. The book is published by Brunsick Press which is owned by Brunswick News which is owned by the Telegraph-Journal which is owned by - the good fairy. I hope that the editors at Brunswick Press are better than the editors at the TandT - and know the difference bettween gruff and guff.

I have never seen anything in a newspaper so blatantly unethical and, at the same time, so comical.

And people pay for this tawdry juvenilia.

The front page also has a story about a woman from Alberta who says her well was poisoned as a result of fracking for shale oil. Nice of them to notice. Actually, if you just google, you will find nothing strange or unusual about the poisoning of wells or waterways or lands or living things by fracking for shale gas. You will find some 713,000 entries - and that doesn't begin to touch the possible long-term consequences on the land, the water, and us.

Quite recently, the US Environmental Protection Agency has issued serious warnings about shale gas methods. I don't believe the TandT has mentioned that. But Time magazine did - and it's even bigger than The Moncton Times and Transcript.

Why the rush for shale gas,  and for  'dirty' oil as in Alberta? Why do oil companies now want to drill in ecologically frail areas such as the Arctic?

1. They are very worried about current sources of oil. With the enormous rise of fossil fuel use, especially in Asia and Latin America, present sources almost certainly will not be adequate. As well, it may be militarily challenging to maintain access to them.     This makes the oil industry enthusiastic about North American sources, whatever damage they may do.

2. Oil companies want to maintain their high profits.

3. Why are Canadian and American governments anxious to serve the wishes of oil companies? Check the figures on political funding for the Liberals, Conservatives, Democrats and Republicans.

4.Finally, neither the oil companies nor the governments give a damn what the consequences are for us.

So what's the game here? The NB government and Brunswickmedia will play the game of pretending to study the issue, then will come up with new and "tough" regulations which will have "tough" enforcement. That is - we'll go back to square one. (There is no way the gas companies will accept regulations or penalties or enforcement. And if they did, it wouldn't matter because all the same consequences would still be there). Neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives will do a thing for you. And they both have the record to prove it.

The only major international news story is 'Historic climate deal reached'. Bullshit. No climate deal was reached. What they have agreed is to work towards another big meeting to try to reach an agreement in three or four years. In other words, more than a dozen years after politicians realized we were destroying the earth, they decided to take another three or four to think about it some more. And then another five to put those laws in place. Nothing of any practical effect will be done until 2020 - and probably not even then.

No deal was reached. That's the only historic part of it. Even as we're watching the ice caps disappear, species disappear at an alarming rate, climate variations have massively disrupted agriculture, we're going to think some more. To do something. In 2020. Maybe.

I hope the ice caps and the melting tundra and the farmland can wait.  But I doubt it. It may already be too late.

Why did Canada appear to be opposing any agreement?
1. Large, Canadian corporations don't want an agreement because they have invested heavily in fossil fuel. Like Alward, Harper knows who he answers to.
2. It's the same in the US. So, in taking a prominent lead in stalling things, Harper was kissing up to Obama. Good Canadian Harper took the heat for Obama. Obama will be nice to Canadian corporations.

Solid column by Alec Bruce.Good one by Norbert - though I shudder to see he has adopted the hideous use of quote as a noun.

The best part of the op ed page is the lost and found section.

Make it a point to read a very touching story on p. A2; it's about the Canadian veterans of the fall of Hong Kong in 1941. We sent almost two thousand troops to protect Hong Kong in case of a Japanese invasion. Very few were combat-ready. Their officers were inexperienced. All were inadquately equipped or trained at all in the short range weapons they would need.  The had no air cover. They would face an overwhelming force of Japanese with years of battle experience in China.

Half were killed in battle or died in captivity where they were worked, beaten and starved to death.  Few of the survivors would ever again be physical healthy; and all would live with the horror of memory.

I knew some of them, and went over the scenes of fighting with them while I was in Hong Kong. I saw a long flight of steps up a hillside that was covered by michine guns. The Canadians repeatedly  charged it. One veteran wept as he remembered the blood flowing down those steps.

One of the most poignant photos I have ever seen is of the soldiers marching down to the docks in Vancouver to leave for Hong Kong. A child of five or so has broken away from his mother to hold out his hand to his soldier-father. The father bends and reaches back to him.

It must be somewhere on google. I'll take a look for it.

Why did we send ill-trained and ill-equpped soldiers to Hong Kong in 1941? A place that was indefensible? It's a little too long to tell here. But the story does no credit to our political leadership of the time.

For an excellent book on the battle of Hong Kong, try to find Captive Christmas, 1941. It's widely available in Hong Kong, but rare over here.

The story reminds us to remember those soldiers and their sacrifice. I would just add a little to that. Remember those soldiers BEFORE we send soldiers off in future. We have squandered lives in Afghanistan for no gain whatever.  Nor was Canadian freedom under any threat. We have killed civilians in Libya. There's a lot more of that coming soon.

Let's think BEFORE we send them.


  1. The photo I referred to can be googled
    'Canadian soldiers departing hong kong 1941'
    It is the fifth row down, second picture from the left.

  2. Very good Graeme, very good...