Friday, February 17, 2012

Feb. 17: headlines, headlines, headlines....

Yesterday, as I looked over the day's web news for major items The Moncton Times and Transcript would not carry, I found one I just knew WOULD be in today's paper. (It's about fracking, and it appears to support fracking. Now, the TandT normally avoids fracking like the plague. But one that supports fracking..well....) Too bad they can't do it right even when they see a story they like.

The headline, in NewsToday reads "Fracking not to blame for pollution:scientists".Now, that's important because as journalists know, many readers look only at the headline. So far as they're concerned, that's the whole story. But that's not the whole story. In fact, it's not the story at all.

First, the scientists didn't say fracking is not to blame for pollution. It says they found "no direct connection" between fracking and the phenomenon of tap water bursting into flame.

Secondly, they were speaking only of pollution of groundwater, not of pollution in general.
Thirdly, they did not claim that the search for shale gas was not polluting water. They said it might be coming from spillage and disposal of waste water associated with the drilling. (That contradicts the sub-headling with says shale gas does not contaminate groundwater.)

In short, they do not dispute that contamination is happening and is widespread. They do not dispute that it is happening where fracking is going on.

They also admit that while so far only small earthquakes have occured as a result of fracking, a big one is possible. They also accept the fact that the use of shale gas will further global damage resulting from greenhouse emissions.  And that, I think, is called pollution.

Of course, you can't learn all that unless you reaad the story closely - and all the way to the end. And the editors to The Moncton Times and Transcript know that.

So they just stick on a big heading that says"Fracking not to blame for pollution: scientists".

Oh, the study was funded by the Energy Institute of the University of Texas. Gee! I wonder who funds that? It's probably just a coincidence that Texas is the US major source of oil and of shale gas. You can check out their site on google "energy institute University of Texas". Look it over. Notice how it has only nice things to say about oil and about shale gas.

Goodness, is it really possible that big business could buy out a university to shill for it? You betcha. It's happening all over North America. McGill is now suffering an embarassing investigation for studies claiming asbestos is good for you. North American corporations are taking over universities the way they've taken over government.

There were, of course, a few big stories the TandT missed. Remember how we bombed Libya to bring democracy? Well, a study by Oxford University (which has not been bought out) suggests that only 29% of Libyans want democracy. Not that it matters. We had no intention of letting them have it, anyway. Nor is it possible since the central government controls only a small part of the contry, with warlords controlling the rest. Gee! and after all those nice bombs we dropped on them.

The US director of national intelligence told congress that Iran is NOT building nuclear weapons. Well, no point in reporting that. I mean, our prime mininister says it is. And he should know. He also says that Iran is the greatest threat to world peace, and it frightens him. He says it's their culture. Yep. Christians would certainly never build nuclear bombs. Anybody who doesn't hate Moslems is on the side of child pornographers.

The style of warfare has changed fundamentally over the past fifty years as modern armies have proved incapable of dealing with countries which really don't want big countries invading them. Afghanistan is proving a prime example of that. As well, a declining US empire has to try to control so many countries all over Africa, Latin America, and Asia that it's simply not practical to invade them all in conventional war.

A stopgap has been the drone bomber. They now account for about a third of othe US air force,and are freely used against countries that the US isn't even at war with. The latest development is the growth of special ops, small groups of soldiers who are trained in assassination and terrorism. Estimates place their numbers at 25,000 on the ground - and now operating in 75 countries -  you know - killing uncooperative politicians, murdering scientists, stuff like that. In 75 countries.

Well, that's the price of freedom.

To find stories like that, go to International Clearing House on the web. The site is the life work of a man named Tom Feeley who, you can bet, has his name on lots of lists of the sort that Harper wants to start in Canada.

It's purpose is to print those stories that most of our propaganda news media ignore.

I don't always agree with its opinion columns. Some are as one-sided as the type one finds in the TandT. But, if you use your judgement, some of them seem quite sound - and the news columns can be real eye-openers.

For this day's TandT, be sure to read Alec Bruce, David Suzuki. There's also a thought-provoking column by Linda MacGibbon.

Norbert Cunningham has reverted to his normal style - prejudiced to the point of bigotry, and crashingly ignorant of his topic. I could write pages on what is wrong with this one. But I'll content myself with just a couple of samples.

Industrial capitalism produced wealth? Yes. For a few. It also produced unspeakable povery, starvation, and brutality for billions of others. Does Norbert know nothing of The Belgian Congo and other African countries? Of American dictatorships in Latin America and the Phillipines? Does he know nothing of the behaviour of western conquerors in China and India? We grew wealthy on the resources of North America. Ever check out how the native peoples did?

Our wealth was built by impoverishing others. We even impoverished our own population.  Check out what it was like to work in Canada's mines a century ago (and less). Read a book like Terry Copp's The Anatomy of Poverty.  That's the way the Soviet Union modernized too. That's the way China is doing it now.

Nor does our capitalist "prosperity" seem to be of a lasting sort. In the "capitalist" US, there are today and and a half million homeless children. Tell  your Greek and Irish and British friends about the triunph of "capitalism". (I put capitalism in brackets because our system, for the big companies,  is not capitalism. It never was.)

As for human rights, may I suggest Norbert preach to the US? It slaughtered a quarter million innocent men, women and children in Guatemala. It was even worse in Vietnam and Iraq. Did you even report that it happened, Norbert?

"Fracking not to blame for pollution: scientists".   Sheesh!


  1. Yes, it's all very laughable as mostly everything that is wrong with our contemporary era is also so very transparent! The emperor wears no clothes and all that...

    I agree with what John Ralston Saul says in regards to business degrees from universities that don't know how, or are simply unwilling to impart ideas of compassion or conscious into their curriculum and graduates. He simply states the schools should be shut down. What a novel approach...
    There's an excellent lecture by him on Australia's ABC's Big Ideas website under Books and Authors. Lots of good material there...

    Also, an excellent lecture to help fill in a few recent historical gaps for some, and is followed by a question and answer session (fraking included)
    is by Chris Hedges "Death of the Liberal Class" at the Sanctuary for Independent Media available on youtube. He speaks of a corporate oligarchy which has taken over most people's lives, and how both the Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. have sold out...War is the new big business to be in...
    ...and try Hedges here at for a shorter, but hard-hitting discussion where America is headed...

    I'm afraid a lot of people have already drank the Kool-Aid of doublethink, or if they know the difference, are too afraid to speak out...

  2. Wow! I'm going to have to do some reading to even begin to catch up with you.