Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June 4: Nuthin' about nuthin'....

The big story is about a girl who lost her virginity, and now feels used. That's in the Dear Abby section. One you've read that, there's not a whole lot else to read in today's Moncton Times and Tribune.

Page one has another one of those big stories that really isn't a news story at all. It's the kind of thing one used to see in small town papers a century ago. In those years of frantic urbanization and growth, every Donkey Crosswroads and Sandy Flats in North America was the greatest place in the world to live, just full of the finest, go-getting people you ever saw, the Paris of the future...  It was called boosterism, and it was pushed by local newspapers at the behest of real estate dealers and shady promoters.

Remembering that, read the front page story in today's TandT,  'It's time to move on metro centre'.

Moncton's got a great heart, says the reporter. It's the best place in Canada to do business.  It's one of the top seven intelligent cities in, my goodnews, in the whole world. Gee! Sorta makes y' wonder why people move away. Oh, and Moncton City Council has some big shoes to fill - like - you know - like - big shoes. I mean, thery were like gods. I guess that's why so few people voted. They just couldn't imagine replacing the giants we had on council.

It's like reading the paper of a desolate Manitoba town of 1900, one of the many that are still desolate. That is not reporting. What that is called is mindless gushing.

The point of it all is tht Mayor Leblanc has decided we must push ahead on the civic centre at a hundred million plus as the first priority of this greatest little city in the world.

Leblanc has chosen his priority with virtually no discussion of all the priorities the city has to deal with, and without putting them in some order.

As well, he is going to revive downtown ( why?) without having produced a grain of evidence that an events centre will do that.

And where are all these new shops going to come from? We already have most of the popular shops and lots of them in various malls and complexes. Do you seriously think new shops are going to come from Montreal and Toronto just to be near an events centre?  (Both citieis have events centres - and they have not attracted shops).

Or are the shops we have in malls going to move out of the malls and down to the centre? If so, wouldn't that simply be spending a hundred million to move some shops? Wouldln't it be killing one part of town to built up another part? Okay, then do we spend another million to revive the parts of the city we just destroyed?

There has been virtually no open debate on this, no infomration, and nothing but propaganda from the Times and Transcript.  And what we get today of it for "news" is just old time boosterism.

This whole deal smells.

Speaking of smelly deals - back in my teaching days I was approached by a lobbyist for the Candian oil industry. He talked about how it was miunderstood, how it was really a great buch of  guys, and good for Canada. And they were looking for, you know, certified experts who could write articles and maybe appear on radio and TV to show how good the industry really was, to clear out all that misunderstanding, you know, people with credientials like Dr. in front of their names. It would be a way of putting the university on the map - and it would pay me quite well, too.

I turned it down - but I was surprised at how many professor took it. And did well.

In fact, rentaprof is a big business in North America. You can buy some leading professors at top universities who will do studies that 'prove' that oill spills do very little damage, that methane is good for you, that the climate isn't changing or, if it is, it doesn't matter.

Now go to B, p. 2.  'Your business'

A professor of sociology says that the population balance for developing shale gas in New Brunswick is excellent now. But it's changing fast, so we have to move quickly on exploration and production.

Now, that may be quite true (though even if the population balance were bad, we could surely bring in workers just as Alberta has).

Is the professor being completely honest? Well, I'm sure he's not stupid. I mean, gosh, he teaches at UNB. And he can't be dishonest. He has a PhD.

But let's apply his logic to a similar question. Let's say we decide to poison all people over the age of 40. Now, to do that, you need a good demographic balance. I mean, you're going to have a tough time poisoning hundreds of thousands if you have only a thousand or so to do it. So, using the professor's model, this is the best time to start poisoning them, now before the young people have moved out and before we have too many who are old. Wow! let's get started.

Another industry representative said that the gas industry is being picked on by environmtalists, and that helpless little gas industry just can't get it's message out. (Maybe this city with a heart should take up a collection for the gas industry.  It would be good for a picture on the daily page of smiling people holdinig a cheque for somebody.)

Then there was a big story about the VP of SWN, who said the news media have launched a fierce campaign of misinformation about  fracking. (You must have noticed that in the Times and Transcript). Oh, he also says it isn't the fracking that does the damage. It's the steel and concrete used in the casing for the drill hole that don't stand up. Think about that.

Think about - A driver is charged in court with reckless driving, and killing a pedestrian with his car. "It wasn't my car that killed him, ' he pleaded, "it was my car bumper."

Annie Daigle, speaking for the Department of Environment says the new rules  will require the gas companies to disclose the names of chemicals they force into our water table.

As a matter of fact, that is not true.  They are not required to report proprietary chemicals (their own, patented ones. That's loophole an elephant could stroll through.)

In that whole page, there is not a single mention of anything said by any opponent of shale gas drilling. Not a word. It's industry spokesmen, government, and universities - all there to sell us on shale gas.

The exploration has been going on for almost a dozen years with no information from most of our news media, no regulations, no enforcement of anything by our political leaders/ And, of course, no information form the industry.

The industry didn't know there might be controversy? Bullshit. It's faced controversty all over the world going back for decades. That's why a man approached me in my office many years ago with an offer I couldn't, but did, refuse.

I've studied their discussion points on information. They, too, are nothing more than propaganda. All of them mak claims about sharing information, claims that either have loopholes or that depend on honest poiticians and news media to get the information out.

But we have not had honest politicians leading us for at least the last dozen years. With the exception of CBC, we have not had honest information. (And CBC is now being punished for that honesty.)

The gas industry has never been eager to give out information or to submt to any sort of regulation.

All of them have played the role of pimps. We don't trust them. Of course, we don't.  And ForumE is clearly one more reason not to trust them.

As a former professor, it's with a sinking heart I read that Université de Moncton and University of New Brunswick, as joint organizers of this propaganda farce, have thus declared themselves whores for the pimps. Maybe they should write Dear Abby about it.

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