Thursday, October 18, 2012

Oct. 18: Mea culpa...

I don't know how I could have been so foolish as to miss it. A reader pointed out something very important to me, something I had missed.(maybe I really should have become a staffwriter for the Times and Transcript).

She sent me a video of Dr. Lapierre at one of his community meetings. He was asked what his mandate was. He replied that it was to report on community opinions. That's it. There was not a word about making recommendations for what should be done on the issue of shale gas. He was just supposed to report on community opinions.

I'll try to save a little face by saying it bothered me even yesterday that a biologist should think himself qualified to make the recommendations he did make. But even that doesn't get me off the hook.Damn. How could I have missed that?

Dr. Cleary's report was held until it could be put out along with Dr. Lapierre's. When it got into the hands of the Irving press that made it possible to use it to downplay the Cleary report. The press did not treat it at all as a report on public opinion. Instead, it seized on the statement that shaling should go ahead. Dr. Lapierre was not mandated to report on that; and he has no expertise to make such a recommendation.

This was all a setup.

Was the TandT lying? I'm not sure anybody there is smart enough to lie.

Why did Dr. Lapierre put in that bit about it being okay to go ahead? After all, it looks very much like a deliberate attempt to avoid the major issues and to pave the way for the gas lords. Did the suggestion come from cabinet? I would doubt it. I have seen no evidence of any brains in the cabinet for plotting at that level.. No, this is a very cute strategic move. I suspect it comes straight from corporate staffers.

As well, we should always be suspicious of university teachers. I don't mean they're crooked or dishonest. Their problem is they crave status, public reputation, honours, being interviewed for their opinions. And they're often naive. That makes them easy meat for those who want to use them. (I say this based on forty years experience as a prof, and many approaches from just such people as the flacks from the gas industry.)

We're being lined up like sheep. Watch for more. The next step in the strategy is likely to be the appointment of the "independent commission" which is likely to be heavily staffed with academics.
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The front page has a story of the demolition of a very large church on George St.  That raises an issue that should be handled in an editorial or by a staffwriter on the op ed page. Unfortunately, none of them have to wit to write about anything but guitars, motorcycles, a visit to grandma's or, in the case of the editorial, whatever the boss says to write.

Understand first that I am not a Jesus jumper. While I have religious beliefs, I don't give a damn whether Mary was a virgin; I don't hunt up obscure references to justify hunting down gays on the notion this makes me holier. I have no idea whether God created the universe. I think the fever over the end of the world coming and Jesus coming back to rule is simple-minded. I particularly dislike the cutesy messages on the lighted sign at Highfield Baptist.

That said, I don't think the disappearance of churches in our society is any minor matter.

Throughout history, the basis of whatever morality we have has come from religion. And I cannot think of any society anywhere throughout history in which that has not been true. Yes, the churches have been many bad things, and have been perverted for many bad purposes. But - they are also, for society as a whole, the only source of morality we have. The decline of the churches is something that should scare the wits out of us.

Morality is the glue that holds a society together. You cannot have a society if it is okay to murder, to steal, to covet.... Morality is practical. Without some morality, a society destroys itself - just as we are not destroying ours.

We now live in a world in which corporation exert vast powers with not a trace of morality in them. We go to war constantly; usually against primitive and poor opponents; we kill civilians and children in numbers unmatched in history; we use torture on a world scale; we worship the rich and dump on the poor.... In the case of Christianity, the ten commandments simply don't exist at any level of government or in the corporate world.

But morals are practical. And even if all the stories about religion are just made up and tacked on to the morals, it doesn't matter. The morals are still essential to our survival. Take a walk by that church under demolition on St. George. It's more than a building that we're tearing down.
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Half of the front page is two ads disguised as stories - one an Italian supper, and the other a furniture auction.
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NewsToday, has some important items. First is "Khadr questions raised" in which an American court, ruling on another case, highlights all the illegalities and outright lies in the US treatment of Omar Khadr. Curiously, the US is now the place where the most hideous betrayals of legal process are being carried out, including torture of children - and being carried out by the most enthusiastic of the clap hands for Jesus set.

Then there's "Gas rules strike right balance:energy minister". Read this to learn how newspapers use stories as propganda. In a nicely staged show, the gas companies have complained about royalty rates and well protection rules. This, says the minister, proves that the government has struck the right balance.

Bull Shit, Mr. Leonard. Even you cannot be that dumb. How can a complaint from anybody prove the rules are right? The proof is in the degree of security provided. In any case, the complaint from the shale gas companies was obviously staged beforehand - as was Mr. Leonard's half-wit response. It's all part of the propaganda campaign to make us line up.
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Don't waste your time reading the American election report. Romney leads in the looney-tune vote; but there is no substantial difference between the policies of the two men. And both of them, probably by mutual agreement, are staying away from the real issues facing the country.

For an example of such an avoided issue, do read the last page of the section, "Cuban Missile Crisis remembered". Read every bit, right to the last sentence - especially the last sentence.
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The editorial is contemptible - contemptible for its indifference to human needs, contemptible for its analysis, contemptible for its treatment of people as commodities, contemptible for its lack of intelligence.

"Public transit is desirable but not essential". That is such a stupid and insensitive statement, it is hard to know where to begin. Of course, it's easy to say for one whose brain is protected by a soft cushion on his office chair, and by the easy ride it had to work on a car seat.

He says that Codiac is inefficient - but is gracious enough to say this is not entirely the fault of the drivers and mechanics. You pompous, ignorant twit. It is NOT AT ALL the fault of the drivers and mechanics. It is ALL the fault of Codiac administrators who, I am willing to bet, get well over 60,000 a year.

Anyway, as he says, only 1 in 20 people use the system. So who cares? Damn right. Who needs hospitals? Who needs libraries? Who needs crosswalks? Who gives a damn about veterans? They're way less than one in twenty. Who needs food banks? Screw 'em all. But we do gotta borrow a hundred million (and more) for a hockey rink that will seat far less that one in a 100 of the metro population.

What an insensitive and ignorant clod!  And what is his solution? In effect, his solution is to break the union, and hire some new people really, really cheap.

Oh, and he wants smaller buses because the Codiac ones often aren't full. Somebody might buy him a ticket to a real city where buses frequently travel empty. That's the nature of mass transit.

He closes by saying we need a transit company that is more responsive to the needs of the citizens - well, I guess citizens doesn't include the 1 in 20 who actually use it. (He did not write the word responsive in the editorial. He wrote responsible. But that's just because the editorial writer isn't real smart about what words mean.)

I agreed with Alec Bruce completely - right up the the last paragraph.

Everyone in NB will not become bilingual. This has nothing to do with with any failures of New Brunswickers. Swiss and Dutch (and Hong Kongers) become bilingual because of the environment they live in. New Brunswick does not live in that environment.

Nor can I see the slightest commercial advantage for New Brunswick if all its people were bilingual. You would surprised how few New Brunswickers have any occasion to deal commercially with the francophone business world (or any linguistic business world.)

New Brunswick is drifting into a quite pointless confrontation. It should get a little bit real.
1. Francophones must have their own schools, hospitals, and access to all public services -as English must.
2. Most anglos will not become bilingual - some because they are bigots, but more, far more, because they have no daily need for it.
3. NB francophones become bilingual because so much of their environment is anglo. Their problem will be to maintain a general level of real French in that setting. This is where French schools and French media have an important role.
4. Acadians will become prominent in the civil service and some other areas because they are bilingual. Some anglos will gripe about that - but having an extra skill is bound to have some benefit. (Besides, anglos in this province can hardly say they have been ground into poverty by Acadian dominance.)

Jody Dallaire, I completely agree with you that men should do an equal share of the housework.
No, I don't. Women should do it all.I mean, as a modern man, I'm all for equality in the workplace. Absolutely. But home - well - it's not man's sphere, is it! A woman's sense of worth comes from cooking, washing up, care of the home....don't get me wrong. I'm all for equality. But I would not  want to push my way into woman's sphere demanding, interfering in what is her's by right.
Don't get me wrong. I would be happy to do the floors and to cook and all that stuff. But it would be thoughtless and bullying of me to take away a woman's right to do these things, and to deprive her of her self-respect, if you follow me......
I think this needs more discussion.

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