Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oct. 20:....(sigh).....

Go to Google. Check out the news site. It's not great. It's not even very good. But it does give far better coverage to important news (and a wider range of sources) than all the Irving press put together. It even has a special section of New Brunswick news. I just noticed something interesting about that special section. Yesterday, its NB news sources were CBC, CTV, and the Financial Post. Today, all three are CBC. I realized that in the years I've been following that section, it has been rare indeed for it to cite the Irving papers as a source of news. Might be a column for you in there, Norbert.

There really is nothing to say about today's Section A -  unless you're fascinated that J.D.Irving Ltd. has opened a new head office in Dieppe, and you're lusting to see a photo of J.D., the mayor of Dieppe, NB's justice minister Marie-Claude Blais, and our MP Robert Goguen, all standing together for no clear reason.

There's also a story about how doctors want a ban on youth tanning in N.B. But who gives a damn what doctors want? These are the same doctors that the TandT has ignored in its series on the hazards (oops - opportunities - ) of fracking for shale gas. If we want advice on the dangers of tanning, we'll ask Prof. Lapierre or Brent Mazerolle.

In NewsToday, the big story is "New Liberal leader plans next move". Well, duh, yeah... We all plan our next move all day every day. What's he planning? I don't know. There isn't a word about it. All the story talks about is speculation over where he'll run.

Who could possibly care?

On the Business Page, the federal government is planning a balanced budget. So? Is that a good idea? Aren't there times, as in a recession, when it's good idea to be spending to revive the economy?  In fact, the story is worse - though the TandT doesn't tell it.

One way Harper is balancing the budget is by removing environmental protection laws so mining and oil companies can have more fun. He is also laying off a hundred researchers, and closing down research stations just at a time we desperately need them to find out what is happening to our climate and environment.

Nor has the TandT mentioned another cost saving measure of Harper's. He got rid of the long census form. Result - saved money? No. Result - lost money. Both government and private business rely heavily on census figures.  But as a result of Harper's budget-balancing, the figures are a mess. And the result of that is the huge cost of clearing up the mess, and the inevitable damage of working without reliable data..

The editorial is pure babble. If Art Hogan is the one who writes this gibberish, I can see why he doesn't sign it. Mr. Graham is a fresh start as Liberal leader. Yeah, well, all new leaders are fresh starts. Shawn Graham was a fresh start. George Bush was a fresh start. The emperor Nero was a fresh start.

And we can take encouragement that Mr. Gallant is one of ours right here in Moncton. Yeah. So are all the people I see in shopping mall - and the drug pushers - and the hookers..their all ours.....and your point is?

And he has a new way of looking at things. Really? And what is that way? Certainly, the Moncton Times and Transcript has kept that a secret.

"But this is not a week to focus on the problems....that face our province.", says the editorialist.  Perhaps not. Certainly, though, the time to focus on problems was during the leadership campaign. But nobody did it then, either. And, certainly, nobody - nobody including Mr. Graham - has said a word about the biggest problem facing this province - a corporate class who own and control everything, including the Liberal and Conservative parties.

But we won't talk about anything real. Instead, we'll use nice words that don't mean anything - fresh, positive, young, new, forward....

This one is perhaps the most fatuous and ignorant editorial I have ever seen.

The fundamental problem of this province is the people who run it. I don't mean the politicians. And I certainly don't mean you and me.

Alec Bruce does a somewhat better job dealing with the same topic - but not much better. He, too, ignores the central problem.

If the cartoon has a point, it eludes me.

The editors of the TandT have still not noticed the story about the island of Haida Qwaii just off the BC coast where an American businessman named Russ George has dumped iron pyrites into the ocean at a cost (still unclear) of over two and half million dollars to some of the poorest people in Canada. Mr. George is listed as the chief scientist of his company - though I cannot find any reference to his scientific training, if he has any. Scientists around the world, though, are saying what he has done is extraordinarily foolish and dangerous, with serious implication for the whole world. That's why the UN is investigating it.

Why didn't he do it in US waters? Because if he tried it, he'd now be in jail. He has also been banned from several other countries. So why do it in Canada? Because Harper doesn't give a damn about the environment. He has weakened or ignored our environmental regulations, cut back on scientific and legal controls, and is now dumping our researchers. Harper is not your average political dolt. He is a single-minded ideologue - and the most dangerous person ever to be prime minister.

How dangerous is this stunt?

Well, what Russ George is doing off Haida Qwaii is called geo-engineering. That means it is intervening in nature to change its normal operation. What's so dangerous about that?

Well, for openers, it changes the feeding and migration patterns of, in this case,aquatic life - and nobody knows how far the effects of that can reach. The impact can be world-wide; and they could be disastrous for many regions. Similar geo-engineers are tinkering with spraying gases or powders into the air to reduce the heat getting through to the earth - and so to stave off global warming.

If might work. Nobody knows. Nor does anybody know how to control how it works. The net result might be to slow down warming in one region - but to speed it up and cause drought in another on the other side of the world. Or it might be to make it too cold in one region - with disastrous results for every living thing.

Geo-engineering is playing poker with our lives. That's why there are international agreements forbidding it. That's why the iron powder dumped off our coast is a major issue before the UN. Canada has allowed a private company of doubtful reputation and non-existent scientific credentials to make a massive attack on nature with no knowledge of how it will work out - or of how far its damage can spread. Indeed, Mr. Harper still has not deigned to even notice it.

That's why it's news around the world - but not in the Irving Press. That's one reason why Canada is getting the reputation of an international outlaw.

Of course, the Irving press might have a good reason for ignoring the fuss.  After all, we could have a similar scheme coming our way led by one of our very own corporate leaders that we are so proud of.

Oh. Silly me. We already have one. It's called fracking for shale gas.

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