Saturday, April 13, 2013

April 13:

Sometimes, I'm a bit slow... Yesterday, the Tand T ran an editorial saying that the railway line through New Brunswick needs work, that it's in bad shape. Okay...

I read in other sources that Irving is shipping 90,000 barrels of oil per week by rail, the very dirty tar sands oil, to its refineries in St. John. Gee! (And some sources put the figure much, much  higher.)

Does that mean Irving is shipping oil, and very dirty oil at that, on unsafe rails? Doesn't NB have regulations on that - you know, sort of like the "toughest regulations in the world" that we have on shale gas?

And are our fearless newshounds of Brunwick News even now working on the big story of what refining dirty oil is doing to air quality in St. John?

And another note on the careless use of words. North American newspapers commonly refer to North Korea as being "provocative" in the current crisis.

Now, provocative means acting in such a way as to provoke a response. But that's not what North Korea is doing. North Korea is reacting to a provocation. Those two aren't the same at all.

What has "provoked" this situation is the US and South Korea practicing attacks on North Korea. And that is one hell of a provocation because such war games on the border of North Korea could at any moment turn into a real attack.

Of course, North Korea is very worried. Of course, it's reacting. Who wouldn't?

And North Korea is "threatening"? Well, actually, it's saying that if it gets hit, it will hit back. And, usually, the word threatening is applied to the hitter, not the hittee.

Just two more examples of the journalistic misuse of words as a means of brainwashing. But don't blame the reporters. They, like all the rest of us, have been brainwashed all their lives.

The biggest story in today's TandT is the front page headline, and a long, long report that follows it. It's all quite breathless. It covers a speech on the province's economy delivered to a big meeting of the Rotary Club AND the Chamber of Commerce - so we know this will be a really honest and scholarly speech with all the greatest minds from Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview assembled in one room.

The speaker was even more dazzling. Don Mills belongs to one of New Brunswick's many Halls of Fame. (There are so many, it's almost impossible to imagine that there is anybody left to induct.)

And he said - well -- nothing really. He said the NB economy is weak. But the sharp minds who belong to the Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce probably already suspected that. He said the province is half rural. (And he had the figures to prove it.)

The headline "N.B. can shed 'have-not' title..." suggests he has the answer to the problem. But if he does, it was still a secret by the end of his speech. This talk appears to have been pure wind masquerading as keen insight.

And, of course, it has the usual, disparaging comments about all us low-class bums who think we are entitled to things like EI, and medical service.

There was no mention of high-class bums who feel they're entitled to get tax breaks, hide their money in tax havens, get government gifts of land, get millions of dollars from government so they can interfere with our schools, and even name themselves members of the government without bothering to get elected.

(Actually, we can afford the low-class bums. It's the high-class bums that cost us.)

In the end, Mr. Mills had nothing to offer. Nor does it seem to have occured to the reporter to ask him any questions. So here's a man who had nothing to say, but who rates the lead and biggest story in today's paper. Contrast that with the TandT's treatment of Dr. Leary who did have something to say and, though not a member of a hall of fame, actually knew what she was talking about. But the TandT savaged the report on her, a report that began making criticisms of what she said even before making it clear what she had said.

And all this is what's called brain-washing.
C15 has a nothing story on Syria. The only notable point in it is the reference to information provided by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which it is now confirmed (and has been for some time) is a)a propaganda front for the "rebels" b) a one-man operation based in Britain with no special access to news from anywhere c)is run by a haberdasher and d)is funded by the European Union and some  (unnamed) other state.

So here we have the Associated Press still referring to it as a reliable source - and we have news editors at Brunswick News who either know nothing about this organization, or are so unethical that they run stories about it, anyway.

The real story about Syria is completely absent. The dominant group among the "rebels" is made up of Islamic jihadists closely affiliated with Al Quaeda. And these are the people the US is supplying with weapons and money. Brilliant.

What all this slaughter and suffering is really about is destroying the state, any state, called Syria. What it's about is breaking Syria into a series of much smaller countries, too small to be of any influence, and all, almost certainly, to be run by dictators. There is no civil war. The is no support for a civil war. There never was. This is a series of invasions sponsored by the Arab League, Turkey, Britain, France, and the US and, in a smaller way, Israel. They want a middle east and an Africa completely dominated by themselves, with no other state large enough to defy them.
Bill Beliveau's column is for those whose stomachs get all fluttery when they see pictures of Justin Trudeau, the almost-sure-to-be leader of the federal Liberal party. However, I am able to control my flutters. The Liberal party has long lost any sense of direction. And they're not likely to find it under Justin.

I have never met Justin. But I knew his father. Father and son have the same family name, of course; and that name is what Justin has been living off.  But I see no sign that Justin shares anything but a name with his father.

Norbert has a column that seems a very sensible one - unless you think about it. He uses polls to show that the people of NB don't take the debt crisis seriously enough.

No, Norbert. The problem is you don't know how to read polls. What you are complaining about is that people don't agree with the debt solutions you support. And a good reason for that might be that the solutions you support are the ones that put the blame for the debt on the ordinary people of this province. You don't once mention the culpability of people like your bosses.

Norbert ends with a quotation about public officials being arrogant. Oh? Have our public officials been tough and arrogant in dealing with your bosses, Norbert? Or have they ever, for example, demanded the right to sit on Irving's boards of directors simply because they say so? You know, in the way that Irving made himself a member of the government?

And, to paraphrase your headline, how about a column on "Is the depth of our news crisis sinking in?"

On the op ed, Brent Mazerolle dredges up yet another story about a minor incident in his life. But I shall not criticize it. His recent confession that it hurts his feelings to have his column criticized stung my my wretched soul. So I'll just ask him to read papers outside New Brunswick. Notice how the op ed columns are usually used to  comment on the news? To add insight and opinion to it?

Hugh J. "Ted" Flemming has a commentary on the doctors and his conflict with them. ("Ted" baby is our minister of health.) He writes with more restraint than he talks - though there are touches in the writing which suggest to me that a "communications specialist" helped "Ted" in writing this.

This is a commentary that really says nothing. I have seen no reason to believe he is willing to work with the doctors. I have seen no evidence that he has the faintest interest in efficiency nor that he even understands the meaning of that word.

Hint to "Ted" - if you want to be more convincing, tell us what you think efficiency means. And tell us how you propose to make health care more efficient. So far, all you have talked about is cuts. That's not the same thing. Efficiency can lead to cuts. But cuts do not necessarily lead to efficiency.

You have to start with what we have in health care, what the needs are for the people of this province, then you work out ways to do it that are economical. But you haven't don't that. And you aren't going to. Because you know damn well that all your real boss wants is to cut any spending that isn't spending that goes to him.


  1. Subject: Rail lines in NB
    Map here:

    One wonders about the rail lines in NB that are in such "bad repair"? One wonders if it is the rail lines belonging to NB Southern Railway (a proud member of the J.D. Irving, Limited Group of companies)???????
    Is this an "Irving Newspaper" pimping for government money to repair/maintain an other Irving operation?

  2. Oh, I'm sure that's a terribly unfair suggestion.
    As we know, Mr. Irving is a devout believer in small government - as are the very independent newspapers like the TandT. Thus the support for cuts in health spending. Big government just wastes money.

    So giving tax money to Mr. Irving would be an insult to a man of his beliefs; and I know he would refuse any such offers.

    after all, doing expensive favours for Mr. Irving would require a big government.

    No. Mr. Irving would never tolerate any offer of government help. I mean, you check that just be looking at his record.

  3. If you poke around at the 1st link you can actually see rail tank cars heading right to the Irving refinery in Saint John through McAdam (meaning: by traveling in the US we dodge many Canadian regulations until we arrive at the "over regulated Province of New Brunswick) I warn you, this is one slow loading page, and in certain pictures you can see the condition of the rail lines.