Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 30: Sign it, you miserable wretch!

For many years, I did editorials on radio. I did not squeak in a high voice in with a heavy Pakistani accent to disguise my voice. I occasionally did one on TV. Again, no disguised voice. Nor did I wear a Ku Klux Klan sheet to hide my identity. And in both cases, I signed off, giving my whole name.

Most newspaers are different. The editorial writers are anonymous. That's based on a pretence that the editorial represents the opinion of the newspaper - and that, of course is absurd. A newspaper can't have an opinion. It's not a person.

The reality, sometimes, is that the editorial is written by a senior editor who doesn't give a damn what the "newspaper" thinks. Sometimes, it's written by a senior editor who consults with other editors first, and who then writes in accordance with the majority view.

But even in the latter case, who cares what the majority opinion of editors is? Most of them have no special understanding of foreign affairs or local politics or finance. Their training is in putting a newspaper together. If they have something to say about that process, I would be interested in reading it.

If it is on some other topic, I would like to see a name on that editorial. Otherwise, the opinion is both pretentious and cowardly - like today's in the TandT. Mind you, if I had written such lying, ignorant and hate-filled editorial as today's, I wouldn't sign it, either.

There has never been an editorial in the TandT that has been critical in any way of the gas industry, not even a word. But it has poured ridicule and contempt on those who are apposed to shale gas exploration. (and it appears to be ignorant of the massive protests across the US by people who have been damaged by shale gas.)

It also strongly suggests that those who protest are the trouble-makers here, while the shale gas companies and the government have bent over backwards, out of the sheer goodness of their hearts (God bless their spotless souls) to make sure it's all perfectly safe.

The TandT has also consistently refused to show both sides of the issue - though it promised that from the start. Now, it is siding with SWN in its pretence that it was worried about the physical safety of its reps at at proposed public meeting. It feared violence from people who have never been violent, and who certainly never said they intended to be.

Violence is rarely caused by protesters. What really causes it is those who have power - through money or political connections or (usually) both to shove through what they want no matter what damage it may do. What also causes violence is a news medium that supports the bullies.

It finishes with shrugging off any concern about that the human and environmental effects might be by saying "More to the point (more to the point than any physical risk), is what kind of money New Brunswickers will get out of this and how government will extract the cash from those who extract the gas."

What? The physical risk is not important - despite the opinion of our Chief Medical Officer - who might know more about the health risks than even an editorial writer does.

'More to the point' is what jobs we'll get? More to the point is what the government will extract from the gas companies? Our government will extract money from big business? When the hell has that ever happened in the whole history of New Brunswick? In fact, it has always been the other way around.

The is an ignorant, lying (it accuses those opposed to natural gas as using "inflammatory statements" and "veiled threats". Nonsense). In fact, it is this editorial that is inflammatory.

My, I would love a public debate with this wretched clown. But I hate debating with somebody wearing a Ku Klux Klan sheet.
Meanwhile, the attack on medicare continues. C1 (Newstoday) features a study done showing how hospital staffs could be reduced to bring cost down while maintaining efficiency. What's notable is that the story does not include a single word from anyone who might disagree with the report.

Even a rank amateur like me can see some obvious weak points.

1. The report assumes that each province should have the same costs. Why? Conditions in each province are not the same.
2. It assumes that services which have similar names are, in fact, the same service. Why? A province offering cheaper hospital meals may be doing so by not having as many people in the hospital as it should for proper care.
3. Health minister Flemming uses this report to justify his move to fire 400 staff. But Flemming demanded the cuts WITHOUT any preliminary study of where cuts would be effective and where they would be damaging. This report does nothing to justify Flemming's behaviour. Indeed, it increases the probability that Flemming's cuts were arbitrary - and had everything to do with cutting costs - and nothing to do with efficiency of service.
4. The report is based on the assumption that hospitals should work according to a business model. Why? A hospital is not a business. The function of a medical system is to meet health needs. The only purpose of a business is to make profits. The two functions are not at all the same.

I mean, if hospitals were to operate like businesses, they would need executive officers making millions a year, plus bonusses, share dividends for stockholders..gross profits for the major owners...
There is nothing more wasteful and costly than the business model.

Good columns by Alec Bruce, Norbert Cunningham and Jody Dallaire. Rod Allen offers his usually doggie-woggie story. Take a good look at the photo of him in this column. The expression on his face tells us that (in his opinion) here is a man who is terribly, terribly clever and all-seeing.
The current events group will meet in the library on Tuesday, June 4 at 7 p.m. And, my, I would love to see any and/or all Tand T staff there to point out the error of my ways. I promise not to riot.



  1. According to the T&T's editorial, the protesters are ignorant. If they were ignorant, they wouldn't be protesting. The protesters are very well aware of the destructive nature of the shale gas industry. One only needs to read about the horrifc destruction left behind by he shale gas corporations who are interested in only one thing: PROFITS. So, as citizens of this province, let's deafen the ears of the SWN and our government leaders by repeatedly saying “NO MEANS NO“. That's the only to stop them from destroying our beloved province.

  2. This is bang-on. Thank you so much for this fantastic take on corporate bullying of the masses. NBers: stand up for yourselves.It's now or never.

  3. Thank you Graeme.

    You seem to be hitting a nerve when a pathetic badger and sorry proponent for a shale gas industry in NB, attempts to mischaracterize, "Anti fanatics posting this article that advocates violence and hatred in NB".

    Well done!

  4. Mark D'Arcy, FrederictonJune 1, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Well said!

    The editorial writers are anonymous because they are often submitted by the Irving Group or other resource development companies. In this case, I would not be surprised if it was SWN's parent company, Southwestern Energy in Houston, Texas that crafted this one. You can just picture the finger-wagging downward on the little people in New Brunswick.

    Thank you Graeme for giving us the true 'big picture' (the 'big picture' was the title of the T&T Editorial)

    NOTE: It is interesting that Liberal Leader Brian Gallant is totally absent from support for his constituents in Kent County on this issue. While all the major municipal governments in Kent County, and the majority of its citizens, tell SWN to stop testing, this would be a great opportunity for the Liberals to call for a moratorium on testing. Or perhaps this is a strong hint that Brian Gallant's handlers don't really believe in a moratorium on shale gas....