Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25: mea culpa...

sorry to be late today. I had an appointment with a doctor. (I'm approaching that age at which one's social circle is made up largely of doctors, undertaker salespeople and evangelists giving it their last, best shot.)

Anyway -I missed a biggie in yesterday's paper. The letter from medical staff at Sackville Memorial Hospital made it. It got into letters to the editor. Yes, they wrote a letter warning about the dangers of shale gas  and fracking - and it took only two weeks for it to appear in Letters to the Editor.

Of course, it wasn't important enough to be letter of the day. That honour was reserved for a much more important letter on how mothers should relax more.

Sorry I didn't notice the medical letter yesterday. So I started with Letters to the Editor today.

The Letter of the Day is an blistering attack on protesters and anybody who disagrees with anything the government(s) want to do to improve our economy. These are our greatest stumbling blocks to progress. Yes, he writes, particularly trade unions and opposition parties.

And I could hear the applause arising from the graves of Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung - and the cheers of Heil! Heil! Sieg Heil! But I assure the writer we do have a dictator just like the good, old ones. The Liberals and Conservative are just his party clothes. And his leadership is working.

Trade unions try to improve the economy by getting a couple of extra dollars in people`s pockets. But our dictator takes billions at a time in tax reductions and special contracts and favours. And some day he`ll give it all back to us because he`s a wealth creator and a philantopist. Read Norbert. He explains it better than I could.

I wondered what bozo could possible have selected this anti-democratic and ill-informed letter for Letter of the Day. Then I noticed the name of the responsible editor - Rod Allen. And I`ll bet that letter wasn`t sitting on his desk for two weeks while he made up his mind.
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The front page has a picture for the big news of the day. Workmen are painting the big lobster in Shediac. I`m so relieved. There`s nothing worse than a main st. with a big, concrete lobster that needs paint.

The lead story is interesting.``Police probe vandal reports``.

It`s a report on reports of vandalism at shale sites. There is no evidence whatever of who did these things or why. But reporter Cole Harrison uses most of the column to spread company rumours that the vandals were anti-shale gas protesters.

To the reporter - this is bloody awful journalism. Your job is to report what you know, not to spread rumours and to make smart-ass guesses.

Harrison also notes that ``about`` nine trees were cut down to block a road. Cole, back in school, were you weak in math. Can`t you count as high as nine or even a little bit more (at this point my computer is going wacky, won`t print question marks - and other oddities. Bear with me.)

Cole, you didn`t even see those trees - did you. You simply took somebody`s word. And you tossed around hints that you had no proof for whatever. I lived through jounalism of that sort in separatist Quebec (both English and French). I see no reason to respect it here.

This was then linked to the arrest of proesters several days ago - though no reason is given to link the various incidents. Then it goes one, a t length, to link it all with people who protested quite legally and peacefully - and certainly had no connection at all with the original story. Then it went on to imply at length that the anti-shale gas movement is losing support. Even if true (which I doubt), what the hell does that have to do with the story.

This isn`t a report. It`s propaganda, and crap propaganda at that. And it most certainly isn``t journalism of any sort. Obviously you and your editor are either ignorant of that or you are willing liars.

Incidentally - a good reporter asks - who stands to gain from these reports of vandalism. That`s not a an idle question. We`re dealing with an industry that has a long history of ruthlessness and corruption. A good reporter checks around for both sides.

I think it`s quite possible we`re going to see violence. But I`ve seen far too much of this sort of thing to think it`s going to come from the protesters.

The other big news is that sticky buns are selling well in Alma. It`s a big story on p. 7. (I hear that sticky buns go well with concrete lobster.)
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NewsToday`s big item is `that Impact of Shale Industry Considered. Even the headline is a lie because that`s not what the story is about. It`s about Environment Minister Craig Leonard visiting North Dakota. (No. Don`t get you hopes up. He`s coming back.)

And the whole story is about the only thing Mr. Leonard does well - kissing up to the boss. It`s his personal report on how North Dakota has shale gas, and everything is wonderful and everybody is happy, happy, happy.
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The editorial is not terrible. It`s just boring, partly because The editorial writer is giving advice on a subject he knows nothing about. - but, that`s what most editorials are in other papers, too.

Norbert is back to his usual form of writing a column based on something he read and found interesting, but few others will. He closes with a quotation from Shakespeare to the effect that big fish eat little ones. Very true. He should remember that next time he writes a kiss-up column for Mr. Irving.
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Alec Bruce`s column is, to put it gently, a disappointment. He defends seismic testing for shale gas on the grounds that it`s used in building highways, and causes no problems. I`d like to believe he`s a simple-minded as that statement suggests. But he`s not simple-minded.

The protest against seismic testing is not that it`s being used to build roads. It`s because it`s being used as a step to fracking for shale gas. Mr. Bruce knows that. Unlike most of the people at Irving press, he`s very intelligent.

Once seismic testing gets through, then the next step - drilling - will be easy - and then we`re done for.

The medical profession is close to unanimous on that. Our own Chief Medical Officer has told us that. But Norbert, perhaps because his moustache blocks the passage of air to his brain, prefers to ignore the opinion of medical experts. (It is signicant Norbert has NEVER referred to Dr. Cleary as an expert. But he refers to a person who know nothing about medecine, Professor Savoie, as an expert every time he mentions his name. It`s also significant that the TandT could publish a letter like the one it got from Sackville medical staff - and not say a word about it. At the same time, when Craig Leonard goes to North Dakota and wets his pants over shale gas, it`s the lead story in NewsToday.)

Shale gas is a scam. It`s dangerous scam. It`s a destructive scam. It`s a deadly scam. It`s a greedy and thoughtless scam. It`s a scam that`s going to leave with millions or billions of gallone of toxic waste - with not idea of how to dispose of it. And it`s being pushed by some of this world`s most ruthless people, aided by the worst newspapers and most shameless political hacks I have ever seen.

And, Alec, only a fool could believe that this is  harmless. And, Alec, you are not a fool.

Alan Cochrane has a column which, as an historian, I find objectionable. Collecting trinkets is not history. Like the very silly War of 1812 Events and the reenactment of the march of Atlantic soldiers to Quebec, this is a trivialization of history - in the latter two cases it`s a trivialization in order to get hold of tax payers`` money to build support for Harper`s Conservatives.

Going gaga over a brass plate from an engine is not learning about history. History is about learning to think, to make judgements,  to understand. Alan Cochrane shows no sign of doing any of those.

For relief, there`s a useful columnn for seniors by Louise Gilbert.
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There was no news about a local hero named Robert Goguen.

Ottawa recently passed a new law (C-309) making it a crime to cover your face at an unlawful assembly. What is an unlawful assembly (quiestion mark). Well, an unlawful assembly is one the police say is unlawful. And they can decide that, then start arresting within a second. They can (and I`ve seen them do it) open up with tear gas.

And if you`re standing around, innocent as they come, anywhere in the area, and you hold a handkerchief to cover your nose or eyes - then you can be arrested for covering your face at an unlawful assembly.

Originally, the penalty was to have been five years in jail. But Conservative MP Robert Goguen was the man of the hour. He changed it to ten years in jail. Thanks to Robert Goguen, we can all sleep better tonight. (In other cities, people like Robert Goguen get placed in sheltered workshops. In Moncton, they get elected.)

Oh - the police, of course, are allowed to cover their faces. visors do it very well. They are also known to cover their ID numbers before wading in with slubs. That`s one reason why police almost never get charged for provoking a riot.
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The TandT (along with the rest of the Irving press) must be the only newspaper in the world not covering the case of Edward Snowden, the intelligence analyst who revealed that the US government has been massively spying on just about everybody (in violation of constitutional rights.) Obama is after  him now to arrest him on trumped-up charges, hold him for years without trialin solitary and with torture, and then set him up in a rigged tribunal to be sentenced to life in solitary - with every step in this process contrary to the American constitution.. (As he is now doing to Private Manning, another man guilty of telling the truth.)

Most countries do that, of  course. Britain spies on the British people on a similar scale. It also spies on the US. The US, for that matter, spies on Britain, Turkey, Israel - just about everybody - and Israel spies on Canada and the US. Has Harper involved Canada.  Of course he has. Remember - he signed an absurd deal in which US police can operate in Canada as fully and as easily as they can in the US.
Welcome to Big Brother.
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I`m reading an excellent and well-researched book on how Pakistan got the money and equipment to build a nuclear arsenal. It`s an extraordinary story about a wildly irresponsible and heavily militarized at every level, Pakistan, and how it got the money and equipment to build a nuclear arsenal itis almost certain to use - from the US. It`s also a story about how every president from Ronald Reagan knew what was going on, lied about it to Congress (which is illegal), and covered for it.

I`ve always complained that the TandT is one of the very few newspapers I have known that does not carry book reviews. So I might try to do this one for a Sunday edition of this blog. (but it`s a slow read - filled with names of strange places I`ve never heard, of obsure organizations, made more confusing because half the population of Pakistan seems to be named Khan.
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Oh - a parting note. Somewhere in the paper, a story used the word ``parameters`` to mean boundaries. In fact, that is not what the word means. It is misused, though, by pompous assees who want to sound important. Somebody please tell this to Irving press editors.



 

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if Environment Minister Craig Leonard is aware of this particular North Dakota story?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/04/north-dakota-fracking-boom-family

    But, here's the problem:

    Our provincial government feels as if they're broke and must get our quickly rising provincial debt down while maintaining ongoing operating costs.

    So in a politically bullied province such as NB what do you do? And in a backward province where there is no rule of law in which the former premier can rip off the province of $50 mil and get away with it, what do you do?!

    If you're David Alward, you continue making the mistake of protecting the status quo.

    But the irony is; the status quo got us into this mess in the first place.

    Protecting the status quo has always, and only brought us temporary solutions as it's moved us from one industrial project to whenever the next one became available, and it did this all the while, without ever allowing us to make any real or sustainable progress. And it's why in 2013 we're in a mess in NB.

    So...the big, big problem with fracking for shale gas however should be obvious for anyone with a brain to see.

    Once again, we get some temporary work out of this 'newest' project, but this time when the last well has given up the ghost

    (and gas wells run out quickly, that's why so many new wells have to be continuously drilled)

    we're left with a legacy of toxic soup that could, and in several cases will migrate into underground water reservoirs!

    Not to mention of course, they've been dumping the fracking waste water and chems into the Bay of Fundy!

    Check out the Council of Canadians website archives for a past petition not to allow this to happen!

    Mmm. Can't wait 'til I have another lobster dinner courtesy of the Bay of Fundy!

    Wonder how the NB Tourism Dept. would like it if this info got out and spread around?

    What am I saying? For a moment there, I was actually under the mistaken belief anyone at the NB Tourism Department would give a shit. Silly me!

    In other news; I've been following roypotterqa

    https://www.youtube.com/user/roypotterqa

    Yesterday, LT.Col (retired) Roy Potter had announced he was going to upload info he'd been working on for today's video, but I see at

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11YhqBZgpVg&feature=c4-overview&list=UUlZwdhUK9XIOzgHj0BRMwhg

    Roy had left a short, cryptic message he was being followed by the feds and his Youtube account was being messed with.

    Check it out.

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