Monday, June 3, 2013

June 3: A very mixed bag...

Just back from a couple of days in PEI. Quite a revelation. I lived there for three years in my early teaching days - and hated it. This time, as I drove along its roads, I was quite taken by the high standard maintenance of its houses and grounds. Even the bits of forest looked neat and cared for. The neatness, the cleanliness, the sense of colour were a remarkable contrast to the shabbiness of much of rural (and urban) New Brunswick.

I was also struck by the initiatives of small business in setting up tourist attractions. We could learn a great deal from PEI.

I also picked up a copy of The Globe for Saturday. (The island newspapers, though superior to those of New Brunswick, are nothing wonderful.) The Globe has serious weak points but, oh, it's a journalistic paradise compared to the Irving Press.

For example, The Globe carried the story about BC saying no to a pipeline from the oilsands to the west coast. As well, native peoples along the route said no. They're worried, and rightly so about oil spills.

Harper is desperate to get that oil to the China market while such polluting oil is still permitted - which won't be long. That's why he launched a racist campaign against native peoples. (He was going to make them there native peoples accountable to Ottawa for their spending and, particularly, make their chief's salaries public. This nicely ignores the fact that most of the chief's salaries already are public - and  they're low; that the money native people get from Ottawa is theirs by right of treaty - and a damn cheap price we pay for the getting all this land; that, in fact, we have not been paying nearly as much as we're supposed to under the treaties.)

You don't think this is racist? Okay. What if it read "We're going to crack down on them there Jews" or "them there Koreans", or "them there African Canadians."?

Harper wants control of native peoples because he wants to pollute and destroy their lands to make a quick buck for his friends. And if they resist, well, then they're trouble-makers, and he'll send in police or even the army. And it will be all the fault of them there native peoples.

He'll even win votes on it. There are far more racists and bigots in this country that we are prepared to admit.  I could give you a couple of shocking examples of racism and bigotry here in New Brunswick. But, like much racism, it flies under that radar so we con't notice it, even when we share it.
The Globe also had a major column "The shale revolution and its unintended climate side effects". When was the last time you saw something critical of shale gas in the Irving press?

There were also two, full pages by experts giving each side of the shale gas debate. When was the last time you saw that in the Irving Press?
That latter point reminded me of SWN's bizarre cancellation of an "information" meeting in New Brunswick a few days ago on the claim they feared for the safety of their employees. That theme was emphasized in Saturday's TandT.

I think we're being set up. Consider these points.

1. Why do the press and SWN refer to the anti-shale gas people as protesters? These are people on opposite sides in a debate - rather like Liberals and Conservatives. Ever see the paper refer to Liberals or Conservatives as protesters? So why use the word here?
Because the word 'protesters' implies violence and trouble-making?
2. Why did SWN cancel the meeting? If it's an information meeting so of course people of both sides would be there. Supposedly, that's why such meetings are held. So why cancel? Nobody had made any threat of violence.  And we can be quite sure that the bosses at SWN don't give a damn for the safety of their employees. In fact, an attack on them would suit SWN perfectly, giving it an excuse to call for police suppression of the anti-shale gas movement. So why did they cancel?
a)The may have been worried that the antis at the meeting would be more numerous than the pros. turning into a meeting that would make SWN look bad.
b) They may be looking to build an image of the anti-shale gas people as being violent and revolutionary. That would make it easier for SWN to stage an incident, and demand that the police be called in.

The shale gas companies, like the oilsands people, are desparate. They know this stuff is severely damaging to the climate. They know that this truth will soon be unavoidable. So they have to get it out and sell it now.

It's short-sighted because even the CEOs will have to live in the severely damaged world they are creating. But short-sightedness is the occupational disease of big business.
And I have'nt even got to today's TandT.

Section A is, as usual, a zero. The major story in it is propaganda for Health Minister Ted "Me Tarzan" Flemming. "N.B. hospitals could cut costs  by $236m:report".

Of course, they could. The study was assigned to a company with the understanding it would come up with savings. So, of course it did. And isn't it interesting that the report wasn't submitted until AFTER Me Tarzan had already announced cuts? How convenient it should support what he had said!

And why must the costs come to equal the Canadian average? We don't have the average conditions of other provinces. This is all just statistical babble. So why do we have to meet the average for provinces when our province has more elderly and a more widely scattered population to contend with? Why not the US average. (that would give us a huge budget increase), or the Afghanistan average (we could bomb all the hospitals.)

This story is not a story at all. A news story would tell us more about the credentials and affiliations of the company that did the study. It would ask for the reaction of people like the medical associations and the Chief Medical Officer.

This really isn't a news story. It's a propaganda spread for a man in a loincloth  (44" waist) swinging on a vine. And there's another man way up in the tree who swings it the way he wants Mr. Flemming to go.
NewsToday is really "AdsToday".
The editorial is bizarre. It's a call for saving "Castle Manor", a tall and skinny, stone building with standard size windows going sideways and upwards in a stunning show of boredom. The roof has obviously phony crenelations in the worst possible imitation of those late nineteenth century mansions that were dreadful copies of medieval architecture. It's unspeakably ugly and tasteless.

This newspaper, which supported the closing of a high school which is architecturally impressive and whose outward appearance, unlike "Castle Manor" does not pretend to be something it is not, now wants us to spend public money on a useless pile of ugly rock.
This a rare occasion. I don't agree with a word of Alec Bruce's column. To suggest that change can come only conferences and actions by big business, that government doesn't make change, is absurd. Big business did not create health care. Big business did not create our social safety net - not here, not in Britain, not in the US, not in anywhere I ever heard of.

Bruce says government is useless because it reflects us - and we don't know what we're doing. I don't believe I have ever seen such a thorough dismissal of democracy. His whole column is a pitch for dictatorship by big business.

He advocates education that would be centred almost entirely on job training. Well, that's good. That'll keep voters stupid so their wishes won't get in the way.

Oh, yeah. And university research should be tied to business wants. Right. That'll  stop creating the Dr. Suzuki's of this world who get in the way of business. It will also do away with fields like philosophy, sociology, history....that teach people to think. I mean, a lion tamer in a circus doesn't teach lions to think. He trains them to do what he says when he cracks a whip. That's what universities should be doing.

Of course, most of them are already doing it - and too damn much of it. The world needs thinking people, not Irving puppets.

"As for governments, their watchwords should be collaboration..." Has he looked at the Liberals and Conservative governments of this province? What does he think they do if not to collaborate. Their lips on permanently attached to the bums of the wealthy.

The conferees say we should start thinking for ourselves. Whoever said that is too dippy to understand that the only way we can express that thinking for ourselves is through democracy, and through education that teaches us to think, not just trains us to serve others.

This is really just the standard TandT line of government bad, big business good.
Craig Babstock has a nothing column, seemingly to tip off pimps and "customers" that there is a court case in Ottawa which might lead to legalizing prostitution. Or it might not. (yawn)

From its title, I thought I would be bored by Steve Malloy's column on hunting for a summer job. But I was quite wrong. In fact, I photocopied it for my two sons.

Finally, a letter to the editor about abortion. I can see reason to agree with both sides on this. But - the reality is that abortion and infanticide have been with us - and on a big scale - for thousands of years. To make it illegal will certainly please the self-righteous - but it will do little about the problem.

How about both sides sitting down, recognizing this is not simply a personal matter and, instead of screaming at each other, discuss how this is a question for our whole society to deal with it in a way that helps both mother and child. As it is, there are evil consequences whichever of two, debated choices. we make. We need to examine this will less self-concious virtue, and rather more practical, common sense.


  1. -The cancelled SWN information session was a means to fill our minds with more pro shale gas propaganda. Not one word about the shale gas industry's destructive behavior would have been pronounced by SWN. Just more.....blah.....blah...blah about how great shale gas is. It is highly profitable, but also highly destructive....this last part you won't read about in the T&T or hear from your government.

    - Years ago, my high school history teacher taught me the importance of critical thinking. Our educational system should teach more of encourage students to challenge the status quo, our institutions, our seek the truth thru analysise and questioning.

  2. Harper has certainly been quite successful in launching a racist campaign against First Nations for obstructing his energy policies. As if his Reform contingent of hate-mongers needed much encouragement in this direction, there is a veritable hatefest spewing venom on natives and environmentalists in media discussions on the Enbridge northern pipeline issue and the recent rejection of the proposed pipeline by the BC government.

    One commenter to such media discussion on Yahoo Canada notes:

    "Here are a few of the comments I have collected from this article."

    'Lazy, drunken mooches....
    #$%$ u u #$%$ drunken indian alcoholic #$%$
    get a job get a life u low life indian welfare lazy #$%$
    Time to play Cowboys and Indians again!
    cut off their welfare
    show up with job application forms.... they will scatter in the wind.
    give me a few cases of whiskey and I will get them to sign anything ...
    Run the wagon burners over!!!
    a new theme song you stupid drunken glue sniffing #$%$
    yup, dumb indians love free handouts.
    stupid indians.
    What do.they do on these reservations,sleep eat,drink,drugs,and forgot smuggling drugs and cigaretts across the border.
    More dumb, lazy government cheque collecting Indians on the war path to nothing.
    Die welt ist fur menschen, nicht untermenschen
    no parasite is a match for bullets and gas
    nothing more than a pack of greedy, grasping people who have done nothing for Canada except produce drains on the economy
    just give him shome shpare change for da shmokes
    #$%$ u u #$%$ drunken indian alcoholic #$%$"

    "I think these are xenophobic if not downright racist comments."
    "Whether you agree with the pipeline or not is beside the point."


    The trump card argument of Reformers is that Harper will impose a decision on British Columbia irrespective of native rights or provincial jurisdiction or the wishes of the population of the province inasmuch as, per the Harperites :

    "Meantime, the pipeline will get built as the National Energy Policies of a nation do supersede most other concerns."

    To which I responded to this discussion:

    "Yes, and isn't this the founding mythology of Reform, that the federal government imposed its will over that of the province of Alberta on resource issues, and didn't you use that sense of grievance to seek common cause with other western provinces.

    Yet here are Reformers calling on the federal government to step in and impose a solution in Alberta's favour which runs contrary to the will of a neighbouring province, over use of resources and land the neighbouring province argues falls within its jurisdiction."

    "Good luck with that as it would be politically fatal to Harper on top of the blows he has already received."

    Now, as fate would have it, Albertan Reformers are arguing in favour of a National Energy Policy would would impose Alberta's will on that of Canada as a whole.