Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 11: journalistic scumbags..

...that's a lower category than presstitutes.

1. A reader has informed me that Dr. Cleary, our Chief Medical Officer whose advice those twits in Federicton ignored when she warned about the dangers of shale gas, is getting a major, national award today. The Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors is giving her the Environmental Health Award. The Toronto Star carried the story yesterday.

But there's not a word in the Irving Press. Guess why.

And Norbert, who wets his pants whenever Prof. Savoie and Prof. Lapierre issue statements on subjects they know nothing about, will certainly say nothing about this award.

There is a profound rot in this province that runs through the Liberals, the Conservatives, city councils, and the newspapers. We would actually be better off if we had the mafia here.

2. Premier Alward, who can always be trusted to say something dumb in any emergency, assures us that our railways are perfectly safe. Oh, really? Does he know that the railway which burned down Megantic connects with New Brunswick. Does he know it has a bad safety record in the US?

He feels safe with a railway that has one engineer, working alone, who drives a 73 tanker train of oil across the continent? He has to drive all day, every day, no breaks, stay alert, then leave the train alone every night. So exactly what does our fearless leader base his confidence on?

If Mr. Alward and his whole cabinet added up all their IQ scores and reached a number equal to the IQ of an average mongoose, they would surely realize there is something terribly wrong with railway regulation in Canada. A town is destroyed and fifty people are dead.. To respond that our railways are safe is inane.

Of course, it's the engineer who's going to cricified for this.

As for the railway president, he showed up in Megantic four days after the blast. The Canadian Press report noted that he showed a great sense of humour. I'll be he's a barrel of laughs at funerals.

3. On a related topic, I forgot in yesterday's blog to note a really dumb report in the TandT. Superficially about the Megantic disaster, it was really propagnda for an oil pipeline - and so it duly quoted an oil industry spokesman as saying we need a pipline for Canada to reach energy self-sufficiency in the next 25 years.


Most of the world's scientists agree that using oil and gas is causing severe climate change which, in its turn, will inflict great damage on us. Indeed, we have been warned that we are rapidly approaching a point at which cutting back on oil and gas won't save us because the trend will be irreversible.

Reporter - "But if we're still using oil and gas 25 years from now won't it be pretty much game over?"

That's what a reporter should have asked. But he didn't. An editor should have pointed out the failure. That's what editors are for. But he didn't. (It has to be a 'he'. The Irving Press keeps female staff on a leash.)

The 'news' story became what was really a propaganda story for the oil industry..

A reporter is not simply a stenographer. He or she is supposed to be critical, to question. But it doesn't happen in the TandT, They're expected simply to report whatever propaganda they are given.

4. I came across all sorts of items that should have been in the paper, but weren't.
a) the military coup in Egypt was almost certainly planned and bankrolled by the US. The consequences of that are hellish as that whole region spins out of control, and as US foreign policy continues its 60 year run of disaster.
b) Of those Americans who have jobs, 53% get less than $30,000 a year. Boy,  that's some recovery. And those are our customers.
c)Big business in Canada and the US has been making huge profits.. I haven't found a record of small business in Canada, but in the US, small business is doing its worst in recorded history. However, in both countries, Big business maintains an illusion that it has everything in common with small business through clubs like Rotary, and invitations to dinner to hear inspirational speeches from the provincial biggies.
d) One American in six is livinig on food stamps. That's up somewhat from the one in seventy that was the case two generations ago.

That's important. When one group is allowed to run wild - as we have allowed big business to do - the whole society pays one hell of a price - and may well destroy itself.

e) There's a war (really, it's a mass slaughter) going on in Congo. Nobody knows how many millions have been killed; but it's the most killing we've seen since World War Two, and runs into many millions. Troops, led by a government controlled by big business, slaughter people at random, millions of women and children are raped by the soldiers. Children are forced to become child soldiers.

A friend, who recently returned from 35 years in Congo as a missionary told me about the wildness of it, and how to go outside after dark was suicidal.

This, with torture, no education, no hospitals, stunningly low wages has been going on for almost a hundred and fifty years as western companies (especially Canadians in the mining business) Have stripped that country of its resources and brutalized its people. The total of dead for all those years is in the tens of millions.

But, what the hell. It's Congo. Who gives a damn?

5. Editorial and op ed?
The editorial is the usual propaganda, this time for the hockey rink/events centre. (The TandT has yet to mention that the existing colliseum could be extensively  renewed and "event centred"  for a fraction of the cost of a new complex at Highfield square.)

The editorial slobbers all over a new group which has entered the struggle for an "events" centre that is essentially a wildly oversized hockey rink for a city of this size. The new group is called Business Inc. But who is Business Inc.?

Not a single name is mentioned. Is it possible it is made up of people who stand to make big money off this project - even if we get ripped off and maybe even driven broke by it? After all, in addition to all the other problems, the world is in one hell of an economic crisis. This is scarcely the time go into hock for an expensive project that may (and probably will) turn out to be a disaster.

Is it possible that Business Inc. is the same people who,  under our local Irving, formed a committee to "advise" the city council on development?

And why is this province so lousy with with business muscling in on government? This is nominally a democracy. We elect councillors to run the city. Mr. Irving, like the rest of us, gets one vote. What kind of city council do we have that let's him in on city government?

Another Irving did the same thing in Fredericton, announcing  himself as a member of the government, and inserting his flunkies as official advisors on economic planning.

In Quebec, the mafia akes ten percent, then goes away. It does not take over the government. Here, big business makes democracy a joke and, I suspect, takes a lot more than ten percent.

Alec Bruce's column on Hipsters is a good one, and quite true. However, I can't help noting that hipsters are an easy target and, in this province, not a very significant one. This ain't Toronto.

Norbert's column is bearable. That's a big step up.

Rod Allen begins well and, this time, writes less pretentiously than his usual cutesy style. But he seems to be incapable of having anything to say. This is a page for opinion and insight. Rod Allen is an editor, for Pete's sake. He's supposed to know something about what's in the news. And this is supposed to be a page on which he stiumlates our thinking. This column wouldn't stimluate a cat in heat.

Jody Dallaire's column this time is information rather than opinion. Ideally, it should have appeared as a news item. It didn't. But that's not ms. Dallaire's fault. She has given us useful information that we wouldn't otherwise have.  Thank you for that.

The last Letter to the Editor is an important one about the attitude of the new executives for our health networks. She refers to it as "bullying". So it is. And it's worse than that.

This new system is not only using hopelessly inappropriate methods to make judgements about the system. It's also the first salvo against the whole idea of medicare. What our business leaders want is  health care designed to make profits for millionaires. That's a human disaster wherever it's been tried. But who cares about humans?



  1. You are correct that the rail engineer, Tom Harding of Farnham, Quebec will be blamed for the disaster. He has already been suspended from his duties, likely has received his statutory eight week severance notice and will likely not log in any more hours on the company payroll in any real capacity, if the company wishes to place the blame on his shoulders. You are correct that this one person was doing the work intended for three or four engineers, but deregulation allowed the railway to pass the work of four onto the shoulders of one individual, and government turned a blind eye to such cost-cutting practices, up until the point that a disaster such as the Lac Megantic rail disaster inevitably occurred.

    A cabinet shuffle is in the works and who knows, we may yet end up with a brilliant individual such as Robert Goguen as our next Minister of Transport. He may have to buy an extra suit in order to fulfill such responsibilities ....

  2. An interesting read here about oil subsidies: