Saturday, October 5, 2013

Oct. 5:The TandT as gossip mag.... know, the ones you see at the supermarket check-out with a picture of a fat woman in a bikini with the face blacked out, and the headline "Guess what former cover girl this is."

That's the class of the TandT with its headline "Blood evidence released in Oland case." First, it's a very bad idea to try a murder case in the press; and I'm surprised the police are doing it, and doubly surprised they're being allowed to do it.

But more than that, I don't give a damn. We live in a world in which the US government has actually shut down causing suffering, even hunger, for millions of  Americans. And all because a relatively small group of crackpots think the great issue facing the world today is that the poor might get health care.

We live in a world in which what was the world's greatest power is crumbling fast - economically, militarily and socially.

And it's being destroyed, as we are, by a perversion of capitalism based purely on greed assisted by stupidity. The free trade which originated with the wealthy and which came into flower thanks to toadies like Mulroney and Reagan has done enormous damage to the US, and with more to come to Canada. In the end, this perversion of capitalism will destroy intself out of its own greed and stupidity. That, in fact, is a part of ths shale gas story.

We know that the use of fossil fuels creates severe damage. We now know the oceans have received severe damage from climate change, fossile fuel use, and assorted dumping like nuclear waste.

But the headline of the TandT is all about an irrelevant twerp like Dennis Oland.

In fact, the whole of section A is pretty much a wipe-out. All the stories about shale gas are notable for the TandT's usual failure to tell us about the risks of shale gas itself, while babbling forever what stage the plans are at.

The best story in section A is by Brent Mazerolle "Rexton Stalemate continues". For the most part, it tries to do an honest and professional job of reporting the protest. But Brent can't help letting his bias slip in just once.. He writes, "One sign at the protest even suggests fracking is the worst environmental sin since the invention of the atomic bomb."

Notice that word even. That suggests the sign is extreme - and in saying that, Brent is expressing his own opinion as if it were news. But his opinion in NOT news.

Nor is there anything extreme about that sign. Conventional oil alone has already done far more environmental damage than atomic bombs have. Fracking  promises to do more.

For example, how are the gas companies going to dispose of the toxic waste water? And how long will it be toxic? Ten years? a thousand years? A million years?

And where have they been dumping the toxic water they've pumped already? Bay of Fundy possibly? Northhumberland Strait?  How come they've never told us? How come the TandT has never asked?

NewsToday has a long story about energy bosses and protesters exchanging arguments we've already heard many, many times. There's no point in reading it again. There is really no news story in telling us what we already know, and h ave known for a very long time.

We need information, honest information about what the risks and possible gains are. We've had almost nothing that could be called honest, and even less that could be called information.

The best the US government shutdown could do was a story hidden on D5. Anyone who learns anything from reading it must be at least five days behind in the news.


On op ed, Brent Mazerolle begins well, but sinks into flippancy at the half-way mark. He writes in favour of shale gas (of course), but his proof is pretty trivial stuff like finding the drinking water in BC seemed okay. and the  children played happily outdoors. This goes way back to the experience of much younger Brent.

There is other evidence, Brent, besides your casual observations of BC many years ago. There is, for example, the report of Dr. Cleary, the chief medical officer of the province. Funny how the Tand T never mentions her.  It's especially odd since Dr. Lapierre, the one who was hired to discredit her, proved to be a fraud.

Imagine that. The people you quote as being in favour of shale gas are almost invariably fracking bosses or frauds like Lapierre. Dr. Cleary, the one person who has been both expert and independent on this is ignored.

I yield to no-one in my respect for your opinion of the drinking water in BC many, many years ago. But you're not an authority. In fact, unlike Prof. Lapierre, you don't even have fake credentials. Think your newspaper could act like a real newspaper and do an honest story on Dr. Cleary's report?

Norbert is his usual self, a collection of biases, confused logic, and bluster. Today, he refers to lotteries as a "good thing", and a voluntary tax. Actually, they aren't either of those.

Lotteries (and casinos) cause damage. It's been proven enough. They encourage addiction with severe social consequences.

And they are not really voluntary taxes. The government lottery was concieved as a way to raise taxes for the poor without the poor realizing it was a tax. That way, you could tax the poor more, and ease that terrible burden for the rich.

It's the lower pay levels that buy lottery tickets. Of course. In our society, they have no other chance of decent survival. You won't see the Irvings of this world checking their 6 49s. The lottery is the tax of a society that caters to the rich and dumps on everybody else.

Superb column by Gwynne Dyer. I would just add that there are powerful people in the US as well as in Israel who want a war with Iran. It has nothing to do with nuclear weapons. It has to do with power (for Israel) and both strategy and oil (for the US).

Rev. Richard Jackson (Faith Page) contributes a sermonette on what a real Christian is. To spare you reading all his paragraphs that reek of self-approval, I'll sum it all up in one sentence. A real Christian is one who agrees with Rev. Richard Jackson.

Typically, all his criteria of what constitutes a Christian focus on the mystic and magical. There is nothing there on how we behave or should behave. Yet it seems to me that Jesus  talked a good deal about loving one another, not being greedy, no coveting...  But our churches live in a world based on exploiting one another, abusing one another, worshiping greed and coveting. It's a world in which we murder on a grand scale. (The killing of millions in Vietnam, Cambodia, Guatemala, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan was carried out mostly by Christians accompanied, of course, by chaplains to encourage their Christian zeal.)

We destroy whole continents by imposing abusive working conditions, starvation... In our own countries, we abuse and neglect the poor while pampering the rich.

Why the hell don't our churches sometimes talk about that? Do the people who have economic power in this province reflect the pricniples of Christianity (or any religion?)  Most of our politicians claim to be Christians - and even go to Christian churches to hear the wimpy sermons. Do you find that they reflect Christian principles?  (yeah, yeah, they believe The Bible is the inspired word of God. You can tell from their speeches.)

Really, Jesus was not the abstract wimp that you appear to believe in.

As usual, there's lots of good stuff by student writers in Whatever. In fact, all were good - so it's almost with apology that I mention just a few.

Aurelie Pare, has an excellent column on recognizing the signs of a heart attak. I was drawn to it because I think have all of them.

Mike Elliot has an interestinig poem right to the last line - and expecially in the last line.

Isabelle Agnew writes about not being interested in alcohol. Not being interested in it is important because while alcohol can do enormous harm, it can do no possible good. Yet I've know many a friend to become a slave to it. I was lucky. After many years of alcohol doing me no good, I simply lost interest in. No struggle. No yearnings. I just lost interest. And, oh, it's nicer way to be.

As for missed stories, the Tand T did not carry a major story that Harper's switch from a compulsory census to a voluntary one has made a hopeless mess out of census statistics.

The trouble with a voluntary census of that the elderly and the rich are more likely to fill it out. The young and the poor are less likely. That not only skews the results by making the population seem richer and older than it is. thus throwing off calculations of needs for social services, schools, medical care, etc, It also cost over twenty million dollars to switch from the useful compulsory census  to the useless voluntary one. Great thinking, Stevie, baby.

I still haven't noticed the TandT's demand for more information about the Lac Megantic disaster, and why Irving Oil filed a false report of the train's cargo.

Nor has Norbert broken his big story about how much graft there is in the province, and who are the givers and who are the getters.

1 comment:

  1. The sad thing about the government shutdown, south of the 49th, is that indeed innocent people will suffer. I do so want the US government, as it stands today, to fail miserably and that the country gets affordable medicare for all their huddled masses. I do so do not want the collateral suffering. Well, we can't take the eraser and start with a clean slate, people will get hurt and the poorest will get hurt the most. It's a tough time we live in, to have such technology, such potential available to humankind and see it fall into greedy, ideological hands. Some things may always ring true ... 'it was the best of times ...'