Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dec. 15: Lots to to think about....

...none of it though, in the Irving press.

On Dec. 14, several stories appeared in The Guardian, a British paper. They appeared because fracking has come to Britain. And it's a carbon copy of the experience here. Large numbers don't want it. The British government says -   guess what? - it will have the strictest regulations in the world.

Now, The Guardian, with all its faults, is probably the best newspaper in the English-speaking world. So I would take its findings very seriously indeed, even more seriously than a Norbert column in the TandT. It sent a reporter to Plover, Texas, which has recently been the scene of fracking.

What it found was a hell of noise, day and night, of sleep made impossible by the glaring floodlights after dark, of nausea from the dreadful odour of toxic chemicals used in fracking, of great pools of waste and poisoned water that will be left behind, of equipment that can dig anywhere it likes on your property because none of the minerals under your land, even under your house, belong to you.

It's a world of collapsing property values because nobody wants to live in that hell of noise and poison. Forget law suits to recover the loss. Most cases have property values which cost the home owners everything, but the losses aren't usually enough to justify the cost of lawyers, especially in cases where the other side has lots of lawyers, and lots of money to fight the case..

For a sample of these stories, go to

(The last part of that long address, starting with fracking-hell, is really a part of the address, though it is not underlined.

The articles also point out other problems with shale gas. It does NOT significantly reduce greenhouse emmisions. And spending billions on it now means committing ourselves to continued emissions for several decades - by which time it will be too late to stop climate change.

Don't people in the oil and gas business read these articles? Of course they do. But we have to recognize the power of the mental illness called greed. The whole campaign - which has been going on for years - of convincing us that there is no climate change - has been financed and organized by very wealthy leaders in the oil industry.

In reality, the debate about climate change is over. It is happening. And the consequences will be more horrible than we can imagine.

Are the oil and gas people  really so callous about human life? Get real. These are people who have murdered innocents in the millions all over the world to get control of their oil. But I suppose it's not entirely their fault. Greed and a sense of entitlement can have a devastating effect on minds that were never terrible rational in the first place.

That, in effect, is what Pope Francis said recently; and Time thought that important enough to name the Pope man of the year. The Irving press didn't think it was important, though. They didn't mention it. However, they did have an exciting story on the front page about how Bernard Lord's son was doing well in school.

Bad news on Iran. You will recall that Iran and the US are having talks over an Iranian developments of nuclear weapons which, in fact, was never happening in the first place. They're also discussing closing off Iran's production of nuclear fuel for power plants. (Though Iran has every right under law to do so.)

Israel and Saudi Arabia have never liked these talks. (Israel, incidentally, does have nuclear weapons, some 200 of them. It has them illegally. It refuses to allow inspection. And it refuses to sign international agreements on their use. But we're all in a fluff because Israel says Iran might get one.)

Anyway, Israel and Saudi Arabia don't want peace. They want Iran destroyed, preferably by the US,  leaving them the dominant powers in the region. And it may be that they have won.

Congress, in the middle of peace talks that were going well, has dumped even more (and illegal) trade sanctions on Iran. (Israel, in particular, has a lot of influence in Congress.)  The sanctions were always severe, even killing. Now it's worse. So Israel and Saudi Arabia may get what they want - an Iran bombed to destruction, to tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of deaths of innocent people.

A few days ago, a US drone killed 13 people in Yemen. They were killed because they were "suspects".  Turns out they weren't suspects. They were families going to a wedding.

Gee. Why do people hate us folks in the western world? It might have something to do with several centuries of invasion, mass murder, torture, slavery, brutality all over the world. We have created a world that hates us. We have created a branch of Islam that gathers its strength from its opposition to all the suffering and buchery we have dumped on the world.

In its imperial days, Britain invaded some 200 countries. And, no, it did not do it to tell them all about Jesus. It did it to enrich a very few British by stealing their minerals and land and labour. And those very few rich British treated their own people as badly as they did the conquered ones. The world of Scrooge existed in Britain until after World War Two. And it's now coming back.

We created Mao -Tse-tung. We did it over a century ago by destroying the Chinese government, by forcing opium on the country, by blocking every effort of the Chinese to establish a democracy, and by supporting a world class drug dealer named Chiang Kai-shek. We drove the Chinese to support Mao.

Some Canadians don't like the way native peoples behave on reserves? Well, who put them on reserves? Who stole their lands? Who shattered their traditional lives? How do you think we would adapt if we were conquered by a completely alien and arrogant and greedy society?

Yes, it's a terribly dangerous world out there.  And nobody is more responsible for that than us.

But it's so much easier to be a racist, and say it's all their fault because they aren't a superior race like us.

I noticed the word "entrepreneur" popping up a good deal in columns and news stories in the Irving press. Entrepreneur----it means a person builds his own business, taking risks to do so. In fact, the world "risk" is part of the definition.

The Irving press definition is that entrepreneurs are what make an economy tick - and that they create communities and happy homes. But let's get real.

There are small entrepreneurs and big ones - and they are quite different. In fact, the big "entrepreneurs" don't take risks at all. The live off special deals, tax breaks, ability to ignore the government...that's why they're havinig their most profitable years in history while the rest of us wonder how we're gong to end up.

The big boys are not entrepreneurs of any sort. They aren't capitalists, either, because they rarely risk their own capital. They hit us for money, instead.

But I suspect the big  boys are the ones behind all those nice stories we're reading about how the future of NB hangs on entrepreneurs - the "best and brightest" as one overexcited columnist called them.

But the idea that the future of anywhere these days depends on young entrepreneurs is hogwash. The proportion of people we can call entrepreneurs is diminishing every year. Really, when a handful of the very rich are soaking up 40% of our wealth every year, there's not a whole lot of room for new entreprenurs. Indeed, the small entrepreneur is a vanishing breed.

So why is the Irvng press daily wetting its pants with stories about entrepreneurs. This, I think, is it.

Big business in this province would like us to think as highly of it as it thinks of itself. It would like us to admire our economic bosses for the skill with which they are collecting our money.

Now, if you call them capitalist, well, that's an ugly word for quite a few people. It can mean selfish, arrogant, privileged, entitled, irresponsible. That's the way words are. They have official meanings. But what most of us hear in not the dictionary meaning, but vaguer meanings associated with the sound of the word.

And, capitalism, well, it just doesn't cut it. Entrepreneur, now, suggests someone daring, independent, active - all sorts of warm and fuzzy things. And if you can tart it up a bit more with terms like building communities, creating happy homes, best and brightest, why so much the better.

That's why we're getting a committee of 'entrepreneurs', not 'capitalists', to muscle in on our schools, and teach a programme on enrepreneurship. That's why the biggies like to call themselves 'entrepreneurs', which most of them are not. But enterpreneur sounds warm and fuzzy.

But what they'll be brainwashing our childdren on is capitalism - and not even capitalism, really, but the dreadful perversion of greed and arrogance and stupidity it has become.

And seeing it mentioned so often in the Irving press - well, I just get the feeling this is the beginning of a brainwashing aimed at all of us.

Mind you, in a correct use of the word, pimps are entrepreneurs. So are drug dealers. But that shouldn't cause any problems. I doubt whether any editor at the TandT actually knows what entrepreneur or capitalist means.

So just close your eyes, and imagine all those pimps and drug dealers, the "best and brightest" in the land who are out there every day building communities and happy homes.

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