Friday, January 10, 2014

Jan. 10: Okay. I don't understand it.

Yesterday's Times and Transcript had a full page of revolution with its editorial and two of its opinion columns yesterday. They accepted the reality of climate change.

Now, in Canada and the US, corporations, largely oil corporations, have been spending huge sums of money to deny climate change. They insist it isn't happening. (And one can understand that because it is happening largely as a result of our use of oil. Any serious action to deal with climate change would cost the oil companies uncounted billions.)

In the US, scientists studying climate change are under constant pressure from oil billionaires, especially through law suits which few scientists can afford, but are small change for big oil. In Canada, Harper is a step ahead of the oil industry. He fires climate and environmental scientists (5000 in just the last few years), closes their libraries, and scraps their books and research papers. He also closes down research and monitoring stations crucial to our keeping track of what is happening. (Alec Bruce deals with this behaviour in today's column.)

The TandT has almost never questioned this or even reported it. And, yesterday, the editor and two senior columnists admitted it was happening.

Norbert modified his stance slightly today. In an almost incoherent column, he decided that the change is happening. But we'll get used to it. Sure. We'll get used to massive destruction of farmland, severe shortages of food, severe destruction of animal life (including people), and massive flooding.

But the people of New Brunswick have been well trained in how to respond to this problem. Even now as we have this admission that climate change is real and its consequences are real and it's caused largely by burning oil, you can still hear the murmur across the province, "duh, but oil will create jobs."

That's three columns yesterday and two today that I never thought would appear in the Times and Transcript.

Something is going on. We can only wait for the other shoe to fall.
Meanwhile, it's business as usual with other projects, notably TandT pimping for the events centre.

The editorial slobbers all over the boots of a developer (resident in Toronto, but born in Moncton) who is going to build a housing and shopping area next to the events centre. In its daily We Say pomposity, the editorial claims "Moncton roots, big city experience great combination for developer."

Why should it make a combination of any sort? Before we get our heartbeats out of control, let's remember that even people born in Moncton will rip us off. It's been done before. At the least, there are sure to be special deals for the developer at our expense. As for big city experience, Rob Ford has that. Maybe we should give him a call.

The news stories follow the same line, seeing a link between a (former) Monctonian as  having some meaning for the events centre. Frankly, the connection is not clear. Visitors are not going to rush to an events centre simply because it has housing nearby.

Then there's the curious part. The events centre will be hugely successful, we are assured. Okay. So how come we're being allowed to build and own it? How come big business isn't swooping in to get all those big, fat profits?

The reason is there aren't going to be any big, fat profits. The world is in a gargantuan financial crisis which is a long way from ending. The US may very well be into a terminal financial collapse.

Great timing to build a hockey rink that's supposed to attract tourists from all over!

NewsToday is almost all about the train derailment and fire at Plaster Rock. It has pictures, too. But the pictures, like the story, tell us nothing. There are simple questions that a real reporter would have asked, such as..
"Whose oil and propane was that? Who was the shipper? Where was it bound for? Was that the same, very volatile oil that killed 47 people in Lac Megantic? We have now had at least five, dangerous train accidents involving oil. Does that not suggest anything to anybody?"

In that whole, two pages, there is not a word that tells us anything but trivia about the accident - "there are a lot of people who are frustrated and some who are upset." "My boyfriend's  dog has separation anxiety really bad...." and even more that's just as informative.

Authorities are advising people to test their wells before drinking any water. But we know better. Thanks to the TandT, we know that oil (and shale gas with its poisons) doesn't affect wells at all.

The news on the train derailment was pretty thin stuff. But at least it made the paper. Other kind of important news didn't.

1. In December, Canada lost 46,000 jobs.

2. The Canadian dollar has plunged to some 92 cents US.

3.With three people for every job opening in the US, and with children raised in poverty the major group in American schools, with many, many more people who have simply given up on ever finding a job, the US Congress has been cutting food stamps and unemployment benefits.
Meanwhile, the very rich are making record profits and being given almost total "tax relief". As in New Brunswick, the rich created the recession. But it's the poor who are being blamed for it.

4. Iraq, thanks to the chaos created by the American and British invasion for reasons we still don't know about, is collapsing into a civil war compassionate congressmen, the ones who cut food and other help to poor Americans, are demanding the US set aside large sums of money to supply lots and lots of weapons for an Iraq civil war, just like the weapons they send for Syria.

5. In the midst of peace talks with Palestine, the Israeli government has authorized 1,400 housing units for Israeli Jews in East Jerusalem and West Gaza - on land taken from Palestinians.
Goodbye, peace talks.
Thank you, Mr. Harper, for pledging our support to Israel in a war no matter who starts it.

6.10,000 Nigerian refugees temporarily in Israel rioted because of Israeli racism directed at them. Israeli government leaders now want to deport all of them.


  1. And here I *thought* the better question would be: if it took 47 folks to die before flammable goods train shipments were halted/banned through the populated area of Lac Megantic...... just how many have to die in New Brunswick before the same thing can happen here?

  2. Just minutes after I posted my blog, I found out whose shipment that was - thanks to a reader who had been following it.
    It'll be a big suprise for readers of the TandT. Will the TandT have that story? I'd say the odds are even it won't.

  3. Wasn't it just about a month ago that Mr Alward said that this kind of "thing" will NEVER happen in NB as "we" have rules?

  4. And about those "rules" instead of "laws". If you remember, when we were young children, and we saw rail cars, lots of them, they were all marked by the rail lines (companies) who owned them. Today's "business model" is for those rail lines not to own ANY rail cars (or very few), the majority of those rail cars are leased (or rented) from 3rd parties, likely having less "real" assets as MMA railway. So, in this case, CN points the accusing finger at a defective leased rail car, letting CN off the hook of responsibility, the guy who owns the contents has insulated himself from any responsibility by leasing the rail car, and the rail car owner is no one but a shell company somewhere (likely foreign) who, at the first sign of trouble, shifts any assets they hold and goes bankrupt. In this case (and EVERY case in a rail disaster) the only folks "on the hook" is us, the Canadian tax payer. The "rules" (not "laws") have not caught up with the reality of the current situation.