Saturday, January 11, 2014

Jan. 11: Thank you to a reader who sent me.... announcement by Reuters, made on January 8.

The five oil cars and four propane cars that went off the rails were carrying oil and propane at the request of Irving. It was going to an Irving refinery. That leads to two questions.

How come the Irving press seems not to know about this?

And why is it wasting time babbling about a broken wheel? The damage at lac Megantic wasn't caused by a broken wheel. It was caused by antiquated oil cars that burst open and burst into flame. Were the oil and propane carriers at Plaster Rock of that same vintage?

Having been involved in the Megantic disaster and at heavy cost of life, wouldn't you think Irving Oil would be super careful in later shipments?  Apparently not. Apparently getting the job done cheaply is the only factor. We're just lucky that train jumped the tracks before it got to, say, St. John.

And, as in the case of lac Megantic, Irving spokesmen haven't yet said as much as "excuse me".

Then, in the same bulletin (Jan.8), our rubber duckling premier announced that the fire and spill had caused minimal environmental damage. That statement came within less that 24 hours of the accident. That means Alward said it long BEFORE fire crews could get close enough to the fire to fight it.

But RD Alward was confident there was no environmental damage. Lucky us. Apparently, we have a premier who can see around corners.

By now, Irving Press has given more space to this most recent accident  than it did to the lac Megantic disaster - and told us even less than it did of the earlier case. It has made no mention of the Irving role in both, and very, very little of the problem of old oil cars. Nor have we had any solid news of the RCMP investigation into lac Megantic.

The latter point, however, probably doesn't matter because the Harper government didn't  care about an exploding train that killed 47 people, (none of them rich). It is most unlikely to care about a train that exploded without, by pure luck, killing anybody. And he is certainly not going to allow such accidents to get the way of his pitch to give away Canadian resources to foreign countries.

A front page story today is that we need a new, alternate rail line in the province. That changes the subject nicely. We can all enjoy arguing whether we need a new line. That way, nobody will ask the real questions.

Why did a company that was involved in 47 deaths just months ago send us another train that was obviously as dangerous - or even worse depending on where it exploded? Did it have anything to do with paying as little as possible - and to hell with the safety of the people of New Brunswick?

The big story in NewsToday begins with a photo of the fireball rising about the train wreck. The stories that accompany it again tell us nothing. (ooooh ooooh, look at the big fireball.)

Lots of other stuff that didn't make the Irving Press.

U.S police forces, as well as being militarized in their weaponry, were given 165 armoured personnel carriers last year. What for? Well, it wasn't for chasing speeders. In fact, there's only thing they are good for. These are offensive weapons for use against large groups of enemy soldiers - or American civilians.
Welcome to the police state in the US of A.

Meanwhile, Canada has an intelligence review committee to oversee spy agencies, and to ensure they operate within the law.

As it happens, much of their spying does go against the law.

As it happens, much of it is spying on environmentalists who are nasty to oil companies and so are considered by some people to be dangerous to Canadian security.

As it happens, the spy agencies report twice a year - to the oil companies.

The review committee has five members.

As it happens, three of the five members are lobbyists or propagandists or board members of oil companies. One is an old and close friend of Harper's who shares Harper's regard for oil companies.

One member, only one, is not a hack for the oil industry or for Harper. But her term will be up in a few weeks.

One them, incidentally, is a New Brunswicker. Denis Losier is on the Board of Directors of Enbridge NB.
Don't that make you proud?

Welcome to the police state in Canada.

For a biased headline, B7 has a headline saying "liberals trying to drag Peter Mackay into Senate scandal." Note the word 'drag'. That implies the Liberals are doing something shoddy to the Minister of Justice. And the editor who wrote that surely knows that use of the word is to encourage bias.

Hey. MacKay is Minister of Justice. The Liberals are asking him to ensure that the law is enforced in the handling of the Senate affair. Is it evil to enforce the law? Is it wrong to ask the Minister of Justice to enforce the law?

(Well, yeah. Asking MacKay probably is wrong.)
The editorial is just brainless. It refers to a poll which shows that some three-quarters of New Brunswickers support the police action in Rexton. And one-quarter do not.

From this, the editor concludes that a quarter of the population does not support law and order.

What a twit!

The question was not simply about  law enforcement. It was also about force being applied appropriately as well as legally. I would have real trouble with the three-quarters of the population who think it was applied appropriately.

That leads us into a related point, the lack of any serious discussion of politics and, therefore, the lack of any understanding of them in this province.

A US poll shows that the American TV audience for news is down by 50% in less than a generation. Newspapers aren't much of a replacement because most have heavy bias. So political discussion usually means little more than idiot "catchphrases" - like shovelling money out to big business is  good because it trickles down again. In fact, it doesn't. If it did, North Americans, all of us, would now be rolling in wealth. Big business has been making huge money in places like Haiti, Guatemala, Congo  for a century and more. And all of them remain mired in poverty, bad health, no education.

There's a letter to the editor that showcases this kind of thinking. "Fomenting chaos is not 'right thing'. It is, according to the writer, anarchy.

Um, well, it's been called fighting for democracy and equality. But I suppose the writer would still say that George Washington should have been hanged. Also Martin Luther King. And Nelson Mandela.

As for law and order, it was well enforced in the USSR under Stalin, and in China under Mao. But if you look them up in the dictionary or any book, I can't imagine that form of government would be described as anything desirable.

As for accusing the native people of fomenting chaos, I didn't realize they had done that. Was it native people who began digging up land to endanger SWN head offices?Was it native people who tried to force police officers off their land? Sounds to me as though SWN was at least equally guilty of fomenting chaos.

The rules for how we should behave should not begin with the state. They should begin with the welfare of the people as expressed in their governments. But here, as in so many places in the "free" world, we don't have any expression through our governments. Instead,laws are made by the very rich to benefit the very rich.

And if you check that in a dictionary, it isn't called law and order. It's called dictatorship.


  1. So if I order an iPhone from Amazon, I should be to blame for any incidents in the factory, the ship going across the ocean, thewarehouse where it is stored as well as any possible incident FedEx might experience flying or driving it to my house?

  2. No. And your statement bears no resemblance to what I said.

    The accident at Lac Megantic happened partly because older oil carriers were used; and these have a tendency break open and burst into flames in an accident.

    I would presume the officers of irving oil would have been familiar with that problem. After all, they've been shipping the stuff on a daily basis for years.

    That, alone, suggests a willingness to take risks with people's lives.

    Just months later, they repeat the scenario.

    Your statement about getting an Iphone from Amazon is what's called a reductio ad absurdem. I hardly know where to start.

    Well - if you order a phone from Amazon, it would be most unusual for you to select the means of delivery. If there's a problem with means of delivery, the fault would lie with Amazon for using that means.

    Iphones rarely, if ever, explode during delivery, killing innocent people. If they did, then, if Amazon continued such delivery anyway, it would be guilty of endangering lives.

    Drop me a note when your Iphone blows up during delivery.