Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Jan. 15: Well, we don't have to think about it anymore.....

.....because the Harper government isn't going to do anything about oil tankers on our railways. We're not going to hear any more about the police raid on Irving offices. The Transport Safety Board has no intention of doing anything serious. That was  all clear in yesterday's reports. And there's no follow-up today, no questions, no explanation, no opinion.

Eric Lewis, on he opinion page and Brian Cormier had nothing to say about it. Lewis had a more important issue to deal with, a crisis in how many time pop groups are allowed to play at an East Coast Music Association Week.

Brian Cormier had a "stop the press" item about what it's like to have a cold.

The bottom line? Harper is so eager for Europeans and others to start ripping off our resources, he doesn't care what investors do to this country. Effectively, there are not going to be any environmental rules to get in the way, and no investigation of any accidents, no matter how many people get killed.

Harper's thinking is typical  of that of the big business he serves. There is no future. There is only now.

He is not only the worst prime minister Canada has ever had. He is also the most dangerous. If he gets another term, the damage would almost certainly be permanent.

It may be permanent now.

The lead story on p. 1 is about the "Summit", the New Brunswick version of citizen involvement. It's a meeting of "300  leaders from different sectors . This meeting is called "One Region - One vision".

Who decided that these people are leaders? Well, they did. The core of this leadership is largely self-appointed and represents business. There are some other groups there, though even they seem focussed on the business element of their work.

Not that it matters what they think. All of them, after all, were chosen by that leadership core of business - and it shows throughout the story. There will be a few people from "culture" and "arts"; but it's a safe bet they'll be there as potted plants.

The whole tone of their statement is about the business future. And it's arrogant. And it's juvenile.

Where is the evidence that these people have any competence to plan the development of a city? Where is there any sight they have the support of the citizens of this democracy? Aren't we all supposed to  have an equal voice in the future of this city?

There are serious issues to deal with in the condition of housing now and in the future, the influence of big business in city affairs, issues of the homeless, the hungry, of mass transportation, of facilities for chidren..... This list could go on and one; and running a pizza parlour or a hockey team or even a big business.

"These people talk to others, so we selected those because they are leaders." Huh?

I talk to others. Does that make me a leader? And shouldn't we decided who our leaders are? After all, it is our city.

But, no, what we are getting here is a gathering of medieval barons who see only the economic side - and even for that side see only their own interests. Like Mr. Irving's famous conference to plan New Brunswick's future,  this is anti-democratic, largely ignorant, heavily biased, arrogant, and just plain silly.

The most arrogant part is the conference title "One region - One vision." Yep. They'll  develop the vision. And that'll be it. One Region - One Vision. Their vision.


This isn't a news story. It's simply a press handout from the organizers. I saw no evidence the reporter asked a single question of them or anybody else.
In NewsToday, environmental experts are readying to test the water, soil, etc. at Plaster Rock for contamination. I don't see why.Within hours of the train accident, before anybody could get to the site, Mr. Alward said it was fine.

There's also a big, big story about how Justin Bieber threw eggs at a neighbour's house. So there wasn't room for the story that Israel may be close to launching a war on Iran, a war that could draw in nuclear powers, a war that Canada has pledged to support on the side of Israel no matter who starts the war or why.

Why should Canada join in such a war? Because that promise means that Harper gets the organized Zionist vote in Canada.

You want time to discuss that? Sorry. The promise has already been made. Remember that next Nov. 11 when you are told how our soldiers died in two world wars to protect our right to have parliament decide
 for or against war.
The editorial is the one you might expect on the university strikes. The profs are, they say, "Out of Touch" and "Universities must cut costs, emulate business world."
1. A university is not a business.
2. There is no evidence that cutting costs helps in a recession. In fact, the opposite is true.
3. To equate cutting costs with cutting other people's salaries is just a teeny bit simple-minded.
Business has cut its costs by lowering pay and laying people off. However, it has maintained even bigger costs by maintaining its record profit margins, and its obscenely high salaries to executives.
In short, business has not really cut costs at all - and seems to only if, like the editor, you play with words or don't know what they mean.

There is, indeed, "...a disconnection with reality here."  But it's the editor who needs to be plugged back in.


The shocker is Alec Bruce's column.

This is pure, gutter journalism. It tries to dispute Neil Young's criticism of Alberta's oil sands by a series of irrelevant and personal attack on him. I am not a lover of rock music or of stars of any sort. (I leave that sort of thing to the editors of the TandT who devote at least a page of the paper each day to that form of worship.)

But simply ridiculing Young personally is really Norbert's style rather than Bruce's.

Bruce even quotes the Harper government on this one. Imagine that, quoting the government which has shown nothing but absolute contempt for the environment, and has demolished most of our environmental protection to make a buck for billionaires.

And to suggest we cannot live in a world without oil is absurd - as absurd as the notion that we can abuse our atmosphere, our oceans and our soil forever without causing any harm.

Eventually, we will run out of stuff. I look forward to Bruce's column on that when he rants at the gods for not planting enough oil  Or maybe he'll just get mad at the oil for not being there.

Actually, the problem will come before that. World supplies are running low. Yes, there are other supplies, perhaps in the Arctic. But they're more expensive to get out. And they will soon be getting much, much more expensive, so expensive that heating a house or driving a car will be a ruinous cost.

The reason there are so many wars in Africa and so much danger of more of them in tast is precisely because supplies are running down just as more industrial countries, like China, are emerging.

We can't live in a world without oil? Tough. We're going to have to. That should be a lesson from every childhood. There are some things we cannot have.

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