Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 6: Let me go back a few days......

The big news for today is the banner headline  on page 1 of the Times and Transcript. "Roads are a priority for Dieppe: Mayor" That's right up there with keeping a full supply of toilet paper in city hall washrooms.

Big story on A4, A local cat has been inducted into the Purina Hall of Fame for alerting its owners to a house fire. Well, we've had worse. There is, for example, our philanthropic hall of fame.

On A6, we learn that wine-lovers  will be poured into the casino tomorrow. Well, that's better than filling the place up with wine.

But let's go back a bit on the shale gas report story.

This was the report of the Canadian Council of Academies on shale gas, touted as a study by experts on the safety of shale gas. This is the one that was featured in the Irving press, that has some members of our Energy Board on it, and that advised us to go slow on shale gas until we know more.

Though I was kind to the first news story that appeared on this, I was uneasy. I was kind because it was one of very few news stories in the TandT that was well written, and that appeared to be unbiased. For the same reasons, I was suspicious.

By the final story, I was convinced this was a con job. The Irving press never tells the truth in a story that has anything to do with its owners. And the repeated reference to a moratorium rather than a ban on fracking fit in to the Liberal platform (which is a sellout), and could even be accommodated by the Conservatives.

Reason? Frackers have no intention of immediate development. A go slow policy suits them fine. So they'll come this summer to pretend they are doing research - when they are really checking the potential of the oil fields. Then, in a couple of  years, they'll issue a report saying they have completed their research, and have suggested the world's toughest regulations to make it safe.

So I checked to find out something about the people who issued the report, The Council of Canadian Academies.  Got the image in your head of independent university researchers with a full range of expertise for the job?

Forget it.

The CCA is a private corporation. It was chosen by Harper to do the job. In other words, this is the equivalent of those phony think tanks. Recently, I had a note from a very trusted information source who attended their meetings.

They refused to address well known problems of the shale gas industry, including high greenhouse gas emissions, unreliable pipe failure rates.

None of the members is an authority on public health. It refused to discuss recent reports on congenital birth defects and other abnormalities associated with shale gas.

This lying of the Irvinig press is more sophisticated lying than usual. But it's still lying.

And, gee, is it possible to buy academics to play such a game? You bet it is. Most will refuse. But there are plenty left for a lifetime of phony reports. These private, 'research' companies routinely work the universities looking for people with titles who will say the right things. I was approached by one of them many years ago. It was like getting propositioned by a pimp.
NewsToday has not much news, though most is about Ukraine. Harper continues to issue inflammatory statements about the situation. So far, he has not said a word about any peaceful solutions. Of course not. He couldn't care less about the Ukraine. What he's working on is the Ukrainian-Canadian vote in our next election.

 He claims, without the slightest evidence, that the Russians are invading Ukraine in "slow motion".

A second story, from The Associated Press simply gives us more confusion. It also gives us propaganda in the shape of a story that Putin is spreading lies about  the prominence of the Nazi party in the Western Ukraine. In fact, Ukraine does have lots of Naziis, possibly more than any other country in the world. Several of them are in the government. And that's scarcely a secret.

Harper continues his very dangerous game in continuing his attack on the integrity of the Supreme Court.(The last thing any country needs is the destruction of faith in its high courts). He has now been joined by Justice Minister McKay, the person who should know, better than any other, the importance of public respect for the Supreme Court.

In effect, Harper has accused the court of cheating him in a legal decision it made. No prime minister has ever done that. Harper is weakening the fabric of the country over a relatively petty issue. In this as in so many other ways, he is a dangerous man, and  the worst prime minister we have ever seen.
I have no idea what the editorial is about. That's because it is so badly written. I think it has something to do with painting pictures on garbage cans in order to beautify the city.

Norbert wrote his column on the same topic as last time (our financial condition) and he says nothing new. More important, he again completely ignores the role played by his boss and other corporate bosses in our economic problems.

Somebody named Steve Lafleur, who is a 'public policy analyst' for one of those phony think tanks that make up propaganda for the rich, contributes and op ed column..

It says you should sometimes 'buy local' - but not always. It's up to you.

Some analyst. I could get advice as good as that in any Sunday School. It's also bad writing. This is a collector's item for those with a passion for banality and trivia.

Not really a strong day for the TandT.


  1. I"m so glad that I don't have to pay for the Irving rags, you do a much better job. Even if I don't know whats in it, I know I"m better off not knowing (except about the cat!)

    But again I think you are a bit too extreme. Shale gas can be extracted with at least as little environmental damage as the pulp industry. The current forestry deal makes shale gas look like a positively benign operation. All the attention on shale gas has made it even safer. For greenhouse gases, thats methane fired off from oil wells. Obviously when you are selling and using the gas, you want as little of it going into the atmosphere as possible. And its doubtful that much more in the way of pipelines would be set up anyway. A moratorium is certainly better than the status quo, and the 'toughest regulations' would actually make the industry pretty benign-the point so far is that the tories have no intention of actually regulating the industry, otherwise they would bring in the legislation and not just make them 'permit conditions'. That's not to say that its great.

    I think there is plenty of evidence that Russia may be taking over Ukraine 'in slow motion'. Although its not actually that slow, its already got Crimea. However, its also blatantly hypocritical-the sanctions on Iraq ended up killing MILLIONS, far more than the war ever did. That last over a decade til the country was a shadow of its former self. Now THAT was 'slow motion' and utterly barbaric. Compared to that, Russia in Ukraine has been a lovefest.

  2. Sorry, forgot my main point. Harper is clearly playing to his base on the Senate issue. Five seconds of listening to the actual story shows that its idiotic. I think he's probably mistaken, although lots of people have ZERO faith in the Supreme Court-and I guarantee you'd have a lot less if you actually investigate many of the most contentious issues. But Harper may be getting to that 'seven year itch' where a lot of politicians blow it. Yesterday on a call in show they asked military people what they thought of Harpers new "National Day of Honour" this friday and many people who at least said they were military or had military in the family were absolutely livid that the government would trot up something like this while doing nothing about the mental health issues in the military. It makes me think positive about our future for a change.

  3. Just saw on the T and T website, the "scoop" of the century. Metro Ice Cream Stands Hoping for Busy Season.

  4. I did some research and I think you are being way too conspiratorial on the Canadian Council of Academies. This group has been around since its creation by Paul Martin, and is supported by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, The Royal Society, and the Canadian Academy of Engineering. Basically, if these people are right leaning corrupt plutocrats then you simply can't believe ANY research done in Canada.

    I actually did what few people have done, which is to actually READ the report, or at least start it. There is a section BOTH on Greenhouse Gas emissions and human health. However, its an academic study, so it has to rely on current research.

    So, for example, the first study on birth defects was done just this January, and it SUGGESTS that birth defects may be correlated to fracking, however, 'suggesting' something is not the same as 'evidence'. So there is good reason why many of the 'stories' out there are not included. For health, its conclusions seem pretty reasonable-that we don't yet have the full picture. And that seems true. Even in Alberta they have only recently begun testing water close to wells.

    This is the irony behind many proponents claiming "there have been no recorded incidents of problems", when it turns out that little study was ever done. Giving more evidence to your claims about universities being privatized-in a 'public' university you'd think lots of albertan biologists would be chomping at the bit ages ago to study this stuff.

    However, your almost direct implication that all these researchers are somehow bought and paid for seems a little extreme. If you go through the report, it seems on par with what a lot of left wing environmentalists have been saying. However, they were NOT asked to "Give us 10 reasons why we should stop fracking". So people shouldn't expect that, or that some blog from a lady down south who says fracking killed her dog and abducted her daughter isn't included.