Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Dec. 23: Liar, liar, pants on fire....

Again, foreign news will be at the end of this blog -separated by #################

Now, go to google - "The Atlantic, The alarming research behind New York's fracking ban."  This was sent to me by a reader - and it's stunning. It's the report on WHY New York banned fracking. The Irving press has yet to tell us even that there is a fracking ban.

Remember all those columns by Norbert and Alec Bruce on how fracking is proven safe? You'll get the same message in the Dec. 22 issue of the Times and Transcript in a column written by the impartial CEO of Corridor Resources who wrote it all by himself (I'll bet.) He says it's perfectly harmless: and he just wants to bring prosperity to New Brunswick. God bless his little heart, no matter how little it may be.

Here are some of the outstanding features of the report.
1. Rate of respiratory problems high among those living within one kilometre of fracking sites.
2. There is a rise of levels of ethane and methane in drinking water.
3. Low level earthquakes. (It sounds reassuring when they say low level. But that means that the whole structure we live on is slowly crumbling as a result of fracking - and that could soon reach a high level, indeed.
4. Methane and nitrogen are released into the atmosphere in large quantities, accelerating climate change. In New York, for example, it is estimated that those two would soon account for almost a third of all the climate change gases in New York if it didn't ban fracking.
5. Soil is contaminated with radioactive waste.
6. Noise and odour pollution - which has been linked to a dramatic rise car and truck accidents in fracking regions.
7. Nausea, abdominal pain, nosebleeds, headaches become chronic.
8. Worse - it has a profound effect on babies in the womb, leading to dramatic increases in congenital heart defects and other organic failures.

And that doesn't even get to the problem that fracking will increase the time we spend using fossil fuels.

Norbert and Alex Bruce, you have both written at length that fracking has been proven safe, and both of you have accused anti-fracking people of being simple-minded and/or easily scared. Norbert, in particular, has blathered about how objective and wise the Irving press has been on this.

So - why didn't your objective and wise newspaper print the summary of this report? (In fact, I'm  not sure it ever even mentioned that there is a report in the first place.)

There are also other reports that haven't been mentioned in the Grimes and Dripdrain. For example, there are farmers who say the leasing that is paid to farmers for their land is often far, far below the promises. As well, they find their farms become unsaleable. (There is no rush to buy farms on fracked land.)

The Irving press has not told us the truth. That's putting it kindly. Since it hasn't mentioned the information above, even though it has been available in plenty of time, it has lied by omission. Sorry - you are either lying or far too stupid to be in the business of journalism.

The minimum that you owe readers is two, long columns, one on that New York report and the other an apology.

In contrast, the paper has offered lots of "news stories" and ads giving the shale gas side - and now even a column for the CEO of Corridor Resources to tell us how good he is to us. This goes far beyond bad journalism. This is collusion, and lying propaganda.

Section A for Dec. 23 is its usual, trivial self. The banner headline is over a long story about Robert Goguen, our m.p., saying nothing whatever, These are the stories they bring Brent Mazerolle in for. But even he can't make Goguen sound intelligent.  Goguen tells us that violence in  Ottawa marred but did not defeat our democracy. (Quite true. How could it? Harper, with the help of Goguen's smirk, destroyed our democracy long ago.)  I can imagine no reason for printing this story at all. But there it is - the lead headline, the big story of the day.

The one story worth reading is on B3. In paragraphs 4 and 5 of the top story on that page, premier Gallant sets the terms for the study of whether to go ahead on fracking. It's a strange set of terms because most of it has nothing to do with studying the effects of fracking.  Instead, the focus is on setting regulations, a royalty structure, etc. This is not a study on the problems of fracking. The New York one was.  But Gallant's is a study on how to sell it to the suckers.

I'm quite sure that the "ire" of the frackers is just part of the game, so we all make believe that Gallant is looking at a banning when he's not doing that at all. He's looking at ways to do a selling job. The frackers are acting angry to make Gallant seem honest. And the Irving press is just lying.

Maybe Norbert for Dec. 23 is worth reading. He doesn't really say anything original. He just says it was disgusting how the Taliban killed 141 children at a school in Pakistan. Yes, it is disgusting, of course. But it's only disgusting, it seems, when the other side does it.

The Christian US has probably killed far, far more children in, say, Vietnam, Guatemala, Iraq than all the Moslems have killed. Even the Canadian army in Afghanistan must have killed a substantial number of children. It's not possible to fight that kind of war (or any kind, any more) without killing chldren and innocents in large numbers. The US has killed thousands with drones - and we aren't even told where they are or what they're doing.

In the same way, people who take up arms against our side after a century of our side destroying and looting their society - well, those people are extremists and terrorists. But when our side murders by the millions, well, we're never extremists or terrorists. Not even when our side tortures.

We're human. We can't help it. We can see the sins of everybody - everybody except us. I think that's what self-righteous means.
Section A for Dec. 22 is mostly just for kitty box liner. Alec Bruce has a good column how how Veteran's Affairs in Ottawa has let veterans down. That's pretty chintzy for a prime minister who sent them off to risk their lives for no reason that we have ever been told.

Steve Malloy has a pretty decent column - though I have some differences with him.
1. We don't really know who hacked Sony Pictures. Obama immediately blamed North Vietnam; but we don't know that. It's equally possible that the hacker was a US intelligence group that was setting up a propaganda war against North Vietnam.

The US would never do such a thing? Puh-leeze. It hacks into computers all over the world, including those of its closest allies.

2. I agree that Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" is a magnificent film. But it's not true that this was a beautiful example of democracy and free speech in the US.
a) All American studios, right into the early 1940s, had a deal with Hitler not to make any films critical of him or of his treatment of Jews.  Germany was a major market for Hollywood. It didn't want to be banned. A large number of the studio owners were Jewish. And they signed the deal, too. Indeed, scripts were often submitted to Nazi authorities for approval.
b) It wasn't American freedom that allowed Chaplin to make that film. He paid one hell of a price for it. First, he had to finance the whole film by himself.  Secondly, the wealthy of the US never forgave him for that film. In fact, the later called him a "premature anti 'Nazi".

The American (and Canadian) very rich had a great admiration for Hitler. They saw him as the strongman who would block Soviet expansion.  That's one reason why American governments were quite willing to let Britain go down the drain in the early 1940s. In fact, the US never did declare war against Hitler. It was the other way around.

Once the war was over, the very rich in the US made life hell for Chaplin. And it was because of their anger at "The Great Dictator". That's why Chaplin fled to Switzerland in his later years.

The American film industry has never been a model of democracy in action. Films were, and are, commonly made as lying propaganda. An example of that is "Mission to Moscow" which was pro-Communist at a time when it was useful to be pro-Communist. However, it was withdrawn from the market at the end of the war. Only a few copies still exist.

Dec. 22 section B opens with a big story that Canadian editors have chosen two soldiers as newsmakers of the year. And that is just blind, brainless patriotism gone wild. The two soldiers and their families deserve remembrance and respect. There's no doubt about that. But they didn't do anything. One was shot in the back, and the other murdered by being hit with a car. They didn't do anything. They weren't consciously risking their lives. If those incidents were the news stories of the year, then the people who made that news were the killers.

I distrust that kind of brainlessness on the part of editors because it's so often a move to treat the choice as a reason to stir up fear and hatred.

Speaking of fear and hatred, B6 has a big story about dentistry students at Dalhousie University, where many of them were involved in Facebook posts that were, to say the least, sexist and threatening and advocating violence against women. And they actually named some women.

The posts are all that their enemies say they are -degrading, threatening, juvenile, distasteful, ignorant, hateful... And protesters want those students expelled.

But I'm not sure this lynch mob response is a good idea. It's been used for thousands of years without having much impact on human behaviour. And it's not clear to me how these students are going to be made better people by being expelled. My advice would be to cool it. Let the university come up with proposals to deal with these young men, and to prevent such dangerous spoiled brattishness in the future.

And make sure your news media follow the process closely and intelligently. Then decide on your reaction.

It's tough to find foreign news in the New Brunswick papers. Most news is local, and isn't really news at all. So reading it is like staring at your own bellybutton for ten minutes. What foreign news there is comes heavily slanted because it all comes from  North American news sources - which must really be an international scandal for their bias and propaganda.

In reporting on the prisoner exchanges between the US and Cuba, for example, the ones being returned to Cuba are all described as spies (probably true) while the American returned to the US, Alan Gross is "...a government contract worker who had been held.......for importing restricted communications equipment."  Ah, poor sweetheart.

:government contract worker? I presume that means a US government contract worker. So tell us, how come this US government contract worker was doing his work in Cuba - a country the US had severed relations with? And why was it illegal to import communications equipment?

The reality is, of course, he had a US government contract to spread unrest in Cuba. That's what his communications equipment was for. He was a saboteur. But not in our news media.

The decline of the quality of journalism in North America has been a dreadful thing to watch.

Then there's the coverage of the UN Human Rights committee examination of the state of human rights in North Korea.  Western delegates dramatically said North Korea's denial of human rights and its war crimes are the worst the committee had ever considered. Of course they are.

That's because the committee never looked at the war crimes and denials of human rights by France, Britain and the US who have repeatedly committed very serious crimes by invading other countries which were no threat to them, by mass murder of civilians....

The committee was also alarmed at word that Korean prison camps have more than a hundred thousand prisoners. I guess they never heard that the US has more people in prison than any other country in the world - and the American prisons are among the worst in the world.

And I guess it's never heard of the US torture programme - or of the roles played in it by countries like Canada, Britain, Poland.....

North Korea certainly is a bad one that should be examined. But I could live without the representatives of countries like the US, Canada, Britain, France expressing their disgust at North Korea while ignoring their own actions.

As a result, they have effectively destroyed the UN as our only hope for world order.

My, it would be interesting to seem them looking at human rights abuses in places like Congo where western companies (helped by western politicians) have tortured, starved, and murdered tens of millions, reduced all the rest to abysmal poverty, put six year old children to work in western-owned mines for long hours at low, low pay..... the lucky ones die young.

One of the leaders in the world system of brutalizing mines is Canada -which is very active in Central America and Africa, especially Congo. Our mining stockholders make life degrading and hopeless - and blessedly short - for tens of millions of people. But I've never seen our private news media mention this. Of course not. The private news media are owned by much the same people who own the mining companies.

This is all mostly just general because the New Brunswick papers, never very big on foreign news, have been really weak on everything for the last couple of days.

By the way, I note we have a large number of readers from France. All Decaries (DeCaries/Decarys/ Descarries/etc. in North American are descended from Jean Decarie who came here about 1650.


  1. Thanks for your summary of the report by the N.Y. Health Commission. N.B. needs all the help it can get.
    The sad thing is that during 2012 and 2013 when I was doing research for the articles I wrote for the Sackville Tribune-Post (Quebec owned or the articles never would have seen the light of day) all this now confirmed information was available from research and statistics found in government studies from Pennsylvania, Colorado and Texas. It was all out then and now it has been consolidated and re-published. Thank goodness for that, now we have to hope that the truth is forced, if necessary, upon the N.B.government.

    Next, we have to endure another commission of experts that will collect the relevant information and report their findings to the government. We don't know yet who will be on this new commission. Do you suppose there will be anyone there from the N.B. Anti-Shale Gas Alliance or any others who have been fighting the battle against shale gas for the last 3 years?

    There certainly should be to provide fact based opinion from all sides. I very much fear that there may be some watered down lip service paid to the anti-fracking cause by some fence sitters, but will they really come up with the right material? And if not will they accept it from us and use it? A lot of questions right now and it will take time, while we cringe, to get the answers. Well, I guess time is on our side right now.

    You might want to take a look at the Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction) compiled by the Concerned Health Professionals of N.Y. (Did I mention this before? Hope not.) It takes each of the 15 concerns about fracking and examines the research from July 2014 going backwards to 2008 or whenever the first information was available. Right from the horse's mouth. Wonderful read. Thanks.

  2. My guess is that this is a set up. As I look over Gallant's areas of "research", I notice the emphasis is on designing regulations rather examining the problems. I hope I'm wrong - but my feeling is that this is designed to soothe the general public, and it's being done in close collaboration with the shale gas industry.