Thursday, April 23, 2015

April 23: A very mixed bag...

On A1, "Fracking review terms released by Grits". The Liberal government has appointed a commission to examine any possible dangers in carrying out fracking. They don't tell us a whole lot. Apparently, the commission is to study the question in a 'New Brunswick context'.

What does that mean? I have no idea. Neither, I suspect, does anybody else. Nor would I ask because any reply is certain to be in more gobbledygook. Nor am I dazzled by the membership of the committee since it seems to be made up entirely with people of no significant scientific understanding. Then there's the other bit of the government's terms. The Committee must report on its evidence directly (only) to the cabinet. That means we will see only what the cabinet wants us to see.

Then, on A6, we find the two, hit stories of the day. One is a story, with photo, of the premier of Nova Scotia wearing a Moncton Wildcats hockey sweater because he lost a bet. Then there's another red hot story, with photo, that the maritime yo-yo championship is being held in nearby Salisbury, And you can be sure that anyone who works for the Irving press knows something about yo-yos.

There is yet another editorial on the closing of rural schools. And, once again, children and communities simply don't exist. This is the press that regularly beats the drum for an events centre to cost $105 million, probably closer the $200 million - a centre that is not likely ever to pay off. But, hey, the owner of the hockey team wants it. Duh.... Oh, I know. If the owner of the hockey team is so sure the centre would make a fortune, let him pay for it; and he can keep all the profits.

There's a good letter to the editor on the events centre, and it mentions something the Irving press has never told us. The city pays $88,000 every year to that team. Why are we paying that to a team that has a very wealthy owner? In fact, why are all of us being hit to pay a share of that money to a team that most of us never go to see? If Mr. Irving wants thrills, let him pay for them.

Norbert, again, writes about the events centre. But he's so vague as to be incoherent.

Rod Allen is back to his usual, overwritten column of painfully strained wit about himself.

David Suzuki has an excellent column on the damage caused by tiny bits of plastic in some toothpastes and skin softening lotions. Those tiny, tiny bits get into the food stream of fish and, eventually, of us - with fatal results. And this one is easy and cheap to fix. All if needs is to substitute those tiny bits of plastic with edible - and cheap - substitutes. And it needs governments with the integrity to demand that. (Okay. So it's not going to be easy to solve.)

Alec Bruce is excellent on that fraud of a budget the federal Conservatives  have introduced. This is an excellent read on how to understand a government budget.
Then, there's a gem of a  headline on B1. "Irving Oil critical of Reuters story." It's a prime example how to hide the real news. A headline is, course course, written by the editor. But the editor's name is not on it. Well, if I were editor, I wouldn't want my name on it, either.

Reuters Press has discovered that the provincial department of environment has, since 1912, issued warnings to Irving Oil in St. John, for delaying reporting environmental emergencies, including large spillage of oil, and refinery emissions that exceeded permitted levels.

Of course, Irving oil is critical of the story. But that's not what the story is about. Surely, it's about the warnings which Reuters discovered through freedom of information. The story can and should contain Irving's reply. But the reply isn't the story. The warnings are the story. This is a classic use of a headline to mislead people about a news story. Almost all of this story is about the Irving response, and still leaves us in the dark about the incidents. This isn't a news story. This is whitewashing some unattractive asses; and it's unethical journalism.
Oh , yeah - Early on, the story tells that that the Telegraph-Journal (also Irving) reported the incidents at the time. I"m sure it did. I'm also sure it didn't say much. That would explain why Reuters had to use the Freedom of Information Act to get a fuller story. If the T-J had covered the story, Reuters would have known. It's a big outfit. It has computers and everything. It would have taken just minutes to find the TJ story. But Reuters decided to go the freedom of information route. That tells you something about professional opinion of the quality of the Irving papers.

B3 has a story that the federal government's  spending of hundreds of millions of dollars will not solve our national security problems. True. They won't. But the story doesn't tell us why they won't.

Our security problems won't end for the same reasons the security problems of the US won't end. And no amount of spending will make them end. We have security problems because we  have governments controlled by oil billionaires. And the oil billionaires have killed Muslims by the millions, driven more millions of people into poverty, and destroyed whole nations. And some Muslims are shooting back.

Isn't that evil of them? Certainly, they aren't good Christians spreading peace and love like our oil billionaires.

You want to stop Muslims from trying to kill you?  Suggestion - stop trying to kill them.

These oil billionaires are the same reason we aren't getting any action on green energy. It's because they don't make money out of green energy. And they don't make money out of cutting back on fossil fuels. That's why Harper has the developed world's worst record for environmental action.

I don't worry about Muslims killing me. I'm much more likely to be killed by the behaviour of oil billionaires and the Harpers who kiss up to them.

B5 has a story from Associated Press and its airsrikes on Yemeni rebels. As usual, it gives us lots of detail about nothing. But paragraph four has a fascinating line in it. The attacks are aimed at restoring ''Yemen's internationally recognized president..."

Have you ever read a story about Harper or Obama or Putin being an internationally recognized leader of his country?  In fact, all leaders in the world are internationally recognized by most or all governments. The American dictators of Haiti and Cuba were internationally recognized. Adolf Hitler was intenationally recognized. So what's that line supposed to tell us?

Directly, it tells us nothing whatever. But it's there because it sounds good. It sounds as if the exiled president is a person who deserves to be president - and the rebels are evil.

Actually, the president was a much-hated dictator of Yemen for some 20 years.- and a good friend of another "internationally recognized leader", the dictator-king of Saudi Arabia who, though a very, very extreme Muslim, and one fond of beheading, is very, very popular with our oil billionaires.

The rebellion in Yemen began many years ago as an uprising to create a democracy. But Saudi Arabia and the US don't like democracies That's why the Saudi's are attacking Yemen, and that's why the US is supplying the bombs. In fact, the US has been murdering Yemenis for years using drones and special ops killers.

The story also mentions, in the last, four paragraphs, that a US drone killed seven "suspected" al-Quaeda terrorists. "Suspected" means they really aren't sure who they killed. They've killed thousands like that in Yemen, Pakistan, etc. God bless America.

A few lines down, it describes them as militants. That doesn't mean they actually were militants. The term is commonly used in our news media to mean 'people of military age'.

The unasked question is - why has Saudi Arabia not sent in ground troops? After all, you can't win a war with air strikes. Saudi Arabia does have an elite corps of excellent and well-equipped troops. But it doesn't have nearly enough of them to fight a war. For the bulk of its army, it relies on contracted mercenaries - who have a limited value in battle.  Just as big business does not exist to create jobs and prosperity, so it is that mercenaries do not fight to risk their lives.

So why have the kings of Saudi Arabia never raised a national army? I suspect that's because they can't be sure which way it would shoot.
On C4, student columnist, Aurelie Pare, has her usual, excellent column on dietary heath. Sometimes her columns on diet leave me feeling guilty about my food choices. But today, it's Vitamin D, and she advises lying in the sun a lot.

Hey! I can do that.
There are, believe it or not, stories that the Irving press missed.    This one is a story about the spectacular rise of rail to transport crude oil. It has risen  to 140,000 carloads last year, and is  still rising rapidly..

The railwys say that, despite regulation, its very safe as almost all the trains get through. That will be cheering news for the folks in Lac Megantic. And maybe in Moncton.

85 people own half of all the wealth in the world. They also control their governments. And they are most unlikely to pay taxes - and that means most of that wealth is lost forever. The result - spreading poverty, lots of wars like the 'war on terror', 'defence of Ukrainian democracy', and the increasing danger of nuclear war.
(Their are so many people to hate these days, I can't keep up - Russians, Muslims, maybe Greeks, possibly Chinese. You, dear readers, and I (and the very rich) may be the only pure people left on earth.)

And the proportion of money held by just these 85 is half and rising quickly. And that doesn't even count the small timers like the Irvings.

This link, from a reader,  is about how the Canadian government's budget has handed out billions to the very wealthy - you know, the ones who don't pay much in the way of taxes.

Also from a reader, this is a chilling account of how government spying has turned us into a police state.

This, too, is from a reader. It's worth reading in itself; and it gives us a sample of what to expect in The Brief, from NBmediacoop. I find it always worth a read.

And, as I prepare for supper, a big story that Norbert missed because he follows only Irving news. You need all the stories on this one - so I'm sending you to google for the site that has all of them. (And this, by the way, is what is called investigative reporting - as compared to the Irving press' stenographic reporting.)

Go to google, type -  over billing CBC Irving    There's a whole page of them.

Discover why Norbert hates the CBC, and why Harper would like to close it.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Graeme,

    I look forward to the articles as they appear on the continuing saga of shale gas. They are always shallow and troubling, hinting at ways that the government might use to lift the moratorium.

    First, the announcement about the committee of three, none of whom have a background in either the sciences or environmental studies. Then the suggestion that the government will make the final report available to the public AFTER the decision on the fate of the moratorium is made.

    Now, the suggestion that there is a "N.B. context" in which to view the risks and harms of shale gas extraction. This could be a way for the government to
    back away from the moratorium, hope not, but it could.

    The reality is that unconventional gas exploration, by it's very nature is inherently bad, regardless of the geographical and geological differences in different locations. This is now understood by anyone studying the issue in different parts of the U.S. and Europe.

    There is no way to frack safely as the N.Y. Health Professionals so eloquently report. Can't be done safely. Their report put the ban on in N.Y. state just weeks after it was received.

    If you will permit me, I would like to quote the Health Professionals (one of the most pithy observations I've ever read on the subject):
    "Despite the emerging body of knowledge, industry secrecy and government inaction continue to thwart scientific inquiry, leaving many potential problems-especially, cumulative, long term risks-unidentified, unmonitored and largely unexplored. This problem is compounded by non-disclosure agreements, sealed court records and legal settlements that prevent families and their doctors from discussing injuries, as a result, no comprehensive inventory of human hazards yet exists." Chilling reading.

    Any talk of lifting the moratorium in the near future speaks to political and industry considerations, not those of public health.

    The government will continue to be under significant pressure from the oil and gas lobby, in both public and private, to reverse the moratorium. This is a direct attempt by industry to subvert the will of the people as two-thirds of the voting public, during the last election, voted for parties that called for a moratorium.

    I could go on (and usually do) but you see my point.

    Just one more thing and I'll have done. The Globe and Mail highlights a new report indicating that a $25 billion investment in clean energy in Canada has resulted in a 37% increase in jobs; there are now 23,700 people employed in the clean energy sector compared to 22,340 people employed in the tar sands. Thanks.