Friday, July 3, 2015

July 3: A sad day at the beach...

Yesterday, I went down to the Northumberland Strait shore and its wonderful beaches. I took my five-year old grandaughter out at low tide for a walk through the shallows and over the sandbars. I remember my own first such walk  very well.  On that first occasion, it was a shock for this city boy to walk in  shallows that had hundreds, probably thousands; of very small  fish.   Dozens of crabs scuttled in the shallows and onto the bars. And dozens of tiny holes in the sandbars showed where clams had dug down to wait for a rising tide; and gulls swooped to track down those  tiny holes for their dinner.

And so we walked for some twenty minutes - and for twenty minutes we saw not a sign of life. There were no crabs for grandaughter to delightedly scream at, no tiny fish, not a sign of clams - and no birds. Nothing but sand and water. So, when I got home, I checked through the web, and found this report from CBC News of about eight years ago.

Northumberland Strait is dying. The  dying starts with effluent from industrial Ontario that's dumped into the great lakes, from agricultural chemical  and more industrial runoff as it enters the St. Lawrence and all the way through Quebec, then along the shores of New Brunswick. - and into the Atlantic Ocean.

That, and worse, is happening all over the world. And, all over the world, action on it has been close to zero. In fact, there really is no such thing as a world mechanism for doing anything about this, just for talking about it and being ignored by those who make money by polluting water - and land - as we dump chemicals on our forests and plan wunnerful, wunnerful oil pipelines that will, duh, create jobs.

Whose fault is this? Well, I guess it's all of us. We dump blame on our economic bosses. And they deserve much deserve it. But we're also to blame for being such passive and short-sighted people.

Some readers will be getting this blog from La Presse Libre de Moncton Free
It's much  superior to the Irving press.  I also suggest the one below.
It comes out only bi-monthly, and it's much smaller than the Free Press. But it has excellent work, too. One striking story in the current issue is "How do you stop a pipeline when one family own both the oil and the media?"

This has an impressive list of accidents Irving has had  at its St. John oil terminal that legally constituted "environmental emergencies". As well, it seems TransCanada pipelines has had more pipeline ruptures than any company in Canada - and they don't even get reported as ruptures until at least two million litres have spilled. The writer also notes that air pollution in St. John is already 243 times that of Moncton. (But I'm sure Alec Bruce has been thinking of writing about this for - oh - years.

This commentary was originally submitted to the New Brunswick Press (owned by Irving). But, of course, they rejected it.

The lead story in today's Times and Transcript is really news. And that's  unusual. Well, actually, it should be news. But it isn't really news because it doesn't tell us anything. It is an amusing read, though.

New Brunswick has a resort called Larry's Gulch which the government uses for mixing business and pleasure with the rich and influential. (To my knowledge, it has never been used for top-secret meetings with poverty groups or nasty environmentalists.)

Now, it seems that two former New Brunswick officials altered a guest list to hide some of the names. But that's against the law, and carries fines of over ten thousand dollars. And this is the great part.  Nothing is going to happen because the commissioner has decided that, well, it has never happened before, so we'll, you know, just  use this as a warning to everybody else that it's against the law. (Try that line the next time you get a police ticket.)

And there's more.

The removal was made at the request of a newspaper editor - but he and the offending officials will not be named because everybody knows who they are.

What? I don't know who they are. And I don't know anybody who knows who they are. We have regular reports of court cases - and people get named even if we do already know their names. We should know why a newspaper editor made that request. When you have a journalist, of all people, trying to keep a secret, we're in trouble.

The news story, though very, very long has almost no information in it. The Liquor commission was involved -  maybe, maybe not - and for no reason one can tell. Toward the end, we do learn there were two editors involved - Al Hogan and Guy Murray, both of the Moncton TandT, and both now gone. It seems  very odd that journalists should have been involved in what seems to have been a  political/business meeting. Does the Irving press commonly do that. It's certainly unprofessional and unethical.

This is a long story which raises a great many questions - but answers almost none.

It's also typical of Brunswick press to offer a story that's just a collection of quotations with no evidence the reporter has done any research on the topic.

The rest of section A news is trivial.
The editorial page, though still pretty local, is quite good - for the editorial, for Norbert, and for the cartoon by de Adder.  There's also an excellent letter to the editor, "Atlantic Chiefs issue a call to action".

Harper has been very, very slow in responding in responding to the report on native peoples. And the Canadian people, in general, could be described as feeling sorry for what was done, but damn slow in doing anything about it.

It's a very difficult question to deal with. But we have to deal with it. Since Columbus, the west has engaged in an orgy of destroying civilizations, societies and cultures. The result, almost without exception,has been to create a chaos of wars and looting over most of the surface of this Earth. The suffering is enormous and, so long as we don't deal with it humanely and quickly, we are in danger of absolute destruction.

Canada, maybe New Brunswick, could lead the way in our response to native peoples. It's going to be a long and difficult job but it's a job that has to be done here and all over the world. It's a job that can't be done by or with our perverted from of capitalism because that is what caused the problem in the first place. And it has to be done for humanity to survive. World-wide, we have come close to the end by centuries of western greed and racism as practiced by an economic system that we have turned into a religion.

Hint for the Faith page sermonette - do one on Love thy neighbour, and what that really demands of us. Like most of the Ten Commandments that one is not simply religious, but a very practical piece of advice. That's why it's found in so many religions around the world.

Justin Ryan's commentary on immigrants is, as usual, not about immigrants at all. It's really piece of rah, rah boosterism for Canada. It's not about them. It's about us, and what great people we are. It's not about welcoming newcomers. It's about absorbing them.

Historically, Canada has been enriched by immigrants- NOT because they're just like us or are becoming Canadian just like us - but because they add CHANGE to us.

And, despite Ryan's closing sentence about all the good things that Canada is all about - Canada is also about depriving its poor of opportunities, of provinces controlled by very wealthy people whose greed does more damage to us than drugs lords in any foreign country do. It's also about killing people in the countries our immigrants are fleeing from.....partly because of our killing.

Alec Bruce has a column on Greece that you will really enjoy if you are an international banker who gets a thrill out of destroying the lives of people.  It's also a little thin on information about and understanding of how the Greek crisis  (and the New Brunswick one) came about.

Yep, Alec Bruce thinks it's all about them there lefties who are always asking and never paying their share (unlike the Irvings who shower us with the wealth of the taxes they pay, and their execs who earn millions just so they can donate to charities.... ) Yes, those terrible lefties are just awful the way they think that the Greek people should be able to eat and have housing. I'm surprised he doesn't have an attack in there on environmentalists. (But I'm sure he will  next time.)

Whenever Alec Bruce talks about a society in debt, he never looks at who put therm there, and how. And he never looks at this as anything more than simply a matter of paying off loans. Why are New Brunswickers so deeply in debt? Have they been wildly overpaid in the past? Do they wallow in the luxury of government handouts? Are they lazy? Bruce's answers always suggest that.

The Greek debt problem was not caused by the Greek people. The purpose of the bankers in demanding their money has nothing to do with simply getting the money. It has to do with getting rid of those "lefties" that the bankers don't like to see in government. If he wants to see the people who are always standing with their hands out, I suggest that Alec take a closer  look at the billionaires he so admires.

And if he wants to find out the causes of poverty and suffering, I suggest that he and professor Saillant do some reading to each other about the causes of the depression of the 1930s, the ways the richer became richer during it, about who caused the current recession, about how the rich who caused the recession got the tax money of everybody else to bail them out, and called the millions whose lives they had destroyed 'lazy'.

Interested readers might wish to read what I said about the Greek crisis early in yesterday's blog. I also included the URL of a  site that discusses the real causes of it.

And, incidentally, the Greek debt was NOT caused social programmes for poor bums. It was caused mostly by wild and corrupt military contracts to corrupt RICH bums.

Canada&World, as always, is slim pickings.  The lead story is about government spending which, the story seems to suggest, is largely on social programmes. In fact, it gives very little attention to exactly where that spending is going. And it gives no attention at all to where the the government's money is coming from. How much, for example, is coming from the taxes of the very rich? ( or how little?)

Only two stories are worth reading, both on B4.

."Eligible voters could be disenfranchised by stricter ID rules at polls, groups say."

The Council of Canadian and The Canadian Federation of Students are asking for an injunction against a new rule which makes it impossible to use a voter ID card as proof of a right to vote. It now requires an identification card (like a driver's licence of a passport) with photo, name, street address. There are two problems with that.

One is that there is no evidence of any significant voter fraud using the Voter ID card. So why the new law?

The second is that tens of thousands of people don't have the required type of identification card. So they won't be allowed to vote.

Later, this case will be taken to the Supreme Court as a violation of the Canadian constitution. Meanwhile, we need a delay in the enforcement of the new law.

Below that is a  story which, as Alec Bruce may explain, is entirely false.

"Gulf states reach $18.7B settlement with BP over 2010 spill"  This was a massive and destructive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why is this story entirely false? Well, for a start and as Alec Bruce has clearly shown us, there are no accidents with oil  And no problems. It's been proven all over the world. I trust his opinion on that.  That's why I have no concern about a pipeline from the oil sands to St. John causing any problems whatever. I mean, if you can't trust the Irvings, who can you trust? And I'm sure that processing such oil will really freshen the air in St. John - and get rid of that salt water stink.

We also know that this story can't be true because it says that BP was "grossly negligent". Well, it's obviously a lie. Oil and gas companies are never, never negligent. If they were, Alec Bruce would have told us.

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