01.18.2014 09:39 AM

Attacking Neil Young is stupid

The oil lobbyists are stupid. Every time they go after Neil Young, they draw attention to what Neil Young is saying.

In any PR campaign where you are dealing with declining interest, your best move is bringing in a celebrity. You’re not doing that to have a debate. You’re doing that to DRAW ATTENTION TO YOUR CAUSE. You win when your enemy takes the bait, and starts focussing on the celebrity.

These oil sands lobbyists, despite their millions, are frigging idiots.



  1. david ray says:

    Amen to that especially the idiot David Collyer from C.A.P.P who blew his brains out on the radio speaking to Carol Off on As it happens. Don’t these idiots ever learn. As he spewed the corporate line about Neil providing a disservice to natives because of his stand against the tarsands I was reminded again of McCarthy (yes i am very old) demonizing his perceived enemies until he ran into Mr Welch and later Edward R Murrow. Except for Neil there are very few people left who will speak truth to power…. well Ok there is Warren of course but with all these zombie hutches he’s been sourcing I’m not so sure anymore 🙂


  2. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Meanwhile, amid all the waling and gnashing of teeth over global warming, few were paying attention to what was actually going on…


    Keep in mind that the IPCC completely ignored old Sol as being any factor whatsoever in their global warming calculations.

    Despite all evidence (proof?) to the contrary…


    • Bill Templeman says:

      Al, what about the wailing and gnashing of teeth over dishonoured treaties between First Nations and Canada? Indeed, few are paying attention to what is actually going on. Non-native Canada prefers to ignore those treaties. Neil Young is drawing attention to all the lies. The Government of Canada is still stealing land from First Nations. Isn’t that the underlying theme of Young’s tour? Oh wait a minute, what did he call his tour? “Honouring the Treates”

      • Al in Cranbrook says:

        Bill, here’s the thing about “treaties”: They presuppose a static condition, that nothing will change, and thus somehow should be regarded as timeless…which clearly is utter nonsense. Would you suggest, f’rinstance, that Germany still be bound by The Treaty of Versailles? ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Versailles ) Of course not. It was as ill conceived as it was shortsighted.

        That said, Young made the Alberta Oil Sands, and it’s supposedly negative effect on climate, the center piece of his road show. Just about everything he had to say was patently ignorant of the realities and facts. Not surprisingly, a lot of people are getting more than a little fed up with being treated to such shameless twaddle, particularly from those whom have no excuse for such ignorance.

        Tell you what. Go out and find yourself a copy of the book, “The Rational Optimist”, by Matt Ridley. Nothing ideological about it at all. Just a brilliant piece of work that should be required reading by every student before they get handed a diploma that implies they actually know something about anything. In the very least it would double up on that knowledge base. Guarantee you, it’s an eye opener you won’t soon forget, and will cause you to question much of what you thought you knew about this world and its shared history.

        Consider that a dare.

        • dave says:

          I would suggest that like NAFTA, the upcoming treaties with China and Europe, Norad and such, that we should honour our treaties and change them only according that the change mechanism included in the treaty, sort of as if the words ‘ honour’ and ‘honest’ had the same root.
          With treaties with our fellow Canadians, we have put in and changed over the decades an Indian Act specifically to avoid agreed changes with the signatories, and specifically to subvert those treaties…because, well,… because we can.

        • david ray says:

          Ok first we got your red herring and now you’re showing us your straw man and no I won’t read any book you recommend but I hear “my pet goat” is pretty good. Ask George if you’re not familiar with it.

        • Bill Templeman says:

          Al, this is preposterous. A treaty can only be changed if all the signatories agree to changes. Neil Young notwithstanding, are you going to say that Canada has honoured its treaties with First Nations? Nonsense….the Canadian gov’t has used the Indian Act to circumvent whatever commitments it found to be undesirable in the original treaties. Your Treaty of Versailles example is a non sequitur because the 1919 German government no longer exists. The Government of Canada and the First Nations still exist. Sorry. Or are you saying that Canada does not have to live up to treaties deemed to be inconvenient?

          btw, I found this review of Ridley’s book: “…his dismissal of the role of the state lacks nuance. As I consider his arguments, a louder, angrier voice is shouting at him to show a bit of contrition, rather than lecture us. This book shows that the free market is a wonderful idea. So wonderful, it should easily cope with the damage inflicted upon it by Ridley.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookreviews/7817914/The-Rational-Optimist-How-Prosperity-Evolves-by-Matt-Ridley-review.html You say his book is non-ideological? Because your assumptions and Ridley’s are somewhat congruent, you don’t see the ideology. Trust me, his book is intensely ideological. Which is not to say wrong or bad, but he writes from an easily identified set of assumptions about gov’t, capital, free markets and evolution. I will give you credit, though. Ridley is no hack He is not another Ezra Levant. The Rational Optimist is probably worth reading, although I suspect I would have the same angry reaction to his book as I have to reading Ayn Rand.

          • Al in Cranbrook says:

            What I read in the review is a liberal begrudgingly conceding Ridley makes a lot of sense. I’m half way through it for the second time around, and have yet to sense any “lecturing” on any count…??? He quotes Adam Smith a few times, which is not unreasonable in that Smith was an economist, and the book is a thesis on how economies evolve. What’s particularly fascinating as one reads along is the information regarding the evolution of technological development, and the effects thereof. For example…

            “The first few tractors had few advantages over the best horses, but they did have one enormous benefit as far aw the world was concerned; they did not need land to grow their fuel. America’s horse population peaked at twenty-one million animals in 1915; at the time about one-third of all agricultural land was devoted to feeding them.”

            What Ridley does is masterfully bring into perspective little appreciated, nor even realized, parts of the overall equation of how we’ve arrived at where we are. He reminds us that nothing is ever static, but always changing and evolving upwards. The book is, IMHO, a tour de force in demonstrating that ideologies are a hindrance, and that things ultimately will progress in spite of them.

            Of course, those who dedicate themselves, even their very being, to an ideology…of any bent…will not be pleased to hear that! Clearly the liberal reviewer was not; any liberal worth his salt hates to hear that governments aren’t the be all, end all saviors of mankind!

            Take a walk on the wild side and give the book a read. Don’t let the first couple hits you Googled up on the net make your mind up for you…that’s hardly self empowering, ya think?

            As for treaties, my initial comment is about all I have to say about that.

  3. Steve T says:

    So, if you are CAPP or another industry group, and you know that Neil Young is spouting a number of falsehoods and half-truths, what do you do? Stand by and hope it goes away? Let the lies become truth, in the mind of the public? “Speaking truth to power” is a nice catch-phrase, but so often now there is only a semblance of real “truth”. Most of it is opinion and rhetoric.

    I do agree that going on radio and TV is not the best approach. Instead, take out full-page ads in newspapers and magazines. Highlight statistical facts, to counterbalance the generalities and politically-correct talking points that are coming from Neil Young. There are tens of thousands of good paying jobs in Canada that exist due to these natural resources. Included in these are aboriginals, both as employees and business partners.

    Put Neil Young and his cohorts to the task of explaining, in detail, how these jobs will be replaced. And not in 10 or 15 years, based on theoretical ideas of what might be done with wind or solar power. The people we throw out of work, if we shut down the oilsands as Neil Young is suggesting, will need a new job immediately.

    Sadly, not everyone can be a protester. Some of us actually have to hold down a real job, and deal with real-life issues.

    • david ray says:

      Put Neil Young and his cohorts to the task of explaining, in detail, how these jobs will be replaced.

      Well, since you asked. What did we do before the Tarsands and what will we do after pray tell. I await your answer with baited breath and speaking of baiting of course Neil Young is exaggerating and it’s working magnificently, don’t ya think. Isn’t it ironic, don’t ya think… oops slipped back to Alanis there for a second. Anyway I await nimbyistic words of wisdom.

      • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

        First nimbyistic word of wisdom for you sweetie…….there is no tar in oilsands.

        • dave says:

          There used to be, I was here then…but then somebody’s pr industry got going…

        • david ray says:

          well that wasn’t very ethical of you Elizabeth; sort of like your oilsands. And don’t call me sweetie because that’s offensive if not downright lessee oh errrr ok oily.

          • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

            Hah…..good one David. Sorry about the sweetie, just. feeling pissy at the time I guess.

            I was a bank steno in Edmonton back in the fifties (yes, fifties) and took notes at the meetings of people trying to get financing from the bank to develop the oil sands……and they were always called oil sands.

            They were told many times that there was no way their idea was viable, and that oil would have to reach $10.00 per barrel before it could EVER be considered. Imagine.

            Those were the good old days when all such decisions were made in Toronto head office banks.

            Resentment still rankles a bit about that…….anyway I promise never to call you sweetie again…..my kids hate that too. 🙂

  4. Iris Mclean says:

    Completely agree. The usual fools like Levant and Murphy are helping to make Young’s tour into the event of the winter. And it’s not just about the oil/tar sands. Interesting take by Ian Gill here…

  5. Tim says:

    Neil Young is getting attention because of the respect he commands. All his life, he has devoted much of his time and his personal resources to the causes he believes in. It’s a long list and the record is out there for anyone who cares to read it. The oil boys are acting stupidly for sure, but Neil has them running scared. He’s his own man, this isn’t a PR stunt. Talk minus action = 0 is a phrase which Neil Young personifies. He doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks of him or the effect his actions might have on his career, he just does what he thinks is right.

    • Steve T says:

      I have no doubt that Jenny McCarthy thinks what she is doing is right, too. It doesn’t make her anti-vaccine tirade any less stupid.

      Talk minus action = zero, is definitely true. However, talk plus action minus facts is also near zero.

      • debs says:

        Neil Young has alot more integrity then jenny mccarthy. Comparing the two is silly. I keep reading this from the opposition. That he and jenny mccarthy are cut from the same celebrity cloth. Lame. Its like comparing peewee herman to michael caine. One is a gimmick and the other is an award performer. Neil Young might not be a scientist but he walks the walk alot more for his causes and has been for decades.

      • david ray says:

        Nice try there Steve T but your red herring is turning green at the gills with envy. What part of corporate genocide in the tar sands don’t you understand because that is what it is. it may take 40 years till everything is dead but will you recant when it does? of course not. and if by God’s grace the tar sands don’t kill everything in it’s path then all the better cause it gives us 40 years to raise the Titanic but I don’t think we have that much time. Oh … breaking news. California is suffering the worst drought in 100 years and with luck Jenny McCarthy’s mouth will stick shut forever.

    • Iris Mclean says:

      You nailed it Tim.

  6. dave says:

    I was not too sure about the pres of CAPP inviting Young to Calgary to ‘chat’ about oil. Almost sounded like, ‘Come into my office for a talk…close the door and sit there.’ The pres inviting Young to find out who is really in charge here in his old homeland!

    • david ray says:

      wow agree. what a perfect example of the arrogance and entitlement of the well padded elite. how about capp guy sits on stage with Neil in front of 5000 people instead of some board of trade or gathering of selected Harper fartcatchers. I would so pay to see that but I might be tempted to throw a show or two at capp guy when he strays into corporate talking points the way he did on As it happens. Lord what a jerk.

  7. rww says:

    Well Neil may have exaggerated a few things but no more (actually a lot less) than the oil sans proponents PR campaign about it’s benefits (yes it does create jobs, but at what cost_. But the point of Neil’s tour is to fund raise so the first nations can properly present their case. Who would oppose that. If you think your case is stronger why would you oppose the other side being able to present theirs.

  8. Kelly says:

    Tar sands aren’t the issue…the shabby disregard for deals,made with Aboriginals, is. First nations aren’t going away so the oil shills in Ottawa need to get over it and start honoring treaties. What will it take? Stuff blowing up? It seems to be the natural progression of things in petro states.

  9. debs says:

    For those that focus on Neil Young grasping and regurgitating the facts without scientific expertise. I give you Canadas PR weasel Joe Oliver. I dont think he is giving Canada all the true facts and figures, nor is Harper. It baffles me how people seize on things that dont really prop up their side of a debate. Yet all the pundits, politicians and media are doing this. I mean since when did we believe our govt? sighhh. So yeah if neil gets a few things wrong its an honest error but still spoken from a place of integrity. Where as when Harper, Oliver and their con cohorts spout their questionable information, its done as PR spin and its definitely meant to mislead Canadians. Which is worse, really!

  10. Iris Mclean says:

    I’m hoping that these concerts are being recorded and will be available on DVD.

  11. Bill Templeman says:

    For Al: This is embarrassing. I found another aging hippie online who is spewing twaddle, as you say, about climate change & global warming. Neil Young has a few clones out there. Check him out for a laugh….no science, no rationality, all spin. This piece appears in one of those lite-weight leftie rumour mills that don’t employ any proofreaders, let alone an editor. Total green fluff …http://t.co/7UYuKr2ps2 Enjoy!

  12. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Bill: I would expect military leaders to explore all potential scenarios, and develop strategic planning to cope with possible outcomes. That’s their job. I would be surprised, however, to learn that they aren’t also examining the threat posed by a potential mini-ice age that is also being suggested by solar events and related historical data regarding the consequences thereof…which are substantial. Were global food production to suddenly drop by, say, 20%, international tensions could get pretty sketchy.

    Again: Climate changes, always has, always will. That’s a given. The medieval warm period saw global temps as much as 3 degrees above current levels, for a period lasting up to 300 years. Since the final stages of the last ice age, circa 8500 BC, there have been multiple and dramatic shifts in global climate in both directions. That’s the norm. The best evidence suggests such changes are relative to solar cycles, with several short term events caused by extraordinary volcanic activity.

    AGW is, at best, a “theory”…and one not being born out by evidence as time progresses. Nevertheless, and unfortunately, it has become in and of itself a religion/ideology. It is used to generate fear, to silence scientific exploration to the contrary, and to politically manipulate entire populations/nations. Or in other words: Exploitation. As they say, follow the money.

    I have a big problem with that. And so should every free thinking, freedom loving citizen.

    • Bill Templeman says:

      Thanks Al. I mean it. Thank you. In our little exchanges over the past week, you’ve taught me a few important lessons about politics and PR. Warren’s original post here is about the stupidity of the oil lobbyists in attacking Neil Young. Their attacks have got a whole lot of people talking about global warming, climate change and the Alberta tarsands, (although not enough people are talking about dishonoured treaties, but I digress). I am like one of those stupid oil lobbyists. I leaped at your bait and gave you an opening for sharing your agenda. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Then I proceeded to play the debating game with you, while you smartly played the PR game with me. PR is not about fair-minded debating or Robert’s Rules of Order. It is about, as you ably demonstrated, sticking on message, repeating your key talking points over and over until they become a normal part of the environment, and not responding to challenges or any questioning of your positions. For example, it was very shrewd of you not to engage with the topic of dishonoured treaties. Discipline, control and spin consistency. All too often I have wandered into a political exchange, assuming it was a debate. Debates only happen in university (There is a painful segue here for former Ignatieff fans, but again I digress). It is not about truth, it is not about rational debate, it is about winning. May the gods strike me down….have we really come to this depth in Canada?

      • Al in Cranbrook says:

        Interesting. After my last post I was thinking we’re dancing in a circle here, keep coming back to the same place.

        To be fair, I avoid anything to do with First Nations stuff. It gets waaaay too emotional, and hung up “political correctness”. You noted the comparison to the Versailles Treaty doesn’t apply because the Germany of 1919 no longer exists. And similarly, the world of 1750 to 1850 no longer exists, either. Pretending it does ultimately boils down to trying to pound square pegs in round holes, which is why everything’s the bloody mess that it is…and so many people are being hurt by it.

        Anyway, I learned something, too. You will note, if you check back, that the links I submitted provided hard data, from reliable sources. You provided links to what essentially amounts to other persons/groups opinions…or more to the point, “consensus”, which only proves what some people think about something. I’m talking about “Anthropological Global Warming”, and you’re talking about “Climate Change”. AGW is a theory yet to be proven. Climate change is reality, which few people dispute. Which is precisely why the AGW crowd changed the wording to “climate change”…but we all know we really mean AGW, wink, wink. I’ve seen the “debates”: Generally, the skeptics throw down the hard facts, and the AGW promoters resort to emotional rhetoric, such as, and often stuttering: “Well, even if there’s a one percent chance that AGW is real, then we have to do something!” It’s why Gore won’t face a debate, ’cause he’ll get handed his butt on a platter…just as did Suzuki in Australia. He sat there, straight faced, and justified his stand with the 95% consensus stuff, while the 5% deniers were interested in profit…and then on the topic of genetically modified foods, he offered that the 95% consensus on its safety were interested in profit, while the 5% were all about saving mankind. And then he rambled on about his Harper conspiracy theory…??? Keeeripes, even I was starting to feel a tad embarrassed for the guy! Wow!!!

        I agree, no more for now.

  13. david ray says:

    if this story is true then it’s time to be afraid. very afraid. Doctors not treating patients with potential tarsands emission ailments in Fort Chipweywan because it might adversely affect their careers. seems only the Neil Young’s can speak out anymore because they have big enough platforms but the hell with natives who have no voice. the chill is in and it’s getting real cold out there.

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