Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 19: curiouser and curiouser....

For two weeks, news reports, editorials and editorial cartoons have persented an image of Moncton residents in a rage over bicycle lanes. It got even more coverage than the opening of a new pizzeria. Then came today's report on the front page of a public meeting of City Council on the subject. But where were alll the citizens with pitchforks and burning torches? As the report reads, it was a pretty pacific meeting, with support and opposition pertty balanced, and with lots of gentle folks in the middle. It was so quiet that all the mayor had to say at the end was that he would think about it. Some uprising of outraged citizens.

The editorial cartoon was, as usual, wildly out of touch with reality. It's of a great roller about to roll over cars while painting a bicycle lane. Don't they tell the cartoonist what their big news story of the day is?

Well, at least it took attention away from fracking. Notice we haven't had a cartoon about fracking?

Meanwhile, one of the old, propaganda "think tanks", the Frontier Centre for Public Policy., has reappeared on the editorial page. It's argument is that the free market is the ticket to lift our native peoples out of poverty and despair. Yessirree. Just let some private money in there - and all the problems will clear up.

Why, our reserves could become just like Haiti. The free market has been very free in Haiti for almost a century. Lots of good things coming out of Haiti as a result - things like Levis, and Fruit of the Loom and Chiquita Bananas. Funny thing, though. Haiti is the poorest country in the western world. Most city houses (shanties) don't even have running water.

The minimum wage was $3 a day - at a time when the minimum cost of living was judged at over $9 a day. When the elected president suggested raising the minimum wage to $5 a day, American troops flew in, arrested the president, and exiled him.

Millions still live in poverty, starvation and hopelessness in Congo, despite almost a hundred and fifty years of the free market  waving its magic wand. On the good side, Canadian mining investors have done well out of the cheap labour and lack of education and health services. Our own banner waver for the free market, Brian Mulroney, was on the board of one of those big-hearted companies.

You can find the same story all over Central America where United Fruit Company was so hurt by the lack of gratitude for the starvation wages it paid that it worked with the US government to overthrow the democratically elected government of Guatemala and install a dictatorship. The free market was free again.

Of course, the US had to follow up with the slaughter of 200,000 of the Maya peasantry who were so silly they thought the free market wasn't doing them any good.

Even China produces prosperity only at the top - and those at the top get their prosperity by keeping Chinese working conditios among the cheapest and most dangerous in the world.

And, oh yes. The US, the world's leading example of the free market.... Most of its money is held by the less than one percent at the top. Meanwhile, 25% of all American children ive in poverty.

Roll on, the good times.

The writer of this piece of propaganda concludes "They 'native peoples' need a roadmap to succeed, not descredited ideology.

Quite so. And its hard to imagine an ideology more discredited than than the free market propaganda of outfits like Fontier Centre for Public Policy (and, course, Atlantic Institute of Market Studies.), all of whom are welcome on the pages of the T&T.

So----when is The Moncton Times and Transcript going to tell us more about fracking, about how much it['s happening and where, and exactly what our risks are and what our benefits will be? And who it is that's behind it all?

No such chance. The rest of the month will be taken up with important news that U2 is coming, that U2 is looking forward to coming, that U2 is getting closer, that the seats are almost ready...  It'll be like Willy and Kate all over again.

Remind the cartoonist to switch from bicycle lanes to  U-2.

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