Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oct. 30: a brief reminder

The monthly current events meeting at the Moncton Library will be this Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. (The Moncton Times almost never lists it, though it gets a list of events from the library every week.)

Don't quite have a starting topic yet. It might be the Occupy Movement. It might be how World War Three began ten years ago - and nobody noticed.  We'll also look at any topic you suggest.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nov29:Good - Bad - and suggestions.

This begins with a reminder. My current events group meets at the Moncton Library at 7 pm on the first Tuesday of each month. So that means this Tuesday, Nov. 1.  The TandT, as usual, did not mention the group in its weekly list of library events.

I'd be delighted to see you there.

I've been without a car for a month. That's quite an experience in a city whose core was designed for horses, and the rest of it for cars. Public transport is haphazard. That's a powerful reminder of what we should be planning for but aren't.

I thought of that as I looked through a section A of the paper that had nothing worth reading in it.

We are approaching the end of the age of the automobile. It makes enormous demands on space, whether moving or parked, the cost of gas will soon make it prohibitive for commuting. -as well as for the safety of this planet.

Yet here is a city that was planned for the nineteenth century, modified for the late twentieth, and seems to hav no thought whatever for the century are now in. The only ideas that have been floated are hare-brained ones like building a new hockey rink (I would presume with a big parking lot.)

Let's face some realities.
1. The suburban house with its lawn (and its need for a car and for huge cost in the extra miles of sidewalk and sewage and snow-clearing it requires) is already too expensive. It will soon be unustainable.
2. The future lies in more compact cities, ones in which a car is unnecessary. That means higher-rise apartments and condos. (But not, I would hope, those ghastly boxes that most apartment buildings in Moncton resemble.) Expo 67 showed it was possible to build apartments with a garden/sitting area for each apartment.
3. While living in Hong Kong (very densely populated), I found it a pleasure and convenient to walk almost everywhere.. It was especially convenient because all the shopping services I needed were at street or basement level of most of the apartments/condos.  Shopping for dinner or looking for a restaurant or buying a coat could be as near as an elevator ride.

4. Moncton should be looking for a public transportation system that is convenient, scheduled, and environmentally friendly. The best on all points is a subway - though I cannot pretend to estimate the cost of this for Moncton. Second best would be electric tram busses with a strict time schedule - and connected to parking areas where visitors could leave their cars. In my experience, nothing builds a downtown core faster than good public transit - and people who already live there.

At present, Moncton prides itself on its forward-looking approach. In fact, Moncton is extremely short-sighted. A project like a hockey rink or a CFL team has nothing to do with how we will live in a city that is both attractive and affordable. The hockey rink and the CFL team will simply make a pile of big money for a very few people while the needs of the rest of us are overlooked.

You pay one hell of a price when you allow your provincial government and city council to be run by billionaires instead of the people you elect.

Frankly, I would find this sort of examination more attractive on a front page than yet another free ad for wine expo.

NewsToday leads with a surprisingly good story "Harperization" in full swing: critics". There are three parts to Harperization. One is the appeal to certain groups of Harper supporters such as those frightened of a cime war that doesn't exist, those wholong for the old days of monarchy, pictures of the Queen, and the return of Royal to our armed forces.

There is the determination to eliminate the social gains made by Canadians over the past sixty years - union rights, medicare, public broadcasting, regulation of big businesss...

And there is the determination to tie us more tightly to the US and Israel than ever we were tied to Britain, even at the peak of the British Empire. In short, Harper will make Canada into a US colony.
Roughly, the Harper policy is to serve American corporations, and honour the Queen.

I was surprised to see such an article because it came from Postmedia - which would usually say these are great ideas.

The business page remains, as always, close to useless.

There is a worthwhile article by Bill Belliveau on the editorial page. On the op ed page, there is an excellent one on protection of the Codiac river.

The letters to the editor section has a hilarious letter on how we should send our champion bootlicker and apologist, Donald Savoie of UdeMoncton, to build democracy in Libya.  Sounds good to me. If we can get people like  him out of the province, tt would give us a chance to built democracy in New Brunswick - maybe even in Canada.

For my favourite section,"Whatever", all the columns are good. I was particularly drawn to three - Isabelle Agnew on feminism, Jana Giles on teasing and bullying, and Aurelie Pare on the need for exercise. All of the student columns are consistently better than the ones on the op ed page by staff writers (Cityview).

Among the missing news, is the revelation that Pakistan civilians killed by US drones and other military actions since 1901 now amount to some 35,000. That's not bad for a country the US isn't at war with.

Oh, why do some Conservatives call themselves Progressive Conservatives? It has nothing to do with being progressive in any sense. In 1942, the Conservative Party was desparate for a leader, but coudn't find one in it's own ranks. So it asked a the premier of Manitoba, John Bracken, to become leader.

Bracken agreed, on one condition. they would have to add the name of his party to the name of the Conservative party. Bracken's party was called the Progressive Party.

Friday, October 28, 2011

oct. 27:The TandT - and then something more general

The big story of the day (at the top of p. 1) is that there's going to be a football game. And it even tells you how much the tickets are and where you can get them and, oh, just everything.

Less important is the SPECIAL REPORT on whether Moncton should bring back highway tolls to help reduce the provincial debt. Hint to people who write these "special reports".  A highway toll is a tax. It's a tax just like a lottery or a school supply fee. The only way it's different from an income tax is that most of it is paid by the middle class and working class. After all, the toll is the same whether you're driving a Mercedes stretch limo or a ten year old Kia. (Mind you, it might be less if you're driving a big truck that says Irving on the side.)

So would't it be simpler just to tax the rich a little bit more?  Or maybe to ask corporations to pay something closer to what we have to pay for things like electricity? If we didn't ask so little from corporations and it they didn't take so much from us, we wouldn't have a debt in the first place.

Bruce Northrop, Our Minister of Shale Gas, with two experts,did a web cast to "inform" us about shale gas. It was, as expected, a political dog and pony show. (Sorry. Make that a dog and two ponies.) All three represented the same side, the gas companies. They also got to choose which questions they would answer, and which they would ignore. Boy, talk about gas!

There was a bit of humour in the show. Northrop said the government and the companies have not yet had any discussion about royalties. Right. Corporations are shy that way. They've spent millions for some years exploring (and producing) gas. But they certainly wouldn't even mention royalties. They just like drilling.

Anyway, don't worry. Royalties will surely be set by Mr. Irving's appointed committee on New Brunwick's Economic Future. So we'll be well looked after.

Reuters informs us that NATO will end its Libyan mission in a month. It doesn't inform us that the UN informed NATO two days ago that the mission is already over.

But none of that matters. You will almost certainly see foreign troops in Libya for a long time to come.

The story has a picture of a man walking past destroyed buildings in Sirte, hit by rebel shell fire and our bombs. In fact, most of Sirte looks even worse than this picture. So tell me again how we didn't kill any civilians. Reuters has also been shy about the large numbers tied up and then executed by rebels, and the continuing slaughter of black Africans by the rebels.

Donald Savoie's column is an interesting read. I have never seen boots licked so thoroughly. Professor Savoie's tongue must be almost raw. He praises Irvings for winning a ship-building contract on merit.

I will certainly agree is it a rare thing to see the Irvings win something on merit.. However, Savoie might have mentioned that the reason Irving shipyards are so well-equipped is because of a suspiciously high profit on a previous naval contract.

Then, Savoie almost wets his pants as he heaps praise on K.C.Irving. You remember K.C. He's the patriot who lived half the year in Bermuda so he wouldn't have to pay taxes to the country and the province that made him rich.

Savoie writes it would have been easier for K.C. to go to Ontario and get rich. No, it wouldn't.  I doubt very much that a  province as big as Ontario would have given him most of the province's forests, cheap, cheap electricity, lavish contracts. It was the people of New Brunswick who made K.C. rich - not the other way around.

Then Savoie switches topics to talk about the wonders of our economic system - even as we can see it collapsing all over the world, even as we see it destroying the middle class, increasing poverty, and making only the very rich even richer.

Lord, I would hate to sit through one of that man's lectures. I can tolerate differences of opinon. But I really cannot stand bootlickers.

And now, a change of pace.....

Conservative, liberal, culture, left, right - these are words tossed around by news media whose readers don't know what they mean. Most people think that they do - but they don't. Anyway, most news media people don't know what they mean either. The result is that if you say conservative to a Conservative, your listener probably pictures someone who is responsible with money or respectful of traditional values or wise in government - or a whole bunch of other things.

If your listerner is a Liberal, He/she will picture someone hard-hearted, backwards in social values, and probably corrupt. There are so many variations to this that you can talk to fifty people and discover 50 images of what a liberal or a conservative is.  (I have a jounalist friend who votes Conservative - and who insists that Hitler was a liberal, and Obama is a socialist.)

So what is a Liberal -really? It means someone who places a high value on individual rights and freedom. That means a Liberal, a real one, would prefer small government or even none at all. That's because a liberal doesn't want laws or responsibilities that interfere with his freedom. Timothy McVeigh, the man some years ago who blew up an Olahoma government building with a day care centre in it was a Liberal. He blew up the building because he was liberal - and he didn't want government of any sort.

A conservative believes that we are all linked together so that there must be a strong government to ensure that we work together.  In that sense, Stalin was the conservative ruler of the USSR.

The reality is that nobody but a maniac dictator can be a pure conservative. Nobody, except for some hermit living alone in the jungle can be a pure liberal.  Almost all of us want as much freedom as possible -  that's liberal. Almost all of us realize that no society can survive without with cooperation and some form of government. The result is that we are almost all of us a blend of liberal and conservative. (The Liberal and Conservative parties are neither Liberal nor Conservative. They are there simply to make sure the rich are happy.)

The words left and right are used in the same loose way. Originally, the words referred to the French revolution when one party sat to the right of the legislature's speaker, and the other sat to the left. Today, the words have no meaning at all. Journalists covering Russia refer to those who remain loyal to communism as "right-wingers."  But in the US, it generally means those who owe their loyalty to capitalism.

Obama is routinely called a left winger.- though I can see no difference between his policies and those of "right wing" Bush.  The Canadian Prime minister who proposed the most "left wing" platform in Canada (1935)  was "right wing' Conservative RB.Bennett. The prime minister who slowed it down as much as possible was "left wing" Liberal, Mackenzie King.

Oh - and John A. Macdonald was NEVER a conservative. He called himself and his party Liberal-Conservative. John A. knew what words meant.

As for culture, there jes' ain't no such thing.

Culture is the sum total of all the  uncountable ways we react to the world around us. The first layer of our culture, we get from our parents - their values, their interests.  Then we get the layer of culture of our neighbourhood. My neighbourhood was very poor. Most of us spoke French; some of us spoke English; some Italian or Syrian or Polish or Yiddish. But we shared at least one element of culture. We all hated rich snobs. I still do.

When I finally met rich, English people, we all spoke the same language - English. But to say we all had the same culture was absurd. They had values and attitudes I didn't have in my culture - and never shall. 

Later I would meet Jacques Parizeau, leader of the fight to preserve the French "culture" in Quebec. I soon learned he was far cloer in his outlook to the rich English than to any of the poor French I had grown up among. That's why the French of Quebec switched their votes to the NDP. It dawned on them that language, while important, is not a whole culture all by itself.

Indeed, in the 50 year struggle to preserve the Quebecois "culture", nobody has been able to define it  despite thousands of studies and conferences.

If we look seriously at culture, we find we have many things, more things, in common than we have that make us different from others. I well remember the day I was bicycling in a stretch of countryside in  China. It was a beautiful summer day. I saw a group of Chinese sitting by a pond and fishing.

And I thought, "Gee. That's what we do in our culture on a nice day."
When one offered me a pole, I joined them. At noon hour, they took out food, and offered me some. And I thought, Wow! We eat at lunch in my culture, too."
At the end, I had caught no fish at all; and I thought, "This is exactly like my culture."

We are all in some way like others in our layers and layers of culture - and in some ways quite different. To make it more confusing, cultures change constantly as the world changes. None of us live with exactly the same values, attitudes - or even language - as our ancestors. Even as Quebecois rallied to protect the language part of their culture, they abandoned another central feature of their culture - the church.

Our news media are full of words that mean different things to different people so that in the end, they have no real meaning at all. But they're dangerous because news media can - and do - use those words to arouse hatreds and misunderstandings, and to obscure the truth.

Beware of people who use words like liberal, conservative,left, right or culture. At best, they mean nothing. At worst,which is more often,  they are there to encourage suspicion, fear and hatred.

Oh, why are NB conservative called Progressive Conservatives? Does it mean they are, perhaps, more modern and up to date than other   Conservatives?  I remember a Senator once telling me that he was a Conservative - but he added with pride - that he was a PROGRESSIVE Conservative.

But, no - the name has nothing to do with being progressive. But that's a story for another day.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oct. 27:Nothing much, so something added

This blog will begin with today's TandT, but then move on to more general ideas about how words are used in the media to keep us ignorant and/or to lie.

There isn't a whole lot to say about today's TandT unless you think it's really, really important to know that the Wine Expo is using genuine crystal glasses.

There is not a word of all that information we were all promised about fracking. There were the usual excellent columns by Alec Bruce and Judy Dallaire, (both are must reads),  the usual inane piece of trivia by Rod Allen

The only other item worth even commmenting on is a very silly letter to the editor by a reader from Shediac. The writer appears to lack understanding of the meanings of common, English terms like 'economic justice' and 'end poverty'. Not knowing what the word movement means, he gives it meanings it doesn't have,  He quotes Norbert Cunningham a good deal. Of course. Norbert's in his league.

He rants and spits venom. The protestors don't know what they're talkiing about. They're losers and hippies, punks and hobos. (Gee. If only they had some bank presidents and oil executives protesting.) They're long time activitists. (It apparently has not accured to the writer that Martin Luther King was a long time activist. So was Jesus.)

Well, I support Occupy Moncton. I confess to being a punk, hobo, loser and activist - though never a hippie. I do have some little qualitication, though, so I think I can give coherent answers  (though I cannot match the writer for ranting and spitting venom. I am a retired professor with a doctorate in history, and 25 years of almost daily experience on radio, television and in print as a political commentator).
I know, for example, that the news media have not spread the movement around the world. I actully read news media from all over the world - unlike the writer who seems to have difficulty understanding even the TandT. Generally, news media have avoided the story.

The movement is to restore democracy. The writer does not appear to know what that means. Perhaps he thinks it is a dirty word.

As to earning the writer's respect, I would be ashamed if he respected me. He can respect Norbert though. Norbert has no shame.

But let's take a look at words - how they're used in news media - and how they're used to manipulate us.
If I say somebody is a terrorist, the first thing most people will think of is a moslem, probably with a beard. In reality, every nation I have ever heard of has practiced terrorism, often against its own people.. War, itself, is an act of terrorism. The word means the deliberate use of terror as a weapon.We create terror in order to control people.

The term came into general use in the French revolution when the revolutionaries deposed the king, then set up a democratic government that held control by massacring tens of thousands. It was called the Reign of Terror.

My French colonial ancestors took part in raids on the English colonies in New England and Upper New York. With their native allies, they raped, pillaged, burned any English settlementsthey found. The purpose was to terrorize the English so they would stay well away from New France. The terror also forced Britain to keep troops in its American colonies when it needed them to fight France.

The Sons of Liberty in the American revolution were gangs of thugs who raped, murdered, pillaged anybody believed to be loyal to the crown - as well as anybody who looked worth raping, murdering and pillaging. Remember the United Empire Loyalists who settled New Brunswick? Do you think they came here just for love of the king? Not so. They came because they were victims of those terrorists now praised in American history books as The Sons of Liberty.

Who were the worst terroristss of the twentieth century? Stalin, Hitler, Chiang Kai-Shek (our buddy) and Mao. Who are the worst terrorists of the last    60 years?  Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Bush and Obama. In Cambodia, US aircraft bombed undefended cities, killing at least half a million innocent people. It was 9/11 day after day. Ever hear of the American airline who blew up a Cuban civil airliner? Of course, they deserved it - being Cuban and all.

Nobody knows how many innocent civilians were killed in Vietnam - anywhere from a million to over eight million. They're still dying today from agent orange. Bush killed anywhere from hundreds of thousands to over a million innocent people in Iraq. Several presidents were guilty of the slaughter of  200,000 Maya in Guatemala. That was all done to create terror.

In Vietnam, Lt William Calley and his men shot or beat to death some 800 villagers, from babies to the elderly. That sort of terrorism was quite common in Vietnam. But this one became known in the press; and the government was forced to charge Calley. He was found guilty of murdering 120, was then given a light sentence, then pardoned after one night in prison.

But when we say terrorist, few people think of American presidents, or of my ancestors, or of The Sons of Liberty, do they? No. They see a man with a burnoose - and a beard.

Actually, Moslem terrorists are bush league compared to us. Heard any reports about how many innocent Moslems we killed in Libya? Relax. You won't ever hear.

That's why the news media, referring to Moslem terrorists often simply call them terrorists and extremists. They never use either of those terms to refer Americans, Canadians, westerners, either present day or historical - or 'good' terrorists like the Christian Chiang Kai-Shek. Hitler's Germany that killed Jews was Christian. Ever hear of a Christian terrorist? The American who blew up an office building with a daycare centre in it in Oklahoma wasn't a terrorist in the press. No. He was a militial member. Sounds patriotic.

That selective use of the word "terrorist" is quite deliberate. It keeps us in a state of constant fear of Moslems (which justifies invasions to steal oil) - while at the same time keeping us ignorant of the damage we are inflicting on others.

Tomorrow, perhaps, it might be useful to look at the words conservative, liberal and culture.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oct. 26:Flash: Wine Fest in on. The news YOU need to know

Not one of the major world stories I mentioned in my last post made it into the TandT. The one story that came close (but not very) was a story that NATO would be pulling out of Libya. In fact, that story was wrong even as they printed it. NATO had already voted to extend its stay at least for three months, and probably much longer. Anybody with half a brain could have figured that out long ago.
There is nothing else worth reading in section A unless you really, really care about the wine expo.

There wasn't much news in news today unless you super keen to read three pages of small print on the finishing time for each person in the Legs for Literacy race.

The lead story (and almost the only one) in NewsToday is that the feds are going to end the gun registry. (Duh. Who would have guessed?)

The editorials are the usual bozo efforts.

Norbert writes a self-righteous and borderline lout column when he justifies the killing of Ghadaffi. He may now be panting at the the torture videos I listed, including the one showing the sexual attack on Ghadaffi with a knife.

It's okay says Norbert. Ghadiffi deserved it. Trials are a waste of time and money. Fortunately, we didn't think so at Nuremberg. And if Ghadaffi deserved what he got, how come he and the British and the French and the US governments were buddies for thirty years? Just like Saddam. They didn't know he was torturing and killing people?

And if we don't need trials, how about Norbert leading a campaign to assassinate Bush,  Obama and Blair for mass murder, torture, imprisonment without  charge or trial... All of those are illegal under US, Canadian, and International law - you know, the same laws we use against terrorists.

Hang 'em high Norbert. You would have loved lynch mobs down in Dixie. What a self-rightous twit!

Excellent column by Alec Bruce on how every authority on crime in the world says Harper's crime bill is expremely expensive, unnecessary, and likely to create more crime. But Harper already knows that.
Harper has two kinds of legilation. One is to effectively destroy the power of government to control corporations, while at the same time cutting back on services and destroying freedoms. The other kind is to play to the gullible by putting up pictures of the Queen, and fighting a crime wave that doesn't exist.

Brian Cormier's column is just dumb. Following the formula of pretending to agree with Occupy Moncton, he then produces an alternate tactic. Brian just won't shop at the big corporations.

Right. He'll stop buying gas at Irving.  (Where does he think other stations get their gas?) He'll stop  writing for (and buying) coporation-owned newspapers. He'll stop watching television and listening to radio. He won't ever buy a car again. Seeing that both Liberals and Conservatives are owned by corporations, he'll stop paying taxes. Oh, and he'll keep all his money under his bed so he doesn't have to deal with banks.

And wouldn't it be wonderful if we all sat back and took responsibility for our own actions? Damn right. It's my own fault my first job was in a factory and at minium wage and went to high school at night, just to get a job as a clerk. James Irving didn't do that. No. By his own hard work, he went to high school at night, then worked his way up the ladder at Irving just like anybody else could have.

Brian. Go away.  Just...go away.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

oct. 25: postscript: What won't be in the Times and Transcript tomorrow

1. American drone rocket launchers are now being used to attack Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq. (I think that's called war - and you are really supposed, under the US constitution, to get approval for that. Under international law, you're supposed to go to war only on countries that have threatened you. When did Yeman and Somalia and Iraq and Libya and Pakistan last threaten the US?)
Thoough supposedly aimed at terrorists, drone rockets have killed mostly quite innocent people.
Google The European Union for the story - and many others.
2. Go to youtube. Type violence at occupy melbourne. Watch a police riot on hundreds of videos.
3. On a recent visit to Canada, Bush was confronted with hundreds of people demanding his arrest for war crimes. It didn't appear in the TandT when it happened - and it won't appear tomorrow. Maybe AIMS will invite him to speak in Moncton, just as they invited his even more obnoxious brother Jed Bush to speak to Irvings and their friends. (Jed is one of the authors of the Project for the new American Century, the plan for world domination. You can see that by googling Project for the New American Century.
google PressTV.
4. If you have the stomach, go to where you can watch videos of a captured Ghadaffi being sodomized with a knife by rebels (the guys on our side.)
5. US senator Bernie Sanders has a report that American governments just in the past ten years have been routinely defrauded by defence contractors for a trillion dollars. They include major contractors. And they still get government contracts, anyway.  check
 6.The US has, for the twentieth time in twenty years been condemned by the UN General Assembly for its economic blockade of Cuba.However, the TandT didn't mention it the last nineteen, so I don't think it will this time, either.

There's lots of others. But that should be a good start.
Oh, by the way, the "democratic" government of Afghanistan says it cannot afford to pay for its army after 2014. So the rest of us will have to pick up the tab.
Oh, and did you know the Candian Army (sorry - Royal Canadian Army) is spying on native peoples in Canada?

Oct. 25: So - what did the Tand T miss?

This is one I'm starting on the evening of Oct. 24. What will the TandT NOT report tomorrow? Try these:
1. According to a study at Cornell University, 40% of all the wealth in the world is held by 147 corporations, all of them linked to each other. Among the leaders are Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase and Barclay's Bank. Make it a thousand corporations - mostly linked to each other - and it becomes a large majority of all the wealth in the world.
These are the people who control our governments and our lives. That's what Occupy Moncton and Democracy Now are about.
Check out the story on the web. Google The Mark, an independent site carrying political commentary.You'll find The Mark generally quite interesting.
You can get the original by googling New Scientist.

2. The rebel leaders have declared Libya will officially be a Moslem nation. Well, gee, this is the country that Harper has just welcomed as being a democracy. If they are a democracy, shouldn't they have an election , and let elected representatives decide what kind of a nation it should be? And then maybe a referendum on the constitution that will make it officially Moslem?

The TandT will mention the Moslem nation part; but I'll bet it won't raise the obvious question about its democracy.

3. There is going to be a tax on US border crossings of $5.50. Obama is also urging Americans to Buy American. I don't think even the TandT can avoid mentioning the border tax. But will it mention that we are supposed to be in a free trade deal with the US? Haven't we been sold the idea that free trade is the only civilized way to go? Will the TandT raise any question about why the nation which has preached free trade for decades as the great gospel, and has even forced it on some countries is now backing off with border fees and Buy American campaigns?

4. Will it mention that Private Manning, the one who blew the whistle on American governments  lying about their wars and other activities- (he's the one who got the documents from Wikileaks so that we could know what's happening) - is in in an American military prison - in solitary (a form of torture) - and that UN inspectors have been refused permission to see him?
Let's hear it for the land of the free, the land where the people have a right to know..
This is also the land of respect for private property and money - in which banks and other financial insitutions  have blocked 95% of the donations to Wikileaks from being delivered.

5. Will it mention that the reason US troops in Iraq are going home for Christmas is not because of Obama? It's because Iraq is kicking them out.  And the people and government of Iraq are moving closer to Iran.
Gee! And all that cost the US was something over a trillion dollars, and thousands of American and British lives lost. (But don't worry. Both Bush and Blair were not at all hurt in the war, and both are financially very secure - unlike the veterans.)  Blair is the first prime minister of Britain to become a multimillionaire while in public service..

6. Scientific researchers at Cornell have concluced that gasses released in drilling for shale gas do even more damage to the environment than coal does. They say virtually all wells leak these gasses, and in large quantities.  You'll have to check it out on CBC News. The TandT editors don't know how to turn on dials.


Well, now it's Oct 25 - and let's see. Oh, I think it's a perfect score. Yes, it is a perfect score. They said what said they would say. And didn't say what I said they wouldn't say.

Gee! In New Brunswick especially, wouldn't the shale gas story have a local interest? And wouldn't the story about corporate wealth have some importance, what with Occupy Moncton being on (though also not reported?) I mean, didn't Alward and Brunswick Media promise to keep us informed?

But there is a big story that leads the front page. The Wine Expo is looking like a huge success so hurry, hurry, hurry to buy tickets. They even tell where to write in order to get your ticket. So hurry. Write now to, and tell them where to put it.

There's nothing much else in the paper - unless you collect spelling mistakes. There are two, magnificent ones in Life and Times, p. D1, in captions under photos of Steve Patterson and Matt Kirshen.

The eidtorial page is worth reading only for Alec Bruce - as  he points out the idiocy of the economic solutions being poposed by Harper and Alward. Making rich people richer and the poor poorer does not create jobs. We learned that in the 1930s. If 99% of us are poorer, who is going to buy the stuff produced by the 1%?

Gwynne Dyer has an interesting column - not an analysis, but rather questions to think about..

Allan Cochrane has his usual irrelevant and trivial column. What can I say?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oct. 24: Not much here - but some of it good.

Pretty good report by Allison TooGood. on the Occupy Moncton protest. (p. A3). It made some mention of the protestors voting for a series of proposals for change. She even reported a statement by an "older man identified only as Graham", who told the protestors to be careful of how they present these proposals to the press because it will look for details to confuse the issue and discredit the movement.. He stressed the importance or rememmbering that nothing can be done until we get democracy. The point of the proposals is not that they should be done - but that these are things we should be looking at. But we can't look at them and seriously consider them when we don't have a democracy and, therefore, don't have any hope they could be passed.

Hint for someone who seems to have the stuff to be a good journalist. If you don't know a speaker's name, then ask him. He would have told you it's not Graham.  It's Graeme.  Graeme Decarie.

There's almost nothing in NewsToday. There's a story on Libya; but no mention of the UN discovery of a pile of bodies in Sirte which seem to be those of prisoners who were shot after they surrendered. (That's illegal.)  They were killed by our side, the "good" guys.

The editorial is hilarious.  For example, "This government has a proven track record for finding out what people want, and then acting on it."

Apparently the government is now going to set up a task force to improve French immiersion teaching.. Look, Alward. there are successful immersion programmes running all over Canada. Why don't you just look at some of them>

Better still - you have a school system with large numbers of teachers who are trained in language immersion, and who already know about the systems across Canada. Why the hell don't you just get you incompetent self out of the way and let them do it?

Alec Bruce is at his combatant best. Hang in there for the last sentence.   (But don't spoil it by cheating, and looking at the last sentence first.)

So what was missing?

Well, John Bolton (a far, far right nutbar and war hawk) said on Fox News that ALL the American wars in the middle east and Africa have been fought for only one reason - to get control of oil at cheap prices. (That means thousands of Americans did not die to protect America or because Saddam had WMDs or to protect Libyans. They died to make oil billionaires even richer.)

To watch the interview, go to Youtube, and type in John bolton admits.  While you're at it, check out all the Bolton interviews. While you watch them, remember that John Bolton was Bush's ambassador to the UN, and a major figure in the planning of Project for the New American Century in which the US was to conquer the world. John Bolton is what Hitler looks like in this year of 2011.

Yesterday, CBC reported a study by Cornell University scientists showing that shale gas is a far worse polluter even than coal. I guess TandT editors don't watch CBC.

The former mayor of a town in Texas spoke in Fredericton. He told how fracking for shale gas had so damaged the air quality that illnesses skyrocketed. His own family was forced to move away in order to recover. The government reps at the talk giggled.  CBC had the story. The Times doesn't.

The US is withdrawing all its troops from Iraq to have them home for Christmas? M-m-m-m, sort of.

The US embassy, a fortress in  Baghdad that is the largest embassy in the world, will see its staff rise from 5,000 to 15,000. Most of that rise will consist of "private contractors" - a code name for mercenary soldiers. So the occupation of Iraq goes on - along with the sacrifice of more lives to keep oil under the control of American billionaires.

To keep up on the news, add CBC to your news sites. It's excellent.

And remember, it's not Graham. It's GRAEME, the civilized and Scottish spelling.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Oct.22: Norbert Cunninham - thick as a brick

Young Norbert has ventured again in to the fields of history and politics - fields of which he knows nothing. Today, he gives his solutions to concerns about about our political system. Since he doesn't admit there is a problem in the first place, the solutions are pretty hare-brained.

First - the purpose of Occupy Moncton movement at this stage is to create awareness there is a a problem You can't cure a problem when someone as thick as Norbert can't even understand there is a problem.

The problem is that New Brunswick does not have a democracy. That is, the voters do not choose who will represent them. They choose MLAs who do what corporations tell them to do. That, Norbert, is not democracy.

That's surely not hard to understand, Norbert. Sigh. Except for you.

Secondly, the problem indicates the solution. Restore democracy. Get big money out of its control of our governments.

Thirdly, the solutions you suggest, Norbert, are childish. Direct democracy means we would have to vote for every law. So we would have to vote many times a week. Good luck on that. (It would also be horribly expensive.)

Then there's the problem of voters keeping up on all the details of all legislation - and its implications. That would take hours a day for each voter, often   going into specialized topics in which they have no training. And that doesn't begin to consider the weak level of literacy.

And where would they get their information? From you?

Direct democracy has been tried. Many times. Do some reading Norbert. It doesn't work.

Fourthly, Norbert says if we look back over our history, the voting public has been sane and trustworthy. Really?
They were sane and trustworthy when they voted for Brian Mulroney - though his character was obvious? When they voted for Duplessis in Quebec? For Shawn Graham in New Brunswick? Brian Alward? Ever hear of Bible Bill Aberhart in Alberta? And the list goes on.

Finally, Norbert says, "Nor would anybody be able to say (the people's vote? doesn't count."  Norbert, people are saying it. That's what the protest is about. It's about corporate interference in government. That's why the signs say Democracy Now.  Lord, Norbert, you are thick.

Brent Mazerolle provides a good example of how we refuse to see what is right in front of our eyes.
Mazerolle has no sympathy for the killing of Ghadaffi because Ghadaffi himself was a killer. And Mazerolle cites the explosion of a passenger airplane over Lockerbie.

Well,  there's no proof that Ghadaffi had any connection with that. And he and the US were staunch friends for decades after Lockerbie.

And if Mazerolle thinks its a good idea to kill mass killers, why doesn't he see the slaughter in Vietnam that killed anywhere from two to nine million, most of them civilians, children, babies - and is still killing them today with the chemical defoliants that still cover that land?  Why doesn't he see the 200,000 Maya slaughtered in Guatemala? Why doesn't he see the hundreds of innocent people killed by US drones? Why doesn't he see bodies falling from the sky in the case of a Cuban airliner bombed by a US agent?

We look at murders. But we see only the ones we want to see.

Oh, Isabelle Agnew, I really must disagree with you on how we shouldn't complain about our political system when things are worse in other countries. What things are like in other countries has nothing to do with it. If you had to move into an igloo at the north pole for the rest of your life, would you accept it without complaining because some people have to endure hot climates?

If your car isn't working properly, should you just leave it that way because other people don't have cars  at all?

If you have to walk to school all through the winter with no coat or even sweater, would you just not worry about it? After all, millions of people don't have adequate clothing.

If you don't have democracy, do you just shrug your shoulders because China doesn't have it, either?

Was the American revolution wrong because most countries didn't have democracies?

Were we wrong to get medicare when most people in the world have no access to care at all?

For that matter, should we have schools when so many millions don't have them?

Careful. Get into that kind of thinking, and you might become an editor of The Moncton Times and Tribune.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Oct. 21: late at night.

The hardest things to see are those that are right in front of our eyes.

When I started teaching Canadian history, I was amazed at the number of students who thought that Canada had helped Jews in the second world war. In fact, Canada was as anti-semitic as Germany was. So was the US. In fact, both Canada and the US of that period were extremely racist - anti--Jews, anti-orientals, anti Africans, you name it. That was particularly true in government and among economic leaders. In fact, they admired and supported Hitler, some of them even after 1939.

When Canadian prime minister Mackenzie-King met Hitler in 1937, well after it was well known what Hitler was doing to GermansJews, he wrote in his diary that Hitler reminded him of Joan of Arc. True. Check out the Mackenzie King diaries at the library. Or just google Mackenzie King meets Hitler.

Canada and the US, in fact, refused to accept Jews who escaped from Germany, even during and for several years after the war. That sort of anti-semitism and racism was openly applauded among the rich at least into the 1960s.

Google US military women raped. One-third of all women in the US military get raped by US servicemen. You'll find those figures in several quite respectable sources.

In 2010, the annual income of half of all American workers dropped to $26,000.  The number of millionaires increased by 20%.  That appears in The Atlantic Monthly - certainly no radical magazine.

Google - Mitt Romney God US dominate. You'll see thousands of references to this leading Republican - probably their next candidate for president - who says God created the US to dominate the world. (That includes Canada). In fact, all the Republican contenders have publicly said that. That's a declaration of World War Three.  for that matter  -

google Project new american century. Here's a document that calls on the US to use its military power to dominate the world. It even suggests some of the countries to be invaded. (And they have been.) It is signed by people like Jed Bush (George's brother).  It was written years before 9/11.

Google general wesley clark. He's the man who was supreme commander of NATO in Europe. Check out the sites in which he says the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and many other countries were planned BEFORE 9/11.

Check out the online el haaretz, a superb Israeli newspaper.

Check Alhaaretz, a news system that is beginning to look like the Moncton Times and Transcript because it wants to get into the North American market. But you can still find news that never makes North American news outlets.

Google US drone deaths children.  Drones are remote contolled bombers that have been used by the US since 2003. In Pakistan, at least 168 children have been killed by them. (You might also want to check out civilian and child deaths in Yemen and Somalia.)

Google Irving Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. Gee! There's a connection. Don't google to find where AIMS gets its funding, though.  That's a secret.

Funny how this never appears in the TandT.  Tak a look at them. The sources are pretty good.
But you won't believe them, will you? And if you do, you still, almost certainly, will  not believe what these figures tell us about the world and our place in it.

It's human. We see everything - except what is real and in front of our eyes.

The reality is that we are in World War Three. We've been in it for over ten years. Because God wants the US to dominate the world. And, no, Obama is no different from Bush. Nor is Harper. And. in his petty way, neither is New Brunswick's what's-his-name premier.

There's still time to see reality.  Just type out what you want to know. Wonderful thing, google. Pity the TandT never uses it.

Oct. 21: Blatant ignorance from Norbert Cunningham, TandT columnist

Norbert, will you please get a dictionary? As it is, you're making Rod Allan look look almost ready for toilet training.

You attack the Democracy Now movement on the grounds that democracy is not an economic system. Nobody has ever claimed that it is. Sheesh! where does the TandT find its staff?

Norbert say Plutocracy is government by the elite - by the rich, and it excludes the vast majority of the people? Well, geegollywhiz, Norbert, you got that right. Now think hard.

Can you name a province in which government ignores the wishes of the people by encouraging, say, fracking?  A government that caters to the very rich with tax benefits and subsidies? In which the very rich have formed a committee to dictate the government's budget?  In which a very rich man has announced he is a member of the government - without getting elected? And the doormat premier accepts that without a whimper?  In which all the newspapers are controlled by the very rich? In which goveronment cuts spending for education, for medical care, for the poor - while giving big business freedom from royalties for years and maintains some of the lowest income taxes in the world for the rich?

Hint, Norbert. It's two words. The first one starts with N.

And that, as you say, is what plutocracy means.

Norbert says Harper has proven he is not controlled by a plutocracy because he has not killed medicare,
1. We don't know that, do we? He just got a majority.
2. Any killing of medicare would begin with gradual reductions.
3. who do you think gives Harper his campaign funds? Widows and orphans?
4. Ever notice how politicians who play ball (Mulroney, McKenna, and many others) slip into high paying jobs in private business, and into plush directorships?

Norbert says "Capitalism" is dependent on individual freedom, and it requires a free society"? Really? Is that why capitalism invaded Congo, killed and tortured people in the millions, killed the only elected leader Congo ever had, and still runs a country of poverty, fear, and early death?

Is that why US capitalism invaded Guatemala, overthrew the elected government, then murdered 200,000 of the native peoples?

Is that  why the US has sponsored dictatorships all over the world, especially in Latin America? Is that why it keeps Haiti in poverty - and why it exiled the only popular and elected leader Haiti ever had? Is that why British capitalism fought the Boer War - after which it plundered South African gold and reduced the native population to less than slaves?

"Plutocracy .....keeps... the vast majority of the wealth to a few".

Norbert - what the hell do you think is going on in New Brunswick. And all over North America? Have you heard of the wage gap?  Hello, Norbert, can you hear through your bubble?

Norbert says, "Very few dictatorships, totalitarian regimes" have adopted capitalism"?

Are you really that stupid Norbert?. Almost ALL totalitarian regimes in the world have adopted capitalism. China, the biggest totalitarian regime in history has adopted capitalism. (And China is not moving toward democracy. Nor does capitalism want it to.) The US imposed dictators on most of Central America to force capitalism on it. It supports a hopelessly corrupt, hated, and illegally elected regime in Afghanistan for the same reason.

Norbert says that the countries which are "democracies" have the world's highest living standards?  Yes. And no.
First - western countries have high living standards because they have, for five centuries, been able to control the rest of the world militarily to plunder its resources and cheap labour. That's why two million Haitians are still living in tents without drinking water or sewage - and have one of  the world's lowest standards of living.

I don't have time to teach you history, Norbert, that period of military and economic power is dying fast. We are living through the fall of the western empires. And, though you may not have noticed, it is accompanied by the rapid collapse of western capitalism.

Norbert say socialism has failed miserably. Oh? Do you know what socialism is, Norbert? No, neither Russia nor China was ever socialist - or communist, for that matter. You don't seem to know the meaning of those two words, either.

Canada had a CCF government in Saskatchewan for many years. Tommy Douglas was a soclialist.  It not only ran a province with a balanced budget, but business prospered, and Canada's major social programmes like medicare were established. (If you take the trouble to check the history of Canada and the US, you'll find that "conservative" governments have been the biggest spenders, by far.)

Sweden is generally considered socialist - though much of its business is capitalist. Is Sweden a failure? Is it lacking freedom?  Britain was socialist after the war. That's when it got medicare. Was Britain a dictatorship?

Norbert says a plutocracy would not tolerate a movement such as Democracy Now Norbert, you don't know your history, either, do you? Plutocracies begin by letting such protests go on. In the first stage, they tell their news services not to report them. (Think back on the record of the TandT on Occupy Wall St. ) Then a plutocracy gets its hacks like you to attack them and to trivialize them. And if that doesn't work, they use force. - usually by planting hired thugs in the crowd to start fights. Read up on the Winnipeg General Strike, the Veteran's march on Washington in the depression, the uses of the Canadian militia up to the 1920s. (They were essentially strrike breakers.)

Norbert, you appear to be hopelessly ignorant of even the meanings of the words you use. You seem to be ignorant of both history and current events. And you absence of logic is appalling.

Norbert says, if our economic system is wrong, we can change it with democracy.  Norbert, what fundamentally needs fixing is our democracy. And you can't fix the economic system until you fix that.

Look, I am  not an ist of any sort. I do not believe in any economic system as the only valid one, a sort of holy grail. All can work. They depend on the needs of the society, the stage of its development.....
All can fail. That's because all are operated by people - and people and people have been know to be greedy, destructive, uncaring - all the rest.

I don't believe in any ism as something that is always right or always wrong.

My outlook on current events is essentially a religious one.  (No. that does not mean I think being gay is a sin. I leave that to "pretend" Christians.) I think Christianity, like many religions, is essentially practical. They are designed not simply to make us "good" but to make the maintenance of a society possible. Loving they neighbour, forgiving, not coveting are not just sacred mumblings. They are very practical guides to how a society must work if it is to succeed.

Our capitalism, like Soviet communism, like German Naziism doesn't give a damn for its neighbour, never forgives, and is based on coveting. We need a society with a moral basis. We don't have a moral basis - nor do our churches seem particularly interested in establishing one.

We  need a democracy. For that, I think we need news media that don't exist to spread lies, ignorance and hate propaganda. We need to have a capitalism that obeys the law, not one that makes up the law to please itself.

Norbert, you need to think this through from a moral basis. Do you have one?

Sorry to spend so much time on ust one part of a bad paper.  If you want to get some truth about what is going on in Libya and what is likely to happen, skip the TandT. Go to google news, and try the BBC story on it. (I'll just add one bit to it. The war in Libya is the first step in a war to dominate all of Africa. Yemen and Somalia are next. They are already being bombed by drones. Maybe someday the TandT will tell  you about it.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oct. 20: Sometimes it's disgusting; sometimes stomach-churning

 Irving wins $25B ship contract. Quelle surprise. It will bring economic spinoffs to NB. No doubt.

It was won, says Mr. Irving (call me Jim), "Fair and square".  What a curious statement! Are  our federal government and Irving industries normally so crooked that they have to make a public announcement when they do something fair and square?

Anyway, it is not likely that anyone with an IQ over forty will believe him.

Who's paying for it? You. This is all tax money, remember? And the Irvings of this world don't pay much of it.

What will you get? A job so you can pay the rent for a few more years.What will Mr. Irving and his senior executives get? Billions. Of your money.

Meanwhile, jobs and services will be cut in rural health services. We're also cutting social welfare spending on native peoples who are the poorest in Canada. (Gotta save money so we can spend it on Irving and his executives.)

Then comes the stomach-churning part. In NewsToday, the rebels still have not taken Sirte. But Reuters news service has still no account of what is happening in the city. We have no sense of what it is we are doing there. Rebels say that the people shooting at them are soldiers wearing civilian clothes. Oh. If they're wearing civilian clothes, isn't it at least possible they are civilians? And that they are fighting so hard to hold off------this-----

Switch from Reuters. Go to BBC. They report that over a month of heavy bombing and shellfire has hit just about every building in Sirte. Commonly, whole blocks have been levelled. Water supplies and sewage have been destroyed. Schools have been bombed. Medical supplies have been cut off from the start. When some medical aid got through the blockade, the hospital was bombed to destroy it.

There were over a hundred thousand people in Sirte. By now, the dead and wounded must total at least half that. There are babies splattered on the walls that remain standing. That's the work of bombers commanded by an officer of our own Royal Canadian Air Force.

It makes me so proud to be a Canadian.

Meanwhile, the rebels are breaking into houses that still have doors, raping, murdering and stealing. Then they set fire to the houses. Lines of trucks loaded with plunder have been leaving the city.

Who is defending Sirte so courageously? It could be Ghadaffi soliders. They're black, and the rebels are killing ever black they see - men, women, children, impoverished field labourers. Or the defenders  could be civilians defending their city because they know what will happen if they don't.

Thank you, Mr. Harper, for insisting our air force share this experience. Thank you for making us accomplices.

Thank you, Moncton Times, for having a news editor who couldn't find his own bellybutton using both hands.

Alec Bruce's column is a shocker. This is a must read.

Norbert Cunninghan doesn't know what he's talking about. He claims that, protestors to the contrary,  we do have a democracy, and the problem is that the people who protest are the ones who ruin it by not voting.

Norbert, You're either completely clueless, or half clueless and half dishonest.

For openers, I go to the protests. I am not a university student - nor an aging hippie. I have voted in every election I could. The majority of the protesters are more like me than the people you describe. They are people who do vote. And who have learned their vote doesn't count.

(And Nobert, please stop using words like left and right, liberal and conservative until you learn what they mean. Very few people have the faintest idea what left and right mean. Ditto for liberal and conservative.)

Yes, we do have "democracies" in North American and Europe - and people do vote to choose them. But, in a democracy, the elected people do what the voters indicate they want done. You cannot be so stupid as to live in the province of New Brunswick, and believe that Shawn Graham and doormat Alward have been doing what the people asked them to do.

You cannot be so stupid as to believe that Mr. Irving that Mr. Irving does not play a heavy hand in government - especially when he wrote just months ago that he was (illegitimately) a part of the government. He wrote it on a page that you edited, Mr. Cunningham.

Irving has now formed a committee of his own appointees that will "advise" the government on budgetary matters. Alward has officially recognized the committee, and given it full access to the minister of finance. That is so improper that in Britain the Minister of Defence has had to resign for doing that sort of thing. It is even possible he could face criminal charges. I have no reason to hope that our own Finance Minister will have the inegrity to do the same thing.

Norbert, your column is ignorant.

Tell you what, Norbert, I have a current events group at the Moncton Public Library, 7 pm, on the first Tuesday evening of each month. For Novemember, that is Nov.1. (It's the event your weekly events page consistenly refuses to list.)

Why don't you come along, and bring your news editor and all the other top wretches of your wretched paper, and we can have opportunity for a full debate?  (I would particularly love to debate Rod Allen. His column, as usual,is both ignorant and trash. He really should find a dictionary, look up democracy, and get somebody to read it to him.)

Of course, I would have an advantage in a debate. I have spent a lifetime of teaching Canadian history in a university. You and your staff seem to have spend a lifetime guessing where irving industries would like to be kissed each day.

Solid column by Jody Dallaire.

ThisWeek has only one event listed for Moncton. Of the section's  six pages, five are ads.

The listed even is a gala ball, tuxedos, etc.  to raise money for a school in Haiti. Charity balls are a wonderful display of Christian caring. Millionaire's wives spend thousands on new gowns to get their pictures taken for a two page display of groups of millionaires in tuxes and gowns smiling at the photographer for us peasants to ooooh about. In all, a hundred thousand or more - probably much more - will be spent to raise a fraction of that for a charity. It would be far cheaper and more efficient for us simply to tax them a little more.

Mila Mulroney was very big on this sort of thing. I well remember her gourmet dinners for the very rich to raise money for starving people. She loved shopping for new gowns. No wonder Brian needed money.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oxt. 19:2011 A Valiant attempt to say nothing at all

The big story for people who MUST know is that businesses on Main Street call for more parking spaces to make it a poplar shopping street again.  Right. And while we're planning for the future, we'll almost make it a dirt road for horses, install hitching posts, and rebuild the stables that used to be there.

The only main streets that survive as shopping streets are those served by excellent, frequent, cheap, and scheduled mass transportion. That is what Moncton should be planning. That is what real cities do, many of them not encouraging cars on main street, but discouraging them.

Our city planning for the future is for a society based on private cars? Are they cazy? Get real.

That's pretty much it for news in section A. Over half of it is ads.

NewsToday, as usual, is slim, shallow, and lying by omission. As usual, it comes from Reuters; and if  any civilians have been killed, Reuters has not noticed it. Most of Sirte is rubble. The  hospital was heavily bombed while so filled that patients were lying in the corridors. The schools were bombed. Apartments were bombed. Thousands of tons of bombs and artillery shells were dropped in a city smaller than Moncton.

And no Reuters reporter saw any civilian dead? Thank you, God, for yet another miracle.

And if Sirte was being defended by lightly armed mercenaries for such a very long time and against such hopeless is not possible to believe that.   (Where are the reports of the piled bodies of merenaries. Did they all go up to heaven in the flesh right away?) 

No, Sirte was almost certainly defended by it's own citizens against the terror of the well-know love of the rebels for rape, pillage and murder. I wonder which side  history will choose as the heroes of Sirte?

Amusing story on theYour Business page. The American government, with business support, is looking to protect itself against foreign competition. Geewhizgolly, aren't these the same people who said that free trade is good for everybody? Why the suddent change?

Actually, business in Canada and the US for over a century was opposed to free trade. It favoured a high tariff to keep out competition. The idea was to protect their profits (and make us pay more for everthing.)

Then, the gospel suddenly changed in the 1970s as North American business realized that free trade could open up markets for it.

But it backfired. The cheap labour of other countries meant they could undersell American companies.
Oo-oo-o-ooh. So the corporations are suddenly changing their minds. Free and trade are nasty words.

The protest movement is downplyed again to p. B7, with almost no story. As well, it repeats the old propaganda line.that the movement has no stated demands. No?

1. It wants an end to control of our elected governments by large corporations.
2. It wants real democracy in which we control our governments.

Is that hard to understand?

The Times and Transcript  wants the opposite -corporate control (which is why it has said nothing about the blatant takeover of provincial finance planning by Mr. Irving. It doesn't want democracy. That's why it has allowed the secret development of the shale gas scandal.

Celebrity Gwen Stefani (who?) says she will give up her career to raise her children. I'm so relieved to hear that.

The first sentence of the editorial is "First let it be stated we are all in favour of democracy,,..."  My stomach just wasn't up to going further. The Moncton Times has never shown it is in favour of democracy. The corporate rulers of this world have never shown it. The Conservative and Liberal parties in this province have never shown it. (That's why people voted against the Liberals last time and, if they have any brains, will vote against the Conservative next time.)

Today, for a change the whole op ed page is given over to staff writers. The first one, by Eric Lewis, is useful in reminding us of an old problem, bullying, that we have never really dealt with.

Brian Cormier's column is by, well, Brian Cormier.

Two letters from the editor tell us about two more problems our society has - some people who write letters to the editor.

One person says same sex marriage is wrong because The Bible says its wrong. Okay, The bible also says the  people who lead us in worship must be physically perfecet.

So when do we get the see the annual inspection of naked clergy? That could be next summer's attraction at Magnetic Hill.

Another writer says the 'occupiers' are whiners.  Canada is a land where success is limited only by one's abilities and work habits - thanks to democracy and capitalism. Quite so.

Mr. Irving is a wealthy man who got ahead entirely on his own abilities and hard work. We have all seen him sweating, aching, tired, and tumbling into bed of straw.. He was a poor lad who came from nowhere. It's enough to make you cry with joy.

We don't have capitalism. Read Adam Smith, the prophet of nationalism, some day. Learn what the word means.

We have representative democracy? You're joking. Right?

We do have whiners. They're the billionaires who whine that they can't afford ten dollars an  hour for people who work a hell of a lot harder than they do.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oct. 18:Sorry to be late.

Computer problems. The story of my life. Luckily, there's not much worth commenting on.

There's a nothing story for the banner headline. Moncton City Council, worried about the low voter turnout for elections, wants to change city democracy. (Yawn) The low voter turnout is common across the western democracies. It's municipal, provincial, national. The kind of fiddling Moncton Council is likely to do will have no effect whatever.

The reason for low voter turnout has been known for decades. Many people have lost faith in our democracy. They don't believe the politicians. Remember Shawn Graham? Do  you see any difference between him and Alward? That's why the Democracy Now movement has spread so quickly.

The news media (which means the owners of the news media) have an equally obvious game plan. Ignore it or play it down, and it will fade away. (The NewsToday section has a very brief story, quite neutral, about the movement across Canada. That's the play it down approach.) .

 The movement may fade. But the problems will still be there.  The news media have been ignoring the problems. But the people who are suffering won't ignore them. There will be increased poverty,increased  economic inequality, increased corporate contol of government, increased short-sighted plundering of natural resources without thought for the effect. And next time, social rebellion will be nastier and dangerously negative. It's not the protest that's the problem. The problem is what  caused the protest.

We have a choice. We can support the idea of democracy. Now. (Why do some people think it terrible to be in favour of democracy?).  Or we can risk what's going to come later, possibly from some very unpleasant people.

Fighting is STILL going on in Sirte. We're still bombing it. That means civilians are still getting killed. Bombs aren't choosy about who they kill. You will notice that though the fighting has been over in most of Libya for a month, we still haven't seen any civilian casualty estimate. Don't hold your breath. Any figure you eventually get will almost certainly be a lie. (There is no standard method for counting civilian dead in a war.)

Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah Palin, is 21 today. I'm relieved to know that.

de Adder has broken tradition to give us a cartoon about the corporate world. It's good - give credit where credit is due.

The editorial is the usual tough talk. This time, it's about the District Education Committees.  Curiously, it gives credit to  the DECs for closing Moncton High. I say curiously because at the time, that same editorial column was blaming the DECs for doing nothing. And I cannot remember the TandT ever correcting that or apologizing for it.

I can also remember all the Moncton news media chasing around after some ten percent (tops) of Moncton High parents as though they were the main part of the story. The assignment editors in this town must be a rare collection of dolts.

On that occasion, the editorial column of the TandT must have lied when it blamed the DEC for the problem. It must have, because today it said the DEC did well on that occasion.  So, the editorial column  that lied to us is now telling us it was all the fault of the district education  administration. Duh - whatever you say, Mr. editor. I mean, I always thought that the budget for school maintenance was controlled by the government (or by Mr. Irving's budget committee - same thing.) But what would I know compared to a newspaper editorial writer at a big time paper like The Moncton Times and Tribune?

Alec Bruce's column is superb. In the Moncton TandT, it's as  if Michelangelo's magnificent paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel were instead on the ceiling of a two-seater outhouse.

Then there's the staff writer's column on the op ed page. As usual, it reads like the scribbling of the village idiot.

Apart from Alec Bruce and the editorial cartooon, the only thing in the whole paper worth looking at is a letter to the editor by Candy Watson of Riverview about the distasteful ads by a local radio station.

What has happened is this. Radio is a business whose only purpose is to make profit. Private radio stations don't have a morality or a sense of community or responsibility. They exist to sell ads and make profits. Nothing else. 

That's why they go increasingly cheap on staff to produce moronic  (but cheap) shows.  The news rooms of private radio are a joke. On-air people are, increasingly, part-timers - perhaps running phone-in shows (in which you get to be an unpaid performer.) Political commentaries, if there are any, are usually done by any local half-wit who is cheap and loud-mouthed enough. The only decent performers - and with decent pay - are the breakfast and the going home show hosts. That's because people tuning in to a station usually stick with that station for the day. And it's because 4-6 is also a high listener time before the TV news goes on. Then radio dies for the day.  High listener times are the ones you can sell ads for.  

Sorry there's so little to say. There really is little in the TandT today. Too late, though. You bought it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oct. 17: some late night thoughts.....

Have you heard the speeches by the leadiing Republicans candidates for the presidency?
The theme is constant. God wants the US to rule the world. God has a role and a destiny for the US to dominate the world for the next century.

Now, I haven't chatted with God lately. But I have read The Bible. And nowhere does it mention the United States. Don't you think it just a little scary when national leaders talk like that? Hitler talked like that. We said he was a madman. Is it sane when American leaders say the same thing?

In fact, world domination is exactly what both Bush and Obama have been working on. It  has to happen soon because western capitalism is crashing and the western military, for all its size and technology, has been amazingly ineffective for the last fifty years. Time and bogged down wars may very well dictate a use of the only weapon the US has that is sure to work. The nuclear bomb.

Would the US do it? It is the only country that ever has. Twice.

If we invade Iran, the whole middle east will be aflame. It is not likely that it will be easy or quick to defeat Iran. Both the US and Israel have nuclear weapons. You do the math.

The US government is pretty much owned by corporations. (The average senator has two to three million dollars. Congressmen are poorer with an average of a little less than a million. It is a government of millionaires who get their election funding from billionaires.) Most of Obama's funding comes from Wall St. - which also finances the Republican party. An American domination of the world, should it succeed, would mean a world run by corporations.

Irving quite openly interferes in government in New Brunswick. He also interferes with most of the news we get.

Democracy Now might succeed. If it doesn't, and if it doesn't succeed quickly, we're toast.

Unfortunately, New Brunswick is full of people who think like a woman who wrote to the Times and Transcript lately.  The reason people are poor, she said, is because they're lazy. There's lots of jobs for people who are willing to work. Sure.

The great depression was really caused by a sudden fit of laziness that spread all over the world. The world economic crisis was caused by a similar attack of laziness - something like flu.

When I was born, my father was making less than five dollars a week. To feed us, he had to work for the city, shovelling snow for a quarter an hour, his feet stuffed into boots filled with newspapers because he had no socks. He walked six miles a day to get to a dispensary that gave out milk for us. He was just damn lazy. That was his problem

We have corrupt leaders, and we have people who call themselves capitalists but who operate an economy that is a gross perversion of capitalism. It's destroying us. It's destroying our society. And it will, given time (and not much time), destroy itself.

I don't think God ever said the US should dominate the world. I know he never said corporations should.  I think we desperately need Democracy. Real Democracy. Now.

Oct. 17: They noticed!

Occupy Moncton was on p.1 - though with a smaller headline than the one for a more important story, the Riverview Harvest Frestival. Still, it was p. 1.  The arrival of our part of the Democracy Now movement was noticed - and with not a bad writeup. Unfortunately, the pictures show that the reporter arrived quite early - and left early - long before the crowd had filled the site to near capacity. That may be why she  didn't notice that most of the demonstrators wre not students. I met young people who can't find decent jobs, office workers in their forties who are fearful about the future, and lots of seniors.
She also missed the main point of the demonstration. More on that later.

Too bad, though, she couldn't spare a moment to go back and see how it was growing; it was just a short walk down Main St. from her office.

The District education committees have trouble recruiting members. Three quarters of them are not elected. The either win by acclamation, or are appointed.  Of course. Voluntary service has been dying for forty years. Nobody has yet come up with a solution for that in a society that just doesn't give a damn. Oh, I know. Let's blame the teachers for it.

In NewsToday, a poll shows that support for the war in Afghanistan is declining, though it remains surprisingly high at 60%. Most authorities on military affairs decided long ago that the war cannot be won, and that there was no reason to fight it in the first place.

Generally, what the poll showed is that Canadians have a remarkable ignorance of their own military, of its possible roles, of a Canadian purpose for it, and the importance of Arctic defence. But they remain quite happy to send young people out to get killed whenever the US asks them, and then to pretend to remember them every November 11 (while at the same time cutting down on treatment for the mental illnesses they develop in war.)

The same page carried a Postmedia report on Democracy Now in Toronto. Well, it was Postmedia. What can you expect?  A third of it was devoted to lies by finance minister Jim Flaherty who wasn't even at the event. (Yes. I said lies. When you say something that isn't true, and you know isn't true, that not just  inaccurate. That's a lie.)

It's different here, said Mr. Flaherty. "We don't have to bail out our banks." In fact, Mr. Flaherty has already bailed them out in advance, and with our tax money. He has given approval for Central Mortgage and Housing (our corporation), to raise its compensation to the banks for any losses suffered when the housing bubble bursts (and it will).  In other words, we have given Canadian banks a bailout in advance.

Then he says we don't have the economic inequality the US has. Look at your own department figures, Mr. Flaherty. Most recent figures show the economic gap in Canada is comparable to the US one, probably even bigger.  And the rate of growth for the Canadian gap is faster than in the US.

In Canada, a bank executive can now make more in just one, annual bonus than most Canadians can earn in a lifetime.

Generally, the Postmedia report was worded so as to play down the movement. The reporter didn't even try to make it clear what it was about. That was particularly noticeable in the last paragraph.

There's also a report on the investment page. It is designed, like Postmedia, to play down the protests. That's why the headline says the protest rippled.  Rippled is a gentle word with images of soft movements of a breeze over the water. Always look for the wording in a  news rerport. The choice of words in important in writing propaganda.

The editorial headed 'A great example of people power' looked promising. It turned out to be about saving a hockey rink. (Great. At last the hungry will be fed, and the naked clothed.)

Take the time to read Alec Bruce's column - and wait for the kicker at the end.

Norbert Cunningham's column begins badly. He begins by calling Democracy Now amorphous -  which he then defines as without clearly defined shape or form, vague, ill-organized, lacking a clear structure or focus.

He uses  the world amorphous as  though it means something bad. But most movements are amorphous in their early stages. The American revolution was pretty amorphous until the Declaration of Independence got written. Christianity was pretty amorphous in its earlest days when it was just a sect, ill-organized, and lacking a clear structure.

And sometimes not being amorphous is very bad indeed. The newspaper Norbert writes for is not amorphous. It has a very clear purpose - to write propaganda for the boss.

The Irving corporations are not amorphous. Their purpose is to feed an endless greed, and do it by taking as much as possible from us.

In any case,. Democracy Now does have a clear purpose.  Democracy Now.  Is that hard to understand? Norbert, do you know what democracy means?

It means we choose who will govern us. It means we do not want to be governed by unelected people like corporation owners. We don't want unelected Irving hacks to be setting our provincial budget. Democracy Now means we want the democracy we have never really had.

 Yes, Democracy Now will need leaders and specific goals. But at that stage it is called a political party. You cannot get to that stage until people realize that we don't have democracy in New Brunswick. We have two political parties that are the same, and both run by corporate bosses for their own benefit. They have done so with the full support of The Moncton Times and Transcript.

On the op ed page, Craig Babcock writes in the staff writers' column. It's about crime and correction. He shows an appalling ignorance of even basic facts about both; and, though he glories in the title of editor-at -large, he can't  write worth a poop.  He writes, for example, that is is only a matter of time before some armed robber kills an employee at a Moncton store "with tragic results..."

Duh. Think about it. Is there a possibility he might kill an employee with happy results?

Tell you what, Craig, I meet with a current events group at the Moncton Library the first Tuesday of every month at 7 pm. (The Moncton Times usually refuses to list it in its Weekly Events section - though it mentions all other library events.)  Why don't you come along, and we can debate the subject?

I also teach writing for a class of seniors. Maybe, with help, you could catch up to them.

The final column is by Allen Abel. I have never understood why it appears at all.

For the time being, the game seems to be that our news media have been told to appear neutral, even with pretences of sympathy, for Democracy Now. The hope is that it will fade away quietly. For the sake of all of us, it had better not.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

democracy, we hardly knew ya ---a late, Sunday night thought.

As I stood with Occupy Moncton at City Hall today and yesterday, I thought of all the myths we believe about democracy, and the myth that we have ever had it.

Democracy is the belief that we have the right to determine who shall govern us, that we all  have the same right. That seems simple enough.

But, for it to work, we have to have accurate information about what is going on in the world - what is happening, what is being discussed. We need honest journalism.

We need to discuss. We need to exhange ideas. We need to be literate.

We need to know that the government we elect is acting in our interests.

Without those, we don't have democracy. And we have never had all those.

The British are fond of tracing democracy back to the day King John signed Magna Carta. And that's nonsense. Magna Carta simply transferred some of the King's powers to the barons. The early parliaments were dominated by the very rich and by the aristocracy. Of course. Legislators didn't get paid. They had to have money to live on, and even to run. Most men weren't even allowed to vote; and no women at all were allowed.

Over the years, the aristocrats ran out of money; and the very rich took over the political parties.  The Liberal party of Britain began as an openly big business party. Liberalism didn't mean the rights of people. It meant the rights of property. Liberals based themselves on the writing of Adam Smith who advocated freedom of the market place for business.

There was no party in Britain that had the remotest interest in the bulk of the British people until the turn of the twentieth century. That was when the Labour Party was founded, and it was made possible for ordinary people to run by paying salaries to legislators.  Alas, the most recent of the Labour prime ministers became a multi-millionaire while he was prime minister. He must have saved his salary by brown-bagging it to work.

It was the same thing in Canada. The Liberal party, originally called the Reform party, was openly a big business party. It represented Ontario business. The Conservative party represented Montreal business.

Confederation happened because British investors needed a united Canada to have a tax base big enough to afford to support their railway building. John A was quite openly on the take. He and most of his cabinet were on the board of directors of the Grand Trunk Railway - the same railway they gave grants and land to.  John A was also a land speculator on his own, and sold heavily to the GTR. Later, and while still prime minister, he was chairman of the board ofManulife.

The Senate was created to guarantee power to the very rich, just in case the voters got silly and elected the wrong party.

The only rebel among all of our prime ministers was R.B.Bennett from New Brunswick. It took him a while to understand the suffering of the depression. But he was a moral and compassionate man. When he did understand it, he acted to generate jobs and to create social programmes. But it was too late. R.B.Bennett got blamed for a depression he didn't create. He was beaten by Mackenzie King who talked constantly about his compassion for the poor - but made changes as slowly as he possibly could.

(Interestingly, when Canadians are polled about the greatest Canadians in our history, the top of the list is never held by John A or Mackenzie King or - Lord knows - Brian Mulroney or Trudeau or the railway capitalists or even the Irvings. Top spot usually goes to Tommy Douglas, the Saskatchewan premier who introduced medicare.)

In the US, the American revolution was not about freedom or democracy or human rights. The leaders of it were mostly the wealthy class. George Washington was probably the richest man in the US, and was certainly the biggest slave-owner. How could it be a revolution for democracy and freedom when it was a slave society, one with no rights for women and, in the early days, no rights for many men?

It was a revolution for property rights, designed to give the very rich control without paying back Britain for defending it during the wars against France. (That's what the argument over taxes was about.)  The rich have controlled it ever since.

Remember Davey Crockett, the symbol of the aw shucks ordinary man? The great b'ar hunter who was elected to congress and went there wearing his coonskin cap? In fact, Crockett was a big time land speculator - and a slave-trader.

The civil war had nothing to do with freeing slaves. Abraham Lincoln actually fired one of his generals for freeing slaves. The civil war happened because the north was industrializing, while the south remained based on cotton. The north wanted a high tariff to keep ou foreign competition. But the south depended on British suppliers for their manufactured goods. A tariff would drive up prices for them. (Almost all the weapons of the confederacy came from Britain.)

Slavery was the excuse for the war to establish the dominance of northern capitalists. Many, probably most, of the freed slaves would never get the right to vote or to get decent jobs or even to live where they wanted to.  Their great granchildren wouldn't these rights until the 1960s.

President Wilson (World War I) actually segregated the civil service. General Patton loathed African Americans and Jews. You don't find African-american senior officers in the US military until after World War Two.

To this day, African Americans live in poverty, get inferior education, and are in prison way out of proportion to their share of the total population.

Roosevelt and Mackenzie King were both savagely anti-semitic. Both refused to accept Jewish refugees from Germany in the 1930s, and even during the war and for several years after it.

The US president has now publicly declared the right to assassinate American citizens and to jail them indefinitely without any charge, any legal process. And no explanation, ever. That's not a democracy.

Then, of course, the public hasn't ever known much of what's going on. The early newspapers were largely commerical news - like shipping news. By definition, you had to be rich to set up a newspaper. So they were really propaganda sheets from the start.

It really took off with the development of the cheap newspaper in the 1890s. These were so powerful that a Hearst could publicly brag (truthfully) that his newspapers had started a war - by lying. The Canadian journalist, Beaverbrook, became so powerful that the Prime Minister appointed him a lord - so that he could not run for a seat in the House of Commons.

Foreign correspondents have been the most studied liars. There's a good book about them called "The First Casualty"  It's about lying by all the news media from newspapers through radio to TV. I have known a few foreign correspondents well. Even they admit that they lie. (One of the few truthful commentators in that field is Gwynn Dyer. I was on a radio show with him when we both first started. I was impressed by his intelligence and honesty from the start.)

In North America, in particular, the news media are bad -with New Brunswick close to the bottom of the barrel. In 1919, when Bill Clinton publicly apologized for CIA leadership in the slaughter of 200,000 Maya peasants in Guatemala, the only newspaper to report it was The New York Times - which buried it on p. E9.

You cannot have a democracy with dishonest news media.

Nor can you have it without open and public discussion. That doesn't happen in New Brunswick. I have heard freer public discussion in China than I have in Moncton. There's a fear of taking a position in this province. It runs all the way down to home and school. I've never seen such fear in a society. I think I know why that fear exists. Maybe you have a guess, too.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread around the world with it's appeal for democracy. Interestingly, you will find it mostly in countries, like Canada, that call themselves democracies. That's a clue.

People who believe in democracy aren't calling for improvements in it. There is no democracy to improve on. The call is to get democracy in the first place.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oct. 15: m.m.m...let's see - biggest protest in history is on page.....

Found it!!!

Let's see. The biggest protest in history is not on page 1. That has a big story about the Riverview Harvest Festival. Then there's a flash that the sewage system needs a hundred and twenty million for an upgrade. Gee - lucky council made it a top priority to build a hundred million (two hundred million?) dollar hockey rink. First things first. The rest of section one has big stories - including one on how the Sackville Legion building has a new roof. There's even a picture so that you can see what a roof looks like.

NewsToday mentions renewed fighting in Tripoli. It says the fighting is cause by pro-ghadaffi forces.  The European press is more inclined to think it is caused by the rape, pillage, and killing carried out by rebel forces (the ones on our side; the ones that Harper embraced as a democracy though they haven't yet had an election or even written a constitution.)

There's a story on D4 that should raise serious doubts about the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the US. It doesn't mention doubts. But read the story, and see what you think of it.

Oops, missed it. The big story is on D3.  Well, It's kind of short for a big story. But it is there. There is a protest today which is now world-wide. (But it's not as big as the story that many Canadians don't know the words to O Canada. Boy, that will sure get people mad in that bozo New Brunswick town or something that chased out a principal for not playing O Canada every day.  I'd love to give those clowns a basic exam in Canadian history.)

Curiously, the story does not mention Canada, or Vancouver or Toronto or Montreal - or New Brunswick or St.John or Frerdericton or Moncton. It also says the protests have happened in dozens of American cities. In fact, the number of American cities affected is in the hundreds.

And it is NOT true that this is simply  an economic protest. It is about the need to return to democracy - something which has all but ceased to exist - especially in New Brunswick.

And now - I'm off to protest at Moncton City Hall.

....what a wonderful experience. I'm going back tonight. Wonderful commitment and enthusiasm. In the time I have lived here, I have found Moncton to be an intellectual and spiritual morgue, the northern equivalent of Alabama. But,my, I met a lot of people worth knowing. For the first time since I moved here, I feel like a part of Moncton.

The crowd will grow and shrink and grow and shrink as this goes on. I look forward to going back to it many times.

The editorial is the usual stinker.

Belliveau makes a good point in his column. David Suzuki is, as always, a worthwhile read.  But...

.......Brent Mazerolle has this day's staff writer slot at the top of the op ed page.... and...Wow!
I'm impressed by his courage and journalistic inegrity. Read it., That's an order.
      I have only one, little difference with Mr. Mazerolle. He says the Occupy movement doesn't have a clear objective. I know that many reporters say that. And I know that reporters tend to express opinions that they hear from other reporters.  They're a highly conformist bunch.   However...

The Occupy movement has two, very clear and closely related objectives. It does not present solutions. It's not supposed to. Solutions are things that are supposed to be proposed by politicians, and voted on by us.  The Occupy movement is not a political party. I met conservatives, liberals, NDP, Green Party, pro-business, anti-business. Their purpose is not to be a political party. It is to make us all aware of the most serious problem of our age.  Well - two problems, closely related.

1. We have lost democracy. It has been lost in New Brunswick, in Canada, in the US, in Europe, in all the "democratic"  world. We want it back. We want democracy.

2. Power has been taken by one percent of the population who control the great corporations. They are not capitalist. They happily accept  governments that do socialist things like bailing them out, giving them crown land, giving them grants, cutting back on regulations. There is nothing capitalist about

     Corporations like those controlled by the Irvings are an ugly and warped form of capitalism that creates poverty, war, starvation, suffering. We've had enough of that. We want a country in which people of all ideologies are required to respect us and the people we elect.

That's what we want. Real democracy, a democracy in which our vote is as good as Mr. Irving's.

The Whatever section is it's usual, good self. I'll comment on just two columns.

Good one by Isabelle Agnew on how good the Moncton Library is. And that is awesome, considering it has one of the lowest operating budgets in Canada.
Duh - wonder why Moncton has a low rate of literacy. Duh, dunno, must be the  fault of them there teachers, duh..Duh. we need a million dollar hockey rink so Mr. Irving will have a real good rink for his team.  Duh.

Jana Giles always impresses me. She's in grade 8 at Lewisville school. Grade eight. But her writing and insights are extrraordinary. I've taught many a university student who couldn't come close to her.

Now, off again to Occupy Moncton.

Oct. 15: Damn

I wrote a long post. I liked it. then the computer ate it.
I'll have to re do it late tonight.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Oct. 14 and a half: a brief addition

Check google news. also The Montreal Gazette.

If you belong to an animal rights group, the Canadian government has now listed you as a terrorist - destined for close watch by CSIS and the RCMP. I wonder how soon Canada will have its own no-fly list.

Oct. 14: What was that again?

Accordiing to the Reuters report in the NewsToday section of the TandT, Ghadaffi's son was captured by rebels in Sirte.
Gee! If you google Ghadaffi's son not captured Sirte, you will find there are doubts about that. Those doubts were expressed by reputable news sources, and expressed a full day ago. That means they were expressed BEFORE the TandT went into print.
A news editor is supposed to know that kind of thing, and to adjust the page accordingly. That's a prime job of a news editor. Doesn't the TandT have a computer hooked up to the web?

The battle for Sirte is still going on. Now, think about it. A tiny group of fighters have been been fighting off overwhelming numbers of our side in a small city (half the size of Moncton) in Libya. They've done it for weeks. Our side has used heavy artillery bombardment for weeks and massive bombing (including the hospital). The other side has small numbers, no artillery, no bombers. It just has rifles and, perhaps, some small rockets.

If you were making a movie, which side would be the heroes?

These defenders are supposedly Ghadaffi loyalists. Oh? Have you  seen a single news report that has interviewed any of them? The Ghadaffi army was heavily mercenary. It is not common, to say the least, for mercenaries to be loyal to the death. So who are these people, this tiny, poorly armed group that has fought off the combined forces of the rebel army and NATO for so many weeks? And why have they done it?

Greece is in chaos. There is no public transportation. Stores are closed. So are factories. The whole nation is shattered economically, politically and socially. Didn't make the TandT, though.  Mr.News Editor....
Go to a computer. Get somebody to show you how to turn it on, and go to google. Type in Greece Turmoil news.

Of course, the news editor needed space for the big story of the day. Harper approves a plan that the monarch of Canada (also, incidentally, of Britain) should be permitted in future to be a woman (even if a prince is in line ahead of her) and/or a Catholic.  What a magnificent step forward for women and Catholics all over the world!

Now - all a woman or Catholic has to do is to be born the billionaire daughter of a billionaire king or queen. Wonoderful news for all those women stuck in low pay jobs at WalMart. What a great job creation move from our prime minister!

Next?  Well, I'm starting a rumour that our premier is going to apply for a job at Callander College as a gay. If they say no, he'll bring down the charter of rights on them, and threaten to cut off all provincial funding.

There is a report, also from Reuters, that the US is threatening retaliation to Iran for its plot to kill the Saudi ambassador. There is no mention that there are great doubts about the story, great doubts  that there was any such plot - and great doubts that Iran has done any such thing.

(sorry - blog was published in error at this point.)

For for fuller information, google Iran plot Saudi Guardian. You will find that almost all North American papers, including trash like BrunswickNews and the National Post, accept the story with no doubt whatever. Many European papers - and high quality ones - don't. They think this is a scheme hatched by the US to attack Iran. And they give pretty strong reasons for thinking so.

There is no mention that Occupy Wall Street, which covers all of the US, expands tomorrow to include 71 countries PLUS Moncton at the city hall at ten a.m. That, with the help of Moncton, will make it the beggest protest demonstration in human history.

Occupy Wall Street did it - even though it has been so carefully either ignored or disparaged by all the hack media of North America. Tomorrow is the most important day we'll ever see. I can't miss it. I'll be there.

Alec Bruce does a good job of showing up the shallowness and the purely political motives that guide so many of Harper's speeches.

There is a thoughful commentary by Norbert Cunningham on how often people do not understand what they have read - even though they are literate. I quite agree. But he blows it a bit at the end. He (and Brent Mazerolle) note that many people still blame city council for the problems at Moncton High. They should have known that the problem was the provincial government's problem, not the City Council's.  Quite so.

But I remember a long campaign of bitter and ignorant reporting that put the blame on School District 2 and its administration and advisors. The TandT obviously didn't know it was the provincial government's responsiblity. And among those who took part in the attack on District Two were - surprise - Brent Mazerolle and Norbert Cunningham.

Good example from Gwynne Dyer on the complexities of understanding foreign affairs.