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.

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