Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nov. 22: Not much;...and more of the same...

A big item on page one is the shocking news that Christmas tree lots are ready for the season.That pretty well sets the tone for the whole of the first section. Oh, there's also the boosterism artcle, this one on how remarkable Moncton's tourism was this summer. It reads with all the solemnity of a high mass. But there seem to be no indications of how much all this cost us or of how much of the money either remained here or reached the pockets of those who really need it.  (Lots and lots would not really be a precise answer.) We all paid for this. Who got the benefits? I have never known the TandT ever to even ask this question.

And that's pretty much it for Section 1.

In international news, we learn that the US is concerned that Iran is being used to "launder" money. Could be. So far as I know, institutions in every country in the world are used to launder money. Casinos are superb mechanisms to launder money. That was one of the prime reasons that gangsters established Reno.  Just a few months ago, we learned (though not in the TandT) that leadiing American banks have been laundering money for the Mexican drug gangs.

The story does include, way at the bottom where few will read it, opinion that the sanctions probably won't work. Of course not. Economic sanctions rarely, if ever, work. Cuba has survived over fifty years of US sanctions.  But the sanctions will serve to heighten hysteria over Iran and to justify a military attack. And that's what they're really all about.

There is a report of heavy fighting in Egypt. It is, in fact, very much like the fighting in Syria. But there is not a mention of western comment or of western interest in intervening. Of course not. In the case of Egypt, the west is quite happy to see the military in power,  and doesn't care if protesters are getting shot.

The US has failed to come up with the budget cuts necessary to save the US economy. But I wouldn't worry about it. Norbert's column makes it clear there is no crisis, not really. People who say there is are just spoiled and lazy kids.

The editorials? Skip them for now. One is a booster for the recent football game. The other is  on a topic so obscure that few will have the faintest idea what it is about. Save the editorials for bedtime. Save money on sleeping pills.

Allan Chchrane's op ed on a new book about Moncton's armoured regiment is worth a read - especially if it encourages you to buy the book.  The regiment's major contribution to World War Two was in the Italian campaign, a particularly brutal one because of the narrowness of the front which made things easier for the defending side. It was made tougher for the 8th Hussars by allied reliance on the Sherman tank which, though reliable, had weak armour, an inadequate gun, and stood rather higher on a battlefield than a tank should. For a far better tank, but one that would not be available until 1945, see the British Centurion parked at the armoury at St. George near Vaughan Harvey.

This is small point but - is that really a Sherman standing at Victoria Park? The body is. But the gun looks like a superior British gun, the 17 pounder, which made the tank into a version called the "Firefly". (Or it could be the Sherman with the later American 76mm gun.) Do we have a vet out there who knows?

Gwynne Dyer has a solution to the drug problem that I really do not like. But he may very well be right.

Alec Bruce has his usual, very sensible column.

Norbert has fallen out of the nest, and hit his little head very hard on the ground. His column is pure rant. He claims to have proof that the Occupy movement is dying. (US polling numbers show its support is declining. Never mind who took the polls. That would only confuse things.) US polls also show that public approval of the president, of his party, of the opposition Republicans, is at record low levels. Confidence in Congress, for example, stands at an all time low of nine percent.

In a democracy, that is bloody dangerous. And rants don't help.

Tearing down existing government and society isn't going to happen? Norbert, it's already been torn down. It wasn't torn down by the occupiers. It was torn down by people like your boss. It's down. It's gone.

No-one will deny Wall Street excesses? Well, tell me Norbert, when have you or your paper admitted them? Even in this column when you at last mention them, you play them down and blame goverment. (Nicely ignoring that Wall Street and its variants have controlled government for decades.)

So who caused the economic collapse we are watching? Well, evidently, it was all the fault of the poor. And spoiled young people.  It's all that debt them their poor people and kids ran up because they're greedy. Yeah. that's it.

How much of that debt was caused by, say, giving multibillion dollar sweetheart contracts to billionaires for things like, say, ships and aircraft? How much was caused by loans, grants, cheap electricity, etc. for corporations? How much was caused by the lowest corporate taxes since the 1920s?

Luckily, the wealthy seem to have survived the hard times. In fact, their share of that national wealth is stilll growing - and it's been growing out of control for forty years.  Is that a problem Norbert? Is it also the fault of the poor that CEO salaries have gone through the roof?  Have spoiled kids forced a handful of relunctant people to accept all those billions they don't really want?

Curbing expectations is the only way out? Okay. So when do we curb the expectations of the one percent?

History shows that reality will not be denied? Hell, Norbert, I am an historian. And most of it is in denial.  Your column is proof of that.

Let us suppose you are right. Let's suppose the Occupy movement disappears. Then what? Will the economic inequality, the economic crisis, the social crisis disappear? Will poor Americans stop living in tent cities?  (Funny how authorities get all excited bout protesters living in tents - but have no concern about the homeless who live in tents year round without sanitation or water.)   The Occupy Movement is not the problem Since it is not the problem, common sense should tell you that its diappearance would not solve the problem.

Let's think hard, Norbert...

1. Is there any problem when one percent of a nation holds 40% and more of the wealth?
2. Is there any problem when one person owns most of the news media in a province?
3. Is there any problem when politicians, both liberal and conservative, show remarkably close ties with the man who also owns the media? Is it normal that the minister of finance of a province should be a senior corporate executive and advised by a committee chosen by unelected senior corporate figures? Is that what democracy is about?
4. Have you, Norbert, who so freely attack the poor and the young, ever attacked the corporate powers of this province in the same way?

The message, Norbert, is that we don't have democracy. We don't get honest information from you and your paper. We don't get honest representation from our elected representatives. This province is run by a few corporations. It has been for generations. That is well understood across Canada. That is reality.

Norbert, your column is such an ignorant and disorganized rant that it is often incoherent. I wish I could dismiss it as pure ignorance. But I can't. Your ignorance is always a one-sided ignorance. This isn't just ignorance. This is boot-licking.

At last, I understand the need for that appalling moustache. It's for wiping the boss' boots dry after you lick them.


  1. You know, Jeff, that logic of yours...it is absurd and it angers me.

    If I had to "put up or shut up" for every incompetent minister, journalist or elected official in this country, I would be stuck for a month in front of my computer simply by having to send thousands of résumés.

    “If you’re not happy do it yourself” is a childlike and pointless rebuke to any problem. I imagine you telling your wife: “If you’re not happy, do it yourself” after your crappy job of vacuuming the house…

    You get my point?

    If you don’t, Google “though terminating clichés” or read this: http://idigmygarden.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27759

    When a citizen of a democratic society notices outrageous bias in a media that pretends to be "objective", the good citizen shall seeks to stop and denounce all the mechanisms that produced such bullshit.

  2. I agree with you one hundred percent Greame. Why the competition act has not been used to curb this corporate propaganda machine is beyond me? Has corporate control in Canada become that powerful?

  3. It was always that powerful. When John A was prime minister and busy giving money and resources to railway companies, he also sat on their boards of directors, and was a major land spculator for the railways. We fought in th Boer War because Canadian coporations which made they money out of the Empire wanted to be on good terms with Britain.

    The changes have been the enormous propganda machine that has been built through "think tanks" and media ownership - and in corporations that have become so powerful they don't even bother to hide it any more.

    When you have corporations that actually sit on government bodies to set tax rates and cut social programs, they aren't even trying to kid you that this is a democracy.