Friday, September 30, 2011

Sept. 30: Trash and a treasure.

Most of section A can be skipped. It's just  trivia and ads. The only article worth noting - not because it's good but because it's so gushing and inane - is on p. A9, "increase found in N.B. wealthy households."

It gushes at the number of wealthy people who are self-made. Rot. There is no such thing as a self-made person. All depend on public institutions and conditions - and, at the higher levels, on political influence and fingers in the public purse.

It sets the standard of 'wealthy' at $150,000. Most studies of "the wealthy" would put the starting point at a million at the least. $150,000 is nice; but it's not wealthy.

The baby boomers were the wealthiest generation in Canadian history? Well, yes, some were. But the majority of them, like every generation, were poor or lower middle class.

In general, there is something distasteful about this concentration on a tiny group of the "wealthy" at a time when most of us aren't wealthy, and aren't going to be.

Worse, it's all based on a study by a private banking company which specializes in services to the rich - as in how to leave their money to their families without too much of it being wasted on taxes that help those who aren't so wealthy. In other words, it's a free ad disguised as news.

NewsToday has its usual piece on Libya and, as usual, it tells us nothing unless we read between the lines. After more than a month of fighting, the rebels still cannot take the two, remaining Ghadaffi cities. Both are smaller than Moncton, and both have endured over a month of saturation bombing (by us) and artillery fire. There is obviously something we are not being told. Why is the army that so easily took most of Libya so helpless with these two, small cities?

The answer is obvious. It advanced not on its own fighting, but on a carpet of ruins and bodies laid out by our bombers. We are attacking the last holdouts in the same way. That means thousands, probably tens of thousands, of civilian dead. That's what bombing and artillery fire do to cities. It is unavoidable, and NATO knew that from the start.

But this, we were told, was a humanitarian mission. What does killing civilians from the air have to do with being humanitarian? What is this war really about?

On a personal note, I taught military history to a fine, young officer. He was intelligent, proud of his service, and had a high sense of the honour of military service. I was pround just to have met such a person. He is now a pilot, dropping bombs that kill civilians and splatter children against walls.

He's intelligent and honest and moral. He knows what's happening. I wonder what this experience will do to him?

On our sitde of the ocean, it would be nice to get some honest news about what is happening in Libya, and why. It's important to learnthat  before NATO (with Canada) gets further as unpaid thugs for US oil billionaires.

The new economic council that has taken over the government of New Brunswick has a commentary on the op ed page. It says nothing but blather, the sort of jargon and gobbeldy goop popular in speeches at $500 dollars a plate dinners. You knoq\w ; "we must move; but we must move forward."  clap-clap.."We meed vision; but it must be a clear vision." clap, clap.. "we must work together; but it must be for the right purpose." standing ovation.

The author of this gem of pompous stupidity is the Chairman of the council that is planning our future here in New Brunswick. God help us.

The editorial, as usual, proves that the writer has a wider range of knowledge than any other living person. This time, he or she is supporting Harper's crime bill, the one that just about every authority on crime in the western world says is damaging, backward, expensive, and ineffective. Lucky we have an editorial writer who knows better.

Among other gems of wisdom are "...violent crimes, organizaed crime, crimes against innocent childrren....are unacceptable in our society." Gee! I didn't know that. "...we must take action to prevent these crimes.." Gosh! I bet nobody every thought of that before. I have to wonder whether this drivel was written by the same person who chairs the economic council.

But Alec Bruce's editorial page column does a good job of hammering a  couple of professors on the head.  (Unfortunately the head is the least vulnerable part of a professor's body.)

The professors have just written a book "Campus Confidential....."   It's all pompous nonsense that I heard at least a thousand times in the forty uears I taught university----today's students are lazy; they aren't prepared; they expect high grades for doing nothing...."  Mr. Bruce calls this book pretentious. He is too kind.

Some students are, of course, lazy and unprepared for what they are doing. So, for that matter, are some professors. But in my experience, I saw very, very few students who were unprepared for university. Some did expect high grades. But that's because so many professors are too lazy to mark work properly, and so they hand out grades that have been going up for at least forty years that I know of. Nor do they know how to teach. I was a real teacher before I taught university. I know what real teaching is. Most professors don't; and they don't want to know. If anything, they have contempt for teaching.

That's the basis of it all.  Universities are shoulder deep in the most pompous asses you will ever encounter. Their egos get fed by research and  publication. (Absurd magazines like MacLean's encourage this.)

Teaching takes up the valuable time they need to publish their opus magnum on the history of prostitution among Scots Presbyterian immigrants to Canada.

Very often, they have the same contempt for students they have for everybody except themselves.

The reality is that they have little sense of what they are teaching - except that it's "up to date". Most are very poor classroom performers. They talk about the importance of skills like reading at an advanced level, writing, reasoning; but few have the faintest idea how to do it. So they write books blaming the students.

At the level of the master's and doctoral degrees, it gets worse. That's why they plant graduate capson the heads of people just like themselves - so the new generation will be just like them.

The twin curses of universities are the egos of professors and the willingness of university presidents to sell out every shred of integrity for a buck.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sept.29: Will I send this out?

As I write this, it's late on Wednesday night. I don't know whether this will be my Sept. 29 blog. It has opinions that are hard, even brutal, and maybe insulting to some people. But I think they're true. I think I have to say them.

(I've decided that this will be my blog. I've just read the Thrusday edition. As is often the case, only Alec Bruce and Jody Dallaire are worth reading. For those with a morbid sense of humour, check out the stunningly ignorant letter by Vic Toews, our federal Public Safety Minister. The letter is signed, Vic Toews, Public Safter Minister, GREEN PARTY NB.)

I'll start with a story of a twelve year old walking through an alleyway with a friend. It was in the very poor and very tough district of Montreal that I grew up in. A strange boy was coming toward us. As he passed, I felt his fist hit the side of my head.

"Hit him," said my friend. "Hit him or he'll keep ploughing you."
Half-dazed, I turned to seem him already closing in on me. I raised a knee, hard. It didn't take him out. But he backed up, then turned and headed on his way. If  you don't hit them, they keep ploughing you.

When I first moved to New Brunswick, I was struck by the courtesy and friendliness of the people.  I also noticed that the men like to look tough, with arms crossed and fists under the biceps to show them off.  I also noticed the people were politically passive - to a degree I had never seen before. There is almost no public discussion of political matters.

Even in China, people would discuss politics openly. (They would be very careful in what they said. But they would talk about it.) New Brunswickers don't do even that.

In the last provincial election, neither Liberals nor Conservatives had anything resembliing a platform. A local candidate told me she felt a major effort had to be made to prepare students for globalization. So I asked her what globalization meant. She didn't know.

Public meetings were few.There were really only two issues. People wanted to get rid of the Liberals. Mr. Alward said  he would listen to people. (And I'm sure he does. But he only listens to certain people.)

In no Canadian province, with the possible exception of PEI, have I seen politicians so ignorant of public affairs, and so spineless as the politicians of New Brunswick. I don't believe I have ever seen a population that knew less about the polirical issues facing it. They don't know; and they don't want to know.

Newspapers in general across Canada are pretty poor stuff. (It was once my job to study all of them pretty closely.) But I have  never seen, in any part of Canada, a newspaper that approaches the depths of ignorance, propaganda, dishonesty and lack of ethics that is the everyday standard for Brunswick Media.

The greatest shock came a couple of years ago as the Times and Transcript mounted a vicious campaign against the public schools. In the US, big business began moving in to privatize the schools decades ago. It was part of the same greed for profit that has given the US one of the worst medical systems in the developed wsorld. The damage of privatiziing has been enormous as shown by the UN agency which follows education all over the world.  It now ranks the American education system in the toilet of the western world - and well below much of the eastern world. (Canada ranks in the top ten.).

I could see the Canadian corporate world eyeing the profits to be made by ruining our children, too. It was obvious in the "studies" put out by their propaganda machines like Atlantic Institute of Marketing Studies, and The Fraser Insistute. Both of them, as had been done in the US, put out pseudo-scientific studies which ranked schools and teachers.The tests had two purposes, to alarm the public, and to put IAMS effectively in charge of administering such tests - thus giviing AIKMS effective control of most of the school curriculum.

Then I saw the theme picked up in Brunswick media with editorials and articles about the public schools that were vicious, ignorant, and coarse. They were smearing one of the best school systems in the world so that a handful of billionaires could make more money by destroying our children's educations, just like their buddies in the US had done..

But if I raised any question about it in public, the men would just fold their arms with fists under their biceps. The women would look prim - as if I were telling dirty jokes. When I suggested my local home and school should discuss this, the president responded as though I were an arab terrorist.

In the face of this vicious attacks and the obvious greed that lay behind it, nobody  - nobody at all - said a word. Where, I wondered - (actually, it was where the hell I wondered) - were the home and schools, the parent associations, the district commissions, the parents? The universities? The Deans of Education at UNB and U de Moncton? Where were the churches? Have I completely misunderstood those sections of  The Bible that deal with greed and abuse? I still don't know where all those people are because to this day not one of them has said a word.

Most of all, where were the parents? These are our children. The Atlantic Institute of Market Studies already has a high degree of control over both curriculum and teaching methods. It's the same greed and the same methods that have destroyed education in the US. 

These are your children. Where the hell are you? You have been ripped off by the corporate world all your lives, lied to by your poliricians, and propagandized by your newspapers. It has done enormous damage to this province and to you. Now you want to give them a  head start on sucking the blood out of your children?

The experience over fracking has been much the same. This is a practice that is banned or in the pocess of suspensions for its dangers in at least two provinces, in France, in Switzerland, in Australia, in some American states - and over much of the world. The government and the Brunswick Media have been, to say the least, secretive, have allowed it to go on with no regulation at all for some time, and now with regulations still being prepared, and with no evident enforcement.

A demonstration in Moncton brought out some 600 people. That's pretty good for a public issue in Moncton, I guess. But shortly after, 20,000 went to a football game. In one edition, the Times and Transcript gave more space to that football game that the total is has gtiven over the years to the issue of fracking.

As I looked through yesterday's issue of the paper, I could only wonder why I was wasting my time on such a wretched publication. And, I admit, I got mad at the passive people of this province who accept this crap, and don't seem to give a damn what happens to them and their children.

Then, I though of those men with their arms folded, fists under biceps - and I thought of the disapproving home and school president - and I realized the problem.

They're scared. Decades of abuse, and of governments obviously no more that the tools of corporate interests have created a fear that runs down through every level of New Brunswick society.

People are so scared and humiliated, they won't even recognize it in themselves - thus the tough-look folded arms and the disapproving looks.; They're so scared they can't even let themselves see how scared they are.

I'm sorry for those people. But time is short. Democracy is pretty much a myth in this province already. The government of New Brunswick is not the one you elected. You all know that as well as I do. You are on the edge of severe dangers both physical and economic. The damage that has been inflictted on you all your lives is about to be inflicted to an even greater degree on your children.

Be scared. You have reason to be scared. But for your own sake amd the sake of your children, you have to overcome your fear. Now. Men, unfold your arms. Women, instead of frowning in disapproval of anything "different", start asking questions. You have to take control of your own province and your own lives.

If you keep acting like this, they'll just keep ploughing you.


A footnote - the current events group meets on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Moncton Library.. The opening topic is fracking - feel free to bring your onw concerns on any current events topic that interests you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sept.27: below the bottom

Usually, I get a perverse sort of joy in reading The Moncton Times and Transcript in the morning. I'm retired; and the joy is in finding something useful to do, and to share. With some 25 years experience in journalism and education, a daily discussion of how a newspaper works and should work seemed a natural.

But it's not fun any more. The TandTs lack of anything that could be called ethics, its journalistic dishonesty, the extraordinary lack of integrity (and brains)  in the politicians of this province, the greed and arrogance of those who own the province and its politicians and the TandT, the damage the people of this province suffer in consequence , and the passivity of New Brunswickers now just leave a foul taste in my mouth.

I triy to say at least one thing good about each day's paper. Today, I can't even do that.

The government is planning to save 600,000 by cutting back on flu shots.  It is quite possible that some will die as a result. But who cares? It's also likely to lead to higher costs for hospitalization. So here we have a government that is both callous and stupid.

II could save 600,000 and more on the plane that is so valuable to get MLAs to see their consituents so they can tell them nothing. (Despite paying with my taxes for  the plane, I have never even seen my MLA). We could even (shh) tax the rich just a trifle more - or ask gas drillers to pay taxes.

NewsToday is its usual, disordered trivia. There was no mention that more civilians in Yemen and Pakistan were killed by US drones, or that Pakistan and the US are dangeroujsly close to war - with China likely to come to the aid  (for its own reasons) of Pakistan. There is no mention that in Saudi Arabia, one of our strongest allies, a women has been  sentenced to be lashed becasue she is a woman - and she had the arrogance to drive a car.

There is no mention that Switzerland has banned fracking, or that the protest against poverty in New York has now spread to at least fifty cities. There was, however, a big story about Canada geese pooping in Francce.

The real crusher was in the editorial and op ed pages. It wan't the editorial, itself. I am used to that being ignorant , vicious, trivial or all three. I am even used to triviality with only occasional breaks on the op ed page.

But Alce Bruce's column has (almost) always been a treat of intelligent and superbly written insight. Today, it wasn't there. Instead,  we  have Canada goose poop from the Franser Institute, a propaganda think tank bankrolled by the rich.

This one disputes the perception that the wage gap in Canada is growing, with the rich becoming richer and the poor poorer. Neat trick, when the figures on the UN, the Canada Conference board and just about every study I have seen show that the rich in North America are getting richer at a runaway pace with the Irvings and McCains of this world able to make more duriing a coffee break than a Walmart employee will in a lifetime. Meanwhhile, poverty levels are rising.

Can some people get rich by working really hard? Well, yes. It's possible. One in a million, maybe. I mean, look at the Irving and McCain children. Think of how hard they must have worked to get ahead. I mean, that just proves the author's point that that even children raised in poverty and rags and hopelessness like the Irvings and McCains can get ahead.

The authors offer statistics to "prove" their point that most of the poor do get ahead. How can that be when when all other figures show that poverty is on the rise? Easy. You choose people enteriing the job market at low pay, and you follow them for six years. In six years, with a good deal of help from inflation, their incomes are up. Not much. But up. That means they're in a higher income group. (Actually, they're really still in the same group.)
 

This whole column is propaganda goose poop. The editors know that. That owners that. That's why they printed it.

This is supplemented by a woefully uninformed letter to the editor. It claims we have to respect business because it runs a 60% risk of  bankruptcy. Bankruptcies  happen almost entirely to small businesses. Big ones get bailed out - at our cost. And the big ones don't succeed because they're well organized. They succeed because they can buy off governments to get low taxes (if any), subsidies, and sweetheart public/private/partnerships at our expense.  To talk of the astoundiing success of business at a time when it is collapsing all over the world - with the rich still plucking as much as they can for thsmelves - is nonsence.

I notice that neither the Tand T nor the government nor the shale gas drillers have brought forward any of the information on fracking that they promised. Why not?

Here's a guess.. They know they don't have a case. So what they'll do is to keep us uninformed. Maybe the objections will taper off. If not, maybe they can stir up a little violence as an excuse to use force. That is not at all a long shot. There are big stakes in the energy business, very big indeed. Evergy companies have a long history of violence - even murder - in countries around the world. There is no reason to think they would obect to busting a few heads in New Brtunswick.

And the TandT will make sure they get no blame for it.

The T and T is such an utterly digusting mound of incompetence, crap, dishonesty and triviality that I begin to doubt whether it is worth wasting my life on it. It's come to the point where I'd rather see a smiling couple with religious pamphlets at my door than a copy of the TandT.

Maybe I should think of finding a difference focus for this blog.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sept. 26: Headline News

Here are headlines from Newspapers across Canada today.

1. Audit of access to information gives New Brunswick government an F.

2. New Book by Dick Cheney protrays Bush as a stooge.

3. Montreal Public/Private  Partnerships result in dangerous roads and massive corruption.

4. Switzerland bans fracking

5. Civil war conitnues against pro-democracy forces in Bahrain

6.  As US leaders threaten Pakistan. China offers it greater friendship

7. Libya war, declared to have ended a month ago, still rages.

8. Canada to extend "three month" war in Libya to at least a year.Only NDP opposes.

These were headlines to be found across Canada today. And I think they were all of importance to Moncton readers, with some quite directly hinting at Moncton issues.  But in the Moncton Times and Transcript, most were ignored, with any reporting at all on only two - and with  huge gaps in those two. On Libya, it dd not mention NDP opposition to the extension, referring only to the Liberals -though they are only a third pary. (That's what happens when you buy your news from PostMedia.)

Postmedia was also the source  for an idiot  speech at the UN by our Foreign Affairs minister Baird. He said the second world war taught us the danger of going along with anti-semitism. Actually, Mr. Baird, we didn't just go along. We actively supported Hitler's treatement of Jews by sending any Jewish refugees who got here right back to Germany. We did it in the 1930s when we knew damn well what was going on. Canada was a hotbed of anti-semitism at the highest government levels before, during and after the war.  About 1942, we even refused sanctuary to 200 Jewish children, even though we knew they would be sent back to the death camps. And we maintained that policy for several years AFTER the war. There is no evidence we learned anything from the holocaust.

Then Baird shows another flash of ignorance.  He says democracy and freedom are linked, and that is why religious freedom is a key aspect of his foreign policy.

May I point out that Israel defines itself as a religious state, and that religious laws are enforced? So - you're sayinig Israel is not a democracy?  Could you enlarge on that, please?

May I also point out that our ally, Saudi Arabia, is a religions state - and a woman now faces trial there for having the impudence to drive a car ?

Where does Canada find these bozos?

But I began this talking front page stuff - the story of the day for the MontonTandT.
{sound of trumpets)

"Moncton Eyes the next big event.". 

This time, the big news is that we MIGHT get the Women's World Cupt matches in soccer. AND the CFL is really thinking about us.

The language of the reporting would embarass even the sort of people who say, "Does itsy-bitsy baby like milky-milky?"   Tha last such event (a track meet) held here, writes the adjectively gifted Brent Mazerolle, was an "unprecedented" success....

 Unprecedented? Even more successul than the American university football games that pack stadia several times the size of ours?  And do it every week? More successful than soccer matches in Latin America where there is at least one stadium that could hold the enitire adult population of Moncton, and most of ther children?

Another big story in A section is that Paul Henderson's sweater will be passing through Moncton. Wow!

Just to refresh memories, Canada entered that series convinced that this would be a pushover. There was no shortage of bravado, of boasting that amounted to a sense of racial superiority. When a Candian hockey authority warned the the USSR might be far better than expected, he was booed. After all, Canada had a century of continuous hockey development. The USSR had less than forty years, and those marked by civil war, savage purges, and the deaths of over 20 million in a world war. This was going to be a pushover.

In fact, it was anything but. It was hard fought the whole way, with Canada at last winning by only a single goal - and that only after injuring the leading Soviet player. So this is what we celebrate as proof of the superiority of Canadians. Wow! Paul Henderson's sweater will pass through Moncton. The whole word will be watching Moncton.

Many Canadians will be proudly kneeling at the sweater - as though it says something about being Candian. I will be remembering the boorishness, arrogance, violence, and poor winner attitude displayed by the Canadian team - with one exception - Mahovlitch, who showed us what I would prefer to think a Canadian is..

The purpose of these headlines is not to inform the public. It's to pump us up to spend money on what are supposed to be money-making projects for the city.  But do they make money? We never get any clear figures on that. For example, we never get clear figures on where the money is coming from - or where it is going to. How much of it comes from us?  That is not new money. That is local money going in a circle.

How much is from people from far enough away to rent a hotel room? There are two things to note here. The hotels did NOT fill last weekend. (That suggests fewer visitors than expected.)  And money that goes to chain hotels does not stay here except, for the most part, as low paid jobs. So what's the real financial scoop on this?

The other purpose of these headlines is to keep us overexcited about trivia, and ignorant of everything that matters.  This, I expect, is particularly true of the CFL chatter. A CFL team in a city this small and so far from other urban centres makes no sense at all. Even people who write for The Moncton Times must know that.  The purpose of the CFL chatter is to keep us hypnotized while our public/private patrnerships go on ripping us off. That' s why I didn't take today's editorial (on CFL football, course) seriously.

In the staffwriter section of the op ed is  Alan Cochrane gushing about, God help us, CFL football.

Strong column by Alec Bruce. Gwynne Dyer's column inspires a sort of hope, and it's well done. But the hope is mixed with horror.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sept. 26: The lowest: Moncton's day of shame

The  headline of today's Moncton Times and Transcript screams in giant letters "Moncton Scores a touchdown".

In Somalia, thousands of refugees, especially children are dying evey few days. So who gives a damn?

In Libya, the war that was declared over a month ago is still going on. Not important enough - even if our air force is part of it.

In Ottawa, the government is up to its ears in scandal. Mr. Clement, the man charged with reducing the deficit is the same person who unethically and perhaps criminally transferred millions of dollars intended for the G20 summit to his own riding. Boys will be boys.

He will be getting advice on it from a private company (a friend of the government) for $90,000 a day for at least a year - even though Ottawa already has plenty of civil servants (at far lower pay) whose qualifications in the field are as good or better.  Hey! It's all part of the democratic process.

Defence Minister McKay spent well over a hundred thousand of our dollars to fly himself to a lobster boil. Well, a man's gotta eat.

There is to be a major demonstration against the oild sands on Parliament Hill today.  Shit disturbers.

For all his promises, Alward has still explained nothing about shale gas drilling. All we know is that we will get  a lousy three percent on royalties (if there are any); and the companies will pay no income tax until 2016. Hey! If its good for billionaires it's good for New Brunswick. That's what has made this province so rich. That's why poverty no longer exists in New Brunswick.

Of all the above news items (and many more one could add), only one appears in today's TandT. And that appears not as a news item but as an excellent column by Alec Bruce. Remember space is required for which celebrity is having a birthday today, and what you horoscope is. There was just no room for news.

How could there be when a full half of the edition, two shole sections, is given over to a football game?  And just to satisfy the illiterate who subscribe to this sheet, most of the sections are photos. Of course, photos can tell a story. For example, there is the bald man who proclaimed his team loyalty  by having team logo painted on his head. There are pictures showing that football players sometimes run. And there are lots of pictures showing that cheerleaders have belly buttons. This is need-to-know stuff.

They did squeeze in a story that Canada is very vulnerable if the eonomic crisis goes on. But it was buried on p. B7.

Allen Abel has his usual column on the depths of ignorance of ordinary people in Washington. I'm never sure whether Mr. Abel hates Americans - or is really so thick he believes the people he writes about are normal.

The Moncton Times and Transcript has always been a paper designed to keep people in ignorance of what is going on. It's designed to keep them trivial. It's designed to produce a population which will tolerate unending rip-offs without protest. It's designed to keep New Brunswick poor. Any real journalist would be ashamed to admit working for it.

Today, the headline screams "Moncton scores a touchdown". But the whole paper screams the real opinion of the Moncton Times, "Moncton is hicksville".

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sept. 23: Keep 'em iggerant: keep 'em amused

The Canadian government has brought down a set of crime bills that just about every authority on crime in the western world has said is worse than useless; it is actually damaging. The bill also opens up serious threats to our individual freedoms that we brag about and thank Canadians for dying for every November 11. In addition, it comes at a time when crime in Canada is low. And at a time when we are cutting spending for essential services as we face an economic crisis. So, in the face of this economic crisis, we are going to go into debt for billions to fight a threat that doesn't exist and, probably, to make the crime situtation worse. And to do it, we will have to take billions away from useful programmes. 

Why is our federal government doing this? Because it will win votes. It appeals to people who are uninformed. A great many Canadians are uninformed. That's because most of our news media keep us that way. That's why none of this news appeared in today's Moncton Times. All we get are some self-serving statements by our local MP.

The big, federal story in the Moncton Times and Transcript today is that the government is under criticism for excessive use of government aircraft. Wow! That's much more important than throwing billions of dollars away.

The front page has a story about a demonstration refugee camp built in Moncton. Unfortunately, there was no room for any news about the famine in Somalia, the refugee camps that still exist in Haiti as so few of the aid dollars that were promised still haven't reached there. There were no stories of the Nigerian refugees who have had to flee the rebel terror in Libya, or the millions of refugees left over in Iraq. Indeed, there were no stories of real refugees anywhere. Just a story of some tents in a park in Moncton.

In fact, there wasn't room for much news of any sort. That's the keep 'em iggerant part.

The keep 'em amused part is that over five pages (mostly photos) were devoted to a football game. Most of the rest were pages about which unknown celebrities are having birthdays today, and to ads - expecially car ads.

Oh, there's a recent and quite devastating study about the long term health effects of the chemicals used in fracking.   Little things - like high rates of cancer, brain damage, organ damage, etc. But that wasn't important enough to make the Times. So don't worry. Just go ahead and drink your water and don't worry about it. Trust your local shale gas driller.

The stock markets just had their worst week since 1929. That didn't make The Times Business Page. That's because they had to fit in an important story about the opening of a local car and auto accessories store.  There was no other room in the NewsToday section because the  next four pages were needed for the football game. They were mostly photos of strangers smiling for no apparent reason. Anyway, who wants to waste time on words? That's dangerous. Get people reading, and they might find out things they shouldn't know.

Bill Belliveau's column has some merit. It is, indeed, frightening than the man in charge of cutting the Canadian deficit is Tony Clement, the man notorious  for improperly diverting tens of millions of dollars to his riding, and then trying to hide it from auditors.

Norbert Cunningham made a big mistake in the title of his colum "History suggests that governments don't do development well". It's a statement that shows he knows nothing whatever about history.

Apparently, he doesn't know that the Canadian civil service was so effective in directing the economy in World War Two, for example, that for years after it was over private companies used to send senior executives to Ottawa to study civil service methods. The myth that private business is efficient and the civil service isn't comes from propaganda "think tanks" sponsored by people like New Brunswick's corporate bosses, and trumpeted by propaganda newspapers like the one Mr. Cunnigham works for.

To call Invest NB a 'crown corporation" is more than a bit of a distortion. It is to be run by second level flunkies in private business, picked by the corporate bosses to find new ways to rip us off. The only thing that makes it a sort of government corporation is that our taxes will be paid to these people to give advice on how to rip us off.

Mr. Cunnigham's says that the Board of Directors of Invest NB will be effective because they are businessmen, and therefore know how to make money.

Well, yes they do. For themselves.  I  have known some big-time gangsters who also knew how to make money. But I wouldn't give them tax money to advise the government. I knew a seven hundred and fifty pound man who knew how to eat. But I wouldn't put him in charge of a dietary programme.

Government is not just about making money. It's more about deciding who needs the money, and what it is needed for. It is about priorities. Developing New Burnswick for us is not the same as developing it to make the Irvings and the McCains and the rest even richer.

It's about  us. We decide what the priorities are, and we elect governments to carry out our wishes. Mr. Alward's decision to had over eonomic development to a gang of private business hacks shows a combination of wimpiness, ignorance and servility rarely found in even the flimsiest of democracies.

As for the ability of private business to create development, I have never heard of a private business in the history of the world that did not depend on government to support its development - everything from building roads to fighting wars for it - not to mention subsidized electricity, tax breaks and outright gifts.  Big business in New Brunswick would crash without the government and the civil service. It has no intention of making government smaller. In fact, if you check the history of governments in North America, you will find that the biggest spenders have also been the most pro-business governments.

What Invest NB is all about is big business coming out of the closet and openly taking over the government for its own benefit - not for ours. It is a direct attack on the fundamental principles of democracy. And your propaganda sheet will support it because supporting new ways of ripping off the people of New Brunswick is what your paper is all about.

And, Mr. Cunningham, if you would like to publicly debate me on this to show how wrong I am, I would be delighted. (Be careful, though.I've actually read some  history.)

The student section is even more solid that usual. Every column is a good read -( and. as it happens, most of them touch on my own experiences.)

Christina Korotkov spoke of the surprises of career expectation. I can relate to that. I grew up in a district in which finishing high school wasn't even on our radar. So I didn't finish. The peak of my ambition was to be an office boy. So I became one. My life was a success at 17.

By pure luck and accident, I discovered I loved teaching - and by more luck and accident I got to teach public school and then university. My life has been nothing but suprises in career expectations.

Jana Giles and Alex Corbett, you're dead on. We need to learn to organize; we meed to do homework to learn the organization of study and of learning. I never studied or did homework. That's why I flunked out. I did a BA at night, but still without doing homework. My grades were so low, it was worthless. Then, by luck and talking fast, I got a chance to do another year - on condition I got straight As.

So, for the first ime in my life, I organized rigid study hours for myself. I organized my time and study methods so there was still time left to have a life. So I got the straight As, and I got into graduate school. You two are dead right.

I could write more on this line for each of the student columns. But don't waste your time reading me. Read them. They, alone, are worth the price of a copy of The Moncton Times and Tribune.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sept. 23:

Yesterday, I drove past Frank Clair Stadium in Ottawa, and remembered games I had seen there. Greater Ottawa has struggled for years to re-establish a  CFL team. Even with its population of 1.3 million, even with its high income levels, even with its backing of wealthy investors, the team is going to have to seek financial support from the Ottawa city government - forever.

The reason I had gone to see an Ottawa game was that my own Alouettes in Montreal had gone broke. Greater Montreal has a population of well over three and a half million.

When I told people in Monttreal and Toronto that Greater Moncton, population about 160,000. was talking of getting a CFL team, they laughed. Now, I pick up The MonctonTimes and Transcript to find most of the first page, plus two more pages in Section A, devoted to Touchdown Atlantic. (followed closely by a story about orphaned kittens - the second time in a week that story has made the front page.)

Most of the reportage and commentary is just fatuous. The CFL commissioner is quoted as raving about the mood of the crowd at last year's game. "People were really enthusiastic about showing off their pride in their city."

What on earth does going to a football game and cheering for teams from two, distant cities have to do with showing pride in Moncton?

At first, I thought this was the old New Brunswick scheme of some influential people getting into our tax money to make a quick buck, and then getting out before people realize what a financial hole they've been sucked into. However, I'm not sure that is the case - if only because we may be even  deeper into financial crisis long before a team could take the field.

What this may reflect, instead, is the primary mission of BrunswickMedia - to keep New Brunswickers in the dark about what is going on in this province (or anywhere else).; and to divert them with trivia - ooh - look at those cute. little kittens.

I know of few papers that would run a cute kitten story on the front page. And very few that would do it twice in five days. And those very few are the same type that carry headlines like "Oprah diaries tell shocking story.:

The NewsToday section remains without any sense of focus or planning. The war in Libya - which we were told almost a month ago is over - is still going on. What does this mean?  A story from PostMedia tells us we might be heading into a recesssion. Might be? The world has been in a recession which is not yet officially a depression only because the super rich contiue to get richer. In the US, with fifty million living on food stamps and with tent cities springing up across the country, the poor and the middle class are not a recession. It's a depression.

The spotty bits of news in this section serve only to fill a few pages that they had no ads for. There is no hint this section has any editor or guiding plan..

There are solid columns by Alec Bruce and David Suzuki. The only other reason to buy today's Moncton Times and Transcript is to look for sales on 2011 cars.

The problem is not simply that BrunwickMedia newspapers are used hide what is going on, and to spread propaganda for the owners. It's even worse than that. They are quite deliberately intended to keep the thinking of New Brunswickers trivial and irrelevant so they can be more easily ripped off. And it works. Just look at the people we've voted for in the last two provincial elections.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

sept. 21: This is the darkest day in the History of New Brunswick.

You won't find the story on the front page of the TandT. That is reserved for a football story - again.
The big story buried on page 6 of Section A. And it is nothing less than a takeover of our elected government. This is not the fascism of Mussolini. It actually goes further. This is a revolution - a real one.

Democacy is over. That should an extreme statement. Believe me; I wish it were. But the government of this province, and the welfare of you and your family, has been handed over to a gang of self-appointed coroporate bosses.

The story began in mid-December, when Mr. Irving announced in his papers that he had formed a coalition with the government. I wrote at the time that any such move would be contrary to Canadian practice and, indeed, to democracy. In a democracy, you can join a coalition only if your have been elected. And, as I wrote at the time that you have to be invited by government to join.

Mr. Irving's statement was breathtakingly arrogant and anti-democratic. (I say arrogant because it would certainly be arrogant if any of us were to make such a statement. But Mr. Irving seems to think he is not down here with us as a common citizen.He is a person of speical privilege.)

But Mr. Alward, perhaps the wimpiest premier in New Brunswick history, just stood there with his face hanging out. Can you ifmainge what he would have said if you had published a statement that you had declared yourself a member of hie government?)

Then Mr. Irving met with Mr. Alward to inform him he had formed.a gang of buddies from corporate offices ( I expect they will later include a couple of university presidents as potted plants)  who would plan the economic future of New Brunswick.

Now, the economic plan is the essential basis off evething else in a province - health, education, roads, social services, everything. The role of the minister of finance is so important that in Britain it carries the lofty title "Cancellor of the Exchequer"' The position is so important that it is not much of an exaggeration to say the minister of finance IS the government.

The premier should have told Mr. Irving that this a a job we elected him and his government to do. But he wimped out again, and approved it.

Now, we have the formal plan Actually, it's not much of a plan  - more a PR outline for the cameras. It's  full of corporate bullshit that it will apppoint "the best" people, the "most highly skilled". etc. (Ever hear of a company bragging it would hire the worst and least skilled people?  Essentially, the new group which will plan our economy and will report to the minister of finance will be made up  of private bsuiness honchos. It will be organized as a private company. BUT IT'S WORK WILL BE PAID FOR BY OUR TAXES.We pay for these intruders to rob us.

It will in no way be under the authority of the minister of finance - and there is no provision for any control or evaluation of it.  There will be regular reviews of whether it is meeting its goals - But not by any outsider. That fat cats thsemselves will decide how good they are. They will effectively control who gets tax breaks, who gets subsidies, and all the other goodies. This is hiring foxes to guard the henhouse.

The plan promises to bring the "discipline" of the private sector to government. I presume that means the discipline to get cheaper electricity, lower taxes for the rich,  cash subsidies, easy regulations, etc.

Given the arrogance and the overthrow of democracy in this document, it is the most important New Brunswick story we shall ever see. It means that whatever whimpering democracy there ever was in New Burnswick is done with. It means we are all going to get ripped off as never before.

So why is it on page A6, sharing space with an ad for wieght loss.? If this is good and sensational,, why isn't the whole front page a photo of Mr. Alward taking bows.  Why just a photo of him standing there, perhaps listening. Wasn't he allowed even to hold a corner of the sheet with the logo on it?

I never thought such a thing would ever happen in Canada.  I retired here because it was beautiful, and the people were nice. I knew that the business leaders were greedy and uncaring, and the politicians were rag dolls.But I never thought such a thing could happen in Canada.

Now, I see this. And I see a people who, however nice, have never had the courage or, perhaps, the interest  to take a stand against the humiliations that are poured on them.

Remember the fuss over the singing of our national anthem in the schools of New Brunswick? Anybody who now can sing O Canada while accepting a plan to destroy all the anthem stands for is nothing more than a lout.  making a mockery of our flag and our country, and all the values our anthem represents..

Remember - no blog tomorrow because I'll be in Ottawa having lunch with the secstat Perhaps he'ss ask about democracy in NB. But I doubt it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sept. 20: News for a firightened province.

There is a fear that runs down through every level of New Brunswick society. The people of New Brunswick are cheated and lied to. They know it. They know it; but they don't want to hear it. And they certainly aren't going to talk out  loud about it.

They're afraid. They're afraid the  big ones might hear about it.

In Israel, tens fo thousands are camped in protest against their government that has encouraged enormous wealth for a few at the cost of low living standards for everybody else. As the protestors camp out in the streets, they also form dozens of lecture and discussion groups to familiarize themselves with the causes of the  problem.  Openly. Publicly.

Can you imagine anyone in this province gathering in public for open and honest talks about our political and economic leadership?

(Hey! How about that football game, eh?)

The  Moncton Times &Transcript exists to sell ads, and to keep people thinking only of trivialities. That's why section A has over a page on football games, five pages of ads and obituaries, and a geegollywhiz story about a rabiit that is looking after kittens..

The big story in NewsToday is the Harper budget. It comes from PostMedia, of course. That's why it didn't carry important news that was easily avaiable.
1, Our cost-cutting government is committing itself to a prison-building, sentence lengthening prograemme that:
a)is estremely expensive.
b) American authroities, who have tried it for years say it doesn't work and indeed, makes crime worse at huge cost. That is also the opinion of Canadians who have studied it. It is far  cheaper and more effective to use crime prevention and rehabilitation services.
c) this comes at a time when the Canadian crime rate is at its lowest level in almost forty years.

So why is Harper doing it? To appeal to that very large part of the public that doesn not get honest news from its news media. . Why not? It worked for Alward.

Norrdoes Postmedia mention a rather important point relatied to the crime bill. . Harper has contracted economic consultants to suggest where bugets should be cut. The contract is for $90,000 - PER DAY for as much as TWO YEARS. That's right folks. We are going to spend billions on correction services that aren't needed and don't work; and then spend another $500,000 on tips to save money. Funny how Polstmedia missed that. There was, of course, no call for tenders. Happy times are here again foro Harper buddies.

In foreign News, there is no mention of a story which has been receiving coverage from reputable news sources for weeks. The rebel forces in Libya have been on a spree for weeks raping, murdering, torturing, beating, starving to death in prisons anybody who is Black. Most of the victims are migrant workers brought in to do the dirtiest and worst paid jobs in Libya.

Weren't we told that we were going to Libya to prevent just such a slaughter? How come NATO hasn't 'made a peep? How come the TandT has yet to carry a story on Canadians fighting in Libya? How come Harper hasn't said anything? He's the one who sent our flyers there.

(Oh, and what kinds of bombs are they dropping? They wouldn't be cluster bombs, would they?)

I have a long list of easily available and important news that is not in the the TandT.And it comes from sources a lot more reliable than PostMedia.  But I'll save it for another day.

In fairness, we do  have half a page by a staff writer on how you're never too old to rock. (When all the old TandT staffers fade from this world, they're going to have to open a new care centre in the idiot section of the New Jeursalem).

There are two must-reads in the paper.- Alec Bruce on the Editorial Page, and Ed Graham on the Op Ed.

Meanwhile, a reminder. I shall have a blog for Wednesday. But on Thursday, I have to be in Ottawa to meet for an hour or so  with the Secretary of State.. But I'm a poor man; so the Secstat will pick up the tab. Thanks to all you taxpayers. And I hav a feeling the TandT isn't going to report it. Not unless secstat gives me a free ticket to the football game - or wants me to be a mother to orphaned kittens.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sept. 19: Where to start?

1. Let's go with the editorial, easily the most inane I have seen since  News of the World closed down. It gave Alward an A+ for his political brilliance in appearing before TV cameras in a show to get the Bay of Fundy named one of the world's seven natural wonders.
a). Premiers almost always show up for such photo ops. To congratulate him for doing what politicians do every day is like saying he deserves an A+ for remembering to zip his fly on formal occasions.
b)  Then it says the Hopewell Rocks are world famous! Oh? If they're already world famous, why are we campaigning to make them world famous? (In fact, they aren't even nationally famous.)
c)  How does a picture of Alward doing naughty things to sardines do anything to create interest in the Bay of Fundy?
d)  Are the rock formations at Hopewell the only point of interest in the bay? I don't think they are. But the TandT seems to think so. At least, that's the only thing that it has photographed or spoken of throughout this campaign. (In fact, it hasn't shown that it knows much even about the rocks.)

So far, the NB campaign to sell the Bay of Fundy region as a top wonder of the world looks pretty feeble and amateurish.  Too bad, because it does deserve serious consideration.

2. The anti-fracking demonstration was reported fairly in some respects. (Indeed, how could a newspaper ignore it?) But there were oddities.  Such a demonstration is rare in New Brunswick. New Brunswick is, in political terms, an extraordinarily passive place. Open and public discussion of public affairs is probably less common here than it is in China. This demonstration was so unusual for this society that a report on it should not have been on page 3. It would have been an easy matter to dump the daily, front page Special Report (which is seldom worth reading, anyway) to make room for such an exceptional event. As it was, the demonstration got less coverage than yet another story about how the whole world is watching Moncton because of the CFL game.

Nor does the report estimate the size of the crowd. It refers simply to hundreds. Now, I have covered a lot of demonstrations. I have never even heard of a newspaper not giving an estimated crowd size. In this case, a count was easy because the crowd was very orderly and always within a defined space. Since I have had, at times, to estimate crowds in the thousands (and once at a hundred thousand), it was no difficulty to estimate this one at 600+.  That's very strong for a normally passive society.

Given the limits of space (an editorial decision) and the failure to estimate crowd size (almost certainly an editorial decision), the story is still an example of fair and objective  reporting by Yvon Gauvin. (The reporter.)

3. I give up on the NewsToday section. I have no idea what standards are used to judge what appears. There are two stories on legislation coming up in the new, federal parliament. Both are stories that have been known for months. The lead story is that a university president is appealing for more federal money. This isn't old news. This is ancient news.  Every university president in Canada has always appealed for more money.

There is no mention, never has been, of the serious unrest in Israel, where  thousands of people have been camping in the streets in a protest against the huge gap between rich and poor, the declining standard of living, the excessive political power of minority groups. This has been going on for weeks without a mention in the TandT. Why?

Nor has there been any mention of the spread of shanty towns and tent cities in the US.  There are even some on vacant lots within cities. The US is in a recession only in abstract terms. In reality, it's in a depression - with no sign of recovery. (But I didn't figure that out from the so-called business page of the TandT.)

The final page of NewsToday is the only one worth reading. It's about  the heavily (and badly) reported war in Libya. Most of the TandT reports have come from Reuters; and they have all been text book examples of why we should not trust war correspondents, none of them.

To now, the reports have all been of heroic and smiling rebels as they pushed back Ghadaffi forces. We were assured the population supported the rebels. Those reports were never credible. Such popular support coupled with NATOs massive air power as well as British, French and American special ops on the ground would have ended the war in a couple of months.

The frequent reports of "fierce" battles using bombs, rockets and artillery, and with only two or three dead, never made sense.

Now, with only a few fragments of Ghadaffi's army left, and those bottled up in just a few locations, the rebels have suffered one humiliating defeat after another in their attacks. This is the war that was supposed to be over three weeks ago.  Why do I hear echos of Bush's premature "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq?

As well, Reuters now informs us that the rebel leadership and the rebel army are so divided they can't even begiin to form a government. This, too, has been known for a long time. Why didn't Reuters tell us this months ago when it was already obvious?

Never trust war correspondents.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

sept. 17: Man cleared at fight in bar....

I yawned. A man getting cleared of starting a fight is front page stuff in Moncton. Then I noticed a real story. "School district chief praised." And there was a picture of Harry Doyle, Chairman of School District 2 Education Council. It was just  a year ago I had dealings with him.  I wanted to present to the council my views on the interference of Atlantic Institute of Marketing Studies in New Brunswick schools. I wanted to explain why AIMS was utterly incompetent to give advice on public education, and was really acting as one of the propaganda agencies for corporations across North America who want to get our tax money into their pockets.

Doyle played it absolutely straight. He gave me my allotted time - to the second. At no point did he indicate agreement or disagreement with me. I still don't know what he thought. And that's the way it should be. He did exactly what a chariman should do, and did it with exemplary impartiality. As I waited to speak, I had a chance to see he conducted the whole meeting that way. I've been to a lot of executive meetings, too many.Tthough many of those meetings had some pretty eminent chairmen, I have never seen one as impartial and effective as Harry Doyle.

The editorial picks up the theme - but in a disgustingly partisan way that Doyle would never permit. It dumps all the blame for in the Moncton High closing, for example, on the administrators of District 2, saying they were at fault for not maintaining the school. That's what's called a lie because whichever village idiot employed by the TandT to write editorials knows, or should know, that the responsillibity lay with New Brunswick governments, includinig the current one led by "I'm all ears" Alward - the same man who completely failed in his reponsibilities to inform the electorate on the shale gas issue.

As well, I remember how The Moncton Times and Tribune for months carried a series of vicious and lying attacks on the whole school system, including our District Education Council. I Iwas reminded of that when I   saw the name of the reporter who wrote today's story for Doyle. It was Brent Mazerolle who once wrote reports of a much different kind. That was when The TandT ran the most unethical and lying smear campaign against public schools that I have even seen.


The objective was private/ public "partnerships", scheme by corporations to get tax money away from children and put into corporate pockets. This has already done so much damage in the US that its public education system now ranks the worst in the developed world. But that will not discourage New Brunswick's corporate bosses - who don't give a damn what happens to us or our children. Forming a partnership with them is like offering to be a target for pickpockets.

The TandT's praise for Harry Doyle is deserved. And it would be welcome if the TandT would apologize for its many slanders. But it hasn't. And it won't. And the smear campaign will be coming back.

On Libya, we have been told for months that most of Libya is on the side of the rebels. We were also told the war (which is lastiing well over twice as long as it was supposed to) ended two weeks ago. We are also given to understand only a small fraction of the Ghadaffi loyalists are left. And, course, we are told our bombs don't kill civilians.

1. If the war is over, how come it's still going on?
2. If Ghadaffi was widely hated, how come some regions are still holding on?
    How come the whole rebel army with massive air support plus weaponry supplied by NATO plus troops supplied by NATO is having such a hard time?
3. We are told the cities and towns holding out are being bombed, and hit with rocket fire and artillery.
Never in  history has that kind of power failed to kill very large numbers of civilians. Never. So how come we aren't hearing anything about civilian deaths? Other, reputable news sources put the number of civilian deaths at as much as 50,000. And that was two weeks ago.
4. The African Union has publicly protested that Blacks in Libya. many of them migrant workers, are being slaughtered by the rebels. How come Reuters hasn't reported that?

Then there's Bill Belliveau's column. I used to like his columns because he seemed to put so much research into them.  Unfortunately, that's all his puts into them. The thinking part is a trifle weak - and a lot biased.

Today, he says the Liberals were right to want to sell NBEnergy because it's real accounting figures were so bad, we would be lucky to get 50% of it's estimated value in the sale. So it's better just to let it go. Otherwise, the debt just gets worse.

Okay. we sell it - which, at the loss, raises our debt right there. Presumably, somebody buys it. And then?  They charge us at least what he have been paying (probably more to bring the balance up) AND more to make a profit. They also use their control to get even lower electric rates for their businesses in the province - which means we have to pay even more to cover that.

Great thinking, Bill. For your next column, how about a study of privatization of power that has resulted in lower rates?  Good luck on finding one. (Did you know that electricity supply was taken over in the first place because privately owned energy was too expensive? Ever read any history?)

On the op ed page, Brent Mazerolle contributes the thought-piece of the day. It's about
Scarlett Johansson's naked bum.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sept. 16: Journalists and "personalities"

Today's is a thoroughly annoying edition of The Moncton Times and Transcript. There is nothing really disgusting about it. It is just shoddy and amateurish and a waste of good trees.
Let's start with a point that is small, but illustrates the  hicktown boosterism that characterizes so much of this paper..

The front page lead story is about a national  TV programme doing a show at Hopewell Cape. It refers to the host of the show as a 'personality'. Look, Mr. editor; check with Norbert Cunningham on this.  A person in not a personality. Not ever. Not any more than a fish is a fishality or a tree a treeality.

A person, even a TV host, is a person. Such a person may HAVE a personality, just as he may have a great haircut without BEING a great haircut. Get it, Mr. editor? (And Mr. Mazerolle?)


We are told that a crowd of a hundred turned out to watch. A hundred watching a national TV shoot is not very many. I have often seen far more turned out for a live radio broadcast - including at least one occasion here in Moncton..

They were there "to show their pride in the Bay of Fundy". Oh? A reporter is supposed to report what he sees. I doubt very much that Mr. Mazerolle has any evidence that the hundred were there for that reason. There's nothing small about that. TandT reporters have a habit of making up things as they go along - anything that sounds good and boosterish.

Even as PR, this story is amateurish. It's supposed to be the bay that's in the national spotlight. I hope the TV show gave more play to this than the story did. The news story is all about trivia like the premier packing sardines. I can just see a family in Toronto sitting around the TV,  "Mummy, daddy, we want to go the the Bay of Fundy to see premier Alward pack sardines."

(Actually, if you look closely at the picture, he's not packing sardines. He seems to be listening to them.)

NewsToday has its usual story on Libya. Like all the others, it came from Reuters. So we still have no idea how many were killed in this humanitarian mission. Nor do we have any idea what  form the government will take. We do know, though, that the NATO countries who supported the rebels will get preferential treatment in taking over the Libyan oil industry. Gee! Who would have guessed?

The day's editorial is its usual, half-wit self.  It advocates saving money by giving free flu shots only to those who qualify under a means test. The obivous idiocy is that the cost of administering the means test would equal or come close to the cost of the shots. It would also mean that many people would not get the shot, especially children whose parents would not take the extra offort to apply for the means test. As a consequence, we could face heightened medicare costs if this flu proves to be a deadly one.

Read some history, Mr. editor. The great flu epidemic of 1919 killed more people than World War One did.

How come this government is so eager to save fifteen bucks on a flu shot - but gives gas companies a gift of no taxes until 2016?

Alec Bruce's column is, to say the least, disappointing. He practically foams at the mouth about shale gas protestors who demanded that the mayor of Fredericton write and sign a promise to keep shale gas exploration out of the city region.  He asserts that such a signed document would have no legally binding worth for anyone.

Thus far, Bruce is quite right. But he goes on to suggest that protestors are not fully aware of all the laws (neither are most lawyers; that's why some specialize). Then he says protestors are deliberately kept uninformed by their leaders. Does he have any evidence of that? Most of the protestors I have met seem to be far better informed of the issues than is the paper Mr. Bruce writes for. Indeed, the TandT has worked very hard for years to keep people uninformed.

Then he compare the protesters to the Tea Party movement in the US. Why didn't he go all the way and compare it to Mao's cultural revolution?

The rage of the protestors is incoherent? I'm not surprised. They live in a province in which most of the news media treat them like idiots, helps big business rip them off, and even lies to them. And they have governments that for a hundred and fifty years and more have served the interests of economic bosses instead of the people who elected them.

Protestors cheapen the quality of the debate? What debate? What are you babbling about? Until very recently, thanks to our governments and most of our news media, we didn't even know there was anything to debate. And Brunswick Media has certainly done nothing to encourage or even inform a debate at any time.

Mr. Bruce say, "Protesting is not a lifestyle choice....., it's a somber duty." Do you have evidence that those who protest are simply making a lifetstyle choice? Was George Washington making a lifestle choice? Martin Luther King? The protestors against slavery?  Women who demanded the vote?

I'm sorry to write this. Alec Bruce is one of the best columnists I have ever read. But this time -  its just a grade nine rant.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sept. 15: headlines and and "special reports" as propaganda

"Metro backs shale gas: poll" That's the head that blasts in the middle of page 1 in today's Moncton Times and Transcript. Wow! So all the protestors are wrong. But, wait a minute....

When you read the story, it says 41 percent  in Moncton support shale gas exploration.. Since when has 41% been most? Those who oppose it are 36%, a number within the margin of error for such a poll which means the poll shows no significant difference between the two sides. Fully 20% have no opinion at all. How could they? They haven't had any information about it. That whole story is a lie.

When the story continues on p. A6, the headline is "Poll finds support for shale gas exploration". Well, yes. If it can find one person who supports shale gas exploration and thousands against it, then it has found support - I suppose. Not much support. But some. I imagine similar polls could also find support for Stalin, for farting in public, and for spitting on restaurant floors. The headline is true. But it gives a false impression - and that's lying.

In fact, shale glass exploration means fracking. And, when you call it fracking, the 41% support drops to 29%. In other words, when the meaning of the poll is made clear, then the real issue, fracking, has very, very little support.

And this was in an urban poll. Expect the shale gas option to do much, much worse in a rural poll.

This whole story is a classic example of how to slant the news to give the impression it says something different from what it does say.

Right below this story on the front page is a SPECIAL REPORT.  Why is it called a SPECIAL REPORT? After all, it's really quite a minor news story, Well, that's another, old news game. It's called a SPECIAL REPORT because that gives it an air of authority and excitement.

The head is "Students get shale gas experience". It's simply a story of NB students who worked in the shale gas industry this summer. It's a feel good story. SWN resources took them on for summer jobs in the southern US. The real messages?
1. Students loved the experience. Have positive feelings about fracking.
2, SWN cares about New Brunswickers, and is looking after their children and their children's futures.
3. SWN will provide jobs for New Brunswickers.

This is soft sell propaganda - and pretty sleazy stuff for a newspaper to run.

Oh, there is still no story about the serious fracking accidents in Pennsylvania, no story about the law companies making money out of law suits for fracking damage, no stories about other countries who are banning fracking.

Nor have we yet had any of the impartial evidence we have many times been promised by Alward, by Brunswick Media, and by the shale gas industry.  What we're getting instead is some pretty crude propaganda.  The industry is going to have to find a better propaganda writer than Brent Mazerolle..

The editorial is a booster speech, something like Shakespeare would have written for Henry V rallying his troops - if Shakespeare had been a really bad writer.

Interesting column by Norbert Cunningham on multi-culturism. One of the key problems is that so few people understand what culture means. There is no such thing as a Moslem culture or a Christian culture or a French or English... We each have a culture - a way we react to the world. There are many ways in which I react to the world in much the way a Moslem or an Acadian does. There are many ways I don't react as my parents did. Our children will not have the same culture as us. Cultures, as reactions to the world, also change constantly as the world changes. Good luck to anyone who tries to define something that no two people completely share, and that is constantly changing, anyway.

Superb column by Jody Dallaire. Well worth a read.

Interesting letter by M. Sullivan in "Direct efforts to right place". It 's a well deserved jab at those who confuse self-righteousness and finger-pointing with religious faith.

A p.s. to this blog. The US SAT scores for reading skill at high school graduation have hit the lowest level in the long history of these scores. This comes at the same time as other tests have shown US education to have declined shaprtly, putting it far below standards in the rest of the developed world.

This is a result of the massive shift in the US to statistical ratings of public schools, and to crereping privatization. This has all come at the urging of "think-tanks" eager to make it possible for private business to get control of public education, and to run it on a "for profit" basis.

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and other think-tanks like The Fraser Institute have been publishing their pseudo-scientific studies to duplicate in Canada what has happened in the US. That's why New Brunswick now has school raings, administered by the people at The Atlantic Institute who are quite ignorant of education, but very well-informed on greed and self-interest, and who really runs New Brusnwick.

That's why the T and T last year ran a crude and unethical campaign to vilify the public shools, to destroy confidence in them, and to call for more intrusions by the private interests who have done so much to destroy american public schools. I have to assume that the TandT's boss, who is also affiliated with AIMS, wants the public schools to be discredited and, as much as possible, run by a public/private partnership.like the one that destroyed education in the US. (We currently have a system that ranks in the top ten in the world. (No thanks to AIMS or to our puppet ministers of education or to the political and economic bosses of New Brunwick.)

There is a small group who have our forests. The dominate the provincial economy. They get handsome tax breaks that we have to pay for. They get subsidized electricity that we have to pay for. Now, they want our children. If we go along with this, we're on a downward road that has no end except in poverty and hopelessness. And our children and grandchildren will live to curse us for what we allowed to  happen.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sept. 14: Trivia and deliberate omssions from the news

Two, BIG stories on today's front page of The Moncton Times and Transcript. One - the people who live in Dieppe, our "metro" neighbours, are happy. That is big and, without doubt, will be one of the features of Moncton that the whole world is watching.  Two - a gull stuck in the mud at Jones Lake got free. Strong men wept openly at the sight.

Just to show the importance of those stories, they had to move the usual ad for the casino - (disguised as a news story)- to an inner page.  And it was a big story. Dog the Bounty Hunter will appear on stage. The whole world will be watching Moncton.

The words fracking and shale gas, as usual, did not appear anywhere in the paper, though both government and the newspaper have asssured us many times that they are going to keep us regularly and fully informed. So, just for you, here's secret the Moncton T&T doesn't know.
Go to google. Search for "Shale gas accidents". There wou will find over a million entries, most  of them very recent.

In fact, just in the last few months, you will find confirmed reports of poisoning of streams and the water table due to spills, massive escapes of shale gas into the atmosphere, leaking transmission pipes that poison both the air and the land, enormous tanking trucks of waste fracking fluid that have spilled their loads all over the land, law firms which have sprung up to specialize in damage caused by fracking, explosions that have killed and maimed....

Perhaps the TandT and the government could go just a little step further. They've already said we have to look at what NB can earn from this. Okay. Give us a look at how much we will get from the almost certain environmental damge. What percentage are we getting on oil sales? What tax breaks do we  have to pay for?  (For openers, I know one company won't have to pay taxes until 2016 - and not much even then.)

From what I've able to learn with computer searches, It doesn't sound to me as though we're getting a whole lot for the risks. Indeed, this deal has all the earmarks of all those other rip-offs by our economic bosses that have characterized the  history of New Brunswick - ripping off the resources and taxes of New Brunswick ( with the help of a lying press), and leaving its people among the poorest in Canada.

'course, it ain't big like a story of a gull getting out of Jones Lake. Or the thrilling op ed column by Brian Cormier in which he confesses he likes to knit.( Hey, c'mon Brian. The whole world is watching Moncton.)

I have a small quarrel with Alec Bruce and his defence of Stephen Harper's comment on "Islamicism" being the greatest threat to Canada. I know Harper specified Islamicist extremism.  But the importance of a statement  lies not in what you say, but in what people hear. And what is heard is that Islam is the problem.

Actually, though I am a Christian - and rather serious about it - I think the biggest threat in the world today is Christianicism extremism  It has certainly killed far more people than Islamic extremism has for some centuries now. Still, I fully agree with the main thrust of Bruce's column. Canadian democracy, never so strong as we think it is, has entered its most dangerous period. "We'll learn about that when Harper announces his plans on how to deal with them there Islamicist extremists.

My guess is that we can look forward to the destruction of fundamental freedoms -and lots and lots of wars that have nothing to do with protecting Canada..

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sept. 13: Keep 'em entertained. And lie to them.

Today's Moncton Times and Tribune story on Syria - yet again - got me thinking about the lying part. The T&T has been buying its stories from Syria from Reuters. Now, Reuters was one of the pioneers of news services, and has usually enjoyed  a trusted reputation. But just about all news services lie when reporting war. Reuter's, I'm afraid, is no exception. It has reported a war in which the rebels had popular suppot, that we are  helping because Ghdaffi is a bad man, that NATO has no  troops on the ground - and all of it quite obviously lies.

If  of those Reurters claims are true, if the rebel have popular support, then how come the war has so far gong on twice as long as it was supposed to be? If Ghadaffi had no popular support, why did he freely issue weapons to civilians in Tripoli? If the rebels were fighting so  hard, how come Reuters reported "fierce" battles between major forces, battles  in which only two or three were killed. And how could it be true - in one of their reports - that one sniper on a rooftop stopped the advance of the whole rebel army?

If NATO has no  troops on the ground, who are all those French, British, and Americans running around with guns?

Ghadaffi was certainly a bad man. He made Libya available to the CIA for its "rendering" and torture. He worked very closely with British and American intelligence services. But you won't find that in any reports from Reuters. You have to go to Wikileaks. diplomatic cables for that.

Nor has Reuters said much about the rebel torturing and killing of Blacks in Libya (most of them migrant labour). 

Nor has Reuters mentioned civilian deaths. We are left with the impression the NATO bombers, in flying well over 30,000 sorties, didn't kill any civilians. That is simply not possible. We know that many, perhaps most, of the bombing has been of cities. One cannot bomb cities without massive civilian casualties. That is particularly true in the use of cluster bombs which normally score some 90 percent of their kills on civilians. And our bomb use includes cluster bombs. That's quite a "humanitarian" effort.

Most war correspondents lie. I'm afraid those working for Reuters are no better than most of the others.  (Oh, don't rely on Al Jazeera, either. Once an excellent news service, diplomatic cables on Wikileaks reveal it has come to an agreement with the US to suppress any news that the USgovernment might find embarrassing.

So the T&T routinely publishes lies as news, especially on matters of war. That's one of its major functions.

Another major function is to keep its readers ignorant of what is going on here, instead filling the paper with hunan interest trivia. It's rather like Ancient Rome in which a tiny elite grabbed all the loot of an empre for itself. That left a Rome full of people living in poverty - a sure path to rebellion. So the elite played it smart, staging the gladitorial games whose brutality appealed to a population that hated itself for its poverty and uselessnes - and wanted to see somebody else punished for it.

Now, you can can see the phenomenon in daytime television with shows like Gerry Springer. Or you can take in our local, ultimate combat fights. Or read today's sports headline - Wildtown Catfight. Or, for the bottom of the heap self-haters of this world, there's pro wrestling.

Think of it all as Rome making itself the entertainment hub of its region. Just like Moncton. Keep them trivial. Keep them hating themselves. Keep them ignorant of what's really going on.

Alec Bruce goes against the current with an excellent column on shale gas. a topic the rest of the paper has alternately ignored or lied about. The more usual summary of what's important and what isn't important in the opinion of the T&T is summed up in the last sentence of the editorial. "It should be an excellent year in Metro for sports, entertainment, and the bottom line." 

Hail, Caesar.


On the op ed page, David Suzuki brings us back to the real world. The space above him is the usual column by a T&T staff writer. And it's the usual human interest story. It's nice that it marks a happy event  and the tenth anniversary of 911. But it really tells us nothing, and is no help in understanding what is going on in the world.

We live in a society remarkably similar to the latter days of Rome, a world of diversions and deliberately created ignorance of what is going on.

It's said that as the barbarians attacked Rome, the Romans could hear the screams of the dying soldiers (mercenaries) on the city walls. But they paid no attention, so absorbed were they in the slaughter going on before their eyes.

Too bad Rome never had an NHL team.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sept. 12: .....sigh......

The front page had a story about Moncton congratulating itself for how good it was to stranded passengers at the time of 9/11. And a bigger one "Grey Cup Fever grips Moncton".  In a real city, that means the Grey Cup is going to be played there. In Moncton, it means the cup is on tour. The rest of Section A was pretty much the same stuff, with lots of pictures to save money on reporting - and because this is regularly a newspaper that does not encourage literacy.

NewsToday was pretty much the same as section A. No mention of Libya (where fighting goes on though the war was said to be over two weeks ago.)  Lotta babies dying in Somalia. But no mention of it. I guess it doesn't make for good picture spreads.

Serious danger of war and general collapse in the middle east as Turkey and Egypt move to teaming up against Israel. But this didn't make it either. Nor did continued US bombing in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.  No mention of Obama's desperate economic plan; but a fuzzy picture of Obama hugging somebody. I mean, what the hell, it it's Obama So that's a story. Right?

The big editorial? The big subject of othe day?  It's too expensive to rebuilt covered bridges. A hundred million collar hockey rink? for sure. A sweetheart contract to a fracking company with no taxes until 2015?  And few taxes even then? you bet. But covered bridges and education and minimum wage and care for the elderly? This is no time for frills. The whole world, as always, is watching us.

The only important story was the chilling one that led NewsToday "Divide between West, Muslim societies 'irreconicilable': poll"

It seems 65% of Canadians polled think we and Islam are in an ideological struggle. And there is no hope of a peaceful solution. Neat. That means the only possible solution is mass slaughter. A very Christian view. And us followers of love thy neighbour are well ahead of the game with a score of at least a million Moslem civilians killed for the loss of Westerners in the thousands.

Where on earth do people get the idea these wars for oil and economic positioning have anything to do with ideology? Well, it has to do with listening to our politicians like Bush and Obama and Harper, and with  following most of our news media.

Do Moslems kill for terror? Then they're extremists. Do westeners kill for terror -- as when they murdered almost a million Iraq civilians? When they slaughtered 200,000 in Guatemala? When they bomb Libya and Somalia and Pakistan...?  When they torture uncounted (and unreported) tens of thousands?

Shucks, no. They's jes' good ol' boys funnin',  and valiantly defending their values - whatever those might be.  Nust keep movin' along, folks. Nuthin' to see here.

The choice of words is essential in spreading propaganda and fear and hatred.

No western country of the last thirty years has accused another western nation of terrorism or extremism - though it is western countries which have led the world in torturing and killing for all those years.

When Christian Americans practice terrorism within the US, they are never called terrorists. They are called militias - it's such a nicer word.

When Moslem clerics denounce the west, they are extremists. When western politicians (Harper springs to mind) denounce Islam, they are celebrated in the press.  Remember the headline about Harper facing the "Islamicist" threat squarely? Notice the word "squarely". That's a good word. It suggests fearlessness, honesty, taking an unpopular stand because he is such a fine man.  It doesn't at all suggest he could be building up fear and hatred for polical purposes. News media love to deliver hidden messages with their choice of words.

This is a war of ideologies? Ridiculous. Religiously, the west has very little of any religious ideology. Check out most Moncton churches on a Sunday.  For over a century, the west has been killing Moslems for oil. Moslems are just rubble in the way (as we New Brunswickers are in the scramble for shale gas. That's why the gas companies like to refer to us protestors as hoodlums and thieves. Watch for the Times and Transcript to pick up on this theme.)

But don't expect much  discussion of this (or any information) in The Moncton Times and Transcript.

Moslems are not attacking us because of ideology. They are shooting back because we have been terrorizing them for over a cenutry, But we don't talk about that. That's because the news media paid very little attention to the fact the the dictators attacked in the"Arab Spring" were dictators that we installed and supported in the first place.

Ideology.  What a crock!. But 65% of Canadians believe it.  That tells you something about the dishonesty of our political leaders and the manipulation of most of our news media.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sept. 10: The Moncton T&T, and unChristian Christians

  Bill Belliveau has a good column in today's paper. It's about 9/11; and it's very critical of the Harper government. (Would he have written it if it were a criticism of  a Liberal government? Well, let's give credit where creidit it is due. This is a good one.)  He makes the point that we ae following the US  in becoming a police state.  In fact, we already have. Governments in free countries do not, for example, turn over their own citizens for torture. Canada does, and has. It does not turn them over for illegal trials.  Canada does, and has.  But there's no doubt it is going to become much worse. Very soon. The US is going to demand  we imitate their level of hysteria, domestic espionage, arbitrary arrest and imprisoning with no charge or trial that it has. It's going to demand the paranoid hatreds it generates over Islam and,l indeed, anybody who's different. Harper has just said so - even inventing a new word, Islamicalism. I'm glad he included that new word. It's reassuring to know we have a prime minister who is the intellectual equivalent of a George Bush.

I was delighted to read that Brent Mazerolle is performing in Trial by Jury, and in what sounds to be an excellent setting at the old courthouse in Hopewell. I am too late for the regular performances, but shall certainly do my best be be at the Sept. 17 show at 4 p.m. It really is a delight to come across a community effort like this one.

Now, a comment on the news media in general, on the media assault we we are likely to endure on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, (with a thank you to the T&T for its restraint in coverage - and for a variety in the tone as we can see in Belliveau's column.

Moncton is, nominally at least, largely a Christian city. That's why I was shocked to see a  church on St. George St. some months ago flauting a sign "Suppor our troops in Afghanistan." In my admittedly limited understanding of The Bible,, we are called on to love our neighbour. I don't think any trasnlation reads "love thy guy next door. Give hell to everybody else."  God, despite speeches I have heard from retired generals, is not the commander-in-chief of anybody's armed forces, and does not take sides in wars.

On a related note, every country I have ever heard of has practiced terrorism. Moses used terrorism against the Egyptians - though I have never heard a sermon mourning the suffering of innocent Egyptians. The US and Canada used it against their native peoples. Aerial bombing has been terrorism killing mostly civilians ever since Italy launched the first bombing raids over North African villages in 1910.  Winston Churchill (as Secretary of the Colonies) ordered terrorist bombing of what is now Iraq in the 1920s. The bombing of Tokyo in World War Two was pure terrorism, as was Dresden.

In Cambodia, the US deliberately killed a half million civilians, quite indiscriminately, in a campaign which was 9/11 every day for a year. Napalm, cluster bombs, and poisons killed even more, far more, in Vietnam. 200,000 (about 70 times 9/11) were killed in Guatemala without a mention in our news media.

When 9/11 happened, it was promptly used as an excuse to kill well over a million in Iraq and AFghanistan  - though neither had anything to do with the attack. It was also used to convert the US into a police state (with Canada no to follow.)

When it comes to terrorism, Moslems are bush league. When it comes to terror, mass murder, and torture, they could take lessons from the Christian west..

I wonder how many Chistian churches will have a mention of 9/11 this Sunday? How many will pray for the victims?

And then, how many will also mourn the millions of men, women, children and babies mained and killed by us.

Or will they all just mourn the victims of 9/11, imply that God is on our side, and so put the blame on Him for the terror we have done? And are doing.

Love thy neighbour does not mean just the person next door.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sept 9: addendum to previous Sept. 9 blog

Sorry. Damn computer. All of a sudden, an unfinished blog was published - and now my computer won't let me edit it. (So this time I have an excuse for spelling mistakes.) This one takes up where the other left off.

s
The editorialist of the paper that has refused to give us information for years,  that  refused to make its own enquiries, that has propagandized for the gas project, and has tried to tar the protestors is now asking us to take a "balanced" approach. The government and the newspaper will now start giving us information in the honest and straightforward way that neither of them has ever shown. Why on earth should we believe them?

The discussion has been marred by lack of verifiable fact? And who is responsible for the lack of verifiable fact?  And what about the facts that CAN be verified - as in US cases of damage? Why has The T&T never reported on them? Why has it never even asked Quebec, France, South Africa and, I believe, Australia why they have forbidden fracking?

And we are going to get an honest, balanced view from an energy company? Aren't energy companies the ones with a reputation for being the most brutal, lying and destructive ones on earth?

And the T&T and the Alward government will act as honest brokers? With their records?

There's a mess. It wasn't caused by demonstrators. It was caused by liars. I have no interest in taking part in dicussions and information sessions organized by proven liars. New Brunswick governments, big business, and the Times and Transcript have long ago proven their collusion, greed, and dishonesty. Enough.  They have made a mess. They have done it consistently for generations. I cannot believe that they are suddenly turning into anything desirable or moral.

I don't believe I have ever demonstrated in my life. But this Thursday, from 10 to 2, I shall be joining the demonstrators at Centennial Building in Moncton.

This province is deep in corruption, greed, abuse and lying. There comes a time when you have to decide which side you're on. The choice  has been made necessary not by protestors, but by the government, the business leadership, and their lying newspapers.

Oh, and if we need more money, can we get a look at just who is paying how much tax in this province? And can we ask who is getting favours from our tax money?

See you on Thursday.

Sept. 9: Doesn't the editorial writer read The Moncton Times&Transcript?

For years, the New Brunswick government and the editorialists for the The Moncton Times ignored the issue of drilling for shale gas. When protestors brought it out into the open, the government and The Times gave little information (and most of that false). For the last few weeks, there has been almost no information at all. There has been lots of propaganda from the gas companies (both in commerical ads as week as in free space in the always cooperative T&T.). There's been lots of loaded language to demonize protestors.  There's been lots of obvious lying about how it's all perfectly safe. (Environment minister Blaney, probably without realizing it, said as much in her inteterview just yesterday). We also know from Ms. Blaney's interview that for all the years this has been going on, and for all that it was a plank in the Conservative election platform, we still don't have regulations in place. Indeed, she suggested we need even more study before they can be drawn up.

If there has been virtually no information, no debate, no governmental research, how come permission for exploration was given? And how long ago was it given? And what are the terms of that permission?

The editor says it's a pity that infotmation and consultation were not  begun long ago.

Yes, indeed it is a pity.  So why didn't the editors and their editorials say so long ago? Why, instead, did they do nothing but pump out pro-gas propaganda? Why, in consulting academics, did they ignore mining engineers to give play to Professor Savoie of U de Moncton who has no particular expertise in the field? (Indeed, why did professor
Savoie agree to an interview on such a topic?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Oct. 8. Environment Minister Blaney tells the truth?

I don't think she meant to tell the truth. But she did. And her nose looks shorter already.

The story begins at  the bottom of the front page, "N.B. to consult soon on shale gas". Don't bother with most of the story. Skip to the last five paragraphs (on p..2)

1, She begins that final part by saying that there have been a lot of problems in other places with fracking. Oh? Really?  But Mr. Alward  and the fracking companies and The Moncton Times and Tribune have been telling us there have been no such problems. Don't you listen to Mr. Alward, and read NBmedia, ms. Blaney?

2. "Problems occured because governments didn't put in careful regulation. But NB is not in that position because we in the very early stages"?

Really? And here I was under the impression that  this search was approved some years ago, starting with Conservtives, then Liberals, then Conservatives again. The oil companies certainly have indicated they have a deal. Alward has told us it was a major part of his campaign plattorm (right up there after listening.) Let's see. It's been going on for years. Government commmitments have been made.

Ms. Blaney - exactly what is your definition of very early stages?

3. "If New Burnswick does go ahead and allow extraction of shale gas...." You mean those companies are spending millions on exploration without any guarantee that they be allowed to develop the resource?  Yeah. Gas companies are big-hearted, whacky guys like that.

4. Blaney says "... the best and worst experiences of other jurisdictions will go into drafting NB's regulations"!!!!! You mean they aren't drafted yet? Through all these years? Through an election in which this was a major point in your platform? And all the way through these months of (undistinguished) goverment? And there still are no regulations? But I heard Mr. Alward say they were done. Don't you tell Mr. Alward anything? (He's really good at listening.)

I commend New Brunswickers for their restraint in the face of such incompetent, abusive  and irresponsible behaviour.

5. And what "worst" experiences are you talking about? I've not heard a word from anybody in the government about "worst" experiences. Quite the contrary, the government has poo-poohed any mention of "worst" experiences. And certainly NBMedia has done nothing but kiss up to the government line.

And now you are going to   consult with us and tell us the whole truth. Why? Why didn't you do that in the "early stages". Why weren't you doing it immediately after the election? Why weren't you putting a high priorithy on draftinig regulations? Why are you playing sweet and reasonable now?

Could it have anything to do with the display of anger and disgust by so many ordinary New Brunswickers (defined by the gas companies as "hoodlums"?)

Ms. Blaney, few will be so air-headed as to believe a word you say. You belong to a government that must have set a record demonstrating incompetence and dishonesty in less than a year.

Take heart, though. There are people now prepared to vote in the Liberals who they voted out for lying to us. And when that happens, and Liberals do exactly what you are doing, some people will get angry - and vote the Liberals out and you back in. So relax, and take the long term view.

The T&T continues its daily reports on Libya - and still telling us nothing. How many have been killed bt the 30,000  bombs, and the tons of  small arms and rocket fire? The rebels and NATO have had control of most of the country for a week. Burials are quick in hot climates. So where are the estimates of the dead?  Who were the dead in this humanitarian mission? How many bllack, migrant workers have been murdered by the rebels? How come the T&T source doesnt not mention that the towns still under siege are being bombed by us?

This was not a ground war. It was an air war, in which only one side  had aircraft. That's why reports of ground "battles" in which one or two rebels were killed made no sense. There seems to have been very little ground fighting. It was, rather, NATO bombing a path to Tripoli, and then bombing Tripoli. 
and that means heavy civilian losses. Odd for a humanitarian mission.

Still nothing on Somalia. Who cares? Babies die all the time.

Jody Dallaire and David Suzuki are, as always, bright spots in the paper. And Nortbert, though he tries to cover too many subjects for one column, is an interesting read.