Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March 28: less and less about less and less....

In recent weeks, The Moncton Times and Transcript has become noticeably worse, even by Irving press standards. It is coming close to having no news whatever. The reasons are surely obvious.

The major issue in New Brunswick is shale gas exploration. The TandT, despite promises of intense coverage and information-gathering on the subject, hasn't said a word. The same can be said of the provincial government and the shale gas companies. None of the promised new regulations for gas exploration have been made public. Nor do we even know if there are any new regulations or - perhaps more to the point - whether the new regulations will have any teeth. Certainly, the old ones don't.

The shale gas season is opening. Seemingly, nothing has been done to get ready for it. Oh - except for one thing - police will have been notified to protect shale gas drillers against citizens of New Brunswick. Those regulations are in place. And they have teeth.

In Moncton, the big issue is Moncton High School. I wouldn't dream of suggesting the provincial government is corrupt. (I'm not even sure Mr. Alward has the brains to be corrupt.) But the land deal for the school certainly raises questions. And there are questions both huge and unanswered about exactly how and why the new site was chosen.

As well, there are questions about how it is that the old school can be too decrepit and dangerous to be renovated, while still being good enough so that a private developer can fix it, and make a profit.

The levels of lying, cheating, ignoring the public and, gee, just maybe, corruption in this province are staggering. But The Times and Transcript has room for nary a word about all that.

So the paper has nothing much but trivia. That's what happens when a newspaper doesn't want to tell the truth. It doesn't leave you with much to say at all.  And "not telling the truth" by the way, is a whole lot the same as lying.

Then there's the outright propaganda. Check out the lead story. "Almost half of NBer's money goes to taxman."  This shallow piece of propaganda, grandly titled Special Report, is largely a paraphrase of of a piece of propaganda from The Fraser Institute, an outfit funded by big business to make us think all money government takes from us is stolen.

(Actually, some of it is stolen. It's stolen from our taxes to keep taxes low for the wealthy, and to give away grants and other concessions to their corporations. It's a process that gives a whole, new meaning to "the filthy rich".)

The report sheds crocodile tears for the poor who can't makes ends meet because of the tax burden. The tearful crocodile who cries out in sympathy for the struggles of the poor is Charles Lammam, the grandly titled associate director of The Centre for Tax and Budget Policy and the Centre for Studies in Economic Prosperity at the Fraser Institute.

Notice the choice of words in this article - taxes are -oo-o-oh - siphoned off. Wow! Siphoned. That's like stealing, isn't it? And, you know, all that tax money just disappears.

I'm sure Mr. Lammam means well. But a corporate suck like him wouldn't know that the poor who are struggling to save for their retirement and provide opportunities for their children and necessessities for their families are  doing those things when they pay taxes for retirement and public schools and medicare.

But Mr. Lammam wants to return to the days when the poor could choose what they wanted to spend their money on. Yes, like Americans, we should be able to choose whether we want health insurance or not. That way, if we chose to get it, we would be able to pay twice as much. And if we got really sick and couldn't afford insurance, we still would still have two choices - to stay home and die or to stay home and die..

It's not all that long ago when most Canadians didn't have health care or retirement cheques or much schooling. For anyone who lived through that, it's a bit annoying to read a sleazy hack for billionaires telling us that our hunger and poverty and lack of opportunity were things to be celebrated as signs of our freedom to choose.

We did choose, Mr. Lammam. We chose to pay taxes because these services as delivered through your corporate buddies, were out of reach of most of us. Private business is just too damned inefficient.

He mentions that a person earning $78,000 dollars a year pays 46% of it in taxes. I wonder why he didn't give the tax precentage of those who "earn" several million a year.  Nor does he mention how much of our tax money finds its way into the pockets of millionaires.

This "Special Report" would be digusting in any newspaper. It's doubly so in a newspaper that uses tripe like this as an excuse not to cover other issues it should be telling us about - and that it said it would tell us about..

NewsToday has been shrinking, and now has virtually no news today or any day. In particular, there is no mention of how we could well be within a few months of a major war that could turn into a world war. Nor is there any mention of news suggesting that Sgt. Bales, who killed 17 women and children 
1. Did not operate alone but, rather, with some twenty men and a helicopter.
2. May have been doing his killing spree on orders from above.
3. Was carrying out a type of terrorist operation that is commonly used by American forces in Afghanistan.
4. That his "surrender" was staged for the press.

There's another story I haven't yet seen, but should be considered. It's possible that US forces are so demoralized by this long and losing war that their officers have lost control of them. That's what happened in Vietnam It was a major reason why the US gave up on that war. American soldiers were killing their own officers. They often used hand grenades; thus the term fragging.

But don't worry. You'll never have to read any of this in the TandT.

The only item worth reading in the whole paper is Alec Bruce's column.

Oh - and there's a fast-breaking story that Cindy Crawford teases her daughter.

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