Today's is the most depressing and disagreeable edition of the The Moncton Times and Transcript I have yet seen. Apart from a few letters and a forecast of warm weather late this week, there is no reason to buy it. This time, I was dismayed even by Alec Bruce, normally the only real journalist at that paper.
1. The lead story is a disguised ad for various things to do (that require spending money) in Moncton during March break. Another is a story about a liquor sale that's over. Then there's a half page of photos of the RV show.
Think about that latter one.
Gas prices are rising; and are likely rise a great deal more. Most RVs are heavy on gas. Some would be lucky to get five kilometres to a litre. One picture is of a luxury vehicle the size of a bus. Who would believe that the world economies are in serious trouble?
Oh, yes. There's also talk that we're facing disastrous changes in climate; and much of that is due to the burning of fossil fuels like oil.
And people are lining up to look at more expensive ways to make all this worse. And The Moncton Times and Transcript is encouraging them. (I guess the editors didn't notice their own story in section C, p. 1. "Outdoor skating rinks on road to extinction". It seems scientists are warning that climate change will make the outdoor rink in Canada extinct with 50 years.
Wouldn't you think, then, it would make more sense to make RVs extinct before that can happen?
Anyway, it's all summed up in an inane editorial. More pollution might destroy us all; but the bottom line is the show is good for Moncton business.
2. On the weekend President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met for talks that were major news around the world. Netanyahu wants an attack on Iran - now. Obama wants to negotiate. So does most of NATO.
(In fact, Obama and NATO won't have much choice - and Netanyahu knows it. Israel Cannot carry out a successful strike on Iran without US logistical support - and Obama and NATO cannot afford to stand by and watch the chaos that would arise from an Israeli strike. And, just to underline the weakness of Obama's position, we're in the runup to a US election.
Netanyahu also met and shook hands with Harper. Harper took the opportunity to take the most pro-Israel stand in the world. He vowed Canada's support no matter what. That means that if Israel decides to attack Iran,----well ---- it sounds like Harper has committed us to support it. Wasn't there once a time when our parliament decided when to go to war? Aren 't we told that Canadians sacrificed their lives in World War One for that right?
Oh - and note Harper's words, "Israel has a right to defend itself." This is what George Orwell called "Newspeak". In olden days (and even today in dictionaries), to defend meant to protect yourself against someone who was attacking you. In Harperspeak, defence means you attacking somebody else. So, for example, Germany was defending itself when it invaded Poland in 1939.
Anyway, none of this was important enough to make the TandT.
3. China has announced it will increase its defence budget by over ten percent out of worries over "unfriendly neighbours". Gee, China is pretty big, and already has a formidable defence force. So, who are the neighbours it's so scared of? And why is it going to build a bigger fleet? Which "neighbour" of China even has a fleet to speak of?
Could this possibly have any connection with the new US military bases in Australia and The Philippines? and with the increase of American naval patrols on the edge of Chinese waters? Is this our new cold war? Our new arms race? Of course it is.
But don't worry. It's not important enough to make the TandT.
4. Aso a no-show was a big story out of Montreal. The Olympic stadium, the great structure erected for the Olympics and for Expo year is crumbling. A huge piece of concrete, some 8 metres by 5 metres, came crashing down. The whole building is dangerous. It is almost certain that the only solution to tear it down.
Expo stadium cost a billion dollars. It was to be a guaranteed profit-maker, attracting tens of thousands to Montreal for trade shows, conventions, ball games. It would fill hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues (see the last paragraph of today's editorial "To the open road").
It never came close to making a profit or even to breaking even. And that was in a metro of three million. Gee! Why didn't that story make the TandT? Do you think maybe it had something to do with the proposed hockey arena/convention centre for Moncton?
5. As to local news, there's a notable absence of the long-promised information and discussion of fracking. And the issue of Moncton High School gets into the paper only by courtesy of a letter to the editor.
6. Norbert Cunningham discusses --something --- in a column which might well flash red lights for Moncton's psychiatric specialists. It begins by trivializing the Robocalls scandal as "inconsequential". Okay, that's normal Norbert. I mean, who really cares if our political system has been corrupted. Lord knows, corruption is something that has never bothered the Norberts of the Irving news media.
Then he has the chutzpah (Yiddish for 'nerve') to accuse other news media across Canada of being biased. And, in a startling absence of any logic, says that politicians used to give booze to voters - as though that makes it all right today to break election laws.
Hell, Norbert, I can remember days when some people gave journalists booze quite regularly for writing nice things. I even knew a few who drank themselves to death with free booze.
Today's column looks as though it might have been written by Rush Limbaugh or Newt Gingrich - if they had enough to drink while writing. I have rarely seen such an ignorant and illogical rant in print. This one is a keeper.
7. Allan Abel, as usual, gives us a column on the op ed page that seems to have no reason to exist. Craig Bobstock, the staff writer for today op ed page, contributes the original and daring thought that we should not use Facebook to threaten to kill people.
8. All of the above was what we have come to expect of the TandT. The great disappointment is Alec Bruce's column. At least, it's a great disappointment for me because I've thought from the start (and still do think) that he is the only class journalist who appears daily in that paper.
He writes about a recent study arguing that the rich tend to be greedier and less observant of the law and of moral ethics than do other people. At one point, he calls this study liberal, leftish, guilt-trip - without being very clear on what liberal or leftish mean, and with no evidence at all that there was any guilt tripping.
He also says this extols the supposed virtues of poverty. In fact, it does no such thing. It does not say the poor are moral or ethical or in any sense good. It gives him a great chance for a paragraphs or two of sarcasm; but it's completly off the wall.
He wildly exaggerates some of their conclusions as, for example, their tests of the behaviour of luxury car drivers in traffic.He ways the reseearchers show them to be less respectful of the law, "and unprincipled goons." They say no such thing.
He cites a couple of anecdotes about a couple of rich families that have been generous donors - as though anecdotes about a few rich prove something about all rich.
He quotes with approval a Harvard professor who says that greed may be caused not by people but by market conditions. A second or so of thought might have led him to wonder - "What causes market conditions?" Whatever conditions we have are those conditions we create. You can't take the blame off people, and lay it on something both vague and inanimate. The invasion, slaughter, torture, expoitation of millions of Congolese by Belgium was, I suppose, caused by market conditions. (There were lots of minerals and other goodies available for the market). But, and perhaps I'm being naive,I think that Belgium's King Leopold and Belgium's wealthy, had something to do with it.
I still think Alec Bruce is a top columnist; but, oh, my, he must have caught something from Norbert.
Ah, well, remember the Current Events group at the Moncton library. Tuesday, March 6, at 7 p.m.
I shall bring a gift of seeds for the famed Decarie Melon as supplied to King Edward VII. (Seriously. Check it out on Google.)
I shall also be looking for hints on where to find a community garden for those seeds I kept for myself.