Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 11: The biggest international story is in the.....

...Sports section. For real.

The coach of the Miami Marlins has been suspended for publicly saying nice things about  Fidel Castro.

Big Brother doesn't like people who say nice things about Fidel Castro Nothing could better illustrate the collapse of any sort of maturity or free speech in the US. A news editor should have realized that. But it took a sports editor to see the importance of it - if for the wrong reasons.

Look, it doesn't matter a damn what a baseball manager believes about politics. But the only reason that story made even the sports page is that it happened to a baseball manager. Is it possible that anybody cares about the political views of a baseball manager? Is it an issue of international importance?

Apparently, the view of the TandT is that this is terribly important. Sometimes, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Big excitement in Moncton. City Council is testing the soil of Highfield Sqare as a prelude to going ahead with its hundred million dollar hockey rink (sorry. Social Centre. Whatever.) As usual, the TandT asks no question as it leads the way in building up a passion for the project.

How will people get to it? If by car, where will they leave their cars? What will the price of gas be by the time the building opens? (What will it be in five months?) How bad is this recession going to get? What is the future for a small city going for being a regional (and more than regional) entertainment centre with the rate of poverty growing in every possible market for it? And the cost of travel rising?
While we're going into the hole for a hundred million (probably twice that), where do we find the money for rebuilding a city for a future that is going to be very different? For dealing with the housing and urban sprawl that will soon make this city a disaster area?

Private business is not competent to deal with a society's social needs, and is neither competent in nor interested in long term priorities. That's why the world is in the state of economic chaos that  we're seeing. Yes. There are things the Ganongs and McCains and even (roll of drums) the Irvings are incompetent to do.

That's why we have government. That's why we elect it. That's why we need news to inform us and stimulate us. Except that we don't have those things. We don't have an elected government. We have a bought government. We don't have news. We have propaganda - and its propaganda mainly aimed at keeping us in ignorance, and keeping us passive. This province is run by corporate bosses who actually believe they know best in areas of which they actually know nothing at all.

That's why our City Council is testing soil for a hockey rink. The idea didn't start with city council. Like the provincial government, it does its master's bidding. It's plunging us into debt for the rest of our lives and, probably, our children's lives without the slightest thought to what Moncton's priorities have to be in this very uncertain age.

It's not as if there's a choice. One way or another, the age of  unrenewable energy is coming to and end. And probably soon. I don't know of any city that is adequately prepared for that. But I do know that Moncton has not even thought of it. This city needs massive changes to its infrastructure, to its whole layout.And it hasn't even thought of it.

That's the only story of any importance in Section A. Except it's not a story. It does nothing to inform people or to stir them to think. Its just a small-town carnival pitch for yet another rip-off.

In foreign news, the major story (almost the only story) is about the fighting in Syria. And it's the usual propaganda from Reuters. It plays up the killing of rebels - but says little of the killing BY rebels. It gives the impression that the rebels are mostly helpless civilians. It has never occured to Reuters to ask where the rebels are getting their money and weapons and training from.  (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, the US, probably Britain and France).

Yep. We gotta intervene to bring peace and save civilian lives in Syria. They don't even mention that both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have been killing civilians. It's bad enough that world race drivers have been demanding a delay or ever closure to the Bahrain Grand Prix because of the dangerous situation.      

The editorial? What can I say?  Essentially, t he message is that New Brunswickers are lazy, spoiled, no longer the tough people who were happy to work for peanuts as they cut down trees by hand and for long hours in the bitterest cold and storm. (Could we have a photo of the calloused hands and simple, unheated home of that editorial writer?). And they're always asking for favours. Not like that nice Mr. Irving who never asks for loans or lands or grants or anything., and who just works, works, works all the time. No union for him. No sir. Just give him his twelve dollars an hour like those Mexicans, and he's happy.)

Ooh - speaking of $12 an hour, we need more of those foreign workers to come in. Yesiree. A few hundred thousand $12 an hour jobs and a billionaire or two with no unions, and this province will be on its way.

Of course, it might be hard to sell ten thousand hockey tickets  to people making $12 an hour. So we might have to set up a forgiveable loan to whichever Irving owns the team.  

Read this editorial for its implied message. The editorial writer pours contempt on anybody who isn't rich. They're lazy. They're worthless. They're leeches. Make'em realize they have to world  hard like the Irvings and Ganongs and McCains who go into the deep woods every day to tear down trees with their bare  hands, and haul them out through waist high snow.

We need more people who are so desperately poor they'll work long hours in awful jobs for $12 an hour. People who never heard of unions, and don't expect any services. That's what  draws in the billionaires who have been so good to us.

This is the  sort of editorial that expresses nothing but contempt for ordinary people. And nothing but praise for the "philanthropic" rich.  That's really the philosophy of the Times and Transcript, itself and, one might  reasonably guess, of its ownership.

That's the message every day. You are worthless. You are lazy. You are spoiled.  You are trivial. You really don't count. That message has had its effect. There's a lack of self-esteem that shows up in the kinds of people New Brunswick elects at every level. There's willingness to accept the contempt that's poured on them - because they've been trained to believe they deserve contempt.

And there's fear. Newpapers like the Times and Transcript play a key role in that training.

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