Three days ago, Russia began massing troops on its border with Iran. They're expecting a western/Israeli attack on Iran this summer. Hint - they aren't there to help our side. But for three days, The Moncton Times and Transcript has had no room for that story. Nor does it today.
The lead story is yet another TandT SPECIAL REPORT. "Metro Moncton's 911 responders are always there. Yes, they are. And I'm glad. But why is this a SPECIAL REPORT? Why is it on p. 1?
Big story no. 2. "Events centre dream unveiled". Notice the choice of words? 'Dreams". Not project proposals. Those are drab. But dreams, well, that's a romantic and inspiring word. Dreams implies happiness, fulfillment. And not proposals. Proposals is a boring word.The architects aren't boring. They are displaying 'visions' - something like Revelation in The Bible. Think angels. This us rising into heaven.
Then catch the opening sentence. Nothing cold and commonplace like "architects diplay ideas for events centre." No. It's.....
"We have a dream." Wow! Just like Martin Luther King. Not only is Revelation back in that word 'dream'. But notice the We. That actually has nothing to do with the story. It's much warmer than that. The story is about a display. The "we" suggests that this is something we have all been longing for. We are involved. It's something divine come true for us. It's all warm and cuddly.
Then it plunges into excitement. The next paragraph doesn't, as you might have expected, simply tell us how many were there. No. It expresses shock and exhiliration at the size of the turnout. It quotes Mayor Leblanc as gushing that he had no idea anybody would come.
Right. The mayor announces a display that's the opening gun of a big push for what will mean at least a hundred million dollars of our money going into the pockets of some very influential people. And gee, duh, the mayor didn't think anybody would be there. Golly, I bet he and the developers never even thought of making sure every seat was filled.
The whole story is geegollywhiz. This isn't reporting. This is the kind of shpiel you get from an unhealthy looking guy puffing a weed who sidles up to you and says, "Hey! Lookin' for a good time with a hot babe?"
The only news story on page one is that a Moncton bus driver has been charged in a fatal accident. You remember Moncton bus drivers? They're the ones who were the subject of an editorial a view days ago, in which the editor said they're job was easy. Anybody could do it. They weren't worth what they are getting paid for such an easy job.
The only story worth reading in section A is on p. 6. It's about a Congolese man now living in Fredericton who is on a hunger strike (and perhaps close to death) because Canada has refused to press for an investigation of human rights abuses in Congo.
Human rights abuse is a mild term for what Congo has been suffering for well over a century at the hands of western countries - including Canada. The murders are in the millions. The starvation, the exploitation of cheap labour, the early death, the torture are all beyond counting. And, yes, Canadian mining companies, in particular, have been right in there with the big kids from Belgium, Britain, France, the US.
It wouldn't cost Ottawa much, probably not as much as it cost to send Stephen Harper and his family and his bodyguards to see a hockey game in New York - from the expensive seats.
Newstoday has big story about the Titanic. Just in time. Meanwhile, it carries its usual report about Syria, a report that does nothing to explain why that part of the world is in chaos. There are rebellions, civil wars, civic chaos from the most southern part of Africa to the farthest north of the middle east. Why has this happened all of a sudden? Why has the West fought wars in Libya, Iraq, and unofficially been involved with assassinations, uprisings in Nigeria, Yeman, Sudan, Egypt, Syria, Iran....? It's simple.
1. The region is rich in resources - oil, gold, diamonds.... We in the West have been looting that wealth for over two centuries. First, we took the people as slaves. Now, we use them as starvation labour. The railways of the British Empire were built largely with the gold looted from South Africa. We installed dictators like the King of Saudi Arabia, like Saddam Hussein, like Ghadaffi, like the rulers of Egypt....
And, sometimes, if the dictators aren't cooperative enough, we kill them.
2. The West does not want any of that loot to be available to, say, China. For that reason, the US established Africa Command, a military apparatus to seize control of all of the region. The great beneficiaries of this would be huge corporations, most of them American, who could then use their control to pile up even greater profits at the expense of Africans.
Public opinion, with the help of news media like the TandT, has been shaped to see this as a struggle of good aagainst evil, of Christians and Jews against Moslems. Of democracy against dictatorship.
What a crock! Most of the dictators were put in power by us. And when we "change a regime" it is very seldom that we establish a democracy. On the contrary, we have a stronger record of destroying democracies in order to establish dictatorships.
As for religion, wars of religion are actually rare. Even the crusades weren't really about religion. Most of the crusaders, like Richard the Lion Heart, were thugs, scoundrels and thieves, an embarassment to any religion.
3. These wars may be coming to a crisis. China and Russia cannot forever stand by to watch the US and NATO establish a world order that shuts them out. At some point, they must decide to use force - whatever the risk - or to forever surrender to western power.
Iran could be that point. This summer could be the time.
Understand that, and you will understand more about what's happening than you will ever learn from all the stories you can ever read from Reuters.
There is a story these days that New Brunswickers should take pride in. Unfortunately, it appeared in Literary Review of Canada (April issue), something with too many big words to appeal to TandT staff. But it's an excellent journal.
The lead story is an essay by James Hughes, a former deputy minister of social development for New Brunswick. (Ministers are the politicians appointed to run departments. Deputy Ministers are the civil servants who actually understand what it is they're doing.) James Hughes is
now at University of New Brunswick.
His essay is an intelligent and stimulating outline of how we could cut our spending on welfare in half - and do a far better job of it. The idea is summed up in one sentence. "In 2007, poverty cost Canada $24.4 billion in direct, indirect and societal costs .....eliminating it would cost $12.3 billion."
This is an article that New Brunswickers should be thinking and talking about.
Too bad Mr. Irving didn't say it. We would have had a special edition.
Meanwhile, I can only suggest that if James Hughes wants to get in the news in this province, he would be wiser to learn how to play the spoons for a downhome band.