Monday, April 16, 2012

Nov. 16: Northern polar lakes are home to........

....giant monster fish.

Yes. That's a real headline of the lead story of Section C "News Today" in The Moncton Times and Transcript.

Imagine, a giant monster. That's so much more interesting than a midget monster.

Turns out that a researcher caught a big trout up north. But then we are told that people of up north catch them all the time, and have been catching them for centuries.

Oh. So what's the story? Well, there is none. And that pretty well sums up the whole paper for Nov. 16, the one I paid a buck fifty for because the copy I subscribe to rarely gets delivered on time.

Look - if you have an e reader, you can get the best English newspaper in the world for $1.99 a copy. You can get it for a month for under $20.00. It will be there, the instant you wake up. You don't have to creep out barefoot through the snow for it. If you want something edgier, there's The Independent. French? Le Monde is a good paper. You can get them from every continent, in every language. And delivery is easier and more reliable than the Moncton Times and Transcript.

True, they don't usually carry Moncton local news.But, then, neither does the TandT. What it has for local news is small town boosterism, propaganda, and the mandatory photo of four people you've never seen before smiling and holding up a giant cheque from some fast food dealer to the Committee against Obesity.

Today's editorial calls on all Monctonians to turn out and vote in the civic and schools elections, to make their opinons known. How the hell are they supposed to form opinions? The Moncton Times and Transcript doesn't give them any information.

Exactly what is the plan for the City's future? What is it based on? Gas at a dollar thirty for ever and ever? The layout of Moncton now is essentially that of a 1920s village - but with shopping malls. Will that be practical in twenty years? In ten years? Is it practical now?

We need to improve our bus service? Why? Will a bus service be practical in ten years?

In short, you start a plan for the future - not by building a crushingly expensive hockey rink (or convention centre or anything else). You start with an informed evaluation of what real life is going to be like in the future.

That evaluation does not seem to have happened. What we're getting is overexcited councillors snapping up whatever proposal the latest fast buck artist is pushing.

Before we even start planning, we need a capable evaluation of what we're planning for. And a SPECIAL REPORT by Brent Mazerolle does not count as a capable evaluation. The Times and Transcript has told us nothing of what the issues are. It has peddled propaganda for a man who wants us to pay for his hockey rink. And more propganda to move a school to a remote development where it will help a promoter sell houses - when it's probably not a very bright idea for a housing development to be there in the first place.

Every decision in this city - and this province - is spur of the moment, quick buck, lots of hoopla and no thought - and the Moncton Times is a key reason why it happens that way.

The most important world news? Well,the sinking of the Titanic. Ceremonies in Halifax, it seems, brought closure to hundreds of grief-stricken families. Lord love a duck!

Hundreds of families are still grief stricken a century later? Grieving over relatives they never saw and who died decades before they were even born? And a candlelight procession in Halifax brought them closure? That is surely pure slobber. And that's the TandT's idea of news of the day. There's more important news in Miss Manners' column.

Craig Babstock gets his britches in a tangle because a man is going on a hunger strike to move people like us to react to the slaughter, torture, brutalization, robbery that has gone on for almost a hundred and fifty years - with Canadian businessmen right in the middle of it. Millions have died, and are still dying in Congo.It has been one of the most savage episodes in history.

The hunger striker should choose some other method of protesting? Right. Maybe he could appeal to the Craig Babstocks and the Times and Tribunes of this world to tell us about what has been happening in Congo. Good luck on that one.

Babstock ends his self-righteous posturing with a note that he means no disrespect to Ghandi whose hunger strike of 1940s tried to bring peace to India. He means no disrespect to Ghandi? Then what the hell does he mean?

I enjoyed Alec Bruce's column. It's lighter than his usual one, but still a good read.

To my amazement, Allen Abel produced a gritty and chilling column. Read it.

Read also the three letters to the editor on language. Do you think there is the slightest chance that any of those writers changed anybody's opinion?
That's what happens when you have to turn to law to address social problems. I wish the English business people of Dieppe had the brains to realize that. New Brunswick doesn't need a language war. English and French should not be fighting each other. They should be fighting those English business people. That's a war we can win.

Is there any news today's TandT missed? Well...

1.There's the US army Lt. Colonel - born-again, evangelical Christian, super-patriot, proud of the army, three combat tours, highly regarded as a military authority, sent by congress to report on the Afghanistan war. So he did, getting wounded in the process.

His report showed that the US generals have been lying about progress in Afghanistan for years, that the foreign correspondents of the news media (like Reuters) have been peddling those lies without question, that the truth is the war was lost a long time ago. The Afghanistan army and police we are training hate us and NATO and the US far more than they hate the Taliban, that not only will no government survive, but it is likely that Afghanistan has been reduced to such a state of povery and destruction that no society at all will survive, that the people of AFghanistan, even in the cities, are dying of starvation and cold, that hundred of billions have been squandered in corruption both in Afghanistan and the US, and tens of thousands of lives have been squandered.

Congress promptly hid the report. The colonel - remember, he's a seriously evangelical Christian and a patriot, felt honour-bound to put the story out.
So it appeared two days ago in The Guardian. But not in the Moncton Times and Transcript.

2. If you check a site called International Clearing House for last Saturday, you will find a list of over 20 American corporations that paid no income tax whatever - despite each having billions of dollars of profit.

Both Obama and Mitt Romney, very high in income, paid tax at a rate similar to that of someone earning $35,000 a year. How come those stenographers who call themselves reporters at the TandT don't dig up figures for the profits made by Irving industries - and the real tax rate they pay?

That's a private matter? No, it's not. Irving comes to us often enough for gifts and contracts and favours. How much is this outfit costing us? What share of taxes does it pay?

Besides, Obama and Romney both made public their incomes and their taxes. They did it because they were in politics. So is Mr. Irving. He told us that himself over a year ago when he said he was in coalition with the government.

I'm sorry so much of this is not about the Times and Transcript. The trouble is there's really almost nothing in it to talk about. Think about that e reader. And, if you must have the local news, drop into a coffee shop that has free copies of the TandT.

1 comment:

  1. Funny as usual. Good as usual.

    The born-again, evangelical Christian, and super-patriot US Army Lt.Colonel seems out of step in his outing of Afghanistan. Men of his description commonly protect their country's right to plunder and destroy other nations at will. But, it's an election year coming up, who knows?

    Discovered Nicole Foss' videos this weekend. Interesting stuff. She espouses the belief communities should awaken to the many, current realities taking shape in the world, and prepare with small, infrastructure projects designed to make those communities more self-sustainable before the credit crunch possibly becomes much more severe.

    Also discovered Steve Keen; a classical economist debunker. He has a lot of fascinating things to say about how we got sold down the river by the current religion of economics.