Friday, June 15, 2012

June 15: A late start.....

Years of desparately bad journalism in The Moncton Times and Transcript have dulled me. This morning, I could only look at it and wonder - what can I say that I have not said?

I do have a couple of ideas. One is drawn from The Lord's Prayer. Really. It has to do with the idea of forgveness, and how it can be useful in understanding the news. But I'm not sure it fits a blog spot. I offered, on a United Church site, to give a talk on it at a church some evening. (I have spoken many hundreds of times in churches and synagogues, and have frequently led services.) It doesn't matter what kind of a church or synagogue or mosque it is. The idea is to make a connection between the faith and the world. Will I get a response? I'm not optimistic.

The other is to take a broader look at what is happening in the world. But that, too, is something much easier to do with the flexibility of the spoken word and human exchange.

I would also suggest you google Moncton Free Press to get what The Moncton Times and Traanscript doesn't print. It's a new, web paper and like all such papers that depend on volunteer help, it struggles, If you ever hope to get both  honesty and broad coverage in print, this is probably your only chance to develop it. CBC radio is also good. In fact, it's the only good news outfit in Canadian radio. But that's why it's being strangled.

The TandT is the usual story - Alec Bruce is good. What is less  usual is that the op ed page is good, too.

The foreign news is Syria; and it still come largely from rebel sources. (and it still hasn't told us that the rebels have no more interest in democracy than the current government has. It hasn't told us that the present rate of killing is made possible by the weapons the west, Turkey and Saudi Arabia supply. I hasn't told us that nobody has the faintest idea of precisely who is killing most of the civilians. It hasn't told us that there is one hell of a fight going on within NATO and within the American government between those who want to intervene, and those who say intervention is insane - put your money on war against both Syria and Iran. Then cover your house with copies of the TandT for protection.)

There is only one, important and accurate story in today's paper. It's on, of all pages, the business page which usually has nothing to say.

"Euro contagion threatens Canada"

Think about that. The collapse of western economies is as big as the fall of the Roman Empire. If it continues, no country can escape it. That most certainly includes even Moncton. We are not way out of the beaten path. Not any more. Greece, where the official unemployment rate is 26% , a real unemployment of twice that, is our next door neighbour in today's world.

Want something closer? Chicago, badly hit by the recession, has had more people killed by gunfire in the last six m months than soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan.
The western powers are blaming the poor for it. They demand that state aid of all kinds be eliminated, that salaries for surviving jobs be cut in half, even more. They demand that the bankers and industrial leaders pay no price whatever for having caused this crisis. Even now, as the Greek wealthy export their money to Canadian and American banks, starving Greeks who have hope are breaking the law to survive. Those without hope are committing suicide, many of them killing their children first to spare them the suffering.

In Britain, the chief financial officer said that all this problem was caused by the poor. (He, of course, is wealthy. He also ignores how, in the past thirty years of growing wage gaps between rich and poor, Britain has the worse record in the world.) Even the children of the poor are at fault, he says. They're just lazy. He therefore intends to cut services to the poor as a cure for the recession. Meanwhile, of course, the rich will make their contribution to prosperity by paying even lower taxes.

By coincidence, those are exactly the policies being followed by Washington, Ottawa, and Fredericton. They have never owrkd in human history.But all of our governments are solid with support of business leaders, and business leaders are solid in support of a version of capitalism that is a grotesque distortion of that word.

Add to that the strong possibility of wars with Syria and Iran and, quite apart from the nuclear dangers and the costs (paid for by cutting social programmes that just make people lazy), think of the catastrophic effect on gas prices.

Then tell me. How are the Liberals and Conservatives of New Brunswick planning to deal with that? How does the city of Moncton plan to deal with that?  Planning, after all, means preparing to deal with what is likely to happen, not with what we like to think will happen.

So where does raising prices in care homes for the elderly come in to the great plan? Or building a new high school in Royal Oaks? And the civic centre? you'll borrow a million? And what will happen when the lending rate goes up to 15% and more? And in a recession, how many people will be lining up to buy tickets to see a geriatric rock group? or even very small city hockey team?

It would be too much to ask for a complete plan. But we should, minimally, take these things into consideration as we plunge nto other plans.

We should also remember that making the rich even richer while making the rest of us poorer has never worked. It hasn't worked as the Euro collapses; and it won't work as the falling dominoes crash over Canada and the US). And we should remember that there are people who think it will be good for them - and really don't care how bad it may be for us.


  1. you seem to be avoiding comment on the headlines generated by the announcement of the C.D. Howe Institute, that taxing rich people would lower government revenues. I guess you don't want to raise the ire of such a distinguished and impartial group of civic minded leaders