Friday, June 29, 2012

June 29: You are a reporter, and....

....a world-famous heart surgeon visits your city. You ask him, "Tell me, Mr. world-famous heart surgeon, what is the best way to drive a car?"  With this, you write your story, and take it to your editor who says' "Wow! This is the big story for front page. No question."

Only in Moncton. Only with the Moncton Times and Transcript.

Mario Andretti, the race car driver visits Moncton. The reporter asks his opinion of how one should live one's life. Well, Andretti's been on the circuit for decades. So he has a stock answer for this dumb question, "Follow your dreams."

Well, what the hell, a race car driver isn't supposed to know how we should live our lives. It's not his fault. But this is an answer that means nothing at all. My dream as a child was to drive a steam engine. Good thing I didn't follow it.

One of my students had a dream of becoming a big time gangster and holding up banks. He did it. He was dead before he was twenty. Another fellow I knew followed his dream to be a pimp, and to have a stable of girls who would provide him with money and entertainment. He did it. Life was great. Until he murdered one of the girls.

Most of the kids I grew up with had the dream of finding a more or less steady job in a factory, just surviving. Some of them achieved it. Talk about following your dream.

Andretti claims that many university students still don't know what they want to do in life. So? Of course, they don't. They don't have any idea what's out there, yet. I came out of a district where my mother's greatest hope for me was to almost finish high school, then get an office job so I would wear clean clothes to work. By the age of 17, I was a smashing success, sorting office mail for Bell Telephone.

It never occured to me until I was 30 that I could become a university teacher, and several years later that I realized I could do broadcasting and writing. Just over a year ago, I learned I could paint.

The reporter's question was a foolish one. Andretti's answer was meaningless. And an editor said, "Wow" This is hot. Front page."

These are the signs of a trivial and amateurish newspaper. You would have to travel a long way, all the way to St. John or Fredericton, to find another one as bad.

In world news, the Moncton Times and Transcript has noted that 200 Iraqis were killed this month in sectarian fighing. That's nice. In fact, it's been going on for years without the Moncton Times noticing it at all. But we won't talk about 'humanitarian intervention' or 'change of regime', just as we won't talk about these in Yemen or Somalia or Bahrain or Saudi Arabtia. I mean, it's different for countries which have murdering governments that are on our side.

On p. D1 , big story. Full page. O CANADA. subhead, "On the eve of Canada's 145th birthdays...."
Think about it.

Big surprise. There's an editorial attacking the bus drivers for being under a lockout. Gee! Those editorial writers aren't scared of criticizing anybody. Well, as long as it's not somebody whose name begins with I.

Alec Bruce writes on how little Canadians know about Canada and Canadian history. 'Twas always thus. We are overwhelmed by the population and mass media of the US. That's why Prime Minister Bennett founded the CBC in the 1930s, to provide Canadians with a Canadian view of the world and of themselves. Today, CBC television and radio are the only popular media providing that view.

I suspect that's why Harper is determined to destroy the CBC. He doesn't want a Canada. The corporations that pay his bills don't want a Canada. They want us to be thoroughly integrated into the US just as, a century ago, they wanted us thoroughly inttegrated into Britain. We are beginning the twenty -first century very much as we began the twentieth.

The op-ed page, with Lynda MacGibbon and David Suzuki is solid.


There's a letter to the editor which is worth reading because it hints at a huge problem (and huge cruelties and hypocracies) carried out by western governments. The letter is really a booster for the Knights of Columbus - but they deserve some boosting.

It begins with the povery and desolation of Haiti. To this day, a half million Haitians are living under rotting canvas without clean water or toilets. This country, subjected for a century to brutal dictators who kept wages at starvtion levels in order to provide cheap labour for corporations, has received very little of the aid the world promised to it.

When Haiti manged to hold its first democratic election, it elected Aristide. But Aristide was not acceptable to the US because, as an ex-priest, he wanted to help the country. So the US staged a phony revolution, exiled Aristide, and Canada sent troops and police to boost the idea this was humanitarian. Then came the earthquake.

Many countries never delivered on their full, promised aid. The US was the worst. Not only did it deliver only a tiny percentage, but most  of that tiny percentage went to American contractors who banked the money without doing a damn thing. The Knights of Columbus are at least trying to help.

Things in most of Africa are even worse. We have no sense of the scale of death from AIDS and starvation in that continent. When did you last read about it in The Moncton Times and Transcript?
There are whole areas in which there are only grandparents and orphans. When my daughter worked there, she wrote home of hastily dug graves all along the roadsides.

The west promised medication that was effective and cheap. But the big pharmaseutical companies insisted they use brand name medciations (exactly the same, but at many times the price.)
Result? Our aid lets millions die so executives of pharmaceutical companies can vote themselves millions in bonuses.

When we do send aid, it's usually something like leftover stuff that is of no use to the recipient, but that a Canadian company can't get rid of. Or it's weapons. Israel with some seven million people - and fairly well off - gets more US aid than any other country in the world. And all of it is weapons.

Foreign aid is a swamp of corruption and criminal theft and neglect.

Africans have been murdererd, enslaved, and their countries pillaged by the west for over two hundred years. The slave trade alone killed at least tens of millions just in transportation.  Congo is the result of over a century of enslavement, torture and murder - with Canadian mining companies now playing a prominent role.  And Congo is just one of many holocausts in Europe.

But you won't read this in the Moncton Times. Instead, you'll read about our humanitarian and heroic bombing of Libya, our humanitarian concern for Syria......

In the west, our economic leaders have been happy to slaughter, pillage, and destroy on a scale that Hitler would have envied.

What makes you think they give a damn about what they might do to you?

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