Saturday, July 28, 2012

July 28: Just twenty minutes ago on this Saturday...

....I noticed a Moncton Times and Transcript in my mailbox - and realized it was Saturday. It is now 5.25 pm. It happens at my age. One also starts to drool and bump into telephone poles and forget to zip up one's fly.

Sorry about all that. And it was made worse by my cancelling the current events meeting at the Moncton library. Turns out the Moncton Times and Transcript not only carried the ad for it, but also actually mentioned my name. It's one of the few times they've done that. So I will be there, just in case somebody shows up. Tuesday, August 2 at 7 p.m. in the Moncton library.

Fortunately, there's close to nothing to comment on in today's TandT. This one is something of a new record for the Moncton blah.  However, there are a couple of things worth paying attention to.

First, Norbert's column. It's a column about how government bureaucracy always gets things wrong, how it's incompetent, inefficient. You agree? Well, okay.Some goverment bureaucracies are pretty bad.  Now - show me one column in which Norbert has ever hinted there's anything wrong with private corporations.

There is, in fact, massive inefficiency, misspending, criminality, corruption, and thievery carried out by private corporations every day. That's why we're into a recession that still has a long way to go - and one that we will be very lucky to get out of without violence and maybe even world war. But private news media in North America rarely mention it.  And the TandT never. And Norbert continually pushes his boot-licking columns, spreading anti-civil service propaganda.

If government is so incompetent, why is it that corporations in New Brunswick routinely contribute to the Liberal and Conservative parties? Why are Harper's Conservatives the most lavishly funded party in Canadian history? That money isn't coming from widows and orphans. It's coming from large corporations and from the very rich.  Obviously, corporations and the very rich have a considerable admiration for just about every government in Canada. (Well, all except the Greens and the NDP).

Similarly, Romney and Obama are currently spending more for their election campaigns than has ever been spent in any election in world history. The bulk of it comes from banks and oil companies and defence industries and their friends. Obviously, American corporations and the wealthy think very highly of government.

Norbert - I don't complain about your prejudices which fade only when replaced by your triviality. But if you had an ounce of integrity, and if you really believed governments were all that bad, you should be ripping hell out of corporations and the very rich for supporting them. That would, at least, make some sense.

But you won't do that, will you?

Nor will you mention the scale of corruption in banking around the world that will not only drive up poverty and hardship, but will almost certainly drive violence to levels we have never seen.

There is a striking case of just such private corruption and incompetence in Britain. The Conservative prime minister, as determined as Norbert to privatize everything, gave a huge contract to a monster 'security' company, 4GS, to provide security for the Olympic games in London. Just days ago, the company announced it couldn't do most of the job  (though it still expects to get paid).

Worse, we now learn that the people it did hire have had minimal training, and some none at all. At the last minute, Britain has had to turn to police and the army (still mostly publicly owned in Britain, thank heaven) to fill in the thousands of blanks.) But, of course, they too don't have much training for such highly specialized security work, and they scarcely can hope to get it since the mad rush in London is already on.

The Moncton Times has not, of course, mentioned much about it. But anybody who learns about it should be scared as hell. There will be days when most of the world's leaders will be in that stadium. This is the ultimate target for terrorists - and the perfect security screw-up for them.

As well, terrorists also have all the rest of Britain open to them as local police are diverted to the Olympics.

Incidentally, the demonstrably incompetent G4S also runs police forces and prisons all over the world, including the UK.  Reports so far suggest it is incompetent and expensive at everything it does. So this is a great opportunity for Harper to privatize our prisons. And he can be sure that Norbert will write a kiss up column on it.

meanwhile - here are Norbert's columns for the next year "government bad. private good.")  Repeat as often as necessary.

The editorialist and Brent Mazerolle both write about the proposed roundabout for Moncton. Neither has anything to say that has not been said before. And neither of them, obviously, has taken the trouble to ask why the mayor voted for something he claimed to oppose, or why the cost is so high.

Mind you, if they did ask, City Hall wouldn't tell them. They still haven't answered me about what sort of pollution is under Highfield Square. If Norbert and Brent do break tradition and ask a question, I would direct them to a man at City Hall named Silliker. He won't answer them. But he's very good at changing the subject.

Good column by Belliveau on the Colorado shootings. I would just add that it's not just the availability of combat guns in the US that's the problem. It's the state of hatred and political hysteria deliberately whipped up by US news agencies and US governments.

Gwynne Dyer's column is important. It may well shape the rest of your life. We are sinking, economically and socially, because the last 40 years have seen the biggest shift of wealth from most of us to the very, very rich that has ever been seen. It's been done through corruption, tax favours, budget cuts, you name it.

Billions are going to suffer. Billions already are suffering. And it's not because the money is spent and gone forever. The money still exists. But the super rich are not investing it because the market is too uncertain. And, after all, the money belongs to them, just to them. And it's all tucked away in secret vaults in tax-free locations.

That's why there's no money for the obvious solution to the economic crisis. The obvious solution is government spending. But the government can't spend - because the money has mostly been stolen.

There won't be money for food to save at least millions of lives in the coming year. (Mind you, most aid has always been a shell game, anyway, with our tax money going to private contractors who are supposed to supply the aid. Sometimes they do.  Sometimes they don't. But, always, it makes the contractor a huge profit.)

Even in the US, the American government has been busy cutting off food for malnourished American schoolchildren -so it can keep taxes low for the very, very rich so they can hide it for just themselves.

But you won't see many news stories about that in private news media (and not as much as we should in our public news media.) We are in a very, very dangerous situation. And the people who have put us there are more ruthless and more greedy than most of us can imagine. Over the centuries, they've killed, crippled, impoverished billions. They're still doing it. What makes you think they would make you an exception?

Earlier, I suggested googling The Guardian if you want better news coverage. It, too, can be annoying; but it's better than anything in North America. The free one is always yesterday's. But it still beats anything here.

Another good one is Le Monde. It's free version (in French or English) I find awkward to use and it's not completely free. But it's a good paper. See also Le Monde Diplomatique. You can subscribe to  these for your E reader. The Guardian is 1.99 a copy or 16.99 a month. Le Monde is 1.79 or 27.99 a month.

(Hold off on The Guardian for a bit. It's going awfully heavy on the Olympics.)

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