Thursday, July 19, 2012

Today, Norbert has a quite amusing column on how we get confused about the words we think we heard in songs, as in "While shepherds washed their socks by night, all seated round the tub...." I was reminded of that fine, old hymn we learned in Sunday school, "When mothers went sailing...."

The editorial is a reasonable enough one on improving traffic conditions. However, and as most of the world has learned, if you improve traffic conditions, you get more cars -and more problems. Los Angeles probably has the most sophisticated traffic circles and interchanges in the world. It also has some of the world's worst traffic problems.

The problem in Moncton, as in many cities, is not roads. The problem is cars. Providing more parking and improving roads will not ease the problem. It will make it worse. The answer, as many cities have discovered, is in discouraging cars. And one way to do that is to provide mass transit----intelligently.  And this, alas!, is what our city refuses even to consider.

Incidentally, I have happy memories of outdoor restaurants (like the ones on Main St.) in Belgium and Rome at which I did not have to sit beside somebody's parked car, or beside traffic. Perhaps City Council could check out a travel office to get a free picture of such a setup.

Read Alec Bruce's column today - espcially the last line. Our climate is changing, and at an unpredictable rate and with unpredictable consequences. So why do some people still deny it?  Well, if you check, you will find think tanks and propaganda groups well financed by billionaires, many of whom happen to make their money out of fossil fuels.  Short-sighted and self-interested lads as they are, they don't give a damn what will happen down the road - and not very far down the road. All they care about is the profit to be announced in the next quarterly report.

Rod Allen has his usual column about nothing in particular. I didn't even know we had an Order of Moncton. Next, no doubt, an order of St. George St. or of Harper Lane.

Excellent column by Jody Dallaire on how Harper is choking charity and advocacy groups. This is a deliberate policy and part of a much larger agenda - to give the rich even more influence in Ottawa, to privatize as many services as possible, and to cut off discussion by us common people - and it has to be done before his term is over. That last point is important because he's not likely to win another election - but if he does enough damage before then, it will be almost impossible to undo.

Harper doesn't need to win another election. His future is taken care of.

Reuters carries what seems to be a pretty accurate story of  a decisive moment in the Syria war as a suicide bomber, a Moslem, blew up some of the government's key leaders. Funny thing, though. He was a Moslem. He was a suicide bomber. When a person like that blows up somebody on our side, isn't he usually described as a terrorist?

The choice of words in the news is important. And there's another example on the same page.

"Islamic threat warning issued". This heads a story about a Canadian diiplomat who says, Islamist "extremists" are a "cancer" that is spreading across North Africa...uh....well....wasn't North Africa Islamic in the first place? And wasn't it conquered by Christians who did it by the rather extreme method of mass killing? And didn't they try to spread a Christian cancer across North Africa?

Too bad the native peoples of the Americas didn't have newspapers some 400 hundred years ago. I can see the headlines now "Christian extremists spread cancer of their religion across the Americas".

A headline like that would be quite true. But to use that tone to describe people who have been invaded, murdered and exploited for centuries seems a bit much. Invading Iraq on trumped up excuses, and killing over a million people sounds like a pretty extreme Christianity to me.

The Moncton Times and Transcript still hasn't noticed the British banking crisis with its evidence of bank behaviour that was both criminal and irresponsible. Depositors are lining up to get their money out of banks like Barclay's and into co-ops. Nor has it mentioned the growing suspicion that British banks were rigging gas prices.   (Gee. That would surely never happen in Canada.)

Nor has it noticed the damning report from the US Senate which says that banking giant HSBC was guilty not only cheating by rigging bank rates and laundering money; it was also and knowingly, funnelling money to terrorist groups. As well, the scandal is revealing questonable links between banks like HSBC and, for example, the British Minister of Trade.

The British are also learning that corporations as they get bigger, lose track of what's going on. Far from being more efficient than government, Big businesses often run hopelessly out of control. That was discovered in the banks as part, but only part, of their problem. It was also discovered in another story that the TandT has completely ignored.

The security giant G4S, the one that will be bidding to create private prisons and private police forces in Canada (including New Brunswick), the one that now has contracts to privatize jails and police forces in the UK, the one that already operate  prisons in the US has so terribly screwed up on its contract for security at the Olympic games that the British will need to send in up to 5000 soldiers and thousands of municipal police.....well..... It told the UK government just before the Olympics opening that it cannot provide the security required.  (Perhaps that's a good thing. The people it did  hire got only one month's training.)

The whole organization is so out of control that the president publicly admitted that with days to go for the Olympic opening, he didn't know they had only 2000 employees of the 10,000 that had been contracted for.The corporation president didn't know.  Nor was he able to answer the simplest questions about his organization. He wasn't stonewalling. He actually didn't know.

For a final touch, even though G4S is now providing less than even minimal security, its price has risen by hundreds of millions of dollars.

And he'll be heading this way.

But Times and Transcript doesn't know about it. Or about the report that shows most US aid money for starving countries goes to three American factory farming giants that grow the food in the US at very high prices and with government subsidies. Then, of course, it has to be shipped at great cost and by American shipping companies. Result? What the starving countries get is very expensive food, and very, very little of it because most of the money has gone to corporations.

When I was a child, I used to listen to a radio programme that began with the voice of a sidewalk newspaper salesman shouting, "Extry. Extry. Read all about it. Now, I turn to my Times and Transcript.

Read all about what?


  1. Does the city of Moncton even have a clue about "traffic flow"? To get traffic flow you need synchronized traffic lights, like what is found in big cities, ever drive in Montreal, or Toronto, where you can go miles without stopping, through green lights at every other corner? Here, they insist on "trip lights", where the magnetic field generated between a vehicle, and a coil buried in the road, changes the light, resulting in Moncton being the red light capital of Canada. But of course, Moncton doesn't care about the extra pollution caused by stopped, idling, cars, not to mention decreased fuel mileage. We need more pollution and higher gasoline consumption.

    I found it interesting that the city admitted Highfield square was polluted, but the million dollar question is going to be: who is going to pay to clean it up before they ram an unwanted sportsplex down our throats?

  2. They've admitted it and another site are polluted. they won't say what the other site is, what the pollution is, how much there is, nor what it will cost to fix it. Nor have the Ward Two councillors answered me at all.
    Amazing the people of Moncton put up with this secretive crap.

  3. Hey...the Times........the WKRP of newspapers...will get to the bottom of it.