Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22:

Above are two sites sent to me by a reader. Both are important. Neither has appeared in The Moncton Times and Transcript.  The particularly frightening one is the one called trapwire. This is a system for government spying (contracted out to a private company) which can cover virtually every man, woman, and child in the country. Using mathematical formulae, it can connect them with any group its users choose to. And it's coming to Canada - might already be here.

No problem, you say? It'll keep an eye on people who are dangerous? Actually, no.

Throughout history, this and cruder systems have been been used to dig up dirt or, at least, allegations to be used against people the government doesn't like - members of opposition parties, for example.

The RCMP spent years spying on Tommy Douglas. There is still a  huge file on him. Why? He was a threat to Canadian freedom. He introduced medicare.

Harper has already publicly stated that he sees environmentalists as a threat to Canada. Hey! You don't agree with Harper? Then you are a threat to this country; and there's a good chance there is already a file on you.

Welcome to Orwell's 1984.

The TandT is unusually truthful in a  front page headline "Premier touts childhood plan". To tout is to try to sell something, usually in a brazen way. And that's what the story is all about. In fact, it's not a news story at all. It's a con job by Alward about the wonderful things he's doing.

A real newspaper would assign reporters to ask some quesions, to find out what is going on - and what isn't. But the TandT is not a real newspaper.

Meanhile, some real news from Quebec was ignored. Pauline Marois, leader of the separatist PQ, has announced that anyone who is not competent in French will not be permitted to run for provincial or municipal office in Quebec.
1. That is inventing a problem in order to spread hatred and fear. I have lived in Quebec most of my life. I have never even heard of a person who could not speak French running for office at any level, not even in a largely anglo riding.
This, like her pronouncement forbidding religious symbols of any sort (except crosses) for civil servants, is an appeal the the very ugly bigotry that is still widespread in Quebec.
2. It is also illegal to say who has a right to be a candidate. In a democracy, any citizen of age is entitled to run. If there is something wrong with the candidate, that is something for the voters to decide - not Marois.

Ms. Marois is dangerous. And this is an important and dangerous election for all of us. (But not in the view of the TandT.) Nor can we take comfort in any,major party that is running in the Quebec election.

NewsToday has a big story on Harper's tour of the far north. Wonderful things will happen - mines, oil wells,  you name it. And we have to go hurry, hurry, hurry before those environmentalists make a nuisance - oh, it's good to have "tripwire". There is no mention that Harper has gutted scientific study of the impact of development on this most fragile environment.. (Well, sure, you destroy the earth. But it will provide good jobs. For a while. And billions in profits for a very few - who can then move to some country that isn't wo devastated.)

PostMedia is the source for the story. Of course. PostMedia, like BrunswickMedia, is a kiss-up for big business.)

But BrunswickMedia does a better job on p. C3 with a report that the Canadian Medical
Association is calling for shale gas health checks. This is a real story; and it's worth reading. In fact, there is considerable evidence of severe health damage from shale gas extraction.

Reuters on p. C12, offers its usual, heavily biased account of Julian Assange's bid to escape extradition to Sweden. It raves on about the fairness of the Swedish judicial system. I don't doubt its fairness. But that is not what this is about.

The issue is whether Assange would, after getting to Sweden, risk extradition to the US - which does NOT have a reputation for judicial fairness. Assange's junior partner in Wikkileaks has been held in an American prison for over two years with no charge or trial. In that time, he has, according to the UN, been held in solitary and tortured. He now, at last, will face a court - but it will be a military court, which offers few of the protections of a civilian court. And the US wants Assange even worse than it does his partner.

 They told the truth about American government lying and illegal behaviour. That's serious.

Editors are trained and experienced in putting a newspaper together. That's all they're trained to do - and the editors at the TandT can't even do that. There is no reason to expect any editor's opinion on any subject but putting a newspaper together is worth a damn. But they still insist. Today's editorial is on a subject the writer is sublimely ignorant of. It's shallow. It's a rant. And it's primary purpose is to bash the union. (Ever see a TandT editorial criticize a corporation?)

Read Norbert's first, two sentences under Retailers. He manages to make an article about the spread of American retailers into Canada into an attack on the CBC. (Apparently, CBC referred to the spread or retailers as an invasion, something Norbert perceived as an anti-American statement.)  Norbert, will you please get a dictionary - or just use common sense?

The word invasion is often used in a quite pleasant sense as, for example, (Moncton looks forward to tourist invasion at Magnetic Hill).

But Norbert has a hatred of the CBC - because it is not a private company. He constantly slips in derogatory comments about it, and put 'mother' before it in a derogatory (if unclear) , manner.

 Have you ever read anything by him that was critical of a private broadcaster? I was many years daily on private radio. I met lots of good broadcasters and good journalists (and lots and lots of really stinking ones.) I was also a dozen years and more on CBC. There's no comparison. CBC is way ahead of anything I saw in private radio. And that is especially true in Moncton.

But have you ever seen Norbert utter a word of criticism of private radio in this city?

And then, of course, he has to blame environmentalists for the food crisis. Yep, it's them there environmental fanatics whut's causin' the problems. Norbert - you used to be an editor; and, Lord, it shows.

Norbert looks around at a world of devastated environment, most of it  devastated by big business. He looks at a world economy in flames because of the irresponsible and, commonly, illegal behaviour of big business. He looks at a hundred million Americans dependent on welfare to survive, while billionaires still make their biggest profits in history, and while politicians are still cutting food programmes for hungry children so they can lower taxes on the very rich.

Norbert, has it never occurred to  you that corporations control must governments in the "democratic" world. And if you can wrap your little head around that, doesn't it occur to you that corporations have thus proven they are hopelessly dishonest and, in general, utterly incompetent to run any society?

Ever see Norbert write a word about that? No. And it's not likely you ever will.

Alec Bruce is - Alec Bruce - and that's good.

Brian Cormier has a penetrating opinion piece about his spatula. All people who are concerned about Brian's spatula should read it.


  1. Your commentary on Moncton's newspaper (or lack of a newspaper) is both tragic and funny as usual.

    At times you make me wish I read the M.T.& T. just to see what you're writing about, but I live in a rural area and any paper aside from the Saint John Telegraph Journal here (which I don't bother reading) are scarce, but I get the gist anyway as I'm sure most people that read you do.

    It almost (you'll note I said 'almost') sounds like you have a soft spot for Norbert, as if he was a misbehaving child that simply can't help himself. When I was growing up in Montreal, there was a slow kid in our neighborhood that did just that.

    Thanks for the Paul Craig Roberts plug. I didn't know about him, but what a good series of articles! To the informed, America is quickly becoming known as Amerika! but I'm able to appreciate Roberts sense of injustice, outrage, and applaud him for his bravery.

    I just don't understand why enough U.S. citizens don't see it?

  2. for many Americans, this is a hard time. Economically, of course, it's very tough. As well, all kinds of beliefs they have been raised on are proving not to exist - and the future they have been raised to expect doesn't appear to be there.

    They've been badly served by their news media - even more badly than Canada. (The first time I saw Fox News, i thought it was a comedy show.)

    Obama has been a dreadful disappointment.

    It's hard for people to cope with things they never believed could happen. One reaction is disappointment. The other - as Germany did - is to become obsessed with the enemy among us, to decide that the myths they had always believed in are really true - and the trouble must be caused by --environmentalists, communists, occupy movementers, moslem terrorists under the bed, etc. And that way lies fascism.
    Many Americans are going through personal crises as they try to understand what is happening.

    It's not their fault - but they're paying. and politically, they really have no choices at all.

  3. All those points are well understood, and also how tribalism can play an important role in developing, or retarding a personal perspective on the world. It distorts the prism in which the world is viewed.

    But, I guess I was thinking on something that's more on the subconscious level, more on the level of an individual listening to their inner conscience rather than being taken in by a collective of noise and false ideologies.

    But that takes us back to your latest post on poor education in New Brunswick as well as elsewhere. We're not taught how to think critically, and its for a reason we're not taught to think critically.

    So, is there any wonder the lack of a better education eventually gave rise to the neo-fascist republican party of today, as well as 'The Harper Government' in Canada?