Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sept. 2 0: What isn't in the TandT.....

....and what shouldn't have been....

Drones are unmanned aircraft that are used for espionage, rocket fire, and bombing. You have probably heard that the US is using drones in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. You may even have heard that They are also used by police to spy on people without going to the nuisance of getting a warrant. And that can be very useful against people have haven't done anything but, for any reason, just aren't liked by the government in power. That's very useful in a dictatorship or police state.

Betcha didn't know that Canada has them.

The US Government Accountability Office has announced that Canada is the proud (if shy) owner of drones. It doesn't say whether they are owned by the military or by police forces - or both.Nor does it say what they are being used for. But Canada has them.

So have 76 other countries - including Britain and France and Russia and China and Israel - indeed, countries that cover most of the land surface of the earth. Now, everybody can be spied on - or bombed - at no risk whatever - except, of course - those who get in the way.

The development and spread of drones has been so rapid because - well - because selling them - to whoever - is very profitable to the US defence industry.

This does pose a fundamental problem to democracy (not to mention innocent people who happen to be standing near a person that somebody sitting at a computer screen 5,000 miles away wants to kill.)

Democracy requires limits on the powers of government and police. The term individual freedom means that those powers are limited. If they aren't, then you have the Gestapo of Hitler's Germany or the NKVD of the Soviet Union. Constant surveillance of everybody for whatever reason some official decides on is fatal to democracy.

Gee! Funny The Moncton Times and Transcript never ran this story.

In other good news missed by the TandT, the last year saw a rise in wealth for the very wealthy in the US of 13%. Weren't they lucky while the rest of the country was sliding into poverty? Now, wouldn't it be interesting if The Moncton Times and Transcript would get the figures for New Brunswick? Perhaps they could spare one of those oped staff writers who writes columns about what fun it is to ride a motorcycle? Or sentimental stuff  about how they just buried grandpa with his trusty toothbrush in his pocket?

It was just over a year ago that the TandT was writing almost daily editorials attacking the New Brunswick school system. They were, in fact, among the most vicious editorials (and the most ignorant) I have ever seen. I confess that I have hard feelings toward Norbert because I suspect he wrote at least some of them.

The theme was, not accidentally, picked up by Atlantic Institute of Marketing Studies which,also not accidentally, had some association with a businessman whose last name began with I. The plan was to gradually privatize the public schools for private profit. This would copy the model being set by the US for some decades, and now in Britain. And the results are in, folks.

According to The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, American education now ranks with the lowest in the developed world. (And the developed world list is big and wide enough to  include countries you never even heard of.) American teachers, by the way, are the hardest worked and among the worst paid in the developed world. As for university graduates, the US ranks only 14th in the developed world.

Now, this would be a wonderful opportunity for an enterprising editor right here in Moncton to go to his computer, press Google, and type the organization for economic cooperation and development Canada education. (No. Not Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. Just do what I say.) Then print it for a change in this lying. propagandizing newspaper.

To move to what IS in the paper, NewsToday has the current propaganda line - oh, oh, Iran is supplying the Syrian government with weapons ---oh, they're so treacherous.
1. Who the hell does Reuters think is supplying the rebels? Some fairy Godmother? It's the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and also Turkey, Britain, the US, and others.
If these governments are supporting one side, why is it terrible for a government to support the other side?
2. Is this for democracy? Get real. Saudi Arabia and The Emirates are among the most vicious dictatorships in the world. They don't encourage democracy.
3. The rebels are made up of a least thirty, distinct groups - some of which are already fighting with each other. Very few have the slightest interest in democracy.

Why are the western powers involved? Probably because they hope nobody wins. They want Syria, among other countries, to be broken up into small and weak parts so it won't get into the way of plans they have for the region.

There is, at least, sensible placing for a decent story on the census - headline story on p. 1. Yesterday's story said, "It's coming. It's coming" when, in fact, it had come by the time the paper hit the stands. That means most people already knew the story before they saw it this morning. What a newspaper should have done with such a story today is to present it in more detail than radio and TV can spare the time for - and to add some INFORMED comments. It's kind of silly to pay for yesterday's news.

The only other item of interest in  section A is yet another big ad for the autobiography of an Irving journalist.
This has been going on for some time now. Sales must be slow.

Then we go off to the world of sport - with not a female reporter in sight. The only story about a woman is about a champion golfer. It was written by a man.

The first female sports reporter in Canada was Myrtle Cook, an outstanding Olympic athlete who became a sports columnist about 1930 for a career of some forty years. Hey, folks! It's okay for women to cover sports. It's been going on for close to a century.

P. C3 (NewsToday) has an important story on the need for equal medical services in French in New Brunswick. Read it to the end because in it is a remarkable statement by Conservative Dr. Parrott, "In the wake of duality, you find mediocrity." ( Of course, what he might have meant is that he was born a twin). Not surprisingly, he was praised yesterday in the Times and Transcript for his stance.

Even if he statement were true (which I don't think it is), it was a remarkably insensitive, dismissive and even stupid remark to make.

Speaking of insensitive, dismissive and even stupid, Alec Bruce has an excellent column on the American champ in those fields, Mitt Romney. Mitt could still win the election, though. Much depends on who controls the voters registration lists and the electronic voting machines.

Jody Dallaire is her usual, good stuff. But, given what one sees of commentators and editors with the TandT, I'm surprised they don't assign a man to comment on women's issues.


  1. About the OCDE study on postsecondary education, I'm pretty surprised to see that Canada is in 3rd place....Considering the cost and the ever-growing commercialization of education in this country, I don't think we should have ranked so high : Andie C.

  2. Measuring universities is a difficult game. Much of the measurement is a mix of snobbery and ignorance. For example, I have heard of some small and unknown ones that do a good job of teaching. But I've never seen one, so it there are any, they're pretty odd birds. Yet places like Harvard and McGill still go a long way on pure snobbery.

    American schools, like Canadian ones, are no great shakes as educational institutions. But the American ones are also hurt by scandalously high grades and, indirectly, by a rigidness of american society that makes self-improvement almost impossible (despite the myth that the US is the land of equal opportunity.)

    (Our grades are very high, too. But compared to the US, we're really, really tough.)