Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oct. 31: Business as usual.....

The Moncton Times and Transcript for this day isn't its usual self. Instead, it is more boring and irrelevant than ever. The only thing worth reading in it is a letter "Mr. Toew's doesn't understand prisons". It's from the chairman of the Inmate Committee at Dorchester Penitentiary. And it's the only intelligent comment on our prisons that I have ever seen in the TandT.

So I won't talk about the paper in any detail. That would just be beating a dead horse.

I note that today's Google News, as usual, highlights three stories about New Brunswick. Two are from CBC, and one from the Globe and Mail. The regularity of that pattern of ignoring the Irving press is a pretty strong hint of opinion of it among journalists across Canada. We're not talking about a paper that I just happen to disagree with. We're talking about a newspaper that is thoroughly incompetent, trivial, held in contempt in the offices of newspapers which, however miserable they might be, are better than anything in the Irving fold.

One thing that is striking about the TandT is the absence of much in the way of Canadian news.

The story of an businessman pulling at least two and  a half million dollars out of a poor community so he could dump iron dust into our coastal waters is a big story around the world. It's not just the fact that this man appears to be a con artist. He is one of a growing number who are intervening in our climate and environment by peddling wild schemes to change them.

The rest of the world is worried. It's a major issue at the UN because the countries at the UN wonder what it will do to them.  This is like a stranger walking into  your house to spray some sort of gas to it on the explanation it will make the house warmer.

Nobody knows how widely these effects will spread - or what impact they will have as they reach other continents. Some of these - most of them - have the potential to destroy wildlife, create droughts, storms.

Even Harper has been forced to announce an enquiry. And Harper is not an enquiry kind of guy.

But not a word on this Canadian and world story has yet appeared in the TandT.(It did make the India Times, The Observer, etc.) Can the editors of the TandT be that ignorant and ill-informed? Or is this part of a deliberate effort to keep New Brunswickers asleep?
We have just witnessed the most savage storm ever to strike the east coast of the US.

I watched videos of the walls of water that swept into New York, of flooded subways, of thousands of cars either half-submerged or floating. It reminded me of a horror film I saw years ago - of a dreadful flood that destroyed New York. Of course, all of us sitting in the theatre knew this was fake, and could never happen.

The TandT covered the story, of course - with a coverage only slightly larger than page C12's pictures of smiling people holding up giant cheques. There was not the slightest mention of what such a storm would have done if the Arctic weather front had been moving just a bit more slowly, and Sandy had made its left turn at Halifax.

Why was the storm so bad? Could it possible have anything to do with rising ocean levels as a result of climate change? And are those levels going to continue rising? Oh, don't worry your head about it. Just look at the pictures of those nice people holding up cheques.

Harper is concluding a huge deal with China which will destroy much of our control over Canadian industry and environment. He's rushing it through parliament, using his majority to kill all discussion. We ill be lucky if there's a half-hour of debate. The impact has the potential to be a national disaster. But it wasn't important enough to make the TandT.

Remember Atcon Holdings, the company of the Shawn Graham era that got a fifty milllion dollar loan, then promptly went bankrupt sticking us with the loss? Want to know more about it? Well, throw your TandT into the garbage from which it sprung, and check out CBC.

Our then Liberal government knew this loan was a bad idea. Committees of senior civil servants told them, many times, not to give that money to Atcon. Our government never told us about that advice. It ignored its civil servants, and handed over our fifty million, anyway.

Alward knew all about it. But he didn't tell us, either. Fifty million dollars tossed down the toilet....I wonder how much of our deficit can be explained that way.

But you didn't read it in The Moncton Times and Transcript. We were, as we have been and repeatedly and ever since we have had government, robbed. And never a word in the TandT. Quite the contrary.

Notice how the editorial page - notably Norbert Cunningham - rants about how stupid civil servants are? How they are overpaid? Inefficient? Incompetent? And how wise and capable big business is?

Big business is wise and capable - but in ways that usually lead to prison. The evidence is that civil servants usually know what they're doing. But not in th pages of the TandT. That fifty million dollars looks very much like a theft. So why didn't Alward tell us the situation? Why was there no investigation?

Now the TandT is all big on Mr. Brian Gallant who gives every sign of being more of the same. (He has new ideas. He's going to go forward. Wow! There's a new idea right there.And it's a fresh idea. Wow! They just keep coming.)

The real problems of New Brunswick never get discussed. There are three real ones.
1. The politicians of the Liberal and Conservative parties are bush-league hacks who simply carry out the orders of a corporation leadership that is too arrogant and too greedy to give a damn about the people of this province.
2. The corporation leadership has assumed powers that have effectively destroyed democracy, giving themselves powers they should not have. As well, they are made incompetent to govern because they are too greedy and too arrogant to care about the people who live here.
3. The arrogant and greedy have a stranglehold on the print media of this province. They use that control to keep the people of New Brunswick in ignorance of what is happening.

So where to start?

Until we get our acts together, there is nothing to be done about the corporate bosses. Only government can do that. Given time (and not much more of it), their incompetence and interference will destroy our economy as they have already destroyed the economies of the US and western Europe.

We cannot deal with our servile and not very bright Liberals and Conservatives until the general population of the province understands more about them.

That means the fundamental problem of New Brunswick is the power of the Irving press to keep people in ignorance, and to manipulate them. It's a common problem around the world as the news media increasingly come under the control of monopolists. (You know what monopolists are. They're the people like the owner of the TandT who say that capitalism is good because it encourages competition - then they kill competition wherever they see it.)

The answer lies in getting the truth out. Until that is done, nothing will happen. That's why I support The Moncton Free Press. It's small, hopelessly understaffed by volunteers. But it tries to tell the truth, something you will rarely find in the TandT. The same is true of Media Co-op. Check out google. If anybody sends me the names of other sources, I'll be happy to check them out.

On Tuesday, Nov 6,current events meets at the Moncton Library at 7 p.m.  This time, I want to tackle the central problem in understanding the news. The problem is that news, by its nature, comes in isolated bits and pieces. Syria is in a civil war. So? What does it mean? Does it mean Syrians are just crazy that way? That rebels are good? That the government is bad? None of it means anything without some sort of framework.

This Tuesday, I'll take a stab at establishing a general framework that makes a lot of what's going on more understandable. We'll go over the three, most important factors in setting up the news we're seeing -
1. American dominance in 1945.
2.1949 - the end of Chinese vulnerability.
3.The rise of western corporations as the owners of governments.
4.The important of hatred.

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