Monday, November 5, 2012

Nov. 5: slim pickings

Today's edition of the Moncton Times and Transcript is a short read. Readership of section A will be limited to those who are all excited about the wine expo and/or the dog show. Sports is interesting mainly for its story headlines. Readers just love those macho verbs. "Miracles blast Jazz"  "Huskies oust grid Mounties"
Real he-man stuff. It always reminds me of an old radio sportscaster who would announce the hockey scores as "Montreal edges Toronto 12 to nothing"  "Chicago destroys Los Angeles three to two"

But that pretty much skims the cream of what's in the paper as the Moncton TandT maintains its stunning record of telling us nothing but trivia and propaganda. Among the missing is the story that Senator Downes is trying hard to get the federal government's Revenue department has never filed a charge against those wealthy Canadians and their corporations who hide billions of dollars in overseas bank accounts. Senator Downes has quite list of companies and numbers. But he seems unable to attract Mr. let's get tough on crime Harper.

I don't know why the TandT wouldn't mention this. After all, I can't imagine anyone connected with the paper who would do such a thing as avoid taxes, leaving us to make up the difference. I know it happens in other countries. Some sources put the total figure for the world into the trillions.

But, of course, Mr. Harper is always one to temper justice with mercy. Remember how Brian Mulroney got caught accepting payments and not reporting them for taxes when he was prime minister? It was at least a couple of hundred thousand. But did Mr. Harper punish him with a fine or jail. (I mean, stealing that much money in taxes is surely as serious as stealing cigarettes in a convenience story.) But, no. Harper, ever the Christian gentleman, imposed no penalties. Go forth, he said, and sin no more. And I'm sure that Mulroney is now a better man for that.

There is still no mention of the deliberate dumping of iron pyrites just off our Pacific coast, even though the whole world is concerned about the damage it may cause far beyond Canadian shores. Even Mr. Harper has (briefly) said it was not nice. And I'm sure he'll do something about it. Some day. Maybe.

I know the TandT is busily covering up the very idea that there is such a thing as environmental damage and there are consequences to it. That's why the paper avoids such topics to concentrate on village idiot news.

There was no mention at all of a language demo in Montreal yesterday. It's surprising that the TandT has shown no interest in the rising language tensions in that city. They have quite an impact on how people react in this province. On both sides in NB, I hear too much of the emotionally-loaded but not terribly accurate sloganeering that is copied from Quebec. Keeping people ignorant and letting them blow off emotion steam  isn't going to help.

For an example of how it isn't going to help, read "Sees few benefits to bilingualism" in letters to the editor. Despite the letter being long, it misses the whole point of what bilingualism is about. We cannot improve the level of discussion by withholding information.

Oh, and with Nov. 11 coming up., we need to know another story that might affect what we want to think about on that day we remember our military losses, and all those who served. The federal government has a fund to pay funeral expenses for destitute veterans. Since 2006, the feds have rejected two-thirds of the requests it received for such help. This joins many other cases of governments backtracking on promises to our veterans.

Something to remember on that day of remembrance.

But none of this is in the paper. Section C of Canadian, American and World news has one and  a half pages of news, and five and a half of ads.

The remaining page has a long article telling us that Professor Savoie has risen from his dark place to take up the torch for shale gas drilling. (Ever notice you can always predict whose side Professor Savoie will be on? After all,  he says, we need to develop our resources. By implication, in fact, what he says is that we must develop our resources no matter what the damage. Even leaving aside the point we have no evidence that there will be any big money for New Brunswick in shale gas - and even if there were, could it possibly be so big as to justify poisoning so many of us as well as destroying our land and water for any other use? That seems a remarkably silly statement, even for a professor.

Or it could be good thinking. Following that line of reasoning, we could sell another provincial resource, our children, to the international sex trade. That would be even better than shale gas because a)we could make some sure money out of it b)it would cause no environmental damage and c)it's a renewable resource that would provide employment for all New Brunswickers. It would fit right into the logic of Professor Savoie's argument.

We really need the Dr. Lapierres and Savoies of this world. They're a useful warning that man was not created perfect. And now on to the editorial page and op ed.

On minor points, Norbert has yet again made the terrible mistake of writing as an expert on a topic in which he has no expertise. Having sources does not make up for that. You also need the expertise to be able to judge  (and, often, to understand) the sources.

Norbert may quite likely be right in this case. What's wrong is his belief that he understands a fact when what he understands is simply a current state of scientific thought. A century ago and much less, there were eminent,respected and scientific sources aplenty to prove that  Christians were superior to Jews, and Whites to Blacks. How soon we forget!

de Adder's cartoon would be funny if, as it suggests, Hurricane Sandy had destroyed Romney's campaign. But if de Adder would read his own paper, he would know that Romney and Obama are still neck and neck.

Alec Bruce examines the terrible facts of how our penal system dealt with a mentally disturbed girl named Ashley Smith. Craig Babstock deals with a very similar failure of our prisons, a failure that resulted in the murder of an inmate. Both articles suggests serious failings in the system, failings that actually create more crime and are being made worse by Harper's "cheap shot" get-tough-on-crime policies. So who's responsible for these travesties. Alec Bruce answers that. We are.We sit back with our faces hanging out. That's why these things happen. That's why the very rich can hide billions of dollars in overseas bank accounts, and nothing happens - while a mentally disturbed girl who threw crab apples at a postman was humiliated, frightened, and driven to death in a prison.

Allan Abel contributes his usual, cutesy story about some incident in Washington which is quite readable, but indicates nothing, and certainly does nothing to support the pretentious headline above it.

Now, to make sure I get my events right:

Nov. 6. Tuesday. 7 p.m. Me and current events at the Moncton Library - this time it's about how one cannot  understand the news by reading or hearing it. There are some very broad principles that we always have to bear in mind.

Nov. 14. Wednesday. Dr. Cleary at Peace Institute, 22 Church St.

Finally, Today, for the first time, the weekly readership of this column in the US is bigger than it is in Canada.
I really wish an American reader would tell me why. I can't imagine why anyone outside Moncton would read the Moncton Times and Transcript. An American response might help me to understand why anyone inside Moncton reads it.


  1. " Following that line of reasoning, we could sell another provincial resource:" our politicians? I'm fairly sure we could do without them? I, too, am fairly sure most around here won't miss them (unless you find yourself amongst the few who seem to get corporate welfare non-stop).

    Where do they dredge these zombies up? Professor Savoie should be concerning himself about, well, just about anything else, rather than shale gas.

    And BTW what is bilingualism about? (other than trying to convince some folks who do not belong here that they do?)

  2. I don't think there would be much of a market for Mr. Alward in the international sex trade. Or the national one.

    We're not really talking about bilingualism. You cannot make people bilingual. They will use the language (or languages) they need. Nothing will force them beyond that.

    The Dutch are amazingly mutilingual, and think nothing of it. that's because they're a minority in ever direction they look. the French of France are not. They have little need to be.

    The point in Canada is that both French and English have a right to government services, education, etc. in their own language.

    The ugly thing about Quebec is that it has taken away that right for its anglos. What has happened as a result is a steady decline of Quebec - and a political climate that is likely to get much worse.

    New Brunswick would be extremely unwise to go that route. The last thing we need in this province is a movement of anglos to take away rights.

    1. Well Graeme.......

      I gotta *think* we gotta face the facts that the average working person has no time for this "bilingualism nonsense". Most times, if you are lucky, you get up, go to work each day, and hopefully on payday you have enough for groceries and to pay the bills.
      So, maybe it would do to CLOSELY ANALYZE who in fact is most concerned with this "bilingualism nonsense", and send them out, with Mr Alward, to work in the international sex trade, or at the very least, introduce them to the concept of "sex and travel".

  3. Well Anonymous, you are certainly vulgar and offensive...I gotta think that you're an idiot...Andie C.

  4. If I didn't know better, Anonymous, I'd swear you were a bigot and a xenophobe. Andie C.

  5. The average working person does not understand this "bilingualism business" because there is no such thing to understand. Nobody has demanded that everybody should become bilingual. It's an invented issue for a situation that doesn't exist.
    As such, it's a useful tool for the people who make the real problems in this province. It takes attention away from the fact that this province is and always has been dominated by a tiny group who have robbed all NBers blind for generations. And for generations, NBers have been foolish enough to waste their time over issues that don't exist, and problems that aren't here.
    And I have a suspicion that anonymous one doesn't even understand the meaning of bilingualism. not in any language.

  6. Anonymous, what makes you think that you belong in this province and country more than me ? I was born here, grew up here, and my family has roots here going back many generations...You know what ? Actually, this land wasn't yours or mine. Our ancestors stole it from Aboriginal people. So the next time you have the urge to say something stupid, how about you think about that ? Andie C.