Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dec. 11:And the biggest story of the day is...

...the Atlantic Lottery Corporation has its eye on the future. This is a full page story about an interview with a member of the staff of The Moncton Times and Transcript. Why? I have no idea. The story says nothing about anything. How could it? The CE0 of the corporation has nothing to say but pretentious gab. And this is the TandT's idea of a big story.

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation is a very old type of business, almost as old as prostitution. It used to  be called the numbers racket, back in the days when you bought your ticket from small-timers in the mob who hung out at factory gates, lunchrooms....

For Canada, the big move that squeezed mobsters out of the racket, and made them settle for drug-running and buying politicians came with the Montreal Olympics of 1967 when Mayor Drapeau made a pitch for government sale of lottery tickets to pay for the Olympics. Then the game was truly begun. Governments had been looking for a way to raise money without taxing the rich. And here it was - lottery tickets whose major buyers would be the desperate poor and the lower middle class. (Billionaires are not big buyers of lottery tickets.)  But the TandT story says nothing about this.

As I read the CEO's statements, I thought of a kid I knew in school. His father sold tickets for the mob. "Hey!", he would say. "It's a legitimate business."
 I looked for something on shale gas. You may remember this is the one the government and the TandT so long ago promised to tell us all about. But the great silence continues. However, one has to be fair. Maybe it's hard to get information. So I went to google, and entered "fracking dangers".

Up popped four milliion three hundred and ninety thousand sites. I wonder whether the TandT has an editor who knows how to use a computer.
However, a smart editor who knew how to use a radio might have learned from CBC that Chinese who want to come to Canada temporarily to work as miners are paying up to $16,000 for the chance. Arriving here, they would work at low pay for long hours as non-unionized workers. This is, of course, wonderful news for Canada since we don't have any unemployed people looking for work, and there are no miners at all in this country.

In related news, there is a rush in many states to pass "right-to-work" legislation. The right to work. Sounds nice doesn't it? Actually, it means the right of employers to make people work for such low wages that they need government food stamps to be able to eat. Walmart forever! And it's coming your way. But not in the pages of the TandT. It's not nearly as important as a chat with the CEO of the numbers racket.

The TandT has also been pretty silent on the sale of a major oil sands developer to China. And even more silent on the next blockbuster announcement he has to make - about the deal with China to encourage Chinese companies to buy up Canadian companies - especially in resources.

No big deal? Well, it is. Under it, we would effectively lose our right to change regulations should the operations prove dangerous to the Canadian environment or even to the  health or lives of Canadian people. In other words, Harper is about to approve a deal with people who are just as greedy and rapacious and indifferent to our lives and our futures as our current home-grown billionaires are. However, we would have even less power to control the newcomers than we do to control our home-grown greedy and rapacious.

This has all been drawn up in secret, and without discussion by the man whose contempt for democracy - and for us - has long ago been made clear. We are the new Third World. I guess it's true. What goes around, comes around.
And here, in our gossip section, is a story I heard from a federal MP recently. The Bloc Quebecois plans to introduce a private-member's bill. It's not meant to pass. It's meant to put the NDP in a very embarrassing position, perhaps splitting on the vote. I won't go into any detail beyond that.

The NDP could come out of this one with flying colours - if it shows just a little courage and integrity.But will it?
There's really nothing else to talk about in today's paper. (Well, even most of what I've written isn't in today's paper.)

NewsToday has a story that Canada's new investment rules will be so strict that a deal like the Chinese move into the oilsands would not have happened under them. Right. We will pass lightly over the obvious implication - that such a statement means that Chinese government entry into the oilfields is a bad move. The fact is that given our tangle of obligations under free trade treaties - and the extra deal with China that Harper has to announce soon - our investment rules don't matter a poop.

NewsToday also has nothing to say about the big news in the middle east - the concentration of US military power around Syria, and the involvement of Britain and France. However, there is a picture of a man with a gun crouching behind a tree in what could be Syria - or anywhere else it hasn't been snowing lately.

Section C, p.3 is the first report I've seen that gives a hint of what has been happening for a long time under Israeli  PM Nethanyahu. "Israeli PM accuses world of 'deafening silence'.

The reality is that the world is fed up with the behaviour of Netanyahu. When he visited the US during the election campaign, he publicly insulted Obama - a move that brought him a standing ovation from Republicans in congress. Then, when the UN voted overwhelmingly (despite the votes of Canada and the US) to recognize the state of Palestine, Netanyahu petulantly ordered the forcible taking of yet more Palestinian land and building yet more illegal settlements on it. This, too, was a personal and public blow at Obama, despite all the financial and political aid he has given Israel.

Netanyahu has lost support all over the world, including to my knowledge, large numbers of Jews in Canada and the US - many of whom are Zionist but have lost any trust in Nethanyahu; and who profoundly distrust the direction that Israel is moving in. But you're not likely to read that in the TandT.
The editorial is trivial.

Norbert thinks the PM of Australia is smart because she can tell jokes and stuff. He also saw a TV programme that figured out how high you could stack lego blocks before the bottom one broke; he also talkS about the history of zero. Obviously, this is a real party animal.

 Alan Cochrane is, alas, Alan Cochrane. Even Alec Bruce is a little off form - though his topic has possibilities.

Louise Gilbert has a touching and useful column about how seniors can deal with Christmas. Too bad it's too late for me. I opted just to be grumpy all year round. My hobby is to heat up pennies in a fry pan, then throw them to eager children.


  1. And for sure we won't mention: the attempt to "do a private deal" between Irving and NB's public intervenor, in effect cutting out the NB energy board review process.
    AND.... I find it strange that the Irvings are not taking their desire for price increases directly to the public, it's not like they don't have the means?
    AND stranger still: the other folks refining petroleum products are not looking for price increases..... just the Irvings.

    1. Damn. You're right. I missed that. So - I checked out the business page - and I'll certainly write about that tomorrow. It'll fit well with another dirty tricks story.

    2. I *think* Frank Zappa coined an appropriate word: "sleezery"