Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dec.29: Wow! Stop the presses... truck in St. John gets stuck in snow on way to fire...more, no doubt, to follow. Somewhere in today's issue is yet another page of one-liner stories from 1012 that nobody is going to read; and I fear there's more to come. They're still in July.

NewsToday has a big story that J.Edgar Hoover of th FBI kept extensive files on Marilyn Monroe because he suspected her of being a communist. I mean, look, she was in favour of equal rights for black Americans, He also kept files on such other 'notorious communists' as Frank Sinatra. Of course. The TandT doesn't mention that the files had nothing to do with communism, and everything to do with keeping Hoover at the head of the FBI. Despite his well-known friendships with leading mobsters, his passion for big-time gambling (and the connection between those two), he was not forced to retire when he reached retirement age. Of course not.

He had the goods on the affairs (and many others) of Marilyn Monroe and President Kennedy. He had the goods on everybody of any power in the US. It's an old game for just about every chief of domestic intelligence there ever was. It almost certainly still goes on. Ottawa has just released it's file on Tommy Douglas. He was very dangerous. He was a Baptist clergyman.

NewsToday (p. C6) also has a gripping story about Brian Gallant. "Liberal leader is patient, polite and passionate." In fact, "He has armed himself with politeness, patience and passion in the pursuit of political power." Very professional and potent, "...with a penchant for letter-writing."

Except for its remarkable use of the letter 'P', this is a story that has nothing to say. For all the smiles and bafflegab,  Gallant looks and sounds like every political groupie I have ever known, and pretty much like the many disastrous premiers this province has had. He is, at best, a prettier version of Alward, and backed by the same hacks who have built their careers kissing up to corporation bosses. My, New Brunswick has a slow, learning curve and at that it curves the wrong way.

So why is the TandT so obviously pandering to Gallant? Because that's what the owner wants. Irving has to keep power in the hands of just two parties if he is going to continue his hold on this province. Of course, Alward is losing popularity. It's bound to happen to any leader who is so obviously a puppet.

In another province, that might bring change. But in New Brunswick, we have two, puppet parties. So you just have to switch the puppets - with the help of boot-licking journalists like those in the Irving press. Will New Brunswickers ever catch on?

But enough at complaining over the triviality of this paper. What should be in it at this slack time of year?
Well, we occasionally hear of a city plan for development. I've seen no evidence that such a plan exists but, if it does, I'd love to see it explained in the TandT.  And it could run in many sections, just like those idiot pages of one-liners about last year's news.

For a start, it would be helpful to see what kind of a world the city is planning for. What conditions are the North American economies likely to be in some twenty and thirty years from now? What kind of mass transit will be feasible? Is the automobile likely to maintain its dominance of transportation? What is the age balance likely to be?  Will there be an advantage to covered or underground walking space? Will the suburban, single-family house make any sense twenty years from now? Or will it be too expensive to service, and hopelessly out of tune with transport needs?

We can't possibly take any plan seriously unless we have some sense of what conditions will be in the future.
This part alone would require a good week of articles short enough to be readable, but long enough to make some sort of sense.

Then we have to connect the dots to see what sort of housing we should be encouraging. Does it make sense for a government, municipal or provincial, to subsidize a suburban development like Royal Oaks? If we are going to put tax money into use for housing development, shouldn't it be for the low cost but decent housing that is needed but can't be afforded? Why are we spending money to help people who don't need help?

How are we going to accomodate shopping needs? Rebuild the old main street? That's 1920s.  Malls for cars? That's 1960s.

What should a map of Moncton look like in 20 or 30 years? What should the housing look like? We can't leave these questions to developers. Developers don't plan for the future. They plan for places they intend to sell within a year. Then they're outa here. Whether it all works is a matter of indifference to developers.

With several stories on this part, the Moncton Times could then look at current projects to see where (and if) they fit into the plan.Where will the events centre fit in if the economic decline of North America continues? Remember, if it's a bust, the developers don't care. They will have made their money. And the owner of the hockey team will have  his new stadium for which he has no responsibility or obligations at all. You get stuck with the bills.

If we need to spend a hundred million, is an events centre the way to do it? Moncton has a very high proportion of housing that is close to slum standards.

Is city council even aware of all this? My impression is that the councillors plan as if they were commercial developers. There is no future. There is only now; and they plan for the fast buck, now. They, most particularly the mayor, need to start thinking not as developers but as the leaders of a city. They have to think not just of the money a project MIGHT bring in, but of what would make Moncton a better city to live in.

Having done all that, the TandT could examine some recent decisions to decide whether they fit into the plan. Royal Oaks, the move of Moncton High, and the events centre would seem to fit that category.

To this point, I have seen no informed discussion of the future of Moncton. All I have seen is a newspaper that shills for sleazy deals that will cost us everything and give us nothing.
The Faith Page? Well, the soppy column by Yount is gone. That's a good sign that God must be in His heaven. Alas, the sermonette at the top of the page is a good example of why people who take religion seriously don't go to church. Couldn't we, some day, have a sermonette of the sort that Jesus gave - about the real world and the current time?

Trust me; I am careful in dealing with Pharisees; and I am always nice to Samaritans. But don't the churches have anything to say about the world we live in? About the  dreadful inequalities in this world, the neglect of the poor in order to please the rich, the rot of politics - a rot that really hurts real people?

They must think that Jesus would have read the Times and Transcript every day, and possibly have written editorials for it.

The editorial writer is back to the usual topic, pimping for the events centre.

The cartoon by de Adder isn't funny. But it's good. Take it seriously.

Excellent column by Bill Beliveau on the situation of our native peoples, and the failure of every federal government in Canadian history  to give a damn.

Good column by Norbert - sticks to the topic, and handles it rationally. Serious discussion like this is all too rare in New Brunswick.

Brent Mazerolle has yet to learn that a person who writes an opinion column is supposed to have an opinion about some matter of substance. He is not simply a second-rate standup comic.

Good column by Gwynne Dyer, though I'm not sure I share his (limited) optimism for the coming year.

Oh, and Monday marks the official ending of the wackiest celebration I ever heard of, the two hundredth anniversary of the War of 1812 in which the US invaded us. I played a very minor role in the early stages, but resigned as soon as I realized how absurd, expensive, and purely political this was.

Can you imagine the US having a year of celebration for the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941? Poland celebrating the Nazi invasion of 1939?

Why did the government do it? Because this sort of shallow and largely ignorant patriotism is what appeals to Harper's voting base -  just like nailing pictures of the queen on ever vacant wall in the country.

Well, it's over. At a cost of 30 million or better. (Thank you all for my share - the cost of a return flight to Ottawa, a night at a hotel, and meals). Did you enjoy the party? Feel better informed now?  Feel prouder now to be a Canadian?

Thirty million. They could have done a lot for native peoples with that. For example, they could have appointed a whole bunch of non-natives to conduct another study of the problem.


  1. Norbert would be more plausible if he didn't confuse Louisiana (LA) with Los Angeles (L.A.)

  2. Damn. I missed that.
    I shall have to speak sharply to him.

  3. Heh!Heh!...I'd be crying over the ongoing absurdity in our up-side-down world if I wasn't already hostage to disparaging laughter.

    But your blog posts help...and for that... thank you.

    BTW, the circus in the U.S continues as there is a push in the Senate to reauthorize the Fed's warrent-less surveillance program that Bush began. (Mother Jones)

    There appears to be even more secrecy this time surrounding the Act.

    So much so, that no one can even decipher what's in it! No oversight committee would know if a public citizen's constitutional rights were being contravened, or worse, if he or she were actually being targeted for disappearance as in conjunction with the National Defense Authorization Act. (I connected the dots on the latter half).

    If it passes, this might be the best tool so far to get rid of those pesky, Godless, anti-war leftist socialists, hippie-liberal,and hippy-dippy, tree-hugging, communists!

    Or,as Harper's minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver - puts it, those 'radical activists'!