Friday, November 30, 2012

Nov. 30? Wow.....

The Moncton Times and Transcript finally does it. Both the editorial page and the op ed page are worth reading - for the first time ever.

The is a solid editorial on the return of mass transit to Moncton - without the attacks on the drivers that have marred past editorials on the subject. In fact, this time it takes a hard look at management, something long delayed. The management of Transpo seems not to have the faintest idea of how to run a mass transit system.

One might add that council doesn't, either. It has yet to suggest the radical re-thinking necessary for a world that will have to rely less on automobiles and oil. It has yet to adopt any city development plan to cut down on the need for transit. This is a city designed for 1950. And, when you see a city council of the twenty-first century planning to develop Main St. by installing parking meters, you know they must be smoking something.

But the editorial is a good one - and much better written than the usual one. Well, there was one little flaw. The writer suggested it should begin operations gradually, starting with connections to retail stores and commuters. Well, yeah. But, gee, that means just about all the connections. So we start gradually by getting everything going?

Norbert done good. His column is on the dismissal of mayor Ford of Toronto for conflict of interest. Damn right. Conflict of interest, even over relatively minor matters, should not be tolerated. Norbert makes the point clearly. Now....

When Mr. Jim Irving accepted (asked for? demanded?) the position of official adviser on economic planning for the minister of finance, wasn't that a conflict of interest? I mean, his business affairs certainly overlap with the provincial economy. And they might sometimes conflict with what is best for the province.

And then a committee of business people associated with Mr. Irving was appointed as a committee to advise the minister. Isn't that conflict of interest?

Read Norbert's "Who Cares?" section near the end of his column.
"Who cares in the Maritimes? We all should. It can happen here too. The damage done can be considerable, particularly when the inability to grasp simiple realities is as profound as in Mr. Ford's case."

Bang on, Norbert. But, it can happen here? Norbert, it does happen here. Indeed, conflict of interest is the basis of the whole of New Brunswick's economy and politics. It always had been.

Figure you might try a column on that?

Alec Bruce has a column on the disgusting behaviour of Harper in refusing to help millions of suffering people all over the world, help that would save lives, and cost Canada nothing. Harper has refused to send cheaper, generic  drugs to treat HIV/AIDS.

Why?

To bleed the poorest people in the world dry by by sending only more expensive brand-name drugs - which mean we can send fewer drugs - which means millions will die who could have been saved.

Why?

To please Harper`s fat-cat friends in the pharmaceutical business who want the government to send only their brand-name products - and to pay full price for them.

Why?

Partly because Harper is a narrow ideologue who really believes the rich should be allowed to get as rich as they like, no matter what the effect on others. And it's almost certainly partly because the industry donates heavily to his party.

In Africa, they are dying by the million. They die in such numbers that the dead are often buried at roadsides, or just abandoned in dumps. This is like the Black Plague of the Middle Ages.

Harper and the pharmaceutical companies are letting people die in order to let a few people get very, very rich.  If you do that - and don`t have political connections or lots and lots of money - it`s called murder.

Lynda MacGibbon, as she often does, has a column that looks light and homey - but has deeper implications for the way we think about others, and the way we treat them.

And there is a fine column by senator Percy Down on super-rich tax cheats. Not, of course, that there are any such people in New Brunswick. However, there are such people in other parts of Canada in the US. In fact, recent estimates suggest suggests there are trillions of dollars,never reported for taxes, which are hidden away in tax havens all over the world.

As the senator suggests, waitresses who fail to report tips in Quebec get charged with tax evasion. But Brian Mulroney who didn`t report a suitcase full of big bills got......well, he recently got to give a speech in New Brunswick on the subject of principles.

The rest of the paper is its usual self. You might, though, want to look at a whole page of colour photos of the social set at a gala. (A8)  I love looking at pictures of my social betters.

And hurry, hurry, hurry. Your can still get copies of Ralph Costello ( biographer of K.C. Irving), `The Price of Honesty` at the TandT office.

I emphasized just two pages of today`s paper because they highlighted our central problem. I`ll begin by saying that all economic systems from capitalism to communism can work - sometimes. All of them can fail. The problem is not the system. The problem is that any system is run by people. Us people are the problem.

The communism of Stalin and Mao bore no relation to what communism was supposed to be.(and, in any case, such a system is probably impossible.)   The capitalism of western Europe and the Americas bears no relation to what capitalism is supposed to be. To talk of such a thing as private enterprise in our society makes sense when we speak of small business. But it bears no resemblance to big business which, with a corrupt democracy to help it along, is simply welfare for the extremely rich.

Democracy itself is profoundly corrupted. The basic requirement is that people have the information they need in order to choose. But they don`t have it. In the case of shale gas, for example, the TandT and the provincial government and the shale gas industry have made damn sure we don`t get the information, that what we get is propaganda.

The Liberals would be no different. Both parties are paid hookers for big business. Both know that they stay with the guy who brung them, or they don`t get paid.

In the US, election law has created a system so expensive that only those two parties supported by the very, very rich can run with any hope of even being noticed. And the American press, on average, is only very slightly better than the Irving press.

Capitalism is not working. It is not working because because the big capitalists have effectively destroyed it with short-sightedness, greed - and murder and human suffering. In the US, where the bankers who drove the world into recession still live in 25 million dollar mansions, record numbers of people are living in poverty, dependent on food stamps to barely survive. And that includes some who are employed in places like Walmart.

Capitalism and democracy have both been seriously damaged by the greed and, it must be said, the incompetence of big business. And that does not begin to tell the suffering and death it has caused in Africa, Asia, now spreading to Europe and to North America.

What will happen is obvious because it has happened over and over again throughout history. Those who are so greedy and stupid as to destroy the system will provoke a reaction from the general public. Being greedy and stupid, those in power will react with force and suppression - as we are now seeing in the US with domestic espionage, secret lists, imprisonment without charge or trial.....

And that will provoke a violent response from the population. We might be lucky. The violence might lead to a better system. More typically, it won`t. It`s usually better to respond through democracy, however faulty it might be.

What that means for New Brunswick is that we have to get rid of both the liberals and the conservatives. If we don`t, we`re dead meat. If this province votes for either of those wretched parties in the next election, I would advise every young person in the province to look for a future somewhere else.

And, no. I would not suggest the United States.










Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nov. 29: Let's try a big picture...

Most of the news that appears in newspapers is useless. That is particularly true of foreign news. It appears in such isolated snippets that it means nothing. In fact, it is usually (and deliberately) misleading. For example,  we are told that rebels in Syria attacked some place. Okay. So what?
Actually, that is a piece of a very big so what.  The so what is that the whole world is going through a rapid change, one that is going to have an enormous effect on us. But all we get from Canadian Press in the TandT is a snippet that tell us nothing. It even lies.

There are very few "rebels" in Syria. Rebels are people within a country who rise against their leaders. But very few of the Syrians rebels are Syrians. And a "civil war" in one group in the country fighting against another from the same country. There is no civil war in Syria. There is an invasion of Syria by mercenaries and jihadists financed and supplied by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and with backing from the US, Britain and France.

Another big thing is that the US has found huge fuel deposits within the US.  It no longer depends on middle east oil. In any case, Saudi Arabia is running out. And if it doesn't depend on middle east oil, it loses its concern about the survival of Israel. (Yes, kiddies, there is no Santa Claus, and it's a cold world out there.)

News stories not only lie but, even if they wanted to they couldn't tell the whole story. By its nature, news tells snippets. of what's happening. It doesn't give the big picture. News like that is more easily available on TV - and more up to date. There is simply no point to having it in a newspaper. There hasn't been since the invention of the radio.

What newspapers should have is - daily - one or two columns of analysis and opinion by people who know what they're talking about. No, not TandT staff writers - people more like Gwynne Dyer.

A starting point might be a document easily available on google. Project for the New American Century. This, prepared by far right conservatives, including people who would become prominent in the Bush White House, was a proposal for world conquest, using the military to get control of all the world's business dealings.  (They didn't call it conquest, of course. They called it "spreading American values and democracy".) That's why Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya were invaded. That's why Yemen and Somalia and Pakistan have been attacked by drones. That's why the US army set up an Africa Command. That's why the US has supported Israel as well the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Emirates.

And it has been a disaster. Afghanistan is lost. Iraq is on the edge of being lost - or of breaking up. Libya is a mess. Almost all of Africa is in chaos. The cost of the wars and of pleasing people like Israel's leaders has been immense. The US is broke. It is worse than broke. Its dollar has no real value.There is no gold supporting it, no thriving economy. Indeed, Americans are experiencing levels of  poverty and hunger that have not been seen in generations. (notice we don't read much about that in our papers?)

And China has suddenly boomed into the world scene as an economic and military power. Much of Latin America is going the same way and, in doing so, is throwing off more than a century of American control.

Obama has almost certainly realized that the US cannot conquer the world. It's military record has been dismal since 1945. And it simply cannot afford to conquer the world, anyway.  What it must do is to concentrate on containing China   (which may mean making nice with Russia), and on salvaging its power in Latin America. The project for The New American Century is dead.

But the Republicans and numbers of military leaders and of people in the defence industry are still true believers in The New American Century. Petraeus is one of them.

Think of two of his answers to two questions when he went to Congress.
1. He could not send a true report to Obama about what happened in Benghazi because some unknown clerk of something in the White House would not permit him to do so.
2. He wrote and signed a false report to the president on the orders of that clerk.

The Chief of the CIA is not permitted to tell the truth to the President? That is not possible. No president or intelligence chief would ever permit that. So why did Petraeus lie? There are probably many possibilities. One is that Petraeus did not want to let the president to know that he was operating a forbidden prison and torture centre in the US embassy in Benghazi. Another is that the president knew about it, condoned it, but did not want the word to get out.

Add to that the fact Petraeuswas known to be on the side of the Republican, world conquest warhawks - at a time when Obama had decided to go in the other direction. Was Paula a part of the setup to get rid of Petraeus?

On, I'm sure not. She was appointed his biographer purely because she was a good writer; not because she was a beauty with a great body and, (how can I put it?)  was flexible in her acceptance of job requirements.

Oh- Obama fired him (accepted his resignation) because he was unfaithful to his wife. Tell me about it. Then explain why they didn't fire Eisenhower and Patton, both of whom had very public affairs. Then there was the secretary of state who had public affairs with anything that could walk, including the Queen of Greece. And there are more than a few presidents on the list.

There have been a few firings in the military. There are probably going to be some more. And Obama's secret service is going to have to be watching his back pretty closely for some time to come. The stakes are pretty high.

Meanwhile, countries like Britain and France and Turkey are sniffing around the middle east and Africa. They once had empires there. They lost them after World War Two as the US moved in to replace them. Now, it's in reverse. The US is getting out. Britain, France and Turkey would like to move back. Israel sees a brief opening to build a Greater Israel.

And what will Harper do? Whatever Obama tells him to do. And if there is a sudden change in the presidency? Harper will do whatever the new president tells him to do.

It's going to be one hell of a dangerous year.
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Norbert - please try to write a column on one topic at a time. Doing three in one column just opens you up to rant.
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The editorial says the government should move ahead on shale gas as 'its consultant' advised. Actually, there were two consultants. One of them did not advise 'moving ahead', quite the contrary. The other consultant was an academic fraud, giving advice he had no mandate to give on a subject of which he knew very little.

Anyway, the government is going ahead. It says so in Section C, p.1. Doesn't the editorial writer read his own paper? (Mind you, if he doesn't, that's at least a sign there is life above his eyebrows.) Notice, too, the editor refers to two demonstrations in Fredericton. The pro-shale gas demonstration was, I'm quite sure, a plant organized by the industry. And it worked. It gave the Irving press its chance to pretend there is a large and active pro-shale gas movement.

But don't worry. The government is going ahead on shale gas. The people who really run this province have an arrogance that comes from two hundred years of bullying, lying,  and stealing. Alward will do what he's told. And when he loses the election, the TandT will boost the new Liberal leader. And he will do what he's told.

(I've seen the new leader's type many times before - the photogenic one obsessed with popularity. The one who goes into politics with no principles whatever, no purpose except public attention. Shallow, self-absorbed. I got to know the type on committees they served on only to make political contacts. One of them was my seat partner for ten years of long, long meetings. He passionately wanted to be important. And he did it.

He became the right hand man for Mayor Tremblay of Montreal, the mayor who recently had to resign for corruption. Bad timing for my old, committee partner.
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Anything good in the paper? As always - Alec Bruce and Jody Dallaire. The latter raises a particularly challenging issue that too many men will lack the courage and integrity to read. It they want to protect themselves, women are going to have to stop asking male authorities, and get tough about telling them what must be done.
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nov. 28: well, not as bad as it could have been...

To understand the first part of the blog, you will need to read the blog for Nov. 27 in which I talked about how I expected the TandT to handle the story of the anti-shale protest at the legislature yesterday.

They didn't go overboard as much as I thought they would - but they still used the presence of pro-shale gas demonstrators exactly as they one might have expected.

The number of pro-shale gas people was reported at 50. That wounds plausible. It certainly wasn't more. But that fifty did it's job. It made it possible for the TandT to headline "Shale gas protesters, proponents take views to legislature."

I was also enough to give the pro-shale gas people, despite their low numbers, a third of the column space in the story. You will also notice the reporters appear to have made a point of asking why there weren't more anti-shale gas demonstrators there. They seem not to have asked that question of the pro-shale gas group - though they were only one-sixth, at best, of the numbers of the the anti-shale gas group. Nor did the ask the pro-shale group where they came from, who had formed them, when this had happened....

Alas! They didn't quote from my speech. I cried a little, but I was braced for that. In fact, I told the audience the Irving papers would not quote me when I said, "They own all the newspapers and most of the radio stations - and they have made them the most incompetent, trivial and unethical news services in the civilized world."

The inclusion of the pro-shale gas group muddied they story a little - as it was planned they would. But it could have been worse; and to say it could have been worse is high praise for the TandT.

It was a good day but oh, my, it was cold.

Two years into its mandate, the Alward government announces that it's going to appoint a committee to deal with forming a plan to think of a blueprint to set up structures to deal with the province's economy.

Isn't that what a party is supposed to do, to have in place, and with policies formed before an election?

The first section has two, full pages of gush on Brian Gallant, written by the Times and Transcript's chief glitzer of gush, Brent Mazerolle. The style reminds me of the grocery store checkout counter mags with stories like "Kate sells wedding dress - the shocking truth about William's gambling". There are also two, large photos suitable for framing. (I suppose we should be grateful the photos are not a triple-page foldout.)

And what does this really tell us?

The big boss has decided. Alward will put shale gas drilling  (with the strictest rules in the world which he still hasn't written but will fer sure fer sure but which don't matter a damn because no rules can make anything prefectly safe.) Anyway, Alward will put everything in place so it can't be changed; then he will lose the election. But don't worry. He will get a nice job - oh, sitting on boards of directors which don't do anything but which pay well. Hey. The man has no demonstrated talent. But there are always jobs in the corporation world for people of no talent.

The Brian Gallant will become p.m. And he will gracefully accept Alward's fait accompli but promise to pass even stricter controls. And the big boss won't care because both dogs are on his leash. After all, what are two dogs for a man who already has his own church and  his own god?

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the editorial was not about the demonstration. I guess they decided not to make a big noise about it because they have the two dogs on the same leash. So why worry?

Good cartoon by de Adder. Good op ed page, including the piece by Eric Lewis.

It was a good day in Fredericton. I got there early for the line up. And it was a pleasure to see the steady flow of newcomers who had come out in all that cold, some travelling a long distance to get there, and the line still growing after we moved out for the long, cold walk to the legislature. They were an angry group. And they were also a happy group. It's possible to be both at the same time - angry at the betrayals New Brunswick has suffered, But smiling to each other because we were all there to share our anger at our political and economic leaders, and happy to see so many with us.

But, oh, it was cold.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nov. 27: I see in my crystal ball...

Yesterday, I said there would be no Nov. 27 blog because I would be in Fredericton for the protest against shale gas. And I was. But something interesting happened there. I think I know why it happened. And, knowing that, I am going to make a prediction. I am-writing this at suppertime on Nov. 27, well before publication time for the Moncton Times and Trivial. But I'm pretty sure of how the Irvng papers will cover the story of the Nov. 27 demonstration  at the legislature in Fredericton.

We parked our cars at the cold and bleak Old Burial Grounds of Fredericton. It was a big crowd, especially given the cold, the fact that we have a long walk to the legislature, almost an hour in the cold there, and then back to the cars. I couldn't get a count and, in any case,people kept joining as we marched. There were at least several hundred metres of us. (I was never able to see are far back as the end of the group.)

I noticed that most (almost all) of the men were of retirement age and more. Of course. This was a working day. Most younger men couldn't possibly take a day off to march in a demonstration. So the men were mostly older. That's important to the prediction.

As we arrived at the legislature, I was surprised to a another demonstration group already there. It was a much smaller one than ours, probably not more than fifty - maybe not as many as that. But it looked well-organized with many of them wearing identical white shirts that looked new, and all with professionally made signs. They were there to defend fracking - (although they preferred the term "natural gas". It sounds nicer, and even healthy.)

But what really struck me was the men in that group. In marked contrast to us, the majority of the men looked younger, perhaps 30s and 40s. Gee. How could so many men in that age group get the day off from work?

Then I remembered Dr. Cleary's talk on the dangers of shale gas in Moncton. I remembered the lineup of questioners at the end, many of whom didn't ask questions but were there to delivered speeches of their own, prepared speeches, attacking Dr. Cleary and advocating :"natural gas". With a long experience of being involved in such meetings, I recognize planted stooges when I see them. But why were they there?

I found out why next day when I read the Moncton Times and Tacky. The news story, before even summarizing Dr. Cleary's talk (in fact, the story never did summarize the talk), reported the criticisms aimed at her by the planted stooges. They were used as means for the Irving press to bury what Dr. Cleary had to say - while at the same time pimping for the shale gas industry.

So when I saw that small group of demonstrators in favour of shale gas, noted the signs of professional organization, and then noticed that the men seemed young........

Well, I thought, somebody is taking the anti-shale gas movement seriously, so seriously he or she is willing to sink some money in fighting it - and it's a somebody that the Irving papers want to please. Presumably, that same somebody hired the professional propagandist who, I think, wrote at least two editorials for the Times and Troubled.

So, where did those relatively young men at at the pro-shale gas (sorry, pro "natural gas") - demo come from? And how did they get the day off from work?

Well, they looked like office workers. And I would guess they were selected from the offices of companies connected with people who want to see shale gas in New Brunswick. So what was the presence really all about?

This is a repeat of the game played with Dr. Cleary. The Irving press will play down the anti-shale gas demonstration by playing up  to pro "natural gas" one.

The shale gas companies are pulling out all the stops to spread lies and disinformation. The Irving press has obviously bought into it. (well, it's been told to get into it.) And these are the people who are asking us to trust them in deciding our futures and our children's futures.

I would almost predict we will again see an editorial in the Nov. 28 Times and Tainted that was not written by one of its editorialists, but by a professional propagandist (oops, communication advisor).

Read all about it in tomorrow's (Nov. 28) Moncton Times and Trite.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Nov. 26:z-z-z-z-z-

My last questions to the Ministry of the Environment have not been answered, though they were quite simple. What is the law on reporting contaminated land? What are the terms of its cleanup?

It's pretty clear now that the minister isn't going to answer. That suggests that there is a big story in this for a tough and digging reporter from, say, The Moncton Times and Transcript or from a real action news and talk radio station.

Dream on.
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In order to discourage staff from doing improper things with them,  NB governnment computers are, I am told, programmed not to accept sites that offer pornography or online gambling. To that list, I hear the government has added this blog.

I'm so ashamed of myself.
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Remember that there will probably be no blog tomorrow since I shall be at the big anti-shale gas rally in Fredericton. It should be quite a sight, with all those Irving reporters looking for pro-shale gas people to interview.
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At the top of the news, "Christmas tree sales help N.B. economy".Gee! Who would have guessed? New Brunswick has trees. Never noticed that. And you can sell them....

Then there are two pages of pictures of the Santa Claus parade (Hint - people who were interested in the parade went to see it. The don't need the pictures. Those who didn't go to see it probably don't want the pictures. Boy, it's nice have a newspaper monopoly so it doesn't matter what people are interested in seeing.)

Lots of people went to a craft show. Oh, and "tree growers in N.B. promote use of real trees at Christmas"; another shocker. It's almost as good as "Obama performs Moslem rape on dying Bill Clinton!".

And, as is common, there's a story blaming the schools for something they have no control over. Anglo children don't learn French as well as French children learn English. The report gives the reason why that happens - then ignores its own insight.

People learn the languages they have to. It's not hard to understand. The Dutch commonly learn several languages. Holland is a small country surrounded by big ones that speak other languages. They also have easy access to TV in at least four languages.

The French and the Germans and the English are far less bilingual. Of course. They don't need other languages in their daily lives.

Acadians, like the Dutch, are surrounded by masses of English, not just in NB but, through the media, all of North America. Of course, they become bilingual at a far better rate than anglos do. That has nothing to do with the schools,not unless you expect the New Brunswick schools to convert 80% of North America to speaking French only.

If our reporters on the State of the Child in this province are so convinced that schools can create a fully bilingual province in the conditions that obtain here, I would dearly love to see them give a single example of it in the whole world.

As for language equality as New Brunswick commitment, anybody who presumes to present a report on language training should know that to say a jurisdiction is officially bilingual does NOT mean that all people in it speak both languages. The UN officially operates in all the world's languages. That does not mean all (or any) UN employees speak every language in the world.

And that's all the excitement for section A.
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The big international news is that this is the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones. That just left no room for the horrors that are happening in Congo, or the news that Canada may be establishing military bases in Africa, or that the US is moving troops to Egypt.
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The editorial cartoon has a sign post for the Middle East on which all the signs post to hatred. Well, yes. It's like that. It's also like that in most of the world. With the cooperation of almost all the news media, governments all over the world stir up hatred and fear. That helps them to get away with attacking countries for no legitimate reason, passing laws that strip away human rights in their own countries to spy on, imprison and even kill their own citizens with no charge or trial. And you don't have to go far to find a country that does that.
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The editorial peddles the old bunk that the way to prosperity is to make the very rich even richer; then the very rich will create jobs, and we'll all prosper.
Look. We have been making the very rich even richer for at least forty years. Every year, they get richer - but the rest of us keep getting poorer.
Lower their taxes? Their taxes are already low, always have been - and they often don't pay even that.

If making the very rich richer is the key to prosperity, then we should now be rolling in prosperity.
An editorial writer with even half a wit would realize he's talking nonsense with his "give even more to the rich" and "don't waste money on the poor. they'll just use it to stay alive."
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Craig Babstock tells us yet another story about what he must consider to be his fascinating life.

Allen Abel has yet another pointless story about rush hour in Washington. Allen - who bloody cares?

Alec Bruce has one of his best about the sudden conversion of the very wealthy to concern about global warming. Unfortunately, that conversion does not extend to most Canadian energy industrialists. Nosirree. In their view, fossil fuels are good for you; and they intend to keep up a big push to export them.

In this, they are supported by our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who thinks all those scientists are wrong; and there is no global warming. And he must know. After all, he went to collidge.
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Unfortunately, due to all the important stories about how New Brunswick has trees and how terrible the traffic is in Washington, there was no room to mention the big, anti-shale gas demonstration in Fredericton tomorrow.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nov. 25: just a few things....

An opening reminder - There will probably be no blog on Tuesday, Nov. 27 because I shall be attending the big, anti-fracking rally in Fredericton that day - and speaking a few words at it.

We meet at the Old Burial Ground in Fredericton at 11 a.m., then walk to the legislature at 12  for its opening session. I'm looking forward to it, and also looking forward to seeing any of you who are able to go.
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I've come across another news and opinion source that is worth taking a look at. It's called rabble.ca. I came across it when I recognized the name of one of its writers, Karl Nerenberg. I worked with Karl at CBC, where I knew him to be a first rate newsman. He followed that up to become a parliamentary reporter for CBC. If you want to know what is going on in Ottawa, Karl is one of the best, probably the best.

I haven't yet read the others on the site; but I would expect some good ones if Karl is there.

The story by Karl that I read is, to say the least, a worrying one. Parliaments has a budget officer who does an independent survey of all government spending so the voters and parliament can have a clear idea of what the budget situation is. For him to fill his mandate, one set for him by parliament, he must must have full budget information from all government departments. But he isn't getting it.

The various departments have refused to submit something like 90% of the information he needs - and is entitled to by law. The departments are ignoring him. Well, we all know how Ottawa works these days. No department does anything without Harper's approval - right down to the details. So we can be quite sure that Harper told them not to submit that information.  There are two, worrying points about this.

1. It shows, once again, that Harper has contempt for democracy, for the people of Canada, for the parliament they elected, and for the law.
2. Then there's another, even more worrying point. Canadians like to think that our economy, even in these troubled times, is pretty solid. But the budget officer has doubts about that. Based on figures that are available, he thinks Canada's economy and its debt are NOT sustainable.

Check out Nerenberg on this. He knows his stuff. And the stuff that he knows is pretty sobering.
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As a general thought on this Sunday, next time you read your paper, especially foreign news, notice how much of it is written to make you fear and hate. That's no accident.

As a child, I learned to fear and hate Germans and Japanese. They were evil and cruel, so evil and cruel that the news often used specials words so they weren't really human any more. They were Krauts, Huns and Nips. (That puzzled me a bit because my best friend in school was a Japanese boy who family had been interned for several years by the Canadian government, and their home and everything they owned had been confiscated. And he was a nice guy. And I never heard him say "ah, so..." in that evil way Japanese said it in movies).  Then, suddenly, those words disappeared from the newspapers. And those people who had been evil were now good.

The new evil ones were Russians. But they didn't last. Once the Soviet Union collapsed, we didn't have to hate and fear Russians any more. Now, we had to learn to hate and fear Moslems. So we invented a nickname for them, ragtops. That's so that when you're killing them, you don't have to feel bad about it. They aren't people. They're ragtops (or militants or terrorists or extremists),anything that dehumanizes them.

I have even seen editorials explaining that what makes them evil is their religion. It's a religion that encourages them to kill, to bomb, to terrorize - things that Christians would never do.

We have to be learned to be scared and to hate. We have to be because once we are terrified and filled with raging hate, our governments can do anything they like. They can kill over a million Iraqis, including those hundred thousand or more of evil, terrorist, militant, extremist babies. They can run up massive deficits with unspeakably corrupt contracts to the defence industry.In fact, they can do anything they like to anybody - including us.

Because of fear and hatred, Bush could get away with torture. Obama can get away with ordering imprisonment or assassination of foreigners or Americans with no charge or trial, and he can use drones to kill thousands of people, most of them innocent, in countries he isn't at war with.

Even the Christian churches join the jubilee. Not long ago, a Moncton church sported a sign that read, "Pray for our soldiers in Afghanistan". Damn right. God's on our side. Kill all them damn foreigners.

And the hysteria is so great, that the people of that church could still read "love thy neighbour" - and believe they did.

And the nice thing is that fear doesn't wear out. The US is now the most powerful country not only in the world, but in  history. It has hundreds of bases all around the word, all around Russia and China and the Middle East. It has the CIA assassination squads in Latin America and Africa. It has the most intensive domestic espionage system in history. It has invaded and killed uncounted millions in Asia, Central America, Africa, the Middle East. It is far the most impossible country in the world to invade, and so has never been invaded, not in centuries. And it's still scared.

So scared it allows its government to keep secret lists of "suspicious" Americans, millions of them, to spy on private lives of any people they choose to, to tap phones, intercept e mail, imprison people without charge...

And it's mostly done, quite easily, by slanting the news so that a Moslem who kills is a terrorist or extremist or militant.  But an American soldier who goes out into the night to kill several dozen Afghanis, almost all women, elderly and children, then burns their bodies, was suffering stress, poor soul. And the press hasn't even bothered to follow his long, delayed and very slow trial.

There have been quite a few incidents like that. Nobody has ever been given serious jail time for it. Lt. Calley, who killed some 800 civilians, including children and babies, and was charged and convicted for over a hundred of them, spent one night in jail.

It's official policy. You have to learn to hate. You have to learn to be scared. Maybe this year they'll have Christmas cards for it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Nov.22: Good for Brent....

It's top of the op ed page; and it well deserves to be there. It's a column by Brent Mazerolle - well written (he's usually a good writer) - but with substance. This is worth reading. It's about a man who suffered terribly most of this life trying to help his country escape from dictatorship, corruption,  and crime. He became president, then retired to live on the same, bare survival pension as that given to all the seniors of  his country. He now lives with his wife in a tin shanty on a small lot where he tends a garden to live on.(No, he wasn't a premier of New Brunswick.)

This is a well-written column, and well worth reading. Good stuff, young Brent.
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On the lower end of the scale is the big, front page story about a survey conducted by a (get ready for it) radio disc-jockey which proves that Moncton wants a hockey rink that's really big, not just the piddling 7500 seat one that city council is looking at. The story says the survey is not a scientific one. (Gee! Who would have guessed? I thought that all surveys were conducted by disk-jockeys.)  This DJ loaded the dice from the start by giving his expert opinion  that we should go for bigger seating capacity.

What makes it notable, says the reporter (omigod. It's Brent Mazzerole), is not the number who responded. (I'll say that's not notable. It was sixty people out of a population of over a hundred and sixty thousand.) No, what made it notable, says Brent, is that most of those seventy were in favour of a bigger seating capacity - offering it as their expert opinions ( like the d-j's expert opinion) that it should seat at least 15,000.

Yessiree. He de rockin' crawdaddy. So he should know.And those 57 rockers who voted for a bigger seating capaciy must be real experts. Otherwise, why would they listenin' to de rocking crawdad?

Front page. Special edition. BIG headline. Read all about it.

This is a front page that insults the intelligence of the whole population of Moncton.
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Also on p.1, Black Friday was a shopping day. Wow! Who would have guessed? Hark, the herald angels sing....
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We haven't heard the opinion of any DJ on shale gas yet. But there's another story on it that the TandT might have found room for on its front page. A shale gas company from the US called Lone Pine is suing Quebec for billions of dollars. It seems that written right there into NAFTA it says that if a company invests in Canada, and then Canada or any province or municipality changes the rules in a way that might affect the company's "anticipated" profits, it can sue.

Quebec declared a moratorium on shale gas exploration until it can clear up safety concerns. O-o-o-ooh. Can't do that. The evironment might be be poisoned? People might become chronically ill? They might die? Hey! That's not the shale gas company's problem. It has a deal.

The may be the most important case ever to come before a Canadian court, a case that may define the future of Canada.

Are we founded on the principle that all Canadians human rights - the rights to freedom, to physical safety, to life itself?

Or are we founded on the belief that corporations have rights? And if corporations have rights, do they trump human rights? In other words, if a corporation chooses to poison our land and our waters, to poison us, are we required by law to let the corporation do it?

US courts have already moved close to that with the declaration that corporations are people, and so have all the rights of people. That comes very close to the leading principle of Mussolini's fascism.

It's an especially important case to New Brunswick. Has Mulroney's NAFTA agreement put us in danger? Has it put our land and us and our children and our grandchildren in danger of having poison thrust on us? With the full support of the forces of law and order?

It's worth following this case, especially since Harper has just negotiated an even worse treaty with China. Like NAFTA, it takes away our control of our own country. The China deal is worse because the case could be heard in any court in the world - and could be held in secret - and it would still be binding on Canada. Harper has surrendered our right to govern our own country.

Perhaps the TandT could interview all of the city's DJs to see what they think.
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The editorial in this paper, the same paper that wants the city to borrow a hundred million dollars for a hockey rink, says we have to cut city taxes. Has the editor ever thought of becoming a DJ?
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Gwynne Dyer is a little bit surprising today, and well worth a read.
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The Faith page is the usual weekly doze. This time, again, it has a sermon written as though faith were all about wonderfully magic tricks by God. You know, Jesus never talked much about that sort of mush. He talked about how people, real people around Him behaved, how they should behave...that sort of thing. If he were in Moncton today, I doubt very much whether he would talk about floating our heads into the mysteries of space.

On the contrary, I think He might talk about the obsessive consumerism of Black Friday, the perverted form of capitalism that is followed by our corporate leaders, the greed of billionaires who don't give a damn for those who have to suffer to provide those corporate leaders with corporation welfare, the supineness of two, political parties that are ethically and morally corrupt; and the moral and intellectual swamp of the Irving press that encourages all of the above.

Some weeks ago, there was an ad inviting us all to go to the Irving Chapel to sit and to reflect. There's too many of us for that, course. But it might be a good idea to hold regular gatherings of our newspaper editors and corporation executives and leaders of the Liberals and Conservatives to the chapel to sit and reflect. Just as, I am sure, Mr. Irving does.

Maybe we could even get a DJ to deliver the sermon.
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Oh, interesting column by Jerrica Naugler (grade 8), section F, page 3. "When is the right time to start dating?" I can offer only a few suggestions from my own experience.
My first date was in grade one. I followed a girl named Carol home from school, and stayed there until her mother hinted it was time to go home. So I did. And got a spanking for being late.
My advice - grade one is too early for any sort of relationship.

For the next 24 years, even as I opened my mouth to say, "Would you..." the girl would remember an urgent errand, and then run off.
My advice - don't worry about relationships. If you're a loser, get used to it.

At the age of thirty I got married.
Advice - It may take a while. But there are people who will take pity on even the most wretched of us.

I hope you find this advice useful.



Friday, November 23, 2012

Nov. 22: Just for a change of pace...

... listened to a local, private radio station to learn whether it was any better than the Moncton Times and Transcript. For a fair comparison, I chose a station that advertised itself as talk news radio. It's owned by Rogers; and I know the news-talk radio world fairly well since I was two or three times a day on such a station for a dozen years.

I knew what to expect - not much in the way of news since private radio stations have very small newsrooms. And I expected to hear a talk show host who was heavily biased, and way over his head in discussing anything.

The news part began exactly as I expected - a brief burst of over-excited musical bings and ta-ras to convey an artificial sense of a hectic world of fast-breaking news. Then there was an annoying commercial. That was followed by a voice full of importance and authority telling me the sun was shining. Bing ta-ra. Another ad. Then there was a very slightly longer report telling me nothing in particular about a court trial in town. And that was it.

For just a moment I yearned for the deep analysis and thoughtful comment of The Moncton Times and Transcript. I had been told the talk/news station has a news staff of only four. Well, the station I worked at had a news staff of only 2 plus a good editor - and it routinely produced far better newscasts than this station.

It's not too much to say that this newscast was utterly brainless and incompetent. I think if I were to listen to it again, I would find myself looking forward to the ads and dancing to the bing ta-ras.

Then came the host for the afternoon talk show. I listened with trepidation. I know more than a few of these guys, most of them more interested in sounding tough and know-it-all than in the guest. And their guests are often pretty poor stuff.

But I soon brightened. The guest (an environmental prof at Mount A) was well-chosen, and the radio host handled his role very professionally. Good stuff.

As a general rule, CBC is the only station to listen to for news. Private radio doesn't have the staff, either in numbers or professionalism, to do the job. But I'd certainly be willing to give that afternoon talk show host another listen.

I'll have to listen to a few more of the private stations. Any suggestions?
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Today's front page has the usual soap opera reporting of the Prosser trial. But there is also an interesting and important story "Report praises Capitol Theatre". I've always thought the Capitol Theatre an unappreciated gem in this city. But I was astonished to read how profitable it is for us. And it didn't cost us a hundred million. Food for thought, there.
Other wise, Section A has its usual offering of - nothing.
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In NewsToday, federal finance minister Jim Flaherty gives hints of the coming budget - and makes one of the most asinine statements I have ever seen, even from a finance minister.

"I'm not going to raise taxes on business, large or small, that will make it hard for a company to expand at a time when too many Canadians are still looking for a job."

That statement holds true for small business. But for big business, profits have been skyrocketing for decades. They have money. If it were true that making the very rich even richer would cause them to expand and create jobs, then we would now be in the midst of the biggest boom in history.

But it's not true. In Greece, Spain, Britain, France, Italy, the rich have been doing very well, indeed. But everybody else is poorer than ever - and getting poorer. The same is true in the US and in Canada. Big business COULD expand. But, obviously, it hasn't; and there is no reason to believe it is going to. And certainly no reason to believe it's going to do so here.

In any case, we are in a situation in which investment has to be used strategically to get the maximum return for all Canadians out of it. Business doesn't work that way. Only government can. We learned that from the economic experience of two world wars and a depression. In all three cases, looking to big business to handle the problem proved a disaster. Too bad nobody told Mr. Flaherty.

Well, the US elected Obama for president. We elected Mitt Romney for prime minister.

On a related note, the Business page has an article about layaway plans. It mentions, but does not pay nearly enough attention to why layaway plans are coming back. They're coming back because layaway plans thrive in dying economies. But they do little to revive dying economies. Neither do low taxes on big business.

Oh, a year ago, Mr. Flaherty had no trouble in approving thirty million dollars to celebrate 1812 when we were invaded, making Canada perhaps the only country ever to celebrate being invaded. Tell me. How has that expenditure brightened your life? Even the TandT couldn't find much to say about it.
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Page C11 has a page for your scrapbook. A whole page of smiling people giving oversized cheques to other, smiling people.
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The editorial is the usual huffing and puffing about keeping labour costs down. I'll start to take those editorials seriously if I ever see one criticizing the government for giving Mr. Irving too much money.
Norbert has read another book. So he's now an authority on the subject.
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Again, three, solid columnists on the editorial and op ed pages make the paper worth the price. I'll let you guess who the three are. One of them opens with what sounds like a Jewish joke, but isn't.

Jewish society is rich in jokes, and has produced large numbers of outstanding comics. Much of Jewish humour is based on self-deprecation and religion: and the style of delivery, I've learned, is often heavily based on the preaching styles of rabbis. For an example of such style, check out Jack Benny on Youtube. His pauses and blank looks are common in synagogue preaching.

I lived much of my life in Jewish circles so, as I read the title of Lynda McGibbon's column, I was tempted to finish with a Jewish joke.

But then I realized some self-righteous Christian would be sure to call me an anti-semite.
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Nov. 22: .. let's talk a bit about.....

....what isn't in today's Times and Transcript.

About a week ago, the World Bank released a report it had commissioned. to a respected scientific body. The report says we could see disastrous (meaning tens of millions of deaths, enormous storms and storm surges as early as 2060. If we act immediately and with a sense of emergency, we might  have just enough time to slow things down, giving us a little more time to preserve the planet.

It also links global climate change to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere produced by the burning of fossil fuels.

The story appeared in the Wall Street Journal and several business magazines. But not much in the press, and certainly not in the TandT. You can find it by googling World Bank climate.

Harper doesn't believe in climate change. His great plan is to export oil to China which would be a very good idea - if China were on a different planet. The energy industry is already beating its propaganda drums to discredit the World Bank.

Meanwhile, a company called Lone Pine resources is suing Quebec under the terms of the NAFTA agreement, terms which let a company do that if a government does something that might limit its profits. Quebec's sin is that it imposed a moratorium on shale gas drilling, fearing it might poison the environment as well as human life. Oo-o-ooh, you're not allowed to protect human life if it might affect a company's profits. (New Brunswickers will understand that very well as they watch the shale gas industry storm ahead in this province with the cooperation of our Quisling press and government.)

Meanwhile, Harper is promoting a trade bill with China which is even worse. It takes jurisdiction of such a case right out of the country. (We haven't seen much of this treaty, either, in the TandT.)

The energy industry  (with kisses from people like Harper and Alward) doesn't give a damn about human life or even survival of the planet. It is concerned only about now (now meaning three months at a time) and profit. It has killed people by the millions in places like Iraq and Syria to get its oil. It has sponsored some of the worst dictatorships in the world - as in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.  But you won't learn much about that, either, in the TandT.

Meanwhile, with gasoline threatening the survival of the country, Moncton's development plan appears to be expecting the world of the automobile to go on forever. It's big plan for downtown is more parking space. And it admits it doesn't have the faintest idea of what to do about mass transit.

It knows what it wants to do about unions, though. It plans to break them - starting with bus drivers and firemen. (It has announced it opposition to plans to offer wage arbitration to firement). After all, it needs the money to build a hundred million dollar hockey rink.

It has another editorial on that rink today. (And that means somebody we all enormously respect wants that hockey rink built.) I note this editorial is not written in the TandT's usual village idiot style. So perhaps they've done what they did with Dr. Cleary, go to some commercial propaganda (excuse me - communications) experts.

So - just for laughs - could we ask if council would share with us how much it will really cost to build this thing, to clean the land, to pay the loan with interest, to maintain the building.... How much will it cost per ratepayer? What return can we expect on all that expenditure? (real numbers). And while you're reading their promises, try not to think of Montreal's expo stadium -empty for years, and now rapidly crumbling.

Those who want to know what's really important in the news can expect the Prosser trial to be the headline for as long as the trial lasts.

Somebody please tell Brent Mazerolle (section A, p.2) that there is no such word as finalize. It is an ugly word used in business and political circles as part of their attempt to make everything they do sound far more important than it is.

In other news the TandT considers important, Daniel Craig (James Bond) is taking driving lessons, and Miley Cyrus has been told to cut her hair shorter. (I could have been worse. She could have been told to cut it longer.)

The TandT does have  a UN report on climate change. But as happens with UN reports, the tone is a good deal softer than that of the World Bank. It's also gentle on Canada. It doesn't mention that Harper, far from lifting a finger to help in climate control, is planning Canada's economic future to be based on more use of fossil fuels.

There's also a report, "Budget officer takes federal gov't to court", that is a chilling reminder of the future of Canadian democracy under Harper. The budget officer, appointed to maintain a non-partisan watch on government spending, has to sue the government to get the information it is supposed to provide. In this, as in many other incidents, Harper is showing himself to be the biggest threat to democracy this country has ever seen. (If you don't agree, name a prime minister who was a bigger threat  - and why). And, with Obama moving in the same direction, it's going to get worse, much worse in Canada.

In the US Congress, at this moment, a bill is being amended to allow police to read anybody's private e mail with no warrant, no reason, and without the knowledge of the citizen. It's called the "Privacy Bill", amusingly enough. And it get worse, much worse.

Police forces in the US are now being equipped with drones to get information on everybody like, for example, you. The drones are able to identify faces, listen in on phone calls, all without warrants. It is hoped that they will, within a few years, be equipped to see through walls in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Can you think of a Canadian prime minister who might be interested in something like that?

And - good on it - the TandT has noticed the war in Congo. The UN has condemned the rebels for human rights abuses including murder and rape. Well, yes. Murder, torture, rape, slavery by the tens of millions have been standard in Congo for well over a century - most of it by our good friends in governments we have supported. Nice of the UN to notice it at last.

Gee. Maybe now they'll notice the murder, torture and rape carried out, notably by the US and Britain,in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nah. It won't.

There is a very interesting letter to the editor, "Duct-taped teacher popular with kids". I have no idea how accurate the letter is. But it does rate some thought. I have taught elementary and high school in all sorts of classes. Generally, I did not have discipline problems. I remember one class in which I had 35 students. It was in a district notable as a recruitment centre for violent gangs. In fact, two of my boys would be killed in gunfights with police before they were twenty. But few of these problems ever entered the class room. Except for one day.

A gangster wannabe (he was treacherous, lying and a troublemaker; but he lacked the guts and stupidity it takes to be a real criminal.) After dismissal, I strolled down the hall. I saw the boy with a woman teacher, a new one. Suddenly, both turned away - he for the door, and she in tears. So I said to the boy, "what's going on here?" He shouted, "fuck you" and kept heading for the door.

I suddenly felt it my Christian duty to help him out the door. Alas! It opened inwards. He bounced off, hit the floor, looked up, and said, "I'm sorry, sir."

It was wrong, of course, as wrong as tying kids together with duct tape. But it's one of those moments that will hit a great many teachers. If it's a habit, as it was with one of my teachers, an ex-boxer, who would routinely take out troublesome kids with a straight left, then that person should be disposed of.

But in this case? Maybe we should cool it. And maybe we should take a closer look at the two girls. It sounds as though they have a serious problem with themselves.

As for the editorial and op ed pages, be grateful for Alec Bruce and Jody Dallaire.

Norbert, once again, gives us expert advice based on a book he saw somewhere. Rod Allen tells about yet another of his remarkably uneventful days.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nov. 21: ...if I were editor.....

..... of the TandT, I wouldn't have to waste time as I did with the letter below in which I give one, last try to squeeze an answer out of our department of the environment....If I were editor, I could assign a reporter to do it. And if the reporter got the same kind of evasive responses I've been getting, I'd run them on the  front page to shake environment minister Fitch a little bit...
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Dear Sir;


Having accepted that I shall never get an answer to my original question about contaminated land in New Brunswick, I wonder if it would be possible to get an answer to a much simpler set of questions on New Brunswick law as it affects contaminated land. (I have examined the environmental and heritage act, but it does not seem to address this topic.)
1. Is there a law requiring landowners to report land contamination?
2. Is there a requirement for the landowner to clean it up?

These questions should call for no great drain on the resources of the department.
Graeme Decarie
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But if I were editor of the TandT with a staff of reporters, I would raise the questions that city council obviously hasn't.
1.Exactly who are the owners of Highgate Square?
2. Why was polluted land approved as a building site for stores, restaurants and a grocery store in the first place?
3.Is there any requirement for pollution to be reported?
4. Is there any requirement for the owner to clean up?
5. What is the  normal market price for such a piece of heavily contaminated land?
6. If we also have to pay for cleanup, are we being taken for a ride? (I note that city council has not yet produced anything more than a guess about how much the cleanup will cost. )
7.What, exactly, is council's plan for Moncton development?
8. Where and why does a hundred million dollar hockey rink fit into that plan?

Really, I suspect it  is not likely the "events" centre will ever be built. Not only is Harper most unlikely to come up with piles of money; but lenders may be hard to find. I don't know whether council has noticed it, but we are into a worldwide recession - the worst since the great depression. And it shows no sign of getting better.

There was a recent story in the TandT business page which, as usual, missed its own point. The Canadian dollar has been officially named a reserve currency ( one that can be trusted to hold its value.)  Now, why would the US and the rest of the western world suddenly get nice to us like that?

It's because the world's major currency, the U.S. dollar which was the world's leading reserve currency, is really worthless. I mean really. Nothing is backing it up - not gold, not economic performance, not nothing. And there is no sign it's going to get better. The same is true for the Euro and the Japanese yen. This bow to Canada is really a desperate attempt to avoid world catastrophe in money markets.

(Oh, I know the US has discovered wonderful oil deposits. But using them means such a speeding up of climate change that we could be in irreversible trouble within just ten years. The same is true of us selling oil to China.)

This is perhaps not prime time to build a hundred million dollar hockey rink.

But, hey, what if it really doesn't matter if we don't build an "events centre"? What if the real game for the owners of Highgate Square is to dump a piece of land that has become worthless? If somebody who owns a hockey team gets the bonus of a new rink at public expense, that would be nice, too. But just getting rid of that land is a very good deal all by itself.

But I'm not an editor at The Moncton Times and Transcript. I could, perhaps, usefully run for council. Then I could organize the honest ones to get smart, and get a piece of the action for themselves.
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I wrote the lines above last night. So today's headline in the Moncton Times and Transcript did not come as a big surprise. City council might  consider a smaller events centre. Today's headline calls it a 'mini-centre', though with over 7,000 regular seats, club suites, luxury suites and party suites, it doesn't sound all that mini.

As well, it would expand to 9,000 using the ice surface for extra seating. (However, the TandT says that with nine thousand capacity, there would be only two, party "seats". Two party seats? That doesn't sound like much fun.)

The city is also puzzling over what to do with the remaining eleven acres in their land purchase. That means they're now only talking about the hockey rink - which is all this was ever about. So what do they do with the other eleven acres? They don't know. Should they maybe find the master plan for the city? If there is one?  In any case, isn't it a bit late for this to come up?

They're also wondering about looking for private investors - a sure sign that costs are out of control even before we really get started. This one is a disaster even before it starts.

Predictably, the editorial writer gets in a tizzy about the cuts. And that's understandable. The boss wants a hockey rink. Besides, the editorial writer lives in a world in which it's still 1950, a world in which things are looking better every day and going to keep getting better. Too bad the rest of us live in a quite different world.

Are the council and the editorial writer naive? Or is this a scam?

judging from the clumsiness of this affair, I'd say that many, perhaps most of the council might be naive. As I read a newspaper which has never been clear about exactly who makes how much money out of the big shows that come to Moncton, how much goes in costs, how many permanent jobs are created, and how much money really stays in Moncton, I'd say it's a scam.
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Good cartoon by de Adder, though. And it cuts close to the real cause of poor literacy in New Brunswick.
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As usual, there is not a word on the question of shale gas, no mention of Ontario's refusal to permit drilling until it has been proven safe. But there is a big space on the front page for a bus driver who is retiring after forty years on the job. I needed to know that. Hey, we could have nothing but pictures of people who are retiring. Oh, and the usual page of smiling people handing giant cheques to somebody, and smiling at the camera.
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P, A6 has a decent story about a Moncton lineman who is in New York helping to restore power lost in Hurricane Sandy. Too bad there's nothing on the larger story, the one that could some day affect Moncton.

There is a common feeling among climate scientists that Hurricane Sandy was the result of climate change - and we will get more of such weather. I thought of that as I read a post from a friend, a New Yorker, who says it will take a decade to fully repair the damage in New York and along the Jersey shore. Too bad the next storm  is not likely to wait that long.

And we live on the same planet as New York.
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There is no mention of the civil war in Congo. For one hundred and twenty years, the people of Congo have been the world's most brutally exploited, tortured and murdered. Nobody knows the total of dead. Tens of millions may well be too low a guess.

All of this has been done by us. Us in the western world. By Belgian, French, British, American and, prominently, Canadian mine owners and other resource extractors. The people of Congo have been treated as slave labour. Schools and hospitals scarcely exist. Their one chance of democracy was cut short by western armed intervention, and their elected president murdered. Directly or indirectly, he was murdered by us. (All this information comes not only from reading, but from a friend who lived in Congo as a missionary for many years.)

But it has never made NewsToday. Well.... who gives a damn?
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Norbert has a foaming at the mouth column about the public fascination with the love lives of famous people - as shown in the Petraeus matter. Why, he wonders, are people like that?

Well, part of the reason is their news media don't give them much else to go on in cases like General Petraeus. Sometimes, rarely, we'll get an intelligent comment on what the real issue is but never, I notice, from the Norberts of this world. In fact, he seems to think the only issue was whether state secrets were involved. Hint, Norbert - state secrets were never the issue. Newspapers like yours made that part up.

You want to know why people read trivial trash instead of news? Check the content of your own paper. Note particularly the left side of section D, page 1.

And for those pure ones who want triviality but without sex or even a hint of a bustline, check out today's op ed page.
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There is a letter from Senator Cordy that I found petty and irritating. She complains that Mulcair of the NDP is wrong to support Quebec separation on a vote of 50% plus. On that point, I actually agree with her. Where I disagree is that other parties have taken tougher positions on Quebec.

I was, for many years on the provincial executive of the Anglo rights group in Quebec, including years as VP and then Chairman. And I can tell you that no party, federal or provincial, did a damn thing to help us. It was a terrible experience to watch our community being systematically destroyed and humiliated - without much of a peep coming out of the rest of Canada. Indeed, it was our general experience that the Liberals of Jean Charest did more damage to the anglos of Quebec than the PQ did. And I can't remember the Conservatives doing anything at all. Nor are they doing anything now as the situation gets daily more abusive.

Thank you for your interest, senator, but I think I can speak for most of the executive of Alliance Quebec that we were disgusted by the failure of the rest of Canada to offer us any help at all. And we are not much interested in hearing partisan posturing from anybody
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I was so relieved to get to Alec Bruce's column that I almost cried. Good stuff. It's about these big business-financed think tanks (like AIMS) that produce propaganda for the people who pay their bills. One of their annual specials is what they call a scientific measurement of freedom in the world.
It's a very money idea of freedom. Freedom means you're right to pay lower taxes in you're rich, to do whatever you like with your property,  to pollute if it helps your profits, etc.

Maybe we should work out such a freedom study for ordinary people. You know - the right to drive when drunk, the right to refuse to pay for what we take, the right to urinate on the lawns of mansions, stuff like that. I mean, we were all born to live free.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nov. 20: Page One...Read all about it....

The big headline, the leader for today's news is that jury selection has begun for a murder case. Is this information you have an immediate use for? Notices have been sent to a thousand people for jury duty. So? Many have already been excused. So? About three hundred are expected to show up. So? The court will take attendance. So?

And that's the TandT decision of the big story of the day.

At the bottom of the page, way down at the bottom, is a much shorter story. The Transpo union is willing to accept a lower wage offer. Well, of course it's at the bottom. It's a very big story about a highly divisive issue that's been going on for months but, I mean, nobody gives a damn about mass transit. Right?

But there might be a hint in this downplaying the the union offer. It may be that city council, like the owner of the TandT, doesn't want a lockout settlement. It want's to break the union (any union), then bring in a privately-owned system run by somebody's friend.

There's a bigger story on the right side of the page about how Moncton City council is going ahead on plans to build an events center a.k.a. hockey rink. But we have yet to read a word about how this fits in to the great plan for city development over the next couple of generations. As Mayor Leblanc says, the 'events centre' is for fifty years and more.  Quite so. But what is the proposed appearance of the city over those years?

Will we still be using automobile transportation? (Get real). How will people get to this 'events' centre? After all, this same edition of the paper reports that we don't have the faintest idea what we are going to do about mass transit (see the editorial). Are we going to encourage people to live within walking distance of this centre? If so, why are we encouraging so much urban sprawl and suburbanization, especially of our schools?

In fact, exactly what is this great plan for the future of Moncton? Why hasn't the city (and or) the TandT told us. This would be a huge story so we might have to sacrifice some regular news - like which minor player in an old TV show that few living people ever saw turned 87 today. But it would be fascinating if we could know what the great plan is so we could know why we're building a new high school 8 K out of the city centre, and why we're going into generations of debt to build an events centre on contaminated land. We might also like to know more about the fancy restaurants that will spring up on the other side of Main St. Will they be sitting on contaminated land? Or will we have a law forbidding land contamination to go across Main Street to where the restaurants are?

The city council has told us close to nothng about the great plan - and the TandT hasn't asked. Nobody on council or at the TandT even took the obvious step of asking about the contamination. And we still have no estimate of the cost of decontamination. Nor is it at all clear why we are to pay millions for land that is contaminated. Shouldn't that make it cheaper?

And doesn't the law requite that owners of contaminated land pay to clean it up? (I think it does. But the Minister of what is left of the environment has so far declined t answer my questions about it.) And if the owners are required to pay for the cleanup, why weren't they forced to a long time ago?

Isn't is possible that the owners of contaminated land have broken the law by not cleaning it, and are now 'inducing' city council to pay full price PLUS cleanup for land that they should have cleaned.

Now I think of it, how did any city or province ever approve of the building of a shopping centre, including a large, grocery store, on polluted land?

We're getting ripped off. Big time.

The whole paper is like that - trivia masquerading as news, big news barely mentioned, news stories (like the one on the events centre) that have none of the essential information in them.

Page 2 has an item YOU need to know. There is a ten year old boy who just loves to go deer hunting with his father.

The NewsToday section has nothing that you haven't heard on radio or TV - yesterday.

Your Business has a typical story about the former cabinet minister that Stephen Harper most trusts on economic matters, Jim Prentice. He says that Canada must build its future on more and more oil exports to Asia. (Oil exports mean more carbon emissions. More carbon emissions mean faster climate change. Climate change is predicted to kill a  hundred million people over the next twenty years, and an increasing number after that. Good thinking, Mr. Prentice. That could provide steady jobs until, of course, everybody dies.)

Jim Prentice was Conservative minister of industry AND environment. No conflict of interest there.

Brian Gallant, our new Liberal leader, gets a whole column for his inspiring message that "Change in political culture needed". What follows is a whole column of pure bafflegab that says nothing at all.

Oh, and the last page of NewsToday has Obama telling Gaza it must stop firing rockets - and it must stop before Israel does because it is wrong to attack people who have not attacked you. (There is no mention that Obama has been killing people in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen for years, killing an  unknown number of innocent people in thousands of drone attacks.)

Norbert is Norbert. He is simply incapable of writing without showing all his prejudices. I quite agree that that Justin Trudeau lacks substance in anything he has said so far. But, unlike Norbert, I cannot see that Harper has done well. On the contrary, he has been actively destructive, particularly of democracy.
And, of course, Norbert hints than Justin is the product of a CBC plot. Great column, Norbert. Now go back to looking for lint in your bellybutton.

Very solid columns by Alec Bruce and Gwynne Dyer are all that save this paper.

Otherwise, today's issue, like most, proves that the purpose of the TandT is to feed people trivia, to keep them ignorant of what the news is, and to spread propaganda pleasing to the ownership.

University of NB has a journalism school. Does it really train people to go into this sewer we call the Irving press? Does it sent them there for job experience? If it is a journalism school of any ethics, how can it be silent about the disgraceful level of journalism that dominates this province?















Monday, November 19, 2012

Nov. 19: ..a new meaning to blah....

Two, front page stories on people being honoured and celebrated. Gutsy writing. Straight to the point. Important to know. We need more halls of fame. The biggest story gives us a tour of paramedic training in Montreal. The news YOU need to know.

If you can find something worth reading in section one, God bless you for having a simple soul.

In world news, Defence Minister Peter Mackay calls for an end to war Syria. Wow! That will make leaders all over the world sit up.He accused the Russians of being the problem. Gutsy. He made no mention of Turkey, Saudi Arabia or the Arab Emirates who are supplying the 'rebels'.

(How can a newspaper call the opposition forces rebels? To be a rebel you have to be a citizen of the country in which you are rebelling.  But most of these 'rebels' aren't Syrians. They're hired mercenaries. When young Peter and journalists use the word rebel they give the impression that this is a civil war, one between Syrians. But it's not. It's between the Syrian government and foreign invaders hired by Turkey and the Arab League, and encouraged by the US, Britain, and France.)

In the same way, MacKay affirmed that "Israel has the right to defend itself". Quite so. But Palestinians in the Gaza strip have lived in a concentration camp all their lives. They have been blockaded by Israel which makes it hard for anything - even food and medicine - to go in or out. People die for lack of health care. They are impoverished. They live in slum conditions.

"Israel has a right to defend itself." Apparently, Gaza does not. If they shoot back, they're terrorists.

Incidentally, Israel, with a population of some eight million, and the most powerful and advanced military in the region (courtesy of US taxpayers), is "desperately" defending itself against Gaza.

Gaza has a population of 1.6 million - of whom some 17% are Israelis who went in illegally to take land from Gazans. Gaza has nothing that could be called an organized or equipped army. But why would they need one? As our Peter implies, Gaza does not have a right to defend itself.

On the good side, I can't imagine anybody in the world, even in Ottawa (especially in Ottawa), pays the slightest attention to what Peter Mackay says.

Some Monctonians, I suppose, will be gripped by the story that in a California city, Christians are going to court to demand the right to put nativity scenes on the public beach. This is a story that will grip all Christians who really, really care about the right to put nativity scenes on beaches. Once again, I doubt that this is a case that Jesus would have paid attention to.  He had more important things to do.

Big story - Twinkies will stay on the market.

Your Investments - the big story is that if you are a professional hockey player, you cannot claim your agent's fees as expenses for tax purposes. Damn! I was really counting on that.

Newstoday has one page of news - sort of - one page of Your Finances - and six pages of ads.

The editorial, obviously once again being written by the usual semi-literate, is a hymn of praise to Robert Goguen who, according to rumour, is our federal M.P.

The op-ed page has the usual pointless story about life in Washington. But you have to give credit to Alan Abel. He's probably making a decent living out of an hour so of writing about nothing each week. At best, at very best, this might be a column for some, little Washington weekly. I have not idea why it appears in Moncton. (Perhaps it's in exchange for a weekly column about Moncton that appears in a Washington paper.)

Craig Babstock writes about a new police unit. That's not an opinion, Craig. That's a news story. That's what you assign reporters to do. An editor is supposed to go a step further.

This is a newspaper that has two purposes. To keep people in ignorance of what's going on. And to drown them in lies and propaganda. All of this is done with a sloppiness and lack of ethics that one would expect to find in only the more backward of tin-pot dictatorships.

You can get better news, far better, and free by going to Google news. If it's local news you want, got to CBC radio and TV. (Private radio news is usually pretty thin stuff; and private stations are much too careful not to upset their advertisers. In other words, they sometimes leave stuff out, sometimes carry propaganda. Opinion on private radio is usually poorly informed. As well, the best radio journalists are not lining up for jobs in Moncton.I can tell that right away from the quality of reporting I have heard.

CTV has almost no presence in Moncton and, as a result, a very low ability to gather news of any consequence in it.

The best news service in Moncton,  by far, is CBC - though it, too, treads a little carefully under the pressure of governments that would dearly love to eliminate the only source of truth we have.

The next best is Moncton Free Press. It doesn't have any money; so that limits it. But it is still vastly superior to The Moncton Times and Transcript and private radio and CTV all put together.

Meanwhile, will Netanyahu ease up on Gaza? Not likely.

It is no coincidence this fighting broke out just after the US election, and just as Netanyahu is fighting for his own election. He may then very well take a shot at Lebanon and Syria. And then Iran. He would dearly have loved to hit Iran either during the American election or after a Romney win. But this will do.

Meanwhile, he and the western powers continue to pretend that Iran is just months from a nuclear bomb. They've been saying that for ten years.

Also meanwhile, UN inspectors says Iran is NOT building a bomb.

But who are you going to trust? The UN? Or Netanyahu?

And remember. Follow The Moncton Times and Transcript for the latest just pretend stories about Peter MacKay.




















Sunday, November 18, 2012

Nov. 18: I was slow to catch on.....

A reader sent me the editorial below from yesterday's Telegraph-Journal. As I read it, I realized something I should have figured out much earlier. I should have figured it out when I read Saturday's TandT editorial - and, in fact, when I read the TandT's news story on Dr. Cleary's talk

But it was The TandT editorial, in particular, I should have picked up on. I knew something bothered me about it. But it blew right by me. Then, I got the Telegraph-Journal editorial; and it suddenly made sense.

So far, the treatment of the shale gas issue has been loyal to the views of the energy industry. Irving Press editors are the dregs of the journalistic world (well, with the possible esception of private radio news staffs and commentators.)

The Irving editors will do what they're told. But they're writing is pretty crude. They can do ranting okay. But a rant is the best that they can do. And rant is not good enough on the shale gas issue. No. This one calls for a more subtle approach, for wooing.

If he were proposing to a shy, young maiden, an Irving editor would say, "You. Woman. Show some common sense. You're no beauty, so you aren't going to get many offers. But I need somebody to do the cleaning and cooking in the house - free. So let's try in on in bed. And if you pass, we'll get married."

But the shale gas bosses are in trouble. They're running into opposition. And this is outside the league of any journalist who's so desperate as to take a job with the Irving press. So they're bringing in the big guns.

They bring in Brian Mulroney to talk (God help us) about principles- with a kind word about shale gas. Okay. You can alway rent-a-Brian for just about anything. And  rent-a-McKenna is practically a brand name. They needed to bring in some heavyweights to take over the editorial and news presentations.

Now, take a look at those two editorials. Those are not written in the usual, crude Irving style. These were written by propaganda pros. It was pros, too, I suspect, who shaped the news story on Dr. Cleary's talk. A news story would have reported what this one never did- what Dr. Cleary talked about. But this story slipped in the bit about some in the audience disagreeing with her - so the real point of the story was that good, god-fearin' , tax payin' people just like you and me want shale gas.

And those people were almost certainly planted there. I noticed at least one read from a printed sheet. But I didn't hear a typewriter clacking during the talk, and a computer and printer would have been noticeable.

The Telegraph editorial below manages to slip in a slick line on the subject. It doesn't make sense. But it sounds good. The writer implies (without saying it) that Dr. Cleary spoke IN FAVOUR of shale gas - on the basis of science -  and that some people in the audience still were so brainwashed  against shale gas they opposed her. In contrast to the TandT story, it puts an entirely different meaning on what Dr. Cleary said, and refers to those who disagree as being opposite to the ones in the Tand T news story.

When you can lie like that and still sound reasonable, you're good. The Irving press has lots of editors who can lie. It doesn't have any who can lie as slickly as that. Whoever wrote this was a hired hand from big time propaganda writing. In fact, the differences between the two editorials lead me to suspect that the Irving press has brought in more than one hired gun.

And McKenna, we are told, is a pragmatic centrist and a fiscal conservative. Cute. But both those terms are pure fog. Nobody knows what a pragmatic centrist is. (A pragmatic centrist in Mao's China would have been one who didn't believe it was necessary to kill 50 million people. 25 million would have done.) And do you know it is common in the western media to refer to communists in today's Russia as "right-wingers"? Yep. Just like Harper and Romney.

And - of course,McKenna's a fiscal conservative. Again, there's another of those terms that sounds good - but nobody actually knows what it means. In practice, the term is usually applied to politicians who follow an economic policy that favours the very rich.

Okay. so McKenna's a fiscal conservative. I'll buy that.

The editorials in both papers were propaganda. So was the news story on Dr. Cleary's speech. But they weren't the usual crude propaganda we get fed by a press that holds us in contempt. This is pretty slick stuff. The shale gas industry is determined to shove this one through.

Will it destroy our environment? Will it hasten the already rapid climate change we're living through? Will it sicken and even kill us as our whole medical profession says it will?

Does the energy industry give a damn? The energy industry killed over a million people in Iraq to get their oil. It killed people in Libya for the same reason. It poisoned the land and the people of Kenya. It has killed people all over the world, poisoned people and land all over the word.

What makes you think they give a damn about what happens to your home, your land and water, your life?



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17 Nov 2012  2012 Telegraph-Journal (New Brunswick))

Throughout his term as premier of New Brunswick, Frank McKenna was always a pragmatic centrist. While he had a reputation as a fiscal conservative, he also warmly endorsed key social investments, be they in public kindergarten or literacy training. His pragmatism has now re-emerged, in public comments on the question of shale gas.

While opening a new centre for Communications and Public Policy at St. Thomas University named in his honour earlier this week, McKenna offered his thoughtful opinion on shale gas development. The former premier argued that New Brunswick should look at the best available evidence of what works in other jurisdictions throughout the world, and adopt them here. Given that shale gas is already having a profound influence on energy economics throughout North America, we feel that this is sensible advice.

There is no question that shale gas is a divisive issue among New Brunswick residents, as there have been plenty of debates surrounding its environmental footprint and long term economic benefit.

We believe that far too much scare-mongering has taken place on the question of shale gas development in the province, and the public would benefit from a more rational discussion. To offer one recent example? The province's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eilish Cleary, has recently published a report on shale gas that contained many cautions for government. Yet at a public forum in Moncton, her views - informed by science - were challenged by some in the audience, who are unwilling to consider shale gas development at any point, now or in the future.

As an opposition, the Liberals have not added any credible contribution to the debate, despite their own openness to shale gas exploration in the province when they were in government.

Let's return to a more rational discussion about shale gas. Canada has been made very wealthy by exploiting its natural resources, and the wealthiest provinces have been those who have tapped into those resources that are found below ground. Questions over environmental risks and economic benefit can be duly addressed, if government sets into place the right sort of policy. Pragmatic politicians do this sort of thing all the time - it's the sort of approach that made McKenna into a well-respected figure.

The provincial Liberals - who enjoyed some of their greatest triumphs when McKenna was their leader - would do well to heed the pragmatic advice of their former party chief.





Saturday, November 17, 2012

Nov. 17: The editorial is a keeper....

Of all the prime ministers of Canada, Brian Mulroney is the only one to have been publicly humiliated for accepting a huge bribe while prime minister, hiding it from taxes and lying about it to official inquiries. Others have been more discreet and legal - if questionable. For example, it is common for leading politicians who step out of political life to accept directorships, and other high-paying positions in companies which benefited from their days in politics, that sort of thing. They have also been known to build on their political contacts to become lobbyists for private companies.

In some ways, Brian Mulroney followed that same route. He had built his whole life on serving the very rich. In return, the very rich happily contributed to his Conservative party. Free trade, for example, was not Mulroney's idea. I once took the time to study his speeches and writings in the weeks of the election after which he introduced free trade. In that time, he never once even mentioned free trade. But with the election behind him, he suddenly decided it was a great idea.

That's odd because the sort of wealthy people who wanted free trade at the time were the same sort who had opposed it for over a century. They hated free trade. They hated it because they were not big enough to compete with British and American business. For over a hundred years, Canadians paid extra for goods to build the fortunes of our banks, of Canada Packers, of Massey....

But by Mulroney's time they needed free trade. They had expanded as far as they could in Canada. And they were big enough to compete. They needed the US market. So they told Brian to get on his horse, and get NAFTA. And so he did and, I am sure, was well rewarded for it.

Later, while still prime minister, he went way over the line. He accepted a suitcase full of money. No receipts. No records. He hid it. He didn't pay tax on it. He lied about it. And he was still prime minister. But it all caught up with him. - and it was revealed what he had been all his life. If he had been a teenager who had shoplifted a watch, he would have been in court, possibly in jail. But Harper looks after his kind. Nothing happened except national disgrace.

Two days ago, Brian Mulroney spoke in New Brunswick on the importance of having principles. He made no mention of his own behaviour.

Nor did the clown who wrote that editorial about him. Mulroney, who ended his leadership so despised that even lifetime Conservatives avoided him like a plague, is praised in the TandT for the prosperity he brought about by NAFTA and for his high principles. The editorialist didn't mention the jobs free trade cost, the ones that were exported. He didn't mention that we are not, in fact, living in prosperity. And he certainly did not mention that Mulroney was a confessed liar and thief. So this is the man our business leaders invite to teach them about principle. Why am I not surprised?

And this is the man who came down here to tell us that shale gas is good. If there as ever a clearer warning that shale gas corporations are led by people who will rob us blind and poison us at the same time, surely this is it.

Who are these village idiots who write editorials for the Moncton Times and Tribune? And are they really as half-witted as they seem? Or are they just miniature versions of Brian Mulroney?
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The rest of the paper is its usual self. Page one has a stunner of a news flash. The escape artist, Houdini, appeared in Moncton in 1896.  Gee! And we didn't even have an events centre yet. And, apparently, we have another hall of fame, The Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame. And The Moncton Zoo is going to expand - so that's a reason to head the story with a photo of MP Robert Goguen and deputy mayor Merrill Henderson. It does not mention which cage they will be in.
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NewsToday surprised me by having the story of an oil rig that exploded in water just off Louisiana. Gee! Who woula thought such accidents could happen. I mean, we have all them there strict controls.....

Two, odd things to notice about this story.
1. It was written by Times and Transcript Staff.  ????? Does the Tand T have a news office in Louisiana?
That story had to come from somewhere else. So why would TandT staff rewrite it?
2. Well, for a hint, look at the sub-headline "no leak following explosion".
Then look at the last line of the story, A team from the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has been sent down to see if there has been any oil spilling. It has not reported yet.
Hint to TandT staff. You're supposed to tell the news. Not invent it.
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Not a bad story on the testimony of General Petraeus before congress. However, just a hint to the editor who wrote the headline. Petraeus is not a "former" general. Commissioned ranks are held for life. In any case, he did not resign from the army. He resigned from the CIA.

His testimony doesn't get us very far. He admits that he knew from the start that the raid on the embassy was an organized attack, not part of a demonstration about a movie. He said he wrote that in a report to the president, but somebody changed it. He doesn't know who.

Okay, so now the Republicans on the committee will look for a who so that they can paint Obama as the villain. In the meantime, I wonder....  In the months since then, didn't Obama and his CIA chief ever communicate with each other? And didn't Petraeus ever say, "Oh, by the way, about that embassy attack...)
Almost from the start there were very public stories that the movie protest excuse for the attack was not true.  Surely, the President of the United States must hear these things, too.

The testimony of Petraeus hasn't got us very far. It was never likely that it would.
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The report on Israel and Gaza again carries a headline which implies Gaza is the villain. "Hamas aims rocket at Jerusalem". It could as well have said, "Israel drops 500 bombs on impoverished shack camps in Gaza."
But have you noticed it never looks at this from the Gaza side? Nor does it mention that Netanyahu won his last election on the strength of an invasion of Gaza. And he is in another election right now. Coincidence.
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There is a report that Iran could have a nuclear bomb within three months. Big surprise. We have been getting such reports for at least ten years. At no time in those ten years has there been any evidence that Iran IS building a nuclear bomb. But,o-o-o-o. it could. And then we'd be destroyed. I mean, Israel has only 250 nuclear bombs, and the US only 2,000 or so. There's not doubt about it. We have to destroy Iran right now. Kill 'em all.
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In the Whatever section, Jana Giles raises the issue of cramming for exams. Now, here I'm an expert because I've been a failure with averages of twenty percent and lower - and have also done years of straight As. So here's the scoop.
1. Much of preparing for exams is rote learning.- - a fancy word for memorizing. It's the worst way to learn because memorized work is soon forgotten, often within months of the exam. But you need to do it, especially in university because professors usually don't know how to teach - so they use rote learning a great deal.

Now, I'm going to tell  you how to do minimum studying, and get good marks. The principle is that the first time you study, you will remember it only a short time - no matter how many times you go over it. The second day  you study it, you will remember it longer - and so on. So -
1. Always date your notes for each day.
2, Get a set of index cards. At the top of each card write each day's date for the term. You will then have a card for Sept. 6, Sept. 7, etc.
3. On card one, write the name of any course for which you have notes to study. (Remember, you can find them because you have dated your notes for each day.)
4. You will now have a reminder of what you are to study for September 6. Don't cram. Just read it a few times.
5. Now you will repeat that study 3 days later, 10 days after that, and thirty days after the 10th  day. So each time you study something, the next review break will be long.
6. So - when you finish your first school day, you will write on your first index card Sept 6 History, entrepreneurship, health. On your Sept. 9  card you will also write those course names with Sept 6 as the pages you are to review.. On Sept. 16 you will write the same thing, and on Oct. 6.
7. On each day, you pick out the card for the day with its list of what you have to review. The review should not be a long one. We are not cramming. Reading each course's notes for the day should mean reading it three or four times.
8. It takes only fifteen minutes a day to review - but you include Saturdays and sSndays where necessary. And it's usually good to review at the same time each day.
9. For the last ten days, you review all youy notes for the term. You're not sitting up all night cramming them. (That's a sure way to fail). You're just going over them once, maybe twice each day.

Using this system, I never crammed. And I actually used less time to study. And I got straight As. By the end, you could start me on any page of my notes, and I could pretty well recite the rest of my notes for the whole term.

I don't claim this is the best way to learn. But the reality is that you will be judged heavily on rote learning. And, if you have these silly standardized tests that corporations are forcing on the schools, then the importance of rote learning only gets worse.

Does my system of studying work?

I did a BA with cramming. I had an average of less than C, and and average in history even lower, so low they wouldn't give me a major in history. (I got a D- in Canadian History.)
I then did an MA using this system, and got straight As.
Then I got a PhD - in Canadian History.
I think it works.
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This being Saturday, the Times and Transcript gives its usual, casual wave to religion. You'll find it on p. E6. It's a very helpful page if you find that thinking gives you a headache.
The one item that looks interesting is an ad - that Vision United will have its first service (in fact, a regular service plus two features, at 9, 9:40, and 10, plus a children's progamme) tomorrow morning, Nov. 18. And, it will have that service at the Empire Theatre in Trinity shopping centre.
All over the city, I see churches closing, struggling, being torn down. Here's one that seems be showing a remarkable and radical energy.  We should surely have a story on this - (unless, of course, Brent Mazerolle has more front page, readallaboutit news flashes about the breaking story of how Houdini visited Moncton over a century ago.)