Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jan.29: "meeting was well-attended...."

What is that supposed to mean? thousands? hundreds? a couple dozen?
The number is kind of important. This is in a front page story "Finance minister urged to reverse tax cuts". Finance Minister Higgs is on a tour based on one of the more farcical elements in his party's election campaign - the would "listen to the people". And so Higgs is on a tour of six meetings across the province to hear what "the people" think.

That would require about a hundred thousand voting age people per meeting - so numbers are kind of important. Did they hit the hundred thousand mark? Did they hit a hundred. And, if the latter, how does meeting with a tiny percentage of people equal "listening to the people".

It's not hard to count to size of an audience. You count the rows. Then you count the number of people in what seems a typical row. And then (this is important) you multiply. I have known reporters who could give a pretty accurate count of crowds topping a hundred thousand.

And, when you are reporting on what people said to Higgs, it's rather important to mention all the topics they covered. The only ones reported in this story were the ones who talked about where to tax and where to cut. However, there were a half-dozen who talked about the very expensive (and possibly corrupt) move of Moncton High school.

Of course, it doesn't matter, does it? We all know who Higgs listens to - one person, just one, who is in "coalition" with the government. Of course, the great one probably doesn't speak directly to Higgs. That's done by the flunkeys of his Finance Advisory Committee that he pushed on the government.

So we know what will happen. Taxes will rise for us. They will not rise (or not significantly) for the coporate sector because "it needs money to create wealth for all of us".  That's why we're all so rich.

And of course, frivolous services like education, social assistance will be cut. But welfare payments to corporations will continue. After all, what's good for the bosses is good for you.
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Page A3 has the story of an Idle No More protest that blocked a highway. It had some useful quotations from a speaker. But we still have no indication of conditions on reserves in NB that have helped to spark this protest. Is this lazy reporting? Sloppy reporting? or simply a deliberate move to keep us in ignorance of what it's all about?
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NewsToday has a story of violence in Egypt, violence that could lead to civil war and enormous complications, in the whole region, complication that will almost certainly hit us hard. But don't worry about it. Instead, read the section's business page which has an equally big story about a fast food outlet in Moncton. I have no idea why.

The story is written by the TandT's master of empty gush, Brent Mazerolle.

Then there's a confusing story "France issues Syria warning". "extremists could prevail if nations fail to support the opposition".

Which extremists? People on both sides are killing. So aren't they both kind of extreme?

We have to support the opposition? But calling them the opposition sounds as if they're a legal, elected party in the government. They aren't. The majority of them are foreign invaders, hired and supplied to attack Syria.

And we are supporting the "opposition."  Their money and weapons and intelligence service are coming from our side - notably from Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Turkey, Britain, France, the US
and from the good ol' boys the US put in power in Libya.

Funny how newspapers play with words to give false impressions. Take extremist. That's bad. Sounds bad. But wasn't the US kind of extreme when it killed over a million in Iraq? Isn't it rather extreme, and even (gasp) terrorist for the US to be killing people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia with drones? And where did this word 'Islamist' come from? Do we also have Christianists? Judaists? And are they all evil?

The story on Mali is largely a triumphant one. For that purpose, it's just as well they didn't mention that France has said the war will last for years. They also don't mention the war's connection with gold and uranium deposits in Mali.

Of course, those evil ists of some sort on the other side ruthlessly destroyed ancient documents. We would never to that. Well, there was the case of looted museums in Iraq.  And, somehow, Cleopatra's needle got out of Egypt, and the Elgian marbles from Athens got to London. But, even in the bombing raids that have killed well over a million people in the last 60 years alone, we never hit a single historic site. That's because we're Christianists.

Norbert writes an informative article on the tragic history of nightclub fires. Tragic, indeed. But rather more people have been killed in fires in rickety sweatshop factories all over the world (including they US and Canada) that had no fire protection, no emergency exits. We're tougher on it now in North American - but western investors still built clothing factories like that in other countries.

Then there was the gas leak (due to illegal maintenance) in an American factory in India. It killed at least 16,000, and maybe double that. (I mean. Who counts? These were poverty-stricken people who lived in a vast dump, not real people like us who go to nightclubs.)
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The editorial has nothing much to say. But it is a triumph in one respect. It does not once mention the importance of building a new hockey rink at a hundred million.

Excellent column by Alec Bruce on Prime Minister Harper's eagerness to get rid of the man who did public audits on government spending - and perhaps to make sure that he has no successor. Harper's dislike of us great unwashed learning what he doing amounts to a paranoia. (I really must do a paragraph on that someday, along with the New Brunswick link to it.)

There is an excellent column by Johanne Perron on the op ed page. It is about pay equity for women, and it is the kind of informed and articulate opinion that should appear on an op ed page.

The lead column on that page is one written by editor-at-large Alan Cochrane. It's the sort of column that gives us the only sort of opinion that Mr. Irving wants us to hear. But I'm sure that's not why Mr. Cochrane wrote it.  No.  Cochrane is a deep thinker who isn't scared to say what he believes. No sir. He comes right out and asks the question that has engaged everyone from Socrates to the greatest minds of our day.

Should you wear a hat in winter?

Lord love a duck. Where does the Irving Press find these social rejects?

There's a good letter to the editor by David Coon, leader of the Green Party, "Tax hikes in Green Party DNA".

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