Sunday, February 3, 2013

Feb.3: Yesterday's issue of the Moncton TandT....

....because,as some of you know, I got steamed up over a story that didn't appear in the TandT yesterday - and talked just about that.

Page 1 is the usual trivia. Brent Mazerolle writes a "special report" about an ice storm we had ten years ago. Hot diggety!

Lots of people in Moncton are going to watch the Super Bowl on TV. Some of them will drink.  Who would have guessed?

Then there's the headline, the big story -  that isn't really a story at all. Three-quarters of it is simply a quotation from  a doctor in Bathurst who used to be health minister. This isn't a news story. It's a press release.

It's a long quotation. It's a tedious read. Much of it is vague. Very, very few are gong to read the whole thing. Even fewer are going to get any understanding out of it. Why one earth is this "story" on the front page -and as the lead story?

 It's probably for the headline, "Hospitals deal with patient confusion."

The real message for all those readers who don't read the whole story - and even for many of those who do? "Tut-tut. Always something wrong with those hospitals. It's a shame and a disgrace. The government should do something about it." Way to set up the health minister for more bull in a china shop behaviour. It's an old trick in unethical journalism. Editors know that few will read the story. However, just about everybody will read the headline- so they pick a headline that will send a message. The message of this headline is "trouble in the hospitals." It's designed to help out the Health Minister - who is not making reforms for the sake of anybody's health.

Eighty years ago, Hitler rose to power. We should remember that. We should remember Dr. Gobbels, his propagandist, who got Hitler into power through his control and skilful use of the news media.

That headline about the hospitals looks very much like propaganda.

There's a big story on page A3 about how the New Brunswick RCMP is handling Idle No More demonstrations with discretion. I'm sure they are. I'm happy to receive full reports on the handling of this protest. I'm happy its being done properly.

BUT I'D BE EVEN HAPPIER IF THE MONCTON TIMES AND TRANSCRIPT TOLD US WHAT THE PROTEST IS ABOUT. What are the social and economic conditions on reserves? What are the health conditions? Has any Canadian government ever fulfilled its commitments to these people? Or have they just been dumped into an endless loop of social and economic problems?

Incidentally, the story on Super-Bowl drinking in Moncton is bigger than the one of police discretion which, in turn is bigger than anything the TandT has told us about Idle No More.
Picking is slim for any news about anything in NewsToday. The only item of note is that our Energy Minister is setting up an Energy Institute. It will be an independent body, separate from government and industry, to monitor and control shale gas development.

Why an independent body? Well, because as Energy Minister Craig Leonard suggests, we can't trust either government or the industy. I admire Mr. Leanoard's candour in telling us that he and his government colleagues and their big business friends can't be trusted.  But...

Who is going to be the first chair of this Energy Institute? Well, of course, retired university professor Louis Lapierre - the very same man who gave the government and the industry their chance to ignore the recommendations of the province's Chief Health Officer (and most of the medical profession). And I'll bet the other professors who get picked will be just like him.

Sometimes, the stench of sleaze is overwhelming - as is the abuse of the people of this province..
a) Premier Alward gave a brainless speech about the state of the province. b) the TandT editorial says it was a brilliant speech.
Add a plus b.
Take de Adder's cartoon very, very seriously. We are creating one hell of a mess in Africa. The western powers are trying to rebuild the old empires there and, at the same time, to block the economic challenges posed by China, India, Russia and, possibly, much of Latin America. We haven't begun to see the violence, the suffering, the cost - and hopelessness of what's going on. This is brought to you by the same folks who brought Afghanistan.

A solid column by Bill Belliveau. He writes of NDP leader Tom Mulcair's move to repeal the clarity act (the act which forces Quebec to hold honest referenda on separation, and which sets terms for any separation.)

I knew Mulcair some years ago through a board that I sat on. He was an amiable sort; and it was obvious then that, like many on that board, he had political ambitions. But I never realized his ambitions were so narrowly political. I'm appalled by what he has done with the NDP; and I think Belliveau is bang on the money when he says Mulcair is doing this simply to boost his party's chances among separatist voters.

As Belliveau says, most Canadians don't care about Quebec. They just want it to go. They will soon wake up if Quebec were ever to get the separation terms that Mulcair proposes. Canada would be shattered.

There is not now, and never has been, a time when  a majority of Quebeckers wanted to separate. The separatists lost their referenda, even with massive support from francophone newspapers and from francophone media in general - including Radio-Canada (CBC) Montreal. And, at their best, the separatist vote was way overstated. I was closely involved with events in those referenda. The Quebec government cheated, lied, disqualified votes by the thousands, counted votes for people who had never voted...the fraud was massive; and they still lost. Then it destroyed all the ballots so there could never be  judicial examination of what went on.

There was a time, quite recently, when the federal NDP was a party of principle. One can only hope that the Mulcair's in the party will go - and soon.

Norbert writes about how some scientific media are often alarmist, don't know how to do a news story, don't understand reporting...... Please Norbert. You work for the Moncton Times and Transcript. Have some sense of shame.
On op-ed, Brent Mazerolle is Brent Mazerolle with yet another utterly pointless story about his life. He should write it all up and have it published. Then the TandT offices will have two autobiographies they can't sell.
There's  an excellent opinion piece by Gwynne Dyer on Mali. It's worth reading because, yes, Mali is going to affect you - even more that the Super-Bowl will.
Then there's the sermonette on the Faith page. Why are these things always so limp and soggy? This one makes a worthwhile point - in the last sentence but, oh, it's tippy toes all the way. It makes me think of a warrior who throws away his battle-axe, then charges into his enemies swinging a lollipop at them. The theme is that it's nice to say 'I'm sorry'. But you have to learn to really mean it.

Did Jesus actually talk like that? I don't think so. Did He voluntarily lead a life of poverty and finally suffer crucifixion so He could tell us to really mean it when we say we're sorry?

If Jesus were here, is it possible he might have something to say about the conditions we force our people to live under? About how we force whole nations (Haiti, Congo, Guatemala, Irag) into poverty and suffering so we can rip off their resources and cheap labour?

Or would Jesus be blessing the drones before we send them off to kill whoever happens to be in the wrong place? Would he be pointing out that torture is okay so long as we get the occasional piece of information from it? Would He point with pride to a US that spends ALL of its income tax revenue on the military - while millions of Americans go homeless and hungry? Would He congratulate the people of Moncton on their sense of priorities in planning to spend a hundred million on a hockey rink?

Or would He avoid the issues and cover up by writing whimpy sermonettes so eminently acceptable that not even the most self-righteous person in the congregation will feel offended?

And would he talk down us with cutesy signs like the one I saw on a local church?  "Seven days without prayer makes one weak."

I prefer to think Jesus is a lot gutsier and more mature than that.
If you have a severe brain disorder, and find it painful to read anything that causes you to think, then I  recommend Rod Allen's My Spies on the back page.

However, if you are of normal health, I more strongly recommend a letter to the editor,  "Why no report on school issue?"
And mark your calendar for Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Moncton Library for current events - the sort of stuff you've just been reading about.


  1. As far as I'm concerned, the NDP have firmly shot themselves in the foot, by picking Tom Mulcair as party leader. He knows this, and is simply doing his best to salvage a bad situation, by picking up votes any way he can. Federally, the wheel has turned, on the NDP. Kind of a shame really.

  2. A letter you will never see in the T+T:

    Dear Mr Alward;
    It seems, yet again, you have forgotten the folks who elected you. You set your pit-bull in our health care system and have left him unattended. You have some seriously polluted land that no one seems to be in ANY hurry to clean up. You have a municipality foolishly considering going in debt for millions for no clear reason. There is some serious buggery-fuckery going on in our education system. Your government can't seem to control it's spending.
    YET, here you are, in Alberta, pimping for Mr Irving. YES: PIMPING. Because the net gain will be 0 (zero) for those who elected you. No jobs beyond temporary, no local reduction in the price of energy, no nothing. Have you COMPLETELY forgotten those who elected you?