There is not a damn thing in today's Times and Transcript that is worth reading. Well, in fairness, NewsToday has a worthwhile story on harrassment and discrimination among prison workers That's been true for a long time, of course. But it's getting worse just at a time when Harper has done even more damage with his "avenging angel" approach to dealing with prisoners.
There's also a worthwhile story, too, about how Harper is muzzling scientists, refusing to make public their reports of research findings to us - the ones who paid for them. This seems to be particularly true of environmental reports. Harper's poisition is clear. He was elected to be a dictator, and Canadians have no right to see anything he does not want them to see.
B6 has a heavily biased report on Venezuela as a result of the years of rule by Chavez. One gets a picture of a poverty stricken people, suffering under an improvident government. It's the old game of refusing to look at what Chile was before Chavez.
It was then run by the people who are now running against Chavez' successor. It was, in practice, a dictatorship controlled by American big business with the full support of the American government. Most Venezuelands were wretchedly poor, and with no services at all. A small number of Venezuelans were very rich, and happily cooperated with the American government in keeping everybody else poor. There was also a racist edget to this. The bulk of the poor had native blood. The rich were descended from the Spanish conquerors.
Chavez made the oil companies pay for their oil. For the first time in their history, ordinary Venezuelans got decent housing, medical care and education.
The North American press plays the same game with the Cuban revolution. There is never any mention of the brutality of the American-imposed dictators on Cuba, or of their general treatment of the Cuban people. Or of the American overthrow of democracy in Guatemala, and the subsequent massacres of native peoples by the CIA and by the dictatorship (dominated by those of Spanish descent.) In fact, most of the North American media didn't even report it.
Nor is there much mention of the hell that has been reimposed on Haiti under nearly a century of rule by American-imposed dictators, then the overthrow of an elected government and the re-imposition of American dominance.
In all cases, incidentally, power and money was (and usually still is) held by those people who are whiter.
There are very few news agencies you can trust. And very, very, very few of them are North American.
So let's talk about what should be, but isn't, the big story. Let's talk about the Kent by-election.
This occured to me in the oddest of ways. I googled Pete Seeger on Youtube. Seeger was hugely popular when the world and I were young. A US army veteran, his folk songs, backed by his five-string banjo, were songs of defiance and of hope for the future that a world longed for after years of depression and poverty and war.
I checked the long list of his songs on Youtube, then clicked enter for "We shall overcome". The song came from African Americans who were struggling for equality in the US. But it became the anthem of all of us who hoped for a better and more democratic world.
I saw and heard him on stage a long time ago...Seeger began quietly, gently...
"We shall overcome,
We shall overcome,
We shall overcome some day- ay- ay.
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe
That we shall overcome some day."
He began the second verse a little more strongly; a few voices in the audience joined...
"We'll walk hand, in hand....."
Then, with more energy, he said, "join me." And a few timid voices were raised.
"We shall live in peace some day...."
Then, with hearts almost bursting, all three thousand of us stood to roar out the defiance of the next verse...
"We are not afraid..."
Much of what we hoped from came true - better access to education for all, medicare that, for the first time, gave us all a chance for healthier lives, employment insurance that made it possible for us to survive the bad times (we all knew damn well that it was NOT the laziness of our parents that kept us from adequate diets.) By the 1960s, we were well on the way to a better world.
All of that is now under attack, under attack by big business which wants to privatize education so that it can get its fingers into the pie, which wants to cripple medicare as an excuse to end it so that only the rich will be able to afford to be healthy, and so the rich can make money out of it.
Now, 68 years after the war our parents and grandparents fought to protect freedom (so we are told every Nov. 11), democracy itself is all but destroyed. In both the US and Canada governments are largely controlled by big business. Here, in New Brunswick, we don't even pretend. Mr. Irving has, without being elected, announced that he is a member of the government, and that his people will advise the Minister of Finance.
Democracy. That's where all the rest starts. Democracy is the only issue in the Kent by-election. If we don't vote for democracy - then nothing else matters.
The Conservative party does not stand for democracy. Alward made that clear when he accepted Irving as a member of his government. He made it clear when he pushed ahead with plans for shale gas fracking not matter what the medical advice, no matter what we thought.
The Liberal, Brian Gallant, will not make an issue of democracy. Of course not. He's as much a servant to Irving as Alward is.
And the other two parties have not yet mentioned it. And we can bet that that the Irving Press won't mention it.
But democracy is the issue. It is the only issue in the Kent byelection. There is not the slightest possibility the Liberals or the Conservatives will raise it. One of the other parties has to. The whole future of New Brunswick rests not on "listening to the people", or tinkering with the budget, or promising a new hockey rink.... The whole future of New Brunswick rests on restoring democracy.
And deep in my heart, I do believe...
And I believe we are not afraid of greedy bullies and the lies of their wretched press. No. Damn them. No. They cannot have us and our children and the soil we walk on and the air we breath.
For the sake of ourselves, and our children, we are not afraid.
Check out Pete Seeger on Youtube. You'll get the idea.