Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April 3: the T and T and T and T....

...The Trivial and Tiresome and Times and Transcript.

Sorry to be late with this one. I have written it twice, with it disappearing from the screen each time so I have to start again. Fingers crossed.


The top news story on p. 1 is neither news nor a story. "Pipeline Moves One Step closer to reality."
Well, it sounds like a trumpet blast for progress. In fact, it's simply a statement that those who have expressed interest in building the pipeline to the East coast are going to meet to discuss who is still in the game and ready to go for it. And it gets worse -

The opening two paragraphs aren't news at all. They're a hymn of praise to the pipeline. So is the picture on A8. it bears a striking similarity to patriotic posters of Stalin's Soviet Union.

Also on p.1 is a question. "Moncton in line for federal funding?" MP Robert Goguen announces, in effect, that he doesn't know the answer. Why is this a news story? I don't know.

p.1 almost has a real story from city council. "Events centre debate gets heated". Unfortunately, the reporter wrote it in a style that resembles something appropriate for a scandal mag - something like- Shocking display of brutality as Mayor Leblanc clashes with raving councillor.

Councillor Bourgeois suggested a plebiscite on the events centre because "we can't simply be giddy cheerleaders for it."  Mayor Leblanc replied in pretty oily fashion that council should, in effect, simply be giddy cheerleaders because most of the councillors campaigned in favour of it.

Well, Leblanc shows a certain lack of understanding of democracy. If everything that a majority of councillors favoured in the campaign should become law, then there would be no need for council (or the legislature or parliament) to meet at all.

As well, voters vote for councillors for many reason, and often for none in particular. A plebiscite gives us something closer to popular opinion. In any case, voters had almost no clear or impartial assessment of the events centre at the time of the election. (and they still don't.) There is an excellent letter to the editor on this, "Taxes shouldn't pay for events".

A reporter is supposed to ask questions. But it would appear that Mr. Mazerolle did not.
1. Why are we getting almost no news or opinions that suggest criticism of the centre?
2. Why didn't the minister of the environment order the owners (as the law required him to) to clean up the pollution of the soil in Highfield Square?
3. Is that pollution limited to the square itself? Or does it extend to the offices, homes (and a hotel) beside the square?
4. If so, if an events centre must be built on clean soil, what about those people affected if the soil crossed the street? Are they in danger? What is it that these pollutants do to people?
5. Why is the only public "symposium" on the subject of an events centre being focussed on a pro-centre group? (Yes, I know the audience will be allowed to ask questions. But it would be nice to hear of cities in which events centres have not worked out.)
6. Is our tax money paying for this one-sided symposium? Why? Do we all have to be 'giddy cheerleaders?"

On balance, I'd rather read a scandal mag than that silly, first page story. I can see it now, "Shocking news; Britney Spears prophesies world will end tomorrow at 6.15 am edt! Check our special sale of alarm clocks."
A2 has a stunningly pointless story about Jimmy Bourque, the Conservative candidate in the Kent byelection. Mr. Bourque has told an astonished world that he hopes to do well in the election. Well, that's nice - though I rather think that is what all candidates hope.

He made only one statement of anything that could be called insight when he gave out a one-liner about shale gas.  He said, "...he trusts any shale gas developments in the province will be closely regulated and safe."

Yes, that was it. The rest was all about his air cadet days, his business life - as if anybody gives a damn.

A reporter should ask questions.
1. Why and who does he "trust" on shale gas?
2. Exactly what does "closely regulated" mean? Has he seen the regulations? Is he knowledgable about how closely the government will regulate? Does he believe that any Liberal or Conservative government will do anything that a big stake-holder in shale gas would be annoyed at? (Think Irving.)
3. What does "safe" mean? Has he consulted experts from each side? Does he have the expertise to determine when regulation as "safe" enough?
4. The medical opinion of the Chief Medical Officer is that we don't know enough to determine what is safe. Does Mr. Bourque know more about medicine than the Chief Medical Officer does? Or does he "distrust" the Chief Medical Officer?

But no questions were asked. This is three, half-page columns of pure drivel. I cannot understand why an editor would even consider running it - except as free advertising for what seems like a hopelessly unqualified candidate.
Newstoday carries the story of how two Canadian have been identified as terror bombers in Algeria. The Canadian Press (and the Canadian government) refer to them as "radicals". Neither The Canadian Press nor the government seem to know what radical means. Nor do most people. But it sounds bad, wild-eyed, crazy.....  Government wants to stop young people from being "radicalized".

Mackenzie and Papineau, the men whose rebellions led to responsible government in Canada, were radicals. George Washington was a radical. Florence Nightingale was a radical.

Radical refers to a wish to make fundamental change. Trading in your BMW sports car for a 4X4 Hummer would be radical.

Jim Irving appears to be very radical. He has announced that, contrary to all constitutional practice, he can be a member of government with getting elected - simply because his name is Jim Irving. He's sort of George Washington in reverse.

Obama and Bush are radicals. Both advocate illegal invasions and illegal bombing. Both advocate keeping prisoners indefinitely without charge or trial. Both advocate the use of torture, and domestic spying without warrant. Those are fundamental changes to the US. Those people are radicals.

If a Canadian were to become a mercenary employed by the CIA as an assassin to kill Moslems, would The Canadian Press refer to him as a radical? I rather doubt it.

I don't much like terrorists of any sort, no matter what language they speak or what religion they claim to follow. But  radical is a misleading word. Words should carry intellectual meaning to us - so they help us to think. But radical has become simply an emotional spark to spread hatred and fear and ignorance.

Page C3 has the Liberals saying that the new health CEOs are overpaid. Of course. We are now operating according to business practice. And for the last thirty years or so, business practice has been to wildly overpay and overbonus execs while making everybody else poor. Indeed, you can get fired for messing up your exec job for years, and have a contract that gives you a payoff for more than most people earn in a lifetime of good work. Why?

The people who decide the rules for business practice are the execs and directors - and those rules benefit them.

But busdrivers who want a few more bucks are greedy.
Alec Bruce is in good form.

Norbert is back to being a grumpy old man with constipation. And the op ed page is, to be kind, trivial.


  1. Off topic, but while surfing the Internet I found this. After the Middle East, the USA are quietly invading Africa now?

  2. It's not so quiet. There are American troops in just about every country in Africa. It seems quiet only because it's not reported.

    All the money and equipment for the "rebels" in Syria is coming from the US and from US allies. There was a pretty noisy war against Libya as well as the use of drones in Somalia and Yemen.

    France and Britain are part of the game as they try to rebuild the African empires they once had - and the US is letting them in for a cut of the action.

    Poor Africa. From the days of slavery, Africans have been used to make Africa poor and the western powers rich.

    The big catch is that it is creating worldwide hatred for the US, Britain and France in particular. And the result is not only a huge growth in Islamic resistance. It has also flooded Africa with weapons, largely of American manufacture. the UN just enacted a treaty to limit such sales of weapons. But it's alreay way too late for that.

    The Syrian "rebels" are often fighting each other, because a large number of them are jihadist Moslems, and they are fighting the other (mercenary) rebels. And both sides have pretty much the same weapons coming from the same country.

  3. A little off topic as well, but I was reminded by this extremely reasonable lecture:

    Today's continuing politics whether in the U.S., or Harper's Canada, or Alward's New Brunswick have been shaped by the untruths set forth by 9/11. It helped shape the moral environment for the banking crisis's, and all the fake wars (resource stealing) we're involved in.

    Many cretins such as Alward, and Harper are existentially following the same path as set by the supreme example of 9/11, in their own, versions of untruths, and selling out.

  4. I forgot to mention, if anyone has any lingering doubts about 9/11 they can also view the 'Toronto 9/11 Hearings' that were conducted over 4 days and heard from various experts in their fields.

  5. What I find interesting is that during the Irak war, the USA called up many mercenaries from Uganda to go out and fight. They were promised salaries (less than the US soldiers but much higher then the average Ugandan salary). Either way, it all ended up as a big crock. The Ugandan soldiers returned back home with much less money than promised...

  6. That's not off topic at all. 9/11 has quite deliberately used to create such an atmosphere of fear and even paranoia, that it can be used to justify anything. It has been used to justify the invasion of Afghanistan, the bombing of Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the war in Syria, in Libya, the use of torture, arrest and imprisonment with no charge or trial.
    And our press has played a major role in all of this - sometimes knowingly, sometimes just out of ignorance.