Thursday, April 4, 2013

April 4: looking for an important story....

....but it wasn't there.

The confiscation of bank accounts at the Bank of Cyprus is developing as a much bigger story than it might seem. So, of course, I checked the Business Page of the Tiresome Times to get the latest scoop. But no luck.

The lead business story (a half page) was about how Mike's Bike Shop fixes bikes (Who woulda thought it?)

The only other story is one that talks about the pipeline for another half page without saying anything.

The Cyprus bank story (which doesn't appear at all) has at least three important elements.
1. The Canadian government is considering what to do if there is a Canadian bank failure. That was on CBC news. (And, yes, there is a possibility of a Canadian bank failure. We are in dangerous economic times.)

In such a case, it is possible the Canadian government will confiscate bank accounts to pay off whoever the bank owes money to, just as the EU forced Cyprus to do. According to the budget statement, the government says all options are under study.

2. The reporting on Cyprus gives the impression that the  middle class and poor are protected. But maybe not. In the first place, the middle class and the poor, though they pay a lower percentage of what is owing, get no benefit from this because the money, though not going to the execs and directors who drove the bank into trouble, doesn't go to the poor and middle class, either. It goes to the billionaires to whom the bank owes money. As in the US bank failures, it's the poor and the middle class who pay - and the billionaires who get the money. So what's the big deal?

3. Though the really big accounts are supposed to hand over a larger proportion of their money that is in the bank, that didn't happen in Cyprus. One hundred and twenty-three companies transferred all their Cyprus money - almost a billion dollars - into safer havens just before the government swooped in. Obviously, they were tipped off.
Another story didn't make it intoo the TandT, too. A junior staffer for the federal Conservative Party - named Rona - has been charged with setting up robo calls in the last election that misdirected voters as to where they should vote. and had a hand in allowing people with no IDs to vote. To do that, he would have  needed access to the Conservative's very secret list of names of people who were likely to vote Liberal, NDP or Green. He would also need authorization of people higher up the ladder - maybe right to the top.

Obviously, legal authorities are hoping not so much to nail Rona as to get names from him.

So far, the Conservative Party has refused to cooperate in any way with the investigation. And their chief campaign officer is out of the country, has refused to come back, and is not answering any questions.

Is this serious? Well, kinda. It now seems possible that every federal election since 2004 was illegal and has created illegal governments. This looks like far the biggest political scandal in Canadian history.  But why even think about it?

Relax with you Tiresome Times and the big story on A5 to learn how a local company faces challenges because of its expansion. Very gripping.

As for foreign news, read the story on the tensions over North Korea. Notice how they're all the fault of North Korea. It's making threats - which is something the US would never, never do.

Now, let's for a moment forget all our notions about who's good and who's bad. (I don't think there's much good on either side.) Let's look at what is actually happening.

Every year for sixty years the US and South Korea have held war games which are clearly aimed at war with North Korea. North Korea reacts by "threatening". But the US does not threaten. The US is  peace-loving country which never threatens anybody and has been active all over the world protecting people in Afghanistan, Vietnam, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Guatemala, just everywhere.

But the North Koreans are evil. They "threaten'. The US never "threatens". It just issues genteel "warnings". At least, that's how our news agencies tell it. That sort of choice of words is how our newspapers brainwash us.

Who is the aggressor here? Who is being provocative? Certainly not the US. It's just holding war games along the North Korean border, you know, just practicing. I'm sure the US would happily allow North Korea to hold war games on the US border - even every year for sixty years. There's nothing threatening. The US would never dream of killing anybody and invading anybody - unless, of course, they had "weapons of mass destruction" - or oil.

There's not much to talk about that's in the Tiresome Times. A2 has a picture of Brian Gallant, and yet another pointless story that tells us almost nothing of what principles or policies he advocates. This look like the same old same old. Just one more lawyer aspiring to make the right friends for his future. And one more gofer for the Irvings.
The editorial is essentially a personal attack against people who make personal attacks. In particular, it is a personal attack on Councillor Bourgeois. His sin? He no longer supports the events centre. O!Lord cast out this imp of Satan from among us.

The editor also reveals his own ignorance of what democracy and elections are about.

Norbert is back to his worst days ignorant rant and name-calling. There are, it is true, problems with the universities. They should be examined. But it should be discussed by someone who knows what he or she is talking about. Norbert doesn't have a clue. That's why he rants and calls people names. He simply doesn't know anything about the subject.

Even Alec Bruce is disappointing. Contrary to what he says, we do not have piles of information about the economic potential of an events centre. Almost all we have seen is propaganda put out by those who stand to make money out of it. Nor have we ever seen detailed or accurate reports of what "big shows' cost us, and exactly who gets the benefits.

Rod Allen continues talking about himself with a pretentious writing style that he seems to think is humorous. This is what passes for opinion in the TandT.

I'll even disagree with Jody Dallaire. I think women "gaslight" too. Not just men. You'll have to read her column to understand that. But, unlike the rest of the paper, it's still worth reading.

Gaslight, indeed! Real men never gaslight.


  1. Graeme, men gaslight all the time ! And you know it ! I agree that it's a society epidemic! And yes, of course, some women do it too, but mostly men. When women express (rightful)anger at a situation, often, men will try to manipulate them into thinking they're "crazy","irrational", "emotional". Like the saying goes : If a man has an opinion, he "has conviction", "strong values". If a woman has an opinion, she's a b$tch. It's a trick that's been used a million times by people (especially men) to avoid responsability for their actions. Women learn from an early age that they have to be "passive", accept things as they are, not criticize too much, not express anger openly. No wonder we have so many women with low self-esteems when society is constantly trying to downplay their emotions. Such BS. Andie C.

  2. I'm a man. I never express anger. I'm kind, thoughtful, downplay my emotions, and I have convictions.
    Everything I see about me is attractive.
    So the problem must be you.

  3. Also, the continuing saga of our hijacked 'democracy' has Chris Hedges resigning his membership from PEN.

    PEN is another example of how a supposedly liberal, and humanitarian organization is becoming prey to neo-liberalism which is now almost indistinct from neo-conservative attitudes.

    PEN's new director Suzanne Nossel, is a faithful of Empire-building, which PEN, I thought, directly opposed ..totalitarian governments, dictatorships, corporatism, gunboat diplomacy, imprisonment and torture of dissidents, and so on.