Saturday, April 6, 2013

April 6: ?????????

Early yesterday, the story of the year broke. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has cracked the files of offshore banks which act as tax havens for the very rich and for corporations all over the world who want to hide their money from the taxman. These banks maintain the highest possible security. But the ICIJ got around the security. It has the record of every transaction, and it has names, all of them.

Yes sir, we have among us a very high class of bums and thieves.

CBC carried the story yesterday. Early yesterday. But there's not a word in the Times and Transcript. Any newspaper that could miss a story as big as that, and miss it long after it has been made public, is deliberately withholding information.

There are hundreds of Canadians with billions of dollars hidden away to escape taxes. But the Times and Transcript sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil. Of course, we know that none of these high-class thieves would be New Brunswickers. But still, well, it takes a pretty incompetent and/or lying newspaper to miss such a story.

Has Harper not commented? Isn't this the Harper who was about to introduce a snitch bill to reward people who report such cases? Well, now he has all the names and all the transactions handed to him on a platter. And will he act?

Dream on. He'll act on a few to impress us. But not on the biggies.
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Brent Mazerolle, in his column on the op ed, shrugs his shoulders at those people who dismiss his writing as "spin-doctoring" - which means  twisting a story to give a false impression. Now read his lead story on page A1.

The headline pretends that this is a report on comments by Louis Leger, president of Downtown-centreville 's board of directors and an advocate of the events centre. Now read the first, four paragraphs of Mazerolle's report. Those first four paragraphs are quite clearly worded as Mazerolle's personal opinion. They are not a news report. They are his opinion - his "spin-doctoring". No competent (or ethical) editor would have allowed that.  In fact, the whole "news" report is a diatribe pointed at Councillor Bourgeois who dared to disagree on the value of an events centre.

More spin-doctoring? Mazerolle talks about how the TandT has presented both sides of the question.  And that's the second piece of ass-covering for the TandT in two days. Yes, the TandT did occasionally mention that there was some opposition to the centre. But their coverage of the antis can scarcely be called frequent or equal or informative. And this whole, news story was wildly slanted.

Ah, it brought back memories of those weeks when my only source of news was Mao's New China News Agency.

A12 carried a big story about the Kent byelection that tells us nothing whatever. There is no sense here of the policies of any of the three parties. I would rather read something by Don Cherry on the importance of peace and love.
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There's a much better piece of reporting in NewsToday, page 3, "N.B. medical society rejected medicare cap". It's pretty clear what the feud between Health Minister Flemming and the medical people is really all about.

The medical people are focussed on the provision of health care.  The govenment is focussed on money. The government wants to run our whole society as if it were a business. But a society is not a business. and it won't work if it's run like a business.

This whole crisis seems to have been forced on us by the Irvings with their Six Sigma phantasy of running businesses by playing with statistics to improve efficiency. There's some disagreement over whether it works even for business with its only interest being profit.

But it certainly will not work for education, health or any other area of government. Government does, of course, have to be efficient. But its main purpose is not to generate profits. It is to serve people. Six Sigma is a disaster for government in this province. I do wish Mr. Irving would get his nose out of government and his fingers out of the budget. That's our government and our money.

If Mr. Irving wants to be in government, he should do it as we have to do it, by getting elected. I would dearly love to see what his platform would be - and what possible credentials he has to be in government. What is he trained to do?  I mean, besides getting tax breaks and grants from governments.
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The fuss over North Korea takes a whole page - as it should. The danger of this turning into a nuclear war - possibly involving China - is real. But the wording of all the reports paints North Korea as the aggressor. Yeah, like the way Grenada, Libya, Vietnam, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia were aggressors against the US, threatening it by concentrating their massive armies, navies and air forces off the US coast to practice invasions.

It is quite possible the US wants a war with China. Certainly, it wants to surround China with American bases - and North Korea would be a magnificent addition to that.

It may even desperately need to get military control of China. For five hundred years, western prosperity has leaned heavily on military power to build empires- South Africa for gold, Rhodesia for diamonds, Central America for cheap labour and agricultural land for factory farms, China for its huge market.

Through the Second World War, it was always fixed in President Roosevelt's mind that the US must get control of the empires its allies were losing. Today, that is more important than ever. That's why we're having so many wars as in Iraq, Libya, Syria - Islam has nothing to do with it. The wars are about resources, markets, and strategic positions. That's why Africa is being torn apart.

The US economy is in much bigger trouble than is being admitted. So the reliance on war has to be increased.

The leader of the North Korea may well be a nutbar. So are the economic leaders of the west, the ones who own the politicians,  - and they are desparate. It would be nice to see a news story that recognizes that.
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The editorial is cute.  It says we must step up resource development, and then squeeze the developers for every penny we can get. Yeah. Squeeze the rich. New Brunswick governments have been really good at that.

Bill Beliveau's column is a mix of sense and nonsense. He wants to reinvigorate Main St. Okay. There are cities all over the world, important ones, that no longer have a "main" street. But it sounds nice and it sounds essential, so okay.

So let's build the world's biggest nude massage parlour, staffed by nude heterosexuals (to please Crandall University) with a partitioned section for gays and lesbians so they won't offend Baptist nudists. We could also build all our schools and churches into it (meaning people and business seven days a week), and have an indoor beach with real sand that would be open all year.

It would attract tourists, and really pep up the bookstore across the street. And I'll bet it could be done for not much more than 500 million.

Of course, it's silly. But it's more likely to make a profit and to draw business to Moncton than an events centre is.

Incidentally, Bill, a person who criticizes Irving is not necessarily launching a diatribe. Nor is he necessarily attacking an Irving simply because Irving is "successful". Check the meaning of diatribe. Then read your own  paragraph that begins at the bottom of the first column. Now, that is a diatribe.

Norbert has a useful column on the use of words. I'll just add a short piece of advice. Most dictionaries define words according to  how people use them. Some, very few, define them for what they should mean.

For example, some dictionaries will define "die" as a state of excitement because many people use it that way. (As in, "I could die; I could just die.")

If you want to be sure of what a word is really supposed to mean, use the Oxford English Dictionary.

On op ed, I have no idea what Brent Mazerolle's column is about. I suspect that he doesn't know, either.

The other op ed is on the proposed pipeline to St. John. It's by a Jim Quinn who is president and CEO of the St. John Port Authority. And he's in favour. Well, I guess that's it. Mr. Irving likes it. Jim Quinn likes it. Brunswick News likes it.

All in favour?

Approved.

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