Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 8: Break out our best, vintage beer....

For the first time in my experience, The Moncton Times and Transcript has a front page story that really is a front page story. It's about a big bush fire that has been burning just a twenty minute drive from Moncton. Now, that deserves first page. In fact, it almost deserves taking up most of Section A - which it does. (I was a little surprised at the photos of New Brunswick's water bombers, though - aircraft that can scoop up water and drop it on the fire. They are far the smallest water bombers I have ever seen.)

From there, though, the paper drops into a deep, dark pit. NewsToday (local, national world, everything news) is dominated by a story of three women held prisoners for years in a house in Cleveland. Interesting, of course. But there are surely more important things going on in the world.

And then there's still more on our local bushfire.

On C3, the Liberals look good for criticizing the government and Health Minister Ted Flemming for their clumsy handling of a dispute with the province's doctor's. The Liberals look good in this story. But good, like beauty, is only skin deep.

The Liberals, with their new leader who looks like almost every old leader this province has ever had, criticize the the eminently criticizable Flemming without ever laying a finger on the real issue.

The government claims it's objective is to improve patient service, and to make it more efficient. Okay. Then, surely, one starts by examining the system to see where it is inefficient - and to seek improvement. And even if your real and secret agenda is just to make cuts,  you still start with a study of where the inefficiencies are - and make those the target of the cuts. The government didn't do that.

It simply issued to demand to fire 400 people as a start to bigger cuts.

That has nothing to do with efficiency. If anything, it is likely to make the service less efficient.

So what's it really all about? Well, big business has never like medicare. And it has nothing to do with efficiency. It has to do with money being wasted on common people instead of being tucked into the pockets of the very rich. The Irvings are in that category. Mr. Irving has proclaimed himself a member of the government (without the need of getting elected). The civil service has been remodelled according to the latest wet dream of the very rich - Sigma Six decision making by statistics.

The objective is to gradually do away with medicare, replacing it with hyper-expensive private health which most people won't be able to afford. But who cares? Certainly not the new Liberal leader.

Based on today's story on C3, there is no real difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives. But, of course, there never has been.

C5 manages to squeeze in a non-story about the Israeli bombings of Syria. Read it carefully to learn nothing whatever about the situation or why Israel bombed Syria. My guess? The Syrian government is winning its war with the "rebels"; and Israel badly wants the Syrian government and Syria itself destroyed. Israel intervened in the war, murdering people from the air, going to war illegally to help the "rebels" - who are mostly the people Israel calls terrorists. It sounds wacky, but it's not.  The name of the game is to destroy Syria - and if that can be done by getting Moslems to kill each other, so much the better.

Obama is under tremendous pressure from Republicans to intervene in the war, something Obama does not want to do openly because it would probably become a bigger disaster than Afghanistan.

Then there's still more news about the women in Cleveland and the bush fire.
The editorial and op ed pages provide no relief at all.

The editorial is about a country church being rebuilt, and how pretty it will look. I suppose that is a warm and snuggly thought for a province that is governed with no trace of any religious principle or any religion whatever.

Alec Bruce has a column on yet one more scheme to privatize government social spending. This one would call for farming out private contracts to provice social services. Just a moment of thought here should scream what's wrong with this. We will have to pay the cost of the service PLUS the private profits. How is that more efficient?

On - I know. Private business is just naturally more efficient than goverment. Sure. That's why in every place these privatization schemes have been tried, notably in the US and Britain, (prisons, schools, police services) the costs have been higher and the results inferior.

Norbert has a column on "weasel words" which should be interesting, but isn't. However, in one paragraph, he says the US and Britain lied to create an excuse to invade Iraq. It was,  he says, a war with "no legal justification".

Well, isn't that interesting? The US and Britain lied about invading a country in which they murdered over a million innocent people, created millions of orphans and cripples and homeless, and destroyed the infrastructure (hospitals, schools, electricity) so thoroughly that it has yet to be fixed. In fact, Iraq has largely ceased to exist as a nation. In the process, they heightened North American and West European bigotry and hysteria about those awful Moslems they had murdered and tortured and ruined.

And they lied to us. And it was illegal. That makes Bush and Blair as murderous a pair of bastards as people like Stalin and Mao and Hitler. Both became multi-millionaires as a result of what they did. Both are war criminals. But both are still making millions for their crimes,  when they should be facing a court with a noose at the end.

These are not simply my thoughts. These are logical conclusions to what Norbert says in this column.

So how come the Times and Tribune has never carried a news story about this?

How come it has never carried a column about it?

And how come the very rich of our morally bankrupt society to this day will pay a bloodsucker like Bush a quarter of a million to give a speech? And will pay millions to Blair to screw over poverty-stricken Palestinians?

For that matter, how come Norbert will work for a morally and intellectually bankrupt newspaper that, as he clearly implies, never gave us the full news on these stories?

On op ed, Eric Lewis confides that "Far greater minds than mine" have debated and dicussed the political issue he is going to discuss. And he's bang on. Far greater minds than his have discussed it. So take his warning; and skip his column.

Brian Cormier has a column on grocery shopping in the old days. I  have no idea why.
Yesterday, I said that Cuba's literacy rate is 97%. That just about doubles the figure for New Brunswick. Cuba has achieved that though it is the one of the world's poorest countries. So how come NB thinks the best way to solve the problem is by giving two and a half million dollars to a rich man who knows nothing about teaching reading?

I have my own theory about literacy in this province, and why it's so weak. And it's not going to be cured by a sigma six statistics programme. However, that's for tomorrow.



  1. I'll bite on your query as to why this Norbert fellow, whom I don't know but who is a recurring villain in your always entertaining if somewhat over-the-top critical reviews, chooses to write for a morally and intellectually bankrupt newspaper, presumably because he is some spineless and morally bankrupt individual, intellectually deficient to boot, as we have been informed on past occasions prefers to roll over and have his belly scratched by his neo-conservative masters.

    It's a real shame you're still not teaching history at Concordia, your contributions are equally informative and entertaining, referring to Ayn Rand as the gospel of devil-worshippers, debunking American myths of Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Davy Crockett. It is time much better spent than listening to debates in the House of Commons.

    But I'm sure your worldwide audience would be equally entertained and informed if you occasionally sought out other targets than this hapless Norbert. From your description of life in Moncton, it is peaceful yet somewhat uneventful, the population is semi-literate, politically subdued, prone to contact authorities if they witness a protest.

    I sense you somehow miss the Montreal days you reminisce about, of pimps and prostitutes and drug dealers, arson and death threats, your colleagues portrayed as criminals in the Quebecor media, phone calls to Royal Orr from Brian Mulroney, pies in the face to confrontational Alliance Quebec leaders disrupting St Jean Baptiste celebrations. There was so much more to write about ... and perhaps you will regale your readers with some of these tales...

    One can only hope...

  2. Ah, yes. Exciting days.
    Norbert has good days - and I always mention them. Today, for example, is a good one. But I can't help remembering a series of vicious and ignorant editorials that lasted the best part of a year - and were aimed at the public schools. (And Norbert was editor at the time.)

    But you do raise a tricky point. Half my audience is non-Canada, ranging from the US to, well, some very obscure places, indeed. They have no reason to be interested in Moncton. But my intent in starting the blog was to provide an alternative for Moncton. I'm not sure where the happy medium is - or if there is one.