Thursday, October 17, 2013

Oct. 17: You know it's a slow day when.....

.. the big story, the page one, banner headline,  is about a boy who once got lost in Moncton, and now, fifty years later, has come back for a visit. Wow! A world scoop for the TandT. Eat your heart out, New York Times.

On page A6, there's a big and not very clearly written story about the finances of the NDP. Gee. My impression is the Conservatives and Liberals have a lot more financial help; but I can't remember ever seeing a story about how muchthat help is or who it comes from.

NewsToday actually has news, sort of. Our federal government in this time of troubles and world chaos has come down hard on the key problem facing a Canada. Yep. We're going to get tough on cyber bullying. And that's not all.

There's going to be a law enforcing balanced budgets. (That way, people will forget the name of the PM who unbalanced them in the first place.) Of course, that will apply only in normal times - whatever normal times might mean.

Benefits for civil servants will be "reasonable, responsible, and in the public interest," Way to hit the ball, Harper. I mean, we all know that all other parties are campaigning for civil service benefits to be unreasonable, irresponsible and against the public interest.

We will be permitted to take booze across provincial borders for personal consumption. Now, there's a practical and serious move to deal with hunger across this country. Or thirst. Whatever.

Oh, and we're going to cut cell phone and cable TV costs. Another big step forward for the homeless and the poor of this country.

And Harper is going to search for missing aboriginal women. Well, there's a really good promise. He's been making it for years. So it's stood the test of time. Weird, though. Here's a situation which has existed for years. Hundreds of aboriginal women just disappear. Now, in a civilized and developed country when such a terrible thing happens, do people normally just forget about it and the government ignore it? Of course not.  Why on earth would such an event, already covered under existing law, find its way into the throne speech? Isn't a government just normally expected to do such a search?

The only possible explanation for putting this in the throne speech is to find a nice way of saying, "Okay. These hundreds of aboriginal women have gone missing. And we haven't given enough of a damn to seriously look for them. But now we're going to look. Okay? Now get off our backs."

We're going for tougher sentences for crime. It's been tried. Many times. It doesn't work. The US jails more people and for longer time than any other country in the world. It even puts them for life in solitary. It e xecutes them. It's not working. This is a Harper pitch for the moron vote.

Harper will provide more support to veterans. Right. He's the guy who just savaged the pensions for disabled veterans, ensuring that they will live in poverty.

That national War Memorial will be re-dedicated for all who fought for this country. Actually, it probably won't. Will it, for example, include native peoples who died to save this country from the European intruders? Will it  include the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion that fought against fascism in Spain at a time when our political and business leaders were busy kissing up to Hitler?

It will, I'm sure, include veterans of the Boer War. But what did that war have to do with fighting for "this country"?

I don't believe we have ever seen a budget speech as trivial as this one. It's really a national embarassment.

Oh, Harper is also going to continue his celebration of the war of 1812 gesture with multi-multi million dollar celebrations of other events, mostly military and all focussed on the gloty of war.

In short, these are more pitches to the moron vote. The story is on C4. Considerable space is given to an  historian who has built his career on kissing up to the military and to whoever is in political power. Read the story. Look for the personwhose statements are the most arrogant. (Try to picture him walking - somethinig like a swaggering Daffy Duck. Note his comment that most Canadian historians are NDP. Despite many years in the  profession, I didn't know that. And professor Granatstein doesn't know it, either.)

There are actually two  (count them, two) more columns on the alliance of the city governments of Moncton, Fredericton, and St. John.

One is by Alec Bruce, and it is, to say the least, glib. Again, there is not the slightest hint of what this alliance is all about or what the mayors would do. Instead, we get a pointless story comparing their spirit of cooperation to the lack of cooperation by parties in Washington. In effect, all this column says is cooperation is good and lack of cooperation is bad.

Not only is that a simplistic statement (is it good to cooperate for evil purposes? is it good to cooperate with fanatics?) But it is impossible to see any connection between an alliance of city mayors in NB, and party conflicts in the US.

And Norbert is at least as bad. Again, he gives no idea of what the alliance is about or why an alliance is the best way to handle whatever it is he's talking about. His main point seems to be that the world changes, and we have to change with it.  Well, yeah. But why this change in particular?

Curiously, he also praises the successes of the past in social and educational programmes. And I agree with that praise. But that was achieved, as he says, by increasing the size and role of government. And isn't this the same Norbert who forever rants that big government is bad?

So far, none of the coverage of this mayoral alliance makes any sense at all. But this frequency of coverage surely means that somebody of great influence at the Irving Press wants it.

Rod Allen is his usual self, witty, euperior, insightful, lovable. But that's only when he's looking in a  mirror. And this is one more utterly trivial little story about his favourite subject - himself.

Jody Dallaire looks at the very serious problem of gettinig people involved in politics, keeping up on what is happening, following the reasoning of various parties. What she produces is the only item in today's paper worth reading.

Alas. It's hard to keep up on politics  in a province that has such stinking and ethically corrupt  newspapers.


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