Friday, February 14, 2014

Feb. 14: "Feds 'not interested' in rail line"....

That's the banner headline on page 1. And it was predictable weeks ago. I remember, just weeks ago, Goguen's lukewarm promise to support it. That was a sure sign this was a non-starter. We aren't going to get our railways repaired in this region. Our rail connection with the rest of Canada - and each other - is about to be killed.

Like the big business leaders he so much admires, Harper is as blind as Mr. Magoo when it comes to seeing future needs. All that counts is making a buck now. Right now. The future doesn't matter.

Oh, and the very rich also matter to Mr. Harper. They are his valentines. The cost of his newest gift of income-splitting for their taxation would, alone, pay for the greater part of the rail work that needs doing in the maritimes.

And, well, there may be another factor. Harper's favourite maritimer may see other uses to federal money. He may want to see that federal money (our federal money) spent on a pipeline to move oil

After all, oil is more important than people.

Also on p. 1 is a Brent Mazerolle special to reassure us that people still send Valentine wishes on Valentine's Day. Who would have guessed?

And that's pretty much it for section A , unless you are interested in  A MASSIVE CLOTHING LIQUIDATION at Future Inn Hotel. (p. A6).  Actually, the prices look very, very good, indeed.
The only foreign news is that there is a war on in Syria. What's missing is any insight as to what this war is about. So here it is in brief.

The US wants Syria destroyed as a power because it has been friendly with Iran.

Saudi Arabia wants it destroyed because of religious differences within Islam.

Israel wants it destroyed to enhance its own regional power.

The US wants Assad out as national leader because he does not do what the US tells him to do. That's why they US claims it wants to establish democracy - but it really doesn't. It wants a leader it controls.

As always, the whole story in the TandT comes from people the paper refers to as 'activists'. That's cute. Sounds even good. I mean, activity is good for us.

In fact, those activists are one side, the "rebel" side, in the conflict. This isn't news. This is propaganda for the rebel side. And almost all of the western press is covering it in the same way.

The NewsToday section and the Business Page both have big stories on how Ottawa is laying out some $53 billion for infrastructure across Canada. And we are urged to apply for some of it.

But don't ask for a cent for railway infrastructure.
Excellent column by Alec Bruce  on Harper's new, income-splitting for tax purposes, and how it makes the rich richer at our expense.

On  op ed, Cole Hobson says....well, y'see, Cole,--- an opinion column is supposed to express an opinion. A news report tell us what happened  - just the facts. An opinion column deepens our understanding of the events, and their likely will affect us.

Now, Cole's column is about SkyMetro, an unmanned aircraft being developed by a Moncton company. But, except for a final sentence that is really just a boosterism blurb, there is no opinion in this column.. This is essentially just a news report - and we had the news report on this yesterday.

And, like many such 'opinions', this one is filled with loaded terms "like many success stories in the Moncton area, Mr. Daigle's project began simply with a vision." Right. I believe Saul had a similar experience.

An editor is supposed to catch all those errors.
There is close to no news in today's paper though, certainly, plenty has been happening.. Among missed items...

For example, Reporters Without Borders each year rates freedom and honesty of the press around the world.

The US dropped 33rd in the world to 46th. (So, I'm certainly not the only one who thinks the North American news media stink.) The cause in the US of this low quality are media owners who are rich and who make sure the press tries to keep it that way. There is also a problem with government interference in the US.

The UK dropped to 33rd, mostly because of gross interference, and a major attempt to scare The Guardian off stories it was covering. The stories involved Edward Snowden, the whistle blower. The government tried to treat reporters who covered him as being his accomplices, subjecting them to threats and accusations.
2014. Though it hasn't been noted, this is the first year since 1914 - a full century ago - that Britain has not been at war with somebody. Can your name the hundred wars that Britain has been in? Fifty? Can you name twenty? Ten?

What does that tell you about about our news media?

For the US, don't even try to count. Americans wars usually don't get counted because the US so seldom declares war. It's not that the US doesn't go to war. It just doesn't say say so. On a very rough guess, the US has been in at least a war every year since 1776.

Sometimes, as recently, it fight many wars at the same time (as it is doing now but as the TandT refusees to report. Some estimates put the current number of wars at better than a hundred. That's a hundred or more wars all being fought at the same time.

Transport Canada has admitted it warned railways, including the one that crashed at Lac Megantic, many, many times over a period of 20 years to make sure its trains were properly braked.
But the rule, as it admitted a couple of days ago, was never enforced.

Five days after the crash, another train from the same line parked within five miles of Lac Megantic without applying enough brake pressure.

(I got that from CBC, Norbert.All I could get from your paper is the news that people still give Valentines.)


  1. How did Cuba and Venezuela fare on that Reporters Without Borders list ?

  2. Cuba was way down at 170. I can't remember Venezuela - but I believe it was low, too.
    The best were Scandinavia and The Netherlands.

    Canada was 18. But that was not because of quality of news. The focus of the study was direct government interference, and even violence.

    We don't have much of that. But most of the world, including the US, does.

    The problem is Canada, the big problem is news media ownership which uses news media for its own propaganda. We have lots of that which makes for really poor news quality. But it doesn't interfere with reporters the way law and violence do.

    So the study didn't really evaluate news quality. It evaluated levels of official interference.

    The whole list for 2014 is on Google under Reporters without borders.

  3. I should have added that it is very, very difficult to find reliable news from any source. There are sources that stand out - The Guardian, El Haaretz (usually, not always), Al Jazeera (sometimes). The CBC is far, far better than Norbert gives it credit for. The Globe - off and on. The National Post - rarely.
    The Irving press is heavily biased on matters that concern the Irvings. On local affairs, it's usually trivial. On foreign affairs, it's just lazy and sloppy.