There are very serious issues facing us, issues that reach right down to the local and provincial levels. One of the biggest is the Panama Papers. All over the world the very wealthy are avoidinig their taxes by hiding their money in tax shelters. Is New Brunswick different? Is it just not happening here?
This isn't a minor issue. It affects the well-being and the opportunities for every person living on this planet . It is a part of a massive distribution of wealth, a revolution in how we all live, one of the most profound revolutions in history. And out news media just gawk at it.
It's a revolution which is putting an end to democracy. The wealthy have always had more power because of their wealth. Now, they are at the edge of absolute power. In the U.S., democracy is over. It's largely over in Canada. What is left in South America is being destroyed by corruption and by the interference of U.S. wealth. You can find the same pattern in Europe. And this is taking us into an age of total power for the very wealthy.
(There are almost no communists left to fight. But wars will still go on, wars of capitalists against capitalists - without anybody actually saying that.)
The result of that will be very serious violence -the rest of the world is not so passive as New Brunswick is. The result will also be the sort of brutality and environmental destruction we're seeiing in South America and Africa.
Where is our news on that? Where is our discussion of what it means? So far, the Panama Papers have received less attention than bringing Quebec beer across the provincial border. Where are all the prize-winning ace reporters for the irving press on this?
At the city level, planning seems to consist largely of neat ideas to make some quick money. For a sample of that obsession with quick money, take a look at almost any editorial. But where is the general plan for the future of this city?
What problems are we likely to face in making this a livable city? What's likely to happen to the river level? Does our general plan of urban sprawl make sense for the future? What housing regulations are we likely to need. What kind of public transit will we need? (For that matter, what kind of public transit do we have now?)
But all we're getting is one 'neat', money-making idea after another.
Section A, as always, illustrates the problem.
The banner headline is that there are going to be more discussions about moving the library to Moncton High. 1. of course there will be more 'discussions'. That's scarcely a big story. 2.How come a building which was 'unrepairable' now is worth spending 20 million dollars on? 3. What is the larger plan this is a part of? 4. How does it make sense to spend 120 million for an events centre to revive Main St., then spend another 20 million to move a Main st. building that was one of the 'revived' parts of Main St.
On A3, we get the exciting ( if unlikely) news that British beer sellers just love Moncton beer. Next to it is a story that's really an ad for Tim Horton's.
And that's it - unless you really, really care that somebody found a coconut in Shediac Bay.
The editorial writer, utterly without evidence, tells us we really, really need to develop shale gas - and also gives the impression that only a small minority is opposed to it. That's not true. And it's also not the point. The point is 1.the effect that the drilling has and 2. a world already in deep trouble over fossil fuels.
As well - and as the editor surely knows - premier Gallant is not a crusader. His stalling (and that's all it is) is a sure indicator that the boss has approved his tactics. Cheer up, ed. You and Gallant are still reading from the same hymn book.
Norbert, unwisely, writes about education. Taking a business approach, he thinks you can judge education systems simply by measuring results. But those scores don't take in a crucial factor - the attitude of the society to education. The Chinese people take education very seriously. So their children do, too. New Brunswick does not encourage a whole lot of activities that could be called intellectual - well, except for the beerfest.
Canadians and Americans take learning less seriously. So their children take it less seriously. In New Brunswick, intellectual activity is not taken seriously at all - unless it's an economic study showing it's all the fault of us commoners if there's a provincial deficit.
Oh, Norbert, despite what the business world thinks, the word 'parameters does not mean boundaries or perimeters. Alas, though, it's become part of the business world's pompous dressing of speeches for the chamber of commerce.
Louise Gilbert makes an interesting point about how our older generation is the first one to be made highly conformist by facebook and twitter. (That's not her topic. it's about free summer events in Moncton. What really caught my eye was free concerts at Victoria Park and at Moncton market. That brought back memories to this child of bandstands in the park, the band of the Salvation Army, the Canadian navy...I hope that's the kind of concert this means.)
There's a good commentary by Dr.Louis Richard about risk control in contact sports, and about the intelligent action taken by coach Cormier of the Kent South Panthers. And Alec Bruce has a good one on the value of university education to the province.
Canada&World is its usual self. Not much about Canada, and almost nothing about the world. I was struck by the public reaction to the shooting of a gorilla in a U.S. zoo - (to prevent it from killing a child.) The nation is mourning. Where is all that sadness when refugees are starving to death, drowning, dying of exposure, shoved in vile 'camps' in Europe, when the people of Yemen, including babies, are dying of Saudi cluster bombs supplied by the U.S. and Britain?
My aren't we selective in our sympathy?
Then there's a big story on how a Miramichi family made a video of itself dancing to a Justin Timberlake song.
Worse, there is nothing in this section to help us understand what the Canada&World news means - no commentary, no informed columnist.
Student columnist Jana Giles has a column in section C about prerequisites and procrastination in school. I know she's right because in high school, I skipped prerequsites and built my life around procrastination. And, oh, that cost me.
I chose the next story not because of the story itself - but as a reason to talk about what none of these stories tell us. ISIS is a creation largely of the U.S.
The middle east problem began a century ago when western companies wanted control of middle east oil. In the peace negotiations after World War One, the victors simply drew lines creating countries that really weren't countries, and gave them to each other. Not one of them was a democracy; nor was it ever intended they should be. From that point, life was simply a matter of letting western companies take the oil - largely with no benefit to the local people.
With the collapse of the European empires in World War Two, the U.S. took over. And it inherited all the hatreds the European empires had built up - and it added reasons to hate and distrust the U.S.
All of this accelerated when the U.S. invaded Iraq. It accelerated what had been the slow growth of 'terror' groups. (In fact, it had already, and well before Bush, actually created such groups to fight the Russians when they invaded Afghanistan. They financed them, equipped them, and trained them. The Taliban come directly from that.)
Then, the U.S. invasion of Iraq was a huge boost to terrorist groups.
The U.S. had more wars to fight - like Syria. But another invasion like Iraq would have really lifted the terrorists. So the U.S. created mercenary armies to fight Syria - and also supplied groups like ISIS; and it did so in cooperation with Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The result was a Syria in real trouble. But the Russians ruined that.
They stepped in and stopped ISIS in its tracks with ease.
Result? The U.S. is now willing to talk peace with Assad - anything to get out of this no-win situation. It's also, reluctantly, become more aggressive against ISIS, an attitude which could actually spread ISIS. As well, the American population will not tolerate more high casualty lists. Thus the desire to pull in more support from countries like Britain, France, Germany...Canada.
And none of this has anything to do with terrorism or religion. It's all about oil.
And, think of this. If the oil barons gave a damn about climate change, can you seriously believe they would be making this incredibly expensive venture (trillions of tax money) for a fuel we have to stop using?
Of course, it's not likely that their taxes are paying for this.
And I just thought this was a match made in heaven.
Just a taste of the corruption that runs through most of the 'free' world (as well as the unfree one.)
And this because it's nice to read some good news.
Here's a story about a trade deal involving Britain and Canada as well as other countries. Like most trade deals of recent years, it's designed to destroy democracy so that real power over everything is in the hands of the very wealthy. This is not just one more thing to be concerned about. This is a real revolution. It puts an end to democracy. It effectively ends the very idea of a nation. It ends virtually all control we have over own lives and societies. And I haven't seen a word about it in the the irving press. Nor am I likely to.
Here's a story you won't find in the Irving press. Poverty in the U.S. is growing at a tremendous pace. Homelessness is rising. Most schools are in dreadful condition. Hunger is growing. But the money for food stamps is going down.
The rich are doing very well - though we don't know how well because we're not allowed to know how much the very rich really have. This is, I think, what the word evil means. But you won't hear the clergy say that. They're too busy telling bedtime stories about a heaven they've never seen.
There's money in the U.S. But it's needed for cluster bombs and nuclear missiles and trillion dollar wars - and bribes and corruption and profit and executive salaries and perks. And Canada is headed in the same direction. But not to fret. yesterday's irving press had an inspiring photo and story about Mr. Irving helping poor children to read. (Or was posed as if that's what he was doing.)
And this one - the blueprint for where Canada is heading if it continues as it is.