It's very hard to write a daily review of a newspaper that is trivia tarted up as news, clumsy propaganda, and important news with the important parts missing. In today's Moncton Times and Transcript...
1. Triva tarted up as news. On p. A1, there is flash that the Moncton snow budget is in the black. Well, duh, we've hardly had any snow. On p. A3. a local drug dealer gets four years. (in most real newspapers, this isn't a story. It simply appears in a list of court news.)
2. Clumsy propaganda - top of p. A1. "Downtown merchants thrive over holidays". For openers, most of the merchants in this city are NOT downtown. Where is the comparison with merchants in the malls? Without that, this story is meaningless.
Then there's the blather that they're coming from all over, folks. Yessirree, from Boston, from all over because Moncton is a shopper's mecca. Yep. Makes you wonder why so many people from Moncton do their Christmas shopping in Maine. But the story goes on and on - gush, gush.
What's the propaganda for? For the the events centre and the mythical rebirth of a downtown that was never a great shopping venue, not even in the 1950s which seem to be the the city's planning model for the future.
3. For the news story with the important parts missing, try p.C2. "Obama nominates Kerry for state". Yes, John Kerry will be the new Secretary of States, the key figure in US foreign relations. The report comes from The Associated Press - and it's a good example of the reason to distrust most news agencies. For all the gush in this long report, there is no mention of the key significance to his choice.
In a Congress heavily influenced by donations from the Israeli lobby, John Kerry is the outstanding member of the "Israel can do no wrong" group, and the outstanding demander of ever more money for weapons for Israel. I doubt very much whether he was Obama's first choice for this job. This leaves the US even more open to the tactics of a Netanyahu - with all that means about the possibility of war with Iran.
NewsToday leads with the US negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff". In clearer language, that means the US is in a deep hole because its income tax revenues barely pay for the military budget. Everything else is borrowed money. And much of that military budget is pure graft, corruption and waste.
The rich pay very low taxes, if any. (It starts with those earning a million a year. Most - almost all of those millionaires - pay no taxes at all.) Money flows out regularly by the billions and hundreds of billions to tax havens overseas. The super-rich are determined to keep it that way, to make the poor and the middle class pay for this crisis that the rich created.
If the rich get their way, the last of the American economy will bleed away. The suffering of most Americans will be severe. But the rich really don't give a damn. Their money is safe. And if the poor get restless, then that's what drones and police checks, and listening in on phone calls and computer messages, and maintaining a huge domestic spy service is all about.
Obama wants the rich to pay at least something. Good luck. The rich in the US are like the rich in Canada - good at making money for themselves, but more than a little slow on what is needed to keep a society functioning.
The faith page is, as usual, completely out of touch with the real world - and out of touch with Christianity. The sermonette is all about how the commercialization of Christmas is "good". Yessirree, buying piles of gifts is what the the teaching of Jesus was really all about. Oh, that and frowning at gays.
The editorial is...what can I say? It echoes the lead story on p. A1, with all the same blarney and vague statements (and untrue) preaching about economics.
Norbert Cuthbertson, writes on the recent school shootings in Newtown. Yet again, this is well done. I would just add one point to it that Norbert might not agree with.
The demand for guns, for funding and propaganda, depends heavily on corporations like Colt and Remington which have clout with government. A lot of people get killed as a result. But the corporate bosses don't give a damn. There are three hundred million guns in the US. That's a lot of profit. And the people who make that profit don't give a damn if children get killed in an elementary school.
Think about that when you think of shale gas and oil pipelines. Think of all the news you have not read about them in the TandT. Think of all the information that the government promised us. Think of Harper's butchering of decades of legislation to protest our fresh water and our land in order to make frackers and mine owners happy. Think of Harper's relaxation of our gun laws.
Think of the full meaning of all this. The people who make big money our of what they do really don't give a damn about what happens to you.
So why do you vote for their puppets?
Bill Beliveau, too, takes up the gun theme, and sees hope for a better future. I wish I could. Both Canada and the US are really governed by people whose only object to make money, no matter what the cost to every body else. I don't think we'll see significant change to US gun laws. And I think we'll see more loosening of them here.
On the op ed page, I tried to read Brent Mazerolle's column. I really did. But it was dreadfully ill-informed. Much, for example, as I respect the democracy developed in some native cultures, they did not have the slightest effect on the development of democracy in Canada. Nor am I convinced we have developed any very wonderful democracy at all.
Think of it. We have a federal government that passes a budget so stuffed with non-budget items that there isn't time to read it, let alone discuss it, before the vote. We have two leading parties in New Brunswick that are interchangeable, and both of whom bark for the same master. We have a newspaper so filled with propaganda, lies, and trivial that we don't have the information to exercise democracy, anyway.
And we're built on Christian principals? Get real. What's Christian about greed? About letting people go hungry so that you can be rich? About cutting taxes for the rich while cutting EI for the poor? What's Christian about poisoning the land and the water that we and future generations depend on? In broader terms, what's Christian about sending Canadians to die and to kill for American corporations?
Sorry, I just declined to read the rest of this one.
Gwynne Dyer is excellent and, I think, right about the chances for significant gun control in the US..