Thursday, February 24, 2011

Feb. 24: The Moncton Times its usual self.- -with two surprises

The first page was, as always, trivial. The news editor still hasn't leard of Pakistan (following the lead of the American press, much of which is still playing coverup.) There was, as usual, an intelligent column by Elsie Hambrook ("How advertising plays a significant role in creating sexism.") But there were two, big surprises on the editorial page. (No, one was not the editorial, it was the usual piece of small town boosterism.)

Blake Robichaud of the N.B. Teachers' Union  wrote an excellet column, condemning the milseading, even lying, and venomous reporting and editorials of The Moncton Times and Tribune on the subject of the closing of Moncton High School. Indeed, the The Moncton Times has carried on an ignorant, venomous, hateful and contemptible campaign against the education system for a very long time, now, and has done so with a disgraceful exhibition low ethicsand low professionalism. The purpose, almost certainly (scratch the almost) has been carried on with the encouragement of the boss who favours the AIMS agenda of discrediting the school system so corporations can get their fingers in the educaton budget, and so they can get control of our children.

This is the third case in recent months of the schools fighting back - with columns or letters by the DEC for district two, the Superindent of district two, and now the union. In no case have the editors had the integrity to reply to the points made by the education people. But it in all cases, it has toned down the venom for a while.  It's a useful  reminder of something many of us had to learn as kids. Never  back away from a bully.

The other surprise was that I found myself in disagreement with Alec Bruce. That has never happened before - and I really have to express my disagreement - if in very brief form. He was arguing, in connection with his main point, that the US is the birthplace of free market capitalism. It isn't. Not only was the US highly protectionist until recently; but free market capitalism has existed within other Empires for many centuries. Nor was it the birthplace of civil disobedience. (In fact, Americans have generally been sheep as civil disobeyers. And I cannot imagine that anything American inspired the risings in the middle east - except, perhaps, in the cases of countries like Egypt and Tunisia which played patsy with the US government and oil industries. (Yes, even Khadaffi had become a good ol' boy for western oil companies.)

 Iran was inspired by US democracy?  I doubt it. It was the US, along with Britain and France, who overthrew the only genuine democracy Iran ever had.

They are fighting for rights we already have? As a matter of fact, all those rights he lists are under attack here and in the US - and some no longer exist. The President can imprison people indefinitely without a trial or even a charge. So much for habeus corpus.

In the US and, to a lesser degree so far, there are in Canada armies of domestic spies recording the names of people who join peace groups, for example. Or who are critical of government policies. Or write blogs.They can, with no charge, be forbidden to travel by air, and can have their private lives wide open to investigation. So much for freedom of assembly and speech.Canadian and American governments have cooperated in sending off their own citizens to sent to other countries for torture.

American elections are largely controlled by large corporations who have no limit to how much money they can give to political partie for election purposes. Canada is movinig in the same direction - as any New Brunswicker should know. That may help to explain why most congressmen are millionaires, with substantial numbers up into the tens of millions and hundreds of millions.

The President can order that an American (or anybody else) can be assassinated. No need for a charge.

The American and Canadian governments are discussing an agreement to allow each country to send troops to the other one in case of civil disorder. Wisconson my well turn out to be a dangerous place. In fact, the suppression and even murder of people who spoke too freely and assembled too freely has been a repeated theme of American history.

The US has 250 years of democratic tradition? This is the same US whose economy was based on slavery for the first hundred years of its national history, and the one in which the descendents of slaves were still denied basic rights, including voting, and who were routinely beaten, murdered and humiliated for the next hundred years?

I agree with his main point that there has been a lot of foolish talk about countries being restless to emulate the US. None of them has any reason to admire of emulate the US. And it is equally absurd to say the middle east rebels have inspired the situation in Wisconsin.

There are some connecting threads to all of this. But the thread of democracy is the slimmest of them.

On - a quick correction to a columnist yesterday who said the people of Moncton regard each other as terrible and reckless drivers. If they do, they're wrong. I have driven in many cities in many countries. Moncton ranks with the best for drivers. And it is absolutely tops for courteous driving. (I do wish, though, that Monctonians would lay off the passing on the right.)

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