Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 30: Criticizing a newspaper that has no news... be very difficult.

The purpose of the Irving press is to keep people uninfomed. That's why it has staff writers for the op ed page who say nothing at all. They aren't very good even at saying nothing. But that's okay. If they're boring, then people won't read them, and we'll know even less.

In Section 1, the only item worth reading is on p. 8 "New Brunswick military families afraid to complain".  Military circles have almost always been notorious for intimidating those under their command. In Canada, it's made worse by a government that encourages intimidation, and which has a defence minister who is so incompetent that he can quiet the talk about his scandalous performance only by intimidation.

Read this one. It's worth the time. Remember it on Nov. 11 when all those hypocrite bigwigs stand up to the microphone to say how much we are grateful to the people in our services.  (Even as we send them off to killed for no other purpose than to score brownie points for Canadian corporations with the US government.)

Nothing much in NewsToday. The US is suffering record temperatures of over a hundred degrees that have killed several people. But that's okay.We have Harper's word that it's no big deal. That's why he's not doing anything about climate change. On the same page, you will note his Bill C-38 which weakens environmental controls and even environmental monitoring has passed Senate. (But we won't talk about it because the Bill also weakens controls over government spying on us.)

So don't worry. With people like Harper and Mackay in control, everything will be fine.

All of C3 is about how Moncton will celebrate Canada Day with painted faces, fireworks, hot dogs. So not to worry. You will not be offended by any presentations that has anything to do with Canada or that requires even a teeny brain. (With the possible exception of one display of imagination,
 an archeological dig sponsored by the Moncton Museum.)

What is missing in this paper? News.

Where is all the informationi we were promised on shale gas? Where are the opinions of those who oppose shale gas? Where is the information about the reasons for choosing Royal Oaks at great additional expense over other sites? What were the other sites?

Where is the story on what a shambles the City Council elections were? Not only were the turnouts low, but few had the faintest idea what most of the candidates stood for. Shouldn't we be getting a special report on what can be done about such a farcical election?

For example, we could  have political parties at Council level, and, unlike the provincial and federal parties, based purely on civic issues. . It's done in many cities, and with success. With two of three parties, we could keep track of their views. It would be a whole lot easier than trying to find out the views of a hundred candidates.

We could also use some fuller reporting on the attempt of a land developer to bribe ("encourage the democratic process for") city council candidaes. Why did no candidate announce during the election that this had happened? Why has one candidate still not announced whether she accepted money? Why has nobody suggested controls on election funding?

There's almost nothing in this paper - though there's a whole lot that should be.

Norbert was alternately credulous and a pain in the ass in today's column.

First, he has a terrible habit ot believing whatever he reads in a book. In this case, he refers to a Stephen Pinker who writes of how violence has declined in the world.  I know that Pinker is a distinguished scholar. He is also an attention seeker, a sensationalist, and one who knows nothing about world violence. I'm an historian. Would Norbert soak it up if I wrote a book about mathematics?

Both Pinker and Norbert are fond of defining ideas with words like utopian. But exactly what does the word utopian mean? Usually, it is used to mean unrealistic. But what is unrealistic depends on the viewer. That kings of France thought democracy was unrealistic. (So do Chinese leaders.)  US Republicans think medicare is unrealistic.

The pain in the ass part is the accusation that anybody who criticizes American government policies is anti- U.S. That sort of accusation is the game that Israeli  governments play. They call their critics anti-semites, and zionist propaganda agences in Canada to the same. . I have many Jewish friends who are observant Jews, ardent Zionists, and some of whom live in Israel. But they criticize the Israeli government. So they are publicly branded as anti-semites.

Well, Norbert, I have friends and close relatives who are Americans. And you know what, Norbert? They criticize the US government. They think it's wrong to have killed millions of civilians since World War Two. They think it's wrong to have slaughtered over a quarter million native peoples in Guatemala. They think it's wrong to use robot drones indiscriminately. They think it's wrong to have assassination squads all over the world. Damn those anti-American Americans.

I think that Stephen Harper is a blind ideologue whose policies are, on this Canada Day, destroying Canada.  I think Alward is a miserable speciment of a puppet. Damn. I must be anti-Canadian and anti-New Brunswick.

Grow up, Norbert.

Just a couple of corrections on Brent Mazerolle's column. I mean, it's bad enough to have a column that says nothing while at the same time having errors.

1. Maritime Unnion was not a new idea at the time of the Charlottetown conference.

2. It wasn't just champagne that sold the idea of confederation..  Nor were the delegates simply there to be convinced.

John A. was, as Mazerolle says, a drunk - but no fool. He was also as crooked and grafting as they come. He made a considerable personal fortune out of his political years - and at a time when  the p.m's salary was low. Dr. Charles Tupper was even more crooked. Though he practiced medecine for only a short time, he became a very wealthy man  while spending his life in politics. He must have brown-bagged it for lunch. Georges Etienne Cartier was no slouch in the hand-out line.

A nurse writes in that despite the time and expense of her training, she makes only $42.000 a year. So bus drivers don't deserve $55,000. Well, nothing like getting the underpaid to fight each other.

Perhaps the intrepid staff of the Moncton Times and Transcript would do an investigative report on how much Mr. Irving makes in a year, how much his education cost, and what high grades he had to achieve.

Yet we would miss nurses and bus drivers. (Write the next sentence yourself____________________________________________________.)

On Canada - our greatest luck is that we are one of the two nations in this world that are hardest to attack. The US has tops the list. Oceans and weak neighbours have made attack on it virtually impossible.

Canada has a slightely weaker position. We have the oceans. Alas! We don't have a large population; and we do have a large and aggressive neighbour. That's why we will, this year, be the only country I know of to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of an attack on it.

Until the 1920s, our only hope of survival against the US was an alliance with Britain. That's why we fought British wars - to keep in good with the UK.  But Britain had long long earlier lost the ability or the interest to defend us against the US. Accordingly, we now have to depend on our most likely enemy to defend us. So now, through NATO, we fight American wars.

It could be much worse. It is much worse for most countries - like Belgium living close to Germany or Haiti living close to the US. (sorry scratch that last bit. It has, of course, been wonderful for Haiti to live close to the US.)

1 comment:

  1. You simply aren't "getting it". Mr Irving's stooge Alward is getting ready, with Stephen Harper's help, to apply for American foreign aid.