Saturday, June 9, 2012

June 9:Wow! an NHL player will visit Moncton....

Front page, for sure. And that reminds me - my uncle was a big number in the Montreal sports world; and his New Year's Eve parties frequently featured many of the Montreal Canadiens. Occasionally, when I was a child I would meet some of them - like Maurice Richard, Toe Blake.  Perhaps the TandT would like to run a big interview with me, inspirational talks to high schools, photos (nudes possible, but only in good taste.)

Of course, minor stories have to get brushed aside to make room for hockey players, pictures of smiling people handing out cheques, etc. Or perhpas I missed it. (Though I don't think so.) Our major collection of relics of aboriginal peoples and Acadians is being moved from this region to Ottawa - meaning that most aboriginal peoples and Acadians will never get to see it, and research that relies on them will become difficult..

I cannot recall seeing this story in the TandT. And I'm quite sure it never appeared.

There is also a "Special Report" on p. 1 about census returns showing low wages in New Brunswick, and out migration of young people. Big surprise.

The low wages have been encouraged as policy by the Moncton Times and Transcript. It makes us attractive to business - you know - like Haiti and Congo are attractive to business. All that will ever change that is stronger unions. But I cannot think of a single example in which The Moncton Times and Transcript has ever supported a union. Quite the contrary. It normally makes a point of spouting rant and rage in the editorials when there's a strike. (Transpo springs to mind as a recent example.)

The big boss, the real one, wants cheap labour. Greed is good in big business. Greed is what makes progress possible. But it's bad for workers. In fact, even wanting enough to live on is bad for workers.

As to young people leaving, of course they are. They'd be damn fools not to. Why live in a province run, in effect, by a dictator who became wealthy by ripping every else off? Why live in a province that routinely votes for two parties that have sold them to the big boss. Why live in a province in which the governments are obviously incompetent and puppets? Why live in a city that is intellectually a corpse, a city that tolerates a newspaper as shoddy as the Times and Transcript?  A city in which a visit by a hockey player is a major cultural event? In which city council is even more inept and incompetent than the provincial government? And why do all that for a lousy wage?

Moncton could be an attractive place to live. The possibilities are strong. The education system is excellent. The people are friendly. But, at bottom, this is nothing more than a company town run by hacks to please the (arrogant) owner. Those who are going are young. And they're right.

And that is pretty much section A.

In NewsToday, Harper is continuing his answer to the recession - firing people by the tens of thousands, cutting services for those who badly need them and, for the rich who are making their biggest profits in history, holding down taxes. His solution to the recession is to cause more poverty while making the rich even richer.

That is exactly the policy that did NOT work in the 1930s. Then, governments cut budgets while the rich made enormous profits. (Yes, they did. Check for the report of The Royal Commission on Price Spreads and Mass Buying - 1935). The great depression was ended by government spending, not by cuts.  So why aren't they spending now?

Because big business isn't hurting. Recession and unemployment mean even cheaper workers, and higher profits driven by that cheap labour. And free trade agreements mean they don't have to give a damn about the Canadian market or the Canadian people. Nor does Harper.

Reports on Syria continue to deal out purple prose on the killing of civilians - though it is still not clear who is killing them. Nor is it mentioned that the West and Saudi Arabia are supplying the weapons and money for the rebels. And, certainly, there is no mention that Bahrain (on our side) has been killing civilians for some time, now. And, certainly, no mention that the world's biggest killer of civilians over the past decade and more has been the US, with substantial help from Britain.

As for the Montreal proesters, the Irving press is the first to suggest that violence has returned. "Montreal grand prix protest brings violence, nudity, to the streets...."  In fact, the story mentions very little violence - and it ends with a quotation that the only significant violence came from the police.

Of course, editors know that most readers will look at only the headline and the sub-head - while relatively few will read to the end. So an editor can safely lie through a whole story, then tell the truth at the end knowing that few will read that far.

The editorial is a wordy piece of puffery about the Royal Oaks high school - full of statements in which the editor has no idea what he's talking about. It tells us in glowing words that it is a "regional" school, as shown by its generous dimensions.

Dimensions have nothing to do with whether a school is regional. I have attended and taught in high schools that were bigger in student numbers and dimentions than the proposed one. And they were not regional. The area of those schools was about that of Moncton High - and those schools were neither cramped nor unhealthy - despited the preaching of the TandT. And---oooooh - it will have a library. And a cafeteria. and a double gymn. Gee. I never heard of that before - except in every school I have ever taught in. What wonder will we hear of next?  Desks?

But it's not just a design, it's a 'concept'.  Right. But as I look at the 'concept' it looks very much like any high school built in Canada in the last 50 years and more.

And all those 'concepts' could be built into the existing MHS, along with better health conditions far cheaper than the uninspired project the new school seems to be.

Oh, yeah. And the new 'concept' has no auditorium. I have never taught, even in older schools, in a  high school that did not have an auditorium. I was a student at MHS (Montreal High) that is now almost a century old. It had a big auditorium - and a library and a cafeteria, and specialized art and technical drawing rooms and a double gymn. Nobody ever called it a concept, though. It did, however, manage to produce Christopher Plummer and Oscar Peterson, not to mention generations of leading professionals.

Bill Belliveau usually does his homework before writing a column. He can also be highly prejudiced. Today's column on the shale gas forum shows him at his worst in both respects.

He says that most presentations were made without prejudice. Bullshit, Bill. I read many of those presentations. They came from industry representatives - and they were prejudiced to the point of lying. And I noted one - by a professor - that was completely off the point - but designed to create a favourable view toward shale gas. But that may have been too subtle for Bill.

He claims that the anti-shale gas people deal only in emotion and fear. They don't have 'factual' aguments like the shale gas supporters.
1. It is a fact that many governments ban shale gas fracking because of its record of damage.
2. It is a fact that pumping toxic chemicals into our fresh water supply is rather a dangerous thing to do. (It is also a fact that our fresh water is in much shorter supply than most people realize.)
3.It is a fact, admitted even by one of the industry speakers  (though disguised as an innocent statement of no great importance) that leakage from old wells (and even new ones) is a serious health problem - and one with no cure in sight.
4. It is not a fact that the industry will produce 2,500 jobs and $650 million a year. That is, as Bill says, an estimate (by the industry spokesmen). Too bad he includes this in a paragraph talking about facts.
5. Conference speakers (mostly industry and friends) were emphatic about the need for tough regulations and public approval, says Bill. Really? Then they must be terribly shy, because they haven't said a word about either for a dozen years. Who was stopping them?
6. Bill asks, "Can we afford to be radical environmentalists?" Notice the word 'radical'? Just like them there moslem terrorists. Exactly what is a radical environmentalist, Bill? You know, as compared to an ordinary one.
7.Bill - if you are going to pretend to be logical, please learn what the word 'factual' means. It is not the simple matter you appear to think it is.

This is a thoroughly prejudiced column. Maybe he believes all that he is saying. I certainly hope so. Because if he doesn't, this is a thoroughly dishonest column.

By the way - he mentions academics as trusted sources for most people. If so, then most people would be wise to be more cautious. Academics are rarely so wise as they think they are. On many issues, espcially in a province like New Brunswick, many of them are frightened into silence. As well, and I regret to say this, some are quite dishonest -and open to offers from think-tanks like Heartland Institute, and even lesser ones.

Brent Mazerolle, as usual, wastes space with a pointless story about yet another experience of no great importance that he had. Even Gwynne Dyer seems pretty unfocussed this time.

As an historian, I was drawn by a letter from someone who says, in defence of Crandall's homophobia, that society no longer tolerates Christian beliefs. Well, why should it? After all, even Christians have never tolerated Christian beliefs.

The slaughter of Jews in the holocaust was supported by Nazi Christians who, much like our own Baptists, felt that it was religiously justified. Canada refused to accept Jews fleeing Hitler's Germany from the 1930a, and right through the war and even after - though Canada knew quite well what aws happening to them. And the deputy  minister of immigration who refused them was national Sunday School superintendent for a major church. He was supported by the prime minister, who always attended church, and  cried when he sang hymns.

If you take the trouble to look at church thinking a century ago, and even more recently, you will find it soaked in racism.

The British and French armies that fought two wars with China to force the Chinese government to allow the sale of opium in China were Christian. The king of Spain (and the church leaders) who tortured Jews and then expelled them all, was Christian.

Our ancestors who slaughtered native peoples and stole their land were Christians.

The Americans who killed millions of civilians (including the Christian president) in Vietnam were Christians.  The crusaders who freely killed, raped, plundered Moslems were Christian.

The head of the CIA when it murdered a quarter million innocent Guatemalans, and killed Christian clergy who supported their congregations, was the Christian George Bush sr.

When was this magic age when we Christians were so tolerant of Christian beliefs?

And aren't we being just a little selective when we decide what is a Christian belief?

I have a disrespect for Crandall not because of its Christian beliefs but because it is so damned un Christian.  And it's worst abuse of the faith is its self-righteousness.

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