Friday, February 1, 2013

Feb. 1:some good news for a start....

        Without a doubt, one of the best newspapers in the world and in the English language is the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. It speaks the blunt truth about the Middle East and North Africa in a way that most North American news media wouldn't dare to even  hint. It also has more intellectually stimulating opinion columns and web links that you will find in a lifetime of the Irving press. And some great humour.

       In the current issue, it speaks plainly about the dangerous position Netanyahu has led Israel into. His behaviour towards Palestine has led to a damning report from the UN on Israel's human rights record which I would guess (I am writing this part on the evening of Jan. 31) will not be mentioned in the TandT on Feb. 1.

         Israel has so alienated most of the world by its behaviour (most of which we have never heard about) that even the US has openly opposed its theft of even more Palestinian land to evict the Palestinians and create Israeli settlements. Perhaps the only national leader left in the world who has not been critical of Israeli behaviour is Stephen Harper. Hey, his power base relies heavily on evangelical Christians who are looking forward to all Jews being converted, to a war of enormous destruction beginning with Israel - and then (clap hands) the return of Jesus, and the sending of most of us to eternal Hell (where we will get only the Irving papers). Harper also relies heavily on Canadian right wing Zionists who support Netanyahu.

      Then there's a hilarious opinion piece called "Things to hate about Christian music". It's about pop music, rappers, and goes back to Debby Boone and her truly awful "Christian" songs
      I mention this because now, for a limited time only,  Haaretz will give you a subscription for four, whole weeks for just one dollar. Hurry. Hurry. Hurry. You can find it on Google.

Hey! That's less than you would pay for one copy of a dreadful magazine with a picture of Kate and what's his name on the cover, and a story about how happy they are she's having a baby.

(Oh, on a glance, I note the TandT does not mention the UN report on Israel's human rights record. Quelle surprise. They needed the space for a big story that a woman could become queen, even if there is a younger male in line for the throne. And she doesn't have to be an Anglican. So the way is open for a lesbian Baptist queen.)
Nothing much in the paper.

The front page has a big story about premier Alward saying nothing - and it's a nothing he has said before. There must be hope, he says and, being more specific, for the future.

Clap, clap, clap went the largely business crowd.

Brian Gallant, the Liberal leader, responded with a fiery burst of nothing which showed that he can say nothing just well as Alward can.  The government, he said, spends too much time on committees and forms.

Clap, clap, clap went the largely business crowd.

The premier shot back that his was a message of hope and opportunity, proving that he can say even more nothing than Gallant can.

Clap, clap, clap went the largely business crowd.

Neither Alward nor Gallant confused matters by suggesting anything that could be called a value or a principal.
Also on page one, "Reversing tax cuts will hurt N.B.: expert." The expert is from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a propaganda 'think-tank" to supply newspapers with stories that will please the rich. There is no indication of what makes its maritime spokesman either the "expert" or the "analyst" the rerporter claims him to be. 
He says, "the government.....cannot put its problems on the backs of middle class taxpayers."
Okay, what about rich tax payers? Oh - no - no -no - scratch that.
No, the answer is  to put the problem on the backs of the poor, the elderly, the sick by cutting the services they need. Then we'll have enough money to give Mr. Irving and friends all the gifts and loans they need.

In fairness, the 'expert' did mention this problem of us being a welfare state for big business. For some reason, though, that comment appears not in this story, but at the end of a long, long story on the One-Job plan in whcih government will pay 70 of the salaries for companies who hire post secondary graduates.

The headline on the other story is "New job initiative praised".  In fact, the story is also about it being criticized. But the praisers get long quotations. The critics are hidden at the bottom of the story.

Incidentally, this story appeared yesterday. Why are we getting it again today?

There's also a fast-breaking story on Page A 6. A big one. With a picture. In a startling innovation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency,  it is now law that boneless chicken wings must contain meat from chicken wings - though the wingtip in optional. Just one more example of planning and hope for the future.

Watch for this story to be repeated tomorrow, possibly with a speical ope ed column by Rod Allen.

Predictably, the editorial favours a user fee for medicare. Very thoughtful. Medicare is one of the very few measures enacted in Canada on the basis of principle, the principle that we should all have the right to equal access to health care.

That, Mr. editor, is what is called a principle, a value. A small fee is no problem? In fact, it's one hell of a problem for many people, perhaps for most. Something seems wrong with your child? Maybe you should go to emegency? Well,let's wait. Things are tight....

I grew up in a pre-medicare world. Result? I never saw a doctor or dentist until I was in my twenities.
My teeth were so bad that a school nurse gave me a note for my parents to see a dentist free. I never showed it to them. I knew they would be humiliated at receiving charity.

That's why, when I read an editorial like this one, I have an urge to deliver a kick to that editor's smug, rear end.

Medicare was brought to Canada by Tommy Douglas, a Baptist clergyman and politician.. It is perhaps the most principled piece of legislation ever introduced in Canaada. (that's why the RCMP and CSIS spent years spying on Douglas.)

Douglas was a man who acted on principles and values. I have yet to see a person in the New Brunswick legislature who does that. And I've seen only a few in the Irving press.
Norbert is back to rambling and calling names in the latter half of his column, and on a subject he knows nothing about. He's one of those biigots who see politics in terms of good guys and bad guys. (Those who like Harper are good. Those who don't are probably mentally disordered.)

Alec Bruce writes on the dazzling, dizzying world of smartphones, a world that, after forty year of using computers, I have to admit I can no longer understand. Hey! I just want to make phone calls. Got a phone that will do that?

Steve Malloy's column shows a good deal of common sense - and well worth a read. It's something we should all be concerned about.

Read David Suzuki on the hazards of drilling for, among other things, shale gas in the Arctic. Then go back to page A1 to compare what Suzuki says to the mindless blathering of David Alward and Brian Gallant.

(I bet the RCMP and CSIS spy on Suzuki, too, for their reports on environmentalists who are terrorizing Mr. Irving and other, good Canadians.)
There are several good letters (and a couple of stinkers)."Increase income, reduce demand" is a solid letter based on principle. Nice to see that. "Who really owns, controls forests?" is an eye-opener.
Oh, a small note about the bridge playing column on the first page of the puzzle section. The headline refers to playing a discreet hand, meaning one that is subtle, perhaps not noticeable. Unfortunately, the page editor spelled it as a descrete hand -which actually means something quite different. No wonder there's a literacy problem in New Brunswick.
Remember Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 7 pm in the Moncton library when we talk about questions that should be asked about our city and provincial governments.
Please don't leave me all alone. If you do, the librarians hit me and make fun of me.

1 comment:

  1. Instead of trying to grow our way to prosperity by incubating the 1 per cent, governments need to make smart decisions that benefit the bottom 90 per cent. We need a progressive tax system, where the wealthiest pay their fair share. With these funds, we can build strong social programs, so everyone is afforded a good quality of life and the opportunity to thrive.