Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20: Yesterday?...oh.....

....It was such a nice day. And I had to pick up my daughter after a dance and I didn't get to bed until after midnight and I sat up and read till one or so and I slept until noon. More accurately, I was semi-concious until noon. Then I had to do important things like look for an apartment, shave....  One of those days.

Anway, today's Times and Transcript has the longest story I have even seen in it. It covers most of pages A3 and A4 - and it's about the death of an former editor of the St. John Telegraph Journal. With all respect, that is a little over the top - but understandable. What is less understandable is the self-praise of the Telegraph-Journal that is much of the theme of the story.

There is reference to it  rising to national stature during his tenure as editor. Now, I was 40 years involved in journalism on a daily basis as a writer and broadcaster. I am still in daily contact with friends in journalism. Only once have I heard even a mention of the St. John Telegraph. That came from a former editor of The Gazette, and then a senator sitting on a committee investigating journalism standards in Canada. She (and the other senators as well as any journalist I have ever known) spoke in horror of the whole Irving Press in New Brunswick as a travesty of journalism.

Natonal stature? Most Canadians have never heard of any Irving newspaper. Those few who have don't speak kindly of them.
NewsToday is close to a zero. It does have a picture of a demonstrator holding up signs demanding the closure of the prison at Guantanamo. And there are two sentences under it that mention the prisoners are on a hunger strike. But none of that will mean a whole lot to people who get their news from the TandT.
1. The TandT has never mentioned the hunger strike - so readers don't know what it's about.
2. It's primarily about the fact that
 a)the prisoners are being held illegally.
 b) There are no charges against them because there is no evidence against them - despite years of torture. Not even a military tribunal could convict them.
c) Most were cleared for release years ago. But it has not happened.
d) It is very difficult for them to see their lawyers - and the private files of their lawyers have been tapped.
e)  They want to die. They realize that they will spend the rest of their lives in solitary cages.
f) The are being forcefed by a process so brutal that the UN has defined it as torture and, therefore, illegal.
g) As a torture refinement, the hunger strikers are forced to sleep on the concrete floors of their cages. 

This information would have made the picture more understandable.
There's a story on the resignation of Nigel Wright, a story which doesn't tell us much. The key question - Why did Harper accept the resignation? He could have refused it. When such a resignation is accepted, it commonly means that there's a lot more to the story - and accepting the resignation is a good way to kill any demand for further investigation.

And that's pretty much it for NewsToday.
The editorial is okay, but trivial. It wants to change May 24 from Victoria Day to something more Canadian. Who cares? The fact is that the only people who know that is the official birthday of Queen Victoria are old fart editorial writers and bloggers. For most people, it's May 24, and winter is gone, and the sun is out.

The amusing part is that the writer suggests changing the holiday to celebrate the contributions of Tommy Douglas as leader of the NDP. I should be astonished if the TandT ever supported anything that Tommy Doublas stood for. Indeed, it is currently, if subtly, supporting the gradual destruction of Douglas' greatest contribution, medicare.

Norbert has an interesting column about Victoria Day - and I suspect he's right in what he says about the monarchy.
Steve Malloy says he has nothing earth-shattering to talk about. Well, okay. It's not earth-shattering. But it's an important perception about people of Moncton. It's about their "deadness" at concerts, and their habit of spending a concert talking about last night's hockey game.

I've noticed that characteristic in much that they do. It's an emotional and intellectual deadness that's encouraged by the Irving Press - but it also seems to come from some other source. Like much of what Malloy writes, this one should make people think.
An old friend sent me an article from Business Week (2009). It's by a distinguished professor of business administration at Harvard.

It begins with Hannah Arendt's observation about Eichmann, the man who planned much of the transportation and murder of Jews in the Holocaust. She talked about the banality of the man, how very ordinary he was, how he had no sense of doing wrong - only of his own rise in the power structure. She called this combination of thoughtlessness and evil in this terrifylngly normal man "the banality of evil."

Then the writer applies this observation to the same sort of terrifying banality that characterizes the world of big business. This was written at the time that bankers destroyed the lives of millions of people with crooked dealings - but showed no sense of remorse or even of understanding of what they had done.

Their business model is to think as Eichmann did - " do what's good for the organization insiders while dehumanizing and distancing everyone else."

The banality of evil, the dehumanization of us by the business model  - these go a long way to explaining Health Minister Flemming - the terrifyingly ordinary man who serves the organization with no thought for the consquences to people, but only for his own rewards. His objective? - to begin the destruction of medicare so we can have hospitals not for health, but to make the rich richer.

There is no moral leadership in Fredericton. You have some, a few, with morals but no brains, a few with brains but no morals, and a great mass with neither morals nor brains.

The first target in New Brunswick has been achieved. The government is simply an arm of big business. Mr. Irving has announced himself a member of the government, and the government has been dumb enough to accept that. But, unlike a member of government in a democracy, Mr. Irving has to answer to nobody for what he does - not to the legislature and not to the voters.

This is a system which has been tried in many forms throughout history. It always destroys us outsiders. In the end, it always destroys itself. And our lives are being ruled by a man whose only demonstrated talent is one for being born rich.

The article is a superb one that you really must read. Go to


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