Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 7: Perhaps a short blog, today...

I'm late starting because I'm at that point when one's social life consists of seeing doctors - and it was a full morning of yakking it up over blood tests, bathroom frequency and other gay banter. And I have yet to plan for the Current Events Group at Moncton library this evening at 7 when I shall, of course, see all of  you.

Today's TandT opens with a great story on page one. "Riverview residents interested in park plans".
Zowie! Hold me back.

It seems the Town Hall had a public meeting to discuss all kinds of  exciting projects and to celebrate the town's 40th anniversary. And they came in droves. There were no fewer than 35 people milling about in riotous joy - and most of the councillors and Town Hall employees were there, too.

You're not impressed? That's because you don't understand one of the prime purposes of the TandT is to keep its readers focussed on the trivial. They have to be prevented from thinking, ever. And this headline story is a masterpiece of triviality, a worthy challenger to the kings of triviality, those mags in the checkout lane at the supermarket that scream, "Katie has baby bump", "Tarzan was gay", "World will end next week".

Brent Mazerolle moves a step further from keep 'em trivial to keep 'em ignorant with "Events centre fits plan". Nowhere in this story are we told which plan it is that the events centre fits. We are told there are six plans altogether. But we don't know anything about the other plans, either.

Nor does Mazerolle bother to find out whether there are any critics of the plan - whatever the plan might be.

All of section A is like that. Very restful and soothing.
NewsToday has bits and pieces of news that tell  us almost nothing. The lead story, for example, is "Canada caught off guard by Arab Spring: report". One of the handicaps of this story is that it never says what, exactly, the Arab Spring was. We are left to assume it meant protests and demands for democracy.

However, anyone who takes the trouble to check out the arab world will not there is scarcely a democracy among them. The whole Arab League, for example, is made up of dictatorships - and these are the ones on our side. There were, and are, protests for democracy in those countries. But they are beaten back quite savagely -and the western press has reported almost none of them.

Others, like Libya and Syria, have nothing to do with democracy. Both were uprisings financed and supplied - and instigated - by the US and others. Most of the "others" were dictatorships that
 most certainly were not assisting democracy. As well, the US, like Britain and France before it, has never shown the slightest interest in establishing democracies. Democracy gets in the way. They want dictators that they control.

When the US left South Korea over fifty years ago, it left a dictator in charge. Ditto in Vietnam. It has supported a century of dictators in Central America. When Haiti democratically elected a president, the US made it public that it was not pleased. That's why it intervened in Haiti to arrest the president and deport him (all in the guise of a peacekeeping mission.)
New Brunswick farmer Henk Tepper is suing the Canadian government  for leaving him in a Lebanese prison for a year, not lifting a finger to defend  his rights. Tepper's lucky. Harper is the slowest prime minister in Canadian history in defending rights. In fact, he is the only one ever to turn over Canadians to foreign governments for torture - and CSIS, our "security" agency has actually cooperated with the torture process.

NewsToday doesn't inform us of any of this. So far, no need to read this paper at all.
Norbert Cunningham, after a good start yesterday on the faults of our universities, blows it today as his ideas for cures show he hasn't the faintest understanding of what is wrong. In fact, this column is so uninformed, it could have appeared in MacLean's. He assumes, as universities do, that the "best" professors are those heavily engaged in research.

In fact, my experience as student and teacher is the research-oriented professors (and I had some the top ones in Canada) are usually real stinkers as teachers.

"Specialization" is not, as Norbert suggests, a dirty word in universities. On the contrary, it is worhipped. The dirty word is "teaching"; and I note that Norbert does not even use that word in his column.

It might be helpful, here, to take our noses out of our bellybuttons, and see what other countries are doing.

In Sweden and Norway, university is free not only for their own citizens, but also for members of the EU. And these are reputable universities. How do they do it?

Cuba, one of the world's poorest countries, and one that also suffers a US embargo, offers free tuition not only to its own students but to over 3,000 from other countries, including the US.  The curriculum is way too heavy on ideology for my taste. But I have seen some pretty scary ideology being taught in Candian univeversities, too - expecially in Business Administration, Political Science and Economics.

In any case, it surely makes sense to look at a country which is so poor but can still afford free university programmes. Oh - and Cuba has a literacy rate of 97%. Check out New Brunswick's, just for laughs.

Alec Bruce has a disppointingly shallow and one-sided column on our energy future.

There's really nothing else in the paper to talk about. There's still no mention of the hugely inflated price we have to pay Irving to produce blueprints for our Arctic patrol ships. It is many times greater than the the total price for bluerpints AND building of a similar ship in other navies.
Oh, and with over six hours to go, this site is a already well over the mark of 100,000 total hits.
Watch for the big story in the TandT about it.


  1. This column about Harper's "discreet class war against working people in Canada" was published in yesterday's Rabble.

    Thought it would interest you : http://rabble.ca/columnists/2013/05/harpers-discreet-class-war-against-working-people

    Andie C.

  2. thank you. It does interest me very much.