Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 24: Fast-breaking news...Irving press style

Yes, it's right there at the top of p B1. "Lawsuit launched over train disaster". Now, there's a story that broke some days ago.But - better late than never. Yes. The MMA railway is getting sued by the first of what will be many people in Lac-Megantic whose lives were ruined. Yes, the suit is against the MMA railway and its unattractive president along with several Anerican oil companies.


"several American oil companies."?

The story names the railway. Why wouldn't it name the oil companies? I mean, if it's only a few, it wouldn't take much space. And they're American oil companies? Gee. Earlier reports (none of which made the pages of the Irving press) referred specifically to Irving Oil.

Well, that just goes to prove a wise old saying. Never trust any press agency no matter how presitigious its name. Almost all of them play games with the news. The player in this story is The Canadian Press.

Other than that, the only big news of the day is that William and Kate had a baby. And there's even a picture of a long line line of people outside Buckingham Palace with nothing to do but stand around waiting for their turn to actually see the official notice of the birth which has been posted on the gate.

The event took up more room in the paper than even the comics.

In what I assume is an unrelated story on p. B3. an American politician wants a law to ban oral sex. (They don't define the term; but I presume it means talking dirty.) Luckily, that story was on a page where the royal  baby wouldn't see it.

In a sharp break with tradition, the front page story is important and worth reading.  It's about a police raid in Moncton that rounded up 11 women accused or prostitution. Sound reasonable? Well, the story includes an excellent statement by Tina Thibodeau of Crossroads for Women, an aid group that sees these women not as criminals but as victims - victims of the men who buy them, victims of the pimps who market them and who, very commonly, treat them with extraordinary brutality.

Do you still think, with Christian assurance, that we have to crack down on these women? Well, not along ago, a Christian woman travelling in a strict Islamic state reported to police that she had been raped. She was promptly arrested for having sex outside of marriage, found guilty, and put in prison.

The difference between Moslem and Christian in attitudes toward women is not nearly so great as either group would like to believe. Indeed, putting it in the broader context of history, it is not very different at all. Christians and Moslems are far more like each other than they are different.

Those who think Christians are different should get busy to help these prostitutes, and to deal with the men who are the real problem.
Brent Mazerolle informs us on p. 1 that city council is  having a frenzy of special meetings because of the many important issues it has to deal with. That's nice. But I think an news story on precisely what all these meetings are about would be more useful. I find   tedious to read an article that just says       "City council is busy busy busy....busy busy busy.......busy....."
The only other big story in section A is that NB power watches wearther forecaasts closely to be prepared for any storm that might threaten power lines. Gee! Whoda thunk it?

 And, of course, the execs would want to know the good days to go to the beach.

The editorial expresses a view that Premier Alward must gently convince New Brunswickers of the importance of shale gas. (At the same time, it suggests that most people opposed to shale gas are stubborn, unreasoning, perhaps stupid. Take that, Dr. Cleary.)

It also says there must be an arms length relationahip between government regulators and the gas industry. Oh, for sure. New Brunswick is very good at separating government from private busines. I mean, just look at how they keep Mr. Irving at arm's length.

 Well, a hug is something like an arm's length.

Alec Bruce has a readable column, quite funny. But pretty lightweight stuff for an editorial page. It doesn't get at the main problem of the British monarchy - how to produce of child of at least average intelligence. For four centuries, at least, they've been desparately casting about to find an intelligent  mate for the first in line. But with little success.Elizabeth is probably the closest they've come to producing a normal person, and she has certainly been the far most effective in her duties in many centuries.

But the rest - well - if they'd been born in new Brunswick,  they'd all have become cabinet ministers.
Norbert is right out of his tree, waving his banana in warning as he lecutres us on the world economy.
Almost every sentence has a major error of fact. And he has no clue at all what he is talking about.

Essentially, he blames the world recession on the poor and the middle class. Yep. That's why Detroit went broke. It had nothing to do with free trade and the export of manufacturing jobs that resulted from it.

Same then with the US economy. Don't go blaming the banks just because they broke the law and lost hundreds of billions that the taxpayers had to make up. No. Don't blame the most expensive and corrupt defence spending in the world. Don't blame the super rich for avoiding taxes, and for grabbing such a huge share of the nation's wealth.

No! It's them there poor people, living it up on food stamps. They should solve the poverty problem the way Moncton did which it chased panhandlers off Main St.  (Of course, it would help if they would also chase the rich panhandlers out of Fredericton, chase them out of their services as "advisores to the Minister of finance, and chase out the Moncton panhandlers who formed a committee under  chief panhandler (Moncton division) Robert Irving who formed a committee of smaller panhandlers to advise city council.

And, of course, it's them  there poor folks, loafin' on EI, wastin' good money on medicare just out of a selfish desire to go on livin'.  It's certainly not those nice people in corporations who work hard for just millions a year, who want just little favours like umlimited access to our timber, incredibly low taxes, special deals to help them create miminum wage jobs. and who don't go around whining about needing pensions. (They have wisely set aside a few pennies at a time to put in offshore banks for their declining years). And you don't see their execs whining about getting undeserved raises of two or even three percent. No. That sort ofo things comes from them low-class unions and greedy bus drivers. Now, a senior exec, he just gets a regular contract for - oh - a couple of million a year with another million for a good year, but only a half million dollar  bonus for a bad year.

And this economic crisis is happening at the same time all over the world?


But Norbert does have just a moral lesson for us. It's also a very practical one. When times are bad, you have to cut government spending.

It doesn't work, Norbert. It has never worked. The last time it was tried was in the 1930s - and it was a disaster. Can you hear me, Norbert. IT DOESN'T WORK. YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. THIS IS NOT A MATTER OF OPINION, NORBERT. IT DOESN'T WORK.

A major reason we have a recession is becuase the super-rich have gobbled up such a large share of the weatlh - and they're still gobbling. The problem that we have is that there is not enough wealth in circulation. Cutting that even more will not make things better. In fact, (close your eyes and think hard, Norbert) it will make things worse.

It's the solution the rich like because they take no responsiblity to fixing the economy - and don't ever admit they broke it. What is happening in this recession is what happened in the 1930s. While most psople suffered, the very rich got even richer. And that's exactly what is happening now.

What's needed to revive the economy is targeted spending, aimed at rebuilding an economic base, and at easing the suffering. Giving more to billionaires ain't going to do it.

The first Canadian prime minister to realize that was a New Brunswick Conservative named Bennett. Ever hear of him Norbert? Or do you just write what Mr iIving's "communications specialists" tell you to write.?

This column Norbert, is not only ignorant of economics and history and the distribution of wealth over the past 40 years or so. It is also a vicious defence of the greedy and a thoroughly immoral attack on their victims.

This is not just a bad column. This is a disgusting one.
On op ed, deep thinkers in the persons of Eric Lewis who fusses about how important it is to wear a bicycle helmet, and Brian Cormier who babbles about choosing a name for the royal baby.\
Hey, guys. The op ed is an opinion page. It's for insight on the economy, foreign affairs, politics, you of important stuff.
The "deep thought" theme is carried into a letter to the editor, "Put events centre in private hands". The writer claims that private business would be more efficient in building the centre, and would avoid cost orverruns.
1. There's a reason why private business is not building the events centre. The reason is that big business knows it's not going to be a profit maker. If they had ever thought otherwise, they would have closed the city out a long time ago. This is something to rip off the taxpayers for so the parties interested in the centre (the owner of the hockey team springs to mind as such a party) can get a new centre while we pay for it.
2. Why do you think the huge cost overruns on such projects come from? They're on the bills presented by the private companies to us tax payers. Does that indicate either corruption or poor estimating?

Possibly so. But it both cases - well - if it's poor estimating, it's the private contractor who makes or accepts an estimate The final decision is in the hands of the private company. Nobody is twisting its arm.

And if it's corruption? Well, if it's corruption, it can't be the fault of city council unless councillors are corrupting each other. But the sort of big money needed isn't likely to be found among councillors. It's far more likely to come from the private companies.

In short, if you buy this notion that private business is super-efficient or honest, then you really should not be allowed outdoors all by yourself.  Private business is far more likely to be the source of corruption. And it has no interest in saving you money by being effecient. Private business exists to make money for itself, not to waste it on you. That's why private medicine is so much more expensive than medicare. What's why pharmaceuticals are so expensive.
In short, there is only one reason to get today's TandT. It's the lead story on the roundup of prostitutes. If you haven't bought it yet, don't. Go to a Macdonald's. Get a coffee, and pick up a Tand T that's sure to lying around. The TandT isn't worth the money. But the coffee is usually okay.



  1. As always, laughing and crying, reading you...

  2. Personally, I find McDonald's coffee better than Tim Horton's. As for picking up a free paper, well, there are no papers today. It's only information on the 'interwebs' (like this blog) that contain anything worth reading these days.

  3. Personally, I find McDonald's coffee better than Tim Horton's ;)
    As for picking up free papers, well, there are no papers today. Only thoughtful analysis on the interwebs (like this blog) are really worth reading these days.

  4. "The difference between Moslem and Christian in attitudes toward women is not nearly so great as either group would like to believe. Indeed, putting it in the broader context of history, it is not very different at all."

    I get what you're saying but in the current context of history, the attitudes of christians towards women are vastly different than those of muslims. Same goes for homosexuals.

  5. What is the "current context" of history. I really can't understand what that means.
    My reference was to the whole sweep of history - and history hasn't changed. That's one thing it just can't do. If something happened, it happened. Game over. We might analyze if different in different ways - but the history itself hasn't changed at all.

    Many Moslems, probably most, see women as inferior. Well, so do most Christians. In Canada, it was legal into the 1920s to beat your wife to the degree necessary to keep her obedient.

    The torture and slaughter of witches killed thousands of women in the Christian world. If you read the letters of Paul, you will find them quite dismissive of women.
    We've somewhat changed. But equaliry is nowhere near. There has been an African president of the US before a woman.

    When I was teaching, the male students, most of them, regarded themselves as good students - even if they had low grades. Women rated themselves as ordinary, even when they had As. In fact, women usually get higher grades in university.
    When I asked a question, the hands of males would shoot up immediately - most of them with the wrong answer. Women were always slower to respond - were more often right.

    In the western world, it's only in the years since 1950 or so that women have been able to enter to labour market with even a pretence of equality.

    When did you last see a female pope? or priest?

    Christian men have only recently even begun to think of women as possibly equal. And, in the historical contest, well into modern times, the Christian men have been real bastards in their treatment of women.
    The same is true of treatement of gays. When I was in high school, a general assembly was called. The name of a boy in my class was announced as the principla ordered him to stand in that great assembly. the principal then accused him of being a person of filthy morals, dramatically pointed at the exit, and told him to leave immediately, never to return. And you can still find lots of Christians who think that way.

    And don't assume that we North Americans are the world's only christians. there are lots of Christians in places like Africa and Asia who treat women no differently than fundamentalist Moslems do.

    the whole world is evolving slowly. Where others are now, we were not very long ago. Do not assume that those who are behind us are somehow morally inferior to us.

    The white slave trade, incidentally is largely controlled by people of Christian descent. In the overwhelmingly Christian US army, female soldiers are raped at the rate of tens of thousands every year. (The Canadian government has never told the truth (or anything for that matter) about rapes in the Canadian military.

  6. You wanna bet those slime balls will own up to owning that oil when they are looking for their next gasoline price increase?