Monday, September 30, 2013

Sept. 30: no news but - oh - what a blooper.....

I'll save the blooper for the end. It's a real collector's item.

The only international news story is one from Kenya, "Last body in morgue identified after mall attack."  Now, here's a story which has appeared daily for over a week. But what's the point of it? I can see tomorrow's big story, not. "Morgue given day off. There are actually  bigger stories out there.

Iraq is now into a virtual civil war. At the cost of over a trillion dollars and more than a million and a half lives, the US and Britain have produced a destitute country of suffering and hatreds and daily slaughters. We certainly had lots of stories about the brilliance of the American and British victory, and how we hanged that terrible Saddam Hussien (who didn't kill a million and a  half people). But there's not a word about how the great victory has turned out to be a colossal defeat.

Nor is there a word about Tony Blair, the major British architect of that war. Tony, like many a premier of New Brunswick, has done well out of his devoted political service to the people of Britain. Have you been looking for a new car at about $50 every two weeks? Well, Tony has bigger needs.

He just bought - out of his own piggy bank - a private jet for thirty million dollars. Gee. For a man on a P.M.'s pay, he must have brown-bagged it for lunch for many, many years. (I wonder if a thirty million dollar jet comes with a full tank of gas.)

There's nothing on Israel, though it is loudly demanding an invasion of Iran...NOW, if not sooner. And that's an invasion that would almost invite a world-wide nuclear war.

Running through many of the stories is the theme that we have to cut spending. Yessiree. It's all them poor people and their employment insurance and their medicare and ---well, that's what caused the recession.

That's why we don't have any stories about the rich paying anywhere from low to zero income taxes and getting handouts. Nope. Cuts have to be made. 90% of the people of the western world are getting off scot free while a tiny number of the rich have to work their fingers to the bone.

But don't worry, the rich are getting more rich comparied to the rest of us than at any time in the last ninety years. And you know what? That means we'll all soon get rich because rich people create wealth for everybody. Yes, they do. Why, thoughout Central America, people have been under free capitalism for over a cenutry and, sure, the rich have made a lot of money from it. But so have the poor. Why, in Haiti, they can pull down almost five dollars a week.

That's why you'll notice every summer the hordes of Haitians and Guatemalans touring NB in the summer, and throwing their money to the winds.

That's why Asian women can get great jobs in factories where some (no doubt by their own fault) burn to death. That's how prosperity has come to Congo and Iraq and Libya.

Why, even as we sit here, the rich are creating ever more wealth for us.

Well,a ctually, the rich don't create wealth. They absorb it like the thirstiest sponge  you ever saw. And there's none for the rest of us, and never will be because the thirst of the sponges is never relieved.

The wealth is created by workers who get five dollars a day, who get burned to death in flimsy factories, and who get shot by CIA thugs if they complain.

Yes, there is a place for big business. But that place is not in controlling government. Such control is something in which big business offers only incompetence and, eventually, the destruction of the whole economic and social system - including itself.

Sorry to ramble on. But there's almost no news in this paper to talk about. Well, maybe one thing.

It's not a news story, really. It's Alec Bruce's column. The story is that Harper is one of the few leaders in the world who is dragging his feet on a UN movement to sign a treaty regulating the weapons export business. Even the gun-happy US has signed. But, in a world bursting with weaponry, Harper says he fears this might limit the rights of legitimate gun-owners in Canada.

That's bizarre. Obama signed. And even the National Rifle Association hasn't found that alarming. There is no threat to private gun ownership. But, of course,Harper is not telling us the whole truth about why he isn't signing.

On a per capita basis, Canada is the one of the largest exporters of weapons in the world. Yes, it is.  On a per capita basis we're ahead of the United Kingdom, France, Saudi Arabia, China - and way ahead of even the US.

Most prime ministers of Canada have been very, very polite to big business. Harper goes beyond polite. He is servile to big business. The contributions of big business (and their newspapers) are what keep him in office. For all his talk of principles and ideology, he has little of either. It all reduces to two factors.
1. He wants power.
2. Big business will keep him in power.

Like Alec Bruce, Steve Malloy writers a consistently intelligent column. This time, he exposes a false story that Target stores have forbidden veterans to sell poppies on their premises; and he does a good job of pointing out that the gossip on this subject is not true. Target has no such policy, and never did have it. My little quarrel with this column is a statement that Canadians were infuriated by this false rumour because Canadians will do anything for their military.

Not true,

It was just yesterday that Harper announced severe cuts in benefits for disabled veterans, cuts that become so severe that payments drop far below the poverty level  at retirement age and which, with the death of the veteran, leave nothing at all for the partner.

It is hard to imagine anything more callous - except, of course, sending them to war in the first place for a war that was none of our business and - even as he sent them - a losing war.  ( Indeed, there are still Canadians in Afghanistam. Funny how we never hear about them.)

This is the same Harper who had no trouble finding 30 million for that half-witted celebration of the War of 1812, no trouble finding the money for overpriced contracts for military planes and for ice-breakers.

But now he picks on the easy target of disabled veterans.


And Canadians? Will they get upset? Not so far. They'll turn out to wave the flag on Nov. 11, and to listen to untrue speeches. They'll patriotically support sending people to kill or be killed even when the war is none of our business. They'll pay for elaborate funerals for the return home of the bodies of the dead. (After all, funerals for the dead are cheaper than looking after the disabled.)

And perhaps they'll cheer when Harper reads the words...
"If ye break faith with those us who die, we shall not sleep
Though poppies grow in Flanders' fields."


There is still not a word in the Irving papers about the investigation of Professor Lapierre that has been ordered by the federal transport board. But, then, the Irving papers haven't said much in the last few weeks about Professor Lapierre at all. Today's TandT has as much on the Tattoo Expo today as it's had on Lapierre since the start of t his scandal.

And then there's the blooper.

Norbert's column is largely his normal, cranky,annoying, uninformed and boring grandpa bit. But...

Well, in part of it, he suggests that the provinces could take over regulating rail shipments, and warning towns and cities on the route of dangerous cargoes coming their way. That way, community police and fire departments could be prepared not only of the dangers of accident - but could plan exactly how to handle the accident with the right equipment according to the nature of the threat it poses. This, obviously, is his response to the Lac Megantic disaster.

1. Norbert, that is already the law. It's administered by the Transport Safety Board. But it didn't work at Lac Megantic.

2. It didn't work because, we are told, Irving Oil gave the board a misleading (to put it kindly) statement of what its dangerous cargo was. That meant Lac Megantic prepared itself for a much lesser danger than it really faced.

3. In other words, Norbert, you have linked the Irving name to the Lac Megantic disaster. I don't think that's wise, Norbert.

 In fact, it reminded me of Mr. Irving's blunder of writing a letter to the editor about what great buddies he and Professor Lapierre are.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sept. 29: just a short blog for a Sunday....

'Newsrooms', the total number of reporters available to a news medium, are generally far too small, and getting smaller. The result is that it's not possible to have enough reporters with enough training to understand most of the stories they have to cover. And any digging or research with a small staff is pretty much out of the queston. Profits come first.

The only field of reporting exempt from this decline is sports. A sports reporter who doesn't know anything ,much about sports is dead meat. But business, education politics, religion - heck - anybody can cover those, even if they don't know a prime minister from a prime rib. There was a good example of that in a report in yesterday's (Saturday's) TamdT. It was a story taken from another paper, so it wasn't the fault of TandT reporters - though a good editor should have raised doubts about it. The story is this.

At McMaster University, the President appointed a Dean (boss man) for the School of Business Administration. He was a man with relatively little formal education for a university job of any sort, and no work experience in a university at all. He had been most of his working life a senior, business executive.

Some faculty members (profs) objected to such an appointment, and made life hard for him. Eventually, he resigned.  The university president was furious and effectively ended the careers of several of the "troublemakers."

Sounds straightforward? Maybe. But it probably isn't. I have no inside information on this. But I know how universities work. And this story has a smell about it. The tipoff is that the president hired this dean in the first place.

Why on earth would he choose a dean with few academic credentials, and no university experience whatever? Perhaps that's been done before; but in my long years in universities, I've never heard of it.
I mean, it's nice the guy has business experience. But would you hire him to conduct a choir brcause of that? To fix your air conditioner? To teach ballet?

And no newspaper would ever hire him,simply because of business experience, to be a sports reporter.

For all his business experience, he has neither skills nor experience in either research or teaching - the two main functions of a university. So why hire him?


Most likely, the chairman of the Board of Governors told the president to hire the guy. A university board of governors is usually dominated by heavy hitters from the business world. Universities also increasingly rely on them for donations just to survive. So when a chairman of the board tells a university president to hire somebody, the president jumps to his little feet and scampers off to do his master's bidding.

Why would businessmen on the board want such a seemingly unqualified person? That's simple, too.

Big business doesn't want educated people out of the  university The want trained ones, like seals. That is especially true of business school grads.They want grads who have been trained to believe in the mythic ideology of big business - that big business creates wealth, that it must be free of government, that free trade spreads democracy, that it is sinful to tax the rich.

They want graduates who think  (or don't think) like Norbert Cunninghan thinks (or doesn't think.)

Some years ago, I was astonished when I chaired a session for business executives in grad programmes at a major Canadian university. Lots of big names were there to speak to them; and what astonished me was the pile of-----propaganda ------that was shoveled over them. It was all even sillier than Marxism - and far more destructive.

The university teachers (usually) aren't trained to propagandize. They're trained to do research, and to find the truth - or as close as possible to it. They're trained to teach as close as they can to the truth, not to train fanatics for the myths of big business. (The story did mention, in one part of a line, that the dean had been pushing extreme right wing views. Any editor should have piced up on that. Of course, an Irving press editor becomes an editor for having the same views as that dean.)

Of course, the professors objected to the new dean. What probably compelled them to do that was a sense of academic responsibility and integrity.

No university president can allow his or her professors to be honest. That's why the president was so hard on them.

I began teaching in the days when crackpot Marxists were fairly common in universities. But most of them faded a good thirty years ago. The crackpots now are the big business ideologues. They have far more money and far more influence than the old Marxists ever did. And they have a wimpy generation of university presidents to use as toys.


Sept. 28: Guess who scooped the irving press - again.....

Transport Canada will be investigating the work of Professor Lapierre in the building of the bridge to PEI.  Well, of course. Here is a man with no qualifications involved in a huge project, and one in which a mistake could cost lives. The wording of the press release is interesting. They say they don't expect to find anything - BECAUSE HE WAS WORKING WITH A GROUP OF QUALIFIED SCIENTISTS WHO WOULD BLOCK ANY FOOLISH SUGGESTIONS. That certainly doesn't suggest any trust in Professor LaPierre.

But, just in case....

Compare that to the reaction of our provincial government which has given him not only input, but control of many projects in which improper advice could cause environmental damage, economic damage, and even human lives.

Oh - he's a nice man who wouldn't do that? Was it nice to seriously reduce limits and areas where trees timber could be harvested? What effect has that had? Did anybody gain advantage becaise of that?

And that brings us to  Mr. Irving's very unwise Letter to the Editor about what great f riends he and Professor Lapierre are. Lelt's see - a man routinely gets appointed to important positions on government projects in which Mr. Irving, his good f riend, may have interests.

This is a serious matter. This is one hell of serious matter.

If I claimed my doctorate was in medecine and, on the base of that, carried out heart surgery, I'd end up in jail.

Prof. Lapierre was used to discredit advice from Dr. Cleary, the province's chief medical officer. He knew he was unqualified to do that. Indeed, even if he had the qualifications he claimed to have, he would still be unqualified to contradict medical advice. He knew that.

And now we learn he was also a splended friend of Mr. Irving. (Mr. Irving, don't you have advisors ono these matters?)

Any government with any integirity at all  would have ordered an immediate and very serious investigation. It could very well be - it almost certainly is - that people's lives are at stake here. And even if there weren't, there are almost certainly massive charges of corruption that could emberge..

But it's not going to happen. Mr. Alward is doing his usual imperonation. of a  limp fish doing its last flops as it drops into the fisherman's creel.  Both he and Mr. I rving babble about the wonderful things Lapierre has done for the province - without naming any of those wonderful things - and without being qualified, in any case, to judge the quality of his work.

In the face of the seriousness of what has happened, the Liberal leader continues to do his imitation of a Barbie doll though without, alas, a bust. And both the NDP and the Greens have been inexplicably dozey.

There is every possibility that your lives, your dhildren's lives and their children's lives have been put in danger so that somebody can make higher profits. The voters of this province are the most passive I have ever seen.

I understand why they're passive. This is a province in which the rich have manipulated the people and its governments (and its newspapers) for their own profit.. And it's province small enough  so that anybody who makes too much noise about it can suddently be out of a job.

But the only way out of the abuses and the looting that are daily in this province is to stand up.

By the way, this story does not appear in the Irving Press. Of course not. It took them days before they got around to mentioning the Lapierre's misrepresentation in the first place. Every story we've had on this began with CBC - not with the Irving Press, not with private radio or TV. It was CBC, the one Norbert sneers at, the one Harper wants to get rid of.
Gwynne Dyer's column is important because results of a recemt amd massive report  on climate change were very badly reported - giving the impression they concluded that climate change wasn't happening. That's not surprising. There are some very powerful and wealthy people in, For example, the energy industry and in journalism, who don't want any action taken on climate change-  It would hurt their profits.

But if you follow this story over the past week, it is evident that some of the brighter lights in the news business have realized that the message had NOT been that we were out of trouble. Indeed, some fear that we may already have passed the point of no return. This excellent column by Dyer reflects the thinking of those brighter lights.

Brent Mazerolle has a column on people who use the social media to spread their ill-informed and cowardly ideas. I guess I qualify in that category.

Yessirree, here's an earnest and up front Brent Mazerolle who has devoted himself to a professional journalism world that tells nothing but the truth.

Come off it, Brent. You are devoted to being a spin doctor in a world of journalism that is made up heavily of propandists and professional liars. And you work for one of the worst examples of that breed.

As to anonymous comments, I print all but the obvious trolls who come my way - which means I print 99% of the comments that are anonymous. And most of them are anonymous because this is New Brunswick where anyone who exercises his right to speak is likely to find himself out of a job.

Tell you what, though, baby, I would be willing to publicly debate you on this (or any other topic you can name.) And you can have the whole editorial staff right up there with you to help out. And I won't call myself anonymous.


On the Faith Page, rhe sermonette is the best I  have seen in that spot. Yes, I know I've alway said  that they stink - so being the best could be no big deal. However, this one is not just the best. It is also an excellent one. You may not agree with it; but it's well worth thinking about.

As for the list of church events, they remind me of how Jesus used the synagogue as a place to discuss, to debate, a place of intellectual exercise. That tradition of the synagogue as a place of discussion is common in most of the Jewish world to this day. When I lived in Montreal, for example, I could expect to be invited to speak in thirty or more synagogues in the course of any year. (I still have my very own yarmilka (skullcap).  But even one Christian church a year was a rarity. God forbid that Christians should go to church to use their brains.

If Jesus were to check out his churches' activities in today's Times and Transcript, we would have a verse added to The Bible, "Lo, and the women were selling pies, and there were in that place auctions and fashion shows....."

Current events will meet at the Moncton Library on Tuesday, at 7 p.m.  This may be the last one. I realized a long time ago that New Brunswickers were afraid, genuinely afraid, to discuss current events in public. I've noticed the such a thing as public discussion in this province is almost nil even in election campaigns.  I've tried for two years form a current events group. . But attendance has normally been zero to three or four.). I get a far bigger audience with a blog.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Sept. 27: news editors - lazy? sloppy? profoundly ignorant? or deliberately all three...

last night, I made a list of  stories I felt sure the Irving press would not carry. I acted as if I were news editor for the TandT, selecting those stories important enough to print. It took less than an hour - so editors do not appear to face a demanding task.

But imagine my shock when one of them actually appeared. Dean Del Mastro, a rising star in the federal Conservatives, and due in the near future to become a cabinet minister, has been been dropped from the Conservative caucus.

Well, he really had to be. It seems he way overspent on his campaign for election, way over collected what he could legally collect for a campaign fund, way underreported all of the above, and lied about it all to the investigating committee.

The story was buried on p. C15, but at least it was there.

Too bad they didn't use the opportunity to mention a couple of other incidents they didn't notice at the time. When Harper's Chief of Staff loaned $90,000 to a certain pudgy senator, he did not do it - as Harper claimed - on his own. Harper told him to do it.

And Pamela Wallin? The Irving Press has never mentioned that Harper claimed several months ago that he had personally audited ms. Wallin's expenditures, and found them perfectly reasonable and in order.

And there are lots more stories we never get.

The TandT has, for example,has  run a week of stories about an attack on a mall in Kenya.That was certainly terrible. But, in Congo, people are being killed at the rate of 45,000 a month. The score since 1998 is estimated at 5.4 million. As well, rape is considered a weapon of war in Congo. This, with torture, brutal working conditions, and low pay has been going on for over a cenutry with, almost certainly, over a hundred million deaths. And it is all a result of western intrusion and brutality, especially in the mining industries - and with Canadians as prominent players.

I have never seen a story about Congo in an Irving paper - and rarely in any other paper.

For THE big Canadian story of the day, how about the Montreal Mafia chief who just got a refund of  some $400,000 from Revenue Canada. Isn't that sweet? This would, of course, be only for what he reported as legitimate income And what generous terms must Revenue Canada have to give a rebate of that size!

Wouldn't it be a useful for our newspapers to print such incidents involving our corporation bosses. How much do they report? How much do they get in rebates? Who much do they actually pay in taxes. Wouldn't this be an important thing to know?

And, yesterday, there was a parliamentary report on how Canada, due to its aging population and declining work force faces a crisis very soon in old age pensions and health care - a situation Harper has made far worse by dumping so much of those costs on the provinces.

The report might have added that the situation will also  be made worse  by the shift of Canada's wealth to a few families - and those families paying zero to very little tax.

And how will New Brunswick deal with it? You have to guess? It will cut all those services, thus increasing the suffering and the rate of poverty. And the corporation bosses will charge in with plans to privatize all those services so that those who need them can't get them.

You don't think that will happen? It already has begun.

On Iran, the fix is in to ruin the peace talks, and to set up wars with Syria and Iran. The fix is coming from the major agent of Israel in the US and Canada, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC is enormously influential in Washington and Ottawa (far more than you are); and Israeli leaders want a war to make them the dominant power in the regiom. amd to assure they can continue seizing other people's lands and settling Israelis on them. But don't take my word.

Google AIPAC News Hub for Sept. 20. (Don't ask the Irving editors for help. They've probably never heard of it.)  The plan is to set get the US Senate to set such insulting terms for a peace agreement that no country could ever accept them. Then they'll blame Iran for wrecking the agreement.

Then there was Obama's recent speech to the UN assembly in which he stressed something called US exceptionalism. The US, he said, is exempt, from all international law. It is the only country in the world that is free to invade other countries, with or without cause. It is the only country permitted to torture, to overthrow governments it doesn't like....It is the only country entitled to murder people anywhere in the world with no charge or trial.

That's been the American government view since 1945. It even has an official name. It's called US exceptionalism; and it all has something to do with the US being the world's leader, and a nation under God, and all that. This is real. But I've never seen a story on it in the Irving press.

Recently, we have learned that the NSA has been bugging India's officers at the UN in New York, and even bugging the Indian embassy in Washington - including the hard drives on its computers. That's illegal under international law. Indeed, it's an act of war. But, hey, read the paragraph above on American exceptionalism.

Other examples of US exceptionalism are the Drone killings in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan not to mention the invasion of Iraq that killed a million and a  half people. And what has all this gained?
Well, Iraq is destroyed, impoverished, and a virtual civil war is killing up to a hundred a day, every day.

Billions of dollars of weapons were left behind after the Iraq War (and now in Afghanistan), most of which end up in the hands of terrorists. And the great US embassy in Baghdad? The biggest and most expensive and most fortified embassy in the world? It's now mostly empty, just a few years after it was completed.

And all that was accomplished with just over a trillion dollars, a million and a half killed, and millions orphaned, widowed and crippled - all for the lie that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. But the US is allowed to do that. That's what US exceptionalism means.

Almost none of this has ever appeared in the Irving press. Nor has another story that you should check out in the New Yorker. Go to google, Write Sarah Stillman, New Yorker, "Taken". You will find a series of stories in August, quite stunning ones.

American police and other agents are using a new rule called civil forfeiture. The can confiscate whatever you own, including your house if they "suspect" it is being used for any illegal purpose. There is no need for them ever to lay a charge or to give reason for suspicion. They can just do it.

Recently, an elderly couple (the husband being seriously ill), lost their home to the police on suspicion (no proof) that their son (who does not live with them) MIGHT have sold somebody marijuana on the front porch.

The police are then entitled to take the confiscated property, and give it to anyone they like - as, for example, themselves. Some have been known to receive "bonusses" of 40,000 and more as a result of such civil forfeiture..

In one state, police arbitrarily stopped over a thousand cars, demanding to search them. One man had .just taken some 3,000 out of the bank to buy a used car. The police found that suspicious, and confiscated it for themselves. Of the 1,000 cars they stopped, almost all were driven by African-Americans or latinos.

That is one hell of an example of what the US has become - and what Canada can expect. And not a word of it has ever appeared in the Irving press.

It's not big deal to find this stuff. I got it in less than an hour, and using only credible sources.

The big news lead in NewToday to the TandT is that two teens have been charged with prostitution.

It may well be that the Irving news editors are lazy, sloppy, and profoundly ignorant. Or it may be that they and their boss  just has a profound contempt for us.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sept. 26" An apology to Rod Allen...

For a long time I have thought and written that Rod Allen is a hugely self-satisfed writer of meager talent as displayed in some of the most trivial columns I have ever seen. But I was wrong. I admit it.

If you read his column for today, (a defence of Professor Lapierre), the truth is obvious. There is no Rod Allen. No. Something like Kermit the Frog, Rod Allen is the press name for a sock puppet with Mr. Irving's hand in it to make its lips move.

If you read today's column, it is simply a longer version of Mr. Irving's Letter to the Editor of yesterday. Like Mr. Irving, Kermit Allen sees no point to all this criticism of Lapierre lacking the credentials to teach ecology or to advise governments on little things like environment regulations, or  to publicly discredt Dr. Cleary's warnings about the health dangers of fracking. (I mean, okay, if she had a degree in education, we might listen to her. But her degree is only in medecine.)

Sock puppet Rod Allen cuts right through the crap. pointing out that Professor Lapierre has done wonderful things for the province - (like, I guess, raising the limit for timber harvesting so that Mr. Irving can cut down more of those ugly, old trees we have all over the place. I mean, we've all been blessed by that. Though it's strange that of all those who point with pride to Professor Lapierre's many contributions, none appear to know exactly what they are.).

Tell you what, Rod the sock puppet, I have an MA and a PhD in history. So, obviously, I'd be the ideal person to be your family doctor. Next time you have those terrible chest pains, just give me a call. Fifty bucks flat per call, and ten percent discount if your illness is fatal.

Or we can face reality. Big business corrupts. It's corruption has long been obvious in our politics. It's long been clear in the the lying and manipulation by our newspapers. Its obvious now it reaches deep into our universities. We have become a society of sock puppets.

The editorial is a (perhaps) deserved attack on private companies that do road work, claiming that these companies are trying to charge us for unnecessary work. I'm inclined to believe they are. But did it not occur to the editors of the Irving press when they were pimping for "Public/Private Partnerships" that this was bound to happen?

As I remember it, the TandT pitch was that private contractors would be cheaper than using our public work force. That was nonsense, of course. It isn't cheaper - and it opens us up to the kind of behaviour the editorial now complains about.

Actually, there's something wrong with the positions of the editor and the private contractors on this one - and it's the same something wrong that shows up in today's column by Norbert - and also in almost any story or government spending.

Instead of starting with what is needed, they always start with what is "sustainable" - and sustainable is never defined. As well, the magic word "sustainable" is never applied to the tax breaks and gifts we give to big business in this province.

Is it really sustainable to go on forever handing out large chunks of our provincial resources tobillionaires - and then collecting minimal taxes from them? Doesn't there come a point when that cannot be sustained?

Have you noticed we have never read a summing up of all we have given these people - and of how much we get back in taxes? Have you ever noticed that when the Irving Press says we must cut back on services and we must raise taxes, it NEVER suggests cutting back on the welfare we hand out to billionaires, and it NEVER suggests raising their taxes. NEVER.

Across Canada and the US, the major corporations whose illegal behaviour created this recession, throwing millions into poverty,  are now reaping the biggest profits and paying the lowest taxes in history. Indeed, many of the largest and most profitable corporations in the US paid no taxes whatever last year. (We don't know the situation in Canada because newspaper chains like the Irving press won't tell us.)

The message hammered out in private news media across North America is that there is a recession which has impoverished millions - and that the impoverished must be the ones to pay the price for it.

That's what the editorial writer means when he uses the word "sustainable".

The real queston for a   government that is not corrupt is - what our are needs? The only question for big business is not what does our society need.  The only question is what do we want? Those are two very different views of what a society is about. And that's why it's one hell of a mistake to run a goverment as though it were a business.

A Mr. Irving is very good at moving the lips of a sock puppet. He knows nothing about maintaining a society. What is not sustainable in this province is the grasping and greedy behaviour of its business leaders.

I'm not sure what to think of Alec Bruce's column. He seems too ready to jump on the bandwagon of those who claim climate change is not happening. He's too ready because that is not what the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says. It's rather more complicated than that. He also quotes a Globe columnist, Margaret Wente, who is one of those columnists I wouldn't  trust to make a sound judgement about the flavour of a bubble gum. She's highly prejudiced, leaps to unsound conclusions - and always with boundless confidence.

There's not much news in the paper. The front page has a big story of presentations by all of the provincial party leaders. Alas! If the story was at all accurate, then no party has a coherent policy on education. Indeed, none of them seem to know what it's about. That's one hell of a bad start for an election year.

The headline quotes them all as saying eduction deserves priority status. If this is their idea of priority status, then God help us all on those things that are not priorities.

This province has one, crashing priority. It has to break the power of big business to interfere in government. It has to restore democracy. If it votes Liberal or Conservative, then it's a gone goose; and it won't matter what promises were made by anybody. That's why I could wish the other parties would show a little more fire.

And please, please give a little more thought to education. I can quite agree that univeristy tuition should be free. It's not impossible. It is free and has been for years in some countries that aren't as rich as us. I taught for a term in the Netherlands; and it works very well there.

But it's not simply a matter of cutting or even of holding tuition fees. Our universities are designed on an extremely expensive, wasteful and educationally unsound model. But it is a model that appeals to the arrogances and pretences of university teachers and administrators. It is also encouraged by ignorant interferers like the editors of the MacLean's annual rating of universities. Changing all that is going to be a tough job.


And then there's the news that didn't make it into the Irving press.


The US, Britain, and Canada have put environmentalists and critics of the use of drones on their terrorist lists.

Nelson Mandela, one of the world's most admired men for ending apartheid in South Africa was officially listed as a terrorist by the US until four years ago. This goes back to President Ronald Reagan who was an ardent supporter of white supremacy in South Africa. He is the one who put Mandela on the list. And presidents right up to Obama knowingly kept him on the list.

Saddam Hussein of Iraq was on tne terrorist list until the US needed him to invade Iran. Then he was taken off the terrorist list so the the US could supply him with weapons - including poison gas. Once the war was over, he was put back on the terrorist list.

It cost American taxpayers 5.25 million dollars last year to provide hair styling for their senators. These are the same senators who just cut $40 billion dollars off the food stamp programme.

The US government will run out of money on Oct. 17.

Libya, the country we bombed into chaos so that oil companies could grab control of the oil fields (and, of course, so Libya could enjoy democracy and freedom and Miley Cyrus on Youtube) is now in such a state that no real government exists, and armed bands control the country. This has been going on ever since we bombed them. But it has now reached a crisis because the armed bands are now attacking the oil field. So we may have to kill more Libyans to bring back freedom and democracy and Miley Cyrus on Youtube.  Of course, we don't have to kill people all over the place this time - just the ones who are messing with the oil fields.

Terrorists all over the world have huge supplies of weapons because weapons manufacturers in    Russia, the US, Britain, Canada among others have made them so easily available. That's why all countries that are significant exporters of weapons have agreed to sign a convention that would control the trade. They have all agreed - except Canada.


Harper says he's afraid it might intefere with the rights of Canadians who legally own guns.

Gee. Funny the US signed without a complaint - not even from the NRA. In fact, the agreement has no effect whatever on domestic gun ownership. So why is Harper holding out?

It's probably because Harper figures this won't cost him any votes - and it will win votes from people dumb enough and fanatical enough to believe he is protecting their essential right to have guns.

Harper has no ideology. All that interests him is getting elected - and so he always goes for the cheap and easy issues that appeal to the intellectually differently advantaged.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sept. 25: Missing the point....

All the comment I've seen on l'affaire Professor Lapierre has missed the point and only one group has reacted with any credit to itself.

The rector of UdeMoncton has expressed fears the behaviour of Professor Lapierre will damage the reputation of the university. It probably will - though not seriously or for long. It's unfortunate it should damage the reputation of the university at all because the rector of UdeM is the only individual who has reacted responsibly and intelligently to this affair.

He fired Lapierre. He gave and expected no excuses. He did exactly what he should have done. So has the teaching staff in rejecting Prof. Lapierre's behaviour completely, and with no excuses.

The government has switched the topic from his deception to the "fine work he has done". Here is a government which, like governments before it, assigned Lapierre to important tasks without taking the simple an obvious step of checking his credentials.

Here is a government which says Lapierre has done good work without having the slightest qualification to judge whether his work is good or not. The Irving Press has followed the same line though it, too, has nobody in it who has any expertise in ecology or has had the wit to ask any questions.

The real issue here is not Professor Lapierre.

The real issue is that over the years, he has been assigned to positions in which he made decisions that profoundly affect our environment. He raised allowances for how much our forests could be harvested without causing irreversible damage to wild life or to the forest itself. He made similar moves weakening protections for our streams. I haven't seen any credible statement on whether this has done serious damage.

Now, let's close our eyes really tight, and try to think hard. Who benefited from decisions like that?

For a possible answer, turn to Letters to the Editor and read the first one. It's from a Mr. James K. Irving of Rothesay.  He says that the measure of a man is not just by his degrees, but by a genuine passion to work with others and to move things forward.

That is far the silliest statement I have seen on this whole affair. Mr. Irving obviously needs some more skilled communications people. An honest one will tell thim that the last thing that would inspire confidence in this province is a recommendation from Mr. James K. Irving of Rothesay. The real message of his letter for any intelligent reader is, "Hide your wallets, folks."

Mr. Irving's letter has, if unintentionally, put a finger right on the real issue. What was it that Professor Lapierre did to this province and its people? And who stood to gain from what he did?

Mr. Irving is right on one point. The real issue is not his degrees. The real issue is what did he do
 to us, and for whom did he do it?

That is the real issue -and the one that has been avoided by the Irving press. Now, it has been put up front by Mr. Irving, himself. From the point of view of his own interests, that is one hell of an unwise letter. But not to worry. Nobody in the Irving press is going to run with that ball.

In more important news, a new Irving gas station and convenience store is opening in Dieppe; and some more people got hounoured for something.

In NewsToday, Harper is seeking an Iran solution - as if any in this whole world could care what Harper is seeking. He has made Canada irrelevant on the world stage, and an obvious stooge for the US and Israel.

However, some kind of important stories just didn't make it.

1. Privately-owned  prisons in the US (a move which has intrigued Harper) have been guaranteed 90% and sometimes 100% occupancy, with the government required to pay them at those rates even if they are empty.
This has had the result of putting pressure on legal authorities to jail even more people and to keep them in jail longer, even for minor offences. It also makes the private prisons far more costly to taxpayers than public prisons are. In fact, it gets worse. The private prisons don't accept prisoners who require medical treatment because that would cut into their profits. So the taxpayers get hit there, too.

Think about that next time you hear somebody babbling about Public/Private Partnerships, and how much more efficient private business is.

Think of it as you read about how our great business minds who now run our hospitals are going to improve care AND save money by firing staff.  Good idea. We could save a hell of a lot by firing super-expensive managers hired from the business world.

By the way, in a province suffering high unemployment, how do we improve things by creating more unemployed?

That's the trouble with business management practices. They're all about short term profits - with no consideration for needs or for the province as a whole.

2. American spying is running wildly out of control. American spy agencies are sharing all their information on American citizens (and Canadians and others) with Israel. Brazil has just discovered that the "national security" spy agency has also been spying on Brazil's industrial secrets. Gee. I wonder who gets those reports? And if Brazilian industry is being spied on, you can bet that Canadian and Venezualan - and, oh, lots of other countries are being spied on.

But who are we to point the finger? Our RCMP spies on environmentalists, and reports on them to big business. Way to protect our freedoms, gang.

3. Canadian Lt. General Charles Doucet, who commanded NATO in the bombing of Libya has retired from our military. And, lucky him, he just happened to land a job as the director of Canadian operations for Lockheed Martin, the company that builds us fighter planes we don't need (and that don't seem to work, anyway) at incredibly high prices.

Welcome, Canada, to the military-industrial complex that General Eisenhower warned the US about.


4. Syria has agreed to open its chemical weapons to inspection, and to destroy them.

The US promised years ago to destroy its chemical weapons. It has never done so. And it has never allowed inspection.

And everybody pretends that Israel doesn't have any.

Oh - yeah - and even US intelligence now admits there is no evidence whatever that the Syrian government used poison gas. The missiles fired in the attack were made in Russia, and supplied to Saudi Arabia and others who have been supplying - the "rebels".


The editorial is pure bullshit about how firing hospital staff improves service to patients.

Norbert is back to trivial - but harmless - columns.

Alec Bruce has a helluva good column. I don't understand the point of his last sentence. (But there's lots of t hings I don't understand.)

The op ed page is a waste of time.


But don't miss that letter from James K. Irving of Rothesay.

I think we could set it to the tune of O Canada - to be sung by children at the start of every school day and before hockey games.

"Dr. Louis Lapierre
Has been the subject of
Much cri-ti-cism
For a mistake he has acknowledged
And for which
he has sincerely apo- o -ologized"

....with a stirring conclusion.

"I a-am proud to ca-al him my friend.
I a-am proud to ca-al him my friend."


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sept. 24: Actor Michael Douglas is hoping to get back with his wife....

...that, for anyone who gives a damn, is the most interesting news in today's TandT.

The front page is wasted on baffelgab about the health system, and the new, "businesslike" structures being imposed on it. The trouble is that health is not a business. You cannot run it as if it wre one. You cannot run it without considering its place among all of those things a society needs. And you cannot pick a number out of the blue, and arbitrarily call that a 'sustainable' budget.

I can think of a whole lot of unsustainable budgets out there, all being run by the same business mentality that's runing our hospitals. We just paid Mr. Irving hundreds of millions of excessive charges for some ice-breakers for our navy. At that rate, we shall have the world's most expensive and least useful navy. I see nothinig sustainable about that.

We maintain a system of charging the rich zero to minimal taxes while creating more and more poor - and expecting the poor to make up for the taxes the rich don't pay. What's sustainable about that?

We cut back on basic staff in our health system while grossly overpaying the new business executive types who administer it. How is that sustainable?

So we have a whole front page about how those clowns pick a number out of the air, and call it sustainable. There is no such thing as a standard, sustainable number. What is sustainable depends on who is paying how much, on what we happily spend on other things like ice-breakers, on what we spend to make billionaires  happy, on how much suffering we want to impose on the rest of us.

It also depends on some moral standard for the things we choose to provide. But big business does not have moral standards. That's not just a prejudice. It actually has none. The dominant belief of modern big business is that you think only of yourself, ignoring the needs of all others, that if you think only of yourself, the whole society will benefit.

For examples of how the whole society benefits from that sort of thinking, take a look at what has happened to the US economy. Take a look at the piles of bodies in Vietnan, Guatemala, Iraq..Take a look at the suffering and chaos all over Africa.

All this babbling about a more efficient and systainable health system is intellectual nonsense, a crude interference of big business in our health system - probably with a view to destroying it - and all wrapped up in a style of reporting that amounts to propaganda for the very simple-minded.

How we treat our ill is a moral issue. I see not a trace of moral principles of any sort in our new hospital administrations - just as there are no moral principles of any sort in our corporation world. Perhaps the next Reverend Doctor who speaks at the Irving Chapel will discuss that unless, of course, he has more important things to say about the beautiful flowers that God has created for us, and that Mr. Irving provides.

If there were moral principles  in our new hospital administration, , it would consider needs first, then it would lead a campaign to make our health system sustainable by reducing the bloated profits we hand on a platter to outfits like Irving Shipyards.

The story featrures a picture of Health Minister Ted Flemming whose wide countenance and collar size suggest a need for some "focused health care" from a nutritionist.  (By the way, what the hell is "unfocussed" health care? Does it mean that if you go in with a broken leg, they give you a laxative or something?)

Section A, p. 4 features a free ad for Liberal leader Brian Gallant who says the major issues in the next election will be (drumroll, majorettes, firecrackers) the economy and leadership. (Well, perhaps also motherhood). Man, how's that for a platform? Boy, he lays it right on the line.

On unemployment, Gallant says, without fear of contradiction, that  the Conservatives should have a plan. Way to blaze it over the plate, baby.

His party will have some plans. Good plans. Damn right. Here's a man who has the courage to speak out in favour of good plans.


Anyway,the reality is that  the issue for the next election is neither the economy nor even good plans. We are now in the desperate position of having to to decided who will run this province. Will it be us? Or will it be Mr. Irving? If we vote either the Conservatives or the Liberals into power, then it doesn't matter a damn which of those two we vote for, Mr. Irving will be the boss.

Nothing much in NewsToday (as usual), though there is a good story just begging to be reported.

You've heard of the TD Bank? Well, of course. After all, one of our former premiers has a job there. Well, it seems TD's American operation has just had to pay 52 and half million dollars - and that was just to keep the issue out of court were it could have led to criminal charges.

There's a man in prison serving fifty years for running a Ponzi scheme - with, it seems, the cooperation of the good ol' TD.   He kept his accounts in the TD; and it, though it noted suspicious patterns of transfer of funds, did not report them as the law requires it to.

Worse, when investors inquired about those suspicious movements, TD officers lied to them.

So that's why the bank paid out 52 and a half mil to avoid going to court.

Over the past dozen years, banks in the western world have become notorious for unethical and illegal behaviour. That's why we're having a recession. Sorta makes ya  proud to see one of our banks in on the trend.

Too bad the TandT had no room for the story. But it really needed that space for the big story about Michael Douglas and his wife.

Clever column by Alec Bruce which, unfortunately, will be taken by most readers according to their own prejudices.

Norbert has a good one.

The editorial is trivial, and close to childish. Gwynne Dyer's column is right - I hope. Though there is, I think, going to be one hell of a struggle between those who want wars with Syria and Iran, and whose who don't.

Interesting letter from the editor "Time for NDP to spit out answers". I don't entirely agree with that - though I like the tone of the letter.. I think the NDP has two other things to do first. make the point that New Brunswick has to decide whether this province is run by the people or by corporations. 2.It has to introduce a moral element into our thinking of what government is about. I don't mean it has to be a religious element. I do mean that a sense of morality and moral purporse is essential to the survival of any society, whether religious or atheist.

Having established that, then you "spit out" answers - and always in the context of who runs the province and what our moral basis is. Without those two points firmly extablished,  the "spitting out" of answers soon gets lost in bafflegab counter-arguments.

The NDP and the Greens are both parties created out of moral principals. The Canadian Liberals and Conservatives are not. That is the point that has to be driven home.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Sept. 23: Lies, stupidity, and the burning, sulphur smell of real evil....

Mr. Alward and his merry men, especially Craig Leonard, have made much of their claim that Professor Lapierre was honoured by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences when it invited him to be a speaker for its convention. But the National Academy of Sciences was not pleased to read that.

 It sent an  a mail to CBC four days ago making it clear that Lapierre was in no way being honoured. He was invited only because the academy was holding workshops on organizations like the Energy Institute; and it invited people like Lapierre not out of any interest in their opinions or scholarship - but only to answer questions about their operations. The Academy, obviously indignant at the lies, made it clear that honouring and/or respect for Lapierre's scientific record had nothing to do with it.

This was news. The CBC reported it.  But you won't find a word about it in today's TandT.                                                                                              

That is called lying by omission.

A clergyman in Sackville and government officials in Fredericton have said he should not lose his Order of Canada status because "he confessed up front - and that took courage". Actually, he did not confess "up front".  The CBC discovered he had faked his credentials. (The Irving press, of course, did not report it.)

Lapierre was silent for a week. Then, with the evidence now public and unquestionably true, he confessed. That is not what "up front" means. Perhaps some of the Sackville clergy and all of the Conservative party need a refresher course on what words mean.

But enough of Professor Lapierre. He is not the cause of the problem. He was never more than a stooge for the real villains, He was a stooge - as Mr. Alward (and the Liberals have been), as most of the editors and staff of the Irving press are.

The shale gas industry has been determined for over a decade to establish itelf in this province. It really doesn't give a damn what damage this might do to the environment or to people.  (It still has not been very open about where it is dumping its toxic waste. Nor have we heard a word about regulation for that waste.)  The idea that there should be regulations arose only recently when it became evident that large numbers of New Brunswickers were critical. That was when its stooges in government began their elaborate pretence of setting up regulations.

But the situation worsened  when the province's chief medical officer warned against fracking.  The Irving press butchered its report of her presentation. But that wasn't enough.

Enter Professor Lapierre, a man with a long record of making himself useful to big business and government. They sent him on a farcical tour to "listen to the public", and present a report that would dodge around Dr. Cleary. Then they made him head of an institute that would wink, wink, nudge, nudge supervise the "regulation" of shale gas development.

The Irving press, always happy to do what the boss tells it to, praised Lapierre as a man of world reputation. It praised the skills of the members of the institute he chose - though neither it nor Professor Lapierre had any qualification to judge their skills.

Indeed, the members are chosen from such a wide area of North America that - well - a nasty suspicion arises.

The shale as industry operates all over North America. Is it possible that all the institute members are academic prostitutes who were actually chosen by the shale industry itself?

A professor from Memorial University who actually has a relevant PhD has called for the closing of the energy institute The obviously fraudulent nature of it is why he thinks so. (The Irving press has not reported that story, either.)


The real problem facing us is not the stooges - not the Irving press, not the institute members, not Professor Lapierre. The real problem is a vicious, arrogant and irresponsible industry,  prominent among them some people who have been plundering this province for years, and who don't give a damn how much poverty and suffering and damage they cause. These are not stooges. These are the masters of the stooges - and they are more than vicious, arrogant and irresponsible. They are the genuine face of evil.

And if New Brunswick votes for their stooges in the Liberal and Conservatives again, it will create its own hell in this province.

NewsToday is just one page and a bit. But most of it is, in fairness, devoted to the big stories that really count - who won the Emmy award for drama, an interview with David Alward in which he says it's hard to be a premier, and Kurt Peackock's column applying his ignorance of economic and social questions to say nothing useful about our political prospects.


The editorial on our automobile traffic problem and our reliance on the automobile proposes solutions. All of their solutions are ones that most of the developed world abandoned two generatons ago. London, for example, does not encourage automobiles by building multi-level garages. Indeed, it forbids such garages in the busiest parts of the city, thereby encouraging people to use mass transit and leave their cars at home.


Norbert, blessedly, has finished his puerile series on his political platform. Today, he's back to his normal coverage of irrelevant but harmless little stories. So, instead of being obnoxious, today's column is just a waste of space.


Steve Malloy, again, writes on a topic some people would consider trivial. It's not trivial. And he brings the subject to life with  writing that combines passion with a common, day to day problem.


The Malloy and Alec Bruce columns  are the only items in this whole paper worth reading. And Bruce is very, very worth reading.

Oh, and there is an excellent letter to the editor, "Don't cut front line services".

There are also two letters agreeing with Norbert's ideas for New Brunswick's economy. Actually, his ideas were tried - and they failed miserably. It was called The Great Depression of the 1930s.


On Wednesday, Sept. 25, I shall be at the community college on Mountain St. registering people for my course on how to understand current events. The registration is from 12 to 1:30, and is sponsored by Tantramar Seniors.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sept. 22: Just a short one for a Sunday....

Do you know of the Atlantic Press Council?  It's a sort of Better Business Bureau. That is, it's an organization set up, supposely, to police people - in this case, journalists. In reality, though, it is very, very close to the people it's supposed to be policing. In effect, it's real job is to cover ass for the newspapers.

I had expected that. So I put it to the test about a year ago when I submitted a complaint about a grossly dishonest report in the TandT. After a pause to carefully study the story, they wrote to me that it was a fair and balanced story, well up to the highest standard.

Well, that was the kind of nonsense I had expected. But, being a bear for punishment, I wrote to them about last Monday's front page story, "Professor Lapierre hounded out of jobs"'

They wrote back that they handn't seen it. (What on earth does an office staff there do? I can't imagine they get many complaints since few know they exist. Don't they at least daily read the papers they are supposed to be authorities on?)

Three days later, the great man wrote back that he had seen the story (thanks to the incredible cooperation the editorial staff of the TandT).(And don't they have electronic subscriptions to the newspapers they're supposed to be policing?)  He said it was a fair and balanced story.

Now, I want to be charitable about this. It's possible the nobody in that office has a clue of what newspapers are about. Should I write back giving him a sort of building blocks lesson on what a news story is?

1. A headline is supposed to reflect the main point of the story.
the main point of the story is not "Professor Lapierre hounded out of jobs". It's not even a minor point. In the whole story there is no mention of anybody hounding him. Not one person. Not one word.

As well, 'hounding' is a strong word suggesting something close to malice and evil-doing. What malice? What evil-doing? This is a loaded, emotional word - and it has no connection with anything in the story.

2. The story is that Prof. Lapierre confessed to having  lied about his credentials. He did something very wrong. Doing something very wrong is not the same as being hounded, not even close. Indeed, what he did is so wrong, the university rector really had to fire him and to strip his honorary title of professor emeritus.

But the story told us very little about what he did wrong. Most of it was about what a wonderful scholar he was, how much he had done for the province, and long lines of gentle cooing.

That was a lying and heavily biased story from the start. Will the APC take note?

Not a chance. It can outlie even the Irving Press. That people at the APC know what they're paid to do. And that strikes a chilling note. The APS represents all newspapers in the Atlantic provinces. That reminded me of my time in Nova Scotia, and what stinkers I thought Halifax papers were. Then I taught three years at UPEI, and daily gagged on the Charlottetown paper.  (I shall never forget the day I was dazzled by a superb editorial in it. Then I discovered it had been copied from the New York Times - without credit.)

That's a really serious problem. There is no honest or intelligent newspapers in the whole region. Private radio, like everywhere else, is not to be taken seriously as a news source. Private TV is better, but still iffy.

There are only two trustworthy news sources. One is CBC. The others are the web sites that have sprung up as a protest against a tidal wave of lying and ignorance.

But nah. I won't write to APC. The only qualification for a job there is to know how to write eleven  words.

"We consider this to be a fair and  unbiased news story."

Saturday, September 21, 2013


... that's a fast-breaking story featured on page 1, and written by crusading reporter Brent Mazerolle. I'll bet you didn't know that Canadians like coffee. But nobody can fool young Brent. Read the story now. Read it while it's hot. And get ready for the changes that means in your life. Look! Up in the's a bird, it's a plane, it's....

Most of the rest of section A is downhill from that flash. But there is an item worth reading on A2. It's the report of the statement by the rector of U de M on the case of Prof. Lapierre. It's an intelligent statement, and an honest one - so far the only honest and intelligent statement I have seen on this issue. Unfortunately, reporter Shawn Berry turned a full quarter of the story over to Mr. Alward's spin-doctor view - which has already been reported - many times.

Alward is still pretending that Lapierre was taken on for his skill in bringing people together. Mr. Alward, you are - - dishonest. At the time of his appointment, you didn't say a word about his people skills. It was all about what a brilliant scholar he was the field of ecology. You and the Irving Press pushed that line hard. You even used it, quite deliberately, and the Irving press quite deliberately lied to give the impression that his understanding of health issues (in which he has no more training than I have) was superior to that of Dr. Cleary.

If anything, the reporters should now be interviewing Dr. Cleary, apologizing for the damage that they have done to her and the people of this province. And, this time, they might give us an accurate account of her warnings.

But there is not the slightest chance that either the Irving Press the government will show the intelligence or integrity or fundamental decency to do that. Nor has Liberal leader Gallant covered himself with glory in this. Of course not. He wouldn't dare to anything that Mr. Irving doesn't like. He is fully as sleazy and as servile as those who have gone before him.

Professor Lapierre is not a poor soul who has been the sad victim of a teeny, tiny mistake. He is a man who lied to promote himself, and who, in doing so betrayed the people of New Brunswick, putting them at risk. If  you still think this is a tragedy in a class with Hamlet, then go away and cry quietly, wiping your eyes and blowing your nose into the Times and Transcript.

Most disappointing is the reaction - or lack of it - from the people of New Brunswick. They sometimes remind me of a story my father told me about a man who, after long suffering, decided he had to stand up to a bully.

"Sir", he said. "You have driven my wife to suicide. You have beaten and enlsaved my children. You have burned my house. You have taken my money...but I warn you sir.....some day you will push me too far."

When are New Brunswickers going to wake up, and realize what is being done to them?

If you find anything in NewsToday, please let us know. Most newspapers have a news editor who knows what is going on around the world, and what it important to print. Such a news editor also studies all the news services for their input - not just old standards like The Canadian Press.

Such an editor then uses that knowledge to select which stories are most important, and which are essential to broaden our understanding. The Irving press doesn't seem to have such a person. The result  is a NewsToday section dominated by trivia, propaganda, and whatever other trash is lying around and cheap. But there is a story out there that we should know about.

Both Russia and the US have sent major units of their fleets to the eastern Mediterranean. It's a safe bet that both have nuclear subs there, and both have nuclear subs carrying nuclear weapons on station and on the alert. All it would take one, tiny misjudgement.

There are powerful players in Israel and the US who want an attack on Syria. There are also powerful players in the arab world who want it. As well, it is the essential step to an attack on Iran which Israel and American hawks desperately want to attack. They've wanted such an attack for decades - for reasons that have nothing to do with nuclear research in Iran, but everything to do with control of the world's oill supply. And that is a matter of great concern to, among others, Russia, China, Pakistan and India..

This is a crisis which is far greater than the one when the US and the Soviet Union came close to nuclear war. I remember the one over Cuba. I remember the fear.

But nowadays, we are all massaged by a corrupt press. The word 'Syria' doesn't even appear in today's paper.
The editorial is trivial. In his column, Bill Belliveau is right about the faults of Alward but, like the Liberal party he always seems to speak for, he has nothing different to offer.

Norbert, bless his little, little heart, has ended his impossibly silly series on a party platform. Today is spent mostly in congratulating himself for his insight. He even has the nerve to criticize voters for being uninformed. How can he be so dumb as to say that when his is the newspaper devoted to keeping them uninformed?

Curiously, he does have a  paragraph of praise for one politician. Just one. The late Jack Layton, who led the NDP.

I can agree with his judgement on this. But how come Norbert and his newspaper have never in their entire history had a good word to say for the NDP? In fact, they normally don't mention it at all. So let it all out , Norbert. Write a whole column on how you admire the NDP, and why.

And then Mr. Irving will slap your little bottom.

On op ed, Brent Mazerolle produces his usual zero. Gwynne Dyer, informed and articulate is the only item in the editorial and op ed pages worth reading.


The faith page has the usual boring and trivial sermonette which, as always, takes care never to say anything that might deal with real life. Any moral questions about Prof. Lapierre taking on responsibilities he was unqualified for? Anything unChristian about the US operating torture prisons around he world? Anything morally wrong with the decisions that led to the deaths in Lac Megantic?
Anything wrong with the US cutting 40 billion dollars from its food stamp programme so it can afford extravagant profits for the billionaires of the defence industry? (It's a practice also known in Canada. Ask Irving Shipyards all about it.)

Nah. Let's not talk about nasty things. Let's talk about how pretty it is when the birdies sing in the trees. And how about those pie sales, eh?


All of the student columns are worth a read They beat the editorial page and most of the rest of the paper by a mile.


I also read the comic strip, Blondie. It's seldom funny. But it's been around for close to a century, the oldest comic strip still in business. So I know just how it feels.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Sept. 20: The "know-how" of big business in New Brunswick...

As we can read on p. 32, it does not matter that Professor Lapierre was unqualified in science for the jobs he took on. No. He wasn't hired for his scientific reputation. It was for his wonderful talent in bringing people together to talk.

Sorta makes ya stop and think, don't it? I mean, if he was hired for his lovable self, why did the TandT waste so much space for a year talking about his scientific stature? You know, the one he doesn't have. And why was his scientific opinion used to discredit Dr. Cleary? - who does have the qualifications to make useful statements on shale gas?

And Mr. Alward praises Professor Lapierre's contributions Exactly what contributions were these? Could Bit Al give us a little information on that?

The reality is that for years Professor Lapierre used and was used by corporations and governments of this province to serve their own purposes. He was put in highly responsible positions that affected the life and safety of each of us. And in doing that, they didn't bother in all those  years to check his qualifications.

Hell, you can't get a job sweeping floors without references and some smattering of qualifications.  But in all the big corporations, in government, in print journalism, in private radio and TV, nobody had the wit to make the five minute phone call that would have cleared it all up. There are only two, possible explanations for that.

Nobody in government or big business had the brains ot make a simple check of a person who was being put in highly responsible position. If so, that means our leaders in big business and in politics are a rare collection of village idiots - a genetic fault that also shows up in private news media.

Or if means they didn't give a damn. Of those two possibilities, well, I wouldn't dream of calling our economic and political leaders village idiots. They knew exactly what they were getting by using Lapierre. Lapierre was wrong in acting as a stooge. But they were wrong in acting as irresponsible and sociallly dangerous scoundrels. If any criminal charges are possible in this, they should be aimed at the real villains - our economic and political bosses.


For a change, page 1 has a major story that is important. A Moncton woman who says she was repeatedly sexually assaulted has been denied her day in court. It's important for us to be reminded that this sort of thing does not happen just in Jody Dallaire's column.

In all of Canada, it is estimated that only one in ten of sexual assaults on women get reported. Of those that are reported, only one in a hundred leads to conviction. It is quite common, almost the the rule, for prosecutors to refuse such cases. That means that victims of sexual assault have one chance in a thousand of getting justice done. So much for the equality of men and women in our enlightened country.


Even NewsToday has, on p.C9, an important story. Canada has refused to accept a request from the Human Rights Council of the United Nations for an investigation into violence against native women in Canada.

No big deal? Well, just imagine the council making such a request of a Moslem country. and the Moslem country refusing.  I can almost hear John Baird denouncing such a refusal from a Moslem nation as outrageous. (And I can just see milions of Canadians pointing self-righteous fingers at such a nation.)

Perhaps all the self-righteous might give some thought to demanding that we investigate violence against native women - and that we investigate the indifference of our courts towards women who are victims of sexual assault.


Still missing is the big story on  how Irving, the noted philantropist and winner of awards for his generosity,  seems to be grossly over-charging you and me to build ice-breakers for National Defence. Perhaps Professor Lapierre could chair a committee to examine this.

There is also a story on Syria. But it's essentially propaganda designed make us agree to a US attack on that nation. The more important development is not mentioned at all. There is brutal figthing going on between groups of "rebels".  Those who are jihadists - what our press would call extremists and terrorists - are slaughtering moderate Moslem fighters.

That's right, folks. The freedom fighters on our side are murdering the other freedom fighters on our side. And both sides are killing with the weapons supplied from the US and its Middle East Allies. And neither side is made up of Syrians.  They're almost all mercenaries from outside the country, none of whom have any interest in democracy of any sort.

That's why we have to bomb all the other Syrians  (the people who actually are Syrians) to establish a fake democracy with a government actually made up of the invaders - or whichever group of the invaders comes out on top.

But it's like the case of Prof. Lapierre's wonderful work. You don't have to understand it. Just believe.


Alec Bruce has a respectable and well-written column on the civil servants' pension dispute. I don't at all agree with him because he takes no account of the tremendous flow of wealth in this province, this country and the world, from everybody else to the very, very rich.

There's lots of money that could be used for pensions and services. But it's being looted in the greatest mass pillage the world has ever seen.  However, it's still a respectable column.

Norbert continues with his outline of a  political platfrom that gets sillier, vaguer, and less relevant each day. Roughly, what he says today is that he would do good things. That's nice. One of his key planks is there would be no more free drinks included in government meals. Well, that should take care of the deficit.

Cole Hobson, like Rod Allen and other staff writers, produces a column which tells a simple story. However, unlike Rod Allen and other staff writers, there is a point to Hobson's stories. He's worth reading.

And David Suzuki has a superb column. But Mr.Alward would never call on him to chair a committee to control the development of shale gas in the province.  I mean, Suzuki doesn't have a degree in education.


Oh, an afterthought. Have you noticed that neither the Irving Press nor the government has mentioned that Lapierre was the stooge who was used to discredit the opinion of Dr. Cleary?The TandT participated quite gladly in that fraud. It also declined to report her winning of a national award for taking the stand that she did.

So where are the apologies from all those liars and manipulators? So far, I have not seen the name of Dr. Cleary mentioned even once in the recent stories about Professor Lapierre. We have been lied to. We have been placed in serious danger by shale gas corporations and their stooges.  None of that part of the story is coming out. It makes me wonder. What does it take to make New Brunswickers realize that they have been grossly abused by their economic and political leaders for generations?  That they have been treated as expendable.  What does it take to make New Brunswickers angry?

Oh. I know.

I'm not going to go to  your stupid CFL game. So there.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sept. 19: Ain't never seen nuthin' like it - not since Dr. Goebbels was Hitler's news chief...

First, I'm sorry that my computer is ignoring my paragraph structure, creating long strings of sentences. I'll try to correct it with more spacing.

The big headline on p. 1 is stunning. "Lapierre hounded from jobs". Hounded. The implication is clear. He was treated brutally, unfairly, maliciously chased from his good work. Hounding is the work of the vicious, the hateful, the cowardly.

This is the story as told by Brent Mazerolle and Shawn Berry. I don't know what school trained those two in journalism; but I'll sure as hell bet it isn't bragging about them. This isn't just biased writing. This is deliberate, shameless lying propaganda. It is beneath contempt for any journalist to write this as news, and beneath contempt for any editor to permit it.

A news story is supposed to tell the news - what happened. The news is that Prof. Lapierre resigned his positions, including our chief officer for regulation of the shale gas industry. He resigned because he had lied about his qualifications. He did not have a PhD in ecology. His PhD was in education, in the teaching of ecology. That is really quite different, rather like claiming a degree in automotive engineering when really having one in teaching people how to drive.

Indeed, I am astonished that the government and the shale gas industry (and Brunswick News) never thought to examine Prof. Lapierre's qualifications (or lack of them) when they used him to discredit Dr. Crealy (who does have a doctorate in medicine), and to put him in charge of a project affecting the health and even the lives of everyone in this province.

Professor Lapierre made statements it was clear, even at the time, he was not qualified to make. He then took on a job he was unqualified to do, and did it knowing he was unqualified and that hundreds of thousands might suffer as a result. And he has done that sort of thing regularly throughout his career.  That's the news story.

Nobody hounded him. CBC did what a news agency is supposed to do. It told the facts. Brunswick News lied by omission. It was clear days ago that Prof. Lapierre had lied about his qualifications. It was important that the public should know that. The CBC told the truth. Brunswick News tried to cover up.

That's why Harper and the corporation bosses of this country would love to kill CBC so that we will have to rely entirely on liars and propagandists like Brunswick News. And on hired stooges like Brent Mazerolle and Shawn Berry.

As presented, this story is not news. It's opinion. It's lying opinion. But it is opinion. That's not supposed to be presented as news. It's supposed to be labelled opinion.

Here, we have a piece full of loaded language. He was "hounded". What hounding? What are they talking about? (Don't tell the police if you see those criminals on the run from Halifax. Brent and Shawn will saying you're hounding them.)

In a long and wordy report of what Prof. Lapierre's real qualifications are, the story manages to give the impression that degrees in education are pretty much the same as degrees in science. The story goes on to heap praise on him for filling so many positions that he was quite unqualified to fill. The obvious question now is who chose him to fill those positions - and why. The story doesn't raise these questions.

There are crocodile tears that this will tarnish his reputation. Well, yes. And so it should. His misrepresentation has put lives at risk. Would the TandT weep at news that a bank robber had been discovered?

He was, we are assured, a distinguished teacher. Bullshit. Universities know nothing about education, and are incapable of telling between a distinguished teacher and a pigeon. And what qualifications, I wonder, do Mazerolle and Berry have to pronounce on the skills of a teacher?

And what the hell does that have to do with anything in this case? He lied about his qualifications. If he was the greatest teacher in the world, if he could dance a tango on his knees, he still lied about his qualifications. Worse, nobody in the university or the government or the business world or private news media had the wit or integrity to do a simple check of his qualifications.

The tragedy is that our health and safety were placed in the hands of a man who lied about his qualifications and who, in fact, was used to discredit the reputation of a woman who did know what she was talking about. Dr. Cleary tried to save lives. Prof. Lapierre was willing to risk them in order to please the bosses.

The story closes with a note that those awful anti-shale gas people will probably use this. I expect they will, and with eminently good reason - just as the shale gas companies and the government used Prof. Lapierre to discredit the reputation of our chief medical officer. if anything, Btunswick News now owes her an apology.

Oh, yeah. Mazerolle and Berry note that he was "forthright" in admitting he had "misrepresented" himself. Forthright? That's a nice word. So is 'misrepresented". That's what's called loaded language.

What a miserable, lying rag this is. I plan to send copies of this "news story" to friends who are journalists or who teach journalism. It's a prime example of the newspaper world of "presstitution".

The editorial is another kiss-up for Alward and Mckenna. There can be no doubt about it. Mr. Irving has decided that Alward is his boy. I don't know why. I've seen no evidence that Gallant is any different from the usual run of Conservative and Liberal leaders..


Norbert continues his vague and frequently silly and always pretentious list for his platform of 2014. The only part worth reading is "The last word". It's a quotation from Bertrand Russell. "The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation."

Quite possibly true. But isn't Norbert aware that the Irving version of capitalism is based on competition - the opposite of cooperation?  Doesn't Norbert read his own columns in favour of competition?

Rod Allen breaks with tradition to try to write something intelligent and useful. Alas! He fails.

As usual, Alec Bruce and Jody Dallaire are the class acts, the only class acts, in the whole paper.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sept. 18: Park or Ride to CFL game.

That's the big news, front page story for today. Boy, I'll bet no other city in the world can offer that that service. And, at that, it's a modest claim. If you're going to an NFL game in Moncton, you can also walk, run, ride a bicycle, hop on a pogo stick, crawl, or lie down in the bicycle lane and roll to the game. Only in Moncton. I have no idea why some genius of an editor thought that this was not only a story, but the big story of the day. Nor do I understand how one can park TO a game. I have often driven TO a game, then parked AT it. Parking TO a game must be one of the things you can do only in Moncton. However, in a major break with tradition, there is also a real news story on page 1. A group of residents of Mpncton, Dieppe and Riverview have organized public discussion of how to make metro a region of mass trsnsportation by 2040. That's certainly an intelligent and responsible move - and necessary. It's too bad we're not seeing any similar intelligent and responsible and necessary move from our governments at any level. In cities like Hong Kong and Rome and London and New York, only a fool would drive a car, given the convenient, fast and cheap mass transportation available. (Alas! These cities still have large fool populations.) But by 2004, there is likely to be no choice but mass transportation for any city. And I have seen precious little government planning for that day. So, it's congratulations to the hundred residents who are showing more brains and foresight than any of our elected officials. The only other story in Section A that (might) be worth reading is yet another on the Oland killing. By contrast, here is still no mention of all those killed at Lac Megantic. There is no mention of the connection of Irving Oil to those killings. Nor has any reporter or editor at Brunswick News had the wit or integritay to ask whether such volatile cargo is still being sent to St. John. Whoever killed Mr. Oland is not likely to kill again. But the who or what caused a mass killing in Lac Megantic is quite another matter. That's news we need, even more than we need the news we can either park or ride to the NFL game. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Newstoday has six pages of ads, two of news. Most of the news is trivial. Only one is worth reading. "N.B. to privatize non-clinical services management". (This refers to cleaners,and other maintenance workers.) The explanation for it is that this will introduce "new technologies and innovative management practices." The result is to be savings in costs. And the technical term to describe all of the above is "bafflegab". New technolocgies and business practices are not secrets. They are readily available to anybody who wants to know them. And they are usually designed to benefit the bueiness, not the consumer. And the business of the business is to make money, nothing else. Related to that, business has to be paid enough not only to cover the cost - but to produce a profit. So what we are almost certain to get out of this deal is poorer service at greater cost. Contracting to private business also quite commonly introduces corruption into the system. That's why US defence budgets are so high. (And Canada is not innocent in this area.) Result - privatization of non-clinical services in our health system will almost certainly cost more, not less. So why is the government doing this? The answer is obvious. We have a government(and an opposition) run by Mr. Irving. Mr. Irving wants privataization of everything so that he and his friends can control everything, and make money out of everything. Privatization of non-clinical services in health is much like Mr. Irving's "generosity" in interfering in education. It's the thin edge of the wedge to an ever-widening privatization of health care so that the Irvings of this world can get richer while the rest of us get sicker. There is no evidence that privatization will save us a cent. There is no evidence that the present system is inefficient. This whole game is simply greed at work. And damn the public interest. Oh - and the story uses the usual propaganda words. This will be a "partnership" between business and government. But... In a democracy, business has no business being a partner of government. I am not a partner of government. You are not a partner of government. We are subjects of government, all of us, and that includes Mr.Irving. Our national anthem is O Canada, not O Canada and Irving Oil. To say that business is in a "partnership" with government is a (very arrogant) claim that business is an equal to government. In a democracy, that cannot be. In New Brunswick, it is true that business has assumed not only equality with government but superiority to it. And once we accept that, we had all better start learning to click our heels, and shout "Sieg Heil." Watch for that word "partnership". This is a word that often appears in business releases and in Brunswick News. I suspect it is used quite deliberately to make us think of such a relationship as natural and normal. It isn't. It's the first, big step from democracy to fascism. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Today has another kiss-kiss editorial for Alward, which suggests Mr. Irving has decided who he will vote for. An important column by Alec Bruce gives some hint of how governments and big business are in collusion in the takeover of universities and of scientific research in Canada. in both business administration and science, the idea of producing thinkers and truth-seekers is out the window. Instead, they produce trained seals. (I've also seen it in economics and political science.) The op ed page is lining for your box of kitty litter. But intelligent cats might be offended. Norbert's dreary platform-making goes on, In the fifth column of this one, he says the magic words "partnerships" and "PPP" (public private partnerships). Sieg Heil. Grants and favours to business will cease. Good idea. Glad to hear it. So how come Norbert has never written once about such grants and favours to Irving? And Ddes that mean tax breaks to the rich will be ended? Norbert is silent on this point. But they probably won't be ended. Instead, "We'll invite our corporate elite and wealthiest citizens (who already contribute generously in giving back) to join in a new effort to spur development." Our rich already contribute generously by giving back? You mean like Mr. Irving contributed so generously to education? Great idea, Norbert. Tell you what. You let me pay close to zero taxes, and I'll contribute voluntarily back. And we can have a banquet honouring me and naming me citizen of the year with Frank McKenna as the speaker, and I'll give a little talk about how I am humbled. Norbert - why not tax that "elite" properly in the first place? I'm sure that would raise a lot more than their "generous donations"; and then we'd have the money we need to run this province without all the slobbering thank you banquets, and thank you speeches by ex-politicians who have learned how to make the system work for them. In general, Norbert assures us he is going to do good things. Ever read a platrform that promised to do bad ones? In general, he has no idea what he's talking about. And he has one sentence that is hopelessly beyond understanding. It is firm. It is a good thing. It is said with all the air of certainty that Norbert always carries. It's just that it makes no sense. "Public safety will be an equally high priority. 'Nice to have' takes a back seat to 'necessary'." What is the possible connection between those two sentences? Is something that is "nice to have" dangerous? Is something that is "necessary" by definition safe? So far, Norbert has produced a platform that suggests no foundation in any ethical or moral code I have ever heard of. (Talk about "empty platitudes".) Most of his promises are so vague that he is simply saying he will do 'good' things, which is what every platform promises. Worse, he shows a complete ignorance of any principle of economics or government. Still worse, he repeats the jargon of "partnerships" that not only allows the rich and big business to interfere in government, but also propagandizes a respect for fascism. Norbert, you are NOT a partner of government. I am NOT a partner of government. Mr. Irving is Not a partner of government. We all have the same right ot vote. But we are ALL subjects, not partners. Norbert - go back to your harmless little stories about how you read a good book. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Words to Inspire (under Bulletin Board on the op ed page) quotes a paassage from Matthew that every word in (The Bible) must happen. I'm glad to hear it. Why don't we begin with public stoning of disobedient children. We could hold it at Highfield Square, and charge admission, attracting tens of thousands to the hub city and reviving business on Main St. You will find this authorized in Deuteronomy 22:18-21. The stoning, incidentally must be done only by men. Indeed, it might be necessary to refuse admission to women for the word tells us that women must stay in submission - 1 Corinthians 14: 34. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________