Friday, November 1, 2013

Interesting news....

...but not in any of the Irving papers. So let's start with some interesting stuff.

Yesterday, the TandT carried a front page story on how a young girl went from Halifax to Moncton by Via rail for the first time, and how she even got to blow the whistle. There's a somewhat similar story today (but no in the TandT) about a nine-year old girl who went all the way from Pakistan to Washington. It had been arranged for her to speak to Congress, along with her brother and father. Grandmother couldn't go. She had been blown to pieces while they were all working in their vegetable garden. In fact, her wounds were so terrible that doctors and others refused to let the family look at her body. The children were wounded, too.

US and Canadian news agencies, if they mentioned it at all, called it a strike on militants. One more victory in the war on terror. The pilot of the drone wasn't there, of course. He, like other warriors up in the "blue sky yonder" never left the ground. He drove from his home not far from Washington to a sort of computer game store where he slipped into a mock cockpit, switched on a screen, pushed a few burrons - and an unpiloted airplane took off from a base in Afghanistan.

Then the pilot checked the list of his targets (it is drawn up at the White House every morning.)

The children told congress you can hear the sound of the drones all the time. They describe it as a zung, zung, zung And then the world went dark.

The attack was reported to the press (and published) as the killing of militants. The US has carried out 376 attacks on Pakistan - though not only militants got killed. More reliable estirmates suggest 926 civilians killed, including 200 children.

At the end of the day, the pilot climbs out of his "poane", submits his report, and wonders if he'll get a medal. There really are medals specifically for the heroes of the computer garmes room.

So the Rehman fanily went to Washington for an arranged meeting with both houses of congress.

Five congressmen showed up.
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But this wasn't important enough for the Irving press.

Then there's the case of Detroir. With the export (thanks to free trade) of all its jobs, Detroit has been turned over to its creditors - mostly the banks - to make sure they get their money back. There is no longer a democracy in  Detroit, no longer city elections. The people of Detroit have not a word in the running of their city. They are their simply to be  bled dry by the banks, thanks to free trade over which they had no control.

8,000 retired police, firemen and other city workers have lost they health insurancee. In the US, that's as good as a death warrant. Many others will follow to lose even more.  And this bankruptcy is permanent. It will never end. Detroir will be run by a bank lawyer.

Since Detroit is 80% black, the lawyer is black. It works well to get people to think they've risen to equal rights becauase one of their own is the boss.  You know, the way American blacks in general used to think when they elected Obama.

Other cities will follow. In all of them, democracy will be ended to be replaced by corporate rule.
Of course, many cities have white majorities; so they['ll be run  by white lawyers.

Googbye American democracy. We  hardly even knew ye'.
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It's tougher to find news to comment on in the Irving Press.

There's an interesting story on P. 1 about how native peoples might have a strong case for control over their own land. Alward and the gas industry had little trouble getting the non-native population to say, "yes sir, yes sir, three bags full". But the native people are proving to be a lot more astute.

What some   (including me) will find disturbing is that for some native peoples it's just a question of getting a better deal - as is, "would you like steak or chciken before your execution."

There's an even more disturbing story on p. A2 that New Brunswick will give substantial sums of money to our universities to support researth. Sounds good? That's how it's supposed to sound.

The research is to be for big business. In other words, out taxes are yet another gifr to big business in the province - you know - big business, the ones that are supposed to be private enterprise, that are out there in the world fighting their own battles with no help from anybody, the ones who are smarter than governments, the ones who think government should be smaller ---except when it's handing tax money over to them.

Funny that a premier who has people starving in his cities has to hand them over the volunteer charities. But he can find big money to hand over millions to billionaires (who pay little tax).

Our universities are a mess. They have been effectively taken over by the very rich. They treat their undergraduate students as though they are they only to pay the bills. They have given virtually no thought to their essentical role in a democratic society (if we still  have such a society), and they can't teach worth a poop.

But, oh, my, they're good for big business.
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Somewhere in the paper, I saw the Senate described as the chamber of "sober, second thught". Apart from the implicationi that the House of Commons is always drunk, that description is just plain wrong.

It doesn't now provide sober second thought; and it was never designed for that purpose. The truth is that our founding fathers were not big fans for democracy. Democracy could elect the wrong kind of people, layabouts who would want things like minnimum wage, health care, etc. The Senate was designed to prevent that.

Senators would be chosen by a thoughtful and  sober man like John A. Macdonald who would make sure it was well staffed with bank and railroad esecutives, people faithful to his principles, who would block any foolish ideas. (John A had no quarrels with big business in politics. In part of his career as prime minister, he was also pesident of a life insurance company.)

Over the years, Senate gradually changed to a body largely of party hacks - especially those from one of the two, safe parties. Senators of "advanced ideas" have been rare. Many have had no training in government or law. At least one was a hockey player. (Nothing wrong with being a hockey player. But can you imagine an NHL team drafting a senator?)

Nor is there any reason why senators should be appointed (or elected) to represent any province. Ours is a government that is supposed to repreresnt people. It is not there to represent mountarn ranges, farmlands, cities, or the power brokers of any province. It represents people - one person, one vote.

The House of Commons does that. We don't need a senate that represents little bunches of people. There are provincial government to look after provincial affairs. NB doesn't have a senate to represent the rest of Canada. Canada does not need senators to represent NB. NB already has its reprentation in the house of Commons as with, God help us, George Goguen.

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As to ed and op ed pages, The editorial is one more piece of boosteriem

The edditorial is vague. Again, it's on sprucing up downtown but lacking any ideas on the subject, The writer, in effect, just says' "something must be done". (By the way, he or she seems to think that panhandlers hang out only on poor streets. Nonsense. I've been in a lot of cities on four continents. Panhandlers work the active and fun streets where there's easy money. They'd love a dressed up downtown.)

Norbert does the usual ignorant and sneering piece about native peoples. Well, it's worse than that. It's an embarassing display of ignorance, bigotry and racism. Then, he  goes on to rant in similar style about federal economics, and then on to a third but pointless topic.

So far, as I read Norbert and also read statements by native leaders, Norbert sounds increaingly ignorant and crude.

Alec Bruce has a well-written piece. And it is true that we  are confused about a great many things that call for decisions. Alas. They call for decisions NOW. We can't put them off. - which means that even a columnist cannot forever sit on a limb.

Cole Hobston seems to be followinto into the Rod Allen school of journalism - just shootin' the breeze. That's not what a column is for.

Too bad. Hobston has more talent than that.

Excellent column by Suzuki.

 

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