Saturday, December 14, 2013

Dec. 14: Egg on my face.....

When I heard it on CBC news, I chortled with joy. (You chortle a lot as you get older; it's less tiring than laughing.) It was a story about how the Board of Transport got a warrant to search the St. John offices of Irving.

There was no way, no way, I thought that the Irving press would run this story. I looked forward to the Saturday paper.

hah! As I suspected, it wasn't on the front page. Then I turned the page. And I was disgruntled. You do a lot of disgruntling, too, as you get older. They had it - on A2.

Well, I thought,at least they'll put a false spin on it - like they did with prof. Lapierre.

But, no. The story was honest, balanced, factual. In fact, it was a model of what a news story should be. The writer is Jennifer Pritchard. Good stuff.

But that's it. There was another story of some importance, "UdeM history book launches on Monday". But the coverage is pretty sparse. Too bad, because here is an opportunity to do something to encourage literacy in a province in which it badly needs encouragement.

Almost all big, grown-up newspapers have book review sections. These stimulate interest in books and learning. You get someone with expertise and impartiality (NOT Brent Mazerolle) to write an informed judgement of the book.

But the TandT seems to work as a commercial flyer rather than as a newspaper. It's nice to see a book is being launched - but a story based on just that is simply an ad, and a boring one at that. You need a review to give it substance.

On the Irving case, good story, well reported. On the history book, the reporter did a good job of writing up the launch. But a book needs more than a reporter. It needs a reviewer. (from outside the loop).

And that's it for section A. The rest is zip. There's a big story that Bernard Lord's son is doing well at school. A BIG story. There are other students in the province doing well, too. But this is the son of Bernard Lord.

Who could bloody care?
The only story in NewsToday worth a read is "Khadr explains his guilty pleas". I know, of course, that many, perhaps most, Canadians have made up their minds about Khadr.

Khadr pleaded guilty to charges against him because that was the only way to get transferred to Canada. If he had denied the charges, the US would have held him at Guantanamo forever.

The Canadian intelligent agents who visited Khadr  (Canada was supposed to be intervening to  help Khadr as a Canadian citizen) actually and improperly gave the US intelligence more information. (sort makes ya proud to be a Canadian, eh?)

There was and is no evidence that Khadr killed anybody - or tried to. He was a fifteen year old in a yard full of people when it was stormed by US special forces. Almost immediately, he was terribly wounded. So the US soldiers picked up a wounded 15 year old kid, accused him of murdering a US soldier, stuffed him into the horror of Guantanamo where the US needed guilty people to sustain American anger.

In fact, who was murdering who?  Were there tens of thousands of heavily armed Afghanis all over the US shooting up American back yards? And if a terrified American kid had killed one of them, would we be so loudly and righteously indignant?

US troops were going through Afghanistan murdering people. There was no reason for war. The Taliban may be unsavoury, but they had nothing to do with 9/11. That was a cooked-up war planned long before 9/11, and supported only by lies.

The Canadian government has long abandoned its responsibility to represent a Canadian citizen. And it is determined he will serve his full sentence in order to cater to the brutalities of Bush and Obama.

You think all that is okay?

I can only look forward to the day when you are in a Guantamo, and need Stephen Harper to represent you.

There's not even a mention in NewsToday of the China-Japan-US-South Korea-North Korea-Taiwan confrontation which could bring us closer to nuclear war than we have been in fifty years.
Interesting column by Mike Elliott in Whatever. I don't agree with word of it. But this is the kind of thing that teen-agers and others - lots of others - should think seriously about.

What does it matter what life is about? It might not, as Mike says, matter to the stars, each of which is a long way from anything else. But we  have to live with each other. And that's a big part of what life is about - and what way you choose to live makes a big difference not only to you but to everyone else.

Mike's thinking is often way out. And that's good. If  you really want to think, then often you have to think the unthinkable.

Norbert has the nerve to discuss the limits of freedom of speech. His case looks reasonable. Information, as from government, should be freely available unless that there is good reason to withhold it. Sounds good.

But there's alway a reason to withhold it, isn't there?The US government didn't want people to know it was hacking their computers and their phones to collect information on them. Well, there was a good reason for the government to hide something that was not only illegal in many cases, but also contrary to the constitution.

When somebody at city hall released information about big cheques handed over to a wealth man for a hockey team, The TandT thought this release was terribly wrong.

There's always a good reason to withhold information  -and the Irving press must have some sort of  prize in that ranking of hiding the truth.

"Bill" Beliveau writes yet another column on our budget deficit - and again without mention of how of that deficit is due to money the corporations and the very rich don't pay.

He praises the prosperity of Israel without noting a) that much of it comes in the form of annual grants of billions from the US or b) that Israel has some of the worst poverty in the developed world, and the worst income gap. Nor does he mention that Israel is losing population at a growing rate as discouraged Israelis migrate to the US, Canada, France and, yes, Germany.

And Israel is surrounded by enemies and in a constant state of war? Oh? And when was the last time Israel was attacked by these enemies? Or, more to the point, when was the last time Israel attacked them? (It wasn't long ago). And when was the last time Israel demanded attacks on its 'enemies'? ) Think Syria and Iran.

And poor, little Israel, it only has some 200 nuclear missiles to defend itself.

Then he ends with a vision of New Brunswick full of young entrepreneurs which he refers to as the best and brightest in the world.

For openers, where is the evidence that entrepreneurs are the best and brightest of anything?

And who is it that's behind all this propaganda we see that entrepreneurs are the solution to all our problems?  Take a look at the real world. Any country in poverty  (Guatemala, Congo, Haiti, Bangladesh) is a country put into poverty and kept there by its entrepreneurs.

Think of all the countries you ever heard of that have been led to prosperity and happiness by an enterpreneur. In fact, very, very few entrepreneurs  have become political leaders.  Shoosh. Next thing we'll hear is that Mandella was an entrepreneur.

Brent Mazerolle does what he does best  - an utterly irrelevant story mostly about himself.

Gwynne Dyer is optimistic about the French role in putting down genocide in Central Africa Republic.I'm not. Countries,a s a rule, don't go to the help of other countries because they want to do "good things". The US did not kill a half million or  so Iraqis so they could build schools for little girls. France is not intervening in Africa because it is big-hearted.

As well, the chaos that is Africa has been created by over a century of western interference. More interference will not solve anything.
The Letter of the Day caught my attention for an absurd statement. Several absurd statements, actually; but I'll just do one here. It's about fracking.

The writer claims "....the "silent majority" will wade through the misinformation and half-truths  (to form) an  intelligent decision based on facts from credible sources."

First, if the majority are silent, how does the author know that they're thinking? Or if they are thinking at all? And how does he know they are a majority?

And they will wade their way through to form an intelligent decision based on facts......? Where, exactly, are they going to find those sources? And remember, in literary terms, we are the worst in Canada. These are the people who are going to find facts from credible sources? How would they know what a credible source is? Perhaps the writer could give us a sample of such sources.

In fact, all my experience from years of political and community work, is that the silent majority is silent because it doesn't care. It knows nothing and doesn't intend to find out. And that explains why New Brunswick votes either Liberal or Conservative.

The sermonette is a safe and wimpy one even by the standards of the Faith Page. It's okay, it seems, that if somebody says  "happy holiday" to you, you just say "thank you." Well, that a load off my soul.

You know, if that sort of thing were all Jesus ever had to say, there's be no point in reading The Bible.

Jesus addressed the problems he saw in the world around Him. The world around us gives no sign of being run on Christian, Judaic, Moslem, Confucist or any other religious principles I have ever heard of.

People should be going to religious services for more spiritual insight and muscle. Instead, they get a pat on the head and a reminder to say "thank you" when people say "happy holidays".

This is pretty piddling stuff.



  1. Hold the damn phone.

    On July 6, 2013 an unattended 74-car freight train carrying Bakken formation crude oil ran away and derailed in the town of Lac-M├ęgantic.

    If there are ANY documents, ANYWHERE, that could lead to criminal charges, just how likely are they there to be found on December 12 2013 (5 months later)?

    I *think* this investigation can be safely filed under "Rob Ford".

  2. Yes, it is all piddling stuff. I met the Jesus on the road today. We shook hands and I wished him a happy solstice. We both laughed.

    1. ((facepalm))

      I would *think* Jesus has better sense than be out on the road today........ I KNOW I do.