Monday, December 9, 2013

Dec. 9: Mandella would be so pleased.... the plane load of official mourners from Canadian government circles going to his funeral. And the Irving Press has nothing but wonderful things to say about him.

There is no mention that Canadian intelligence gave South African racists the information to put Mandella in jail for 27 years. Nor does the TandT mention that Mandella was on the official terrorist list of Canada through the years that planeload of mourners was in power. In fact, officially, he was a terrorist until 2008.

He was also on the terrorist list for George Bush and for Obama who will be there to express their lifelong support for Mandella.

And mourner Mulroney is also the only Canadian prime minister to admit to accepting very large bribes while in office (and suffering no penalty).  Ah, Mandella would be so honoured to know he is there.

Oh, Mandella also supported Fidel Castro, a man most hated by most of those hypocrite mourners.

There is no word I've seen on Israeli participation. But it Netanyahu of some such go, remember that Israel is the country that provided weaponry  to those South African whites who put Mandella in prison. And that weaponry was specifially for the whites to keep the blacks as inferiors.

On the Canadian side, the only welcome face among the mourners will be Irwin Cotler (a Liberal from Montreal) who acted for years as a legal adviser to get Mr. Mandella out of prison. That was in  the good, old days when Montreal's Jewish community acted as a powerful social conscience to confront evil wherever it appeared. Alas! It was some years ago panicked into supporting everything Israel did, right or wrong. That's what made it easy pickings for Stephen Harper to suck it into his Conservative support with his stance of "Israel is always right."

There are Jews in Montreal with social conscience. Their organization is Jews for Peace. But they're not a minority.

The paper gets off to a slow start with 7 pages that would stun a moose in heat. But then it has, on A8, an astonishing, full page story on how Christmas tree lots get busy at this time of year.

That is followed on A10 by a story that could change  your life. "Crandall chapel enjoys new light, sound system". The story is accompanied, for a reason not clear to me, by a rather messy looking picture of a man holding a guitar.

The section is saved by a more useful story on A11 "Province needs to examine education problems: expert". The expert is associate dean of education at UNB - and it's important to note his advice that New Brunswick has different socio-economic conditions than other provinces do. And that, as I learned in fifty years of teaching - and in my own life - makes one, tremendous difference.

He also touches a problem the NB schools and other schools across Canada (but not the universities) are taking seriously. We simply forget information we have no use for.

I had to take trigonometry in grade eleven. I've never in my life had an occasion to use it. The result is I remember only four words from it - sine, cosine, tangent, cotangent. And I have no idea what they mean. So much for hours in the class and in homework.

Similarly, in my BA I had courses in science, literature (and, yes, Canadian history) of which I remember not a thing.

Luckily, our public schools have the realism and intelligence to work on the problem. (Don't hold your breath waiting for the universities.)
Your Investments (C2) has (surprise! surprise!) a story worth reading. Canada is booming in weapons sales to other countries. In fact, they have doubled over the past year. Most of them are not hunting weapons, not unless you're hunting people. They run all the way from pistols to heavy weapons.

Of course, Canada is pledged not to sell weapons to countries with a record of human rights abuse or of violence. So we sell them only to countries in which nobody would dream of using weapons improperly, countries like Pakistan, Mexico, and Egypt.

Foreign Affairs is careful to ensure that these weapons are not used to commit human rights violations. I'm not sure how they do that. I suppose what whenever a Canadian gun is sold to, say, an Al-Quaeda  fighter in Egypt or a drug dealer in Mexico, they make him sign a pledge he will not use it to violate human   rights.

The sales will be going up more because Harper has recently made investment the main purpose of our foreign policy. So good luck on human rights. That's what's called entrepreneurship - soon to be taught in your schools.And it's much more important than human rights.

There's also a big story on how the wine industry is using high-tech to track down copies of really expensive wines. (Apparently, nobody can taste the difference.)

The editorial and Alec Bruce both talk about the need to balance the provincial budget. But they both follow the Irving press rule - we are not allowed to mention the cost to us of big business, notably the Irvings. Fortunes have been made out of this province; and it still goes on. How is it possible to discuess the provincial budget without mentioning that?

But not mentioning that is what the Irving press has been doing since it was founded.

Craig Babstock tells us that an airline connection to Newfoundland is being cut because nobody is using it. Okay. But why tell us? I mean, if nobody is using it, who cares?

Steve Malloy, for the first time, does a Rod Allen column - all about himself. But on the basis of past performances I can forgive him - once.

Finally, a plea to reporters of the Irving press. Will you please learn to ask questions at press conferences?  I've been to many a press conference, sometimes as a journalist, sometimes as the victim; and questons were always asked.  Alward held a press conference at which he announced that a business group will install and operate a thirteen year (K to 12) programme on entrepreneurship.

Now, this is a feature not introduced in schools since Hitler incoporated courses on Naziism in the German schools. So it's kind of unusual.

Could one of you hot reporters has him exactly who it is that is sponsoring this? Why did the government accept it? Will it accept similar offers from the Baptist church? Jehovah Witnesses? The Liberal Party?

Will Alward explain where he got the information that entrepreneurs build communities and have happy homes?

Then, would you ask the associate dean of Education at UNB what he thinks of the scheme?

(And if you have doubts, ask any professor at any school of Journalism whether reporters are supposed to ask questions.)

And, by the way, did you notice your own story on A 11 about how teaching students information they will never use is a  waste of time because they will forget it? That came from an associate dean of education who probably knows even more about the subject than your  group of businessmen does.

Now, think hard. Doesn't all this mean we are going to waste time and money and, necessarily, neglect some important subjects in order to teach a programme that is a waste of time?

 Or you might ask whether Mr. Alward has reason to expect an explosion of New Brunswickers becoming entrepreneurs.

 And if there is such an explosion, then why are we still seeing the spread of Walmarts and Targets and Costcos that have been destroying entrepreneurs for decades?

And, most of all, will you please ask Mr. Alward for the names of these people whom  we are now allowing to stick their noses into our schools. These are our children. Surely we have a right to know who they are who are pushing their way into the lives of our children.

Then ask where - where the hell are our school boards on this issue?

And, oh, yeah, where are Home and School and Parent teachers groups? Oh, I know. Too busy being busy.


  1. During high school I took the afternoon off in order to attend the funeral of a fellow student that was killed in an automobile accident. The school had allowed that absenteeism as long as you showed. So I showed, briefly, and soon skedaddled. That young person was barely known to me and although I had never caused him any grief, i still felt guilty for taking advantage of his death. Do you think any of our so called 'dignitaries' feel any remorse in their perverse reasoning for attending his funeral? Even if their personal stance never supported the terrorist allegations aimed at Mr Mandela, their silence in the public forum was deafening.

  2. Remorse? Blair and Bush killed something over half a million innocent people. As a result, both became rich men. Harper has the pathology of the wealthy. He has just stepped up the sale of guns to some very violent countries. But that seems to cause him no grief at all.