Saturday, February 1, 2014

Feb. 1:: There is a real news story on p. 1...

....unfortunately, it doesn't say anything.

The rest of Section A, as usual, says nothing, being devoted largely to "news stories" that are really ads for Walmart, the Super Bowl, and various 'entrepreneurs'.  But the front page headline is news. The Mount Allison strike has gained some muscle in the form of financial support and participation from university teachers across Canada. But what I have said in just that one sentence is all it tells us.

The story does mention 'academic freedom' as a demand. But - hint to editor - very few people, including university teachers - have any clear and consistent idea what academic freedom means. I doubt, then, whether most readers have a clue what it means.

Y'see, Mr. editor, what you do in a case like this it you get the reporter to ask both sides what they mean by academic freedom - and I don't mean just to get more jargon, but to pin down some meaning for it in terms that readers will understand. You could find the space by dropping 90% of the useless information you have in this story.
In NewsToday, there are big stories on how "Bieber could face travel woes", on whether it will be possible for Amanda Knox who helped commit a murder to be forced to return to Italy to serve her sentence. amd the biggest story - on the Super Bowl and on how to be a good Super Bowl guest (at a house party), and a good host.

There are also valuable hints on how to follow the game. For example, the team that has the ball is called the offence. It's a treasure house of information, complete with useless pictures.

The editorial supports the premier on developing shale gas. It also ridicules opponents of shale gas by misrepresenting their views with a gross exaggeration of them.

Norbert Cunningham once again demonstrates his ignorance of politics. In this case, he confuses 'basic principles' with having neat ideas. The two are not the same,  Norbert.

Liberals and Conservatism are statements of basic principles - of what values are on what a society is all about and how it should operate. (Neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives in New Brunswick have those principles - or any ptinciples at all so far as I  can determine.

But principles and social values are of first importance in deciding who to vote for. Hitler had some very neat idea on easing the depression and rebuilding German optimism. He'd be just the kind of man Norbert is looking for in deciding who to note for - a man who talks about the issues.

Unfortunately, most German voters were Norberts who ignored the essential part - Hitler's  values and principles - and that gave us a massive tragedy that we are still living through.

Bill Belliveau  begins well to discuss the provincial debt. Alas! Like all writers for the Irving press, he will discuss everything but who caused the debt and now pays almost nothing to reduce it.

Brent Mazerolle continues in his role of saying nothing of any use whatever.

Gwynne Dyer is a must read. It's about Greenland whose 56,000 aboriginal hunters are about to have the modern world forced on them. Generally, we don't begin to understand what that means. The process so far has produced the highest suicide rate in the world. It is no surprise, then, that our native peoples have a high suicide rate. In the far north, our Inuit adult suicide rate is 10 times the national average  Among Inuit children and teens, the rate is 30 times the average.

Any intrusion into a society has effects that are staggering, and can go on for centuries. African slavery began in the US well over 300 years ago. It ended a hundred and fifty years ago. But African Americans still live with the damage of it.

Africa, itself, is in a chaos because of the west's forcing itself and its ways on that continent.

Generally, we don't begin to realize the damage done by a forced assimilation, and how very long it can last.

There were lots of missed stories that an editor could have picked up by listening to CBC. Conrad Black, that paragon of Canadian enterpreneurs and advocate of lower taxes for the very rich - and ex-con - has been stripped of the Order  of Canada.

Or they could read The Detroit News which says the infant mortality rate in Detroit is only slightly below that of a third world country. Keep a note of that for the day one of your columnists does a column on the superiority of privatized health care.

Gee! there was no mention of a summit conference of 33 Latin American states in Cuba.

No big deal? On the contrary.

The US has wanted to control Latin America almost as long as there has been a US. In the 1920s and 30s, especially, it fought a long series of wars (oops - sorry police actions to protect American citizens and property) to steal land and cheap labour from Central American countries to please families like the Doles of tropical fruit fame. Then they consolidated it with the Organization of American States, a front to extend American dominance and exploitation. Canada joined it as a willing stooge.

Now, Latin American have their own organization. The US and Canada have been dumped.

This really began with Castro's successful defiance of the US. It's not over  yet. The US will certainly use military force - if largely in the form of special ops and other secret forces. But this has certainly hit the American empire at its heart.

It is still, militarily, an enormously powerful country on paper. But that military has not performed impressively for over 50 years. And it cannot be maintained in a dying economy.

We may well be watching the collapse of the last of the world's great empires.

Tomorrow, I'll write about some possible consequences of that.

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