Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Feb. 24:; As section A dropped at last from my numbed fingers,......

.....I had to face the fact that there is nothing to say about it - because there was nothing in it in the first place. Well, there were the usual bits of courthouse news about cases being postponed or set forward, the usual light-hearted stuff about some group that has fun doing something. But there was little that really mattered about anything.

In desperation, I turned to the sports section. Nothing much there, either. There was a whole page of statistics of games all over North America - of teams and individuals that most people have never even seen nor ever will.

The top of p. 7 in Sports features a  pretentious and empty-headed story about the real, deep-down meaning, like, you know?, of the Olympics. Then it babbles about the 'totality' of being Canadian - whatever that means. This is real 1960s New Age stuff.

Then came NewsToday. Here, at last, was something to talk about, an example of how to slant the news. The headline is "Middle class faces challenges".

Now, that's not quite what the news story under it says.

It's about a report put out by a small group in the federal government. But the Harperites are not pleased with the report because it questions the happy picture of the economic future that the Conservative party has been painting.

It says there is no future for the middle class in Canada. The wage gap, the massive proportion of our wealthy going to a very tiny group means that the middle class can expect a bleak future - if any future at all.

At no point does the report say the middle class faces a challenge. Nor should it. That would be like saying to be hit by a loaded trailer-truck would be a challenge. It's not a challenge. It's a disaster with severe implications for the rest of society.

Now, the headline on a story is written by the editor for that page. Why would he use the word 'challenge' when the more accurate headline might better be "middle class faces economic collapse'?

Well, that's because the editor wants to play down this story. His boss, after all, is one of the few who has caused the wage gap, and who benefits from it. It's a frightening situation. But challenging is not a frightening world and, anyway, most readers look at only the headline

And it's not lying.  Not really. Oh, maybe just a little bit.....

At the bottom of the page is "Ukraine issues arrest warrant for president." And he was corrupt. Of course. Not at all like Tony Blair of Britain who came to office a relatively poor man, and who now has his own thirty million dollar airplane. Not like George Bush who retired an extremely wealthy man despite having had only two regular jobs in his life - and each for only a short term.

There is no mention that the protesters have been getting some very serious money from the US to protest. There is no mention of it even though an official in the US government has publicly admitted it.

The Ukrainian economy, we are told, has been ruined by corruption. Hey! Look around.  Seen the American economy lately? And how come the US has some people are getting very, very rich as the rest of the economy disappears?

Oh, note the photo of two protesters on C3. The caption says "Activists pose for photo."Notice that word "activists". Where have we seen it before?

Oh - Syria. The "rebels" there are always called activists. Why? I mean, surely in these situations, everybody on both sides is an activist. So why use the world activist only for the side we favour?

Because activist is a nice word. It's a gentle word. Rebel, now,suggests disorder. Rioter is bad, too. So we don't want to say rebel or rioter.

If you read that story, you can have no doubt who the good guys and the bad guys are. It's written that way. The reality is we have no idea what he 'activists' stand for. And we are not being given any information on the motives of the US and the European Union. We are not told about the money given by the US to the activists. We are not told about US plans to turn Ukraine into a base for nuclear attack on Russia.

It's true that Vladimir Putin is a cold and murderous man. But he's well behind in the murderous records left by Bush and Obama.

This news story is really propaganda. It looks like news. But it's propaganda. And this sort of propaganda has come to be typical of newspapers all over the world including (maybe especially) North American newspapers.

Alec Bruce has another column which, like so many in this paper, is focussed on money.

"We should own the podium", he says in many areas of economic development.

Again, I'd like to see a clearer sense the reason for owning the podium.I'd like to see some sense of what government is for, and where the needs of a society fit into all this.

Bruce also wonders why we don't lead the world in he development of solar energy, wind energy, etc.

I think it's surely obvious why we don't. Our local oil barons don't want to see that kind of development cutting into their profits. And, if they don't want it, it's a sure bet that Harper and Alward don't want it. (In fact, Harper has quite deliberately destroyed most of the work we were doing in those fields.)
Some years ago, when I was new to Moncton, I read a series of TandT editorials that were ignorant and abusive towards our education system.  Then Norbert retired as editor, and I began to read his new column. His style left no doubt about it. Norbert was the author of those editorials.

That's why I have no hesitation in being abusive of Norbert.

Today, he's back on education; and he has decided "most of the N.B. School day just a massive waste of time."

Of course, Norbert knows nothing whatever about education. But he has no hesitation in publicly slandering thousands of teachers who have trained and worked as teachers for many years.

But he does have three (anonymous sources) Two are adults who are not teachers, but know somebody who is. The third is a smart kid descended of one of the above, who seems now to have graduated from being a smart kid to being a smart alec.

Norbert says he accepts these people as authorities because he judges them credible. It's also consistent with his experience. (What experience, you twit?) Then he comes to an asinine conclusion. He says, "The evidence is strong enough to warrant thorough study with a view to reforming our schools."

Right. He knows two adults (who have no training and have never taught)  and one student who agree with him. Therefore, we must revolutionize the system.

It gets dumber.

"The last word", his closing quotation, is from - wait for it - Bill Cosby.

Norbert - I know Cosby played a phys ed teacher on a TV show. And I know he has strong opinions on education. But, Norbert, he has never trained in education. And he has never really taught. And Cosby knows even less that Norbert does about educaton in Canada. (He actually lives in the US, Norbert.)

This is a stunningly ignorant and abusive column. But maybe I can guess a reason for it.

At the time of his last, big series on education, his boss (in cooperation with buddies at Atlantic Institute for Market Studies) was anxious to get a foot into the education system so they could use it to make make for themselves. We have recently seen the half-wit introduction of a massive course on entrepreneurship in some schools. Are we in for another round of his boss sticking his nose in where it has no business?

Oh, I know how hard it is to do your job, Norbert. I mean it's almost impossible  to spend so much time kissing rear ends, and at the same time looking graceful.

On op ed, Alan Cochrane gives us yet another installment of how long it is taking  him to grow up.

Louise Gilbert's column is  disappointing. She has close connections to the mayor and city council.  And, oh my, it shows. This isn't a opinion column at all. It's a gushy advertisement.

There are some very good letters to the editor on the royal family, the "wealth gap", on the money we give away to Bell Aliant,  on the CBC, and on passenger rail.

In fact, today's letters to the editor are the only part of TandT worth reading.

Oh, and the editorial cartoon is pretty good.

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