Saturday, April 5, 2014

April 5: General Indifference

There's a category for news stories that are not news at all. For some reason, they are called "general interest stories" - which, confusingly, means they are of no interest whatever. Most newspapers will have a story or two of this this nature. The TandT is the only paper I know that devotes almost all of its A section to "general interest stories". "Wild winter tough on seasonal business". "Moncton snow dumps just keep on growing" "NB Power line crews feel 'relief' after tackling outages". "Moncton eateries join forces to launch beer."

That's why it's rare to find something to talk about in Section A. It's just the "who cares" section.
NewsToday covers a broader field. At least one would expect it to. And what is one of the top stories in this section of news of import from all over a world suffering poverty, war that is really mass executions, collapsing empire. collapsing democracy?  it's on page D1.

"Leaders' presents gathering dust?"

It seem that world leaders often give each other gifts in happy days. But Harper, for example, now finds it awkward to have these as we face the Ukraine crisis.  And I suppose Putin has the same problem with his 342 framed photos of Harper.

Oh dear, what a strain and fuss that must be, having a necktie from Putin hanging in your closet. What to do? What to do? This is  the sort of journalism that gives triviality a whole, new depth of meaning.

The big flash on D3 is "N.B. unemployment rate dips." And that, says Labour Minister Jody Carr is a sign New Brunswick is moving in the right direction. And Mr. Carr is full of it.

The dip is one tenth of one percent. And that's only the beginning of the story. Unemployment figures from government never reflect reality. The reality is always much worse. That's because, to give just one example,  people who have been unemployed for too long become listed as unemployable - so they don't count as unemployed any more.

A dip of one-tenth of one percent indicates nothing - especially when it's due largely to part-time jobs, as this one is.  It means nothing whatever - and Mr. Carr knows it.

Energy Minister Craig Leonard really, truly, cross his heart believes that SWN will go ahead on shale gas development. Has anybody heard SWN say it won't? Why is this news?

In yet another important story, it seems former president George Bush paints. I always suspected he did; but I thought he used crayons.

Then there'a a big story on a new bill to promote organ donations, and yet another that the lost Malaysian airliner hasn't been found.

The only real story is we are going to lose 18 million a year that we get in health funding from Ottawa. But this is treated as a matter of local politics. It's much more than that.

There is a powerful move all over the world, spearheaded by the rich, to cut social spending of all sorts. As a result, there is profound suffering in countries like Ireland, Greece and Spain. Cutting social spending is a big piece of what the Ukrainian coup was about. We've seen it in the US, too, as social spending is cut while big business pays no taxes at all. And we're seeing it in Canada.

This is the final, big grab of the very rich- to make the poor and the middle class pay while letting the rich off the hook. It's part of increasing the income gap in favour of the rich. Only the rich deserve to have health and education, etc. The very rich are our new aristocracy, and we have to become poorer so that they can get even richer.  Harper is a big fan of that kind of thinking. That's why another term for him would be the end of Canada.

But none of this is in the story. It's as if this were just another, minor political squabble. And that's the way the politicians are treating it, too.

Incidentally, there's another link between this and the Ukraine crisis.

There are over a million Canadians of Ukrainian descent. Those who arrived from 1945 on were profoundly anti-communist - so much so that they had moved to the very extreme right, including kind thoughts of fascism.

That's why Harper was the first western leader to visit the post-coup Ukraine. That's partly why he took such a strong position in favour of the Ukraine. His trip to Israel was designed to win Jewish votes in Canada. His trip to Ukraine was designed to win Ukrainian votes. And no journalist noticed that, at the same time, Harper was courting both Jewish-Canadians and Ukraine which has one of the world's most brutal records of anti-semitism.

There are a lot of votes, well-organized votes in those two communities. They could make the difference in our next election.

Bill Belliveau's column is worth a read. We should all be concerned a lot more than we are about the future of rail traffic in this region. We should be encouraging it. Obviously, Harper wants to destroy it.

(Incidentally, I have a fondness for the name "Belliveau". At Maurice Richard's funeral, I had a long talk with Le gros Jean of the Canadiens. He's a delightful person. - just had to mention that.)

Norbert writes a column on the subject of federal cuts to health care payments. It's a subject he knows something about. Unfortunately, what he knows has been out of date for a century. And when Liberals complain about the federal cuts, he responds by sticking out his tongue, and saying, federal Liberals used to make cuts, too. So there.

What the hell is that supposed to prove?

After a careful reading of Brent Mazerolle's column, I have no idea what it's about. It does have a big mistake in it, though. At the top of the final column, he says Bill Clinton admitted he stereotyped Canadians. But if you read the previous paragraph, it's evident Clinton was not speaking of himself.

The Ukrainian crisis,  in my view, was created by the US in cooperation with major banks. I think Putin was right to react as he did. However, Gwynne Dyer moves the video on a frame or two to suggest that Putin may now be creating a dangerous situation by overplaying his hand.  And Dyer makes a strong case.
Except for Dyer and Belliveau, there really is nothing here worth reading. That includes, of course, the sermonette on the Faith Page. As usual, it's so abstract as to be meaningless. As usual, it never deals with real people or real life. But we live with real people in real life. This is where we have to apply Christian principles.

Look, kids, try a sermonette applying Christianity to real life. Do you consider the economic and political leadership of this province to operate on Christian principles? Tell us, with examples, what you think.

Or just go back to mumbling to yourselves.


  1. You supply a good read as usual Graeme.
    Yes, it's obvious how Washington (controlled by the financial wizards belonging to the Bank for International Settlements, among others) attempted a long-time coming, covert coup in the Ukraine, forcing Putin to respond.
    All we have to do, is look at several recent instances of US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, etc...admit to Washington's involvement.

    But, understanding how our western banks have a long history of financing both sides of wars, including the financing of Stalin's reign, I'd like to ask you, your take on; what is it with this meme that appears to be emanating from the authorities who often make bizarre comments ahead of time, as if they were informing us as to what they're planning to do?
    I have certain theories, some more bizarre than others, but that's all I have at this point. Have you noticed this?
    BTW, apologies if I missed you dealing with this issue in an earlier post.

  2. bizarre comments ahead of time? I'm not sure what you mean. Can you give me an example? - and I'll give it a shot.