Thursday, October 2, 2014

Oct. 2: Skip the first nine pages of section A....

....there is nothing in them worth reading.

Then there's Norbert on the editorial page, sounding tough while avoiding the real issues. This one is a part of a series he's done to moan about our lack of interest in voting. His solution? People don't like the political parties - so we need need a box on the ballot to check off  "none of the above". Brilliant Norbert. I can just see the fevered lineups now of people taking time to vote so they can check off "none of the above".

And what a boon for democracy! We might, for example, get a government on the votes of just 20% of the electors.

Norbert, before you can solve a problem you have to think of the cause. But you really don't want to go there, do you?  One cause is your boss who makes no secret that he runs the province no matter who gets elected. Another cause is that New Brunswickers consistently vote Liberal and Conservative despite the fact that both parties have consistently betrayed them to big money.

Then there's you, Norbert, you and your lying paper. There's nothing you can do to change the attitude of your boss. There's nothing you can do to make the Liberal and Conservatives into honest whores. But, all by yourself, you could be a big help by looking at the real problems, and writing about them to stir up public thought. Think about it, Norbert. Or, well,at least think.

Alec Bruce has an excellent column on how determined Harper is to spend money on essential services like health, but he loosens up when it's for himself.  Remember the million or so dollars for his very political trip to Israel?  Well, he's now added perhaps a half million in all with a quiet unnecessary party in Ottawa for European delegates to the European free trade talks. Of course, he had to fly them to Ottawa at a cost of  over three hundred thousand dollars - plus a host of other costs.

Doesn't he have a senator who's facing legal charges for doing less than that?

Bruce's column is the only  item in secton A worth reading.
B3 has an example of bad thinking and bad reporting ( though obviously approved by the editors.), "New Brunswick played vital role in Confederation, argues British prof".   Ged Martin, head of Canadian Studies at Edinburgh University gave a speech at UNB to, well, to say UNB was big force in  our confederation of 1867.

In the first place, the big force was the British government and British capitalists who wanted to build a railway across Canada for, among other things, a quicker link to the China market. But he didn't mention them. They needed a united Canada to give them lots of money and favours the project. Then they told John A. MacDonald to get on  his horse and deliver a united Canada.

Then professor Martin dumps on PEI as the birthplace of confederation, saying New Brunswick was more important. So it was. But importance had nothing to do with the title birthplace of confederation. The phrase  means that PEI was the first place that the idea of confederation was put forward to a gathering of colonial leaders. An historian should know that.

To cut a long story short, he concludes that New Brunswick played a major role in creating confederation. Well, it was important in the sense that one could not build a railway to an ocean port of the east coast without NB. But NB was not keen, and finally accepted  it only when it realized that, economically, it had no choice.

So why is this bad reporting? Well, here is a controversial story. A reporter, then, should also question people who might have a different opinion. We have four universities, all of them with Canadian historians. How come nobody was questioned?

As for the statement that the importance of NB is not mentioned in what  he calls "central Canadian textbooks"...........
In fact, everything he says appears in them. The only difference is Martin's spin. Oh - and the fact that "central Canadian historians" know what the word 'birthplace' means.

Is it silly to waste so much space on criticizing such an unimportant topic? Maybe.. If so, it's also silly for a newspaper to waste over a quarter of a page on it.
On B7 is "Afghanistan Memorial vigil coming to Fredericton".. This is a large collection pictures of Canadians who died in the Afghanistan war "....combating terrorism, promoting peace,and creating a more secure environment for Afghans".

I can share the sadness. I'm old enough to remember family friends killed in World War Two, and survivors who suffered lives, usually short ones, of terrible illness after Japanese imprisonment. I had an older  friend who was crippled for life in Korea, and who died younger than he should have... But I have nothing but contempt for the self-righteous twit who wrote about how Canadian died to bring peace to Afghanistan.

1. How the hell do you bring peace to a country by invading it?
2, "...creating a more secure environment for Afghans." Really? How many people did you see wringing their hands and worrying about the security of Afghanistan?
3. And what security? The American invasion has thoroughly corrupted the country, killed numbers of civilians that our news media never bothered to report. and made it a paradise for drug barons who are now major suppliers to the world. As well, the US lost the war. That's why US troops have been committed to stay. Afghanistan is not free; it's a country with part of it under armed occupation. And its current government is a corrupt collection of US puppets.
4. How could those who died know what they were dying for? We were never told, ourselves. In fact, when the US invaded, the reason given was that the Taliban had provided a haven for those who bombed the World Trade Center in New York. In fact, there is not the slightest evidence the Taliban did any such thing - and the FBI has frequently said so.
5. If the war was  so vital, why did Harper pull out most of our troops long, long before it ended?
 The US army did not invade Afghanistan to bring peace and security. The US army is not the tooth fairy.

Why did we send those Canadians to die? I have every sympathy for those who died and for those who grieve. But I have nothing but contempt for those who make the Afghanistan war or any other war into a celebration of killing. What we should be talking about on Nov. 11 is how to get around the propaganda of war, and how to avoid wars that have nothing to do with protecting the Canadian people.

Instead, we now seem likely to send our aircraft into a war that has nothing to do with us - or with the American people. It is a war that developed out of a century and a half of western brutality and theft. Most Moslems in the Middle East and Africa hate,us, and for the best of reasons. Killing more Moslems will not make us more loved.

This is a war in which the US and Saudi Arabia are fighting against an army they equipped and paid for from the start. The Iraq army can't handle it because the US, in the best, capitalist fashion turned over the training of the new Iraq army to private contractors - who stole most of the money paid to them. (The same thing happened to most American aid to Haiti after its earthquake.)

This war, with its massive human damage not just in lives but in all the terrors and dangers of refugees by the millions, is a war being fought for the benefit of the greedy who want economic control of the Middle East. And it has implications for Iran, Russia, and China. Whatever Canada decides to do in this war will be immoral by any standard. Whatever it decides to do will contribute to the horror which the west has inflicted on that part of the world for a century. It also is very likely to pull us into a much bigger war..
For Thursday, the news in section A is, in the best Irving tradition, utterly trivial.

The editorial, well, it's a TandT editorial. It criticizes public service pensioners who are in court to force the government to respect the promised size of its pensions. The editorial disagrees. Of course. Mr. Irving doesn't need a pension. (Though I wouldn't be surprised if the government were to grant pensions to the whole Irving clan.)

Norbert writes the same column he's been writing for a week now - the poor turnout on voting day. As always, he doesn't even think of the cause of it - so what he says isn't worth reading.

Alec Bruce writes off the usual topic - on getting old. Oh, Mr. Bruce. Don't worry.Ninety isn't old.

Rod Allen polishes his ego.

Jody Dallaire has an important column on the "Sisters in Spirit Movement'. There are vigils being held in memory of Native women who have disappeared without much interest from any government authority. One vigil is Friday, 12.45 pm at New Brunswick Community College.

Then there's a letter to the editor, "Entrepreneurs demand...." Can we get rid of this pompous and misleading word? Entrepreneurs - I see that word daily in the Irving press. It's pretentious. And it's propaganda. And it's misleading

First, most people just say small businessman - which describes it very well.

Secondly, it's propaganda used to get small businessmen to think they have many issues in common with people like Irving. They don't.

Thirdly, an entrepreneur is a person who takes risks. Big business doesn't take risks.

Fourthly, the letter talks about how entrepreneurship creates prosperity. Hey - we're living through a bad recession which is a direct result of   big ''entrepreneurs' who messed up and are now making us all pay while they get even richer..Similarly, the US defense industry is run by very, very prosperous entrepreneurs; but very, very little of that money reaches the average American.

Then it gives us the Irving press line that entrepreneurs create prosperity. But they don't create prosperity. They're in business to get money, not to give it away.

Customers create prosperity. By contrast, entrepreneurship has caused massive poverty all over the world. Ask anybody in Africa, Asia or most of Latin America. And, indeed, you can now find the massive poverty in the US.
There's nothing in NewsToday that you can get  more easily (and more of)  on Google News. Well, one exception. B5 has a story on Dr. Cleary, our Chief Health Officer, who is in Nigeria working on the Ebola crisis. She's the one whose report on shale gas was dismissed by the Alward government. There is no word yet on what good works Mr Alward will be doing.

Sorry to be late getting this one out. I was giving a class on, sort of, how we think.  It was fun.

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