Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Jan. 20: Enough of Robert the Cat...

Today Times and Transcript has what I think is its third edition with a front page story and photo of Robert the Cat. Even my cat is bored by it. This is the kind of trivia you see in a newspaper whose main function it to put an end to all thought and to all interest in whatever might be happening in the real world. Robert, the next time I see you, I  hope it will be on a bun at a church breakfast.

For Jan 19 section A there really is no news except for more and more about what we already knew about the Bourque shootings.

The editorial is still pimping for gas development. That leaves just the Irving press and the Toronto Sun that don't believe climate change is happening.. (In fact, the Sun has a column today that all the talk about climate change is really a plot to give away our money to the third world.)

Norbert has nothing to say about the economy. So he babbles about his ideologies. Government employees are bad. Private business is good. Cut spending on frills like health and education. "New Brunswickers need to pull together..." Wow! This man has a gift for phrases no-one has ever thought of before. And, guess what... In a province in which the poor are getting poorer while the very rich are getting richer, he ---well----he doesn't even notice it. Boy. He could fit right in with Donald Savoie and the gang.

The problem with New Brunswick, as with most of the world, is the greed of the very rich, and the political power of the very rich. But sh. The Nortberts and the Savoies and the AIMS of this world will never go there.

David Suzuki appears in place of Alec Bruce, this time writing about mining companies, especially Canadian ones, and their destructive and brutal practices all over the world. They pollute, murder, enslave, impoverish, loot,  and their hired thugs rape, beat and rob on a scale rarely found in world history. (And these companies enjoy favour with "democratic" governments and news media around the world. (You can go visit the cemetery at Buctouche for a reminder about that - but you won't find it in the Irving press.) Suzuki, surprisingly, thinks this will change. I don't share his optimism.

Steve Malloy brings a light touch to his topic, the tremendous (and often damaging) effect of video games - and the need for alternatives. It's a light touch, but an effective one and an important one.

NewsToday for Jan. 19 is pretty much for those people who are bored with life, but too intellectually retarded to know how to kill time by scratching their own rear ends. Just two stories caught my eye. One is about an energy-efficient home in Fredericton that is heated on less than ten dollars a month. Hey! We're in a crisis of climate change - and an energy crisis - and an economic crisis. Our various governments seem to be doing nothing about it. And there's still no sense that our governments will be waking up any time soon.

For the Irving press, THIS was the big story of the day. But all we got was a cat.

The other story is just one of personal interest. On B4 - "Federal Official Languages commissioner wants Quebec to do more to help anglos". For twenty years,  I was on on the board of Alliance Quebec, the province's English rights group, two of those years as chairman. They were years of turmoil, lots of meetings, riots, arson, threats. hatreds....(my, how I prefer Acadiens to some Quebecois.)  I well remember the PQ premier who railed at me because I was a rich anglo. (In fact, I grew up in one of the poorest districts in Canada - while the premier had been born into a family wealthy enough to send him to an expensive, private school.)

The story is about four people I worked closely with through those years. And they were good. Three of them are now Quebec cabinet ministers, and one is secretary to the premier.  Anglo militants criticize them for not being combative enough. I think the militants are wrong. Quebec anglophones will produce a few people who make noise, but in general they won't support militancy because it's easier just to move away. I spent twenty years watching that happen  The Montreal high school I taught in through the early 60s is having a reunion this Fall. It will be held in Toronto.
Section A news is, of course, Robert the Cat. There's also an alarmist headline about family violence in New Brunswick. But, if you read the story, it really says almost nothing has changed and we're just above average for Canada.

The editorial page, for a change, is pretty solid, Even the editorialist has something useful to say.He makes a good point about the dangers of giving heavier, military weaponry to the police - as the US is doing. But that hasn't much happened here. A carbine is not necessarily "heavy" or military, and I was surprised to learn it was not routine to have them. (What's wrong in the US is that the police are being re-oriented not to defend the American pe but to attack them.) However, there is no doubt Canada needs, as the editorialist says, tougher gun legislation. It came as quite a shock to me just days ago to see how guns, even hunting ones, are now designed to appeal to people of dangerous, killer instincts - like the ones who think "Sniper" is an inspirational film.

Alec Bruce and Norbert are in good form. Norbert worries about the cost of very small schools like the one in Coles Island that has nine staff to serve 30 students. There is no easy solution to that, and Norbert wisely doesn't pretend to have one. You could, I suppose, have a 30 student school covering five grades with just one teacher. I taught in one of those for just one day. It is very, very hard work.

Norbert is also sensitive to the social importance of a school to a small community. Closing the school can be devastating. (I don't share his enthusiasm, though) for fewer teachers and bigger classes. I could have nothing but contempt for a province that would cut education spending while busily cutting taxes and offering sweetheart deals to its wealthy. In fact, I think that is so immoral as to be beneath contempt.)

We need a good deal of rethinking about education, some of it well outside the box.  New Brunswick has unique problems of rural population, a severe social problem of illiteracy - which is even worse than it sounds because illiteracy means an inability to get information, an inability and lack of motivation to widen one's perspectives, and an inability to think. That, alone, is one hell of a problem package for any province. It means that democracy can never really exist here

To add to that, we might consider the problem that rural New Brunswick commonly offers no intellectual stimulation at all (and Moncton certainly doesn't pick up the slack.) Yes. We need to think way outside the box.

An  op-ed by Michael Zwaagstra also deals with education, this time with the No-zero policy. It's quite a decent op-ed. He argues that students who cheat, don't do any assisgned work or do really bad work should get zero. (But many schools in New Brunxwick forbid zeros.)   I quite agree with Zwaagstra.

But, as an editor, I would never have run this column. Zwaagstra writes for Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. This is a propaganda house designed to serve the interests of the very rich. I would no sooner publish such a writer than I would one of the twit columnists from the Toronto Sun.

Usually, AIMS distorts the facts, stretches the truth,, ignores the truth, all to serve its masters. Occasionally, as here, it will say something honest just to maintain its credibility. But the the general thrust is to service its masters.  It's rather like running photos and hall of fame stories about billionaires who pocket our money without regard for human need - then who, very occasionally, donate a bit of it to something charitable (named after themselves.) The TandT is big on that stuff, too.

The last thing a newspaper should do is to lend credibility to any of the above.
 NewsToday is as interesting as a rainy day on a slow train sitting beside Stephen Harper.

New Brunswick's Energy Institute may be reactivated to do research on fracking. Originally, the "independent" body was formed by the Alward government, almost certainly to make fracking look respectable.  Now Gallant's Liberals are going to play the game. Wonderful how New Brunswick democracy works.

On B3, Pope Francis draws attention to climate change. The leaders in refusing to recognize it and to act are the US, Canada, Britain, and Australia, all with populations that are mostly white, English-speaking, Christian - and therefore members of the world's superior race. So they aren't going to change.

The Pope also said that Catholics should cut back on having babies, but must not use contraceptives. But that didn't make the report from The Associated Press. Is a contraceptive something like a pair of scissors?

B4 has a story about how the richest one percent will have more than half of the world's wealth by 2016. How often have you heard that it's good for the wealthy to become wealthier because they invest the money, and thus create jobs?  I'm sure we'll soon see a story like that in the Irving press, perhaps from one of the "experts" at AIMS.

In fact, it's not true. It has never been true. In fact, the rich historically get rich by taking from the poor. The rich are the ones who have created poverty over most of the world. And that is going to be very, very dangerous both economically and in human survival very, very soon.

B6 has what might be the biggest story for us - and it has a loaded (dishonest) headline. "Canadian soldiers defend themselves in firefight in Iraq"'

Defend themselves - isn't that nice?. There they were, just having a picnic on the desert,taking pictures, singing songs, when they were savagely attacked by those terrible Muslims.

I mean, sure, they were directing rocket fire, training Iraqis for combat in a war, And, yes, they are on the front line. But only 20% of the time. So we aren't in a war. Not really. Harper says they're not in a combat role  Of course, Harper is a liar.

When you are directing combat fire, you are in a combat role. When you are armed and spend that much time at the front, you are in a combat role. When you go to a foreign country to take sides in a civil war, you are in a combat role.. And when you send armed troops, invited or not, into a foreign country to assist in the fighting, that is called going to war. (And, in fact, when you do that without having first been attacked, you are almost certainly in violation of international law.)

We are also in violation of Canadian law. Remember in our history books where it says our soldiers died in WW1 to give us the right to declare war on our own? That right could (and can) be legally exercised only with the consent of a majority in parliament, approval of the Governor-General, and an official declaration of war. Do you recall reading about any of that happening?

We have ignored Canadian law, international law, and we have troops on the ground taking part in a war that will almost certainly drag us fully into it. This is very, very dangerous. In fact, "This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper."

Then there's a list of news that didn't catch the eagle eyes of Irving editors.
The PM of Ukraine, speaking on German television, said, "I will not allow the Russians to march across Ukraine and Germany, as they did in World War 2." Think about that.

If the Russians had not marched across Ukraine and Germany, we would almost certainly have lost World War 2, and Hitler would have ruled Europe and, quite likely, the Middle East. So I don't have a problem with Russia marching across Germany in 1945.

As for marching across Ukraine, the Russians had to in order to get to Germany and save our skins. And Ukraine at the time (and still now) was so notoriously anti-Jewish that it had cooperated fully with Hitler in rounding up and murdering Jews. Ukrainian troops also fought on Hitler's side. And, to this day, there is a Nazi party in Ukraine which sides with the Ukrainian PM.

How could an editor miss that?

Ever here of John Karaiakou? He worked for the CIA. He is now in prison, the only person being punished for the CIA torture scandal. But he never tortured anybody. He's in prison because he told the truth. He leaked part of the story about the torture. God bless America. Land of the....whatever...

A recent study from Princeton University concludes that the US is no longer a democracy - something like New Brunswick, but worse. Read it at www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10733.htm

The International Criminal Court is studying the possibility that Israel has committed war crimes. Harper and Obama have denounced such a study.- because it's Israel. They want to study Syrian war crimes? No sweat. But they mustn't even think of it with Israel. So much for the UN, an institution that we fought and died for to put an end to war.  Or so we're told every Nov. 11.

In the US, many prisons are owned by private companies.  After all, as Norbert tells us OFTEN, government and civil servants are stupid. Only businessmen have brains. Well, the private owners have for some years, been making profits out of them by allowing folks like Chevron, Motorola, Target to operate factories in them. Prisoners are forced to work in these, and to accept wages - sometimes up to $1.25 an hour.  Of course, the prison owners also accept tax money to pay for the prisons, and they usually refuse sick prisoners because they cost extra to look after. And, well, yeah, that also takes away jobs from people who aren't in prison and who would love to work. But that helps Chevron and friends to keep down wages in non-prison workplaces.  Smile all you execs at Chevron and Motorola and Target. Jesus wants you to be sunbeams to shine for Him each day.

I've also fallen behind on stories that readers have sent in. So here's a bit......

1. Check Russia  Insider on google. This is propaganda, of course. and it's quite slick. Almost all the news we read is propganda - so it's useful to see some from the other side. Don't worry about being converted. Us humans believe only what we want to believe. Nobody has ever found a way to beat that.

2. On you tube - this is hilarious.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=

3. http://consortiumnews.com/2015/01/03rebuilding-the-obama-putin-trust
This one comes from a former CIA official who was in a very senior position, and reported to the White House.  He's now on the steering committee of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. Betcha didn't know there was such a thing. Certainly, you would never see it in the Irving press.

4. A study shows 19% of Americans believe that Obama is not an American citizen. 42% Believe that Bush found WMDs in Iraq. Both groups also show lower than average intelligence. And they like Fox News.

Oh, Israel has announced it is shifting its trade from Europe to Asia because Europe has been taken over by Muslims. (Gee. Somebody else said something like that. Oh. I remember. It was somebody named Hitler who said that Jews had taken over Europe.)

But it doesn't matter because that's not the reason. The fact is that Europe is in serious decline. But in Asia, there are vast and rising markets in places like China and India. Nations have no friends. They all think first of themselves. The world is reshaping itself on that principle - and that's bad news for the US.


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