Thursday, February 12, 2015

Feb. 12: It's tough.....

...to write a blog about a newspaper whose front page story - continued inside for a total of almost a full page - is that local restaurants will be packed on Valentine's Day. Who would have guessed?  Then, on p. 6 for Wednesday, they publish a photo of an armed robber, asking people to phone in if they recognize him.  He is so covered in bulky clothes that even his eyes don't show.

Section A of Thursday really wets its pants with the front page story that the aging rock group AC/DC is coming to town. And tickets will be only $109.50 plus fees. That's good for two, solid pages of stories.  Then there's a big story about how a grocery store some miles away in another town is changing its name.

On the same page is a story about how provincial health minister Boudreau is thinking of selling beaches and parks to private owners. The new owners could operate them for a profit - and the government could make hundreds of millions from the sale to balance the budget.

Brilliant - except....

If the beaches and parks go private, who will pay to use them?

That would be us, wouldn't it?

And if the government owned them, who would pay the taxes to operate them?

Well, that would be us, too, wouldn't it?  So where's the big saving?

We'll even leave aside the probability that, as usual, private ownership will cost us more than public ownership. No matter which way Boudreau chooses, we pay. In fact, it's worse. A Brian Gallant, even with a reduced salary, will be easily able to pay for a day at the beach. But what will happen to the many families living on minimum wage?

No. Mr. Boudreau is playing the old game of Conservative/Liberal economics. And this is a typical example of what's wrong with their economics. People don't exist. All that exists are budgets, economics, money. That's why we get schemes like this that don't save a cent. Schemes that, if anything, cost us more, while harming more people.

Gallant, like every pm before him, starts with money. But the role of government is to meet the needs of people, then to get everybody to pay a fair share to meet those needs. With the possible exception of Louis Robichard, no premier of NB has ever started with people, and none has done anything to make the rich pay their share.

Then there's a story that makes you weep for joy. Newspaper carriers who deliver by car had one cent per paper cut in their salaries. You know, because the price of gas is down, so they don't need that extra cent. However, the minority of carriers who walk for their deliveries also lost a penny a paper. So the Irving press,, always on the lookout for the little guy, restored the deducted penny for them. Read this important and heart-warming story. I'm sure you'll shed a tear just as I did.

The purpose of government is to maintain a society with its basic needs met. To do that, you have to start with people and their needs.

Most of our governments  start with money. And they  have been doormats for corporation bosses.
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On the Tuesday editorial and op ed pages, Norbert has a well-reasoned column on doctor assisted suicide and the Supreme Court.  Brian Cornier has a story about renovating his kitchen. I have no idea why. Alec Bruce says Gallant is leading the way in cutting his own salary. He's an example. says Bruce, for the whole population.

No, he isn't. And he isn't leading the way. The way is to reverse the power and influence of big business, and to make the rich pay their share for sustaining our society. But that's not Gallant's way. No, Gallant's way is to make token cuts in his own pay (which will still leave him with plenty.)  The purpose is  to induce suckers who can't afford even token cuts to accept them, too.

That doesn't lead the way to anywhere except poverty and suffering.   You want to lead the way, Gallant? You want to show some guts and some brains? Then make the rich pay their share - as they have never paid it in the whole history of this province. And stop giving them gifts - like our forests.

Don't start with dollars, Gallant. Start with people. What do the people of  New Brunswick need? Then decide how to get the money - and a good place to start will be the pockets of the very rich who have been funneling our money into their pockets for much, much too long.

We need to be led to a future with equitable sharing. You're leading us to a future of poverty and, quite possibly, depression.
_----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------_Two stories on B3 for Wednesday_suggest serious trouble developing in our handling of native peoples.
Some twelve hundred native women have been murdered or gone missing in the last 30 years. And the Canadian government has not shown much interest.

No big deal? Okay. Just imagine if 1200 women from our wealthiest families had been murdered or gone missing in that time. Do you think Harper might get a move on then?

And just imagine you are a native Canadian with a daughter. How scared would you be?

The other story is how native children get poorer health care because of delays in determining who will pay for it.

There are severe problems in every aspect of our treatment of native peoples. Any attack on a society that undermines its religion or its values or what we, vaguely, call its culture creates damage for centuries,and perhaps forever. The mess the world is in now has a lot to do with the cultural upheaval caused by western imperialism over the past, several centuries. The lives of our native people are a part of that history of displacement of loss.

Harper has shown no eagerness to be of any help with native peoples. That's probably because he wants free access to native lands for resources like shale gas. (As it is, native people are suffering heavily from pollution in the rivers that flow out of the Alberta oil fields.).

I don't have an answer. I suspect that, for a start, native peoples need much more power over their own affairs, and a much more clear statement of rights to control their own land._We have not absorbed them in over 400 years. And we're not going to. That's why the starting point has be to their land, their rights, and their control or them.

Section B6 has a short story about what should be a long story. Russia and Egypt have agreed to build a nuclear power plant in Egypt, to boost trade between the two countries, and to create a Russian industrial zone in Egypt. The story does not mention the US. And that's strange.

The US has made it clear since 1945 that it wants control of Egypt. That's why president Eisenhower was visibly furious when Israel, Britain, and France attacked Egypt. That's why they US reversed the so-called Arab Spring when Egypt democratically elected a very Muslim government. (The US immediately helped the army to overthrow the government, and to install what is effectively a military dictatorship.)

The irving press gets most of its news section from a small circle of services that include Canadian Press, Associated Press, etc. All of the ones they use are notorious for bias and propaganda. There are others. Onc can buy material from The Guardian in Britain or Haaretz in Israel - of Al Jazeera which, despite what Muslim-haters say, is one of the more honest services.

Anyway, so now Egypt in entering into close economic ties with Russia....Obama will not be pleased.

Oh, B4 has a large story and a large photo of American Kayla Mueller who was executed by ISIS. Actually, nobody knows how she died. She was certainly a hostage of ISIS, but earlier reports  said she was killed in a Jordanian air strike. The only sources saying she was killed by ISIS are official American ones, and even they don't know how she was killed.

Well, that doesn't matter. What matters is that a quite innocent young woman was captured and, as a result of that capture, then died while in captivity.There will be, as there should be, every sympathy for her and her family. But....

How many stories have you read about the young women killed by our side - by napalm, by agent orange, by phosphorous, by drones. by snipers, by starvation....?  There are certainly thousands, probably tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands. Then there were the thousands murdered in the CIA operation in Guatemala that we've never even been told about.

But I've never even seen one of their stories or of their photos.  I'm sure that whoever wrote that story or Kayla Mueller didn't intend it to be hate literature or propaganda - but by the nature of our one-sided reporting, hate literature is what it is._We here only of the evil of the other side, never of ours.

Similarly, news of the Hebo Charlie killings in Paris made the news big time. There was full reporting of anger, revenge, the evils of Islam all over the world.  Now,early this week, an American man shot and killed three, young Muslims in the US. So far - no horror, no outrage; in fact, the story never even made the Irving press.

Then there's Thursday's bizarre, lead story on B1. Obama has asked Congress to authorize war on the Islamic State.  Why? After all -
1.The US rarely declares war at all. It just goes and kills people. Apparently, that's how American presidents feel God wants it to be.
2. Obama specified that the declaration should exclude "extensive" us of ground forces. Well, the US already has a lot of ground forces there. And it will need more if it's going to defend even just the air bases.  It also has special ops. And both groups have seen action.
3. I've never before heard of a declaration of war that puts limits on how much can be done.
4. And, he mysteriously adds, that the declaration of war would be good for only three years???????
This must be a first in history. What if the war intensifies after many US casualties?  Will they be pulled out anyway? Not that it matters. That takes us into another presidency - probably either Jeb Bush or Hillary. And either of them is sure to keep it going no matter what.
5. And he wants to be able to extend the war to "connected" states. That almost certainly means he's going to extend this to Syria. American business, in particular, wants Syria destroyed. It has altogether too close trade ties with Russia. Indeed, it's possible that Syria is what this "war" is really all about.

That latter point may seem small - but I can't see any other logic for such a bizarre form for a declaration of war.

And Canadians will be there, risking their lives in a war that has nothing to with us, and all of them together and with all of their expenses for jet fuel and rockets and food and repairs costing less than one year's salary for Canada's best paid CEO.

And once in, we will almost certainly find ourselves putting more boots and the ground.
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The Sport section is actually worse than world news. It's just five pages, half of them ads, and another pages of game results, some of them from points obscure to say the least. And, once again, nobody to do commentary. I don't know. It must be that Moncton sports fans don't know much about sports, and they really don't care to. They just like to see colours moving quickly on the TV screen.
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