Friday, February 27, 2015

Feb.27: The Moncton Twit and Tinsel

There really is little to talk about in today's paper. The big story is that students have missed  8 to 13 days of schools this year - and the teachers' union says teachers cannot be ordered to make up that time. Funny thing about that story.

Nobody has asked them to make up for those days. So why has the teachers' union made such a statement. Obviously, the reporter for the story asked them. But why would a reporter ask for the union to make a response to an order nobody had given? And, since nothing has really happened, why is this a front page headline at all? To answer that, think of how parents will react to the story. Many, perhaps most, will be angry at the union's response. It's always easy to make people angry at teachers.

In other words, this looks like a setup.

Get the parents angry first, then hit with the demand that those days be made up.

Will it do any good to make up those days? Not bloody likely. Think back to your school days. How would you have reacted to going to school on Saturdays, or into the early days of July. I've taught, and I know how little you can accomplish with a class that doesn't want to be there. Nothing gets learned. Students are not objects in a factory, and they do not learn by moving along an assembly line. Any teacher knows that. Politicians and the journalists of this province don't know it. And large number of people who read the TandT don't know it. And they will get angry. And getting people angry is what this story really is about, encouraging blind and ignorant anger.

The anger will be useful to get support for whatever approach the government plans to take for this. It also fits in with the general Irving press myth about how the methods of private business are superior to those of public methods. That's a game that Irving and friends have been playing with education for some time - as reflected in their puppet newspapers and their propaganda shills at Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

However, people should get angry at this story, not because of teachers but because this is unethical journalism, and it's manipulative. (Notice how the reporter didn't bother to ask teachers about the practical value of extra days?)

Even worse, the editorial writer jumped on this story for his/her editorial of the day. It makes all the predictable recormmendations which make it clear the writer is completely ignorant of the subject, It accuses the teachers of not giving a damn - which is not what happened at all. And the headline is about home schooling though the editorial has only one sentence about it -and that sentence makes it clear the the writer has no idea what home schooling means.

All this is not only unethical journalism; it is ignorant and incompetent journalism. There's a future for these clowns on Fox News.

Will it work? Probably. Lying and propaganda have almost always worked in this province.

Hint for the day - start a scrapbook of news stories and columns from Brunswick News critical of  J.D.Irving limited. (You might not need a really big scrapbook.)

In what is, perhaps, a related story, the first page also has big news that Corporate Research Associates conducted a poll which shows that we in Moncton are happy, happy, happy with our local economy and our municipal council.

And who is Corporate Research Associates? And who paid for the poll? It doesn't say. Nor does it say how the poll was conducted. By telephone? If so, that would mean large numbers of the unhappy would have been missed.

By personal contact? If so, how were the personal contacts chosen.?

And it says 73% are happy with the work done by city council.  Get real. There's nothing like 73% who even know what the council is doing.

And the reporter doesn't ask any questions.

And from then on, the paper just goes downhill.
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So let's look at some real news from around the world that didn't hit the Twit and Tinsel.

A national study group is discussing the deaths and disappearances of 1200 native women in the last 30 years. Actually, we have extensive studies which have included some 700 recommendations. We've had them for over ten years. But Harper hasn't moved on any of them.

Nor does he like the idea of a national study group on the issue. He says we don't need a national study group; now is the time for action.

Huh? Run that by again?

Now, let's think hard. Two men, not associated with any terrorist group, kill two soldiers. Harper goes into panic mode and is rushing through an anti-terrorism bill that is the end of freedom in Canada. 1200 native women are murdered or vanished. Harper has had expert advice on this for ten years He hasn't done a thing. Yawn.
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One hundred law professors across Canada have condemned the anti-terrorism bill as destructive of freedom. Yawn.
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The Vancouver Sun has the story that researchers at UNB have found that the gull population on the southern part of our west coast has dropped by half from the 1980s.  The reason? Lack of food in the sea.
Gee! D'ya think that could affect us? You know, like putting pesticides into the Bay of Fundy?
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The federal budget has $65 million dollars for government ads. Of course, Harper will decide what those ads will be about. No other party can touch that money. That's to uphold the sacred Harper policy of keeping government in touch with the people- you know, with things like the $2.3 million that Harper is putting out so that cabinet ministers can get their pictures taken. And so we can get even more of those wonderful posts from our MPs, like Goguen.

By coincidence, that gives Harper far, far more money than any other party has to fight the election. Watch for it before October. Sieg Heil!
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Remember Harper's determination to stamp out veils (the nigab) on Muslim women? That has won him friends in the Bloc Quebecois separatist party who are using bigotry as a powerful aid to making a comeback. Thank you, Stephen. And it will no doubt be a big hit with bigots across Canada.

We are very close to using the word unCanadian, as Americans used unAmerican some sixty years ago.
Once we put the word un in front of a nationality, we destroy democracy. If I have to fit Mr. Harper's definition of Canadian, then the word freedom means nothing. If I have to fit the definitions of Irving or Norbert or any other flag-waving opportunist, then I can't be free.

I've seen that up close. Born, raised, and working in Quebec, and from a family liviing in Quebec for well over 300 years, I became unQuebecois. And, as unQuebecois, I was not allowed the same rights as others.

Worse, people who use the prefix 'un' never know what it means. What, exactly, is a Canadian? What is a Quebecois? Neither the PQ nor Harper have ever figured that out. That's why their definition is always simple-minded and negative. And so being English-speaking in Quebec is unQuebecois. And wearing a veil is unCanadian. The 'un' is bigotry, ignorance,  hate, destructive of freedom but, oh, many, many people just love it. And Harper wants every bigot vote in the country.
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There was a  big (huge) story in The Guardian and in Al Jazeera just a few days ago. Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency leaked a report it had given to Netyanyahu many times, and for many years. The report is that Iran is not making a nuclear bomb. That corresponds with what US intelligence has been saying for years. But I'll bet you never saw any of that in the Twit and Tinsel.

That's kind of important because it means that for years Netanyahu has been lying to the world. In fact, the non-existent Iranian bomb will almost certainly be the subject of his approaching speech to the US Congress.

Now, I'm pretty sure Obama and all the congressmen know when big stories appear Al Jazeera and The Guardian are readily available to them. (as they are to the news editors at the TandT).

So why is Netanyahu lying? He wants a war, and he wants a nuclear war. He is in no position to fight a ground war against Iran. That's why he has already arranged with Saudi Arabia to use its airspace.

And why is Obama having talks with Iran about a programme that Obama knows doesn't exist? Well, he has to appease the Israely lobby. He may also want a war with Iran. Iran has been developing trade relations with Russia and China. Worse, Iranians have the ridiculous idea that their oil fields belong to them, when everybody knows that oil fields belong to American billionaires.

And Congress? Congress is pretty much owned by big money. And big money wants control of Iranian oil.

Will Netanyahu drop in on Harper? Maybe, though I doubt it. However, Harper will have to get his name into this meeting somehow to make sure he gets Canada's pro-Israel vote. He might fly down though, if he did that, he would also have to pay respects to Obama - and that would be one, chilly meeting.

Would such a war risk a nuclear war? Damn right it would. But, as the oil industry has often shown, it doesn't care how many people get killed or what damage is done.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is broke, and with people of both sides suffering poverty and cold. (Ukraine owes Russia a huge sum for oil that it has been buying but not paying for over many years. As well, the Ukraine currency has crashed. That means Kyiv desperately needs huge loans from international banks. But I'm sure that western government will come forward with gifts of those basic necessities like tanks and aircraft.

Meanwhile, Greeks are starving. But the bankers are doing very little to help them. That's understandable. Greeks are not, at this time, useful as an excuse to start a war.


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