Friday, April 17, 2015

April 17: Another stinker.

But, to start on a happy note, read section C4, 'Big Sister Shares Open Letter with Words of Advice for Little Sister'. This is by Isabelle Agnew, one of the student columnists whose columns now appear, one a day in the Life section.

And to really get the flavour of this, imagine you are the little sister who is turning 15. And imagine this is appearing as a birthday card to you. Anyone who can read this without being touched has a heart  made of pig iron.

The rest of the paper is business as usual. Remember yesterday's big, lead story about how the local hockey team would have to play a 'home" game in Fredericton because the Moncton hockey rink had been double-booked? Well, hold your hat. Today's big news is that the city will work to avoid such conflicts in future.

I mean, who would have guessed?

Then there's a front page story that a regional high school class in environmental science has been using drones to study the countryside around it. Sounds great! And I'm sure it is a great experience for the students.

But then the paper tells us it also teaches entrepreneurship.  Why? How is entrepreneurship training linked to environmental science?

Well, this is a fact of life in New Brunswick. Entrepreneurship has to be linked to just about everything, even though only a small proportion of New Brunswickers will ever live by it. And, in fact, the proportion is declining. (Just think of how many small entrepreneurs are displaced by a Walmart.) Why is entrepreneurship always portrayed in the Irving press as something not only desirable, but something to be admired, even idolized?

Well, it's for the same reason Norbert always pours contempt on government employees. The great myth to be peddled is that entrepreneurs are to be placed on a pedestal as symbols of what real men are And there's even a sustained campaign to make small entrepreneurs feel like that. Entrepreneurs are leaders - yes they are. Our future depends on them. Yes, it must. Government just gets in their way and hurts all of us. Yes, it does.

In the end, the beneficiaries of this campaign are families like the Irvings. They create our prosperity. Yes, they do. That's why we don't charge them taxes. If we did, they might go away.

The fact, of course, is that people like the Irvings do not create prosperity. Even now, as we are in hard times, the Irvings are prospering. And they aren't hampered by the government. They own it. And they aren't even entrepreneurs because there's no risk in what they're doing. If our usefulness to them declines, they can simply move their money elsewhere. And, of course, they can use their hidden assets to buy into companies like mining that produce big profits simply by exploiting the resources of some of the poorest and most brutally treated nations on earth. If they are entrepreneurs at all, it is only in the sense pirates are entrepreneurs.

That's why they prefer to be labelled by a word that has dignity and  status to it - entrepreneur. And that's why the word appears almost a chant by the faithful in the pages of the Irving press.

A3 has a more useful story about the need for organ donors. People need reminding because such a donation requires permission well in advance from the donor. This is a useful news story.

Then there are all the items of court news because it's cheap and easy to get - and fills space.

The editorial is the usual one about cutting government spending. Not once does it mention human need. It's all money.  Well, it does mention human need once. It says that taxing the wealthy is a bad idea because they'll go away. After all, it says, we have many "highly paid (and talented) CEOs and directors" who might leave if taxed.

The writer cannot be that stupid. People at that level have seen their incomes rise by factors of ten and more in the last twenty years. Some now earn in a morning - even in a coffee break - more than most of their employees do in a year.

What miracle has made them so much more talented in such a short time? And what a coincidence that so much talent seems to come as a gift from the baby fairy for people named Irving!

Have the rest of us become lazier and more stupid?

We are living in a world in which salaries rise spectacularly for the very rich even as they fall for everyone else. Has it occurred to the editorial writer that there will be consequences to that?

And, of course, we need natural gas. Gotta have it. All those highly paid and talented CEOs who think only of us say we need it.

But ya gotta give the Liberals credit. They're going tough, and cutting spending for all those children we waste education money on when they aren't highly paid and talented like kids named Irving.

What a disgusting and ignorant editorial!

Norbert had another column of ranting and name-calling.He gives no evidence or argument for what he says. He just raves like drunk on a main street corner at midnight.  And of course, he slurs the CBC. Of course. That's because Irving doesn't own it. Someday, Norbert, tell us about the wit and wisdom that flows from Irving radio. You know, the ones who have announcers that say clever things like, "Hey, gang, now stay tuned to YOUR station for the tunes YOU like to hear."

Then there's a letter that government should be run like a business. Actually, it is run like a business. That's what's wrong with it. Business is run to make a profit for the owner. It has no other purpose. Government is supposed to be run for the benefit of the people. It's not the same.

However, if the writer is such an admirer of business and thinks it cheaper, I recommend he get his next operation in a US hospital.

I could find no reason to read anything on the commentary page. Cole Hobson has a worthwhile topic in volunteerism, but really has nothing to say beyond local boosterism. Reading it is like trying to swim in a puddle. Alec Bruce, again, has nothing to say. And I find this habit of giving column space in which politicians talk political twaddle a distasteful one for a newspaper. I note, too, that so far it is only for Liberal and Conservative politicians. I notice, too, that none of its contributors has ever mentioned the word I-R-V-I-N-G.
Then there's Canada&World.

B1 has "On the front lines of the war against Ebola". It's about Dr. Cleary,  New Brunswick's Chief Medical Officer, who has been playing a leading role in Sierra Leone fighting Ebola.  She's up in the morning at six and doesn't finish her day until 10, and with the danger of infection and death a constant companion.

Gee. I bet she must get paid almost as much as one of those talented CEOs working for Irving.

What's surprising is that we have heard so little of her in the Irving press. I mean, if she had appeared on American TV blowing tunes on a comb and tissue paper - and they announced she was born in Moncton - we'd have pages about her.  But, no. She's the one who wrote the report they didn't like about shale gas.

Still, it's a wonderful opportunity for her. She might even meet some of the many talented members of the Irving family who have given up their big salaries to work as volunteers fighting Ebola.

There's another so what? story, this time on B3 about the visit of India's PM, and how much he and Harper like each other. There are two, good reason for that.
1. India's economic growth is close overtaking China's. (The whole world is changing. Get used to it.)
2. The two PMs have a lot in common. Both are strong believers in kissing up to whatever big business wants - no matter what damage it may do to their own people. The Indian PM is not at all a successor in the Ghandi tradtion.

And there are big stories about the Supreme court outlawing prayer at meetings of legislatures. This will be good news in heaven. It must be embarrassing to look down and see the Harpers of this world at prayer.

The only World news is on B6, most of it trivial.

One story, though, would seem to be critical of the Kyiv government (our side) in Ukraine. Some 80,000 to 200,000 Ukrainian children who are homeless, orphaned, abandoned or disabled, are being held in what are really human warehouses, cut off from any community, subject to physical and sexual abuse, rented out for the sex trade - and most of them there for life - and this from a government made up largely of billionaires who are stripping the country of anything of value - including its best farmland.

Remember how, quite recently, a Russian opposition leader was killed in Moscow - and most our news media were screaming "Putin did it"? Well, in recent days, three leaders of the opposition in Kyiv have been murdered in what look like contract killings. But not a word appears in the Irving press. How is that possible.? Don't their editors even read what is easily available on the web?

And when Canada recently sent troops to join with US troops in training the Kyiv army, there was a condition that wasn't mentioned in the Irving press story. US and Canadian troops were not to train the army of irregulars created by the Nazi party in Ukraine. That's nice but - they will, presumably, be allowed to train the many, many soldiers of the regular army who are Naziis.

Funny how nobody mentions the presence of a large Nazi party in that country whose 'democracy' we are defending.

There's a story about Putin from Associated press that has some suggestive wrinkles. It's about a four hour TV appearance by Putin. It says the show was 'carefully' choreographed. That may look like a small point - but it sets a tone for the story - be careful; Putin is treacherous. It could have just been choreographed - or well choreographed. But carefully? That carries a hint of manipulation and even treachery.

Then, while Putin looked at ease for most of the show, he seemed uneasy when asked about the opposition leader who was killed near the Kremlin. Here, the reporter puts his own interpretation based on, I suppose, facial expressions that might mean anything - but the effect of the reporter's choice is to imply Putin did it.
In fact, there is no evidence he was uneasy. A reporter should report what he sees and knows - not what he maybe fancies he sees.

Then it was "...the slickly produced show..."  Why slickly? If the Pope appeared on TV, do you think the press would say it was slickly produced? More likely, it would say well produced Slickly is used because it implies something crooked or dishonest about it. This is a very slickly written piece of reporting - and it has become the norm in most of our news media.

Putin also spoke of normalizing relations with the West. That's interesting because Obama has mostly dealt in threats, in sending forces to Russian borders, in supplying military training (as he accuses Russia of doing), in carrying out provocative overflights.... Putin has not made such statements or make provocative moves. But they are most of what Obama has said and done.  What does that mean?

It means Obama wants war. His Republican opposition which controls Congress has even more openly demanded war, with some openly threatening nuclear war.

Not a very good idea.

Putin is not going to back down. Nor are the Russian people. And remember, it was the Russians far, far more than us who beat Hitler. Nazi armies took 90% of their losses on the Russian front. D Day would not have been possible if so much of the Nazi army had not been in Russia. And the Russians lost at least 12 million dead. And still kept fighting. Invading Russia is not like sending bombs to the Saudis to kill Yemenis, the poorest people on earth.

Then you you have the problem that going to war against Russia almost certainly means going to war against China. And there is surely no possibility on earth that the US, which only barely handled Iraq and couldn't handle small and backward Afghanistan at all could conquer both Russia and China. Nor, given the levels of corruption in the American government and the defence industry, is it possible the US could economically survive such a war.

Such a war would destroy the US economy. The scale of military spending and corruption has already made a start on this; and the consequent crumbling of American society is evident for anybody who looks..

Nor is there anything for anybody but a very few to gain. The whole purpose, whatever our news media tell us, would be to give a handful of American capitalists control of the Russian and Chinese economies. It's a repeat of the old, British Empire in which a very few British made fortunes while most of the rest lived in poverty.

Not that it matters, anyway. Such a war would almost certainly mean a wide use of nuclear weapons, not only by the US, China and Russia, but by Britain, France, Israel, possibly India and Pakistan (though we can't be sure who the latter two would shoot at.)

Any such war would be the Hail Mary pass of a dying US empire in the last seconds of the game. It's more than evil. It's insane.

But the editors of the TandT should rejoice. This is how capitalist oligarchs in the US, Russia, and China do business. In a world run by big business, this is how it is run.  There are no people. Just profits.

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